May 4, 2016

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, 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.”

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  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.

Comic Book Culture: The Influence of Superheroes

By Kelvin A. Hualpa

Comic book culture has had a profound on adults andchildren alike. In ancient times, people told myths and folktales as a form of entertainment and as a way to build imaginations. However, in this new generation, what has taken the place of folklore and myths are comic books. There has been a dramatic change, and as a result of the surge of comic book culture.

Although the surge in regards to comic book culture can be attributed rrecent films that have taken over the box office, such as The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy, their foundation cannot be denied. The groundwork for the success of comic book movies lies within the comic books themselves.

The grandfather of all superheroes is “Superman”. Created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, “Superman” debuted in 1938 setting the stage for the Golden Age of superheroes. Since then comic book stories have influenced people all over the world.

“The cult of the hero became a thing. I grew up with this idea of the guy that is super strong, which can stand up to anything and anyone. The idea of a superhero was what inspired me to join the Marine Corp,” said John Jay Sophomore, Klevi Fusha.

“As a kid I would say that my favorite superhero was Superman, but as I grew up, I preferred Batman, not necessarily because he was depicted as a real human being, but it was because he was a self-made person. Batman shows us that it takes hard work to make a difference. A lot of people tend to forget that”, stated Fusha.

Fusha also added that comic books have given us a new definition of what it means to be a man. “I think superheroes do affect my actions, it does subconsciously, so since I grew up with the hero cult if I was faced with a confrontation, I cannot walk away from it without feeling like less of man. I mean, Batman would not walk away, why should I?”

As a serviceman, it is not unusual for comic book heroes to have influenced Fusha as it did. History shows us that comic books had a dramatic effect on American pop culture. During the height of the Second World War, the sales of comic books increased dramatically, since many of the comic book stories were often patriotic and positive, such as the popular hero Captain America.

Originally, comic books were aimed at children as a portable means of entertainment, but they soon became useful for adults and even soldiers. In November 1945, a Yank Weekly article was published, titled The Comic by Sanderson Vanderbilt that cited, the estimates of the Market Research Company of America, which found that about “70 million Americans, roughly half of the U.S. population, read comic books. The ages of readers heavily favored children, with 95 percent of all boys and 91 percent of all girls between the ages of six and eleven reading comic books.”

While the marketing for comic books was heavily focused on children, with 70 million readers, it was undeniable that among these readers were adults as well. The Yank Weekly article also stated, “The study also revealed a high percentage of adult readers, with 41 percent of men and 28 percent of women aged eighteen to thirty admitting to regularly reading comics. This impressive study proves that, in the Golden Age, comic books were not limited to children.”

The comic book age that coincided with the Great Depression and WWII was known as the Gold Age of Comic Books as it lasted from the 1930s to the 1950s. Comic Books reached a new level of success in both commercial successes and becoming a form of entertainment that was culturally significant.

The Golden Age of Comics was important because it was necessary for the commercial success that comic book related to culture is having today.

In an article published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Comic Books No Longer Just for Kids by Maria Sciullo touches upon the unrealism. “A lot of comics have become more and more exaggerated over the years. And so, there is that impulse to ‘Make him bigger. Make her sexier,’ [or] exaggerate more. It gets to the point, where, in my opinion, it gets ridiculous.” Comic books at times bring forth this unrealistic expectation of a hero according to some readers. A counter argument can be stated, where perhaps this expectation is necessary so that people can keep striving towards excellence.

Although there exists some doubt about the benefits of comic book culture, most people seem to have a positive outlook on it. In recent years, comic book conventions have blown up in attendance. San Diego Comic-Con and New York Comic-Con set new records of attendance every year. The two events have become incredibly important in pop culture. Slowly comic book culture has begun to merge with pop culture as it did once in the past. The media seems to be enjoying this modern Golden Age of Comics.

#GetTested: STDs and the College Campus

By: Asia Boodoo

The discovery of an STD (sexually transmitted disease) can be a life altering experience for anyone. A John Jay student, who did not want to disclose her name, tested positive for trichomoniasis, a parasitic STD that she received from her partner of six months.

“I received a call early in the morning from my boyfriend. He was really upset and kept telling me he had chlamydia. My heart literally dropped to the ground. I ran to the clinic that same day and it turned out I had trichomoniasis, which is a spinoff of chlamydia. It causes a buildup of bacteria and causes infections. The symptoms come and go so I don’t even know how long I’ve had it. I was tested before we got together. I trusted him when he said he had gotten checked too,” she explained quietly. She chewed nervously at the sleeve of her leather jacket and avoided eye contact.

Her experience is not an isolated incident. STD rates continue to rise at an alarming rate. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has seen the highest number of reports for STDs in 2014 than ever before. The CDC concludes that almost half of the 20 million STD cases that are diagnosed each year are amongst people between the ages of 15-24. Left untreated, these STDs can have long-term negative effects on the entire body.

College students involve themselves in risky social situations in comparison to the general population, such as drinking, drug use, partying, hook ups and casual sex. Because students become exposed to such situations, half the STDs diagnosed each year are diagnosed in young adults. Getting tested and using protection, are the best ways to avoid unwanted STDs.

