September 21, 2014

Uncertain Future for Horse-drawn Carriages

By Fathema Ahmed

Staff Writer

Frank Riccobono has been a horse-drawn carriage driver for nine years. His father was also a carriage driver. To him it is a family business. He even claims that his horse Angelina is part of his life.

“This is a piece of history that’s left. It’s a tradition,” said Riccobono.

Horse-drawn carriages have traveled the streets of Manhattan since 1858. Central Park  carriages can be seen as far as 34th Street.Long known  to be a tourist attraction, the carriages are facing opposition with many wanting to ban them including Mayor Bill De Blasio.

Mayor De Blasio has vowed to ban horse-drawn carriages saying that they are inhumane and outdated. The mayor wants to replace the  carriages with vintage-replica electric cars. The mayor says this move will be good for the environment while also helping the carriage drivers   stay employed. The horses will be sent to live on rescue farms.

horse-drawn carriage pic 11

By: Jenifer Valmon Horse-drawn carriage in Central Park.

De Blasio is not the first to raise the issue of whether or not horse-drawn carriages are humane. Animal rights activists such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have been advocates for banning the carriages, because they believe that horses are mistreated and overworked.

“The carriage industry subjects horses to miserable weather extremes,the dangers of congested traffic,and crowds and also retires them to dark, damp concrete stalls at the end of a long, strenuous workday. Instead of gazing in green pastures, horses used for carriage rides in the city live a nose-to–tail pipe existence,” PETA representative Ryan Huling stated in an email.

Riccobono has his own thoughts, “There are three sides to the story, their side, our side and the truth,” Riccobono said about horse-drawn carriages being inhumane.

While there are many who are for banning horse-drawn carriages, there are others who oppose the idea. According to a Quinnipiac survey from March 19,64 percent of those polled were against banning horse-drawn carriages while 24 percent were for it.

“It would be a shame to lose something that’s so instantly identifiable with New York,” stated Penny Faith, a tourist from London who was taking a stroll in Central Park on a recent morning.

Stephen Malone and his horse Tyson in front of Central Park

By: Jenifer Valmon Stephen Malone and his horse Tyson in front of Central Park.

Susan Somerville agreed that the carriages are an essential tourist attraction, It would be a drop in revenue for the city. Tourists come specifically to ride the horse-drawn carriages,” said Somerville.

There are five major stables involved in the industry. They are all on the far West Side of Manhattan from 37th Street to 52nd Street around 11th and 12th Avenue. These stables are Bryne Stable, Westside Livery, Shamrock Stable, Chateau Farms and Clinton Park.

To get to work, the carriages usually travel up 10th Avenue to the Central Park area, which begins at 59th Street. When returning, the carriages go by 9th Avenue to get back to the stables.

“I believe that it’s mainly not about the horses. It’s more about the real estate property where horses are located on the West Side,” stated Riccobono.

Riccobono also explains how he would be affected if the carriages were to be banned, “I wouldn’t know what to do if they got rid of the horse-drawn carriages. It’s all I’ve been doing.”

Adam Lee standing next to his horse in front of Central Park.

By: Jenifer Valmon Adam Lee standing next to his horse in front of Central Park.

On average, a New York City carriage horse works for four years. PETA states that when it is no longer able to work the horse is often taken to a slaughterhouse instead of being able to retire to greener pasture since it is more cost effective.

“I think it’s good that they’re thinking of banning the horse-drawn carriages, because you don’t know how those animals feel, you don’t know how those horses feel, you’re using them for those people to go around. I think it’s inhumane,” said Daisy Lozano, a junior at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

“There’s other ways to get around the city. Tourists don’t have to be sitting on the carriages. It’s not the end of the world for them. The one’s that are suffering are the horses,” added Lozano.

There are approximately 350 carriage drivers in the city. Over 200 horses are used for the horse-drawn carriages and only 68 carriage horse medallions or licenses in the industry. There are no restrictions as to when the carriages can go to and from Central Park. They are even allowed to travel during rush hour.

Horses lined up in front of Central Park.

By: Jenifer Valmon Horses lined up in front of Central Park.

Carriages can not operate above 89  degrees, or below 19 degrees and during blizzards. The carriage capacity is four adults, or three adults and two children under the age of 12, or one adult and four children under the age of 12.

A standard carriage ride is 50 dollars for up to twenty minutes, plus 20 dollars for an extra 10 minutes. On Mondays and Fridays, rides start at     10 AM and 9 AM on Saturdays and Sundays.

Many cities have already banned horse-drwan carriages. These cities include Las Vegas, Reno and Santa Fe.

