November 30, 2015

Your Food Your Choice by Bethany Cox

Entrance of MBJ

Entrance of MBJ

MBJ is a conventional option for students as they can eat within the perimeters of the New Building and it is cheaper than the eateries outside. On average, a meal at Boston Market and the Halal truck on average would approximately cost 10 dollars. The meals, at the MBJ, are much more affordable to students ranging from 2-10 dollars. Additionally, the MBJ is convenient for students to dine since one of the cafes or the cafeteria within the building. Many do not know that we have dining cards now, which makes the process of buying MBJ meals even easier. Students can purchase food cards, which are not subject to the five dollar minimum imposed on debit cards. This option is great for those who are on a strict budget.”I think that students should receive more info about the MBJ cards through email,” said Eunice Adekoya, a Senior. In addition to providing food for the students, MBJ caters John Jay Colleges private events. They lend their services to City Tech, BMCC, and Laguardia. Their services include conference, corporate and private party catering. According to the MBJ website: Back in 1980, Michael, Burt & Johnny owned & operated a deli in Hell’s Kitchen. At the time, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, which was located just a few blocks away, was looking for a new vendor to provide dining services to their students. With no prior experience in this field, Mike, Burt; Johnny accepted the challenge and MBJ Food Services was born. The Committee on Food Services is responsible for advising the college on school food service issues. They work with the contracted food provider (MBJ) on concerns of quality service, contract compliance, menus and more. The committee includes two co-chairs, 3 members of the auxiliary board, one person from the business office, one marketing and development representative, three representatives from MBJ, two students, and two faculty members. Although the John Jay community seems well represented in this group, can two students accurately represent John Jays student body? “I don’t think that two students can speak for the student body,” said Rochelle Walker, a Junior. “Based on a survey the John Jay community is satisfied with this contractor. There was a time when we stopped using MBJ for a little while years ago, students rallied and petitioned to get them back!” said Danielle Officer, one of the Co-chairs of the committee.“There aren’t many complaints about the food at the meetings. We all have things that we don’t prefer but, we have to acknowledge that it is not easy to feed the masses”. “I don’t have many complaints about the Grilled food, sandwiches, and pizza,” says Deandra Williams, a Senior. A majority of the complaints were about the hot food station. “Its always a hit or miss,” said Williams. “I’ve had stuff there that I really didn’t like, paid for it and in the end I couldn’t take it back because I already ate some. I don’t think MBJ has a return or satisfaction policy.” So the question is how do we give out feedback to MBJ? “MBJ is very good at taking advice,” says Officer. “One student complained that there wasn’t enough seasoning in the food so MBJ bought a spice rack.” Not only do students want to give negative feedback, but also their positive feedback as well. “The ribs are great, I wish we had them more often,” says Rochelle. Students want to know how to tell them what we enjoy so that MBJ can prepare it more frequently. You can also voice concerns and give feedback at You can call at 212-484-1335 or 212-582-1629. You can ask for Christina Rugoso or Aldana Vasques in person or over the phone. You can even Email them at There is an office right at the entrance of MBJ. “If you have any issues feel free to speak with someone from MBJ. They are open to suggestions,” says Officer. MBJ started at our school over 30 years ago. As our school improves and becomes more diverse, the student body should encourage and help MBJ to do the same. Please voice your concerns as it will help MBJ serve the Bloodhound family better.

A HIGHer Education

By Mai Reyes

Contributing Writer

By: Daysha McNair Popular caffeinated beverages.

By: Daysha McNair
Popular caffeinated beverages.

It’s finals week, and the end of the semester is upon us. Students aim to end the academic year on a high note, both figuratively and literally.

Many John Jay students—as well as many college students—who wish to remain on track with the stack of final exams, papers, presentations, and the other requirements at the end of the semester do just that. To perform better in spite of the stress and anxiety, their remedies consist of a cup of Starbucks, a Red Bull, a pop of Adderall, or worse, a combination of all.

Drug and substance abuse remains to be a sensitive topic among many, both young and old. For some college students, it’s an under-the-table kind of thing that they may or may not be so loud about.

Three friends, Nedelin, Margaret, and Michelle were hanging out on the 6th floor lounge area during community hour. With a can of Coke in her hand, Margaret reflected on her past experiences with coping mechanisms during times like midterm season or finals week.

“From my past experiences on taking a substance to help me study, my academic results ended up as C’s,” Margaret, a Forensic Psychology major at John Jay, said. She now only drinks coffee and soda for taste and prefers not to take anything to help her study.

