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Members of Student Government, Inc. listen as members of new student organizations make their cases for approval.

Student Government approves six new student organizations SARA CAHILL MARRON News Editor Six new student organizations were approved during Monday night’s S.G.I. floor meeting. Eight groups’ proposals that were heard and voted on that evening. The groups that were approved were Sequoya literary magazine, the Chinese Students and Scholars Association, College Democrats, Otaku, Sociology Club, and the Arab Students Association. While only two were turned down, another hearing will occur next week where 10 more organization proposals will be heard. Students spoke in front of the board in petition of being deactivated last year or in proposal for starting a group that has not previously existed. Each group had four minutes in which to make their presentations and a period of 3-4 minutes in which to answer questions from the floor. After hearing all eight pitches, S.G.I. President Patrick Brewer asked everyone who was not a member of the S.G.I. board to leave the room so the merit of the organizations could be discussed privately. Executive board meetings are traditionally open, but Brewer said that a decision had

WHAT’S INSIDE News......................1-5 Entertainment....11-14 Opinion..................6-8 Comics.....................16 Features...............9-10 Sports.................17-20

been made to close this portion of the meeting. “We need to keep the dialogue here because we are weighing the groups’ merit against one another,” he said. “We need to be able to discuss openly before we can choose to approve.” “We want to be able to speak and say what we thought of their presentations and ideas privately,” Brewer said. Sequoya, the only literary magazine at St. John’s, has been publishing on campus since 1934. This is the first time they have been approved as an official organization through S.G.I. In the past, Sequoya has published with the support of both the Art and English departments, each contributing about $1,000 per year. As an official organization through S.G.I., the magazine now has access to a yearly budget. “In the past, we have had to petition for the rest of the money we need to publish each year,” Jordan Baum, the editor-in-chief of Sequoya said. Baum said that becoming an official organization through S.G.I. will help to expand the publishing capabilities of Sequoya. “My dream is to have future e-boards put out two editions each year, one in the spring and one in the fall,” she said. “Potentially, we could also put out a shorter

edition over the summer that is cheaper to produce. That way, we could send it out to incoming freshman and have it available at the beginning of the year.” The Hindu Students Council (HSC) and Target H.O.P.E. were not approved. Target H.O.P.E. is an organization that exists at St. John’s sister school, DePaul University, and aims to keep minorities in higher education and maintain solid retention rates amongst those groups of students. The board turned down their proposal because it is the “same as other organizations” already on campus. HSC was described as “an international forum that provides opportunities to learn about Hindu heritage through various activities, events, and projects.” The organization was deactivated last semester and their current proposal was turned down because of an “old e-board and bad membership/growth.” Tongtong Zhu, a member of the S.G.I. board, questioned the gender inequity in HSC membership. “Of the 25 members you have listed here, how many are boys? It seems like there are mostly girls.” During the questioning period, other members of the board questioned the organizations’ ability to refocus the e-board and maintain positive membership growth.

MUSIC Man on the Moon Inferno reviews Kid Cudi’s sophomore release. ENTER RTAINMENT Pg. 13

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73% Yes 27% No Check out our new poll every Wednesday “Think Outside. . .”



Managing Board LXXXVIII



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Entertainment El Nuevo Izalco A new restaurant in Woodside brings a little taste of El Salvador to Queens.

Inferno Pg. 13

Features Hospitality Management Ozanam Scholars participate in various projects and develop a student leaders.

Features Pg. 15

Men’s Basketball Start Me Up Red Storm dominate Westmont to open the Lavin era.


Students created pigs from water bottles to collect change in for the annual Pig Out for Poverty event.


Sports Pg. 18

S.G.I. Operating Budget as of Nov. 5 2010


10 Nov. 2010


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

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

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













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Proposed Operating Budget is produced by Student Government, Inc. for the fiscal year 2010-2011.


Anthropology Club brings AIDS photo exhibit to D’Angelo SARA CAHILL MARRON News Editor The Anthropology Club and the Face to Face program have worked together to bring the faces of the HIV/ AIDS epidemic to St. John’s through a Photomosaic displayed in the D’Angelo Center this week. The Anthropology Club helped in bringing the PhotoMosaic to St. John’s. “We felt that students should be involved in not only bringing the exhibition but also play the major role in making the exhibition meaningful to the students at St. John’s,” Kevin Wong, the artist and photographer, said. The Malawi AIDS Photomosaic was compiled by Wong and contains 48 black and white silver gelatin prints that were bleached and sepia toned. The prints were taken on a medium-format Rolleicord camera and are covered in paper made from bamboo trees. Each panel is 12 feet high and 12 feet wide and can be deconstructed to be displayed in pieces. Junior Yael Cajar expressed surprise at the portraits she saw in the exhibit. “It’s a good way to draw attention to the art,” she said. “The materials they used are good to represent the poverty; the frame of the mosaic in particular is very nice. They look just like us, it’s crazy.” “The portraits were arranged by how the people depicted associated with one another such as in their families, neighborhoods, or friendships,” Wong said. “The point I wanted to make that this

AIDS pandemic is made up of groups of people and by connecting them, their stories and their hopes take on a larger meaning,” he added. The entire exhibit was meant to show the effects of the pandemic as a whole, according to Wong. “The point of the whole exhibit is to show that we should see the pandemic as affecting whole communities and yet we should still focus on the individual story and face,” he said. “Also, many of the people have died, so one could see the PhotoMosaics as resembling a cemetery as well.” “I hope that the students not only stop and look at the exhibit, I’d like them to begin to understand the complexities around the AIDS pandemic,” Wong said. Sophomore Kevin Lin said the exhibit was impossible to avoid. “I was curious to see what this was about,” he said. “You can’t really miss it, it’s pretty interesting. At first when I saw it, I was like, what? The trees have HIV? Maybe I’ll go to the website—learn more.” The Anthropology Club is currently raising funds for an impoverished rural community called Kang’oma Village. The money will go towards developing a cooperative community garden especially for HIV households. The club hopes to raise $13,000. According to Wong, the Face to Face program has been successful in raising awareness about the conditions of poverty in countries like Malawi and Cambodia when it inspires people to get involved. “I’d like the exhibits to be a starting off point for students to believe that they


The Anthropology Club is hosting an AIDS PhotoMosaic. too can make a real difference,” he said. “College students at NYU raised enough to construct a school building at an orphan center; the students at Colby College have supported a multi-pronged approach to raising the quality of life in another rural community,” Wong said. Joshua Chinchilla, a freelance photographer, came to campus after a friend recommended that he see the exhibit. “I like the presentation,” he said. “They

are well lit, like professional portraits. The trees are put in select locations, its pleasing to the eye.” The trees depicted throughout the panels are baobab trees. The trees are found in Africa, India, and Australia and their gigantic trunk is trumped only by the sequoia. When it dies, it rots from the inside and then collapses on itself. For more information, visit the exibition in the lobby of the D’Angelo Center or go to

Annual toy drive returns to St. John’s for the holiday season JUSTIN THRIFT Editor-In-Chief


10 Nov. 2010 The TORCH


Hooper the Dog visits the students of Dr. Paley’s PR Campaigns Seminar.

Hooper’s Toy Drive is becoming an annual tradition at St. John’s during the holiday season. The toy drive, where students collect Christmas and Hanukah toys to benefit children in need, will run until Dec. 16th this year, with toy drop boxes located in Marillac, D’Angelo, Starbucks, the residence halls and computers labs. Professor Jane Paley is the catalyst behind the toy drive. Her PR Campaign Seminar students help to conduct the campaign each year. According to Paley, they operate the campaign just like an actual public relations agency would. “We do background research, a student survey, and determine goals for the semester,” said Paley. “Then we develop a communications plan and produce extensive press materials.” The group also puts on a dozen fundraisers and special events throughout the year to support the efforts of the drive. Paley said that her dog, Hooper, became the official mascot of the drive in 2008 when her students wanted to brand the campaign with an image. One student suggested that they use a dog. “I was the only one in the class with a dog in the area. I brought in a

photo and that was it,” said Paley. Hooper’s background is not the average canine tale. He was formerly a rescue dog in New Orleans, likely a Hurricane Katrina survivor. Paley says that she read about him on, a site dedicated to placing homeless dogs into new homes. This year, the St. John’s Film Club has agreed to develop a commercial for the toy drive, and the Advertising Club has designed a print campaign to promote the drive around campus. Gabi Dickens, who is president of the Ad Club, said that their focus is to help the campaign reach their 2,000 toys goal. “Our challenge is to get students to actually go out, buy these toys, bring them back to campus and donate them,” said Dickens. “It’s not like we’re asking them to just reach in their pockets and take out a dollar, [students] have to actually go out and do something.” In addition to promoting Hooper as the toy drive’s mascot, St. John’s basketball stars DJ Kennedy and Sky Lindsay have also dedicated their time and image to the campaign. Both athletes are in Professor Paley’s class. All toys collected through the drive will go to Toys for Tots, Mommas House, Shriner’s Children’s Hospital and Bread and Life. For more information, visit


