July 3, 2015

Doubling Up on Intro to Literary Studies

By Deborah Guterman

Contributing Writer

By: Darya Neviarovich The course materials for a LIT 260 class.

By: Darya Neviarovich
The course materials for a LIT 260 class.

 

At John Jay, English major and minor requirements include LIT 260, Introduction to Literary Studies. As a prerequisite for 300 and 400 level literature classes, LIT 260 is expected to introduce a slew of topics, including poetry, plays, short stories, novels, and defining characteristics of literary genres. The English Department is now questioning whether such an ambitious class is to the students’ advantage.

“It’s a question born of a concern that LIT 260 tries to do too much and be too many things to too many people,” said literature professor Helen Kapstein at John Jay.

John Staines, professor and major advisor for the English Department, added that they’ve been “finding 260 doesn’t always give everybody the stuff that they need to succeed in the 300 level courses,” which is why the discussion exists at all.

Among other English professors, Professor Kapstein is polling students on whether their LIT 260 class felt rushed, as the Board will soon discuss whether to make the course two semesters long instead of the current single semester.

Because this decision is in its beginning stages, the logistics have yet to be worked out. But a few things seem clear: having two classes as prerequisites instead of one would add another class, another three credits’ worth of time to the English major requirements, making it a total of 39 credits instead of the current 36.

LIT 260’s role as a prerequisite would have to be looked at, especially as it applies to majors versus to minors “because it (260) is the only course required for both majors and minors, and for some students in the English major or minor. It’s the only course they’ll have in common with their peer group,” Kapstein said, emphasizing why 260 being a requirement for both majors and minors is an important quality to keep. “Clearly we want some sense of community, we want people to have some shared experience, we want them to have some shared skill-set coming through our department.”

Staines and Kapstein agree that, no matter what they do with the course, they won’t be simply spreading the existing material over two semesters. Rather, they would be dividing and supplementing the intended topics more to thoroughly teach each one.

Despite the professors’ assurance that splitting the course would not make it easier, not all English students are in favor of such a change. In fact, most English majors are vehemently against 260′s divide.

“I think it’s gonna be easier for students if it’s broken into two,” said Alexa Clifford, an upper junior at John Jay who has already completed the 260 requirement for her English BA. She agrees with what the English Department seems to intend, but “I think that’s going to be the problem,” she adds.

“The class was hard but I feel like if they continue—the school—they continue to baby their students, nobody is ever going to push themselves,” said Clifford.

“They should not do that,” agreed Alina Serkhovets, a graduating English major senior. “Since it’s a high class already, you are already at least a sophomore or a junior when you’re taking it, so you can handle the workload.”

Creating a compromise, a sophomore at John Jay, Jade Baird, said that they “have one set of people who take the course in one shot and get it over with, and…a second set of people where if they want to split the course, they can split the course. It’s up to the student to pick.” He compared his solution to high schools, where “you could take Trig for one year, or you could take it in 2 years to get ready for the regents.”

Because 260’s rushed state has been brought up to the English Department on numerous occasions, while some students are decidedly opposed to making it any more lax, clearly not all of them agree. Though a compromise like Baird’s might be the most pragmatic, the English Department will, at the end of the day, make their decision based on what they see fit, not only on students opinions but also on what they think will help students get the most out of 260, and therefore the English major or minor, as possible.

This discussion, however, is just beginning to bud.

“We haven’t committed at all as a Department to doing this,” said Kapstein.”

 

Courseload Overload

By Angeline Dominguez

Editor

In order to graduate from John Jay with a Bachelors degree, a total of 120 credits are needed. To graduate in a four year period students must take five courses for eight semesters. Taking on different courses at a time can make students feel overwhelmed.

“I feel like some professors try to give a lot of work for their class without acknowledging the fact that as a student I have multiple other classes to worry about,” said Sade Amour Mirabal, a John Jay freshman.

On the contrary, some professors have considered the amount of time that they have with their students when deciding the workload for each course.

Andrew Majeske is a professor at John Jay who teaches English, Literature, Justice Studies, and a honors seminars.

Normally he will assign three short papers or a term paper, a couple of readings followed by some quizzes.

“I think the students could use more writing practice and if there were time to give extensive feedback on every paper, that would be the most beneficial but with our teaching load here and our students there’s only so much we can do,” said Professor Majeske.”

As a way to help his students, Majeske has found topics that his students are not allowed to write on, and models his course papers as well as presentations to guide students on how to meet the expectations of his assignments.

“Students feel overwhelmed with all of the reading they have to do but from the professor’s perspective you think oh my gosh we don’t have enough time to even skim the surface of the issue,” said Kyle Francis, a History professor at John Jay. “The professor has to pick just the readings he/she feels the students have time to do so we actually try hard, not to overwhelm the students even though that doesn’t actually end up happening in many occasions.”

He explains how he, as well as the students are both learning new material and that does not try to purposely overwhelm his students.

Students like Mirabal believe that the excessive workloads given by their professors makes it hard to excel in all the classes they are enrolled in because they tend to give more attention to those heavy courses, causing them to “jeopardize their grades.”

“As a junior the workload I’ve received has gotten heavier. Some professors do take into account the amount of work they assign weekly and the work we receive from other classes as well but that’s how life works and nothing is peachy,” said Catherine Polanco, a John Jay honors student.