Nedelin, also a Forensic Psychology major, shared that she knows a friend who must take Adderall in order to attend school and focus on her studies. “She will not be able to function without it. She must be put in a separate room to take her exams because she easily gets distracted.”

Nedelin’s personal experience included being tipsy on alcohol. “I had plenty of energy to study and thought I was able to retain all information from the previous night of studying. The next day, I forgot and couldn’t remember anything when the alcohol wore off,” she said. “I would never do it again. Nothing stuck to memory after spending a whole night studying.”

Michelle, a Criminal Justice major, said, “I am in support of students taking supplements or substances to help them study, like energy drinks, but not drugs of any kind. I prefer to drink Monster, Red Bull, or coffee or any combination of them because they help my energy stay even throughout the day in order to study and have the energy to commute back and forth from New Jersey to John Jay.”

Nedelin, Margaret, and Michelle, as it turns out, share the same story with a lot more John Jay students.

A recent John Jay student survey found that 93 percent of students rely on some type of a substance or supplement as a study aid in order to meet academic demands. The high number of John Jay students who rely on these substances are at a high risk of developing an addiction and sporting a toe tag at the morgue.

Out of the 100 students surveyed, 26 percent said they use energy drinks to help them stay up while they study. 17 percent use alcohol to help them cope with stress, and 15 percent said they use other substances such as over-the-counter drugs like Stay Awake while studying. Some of the most popular supplements are Stay Awake and NoDoz. The survey also showed that 13 percent of students take prescription drugs like Adderall, Modafinil, and Ambien to help them focus and regulate sleep.

“As tasty and as helpful as caffeinated substances are, students don’t havemuch of a choice in avoiding them,” said Dominika Szybisty, a senior at John Jay. “The accessibility has both its draws and drawbacks.”

In the survey, 11 percent of students said they have used Caffeine Powder, an overlooked deadly substance. A spoonful of caffeine powder is equivalent to drinking 70 Red Bulls in one sitting.

According to experts, one should avoid having more than 600 milligrams of caffeine in one day. To put that into perspective, one grande Starbucks coffee (16 ounces) has about 330 milligrams of caffeine. A 12-ounce Diet Coke has 45 milligrams.

Because caffeine is a drug, its effects can vary from person to person depending on weight, medications, and overall health, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

“Students who juggle multiple roles can be easily drawn to substances to help them cope with stressors on a daily basis. Economic hardships, working many hours, attending to family, as well as the demands for time to study can easily lead to dependency,” said Lin Anderson, an extern at the Department of Counseling on campus.

Marijuana was preferred by 10 percent of the students to help them relax and cope with stress during exams and finals, but one percent of the students used cocaine or heroin. Several said they use a combination of these substances when the time to focus for final exams comes.

These substances alone can cause harm, and taking a combination of these can be deadly. Severe caffeine overdose can cause fast and erratic heartbeat, seizures, vomiting, diarrhea, and disorientation.

Be aware of your habits and your choices when reaching for an easy A.





Doubling Up on Intro to Literary Studies

By Deborah Guterman

Contributing Writer

By: Darya Neviarovich The course materials for a LIT 260 class.

By: Darya Neviarovich
The course materials for a LIT 260 class.


At John Jay, English major and minor requirements include LIT 260, Introduction to Literary Studies. As a prerequisite for 300 and 400 level literature classes, LIT 260 is expected to introduce a slew of topics, including poetry, plays, short stories, novels, and defining characteristics of literary genres. The English Department is now questioning whether such an ambitious class is to the students’ advantage.

“It’s a question born of a concern that LIT 260 tries to do too much and be too many things to too many people,” said literature professor Helen Kapstein at John Jay.

John Staines, professor and major advisor for the English Department, added that they’ve been “finding 260 doesn’t always give everybody the stuff that they need to succeed in the 300 level courses,” which is why the discussion exists at all.

Among other English professors, Professor Kapstein is polling students on whether their LIT 260 class felt rushed, as the Board will soon discuss whether to make the course two semesters long instead of the current single semester.

Because this decision is in its beginning stages, the logistics have yet to be worked out. But a few things seem clear: having two classes as prerequisites instead of one would add another class, another three credits’ worth of time to the English major requirements, making it a total of 39 credits instead of the current 36.