Debate Society members come in first NELL O’CONNOR Managing Editor


Members of the St. John’s Debate Society made history this past weekend by becoming the first STJ University competitors to win in the Worlds debating format at the 2010 Huber Debate Tournament at the University of Vermont. Nipun Mahajan and George Fitzpatrick defeated their opponents from a field of 67 teams, including representatives from Cornell University and the Claremont Colleges. The duo, who have been competing as a team since the beginning of the fall semester, competed in the British Parliamentary Debate format and were judged by a panel of five. They argued through nine rounds of debating, from topics ranging to womens’ rights, education, eating meat, and criteria for developing countries to host international events. The final motion had Mahajan and Fitzpatrick arguing in favor of giving out social welfare payments in the

form of vouchers. Fitzpatrick, a senior, had confidence in the arguments he and his partner were making throughout the debate. “It felt like everything has just started to come together again,” he said. “I felt like we were all giving some really good speeches.” Mahajan, a junior, was not as sure how guaranteed their success would be. “If you had told me we were going to draw opening half for every elimination round, I would have told you that we wouldn’t have even been in all those elimination rounds,” he said. But he also felt that their preparation helped them to victory. “It was the perfect coming together of circumstance and skill all coming together at one time,” Mahajan said. He also said that he favored the more outlandish topics, including the semifinal, where he and Fitzpatrick debated the merit of giving parents the right to euthanize disabled children shortly after birth. Mahjan said he enjoyed debating the issue because “it seemed so bizarre, but

we didn’t have any trouble coming up with arguments.” Both felt that the overall atmosphere of the tournament and audience helped to contribute to their win. “I think that was the most fun I’ve had at a tournament in a while, I fed a lot off of everyone there, everyone had a lot of great energy there,” said Fitzpatrick. “I would look to the crowd during a speech and think, oh good they’re nodding.” “It was an awesome tournament, probably the best time I’ve had inside and outside of rounds at anytime,” Mahajan agreed. The Debate Society will travel to Oxford University in England next and then return to the U.S. for their last tournament of the semester at Adelphi University. They will also appear at the International Debate Academy, Slovenia’s annual tournament held at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia at the end of the month. Fitzpatrick and Mahajan will represent St. John’s at the World’s Debate Championship in Botswana in December.


George Fitzpatrick and Nipun Mahajan pose with their advisors and their first place plaque.


10 Nov. 2010

Writers take on 50,000 word challenge National Novel Writing Month inspires St. John’s students RUBEN MUNIZ Contributing Writer

This November is National Novel Writing Month, a movement that challenges writers to create a 50,000 word piece of fiction by midnight on Nov. 30. The program was started in the San Francisco Bay Area, by “Chris Baty and 20 other over caffeinated yahoos in 1999,” as described on the program’s website. In 2009, “NaNoWriMo” had approximately 170,000 participants and more than 30,000 winners. The participant count has grown every year at a sharp rate, and is now known and participated in on a national and international scale. Writers upload their work onto, where a word counting program verifies that they have written

at least 50,000 words. The word count is recorded, but the content of the novel is not. Once a participant has submitted their piece, and it meets the minimum word count, they are considered a winner. Although they do joke about it on their website, NaNoWriMo does not offer a cash prize. Upon completing the project, winners’ names are added to their “Winner’s Page,” which function as a NaNoWriMo Hall of Fame, the website says. Winners are also presented with a web badge and a completion certificate. The creators of the competition describe that the real prize is that each winner now has an original piece that is at least 50,000 words in length. NaNoWriMo is met with enthusiasm amongst many students at St. John’s. Rubayya Hoque, a senior and employee of the Writing Center, encouraged those that take on the challenge. “I would say ‘go for it’, for anyone,”

she said. “If you do 2,000 words a night, you can definitely do it in a month.” Stacey Ruiz, a sophomore and English major at St. John’s, approved of the program. “It teaches writers to work on a schedule,” said Ruiz. Chris Leary, the Associate Director of the Writing Center at St. John’s Staten Island Campus, gave NaNoWriMo a positive review. “I think the idea is a really good one, which is to have writers write a lot and not worry too much if the novel is perfect or marketable,” said Leary. Tamika Bethelmie, an employee of News Corporation, completed well over the required limit of words for NaNoWriMo in 2008. Her advice to participants is to “Get class work out of the way first, stay motivated, don’t give up, and remove your backspace button, if possible.”

Tri-campus event brings students closer and promotes hunger awareness LIAM LE GUERRE Staff Writer More than 500 canned goods were collected at One C.A.N., a hunger awareness cultural arts event held last Thursday on the Queens campus. The donations went to St. John’s Bread and Life. This event is part of a series of events that Campus Ministry will be orchestrating in conjunction with Hunger Awareness month, which runs throughout November. St. John’s will be reaching out to the University community for support. Students who attended the event were asked to bring one can to support the cause. The assistant director of Multicultural Affairs on the Staten Island Campus, Jamaal Brown, organized the event and said he hoped it would serve as “the motivation for bringing different cultural performing arts from all the campuses together to stop hunger.” One C.A.N. was the first tri-campus hunger awareness event. Manhattan students were instructed to take the shuttle to the event, if they weren’t on campus already due to classes. Close to 60 students from the Staten Island campus were given the opportunity to attend the event via an exclusive shuttle bus. Many people at the event expressed their interest in more tri-campus collaboration events. Nicholas Macri, a senior on the Staten Island campus said “This is the first time that all three campuses have come together for one event. It looks pretty good, I would like to see it happen more often.” The event had a positive message of working together to bring an end to the hardships and struggles caused by global hunger. Ebony Lee, the Leader of the Staten Island Gospel Choir, co-hosted the event. “While the same time we’re giving back you also could have a good time,” she said. “A lot of people use depression to try to get people to do things, where you could just have a good time and get the same results even more.” An array of live music, performances and snacks preceded the show. A professional band called Bandulous performed various hits spanning all genres to express the theme of unity. Many students also performed at the event. Johnny the Thunderbird made a surprise guest appearance and passed out free Red Storm towels. Senoir Melissa Mondesir said that the message of the night was clear. “I feel like a lot of people here are really enjoying themselves and the people who go up and perform,” she said. “The underlying message was to get cans so that we could bring it to the soup kitchens and everybody knows that.”

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Hindu New Year celebrated on campus and across Queens TERENCE CULLEN Staff Writer Hindus around the world celebrated the largest holiday of their faith as the holiday Diwali started last Friday. Diwali, or Deepwali, is the Hindu New Year, according to the lunar calendar. It is also known as the Festival of Lights, particularly for its main practice of lighting lamps known as Diyas. The neighborhoods of Jackson Heights, Bellerose, and Jamaica are known for their large Indian or Guyanese Hindu communities, who most frequently celebrate the holiday. Andrew Shamsheer, a resident

of Jamaica, Queens, discussed the importance of the holiday in his GuyaneseAmerican neighborhood. The St. John’s accounting major shared some of the traditions associated with the holiday. “We light lights known as Diyas,” he said. “The purpose of [the lights] is to clear out evil.” Shamsheer explained that it is usually a family oriented event, followed by a more communal meeting at Davalayam, which is a Hindu temple. He also explained that Hindus “pray to Mother Laksmhi on this day for wealth, prosper, and health for their family.” With a growing population in the U.S. over the last 30 years, Diwali was first celebrated in the White House in

2003 under the Bush administration. This came after an initiative by the Indian community that the holiday be nationally recognized. The tradition has since carried over into the next administration. President Obama, who is currently visiting India, took the time to celebrate the holiday at Holy Name High School in Mumbai. The President and the First Lady lit Diyas and danced to traditional songs with students, as reported by The Hindu, India’s national newspaper. Professor S. Mitra Kalita, an adjunct professor at St. Johns, who lived in India for more than two years, explained that the holiday is not just for Hindus and is also recognized by some Sikhs

and Christians. “In India, Diwali cannot be escaped,” she said, “there are flowers and fireworks everywhere. Roads are jammed for parties and excursions.” Kalita also said that Indians of other faiths living in America but said “how the holiday is celebrated varies region to region. She noted that in her Queens’ neighborhood, the holidays are intermingled, and while signs for Diwali were up this week, Christmas lights will be up soon. While she considers the traditional Jan. 1 to be her actual New Year, Kalita says that she views the holiday as a good time to reflect and set goals.

Photojournalism major offered for the first time ANTHONY O’REILLY Staff Writer St. John’s now offers the option to major in Photojournalism and is the only school in the Metropolitan area to offer a Bachelor’s degree in the field. The program is endorsed by The New York Daily News as well as the prestigious Magnum Photo Agency. Students enrolled in Photojournalism classes will have the opportunity to take a trip to both agencies and work with professionals if they choose to specialize in that degree. The major is a part of the College of Professional Studies, and was spearheaded by Professor Richard Rex Thomas.

