July 29, 2016

The Importance of the Budget at John Jay

By: Yarubi Espinal

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced at the beginning of the year at the State of the State address the budget cut that he was proposing for the City University of New York. However, on April 1st he set back on the 485 million cut he had mentioned but other changes that would impact John Jay were made in the place of it.

Governor Cuomo had stated not to fund CUNY or Medicaid and leave these for the city to take care of. Late last month the governor’s administration saw themselves in the spotlight for this issue, they sought to not pursue this any longer because of the pressure of CUNY and different types of protesting groups.

CUNY and SUNY tuition won’t be increased. Nevertheless, a tuition increase was proposed by Cuomo but he realized it was “politically difficult” to make it happen because of student’s feedback.

Although the cut didn’t happen generally as it was proposed, an immense chunk of the money requested wasn’t granted. CUNY was given $21 million, and $16.6 million was to make sure all the fringe benefits are covered. They asked for $29 million which is a $12.4 million difference, with 4.7 million for SEEK.

“I believe the government isn’t giving education the importance that it needs” said Miguel Leon, a student at John Jay. “it’s outrageous that other things of less importance get funded without a doubt.”

According to the budget list a billion dollars is spent on “Miscellaneous” things. What is worse? The fact that these “Miscellaneous” things are not classified to the public, or that it is being unnecessarily spent?

“I’m a student that receives financial aid, including TAP and I’m also a part of the SEEK program” said Emely Rodriguez, nearly in tears.”If I wasn’t a SEEK student I probably wouldn’t even be here speaking to you. To know that they could be getting more money than what they receive means that they could help more students like me and it’s sad nobody is seeing it from that perspective.”

The Percy Ellis Sutton SEEK Department, which stands for Search for Education, Elevation and Knowledge is located in the Haaren Hall building, fouth floor. The purpose of SEEK is to help students who are considered to be financially or academically disadvantaged to have a higher education at John Jay College. SEEK at John Jay is a small community with a little more than 500 students on campus. At the beginning of each semester the program gifts the students $500 dollars for books. These students are provided with many resources like the SEEK computer lab, Academic Support center for tutoring, and many activities all year round. They are each assigned a counselor for their 4 years in the program. In a nutshell SEEK offers students the attention and the focus on their academic development that regular students don’t get. Therefore, they tend to be more successful than the non-SEEK students at the college. This is a program that has earned acknowledgement and are still not rewarded for the work they do with the proper amount of funding.

“It is more than simply money!” said Professor Martha Hernandez. “Politicians fail to realize that these are the future of this city, of the state and the nation overall. We won’t give our students the proper education without the proper resources. Also, having the right amount of portion from the budget ensures students that we won’t have another tuition hike.”

Regardless of the tuition staying the same and the new changes in funding, Cuomo said these adjustments and the budget for CUNY does not include labor costs. This impacts the probabilities of a new contract for CUNY professors and staff. The amount for back pay is $210 million.

“I don’t think increasing the tuition is the correct way to go nor do I think leaving it the way it is is right” said Julia Palesco, a senior student at the college. “To put a burden that strong on a young adult who just came out of High School. Colleges are basically urging us to get a job while we’re in school, I’m not saying this is a bad thing but it’s obvious that you won’t have the same development as if you were only dedicated to school”

According to the Association of Institutional Research working 20 or more hours a week on or off campus negatively affects student’s grades. Therefore, if the tuition were to be raised more student’s would be working which may cause a negative distraction to their academics.

Why Student Parking Leaves Your Pockets Starving.

By: Shawn Narain

Some students wake up in the morning, notice they’re running late and have the option of driving to school to save some time. You get in your car, get your music going and you’re on you way. You start counting down every minute as you get closer and closer to school. However once you arrive here the line to the parking garage seems endless and you don’t get any leeway since you are a student. You are so close to class yet so far.

This is the case for Joshua Castellanos every morning as he drives to school. “I know we all have to get to class but it’s a pain in the ass to try to come here on time and then still be late for class when you are right in front of the building”. Students find it difficult to park at other parking garages, as well being that the closest ones are right in between 10th and 11th Ave on 59th street.

Sonat Amilcar, the manager for one of these parking garages stated that two years ago John Jay did have a contract for student parking arrangements for $14.00 as the early bird special instead of $15.00 which is the regular rate.
“We didn’t find the arrangements with the students to be profitable and it brought too much stress for the property and the operations here.” This quote was presented to many students and raised a few eyebrows. “How could it not be profitable? The student body is massive.” said Anthony Smith. This dilemma has been going on quite a couple of years now. Students are not pleased and parking attendants are not either.

