March 2, 2015

Situationships: New Era of Love on Campus

By Dudline Pierre

Contributing Writer

Image Courtesy Wikicommons

Image Courtesy Wikicommons

In recent months, college students are getting involved in relationships that aren’t actual relationships. With the high demands of college, many students find themselves being with someone without actually having to deal with the stresses of a relationship. Many college students have full time jobs and are full time students, taking up to five classes. To add a relationship to the equation seems a bit excessive. Nowadays, students with all these responsibilities get into situations where they deal with a partner or many partners without having to make any commitments.

In the past, it has been said that the man is the one who doesn’t want to commit in a relationship. These days many women aren’t up for the commitment either. “I think our generation has been through too much and people are scared”, says Chantal Castanon, a 22 year old John Jay student. Her take on the issue is that women often have a fear of getting hurt, so they’d rather keep the relationship as simple as possible. A “situationship” can be seen as an agreement between the two people involved. Both have an understanding of each other’s needs, but also keep their distances.

Another view on situationships is that they are a form of sexual relief. After a long week of exams and writing, college students just want to make the stress of their studies go away. “I just worked and studied all week, it’s the weekend I want to get loose,” says Chantal. During the week, her and her “partner” speak rarely if at all, as they are so caught up with their day to day lives. When they get some free time, they contact each other, spend a little time together and then go back to their individual single lives. In their four years of college, students are attempting to find themselves and their purposes.

Carlos Garcia, 21, is another student at John Jay who believes that people our age aren’t sure about what they want. He says that, “college is the point in life between being an adult and a kid.” His view is that college students are confused. Garcia also says that in college, students—particularly men are encouraged to be free, party and have multiple sexual partners. These students use college as an excuse to not settle down with one person.

“How does together feel so alone, like I’m a stranger in my own home.” This line is from a song titled, “Situationships” by rapper Fabolous. Situationships can be seen as the new way of defining relationships for today’s generation and are even influencing musical artists. One can see that the concept of a situationship is not only affecting those in the college environment, but people who do not attend college as well. Though situationships are a form of free attachment, there are often times where the people involved want something more. The idea of a situationship is to be able to do what you want at no costs, while essentially dating someone. But there are some young adults who still take the idea of a relationship seriously.

Joneal Mason is a 19 year old who attends Queensborough Community College. She has been involved in situationships and said that “though it sounds ideal for a busy college student, I would rather have the real deal.” Mason doesn’t like the fact that the person has the leeway to do whatever they want with whomever they want and she doesn’t have the right to be upset about it. After her past experiences, she says that getting attached to someone you know isn’t yours is unhealthy mentally, physically and emotionally.

Girardin Mondesir is a 20 year old student at Hunter College who feels the same. He suggests that people put themselves in a trap and end up chasing something that isn’t there. Mondesir feels that those who choose to involve themselves in a situationship have a lack of maturity. “It’s a taste of paradise being away from the books, but it gets you nowhere almost always.” The pressures from work and school allow for college students to want to have a freeing feeling. According to these college students, they want the relations without having to carry the burdens of a relationship. Essentially, they want to enjoy themselves away from the responsibilities of life at no one’s expense. Situationships are a way for students to have fun, experiment with what they want and grow as young adults.

Time To Chill? Apple Covers Egg-Freezing For Women

By Yanel Escobar

Contributing Writer

Photo Courtesy of Wikicommons

Photo Courtesy Wikicommons

When women choose to have children later in life, many have a difficult time conceiving. However, there are new technologies available to help with this issue. Facebook and Apple recently announced that they would be offering to pay for the medical expenses for female employees to freeze their eggs.

They are offering full coverage for their female employees. Their intent is to support women to put motherhood on hold, so that they can focus on their careers. Although Facebook and Apple are making this offer, some women are rejecting egg freezing as a solution to further their careers, while others are interested in the possibilities.

Human egg freezing is a new technology: Eggs are stockpiled in a freezer, a procedure that can typically add up to at least $10,000. Add $500-$1,000 of annual maintenance and you’ve got a treatment with a $20,000 value.

CNN says women will be able to delay childbearing similar to the way birth control is used, allowing them to focus on their careers. Birth control is another way for a woman to control her body, it is her choice, the same goes for egg freezing.

The news clip was played and Jackie watched in awe as the headlines unfolded. In a small Laundromat in East Meadow, New York; Jackie Crespo, 24, mother of a hyperactive four year old shook her head. Her jaw dropped in reaction to the news.

Jackie reached over the table to pick up a pair of miniature boxer briefs; white and orange covered in Despicable Me minions. Jackie has a diploma in Criminal Justice and she is back in school focusing on early childhood development. When asked if she would take the opportunity to put off having another child so she could focus on her new adventure, she said no. “That’s me giving someone else the opportunity to control my body and my eggs, it’s just a way for these companies to have a stronger hold on women,” she added.