“Photojournalism is a photography degree set up in a way so students can do all sorts of photography: commercial photography, art photography, etc.” The degree focuses on learning what makes a photo newsworthy, the aesthetics of each photograph, altering photos using programs such as Photoshop, and how to create a story to let readers know what’s going on in the photo and to draw them into it.” “Photojournalism is not dry, it’s an art form. A good photographer is a good photojournalist,” said Professor Thomas. Junior William Giron is enrolled in the Photojournalism class this semester. “It combines creative freedom and professionalism,” he said. Students in the program also take

classes such as documentary filmmaking. “It’s a well rounded degree that helps give you a nice resume to help make you an attractive candidate in the workplace,” Professor Thomas said. Students enrolled in the major must also take print journalism classes. Thomas said that the major encompasses a varying degree of media skills. “The degree responds to how the field of photojournalism is practiced today. You need to have a lot of skills such as video editing, multimedia, as well as know how to write as a journalist,” he said. Ralph Bristout said he was more interested in the journalism aspect of the class, and was at first skeptical about taking pictures. However as he progressed

he found a passion for photography and said he never stops learning new tricks to adjusting his style. The classes build skills such as altering photos, learning what distance to take the picture from, and framing. The classes incorporate the skills required specifically in the field of taking photographs for media outlets. Senior Jessica Rodriguez works with a point and shoot camera in the class and expressed her love for the art. “If you’re thinking about taking the major, there’s only one thing that you need to bring with you besides a camera: a passion for photography. I’ve gained a new respect for photographers,” she said, “Everything I learn here is all new to me.”



Editorial Board LXXXVIII JUSTIN THRIFT Editor-in-Chief

Illustrator’s Corner:

NELL O’CONNOR Managing Editor SARA CAHILL MARRON News Editor MARK MCDONALD General Manager



10 Nov. 2010


S.G.I.’s secret tea party The current executive board of Student Government, Inc. displayed their unwavering inclination towards esoteric politics on Monday night as they voted on newly proposed student organizations. After the S.G.I. assembly listened to and questioned eight student groups who were seeking official recognition, president Patrick Brewer asked all non-S.G.I. students, including TORCH staffers, to leave the room while the floor conducted their votes. This marks the first S.G.I. voting session of the year where students and media were not permitted, and is atypical of a democratic assembly. When asked by TORCH reporters why they were being asked to leave the room, Brewer had this to say: “We need to keep the dialogue here because we are weighing the groups’ merit against one another. We need to be able to discuss openly before we can choose who to approve.” With all due respect to Mr. Brewer, this is not the kind of legislative procedure we can endorse. When asked if the private voting was to protect derogatory statements by S.G.I. members, Brewer said, “No, we’re not putting the organizations down, but we want to be able to speak and say what we thought of their presentations and ideas privately.” This obscuring of S.G.I. floor proceedings contradicts the virtues of transparency that Brewer himself campaigned behind with the P.A.R.T.Y. ticket last spring. To recall a piece of the P.A.R.T.Y. ticket’s official platform, student government should work to end “the tradition of disconnect between student and their government.” Surely there is no quicker way to achieve a disconnect between students and student government than by removing students from vital discussions that affect them and their student activity fees. Naturally, there are times when pri-

vate deliberation is appropriate amongst government. Party caucuses, budgetary talk and personnel dialogues that take place outside of public domain are no doubt a part of politics. Legislative proceedings, however, do not merit this same element of executive secrecy. In democratic government, public access to legislative voting and floor proceedings is essential. C-SPAN, CPAC and BBC Parliament are examples of this transparency in the U.S., Canada and Britain, respectively. It would be extremely convenient and comfortable for members of these democratic governments to conduct legislative votes privately, however, this is atypical to democratic governance. To abolish the visibility afforded by C-SPAN would be to deny Americans a constitutional right. While Brewer and his board of executive members do a great job of discussing the importance of student engagement and S.G.I. transparency, we find it extremely discouraging to see students excluded from discussion at public meetings. Private discussions are one thing, and bi-weekly floor meetings are another. Floor meetings are held to listen to and inform and engage the student body – not isolate them from dialogue deemed private by the elite few who hold offices in D’Angelo. We urge the executive board of S.G.I. to seriously contemplate the manner in which they are conducting themselves in office. Their actions at Monday’s floor meeting and handling of the organizations approval is not only uncharacteristic of fair government, but a serious disservice to the students who fund their stipends. We also implore the 40 representatives of S.G.I. to influence the actions of their S.G.I. executive board members. It is our hope that S.G.I. will soon alter their recent failures, and act in a more student-oriented fashion.


STUDENTSPARKS: Basketball Are you excited for STJ basketball?

I can’t follow sports, I need too much time for school. Nick Caselli 5th year pharmacy

I’m not really into basketball. I only come to school at night, I would like to check it out though. Greg Santise Sophomore

EDITORIAL POLICY Editorials are the opinions of the Editorial Board of The TORCH. Columns are the opinions of the author(s) and are not necessarily those of The TORCH. Opin-

ions expressed in editorials, columns, letters or cartoons are not necessarily those of the student body, faculty or administrations of St. John’s University.

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Of course, we are going to return to glory. I feel confident in the coaching staff. Patrick Duffy Senior

I know that Cameron Edison made the team, but I don’t keep up with them. Alex Mitroff Graduate Student COMPILED BY THOMAS CARNEVALE

TORCH Opinion

online at


Grade inflation, school work and insanity

I often overhear things around campus that I wish I hadn’t. For example, last week as I sat waiting for the professor to show up and start class, I overheard a troubling conversation taking place behind me, the particulars of which I will share in a moment. First, some context. Two students were discussing a class they were taking together, taught by a professor they seemed to rather dislike, in a subject that they evidently cared little about. A freshly graded essay was the topic, and it was spurring more heat than the steaming Starbucks lattes embellishing their desks. The general consensus between these students was that the grades they had received were unfair for the time they had put in. “Two hours” was one student’s estimate of the total time she invested, while the other student spitefully described their professor as “insane.” In regards to their efforts going forward, giving up was their settled upon strategy. This essay assignment – which no doubt was, like, “so hard” – posed a serious issue for these two undergrads: it was (seemingly) challenging. Moreover, the professor’s assessment of the students’ work was obviously in stark contrast with their own appraisals. But why, I wondered, would these two students simply respond by “giving up?” While the two continued to complain about their “insane” professor, I pondered how ridiculous I could make myself look by turning around to suggest they take some time to visit their professor at their office and possibly discuss their assignment. Surely, I’d be a laughing stock. Certainly there are professors here, there and everywhere who cause students grief. A student can’t possibly be expected to love every teacher they come across. But my experience in college has led me to believe that success is mostly a result of how much you care, and the effort you put forth to get the grade you desire. This scene is indicative of a general laziness en-

tirely too common in today’s average college student, and it is overwhelming our academic culture. This issue, which is not specific to St. John’s, I blame partially on the epidemic of grade inflation – a nationally growing trend that is slowly warping the expectations of college students. In fact, it is the reason that former Duke professor Stuart Rojstaczer has set up a website dedicated to detailing the research and evidence behind grade inflation in American colleges and universities throughout the past decade. To summarily explain what Rojstaczer and many other educators feel is becoming a real problem in American education, grade inflation is the gradual increase in the amount of good grades being handed out on average.


A few years back Rojstaczer wrote an article for the Washington Post in which he stated, “on average, grade-point averages are rising at a rate of about 0.15 points every decade.” That’s a significant surge of good grades, and it’s altering the amount of work students are expecting to do for their shiny A.

Some feel that grade quotas are the solution to grade inflation. At Princeton in 2005 – when around 50 percent of student grades were in the A range – the university implemented an academic policy in order to combat grade inflation which stated that no more than 35 percent of a class should earn As. The university’s aim was to bring out students’ best work and be able to compare different departments on a more objective level. These numbers are not uncommon. According to the Brown Daily Herald, 54.4 percent of all student grades at Brown last year were As. Even for an Ivy, this is an overwhelming statistic. Rojstaczer’s website does a great job at illustrating this research on the national stage, showing that we are annually seeing higher and higher GPAs at both private and public institutions across our fine land. Considering the evidence, there can be no denying that grade inflation is indeed occurring in American colleges and universities. Of course, there are those who will pose the following astute, yet fairly amusing, counterpoint: couldn’t grade inflation in our classrooms simply indicate a more studious, disciplined group (or generation) of students? Unfortunately, no. An A is meant to denote work that has exceeded expectations and come close to, or reached, perfection. Is it really sensible to claim that every year across the nation a majority of students are exceeding what is expected of them, without fail? In fact, if student work is actually improving on average, shouldn’t the expectations increase with it? The truth is, if you’re frantic over receiving a B+ on a test you predominantly used Wikipedia to study for, grade inflation has distorted your view of schoolwork. The A has become something of an easy target for college students. If you do good work, an A is expected in return. It is not uncommon for an A- to be given in hopes that a student will work a little harder, when in reality their satisfactory work may actually deserve a B or C. As Rojstaczer wrote in the Post, “The data indicate that not only is C an endangered species but that B, once the popular grade at universities and colleges, has been supplanted by the former symbol of perfection, the A.” Tell ’em, Stuart. Here’s to hoping the two students who sit behind me in class might try harder. Justin Thrift is a senior English major who is proud of the Sequoya literary magazine for becoming an official STJ organization on Monday. He can be reached at:

RIQARD PRLESI Contributing Writer

once another action deemed as wrong comes along, the hate of the action will again transfer to hate of an individual, and we will again encounter the same mentality and inevitably the same situations analogous to Tyler Clementi’s death. The bigger problem with the idea of establishing a LGBT organization is that it is inherently antithetical to the values of the Catholic Church and of St. John’s University. For St John’s to aid and abet such an idea would be to promote tolerance of a lifestyle the Church deems disordered and wrong. We of-


“ ” The central problem at the heart of the Clementi tragedy is that people too often transfer their dislike of an error to the person who errs.

ten forget that all Catholic schools and universities are inspired by the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. St John’s cannot maintain its Catholic identity while putting itself in error for the sake of a “liberal” education and a “liberal” political and social college experience which blatantly contradicts these values. What then is the true work of a Catholic University? By its very nature, the work of a Catholic university must be the work of Christ. That work first involves love. True love is transforming and active in what it does – in confirming God’s grace towards the individuals, in being a correcting force and a nurturing force in the life of the person. Love requires that we understand and love others always – in the words of Christ himself, “you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love also necessarily requires that we help those in error and help them out of it. Eliminating error is inseparable from the love we have for one another; saying “no, this is wrong” to somebody who does wrong is an integral part of charity and it should always be a “no” born of out of the love. By following this, we will do well in protecting the dignity and value of every human being in our university and in our community. A fragile unity with one another that might be had through compromise should never come at the expense of a true unity born of Truth, a unity born out of the sacred humanity of Christ. We are a Catholic university. The life of St. Vincent De Paul and the mission of this University are forever geared to the love of Christ. The nature of this love for Christ is perhaps best expressed by St. Paul; that “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 8:38-39)

10 Nov. 2010

The issue of promoting equality through the acceptance of a gay student organization at St. John’s has arisen. Supporters feel that our Catholic institution of St. John’s University should recognize, protect and work with the gay community by allowing the creation of a LGBTQ organization, which works towards creating tolerance for homosexuality. They think this will prevent incidents such as Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi’s tragic death and also think that such an idea is compatible with a Catholic institution. The logic behind their arguments is fundamentally flawed. The promotion of tolerance of homosexuality will only succeed in creating a sham safety and peace of mind; in addition, such an endorsement can never be the work of a Catholic institution. Promoting tolerance of homosexuality seems on the surface a sure way to create peace among communities in this controversial issue. But look a little deeper and one sees that this is not the case. The method of promoting tolerance of homosexuality successfully creates acceptance of a homosexual lifestyle; however, this method does nothing towards correcting the fundamental problem at the heart of the Clementi tragedy: that people too often transfer their dislike of an error to the person who errs. This mentality is unfortunately prevalent among many, and they seem to forget St. Augustine’s timeless dictum – “kill the error; love the one who errs.” The people accused in the Clementi case may have had a legitimate disagreement about the moral status of homosexuality. But this disagreement was pervert-

ed into something evil when they made the mistake of hating the one who errs instead of only hating the error itself. It is puzzling that it has been concluded by some that if we are to stop the hate displayed towards homosexual individuals, we must first generate tolerance for the act, thinking that this should transfer into a tolerance of the individual. This is a mistaken way of going about generating justice and peace. This is no solution at all –


Applying Catholicism to the LGBTQ debate at St. John’s


Four Loko warning, it’s not worth it “Looking to get drunk fast?” I stared at the wall in Marillac. My first thought was, “Well, not right now, I’m in class, but you know that, Marillac.” My second thought was, “Why is St. John’s asking me this question?” It had to be some sort of trick. I looked again at the flyer inside the case on the wall. Underneath the question was a picture of a bunch of cans of Four Loko. There was a bunch of small writing underneath it but it was definitely too long to read, so I looked at the bigger writing on the bottom: “IT’S NOT WORTH IT.” I got the point. Four Loko = bad. Easy enough to understand; being 22 years old I’ve seen Four Loko in plenty of bars and liquor stores. Not only are we being encouraged not to drink Four Loko, New York is also looking to join a list of states banning the drink. First of all, Four Loko tastes terrible. It’s like a drunk unicorn peed in a tin can then the urine was combined with a massive amount of super-con-

centrated grape Kool-Aid mix. Or like a melted lollipop mixed with paint thinner. Just really, really awful stuff. As for it being dangerous? Are there people out there who don’t think it’s dangerous? Lawmakers and concerned parents everywhere are worried about the impact this drink is having on “young people,” as we are usually referred to. However, we need to face it: sometimes we make dumb decisions. You make them, I make them, and I probably make more than most people at St. John’s. Why? We’re college students. On average, college students make more dumb decisions per day than anybody else in the world, save people on VH1 reality shows. I once stuck my finger in a light socket because I hadn’t before and I wanted to know what it would feel like. It felt like I stuck my finger in a light socket. I did this because I am a college student, and I periodically make dumb decisions. I love America. I believe in individual freedom, and at the risk of sounding like a hypocrite, Four Loko probably should be banned. Alcohol is inherently dangerous and is responsible for a lot of bad or stupid behavior – but it can also be enjoyed responsibly. St. John’s has alumni events that serve alcohol, wines and beers are matched to certain kinds of foods to enhance the flavors of a meal, and Jesus used to make it spontaneously generate.


10 Nov. 2010


Aesthetics slowly crippling gaming

Video games have come a long way since the days of Pac-Man, Galaga, and Space Invaders. The arcades that used to be so prevalent have become increasingly harder to find. As people migrated towards the use of home consoles for gaming, the arcade industry just couldn’t keep up. The days of pumping quarters into a machine for days just to beat one more level have passed in favor of a more engrossing, cinematic experience. In many ways, video games have advanced far beyond what we could have imagined years ago. Storytelling and graphics have become as integral to games as they are to movies. The differences between movies and games has blurred to the point where they are beginning to merge, a far cry from the games of our youth. The industry has grown and grown, and production costs for games have become astronomical in order to create unprecedented levels of immersion for the players. While these new games have translated into big sales for companies, I can’t help but feel that the true experience of gaming has failed to translate into this newer generation. I’m not opposed to a good story or high-quality graphics; I just want a game to be a game. I recently began to play through the critical and commercial hit game Batman: Arkham Asylum. The game looked amazing, the voice acting was perfect, and the story was engrossing; it was easy to see why so many had fallen in love with it. However, after only an hour of play I was compelled to put the game down. Not

The biggest problem with Four Loko is that it is designed and packaged in the worst possible way. It’s sold in huge cans, and yet has an alcohol content of 12 percent. If you drink one, it’s the equivalent of having nearly five beers, yet you’ve only consumed 24 ounces of liquid. It’s especially appealing to college students, including those who are underage, because it’s flavored like all of the things

because it wasn’t interesting, but because it wasn’t fun. The game felt more like an interactive movie than a game; all I needed to do was press a few buttons to keep the story going. The game was hardly a challenge, and seemed more like pressing the play button on a remote than actually playing a game. I still cannot believe the overwhelmingly positive reception that the game received, although I have come to understand it. The industry has changed, and traditional games are going the way of the dodo bird. Somewhere along the way, I’ve become increasingly disenchanted with gaming. In the late 1990’s, Final Fantasy VII changed videogames forever. The game’s gorgeous cinematic cut scenes, epic storyline, and endearing characters became the standard by which all other games were judged. This game is a favorite of many, including myself. I love this game, but I loathe what it did to the industry. I don’t have anything against games having storylines; I just think that the industry is becoming far too concerned with the aesthetics of games and forgetting to make them fun. Games have lost the sense of timelessness that once surrounded them. Super Mario Bros. and Pac-Man are just as playable today as they were twenty years ago, but games from just a few years ago are already forgotten and discarded. Movies are great, but I want a game to be a game. I love that games have stories and can rival the experience of big-time Hollywood productions. But no matter what, I don’t want games to lose the experience that makes them such a unique form of entertainment. If the future of gaming strays too far from its origins, an entire industry will become nothing more than a Hollywood knock-off. Mark McDonald is a junior business major. He can be reached at:

Alcohol is inherently dangerous and is responsible for a lot of bad or stupid behavior – but it can also be enjoyed responsibly.

that only a few years before was the only way for us to get buzzed – a sugar high from candy. Fruit punch, orange, grape – it’s like a bag of Skittles in a can. It plays on our nostalgia for childhood but also satisfies our desire to be grown up. When you associate drinking alcohol with being grown up and mix that with immaturity, well, I hate to agree with the politicians on this one, but you have

a drink that is truly too dangerous to be on the market. It’s that simple. Of course, if politicians actually cared about our safety, they would either raise the drinking age or take down the legal limit of alcohol you are allowed to drink before driving, which has been proven in various countries to cut down on drunk driving. But the fact is the alcohol industry has a lot of cultural influence and is a moneymaking machine, and it can be enjoyed responsibly (a reminder from St. John’s: if you’re old enough, enjoy it off-campus). I never thought I would be somebody promoting the removal of an alcoholic beverage from bars and stores, but Four Loko and drinks like it are dangerous. If drinking one is a bad decision, drinking two is just downright stupid. And trust me, I know stupid. I once snorted orange Gatorade mix off the hood of a dirty car. My first concert was Savage Garden. I used a bottle of bleach to do my first load of laundry. I paid money to go see The Happening. I ate at Montgoris every day for two years. If that doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what will.

