April 23, 2014

Violent Explosion Claims One of Our Own

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By: Jeffrey Nunziato

On March 12. two buildings exploded on Park Avenue in East Harlem.

Among the unaccounted for in the explosion was a John Jay student, and soon to be father, Alexis (Jordy) Salas.

An email was sent out from Lynette Cook-Francis, vice president of Student Affairs, informing students of Salas’ unaccounted status on March 13.

Salas has been confirmed as a victim of the explosion as of March 14, in an email sent by Cook-Francis.

According to the email, Salas was a 22 year old junior, living with his wife and parents in their apartment on Park Avenue. He was a transfer student from the Borough of Manhattan Community College and “was an aspiring lawyer and dedicated Sunday teacher.”

Salas’ wife, Jennifer, is five months pregnant.

Francis-Cook stresses that anyone affected by this tragedy may seek out the counseling services available to the entire campus. The Counseling Services Office can be found in L.68 of New Building, or can be reached at 212-237-8111.

Bloodhounds Under .500, but Still Playoff Bound

 By Kevin Cruz

 

Coach Fenn in the middle of a huddle at a Men's Blooudhounds home-game.

Coach Fenn in the middle of a huddle at a Men’s Blooudhounds home-game.

 

The John Jay Bloodhounds Men and Women’s basketball teams are headed to the CUNYAC Championship tournament, despite both being under .500.

Even with the disappointing seasons, by their standards, both of the coaches think they can compete with any team.

The Bloodhounds are in seventh place out of nine teams in the conference with a record of 7-9 and overall record of 9-16.

In the preseason Men’s basketball Head Coach Otis Fenn told the John Jay Sentinel that he’d hope his team to improve on defense and that defense was the key to success, but hasn’t lived up to expectations. The Bloodhounds are fourth worst in the conference in points allowed.

The Bloodhounds have allowed 76 points per game to opponents this season compared to the 72.8 points per game, from a season ago.

The team has blown several second half leads, one of which came against Hunter College on January 29, which they squandered a lead in the final two minutes of the contest.

Coach Fenn thinks the team is better than what the record indicates. “I’m not pleased with our record. We are better then our record shows…we can’t finish games.” He added that opponents haven’t really beaten them this season, because the Bloodhounds have beaten themselves.

When asked why things haven’t gone the way they expected this season? Coach Fenn emphasized the missing of leadership.

“When you are missing two all stars [Isaiah Holman and Jamar Harry]…one who is an All-American [Harry],” said Fenn. “Those are two big missing pieces.”

The roster this season has been shuffled, as the Bloodhounds are not ending the season with the same team that they started with. Coach Fenn was really counting on having Jamar Harry for the latter part of the season, but Harry could not make his way back for personal reasons, forcing the Bloodhounds to continue to fight without him.

Coach Fenn also hoped that he would have guard Michael Howard this entire season, but, after two games, Howard was a no show for the remainder of the season. The Bloodhounds also lost Choban Cheema, Darell Robinson and Juniad Saeed this season. The Bloodhounds did add Calvin Ingram to fill in for the second half of the season.

The Bloodhounds’ co-captain Kendall Jordan thinks the team could have done better. “I’m very disappointed on how the season has turned out. We had higher expectations going into this season.” When asked what was different from last season to this season, Jordan blamed team chemistry as the key reason for some of the team’s failures. “The chemistry and communication has fell off and it has caused problems.”

Korede Griffith, the team’s second leading scorer, said the team has really been tested. He noted that the Bloodhounds had to fight through the season and have won some great games, but have lost some really ugly ones.

“This season has been a reality check and it has hit us every game,” said Griffith on why the team has not found the same success from last year. He had the same view as Kendall Jordan. “The chemistry was not there,” Griffith said. “We got the different pieces we need to win, but we just can’t put them together.”

The Lady Bloodhounds also have not met their own expectations this season, as they finished on to the sixth place in the CUNYAC conference. The Lady Bloodhounds hold a record of 6-10 in the CUNY conference and 9-16 overall.

Coach Ramirez, head coach of the team, is not content with just getting in the CUNY championship tournament. She believed her team could have done so much more this season. The amount of talent on this team is not reflective of the record the team has posted this season.

Coming into this season, Coach Ramirez believed her team would not finish lower then second in the conference. “I honestly believed at worst we would have the second seed. I expected big things this season especially from Jamecia Forsythe.”

