July 24, 2014

Commencement and Graduation

By Aya Abdelmoamen, Din Gjidija, Navita Nauth, and Stepanie Rivas

The John Jay administration decided to keep the graduation walk after all. Graduating seniors will now be able to have their names called individually as they walk across the stage.

On Feb. 25, Thomas Stafford, Interim Vice President of Student Affairs, announced that the 2013 graduating class would discontinue the traditional ceremony of having students walk during commencement. The proposed changes included shortening the ceremony and instead have students collectively stand up by graduating degree.

In an email to John Jay Students and Faculty, Stafford said, “In attempts to make the ceremony shorter and more enjoyable, changes have been made…The recipients of a particular degree will be asked to stand together as their degrees are conferred by the President…Students will also have an opportunity to take an individual photograph with the president at the end of the ceremony.”

The ceremony changes eventually gained popularity with the student body. In a survey of 100 John Jay students, 67 students said they were opposed to the changes, 24 said they supported it, and 9 said they didn’t know or didn’t care.

After the Student Transition Programs organized and hosted town hall meetings, students started to voice their anger about the new graduation schedule. They fired away with questions and comments about their disapproval. Manny Singh, junior, said, “I disagree with it because my family would love to see me on the stage and for the change to happen it would be taking away a special moment from me and my family.”

Petitions started to go around the school in attempts to change the decision. As a result, on March 19, President Travis sent out an email to students and faculty stating that the administration would restore the practice of calling each student by name during the ceremony.

Tameisha Laudat, senior, feels more confident about her achievement now that she will have her moment at graduation once again. “I feel like it’s the best thing to do because after four years of college, [students] want to be recognized for their accomplishments and hearing their names is one of them.”

However, there are still a few who think the changes were for the better and that the administration should do something about the length of the commencement ceremony.

Executive Director of Student Affairs, Paul Wyatt, explained some of the chaos that goes on during graduation. “Some go back to their seats, some take off, some go back to their seats and then moments later would take off, creating a traffic issue,” he said. “I’ve been at John Jay for 30 years and I’ve seen about 30 graduations here and it just gets progressively worse.”

But Students still believe that graduation is their time, no matter the length of the ceremony and that those few moments on the stage help to enforce all their hard work they endured to reach this point.

“It is an individual accomplishment for me [to walk at graduation] because I work full time and I go to school at night…I don’t know all these people in my political science major so that individual day is mine, for me,” Yannira Sauceda, senior, said.

Students Increase Activity Fee for First Time in 25 Years

By Navita Nauth

Left to right: Dev Sharma, Gabriella Mungalsingh, Faika Kabir, Clinton Dyer, Nadia Taskeen, Nancy Jeeuth, and Shereef Hassan, members of Student Council stand for a celebratory photo, after raising the activity fee at John Jay is for the first time in 25 years.

 

You didn’t have to be in the Lynn and Jules Kroll Atrium to hear the cheering and applause at 5:30 on March 14. The cacophony came from members of the John Jay community celebrating that John Jay had voted to raise the activity fee for the first time in 25 years.

The increase passed with a 995 to 617 vote.

“They put together a strong marketing plan to get this fee passed,” said Kenneth Holmes, the Dean of Students for the Division of Student Affairs. “It is really a testament to their hard work and dedication to the John Jay student body and how our culture has changed. As their dean, I’m very proud of them,” Holmes said.

The activity fee will increase the funds that extra-curricular clubs receive and offer students more things to do during community hour. The fee will rise from $49.60 to $99.60 for full-time undergraduate students, from $39.85 to $79.85 for part-time undergraduate students, and from $29.50 to $59.50 for part-time and full-time graduate students.

Out of all of CUNY’s school’s, John Jay is now has the third highest activity fee.

Holmes continued, “This year the student government executive board under the leadership of Mehak Kapoor was outstanding. This is evidence of their hard work, starting even in the summer, to put together a plan for the referendum for the student activity fee.”

From the breakdown, it is clear that many things will have better budgets to work with. Earmarkings like the Student Government Association, Freshmen orientation, the Veteran’s Center, Quality of Life, and Child Care will all receive more money from the activity fee.

Newly elected treasurer of student council Shereef Hassan said, “I was uncontested but the fact the student activity fee passed it means to me that I would have more responsibility and all the work I put in, my VP, my secretary, and my president and all my student council members means a whole lot.”