For William Campbell, procrastination is one of the leading factors of a student feeling overwhelmed.

“Sometimes you have sleepless nights when you have to study, sometimes you have to get up really early and study, homework, projects, and papers, it is a lot of work,” said Campbell a John Jay Graduate student.

College is commonly described to be an institution that can prepare you for a life with a professional, successful, and sometimes, well paying career.

“One point of a college degree is that this person knows how to multitask, this person knows how to get a lot of stuff done with a lot of stuff on his/her plate. In addition to learning material and content college teaches you to do a lot of different things at once, I could tell you that I’m no longer a student and I’m a professor but I also feel overwhelmed by all the stuff I have to do, so its not just being a student although a student brings with it a lot of certain anxieties, “said Professor Francis.

Polanco agrees with Professor Francis about the importance of multitasking.

“I think they do this to prepare us for greater challenges in life because life gets harder and if you can’t take the work now I don’t know how you’ll survive in a corporate job,” said Polanco.

 

CUNY Reconstructs Gender Titles: Say Goodbye to Mr. and Ms.

By Valfrie Claisse

Contributing Writer

 

A John Jay student wearing a nametag demonstrating the lack of gender titles.

Photo Courtesy of Angelo Picca A John Jay student wearing a nametag demonstrating the lack of gender titles.

When attempts to uproot deeply seated traditions are in place, controversy arises.

In the United States, addressing people in formal settings—“Ms.” or “Mrs.” for women and “Mr.” for men—after a “Hello!” is a practice that is as traditional as using ketchup and mustard on American hotdogs. But a policy is in place to do away with the titles we use to fully construct someone’s formal identity for our everyday social interactions.

On Jan. 26, the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center issued a new policy advising the faculty and other staff members to avoid using the titles “Ms.,” “Mrs.,” and “Mr.” when addressing students, effective during the spring semester.

“Effective Spring 2015, the [graduate center’s] policy is to eliminate the use of gendered salutations and references in correspondence to students, prospective students, and third parties,” reads the memo sent through email to all faculty and other staff members, on Jan. 16.

The policy was announced in an internal memorandum signed by the Graduate Center’s Interim Provost Louise Lennihan. In the memo, Lennihan encouraged professors to stick with the official names of students, or use the preferred names without the gendered salutations, particularly in official correspondence, as The Wall Street Journal first reported. This would include “all parts of any letter including address and salutation, mailing labels, bills or invoices, and any other forms or reports,” the memo states.

The policy is part of CUNY’s latest effort to create a safer and non-discriminatory learning space for students. Addressing the issue of gender discrimination in college campuses, the policy is aimed to achieve a gender-inclusive environment. The current use of the heteronormative titles, CUNY argues, excludes recognition of transgender students and those who identify outside the gender binary.

The CUNY Graduate Center is the first learning institution in the country to mandate such a directive aimed at gender neutrality.

It is also the grounds where new policies are occasionally tested before a potential, full-fledged implementation to the undergraduate branches within its system. This means that even though the policy has only been issued to the Graduate Center for now, many John Jay undergraduates are already affected, especially those who consider going to the university for their graduate studies after atending John Jay College.

The policy and its implications are all the more meaningful for students who already do not conform to the gender norms.

Upon learning about CUNY’s new policy, Kadeem Robinson, 18, a John Jay sophomore, was more than passionate and thrilled at the prospects: “It’s very exciting because they are finally taking into consideration gender nonconforming people. It’s good that they are finally accepting the fact that there’s not just male or female, that there’s more to it.”

Matthew Matos, a sophomore at John Jay, maintains a neutral stance on the necessity of the ban of the gendered titles.

“I understand how people could get offended by using these titles, but then again, it’s also been used for long as a form of formality,” said Matos.

While Matos thinks the traditional courtesy titles are harmless, some students believe that “Ms.,” “Mrs.,” or “Mr.,” along with any other titles, are just as important to people’s identities.

“For me I see the titles as equal. I see race the same as gender, because this is something that means a lot to somebody,” Robinson said.

“The effects [will] create a more comforting base for students to express their identities that they haven’t ever had before,” said Devyn Serrano, vice president of the LGBTQ and Allies club. “The policy will publicize the school as a safety zone that will not butcher their preferred names and pronouns the way some of their lives already consist of.”

Despite the good intentions of the university, the response to CUNY’s newest policy ranges from skepticism to strict disagreement, with the policy itself and with the way CUNY has handled its endeavors of moving past being a gender-exclusive institution.

Some members of the faculty at the Graduate Center expressed varying concerns about the policy.

From a semantic standpoint, linguistics professor at the Graduate Center Juliette Blevins told the Wall Street Journal that she “would like to do everything possible to foster a gender-inclusive learning environment on campus.”

“However, I do not believe that prescriptive language policies should be a part of that effort.” she said.

Olivera Jokic, an English and Gender Studies professor at John Jay College, weighed in on Professor Blevins’ statement, saying that “to prescribe what language change people will adopt usually doesn’t work like that.”

While she agrees that the policy is progressive, she insists on the line between the heteronormative man-woman gender binary and the role of language itself in society.

“You don’t pretend that it is the language. It’s not the category itself. Removing the language will not necessarily mean that gender has been removed.”