Jeffrey Gilbert is a senior. He can be reached at:

Think Outside...





Ozanam Program brings change through service MELISSA MCGRATH Contributing Writer

St. John’s students hear a lot about the Vincentian mission and how it is important to reflect on service and give back to the less fortunate. But for the Ozanam Scholars, they are encouraged to live this mission loud and proud. The Ozanam Program exemplifies the University mission to serve the global community by upholding the three fundamental values: scholarly research, Vincentian service and global citizenship. Each student takes on a social justice minor regardless of their field of study and come together in community to discuss major world problems through reflection at all stages of their college career, whether at weekly conferences, through reflection papers or research for their Capstone project in their senior year. Because the youth of our generation is encouraged to combat devastating problems such as poverty, homelessness, lack of health care, and sustainability, the Ozanam Program is important in today’s world. What is different about this program is that it is focused on the future and implementing change that is lasting to the community. Ozanam is not just about serving in a soup kitchen or running a clothing drive. It is about getting to the root of the problem, developing solutions to it, and then eradicating the effects of the issue. As an Ozanam Scholar, each student is assigned a certain service site, ranging from St. John’s Bread and Life Project I.D., created by the Ozanam Scholars, After School All Stars, Gear Up, Jumpstart and Little Sisters of the Assumption, all of which help to develop students as leaders for social action. Ozanam Scholars do research as they

work on the sites and take a look at the world at large. Using the research they gather, students choose an area of concentration and begin to develop programs or initiatives that challenge the issues society faces. A prime example of this is Eugenia Soldatos, the creator of Project Identity at St. John’s Bread and Life. “I originally worked at Bread and Life helping with a voter registration drive. What I found strange was that many of the participants were eager to find out when their voter registration card was coming in the mail,” said Soldatos. “When I asked, I found out that it was because they had little or no other identification. I wanted to change the world as an Ozanam.” Soldatos feels that this program was fundamental because, not only did it supply people with vital needs, but it also validated their dignity and worth by building relationships with the clients on a personal level. Erin Chen, a freshman international student from China, was attracted to the program because of the guaranteed opportunity to experience the world by studying abroad and also appreciated the concentration on Vincentian service because it gave her a chance to grow as a person. Chen was assigned to Project ID, where scholars assist low income or homeless persons of NYC obtain much needed documents like birth certificates and non-drivers ID’s. She feels that Project ID helps the needy because the scholars help ease the pressure on those who need ID by assisting them with the process and alleviating any of their fears about cost. “If I had to go through the application process by myself, I would be scared and confused,” said Chen. “Also, it is important because many of these people can’t afford it. Many of these people come from shelters or just got out of prison or are finally getting their lives back together.”


From Bread and Life to Jumpstart, Ozanam scholars impact the community.

Overall, Ozanam has a large impact on society because of its widerange of service. “It’s important because there are so many people here that care,” Chen says about the Ozanam program. Another freshman, Jessica Cole, works with elementary school-children in Jumpstart and says that it is fundamental because they motivate and inspire students to do well in school by “being positive role models.”

“It gives parents the few hours they have [after work] to spend quality time with their children and not on homework,” says Cole concerning the importance of the program. “It’s a big commitment, but it’s totally worth it [when we realize] that without us, they wouldn’t be getting the help they need.” The Ozanam Program is making strides by giving scholars not only an academic challenge, but an opportunity, to get involved with the world at large.

The Hospitality Management Organization will hold a bake sale from November 15 through 17. CAROLYN WARGULA Features Editor

a coach, so it is useful,” said Langer. The organization enjoys the diverse amount of majors involved in the organization. Students come together, share their various talents, delegating what they are good at and work towards that goal. As for finding jobs as a hospitality major or just working in general, Langer offers two bits of advice – network and sell your good points to companies. “Get out there and talk to people,” said Langer. “Don’t be afraid to wear a suit and tie and talk to an executive. That’s how I got my job and that’s how I will in the future.” While a well developed resume always helps, knowing your strengths and emphasizing it in the interview is also important in order to land the job. “Sell yourself when you’re at the interview. Look the part, act the part, and you’ve got to get out there and talk to people,” said Langer. From 15 to 17, the Hospitality Management Organization will have a bake sale during lunch and dinner hours in Marillac cafeteria and D’Angelo’s first floor. The homemade pretzels will be made by Chef Joe and others with culinary degrees.


members, and talk about what is available in hospitality management during group meetings. Currently, the organization is working with LaGuardia airport’s Delta terminal which offers hospitality management jobs as restaurant workers and staff. “Hospitality is very labor intensive. They need people all the time,” said Langer. “The people involved in this club are very busy, working night jobs and going to school full-time. I work two jobs and I’m not the only one.” Although most students involved in the organization are Hospitality Management majors, the group does not require this major to be part of the club. Hospitality Management Organization has members who are education, business, advertising, and even psychology majors who are interested in the hospitality field. Langer agrees that even other degrees such as advertising and psychology have a lot to offer in hospitality management. “Even with a degree like psychology, you can do a lot with management. Psychology is about talking to people. I can’t emphasize about how many times working as a cook for five years I would always talk to people, sometimes as a therapist or

10 Nov. 2010

The Hospitality Management Organization at St. John’s University received an award as the Best Academic Organization of the year at the end of the Spring 2010 semester. Senior and current president of the organization, Christopher Langer, has rebuilt the group from scratch, hoping to give guidance to students involved in the major as well as other students interested in hospitality management. From November 15 through 17, the Hospitality Management Organization will have a bake sale in Marillac and D’Angelo to raise funds for upcoming events. When Langer and a classmate joined the organization in the spring of 2010, there were only two active members – the president and the treasurer. Under their guidance, Langer and his friend began talking to students on campus, passing out flyers, speaking in classes and revamping the organization’s Facebook page to gain further support. Less than a semester later, the organization has over 45 members, some who are not even involved in the major.

“We’re very proud of it,” said Langer. “We wanted to see what we could do next.” The goals of the organization consist of offering advice to hospitality management majors and furthering their knowledge and involvement in the field. Hospitality management has many different categories from hotel to restaurant management, to travel, tourism, entertainment and resort businesses. With so many options to choose from, students can feel a bit overwhelmed when defining their career path. “A lot of students in the major take very broad classes and don’t know what they can do towards their major. The idea is to get people from different facets of management and help give some guidance,” said Langer. In December, the organization plans to host a “Hospitality Hiring” event to help students not only learn more about the industry, but also help them find parttime and full-time jobs while they are in school. The organization hears from numerous companies and businesses especially in the local area, and helps students find jobs. They hear from businesses about job openings, accept resumes from


Helping students define their career path in hospitality management


Staff Writer




College life leaves us facing two problems: the empty stomach and the much emptier wallet. The dining halls can only go so far to keep us satisfied, especially when the food variety is so limited. Since most students have not yet reached the point in their lives where they have disposable incomes, eating out usually lays a heavy burden on microscopic budgets. But wait, there is hope. In an effort to remedy the non-junk food deprivation a majority of us suffer, here is a list of places that offer $10-and-under delicious food bargains.

QUEENS TEX-MEX: Frescos Tortilleria [Forrest Hills, 116-32 Queens Blvd.] PHOTO COURTESY OF SOCIALROOTS

It’s just two stops away from school on the INDIAN: Jackson Diner F train and offers a much tastier alternative [Jackson Heights, 74th St. btwn. 37th and to Yummy Taco. For $5, you can get one of Roosevelt Ave.] their overly filling triple decker quesadillas. Just take the F to 71st-Continental. Don’t be fooled by the word diner. This restaurant is anything but a boring old burger and fries joint. This restaurant has some of the best Indian food in the boroughs. Plus, who can beat an all you can eat Indian food lunch buffet for $9.95? Just take the E train towards Manhattan to Roosevelt Ave and walk two blocks.


DINER: Mike’s Diner [Astoria, 22-37 31st St. btwn. Ditmars Blvd. and 23rd Ave.]

Open 24 hours. Cheap. Delicious. Need more be said? Mike’s is exactly what a college student who wants good food and a great place to study or hang out with friends all night needs. A massive burger and fries will only set you back $7. The staff doesn’t give dirty looks for students hanging around the place all day after getting a cup of coffee.

MANHATTAN MOROCCAN: Bab Marrakech [10th Ave. btwn. 47th St. and 48th St.] PHOTO COURTESY OF VILLAGE VOICE

10 Nov. 2010


MEXICAN: Pinche Taqueria [Mott St. btwn. Spring St. and Prince St.]

PHOTO COURTESY OF FOODIESRGOODIES It’s not much of a sit-down place, but for a $5 sandwich or $10 for lamb, rice and a SOUL FOOD: Manna’s [125th St. at Madison Ave.] salad, whose to complain?

Half the menu is under $3: tacos, rice, beans, chips, guacamole…the list goes on. The food is geared more towards Mexican street food, so it’s perfect for a quick bite on a busy afternoon in Manhattan.