“This is the dawn of a new era for John Jay and everybody likes being part of history. This is exactly history,” Hassan said.

(Updated: 03/18/13)

 

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Let Your Voice Be Heard

Voting beings today, Mar. 11 to Mar. 14, for the student activity fee increase and the Student Government Charter Amendments change.

The student activity fee pays for all of the extra-curricular activities at John Jay.  Currently, an undergraduate full time student pays $49.60 and a part time undergraduate student pays $39.85 for student activity fees.  A full time and part time graduate student pays $30.35 for student activity fees.  The student activity fee for John Jay students has not changed since 1988.  Increasing the student activity fee will allow the development of new programs and services to students.  The Student Council is proposing to increase the student fee $50 more for full time undergraduate students, $40 for part time undergraduate students, and $30 for graduate students.

According to the John Jay website, the Student Government Charter is a collections of guidelines and regulations that function to operate the Student Council, student organizations and the Judicial Board.  Changes to the Student Government Charter are being proposed to allow more participation in the governance of Student Government.

Let your voice be heard by voting.  To vote for these changes visit the Jay Stop website. For more information about the student activity fee increase and Student Government Charter changes, visit the following John Jay website to give you a better idea of what you are voting for.

Commuters Miss the Etiquette Stop

By Tiffany Gomez

At seven in the morning, you won’t see commuter etiquette. You’ll see people desperate for 30 more minutes of sleep and a large coffee.

Some of the commuters who take the 6 train at the Castle Hill stop in the Bronx had some idea of what commuter etiquette is.  “Commuter etiquette is when people don’t just think of themselves while taking public transportation,” said Andre Martin, a Bronx resident.

His coworker John Serrano, 19, disagreed, “No, it’s when assholes get trained on how to commute.”

Martin and Serrano both agreed that after Hurricane Sandy things got worse because not all of the trains started running at the same time.

Serrano says that when he transfers from the 6 to the E, he’s always wondering about the people standing on the left side of the escalator. “They all know the left side should be clear for anyone trying to walk or run down the escalator, why do they block it?” Serrano said.

Some people confessed to blocking it on purpose. “It’s a guaranteed way of pissing someone off, why wouldn’t you do it?” said 22-year-old Samantha Rossi.

After hurricane Sandy riding the escalator somewhat better. “At least after Sandy occurred, people seemed like more of in a rush and both sides were walking up,” said Martin. Still, people managed to do something wrong. “I was going up the escalator and since this guy in front of me was almost at the top he stops like there isn’t a line of people behind him also going up,” Martin said.

While riding the 6 train into Manhattan, it seemed like most people were in a bad mood, and that’s usually because the train is packed, but this one wasn’t.

“If I look like I’m happy someone will try to talk to me, and I just don’t like talking to anyone. This is my quiet time,” said 23-year-old Orlando Martinez. He added that he doesn’t even like talking to his wife, who was sitting next to him reading a paper. Martinez just likes tuning everyone out to have a smooth ride.

Casey Parker, 26, says that her biggest pet peeve when it comes to riding the subway was the passengers who liked to share their music.  Coincidentally, a young man had just entered the train on the 125th street stop.  He was listening to music from his phone with no headphones, rapping along to it.

“That right there is exactly my point, if I wanted to listen to 2 Chainz and what he wanted for his birthday I would have done so myself,” Parker said. She also hates when music is so loud that you can hear it clearly from across the car.

“The bottom line is that commuters are only thinking of themselves, don’t expect them to be considerate to you,” Parker said.

Carlos Santana, 20, a tourist from Ecuador, even knows that there are certain unwritten rules you should follow.  “I hate it when I’m sitting, there’s room for three people to sit and the person decides to sit right next to me” Santana said.

It isn’t unusual to overhear conversations on a packed train. 21-year-old Janise Villamarin chimed in, “The worst thing is when no one offers their seat to small children, older folks and pregnant women.”

Waiting rooms, buses and park benches have similar exceptions. It is prudent to give up a seat for the elderly or children. The difference is that most people who sit down on the train do it because they’re tired and don’t want to give up their seats.

Villamarin thinks etiquette should have been better after Sandy, but it seems it didn’t have any effect on commuters.

