February 9, 2016

Bright Future Ahead for Athletics

By Nicholas Tejeda Editor

During the Spring 2013 semester Carol Kashow, John Jay’s athletic director, was appointed to take over an athletics department that was in disarray. Just a month before she was appointed, both the men’s basketball team and the school’s rifle team were competing for the Conference Finals in their respective sports.

Since then the men’s basketball team have posted an 11-21 record against other CUNYAC (CUNY’s Athletic Conference) teams in the past two seasons. Records like these are not limited to men’s basketball, as most John Jay teams have had records below .500 since the 2012-13 season, numbers that do not impress John Jay students.

“It is definitely a missed opportunity that our teams do not perform well,” said Ajahnae Raven McClarke, a junior. “If teams play well, people will come out and support and school spirit will grow from that.”

John Jay’s sports teams are not performing as well as students would like, but the Department of Athletics and Recreation has looked to improve the program from the ground up to recover from the chaos left behind by former Athletics Director Dan Palumbo.
“It was a problem,” Kashow said. “When I came in the department was not much of a department, there was resentment and we had a lot of cleaning up.”

Kashow came to John Jay with a long and successful history in sports. From 1979 to 1991 she was the head softball and badminton coach at Drexel University. After coaching at Drexel she moved on to coach softball at Temple University from 1991 to 1997. She ended her coaching career at the University of Pennsylvania, where she coached softball from 1997 to 2003. Kashow also served as Hunter College’s athletics director from 2005 to 2008, and Hostos Community College from 2008-2013.

Senior goalkeeper Andrea Antoni, has played for the women’s soccer team under both Palumbo and Kashow. Antoni, who was recently named a CUNYAC all-star, says the difference between the two is night and day.

“As a freshman, my first impression of the athletics department was that it was unorganized, unmotivated, and unproductive. My biggest concern was that the treatment of teams was unequal. Fortunately, with Carol Kashow as the current athletics director, the goal is to provide John Jay Student-Athletes with a positive, Division One-like experience; each team in the department is given the same opportunities.”

The unfair treatment that Antoni mentions is one of the many accusations against Palumbo, who is remembered for providing a big chunk of resources to the baseball team. The team that he was also the head coach for.

Since she took over the John Jay program, Kashow has looked to change the culture of the athletics department. She has hired new coaches, new personnel, and emphasized recruiting quality players from around the country, who produce on the court and in the classroom.

Athletes have a support team of academic counselors they are required to regularly report to in order to maintain good grades.

“We believe that success in the classroom translates directly to success on the court and beyond,” said Brandon Fieland, the sports information director for the athletics program.

Fieland, who was hired by Kashow, notices the progress of the Athletics Department and the change of culture and philosophy within the program.

“Students have bought into the program’s philosophy of recruiting. They are succeeding in the classroom and competing harder than ever,” he said.

For John Jay students, this change is starting to show on the scoreboards. John Jay College had a heavy presence in the postseason in a variety of sports.

Men’s soccer defeated Baruch 1-0 in the quarterfinals to reach the semifinals, where they fell to the College of Staten Island. The women’s soccer team made it to the postseason for the first time in two seasons. Woman’s volleyball hosted their first playoff match ever after tying the program’s best number of wins in the regular season. They also made it to the semis, where they fell to Baruch.

John Jay athletes are also being rewarded individually within the CUNYAC. Graysen Carlson, a senior forward for the men’s soccer team, was named CUNYAC player of the year. Andrea Antoni and Kimberly Guzman of the women’s soccer team were named to the CUNYAC all-stars second team. Junior Richard Brienza of the men’s cross-country team was named Performer of the Year. Senior cross-country runner Tevin Brown was named a CUNYAC all-star.

Director Kashow is well aware of the challenge ahead of her and is up to the task. “The ultimate goal is to get all of our teams to the NCAA tournament. Are we there yet? No. Do I think we will be there one day? Yes. Becoming a good program is not an overnight process, but we come in here every day and we work harder, recruit better, and the results are beginning to show. Compare where we were five years ago and compare it now, and you will see that improvements have been made.”

Community vs. NYPD Aspiring Cops React to Deadly Shooting

By Javier Calderon

On Gold Street outside the two glass doors of the 84th Precinct in Brooklyn, two pictures lie side by side of Officer Wenjian Liu and Officer Rafael Ramos.

On December 20, 2014, both officers were shot point-blank range and killed in their patrol car by Ismaaiyl Brinsley. Before making his way up to Brooklyn from Baltimore, Brinsley, suggested on social media that he planned to kill police officers in anger over the Eric Garner and Michael Brown cases.