“There are more entertaining ways to take in the sights of New York. Bikes, pedicabs, rickshaws, segways, and other human-propelled modes of transportation are fun, cruelty-free alternatives to carriage rides. And as an added bonus, the proposed eco-friendly cars will finally get rid of the horse droppings that inevitably accompany carriage rides as guaranteed romance killers!” stated Huling.

DeBlasio had pledged to act on this plan in his first week in office. As of now, there is still no bill that has been introduced. There has also been no timetable set for these actions to take place.

horse-drawn carriage pic 12

By: Jenifer Valmon Horse-drawn carriage on path in Central Park.

“We’re considering a range of options that move the horses off our streets, safeguard the animals and protect the livelihoods of the men and women  who provide carriage rides,” DeBlasio’s press office stated in an email.

Subway Riders Surf Web

By Mark Sohan

Staff Writer

By Ryan Durning

More and more people rely on their cell phones, and it helps to have access

In an effort to keep residents online, New York City currently houses the largest public WiFi network in the country, and now subway riders across all five boroughs will be offered free WiFi hotspots by the Metropolitan Transit Authority.

The new WiFi service has a licensing agreement with Transit Wireless, AT&T, T-Mobile USA and Boingo Wireless, and will cost them about $200 million. Right now, free WiFi is only available in Manhattan’s busiest subway stations like 59 Street-Columbus Circle, Times Square-42 Street, and 72nd Street stations.

Transit Wireless plans to offer WiFi service to all underground stations by spring 2014 and customers can find this information, as well as, which stations have the service already on the MTA website.

“I don’t have unlimited data on my phone so it’s convenient I get internet at the train station,” said John Dejesus, a junior  at John Jay.

Former New York Mayor, Michael Bloomberg,  started a separate  project in December to bring free WiFi to nearly 80,000 residents in Harlem. The project is rolling out in three phases with a completion date set for May 2014.

Some Harlem residents are already using the service. “Over 9,000 Harlem residents are connected to the WiFi hotspots,” said Lara Torvi, a spokesperson from the New York City Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications (DoITT).

Users who connect to the free WiFi hotspots will have enough network bandwidth to surf the web, check social media, and stream videos. “Network speeds average about two megabits download,” Torvi said.

DoITT announced that in July 32 parks across the five boroughs will offer public WiFi. “Through a partnership with Cablevision and Time Warner Cable, we are able to offer this service to many parts of the city,” Torvi said.

Anyone can connect to the park’s WiFi hotspots, but there are some limitations.


Provided by

According to the DoITT website, users get 30 minutes for free each month, but will have to pay 99 cents per day if they choose to continue using the service.

Cablevision and Time Warner Cable internet subscribers will have unlimited access to the WiFi hotspots with no additional charge.

Public WiFi may beneficial some, but  to others it raises concerns about security.

Mobile devices carry personal data such as account information, credit card numbers, and addresses.“I wouldn’t use public WiFi, because it can be easily hacked and I think nothing in the public is secure,” said Naithram Singh, a senior at John Jay.

Connecting to the wrong network is also a big security concern. Anyone can create a wireless network posing as free WiFi. People who connect to unknown WiFi networks risk data theft.

O’Neil Hinds, Director of Network and Telecommunications at John Jay College, believes people should be cautious when using public WiFi. “Data can be stolen in three ways,” he said. “Data at rest, data in use, and data in transmission.”

Data in transmission is important when it comes to public WiF, because it is data that can be stolen over a wireless network. Unfortunately, not every company secures data that is being transmitted to and from mobile devices.

Data encryption is the key to protecting users from data theft. When using web browsers, public WiFi users should make sure they only visit secure sites.

Hinds said secure websites can be identified by looking for the “s” in “https” located in the browser’s URL. If the the website URL contains just “http,” then the website is not secure.

Banks, government agencies, Facebook and YouTube are examples of secure sites that use secure sockets layer, SSL to encrypt data transmitted through wireless networks.

With a society heavily invested in the internet ecosystem, free WiFi is helpful for many despite security concerns. “I would take my chances with public WiFi, because I always use up my phone’s data,” said Jordan Abisin , a senior at John Jay.

The city is not done advancing its wireless network according to DoITT. “We have plans to turn the remaining pay phones in the city into WiFi hotspots,” Torvi said.

The push for a network connected city will continue to advance, with some residents adapting to the change, while others are left concerned for their safety.

John Jay Loses Student In Harlem Explosion

By: Taja Whitted

Staff Writer


By Taja Whitted

On a late afternoon in early March, public safety officers appeared at Professor Bettina Carbonell’s classroom. They wanted to know if Alexis (Jordy) Salas was inside.