Kathlyn Salazar, a junior at John Jay, doubts the need of a language policy. “There’s no necessity for such a policy,” Salazar said. “One can just advise another to say ‘don’t call me ‘Ms.,’ and I think that’s efficient.”

The policy instated by CUNY has both supporters and detractors, but the ban of the heteronormative titles becomes all the more important, especially as the country undergoes steps towards gender equality. The most recent is the issue of same-sex marriage, which the Supreme Court will decide in late April this year whether marriage equality is a constitutional right.

Political correctness is another concern among those who disagree with the policy.

Scott Tankersley, a John Jay senior who volunteers as a peer ambassador at the Women’s Center, responded to the typical claims against policies directed toward gender equality. “If believing that treating non-binary people as human beings that they are is political correctness, then call me politically correct,” Tankersley said.

As the nation continues to work against gender-based inequality in many aspects of people’s lives, college campuses are taking initiatives in addressing these issues. In John Jay, the opening of the three gender-neutral bathrooms earlier in the semester is part of this campaign.

Gender, as it shows, remains to be a critical category that we as a society use to assign identity and expectations on people.

Considering the initial failure of the policy to gain support and successful implementation, Jokic offered a consolation in favor of the new policy in place.

“We’ll just figure out other ways. What the interest is to have a comprehensive way of dealing with gender and figuring out a way to make it not matter anywhere,” said Jokic. “But we don’t have that yet.”

A City For Everyone: DeBlasio Announces Affordable Housing Plan

By Jade Jetjomlong

Staff Writer

A view of some of the affordable housing near JohnJay.

By: Ryan Durning A view of some of the affordable housing near John Jay.

In the theatre of Baruch College on Feb. 2, 2015, New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio began his second State of the City address with the story of his grandmother immigrating from Italy in the early 1900’s to New York, and like so many other immigrants, looking for opportunity. DeBlasio expressed the uniqueness of New York’s endless possibilities, leading up to his primary concern for 2015, that uniqueness being ”at risk because so many who live in New York struggle to afford to be here.”

With affordable housing as the top priority for NYC improvements, DeBlasio is aiming to build 80,000 units of affordable housing throughout the five boroughs of New York by 2024, in addition to raising the minimum wage from its current rate at $8.75 to over $13 by 2016. This would benefit not only New Yorkers with families but also New Yorkers in college. DeBlasio speaks of families, veterans, and artists needing affordable housing and higher wages, but what about students who can’t afford the limited dorming options?

“Most colleges don’t offer housing, especially City University of New York (CUNY) colleges. Students commute from other boroughs, I commute over an hour from the Bronx and I have friends who come from [New] Jersey and Pennsylvania to attend classes at least twice a week,” said John Jay Junior Saishalie Fabian, 21. “I’m a transfer from a private college in Jersey so when I came here I didn’t want to commute, so I dormed at the New Yorker for a semester. The commute was awesome, from anywhere in Manhattan it took at most 20 minutes to get back to my room.” The New Yorker is a hotel located at 34th Street Penn Station where Educational Housing Services (EHS) holds floors exclusively for certain colleges, according to the EHS homepage.

With it’s own membership of urban universities and community colleges, CUNY is home to 480,000 students at 24 campuses throughout the five boroughs, according to the CUNY homepage. This is not including private colleges and universities such as New York University, Pace, Columbia, and St. John’s.

Most private colleges offer student housing in private apartment buildings or exclusive floors dedicated to college students in hotels that are located near campus, but it is very limited housing and often extremely competitive and expensive. “It was about $10,000 for two semesters, so a full school year, the price is the reason I only stayed for one year” stated Fabian.

When asked if the dorms were worth the price she recalled “The room was small, my roommate and I didn’t click, and I paid all that money to have dumb rules enforced all the time. I was paying around $10,000 plus tuition and couldn’t have any friends over? No, not worth it at all.”

DeBlasio feels that “if we fail to be a city for everyone, we risk losing what makes New York … New York.” According to his statements, due to gentrification, New Yorkers are currently being pushed out of their affordable housing by landlords in an attempt to bring in higher income tenants. New Yorkers are then forced to move to other neighborhoods because it is the only housing they can afford. New York at that point would only be for outsiders and those with set careers and high incomes, not for those who are looking for opportunities in the City of Dreams, as DeBlasio confirms that “for generations, New York has been a city that unleashed human potential.”

Another look at affordable housing.

By: Jenifer Valmon Another look at affordable housing.

“A lot of my clients are from other states. They’re from everywhere but New York and they move to neighborhoods in Brooklyn like Bedstuy and Bushwick, into buildings that were just built or renovated,” said 21 year old Real Estate Salesperson and former John Jay student, Alberto Vigilance. “These are people who want to be closer to the jobs in the city, the neighborhood most similar to Manhattan without Manhattan rent prices.” Vigilance focuses in Brooklyn and Manhattan apartment rentals, specializing in western neighborhoods of Brooklyn.

CUNY students do not get to experience the “going away to college” experience offered by out of state or SUNY colleges since it is extremely hard to find locations large enough to zone exclusively for students and it is expensive to live in many of the Manhattan and Brooklyn neighborhoods.