CJ Hernandez, a 19-year-old undergraduate at Nassau Community College in Long Island has hopes of getting into medical school, becoming a doctor and traveling the world. When asked what she would do if she was given the option to freeze her eggs for a few years she said, “I want to focus on my career, get settled down, and then have kids. I think it’s a great idea.” When asked what she thought about the complications, she said “I know it’s riskier, so that is the only thing that would keep me from having children.”

“I personally think that they’re trying to have women to focus on their careers and work as much as they can before having families, I feel like its unethical, but then again I am the woman that wants to have kids later in life,” added Hernandez.

Despite being an expensive procedure, frozen eggs do not always result in pregnancy; there is also a risk that comes with egg freezing. For instance, egg freezing can cause a woman’s ovaries to become swollen and painful after egg retrieval. Fashion merchandising graduate, Priscilla Bacchus has a boyfriend away in deployment and one ovary. For her, egg freezing seems like a worthwhile risk. The consequences may be more severe for Priscilla: nausea, bloating, infection, and abdominal pain. “I know it could be harmful, but I want to have a family and I know that I can’t right now, so yes I would take it, where do I sign up?” Bacchus commented.

Even with the risks of side effects, there is an Apple employee who would consider this option. Cristina Gomez, a 23-year-old lesbian works at the Roosevelt Field Apple store in Garden City, New York as an Apple Genius consultant. “Apple and Facebook are putting this resource out for their female employees so that they can focus on living their lives without having to rush into starting a family,”

Cristina attended Briarcliff College; and due to the demanding needs that she was struggling to fulfill, she was unable to finish. She says that once she started working for Apple, she saw what it was like to have a company that really cares for the well being of its employees. Regardless, childbearing is not something she plans to do in her near future; she believes it’s a good option for female employees to take into consideration.

“Don’t get me wrong I want to start a family someday, but having children with another women is a bit difficult, even if our eggs will be nice and chilly, stored away. I just think that this whole thing should be about a woman’s right to choose,” Gomez stated.

El Superhero

Graphic Novel Debates Latinos in Comics

By Richard Felipe

Contributing Writer

Photo Courtesy of Wikicommons Latino Spiderman in Marvel's new Spiderman comic.

Photo Courtesy of Wikicommons
Latino Spiderman in Marvel’s new Spiderman
comic.

On Sept. 17, a John Jay lecture room was packed for the Graphic Novel Club’s debate on the trend of Latino comic book characters. The roundtable debate was very lively with students and club members having to sit on the floor due to the lack of seating. Latino representations in terms of comic book characters have been spotty or nonexistent until now. Some characters ethnicities have been ignored completely by the Hollywood craze.

Edwinson Matias is a junior and member of John Jay’s Graphic Novel’s Club. Matias feels that well written Latino characters can and do exist without the need of removing character race traits. “If you think about it, comic books were made by white people for white people for years. It’s only now that we’re getting this representation”, said Matias.

Characters like Bane from Batman had his Latino roots either ignored or not portrayed in the 2012’s Dark Knight Rises. It is only mentioned that Bane is from a foreign prison yet, his Latino heritage in the comics is never touched. The actor Tom Hardy, who portrayed Bane was also not of Latino descent. “I think there are aspects that white writers don’t want to cover because of their background,” said Michael Martinez, a 24-year-old student.

The discussion presented at the roundtable debate uncovered new Latino characters that the leaders felt deserved more exposure like Michael (Miles) Morales, a recent Spiderman iteration. Characters like Miles Morales, a Black Hispanic from Brooklyn, have been given the opportunity to take up the mantle of Spiderman.

Other characters include Kyle Rayner, a Mexican-American that has donned the ring and has become one of DC comic’s most notable heroes, the Green Lantern. Tariq Sims, a non-Latino from the Bronx, 20, said “I see the few gems [Bane] in the bunch, I know that it is possible to have these amazing characters.”

The meeting also considered characters from various anime and manga such as Bleach and Black Lagoon and the probable Japanese viewpoint towards Latino characters. The exposure has leaked into Japanese culture as well.

Photo Courtesy of Wikicommons Yasutora Sado, a character in the anime "Bleach".

Photo Courtesy of Wikicommons
Yasutora Sado, a character in the anime “Bleach”.

Characters like Yasutora Sado, a Japanese-Mexican in the popular anime Bleach, are a part of the team in the main protagonists story. These also include antagonists such as Rosarita Cisneros, aka Roberta, a Cuban assassin disguised as a maid in the hit anime Black Lagoon.