As MTA fares increased students find their own ways to travel to school which include car pooling. Rocky Ramotar who is a recent graduate from John Jay commented with his tactics with his friends when he was attending John Jay. “ I remember that endless line early in the morning but what we decided to do was car pool with a bunch of friends and split the bill.” Rocky was curious while he was attending John Jay as to why parking was so expensive as well. He didn’t look into it much but just found ways to make it easier just like a lot of things students do to adjust.

Sonat Amilcar stated that there is no chance he would consider bringing back the contract for the same reasons of it not being profitable. A lot of questions and opinions have been raised from this one quote from the manager. “Adjustments and alternatives are one way but its about time students speak up, college is expensive as is, we need to go after ways to make it cheaper on us especially when it comes to motives of transportation.”

Raveena Ramoutar who is a student at John Jay, felt strongly about the parking situation. “Having late classes makes us girls feel worried sometimes to take the train. You never know what can happen. That’s why I drive to class I know safety comes at a cost but it seems fair to have a student discount for parking here.” Driving to school seems to be a safer alternative to students in comparison to taking public transportation.

John Jay College also has a say in the parking arrangement, Ryan Lopez who is a Public Safety Officer stated “Students pass by the front desk throughout the day and ask to have their parking receipts stamped but we have had complaints that they have not worked towards a discount.”
Imagine getting a gift card to a store only to find out that it isn’t valid? Vanessa Johnson who is apart of the Public Safety Department commented on the status of the contract “ We know that it was revoked 2 years ago and that based on the manager’s (Sonat Amilcar) stance on the subject it was not working out.” This does not mean there aren’t anymore parking garages that offer discounts for students. However, it does take away the leisure of being in closer proximity to arrive to class on time during the rush.

The parking arrangements near John Jay has continued to be a topic for quite some time now. Students have created hacks such as carpooling like Rocky suggested. The profit for the business raised questions for student and their doubts, But what about students like Raveena who drive to feel safer? Well, according to Sonat Amilcar in regards to returning the discount contract “No Chance” the student body seems to have alternative routes of opinion in regards to that answer.

The Secret Lives of Bed-Stuy House Cats

By Martin Joseph

In Bedford-Stuyvesant, small business owners are finding a new source of cheap labor within the homeless population. These workers are usually tasked with killing mice in basements and open lots. They happily work for $1.25 a day, as long as it is paid in cat food.

Hugo is an orange cat who works at La Bellaca, a bodega on the corner of Hancock and Tompkins. “He comes and goes” said Fernando, the owner of the store. Hugo kills mice and rats in exchange for one can of wet food a day, usually generic, and a warm place to sleep. Hugo is not a pet, however according to Fernando ; he has no collar or permanent home. He can usually be found burying his feces next to any one of the trees within his territory on Hancock street between Marcy and Tompkins.

Fernando first met Hugo, “About a year ago”, when a romance between Fernando’s former feline employee resulted in a pregnancy. The small grey cat had been a family pet for years. She wore a collar and came to work with Fernando every day. Fernando offered the kittens to neighbors but sadly they were never born. In late February, the pregnant cat was with a broken neck. She had been struck by a car.

After her death, Hugo became Fernando’s main employee. He usually shows up three times a week in the mornings and works for an hour or so until returning to the streets. He rarely catches anything, but Fernando is satisfied with Hugo’s work. Fernando said, “the smell keeps them away.”

Hugo’s employment has been contested of late. A young cat named Demitry has been encroaching upon his territory. “He doesn’t like to be inside,” said Fernando about Demitry the cat. Fernando believes that Demitry may have been a house cat at one point but he chose a life on the streets. Demitry is larger and younger than Hugo and has begun challenging his territory. The ferocious feline refuses to be pet and will enforce that policy with a bite.

Tensions have been building for a some time now. Fernando suspects that Demitry has only recently come to the neighborhood. Hugo has defended his territory against Demitry on few unknown occasions. Hugo left uninjured every time but Demitry has lost the tip of his ear and shows scars on his face and shoulders. In a standoff which was witnessed on April 17th, Demitry backed down from a confrontation but the struggle is far from over. “He comes here sometimes,” said Fernando about the black cat.

Both Demitry and Hugo can be found in the middle of the block at various times. The trees, however appear to have been claimed by Hugo. Demitry usually slinks in the guitar, hiding under cars apparently biding his time. For now, Hugo is the alpha cat pf Hancock Street between Marcy and Tompkins. He is not old yet and appears to be in his prime ti the untrained eye but the day may eventually come when Demitry has his revenge , however Hugo has defended his throne thus far.