LIT 260’s role as a prerequisite would have to be looked at, especially as it applies to majors versus to minors “because it (260) is the only course required for both majors and minors, and for some students in the English major or minor. It’s the only course they’ll have in common with their peer group,” Kapstein said, emphasizing why 260 being a requirement for both majors and minors is an important quality to keep. “Clearly we want some sense of community, we want people to have some shared experience, we want them to have some shared skill-set coming through our department.”

Staines and Kapstein agree that, no matter what they do with the course, they won’t be simply spreading the existing material over two semesters. Rather, they would be dividing and supplementing the intended topics more to thoroughly teach each one.

Despite the professors’ assurance that splitting the course would not make it easier, not all English students are in favor of such a change. In fact, most English majors are vehemently against 260’s divide.

“I think it’s gonna be easier for students if it’s broken into two,” said Alexa Clifford, an upper junior at John Jay who has already completed the 260 requirement for her English BA. She agrees with what the English Department seems to intend, but “I think that’s going to be the problem,” she adds.

“The class was hard but I feel like if they continue—the school—they continue to baby their students, nobody is ever going to push themselves,” said Clifford.

“They should not do that,” agreed Alina Serkhovets, a graduating English major senior. “Since it’s a high class already, you are already at least a sophomore or a junior when you’re taking it, so you can handle the workload.”

Creating a compromise, a sophomore at John Jay, Jade Baird, said that they “have one set of people who take the course in one shot and get it over with, and…a second set of people where if they want to split the course, they can split the course. It’s up to the student to pick.” He compared his solution to high schools, where “you could take Trig for one year, or you could take it in 2 years to get ready for the regents.”

Because 260’s rushed state has been brought up to the English Department on numerous occasions, while some students are decidedly opposed to making it any more lax, clearly not all of them agree. Though a compromise like Baird’s might be the most pragmatic, the English Department will, at the end of the day, make their decision based on what they see fit, not only on students opinions but also on what they think will help students get the most out of 260, and therefore the English major or minor, as possible.

This discussion, however, is just beginning to bud.

“We haven’t committed at all as a Department to doing this,” said Kapstein.”


A Moment in Time

By Angeline Dominguez


Students at time capsule event.

By: Jeffrey Nunziato Students at time capsule event.

Students gathered around as student, Delion Diaz announced the sealing of John Jay’s first time capsule, at the Jay Walk.

Diaz couldn’t help but look at his closet and notice the massive amount of club souvenirs he kept to remind him of being a part of all these organizations and decided to give more placement value to his prized possessions rather than storing them away in a box, so he thought “ why not put them in a time capsule?”

Diaz is a current senior who hopes to graduate with a bachelors degree in International Criminal Justice, is part of John Jay’s Spirit Team committee, board of directors for the Children Center, President of International Criminal Justice (ICJ) Club, was homecoming king and also part of the United Nations Student Association.

He proposed the idea to Danielle Officer, director  of the Center for Student Involvement and Leadership (CSIL) where she excitedly agreed to Diaz’s idea.

“This was all him, this was all his idea,” said Officer and added, “the time capsule is a nice way for all the student organizations that were able to contribute to put a memento into the time capsule to represent their time here, being [part of] a student organization.”

Initially, Diaz planned for the capsule to be buried in the Jay walk but he explains “facilities liked the idea but strongly disagreed with putting it [capsule] there [on the grass area] and suggested that we put it somewhere on the Jay Walk where it could be inconspicuously displayed where everyone could see it.”

The capsule is located on the Jay Walk by the entrance of Haaren Hall, and has a walk way filled with stones leading to the capsule, surrounded by a sitting area for students to hang around in.

According to Youth Justice President, Hernan Carvente,“It doesn’t matter whether it’s [the capsule] is above ground or underground.”

Carvente having been incarcerated before, is happy and thanks Diaz for having put together the idea and also thanks his club friends for having “impacted him in a way that [they] could only imagine.”

Diaz proposed that the students return to open the capsule in ten years but Officer, jokingly replied, “You want to do this when nobody is here?”

Both Diaz and Officer agreed to reopen the capsule in five years.

“Our hope is that they’ll [students] come back several years from now as a part of maybe the reunion, to just kind of get together because it’s a common bond that all of these students share, they were all part of a student organization and that’s something that ties them together as a part of the college community,” said Officer.

Diaz emailed student organizations back in February asking that they participate and give in an item to be stored in the capsule. He feared with the low response from clubs, his idea would soon fail.

