November 29, 2014

LGBTQ Finds Their Place At John Jay

By: Jade Jetjomlong

Contributing Writer

Established in Fall 2013, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning & Allies (LGBTQ) student run organization at John Jay was ready to raise the bar on Safe Zone Advocacy in the college for any who have ever felt out of place or uncomfortable in their own skin or environment.

Sanaly Santiago, a sophomore at John Jay, feels that the creation of an LGBTQ club at John Jay “is a great club to bring to the campus,” and that “there are a lot of students I know who still aren’t confident in their identity and live behind a fake one.”

This years’ team of executives for LGBTQ & Allies includes founding President Jillian Shartrand and Vice President Charlene Javier, alongside new executives Treasurer Michael Romano and Secretary Dianna Serrano.

Current Secretary and John Jay Senior, Dianna Serrano, stated she wanted to become an executive because she saw the old executive team struggling and really wanted to help give other John Jay students a similar experience to her own; a place where she immediately felt relaxed and comfortable.

The organization means being able “to include anyone who identifies in this spectrum in any way and allies, allies are very much emphasized since they’re one of our biggest advocates,” said Serrano.

Upon coming to John Jay College as a transfer, Jillian Shartrand, President of LGBTQ & Allies, noticed the former social identity and equality club, known as Spectrum, was inactive and outdated.

Together, with friends Charlene Javier, and Rigoberto Urqullo, former Secretary, they became the founders and first leaders of the new LGBTQ & Allies, with the mission to unite people of all identities, genders, and sexualities.

The club has recruited over 80 current members in the past year and plans on getting more. LGBTQ & Allies is hosting events to encourage the philosophy of everyone having somewhere to go and feel comfortable to be themselves.

Part of this semester’s plans is to host a “Speak Out” event in October, in order to promote speaking out for your own identity. The event will include John Jay students participating in any kind of verbal art, ranging from singers, to rappers, to spoken word artists.

The organization also plans to host a “Coming Out Week” in November “where gay and lesbian identified athletes will come in to speak and everyone can see people of high profiles who are proud of who they are and can still do what they love and be out there” said Serrano.

LGBTQ & Allies hasn’t forgotten John Jay’s motto, “Advocates for Justice”, either. The club plans on hosting events to cover gender and sexuality as social justice issues, such as gender and sexual assault prevention, and how identification increasingly is becoming a social issue.

LGBTQ & Allies is also an advocate for the JJay #Nolabels campaign, which seeks to end the stigmatizing of individuals.

Serrano, in regards to those who hide their identities and how the LGBTQ & Allies club approaches them, stated, “In no way we’re trying to push any one to come out or publicize who they are, all we want is to create a safe space for them to at least an hour come and enjoy the company and seeing what we’re about and find comfort in being with people they really can identify with.”

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning club at John Jay is here to modernize the safe zone for social identity and equality on campus, to “help people feel more safe in their own skin especially being in a college where you don’t know each other initially,” said Serrano.

John Jay students, such as Santiago, agree with Serrano. “I think this club will help educate the student body as a whole and make the school a giant safe zone,” said Santiago.

Everyone’s Need, Not Everyone’s Greed

By: Jenifer Valmon

Staff Writer

On Sept. 21, 2014, New York City hosted one of the many People’s Climate March happening around the world. Considered the largest march in history, an estimated four hundred thousand people processed from 86th street to 34th street, in New York City, including fifty thousand students, according to the Peoples Climate website.

Colorful handmade signs and banners littered the hands of marchers with messages reading, “wake up and smell the pollution, extinction is not success and bring your own bags.”

Support for climate reforms ranged from Buddhist and Christian organizations to medical union, 1199, and thousands of families and friends unifying for change.  A large number of these groups gathered in front of the Time Warner Cable building, at 10 Columbus Circle, to rally with chants, songs and prayer.

Organizers created a chart designating sections of the line up to specific groups with people at the “front line” of the crisis first in line, families, students and elders second, scientist second to last and the LGBTQ, NYC boroughs and community groups ending the march.

“You’re going to come up with ridiculous categorizations,” said John Jay Professor Elizabeth Yukins, regarding the arrangement of sections.

Yukins, part of the English Department at John Jay, and director of the college women’s center, attended the march with her partner, 10-year-old son and five year old daughter. Yukins chose her family’s position based on the best place for her children to endure then  two-hour wait to march.