Cats can also be found working around the corner in an empty lot. Brothers Fred and George, work in the lot keeping rodents at bay. Their pay comes in the form of wet food served in a foil takeout container. The abandoned buildings provide graffiti artists, a canvas as well as a dry place for  the cats to sleep. Though the fence is high and would be a prison for most humans, the cats can come and go as they please through the spaces in the fence. Neither Fred nor George have been seen outside of their fence due to the competition. Demitry has tried  to take their jobs as well, but the brothers were witnessed repelling the invader late one April night.

Demitry appears to have an unpaid position in a construction site across the street from La Bellaca though this has yet to be confirmed. He sprints towards the site when he felt threatened and works his way between the wooden wall of the construction site and the iron bars of the neighbor’s place.

John Jay Vets Get Their Marching Order

By Allan Parker

“TIME TO MOVE OUT!” A phrase familiar to every Soldier, Marine, Sailor, and Airmen who’s ever served in the armed forces. Normally associated with a Drill Instructor wearing a round brown “Smokey the Bear” hat barking orders at the top of their lungs to “Shut the F… up, ruck up, and move out”.

To many of John Jay’s veterans, this usually meant swinging a 50 to 100-pound ruck-sack onto your back in 100 degrees plus heat, grabbing your rifle and patrolling through a deadly hostile environment with automatic weapons fire whizzing by landing too close for comfort.

Many endure this to proudly serve the country while motivated by the belief that you’re doing your part to spread democracy and helping to free innocent people from the yoke of tyranny.

Servicemen and women alike have had similar experiences, both positive and negative, and have returned home with the expectation of returning to school to complete their education. Many seek out the “American Dream” promised to those citizens of this great country who have sacrificed all in the name of honor, duty, courage, integrity, commitment, selfless service, and respect. Yet there are still major issues that need to be addressed for veterans at John Jay.

Due to the temporary closing of North Hall at the end of the spring 2016 semester, the Veterans Association Club will be forced to relocate to Haaren Hall in the New Building. Marc Harary, Director of John Jay’s Office of Space Planning, said “It’s up to CUNY Central to determine its future use at this time.”

Though most vets are grumbling about the move, everyone is grateful for the new accommodations including Elaina Ferguson, a Student Veteran, who said “It’s unfortunate that we have to leave our current spot. It’s private and laid back. In between classes I have a place to hang out, study for a test, use the computers, and talk with other vets who can relate to both the good and bad challenges we face.” She also said, “I hope the new space John Jay gives us is big enough to fit us all in, so we can have privacy when we have our meetings.” A notable motto of servicemen “adapt and overcome” has been encouraged in spite of the situation.

The offices of the Veterans Association, headquartered in the third floor of North Hall, has been an oasis for recently returning veterans who are making the adjustment back to civilian life.

Gary Tsai, Vice-President of the Veterans Associations Club said, “Veterans hear of the club sometimes through personal knowledge of the Veterans Administration or word of mouth from other vets and they come check us out” Tsai explained.

“Our doors are open to everyone, not just to student veterans but also to all students who are offspring or siblings to those who are currently serving or have served, and also to anyone who wants to find out about the military way of life. Everyone interacts to tell war-stories, how they’re personally coping with stress, job networking, sharing vital information, goals, dreams, and hopes for future plans. Everyone’s welcome.”

One worry is the new office space being allocated for the veteran’s club itself. Richard Pusateri, the Military and Veterans Services Manager at John Jay, thinks “The new space will make us more visible. Overall it’s a much more attractive location with better lighting that makes it more inviting to vets and family members of vets. Where we’re at now is tucked away and hidden, the new space allotted will increase awareness to people that we’re here and remind those of the services we provide. If someone needs advisors or counselors for whatever reason, it’s much easier to just walk them down the hall and seek out whatever is required. I think this will better suit our needs”.

Though larger in overall square feet than most of the other clubs, the Veterans Association Club is more than just a club, not to mention its membership is deeper and more diverse than any other club.

Unlike the other clubs, which classify by national pride, entertainment, special interests, sports, and hobbies, the Veterans Association Club encompasses all of those characteristics.

The Club invites students of every race, creed and color of law enforcement, first responders (which most are), musicians, athletes, student scholars, chess masters, comic book enthusiasts, all sexual orientations and everything not mentioned under the sun. Because of the Club’s sizable numbers, classroom max capacity, and possible fire code violations, the association will not be able to lodge a substantial portion of its membership during meetings and events.

Another significant concern is the privacy factor in regards to the separate and combined gender support groups for male, and especially female veterans, who have closed door meetings to tackle issues exclusive to their needs. Female veterans above all will be impacted by this change of venue, because they may be forced to hold privately run meetings away from the familiarity of the Club, inviting civilians into their setting.

