TORCH PHOTO/ Diana Colapietro
Inside the Brooklyn Flea Market page 9
ICE or CORE? SGI Tickets Announced pages 4 and 5
Album Review: “Aureate Gloom” by Of Montreal page 12
Men’s Basketball Season recap page 19
Snow Takes Campus by Storm Talia Tirella News Editor If you’re looking forward to the end of snowstorms, you’re not alone. But it turns out the white stuff wasn’t what gave St. John’s the most headaches this winter. It was ice. According to Brian Baumer, Acting Vice President of Campus Facilities and Services, the New York City area actually received 15 inches less snow than last winter. But the resulting ice, more than the handful of winter storms, made keeping the campus manageable a bit of a chore at Top photo: Union Square, March 5. By Casey Chatman times.
Lower photo: The gazebo on campus next to the Great Lawn. By Read more on page 3. Jean Kingw
Managing Board XCII
Samantha Albanese, Editor-in-Chief
Olivia Cunningham, Managing Editor Kyle Fitzgerald Features Editor Jenny Chen Chief Copy Editor Alexa Vagelatos Opinion Editor Livia Paula Asst. Features Editor Howard Barrett III Business Manager
Briawnna Jones Entertainment Editor Cheyanne Gonzales Online Editor Gina Palermo Design Editor Amanda Umpierrez Asst. News Editor jim baumbach
Talia Tirella News Editor Stephen Zitolo Sports Editor Brandon Mauk Asst. Sports Editor Steven Verdile Asst. Design Editor Jasmine Davis Asst. Entertainment Editor
Directory Advertising (718)-9906756 Business 990-6756 Editorial Board 990-5652
Features 990-6444 News 990-6756 Opinion 990-6445 Sports 990-6445
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 and publishes approximately 20 issues throughout the academic year. Copies are distributed for free on campus and through mail subscriptions.
Twitter: @SJU_Torch Instagram: @sju_torch Vine: @SJUTorch
St. John’s junior Justice Beckford practices his instant photography skills with an old Polaroid camera at the Brooklyn Flea Market last weekend. Torch Photo Editor Diana Colapietro.
Facilities department tackles heavy snowstorms
After last year’s storms, expanded salt storage and new equipment help clean up campus
continued from page 1
Baumer explained how the facilities department operates in the midst of a bad snow storm. Before every storm, they prepare and strategize how to handle the conditions. Facilities communicates closely with Public Safety during storms and advises them how the storm is progressing and affecting campus and the status of cleaning up campus. In return, Public Safety continuously updates facilities with an official forecast from the New York City Office of Emergency Management (OEM). According to the St. John’s website, Vice President of Public Safety Tom Lawrence acts as the St. John’s incident commander and helps to coordinate the response of all functional units of the University, as well as communicating information with public agencies like
the OEM. Despite a lower overall total of snow, the ice this year was difficult for facilities to handle. Yet, they were able to keep it under control in order to keep campus safe. After last year’s storms, they looked at what they did right and what could be improved or changed. They ended up expanding their salt storage in the facilities building, and purchased more equipment to help clean up and spread the salt. Currently, there is 200 tons of salt on hand in case of icy conditions. Baumer said that the department expanded its salt storage because salt production companies usually close at the end of February. “At the end of the winter usually the locations that produce salt across the country close, so if you start running out it’s hard to get,” Baumer said. Other safety precautions involve in-
forming the community. Students received several emails over the past month containing information about how to keep safe in the snow and ice. Baumer said these emails are meant to communicate with the University community so everyone is kept safe and damage is at a minimum. All students were advised to wear warm clothing and to take precaution when traveling off campus, especially commuters who rely on public transportation or drive themselves. Residents were advised to set their heating units to 65 degrees and close and lock all windows, and have perishable food items on hand. Baumer said that this year, significantly more students complied with the emails, resulting in a much lower number of burst pipes. Last year, several pipes in residence buildings burst. Baumer said that facilities always
Clockwise from top right: Footprints in the snow on campus, Anabelle Madho; Ducks wander through the snow on campus, Jean King; A quiet winter scene, Nhi Tong; Snow blankets the residence village on campus, Sarah-Marie Saatori.
tries to operate “better, faster and safer.” The department purchases different equipment to help them meet the challenge of cleaning up after winter storms every year. Usually, their biggest problem is sleet. Baumer said they prefer inches of snow to any ice at all, as snow is easier to clean up on campus. After every storm, the department evaluates itself to see how they can do a better job preparing for and cleaning up during the next storm. “I want to reiterate: safety is our number one priority, first and foremost,” said Baumer. Even if the roads and paths on campus are clear, facilities has to consider the conditions of the roadways off campus. We don’t want commuter students, faculty and staff or visitors driving in bad conditions,” Baumer said.
MEET THE 2015 SGI CORE
FOR PRESIDENT Andrew Chang
Andy Chang believes that students come first. One of his projected goals both personally and as Student Government, Inc. (SGI) president is to devote more time to student concerns and needs by strengthening the relationship between SGI and University administration as well as by personally meeting with student organizations in order to address any concerns they may have. Chang, who is a junior, has served as vice president of Sigma Delta Pi (Spanish Honor Society), co-chair of the SGI Budget Committee and president of the Economics and Finance Society (EcoFin) where he enacted great changes. He attributes his qualifications to his time spent in these leadership positions, but specifically as president of EcoFin, where he took the lead on tailoring meetings to student interests and concerns and expanding the membership base.
FOR VP Sarah Hanna
Sarah Hanna, a junior in St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, is running for vice president of Student Government, Inc. (SGI) on the CORE ticket. The founder of an organization, and a member of many more, Hanna hopes to translate her experiences into action through SGI. Hanna founded Project Sunshine, which provides assistance to children and families facing medical challenges. She is also a DNY Peer Leader, Student Ambassador and cochair of the Student Government Organizations Committee. “I know how to represent St. John’s well [because] I have a lot of experience in it. I think those leadership experiences have given me the tools that I need to successfully run student government if I’m elected,” Hanna said. As a member of the CORE ticket (Creating Opportunity and Realizing Excellence), her platform has three main goals: empowerment of organiza-
This previous experience with addressing student concerns falls in line with his platform’s goals for next year. His platform, CORE, stands for ‘Creating Opportunity and Realizing Excellence.’ Their three main areas of focus are to empower organizations, increase student advocacy and transparency within administration and to simplify formal organization procedures. CORE has planned specific ways to achieve these three goals. In order to empower organizations, CORE plans to explore the possibility of a pharmacy advisory council, reduce the number of mandatory meetings for organizations and reduce costs within SGI by increasing efficiency, yet providing maximum funding to student organizations. Chang said that CORE would like to reduce mandatory Org Congress meetings so organizations will be able to devote that extra time to making improvements. “Their time is precious. We are willing to put out the information they need and hold one on one meetings with each organization. There’s no better way to develop a working relationship [between SGI and organizations],” Chang said. In order to increase student advocacy and administrative transparency, CORE plans to proactively relay student opinions to administrators when any major University policy tions, simplifying formal procedures and increasing transparency. However, Hanna’s personal priority lies with the organizations. “I really think that I’d be able to advocate for students because I’ve been through a lot of the processes of student government—whether it’s reserving rooms, or starting an organization or problems with the organizations committee…I see the changes that need to happen.” Therefore, one of Hanna’s main platforms is a restructuring of the organizational congress. Instead of one large congress, she wants to install individual fifteen-minute meetings twice a semester between each organization’s e-board and SGI. Hanna said it will “give them the same information, but in a more personal way.” Last year, the winning platform also had such a restructuring in mind, but it never materialized in SGI. The hopeful CORE vice president thinks that this year will be different. “People have made empty promises. One reason I could see [for why it did not happen last year] is that it does require a lot of time,” said Hanna. “That’s something we’re committed to do because we know how stressful the [larger] organizational congress is…the administration was fully on board with our idea. They loved it.” Hanna also plans on restructuring the monthly report form, along with
changes arise as well as alert students of those changes. “Students should be the first to know, and they should have a voice. We have a valuable opportunity with a new University president, who’s interested in what students have to say,” Chang said. In order to simplify organizational procedures, CORE intends to simplify and centralize all guides for organizational procedures and facilitate the room reservation process as well as the funding and special allocation request processes. “One of our mottos is that organizations should spend more time achieving their goals and less time filling out paperwork. We have spoken with the administration and there’s lots that can be done [to improve the process],” Chang said. Although members of the CORE platform do not have substantial SGI experience, each has served as a leader in some capacity. Chang said that even though CORE members might not be familiar with SGI operations, their diverse backgrounds and expertise more than make up for that and will give them a fresh perspective as a new executive board. “We have a strong ticket and it’s one I’m very proud of. Each candidate was hand-picked and has strong qualifications,” Chang said. TALIA TIRELLA News Editor
simplifying processes and centralizing the steps that organizations need to take for various things through the SGI website. She wants to take on a more involved and personal role as vice president, if elected. As a biology major, Hanna would be representing the sciences, which is important to her. Another one of her CORE running mates, Zachary Reale, is a pharmacy major. As far as Hanna knows, there had not been a solid representation of the sciences in SGI for many years, which is part of the new “diversity of CORE.” Hanna said, “We definitely want to represent these individuals that have not been represented.” Sarah Hanna also transferred from Stony Brook after freshman year, which she believes some people perceive as negative. “People get the idea that transfer students don’t have the same pride in the school, but I’ve grown to appreciate St. John’s more than I ever expected I would. Right off the bat, I got involved,” Hanna said. “Although I did transfer, I absolutely love St. John’s and I couldn’t imagine being at any other college.” “I want the everyday student to know that I am 100 percent doing this for you, I want to improve your experience at St. John’s,” Hanna said. BRIDGET HIGGINS Staff Writer
All photos are taken from the CORE and ICE Facebook pages respectively.