The fatal shooting would be the first of three incidences that have led to the death of four New York City police officers over the past year. On May 2, Officer Brian Moore, who followed in his father’s footsteps to become a police officer, was shot and killed while patrolling a residential neighborhood in Queens. The most recent incident was the death of Officer Randolph Holder, shot in the head and killed on October 21, while chasing a gunman down in Harlem.

Each of these officers under the age of 35 risked their lives to protect their community. However, the tension between the community and law enforcement continues to grow and become more hostile. It leaves the question of whether or not joining the NYPD is the correct career path for young students out of college.

After college, many of the young cadets that graduate from the police academy are put directly out into the field. “It is different for officers who work out in the field,” said Steven Litwen a detective for Brooklyn’s Cold Case Division. For those young cadets, training only last six months and you are dumped into a community that most the time you are unfamiliar with.

The police officer with the 77th precinct in Crown Heights Brooklyn with six and a half years experience on the job, was straight forward about working in unfamiliar neighborhoods and the dangers that come with it. “The job is always going to be dangerous, and most the time you are put into a situation where you have to deal with people who are for the most part disturbed and it’s hard to know how to act in situations like that…it really comes down to the department and the need for more training.”

More police training is not a new topic of discussion. Over the past year, a lot of the talks about police training have become more extensive due to several police brutality cases such as the case of Eric Garner, where a Staten Island police officer put Mr. Garner in a chokehold leading to his death. The incident sparked several protest in New York City and around the nation.

Not only have the police brutality cases sparked protests, but they have also created a divide between the people of the community and police officers, each of them falling on opposite sides of the spectrum. The shaky and unstable conflict between the police and the community has left several students second-guessing a career path with the NYPD.

Stephanie Rodriguez 22, a recent graduate from John Jay College, who wanted nothing more as a kid but to follow her mother’s footsteps in becoming a NYPD police officer, has chosen to depart from her childhood dream and choose a different career path in sports management. This is due to the recent conflicts between the community and law enforcement officials. “It is just not the same anymore…You are under so much pressure as a cop now and even my mother who has over 20 years on the job thinks that joining now would be a mistake for the younger generation because the tension between the community and police officers is only getting worse,” said Ms. Rodriguez.

Not all students feel the same however. Rillind Jonbalaj, a senior at John Jay College, who was asked about officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos affect his decision to join said, “No, death can happen at any moment, it does not matter whether you are a police officer on duty or not, death is a part of life.”

Death is, in fact, a part of life and Evelin Gutierreza, a detective for Brooklyn’s cold case division. He worked 21 years on the job and is afraid the killing of police officers this year is not over. “It is usually around the holiday times when we see another tragic death, and it is a sad time when you have to report that type of incident to an officer’s family…it’s just not right.”

Although relations with the community and the NYPD continue to grow apart and become more dangerous for police officers, on June 22, Mayor Bill De Blasio announced because of a new budget deal, New York City is going to add 1,300 new cops to the city’s payroll.

New York City is already the home of the largest police force in the country. According to the New York City’s website www.nyc.gov, there are approximately 34,500 police officers in the NYPD. With 1,300 more officers on the way, it puts much pressure on to the department to “serve and protect” over 8.4 million people in New York City.

Along with the pressure from the community, much pressure of being a police officer comes with leaving your family every day to worry at home. Detective Jason Palamara states, “My family tends to worry a lot about me and what I do…they know it is a dangerous job, but they understand that…it still doesn’t stop them from feeling worried when I don’t call back.”

Interpreting Horrendous Crimes Through Art

By Nicholas Tejeda Editor

On Tuesday, Dec. 2, Assistant Professor Irina Zakirova, alongside Professor Bill Pangburn, and Professor Julio Valentine hosted an art contest in John Jay’s Anya and Andrew Shiva Art Gallery. The contest, which was open to John Jay students, required the artists to take a story from Professor Zakirova’s book, The Pain Within My Soul: Short Stories About Crime And Life.

In her book, Zakirova, a Russian native, looks to her past as a police officer and crime journalist to share personal experiences and insight into a variety of different crimes, explaining both the impact it’s had on the victims and looking at the causation of crime in general.

“Nothing is simple in causes which lead to crime. It is first and foremost pain, which always accompanied these people to crime. I have pain in my soul for all of them, “Zakirova said.