In the Club’s present site, separate and combined gender meetings are held furnishing the forum to freely vent frustrations without incident or judgments. Both male and female vets have had unique experiences, which only professionals or other vets can relate.

According to Jose Comulada, President of the Veterans Association Club, “We’re all appreciative and thankful for John Jay’s understanding”. Still some feel special consideration should be extended since it’s not only a club, it’s an association that performs outreach to fellow student veterans. Jose says it best “The Veterans Association Club is the only place where vets help vets”.

For more info, go to the Veterans Association Club at Haaren Hall Room 228.

Summer Bodies Made In The Spring

By: Anna Gevorgyan

With summer approaching, the panic of having the “perfect summer body” ensues, then and this question pops: “Will I keep up with the challenge or drop it quicker than the last New Year’s resolution?”

The beach body preparation becomes a trend at the end of winter and all the way through spring. Gyms get more memberships during this period than any other time of the year. Jillian Aga, 32, a receptionist at Lucille Roberts, meets all the new members, who are signing up for Lucille Roberts. When new members are asked for the reason they joined the gym, most say that they want to be prepared for the summer. Aga said, “Yeah, we get a lot more new members, but the thing is that they don’t follow through.” A majority of people who sign up for monthly membership quit the gym after the first month

It is a concerning trend, as working out can be a good way to escape the real world and prepare your body for the summer. Setting up a goal and working towards achieving it can also take away the stress of schoolwork and work problems.

John Jay students can avoid this issue by working out at the school’s fitness center on the sixth floor. The fitness room is available for all students attending John Jay.

Although the fitness center is small, some students like it. Savannah Davis, a sophomore who works out every day, is confident about her plan. She is motivated and ready to take on the challenge of the season by getting ready for the summer. Davis is happy with John Jay’s fitness center. She said, “They provide workout routines as well as free access to the gym.” Having free access to a gym is having one less excuse for not working out. During spring, when the weather is slowly getting nicer, girls begin to workout and prepare their bodies for the summer, which gets them motivated and excited. They buy all new gym workout accessories and post a couple of pictures of them working out with the hashtag “gymLife” or at least something similar to it. Then the trend slowly dies out. Usually, girls who were already in shape, stay working out even after the trend is completely gone, and everyone else’s gym attire is peacefully resting in the back of their wardrobe.

Working out is not the only essential to the “getting ready for the summer body” trend. A healthy diet or a healthy meal plan is considered a big part of the challenge as well. For college students, keeping up with a healthy meal plan is harder than it seems. The school is full of cheap junk food. A slice of pizza may cost $1.75 but a salad may be $10.00. In addition to the healthy food being expensive, preparing a healthy meal takes time, which college students don’t have. Julie Campos, a junior who is preparing for the Army, agrees that eating healthy for a college student is pretty hard. She works out in school almost every day. Campos said, “I’m not too confident on eating healthy because I don’t stick to a routine. And I also love eating junk food and take-out, believe it or not. Plus I don’t have time to be making stuff at home, so I just eat out because it’s easier.” Going to school in Manhattan, John Jay students are trapped in the city surrounded by not so healthy and tempting restaurants.

The increased focus on fitness forces most girls to follow up, and make a plan of their own. Mariel Zavala, a junior in John Jay, works out at the school’s gym Monday through Thursday with two of her friends. She said, “I’m feeling confident because it turns into a bit of a competition between us, and we encourage each other to keep going.” Girls are known to be ambitious when working out and setting a goal. They usually work out with friends, which may make working out easier and more fun. “It’s harder to maintain motivation when working out alone,” said Zavala.

Another trouble with students and eating healthy is the weather. While weather and food might not seem to have any connection, Mariel Zavala disagrees. She said, “It’s getting warmer out, which means going out more, making it difficult to be picky about what you eat.”

Bridget Sarco, a junior in John Jay who is also in with the working out business, found a way to lose weight fast. It’s not easy but it’s fast. She said, “Recently I’ve started replacing my meals with smoothies.” The idea of drinking all the meals one eats in a day may not be too pleasing, but it seems to be working pretty well. Alongside her diet, she works out and stays active. She said, “I’ve been doing the whole smoothie thing for 4 days and I already lost 5 pounds with the help of working out.”

Everyone is trying to find an easy way out, without realizing there is no easy way out. Most college students already feel tense and stressed and live life catching up with schoolwork. The general belief is that the harder you work the better it is. When the working out trend hits, it adds another task on the student’s to do list. Maintaining a workout routine and staying on track with schoolwork, while having a job on the side, is not supposed to be easy.