They were more upset at the things people do on a daily basis, whether a storm just passed or not. Castle Hill resident Jay Lee felt it doesn’t make sense as to why some people wouldn’t wait for everyone who needs to get out to do so before they board the train. “It’s like they want to piss us off, especially in the morning,” Lee said.

This disturbed Lee so much that he got fed up and decided to ride his bicycle everywhere he could. “I’m more of a morning person now and it helped me lose those 15 pounds I wanted to lose,” Lee said.he got fed up and decided to ride his bicycle everywhere he could. “I’m more of a morning person now and it helped me lose those 15 pounds I wanted to lose,” said Lee.

Teaching Us How They Dress

By Sharlene Joesph

Have you ever mistaken your professor for a student on the first day of class? Fashion is not John Jay’s number one priority, academics and education are. But, without enforcing a set dress code, does this mean that professors can dress as casual as they want?

The back of the graduate and professional fair flyer defines business casual attire as “Slightly more casual than professional, interview-worthy clothing but not as casual as what you wear regularly to class. Business casual is crisp, neat, and should look appropriate even for a chance meeting with a CEO. It should not look like a cocktail or party or picnic attire…Business casual is classic rather than trendy.”

“Professors dressing casual make it easier for the students to relate to them,” said transfer student Jayme Gooberdhan. “When a professor dresses too professionally they automatically demand respect from students to know that they are the authoritative figure,” Gooberdhan said.

Communication and Theater Arts professor Margit Edwards, dresses in a very casual manner to create less of an authoritarian classroom for students to be more comfortable when participating in drama activities.  “This makes her more approachable,” said Axel Rodriguez, a junior. Edwards dresses comfortably enough to be able to move around swiftly to interact with students in the Black Box theater room,Kevin Nesbitt, the Director of Faculty Services, does not think there is a specific dress code for students and faculty. “I do imagine we expect faculty to wear comfortable clothing that allows them to teach their best and that fits with their pedagogical style,” said Nesbitt. “If you are a super energetic faculty member that rushes from side to side and front to back in a classroom and never sits during a course no matter what the activity, I envision wearing shoes with some athletic support would be recommended attire but, again not required,” he said.

India Sanders, a John Jay sophomore, explains that students can feel intimidated, or accepted, depending on the professors outfit on the first day. She recalled on her first day 3 out of her 5 professors dressed professionally. She prefers her professors to dress casual but not too casual in order to stand out from the students. “Professors that dress in business attire show respect to the academic field and the students,” Sanders said.

When it comes to a professors attire, John Jay senior Leon Moore said, “It depends on what course they’re teaching.” Moore aspires to be a lawyer. His major requires many law classes, and he said, “It would be nice to see professors dress a certain type of way to create an inspiring image to their students that are trying to follow in the same path as them.” Not to say that his professors don’t dress professional, he finds that it’s usually, “the Math and English departments that dress down because they don’t really have an image to create to their students.”

There is absolutely no correlation with a professor’s attire and their experience in the field, explains Nesbitt. “I do think some academic departments have a culture that tends to dress more casually, while others dress more corporate, but again I think that’s more of a function of the discipline or professions connected to that department and the complex lives our faculty live on campus and outside of it.”

“Professors are well respected people in the John Jay community,” says peer ambassador Dev Sharma. Sharma sets his standards high because “when professors present themselves clean and sharp, you acknowledge that they took the time to dress their part.”

Professor Greg Donaldson, whose style varies depending on his mood in the morning, said, “You look good, you get treated well,” He prefers a contrast between outfits each day, having a decent amount of Gucci or Armani button down shirts and a blazer in his room still in their dry cleaner’s plastic hanging from behind his door.

Unlike forensic science lab professor, Professor A. Vrobeyev, who admitted one day during a ‘Hairs and Fibers’ lab that he prefers to wear a solid white cotton short-sleeved button-down each day, to remain neutral and unidentifiable.

According to Nesbitt, “there are certain college-wide and institutional events that come up fairly regularly where it makes sense-if even simply to fit in with colleagues- to have a certain affect based on attire, I imagine most faculty or staff keep a jacket and tie or a suit or dress or some accessories behind their door.”

Regarding the formally attired professors, Asif Sakoor, a senior at John Jay, said “it’s usually the older professors who dress professionally depending on their department,” that stand out from the others which make them easier to pin point around campus. “But vice-versa, you can also confuse students that are dressed professional as professors,” Sakoor said. “Just like casual dressed professors can easily get confused with students,” Sakoor’s friend Nadine Persaud, a John Jay junior, added.