E-BOARD CANDIDATES ICE
FOR PRESIDENT Ridge McKnight
As a Student Government presidential candidate for the ICE ticket at St. John’s University, Ridge McKnight plans to add and uphold three main pillars: ‘prioritizing student services for greater student success,’ ‘fortifying the St. John’s community’ and ‘strengthening the Student Government Inc. and organization relationship.’ As a junior studying health and human services, McKnight hopes to improve the St. John’s community by bettering collegiate involvement, participation and life for students. His ticket’s name, ICE, stands for “Improving the Collegiate Experience.” In ‘improving the collegiate experience,’ McKnight and the ICE team plan to uphold their three main pillars, along with encompassing each of their goals. Under ‘fortifying the St. John’s community,’ McKnight hopes to increase pride within students by gaining a sponsor for RedZone, an organization that strives to raise school spirit at St. John’s. McK-
FOR VP Chiara Miuccio
Chiara Miuccio, currently the sophomore senator of Student Government, Inc. (SGI), is running for vice president on the ICE Ticket. In addition to Student Government, Miuccio interns at the St. John’s Center for Psychological Services and serves as the secretary of the Italian Cultural Club. She is double-majoring in psychology and economics. “Everything I do here at St. John’s I feel I have fallen in love with. The same way I have fallen in love with this University.” Miuccio began her journey with SGI on the organizations committee. In this position, she worked with all of the clubs on campus to help bridge the gap between SGI and other organizations. She joined as a general body member. Her dedication to bettering the campus organization experience for all students caught the eye of current SGI President Rob Koehler. She was offered a chance to run for sophomore senator last
night hopes to attain a sponsorship from local pizzerias such as Regina’s, Vincenzo’s and Gino’s, or the chain restaurant Qdoba. “We play at Madison Square Garden and we play on Fox Sports many times, so I think not only would the company benefit from a sponsorship because they would get exposure, but we’ll also benefit from giveaways and barbecues, and it will amp up the student section more,” McKnight said. Another goal under ‘fortifying the St. John’s community’ is exemplifying the Vincentian mission at St. John’s. If elected, McKnight intends to add onto the “SGI Serves” initiative, where the St. John’s community would participate in at least one service event a month. Each month the service events would have a different focus, whether it would be a midnight run, or raising awareness for Relay for Life. “We see the importance of it, and we see that when you’re serving with your fellow students, you really get a sense of community out of that,” he explained. With ‘prioritizing student services for greater student success,’ McKnight and his team look forward to working with the advisement process for St. John’s students. He discloses that although advisement services are not inefficient, students have displayed concern over them. “We want to work with the provost and with the deans of each college to really simplify, centralize and year and eagerly accepted. When asked her about her experience on the Executive Board for SGI this year Miuccio said, “I’ve had the experience. It’s crazy, but I love it,” she said. “I’m ready to take the lead.” ICE, the name of the ticket, stands for “Improving the Collegiate Experience.” They picked their name off of one primary belief: according to Miuccio, “improving the collegiate experience, because that’s at the root of everything SGI does.” To accomplish this goal, Miuccio pointed out the strong suits of her team. “Everyone on our ticket brings something different,” she said. This helps them tackle any situation at hand with the student’s best interest at heart, Miuccio said. In order to improve the college experience they designed their campaign around three pillars: strengthening the SGI-Organization Relationship; fortifying the St. John’s Community; and prioritizing student services for greater success. First, ICE wants to strengthen the SGI-Organization relationship by providing information. Miuccio said, “We want to be an organization’s best resource.” Organizations tend to have rough times “jumping through hoops,” according to Miuccio. If elected, ICE wants to create a step-by-step plan for campus organizations. This will
clear up the confusion with the advisement process,” said McKnight. Lastly, under ‘strengthening the Student Government Inc. and organization relationship,’ McKnight and the rest of ICE anticipate ensuring every organization’s budget is effectively used. To bolster this pillar, ICE plans to ease the process of event planning through adding student consultants and creating an established step-by-step process. In this process, event planners would be given checklists explaining each step to accomplish in order to complete their outlining. “We want to make this consultant for the students who aren’t the greatest event planners,” he said. “We want to set-up an easy step-bystep process so that no one is confused,” McKnight, who is currently the chair of RedZone and has had experience with SGI’s Budget Committee as co-chair during his sophomore year, believes that in voting for ICE, students are working towards improving their experience at St. John’s University. On ICE’s Facebook page, McKnight writes that, “The better SJU is the better chance students have to achieve their academic, extracurricular and professional endeavors.” “It’s not to say that we’re not already a great university,” he said. “It’s to say, ‘let’s keep working towards greatness.’” AMANDA UMPIERREZ Assistant News Editor
prevent information from being lost or forgotten. Currently, SGI’s website, www.stjohnssgi.com, is under major developments to put the information out there. She reassures students, “I’m in an organization, I understand.” Second, ICE plans to fortify the St. John’s community. Miuccio emphasizes on the importance of tradition at St. John’s. Her ticket wants all students to feel at home and have St. John’s pride. They want freshman to fit right in and take advantage of every opportunity that arises. “I want students to know that they can feel comfortable talking to me or anyone else on my ticket. We want to be their best advocate.” Third, ICE wants to prioritize student services for greater student success. They plan to develop better student resources. Miuccio and her ticket agree that charging stations and printing stations are all useful tools provided by Student Services. “We want to expand that,” she said. In order to continue developing these resources, awareness must be spread about all of these opportunities. Miuccio went into detail on services that impact student life. “For example the library has music that you can download for free, and did you know that?” she asked. ANABELLE MADHO Staff Writer
Opinion Staff Editorial Editorial board XCII
SAMANTHA ALBANESE Editor-in-Chief OLIVIA CUNNINGHAM Managing Editor TALIA TIRELLA News Editor BRIAWNNA JONES Entertainment Editor KYLE FITZGERALD Features Editor STEPHEN ZITOLO Sports Editor ALEXA VAGELATOS Opinion Editor
Flames of the Torch: The Hillary Clinton E-mail Controversy
The Clintons are used to life in the public eye—and the criticism that comes with it. But as Hillary Clinton readies herself for what’s expected to be another run for president in 2016, she finds herself at the center of a controversy that’s admittedly of her own doing. The former secretary of state, who stepped down in 2013, is facing calls by Republicans for an investigation into her decision to use her private email for all business-related decisions during her time working in Barack Obama’s cabinet. Recently, Clinton has undergone scrutiny for keeping a private email account in place of standard protocol, which calls for all government business done by public officials to be conducted through official channels, including government-provided email accounts, so that public records can be maintained. Following a breaking report by Michael S. Schmidt from the New York Times, Clinton turned over 55,000 pages of emails from her private account to the State Department to investigate and is following the process of the Freedom of Information Act. Despite both the Democrats and her camp’s efforts to downplay the report, Ms. Clinton herself kept silent about the emails for a week. She posted one tweet in response to the situation: “I want the public to see my email. I asked State to release them. They said they will review them for release as soon as possible.” Aside from the tweet, Clinton stayed silent on the matter for a week—until Tuesday when she held a 20-minute press conference at the United Nations in New York where she said “I opted for convenience...because I thought it would be easier to carry one device.” Multiple reports released Tuesday after the press conference revealed that Clinton deleted over 31,830 emails that she deemed “private and personal records” and 30,490 emails were given to the State Department for the investigation. While Clinton said that she “fully complied with every rule I was governed by,” and that her actions were justified because Bill Clinton first used the email setup, the Wall Street Journal undermined her claim when it reported that Mr. Clinton only sent two emails “in his entire life.” Clinton’s actions are impactful for two reasons. First, because she was using her own server, it raises questions about the security of the messages that she was sending. While Clinton said in a press conference on Tuesday that security was not an issue, the security of her messages would not be in question had a government email been used to conduct all governmental business. Secondly, and most importantly, accountability is crucial when it comes to public officials. By choosing to circumvent the email protocol, for whatever reason, Clinton jeopardized the trust placed in her office. This created a vacuum of accountability. The emails can now be accessed only at Clinton’s discretion, and it will be easier for emails to disappear in the event of a scandal or a court case. In the future, journalists—and thus the public—will not have the privilege of accessing written records of important diplomatic decisions. As St. John’s students (and future journalists), we believe that accountability and transparency are crucial within the government, especially when it comes to high-ranking public officials. Without honesty from officials and potential presidential candidates (who know full well the implications of their actions), the entire democratic tenet of public record laws is undermined. This causes distrust between the candidate and the public before campaigning even begins. Under the Freedom of Information Act, any United States citizen can file a request with any government agency to have access to any government document. While it’s still being determined whether or not her actions were illegal, by using a personal email, Clinton chose to evade diplomatic transparency and the spirit of the Freedom of Information Act.
“The body’s tendency to elongate when not constantly compressed by gravity” ILLUSTRATOR/NICOLE MARINO
“Pillow fort 3”
Key to my heart This key that I’m giving to you It unlocks the most precious things to me Don’t be in any rush Just take your time And please don’t lose the key Go do what you have to do Live your life I’ll be living mine, too And when you are truly ready Just give the key back to me And I will give you all of me By: Keisha Raymond
Special to the Torch I might be going out on a limb here, but I really think that Jill and I could not be more on the same page in the issue of the gender pay gap. In modern day, concepts of gender inequality and biases are a passé. If statistics are referenced, the story becomes altered. The Guardian published an article stating that at the given difference of the gender pay gap, it will take about 70 years to bridge up. As a man, I find this hard to digest. Should I get the paycheck that I do, just based on the fact that I am a man? To be blunt with all of you, I find this to be unexcusable. Since the 70’s women have made significant gains in closing the pay gap, and yet they are still projected to not catch up until 70 years from now? To me, getting a higher paycheck is just as equally degrading as it is for a woman to get a lesser paycheck. It demeans the entire presence and image of a man. It has been a long-held belief that a man has certain responsibilities to live up to and that there are few things that only a man can do, which is utterly false. It has long been proven that women are
capable of doing that same jobs as men, so why not give them the same paycheck? It just doesn’t add up for me. I shouldn’t get paid more than a woman, or anyone else for that matter, just because of some superficialities. I should be paid for the quality of work that I produce and my overall contribution and role within the company. I personally feel that irrespective of the fact that I am a male, we should look into factors such as which one of the two workers is more skilled, qualified and deserving enough for the job. A paycheck should be designed not per gender, but per the position and designation of the job and to be honest, that should be the only criterion for it. A man or a woman, if they can give the result that is demanded of them, they deserve the benefits as well. I hope that there will be some progress in the situation soon, but it is not going to happen within a sunrise. Active individuals with a passion for justice will make this change happen. Us men need to step up and welcome them into the job force and pay them fairly for their quality of work and their role within the company. It’s up to us to set the precedent for what’s going to happen in the future and I believe that it’s time we take action for something that should have been done a long time ago.