Karla Pimentel, a junior in John Jay, is keeping up her workout routine. While being in the army and full-time student, she is also an athlete, which gives her the advantage of being used to working hard. Despite her usually overloaded everyday routine, she thinks achieving a fitness goal should be tough.

“If it’s easy, then you ain’t doing it right,” said Pimentel.

Academics Vs. Jobs

By: Kristie Londono

Picture being a full time student. This consists of reading assignments, projects, midterm exams, final exams, presentations in between, PHEW! It can be a handful. Now picture being a full time student and working two jobs! It is a big responsibility, however there a few John Jay students that are experiencing this.

It is often heard of students to have one job, but there are a few students that are working in two for multiple reasons. In college, students must focus on passing their classes by following their syllabus and completing their assignments. The question is how are they able to manage working over forty hours and being a full time student?

Heading to work after school, then traveling to the second job afterwards, is what Julie Campos is experiencing. Campos, standing in her Junior year, works forty-eight hours on average in Gap inc. and Adidas , both as a sales associate. It became difficult for her to handle five classes, “In the beginning it wasn’t bad,” she said. “But then it got a bit harder because I’ll miss readings and fail a couple of quizzes.” She decided to work in both jobs because she enjoys the environment and the different vibes they each have, however it is difficult for her to stay awake in class due to the lack of sleep. “If you want to work two jobs while attending school, be careful because your mind and body gets affected dramatically in a bad way, so make sure you make time to sleep,” she said.

“I’m very sensitive with the fact that students need to work to support their family,” Professor Cheryl Franks stated. John Jay professors are important in this situation because they must understand that students have obligations outside of school and they have to focus on their personal life as well. Professor Cheryl Franks, teaches courses such as Human Rights and Justice, Diversity, Ethnic and Race relations, etc,. She is also a social worker. She acknowledges students responsibilities as she recalls working three jobs as a college student. Her primary focus is to compromise with her students “I try to assess students that have jobs, I say ‘let’s try to figure this out together.'”

Ashley Duongtran works full time in the Office of Military and Veteran Services at John Jay College and a part time customer service associate at Men’s Warehouse. She faces difficulties managing both jobs and school. She assist military veterans to transition from the military life to school life. She also wanted to assimilate into the New York lifestyle after moving from California, these are the two reasons that made her work both jobs. “At times I get really frustrated with the lack of time I have to juggle both homework, school and work,” She said in an email. “Sometimes I really wish to have a day just to relax and just become a couch potato.” 

English professor, Jean Mills does not like the idea of students working in two jobs. She believes they should quit and focus on their studies, but she grasps that it is just an ideal. “The reality is that students often have to work in order to not only support themselves but also sometimes their families, while getting an education,” she said in an email.

Christine Gancayco, junior, is a full time student working twenty hours a week in Game Stop and fifteen hours a week in a law firm. Because she works both jobs, her time with her family is limited. “I am able to be with my friends more than my family because my friends are in my classes,” Gancayco said. “The only time I see my family is during dinner since I go straight to work from school.”

In comparison, sophomore student, David Pinedo, works full time in Walgreens and part time in Pizza Hut. He also has a limited time with his family. Cramming all his assignments in a short amount of time impacts his school performance as well, “It is time consuming, I focus more on work than school,” he said.

Full time students who are working an overload of hours are at risk for a variety of issues. This includes medical conditions due to lack of sleep, lack in their social life and their academic performance is affected.  It is important for students to consider their school performance because it can impact them in the long run. Many careers are now focusing on a high GPA and a degree higher than an associates. In the past, a high school diploma or a GED was a necessity, now a bachelors and masters are the main focus.

For all of the different reasons of having two jobs, students must understand compromising is essential as well as time management, “Make sure you prioritize what is important to you and make a schedule to make time to study, homework and sleep,” Campos said.

Movies on Campus

By: Jonathan Chan

     You’re almost late, out of breath, and nearing the escalator in front of Jay Express that leads up to the first floor. Rushing to get to class and thinking you can make it in the next three minutes, when you’re stopped by a man blocking the entrance. He simply shakes his head and says “Nope. Sorry, this is closed.” Looking up the escalator you can see a film crew crawling about, hauling six-foot lights and several cameras. And now you have to wait for the elevator to take you one floor up.

We’ve all seen the taped cardboard on walls and floors of the hallways in the New Building and whole floor levels being cleared out by film crews from “Law and Order.” Last October, four sections of the New Building were occupied by film crews including Lil Jay’s Café, two science labs, escalators from the third to fourth floor, and Greenroom and Hallway. With the exception of the two science labs, film crews avoided filming during community hour.

