The Student News Site of John Jay College of Criminal Justice

The Sentinel

The Student News Site of John Jay College of Criminal Justice

The Sentinel

The Student News Site of John Jay College of Criminal Justice

The Sentinel

Free Speech and Pool Tables Debacle: Concerns Arise at February 8th Town Hall Meeting

Briana Morales

Issues regarding free speech, campus safety, and resources arose at the February 8th Town Hall meeting. This included President Mason condemning the genocide of any group, which she described as “abhorrent” and “against John Jays’s values.”

With Palestinian and Israeli student sentiments becoming increasingly heightened, CUNY’s lack of an declared freedom of expression policy leaves students to navigate current events according to their own terms, including demonstrations at the February 8th Town Hall meeting.

Photo taken by Briana Morales, Reporter.

Despite the administration’s efforts to ensure student safety and free speech, concerns about accountability were discussed at the podium.

“I want people in our community to understand that we are an academic institution and we do value free speech and expression of voices,’’ President Mason said ‘’We have also got to factor in what impact that has on access to education for our students whatever that speech may be.’’ President Mason stated.

President Mason made it clear that hate speech directly violates the codes of conduct at John Jay. John Jay will not infringe on free speech, so long as it does not infringe on Title IX, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, or national origin.

‘’A lot of people think the inquiry and questioning stops if we determine it’s free speech, that’s just question number one, there is then a second question as to whether or not it also violates Title IV which impedes access to education,’’ Mason stated.

President Mason further re-stated that thorough investigations will be conducted to determine what issues infringe on free speech and Title IX.  Moreover, discrimination, hate speech, or harassment that affects the well-being of anyone should be immediately reported to Gabriela Leal, the Director of Compliance and Diversity. 

Ashley Tobar Briones, a junior studying International Criminal Justice, understands the importance of free speech, especially

 during a time of mourning and uncertainty. 

“By them [the College Council] acknowledging that and also creating a space for everyone to be and have freedom of speech, I think that is a good step toward the college,’’ said Briones.

Photo taken by Briana Morales, Reporter.

In an effort to reinforce campus safety sentiments, Director of Public Safety, Diego Redondo revealed the latest development regarding the fraudulent behavior occurring on campus and digital grounds. 

“Working with NYPD, one of our officers went out in their car to identify the person, who he had seen earlier in the day on her way to work, and he was arrested and he’s been charged with several felonies’’ said Redondo.

Briones also expressed concern and relief that the person who had been illegally defrauding multiple students had been arrested.

“I was shocked because these are things that you would not normally expect students to fall into,  older people are usually portrayed to falling into these traps, but it’s not like that, anyone could fall victim to that situation’’ said Briones.

After 14 reports of interactions with the individual within the John Jay student and faculty, the campus NYPD tracked the perpetrator, on February 7th. The individual had been defrauding the college community over email and in person with coercion to cash checks. 

Diego Redondo, Director of Public Safety, reassured everyone the person was arrested on accounts of fraud, and criminal possession of a forged instrument.

‘’We lost close to 7,000 dollars from our campus community for people who cashed those checks and went to the ATMs” Redondo stated.

For more information, please visit the Department of Public Safety’s office, located at L2.61 NB. Students or faculty who notice suspicious activity should contact the Department of Public Safety immediately. 

Due to past misuse (misplaced pool balls and sticks) of the pool table located in Hound Square, the amenity has been confiscated. According to students, the loss of the pool table reportedly put a damper on the lifestyle of students. In response to the absence of pool tables, a passionate student petitioned for their return.

‘’We did receive the petition, we had been working for a while but it was hard because the council like you said there is a lot of misuse of them but we are happy to announce we will be renovating them, we are going to work on a plan to make sure these tables are being utilized correctly’’ Student Council President, Aiisha Qudasi stated.

Fiza Mahmood, a John Jay alumna and graduate student shares her insights on the upcoming renovation to the game room.

“Knowing that that change will be implemented just shows that our community cares about its students. How students can rewind in the game room during community hour just shows that the John Jay community cares about its students’’ said Mahmood.

Additionally, in the February 8th Town Hall, the community also outpoured eagerness for the upcoming shift in campus dining. 

Aladdin Campus Dining will ensure a vibrant vegetarian, halal, vegan friendly, and gluten free selection of dietary options for students and faculty to grab on the go. Their “BeWell” approach to nutrition works to create a food plan centered on health, inclusivity, and sustainability.

Student body and faculty will be able to access the improved plethora of dining options at the Main Dining Hall located on the Second Floor of the New Building.

The district manager of Aladdin Campus Dining Food Service, Manny Lezama brought to the podium his pledge to ensure food justice to the John Jay community.

‘’The greatest part of my job is I get to play with any spices and diversity in my food is just great. We are very cognizant of us being in a university, big universities where we are familiar with food insecurity, nutritional value, obviously we need to use all of our tools, our dietitians, our marketing team, and understand what is the evolution in food’’ said Lezama.


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    Ash ParadisFeb 19, 2024 at 6:20 pm

    Great article!