$4.95 for a pound of amazing fried chicken and biscuits. Rich and filling food that will definitely not leave you hungry.

COFFEE: While not exactly food, coffee is a definite staple for a majority of us. Here is a


list of some of the best coffee places in the Manhattan area.

Bluebird Coffee Shop 1st St at 2nd Ave.

Porto Rico Importing Co. Bleecker St. at 6th Ave.

Kaffe 1668 Greenwich St.

La Esquina Kenmare St. btwn. Cleveland Place and Lafayette

Eisenberg’s Sandwich Shop 5th Ave. btwn. 22nd and 23rd St.

Jumbo Pizza Coffee Shop Amsterdam Ave. btwn. 107th and 108th

Bus Stop Broadway at 135th St.

Cup & Saucer Canal St. at Eldridge St.

Veselka 2nd Ave at 9th St.


A Toast To The Fantasy Inferno gives a teaser review of Mr. West’s most anticipated album Pg. 14



The Sabor of El Salvador




l Nuevo Izalco, a Salvadorian restaurant in Woodside, Queens doesn’t appear to be more than another ethnic restaurant on the culturally rich Roosevelt Avenue, but as you step inside, it offers a cozy atmosphere you would find anywhere in El Salvador. You could walk past it and miss it. With all the various restaurants found near it, one could easily just go for the flashy Mexican restaurant, or the 13Columbian joint down the block. As one peers through the glass window, you can see the little pops of color, and a flag of white and bright blue. Inside, there are paintings of vibrant flowered sceneries, and even a rustic Spanish roof tile on top of the cashier. Trinkets of all sorts adorn each wall, filling the room of what is Central America. Families that come from both near and far fill the wooden tables with various large plates. There usually is no wait to be seated, and the waiter lets you decide where you would like to sit. The typical wait for food really depends on what you order, but varies from 5-15 minutes. As one waits, there are televisions playing some sort of Spanish news or variety show. They offer water and soft

drinks, but also have some specialties of Central America as well. “Aguas Frescas” are juices that are made fresh from natural ingredients. These include Horchata (which is made of morro seeds, cocoa, cinnamon, and other items), Jamaica (which is made of hibiscus flower) and Tamarindo (made of Tamarind). Now it’s time to experience the richness in flavor. First and foremost, you have to start with appetizers. Out of the seven offered, the best choice would have to be the Salpicon with fresh corn tortillas. The mixture of shredded beef with a slight lime flavor combined with the oregano and onion creates a delicious fresh taste, combined with the warm tortillas that melt in your mouth. They also have a variety of seafood appetizers, but most exotically, a shark cocktail, or “Ceviche de Tiburon.” There’s a wide selection of meats, seafood, or chicken to choose from, all served with warm white rice, crispy salad and fried beans. The meats have marinade sauces that are packed with sizzling flavor and are grilled to perfection. The best part of all are the national dishes, or the “platos tipicos.” A “Tamal de Elote” is a deep-fried corn tamale served with cream. It is wrapped within a corn husk, so as you open it, the steam is released, containing the drool-inducing tamale. Another option is the “Atole de Elote,” a thick drink made of corn that is normally eaten with a spoon.

Last, but certainly not least, is the dish of the Salvadorian people. This dish is called a “pupusa.” Pupusas are commonly found in Salvadorian restaurants, but are not always cooked correctly. When prepared the proper way, you should find yourself eating a scrumptious mixture of cheese, pork cracklings, or beans within a thick handmade corn tortilla. Pupusas are served with a cabbage clow with vinegar and red

chili peppers, and a tomato salsa. This is what brings most people to El Izalco Nuevo. Their pupusas are always hot, fresh, and not greasy. El Izalco Nuevo definitely brings Central America to New York. With its authentic flavors and its warm, homey atmosphere, it is the perfect place to go if your taste buds crave a unique Latino experience.


Pupusas are an El Salvadorian favorite that bring an explosion of Latin flavor together with cheese, pork, peppers, beans and salsa in a tortilla.


KANYE WEST My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (Rap) 1/2 OUT OF 4 STARS


Other songs on the album such as “Monster” and “Devil in a New Dress” have been released every Friday, aptly called “G.O.O.D. Fridays” after his record label G.O.O.D. Music, which stands for Getting Out Our Dreams. wThe track, “Monster” that features Rick Ross, Jay-Z and female rap sensation Nicki Minaj give the album hardcore appeal. Throughout the entire album, listeners are put into West’s life.Between his situation with Taylor Swift, his breakup with former model girlfriend Amber Rose and the bad publicity he occasionally receives, fans feel every emotion embedded in the album. “Lost in a World” starts off with a smooth melody that allows West

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nown for his infamous lyrics and unique swag, Kanye West returns with another album. We all know it’s been awhile since West has been in the limelight because of his incident with Taylor Swift at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. However, everything has been put to rest and he’s amazed us once again with the album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy to be released Nov. 22. West brings hip-hop together with the help of artists such as Swizz Beats, Pusha T, Dwele, Kid Cudi, Rihanna, Alicia Keys, Elton John and many others. The rapper teased fans with snippets of the album’s tracks in his short film entitled Runaway.


opening for Lady Gaga’s grandoise “Monster Ball” tour earlier this year, CuDi’s walk of fame was solidified. However, as MOTM II would detail, all that success could create moments of depression,sometimes even a small addiction. The neo-psychedelic journey begins with the dark and 80s-induced “Scott Mescudi Vs. The World.” With the soulful voice by popular artist Cee-Lo Green, it is here that Cudi sets the stage for the legend of Mr. Rager, a man possessed by his troubled reality while enduring the pain of his past. “Lost all my friends, maybe they were never meant to be acquainted/ Money seems to make everything tainted..”

Contributing Writer

to tell a story. The song provides insight on how he feels about the world with metaphors that will have listeners thinking. “Blame Game,” another song on the album, features singer John Legend, offers a mellow beat similar to the popular single “Runaway” with his lyrics placing blame on other people. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is not much different from what is expected of West, but the musical style is more inspiring. Listening to the album from start to finish, fans will hear West delivering his word on an entirely new level. He doesn’t just deliver hip-hop; he incorporates different elements of music like a true artist. West also brings an evident passion with verbal paintings that prompt new perspectives of the world around us. West is back and he has proven with this album that he will never be stopped.

10 Nov. 2010


he term “emotional wreck” is one of the best ways to describe the man known as Scott Mescudi. After dropping his seminal debut last year, Man On the Moon: The End of Day, G.O.O.D. Music artist and Cleveland native KiD CuDi looks to repeat his success with his latest sophomore sequel entitled, Man On the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager. After months of being in the spotlight, it seemed as if Cudi was on top of the world. From being featured on tracks with the likes of Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg and Shakira, to gaining a starring role in the popular new HBO series How to Make it in America, along with




With production brought forth by Cudi himself, Kanye West, Chuck Inglish (of The Cool Kids), Jim Jonsin, among others, MOTM II exhibits CuDi wearing his heart on his sleeve by providing an album that is emotionally driven, almost synonymous to an open letter to his fans. Although it presents a pervasive feeling of darkness most notably on tracks like “Maniac,” “Wylin Cause I’m Young,” and “Mr. Rager,” it doesn’t quite take away from its overall effectiveness. Grammyaward winning R&B songstress, Mary J. Blige lends her best vocals on noteworthy tracks such as “These Worries” and “Don’t Play this Song,” which touch on certain depression issues, especially on the latter where CuDi dives into great detail about his previous cocaine addiction. Overall,KiDCuDi presents a fascinating body of work in MOTM II by offering a gripping tale of raw emotion, while leaving listeners to wonder if the man/rapper will ever be happy.




Singing acapella versions of popular songs may have started out as just a hobby, but for Las Vegas native Erika David, YouTube has become the launching pad for her musical career. Look up her account and you will find that over 29 million people have clicked on her videos just to listen to her sweet and soulful R&B voice repeatedly. David was raised by two conservative Filipino parents who she says “are more supportive now than before.” She began to perform at family parties as a little girl for fun and did not even contemplate a professional singing career until she joined choir throughout her elementary and high school years, even winning various talent shows. Now, David finds her schedule packed with performances in cities throughout the country, such as New York, Houston, Los Angeles and even abroad in Sydney, Australia. She even manages to take college courses online. After posting videos of herself singing songs from the likes of Ne-Yo, Alicia Keys and Taylor Swift at the behest of her friends, David eventually gained a strong following. Her popularity even led to winning the Colgate MixFresh singing competition that allowed her to work with one of the music industry’s most esteemed R&B producers, Bryan Michael Cox, who is known for writing songs for Danity Kane, Chris Brown and P. Diddy. In December 2009, David even got the chance to perform at Z100’s All Access Lounge, sharing the stage with artists like Lady Gaga, Brandy and Secondhand Serenade. “YouTube is the greatest outlet ever,” David said in an interview with the Inferno. Nowadays, viewers can see her remix some popular hits by writing her own lyrics, inspired by the pangs of love and romance. “The beat of a song first attracts me then the words just flow,” David said of her songwriting process. Although the lyricist claims that most of her songs do not come from personal experience, she has fun coming up with concepts and telling a story through music. Fans can definitely expect an album within the coming year. The best advice she ever received about her singing career? “Bryan told me that this is only the beginning,” David said. “Once I do get in the game, stay humble.” Following her Twitter and meeting her in person is evidence that David is committed to that statement. No matter how many hits on YouTube she gets, David manages to keep her feet grounded, even as her career ascends to greater heights.