Coach Ramirez, who is in her sixth season at the program, has posted her third best season since arriving at the program in 2008. Under her command, the Lady Bloodhounds have only posted two winning seasons in conference, but that does not stop Ramirez and her coaches from pushing for success.

“It’s frustrating and disappointing being in the sixth spot. We have been close to beating good teams, but it’s time to get it together.”

Like the Men’s team, the Lady Bloodhounds have gone through some roster changes through the season. Tamara Johnson, who is tied for the team’s third leading scorer, missed some games this season. The team has also lost Tiffany Rodriguez and Kaitin Fitzgerald for personal reasons.

The CUNYAC championship tournament gives the best eight teams from the conference the chance to be crowned conference champions. The John Jay Bloodhounds Men and Women’s teams go in ranked sixth heading into the conference tournament.

In the Men’s tournament, the rankings are:

1)    College of Staten Island

2)    York College

3)    Baruch College

4)    Brooklyn College

5)    Lehman College

6)    Hunter College

7)    John Jay College

8)    CCNY

In the Woman’s tournament the rankings are:

1)    College of Staten Island

2)    Baruch College

3)    Brooklyn College

4)    Lehman College

5)    Hunter College

6)    John Jay College

7)    CCNY

8)    York College.

College of Staten Island Men’s head Coach Tony Petosa, who is in his 23rd season at the college, has lead his teams to back-to-back championships in the CUNYAC. The CSI Dolphins are undefeated this season in conference play (16-0).

When asked about winning back-to-back championships Coach Petosa said he was “not impressed. The past means nothing it’s what we do in the present.” Coach Petosa said it wouldn’t be an easy road back to the championship, as there are some very good teams in the conference.

On the other hand, Coach Otis Fenn believes in his team’s ability to compete. “We will be in every game. There is not a team in CUNY we can’t beat.”

Coach Fenn would be really proud if his team could win a championship, especially this year. “It’s not so much for personal reason, but for the program itself. A championship would mean respect for the program and have people fear to play us.”

As for the women’s tournament, College Of Staten Island Woman’s Head Coach Tim Shanahan leads his Lady Dolphins into the CUNYAC tournament in the top spot.

In only his second season, Coach Shanahan has taken his team to the top of the rankings in the CUNYAC, improving the team’s record every year since he took over.

“It’s all about the girls…good to be the number one seed for the first time in seven years at the school. It’s a great thing, [but] the prize is winning the tournament,” said Coach Shanahan when talking about this season’s success. Coach Shanahan says it won’t be an easy road to the championship because the CUNYAC is so balanced that any given day any team can win.

Coach Ramirez has high expectation going into the CUNYAC tournament. “My expectations is to take the whole thing,” she said. Coach Ramirez said the team has come up short in many areas, but things came together as the season came to a close and other teams better look out for the Lady Bloodhounds.

CUNYAC Tournament takes place from Feb. 22-28. The Men’s Bloodhound head to Jamaica, Queens to faceoff against #2 York College on Feb. 22. The Lady Bloodhounds head to Brooklyn to face off #3 Brooklyn College on Feb. 23.

Female Basketball Player Breaks Records

 

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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.”

First Red Carpet Halloween Contest at John Jay

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On Oct.31 Student Transition Programs partnered with the Office of Student Life to bring John Jay their first ever Halloween Costume Contest where students strutted for three main prizes and titles.

Everyone gathered in front of the JJ Café to watch friends and colleagues walk and in some cases crawl across the red carpet.

Once everyone had their chance at fame, the judges announced the winners for the most scariest, creative and extravagant costumes.

The winners are :

 Most Scariest : Jason

Student: Albert Andrews  

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Most Creative: Sexi Kitten

Student: Enyer Jimenez

sexy kitten

 

Most Extravagant:  Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke

Students: Jesse Baez and Illiana Cervantes

Miley cyrus robin thicke

 

Challenging Petraeus: Students Protest His New Role at CUNY

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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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Honoring John Jay’s Fallen Heroes

 

 

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Courtesy of Ben Passikoff

 

On Sept.11 2013, John Jay’s memorial hall was filled with students, professors, and members of the community to reveal the 9/11 memorial sculpture; a beam that remained from one of the World Trade Center towers.

Since 2001, many have observed a moment of silence in memory of those lost, but now we have a space that is sacred.  Known as John Jay’s fallen heroes, it is dedicated to the 67 members who were lost and formerly belonged to the John Jay community.

For more information you can visit the 9/11 Sculptures homepage.

 

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Courtesy of Ben Passikoff

 

Students earn right to walk and maybe keep walking.