Students walked away from the meeting with better knowledge of Latino characters. The viewpoint of writers and the lack of covering Latino or foreign comic characters was a major focal point during the debate. According to one student, the reason that different renditions of a comic series may cast white characters in place of Hispanics, or change their roots to better suit the plot is, “I think there are aspects or things white writers don’t want to cover because they feel they don’t have the right to due to their race,” said Martinez.

 

 

The Rise of Comic-Con

By Waheda Islam

Contributing Writer

By: Edwinson Matias John Jay students cosplay for 2014 Comic Con at Javitts Center NYC.

By: Edwinson Matias
John Jay students cosplay for 2014 Comic Con at Javitts Center NYC.

“If you do not want to go to Comic Con, don’t go. Don’t take away from people who want to go,” said President of John Jay’s Graphic Novel’s Club Iesha Galloway.

Comic Con has become a mecca for people with all sorts of genres. It brings together the old and new fans for one monumental event. It is an annual event in various cities across the country providing insight for upcoming comics, anime, graphic novels and even current T.V shows. With its growing popularity there are tons of new events to be seen every year, making it one of the most popular event for both old veterans and new fans.

Galloway showed her enthusiasm for Comic Con by attending all four days. One of her favorite panels, “Women of Color in Comic Books”, talked about introducing diversity among women into the comics. They are interested in promoting women of color and the diversity in future comic books.

A new event that took place this year was the Cosplay Competition, and Galloway was not too pleased with the outcome exclaiming, “This n**** won?” Galloway believes that John Jay students should be more involved with Comic Con. “They need to be about this life. Great atmosphere.” Without a doubt Comic Con is a culture that is becoming vastly popular.

As a freshman Matthew Kiernan is new to John Jay, but he is a seasoned Comic Con veteran.

“Nostalgia. Things you forget about. Old cartoons,” were the main draw, Kiernan said for he and his father, who is also a Comic Con veteran. “Give Comic Con a chance; go to a store. You might find something you want to read, then you might get into it.”

Kiernan and his father attended the event on Thursday, visiting the Walking Dead panel, an award winning comic book which has become one of the most popular television series. Kiernan enjoyed talking to the panelists about how the comics differ from the show and how the episodes were written, topping off the day by purchasing some comics.

Not everyone among the crowd was a veteran. Micheal Martinez experienced his first Comic Con this year. He went on Friday, the 10th, staying the whole day. There was a raffle held during community hour at John Jay that gave out free Comic Con tickets. Martinez received his ticket as the raffle winner.

Lost at first, Martinez was saved by Iesha Galloway, and soon became comfortable as the excitement took over. Martinez wanted to take pictures of people in costume, such as Raven from Teen Titans, Marceline of Adventure Time, and even a couple dressed as Ravenclaw and Gryffindor students from Harry Potter.

Martinez went to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles panel, a movie he has never seen. He loves the voice actors and saw one episode of the TV show, and now he’s hooked. “I was afraid to go [to Comic Con] alone, or afraid to be judged. But it’s a good place to let loose!” Would you go back to Comic Con? “Yes! But the problem is all my friends are unemployed losers!”

The first Comic Con dates back to 1970 when a group of science fiction movie and comic fans banded together to create the first comic book convention. It started off as a one day event in Southern California, San Diego. It was called the San Diego’s Golden State Comic-Minicon.

The event’s purpose was to raise enough funds to supply for an even bigger convention. Famous guests were invited to bring in fans, Forrest J. Ackerman, and Mike Royer. The success of this event, led to a full-fledged three day Comic Con known as San Diego’s Golden State Comic Con, held from August 1-3, 1970.

There were over 300 members who attended, who got to experience all the new activities.

Some of these new activities were the dealer’s room, programs, panels, and film screenings. Manga authors—or “mangakas” as they’re known in the scene—have in recent years had their own panel, meeting and greeting their fans. These new attractions have laid the foundation for all the upcoming Comic Con conventions.

As Comic Con becomes a vastly popular culture, there is much to expect as the years go by. Anime has taken root at the convention, bringing forth a huge group of fans. TV shows with big names like The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Archer, and Dexter, have also, without a doubt taken root here.

Nelson Carrillo, 20, majoring in economics found his way to one of the most popular panels starring voice actors from the new TV show, Star Wars Rebel that debuted on the Disney XD channel just after Comic Con.

Marvel also made announcements of a whole lot of new movies they’ll be pushing out, including Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man, Captain America 3, Doctor Strange, Thor 3, Guardians of the Galaxy 2, and Black Panther. Even a translation of a comic-to-movie, called Inhumans, seems like a possibility.

The world of Comic Con is expanding, attended by growing numbers of mangakas, Jedis, Trekkies, Shell Heads … and John Jay students. Comic Con is no longer an event limited to the geeky, dorky population.

With genres introduced from sci-fi movies all the way to anime, this is becoming a world-wide trend growing larger and larger.