10 Nov. 2010


ouTube has become an online Hollywood for many musicians, comedians and how-to gurus. It has created its own community of celebrities that have transformed regular people into recognizable personalities. The bottom line: anyone can be a star, if done right. Inferno brings you two artists from the ‘Tube who are worth the hits and then some.


Erika David has worked with heavyweight R&B producer, Bryan Michael Cox, who told her to never let the fame get to her head.


Timothy De La Ghetto posted random videos on YouTube and used his comedic talent to gain a massive following.


our parents may not approve of his vulgar language or his outrageous antics, but rest assured, your friends probably think he is downright hilarious. Timothy De La Ghetto, also known as Traphik, is the self-proclaimed Renaissance man: a rapper, filmmaker, blogger and in some cases, a love guru. Inspired by Will Smith in his Fresh Prince of Bel Air days, De La Ghetto coined his YouTube persona from “Raphael De La Ghetto,” the poet that Smith portrays in one of the episodes. His rapper name was born from De La Ghetto’s “showstopper” mentality, who literally creates traffic online. De La Ghetto has come a long way from his first video (which was originally posted on the fizzled out social networking site MySpace) of girls dancing to the song “Laffy Taffy.” An audience began to build and the video was eventually flagged, but it did not stop him from entertaining. Nearly five years later, De La Ghetto is making parodies of High School Musical as a full-length feature and singing love songs to Disney star Selena Gomez. With a Q&A series entitled “Dear De La Ghetto,” combined with his random vlogs (video blogs) about pop culture and current issues, De La Ghetto is anything but boring. “I always enjoyed making people laugh,” De La Ghetto said in an interview with the Inferno. “It’s my reason for existence. Comedy is my passion.” His YouTube popularity has enabled him to travel all over the country to do guest appearances and collaborate with other musical artists, who he met through the Internet. It has even caused a riot. His recent meet-and-greet with fans this past summer in New York was shut down by police twice after De La Ghetto attempted to gather his followers in Bryant Park and then in Central Park. He has even been stalked by a fan into the bathroom, but still encourages those who recognize him to say hi. “My parents knew since I was little that I wanted to be famous,” De La Ghetto said. “Before, they would see me editing videos at 4 a.m. and tell me to go to sleep.” But now that YouTube has become an outlet of great opportunities for De La Ghetto, he aspires to be successful “to a point where people would light candles on the anniversary of my death.” His Thai culture has made him especially popular with the Asian community. “When I see a group of Asians, I tell myself, ‘brace yourself.” However, his creativity and uniqueness has garnered harsh critics as well. De La Ghetto admits that in the beginning, the negativity affected his feelings but he soon realized that many people wasted their time leaving senseless hate comments. Regardless, De La Ghetto has become a YouTube sensation with over 28 million channel views. When asked how he generates so many hits, he responded: “People ask me how to get more views on YouTube, but the only thing I can tell ’em is what camera to use. You either have it or you don’t.” And Timothy De La Ghetto definitely has it. Whether attempting to sing like Bruno Mars or creating videos about nosy Asian parents, give him a topic and he will turn it into entertainment. His advice to those aspiring to follow in his footsteps is commitment and persistence. “If you’re in it, you gotta be in it.”

TORCHCOMICS 10 November 2010

Kitaro Jennifer Perez

The Adventures of Rufus James Kerigan

Elevator Man Jordan Baum

Pam’s World

Michelle Alerte


Johnnies eastbound and down Men’s Soccer team falls in first round of conference tourney BILL SAN ANTONIO Sports Editor The St. John’s men’s soccer team’s streak of six straight shutouts was snapped last Wednesday by Marquette in the first round of the Big East Tournament, as well as its opportunity to defend its Big East Tournament title.






The Johnnies went 628:26 without allowing a goal, but allowed three against Marquette, and fell to the Golden Eagles 3-1 in front of 988 fans at Belson Stadium. Freshman goalkeeper Rafael Diaz came within 45:07 of tying the school record shutout record set by Jason Landers in 2006. “Marquette played very well tonight in what was an exciting soccer game,” said head coach Dave Masur. “We’re disappointed with the result, but I thought we did well to battle back and even the score and continue to create good chances from there.” The Red Storm fell behind early when Marquette’s Calum Mallace found Amilcar Herrera for the Golden Eagles’ first goal, following a throwin from Michael Alfano. The Golden Eagles put pressure on the St. John’s defense throughout the offensive pos-

session, forcing two straight corner kicks and the throw-in. St. John’s answered right back, drawing corner kicks in the 15th, 16th, and 17th minutes, but was unable to even the score. In the 42nd minute, St. John’s tied it, as sophomore forward Omar Edwards tore through the Marquette defense and fired a rising shot that hit the crossbar. Junior forward Walter Hines collected the rebound and ripped a shot that found the back of the net. St. John’s took four shots on goal in the first half but had only the three early corner kicks. Both teams had one final scoring chance before the half, as Diaz stopped a shot by TeeJay East in the final minute before the half and redshirt freshman midfielder Jimmy Mulligan sent a shot wide as the half ended. Diaz made five saves in the game. Marquette tested Diaz just 18 seconds into the second half and again in the 57th minute, but finally broke through in the 77th minute when Anthony Colaizzi fielded a loose ball and beat the St. John’s keeper from 15 yards out. Mallace added another goal three minutes later from 20 yards out to make the score 3-1. St. John’s had multiple chances in the 60th, 63rd, 64th, and 70th minutes, but couldn’t capitalize. The Red Storm took five shots in the second half, all of which were stopped by Marquette goalkeeper David Check. St. John’s will have to earn an atlarge bid to the 48-team NCAA Tournament. The NCAA selection show, TORCH PHOTO/JUSTIN THRIFT televised by ESPN, is scheduled for Junior Walter Hines scored the lone St. John’s goal against Marquette. Nov. 15 at 4:30 p.m.

Pasciolla, Russell named to All-Big East teams

Nicole Pasciolla made an All-Big East team for the fourth time in her career. Pasciolla, a Ridge Park, N.J. native, had been a major component of the women’s soccer team’s midfield through-

out her career, starting 77 of the 78 games she appeared in. She was also a 2009 CoSIDA ESPN The Magazine

Academic All-District First Team nominee in addition to being a 2008 NSCAA/adidas Scholar All-East Region selection.



Two members of the St. John’s women’s soccer team were honored last Thursday at the annual Big East Awards dinner, where senior midfielder Nicola Pasciolla and junior goalkeeper Kristin Russell were named to the conference’s All-Big East teams. Pasciolla made an all-conference team for the fourth time in her career, earning a spot on the All-Big East Second Team. Russell was named to the All-Big East Third Team after earning two Big East Honor Roll mentions during the regular season. Together, they helped anchor a Red Storm defense that posted seven shutouts during the regular season.

As a rookie, she was named to the Freshman All-America Fourth team. Russell has posted 27 shutouts in her St. John’s career and has made 253 total saves. She set a program record for career shutouts late last season and holds a career record of 26-21-8. A James Madison University/Comfort Inn Invitational All-Tournament selection back in Sept., Russell was an All-Big East Honorable Mention selectee following her freshman campaign in 2008. Notre Dame’s Melissa Henderson was named Big East Player of the Year, while a pair of Marquette Golden Eagles, Kerry McBride and Natalie Kulla, won Defensive Player of the Year award and Goalkeeper of the Year, respectively. Rookie of the Year went to Louisville’s Christine Exeter.

10 Nov. 2010




Welcome to the jungle Lavin era begins with exhibition rout of Division-III Westmont MIKE CUNNIFF Staff Writer


The names on the back of the jerseys were the same, but everything else about the St. John’s basketball team looked different in their 100-42 drubbing of Division-III Westmont Saturday at Carnesecca Arena.





Despite having four of last year’s starting five available, head coach Steve Lavin’s starting lineup in his unofficial debut featured three new starters, including freshman forward Dwayne Polee, senior guard Dwight Hardy and senior forward Justin Brownlee in addition to returning starters D.J. Kennedy and Malik Boothe. The new small-ball lineup, with three guards and no true post presence, got off to a flying start, hitting its first seven shots and racing out to a 16-0 lead to open the game. After playing almost exclusively man-to-man on defense all of last year, the Red Storm displayed a 2-2-1 three quarter-court press after made baskets, and a 2-3 matchup zone for most of the night. It worked well against Westmont, who committed 27 turnovers and shot just 33 percent from the field. “I feel like the zone is great for us,” said Kennedy. “We’re athletic; we cover almost every spot on the floor with the zone and stop people from penetrating into the middle so I definitely feel like it’s to our advantage.” Many players played different roles than fans were accustomed to last year.