Fracking and CO2 emissions are two of the topics at the forefront of the debate. Hydraulic-fracturing, or fracking, is blamed for many negative environmental effects, including earthquakes and lack of clean air.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is the primary greenhouse gas emitted by human activities, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency. CO2 emissions derive from the use of coal as fuel to create energy and are believed to be one of the main causes of global warming and extreme weather by environmental groups.

The Energy in Depth campaign, started by the Independent Petroleum Association of America, credits Fracking for the decrease in CO2 emissions in the United States.

This is what concerned Pamela Carrillo and Krystal Inesti, both 19 year old Nassau Community College students, who heard of the event from Facebook. After watching a video on the dangers of CO2 emissions, they decided to get involved.

“This is our home, we’re taking advantage but it’s really going to hurt us in the long run,” said Carrillo of abusing natural resources. Both Carrillo and Inesti’s were armed with signs calling for action to bring a stop to the abuse of natural resources. “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need not every man’s greed,” read Inesti’s sign.

Global warming and extreme weather affects the sustainability of underdeveloped countries that depend on agriculture to survive.

Though industrially developed countries are usually responsible for the degradation of the ecosystem, the poorest countries suffer the consequence, ranging from reduced crop yields, rising sea levels and altered rain fall, according to the Inter Action website.

John Jay is not behind on the environmental discussion. The college recently started the new minor and program, Sustainability and Environmental Justice, started by Professor Joan Hoffman, now headed by professor Alexander Schlutz.

The 18-credit program includes courses on global catastrophe and human responsibility, environmental crime as well as environmental racism. According to the programs web page, the minor hopes to educate students on the importance of conserving environmental resources and natural balance for future generations.

The college also has an environmental club. Students can join by contacting Professor Swanson. Students involved with the program also attended the march.

“Sometimes you have to be uncomfortable and stick with it for things you believe in, there is a purpose and a productivity to that…the wait was not pleasant but there was something to be learned from that experience,” said Yukins of the lesson her children received from the march.

From Ferguson To Gaza

By: Rehana Sancho

Staff

During community hour on Wednesday, Oct. 9, six students laid under white sheets that were drenched in red paint to symbolize the blood shed in both Palestine and Ferguson, Missouri.

John Jay students and faculty, both shocked and confused, walked passed the six dead bodies, one of which was that of a baby. The Student for Justice in Palestine (SJP), along with other students, staged an eye and ear catching protest against the deadly occupation and genocide of Palestine and the events of Ferguson.

This protest was countered by the flag raising and silent protestors of the Hillel Club, a student organization, whose students represent Israel.

The students of the SJP took turns shouting why their message needed to be heard.  Their objective was to overturn the message that American media portrays about the Palestinians and other minorities, such as Blacks and Hispanics.

Each body had a name of someone who has been lost to the “oppression and genocide” bloodshed. These names include, Amadou Diallo, 23, Michael Brown, 18 and Abu Taqiyya, who was only 18 months.

Susie Abdelghafar, SJP president and John Jay sophomore, said, “for 66 years Palestinians have lived under apartheid genocide and oppression and it’s that same oppression that Blacks and Hispanics have to go through here in the U.S.”

John Jay history professor, Anissa Hèlie, stopped to observe the protest and stated she felt like the message being delivered was courageous because it is not a popular argument.

According to Hèlie, “mainstream media is not balanced. I think it’s fair that they are voicing their side.”

The protest won over a few students who ended up voicing their personal opinions over the microphone, signing up for SJP, and even volunteering to hold up signs. Some of the signs read slogans like, “From Ferguson to Palestine occupation is a crime” and “U.S. dollars feed Israeli war crimes.”

Students are speaking of the growing tension between Hamas in Gaza and Israel.

CNN article, “How to Demilitarize Hamas” states, “the problem is that the two sides have two quite different agendas – while Hamas chiefly seeks the removal of the siege over Gaza, the Israeli government is primarily interested in demilitarizing Gaza.”

In opposition to the protest, some students in the crowd sided with the Hillel club, not because of their cause, but because they felt like the Hillel club was being aggressively protested and generalized against.

Hillel club members claimed they only came to the protest to advocate for peace.

John Jay senior, Dor Dourandr stated she doesn’t believe all Israelis are “murderous people.” Also adding, “generalizing leads to more oppression.”

Yael Monselise, John Jay senior and Hillel club president, claimed, “we stand for the same thing, peace.” Moneslise expressed that the Hillel club wants just to find a common ground and that they “want peace.”