To his surprise, after gathering several students around for his speech, he thanked the 43 clubs that were able to contribute an item. He followed with an explanation of the capsule’s purpose and ended with an encouragement for the participating students to come back in the assumed five years to reopen the capsule and reunite with their fellow club members once again.

Secretary for the Habitat for Humanity Club, Marta Orellana, said, “I’m excited to come back in five years, I never thought about doing a time capsule for anything so looking back at things sometimes I don’t remember where I got the item from or what it meant to me at the time and I know that Habitat to me really means a lot, just being a part of the club and the stuff that we do. So looking back at what we are going to put in there will help bring that all those memories back.”

At officially 5:41pm on May 5,2015 the sealing of the capsule was officially begun. Students began picking up the stones from the walkway and hurriedly wrote their club names and placed the stones to lay on top of the last item that Diaz hoped to fit into the capsule, a gift for Officer. Finally Diaz placed the lid on the capsule and screwed it closed temporarily until the next day May 6, 2015 where the capsule will be completed sealed with silicone to then be reopened five years from then.

Connie Danny, Secretary of The Dreamers Club said, “I feel really happy to know that clubs participated in this because whenever they open they open this time capsule again it would be a really good experience for us to see what was there and what we did before.” Danny was then spotted tearing as the capsule was being closed.

A plaque including the date of the capsules closure followed by a quote is to be added during the summer and is currently pending approval by Officer.




By Jade Jetjomlong

Staff Writer


Photo Credit Courtesy of LGBTQ LGBTQ club executives and members and office manager of CSIL.

Photo Credit Courtesy of LGBTQ
LGBTQ club executives and members and office manager of CSIL.


 After their founding in Spring of 2013, the Lesbian, Gay, Straight, Bisexual, Transgender & Allies Student Organization has slowly been making their way through John Jay’s campus. During their first semester, president and founder Jillian Shartrand, now 22 and a graduating John Jay senior, decided that the entire month of April will be dubbed Gaypril.

“April is when flowers are coming, beauty is coming to bloom and we’re coming out in Gaypril, it’s just great,” said Samantha Acsencio, an 18 year old John Jay freshman.

According to Shartrand, Gaypril was made to promote visibility for the LGBTQ community and to educate people who aren’t informed, while also giving the LGBT community a space where they can feel free to be who they are and connect with people who share the same struggle.

“I like that my school accepts these kind of events, it makes me feel more comfortable and I feel accepted at John Jay,” stated 22-year-old graduating senior Donna Huaman. “I wasn’t into clubs or anything but I saw Gaypril last year and was like, ‘Oh, we do have an LGBT’ and because of Gaypril I found out about them and it made me more open to come out.”

For the 2nd Annual Gaypril, there were ten events held throughout campus that included, “Pride Olympics,” and “Come Out, Come Out Wherever you are?”, “Day of Silence”, and a trip to the LGBT Museum.

“Come Out, Come Out Whereever You Are?” was an on obstacle course event that stimulated students coming out of the closet through an obstacle course. The course began with obstacles representing hardships that people might face when coming out and ended with a coming out party.

“We twisted it to a positive experience instead of saying ‘Oh, this is what you have to go to’ it was like, “Congratulations you just went through all that, here’s a party for being who you are’” said Shartrand.

Gender fluid, Ascencio explains, “A dynamic mixed of male and female, some days I feel more masculine and some days I feel more feminine, some days I feel in the middle.”

Acsencio prefers to be referred to with male pronouns although he was born with female genitals and states that sexuality does not affect gender and is not an identifier.

The “Pride Olympics” was a series of mini-games such as “Gay-pardy,” which  was a mock of the Jeopardy game show where the audience had teams who had to answer LGBT related questions for team points such as “What percentage identifies as LGBT in America?” the answer being 5%.

“I went to the Jeopardy-like event and it was not only fun but engaging too. Helping LGBT students and helping students who aren’t aware but are allies and teaching important terms and history that you need to know” stated John Jay senior, John Beltran.

Shartrand stated that it was one of the most successful events of Gaypril due to it’s large crowd and success in educating.

“The Day of Silence was good ‘cause it attracts Allies, it was done on the first floor and I feel like a lot of people went and signed up real quick before going to class” said Huaman.

The Day of Silence event was for students to write a message to the school in respect of not keeping silent for those who do.

“Gaypril is a good stepping stone in John Jay for people of the LGBT community to get recognition, they’re just like everybody else getting an education. Even though we’re progressive there’s still things holding us back like the bathroom incident where there were a lot of people saying hate crimes for gays and the LGBT community,” stated Beltran who is both a member of the LGBTQ & Allies club and President of the JJ Dreamers organization.