“When I think of someone having an STD, I never think it’s someone my age or even close to my age. I just think it happens to people I do not know. I’ve never looked at someone and thought ‘ he might have an STD.’ I would never imagine someone I know having an STD. Nope. I always think it’s someone far away,” said Jeremy Sanchez, a student at City College.

Chlamydia, HPV, and Herpes are the most prevalent STDs amongst college students, according to the American Sexual Health Association (ASHA). Because many of these STDs are dormant when first contracted, students who are infected continue to have unprotected sex because they show no symptoms.

“Some of us rather ‘pull out’ than wear a condom. You can’t ‘pull out’ of a disease, though. It’s really scary that people aren’t being careful.” said Tara Inan, an education major at Queens College.“I use birth control pills, but I honestly forget to take them sometimes. Condoms are really the only thing I use,” Inan added with a chuckle.

The unidentified young woman added: “I hate condoms. They suck. They hurt. They make you dry and way less lubricated, to be honest. I thought that because I used birth control, I didn’t need a condom. I never thought I’d receive an STD from the boyfriend I am currently with,” she said as she tossed her long braids over her shoulder.  “ I have sex with him less now because I don’t trust him.”

Malaine Clarke, the director of health services at John Jay, was very straightforward when she spoke about the troubles of young women thinking that using birth control alone was enough of a preventive measure.

“No, no. Definitely not. Do not engage in unprotected sex. Period. Point blank. When it comes down to safe sex, we can’t just think about preventing pregnancy. We need to look at the fact that diseases can alter the course of one’s life. We are looking at diseases that are detrimental not only in terms of  the reproductive system, but of the whole body in the long run. Think about HIV, herpes, and hepatitis B. Don’t look at it as ‘I did not get pregnant.’ Look beyond pregnancy.”

As reported by the CDC, condoms reduce the risk of STD transmissions, as well as protect against pregnancy. Birth control only prevents pregnancy. Both resources are available at John Jay.

Anjelica D’emilio, a senior who works at the women’s center, advocated for student choice when it came to sexual health. “ We [the women’s center] don’t put our opinions on the students. We just provide resources in and out of John Jay for things like STI testing and birth control clinics. We let students make decisions for themselves. We give the power to the person who comes in for anything. It is the person’s right to decide what’s best for them.”

The unidentified female student still does not use condoms, even after having the experience. “I still don’t use condoms, but now we both get checked out regularly. We used condoms once, but still don’t like them. I wish birth control worked against STDs too,” she said with a sigh.

“Before you get involved with anyone, make sure you both get tested. Use condoms. Please don’t be like me and not use them. What if he had given me HIV? Condoms are the best way to be protected. I just think everyone is different when it comes to sex. However, there are just some things you cannot get rid of.”

The John Jay Student Health Center (L.66.00) and The Women’s Center for Gender Justice (L.67.00) both provide free condoms, information and sexual health related guidance for anyone on campus who needs advice or free testing.

Social Success

By Stephanie Garcia
Staff Writer

There are several options for students to find something that sparks their interest. According the the Journal of College Student Development, “The greater the student’s involvement in college, the greater will be the amount of students learning and personal development.”

Being engaged on campus as a student leader, athlete, club member or peer ambassador gives you knowledge that gives you experience outside of the classroom that you can use after college.

being able to articulate your thoughts, knowing to interact with peers, having the courage to network, leadership skills. You learn these traits by being involved and engaged on campus.

What student involvement refers to is the amount of energy that the student devotes to the academic experience. However, there are plenty of factors that affect how the student spends their time on campus. Ahighly involved student could be one who devotes time to studying, spends time on campus, participates actively in student organizations, and interacts frequently with faculty members and other students.

Makeda Jordan, Associate Director of the Center of Student Involvement and Leadership believes that by being engaged on campus is really allowing the student to get the biggest bang for their buck.

When asked about why some students only go to school and then home, Jordan says, “sometimes they don’t have a choice. They have to work full time, they have small children at home or they have a family member they have to take care of.”

“Fiur years ago, there were less than 40 clubs and now we have over 50 clubs. We’ve been able to tally the space usage,” Jordan continues. “Student club and organizations are utilizing these spaces to have events; if they’re having more event that means that students are more involved. Club executives complain that they don’t have space to do more,” Jordan continues.

Abdul Alrobaye, a junior and forensic psychology major said in his freshman year he had no interest in the school and just went straight home after his classes. In high school, he was a class clown and very social around the school, however, when he came to John Jay he felt shy and reluctant to engage on campus.

John Jay was not his first choice of school, however, he had to stay due to his family’s wishes. Alrobaye didn’t know anything about what events, club or organizations that the college had to offer so he chose to go home after classes every day. In his second semester, he had a long break in between classes. Alrobaye decided that he should make an attempt to be involved around campus. He went to an event for the Arab Student Union. He met tons of people and started to build connections with the executives and member.

The following semester, he became secretary of the Arab Student Union. “Advantages of being engaged on campus, it’s keeping you aware of what’s going on. The key to being active on campus is to have breaks in between classes. As well as if you have nothing to do off campus, stay on campus,” said Alrobaye.