According to Monselise, tensions were so high in a Brooklyn College Gaza protest, that a Jewish student was punched. The VP of the Hillel club, Tomer Kornfeld exclaimed,  “we are divided in the Middle East, why should we be divided here? We don’t want to divide the campus.”

However, Abdelghafar concluded, “we are not against Jewish people. we are against Zionist. But to fight for peace is hypocritical. We fight for justice.”

Get Your Zen On

By: Aimee Estrada

Staff

Club meetings, guest speakers, lunch, socializing, studying, and special events like karaoke; community hour is jammed with competing events. However, every week a few dozen students take to the mat instead. Yoga Wednesdays are back, and this semester yoga classes are being offered on Thursdays as well.

Rachel Shanken, a counselor in the Counseling Department, teaches Wednesday classes in the combative room (T300).  Jessica Greenfield, a Women’s Center counselor/gender-based violence prevention and Response Advocate, teaches Thursday classes in the dance studio on the C-Level of the T-Building.

So, why yoga? “What AREN’T the benefits of yoga?” Greenfield asked, “There are emotional; decreased anxiety, decreased depression, lowered stress, increased concentration, improved memory, etc, and physical; strength, flexibility, stamina, heart heath, increased lung capacity, etc. benefits.”

According to the American Osteopathic Association, “The relaxation techniques incorporated in yoga can lessen chronic pain, such as lower back pain, arthritis, headaches and carpal tunnel syndrome,” Natalie Nevins, DO, a board-certified osteopathic family physician and certified Kundalini Yoga instructor in Hollywood, California, explained.

Additionally, Dr. Nevins said, “regular yoga practice creates mental clarity and calmness, increases body awareness, relieves chronic stress patterns, relaxes the mind, centers attention, and sharpens concentration.”

“My first impressions were how friendly and welcoming the yoga instructors were as well as the ‘yogis,’” Icaro Soares said, a Sophomore and Forensic Psychology major who is new to yoga, “it was a non-judgmental environment which made me feel comfortable.”

Soares was part of the first class, which had a turnout of about 24 students. According to Shanken, turnout is normally around 30 students, however they were competing with karaoke that day. The students were a mix of beginners and more experiences yogis.

For those new to yoga, they can expect “to focus on breathing, moving your body, stretching, and getting your Zen on,” Shanken said. Her advice is to “wear comfortable clothing and come with and open mind.”

“Yoga was more intense than I expected but at the same time very relaxing and I felt encouraged by the instructor to keep going,” said Soares. “I’ve been going every Wednesday and I don’t plan on missing any class.”

The Women’s Center created the yoga program in the winter of 2012.  According to Greenfield, they thought, “yoga would be a great complimentary support for students dealing with some of the issues that are central to our mission.” However, at the time there were no trained yoga instructors on staff, but Greenfield said, “we were fortunate that we were able to find a registered yoga teacher who was willing to volunteer to come to John Jay and teach the class on a weekly basis.”

In May 2013, Shanken became certified as a yoga teacher and the yoga program became a joint initiative between the Women’s Center and the Counseling Department. Greenfield became certified in May 2014 and this semester classes are offered on Thursdays as well.

“I would definitely recommend friends since yoga is something that anyone can practice and it is free here at John Jay,” Soares said. “it’s been really relaxing and helping me keep focus on my studies.”

Which is the point, as Greenfield said, “Our hope is simply that our classes inspire students to take what they learn about themselves on their mats and bring it with them into their lives.”

Sotomayor’s Recipe For Success

By: Rehana Sancho

Staff

On Sept. 17, John Jay students and faculty welcomed with roaring applause, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor in the Gerald W. Lynch Theater where she delivered the second annual convocation speech for incoming freshman, transfers students, along with other John Jay students.

Justice Sotomayor, born in the Bronx, graduated Summa Cum Laude from Princeton University and received her J.D. from Yale Law School.

The ceremony began with President Travis awarding Sotomayor with an Honorary Doctorate of Law from John Jay College.

Students awaited her advice as to how she made it from the projects in the Bronx to being the first Latina and third woman ever appointed to the Supreme Court.

Sotomayer, with her small stature, quiet, yet firm voice, and a broken arm which she received from falling on a New York City street, then turned to address the students.

Sotomayor put emphasis on how John Jay College faced challenges in the mid 1970′s when it was almost closed down, but remained resilient in its goal to educate student on the liberal arts. She explained that, although the obstacles faced by the college were big, we had now become “a jewel in the crown of the CUNY system.”