The book, which is a compilation of various short stories, is used as a supplementary readings to students in different sections of Law and Police science courses. “We all know the text can be dry,” said Professor Valentine, to a group of about 20 students. “But Professor Z’s book offers students the chance to grasp the dry material through stories.” Students in the contest were encouraged to use any art form to detail their interpretation of one of the many short stories. The winners received prize gift cards, paid for by the Faculty Student Engagement Fund. Along with cash prizes, the winners will also have their art displayed in professor Zakirova’s next edition of the book.

Interested in reading The Pain Within My Soul: Short Stories About Crime And Life? It is currently up for sale on Amazon.com and Ebay.com.

Married to Your Major or Open Relationship?

By Cintia Feliz

Think about it. Graduation day has finally arrived after four long years. You now have your gown and cap. However, your hands and legs are shaking. You look around, and you notice familiar faces, people you have not met yet, your family and teachers. They call your name, and your heart starts beating. The first thing that comes to your mind is, “Am I being punked?”

That is what Christopher Ferrerias, a John Jay graduate who majored in English, first thought when he walked on stage to receive his diploma last May. He felt a sense of relief knowing that he had picked the right major, stuck with it through his final college years and is now ready to start his career.

Many college students feel pressured to pick a major that is right for them because they feel that this type of decision will have a huge impact on their lives. However, picking a specific major does not always mean you have to stick with it for your whole life.

“When I chose my major, I didn’t know if you could make a good living with my major and that was a huge concern for my parents. However, I learned that, when you’re really good at what you do, you’ll do well. It all comes back to having passion,” said Kenneth Holmes, the Dean of Students and Assistant Vice President at John Jay.

Holmes, who earned his bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a Masters in Higher Education, first started as a pre-pharmacy student. However, he later changed his mind when he realized how much he loved interacting with students.

“When I was in college, I worked in campus activities. I would help clubs make signs and posters. I loved engaging with students.”

The same passion that Holmes had for his major was the same passion Ferrerias had with his.

It was night time as he sat on the cold grass of the Jay Walk and spoke about his choice of major. A few students were lounging around with their friends.

When asked if he felt like the English major impacted his life in any way, he said the English major refined his eyes for observation. “My major made me see things in nature that perhaps was beautiful before but I did not have the words for it.”

Ferrerias, who is currently writing two conceptual poetry books and works as a tutor at the Writing Center, finds himself always looking for theories and orienting himself in the world in the way that he did when he was a student, always looking for deeper meaning in things.

He always wanted to be an English Major. “From a writer’s perspective, it was English or nothing else. English was where I saw my potential growing,” said Ferrerias.

Unfortunately, not many students are completely sure on what they want to major in and end up changing majors.

About 80 percent of students in the United States end up changing majors at least once, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. On average, college students change their major at least three times over the course of their college career.

However, not being able to pick a major also has to do with the varieties of majors offered in universities. According to the New York Times, colleges and universities reported nearly 1,500 academic programs to the Department of Education in 2010; 355 were added to the list over the previous ten years as colleges compete to stay current.

As reported by the Washington Post, only 27 percent of college grads have a job related to their major. This is not a big labor-market problem because it could just mean that many jobs do not require a specific field of study.

Joel Armstrong, a John Jay graduate who majored in Philosophy and now also works as a tutor at the Writing Center, can use his skills that he learned throughout college with his current job.

“With my major, I get to interpret things and answer questions based on my interpretation of it. Also, with my job because I know how to argue, I can help students with their essays.”

Despite that, choosing a major does not always mean someone has to stick to that one field of choice. Kristina Simonsen, who is an Assistant Director for Employer Relations at the Center for Career and Professional Development, agrees with being flexible with your major.

“I don’t think a student should be married to their major. It’s definitely an influence, but it’s not the deciding factor. However, I do think education gives you that foundation to give you that background of what are the expectations for a specific area,” said Simonsen.

For any students who are unsure of what to major in or what jobs they want after college, Simonsen recommends to start early with their exploration and visit the Career Center.

The Center for Career and Professional Development allows students to bring their resumes and work with Peer Career Educators to review it.

They also help prepare students for job interviews in which they set up a mock interview and ask questions that would normally come up in an interview. Even if students have a couple of questions, they can stop by and ask.

She also recommends students to start early with their internships and visit John Jay’s upcoming Spring Job Fair, which will be held next year on March 31st from 1 to 5.00 p.m. in the Haaran Hall Gym.

“Internships allows students to ‘try on different hats’. They can learn about what areas are their strongest point and what areas aren’t. Interning can allow students to gain experience but also be aware of what they will really look for in a future job,” says Simonsen.