Art or vandalism? KRISTEN CATALANO Staff Writer When you are walking down the street, especially in New York, it is impossible not to notice the graffiti that cover everything from buildings to benches. Many people feel that graffiti is nothing more than an act of vandalism and should not be considered art. This is mainly because the first thing that pops into most people’s heads when they think of graffiti is ‘tagging.’ Tagging is writing your name or nickname on a building, sign, house, etc. in order to ‘claim’ that property or make it known that you have been there. But what many people do not know is that also included under the name ‘graffiti’ are murals and other paintings that are displayed in public places. The time and thought that goes into these pieces is the same amount of time and thought that goes into the pieces that you see hanging in galleries and at auctions. Therefore, to denounce an entire genre of art based on just one small category within it is inaccurate and ignorant. The definition of art found in Merriam Webster Dictionary is “something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings.” Most of the
time, behind these murals or paintings, are powerful messages or ideas that reflect what is going on in the world, and how the people in the community or neighborhood feel about it. Graffiti is just another way for the people to express themselves and have a voice. Even though the public is apprehensive about calling graffiti art, the art world is more and more accepting of it every day. Graffiti is now being displayed in galleries around the world including galleries in New York, London and California. Celebrities including Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise are enthusiasts for this type of art and are known for not only going to galleries that display graffiti artwork, but also purchasing it from auctions for their personal collection. The acceptance of graffiti by the art world proves that graffiti is becoming more of an art rather than an act of vandalism.
PHOTO/ FLICKR COMMONS
Special to the Torch The ever-controversial gender wage gap has been a hot topic in the news since Patricia Arquette’s remarkable speech at the Oscars during which she stated that now is the time for women to achieve equality in the workplace. While her statement received some criticism, it was entirely true. Women in the United States make 77 cents to every man’s dollar on average, a gap that hasn’t changed much in the last decade. But this issue doesn’t just affect American women. According to a recent article published by the Guardian, gender pay equality will not be reached for another 70 years at the rate that we are advancing as per studies performed by the United Nations. Despite legislation such as the Equal Pay Act in the United States, the closing of the gap is crawling at an outrageously slow rate. In the United States the gap differs from state to state, with some of the smallest gaps in gender pay in Vermont and Nevada (85 cents), and the largest in Wyoming (64 cents). The gap has also shown to grow with age in recent years, with more than twice as many women aged 65 and over living in poverty when
compared to men aged 65 and over. Minorities are also negatively affected by this wage gap, making even less than white men – interestingly enough, within their own racial or ethnic group, minority women have an even smaller wage gap than do white women. As a young, female college student I find this not only appalling, but also disheartening. Sure, there are factors that play into the wage gap, such as job choice and education, but the fact that there is a wage gap at all where women and men do the same exact work is extremely troubling. This statistic is like a slap in the face as I, and many other young women, are preparing for the rest of our lives by working hard in school and working to have what it takes to make it in our professions. Knowing that a gender-biased workforce is what awaits us is not exactly exciting. I agree with Patricia Arquette’s statement, and I hope that gender pay equality in the United States can be achieved in my lifetime. The wage gap is important, even if it seems “small.” Some argue that it’s not a major issue because it is considered “small” when compared to the gaps of the past, but if it is a “non-issue” then why not just close it once and for all?
Koch brothers donate $1 billion ANGEL VERA Staff Writer In the land of the free, where the beauty that we call capitalism holds the very fabric of justice together, everything has a price—from the earth’s natural resources or public lands, to the U.S. Government. It is no secret that both “major” political parties enjoy receiving campaign donations from the very wealthy; however one party is starting to get addicted and controlled by a certain bunch of billionaires. That’s right, the Grand Old Party needs an intervention, and it is going to be a long and daunting recovery. Earlier this year, the Koch’s have claimed to willingly put in nearly a billion dollars for the 2016 election cycle. This means that every conservative and wannabe libertarian is going to have to work hard and pander to get their cut, with Marco Rubio and Rand Paul being examples of some of the front runners for the Republican presidential nomination. There is always the option of listening to their constituents and actually trying to earn the American people’s trust and votes, but that’s not as fun and glamorous as listening to two oligarchs who believe that big corporations, not governments, should run a country. Senator Bernie Sandars (I-VT) has
sternly spoken out against the dynamic duo, as the Brooklyn native stated, “In the last presidential election, Obama and Romney raised about $1 billion each. The Koch brothers, the second wealthiest family in America, now say they will raise nearly $1 billion for the 2016 elections. When one family can raise as much as an entire party, the system is broken. This is an oligarchy, not a democracy.” At times like these we need to think which really poses the greater hazard to freedom and liberty: big government that the right likes to shout at, or big
The ‘Cat’s’ out of the bag
The university’s Chappell Players are at it again. This time, the theatre group drew inspiration from the colorful and whimsical world of Dr. Seuss to perform the classic “The Cat in the Hat.” The feline, with his iconic red and white striped hat, is brought to life in a performance that looks to captivate children and students alike. A rich part of the Chappell Players’ tradition is to put on a play for kids enrolled in nearby elementary schools. This year, 14 schools will be welcomed to view the performances. A total of five shows will be performed for the children, estimating 400 students per show. This production will be senior Dennis Cullen’s debut as a director for the Chappell Players. “The Cat in the Hat” is his 11th show with the theatre group.
Cullen’s first experience with the Chappell Players was actually for another children’s show just a few years ago. “My first real experience with the Chappell Players was my freshman year during the children’s show,” Cullen said. “I was the lighting operator, so this has come full circle because now I can direct the show. And it’s almost the end of my experience here at St. John’s, so it’s very exciting.” After participating in last year’s children’s show, sophomore Paul Derych has returned to the stage in the role of the Fish, the Cat’s antagonist. His character called for an interesting scheme. “I didn’t really know what direction I wanted to go,” Derych said. “Was I going to be in a fish costume, or fish head, but having me manipulate the fish by hand was the best option,” Derych said. Accompanied by a colorful set and a sense of enthusiasm, the cast reconnected with their youth in “The
Cat in the Hat.” “I feel as if I’m reliving part of my childhood because I remember reading Dr. Seuss books when I was a kid,” Aria Laucella, who plays the Cat, said. “Always loving the whimsical world and how everything was shapes and different sounds and different things that you heard when you were little, and it was just a big joy, so to be able to put that on for kids for me is a big deal.” Laucella said. The play revolves around the story of Sally and her brother who are stuck inside their home on a rainy day. A mischievous Cat relieves the siblings’ boredom by entertaining them with a series of tricks and games. The children’s pet Fish, however, serves as the enemy in the story as he repeatedly scolds the Cat and demands that he stops his tricks and leaves the house. The Cat brings in his comrades that add to the excitement of the games that further destroy the house. After the Fish realizes that the children’s mother is on her way home, the Cat and his comrades immediately leave the house, but not without cleaning up the mess they created. When the children’s mother asks them what they did that day, the children respond with, “What would you [say] if your mother asked you?” Due to the uniqueness of a children’s show, some cast members tend to appreciate the reaction of the audience more than they would in other shows. “We’re kind of like a Dr. Seuss book ourselves. We come from different aspects of the whimsical world of St. Johns but we put on a good show on the stage,” Laucella said.
“The Cat in the Hat” premiers on March 12 at 8 p.m. with a special pricing of $3 for St. John’s students.
TORCH PHOTO EDITOR / DIANA COLAPIETRO
Another showing is scheduled for March 14 at 2 p.m., $6 for general admission and $5 for St. John’s students.
The Chappell Players bring Dr. Seuss’ colorful tale to life with their production of “The Cat in the Hat.”
Students help seniors reclaim golden years
The once cherished golden years is suddenly dull. How has the new generation forgotten what used to be the most anticipated years of life? Your friends have new members of their family to meet and are busy carrying out their lives; your own family is starting to pick things up again, including new hobbies and events. When everyone else is moving forward you don’t want to be the factor slowing it down. So you rest and wait for those special visits from your loved ones, if you have those that visit, even if it’s once a month. Once a month is hard for someone who feels cut off from the always changing world. Many assume that when you grow old and go off to a nursing home, time moves just as fast in them as it does to you. This isn’t the case. Many of those who are sent to a nursing home lose touch with the connection of the world and are
often left behind as the years pass. For the program run by St. John’s alumnus Christopher Schneider, this is exactly the issue he is trying to fix at Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens. As program manager, Schneider has been working for 10 years on the program called the “Friendly Visiting Program.” The main goal of the program is to provide social companionship and social relationships to the senior citizens in Queens and Brooklyn. The Friendly Visiting Program is funded by City Meals on Wheels and sponsored by the Catholic Charities of the Brooklyn diocese. There are three branches of the charity’s foundation. Schneider has personally worked with over 400 seniors and over 400 volunteers. As a former student at St. John’s, Schneider touched on the fact that he loved how involved St. John’s students are nowadays with their volunteer work and reaching out to the local and greater communities. “A thank you is to be given to the St. John’s students for all of the time they
have spent volunteering over the years,” Schneider said. “They are a great asset to the community at large.” Schneider joined the program after teaching at a high school where he also coached basketball and tennis. He said at a younger age he had a family so he never had the time to involve himself with charities, but after retiring from teaching he was looking for a part-time job and the opportunity presented itself. After working for the charity program for 10 years it soon became a passion for him. This program is a way to get in touch with the ever-changing world around them. The senior citizens tend to live alone, no longer being in the company of their family or children to visit. These situations create a sense of isolation in those who need it least. What is needed most and is given, thanks to the Friendly Visiting Program, is volunteers to come over to talk to them and try to bring a sense of companionship.