Although Shartrand is graduating she hopes that her successors will carry the annual Gaypril torch and continue making John Jay an LGBTQ safe zone.


Walls of Hate: Vandalism Found on Campus

By Fathema Ahmed


Long known for being prevalent as a form of hip-hop culture in New York City, graffiti has been used to express one’s artistic ability and to express one’s feelings. Recently graffiti has been found on campus to express hate towards certain groups.

On March 10, Director of Public Safety, Kevin Cassidy sent out an email informing the John Jay community graffiti was found in two restrooms. The graffiti consisted of hateful words and drawings.

The next day President Jeremy Travis sent out an email updating the community on the vandalism. The email stated that the graffiti showed multiple messages consisting of anti-Semitic, racist and anti-gay messages. They were found in two restrooms and a classroom. Lynette Cook-Francis, vice president of Student Affairs had met with students on the issue.

Also, Travis said that they were in contact with the Hate Crime Unit of the New York City Police Department.

Cassidy was first informed of a swastika on a bathroom stall. Cassidy’s initial reaction was to paint over the graffiti just like any other graffiti because he believed that it was an isolated incident. A couple of days later, another swastika was found and at that point he reported it to President Travis and got in touch with the New York City Police Department’s Hate Crimes Unit.

“As things started to escalate we worked with the NYC Police Department’s Hate Crime Unit and various people here at John Jay to check to see if there were any more graffiti that was found and we asked students to report it to us,” stated Cassidy on what actions he took after the incidents.

All the incidents reported to Public Safety were reported back to the NYC Police Department’s Hate Crime Unit. The Hate Crime Unit then came in and took pictures of the different incidents, interviewed people who saw the graffiti, and did an investigation. The investigation is still ongoing since nobody has been charged yet.

“For the most part, we here at Public Safety have stepped up patrols to check out bathrooms, we’ve checked out facilities to make sure they’re checking out restrooms as well and encouraging students to report anything that they see, we’ve asked students faculty and staff to bring it to our attention, whether it’s one student or a group of students, we take it very seriously,” said Cassidy.

Besides Public Safety increasing the number of patrols, the college is also working on a bias response team that will consist of faculty and students that would look into incidents such as the graffiti on campus.

“When these kinds of incidents happen, are there enough people out there talking to the students, talking to the faculty, talking to the staff, getting feedback on how people are feeling about things and talking about the issues? It’s something many colleges have and it’s something that it’s time for us to do, it’s not only about the graffiti, it’s about anything,” said Cook-Francis on what measures the college is taking.

“My first reaction was that this was unacceptable and shocking because we’re college students and I feel like it really is affecting the whole college community. That just proves that things like racism still exist,” said Araceli Cruz, junior, on her initial reaction to the graffiti.

Some students felt that the way that the issue was handled wasn’t right. “The immediate response which was given was not considerate of students feedback as well as the administration’s response, the appropriate response was to automatically shed light on the issue so the students were aware of the issues and the administration should have created more opportunity to discuss an appropriate response for the graffiti,” said John Jay senior Hernan Carvente  referring to Cassidy’s initial response of painting over the first incident of the graffiti.

Some students felt that students could have been better informed about what happened.“Nobody even knows what the remarks made were, they kind of shadowed it by saying racist, homophobic, anti-Arab. I think when you hit students with the real actuality of the events then they will feel more like they need to do something as students to make sure hate speech doesn’t go around even more,” said Susan Abdel, sophomore.

In addition to the email sent out there was a meeting on March 26 to discuss the graffiti incidents with students. Both Vice President Lynette-Cook Francis and Director Cassidy were present at the meeting. Some concerns raised during the meeting were the first incident of the graffiti not being reported and the fact that there were also anti-Arab comments found that wasn’t reported to the campus community.

Cook-Francis addressed the issue of the anti-Arab remark not being included in the email during the meeting by pointing out that when the email was sent out, it hadn’t happened yet.

“It was totally my decision to clean it up based on the fact that we thought it was an isolated incident. We don’t know how long it’s been there, whether it’s been there a day, whether it’s been there an hour or whether it was there a year. The important thing to take away from this is the fact that we saw a pattern developing and that we decided to take action,” said Cassidy on the matter of painting over the first incident reported.