In order to shorten their commute or “go away to college”, students often move out of home and into their own apartments that are considerably closer to their campus. Most times students move to inconvenient locations, cheaper places farther away from simple public transportation or they move to expensive locations that require them to work full time jobs while being a student. If a student stays at home, their family might be at risk of getting evicted by a landlord to make room for higher income families.

According to Vigilance, most New Yorkers from Manhattan look to relocate to more affordable Williamsburg or Greenpoint, or they are Brooklyn natives relocating from Williamsburg to cheaper neighborhoods like Bushwick or Bedstuy because the rent becomes too much for their income. When it comes to students, Vigilance observed most want locations such as Stuy Town, near East Village in Manhattan, but most have to settle for Williamsburg in Brooklyn.

“Median rates for studios and one bedrooms in popular neighborhoods of Manhattan range north of $2,200 with the exception of Harlem. That means a person has to make at least $27,000 annually to pay rent alone, without any other expenses… If I get paid $8.75 an hour with 40 hours a week, I’m only making $14,000 annually. It’s not impossible but it’s uncomfortable to be a young person with a conventional job working full time and going to school while living in the city,” said Vigilance.

Kayla Strauss, a 22 year old CUNY BA graduate, recalls renting one room from an apartment in Washington Heights for eight months until she decided it was not worth it and sublet the room. “I was paying so much for a 4×4 that still wasn’t convenient for me. I’d rather stay in Staten Island than do all that extra work,” Strauss currently lives in Staten Island and started a savings account. “I hope the mayor tries to come up with a plan that includes affordable student housing as well, it’s hard and sucky to commute on the trains that never work when you already are working hard to get a degree that’s supposed to help you be able to afford staying in your home”.

Nation Scarred By Civil Unrest: Grand Jury Decision Sparks Protests In NYC

By Nicole Scaffidi

Contributing Writer

By: Keyunna Singleton Protestors head to Times Square on November 24th to express their concern for the recent decision.

By: Keyunna Singleton Protesters head to Times Square on November 24th to express their concern for the recent decision.

On Nov. 24, a grand jury failed to indict white police officer, Darren Wilson, in the shooting of Michael Brown, 18, an unarmed African American teenager in Ferguson, Missouri. On Aug. 9, Wilson fatally shot Brown. There are questionable circumstances in which the shooting occurred that has received nation wide attention.

Weeks after the decision on the Ferguson case, John Jay students’ opinions are multilayered. As students remain deeply saddened by events unfolding across the nation—including a similar decision just a week and a half later of a grand jury not to indict the police officer who caused the death of the Staten Island man, Eric Garner this summer—many who are dissatisfied with the reoccurrence of extrajudicial killings have come together to collaborate their thoughts and strong opinions, discussing what the next steps are.

For now, the one-thing students are able to agree on is protesting which, at least, is showing the authorities that people want change.

“Think of the purpose of the protests and community action… Could you imagine if all of the CUNY schools came together? Could you imagine what that would look like in New York?” says Jovanny Suriel, John Jay faculty member. In fact, CUNY has been majorly involved in the protest scene in New York City.

CUNY students joined by other protesters were able to stop the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade as participants marched down Sixth Avenue. Tobi Adeleka, President of the African Student Association explains, “We got pushed by cops. People got arrested. It was serious.” CUNY students also joined protesters across the country the night the grand jury announced their decision and were able to shut down traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge and throughout all of Manhattan.

Both the Ferguson and Eric Garner cases have stirred up civil unrest and caused a racial divide. With the hope of making a fundamental change, chants like “Hands up… Don’t shoot”, “What do we want? … Justice!”, “How do you spell racist? … NYPD”, and “NYPD, KKK, how many kids have you killed today?” have broken out into a unified cry.

Handmade signs flood the streets reading, “Let em’ hear it on the moon”, “Black lives matter”, and “The Hunger Games, now playing in a town near you!” People were outraged.

Since the Trayvon Martin case in 2012, in which George Zimmerman was found not guilty of murder for fatally shooting African American, unarmed Martin, public protest had surged. Many protesters feel as though there is a national injustice occurring. “Police officers across the US are hiding behind their badges and fatally shooting black men and boys with no consequence,” said Amber Ball, John Jay Senior. Much like the Civil Rights protests of the 1960-70’s, this movement has been hyper-concentrated on college campuses.

Since November 24, there has been a lot of activity around the John Jay Campus. From discussions to protests, students and faculty have come together to express their feelings and emotions.

On December 1, 2014, another protest took place inside John Jay as students focused on all aspects of injustice worldwide. “It’s essential that we as John Jay students make a difference because we are advocates for justice,” says Adeleke, “But it’s going to take baby steps.”

These cases have broken many hearts and are now merging with other existing issues of ongoing injustice. Even though there are conflicted opinions among the student population, the majority of John Jay students feel that peaceful protests are the most influential way to have their voices heard.

“We need to challenge the way that people think, their bias and their prejudice have to be challenged through peaceful means,” says Kadian Townsend. The hope is that publicizing their emotions will initiate change.

 

By: Keyunna Singleton

By: Keyunna Singleton

“There needs to be a larger discussion on what are you going to do,” says Hadassah Yisrael, “What happens when you leave these doors? What are you doing everyday when you wake up and your feet touch the ground? What do you do when you go outside?” Efforts need to be spent beyond peaceful protesting and outside the doors of John Jay.