“He said it was just a family matter, but then the other public safety officer came along and reported that they had checked and Jordy’s ID hadn’t been swiped. That detail stuck in my mind,” said Carbonell.

She did not know it that day, but it was later confirmed that he had been a casualty of the explosion in East Harlem.

“I didn’t know it was an explosion, I thought it was an earthquake or something but when I woke up it was on the news and I live six blocks away,” said Simone Whitaker, a criminal justice major.
Salas, 22 and a transfer student at John Jay College, was confirmed dead on March 14. His death was the result of an explosion on Park Avenue and 116th street in East Harlem on March 12. According to a New York Times article, the explosion was a result of “small gas leaks below the pavement.” Two buildings collapsed that day with eight in total confirmed dead.


By Taja Whitted

On March 20, almost two weeks after the explosion, family and members of the East Harlem community arrived at the Ortiz Funeral Home to mourn Salas.

Inside Chapel B laid a mahogany casket decorated with yellow ribbons and swirls of blue and yellow roses next to Salas’s wedding photo and other significant moments in his life.

The chapel quickly filled to capacity with many squeezing in while others lined the stairs down to the second floor lobby, all waiting to say goodbye to their brother and friend.

Pastor Thomas Perez, head of the Spanish Christian Church, started the service by saying, “every time he greeted me it was with a big hug, he filled a special place that will not be filled again.”

Before the ceremony closed, guests were invited to share memories they had with Salas. They painted a picture of his many attributes: caring, fatherly, loving and occasionally mischievous. One friend recalled the moment Salas gushed about his future wife, leading Jennifer Salas to speak of their young romance. They had met at the age of 14 and soon became best friends. When they grew older, their love for each other turned romantic and they got married. “I remember when I told him he would be a father,” she said in a gentle tone, “he cried with joy.”

Jennifer Salas continued fondly talking of Jordy and his beloved dog Dash. The mourners took relief in laughing at the things young men do with their dogs. Stories were told of sleepovers and fatherly moments. His mother was the last to speak and her words quieted the room.

“We had a close relationship. He liked nice things, sneakers, t-shirts, like an ordinary boy, but if a friend liked something of his he would just give it to them,” said Rosa Salas.

Kenneth Holmes, the dean of students, Lynette Cook-Francis, the vice president of student affairs, Professor Carbonell and former English professor Margaret Tabb were in attendance. “It was so wonderful too that the pastor asked if there was anyone in the audience who didn’t speak Spanish…so I raised my hand and said ‘do you speak Spanish Marnie?’ said Carbonell, referring to Professor Tabb. “She said no.”

From that point on the service was translated and many were able to fully understand the depth of Jordy’s character.

“He was very active in his church. He was well loved in his community, very giving, loving husband, Sunday school teacher, soon to be father, loving brother, good friend and it was surreal for me to sort of get to know him after he passed away and what a great person he was,” said Holmes.

While Jordy’s friends and family knew him well, at school he was very quiet. Each semester professors are immersed in a class filled with personalities, some who need more encouragement than others to break out of their shell.
“After some point you get to know everyone, but Jordy was quiet so by now and it’s only a couple of weeks later he might have said or done something,” said Carbonell.

Carbonell explained that Jordy’s fresh arrival at John Jay hadn’t given him enough time to connect with other students.

At his funeral she took note of his involvement in the community. “You could see his life at home and with the church probably took up a lot of his time, so I don’t think he really had a chance to form relationships here,” she said.
Back at campus students contemplated ways to remember their fellow colleague and whether John Jay was doing enough. For Forensic Psychology major Kelley Peluso, they were.

“I thought it was nice that they sent out the email. It had everything I needed to know,” said Peluso.

Peluso is referring to an email that was sent to the student body by Cook-Francis on March 18, it stated the date of Jordy’s funeral and where to send donations.

Some, however, believed more could be done, like Criminology major Eric Colon.“I don’t think John Jay is doing enough possibly to help the family instead of sending an email,” said Colon.
To remedy the unease, Student Council President Clinton Dyer explained that there are plans in the making.

“We are working on having a vigil to happen in front of the 9/11 memorial. Right now the family is putting him to rest and we wanted to give them some time so that we can have them at the memorial,” said Dyer.

Carbonell had Jordy in her LIT 260 class, an introduction to literary study. Before his passing, Jordy had turned in an assignment based on the short story “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker. The tale covers an African American family and the quilt they have handed down through generations. It is essentially a story of heritage.“That paper has taken on a whole new meaning to me and it’s a good paper, and it is very promising in terms of who he would become as an English major, as a writer. He wanted to be a lawyer so there’s that part…” said Carbonell as she folded her hands onto her lap.