Tiffany Roca, a John Jay freshman, said, “I respect a casual dressed professor.” Roca has a Math professor who often wears sneakers to class. Although she appreciates when a professor dresses professional too, “a well-dressed professor is just as effective and easier to approach, but if professors want to play the part as authority, they must dress the part first.”

Some students don’t care.  Mirah Carter, a junior, is one of those students.

“As long as I’m being educated and you teaching me something valuable, how you dress is all good,” said Carter.

Students like Kendra Hall, a junior, want their professors to look the part. “Dress decent and appropriate if your title is professor, especially those that want to be referred to as Dr. so and so and such,” said Hall. “Not like you just ran out of some hole in the wall.”

Whatever the status quo may be, one has to be careful not to stereotype people based on their clothing. An exceptionally well dressed law professor, Esquire Laura Gilbert, suggests, “Appearance is just one characteristic to go about judging someone. But the fact is image matters.”

For Professor Donaldson, it’s personality that overlooks fashion in the academic world, and at the end of the day, “It’s the quality of teaching that really matters.”

Strengthen Your Faith

By Tiffany Wallace

This club is very diverse; it consists of 50 active members who come from different ethnic backgrounds and different Christian denominations such as Catholic, Pentecostal and Seventh-dayAdventist.Student life has a variety of clubs for students to attend and be able to interact with one another. Intervarsity Christian Fellowship is a club that helps lead students to Christ.

They host small group discussions, large group fellowships and breakfast events, where they distribute free breakfast to students.

Alex Griffith, a senior who has been the president of the club for two years, said, “It enhances my Christian life a lot, because they have a lot of conferences you could attend that develops you spiritually and personally.”

Their last small group  was in late November. Students shared their testimony on why they have faith and believe in God. They also discussed how their faith has grown every time they faced trials and tribulations.

The topic of this discussion was the power behind prayer. Why is prayer important and why is it hard to pray?

“Sometimes people are in a faith and don’t know why and sometimes they do know why and their faith is not the way it should be and conversations like that could inspire people to keep following God till they get to a certain place where they know him for himself,” said Joseph Parker, a senior and also a member of the club.

Parker says he joined the club for the reason that school was more of a secular environment and his spirit did not connect with other students. “it’s not to say that I’m better or I don’t make mistakes, it’s just more of a comfort zone, because there is more people that are like me,” said Parker.

“It provides a space for you to just be positive, I think if people from John Jay come and learn about Christ and who he is, they could take a lot from that page and apply it to their lives and be able to function a lot better,” said Griffith.

They end their group discussions with everyone praying out loud at the same time, which sounds like a million voices talking in your head.

During this closing, people are crying, some thanking God for all he has done for them, others sitting patiently waiting on everyone to finish.

Yasmine Iniesra, a senior, said, “There are a lot of people who get lost sometimes in college and people who used to be more spiritual, or more towards their faith and kind of lost their course, or want to go back to it, I know I did, I think if they join it could help them find their way again.”

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Why Spy?: Students, Faculty question NYPD use of informant on campus

By: Senior Staff writers, Aya Abdelmoamen, Ahmed Jaradat, Anastasia LaDouceur, Manolo Morales, Navita Nauth, Taja Whitted, and Neka Williams

 

The use of an informant to put John Jay Muslim students under NYPD scrutiny caused a mixture of fear and shock amongst students, faculty and administration.

Students and professors consider college a safe place where ideas are expressed. Professors said that to infiltrate the Muslim student community without any surface of criminal or illegal activity is illicit and “outrageous.” And students feel that the New York Police Department’s actions were wrong and in violation of their civil rights.

This represents an “invasion of privacy,” said Michelle Tsang, a senior representative of the Student Council. The council controls the budget and charter of student groups. The council, she said, stood strongly behind the MSA.

Mehak Kapoor, president of Student Council, said, “The Fourth Amendment guards against unreasonable searches and seizures, unless the investigator has a warrant or probable cause.” Kapoor acknowledges that the MSA has been part of the John Jay community for years, and she wonders why the NYPD would search the MSA if nothing harmful has happened within their events or meetings.

Kapoor said she is willing to help the MSA club in anyway she can.  “We are here for you guys.”