All this filming begs the question: How much does John Jay make from these rentals? This question can be answered by the school’s budget on the college website under “Finance and Management.” The 2015 Year End Report shows a revenue income of $861,314 from “Film/Commercials/TV Shoots” alone. Expenditures for the same category however, amount to $269,094, leaving $592,220 at the end of the year. However, these numbers do not represent the entirety of the system set up at John Jay.

The money earned from rentals, both facility and filming, are pooled in a type reserve to be picked out from when needed. Since John Jay is not fully funded by the state, The Auxiliary Service Corporation, a non-profit, who manage the rentals in John Jay, with the exception of the Theater and Athletics department, helps fund student programs, scholarships, and a lot of events on campus with that pool of money.

Helen Cedeno, the Director of Accounting, Audit, and Compliance, is the Treasurer and non-voting member on the board who helps make decisions concerning where money should be used.

On average, the monthly revenue from filming in 2015-16 is $74,214. But “the film industry is volatile” said Cedeno and therefore, every year, money from shootings vary. During 2014-15 year, John Jay had gotten a lot of money for renting space for the movie “Annie,” ending with a monthly average of $102,982. Since the rentals are sporadic, the Auxiliary Service is sometimes limited in where they can help fund students.

Yet, despite the money made, students are still unsure whether the rentals are worth it because of the inconveniences the film crews cause. One student, Jennifer Palomino, a junior, thought back to an incident where the film crew disrupted her class.

“A film crew was doing a scene right outside one of my lit classes. Our door was taped up and everything and while the professor was teaching, we could hear them clearly outside,” Palomino said.

While the Director of Film, Television, and Commercial Services, Nancy Marshall, cautions film crews about how to interact politely with students and faculty, Cedeno said sometimes the film crew will hinder classes or students. Marshall tries to avoid this by first contacting whoever is using or planning to use the room the film crew wants to film in and give priority to John Jay faculty and students if the room is needed.

“We give priority to students so the film crew does not interfere with their classes or events” said Cedeno. Marshall also tries to make most of the filming time after or before community hour, the busiest time at John Jay, or at night, when most students have left.

If a film crew does damage something, they pay for it right away, said Cedeno.

But, how did the rentals start? John Jay, at first, did not advertise as a film site. It began with the decline of the John Jay bookstore.

Because the Higher Education Law had expired in 2013, book vouchers that students received from financial aid became obsolete. With most of the profit coming from the student vouchers, the John Jay bookstore started to lose money, soon “not even being able to make rent,” Cedeno said, for the store.

With the bookstore gone, John Jay had to quickly fill a gap in revenue. At around the same time, a location scout from a film crew found John Jay. This meant better reputation for John Jay and a new source of income for the Auxiliary Service Corporation.

“We had to find how to better serve the students,” Cedeno said and the film rentals became the answer.

Decisions for where the money is used go through a meticulous procedure before they can happen. Cedeno describes this process as “strategic” because of how much planning and revising that happens. First, a proposal needs to be made from board about any student needs, such as an event or program. It must have a well structured budget proposal to show how exactly the requested money is being used and why the program or event needs it. The proposal is then pitched to the student and faculty boards in the Auxiliary Services, who must approve the plan. If they do not, the plan must be revised or is denied completely.

The meetings for the proposals are open to students and faculty in the conference room on the 7th floor at 619 West 54th street.

“Transparency is the most important for us so students can learn about how all this works. I love when students are curious” said Cedeno.

Theatre Major or Minor?

By: Sabrina Ramirez

On March 30th, at 7 o’clock, the Theatrical Players and Artists United presented the Rocky Horror Picture Show in the Gerald W. Lynch theatre. It was clear that both the cast and the audience enjoyed the show. Since the primary focus of John Jay College is criminal justice, the play was one of many instances that showed students’ prowess in the arts. Despite this, theater arts can only be studied as a minor.

When asked if John Jay should have a theater major, a majority of students agreed. One in particular, Jonathan Richards, was casted as the play’s narrator. Although he is an English major, Richards said that this can be an ordeal as students may even decide to attend another school that has that option.

“I feel like theater majors are now a minor because there is not a lot of turnout,” said Richard Felipe, a senior. “We’re in a criminal justice college, so certain humanities will usually be ignored or replaced with something else. If the turnout keeps sloping downwards, they will probably just eliminate it. I don’t like that at all. I think the theater in the humanities will offer something for people who have something on the table that will make them stand out in the working world.”

Students aren’t the only ones who feel this way. Professor Martin Wallenstein, the Theatre Minor Coordinator and Chairman for the Department of Communication and Theatre Arts, said that a financial crisis in the 1970’s was actually the basis for this decision.