The Center for Career and Professional Development is open Monday- Friday from 9 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and is located in the New Building in room L72.00.

From Attending To Trending: The New John Jay College Experience

By Isidoro Rodriguez

The average student today is busy. At least 80 percent of students in the U.S. have a job while attending college, according to a 2013 study by Citigroup and Seventeen magazine. This is very much the reality at John Jay, a commuter college where students balance full or part-time jobs with school. Many don’t have the time to enjoy any of the student and club events happening every day around campus. Turning to social media to engage these students, John Jay College’s Division of Student Affairs is redefining the college experience.

“We are always trying to engage 100 percent of the students,” says Lynette Cook-Francis, “and that’s not always an easy thing to do on a campus like ours.” The Vice President of Student Affairs at John Jay, Cook-Francis assembled a communications team almost a year and a half ago to develop creative and innovative ways of engaging the student body. With 7,882 followers on Facebook, 6,707 on Twitter, and 2,828 on Instagram, they hope to create a sense of community at the college for anyone who can’t always physically be there.

This effort works best for students like Michelle Valdez, a senior majoring in English who says, “I commute every day from Yonkers, so I don’t really go to events on campus.” Instead, she uses her Instagram account to keep up with the law, grad school, and LGBT events on campus that interest her while still focusing on graduating in the spring. At a time when the Pew Research Center reports 65 percent of adults are using social networking sites, students like Valdez are becoming the norm.

“It’s a cultural issue,” says Mark Rivera, Social Media Marketing Manager for the division of Student Affairs. “Students today have to work more hours than our parent’s generation did. Today’s students are working multiple jobs. Today’s students are parents. There are a lot of factors that hinder students from fully getting involved.”

In light of this reality, Rivera thinks that new methods need to be used to engage a wider range of students. “Maybe a successful event live streams their keynote speaker,” he says. “Maybe a successful event uses Periscope,” a live streaming video mobile app. For Rivera, making John Jay students feel that they can go about their day and still be involved in the college and connected with people in a virtual way is the key to changing how they define their college experience.

Christie Graziano, John Jay’s Coordinator for Student Transition Programs, thinks involvement begins with the exchange of information. “Social media makes the whole experience a lot easier,” says Graziano. “Students are helping other students find what they need quicker.” By sharing news on Instagram or Twitter, students are no longer forced to navigate the John Jay websites for things like graduation dates or yearbook info. Sharing basic yet important information like this is the first step towards an online community.

For the students of Club Row, these new communities then offer a potential for new members and a broader range of student interest. “A lot of people don’t even know Club Row is here,” says Kenneth Ortiz, a junior majoring in International Criminal Justice and the social media coordinator for the Dominican Students Association (DSA). “By promoting through John Jay on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter we bring a lot more attention to the clubs.”

That attention proved a big help when Ortiz and his club joined with the African Students Association for an impromptu flash mob on March 24th, 2015. The video of the event that Ortiz posted on Instagram earned seventy-one likes and thirty friend requests for the club, helping expose more people to John Jay’s diversity and spark interest in the DSA. As clubs begin to devote more of their time to establishing an online presence like this, their popularity only grows.

“It’s the best way to communicate with the students,” says Marie Iachetta, a senior majoring in Criminal Justice and Vice President of the Theatrical Players. “Especially the millennials.” Since investing more time on their social media, Iachetta’s club has developed a larger following on sites like Instagram, where their posts about events, such as their upcoming production of the play “Twelve Angry Jurors,” have received anywhere from twenty-eight to forty likes.

This rise in popularity has motivated Iachetta and her club to begin using a Twitter account and posting more on their Facebook page. Planning to only increase their use of social media, Iachetta now believes that clubs, in general, should start exploring more options for expanding together. “We’re able to connect with other clubs through social media,” she says. “Maybe we could start linking videos.”

Ideas like that are why Rivera works closely and in person with student organizations. “Even with all the tech, nothing beats face-to-face interaction,” says Rivera, always trying to be available to receive any new ideas and suggestions. It is that same mentality about personal connections that prompted Cook-Francis to establish the information desk at Hound Square.

Located near the center of the New Building complex between JJ’s Cafe and the game room, the desk is staffed by fellow students providing an outlet for their peers to express any ideas or interests they may have. “We always need to make sure that the events that we do are relevant and interesting to students,” says Cook-Francis, “and that means that it’s the students who have to really be the ones who are driving what the events are.”

With a student population of roughly 15,000, achieving the goal of 100 percent engagement will be difficult, to say the least. “Not every event can be live streamed,” admits Rivera. “But whether it means decorating candy apples or doing a fashion show, there has to be something out there that students can connect to.”