The NYPD singled out the MSA from all other clubs at John Jay by having Shamiur Rahman, 19, spy on them and report their doings.

“Why did the NYPD not infiltrate other clubs with informants? Why not investigate the Christian Club, the Dominican Club, among various others here at John Jay?” Rosario Barrera, senior, 20, asked.

Students feel targeted because of the way the NYPD went about seeking information on Muslim students.

“I feel targeted. We feel targeted” as Muslims, said Ammarah Karim, president of the Desi-West Indian club.

Even students who support the use of informants took issue with how it was done here.

“I think having informants in schools is a great thing because you never know what really goes on in a school until it happens,” said Sabrina Guillaume, 21, a senior.

“By having informants we can stop whatever is going to happen, before it actually happens. However, I think the way the NYPD went about targeting MSA in particular is very unconstitutional.”

In President Travis’s statement to the college, he said, “Any surveillance practices that interfere with constitutionally protected activities such as…the free exercise of religion must be considered inconsistent with the mission and values of our college.”

Talha Shahbaz, president of the MSA, said he was hurt by the news. Rahman, he said, who came to events smelling of marijuana, gave the impression that he was seeking help.

After reading Rahman’s Facebook post that said he had been an informant for the NYPD and regretted his decision, Shahbaz said that he spoke with him on Facebook, and forgave him.

Student clubs and organizations are where students get to be themselves and relieve the stress school can cause. However, some students are concerned if they will still be able to do so freely.

“We are all forming clubs and expressing ourselves, but how can we express ourselves if we have to watch our every step?” Mark Garceran, senior, 21, said.

The police did not give the public a chance to say if their procedure was important or acceptable, instead their standards were imposed on the student body.

“We feel personally attacked when we find out that there were informants and spies sent out by the NYPD to monitor us. We trust the NYPD to do what is right, but not at the cost of targeting us as if we are the criminals,” Barrera said.

Now that the informant, who was not a student of John Jay, has entered and exited the college, some students do not feel safe.

Imagine one of your trusted friends betraying you, or a classmate telling an official your every move.

Barrera said, “Students do not have anything to hide, but it makes it more difficult for them to befriend another person. How do we not know there are more informants in school working for the NYPD, or better yet, the FBI? We just don’t know anymore.”

Informants were placed in other CUNY schools but some students now empathize with others who were also targets of the NYPD.

“We know these things are happening, but when it happens to you, you realize it’s more real. This made it more personal,” said Shahrir Raafi, 21, a junior.

Professors voiced their shock to the NYPD’s actions. They agree that law enforcement must be vigilant, but not when it’s targeting students in a criminal justice school without any evidence of illegal activities.

The college’s motto is to Educating for Justice, but many professors and students agree what happened here is not justice.

“It’s not surprising that in this atmosphere of fear of terrorism and Islamophobia that this kind of violation would take place,” said Professor Greg Donaldson, who teaches a criminal justice course in media. “But it is surprising and shocking that it happened in John Jay.”

Karen Kaplowitz, president of Faculty Senate, expressed empathy on behalf of herself, all other faculty to the student body and the MSA members.

“There’s this idea that the law enforcement agencies seem to believe–that universities are where ideas foment because that’s the nature of universities–ideas are exchanged and expressed and a lot of people explore different ideologies and religions, so perhaps it’s a ripe field for getting information,” she said. “But I don’t think the evidence at the CUNY schools support that.”

Professor Donaldson believes that after 9/11, the line was drawn much too far on the side of security and violates civil rights.

“There were all kinds of violations of individual rights and people were okay with it because they assumed that it wasn’t their rights that were going to be violated, and it was only going to be the rights of the so called ‘others.’”

Mark Naison, professor and chair of African and African American Studies at Fordham University, spoke about the balance of freedom and safety and he mentioned the fact that arbitrary use of policies should be examined, to see if there is an overuse of power. “We need to take a close look at what’s being done in the name of security and whose doing it.”

Faculty members argued that this college especially promotes the need to educate for justice and that the use of an informant violated the protocol that forces law enforcement to get notification or permission from the college president.

Professor Delores Jones-Brown, Director of the Center on Race, Crime, and Justice said, “To be infiltrated in this way in this place has a stronger feel of injustice than it might in other colleges becase we are the college of criminal justice and our brand is ‘we are fierce advocates for

John Jay: Educating/ Infiltrated For Justice?