“All About That Bass”

The Shift In Women’s Weight

By Imani Stone

Contributing Writer

Photo Courtesy of Wikicommons Kim Kardashian.. the reason why bigger is better.

Photo Courtesy Wikicommons Kim Kardashian… the reason why bigger is better.

America’s concept of women’s “ideal weight size” is shifting. Women’s bottoms and tops are growing bigger over the years, and according to the Gallup Report “Women’s ‘ideal weight’ is 11 pounds heavier” then it was 20 years ago. It is also no secret that the media is playing a part in supporting this new trend. Celebrities, such as Kim Kardashian, are one of the biggest supporters.

But not everybody is down with this new craze of bigger being better. Some John Jay students, both male and female, believe that there is no such thing as a weight size that is considered to be ideal. John Jay’s campus has many students that are different from one another, by age, ethnicity, and ‘weight,’ and to some, none of that seems to matter.

Some of John Jay’s female students had an ideal weight for themselves Emily McLane, a Forensic Science major, said she weighed about 145 lbs. She wanted to weigh less than that: “I kind of want to get down to 130…135.”

Sunnie Chui, an English major, guessed her ideal weight would be the one that corresponded with ones height, or “maybe around 100 or so,” she said. The only reason that Chui recommended such a number, was because she said, “when I try out some sports equipment, they usually recommend that weight since I’m pretty short.”

Nicole Lee, an English major, ideal weight doesn’t seem to be what’s currently considered ‘ideal.’ “I wish I was skinny,” Lee said, “probably a size one would be my ideal size.”

Lee believes that celebrities, like Kim Kardashian, are the main reason behind the idea that bigger is better, but not all students believe this. “Social media definitely has a role in women’s self-confidence when it comes to appearance,” said Lee.

Fifi Youssef, another English major, said that she does not remember the exact year when fuller sized women became the ideal size, but she believes it was either in the 50’s or 60’s. Chui believes the same thing. “I don’t think it’s a new trend,but it is one that is now gaining awareness,” she said.

Joshua Marrero, a student who majors in forensic science, expressed how he found thick women more appealing than skinny women. “Thick women catch my eye,” he said “If you’re like…hanging with a group of guys and a thick girl passes, everybody is checking her out… if it’s a skinny girl than it’s like…okay, there’s no one passing by,” .

“Everybody wants to be like Kim Kardashian now,” said Franklin Ramierez, majoring in anthropology and public administration. He believes it is odd that a woman would want to be more fuller, purposely.

On Nov. 11 2014, Kim Kardashian posted up a photo of herself on Instagram, which revealed her naked, oiled butt. The photo went viral, but her being naked was not the cause of the photo’s popularity. It was her oversized butt that had the public talking. Are women like Kim Kardashian the reason why this new trend of bigger being better has gained more awareness than before?

Tanith Carey, a British journalist and author of six books, wrote for the daily mail: “Women naturally blessed with ample behinds — such as actress Jennifer Lopez and singer Beyonce — ruthlessly use this to their advantage… But while other celebrities may have embraced the fashion for substantial behinds, Kim Kardashian is undoubtedly the brand leader.”

According to Dr. Barry M. Weintraub, a top plastic surgeon in NYC, said that “approximately 80% of my patients are women, but it should also be said that approximately 15 to 20% of my patients are men, which is growing in numbers.” Weintraub said the most common surgery asked for, with respect to the body, nationwide, was breast augmentation, and liposuction.

“A new trend is fat transplantation, often most commonly asked for into the buttock area. This is called a Brazilian butt lift,” Dr. Weintruab said, “Where patients have been requesting greater amounts of their own fat taken from elsewhere to be injected into the buttock area, so as to produce a more pronounced buttock curve.”

 

 

 

Does Catcalling Cross the Line or Is It a Compliment?

By Valentina Henriquez

Staff Writer

By: Ryan Abdelhafez

By: Ryan Abdelhafez

“Hey yo ma, you lookin’ real sexy right now, let me holla at cha fo’ a sec’”, a guy, about 20 years of age, yells to a female who walks by showing cleavage.

‘Catcalling’ : it happens all over the world, from New York to Paris … to the campus of John Jay. But what causes guys to catcall, even though it can legally be considered sexual harassment?

“Society seems to think that me wearing less clothing seems to be an invitation,” says Ieasha Galloway, a student of John Jay, who has been catcalled multiple times both in the streets and on John Jay’s Campus.

“There are times when I wore sweatpants and guys thought I was approachable,” says Crystal Rodriquez, who has experienced catcalling both in the streets and on John Jay campus. Crystal believes it has little to do with what a woman wears.