Though there were protests after the Trayvon Martin case, there seems to be more momentum now towards systemic change.

“There needs to be legislative changes. There needs to be a change in police protocols and things of that nature,” says Quanisha Simmons. Media suggests that higher authorities will now start focusing their efforts on training police to use their equipment properly. According to Fox News, the White House is pushing for a multi-million dollar program, which will encourage local police departments to provide body cameras for their officers.

Legislation changes are only one of many ways that will help this movement succeed. Suriel believes that education without a doubt bring change.

“The textbook doesn’t reflect us except for ‘these Black people came over in chains.’ We need to educate our youth and ourselves as we transition. Look at this room, we are in this room at a college for social justice. Education is really key.”

Diversity Issues Strike Campus

The Creation of a Diversity Committee after conflict between John Jay organizations 

By Jenifer Valmon

Staff Writer

Diversity

By: Jenifer Valmon The Hillel Club at their event on Oct. 27, which offered food, music, and free items such as phone cases and sunglasses.

On Oct. 21, President Jeremy Travis of John Jay College for Criminal Justice sent two emails addressing the John Jay staff and student body. The first email was sent at 1:44 p.m., detailing the revitalization of John Jay’s Committee on Diversity. The second email sent at 5:36 p.m. expressed the president’s disappointment at hearing that some of the college’s Jewish students have felt intimidated on campus.

These two emails came at the heel of the “die-in” vigil hosted by the campus’ Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), on Oct. 8.

“At John Jay College, we stand firm in our commitment to ensuring that every member of our College community feels welcomed and engaged in our justice-centered mission. Together, we will continue to make certain that our students can learn and enjoy campus life in a respectful and supportive environment,” stated President Travis in his second email.

Though it may seem that the John Jay Diversity Committee’s creation is an effect of the complaints of the Hillel Club, Kenneth Holmes, dean of students, confirms that the committee has been forming since the 2014 spring semester.

As previously reported, SJP’s event was held on the first floor of the New Building. The protest aimed for shock value by having people under blankets posed as dead bodies. The event was intended to bring awareness to the conflicts in Palestine as well as the civil conflicts in Ferguson, Missouri, after Michael Brown’s shooting and death by a white police officer.

Though the event was meant to draw attention to issues, it instead sparked new ones.

Diversity 2

By: Jenifer Valmon The food and giveaways offered at the Hillel Club event, including Hummus, and an “I-Heart-Israel” iPhone case.

“I found it very disturbing. It’s a disgrace to my religion because they don’t know the facts. They shouldn’t be saying the Israelis are the one’s who are killing,” said Margarita Okun, 29, a senior at John Jay.

The Hillel club at John Jay attended the event in silent protest of the SJP’s views and accusations. They attended peacefully “not as a counter but to create a two-sided environment,” said Yael Monselise, president of the Hillel club.

A video posted on YouTube five days after the event, Oct. 13, by Tomer Kornfeld, vice president of the Hillel Club, depicted the members of SJP as “hate mongering” and being misinformed about the Palestinian and Israeli states.

“On Oct. 8th, 2014, the SJP club at John Jay College held a die-in, which was supposed to be their call for “peace” and action, in regards to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Well, here is a recap of some of their points,” read the video’s description.

The video listed different instances in the event in which the Pro Israel Movement believes SJP misconstrued facts or had incorrect information. The video shows a protester claiming that people are dying when we shop at Zionist companies such as Starbucks and Victoria Secret and she expressed her support for Palestinian resistance including Hamas.

The president of SJP, Susie Abdelghafar, stated in a previous article “we are not against Jewish people. We are against Zionist. But to fight for peace is hypocritical. We fight for justice,” in regards to SJP’s view on the conflict in Palestine.

“Timing was perfect in the sense that the diversity committee was in the works long before that event took place. I certainly don’t think it’s bad thing that they came out simultaneously,” said Holmes. “I chuckled… Putting together a committee like this and coming up with a charge it takes a lot longer. We started having the conversation before the spring semester ended.”

Diversity 3

By: Jenifer Valmon A posterboard at the Hillel Club’s event on Oct. 27.

The new committee’s goal is to figure out what are the issues that need to be addressed on campus such as gender equality and disabilities as well as how to diversify staff and the college’s curriculum.

Holmes has been dean of students since July 2012. President Travis appointed him to Chair of the College Committee on Diversity alongside 25 others including staff members such as Danielle Officer, Sylvia Maltabaum, and a number of students to represent the different areas of the campus’ population.

On Oct. 27, the Hillel Club hosted an event of their own. The event was held in the same place as the “die-in” vigil but had a different approach. The club played pop music while handing out chips and hummus as well as sunglasses and iPhone cases. They also had several large informational posters displaying facts about Israel.

“What we want is peace and coexistence. We are pro peace and pro Palestine but against Hamas. There can be a Palestinian and a Jewish Israeli state,” said Monselise.

The committee has created the “Justice for All” events aimed at exploring what justice means to John Jay students and to provide continual education for the community. The first event on Nov. 19 is a panel discussing hurtful versus hateful language and how the use of language can affect others.