Can’t Take a Break: Students Toe the Line Between Working and Learning

By Dudline Pierre

Staff Writer

Many college students are working full time hours while having to maintain their grade point average (GPA). These students are taking an average of five classes and working up to 40 hours a week in order to meet the 120 credit requirement they need to graduate from John Jay.

In a survey conducted by the American Community Survey (ACS) it was found that nearly 4 million college students across the country worked full time for 27 to 49 weeks.

“I cried a few times,” said 22-year-old senior Rochelle Shaw.

Shaw works up to 39 hours a week, takes six classes and still manages to maintain her grades and keep focused. She explains that she has to work to survive.

“When I was in high school, I got 20 dollars a week for transportation only. I ate breakfast in the morning and dinner when I got home,” said Shaw.

Shaw says she needs her job to pay her bills and afford to eat, go out and live her life as a young adult.

Melissa Newell, 21, works 55 hours as an assistant manager and takes four classes and is on the dean’s list with a GPA of 3.85.

“It takes a lot of late nights and early mornings,” said Newell as she describes how she balances out school and work.

Although she works long shifts at work, she explains that school is always her main priority.

Tuition at a four year CUNY college for a full-time student is $6,330 while the average tuition for a private college is $31,231.

“I have bills to pay like the next man”, she said. Newell also explains that it takes a lot of perseverance and forcing herself to fulfill such obligations daily.

Because John Jay is a CUNY school, the tuition is much cheaper compared to other private colleges. It is expected that the students would be balancing work and school in order to meet essential needs.

 “That’s the normality these days,” said Darron Floyd. Floyd is a 23-year-old junior who finds that working full time and attending school full time is motivational. He works from 4am to 11am daily, and then makes it to class by the afternoon to continue with his studies.

“I just don’t want to be doing this when I get older,” said Floyd. He feels that doing both now will pay off in the future and for now, is a significant factor in becoming a mature responsible adult.

According to the U.S census bureau, in 2011, 70 to 80 percent of undergraduates students were working more than 20 hours a week.  Almost 100 percent of these students were working the whole school year, not taking a leave from work or quitting their jobs.

Narissa Mohamed, 24, also works 40 hours a week and uses a chart to keep up with life.

“Before working full time, all I did was go home and sleep because I had the time to do so,” says Narissa.

With less time to study she has more of a handle on her work and how, when and where it will get done exactly.

“It gets on my nerves but I’m grateful to work and I’ll be grateful to have my degree,” said Shaw.


Letitia James Talks Advocacy at John Jay

By Rehana Pierre


Letitia James Speaks

By: Rehana Pierre Letitia James Speaks

On April 21, 2015, John Jay hosted a discussion with New York City Public Advocate, Letitia James, in the college’s Moot Court room. The discussion was one of many current and future initiatives for John Jay’s Women in the Public Sector organization.

In a room of about 80 students, faculty, and guests, Advocate James explained her job, future legislation initiatives and her journey to becoming the first African-American woman to hold a city-wide office in NYC.

James, a CUNY Lehman College Alumni, explained that her job as Public Advocate is to be the “city’s watch dog.” She explains the Public Advocate’s office is where the citizens of New York come when they have exhausted all other avenues when dealing with unjust circumstances like unfair wages, slum landlords, and even college sexual harassment.

James explains, “I ran for office because every day New Yorkers don’t have the money for fancy attorneys.” James explained prior to the discussion she went to a hearing to advocate city ironworkers who have been the victims of wage theft from their employers.

During the event, James spoke on her involvement in the Eric Garner appeal process. She has filed an appeal to have the grand jury files reopened in order to understand better how the decision to not indict Officer Daniel Pataleo was made.

James is a graduate of Howard Law School and a former public defender. With this legal experience she drafts legislation and proposals to better assist the unrepresented in NYC. She is working on a program to help the youths aging out of the foster care system, the Priority 7 vouchers for affordable childcare and the body cameras program for the NYPD.

James said the body cameras will allow “transparency and accountability” for both police officers and civilians.

James came to John Jay to express how important it is to get women involved in the public sector. James feels like too many women are involved in “pink collar” jobs, meaning jobs that are always dominated by women and considered feminine jobs.

James encouraged women to push back on the narratives that depict women. “We can’t let someone else to hijack the narrative,” stated James. That’s why she is partnering with other politicians, such Eleanor Roosevelt, on a campaign called Why She Ran.