Sexual harassment, according to the New York State office of the attorney general is, “a form of gender-based discrimination, [involving] unwanted sexual context [one of them being] sexually offensive remarks or jokes…comments (either complimentary or derogatory) about a person’s gender or sexual preferences”. Catcalling falls under this category, yet it is not seen as a crime until it becomes more frequent by the same person, or involves physical contact.

John Jay’s Department of Public Safety defines behaviors similar to catcalling under the heading of “Hostile Environment.” Offensive comments that form an uncomfortable setting for students, commenting on physical attributes, using crude or offensive language and demeaning or inappropriate terms like “babe” are all considered a form of sexual harassment under the CUNY Policy Against Sexual Harassment.

Being a Criminal Justice school, John Jay College gives off the impression that most of its students are aware of many of the NYS and NYC laws. “In this country we are given the freedom to express ourselves however we wish, so it is not right to take advantage of someone who is exercising their right to free expression,” says student Anthony Auson.

Auson was caught off guard, however when asked if girls who wear more revealing clothing are more subject to sexual harassment. Auson said “The way society is today, yes, although I don’t think it’s right.”

Aldin Radoncic, wearing a Captain America shirt, agreed. “Girls who wear more revealing clothing are more prone to sexual harassment. There are guys who think they’re that kind of person.” He was asked to further elaborate, “Let’s say a girl is wearing short skirts, revealing tops. It is more likely that guys assume she is a slut, or skank and she wants to be catcalled.”

According to Buzzfeed media, several countries around the world have banned women from wearing clothing that makes them more susceptible to sexual harassment.

In Uganda women have been banned from wearing miniskirts. Closer to home, a school in Michigan banned its female students from wearing leggings because they were deemed too “distracting” for male students.

It seems fortunate that there are no restrictions on women’s clothing at John Jay but it does promote a policy against sexual harassment.

In fact, not all women find catcalling a form of harassment. In her story, “Hey, ladies—catcalls are flattering! Deal with it,” Doree Lewak gave the message that it’s ok to catcall. For Lewak, catcalling gives her confidence. “When a total stranger notices you, it’s validating,” she wrote. “Before I know it, winter will be upon us again and it’s not easy turning heads when you’re up to your neck in Gore-Tex.” But Lewak’s take is not the norm.

Off campus, protests against catcalling are happening, giving the message that what women wear shouldn’t suggest consent. Blogs and non-profit organizations such as Price of Silence and Hollaback! Price of Silence states, “We call street harassment the gateway drug to further forms of violence against women…This perception dehumanizes women to a perceived ideal of subservience. We need to create a standard of human rights which protects equality to public space.”

Tis The [Sports] Seasons For Distractions

By Zachary Ashman

Contributing Writer

By: Jade Jetjomlong Student Daniel Pigott gets his football fix on ESPN.com.

By: Jade Jetjomlong Student Daniel Pigott gets his football fix on ESPN.com.

Kick off, puck drop, opening tip: For the sports fanatics here at John Jay, there are seldom phrases they enjoy more. Watching and rooting for a favorite team offers an escape from the every day pressures of being a student.

Starting in October, this escape becomes a bit more of a distraction as three of the four major sports are starting their seasons. The NHL, NBA, and NFL are all in the midst of their seasons; so, there are games on every day from each sport to distract students as they attempt to pass their classes as they fly their teams’ colors.

The main sports that people watch are football and basketball, while some others like hockey, tennis, wrestling. Some like European soccer, whose popularity has been on the rise in recent times.

Josh Currence, a John Jay Sophomore and an avid Detroit Red Wings fan, describes his Hockey fandom, “I watch all the Red Wings’ games, but I also watch the NY Rangers, Islanders, and NJ Devils games too just to talk smack with my friends about how bad they are”.

But not everyone loves hockey as much as Currence. The John Jay NFL fans consist mainly of New England Patriot fans, while the NBA fans are mainly Knicks and Miami Heat fans.

A lot of these students’ favorite teams are out-of-market, which makes watching them harder and perhaps more of a distraction.Out-of-market teams do not have their games broadcasted on national television. For example, the Chicago Bulls will not be on TV in New York unless they are playing the Knicks or the Nets. There are some channels like ESPN or NBATV that broadcast an array of games with a different array of teams rather than just the hometown team.

Each sport has a handful of games on almost every day; the NFL is the only exception, having games only on Sundays, Mondays, and Thursdays.

Parish Maynard, a New England Patriots fan, said he watches about “12 to 15 games a week between the NBA and the NFL no matter what team is on the TV.” His friends, Elias Lugo and Carlos Gonzalez, only watch their own specific teams.

The amount of games people watch varies. Currence said that he watches about “ Two or three hockey games a week, and a couple wrestling matches sprinkled in here and there.” As a Miami Heat fan, Vini Singh, like Currence, watches about “two or three NBA games a week, but I also have to get my Manchester United fix in because I love Euro League Soccer.”