Though John Jay boasted over 3000 graduates this year, from ages 19 to 71, not all of them were there.

Imagine how long it would have taken.

Senator Charles Schumer was announced by John Jay’s President, Jeremy Travis, as the surprise guest. Much to the delight of the rumbustious crowd of graduates, Schumer improvised by ripping his speech and speaking off the top of his head.

 

 

What was more delightful for the students though, was the fact that they got to take their walks on the stage while getting their name called.

It was this year’s graduation that may have not permitted graduates to get their name called but students fought and regained that priveledge. 

Daniel W.( who chose to only give the first letter of his last name) earned his Masters in Public Administration in two years, though it could have taken one. Though he didn’t have a preference of getting his name called or not, he still thinks students should do the “march”.

Isaiah Roman, an undergraduate with a degree in Criminal Justice was much more exuberant on this day.

“It was a long day to get here…it took me 7 years, had our ups and downs.”

He was relieved to be able go across the stage in his wheelchair and get his name called .  To not have your name called on graduation wouldn’t be right he said. “Thank God for those who fought. We earned this moment.”

Roman congratulated the class of 2013 but also had a message for future graduates who might also have to face the same problem of not getting their names called at commencement. “Just keep fighting like the way we did.”

Commencement and Graduation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Westport Fight Leads to Stabbing

By Benjamin Passikoff

Ahmed Jaradat contributing reporting.

At 11:10 A.M. today as John Jay College students prepared for a 3rd period research class in room 107 of Westport, a student attacked another with an 8-inch serrated bread knife.

“There was an incident,” risk management and ethics manager Ryan Eustace said. “One student was arrested. One student went to the hospital.”

The altercation occurred before the professor had arrived for class.

It is not clear how long the fight lasted, but the assailant was taken into custody by NYPD officers and the wounded student was taken to St. Luke’s Hospital across from Harren Hall.

Toppled chairs in Westport 107 after students rushed out and down the stairs away from the fight. By 12:15 P.M. the door to 107 was locked.

 

Professor Maria Volpe, a professor of sociology at John Jay, was on her way to meet Kate Szur, who is senior director of Student Academic Success Programs.

“I was twenty minutes early to my meeting,” Professor Volpe said. “There were all these students rushing out of the building.”

According to Professor Volpe, one of Szur’s student peer leaders had taken control of the security desk, as the Public Safety officer had chased after the assailant towards 10th Avenue.

“I heard some skirmish,” Szur said. “I was on my email, trying to finish my work. We came down to ask security what happened.”

Stephanie Zomer, a John Jay Health Services employee and member of Student Academic Success Programs, whose offices are in Westport, was one of the first responders to scene.

“The students came screaming out of their classroom saying that a student was just stabbed,” Zomer said.

Zomer ran down the stairs, out of the building, and towards 10th Avenue. As she reached the corner of 56th Street, she saw Public Safety had subdued the assailant on the corner of 55th Street and 10th Avenue.

“By the time I got there, security was holding him down, and people from the streets were holding him down, and the guy that actually got stabbed was holding him down,” Zomer said. “So I got the guy that was bleeding all over the place-I took my shirt off right away and I wrapped it around [his wrist].”

The Counseling department provided with fresh John Jay work out apparel as a replacement for her bloody clothes.

“He had a really deep laceration on his wrist, and his bone was out,” Zomer said. “I was trying to put as much pressure on it as possible. I just had blood all over me from trying to get it to stop bleeding, but it just wouldn’t….”

Blood drops on 55th Street and 10th Avenue.

 

The two students were in the same class, but, according to Zomar, the victim did not even know his assailant, or why his assailant attacked him.

Professor Volpe and Szur remained on the scene with Zomer and waited as a public safety officer took her statement in a back conference room of Westport.

Dean of students Kenneth Holmes was proud of the speedy rate of response. He was involved in a behavioral intervention meeting with members of his office, Public Safety, and college council, when he heard the news.

“When we heard about the situation, the assistant director for security went to initially take care of the situation, then counciling went, then I went,” Holmes said. “It was the ninth response from the college community in hearing about it, and getting the information to all of the different ears of the university that needed to respond.”

According to a letter from President Travis, the student who was cut did not sustain a life threatening wound. It is expected that St. Luke’s will release him today after treating his injury.

Students Increase Activity Fee for First Time in 25 Years

By Navita Nauth

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

 

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

The increase passed with a 995 to 617 vote.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Updated: 03/18/13)

 

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