And as Club Row becomes more involved in social media and develops more numerous online followings, and student events receive more awareness, those connections will continue to yield results. “There’s always going to be somebody who says, ‘I didn’t know about it,’,” says Cook-Francis. “That’s life. But we do as much as we can and we continue to try and be creative. Because the more engaged students are the more likely they are to be retained and to graduate.”

Bloodhound Central: Student Attendance on Campus

By Bryce Veira

Almost every day, an event is held on John Jay’s campus, whether a speaker series, panel discussion, info session, open mic, or other various campus activities. However, not enough people come to these events. John Jay’s population is estimated to be 15,000, but despite these numbers, events fall short of their target audience.

Bloodhound Central, a newly created website designed for the John Jay community for students and faculty, poses a solution to the advertising problem.

Accessible through https://johnjay.collegiatelink.net/  and through a link provided on the John Jay website under “Web Apps”.

It is a general site accessible to the entire body of John Jay. Bloodhound Central breaks barriers of miscommunication throughout the school. Through Bloodhound Central, it is possible to check out events, announcements, and opportunities that are posted daily, and join clubs or organizations by sending messages or requests through the website.

The Campus Activity Boardroom, located in Club Row on L2 is a petite, white room decorated with minimal furniture. It has several rolling chairs, two tables against the right wall with computers resting on them. A miniature fridge with a microwave on top occupies the left wall along with a supply shelf and a file cabinet. Sitting in the middle of the room was Isaac Hodges. As he introduced himself, he swayed back and forth in his chair. Hodges, 19, a sophomore majoring in Forensic Psychology, is the Cochairman, and Vice President of the Campus Activity Board (C.A.B.), a student-run organization that hosts events on campus, and collaborates with other clubs to co-host events.

According to Hodges, C.A.B.’s main method of advertisement for events is social media. Since “a lot of students are on Instagram, and they are on Facebook, on Twitter,” said Hodges, “we try to get the word out as much as we can on social media through either our Instagram or Facebook, or other clubs that will advertise for us.”

While most events hosted by the Campus Activity Board do well regarding attendance, Hodges is concerned about events where attendance wasn’t as great. “It feels like sometimes if the event is not as big as what it is supposed to be, we could have allocated the money somewhere else that could have used it.”

The awareness of Bloodhound Central is still low. Clubs and organizations know about it and use it to post their events, but students are still unaware. Though he mentions having heard the name tossed around among members of other clubs, Hodges himself knows little about it.

Located in the Urban Male Initiative Computer Lab on L.73 is Maria Vidal who is the coordinator of the Urban Male Initiative. Bloodhound Central is “definitely helpful” when it comes to helping students get more involved on campus said Vidal.

Vidal recommended the use of Bloodhound central over the traditional ways of advertising like bulletins, and e-mails. “…Bulletin boards are always full of different flyers” and “…the emails are not always the best way to contact students.”

Vidal hopes that a mobile app version of the website will be created soon so that Bloodhound Central can become even more accessible.

Kimberly Martinez, 21, a senior criminology major feels Bloodhound Central is “A convenient website…something students would use a lot to get involved.” While being completely new to the website, she finds it “fast, simple, and easy to use.” After exploring all that Bloodhound Central has to offer, she commented saying, “It is something I would use.”

Not everyone is so excited about this new tool, however. Treshana Gaskin, 21, a senior student and Vice President of the Shut Up! & Listen club here in John Jay feels that Bloodhound Central is “unfair.” According to her, clubs are forced to register and upload their events on Bloodhound Central, or they will not be in compliance. “They are forcing us, and we have no other choice but to comply.”

Gaskin does not feel that it is a useful advertisement tool because “It is not something that everyone uses.” When advertising events for her club, she mainly uses Facebook and the mobile app Instagram, posting flyers that promote her clubs events. She says these outlets are just fine for advertising, and that their events usually get “60 to 100 people, sometimes even more.” Her suggestion is to “Leave everything as is.”

Haters Beware! Campus Officials React to Hate Crimes

By Aastha Vohra

Hate crimes are a distinct part of our modern day society. In John Jay College, ignorance and clashes of various cultural and religious groups have left many individuals offended.

According to Director Kevin Cassidy, who is in charge of school security, seven incidents last year were investigated and called for the direct involvement of the NYPD Hate Crimes Unit.

Cassidy mentioned that since the incidents began, school safety has increased patrols in staircases, classrooms, and bathrooms.