For Carbonell, it was a slow realization that she had lost one of her students. “I heard nothing about the building collapses that day and it wasn’t until I got home that night and it was late…I was watching the 11 p.m. news and I saw the story and at that point they weren’t mentioning any names…for some reason I woke up the next morning knowing that those two things were connected,” she said.

Even though Jordy is gone, and his family mourns for him, he is around. He exists in them, his unborn son and a piece of writing that will be treasured for times to come.

“So you know there are traces I would say, there are traces of Jordy,” said Carbonell.

Avonte Oquendo

Naomi Delgado


By: Naomi Delgado

The search expanded on Oct 4. Avonte Oquendo went missing when he ran out of his school in Long Island City, Queens. Avonte is 14-years-old, 5’3” and weighs 125 lbs. He is black and has brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a grey striped shirt, black jeans, and black shoes. 

Avonte is an autistic child in need of help, and is unable to communicate verbally.

“Autism is a developmental disorder that appears in the first three years of life, and affects the brain’s normal development of social and communication skills.” Said in the National library of Medicine online.

The AMBER alert was dispatched immediately. The media played a big part on letting everyone know Avonte’s description. The media announced his disappearance.  The family and the NYPD provided fliers. “Fliers with the NYPD logo are provided by the police,”an NYPD official said.

The MTA and the NYPD have united to find Avonte. Avonte’s parents say he is fascinated with trains, so the MTA has been announcing a description of Avonte.

“I have seen fliers on train’s stations and in streets and heard about it on the news and on the trains,” said Jinnette Grullon, a junior at John Jay. “I have heard the announcements on the trains, been hearing them for more than two weeks.”

“The MTA was contacted by NYPD,  due to the nature of the missing child not being able to speak. This is the first time from my knowledge that the MTA has assisted in this manner in an effort to find anyone,” NYPD officials said.

“The MTA officials took the unprecedented step of halting overnight track maintenance and ordered at least 200 workers to instead scour the tunnels for Avonte Oquendo, a missing, 14 year old, autistic boy,” Daily News online said.

This has been one of the first times the MTA has taken a big part of a search for a missing child. Avonte’s fascination for the trains has made the police believe that there is a possibility he can be found there.

The search expanded from Queens to Manhattan to other boroughs hoping to find Avonte safe. Since he is autistic, certain measures need to be taken when approaching him. Are people being informed of how to come close to an autistic child?

“I would hold him and get someone else to call the police. I know it might scare him but desperate needs call for desperate measures,” Grullon said.

“I work with autistic kids so I know that they are very sensitive so I would approach him very calmly and be as friendly as I could be and once I know he cant leave my sight, I’d call 911 as soon as possible,” said John Jay senior Roxana Teran. Teran is also an assistant teacher at the Bronx Organization for the Learning Disabled, or B.O.L.D. 

More information should be given in school to inform students and other people how to interact with an autistic child. NBC News segment, informed viewers to,“Call the tip line to let them know. Follow or keep an eye on Avonte but don’t necessarily approach or touch him. Keep him in your sight and communicate with law enforcement.”

Information regarding what autism is and how to help a person with this condition should be directed. “I think that every school should inform the students of how to approach an autistic child in case they see him,” said Teran.

“I know what autism is. It’s a disorder in the brain, which interferes with social interactions. Autistic children can’t function socially like other children can and usually are fascinated on one certain thing like trains, cars, toys, etc., I think,” said Grullon.

The search for the autistic teen is still in action and there is hope that more volunteers join the search. A red tent has been put outside Avonte’s school. Volunteers can meet at the tent that is located in Long Island City, Queens near Riverdale School.

“I would volunteer for Avonte’s search,” said Terran. “I can’t even imagine how his parents are feeling. They must be devastated.”

Avonte’s parents do not lose hope that their son is alive. Avonte’s mom asks for the search to continue in hope that one day they find him.

A study done by a psychologist Christopher Chabris of Union College in Schenectady, N.Y. has shown that people tend to pay attention to one thing at a time. People are so caught up in their everyday life that they don’t stop to see what may be happening around them.

The Minn Post online said that “inattentional blindness” is the failure to see visible and otherwise salient events when one is paying attention to something else.” It also uses the term “illusion of attention” which is “the common but mistaken belief that people pay attention to, and notice, more of their visual world than they actually do.”

The way a person distributes his attention to their everyday tasks determines how much each task is completed and to what perfection. A person can try to focus their attention to more than one thing but their attention to each task wont be equally distributed.  Multitasking is possible but to a certain extent.