This event is followed by social media photo-ops, giving the students a chance to express what “Justice for All” means to them. The justice for all events end with the screenings of “Enough is ENOUGH!: The Death of Jonny Gammage” and the award winning movie “Fruitvale Station.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Campus Security Flaw Exploited By Scammers

By: Alondra Ramos

Staff Writer

On Sept. 11, 2014, a release was sent out informing students about someone disrupting classes in an attempt to sell tickets to off campus events.  The individual was eventually found and escorted off of campus.  This was not the first time strangers to the John Jay Community have found ways onto campus.

Most CUNY Campuses are quasi open.  According to the 2008 Clery Disclosures of John Jay, this means that visitors on campus must present a form of photo identification, state their business at the college, and are required to sign in.  Individuals are then allowed on campus.

Despite these security measures, people off the street are still finding their way into campus.  Ryan Eustace, risk management and ethics manager in the Department of Public Safety, said, “these people go to every school in New York City, like other CUNY and SUNY campuses, so they know how to work a system.  They say I’m here to go to admissions. So they gain access.”

It is the job of these individuals to go from school to school in order to get students to buy tickets that may or may not be legitimate.  According to the release, the tickets that the individual was soliciting were yet to be determined if they were legitimate or not.

Once inside campus, these individuals go around the campus and find classrooms to talk to students and professors.  Elizabeth Porchiazzo, a junior, witnessed this event a few semesters ago.  “A girl came into my Psychology and Law class offering something from student affairs and started to talk about paintball tickets. My professor stopped her and asked who gave her permission to do this. She just said some professor said she could. He stopped her mid sentence and told her to leave or he would call security.”

When security is called in, the public safety officers around campus escort the trespassers off campus. Eustace said that these are not violent individuals but very disruptive.  “We don’t tolerate it.  If we find these people and they aren’t members of the college community they are removed”.

Byron Martinez, an auxillary officer, says there are certain steps before determining if someone is a theat.  “With precaution, we check eyes, hands and feet for signs of threat.  We use calm voices and body language to ensure there is no threat.”

“If the person fails to cooperate, we try to explain to the person or group that this is a disturbance and to respect the environment,” continues Martinez.

Although this happens, Eustace said it is rare to ever get individuals that fail to cooperate, as they rarely issue summons and the trespassers usually leave voluntarily.

“This happens from time to time.  It’s not very common but it does happen. I’m sure it happens in other schools.  Some of the individuals we’ve dealt with here that other CUNY campuses have dealt with,” says Eustace.

Porchiazzo is unsettled by the idea, “because people can get into the school, maybe with a weapon,” others seem unsure and practically unmoved by this knowledge.

“I didn’t know that it happened but I guess I would report it,” said Andrew Schwarz, a lower senior.

“I had no idea that this goes on. I would report it if I feel unsafe but otherwise it wouldn’t really bother me,” said Nicole Lippold, a first semester freshman.

Having people selling event tickets on campus confuses students as well because there is no indication of which events are school sanctioned.

Kyle Roberts, a senior and member of Student Council, said. “Student Council always makes the attempt to offer tickets to events at a lower cost just for students. We understand that money is indeed an issue for many and keeping things at a lower cost is always our goal. Having people come in and sell tickets to other events is a problem. This could affect our sales as well”.

The issue of safety and security is handled as best they can.  “We want it to be like this. You don’t want a restrictive campus. You don’t want a police state. So it’s faculty, members and students who see these things and they have to report it. And then we send out release,” said Eustace.

Keeping an eye out for strangers walking around campus and reporting them quickly and at present time is the best way to keep the campus as safe as possible.  Students have other ideas for how to prevent this from happening.

“The school can perform checks or have security more aware of the events and entrances around school” said Roberts.

“They [Security] can make it harder for them to get in. ID, drivers license, and a referral from wherever they say they are going to, for starters,” said Porchiazzo.

Schwarz said, “we can have guards patrol around classrooms during class time so they don’t find their way into classes”.

Martinez understands that our campus always has people walking in and out, but these people have to respect that the facilities are being used for educational purposes.  To lower the amount of trespassers, “they need to fix the human error in security guards.  Refresh their memories and train them for every drill.  It’s alright to fail but we can learn from our mistakes.”

Another problem is that some students don’t know how to contact the right people.

“It doesn’t really make me feel any less safe but I don’t know how to contact them, no,” said Lippold.

Roberts also does not know how to contact the department but would definitely report this.

Everyone has ideas for what they believe is best to keep the campus open and safe. It is the responsibility of everyone on campus; faculty, students and officers, to be aware and vigilante about what goes and whom to contact.

“I’ve reported on two occasions,” said Porchiazzo with a smile. “It felt right to say something when I knew it was off.”

The Department of Public Safety asks faculty and students to report anything they hear or see as soon as possible. This ensures the fastest response and a better and safer community at John Jay.

To contact the office of public safety:

Call 212-237-8524 for any reports.