“Why She Ran” will tell the story of women politicians and why they decided to run for office. When asked why she ran, James answered, in the words of Shirley Chisholm “Someone had to.” In the history of the United States Senate, there have only been 46 female senators out of 1,963 total senators.

“Women hold up the sky,” explained James and that is why she feels women need to get involved in politics. Women are not represented equally in government because there is always a majority of males making decisions for women when women should be making decisions for themselves.

James highlights that it was hard for her to initially raise funds, and she has been discriminated against for being a woman, she explains she made her presence known and erased their doubts with her ability to “make things happen.”

Student Council Secretary, Grace Agalo-Os, said she felt “empowered” by James and all her efforts to change the government, economical and society structures in NYC. “The smallest things can have such a ripple effect on society,” said Agalo-Os.

James ended her discussion reminding students that’s in order to get involved, the best they can do is volunteer. She explained that volunteering is the way you can have the most effect on society.

Timur Insanally, freshman, and student council chief of staff said, “as a freshman, you feel limited and people like Advocate James remind you that you can do more.” Insanally feels that her speech reminded him, “that’s not your limit.”

A female student asked James how she gained respect in politics and she explained that all you have to do is “show them your brilliance.”

Courseload Overload

By Angeline Dominguez


In order to graduate from John Jay with a Bachelors degree, a total of 120 credits are needed. To graduate in a four year period students must take five courses for eight semesters. Taking on different courses at a time can make students feel overwhelmed.

“I feel like some professors try to give a lot of work for their class without acknowledging the fact that as a student I have multiple other classes to worry about,” said Sade Amour Mirabal, a John Jay freshman.

On the contrary, some professors have considered the amount of time that they have with their students when deciding the workload for each course.

Andrew Majeske is a professor at John Jay who teaches English, Literature, Justice Studies, and a honors seminars.

Normally he will assign three short papers or a term paper, a couple of readings followed by some quizzes.

“I think the students could use more writing practice and if there were time to give extensive feedback on every paper, that would be the most beneficial but with our teaching load here and our students there’s only so much we can do,” said Professor Majeske.”

As a way to help his students, Majeske has found topics that his students are not allowed to write on, and models his course papers as well as presentations to guide students on how to meet the expectations of his assignments.

“Students feel overwhelmed with all of the reading they have to do but from the professor’s perspective you think oh my gosh we don’t have enough time to even skim the surface of the issue,” said Kyle Francis, a History professor at John Jay. “The professor has to pick just the readings he/she feels the students have time to do so we actually try hard, not to overwhelm the students even though that doesn’t actually end up happening in many occasions.”

He explains how he, as well as the students are both learning new material and that does not try to purposely overwhelm his students.

Students like Mirabal believe that the excessive workloads given by their professors makes it hard to excel in all the classes they are enrolled in because they tend to give more attention to those heavy courses, causing them to “jeopardize their grades.”

“As a junior the workload I’ve received has gotten heavier. Some professors do take into account the amount of work they assign weekly and the work we receive from other classes as well but that’s how life works and nothing is peachy,” said Catherine Polanco, a John Jay honors student.

For William Campbell, procrastination is one of the leading factors of a student feeling overwhelmed.

“Sometimes you have sleepless nights when you have to study, sometimes you have to get up really early and study, homework, projects, and papers, it is a lot of work,” said Campbell a John Jay Graduate student.

College is commonly described to be an institution that can prepare you for a life with a professional, successful, and sometimes, well paying career.

“One point of a college degree is that this person knows how to multitask, this person knows how to get a lot of stuff done with a lot of stuff on his/her plate. In addition to learning material and content college teaches you to do a lot of different things at once, I could tell you that I’m no longer a student and I’m a professor but I also feel overwhelmed by all the stuff I have to do, so its not just being a student although a student brings with it a lot of certain anxieties, “said Professor Francis.

Polanco agrees with Professor Francis about the importance of multitasking.

“I think they do this to prepare us for greater challenges in life because life gets harder and if you can’t take the work now I don’t know how you’ll survive in a corporate job,” said Polanco.


DeBlasio Comes Through on Promise to Muslim Students

By: Rehana Pierre Khalil Elmeniawy (front), Zein Kapadia (middle-left), Muntassir Sayeedi (middle), Jaffer Shareef (middle-right), Neesar Banna (right), and Talha Bhai (back) in the campus prayer room.

By: Rehana Pierre
Khalil Elmeniawy (front), Zein Kapadia (middle-left), Muntassir Sayeedi (middle), Jaffer Shareef (middle-right), Neesar Banna (right), and Talha Bhai (back) in the campus prayer room.