One of the incidents, conducted last fall, by the Students for Justice in Palestine club (SJP), caught the attention of the campus’s Jewish community, the Hillel club which supports Israel, and President Jeremy Travis, who sent out emails addressing the issue.

It began with a poster that one club found troubling and offensive and took a turn for the worse when the Students for Justice in Palestine conducted a protest, called a “Die- In,” on October 8th, 2014, to bring light to the shootings in Ferguson, Missouri, and the conflicts in Palestine.

During the protest, members of the club laid on the floor under white blankets representing the individuals who were harmed. To voice their own opinions members of the Hillel club attended the event and they went on to post a video of the treatment and of the event on YouTube naming it, “The Truth Told About the SJP Die-in.”

President Jeremy Travis sent an email Oct. 21, 2014, stating, “Let me emphasize strongly and clearly – John Jay College is an educational institution that encourages free and open discussion of all topics, and we expect that these discussions will respect the dignity and opinions of those with opposing viewpoints.  At the same time, the College does not tolerate any derogatory or hateful behavior towards any individual or group in our campus community.”

He emphasized the issue of acceptance, but also went on to state that students must not feel harassed or intimidated by those who may have an opposing opinion.

In addition to the issue among the clubs, incidents of anti-Semitic and anti-gay graffiti were found in bathrooms and classrooms last fall and spring. The graffiti, which included swastikas in restrooms, was reported and then was later investigated by the school and the NYPD Hate Crimes Unit. This was an issue that also led to President Travis sending an email March 11, 2015, about the graffiti stating that he is concerned and feels that everyone should be offended by it.

“If you see anyone defacing College property or know of anyone engaging in this activity, please inform our public safety department. If you have personal concerns about these incidents, I would encourage you to reach out to our counseling or student services areas,” the email stated.

According to Cassidy, John Jay will work with the Hate Crime Unit on any future investigations.

In regards to President Travis’ emails, he said: “President Travis got out his message very quickly, and it was a well thought out email, basically saying two prime things, we don’t tolerate it, and more importantly if you’re caught doing it, then we will investigate it, and we are going to tell the police department what we found out, and state that the group or individual is your prime suspect.” He went on to state that since the emails have been sent out, it seems that student have become more aware of what is expected of them.

Cassidy believes that these incidents occur due to the ignorance and lack of knowledge people have pertaining to certain religious, cultural and socioeconomic groups.

When asked, Eman Ahmed, a junior Forensic Psychology major stated, “No matter what university you are enrolled in, there are likely to be hate crimes, however I do believe as a ‘Criminal Justice’ school, John Jay should set itself to higher standards, and make sure that situations like what happened last semester, should have been taken care of to an extent where it would never happen again.”

John Jay is attempting to adress the issue of hate in the school community. One of which is a pamphlet, which is located in the school safety office entrance, which address the issues of hate crimes, procedures, and has tips for students facing the issues of hate. Students who feel they have been victimized or know of a hate crime have the ability to go and talk directly to Director Cassidy who, if necessary, is willing to talk to students behind closed doors to keep confidentiality.

The school has also launched an app, which is meant to help students in case of any kind of emergency, called “My-EOP”. This app requires you to download it on to your phone and type in the school code “JJC.”

For Students Struggling with crimes of hate or any crime in general, John Jay’s policies are posted on the school website and counseling services are available at L.68.00 in the New Building.

Clash of Cultures: Cultural Conflicts Almost Stop Event

By Timothy Wilson Staff Writer

John Jay’s Hillel Club and Muslim Student Association have ran into a roadblock because of the negative backlash they are receiving from their peers and families after an effort to collaborate.

The Nov. 16th event brought in two police officers, one of Muslim descent and one of Jewish descent, to talk about how they connect on the job and put aside their differences so that they can thrive on the force.

“We are holding this event to show that two religions can co-exist with each other in the same area of work,” said Tomer Kornfeld, president of the Hillel Club, a club for Jewish students.

The event was planned by both clubs months ahead, but three weeks before the event, the MSA (Muslim Student Association) decided to make the Hillel Club run the event alone.

“The Muslim Student Association pulled out last minute because of the negative backlash they were receiving from their neighborhoods and family,” said Kenneth Holmes, the college’s dean of students.

But that was not the only place the MSA received backlash from, they were also criticized from another club in John Jay called Students for Justice in Palestine. According to a recent post on Facebook the former executive of SJP Susie Abdelghafar did not agree with the collaboration between the two clubs.