What the Friendly Visiting Program is most in need of is volunteers to donate their time to accompany the senior citizens and look to establish a connection to society through the relationships that the students and elderly build together. “By the end of their hours, [the students] end up thanking me before I get a word out to them about coming. They truly love working at the center and the seniors love their visits.” Schneider’s passion for assisting the elderly is palpable. “It was just something that I immersed myself in,” Schneider said. “Senior citizens are a vulnerable part of society and these volunteers fill a void in their life and help them feel connected and safe.” For him, this service is not just about assisting a senior citizen in need of some companionship, but it is also a chance for these elderly citizens to reclaim their golden years. “Anytime you can help vulnerable members of society, I think you have done right,” Schneider said.
A smorgasbord of gastronomical proportions
Contributing Writer Mother Nature has not been too kind to us New Yorkers this season, and although there is no magical remedy to cure the winter blues, there may be a temporary fix. Located at 1000 Dean Street in Crown Heights, the 30,000 square foot Brooklyn Flea is a perfect weekend option for escaping the dreary cold. Jonathan Butler and Eric Demby founded the Brooklyn Flea in 2008. Also known as Smorgasburg, the place boasts over 100 different vendors selling anything from used vinyl records to vintage sunglasses to jewelry made out of typewriter keys. However, the main attraction of the Brooklyn Flea is undoubtedly the food. With a variety of cuisines and choices available to the vegan and vegetarian friendly, a trip to this Brooklyn hot spot can please anyone’s taste buds. Some of the most popular food options at the Brooklyn Flea include the infamous “ramen burger,” which puts an Asian twist on the American classic by adding ingredients typical in Japanese cooking and squeezing it between two ‘buns’ that are made out of cooked ramen noodles, which are then fried to stay together. The combination may seem a little odd, but the product is oozing with the savory umami flavor that leaves people’s mouths watering. Other options include Pizza Moto, which offers specialty pies such as
The infamous ramen burger.
TORCH PHOTO EDITOR . DIANA COLAPIETRO
ones with bacon and eggs aimed towards those Sunday brunch lovers. Leaving room for dessert at Smorgasburg is a must and Dough doughnuts are a fan favorite. With inventive flavors such as Hibiscus, Lemon Poppy, Cheesecake and Passion Fruit, Dough always leaves customers wanting more as they wonder what the company will come up with next. Flea-goers have the option to munch on the delicious goods at communal wooden tables, or to stand and eat at tree-stump tables. With a full stomach and hopefully not an empty wallet, browsing the room dedicated to non-food vendors could land you with a personally engraved money clip or even an $8.00 Rolling Stones vinyl. You may encounter some pricey items, but hidden gems are in abundance. The combination of goods that Brooklyn Flea offers with the spacious, high ceiling setting provides guests with a fun, inviting atmosphere that could make you forget about the blistering cold that howls just outside its doors. “Smorgasburg is just another cluster where one can get lost in, all the while discovering new things that influence unique culture,” St. John’s University student Justic Beckford said. In April, Smorgasburg moves back to its outdoor location at Pier 5 Brooklyn Bridge Park, where you can eat and relax while enjoying the beautiful view of the city.
BRIAWNNA JONES Entertainment Editor
Brown and his team still remain silent on the issue, but he managed to pull a postand-delete of an Instagram caption. In the lengthy caption Brown lashed out saying, “Some of you ignorant human beings on here have yet to grasp the concept of your own lives. This is for encouragement for anyone dealing with their own issues.”
After much deliberation the courts have decided that Robin Thicke and super producer Pharrell Williams ripped off Marvin Gaye’s 1977 hit “Got To Give It Up” with their mega collaboration “Blurred Lines.” Gaye’s estate lead by his daughter, Nona Gaye, have been awarded $73 million by a Los Angeles judge after the jury sided with their claim that the 2013 summer anthem was copied off of her father’s classic song. When the news first broke of the suit, both Williams and Thicke both denied taking Gaye other than as inspiration. Gaye’s daughter wept as the judge said the good news; justice for her deceased father. “Right now, I feel free,” she continued telling the Associated Press “Free from… Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke’s chains and what they tried to keep on us and the lies that were told.” Unfortunately, with good comes the bad. Thicke has yet to respond to the jury’s decision, but the “Happy” singer ’s lawyer released a statement saying,
“While we respect the judicial process, we are extremely disappointed in the ruling made today, which ble precesets a horrident for music and creativity going forward.” Saying that Williams created the song with “his heart, mind, and soul”.
Reports are surfacing that the 25-year old pop star, Chris Brown is the father of a nine-month-old baby girl. TMZ broke the story early last week when they got word that Brown had taken a paternity test to determine if he was the father of 31-year old Houston model Nia Guzman Amey’s daughter Royalty. The story is as messy as it comes with so many elements factoring into the paternity of the child. For starters, Brown who is never one to bite his tongue has yet to confirm that he is not the father. However, the rumors haven’t stopped him from posting pictures of his art work online and talking recklessly to angry commenters. Fans have bashed him for publicly embarrassing on-again and now off-again girlfriend Karrueche Tran. The sometime model took to Twitter in letting the world know that she decided to end her relationship with Brown “officially” after the baby news broke. She tweeted from her personal account, “Listen. One can only take so much. The best of luck to Chris and his family. No baby drama for me. [insert baby emoji].” While that isn’t exactly a confirmation on the matter of Brown’s paternity, it does not exactly help his case. The “Fine China” singer’s camp has been completely quiet on the matter, leaving Brown to take on the media himself
posting a harsh message on Instagram blasting fans for being so evasive saying, “How about yall kiss my ass. Ima post what the f**k I want, say what I want when I want. I don’t owe you nosey muhfuckas a damn thing. This FRUITZ #500.” The “Ayo” singer’s mother Joyce Hawkins only made the matter worse, adding in her two cents in saying she could only speak for herself and no one else. It left many fans to believe that Brown is indeed the father of 9-month-old Royalty. Just when you thought the story could not get any more interesting, there seems to be a plot twist. Nia Guzman, CB’s alleged baby mama was married to her husband for over a decade when she found out she was pregnant. Her now ex-husband, Terry Amey, who she shares a 13-year-old daughter with came forward spilling the tea. That couple divorced when he found out she was pregnant by her boyfriend, aspiring rapper Brazil, but claims he had no idea it was Brown. While Brown has still yet to give a simple yes or no, with photographs of him and Nia partying alongside Karrueche are causing a ton of sideways glances. To add insult to injury, it turns out Nia was close with Christina Milian, Karrueche’s BFF. So close that Milian’s ex-fiance Jas Prince is referred to as Royalty’s uncle. As for now, TMZ is reporting that Brown has decided to take Nia to court to set an official child support amount, since she opened her mouth and ‘blabbed.’
Bobbi Kristina’s bf vists Dr. Phil JASMINE DAVIS Asst. Entertainment Editor
TORCH GRAPHIC/ STEVEN VERDILE
The madness never ends. Dr. Phil McGraw was able to score another sit down, but not just any sit down. It was an intervention with Bobbi Kristina Brown’s boyfriend, Nick Gordon. On Tuesday, March 10, according to the Associated Press, McGraw, 64, described Gordon, 25, as being “volatile” during the taped intervention, who said that he has “an enormous amount of guilt and pain” for what had happened after trying to resuscitate Bobbi Kristina, who remains hospitalized under a medically induced coma in Atlanta, Ga. at the Emory Hospital since Jan. 31. “I lost the most legendary singer ever and I’m scared to lose Krissy,” said Gordon during the taping. “I want to let all you guys know I did everything possible in the world to protect them.” McGraw also told the Associated Press that he saw that Gordon was “clearly in an altered state of consciousness.” He also added that Gordon played
a Whitney Houston song on his phone before crying. “I asked him if he was sober, and he said, ‘No.’” “Nick, you’re out of control,” said McGraw to Gordon. “You’ve threatened suicide. You deserve to get some help because if you don’t, you know you’re going to wind up dead.” According to McGraw, one of the reasons why Gordon is in a state of emotional suffering is because he’s unable to visit Bobbi Kristina, 22, in the hospital because of his issues with her family. “I hate Bobby Brown,” said Gordon in the preview of his intervention. “I miss Krissy and Whitney so much!” Immediately after the taping of his interview with McGraw, Gordon checked himself into a rehabilitation facility. McGraw said that the intervention was successful with Gordon’s mother, Michelle, because it “got [Nick] safely tucked away into rehab.” Dr. Phil’s intervention with Nick Gordon will air on his show on Wednesday, March 11 on CBS at 3 p.m.