With all these games being watched, it sounds like there is not enough time after school to ration out between schoolwork and ultimate sports fandom.

Everyone agreed that their homework will be on the table when they watch their favorite team take the field, court, or ice; they made it feel like watching sports while working through their latest Criminology paper was a no-brainer.

Mirsad Zuckerman said that “there really is no escaping school when it is in session, so we have to multi-task.”

Robert Steinberg, Zuckerman’s friend, added that “the multi-tasking goes until late at night because some of the games don’t end until super late.”

Peter Goldberg, a European soccer fan, explained that it is hard to balance the “mix of obligations” when it comes to sports and schoolwork. “The mix of obligations leads to a loss of sleep; I spend all night watching my teams while I attempt to do my homework,” Goldberg explained. Games that take place on the West Coast start late, but fans will be fans, and they will stay up to watch their favorite teams.

Currence said that doing his work while he watches sports does not distract him, nor does he feel it affect his grades. “I think it’s a generational thing. As a whole I think this generation is better at multi-tasking than the previous ones; that’s why I don’t think it affects me,” Currence said as he explains his studying while watching habits.

It seems clear that watching sports while doing homework provides an easily avoidable distraction; yet, everybody seemed to agree that it will not, affect their grades.

But sports are not going anywhere, neither are the fans, and unfortunately neither is schoolwork. At the end of the day, die-hard fans are not going to miss their favorite teams’ games.

There will always have to be a balance between schoolwork and fun; sometimes the scale will lean heavily towards schoolwork and sometimes towards personal lives and interests. Students do not think that watching sports while doing work will affect their grades. Let them live in their fools’ paradise.

 

Thank You For Not Smoking

By Quanisha Simmons

Contributing Writer

By: Yanel Escobar  No smoking sign in front of John Jay College's New Building.

By: Yanel Escobar
No smoking sign in front of John Jay College’s New Building.

The American Lung Association found that “Every year in the United States over 392,000 people die from tobacco-caused disease, making it the leading cause of preventable death. Another 50,000 people die from exposure to secondhand smoke”(2014).

Nonetheless, for many, the dangers of smoking far outweighs the benefits which is why CUNY announced they would be going tobacco-free in effect as of Sept. 4, 2012.

This decision followed Mayor Bloomberg’s New York State smoking ban in 2003 that made smoking in many public places illegal. Similarly, CUNY adopted many of the same regulations and “Established that the use of tobacco would be prohibited on all grounds and facilities under CUNY jurisdiction such as: indoor locations and outdoor locations such as playing fields; entrances and exits to buildings; and parking lots.”

John Jay has an identical tobacco-free policy addressed specifically to John Jay students that is on the college website. However, since John Jay has adopted the tobacco-free policy they’ve lacked the ability to enforce the regulations that apply.

The tobacco-free campus policy is strong in its stance against a smoke-free environment but the regulations are not conveyed effectively on campus to the John Jay community.

Cristy Loveras, a non-smoking sophomore at John Jay said “Well, I knew that it was no smoking indoors but not outdoors since I always see people smoking. It bothers me when I’m coming in and out of the building. And it affects me because of second hand smoke you know. They really need to start enforcing the rules again.”

According to Ryan Eustace, John Jay’s Risk Management and Ethics Manager responsible for policy making at John Jay, said that public safety personnel enforce the policy just not as routinely as they would like to.

Eustace said, “When we see someone smoking we inform them of the policy, our guys will periodically clear smokers out in front of the building or if we get a complaint of smokers we will do that. We don’t have enough manpower to have someone out there in front of every building so it’s quite difficult to enforce.”

He added, “Even if someone who is not affiliated with the campus and is found smoking in front of the building we can ask them to move across the street, and they may say no. But if they are affiliated with the campus there are others things we can do.”

According to John Jay’s tobacco-free policy, some actions public safety agents can take to enforce the rules include but are not limited to “monetary fines, community service, and mandated cessation education, or other appropriate disciplinary action.”

Robert Granovskyy, a junior who smokes said, “When they first put the policy into effect a semester or two ago they enforced the rules like the first two weeks. They plastered the no smoking signs on the doors and even had a no smoking standing sign. They took all the ashtrays away and threatened students saying ‘Cross the street or I’ll give you a ticket.’ But since then they don’t really bother us much.”

Students seem to be more concerned with the potential health risk associated with the lack of enforcement rather than the actual lack of enforcement.

Eustace said that “Smoking presents a health hazard but people still have the right to smoke, so CUNY’s official policy and John Jay’s says that all of our campuses are smoke free which I think is good for people’s health. If people want to smoke they can walk a little bit further away so they don’t interfere with anyone else’s breathing air.”