“There were negotiations with the president back then, Gerald Lynch, to see if the college would stay open. Back then it was a liberal arts college, mainly for law enforcement personnel with traditional majors. But, what we agreed on was that we will take on a criminal justice focus, with majors like forensic science, criminology, forensic psychology, etc. So, for years, we didn’t have liberal art majors. When John Jay decided to offer some, people wanted to try to develop a theater major. When I approached the president about this, they said that it will be too expensive.”

He continued by saying that, although theater arts is not a central focus at John Jay, students can gain experience because roles for plays mostly go to grad students anyway. Students of all majors and ranks can audition and work their way up. By the time they are seniors, they could potentially have the expertise they need to succeed in the performing arts.

“One of the things that happened with the financial crunch is that there’s been cutting down with different departments and one of the departments that’s been cut has been ours,” said Professor Wallenstein. “At one point, we went from 16 faculty members full-time and now we are down to 10. We also lost two theater people and they haven’t been replaced and won’t be. We still have a lot of students who want to be in theater, but without the arts requirements, there are fewer theater courses. The Theater Arts are bundled in with Communications, so it’s not taking a speech class and a theater class together; it’s now one or the other. So, there’s been a reduction in the number of sections we are able to offer.”

When asked if he thinks that there should be a major of theater in John Jay, he agreed. “I think it makes sense to have a theater major here. A lot of theater deals with justice issues and the arts can deal with it in the way that social science can’t. It gives a voice and a human touch to the issues that you are talking about.”

With a smile, he adds, “Most of my students plan to go to law school and theater is pretty good training if you want to be a trial attorney.”

The Struggle of Success

By: Jamely Rosa

They tell you to picture the audience in their underwear. It’ll help, they say. You laugh on the outside, but in the inside, your heartbeat is racing rapidly. It taunts you, so much so that the thought of death is less frightening than speaking in public. You may want to ask for help, but you can’t. Instead, you freeze–unable to say anything.

“As a kid, I would ask for help, but then I was made fun of by either my friends, cousins, and even adult figures,” says Bryan Taveras, a student at Lehman College. “Nowadays, I know asking for help is normal.” Although this student has realized that doing so is natural, it is challenging for most people to ask for help when struggling, lost, or confused.

At an early age, children often get discouraged by their respected elders and/or role models. This makes it difficult for people to grow and have the support that they need to progress. Surprisingly enough, most would rather fail than ask or receive help from someone else. Ask yourself: why don’t people like asking for help?

Most people are either shy or intimidated, which greatly influences the struggle of asking for help. But, some of the time, it is arrogance that may hinder these individuals from reaching their goals.

“Not asking for help the times that I needed it made things more difficult because it took longer to get things done,” Taveras commented.

This is an issue that affects all college students. But, in regards to minorities, these individuals feel more discouraged to ask because the stigma that is attached to being a person of color makes them more self-conscious. Asking for help invites the feeling that there is something wrong with them and they may feel that they will be conforming to stereotypes by doing so.

In upper and middle class families, hiring someone to work with a student is often seen as a good investment. As well as a way to reassure their children’s impending success. In contrast, when the support is offered to students of minority backgrounds, it is often assumed that he or she might not be too bright.

Although some people may struggle with the idea that asking for help makes them feel inferior, others suffer because of arrogance. Ironically, this sense of pride can give off the essence of ignorance. In other words, people need to understand that no one is a human Google.

But, for high school students in particular, they struggle when asking for help because they feel invincible at that age. More often than not, they prefer asking their peers for help rather than someone who specializes in whatever their needs are. This can include crucial information, such as finances, education, and career advice.

With college, comes along a sense of independence. These students have a handful of resources and programs available to them, yet they fail to take the opportunities. Some of these are: academic support (tutoring), clubs, counseling (educational & personal), office hours (course professors), computer labs, libraries, etc.

“If I am asking for help on something, I should already know well,” said Anthony Godette, a graduating senior at John Jay. “Then, it becomes embarrassing to ask because I should already know. If I completely don’t know something, then I have no choice but to ask for help.”

Like this student, most people feel that when they need help with something, they are supposed to know the answer. Feeling this way is common amongst those individuals with a difficulty to reach out.

Another John Jay student, Luisa Fernandez, mentions how, although she now attends tutoring regularly, she consistently ignored professors’ advice in her freshman year to do so. She mentions feeling as if she was inadequate and that this was why she never asked for help.

“When I first came into college, I was used to the professors telling me what to do and showing me how to do it,” she said. “Then, I realized that I actually had to reach out for myself… I actually didn’t do it the first two semesters. I ended up on academic probation in the spring of 2013 and, because of that, I was restricted to taking only two classes while having to attend mandatory academic support.”