50 Shades of erotic disappoinment
KORI WILLIAMS Staff Writer
What can be considered one of the most anticipated movies of last year had an opportune premiere date on Valentine’s Day. The underground world of BDSM found its way into the mainstream with the book “50 Shades of Grey” by E.L. James and according to Forbes, the movie had sales of $85 million over its debut weekend. While the movie is far from a cliché in the ‘traditional’ sense, it is still about a woman who does not have much money and is unsure about where her life is going. She is essentially ‘saved’ by a powerful man with lots of wealth and influence. He pursues her and sweeps her off her feet to what would be a much more affluent lifestyle. On top of this, towards the beginning of the movie before the two main characters have an official relationship, young billionaire Christian Grey (Jamie Dorman) seems to be overcome with love or lust for college kid Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson), but at the same time knows he’s not the right man for her. It is then that on a street corner he grabs her face and turns out what is probably one of the most cliché lines of all time: “I’m not the man for you. You should steer clear of me. I have to let you go.” One of the biggest controversies about “50 Shades” in general is that it perpetuates abuse towards women. Many think that BDSM in itself promotes abuse and unsafe practices. However, in the movie, there seems to be a divide. Grey seems to take care of her in that his sexual need for power and dominance is not abusive. He always lets her know why she’s being “punished”
and even though he tries to get her to sign this contract for more than half the movie, he allows her to have it modified to her liking. During one scene, the two have a meeting to discuss said contract and Steele takes out sexual practices without Grey’s objection. The abusive nature in the movie actually lies in the persuasion of getting Steele to sign the contract and agree to the BDSM. At one point, Steele is out with Grey and she gets fed up with him. She asks him to take her home and he agrees, but instead of doing so, he takes her to a secluded wooded area so he can talk her into signing this contact. Now, if you’re trusting someone you’ve only known for a few weeks to take you home and they basically say ‘screw that, I’m going to do what I want’ by taking you to some wooded area so you can ‘talk,’ that would be a red flag. At this point, Grey has complete control over the situation since they drove his car there and Steele fell asleep on the way there. She wouldn’t know where they are or how to get home. If he really wanted to take advantage of that situation, he could. What would have been more appropriate would have been Grey listening to Anastasia and taking her home, then maybe discussing the issue at her place where she could feel safe. “50 Shades” certainly isn’t the best movie of the year, but it is understandable that the movie would fall short to all the hype it’s gotten since its conception. In addition, with characters who are supposed to fall into some unexplainable lust for one another you’d think that they would look like they at least like each other. However, the duo looks so awkward on-screen that it makes all the BDSM scenes look nonconsensual.
The sequel 50 Shades Darker, is set to be released late 2016 .
Kevin Barnes gets personal in Of Montreal album
JON MANARANG Staff Writer
4 out of 5 stars
Of Montreal Aureate Gloom
If 2013’s “Lousy with Sylvianbriar” was a sharp left turn for Of Montreal’s Kevin Barnes, “Aureate Gloom” is a u-turn back onto a familiar road. This record marks a transitional period for Barnes and the emotional turmoil is reflected in the lyricism and Barnes’ ever-abstract compositional sensibility. Having gone back to record and tour with the new line-up, sans vocalist Rebecca Cash, seen on “Lousy
with Sylvianbriar,” the record sees an almost entire departure from the Dylan-esque folk/neo-country sounds and delves into an experiment with late-70s art punk culture. Sonically, it’s more akin with 2010’s “False Priest,” fraught with the pomp and psychedelic funk that saw collaborations from vocalists Janelle Monae and Solange. However, the lyrical themes reflect back onto the romantic muse who heavily influenced one of Montreal’s biggest record, “Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?” Months after the release of “Lousy with Sylvianbriar,” Barnes had separated from his wife of 10 years, Nina. She is referred to heavily on “Hissing Fauna” as Nina Twin, and their daughter Alabee is also referenced in the record’s lyrics. The album begins on the sly funkromp “Bassem Sabry,” named for the journalist notable for his coverage of the Egyptian Revolution, and died subsequently after. Barnes notes the use of the name as a thematic element relating to government and oppression, not necessarily a direct narrative about the passed journalist. Initially, the band released the track “Empyrean Abbatoir,” a somewhat somber pulsation beneath Barnes’
more low-key vocal style that transitions towards aggression and strangely inviting syncopated arrangements. After reforming with a new band, Barnes returns with collaborator and once touring member Kishi Bashi, who performs and arranges the lush strings of “Aureate Gloom.” Despite their glimpses of breaking into the mainstream rock-pop sphere, the band has made concerted efforts to avoid full-fledged stardom, playing smaller venues such as Webster Hall or LPR in the East Village. The record features some of Barnes’ signature campy lyricism, but reflects a level of candor that hasn’t been as prominent on their previous efforts. Often layered in mysticism, some lyrics actually make their aim towards individuals who influence Barnes’ songwriting process. On “Last Rites at the Jane Hotel,” Barnes sings, “Why would you ask? Why should you care how I’m doing? Do I bother you with those kinds of vapid questions anymore?” In the track there’s also a prominent influence of CBGB’s era New York, referencing apartments and the Jane Hotel in Chelsea. “Aureate Gloom” concludes on “Like Ashoka’s Infernal Memory,” Barnes channels Lou Reed-style spoken word
over a tension-filled, spastic rhythm section, transitioning rapidly between tempos, keys and meters. During the tour leading up to the record’s release, the band played sets primarily comprised of “Hissing Fauna” and hits from previous albums, “Skeletal Lamping,” “False Priest,” and “sylvianbriar.” While teasing crowds with glimpses of the singles from “Aureate Gloom,” the band balances spontaneity with theater as an innovative art form, integrating digital art projections, costumed performers and wildly avant-garde props. Also, Barnes’ infamous transition into the character “Georgie Fruit” onstage similar to Bowie’s “Ziggy Stardust,” which occurs in between skits and sequences. As much as Of Montreal is noted for their musical ability, they are also a visual group, with Barnes’ brother Dave serving as an art director, exwife Nina contributing artwork and even Barnes’ own sculptural work being sold at concerts as well. As an individual record, it doesn’t necessarily indicate Barnes’ strongest work, yet in the scope of the Of Montreal sound, it serves as a bookend to the chapter of Barnes’ relationship with his ex-wife.
NICOLE McCAMBRIDGE Staff Writer
The Duff, The Cliché have a girl video tape her life for when she’s famous. At the party, Bianca sees Wesley, played by Robbie Amell, also 27, the typical popular high school guy, boy-next door and hot jock. He asks Bianca where her friends are she replies that it isn’t
when called fat and ugly, she storms off. The next day in school, Bianca decides to “take advantage of being invisible.” She wears pajamas, ugly socks and crocs. She dumps her best friends because she feels they’re
The Duff is the classic tale of the girl-next-door. The girl and boy grow up with each other, become best friends and once high school comes they lose touch. However, in this ‘classic tale,’ the boy ends up telling the girl she’s a “Designated Ugly Fat Friend.” How romantic. It starts out with Hollywood’s version of average teenagers walking down the hallway. By ‘average’ I mean models and people who are way over seventeen. Bianca, played by 27-year-old Mae Whitman, is walking beside her two best friends Casey (Bianca Santos) and Jess (Skyler Samuels) when boys ‘compliment’ their figures. They say how much they’d like to “do” Casey and Jess. When the camera pans to Bianca, they comment on how she’s not as hot as her friends. Eventually the girls find their way to their enemies’ party. Madison, played by Bella Thorne, is the character you find in all romantic comedies.—the boy-next-door’s girlfriend, in this case, his on-againoff-again girlfriend. She’s the cliché character that is out to get everyone just because she’s beautiful and popular. Madison is willing to mentally harm anyone who comes between her and what she wants: reality star fame. She even goes so far as to
The DUFF has brought in a dometic total of $26 million since its March 9th release.
her job to keep tabs on them. He responds that it actually is, being that she’s their DUFF. This endearing term stands for Designated Ugly Fat Friend, the friend who is approachable when others aren’t. Like most teenagers
only friends with her so they’d have a DUFF. Then, she decides she doesn’t want to be invisible anymore. She makes a deal with her boy-nextdoor. He’s going to make her over and she is going to help him with his
failing classes. This is where the trouble starts. Madison does whatever she can to embarrass Bianca, including sending a video of Bianca sexually harassing a mannequin around school. Bianca is in the worst part of her high school career and needs her boy-next-door’s help to get out of it. The theater was filled overwhelmingly with teenage girls— none much older than 15. Going into it, I didn’t really expect much. I just knew that “that girl from Parenthood” and “some really hot guy” were in it. The Duff pleasantly surprised me, however. It had some moments that really stood out as unique and hilarious. On the other end of the spectrum, it had moments that were full of clichés. It had this off-putting technology theme. Any time text was on the screen, it was written out like a tweet or text. This theme gives the vibe that they are trying too hard to cater to the “young crowd.” This film also lost me due to their lack of reality when casting. No high school looks like that. However, if you can get past tired clichés and unrealistic settings, it’s the movie to see. This isn’t really the kind of movie you want to spend $16 on at an AMC, but if you wait until it’s on Netflix, you will not be disappointed.