There is a major misconception among students that smoking on campus is permissible. Many don’t know that the tobacco-free policy exists because of the vast amount of students smoking in front or around the campus entranceways.

Anastasia Rhem, a first semester transfer student and non-smoker said “I didn’t know that John Jay was tobacco-free until you mentioned it to me. I avoid the entranceway where they are. As long as they aren’t blowing it directly in my face then its fine.”

Some students acknowledge the tobacco-free policy but don’t take it seriously due to the lack of enforcement. Lydia Gornack a senior said “I did know that this was a smoke free campus as of two semesters ago and they kind of don’t make a big deal out of it so everyone does it”.

When asked how she felt about possibly exposing non-smokers to second-hand smoke she responded, “I really don’t think about it, but I suppose that I will now. Sometimes I cross the street just because it’s too many people here.”

Students who smoke stand firm in their stance that campus security gives smokers mixed signals because sanctioning is arbitrary.

Shawn Narain, a junior said “Smoking helps me, it’s stress-free especially during finals week. There’s no hassle especially in front of the new building. There are no signs over at North hall but students don’t smoke there because they enforce the rules more. Everybody that smokes comes to this area. If you don’t smoke you should stay away.

Mr. Eustace, risk manager at John Jay said otherwise.

“If you see it, say something and we’ll get someone out there to handle it.” Ultimately, student’s health takes precedence here at John Jay and public safety agents wish to ensure a safe and healthy environment for all.

 

Do You Fit the Description?

By Julio Delgado

Contributing Writer

Racial profiling and police brutality cases are on the rise. This year alone, Michael Brown, an unarmed black male, was killed by a police officer on August 9th, 2014. Eric Garner, another unarmed black male, was put in a chokehold by law enforcement officials and strangled to death on July 17th, 2014. Even though these incidents happened several months ago, the Internet and news are still talking about these cases. The similarities in these incidents raise the question of racial discrepancies in law enforcement, and threaten the safety of minorities whether young like 18-year-old Michael Brown, or mature like 29-year-old Eric Garner.

John Jay College for Criminal Justice is a school with a racially diverse student and faculty population. However, does being in a school focusing on criminal justice ensure that students won’t be subjected to racial profiling by law enforcement? Paul Mitchell is a black male student here at John Jay who served as a marine and now studies criminal justice. “There were three instances in my life where I was stopped by police,” he said, explaining his encounters with law enforcement officials.

“One time I was stopped randomly while walking to school and I was searched and patted down for weapons. Another time I was stopped at a police check point while driving. The other cars had speedy check outs, however I was pulled over for a longer period of time and my car was searched,” Mitchell explains. Despite being a marine, and criminal justice student, Mitchell has been subject to racial profiling and humiliating searches by police officials.

Another student by the name of Shade James, a black female attending John Jay College, has too been stopped by law enforcement. “I was on my way home one day with a friend and we were stopped and questioned by police when trying to take the train,” she says.

Corey Adams, a black male looking to transfer to John Jay College, has been stopped and searched by a police officer when on his way to work. “My father is in law enforcement and I am interested in studying this as well. It’s shocking that in this day and age the black community is still targeted by police,” he said.

With constant protests, conflict, and laws enforced to treat this issue it is unsettling for many, especially those of the black community, to know these racial problems with police still exist. “The Brown or Garner incidents really do raise a red flag. These men were unarmed and still shared the same fate,” says Adams.

After the death of Michael Brown there was a demand for the Vehicle Stop Report in Ferguson, Missouri. According to the website of the Missouri Attorney General, Chris Koster’s website , this re­port measures the likelihood of drivers of a certain race being stopped based on their proportion of Missouri’s population at age 16 and over. Huffington Post states that African American drivers are subject to more stop and searches than whites. “African-American drivers in [Ferguson] represented 86 percent of all traffic stops despite making up only 67 percent of the city’s population; white drivers, by con­trast, accounted for only about 13 percent of the traffic stops in Ferguson despite making up 29 percent of its population.”

“Before I was stopped by police, I used to think the only blacks that would get stopped were those wearing hoodies and sagging their pants,” says Adams. “But it is not the case since I always dress to impress. Whether I’m going to work, school or hang­ing out I also take great pride in displaying myself in a professional manner,” he said.

With such a huge variety of races at John Jay, most of it consisting of minori­ties considering a future in law enforce­ment; it is important to address and bring this issue of racial profiling to light.

Three black students, two attend­ing John Jay and one transferring to John Jay, have been subjected to ran­dom stops and search by law enforce­ment. These students share an optimis­tic outlook, however that they can help and change the future of racial profiling.

 

Speaking “White”: Is It Right?

By Sara Miranda

Contributing Writer

Dialect can tie people to their community. However, it can also harm them. And while some speakers reject certain dialects to avoid negative consequences, others still choose to embrace them. One such dialect, African-American Vernacular English (AAVE), is often linked with black culture and poverty.