Charles Stone, a Cognitive Psychology professor at John Jay said, “In the ‘inattentional blindness’ research, what tends to happen is they would have people focus all their attention on one task. So if I’m focusing on you and something else is going around, I might not notice it. However if I have a diffuse attention span, I will notice what is going on.”

“If people are in the subway and they are too focused on their own thought or on their own music they won’t notice anything around them possibly, and I think that on the subway there is a lot of pressure to be like that.” Professor Stone said. “You just want to get into your own zone and you don’t make eye contact with other people, you just focus on your day, what you’ve done, so if they are focus so strong on that they are using all their attention resources they won’t notice [Avonte].”

Train riders in particular tend to focus on their own life and feel the constant need to avoid looking at others to avoid any altercations. They are either using their gadgets or reading the newspaper.

“I don’t really pay attention to anyone in the train. I’m either listening to music or playing candy crush on my phone,”  Karla Flores, a senior at John Jay, said. “It helps me avoid problems with some crazy people in the train.

Avoiding conflict by making eye contact or having too many things in mind might prevent some people from being able to use diffused attention allowing them to be able to see more than what they see, giving Avonte a chance to be found.

“We just want to request that everybody take five minutes just to look. If we pay a little more attention to each other, we may be able to see things,” Avonte’s dad said in an online article called The Stir.

If you or anyone you know, knows some information on Avonte Oquendo please contact NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS. You can also contact Det. Michael Donleavy at 718-520-9252.


African-Americans Evolving in Comic Books

By Alex Guzman

Can you think of a comic book or graphic novel whose central character is black?  Have you ever read of a black superhero that is not merely a sidekick, or an irrelevant character? Last month “Heroes in Black: Race, Image, Ideology and the Evolution of Comics Scholarship” was an event held at the CUNY Graduate Center on 34th Street and 5th Avenue in Manhattan. Professor Jonathan W. Gray, an assistant professor of English at John Jay College lead this talk.

White characters, like Superman and Batman, are more prevalent in comics than black protagonists. There were differences in their upbringings and how they became superheroes, but almost all of them were white. Black superheroes, like Luke Cage, were not always painted in the best light. Even though Cage was the main character in his comic, he was born of the exploitation of black people in the film industry. He portrayed the archetype of the big buck.

“Early black characters faced moral quandaries [and were] placed under the gaze of white superheroes [and] popular culture,” Professor Gray said. Compared to the 1970’s, black characters now embody fewer stereotypes.

The African riots and the Black Panther movement heavily influenced Cage’s character when Luke Cage comics first came out. But after his disappearance for some time, he reappeared with the rise of Barack Obama as a state senator.

The new Luke Cage looked different from how he used to look in the 70’s, which gave off a less extremist image, according to Gray. His new costume helped him to better fit in as a member of society rather than being associated with a specific ethnic group. He was now integrated with the black working class, rather than the black power movement.

Gray quoted Scott Buktaman, who said that young scholars say that comics pay special attention to non-traditional superheroes. Gray also quotes Scott McCloud, who claims “universality of the cartoon image” as a “white, heteronormative, masculine subject.”

Gray spoke of neo-liberalism and the introduction of the first black comic book characters to appear on their own.

“In 1975, Marvel creates four iconic black characters,” Gray said. He speaks of the Black Panther, Storm, The Falcon and the aforementioned Luke Cage.

Gray remembered how, in one comic, The Falcon is fighting an enemy while Captain America watches. He claimed that this “endorses militant black masculinity, [which] mirrors and mimics that of the reader.”

Gray mentioned that many considered The Falcon who was the true hero of that comic. He explained how “this displacement of course is incomplete [because] The Falcon has never had his own comic book.”

Gray looked at his audience to read their reaction, and continued, “I began to see Superman as a punk, that Superman didn’t relate to replenishing the earth, like Huey Newton and other people did,” Gray said. “In essence, Superman is a phony and a fake. He never saved any black people in this country in any comic book stories.”

The last of Gray’s PowerPoint slides was of Luke Cage. In this interpretation, Cage was a more humanized multicultural member of society, and not so much a member of one ethnic group specifically, as he walked with his white wife, pushing his multiracial infant son in his stroller.

Professor Gray is teaching The African-American Experience: Comparative Racial Perspectives in the Spring 2014 semester.

New Vice President Elected to Student Council

By Melissa Kong

Staff Writer

Student Council-Chris Ferreiras


There’s a new vice president in town. On Oct. 2, John Jay’s Student Council elected Julio Torres as vice president to replace Salahdine Baroudi, who resigned early September.