Drake releases surprise mixtape as fourth album
ANTHONY SCIANNA Staff Writer
4 out of 5 stars
If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late
When Drake released his newest album, “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late,” a few weeks ago, it took the Internet by storm. Falling in line with Jay Z, Kanye and Beyoncé before him, he dropped it almost completely out of the blue, with no real warning. Almost ‘breaking’ the Internet, Drake was mentioned 200,000 times per hour on Twitter. The time was midnight and the date was Feb. 13. It’s like Drake sent millions a personal gift, just in time for Valentine’s Day. Both shocked and
ready to devout two hours of my time, I sat down and pressed play. Getting past the cover art, we see a beautiful display of 17 diverse tracks. They flowed quite nicely too as each song faded almost perfectly into the next. The album starts off with a braggadocios track entitled “Legend.” Drake sings about death and how he wants to be remembered should he pass away young. He gives an introspective look at how he views his status in the rap game. He then transitions into track two, “Energy.” This up-tempo, trap beat is the future of rap music. It makes the listener bump, while still singing along with an angelic Drake. It’s an anti-hater anthem and speaks about how critics drain Drake of his energy. “10 Bands” and “No Tellin’” share a similar beat. It features a clever mix of funk, heavy bass and well-executed snares. Though they are possibly the most braggadocios songs on the entire album, Drake’s lyrical content lacks meaning. Another highlight is “Star67,” which provokes a bunch of unspoken thoughts Drake brings to life. He opens up about his feud with his record label, YMCMB. Joining his label-mates Tyga, Lil Wayne and Lil Twist, he joins the conversation about mismanaged funds
from Birdman of parent label Cash Money Records. Drake doesn’t shy away from controversy, starting “Star67” off with this line, “Brand new Beretta, can’t wait to let it go. Walk up in my label like, where the check though? Yeah, I said it.” “You & The 6” provides a nostalgic feel. In this song, Drake raps directly to his mother and it seems genuinely heartfelt. “Jungle” also uses a slower tempo, providing a sing-along tune for fans of “emotional Drake.” The song “Madonna” sounds like a modern day “Marvin’s Room.” It’s an aggressive love song that shows the passionate side we are used to seeing from Drake. An abstract beat is laid over Drake trying to appeal to a girl by saying, “You could be big as Madonna, just get in the car.” Sonically, this album is reminiscent of “Nothing Was the Same.” It uses atmospheric synths, which accompany Drake’s delivery nicely. Beat change-up’s end most of the songs on this album, keeping listeners on their toes. Drake also manages to blend pop-rap and smooth singing, a difficult task in today’s rap game. This unique style makes Drake a polarizing figure, providing a generational shift in hip-hop music. A shift that is less macho and more
in-tune with emotions. But emotions sometimes get the best of Drake. Even at Drake’s highest points, he still shows a bit of apprehensiveness or awkwardness. You get the sense that he isn’t comfortable in his own skin. This is visible in his slower songs where he gets sentimental, even critical of his own character. On a positive note, Drake drops some gems on this album. His confidence is convincing as well. In fact, it’s somewhat contagious. To balance his bravado, Drake checks himself every once in a while. His poignant one-liners give listeners a good mix, showcasing the two extremes Drake can offer. Overall, this is a transitional period for Drake. No one was expecting an album, putting people on their heels and forcing them to judge quickly. Critics and listeners agree that Drake is heading in the right direction. Drake is at his best when he raps with conviction. Complementary sing-alongs are inevitable, but they have to balance not overwhelm. There aren’t many songs you’ll scramble to skip and the hype is mostly gone, so “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late.”
(continued from the Opinion section)
The SNL ISIS Skit; It’s not what it looks like ABHISHEK JOSHI Staff Writer
Last weekend, Dakota Johnson (known from the film Fifty Shades Of Grey) starred in a SNL skit, the design of which was loosely based on a Toyota commercial. There was a twist in the skit though, that was unlike the Toyota commercial. In the SNL skit, the father in the commercial drove his daughter to the airport so that she can fly out to join ISIS. This skit raised about one million eyebrows and received heavy criticism since it appeared in time with the news of three young girls who flew into Turkey to join ISIS. Personally, just because I am a
fan of the Saturday Night Live gigs, I can say that I did not feel any kind of a negative vibe from the video. It was a blatant humor that is meant to be taken lightly. I can agree with the fact that in terms of feeling, the skit did touch the limitations and return, but it did not cross the line. The story would’ve been different had they written more on the skit and showed Dakota Johnson at the camp and things that are said and done were enacted. The writers did a fairly good job in drawing the line and keeping the humor clean despite the fact that they had every power to do so. ISIS has become an issue that the world is coming together to battle, but I feel that there are many
other issues that are so sharp in terms of sensitivity that humor is far off the mark from it. Hence, the choice of doing an ISIS skit was probably not that bad of an idea. The video did not show any form of violence, all it did was mention the word “ISIS” and show a man who can be believed to be an ISIS militant. In a simple man’s terms, I say for a fact, nobody likes ISIS, and making the skit an issue will only make it seem like we are afraid of and vulnerable to ISIS. Saturday Night Live did something that should have been done a while ago. It made fun of ISIS. If the skit were not to be released, it would not only make ISIS look powerful, but
would also be suppression on the country’s freedom of speech. It has been said that what made the skit offensive was the part that it shows a father driving her daughter to the airport to leave and be a part of the organization and this enraged opinions in the minds of the many parents who send of their kids to college or away from home for some reason. But again, we are forgetting that it is a satirical approach and not a single word that is said is to be taken seriously. Humor has different levels to it; sometimes it is okay to make of something that upsets everyone. It does not glorify anyone of anything, except a broad mind and a clear vision of thought.
Red Storm knocked out of Big East tourney by Seton Hall ANTHONY SCIANNA Staff Writer
The women’s Big East Tournament got underway on Sunday when St. John’s outplayed a scrappy Creighton team to a 57-54 victory in Rosemont, Ill. The Red Storm came out of the gate slow, allowing Creighton to score five straight points. St. John’s also struggled to hold possession in the first half. Careless ball handling resulted in a combined 10 turnovers, which kept the Johnnies chasing. With nine minutes to play, Amber Thomson hit a lay-up in traffic to give St. John’s a 43-42 lead—their first of the game. Danaejah Grant carried the scoring load for St. John’s. She scored a teamhigh 16 points, shooting 5-of-16 from the field. Her partner in crime, Aliyyah Handford took a secondary role, recording her third double-double of the season. She recorded 11 points and 10 rebounds in a close Red Storm win. A major factor to St. John’s success was points in the paint. They dominated the paint, outscoring Creighton 36 to 26 points. Kyra Dunn logged major minutes off the bench. She tallied a career-high 10 rebounds, also chipping in six points and two blocks.
Amber Thompson was the second leading scoring as she netted 14 points. Shooting 6-of-7 from the field, Thompson also added five rebounds and two blocks in her combined 40 minutes of play. Creighton’s Sydney Lamberty caught fire in the first half, supplying the Blue Jays with 14 points. Defensively, the Red Storm defense clamped down in the second half, allowing Lamberty only two points. The Johnnies came alive in the second half as their field goal percentage jumped up seven points, adding up to 42 percent. This contributed to St. John’s outscoring Creighton 34-26 in the second half, and grabbing a win at the Rosemont with a score of 57-54. The game mimicked that of a seesaw, with tides changing almost at a moment’s notice. Both teams fought hard, providing five lead changes and two tied scores. In the winding seconds of the game, Creighton made a crucial stop with 22 seconds left. They then called a timeout, leaving 11.7 seconds to win the game with a three-pointer. St. John’s held Creighton to a two-point field goal, grabbing the win and advancing to the semi-finals of the Big East Tournament. Fast-forward to Monday evening when St. John’s faced Seton Hall in the semifinals of the Big East Tournament.
The Red Storm caught fire in the game’s opening minutes, taking an early 10-5 lead before the first media timeout of the contest. Highlighted performances were turned in by Jade Walker and Amber Thompson, who combined for eight of those 10. The two teams went back and forth over the next several minutes of action, but a 9-0 Seton Hall run gave the Pirates their first lead of the game, 16-13. “I thought foul trouble and poor shot selection hurt us during their run to take the lead,” head coach Joe Tartamella said. Walker finished with a career-high 18 points, after converting on nine of her 13 attempts from the floor. She also grabbed eight rebounds. The dynamic duo of Danaejah Grant and Aliyyah Handford registered a rare off-night. Grant scored only eight, but added eight assists in the 72-60 loss. Handford on the other hand chipped in 18 points. “We never really got ourselves comfortable once we started to get a little stagnant offensively,” Tartamella said. TORCH PHOTO/DIANA COLAPIETRO St. John’s now set their sights on Selection Sunday, where they hope to grab Aliyyah Handford and her teammates a March Madness bid and make a run for will need an at-large NCAA Tourney bid to the title. continue 2015 cmapign.
Kvilhaug gets win No. 300 versus Stony Brook REZA MORENO Staff Writer
Softball coach Amy Kvilhaug earned her 300th career-win this past Saturday at the JMU Dukes Invitational in Harrison, Va. as the Red Storm defeated Stony Brook 8-5. Due to the weather, the game on Friday got cancelled against Maryland, but sure enough they started off with a victory the next day as the team played two games. Regarding her 300th win overall and 173rd victory here at St. John’s, Kvilhaug talks about whether or not she was well prepared for this to happen at this past weekend’s invite. “To be honest, I hadn’t really thought much about it since win number one is just as important to me as wins 278 and 301. It’s all kind of the same. I typically take each game one at a time and keep team performance at the top of my goals as opposed to the results. With that being said, I do appreciate all of the wishes for the milestone. When I think back to all of the softball games that I have coached, it’s really about the student-athletes, my assistant coaches and support staff. Without them, no wins would be possible so I have to thank all of those athletes, coach-
es and staff who have helped me in my career.” Freshmen Hannah Anderson, Krystal Puga and sophomore Lexi Robles really led things off to a great start as they all worked together. Anderson led off with a base hit, following behind, Robles walked, then Puga advanced the runners with a base hit to load the bases with no outs. And then thanks goes to senior Erin Burner as Anderson was able to bring in the first score. Burner is nominated for the Senior Class Award this season, which is a great success. “It’s an honor to be nominated for this award. It motivates me a little more to live up to the nomination.” Thanks to both sophomore Monique Landini and junior Yvonne Rericha, St. John’s ended up 3-0 before the Seawolves ended the inning. After a RBI double off the left-center by Brittany Garcia, sophomore, the Red Storm was up to 6-1. Stony Brook soon came fighting back, trying to put less distance between the Red Storm’s lead. But with many other great plays, St. John’s dominated the game 8-5. Later that same day, the team came back to play against James Madison. Although the Dukes won 10-4 in a home run battle according to the press release, at least the Red Storm was able to bring
home a victory. Something that Coach Kvilhaug took with her from both games was, “Learning how to play with consistency and making continual adjustments in order to achieve desired performance levels.” Puga was able to dominate her 4th home run of the season that helped lead
the Red Storm 3-0. After leading the game at that start, the Dukes definitely didn’t waste any time before catching up. Burner did take with her from this game her first home run of the season, trying to catch up to the James Madison’s lead 6-4. But soon after, the Dukes caught up.
Head coach Amy Kvilhaug earned her 300th career win on Saturday.