Call 212-237-8888 for emergencies only

and/or email [email protected]

Faulty CUNYfirst Launch Causes Misconceptions

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By: Angeline Dominguez

Staff Writer

With the beginning of fall semester 2014, John Jay students experienced some difficulties with the switch from eSIMS to CUNY first. Late last March, students received an email from Robert Pignatello, Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration, stating the retirement of the eSIMS database and introduction to a new one, known as CUNY first. On Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014, the CUNYfirst website crashed, not allowing students to view their schedules or register for courses. “I had a lot of students who were upset, students who were registering late who al- ready had complicated situations to begin with,” said Professor John Staines. “It’s frustrating that I had students that were trying to get into classes kind of last minute and couldn’t, that was frustrating.” At exactly 3:02pm that day, Robert Troy, the school’s vice president of enrollment management sent out a memorandum to the John Jay campus community acknowledging the glitches going on with the CUNY first database. The following was stated: 1.Students will not be charged any change of registration fee during the drop/ add period (until Sept. 3.) 2.The university has extended the 100% tuition refund date until the close of business on Wednesday, Sept. 3. 3.Students can view their course schedules through JSTOP on the John Jay College homepage. Staines said, “Financial Aid has been relying on a database with numerous errors and, for reasons that I do not understand, we have had a difficult time getting the errors fixed.” During the summer, students claimed to have had outstanding balances on theiraccounts when viewed on CUNY first. 
“I called financial aid and they told me it was a glitch, that whatever is pending on my balance means that my account was already paid off, which was quite confusing to understand. I never had to go through this,” said Yesenia Matos a junior transferstudent at John Jay. Haddassah Yisrael, treasurer of the debate club at John Jay, claims that because of the switch over to CUNYfirst, student enrollment has dropped at the school. “This decline in enrollment created less money; all student organizations had to create budgets lower than their initial requested monies. Sitting in student council meetings was heart wrenching as I watched my peers struggle to remove events, materials, keynote speakers, as well as additional funds that were pertinent to the success of their team be abolished,” said Yisrael via email. On the contrary, Staines, who also stands as a new Major Advisor at the college said “I haven’t seen anything in anystudents records that were incorrect, that were a result of CunyFirst [but] that doesn’t mean there have not been.” Students have also been experiencing issues with having their credits being transferred from their previous schools on to their John Jay transcripts. “Frankly degree audit, the old database, is much bigger of a problem and that has been my source of problems, not CUNY first,” said Staines. CUNY first and Degree audit are two separate databases. It is not responsible for the mishaps students have had with financial aid and credit transfers. “I am infuriated that when I transferred, my AP credits and my mandatory english class credits did not come over,” said Matos. On the CUNY first website students are allowed to register for classes, view their account balances and transcripts.
Susuky Zambramo, a junior at the college, said, “It wasn’t too hard…not like everyone says. I’d rate it a six out of ten.” Despite the glitches that have been denying some access into these documents, Staines describes the school administration to be doing their best to respond to these problems as quickly as possible. “I feel like it gave people more access to their own personal stuff, it was easier. I don’t know what the frustration would be. Maybe it’s because they (students) don’t know how to use it or maybe it was because they were too lazy to even try to use it,” said Kevin Ramos, a junior at John Jay. “It’s [a] change, you have to adapt to, I don’t know why would someone would even complain about it.”

Graduates Receive Guidance

By: Rehana Sancho

Staff Writer

The CUNY welcome center holds an information session for undergraduates hoping to attend graduate programs. The information session offers students information on graduate programs, application process, financial aid, and tips for getting into graduate school.

The CUNY welcome center is located on 217 east 42 st. in Manhattan. The center holds numerous informational sessions such as, a graduate school 101 session, an international students graduate session, and a variety of master’s programs informational sessions.

The welcome center hopes to inform students as much as they can before students enter a graduate program.

According to CUNY’s graduate guide, CUNY is the “nation’s leading urban public university.” Gerry Martini, a CUNY graduate advisor and session host, explains to students before they enter graduate school that knowing and picking the right major is essential. Students aren’t allowed to switch majors as freely as they did in their undergraduate schools.

Martini explains the application process consists of an applicant statement, 2-3 letters of recommendation, an official transcript, and the required standardized test applicable to the degree.

He also warns that all programs expect their own applications. “Just because you qualify for one program doesn’t mean you will qualify for all,” explains Martini.

An application statement should be tailored towards the students perspective major. Martini advises, “no personal stories, the committee wants to know why you are good for their program.”

Students who are interested in a business major should highlight their business attributes, not just their perfect attendance record.

Letters of recommendation should be completed, preferably, by a professor who is in association with the degree of your interest. A professor in your field will know what appeals toward a panel of his peers, which is ultimately a plus for your recommendation letter.

Students will have to complete the standardized test that applies to their field. For most masters degrees you will have to complete the GRE, for a law program the LSAT, and for the medical program, the MCAT.

Getting a good grade on your standardize test can help if you don’t have the greatest GPA, or letters of recommendation, according to Martini.

CUNY students applying for a CUNY graduate program have some advantages. “Some of the graduate school’s professor are also professors in CUNY undergrad classes,” explains Martini. Having a professor write a recommendation that is al- ready known in the graduate system is a plus for a student.

The City University of New York Counseling Assistantship Program (CU- NYCAP) allows students, who have received a Bachelor’s degree from CUNY, to work part time on CUNY Campuses. Stu- dents are paid $10 per hour and can earn a total of $3,000 a semester.

Participants who work a total of 225 hours during the semester will earn tuition reimbursement for up to 6 credits.

CUNY also offers a Ph.D. fellowship for qualifying candidates to help financially with their programs. According to

CUNY, qualified Ph.D. students can receive a $25,000 stipend, free tuition, and low cost health insurance per year.