Sotomayor then offered her “recipe” for success to John Jay’s students as she discussed how to improve not only their life, but also the lives of those around them.

First, “Spend every day here creating memories with people you care about.”

Second, “Learn new things and share those things with others.”

Third, “Devote a part of each day doing something nice for somebody else.”

Sotomayor spoke to students about her personal experience.  She told students about her first “C” in college and how crushing it was to receive being a  student who constantly received top grades since the fourth grade.

“Don’t be ashamed of finding it hard, it’s supposed to be.”

The justice tried to ease freshman and transfer student’s college worries with her compassionate words and personal experience.

She then gave students a brief insight into what happens behind the Supreme Court. She and the other eight justices decide on topics such as, patents on mosquito repellent and the new Honey Crisp apple.

She explained to students that although these subject weren’t of great interest to her, she learned about them and thus has become a more interesting person.

Sotomayor advised students, “The most interesting people in the world can talk about more than one subject.” Precluding, that students should take classes that are not what they are used to and to “have fun in discovery.”

Sotomayor closed out her speech with a powerful reminder, by telling students “You can’t let life happen to you, you have to take charge.”

After the convocation, the justice was escorted to a private meet and greet session with students from the English department, Student Council and a few other students.

According to the John Jay’s Convocation page, students asked questions such as, “How do you stay grounded amid all of your professional accolades?” and, “What question do you ask yourself before rendering a decision?”

John Jay senior and English major, Darren Harris, summed up his inspiration with a personal quote, which was read aloud, during the meet and greet with, “The honorable Sotomayor, not only inspires Hispanics, but all ethnicities by teaching us, through her life’s work, how to strive to give 100% at all times, be aware of challenges we face in our journeys and never give up in those moments where there seems to be no answer.”

College Initiative Program

By: Edir Coronado

Contributing Writer

One of the main issues with the prisonsystem is the recidivism rate. A New York based program has begun education programs in prisons, and with great success has allowed its participants to become contributing members of society. With 300 participants, only one returning to jail, and most students receiving a bachelors degree, it is safe to say that the program is showing results.

Ray Tebout, the director of counseling and mentoring at the program, explained how the College Initiative program allows former inmates to attend college by debunking some of the barriers they believe they will encounter.

Tebout understands the mix of different personalities the staff deals with and the obstacles both the student and mentor must overcome.

Some of the common obstacles Tebout sees among the younger students is the desire for instant gratification. He said the most common questions among these less experienced individuals are “why should I invest two to six years in school?” or “why not pick a trade or get a job?”

Tebout tackles these questions by providing evidence that an education will reduce the likeliness of a return back to prison. He also approaches this situation by helping the younger potential students in terms of long term goals.

Skeptical students are asked by Tebout to look at how much income they will accumulate over a lifetime rather than the short term. According to Tebout, a high school graduate can expect to earn an average of 1.2 million, someone with a bachelors can earn upwards of 2.1 million, and a masters graduate in the 2.5 million range.

These statistics gives the young students a different perspective on life and education.

Among the more seasoned individuals what is most commonly seen is the lack of knowledge when it comes to computers and technology. Many of the older students might have went to prison when the internet had not become such a big tool or when computers were not easily accessible.

Older generations of inmates face a major issue due to not being involved in a world that has rapidly become digitally influenced.

One 70- year- old student in the program, who asked to remain anonymous, has been in prison for more than 30 years. This individual had major issues with the use of computers. At the moment, he is currently finishing up his first semester, which is a huge success for someone who may have given up if not for the support that the College Initiative program has given them.

The program doesn’t only rely on its staff to support the incoming students, they rely heavily on peer mentorship. Through experience they have realized that a student is more likely to drop out of college during their first year.

This is why, after several months of working with a staff member, the students enter a peer mentorship program, where a fellow program participant with a 3.0 GPA and at least a year of college under their belt becomes a mentor to the new student. They serve as a support system for the student if they have problems with a subject matter or maybe a need to just vent about their frustrations with school.

Frustrations can include being the discrimination that they encounter because of their prison history. Tebout explained that the students within the program are scrutinized, “it is not necessarily the organization that is receiving negative feedback from the community, but the student themselves.”