Junior college transfer Stashak impressing early on The junior transfer is 2-2 with a 3.22 ERA in four starts BRANDON MAUK Assistant Sports Editor
St. John’s baseball has gotten off to a slow start to the 2015 season, as they sit at 5-7 after playing against tough competition. Thankfully, their long road trip will come to a close this week and they will return to the New York area for the next month. Still favored to win the Big East, the Red Storm will need to work on their pitching, as they’ve been outscored by a total of 28 runs and their staff sits at a 6.32 ERA. But to be fair, they’ve faced tougher programs like Georgia Tech, Oregon and East Carolina. There is still plenty of time left in the season to get things right with the schedule beginning to ease up. The Johnnies have enough hitting, and they have hurlers that can provide stability. Junior college transfer Cody Stashak, for one, has already made an impact and has emerged as one of the team’s most important players. “I just go out, work hard, try and help the team win everyday,” he said. “My job is to pitch, so I go out and pitch.” Stashak previously pitched at Cumberland County College in Vineland, N.J., where he helped the Dukes finish as runner-ups in the 2014 Junior College Division III World. He went 16-5 in 21 starts, struck out 130 batters
in 129.1 innings and finished with a 2.92 ERA. He also batted .359 in 104 games last season. Stashak decided to transfer to St. John’s afterwards. “Cody was pitching and playing in the field when we were looking at him, so we knew we were getting a good athlete,” said St. John’s head coach Ed Blankmeyer. “We wanted him to pitch for us and we saw a competitor with a nice loose arm and command of his fastball.”
“I just go out, work hard, try and help the team win everyday. My job is to pitch, so I go out and pitch.”
But Stashak had to make a choice. He excelled as both a pitcher and a hitter, but he had to pick one to move forward with in his baseball career. “[My coaches] told me if I wanted to go to the next level, I’d have a better opportunity being a pitcher,” Stashak said. “So I decided to pitch, focus more on that.” It has definitely panned out so far. Through his first four starts in Division I action, he’s pitched to a 3.22 ERA with just four walks in 22.2 innings pitched. In his first start, he allowed just one run in 7.1 innings
against Kennessaw State who were No. 19 at the time. He then threw six shutout innings against UNC Greensboro. He also allowed just two runs at No. 8 Oregon. “Cody came in and won a job in our rotation and he gives our staff a boost,” said Blankmeyer. “He’s a strike-thrower. He’s competitive. He has command on the mound. Those are all key ingredients that we look for in pitchers.” Stashak credits his coaches and teammates for helping him make the transition to this stingier Division I competition. The offense has averaged 4.5 runs per game and the coaches have worked with Stashak to improve on his mechanics every day. “It’s a higher level of play,” said Blankmeyer. “You’re facing higher-caliber hitters and the game is faster. The key is to not try to do too much.”
play games at home for the first time all season, Stashak will be one of the guys anchoring a pitching staff that is still a work in progress. But he and the rest of the team have the potential to dominate the Big East.
Head coach Ed Blankmeyer has high praise for his junior starter Stashak.
“Cody came in and won a job in our rotation and he gives our staff a boost. He’s a strike-thrower. He’s competitive. He has command on the mound. Those are all key ingredients that we look for in pitchers.”
-Ed BlankmeyerPHOTO/ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS
With the schedule starting to get lighter as the Red Storm gets set to
Junior starting pitcher Cody Stashak.
Obekpa and Branch sit, Villanova crusies CARMINE CARCIERI Staff Writer
It’s not an easy task to win on the road in college basketball, but it is even more difficult when the home team is hosting Senior Day and has one of the most balanced scoring attacks in the country. That’s exactly what happened on Saturday afternoon in Philadelphia. St. John’s ran into Villanova, one of the hottest teams in the nation at the Wells Fargo Center and failed to improve on their four-game winning streak as they lost 105 to 68. “They’re playing the best basketball of any team in the country,” head coach Steve Lavin said following the matchup. “This run by Villanova in back-toback years is the most impressive as I can remember.” In the 110-game history of this Villanova versus St. John’s series, Saturday afternoon’s 37-point victory was the largest win by either team. It was also the largest St. John’s loss since a 42-point thumping at Duke in 2002. Rysheed Jordan, 21 points and eight ssists, led the Johnnies in his homecoming game while D’Angelo Harrison added 15 points on 6-of-14 shooting. Phil Greene put up 16 points and Sir’Dominic Pointer was held to only eight points and four rebounds.
The Johnnies were undermannedas they were without Jamal Branch (groin/hip) and Chris Obekpa (ankle), which affected their rotation. Four reserves, Christian Jones, Amar Alibegovic, Joey De La Rosa and Felix Balamou, played key minutes and only combined for six points and turned the ball over eight times. Despite the injury concerns, St. John’s jumped out to a 16-5 lead in the opening half as Greene scored seven points before the first timeout was called. The Red Storm lead didn’t last long though. The Wildcats began to move the ball with ease and used a rowdy home crowd to put them up by four at the half. Without Obekpa, the Wildcats dominated the Johnnies in the paint as Daniel Ochefu, 21 points and nine rebounds, and Jay’Vaughn Pinkston, 18 points and six rebounds, completely took control in the second half. Jay Wright’s team grabbed 13 offensive rebounds and out-rebounded the Red Storm by a total of 11 boards. The Wildcats had five players score in double figures and only turned the ball over three times compared to 12 turnovers for St. John’s. The Johnnies only shot 44 percent from the field and 29 percent from the three-point line while their defense struggled all afternoon to find stops. Villanova shot 56 percent from the floor, made 11 three-pointers and had 22 assists on 37 made field goals. On the positive side, St. John’s has finished up it’s regular season with a 21-
10 record overall (most wins since 19992000) and a 10-8 record in the Big East Conference. They will now move on to the Big East Tournament and will play Providence on Thursday afternoon at Madison Square
Garden. The Johnnies have already defeated the Friars twice this season and another victory will make the 37-point loss on Saturday a thought of the past.
Phil Greene IV scored 16 poimts in the loss to Villanova on Saturday.
Red Storm get win No. 21 versus Marquette WILSON SY Staff Writer
Just over a month ago, St. John’s suffered devastating road losses to DePaul and Creighton, dropping five of their first seven conference games. Many doubted the team would fail to make the NCAA Tournament for the fourth straight year. After a 67-51 win over Marquette Tuesday night at the Bradley Center, St. John’s may have officially secured a spot to the NCAA Tournament. The Red Storm connected on all cylinders knocking down 12 three-pointers. St. John’s (21-7 overall, 10-7 conference record) has now won seven of its last eight games, matching the program’s highest win total in 15 years. Rysheed Jordan led the Johnnies with a game-high 23 points, including five three-pointers. D’Angelo Harrison scored 16 of his 21 points in the second half and connected on four triples. Sir’Dominic Pointer continued his superb all-around performance collecting his eighth double-double of the season, 10 points, 13 rebounds to go along with seven assists, two blocks and three steals. Phil Greene IV added 11 points. “I was proud of our kids and especially happy for our seniors in taking a step in the right direction toward their goals,” said St. John’s head coach Steve Lavin. “At this stage of the year, you really don’t grade the wins, you just want to accumulate them and move on.” For Marquette (11-18, 3-14), grad student Matt Carlino had 17 points, while sophomore center Luke Fischer
finished with 13 points. The Golden Eagles have dropped 12 of their last 13 games including six straight defeats. While Jamal Branch was sidelined with a minor groin injury, St. John’s saw four starters play the whole 40 minutes with the exception of Chris Obekpa who played 32 minutes grabbing five boards and blocking four shots. Freshman forward Amar Alibegovic was the only player to see action coming off the bench and playing a total of eight minutes. Early in the contest, both teams traded multiple leads with no team leading more than four points in the first 17 minutes of play, after Phil Greene IV connected on a three-pointer to make it 29-24 with 2:19 in the first half. Rysheed Jordan provided the lift for the Johnnies during the first intermission, scoring 13 points to lift St. John’s to a 34-27 halftime lead. D’Angelo Harrison took over in the second half scoring five quick points in the first minute to push the St. John’s lead to 39-30. After Marquette cut the Red Storm lead to 42-36 with 12:21 to play, Harrison went on an 8-0 run of his own, including two trifectas to push the Johnnies margin to 50-36 with just over 10 minutes of action remaining. Harrison would deliver the dagger after knocking down a deep three-pointer (his fourth of the game) with 2:55 remaining to put the Red Storm up 64-51. On Saturday, March 7, the St. John’s senior class will face No. 4 ranked Villanova (28-2, 15-2) for perhaps their final time, still looking for their first-ever win against the Wildcats. The game will be played at 2 p.m. in the Wells Fargo Center.
Rysheed Jordan led the Red Storm with 23 points in the win oiver Marquette.
Lacrosse unable to upset No.1 Syracuse TROY MAURIELLO Staff Writer
In front of over 3,000 fans at Fifth Third Bank Stadium in Kennesaw, Ga., the St. John’s lacrosse team suffered a tough 14-6 defeat against the top-ranked Syracuse Orange in the Cobb County Lacrosse Classic on Saturday. Junior Eric DeJohn and freshman Corey Haynes each led the way for the Red Storm with a pair of goals apiece. Sophomore Jackson O’Leary recorded two assists for St. John’s as well. Playing against their former Big East rivals in the Orange, the Johnnies took a 3-0 lead at the end of the first quarter, with two goals from DeJohn along with another from Stefan Diachenko. The Red Storm would add one more goal late in the second quarter to extend their lead to 4-0, but from there Syracuse would prove why they are the number one team in the nation. After going into the second half behind 4-2 and trailing for the first time this season, Syracuse would rattle off five straight goals to open up the third quarter and take a 7-4 lead over St. John’s.