Torres, 26 and a Global History Major, is a former active duty service member in the U.S  Army. He was the president of the John Jay Veterans Association, as well as a Senior class representative. To take up this new role, Torres had to resign from those positions mentioned above.

Though Torres already assumed the responsibilities as Student Council’s new vice president, the shift of the change has not yet been updated on the college Jay Stop website.

Torres joined Student Council because he felt he was the right man for the job saying there was a lot of work to do once there was a vacancy.

“I offered my experience and promised to do my best,” Torres said. “With my experience in the military I thought I could fill this role.”

In an email sent to the Sentinel, Baroudi explained the reasons for his resignation.

“Ultimately, what led to my resignation as the Vice President of Student Government was other responsibilities that, I felt, fell in more closer relation to my career interests.”

Baroudi later went on to reflect about his time serving as Student Council Vice President.

“I carefully considered my 2 years of working within Student Government, and the four to five month term as Vice President, and realized that I had completed a significant portion of my duties and objectives within the position,” said Baroudi.

As for Torres, he told the Sentinel of his broad agenda.

“My plans are to fill all committees available for student representation on campus, make changes to the Student Government Charter which will increase the efficiency of Student Governance within John Jay, assist the Student Council Representatives with their tasks and event planning, revise various reference material used by Student Government, formalize a John Jay homelessness initiative and have an ROTC information session,” said Torres.

One of the tasks that Baroudi had that still needs to be fulfilled is filling committee seats. The task is essential because it gives careful consideration to issues pertaining to college policies and other student related concerns on campus.

For Student Council’s President Clinton Dyer Jr. he stated, “I trusted in his ability,” he expressed that because of Baroudi 2 year Student Government experience, he had very high expectations.  One major expectation that Dyer had for the former Student Council Vice President was the fulfillment of committee seats which according to Dyer, Baroudi failed to do.

Though it isn’t ideal to have a student council member resign mid-semester,  Torres is optimistic about his new position.

“I hope to embody the Student Council motto of “Catalyst for Change,” said Torres.

“I hope to accomplish all of my plans while maintaining my GPA. I hope to assist homeless students of John Jay and replicate this effort throughout CUNY.”

Female Basketball Player Breaks Records


photo 2 (2)

By Keyunna Singleton

Staff Writer

Jamecia Forsythe, of John Jay’s Women’s Basketball team, is set to have record-breaking season.

Forsythe, a senior and second year captain, is projected to surpass a 1000 points and 1000 rebounds for her career.She is 31 points and 78 rebounds away from the milestone.

The 21 year-old would be the first John Jay student, and the third female athlete in the NCAA CUNY conference to do this.Forsythe has played for the team since her freshman year and became team captain as a Junior.

“It hasn’t hit me yet that I’m going to be the first ever John Jay student to do this,” said Forsythe. “I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but I can’t wait for it to happen.”

Nonetheless, her ultimate goal is to win a championship. Something she has targeted since becoming a Bloodhound.

“I want a chip first and foremost,” Forsythe said.

To reinforce the idea of winning into her team, she draws from Ian Terry for inspiration. Terry was the winner from season 14 of “Big Brother”, her favorite reality show.

According to Forsythe, Terry says, “If you can plan it and you can see it then you can have it.”

She refers to this quote to focus her game, especially when preparing to play against Baruch College. Baruch’s basketball team is the six-time CUNY conference champion.

“Someone has to stop them, why not us?” said Forsythe.

It’s been 21 years since John Jay’s women’s basketball team has won a championship and Forsythe believes that the opportunity is waiting for her.

Her mother, Joan Forsythe, is “delighted” by her daughter’s passion, though there was a time when it affected their relationship.

Joan Forsythe, a mother of four, refers to her only daughter as “Mecia”. “I did not always want Mecia to play basketball,” she said. “I wanted her to be regular.”

After seeing how much her daughter loved basketball, she wants to see her “go all the away.”

Forsythe’s mother used to worry about her daughter’s distant traveling and staying late at practices and games.

“She used to go alone,” she said of her daughter, while other parents would drop their daughters off and pick them up.

Because she had to work, often two jobs, Forsythe did a lot of traveling on the buses and trains by her self. Ms. Forsythe admits to asking her daughter not to go to practice at times.

Forsythe always declined. “She never, never, never missed a day even if it was cold or she was sick,” Ms. Forsythe said.

“Sometimes she would be so sore that she would have to eat in bed. But she always keep up with her school work,” she said.

Forsythe has been an excellent student since grade school. Graduating second in her class in junior high and high school, her mother finds her drive and determination admirable.