Fernandez is no longer on academic probation and accepts that following professors’ guidance helped her achieve that. She even ended up on the Dean’s List and is graduating this year with a major in forensic psychology.

When college students are told that they have to attend tutoring, they are often hesitant about it. More often than not, they flat-out refuse on the grounds that don’t need it and can get through it. This type of mentality makes the students not want to ask for support.

Dr. Mark Francis, Academic Support Director at John Jay, says, “Students need to be reminded that seeking assistance is a way of demonstrating your interest in being successful.”

A human being’s nature is being rational, calculative, and competitive individuals. College students are a prime example of that. Some of these students are managing jobs, children, and school simultaneously. This is in addition to trying to satisfy family expectations.

College students need to take advantage of the resources that are made available to them because this system was created to empower and inform individuals. Everyone can teach and everyone can learn.

“No one gets through it by themselves,” says Francis.

Long Wait at MBJ Cafeteria

By: Dahiana DeLaCruz

Imagine having an hour and a half break in between classes and needing to buy lunch. Approaching a long line is unpleasant, especially having limited time. Although John Jay College of Criminal Justice is a large campus, one of the most crowded buildings is the New Building. During community hour, MBJ cafeteria is the “go to” spot for lunch or a small snack. Students have expressed how exhausting it is to wait such a long time to get food.

Ashely Espinal, a criminology student said, “It’s ridiculous. I have about an hour, and I have to wait thirty minutes to order and pay for my food.”

Some students say they wait up to twenty to thirty minutes to get their food and pay for it. However, what exactly is the cause of the long wait? There are several stations at the cafeteria: salad bar, sandwich bar and a pizza bar. On a daily basis, each station is managed by two to three employees from MBJ. The line may consist of fifteen to twenty students at each station, and then there is a separate line to pay. Some students don’t mind the wait, others become desperate and eventually leave.

The lack of employees is the main concern. Overall, in John Jay College there have been budget cuts within programs and for professors; however, that is not the issue. The issue is the fact that community hour is the only gap in which all students are out of class.

The majority of classes are taught in the New Building and the MBJ cafeteria is the one used the most. Aside from the MBJ cafeteria within the New Building, there is a Starbucks on the first floor, a smoothie bar on L2 and Lil’ Jay cafe on L3. All cafes are less occupied and employ the same amount of staff as the MBJ cafeteria.

Aldana M. Vasques, Director of Catering and Special Events of MBJ Services at John Jay College of Criminal Justice said, “A few employees is not the issue. The situation is the structure of the dining hall for students to get in. Three stations are next to each other, the salad bar, pizza bar and sandwich bar, and all lines mesh into each other.

“There are two to three employees at each station during community hour,” Vasques added. “Adding more employees will not help because students will not be able to get to the front of the line.”

Community hour consists of one hour, John Jay College has 15,000 students overall and many of them go to MBJ cafeteria to eat.

Vanessa Rodriguez, a Forensic Psychology student said, “I’m used to the long waits. Would be nice if the wait was shorter or even if a new cafeteria was open at another building.”

When MBJ initiated their services within CUNY, John Jay was the first college to obtain services from them. MBJ was founded by three men, Mike, Johnny and Burt, who started the company and have expanded their services, offering cafeterias and catering for CUNY and private events.

Many students, such as Stanley Castillo, have transferred to John Jay from LaGuardia Community College. Castillo said, “All cafeterias at LaGuardia are managed by MBJ, and the expected wait time at LaGuardia was never as long as it is here at John Jay.”

Allowing students to pay at the station for their food, rather than paying separately, would be much easier, but there is an issue with that as well.
“That sounds great in theory; it would, in some capacity, make a lot of sense,” Vasques said. “But if there is a line to order, imagine what the line will be like to order and pay at the same station.”

The structure of the dining hall limits MBJ on the possible layout options. “We need internet and electricity for the registers,” said Vasques. “Where the registers are located is the only place where we can get internet access and electricity for the registers to function.”

Space is another issue interfering with how MBJ cafeteria can function. Overall, the cafeteria is cramped and there is only so much for students to do. It’s an inconvenience for students to move while on line to make space for others to get through.

Other cafes throughout the New Building are not as crowded; however, they do not offer what the MBJ cafeteria on the second floor has to offer. Other cafeterias, such as Lil’ Jay cafe are limited to what they can serve.

Vasques explains, “There are several reasons space is limited at Lil’ Jay cafe, there is not enough space for a salad bar, pizza bar. Also, the New York City Department of Health requires certain equipments, a full kitchen. For example, some coffee shops in Manhattan wish to offer food, but they cannot due to space. Surroundings constrain them.”

Some may think the issue is the lack of employees, but there is more to the issue than just the employees.