However, the Johnnies had some fight in them on Saturday. After giving up seven straight goals and appearing like they were about to be run off the field, Haynes would pull St. John’s back with a pair of goals at the end of the third quarter to make it 7-6. But in the fourth quarter the Red Storm simply ran out of gas. Syracuse would score four goals within a 1:50 stretch in the final quarter to extend their lead to 11-6. From there the Orange would add three more goals to end the game, as they would end up running away with a 14-6 victory. “The fourth quarter really got away from us today,” St. John’s head coach Jason Miller told RedStormSports.com after the game. “I thought we could have done a better job handling Syracuse’s pressure. I thought we really battled for 45 minutes, but needed to do a better job finishing the game.” The Red Storm would end up being outscored 12-2 in the second half after taking a 4-2 lead into halftime. Syracuse also outshot St. John’s 24-10 in the game’s second half, and nearly doubled up the Johnnies in shots for the game, 40-22. Making his second straight start on the season, junior goalkeeper Harry Burke took the loss after allowing 14 goals and
recording 10 saves. Burke had come on in relief of goalkeeper Joseph Danaher in the previous two games before starting against Yale in an overtime loss on Tuesday. The Red Storm have now lost four straight games on the season, and have seen their record plummet to 1-5, with
their lone win of the season a 13-8 victory over Stony Brook on Feb. 14. Sitting in the lower half of the Big East standings with conference play a little under a month away, St. John’s will try to keep their season from slipping away from them when they face Drexel at home on Saturday.
Junior Eric DeJohn was named to the Big East Weekly Honor Roll.
Track and field continue historic run Red Storm finish second overall at ECAC Championships
Staff Writer The women’s track team competed in a three-day event at the Boston University Armory over the weekend and tied a school best team finish, placing as the second overall team out of 61. The top 61 women’s teams in the Eastern U.S. gathered at the Boston University Track and Tennis Center in a championship setting. The Eastern College Athletic Conference Championships conclude on Sunday with finals in 14 events. Junior Stephanie Van Pelt finished first overall with a time of 2:48.50 in the 1000-meter run for the championships. Vanpelt broke the school record for the second year in a row in the indoor 1,000-meter run and was the runner-up in the last of three preliminary sections with a time of 2:48.12. She will lead the St. John’s group of qualifiers for Sunday’s event finals. The women’s 400-Meter Dash final saw junior Pariis Garcia place second overall with a time 54.22 while her teammate junior Raquel Ricketts finished sixth with a time of 54.84. In the qualifying section, the Red storm had two athletes place in the top three: Garcia (54.22) and Ricketts (54.84) finishing first and third. Garcia had a career-best on her way to the finals. “Our team continues to amaze as we again posted outstanding performances when it counts the most,” said Red Storm head coach Jim Hurt. “In the weight throw and on the track our ladies were on fire, putting up 11 first
day points and getting to the finals in the 60, 400, 500, 1,000 and 4x400-meter relay with big point potential in the finals tomorrow. We are excited about what we can do on the final day of the indoor season,” Hurt added. In the women’s 500-meter run, freshman Marlow Schulz finished in fifth place with a time of 1:13.92. Schulz won her Section 1 Finals also running the same time at 1:13.92 to qualify for the championship. The women’s Distance Medley saw a team of three seniors—Veronica Thomas, Christine Oguledo, Michelle Vanpelt—and freshman Isobel Batt-Doyle come together to finish 11th with a time of 12:00.36. For the women’s 60-meter dash, senior Latasha Collins placed seventh overall with a time of 7.69. Collins clocked a personal-best time of 7.56 seconds in the 60-meter dash preliminary round to qualify for Sunday’s final. Collins moved to fourth place on St. John’s all-time 60-meter dash list. “Our team continues to amaze as we again posted outstanding performances when it counts the most. ”
-Jim HurtThe Red Storm will be back competing at the NCAA Indoor Championships, March 13-14 at Arkansas University in Fayetteville, Ark.
Junior Stephanie Van Pelt finished first overall in the 1000-meter run at the ECAC Championships.
Red Storm head into Big East with NCAA bid looking secure Johnnies finish season at 21-10, senior class looking to go out on top STEPHEN ZITOLO Spoirts Editor
It didn’t come easy, but it has finally happened after four years of waiting for the St. John’s men’s basketball team. There have been flashes over the last three and a half years of how good the Red Storm can be, but they always seemed to fall short. This year was different. They knew they had something to prove and now they are the team they were and are expected to be. They are New York’s team, and on the cusp of going dancin’. For five St. John’s seniors that have been together through all the ups and downs, this was their last shot to make the NCAA Tournament, and they came out to each and every game with that tenacity. In years prior, senior guard D’Angelo Harrison was the guy the Johnnies relied on to make the big and win them games. But this year was different. Every one of the seniors became go-to guys. It didn’t matter who had the ball in the games’ final seconds; everyone believed that guy was going to win the game for the Red Storm. The best example of this was Feb. 28 at Madison Square Garden versus Georgetown. Harrison had two early fouls and barely played as a result. But it didn’t affect anyone on the floor; they just stepped up and did their jobs. Senior guard Phil Greene IV and senior G/F Sir’Dominic Pointer stepped up. Greene finished with 26 points and seven rebounds and Pointer had 24 points and seven rebounds. That’s exactly why this team is dangerous; there isn’t one guy on the floor that doesn’t have the ability to take control of the game. Everyone has stepped up this season for St. John’s. Harrison had his typical year averaging 17.8 points per game and received Big East First Team honors. Pointer has been the x-factor for the Red Storm. He has done everything on both ends of the floor and his athleticism has made him a deadly weapon. Pointer averaged 13.7 points per game, 7.6 rebounds per game and 2.5 blocks per game. All of which garnered him Big East Second Team honors, Big East Most Improved and Big East Co-Defensive Player of the Year. Greene was a three-point assassin shooting 40 percent from beyond the arc and averaging 13.1 points per game. Senior guard Jamal Branch was the quiet leader and floor general for the Johnnies averaging 4.7 points per game. Junior F/C Chris Obekpa has been one of the best rim protectors in the nation averaging 3.2 blocks per game. Sophomore guard Rysheed Jordan began coming into his own this season averaging 14.1
points per game. As head coach Steve Lavin has said at multiple points of the season the Red Storm have had their “hills and valleys” throughout the year. They started the season on fire coming out of the gate 11-1 in the non-conference portion of their schedule. But then the Big East schedule started and the Johnnies fell apart, to the point where they were nearly no longer considered for the NCAA Tournament. They started the Big East slate at 3-6, making them 14-8 overall on Feb. 3. Harrison had a bum shoulder and knee during the stretch and Obekpa was taken out of the starting lineup. But the Red Storm had nine games left in the season and they caught fire yet again. They went 7-2 in the final month of the season and finished at 21-10 and 10-8 in the Big East, supplanting them as the fifth seed in the conference tournament and in great position for a NCAA Tournament birth. St. John’s postseason will start what they hope will be a long postseason run this Thursday at Madison Square Garden versus Providence in the Big East Tourney, a team they are 2-0 against this season. This is the last chance for the five seniors on this team to make a run in the NCAA Tournament. They have been fighting to get the program back to an elite level. They are one of, if not the most, athletic team in the nation and every game they play has a shot to be their last together. St. John’s will not be an easy out in the NCAA Tournament; they have just worked too hard to get to this point and have the ability to put the nation on notice.
TORCH PHOTO/DIANA COLAPIETRO
Sir’Dominic Pointer was named Big East Co-Defensive POY and Big East Most Imprioved.
TORCH PHOTO/DIANA COLAPIETRO
D’Angelo Harrison was named to the All-Big East First Team.
SPORTS MARCH 11 2015 | VOLUME 92, ISSUE 16 |
Burn Baby Burn
TORCH ILLUSRATION/ STEVEN VERDILE
ANTHONY SCIANNA Staff Writer
As a senior and silent leader of the St. John’s women’s softball team, Erin Burner has a burning desire to improve every year. Her numbers keep rising and her value to the team is almost priceless. Embarking on her final season with the Lady Johnnies, Burner plans to leave everything on the field. In her freshman year, Burner quickly adjusted to the East Coast lifestyle. Starting all 57 games, she ranked among top freshman in the Big East, batting a clean .291. Adding on 23 RBI’s and eight home runs, Burner put the Big East on notice. To round out the season, she was named to the 2011-12 Big East All-Academic team. Defensively, Burner led the team with 93 assists, mostly from the shortstop position. As a catcher, she did not allow a single runner to steal a base. Burner takes pride in her defense and the aforementioned numbers reinforce that. Fast-forward to her sophomore year: this year would be different for Burner. A perfectionist at heart, she wanted to improve her already stellar freshman campaign. “Off-season training is crucial. That is when I focus mainly on weight training and cardio. Of course I still practice, but it’s more on the technical side.” Her hard work paid off and Erin finished her sophomore season batting an improved .344. Complementing her high average, she also drove in 36 RBI’s and totaled a slugging percentage of .578. “Experience and knowing what it takes to compete has helped my hitting numbers
increase. I’ve been seeing the ball better and making contact when it counts,” Burner said. Burner hit a career-best of .383 in her junior year. Adding 14 home runs and 40 RBI’s on 62 hits, Burner continues to get better with age. The conference took notice and Burner received First Team All-Big East honors for her stellar season. “I was honestly surprised but it is really awesome to be recognized for that in a good conference,” said a smiling Burner. Coming into her senior year, Burner understands the leadership role she must accept. “I have more experience with young players. So I now know how to take them under my wing and let them know what to expect,” Burner said. Starting off the 2014-15 season 4-11, the Lady Johnnies are in need of a spark. Burner has started all 15 games so far, batting .333 with 7 RBI’s. Like a true leader, Burner still remains positive. “I’m very optimistic about this year. We haven’t really hit our stride yet; we still need some time to gel together. Our future looks bright though,” Burner said. The Big East continues to progress as a conference and St. John’s has struggled out of the box this year. “Every team in the Big East poses a serious threat. It’s hard to win a softball game in this conference. Every team is here to compete and with only eight teams, you get to form rivalries,” said Burner. Normally a middle of the pack to top off the standings team, St. John’s looks to rebound against Maryland on March 6. Individually, Burner looks to turn things around in her last hurrah. “This program means a lot to me and it’s going to be hard to leave the coaches and the players. As far as my legacy goes, I want to win a Big East Championship in my last year. That would be a great way to go out,” Burner said.