Recently, a young Black model and actress sparked a debate when she created a controversial video about Standard English and AAVE. Her words unearthed issues that are rarely discussed: the boundaries set for Black people and their cultural legitimacy.

Nefertiti Menoe posted a video on Facebook in Sept. this year called “Nefertiti Menoe Speaking White.” Her purpose was to counter a meme that mocked minorities who spoke “proper English.” In the video, she wore a head scarf and calmly expressed her opinion: “There’s no such thing as ‘talking White.’ It’s actually called speaking fluently.” She went on to describe why she thought this way. “I don’t know why we’ve gotten to a place where…as a race, if you sound as though you have more than a fifth grade education, it’s a bad thing,” she said.

Naturally, Nefertiti’s words provoked mixed reactions. John Jay students related to the debate because of their varying backgrounds. Although the topic was controversial, some supported and some disputed Menos’’s arguments. Several people even refused to be interviewed for fear of saying something offensive.

In the BBC article “The Debate Over Speaking White,” reporter Micah Luxen showed why Menoe’s argument trended throughout the internet: her opinions offended some AAVE speakers. “Blacks…speak the way we do…because of our ancestry,” one Facebook user cjadrema7 posted in a contrasting response. “It might come NATURALLY to say ‘dey’ instead of ‘they’…I say it myself… and I have a Masters. … When I absolutely NEED to, I will speak correctly.” cjadrema7 declared.

This debate is not new. Geoffrey Pullum had a similar view in his 15- year old article, “African American Vernacular English Is Not Standard English With Mistakes.” Pullum asserted that “Dialects and languages are…the same… thing. ‘Dialect’ does not mean a…degraded mode of speech. Linguists…refer to one language as a dialect of another.”

“AAVE as a dialect of English…has a degree of regularity and stability attributable to a set of rules of grammar and pronunciation, as with any language,” Pullum wrote.

Production Manager, Angelica Lara argued likewise when she stood outside of John Jay’s Black Box Theater. She was working on Jitney, a play by August Wilson about African American life in the 1970’s. “One thing to realize in August Wilson’s play is that he’s explaining the African-American experience. Being Black and being human has been structured by people in power they have always been white. So, it’s easy to understand that Black people or minorities will assume that a correct speech belongs to a white man or woman,” she asserted. “But we have to realize that it belongs to everybody.”

However, Lara also had a solution for the debate. “We cannot hold our standards to what people in power do. They will never understand the way we communicate with each other because they come from different societies,” she said, nodding. “All races have to change the things expected of us by people in power because those things were not agreed on.”

Earlson Elcock, Jitney’s sound designer, was nearby and chimed in. “I agree that no one should be put down for speaking English properly,” he said, echoing Nefertiti Menoe’s opinion. “I don’t think it should be called ‘White speech,’ or ‘Black speech.’ But it’s not only ‘Black speech’ because I’ve seen friends’ college papers with ‘lol’ written in it,” he added. “People get mad because professors say ‘this is not how you write stuff.’ It’s because this is not how you do it!”

Two students, Crystal Akwuobi and Amber Quinones, agreed with Menoe as they sat in Kroll Atrium’s chairs. “I don’t understand why people would automatically call it ‘speaking White,’” Akwuobi said. “But I don’t see it (AAVE) as being part of the African-American heritage. I understand that speaking a certain way is how African-Americans started out because they didn’t learn how to speak English properly, but you can’t turn that into your heritage.”

“No one says anything about Eminem when he wants to start rapping, because rapping is a black people thing,” Quinones added. “So why not talk properly? No one talks about Martin Luther King, how he was ‘talking White.’ Anyone can talk properly. That’s how English should be.”

Across from them, Marlon Zumbrano said that despite being a multi-ethnic person, he was never told that he spoke white. “But it doesn’t really belong to any ethnicity. It’s proper education,” Zumbrano said.

Concerning standard speech, he had a different experience from Menoe: “No one mentioned talking too formal, but a lot of people mention talking informal. My friends always joke around how ‘you’re being ghetto’,” he said.

Patricia Chandler, another student, shook her head in disbelief. “Still? This is old. I think this is ridiculous, really,” Chandler laughed. “What are they trying to prove? I’m Black, Native American, White, and Chinese, so I can’t really identify with this.”

“I’m 51 and I’ve met people from everywhere. What you see in the media, to me, it’s a myth,” Chandler elaborated, referring to widespread prejudice against AAVE. “I think most of the racism we have is like right here in New York City. Yup. You have every ethnicity. So that’s why you have conflicts.”

Regardless of its age, the argument relates to anything that is not considered standard. It mirrors problems concerning conformity throughout society.