On a Facebook post, Abdelghafar said, “As a John Jay student who was part of the MSA, I am GREATLY disappointed at the student club for moving forward with this, especially when the president has openly said they will support Palestine no matter what and has collaborated with our SJP chapter before and understood the implications and harms of normalizing,”

“Adding on to the disastrous decision to do this event, we also can not forget that it was the NYPD that brought in an NYPD informant to befriend the executives and members of MSA only three years ago,” Abdelghafar added.

Holmes said she may be angry toward this event because Muslims have been targeted more frequently by the police since 9/11.

“But as a college we have to give space to all views so SJP, MSA and Hillel have a right to their opinions,” said Holmes.

In the country of Israel, Jewish and Muslim people have been in conflict since biblical times. This is not a new issue that was just brought up; they have been arguing about land and beliefs since these two cultures can remember.

This conflict in their homeland negatively impacts the clubs because of the animosity between the two cultures. The event was an effort to encourage togetherness.

“It is not about the person’s religion, it is about the individual,” said Lt. Adeel Rana, the Muslim officer that attended the event.

Rana emphasized that cultures can co exist because you should look at the individual’s personality not where they come from.

“I have many Muslim friends on the force, we joke around and have fun on our off time all the time,” said Sgt. Michael Belogordsky the Jewish officer who attended the event. The John Jay alumnus founded the college’s Hillel Club.

“I am glad that the club I founded is conducting events like this that connects two different cultures, and making them put aside their differences for a better cause,” said Belogordsky.

The officers also spoke on the fact that they both are the presidents of their respective religious groups. Lt. Rana is the president of the Muslim Officer Association and Sgt. Belogordsky is the president of the Jewish Officer Association. This further shows their point that two different cultures can co-exist.

The Hillel Club still received support from the MSA even though MSA pulled out from the event three weeks earlier. President of MSA Mir Ali attended the event and even interacted with the officers at the end and even said a word of gratitude for the officers taking time out of their busy lives to address this issue at John Jay.

“John Jay College has many cultures and religions that interact with each other everyday, we should be able to put aside our differences and be able to work together regardless of what goes on in our respective countries,” said Alan Steiner Vice President of the Hillel Club.

John Jay Welcomes Black Student Union

By Bethany Cox Staff Writer

As soon as she arrived on campus in Fall 2014Ashley Saunders walked into The Center for Student Involvement and Leadership and asked, “Where’s the black student union?”

The office assistant directed her to the African Students Association. She joined and made friends there, but she was still alarmed that there was no black student organization on campus.

“While we as black students may have a connection to Africa, our heritage as African and black are non synonymous,” Saunders said. At that point the junior decided she was going to relaunch the John Jay Black Student Union.

After an almost 10-year hiatus, the Black Student Union is once again on the college’s organization roster. BSU has no budget or club room as of now, but they are already present on the John Jay campus.

After several recent instances involving racism at the University of Missouri , John Jay’s BSU brought several clubs together for a demonstration Nov. 18th. They stood in solidarity with students at Mizzou in the Atrium alongside the John Jay statue. Because they didn’t get the protest approved by administration , they were unable to use microphones or megaphones. Lynette Cooke-Francis, the VP of student affairs, came from her office and gave the demonstrators a megaphone.

Unlike other culture-based clubs on campus, the Black Student Union is much more general. “I’m black, but I don’t fit into the specific categories that the clubs provide,” says senior Deandra Williams.

It is almost impossible to create clubs for every culture because of the African diaspora. All black students whether African, Afro-Latino, Afro-Caribbean, or African American have a place with BSU.

According to the John Jay website, 21% of students at John Jay are black. It is important that they feel welcome. Its important for black students to have a team that they can come to when they feel discriminated against. 

“As fierce advocates for justice, we will fight against injustice against students of color at any institution including our own,” said Saunders. John Jay’s BSU is also a place for people of any background to learn more about black culture or the black experience from several points of view.

“I am so proud that we finally have a BSU,”  said Kenneth Holmes, dean of students. “I believe that every collegiate institution should have one.”

The BSU had their first general meeting Nov. 24 in collaboration with another club, Shut Up and Listen. It was an open mic where the floor was open for students to ask questions, say a poem, or rap without censorship. Danielle Officer, the director of CSIL, also shared words of wisdom:“I was a part of a similar organization in my day and I am so glad that I did. I wouldn’t be who I am today if I didn’t.”