Kennedy, the Johnnies’ leading scorer last year, played the role of playmaker for the most part. He scored 10 points on just three shots and dished out six assists with no turnovers. “I just go into the game and see how we’re built, see what the defense gives me and see the pace of the game,” he said. “Today, that’s what the defense gave me: a lot of playmaking from me and Dwight [Hardy] both. As you can see firsthand, we don’t even have to score as much. We just need to know our teammates can ball.” Hardy finished the game with 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting in 23 minutes. He logged significant time at the point guard position when he was paired in the backcourt with senior guard Paris Horne, a combination that was hardly ever on the floor at the same time last year. “I was comfortable (at the point),” said Hardy. “They worked with me throughout the whole summer on ball-handling and being able to run the team at the point guard position. Once Coach Lav initiated me at the point I just went right to it and did what I do best.” Hardy, who started only two games last season, has emerged in the preseason along with Kennedy. Although the two ceded the spotlight for much of the night to players like Brownlee and Polee, their efforts were not lost on Lavin. “I liked the fact that Dwight Hardy and D.J. Kennedy, two players who are clearly going to be very productive and go-to weapons for us, had a quiet night in the first half but didn’t force anything,” said Lavin. “They kept their poise, did other things to help us, and they contributed with their passing, their screening, and most importantly, didn’t let [adversity] bother them.” After committing three early turnovers, Brownlee settled down and finished the game as the Johnnies’ leading scorer with 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting in 23 minutes. Polee and Horne


Senior forward Justin Brownlee led the Red Storm in scoring against Westmont, scoring 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting. finished with 12 each as five players finished in double figures, while Boothe recorded nine points and 12 assists. Two top-tier recruits were watching the game on official visits to the St. John’s campus. Norvel Pelle and Amir Garrett, the 19th and 51st-ranked recruits in the class of 2011 according to Rivals, sat behind the St. John’s

bench. The student sections alternated chants of “We want Garrett” with “We want Pelle” in an effort to woo the future stars to Queens. Both have St. John’s in their final two schools. St. John’s opens the season on Nov. 15 at 2 a.m. against St. Mary’s as part of ESPN’s 24-hour college basketball tip-off.


10 Nov. 2010

Lavin accomplishing program goals even before season starts At last week’s St. John’s Media Day, head coach Steve Lavin marveled at the major improvement he’d seen in seniors Justin Brownlee and Dwight Hardy, and said that, of his players, they were the ones to look out for as the season gets underway. Neither disappointed in Lavin’s debut Saturday, as each recorded double-digit points in the Red Storm’s 100-42 rout of Division-III Westmont. What’s more, each played to his own strengths, as Hardy scored 15 points on the back of his sharpshooting, going 6-of-10 from the field and 3-of-5 from 3-point range. Brownlee continued creating matchup problems playing a bigger small forward’s wellrounded offensive role, leading the team with 18 points. So add that to the list of predictions Lavin’s aced so far.

Since taking over as head coach of the men’s basketball program, Lavin said he’d bring excitement to Queens, and his team drew nearly 2,800 fans for an exhibition game. Check. He said he’d bring in big-time recruits, and so far he has signed five ESPNU Top 100 players for the Class of 2011—with two more having made their official visits to the school Saturday. Check. He also said he’d make this

program a winner again, which could only be done if the first two things had been accomplished. Time will tell if that prediction proves true, too—and it won’t be seen until long after this season. Even though the regular season hasn’t yet started for the Johnnies, many think Lavin was the only piece missing from a potential NCAA Tournament berth. At the same time, Yahoo!’s college basketball blog, The Dagger, predicted Monday that of the three New York-area teams with new head coaches, only Seton Hall would make the Big Dance. I have been pretty skeptical of Lavin’s ability to make a dramatic impact on this year’s team, a senior-heavy club that had logged extensive minutes since the players were fresh-

men. I doubt whether a team so comfortable with each other could learn a new style of play and still keep its cohesiveness. After all, Lavin also said at Media Day that the team had to cut down on its turnovers, increase its free throw percentage, and take better shots. Those aren’t necessarily things that can be fixed in one offseason, nor can they really be fixed with new drills and a more focused attention to technique. The task isn’t impossible, and Lavin certainly has the credentials to make the goal seem more than plausible, but it is quite the task nonetheless. The best barometer of Lavin’s impact on the 2010-11 men’s basketball team is if he leads it to the NCAA Tournament, and while that’s the case every season, it would be a testa-

ment to Lavin’s coaching ability if he accomplished the goal with a group of guys he only started coaching just a few months before the season started—a group that finished last season 13th in the Big East—while at the same time securing the future of the program by continuing his strong recruiting. You want a better litmus test of Lavin’s impact on St. John’s basketball? Watch the team next year. Watch how they are the year after that. See how the program fares when the last bit of the Norm Roberts era has left Carnesecca Arena for good and the Lavin era really begins. And if things work out as well then as they have so far, the bigger goals Lavin has in mind—the ones involving National Championships—may be plausible too.






Leavin’ their Mark Homer with strong finish at World Champs St. John’s junior Daryl Homer led all U.S. men’s saberists with a top16 finish at the 2010 Fencing World Championships in Paris, France. In his first match of the tournament, Homer defeated 47th-ranked Bolade Apithy of France, 15-14. In his second match, he out-dueled No. 15 Nicolas Lopez by the same score. Homer was eliminated in the Round of 16 by No. 2 Nicolas Limbach of Germany, 15-5.

Masur gives lecture Students at the St. John’s School of Law enjoyed a special opportunity last Thursday evening as men’s soccer coach Dave Masur gave a lecture on leadership, goal development, preparation and enhancing an organizational structure. The two-time National Coach of the Year discussed his coaching methods and techniques for achieving success before leading the attendees in a question and answer segment.

Big City Classic lax tix to go on sale Nov. 15


Volleyball wins on Senior Day to end final homestand of season

Can’t get enough TORCH sports? Visit our website for online exclusives.

I liked the fact that Dwight Hardy and D.J. Kennedy, two players who are clearly going to be very productive and go-to weapons for us, had a quiet night in the first half but didn’t force anything. They kept their poise, did other things to help us, and they contributed with their passing, their screening, and most importantly, didn’t let [adversity] get to them. -Men’s basketball coach Steve Lavin on Dwight Hardy and D.J. Kennedy

run to take a 19-17 lead, and they kept that lead, as they won the set 25-22. It looked as if the match was destined for a fifth set, when Georgetown led 19-16 late in the fourth set. But the Red Storm went on a 9-2 run, to close out the match with a 25-21 fourth set victory. Ramdin had eight kills and a .583 attacking percentage in the set. Although this was the Red Storm’s final home game of the 2010 season, they still have two road games remaining. They will head to Morgantown to take on West Virginia on Friday, before heading to Pittsburgh on Sunday, as the Red Storm will try to close out the 2010 season on a good note, and will attempt to qualify for the Big East Tournament.


On Sunday afternoon, St. John’s volleyball seniors Diana Banya, Kayla Motoyama and Kun Song took the court at Carnessecca Arena for the final time in their collegiate careers. But behind a solid all-around team effort led by Junior Darlene Ramdin, the Red Storm sent their seniors out on a good note, with an impressive 3-1 victory over Georgetown (25-19, 22-25, 25-22, 25-21) on Senior Day. The win is the third win in a row for St. John’s, as they improve their overall record to 18-11, and their Big East record to 5-7 after losing their first five conference games. The win also keeps their once-slim postseason hopes alive, as they attempt to qualify for a spot in the Big East tournament after a one-year hiatus.

Junior Darlene Ramdin had one of her best games of the season, as she recorded a season-high 20 kills and also had a match-high of eight blocks in the winning effort. Ramdin’s eight blocks moved her into eighth place in the all-time St. John’s career record books, as she now has 271 career blocks. Senior Diana Banya had a good Senior Day, as she had 12 kills in her Carnesecca Arena finale. Sophomore Gabriela Petkova had a match-high of 13 digs, and Freshman Korina Yee had eight digs. Junior Alyssa Bennett had 45 assists, and Anzelika Lukjanska had seven kills and eight digs. The Red Storm opened the match by committing just three attack errors in the first set, where Darlene Ramdin hit 1.000 with four kills, while Banya also had four kills en route to a 25-19 first set victory. The Red Storm couldn’t pull out the second set as they lost 25-22, but came back to win a close third set. The Red Storm trailed 6-1 early in the third set, but rallied later on with a six-point

Blowin’ in the Wind 10 Nov. 2010

MIKE GURNIS Staff Writer


Seniors ending on a high note

Inside Lacrosse announced yesterday that tickets for the 2011 Konica Minolta Big City Classic will go on sale on Monday, Nov. 15, beginning at 11 a.m. St. John’s will take on Rutgers at 1 p.m. in the annual event, this year being held on April 3, 2011, at the New Meadowlands Stadium. Tickets will range from $60 to $25, with group sale rates also available.




The men’s soccer team lost its first round game in the Big East Tournament to Marquette last week.

The volleyball team won its last home game of the season on Senior Day on Sunday.

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November 11  

November 11

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