By Fathema Ahmed


On March 4, Mayor Bill DeBlasio announced the addition of the Muslim holidays of Eid al- Fitr and Eid al-Adha as public school holidays, thus fulfilling a promise he made during his mayoral campaign. While the majority of public school holidays are Christian and Jewish holidays such as Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Thanksgiving and Christmas the announcement of public school closures on Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha marks the first time that a Muslim holiday is given a day off in New York.

“We’re here today to make good on a promise to our Muslim brothers and sisters that a holiday of supreme importance to the Muslim community will be recognized in our school calendar so that children can honor the holiday without missing school, so that families can be together on the holiday, so that our city respects and embraces this important and growing community. We’re making good on a promise, and it’s time for this promise to be kept,” stated DeBlasio during his announcement.

“I’m thrilled that we finally have a holiday off that’s recognized by New York State. It’s 2015 and one of the largest religions is finally getting their desired day off ,” said Yellda Balouch, a John Jay senior and vice president of the Muslim Student Association, regarding the days off for the two Eids.

The two Eids are important religious holidays for Muslims that both have their own function. Eid al-Fitr meaning the festival of breaking the fast is a holiday that celebrates the end of Ramadan which is a month of fasting for Muslims. Eid al-Adha meaning festival of the sacrifice refers to what Muslims believe to be the willingness of their Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ishmael at the command of their God referred to as Allah in what is believed to be an act of submission. It is celebrated at the end of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.

Students feel that Muslims having the day off is only fair, “I feel good for the Muslims because it’s only two days of the year for their holiday and now they get to celebrate it genuinely with the peace of mind that they don’t have to worry about the day coming between their families and exams or something school related,” said John Jay senior Christopher Ferreiras.

“I feel as though now Islam as a practice in New York City will be recognized as an authentic practice and respected like the other Abrahamic religions,” continued Ferreiras.

Since the Islamic Calendar is a lunar calendar the holidays don’t have a set date. Instead Muslims around the world await the sighting of the new moon, which lets them know when they can celebrate their holidays. The date also depends on ones location since the moon is not seen everywhere at the same time.

“The Jewish Calendar is a lunar calendar, just like the Muslim calendar which shows that those arrangements can be made in advance. We can make those plans in almost certainty, at least a year in advance,” stated Associate Professor of the Anthropology department, Avram Bornstein.

“Yeah, but the point – the point being, each year, the calendar is different. You know, for the schools each year the religious calendar is different as well. So there will be times when both of the Eid holidays naturally do not occur on school days, or one occurs on a school day, or one does not, sometimes both may. So, we will adjust literally year by year according to need,” stated DeBlasio in a press release on the addition of these holidays would affect schools since there is no set date.

The two Eids aren’t celebrated on the same date by everyone, leaving Muslims to depend on their local mosque and the committee that they have in place to let them know what date they should celebrate the holidays on.

“We are going to work with community members to agree upon a formula for that,” stated Mayor DeBlasio on how the dates of the two Eids would be determined.

“I think it’s great in one sense. We have a growing Muslim student community and I think that should be recognized. It makes sense for Muslims to have the day off. There are some wrinkles though, we already have a long semester. We already have so many holidays which makes it difficult for students to adjust. I think it’s a good thing but I think if we do it we have to make it work with the constraints we have without disrupting the semester,” said Associate Professor of the English department, Jay Gates on how having two extra days off would affect a student’s semester.

“For too long, again, families were forced into an untenable situation. Either the children went to school on those holy days because so many children, of course so many families devoted to education didn’t want their children to miss school. Sometimes those school days included important tests and milestones in the educational year. So either the child went and pursued their education and missed their religious observance, or the other way around – they participated in a sacred moment for their families and missed out educationally,” stated DeBlasio on his thought process behind making Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha into public school holidays.

For students such as Khadija Rahman a John Jay junior and Secretary of the Muslim Student Association it is a struggle deciding whether to take the day off from school, “I’d always have to debate whether there’s an exam or if I’d miss out too much material that day. I’d have to take into consideration if it was worth missing a day.”

“We are a nation that was built to be multi-faith, multicultural. That was the concept of this country. That is why people came here to develop this country from the beginning. And we are carrying out that vision here and now. We as a city need to do more to deepen our connection to Muslim communities all over the city, to work more closely with community leaders,” stated DeBlasio in a press release.