By: Senior Staff writers, Aya Abdelmoamen, Ahmed Jaradat, Anastasia LaDouceur, Manolo Morales, Navita Nauth, Taja Whitted and Neka Williams

On Oct. 2, 19-year-old Shamiur Rahman posted a status update on Facebook, confessing that he was a spy among John Jay’s Muslim Students Association. He was paid to report back any information he collected to the New York Police Department.

According to the Associated Press, which reported on Rahman’s Facebook confession, Rahman was tasked with “baiting” Muslims with a “create and capture” strategy.

Essentially, Rahman’s job was to provoke conversations surrounding jihad and revolution. He recorded the responses and sent it to the NYPD. Ossama Ayesh, treasurer of the Students for Justice in Palestine club at John Jay, said, “during the MSA events, [Rahman] was making remarks against the speakers of the events. He was basically questioning Islam itself.”

Observers consider this incident a symptom of something bigger going on in New York and, more broadly, in the United States, one that raises the question of whether the balance between freedom and safety has swayed too far from freedom.

Attempts to reach the Police Departmnt, including Deputy Commissioner of Public Information Paul Browne, were not successful, but in an article by the Gothamist, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said the highest levels of the department must first authorize the NYPD before they attend any events sponsored by a student group. This procedure follows the Handschu protocol, which was revised after 9/11 and “essentially states that the requirement for investigation of political or free speech activity requires ‘information which indicated the possibility of criminal activity.’”

John Jay is not the only CUNY school the NYPD has placed informants in to report on Muslim student organizations. Last year, the Associated Press reported on similar incidents at Baruch College, City College of New York, Hunter College, LaGuardia Community College, Queens College, Brooklyn College and the CUNY School of Law.

The AP has spent years reporting on NYPD informant activities at Muslim events on and off college campuses. Police departments typically use informants when they have a specific target and have evidence of crime taking place. But in this instance, as well as many others, there was no specific target or reason why the police needed an informant at John Jay.

John Jay President Jeremy Travis told The Sentinel he was aware of Brooklyn College’s incident last year, but “nothing came to my attention about anything going on at John Jay,” until the students from the MSA brought it to Travis’ attention when they saw Rahman’s post on Facebook.

“I know that the general rule of thumb is that in order to have this sort of undercover work there should be sort of criminal premise for the use of an informant like this, and I don’t know as I said in my statement (to the college community) if that was true here,” Travis said.

According to President Travis, Rahman attended Bronx Community College in 2010. Because he had a CUNY ID, that may have made it easier for him to access events on the John Jay campus.

“I think from the students’ point of view that one of the hardest things for them to sort of come to terms with was that it was somebody that they knew,” Travis said.

After revealing that he was an informant for the NYPD, Rahman told the MSA his reason for monitoring them.

“He told us that there is a brother-Ali Abdul Karim-who we had at one of our events and he wanted to see what [Karim] was going to say,” said Shahrir Raafi, 21, a junior and a member of the MSA. “I don’t think it’s anything we did specifically.”

Talha Shahbaz, president of the Muslim Students Association, said he did not expect this because, to him, Rahman did not seem like a spy or someone that was capable of doing such a job. “We were hurt. We considered him a brother,” he said.

The students in the MSA wanted to help Rahman to better his life because Rahman gave them the impression that he needed help. “We were basically trying to get him surrounded by good company,” Shahbaz explained.

Shahbaz does not worry this situation will affect his future. “The only reason we oppose this is not because of fear, but because it’s illegal and unconstitutional,” he said.

Dr. Cornel West, a well-known scholar, philosopher and activist, was at John Jay on Dec. 4 for the event “Activism in the Age of Mass Incarceration.” Dr. West  told the Sentinel  that he compared the spying on Muslims to what happened to African Americans in the 1960s.

“The U.S. nation state has a long history of infiltrating different political groups and different communities and often times when they do infiltrate, they engage in arbitrary use of law,” West said.

Mark Naison, Professor and Chair of African and African American Studies at Fordham University, expressed outrage over the fact that the NYPD was spying on students without the consent of the college.

“The rights of individual citizens are being trampled on, on a regular basis by law enforcement and something needs to change,” Naison said. “There have been two different initiatives that gave law enforcement more power, technology and personnel.” The initiatives he is referring to were the War On Drugs and the War On Terror.