Back at John Jay, her coach Diane Ramirez says “I love her like she is my own daughter.”

Ramirez refers to Forsythe as “the hardest working student athlete I’ve ever had.”

Forsythe plans to continue her education at medical school after she graduates in May. She encourages anyone that has a goal in life to pursue it, no matter the obstacles. “If you have a love for something, don’t let anything stop it.”

John Jay Observes Domestic Violence for the Month of October

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By Jeffrey Nunziato

Purple floods the halls of John Jay as Domestic Violence Awareness events take place throughout the month of October.

October is known for Breast Cancer Awareness Month—where you’ll often see people wearing the color pink. John Jay held awareness for another issue, domestic violence of which, the color for Domestic Violence Awareness is purple. On Oct. 17, John Jay held a “Purple Day” where students and faculty got together to wear the color purple in some form or fashion.

Katherine Outlaw, the Program Coordinator of Leadership and Diversity, who works in the Office of Student Life, is part of the faculty heading the events. “I’m excited about it,” said Outlaw. “We wanted to honor the victims of domestic violence, raise awareness, and let people know that we are paying attention.”

This is not the first year that John Jay is holding events for domestic violence, but it is the first as a collaborative effort. There are three offices heading the events—the Office of Student Life, the Women’s Center, and the Office of External Affairs. Each office contributed a part to the cause.

Outlaw felt that working with other offices made things easier. “Collaborations are important. I think that when you work on a college campus students get into silos, but we want to open it up and make you aware of what others experience,” said Outlaw. “We want students to be involved.”

“Purple Day” was an event done to make people think. “I want students to see others wearing purple and think ‘why are you wearing purple?’ and to challenge people to think about how they interact with others,” Outlaw said. The color purple, representing Domestic Violence Awareness, is a way for students and faculty to get involved in the effort.

Done as a collaborative effort, the offices had the mezzanine lit purple in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness. The Office of External Affairs handled negotiations to have the lighting approved. “I think it brings it to another level,” Outlaw said. “The opportunity to do this and let people know that this is what’s going on.”

The Women’s Center paid for t-shirts that students could customize with domestic violence statistics. They were also handing out paper fliers with statistics of domestic violence along with purple ribbons that students could pin to their clothing.

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Elizabeth Yukins, who is Director of the Women’s Center, was also looking forward to the awareness events for domestic violence. “Those t-shirts, 50 of them, were gone in a few hours from people coming in,” said Yukins. “We’ve had over 100 people come in to either get a t-shirt or get a purple ribbon to wear.”

Among “Purple Day”, custom t-shirts and ribbons, the Women’s Center also held a bake-sale in the lobby of New Building on Oct. 17. At the beginning of November, the Women’s Center will be hanging t-shirts in the lobby of New Building. “Each shirt will have different colors, representing different issues of death or survival in relationship to violence,” Yukins said.

Both Outlaw and Yukins made it clear that the administration at John Jay was supportive of their efforts to plan the awareness events. Despite the numerous events going on at John Jay, including the movie filming that took up entire floors at a time, it was important to get space for the awareness events. “We started off a little late in regards to the events due to the other things going on in October, but we wanted to still show respect to the victims of domestic violence,” said Outlaw.

What drives these women to get involved with these kinds of events? Outlaw, who previously worked at the University of Arizona, was the coordinator of the “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event that had to do with sexual assault. “For me, I’m also a Women’s Studies Minor, and so I always think about what my daily life is, how I can affect people, and how I can teach people in the process,” said Outlaw. “As a Diversity Coordinator that’s my job, but that’s also how I live my life.”

Being that Yukins is the Director of the Women’s Center, Yukins job is focused on being the supportive backbone for people who need help. “There’s a sense of doing what we can to assist students who struggle with personal issues in their lives,” said Yukins. “Whether that’s counseling, or advocacy, or raising the awareness of issues, it’s our job.”



National Science Foundation Winner

Nikoleta Despodova

By Navita Nauth

Staff Writer

When she opened the email, she couldn’t believe it. Screaming from excitement, she had to double check. Nikoleta Despodova stared at the congratulatory email that stated she had received $126,000 from the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

Despodova is currently a John Jay graduate student continuing her research on whether or not a defendant’s sexual orientation influences a juror’s judgment of his/her state of mind.

An immigrant from Bulgaria, Despodova moved to the United States in 2009 without any family or friend for support. As a child, Despodova was always interested in diversity and studying other cultures.

“In Bulgaria, you cannot learn anything about other cultures. Everyone’s basically the same,” she said.

Despodova’s family suspected that she would not remain in the States for an extended period of time and would eventually return.