Social Justice Groups vs. Universities

By Johnny Carmona Staff Writer

In the past two months students on this campus have read about the uprising of students protesting against the faculty of their Universities. The majority of the attention started with the controversy in Columbia, Missouri. This however is nothing that is new to us students, plus recently the movement has reached CUNY. It is in no way one situation linked to one University or institution, because we have witnessed uprisings of social justice groups like Social Justice, LGBTQ, Black Lives Matter, Students for Justice in Palestine, and our new addition that is the center of protest in Missouri: Concerned Student 1950. The group in Missouri was just the start.

The incidents at the University of Missouri are many. The two incidents constantly cited are the racial slurs shouted at a member of the Legion of the Black Collegians, which jumpstarted the controversy. The other controversy is Jonathan Butler`s hunger strike that pushed the resignation of the Chancellor Wolfe. Lastly,  the protest involving blocking the Chancellor`s car to push a response from the University.

There is, however,  no exact incident that this issue started from, but protesters claim there is  “systematic racism on campus.” The accusations are based on few cited incidents which some have not been confirmed. Especially two incidents with a swastika in which only one resulted in an arrest. Other claims have been that the University nor higher authorities have not responded to the student’s protest against this “racist system.” According to records, on September 12th the Chancellor responded to the racial slur incident. On October 8th the faculty started mandatory diversity training which wasn’t enough for protestors.

On November 2nd the Chancellor sat down with Concerned Student 1950, who were not satisfied, stating, “Wolfe verbally acknowledged that he cared for Black students at the University of Missouri, however, he also reported he was ‘not completely’ aware of systemic racism, sexism, and patriarchy on campus”, and again on November 6th when the Chancellor addressed the issue on camera. It is true students have not gotten a response they are satisfied with; however, it is factually inaccurate that they have received no response. In their list of demands from Concerned Student 1950 you can see that most of their demands have been met. The protests resulted in the resignation the school`s chancellor and two other professors, maybe more by the time you read this. So I ask you John Jay students what is your position on the protestors reactions and demands? Given that most of them have been met, why are the groups not satisfied? What do you believe the issue is?

Other Universities

The University of Missouri is not the only university that has ran into this Social Justice movement, Claremont McKenna College`s Chancellor has resigned as well. The movement reached this private University and its faculty due to an alleged offensive statement and stereotypical picture. McKenna stated that resigning was, “the best way to gain closure of a controversy that has divided the student body and disrupted the mission of this fine institution.”

Ivy and CUNY

This noise reached our ears through the recent “Million Student March” that also made multiple claims following the influential uprisings in Missouri. Again, this nothing new considering the common denominators are race/religion, and/or oppression, and/or financial inequalities. Once the march took place, the social ustice group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), fought back against the “zionists” of the CUNY system and demanded a “freeze in tuition”. This is a step forward from the demands made in Missouri. This task is outlined in the Students for Justice in Palestine’s mission statement:

“We must fight for funding for our university, and for CUNY to be accessible to working class communities in NYC as the public university system. The Zionist administration invests in Israeli occupation, hosts birthright programs and study abroad programs in occupied Palestine, and reproduces settler-colonial ideology throughout CUNY through Zionist content of education. While CUNY aims to produce the next generation of professional Zionists, SJP aims to change the university to fight for all people liberation.” (signed by eight schools including John Jay College)

The CUNY Vice Chancellor Frank Sanchez has discouraged these statements saying they were “anti-Semitic.” This actually was the case in Harvard University and Columbia University who also have SJP chapters on their campuses. The Horowitz Freedom Center has made the argument that these groups are, “the chief sponsors of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign inspired by Hamas.” The Freedom center has made efforts to slow down the campaign. Students in the CUNY system have supported the marches for the financial debt situation. However there are questions surrounding the SJP’s involvement.

Here at John Jay College the Black Student Association and the Students for Justice in Palestine organized a protest for Mizzou to bring awareness to the issues there. The Vice President of Student Affairs Lynette Cook-Francis  said after the protest, “What I love is that there are so many clubs and organizations that are together doing this and that means there is greater unity at John Jay.”

“Our college campus is not predominately white so you don’t hear from the students that they are experiencing some of the other kind of things that other students are experiencing,” she added.

Members of the Hillel club were present for the protest, but did not participate because of differing opinions. Although the executives of Hillel preferred not to comment to avoid backlash,  member Jesse Cuban stated; “The message was going through smoothly and then out of nowhere the Students for Justice in Palestine took over the entire event. They made it something that had nothing to do with Mizzou.”  What do you think John Jay? Do you agree with the students at Mizzou? Are these two joint issues or are there separate missions at play here? If you have had experiences pertaining to what the social justice groups concerns are please share them.