Jordan Swisher graduated from his undergrad several years ago but is looking into attending graduate school to receive a masters degree in English. Swisher ex- plains, “CUNY seems to be on par with other private graduate schools.”

Swisher expressed interest in that the CUNY Graduate programs are like “seven schools in one” making it an easier to add variety to his choice.

Martini explained, “CUNY English department is top ten in the country,” which is an added plus to attending a CUNY Graduate program.

Famous CUNY graduate alumni include Iyanla Vanzant, who graduated from CUNY Law in 1988 before she became an author, life coach and inspirational speaker, as well as Secretary of State/Joint Chief of Staff Collin Powell, who graduated from City College in 1958. New York Times published author, Hayden Herrera, who wrote the book Frida: A Biography of Frida, graduated from the CUNY graduate center with a Ph.D.

Ashley Venable, a Pace University graduate student and teacher for the Department of Education, is interested in CU- NY’s journalism program. “I love the fact that CUNY’s graduate classes are mostly at night, this way I can work and still have a large choice of night time classes.”

Graduate school requires a lot of planning. Swisher feels students should wait before joining because “real world experiences can help you when you apply for grad school”.

Pinching Pennies For Struggling Students

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By Mark Garzon

College can be expensive even after paying tuition and other school fees. In particular, necessities like textbooks, food, and transportation altogether may leave a hole in a student’s wallet. Despite this, there are ways students can save money on such expenses.

Students may find textbooks expensive. The National Association of College Stores states “The average college student will spend $655 on textbooks each year, but with a single textbook easily costing as much as $300, that total can easily be much higher” according to an article on the Huffington Post website.

Due to these costs, it is useful to know ways to save money on books. Jimmy Feng, a sophomore at John Jay, makes use of websites such as Amazon to find more affordable textbooks. “First, I check the prices on a couple of websites. This way I can compare prices and find cheaper books instead of paying so much,” said Feng. He explained one instance in which he was required to purchase a $90 textbook for his sociology class, but after searching was able to find a used copy online for $60. Feng stated, “Searching for used books is worth it, especially when you might not use that book a lot in class. You don’t want to pay full price and only use it a couple of times.”

This method is recommended by The University Office of Computing and Information Services, which has provided a textbook savings “fact sheet” available on the CUNY website. It is accessible by visiting “University Resources” and then clicking “Student Life & Services”. The sheet is listed under “Scholarships and Financial Resources”.

This guide recommends various tips such as buying the EBook version of a textbook as it states they are often cheaper than buying the print version. The guide also lists numerous websites under each suggestion in order to find more inexpensive books.

A second option is using the campus library, which provides textbooks required by certain courses for free as well as books and journal articles. “We’re trying to save everyone money,” said Maureen Richards, a librarian at John Jay’s Lloyd Sealy Library. Richards said the library makes textbooks available to students through funds provided by the Chancellor’s Textbook Initiative. A search on the library website resulted in a total of 1401 textbooks that are accessible at the library.

Some of these textbooks are available in the reserve room of the library where students are able to borrow them using their John Jay ID card. These books have a loan period of generally three hours, but the student must remain in the library with the book, according to the library’s website.

Food is an additional expense students can save money on. The Tuition & Fees section on the CUNY website states that students living at home or with relatives could spend approximately“$1,148 on lunch” in an academic year.

Matthew Pascual, a sophomore at John Jay, takes into consideration the prices and nearby restaurants when it comes to saving money on off campus food. “I eat lunch outside of school, but I always think about what options I have so I won’t spend too much,” said Pascual.

Pascual explained how he looks out for lunch specials as they offer a good amount of food for a fair price. Pascual also stated that when he goes to restaurants such as the Olympic Flame Diner located on West 60th Street, he looks at the appetizers and purchases those over a full meal as they are cheaper and just as filling.

However, there is another option to save on food. Noorulaine Anwar, a sophomore at John Jay, brings prepared food from home and reheats it using the microwaves available at the Office of Student Life in room L2.71.00 of the New Building. She said that the microwaves allow students to save on food while also giving them the opportunity to bring their own meals. “You can save money and bring it from home and have nice, hot food at school,” said Anwar.

Another expense students face is transportation. According to the Tuition & Fees section on the CUNY website, students will spend an estimated “$1020 on transportation” during the course of a year. Because of this, managing transportation costs is useful in helping students spend less.

Students who commute on the subway can save by calculating the amount of trips and cost. Pascual stated that he takes the subway and spends $20 per week. He said that he pays per rides instead of purchasing a weekly or monthly MetroCard. “I don’t take the train that much so I don’t buy the monthly card because I would just be wasting money,” said Pascual.

The 7-Day Unlimited card costs $30 and the 30-Day Unlimited card costs $112, according to the MTA website. It is recommended by the website that customers should purchase the 7-Day card if they make at least 13 trips a week. The 30-Day should be purchased if at least 48 trips are made in a month. This should be taken into account before purchasing a weekly or monthly card, otherwise a commuter might actually be losing money.

When asked about the money he saves, Pascual said he finds it important because he can use it toward necessities such as his lunch for the week.

Feng shared a similar view in which he stated, “At the end of the day, it’s nice to have the extra money you saved to buy other things you might need. Even if it’s only a couple dollars it really counts.”