America was also not what she expected. “That’s one of the stereotypes that immigrants expect: streets to be paved with gold, but that’s not the case. Things are much harder than we expect,” Despodova said.

To make ends meet, Despodova worked as a waitress in hotels. After her first year in the country, she wanted to pursue her bachelor’s degree. “Education is important and in this competitive world you need education,” Despodova said.

After research and searching, she attended an open house meeting at John Jay College and decided she would study here.

During her studies, she met Mark Fondacaro, Professor of Psychology. It was from Fondacaro’s research that Despodova derived her own research study.

Despodova worked for more than a year on her research with little supervision from Fondacaro. She collected data, recruited subjects and wrote a comprehensive literature review. Although she comes off as very serious, Despodova likes to watch Asian horror movies in her free time.

She proposed an independent response project to extend Fondacaro’s research that questioned if a defendant’s sexual orientation affects a juror’s judgment.

“Nikoleta was involved in multiple research projects with multiple mentors, which gave her a breath of experience and research related skills. She was very responsive to the guidance and feedback that I gave her. She would read all the articles she was asked to and looked for more,” Fondacaro said.

As a result of her hard work, Despodova applied for the fellowship and is now here at John Jay to advance her studies and to work towards her goal of studying psychology.

“She was very poised, motivated and focused in her research interest. Overall, Nikoleta is a highly motivated, intelligent young woman who is determined to succeed,” Fondacaro said.

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Challenging Petraeus: Students Protest His New Role at CUNY


By Qendresa Efendija

Staff Writer

Students protested in front of Macaulay Honors College to prevent military control of the City University of New York this past Monday, Sept. 16

The protesters were barricaded by fences and monitored by policemen as they waited for David Petraeus’s arrival, the four star general and former director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Among those protesters were members from the CUNY internationalists club, students without borders from Queens College and anti-war activists, along 35W 67 St., with signs that read “David Death Squad Petraeus.”

The police took extra security and safety precautions by not allowing anyone near the entrance due to last Monday’s occurrence when students harassed Petraeous walking down the street. Petraeus, scheduled to teach his class at 3 p.m., arrived 40 minutes earlier in a black car that dropped him off exactly at the entrance.

Petraeus teaches his seminar style class entitled, “Are We on the Threshold of the North American Decade?” every Monday. His online course description reads “students will examine in depth and then synthesize the history and trends in diverse public policy,” but the protesters outside the walls of Macaulay Honors College read Petraeus as a war criminal inside CUNY to increase military influence.

A request to attend one of the seminars to gain a better understanding on Petraeus’s teaching and influence as an educator was denied by Grace Rapkin, Director of Marketing and Communications at Macaulay college, who marked down which media stations were covering the protest.

Students and professors expressed their first amendment rights chanting, “1,2,3,4, Defeat U.S. imperialist War, 5,6,7,8, Patraeus out we can’t wait!” The hate streaming from the demonstrators was targeted toward the military and its interference with the city schools’ education system.

Sandor John, professor and activist, from Hunter College said, “CUNY is not a hunting ground for military officers. It is a place to learn and express students’ ideas.”

John, with a family history in the military, opposes all military programs such as the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) that was also ousted in 1971 through protest. The military however still targets CUNY schools as recruit centers. John believes that appointing Petraeus to teach was a political decision and not an academic one.

In the midst of the protest was CUNY student, Farhaan Fhoss, chair of the Revolutionary Student Coordinating Committee at Queens College (RCC). He missed class that day to be a part of the protest. Fhoss’s job as the chair member is too build ties with other CUNY committees. While Fhoss explained how similar the committee gathers students together to protest against Petraeus, the crowd broke out into a chant of “What is revolution for? Class, struggle, people’s war.”

Different speakers such as William Crain from City College of New York, with a peace sign button attached to his blazer,  and John Arena from College of Staten Island took turns saluting everyone that came out to support the students and faculty of CUNY. They then continued reciting with the crowd, “General Petraeus you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide!”

This lighter campaign accompanied by a mixture of students and professors encouraged everyone to spread the word for Tues. Sept. 17th’s fundraiser called for by the Ad Hoc committee against the institutionalization of CUNY. The protesters handed out flyers for this event to by-standers, who would stop and stare at the commotion. The flyer read and called out to, “CUNY students, faculty and staff; city workers, teachers and other unionists; immigrant rights activists and opponents of racist repression and imperialist war should all come out together to protest the billionaire/war criminal gala.”

These students felt that this demonstration was necessary in order to protect freethinking in CUNY schools without the government’s involvement, learning in a city school where there is already heavy government involvement.


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