Some reasons and common arguments of those opposed to an educational tactic towards the rehabilitation system often revolve around “we do not want to make smarter criminals,” according to Tebout. Tebout believes “we are not making smarter criminals, we are creating individuals with a different way of thinking.” His meaning is that when a person is exposed to education, he or she has the ability to create better options and make better decisions.

Tebout claims that if we were to look at our incarcerated in terms of employment, people can see that for many, selling drugs is the only job around. According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons Drug offenses account for 48.8% percent of all incarcerated American. Homicide, Aggravated Assault, and Kidnapping offenses account for 2.8 percent of the prison population, sex offenses for 6.5 percent, robbery 3.7 per- cent, and weapons, explosives and arson account for 15.8 percent.

What the College initiative programs aims at doing, is taking this prison population, and showing them a different method of succeeding in life that they might have not been exposed to in the past.

The program has gained awareness through word of mouth and by sending their staff members to different location to speak about the program and the issues that they are trying to resolve through education.

Bookstore No More

By: Keyunna Singleton

Staff

Over the summer the John Jay administration prepared to welcome students and faculty to a campus without a bookstore. On Aug. 14 John Jay became the first CUNY campus to have a completely virtual bookstore.

One of the reasons the physical bookstore was removed from campus was be- cause of lack of sales. According to Patricia Ketterer, the executive director of finance and business services, there was a steady decline in sales from the bookstore over the years.

“The rent was not being made from sales or Barnes and Nobles commission,” said Ketterer.

Some of the decline in sales is due to the changes in federal laws pertaining to financial aid. One in particular states schools cannot mandate that students use their federal book vouchers at the school. Students were given the right to use the disbursement anywhere they pleased.

Another regulation enforces schools to ensure that students have access to their course reading lists and prices before the start of class. According to Mark Flower, business manager in the Business and Finance department, “the new online book- store adheres to this regulation and Barnes and Nobles didn’t.”

Although this year’s August sales exceeded last year’s, the administration is not as concerned with sales as they are with making sure that the students’ needs are met. “Our real drive is reducing the cost of books and having students prepared for class,” said Ketterer.

As the first CUNY school to have a fully virtual bookstore the John Jay student body feel like they are missing something. English major Nycol Martin says, “The biggest disappointment about not having a physical bookstore is feeling like we lost a part of campus.”

One of the other issues that Martin says she has to deal with since the change is getting her books on time for class. “I use go to the bookstore and get the book the day of and read it on the train. Now, it’s a 5-7 day wait.”

While some students like Martin feel cheated out of a piece of campus, others haven’t really noticed the difference. Sophomore Aaron Thomas says he stopped using the bookstore his second semester. “ I am much more comfortable using Chegg and Amazon,” said Thomas.

According to Flower, the online bookstore offers some of the features of Chegg and Amazon. In the sites marketplace, students have the option to purchase new or used books and rent books.

John Jay’s online bookstore links directly to CUNYFirst. “Every John Jay student can login to the bookstore with their CUNYFirst ID and the bookstore makes it easy to find the books required for their classes, because it is course specific,” said Flower.

Students also have multiple options for delivery when ordering from the online bookstore. From Monday-Friday between 12pm-3pm and 5pm-7pm students can pick up their books from the John Jay mailroom located at L2.66.00.

While some students question why they weren’t informed about the changes to the campus, Ketterer assures that there was in fact an email blast. “We couldn’t make the official announcement until the vendor was selected, which was around the beginning of June,” said Ketterer.

For students that need help navigating the online bookstore there is a table stationed at the atrium in the new building on Mondays and Wednesday until the end of the month with representatives from the bookstore that can help with questions and concerns.

Julie Kuljurgis, the account manager for the bookstore, says that the biggest problem they’ve had is transitioning. Kuljurgis was excited about some of the benefits that the bookstore offers, such as “year round book sell back and it doesn’t have to be a course book,” she said.

The bookstore is also willing to workwith campus clubs and organizations that may need to place orders for books. According to Kuljurgis, the online bookstore does accept purchase orders. In addition, the school’s contract renewal with MBJ will have the school’s new café, Lil J Café, located on 58th street and 11th avenue, sell merchandise, such as hoodies, and t-shirts.

The current online bookstore does not have an option for apparel or school memoranda but new contracts will fix this issue for the dedicated bloodhounds.

Ketterer confirms that within the month John Jay will enter into a contract with a different online company called “Advanced Online” that will sell John Jay merchandise.

John Jay may be without a physical bookstore, but they are not without options.

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.

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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 Wikicommons.org

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

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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.

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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.