When you participate in an on-campus activity you’re getting the full educational experience,” Jordan says.

CSIL is about finding a community on campus, whether it’s a sports team, club or student organization. You find like minded people share the same passions and interest as you do.

Fear Heightens Among John Jay Students

Paris Peace Sign

By Eunice Adekoya

Staff Writer

Najee Warner, a John Jay graduate, commutes daily from Harlem to Midtown six out of the seven days of the week. He grabs a cup of coffee and a cream cheese bagel every morning from the food cart just down the block from his job and treads to do his usual opening shift in the cologne department at Macy’s in the Herald Square area on 34th Street. He likes his co-workers. The nearby food and clothing stores are great and he has been happy until recently.

Ever since the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a fundamentalist terrorist group,  struck Paris on November 13, Warner has been cautious of his surroundings,  constantly looking over his shoulder, and keeping up-to-date with the latest news. He is now “suspicious of everyone.”

Warner’s fear is shared by many people at John Jay since more than 130 people were killed in explosions and shootings in multiple locations around Paris, including at the national soccer stadium, a restaurant and a concert hall, where hostages were held until police stormed in and ended the siege.

Students have been commenting on their safety as they come and go from midtown Manhattan. Questions of “what-if” linger in the air; students want to know that they will be safe if any attacks were to occur anywhere near John Jay.

“I live in Brooklyn but I work and go to school in Manhattan. At this point, I don’t really want to leave Brooklyn to go anywhere,” says Medge Joseph, a Gender Studies major. Joseph, who lives in East Flatbush, says that if things were to ever get that severe she would “consider transferring schools to Brooklyn College.”

As of late, the school’s Public Safety Department has been taking precautions to ensure that “if need be,” students, staff, and faculty will be safely evacuated from the building. “We’ve been having countless fire drills ever since the Paris attack and it’s starting to make me wonder if that can actually happen to John Jay,” Rachel Segree, a International Criminal Justice major says.

Since John Jay is located in what many would call the heart of Manhattan also known as Midtown , students are becoming more and more fearful. When asked if John Jay is susceptible to any form of attack, Rushell Wilson,  a Criminal Justice major said, “If they can do it to Paris they can definitely do it to us. I mean, it’s New York for crying out loud. Nothing says mass attack like New York does.”

Simon Fortin, a literature professor at John Jay who is also of French descent, commented on why location matters in this discussion of attack. “Choosing to bomb Paris was a strategic plan. ISIS did not just randomly throw a bunch of names of countries in a hat and choose Paris. They chose Paris because of what it stands for.”

According to Fortin, Paris is a place of love, romance and art. It is a symbol of everything that is pleasant and a representation of what Western life is. “Paris is a city who has suffered a great deal in the past 2,000 years especially after the Charlie Hebdo attack earlier this year but the city will endure.”

He latter added, “Yes even though they attacked Paris, I won’t stop living my life and begin to live in fear. I won’t stop coming to work. I won’t stop going to the café or enjoying my life because that is what ISIS wants us to do. They want us to be afraid but I won’t. I have to move on with my life.”

Moving on with our lives is exactly what the president of the school, Jeremy Travis advised John Jay students to do. “I don’t think that John Jay students should be afraid of coming to school at all, reason being is because we are a school of criminal justice,we have a heightened expertise in these matters so students should feel safe and comfortable coming to school.”

He also said, “In this building and all over this campus, John Jay staff and students are all safe because our Public Safety department has been trained effectively and working extra hard in case of emergency.” President Travis ended his statement by asking that everyone become more aware of their surroundings.

Segree agrees that awareness is key at this point because anything can happen, but if we keep our eyes out for suspicious activity we will be OK. Kevin McLeod a student at John Jay and also a member of the NYPD says, “Sometimes I do think about it as I’m on the train, but at my job the commissioner is doing a great job at training us to be the best protectors that we can possibly be.”

President of Student Council, Faika Kabir, proclaimed that, “I love New York. I love my school. I hope nothing like this ever happens to us. But reality is that ISIS is fond of barbaric attacks. We just have to keep hope alive and our eyes peeled.”


Dear Val: Birth Control

By: Valentina Henriquez

Staff Writer

Is birth control effective? What kinds of birth control are there?


 There are many birth control methods out there. You must consult with your primary doctor in order to make sure you use the best and safest method for your body. Everyone’s body is different.  A doctor is also able to explain in depth the risks of each method. Birth control is not 100% effective you must keep that in mind. Each one ranges, but it’s usually 99% effective. If you are using only birth control during sex, you must remind yourself that it does not protect you from STDs/STIs. Here are the following methods out there:
Male Condom
Female condom
Diaphragm with spermicide
Sponge with spermicide
Spermicide alone
Oral contraceptives (combined pill)
Oral contraceptives (progestin only)
Oral contraceptives (extended/continuous use)
Vaginal contraceptive pill
Emergency contraceptives
Implanon Rod
 Always practice safe sex! Visit the women’s center in the New Building if you have any questions on where to get birth control or to pick up a few condoms to carry and practice safe sex!