Some observers say the problem rests with Commissioner Kelly, the longest-serving leader in the history of the department. They describe him as someone who is drunk on his own power, believing he is above the law.

“Ray Kelly is a great danger to the civil liberties of the people in this city and country,” Naison said.

Kelly could not be reached for comment, but in a Feb. 27 report, The Associated Press quoted him as saying, “Not everybody is going to be happy with everything the police department does, that’s the nature of our business. But our primary mission, our primary goal is to keep this city safe, to save lives. That’s what we’re engaged in doing.”

Professor Eugene O’Donnell, in the Law and Science Department, was an NYPD officer in Brooklyn and received 14 department awards in his career. He has written textbook chapters on police civilian review and minority-police relationships and is also a contributor to the Encyclopedia of Law Enforcement.

He said John Jay has had a long relationship with the NYPD, and the majority of students go on to be NYPD officers or federal agents. Still, he said, there will sometimes be conflict between the college and the department.

“It’s our job to educate for this to be a place of learning and it’s their job to protect the city and it’s their job to do that constitutionally. So there is going to be some tension,” O’Donnell said. “You want the police to be trying to do as much as they can legally, so we don’t necessarily have to have a good relationship because sometimes our interests may not coincide.”

NYPD officers say informants can be useful and even important.

“What usually triggers an investigation that warrants an informant could be many things,” said Officer Reginal Pierre of the 11th Precinct. “For instance, if there was a drug bust and it leads to a drug trafficking ring, it would be beneficial to place an informant in that drug trafficking ring to make a bigger bust than what was originally needed.”

Some John Jay students agree with the need for informants – if there is evidence.

“As long as the NYPD has evidence when they send informants into places, I’m cool with it,” said Edwin Gracia, 20, a junior. “Because the way that I look at it, is if I’m in danger and other people are messing with my safety and my friends and families safety, then why not have someone undercover to catch a criminal before they harm us. NYPD gets paid to keep us safe, let them do their jobs.”

O’Donnell said he understands, but the Rahman case is different. “The problem is,” he said, “if you could say that before 9/11 if you could send a few informants into the right place, that you could’ve stopped 9/11, no one would’ve been opposed to that, but in this case, no.”

In response to the Rahman incident, John Jay’s Faculty Senate, which has 48 members and serves as the official voice of all professors, last month approved a resolution speaking out against the NYPD’s use of an informant on campus.

According to the Nov. 19 “Resolution of the Faculty Senate of John Jay College of Criminal Justice Opposing NYPD Surveillance of Muslim Students on John Jay’s Campus,” “such surveillance can create a chilling effect and can threaten the intellectual freedom and freedom of speech and assembly necessary for John Jay’s vibrant academic community to thrive.”

The resolution’s clauses explain that the Senate opposes these activities given that there’s no criminal activity. It calls upon CUNY Central Administration to make its opposition to on-campus surveillance, on Police Commissioner Kelly to end such surveillance. It also calls for the City Council to have hearings and pay attention to why the NYPD is targeting students and faculty, and lastly, to call on Mayor Michael Bloomberg to stand up for the rights of students at CUNY.

“I see this as an intrusion into the civil rights of students, and I know it has a chilling effect,” said Prof. Karen Kaplowitz, president of the Faculty Senate. “People begin to distrust others, and that is unhealthy, especially in a place of learning.”

Shahbaz, for one, said he forgives Rahman because he thinks Rahman regretted what he did. “There’s still some good in him,” Shahbaz said.

As for future MSA events, he said, “We will continue to host beneficial events, open to all the public, Muslim and Non-Muslims alike.”

 

 

 

 

Job Scams on Cragislist

Craigslist

Craigslist (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Manolo Morales

Brier Weiler Reynolds is the social media manager for FlexJobs, in this following article written for Mashable, Reynolds gives advise on how to know what job listings on Craigslist are nothing but scams.  Reynolds points out five ways in which one can identify a job listing scam on Craigslist.

1. No company name

2. No unique email

3. Jobs with “No Skills Required”

4. Check cashing and Wire transfers

5. Asking for Personal Information

 

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Voting Starts Sept. 4 through Sept. 6

By: Manolo Morales

This week John Jay will be holding their Student Government elections for the Fall of 2012.  Voting starts Sept. 4th and ends Sept. 6th.  You can vote online at jaystop.com and view the following profiles of the candidates.