November 27, 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President of LGBTQ & Allies, noticed the former social identity and equality club, known as Spectrum, was inactive and outdated.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.

Athletic Dept. Drafts New Staff

By: Ryan Durning

Staff

The Athletic Department at John Jay College has overhauled their coaching staff this semester. Six of the 15 teams we have are being run by new coaches, including the men’s and women’s basketball, men’s baseball, and men’s and women’s soccer. These changes were implemented by Carol Kashow, the athletic director who was hired in the spring of 2013.

“When I came in March 2013, that spring I spent a fair amount of time evaluating,” said Kashow in regards to how she approached making changes. “Some teams weren’t having [an] excellent academic experience.”

The ultimate goal of the athletic department, in Kashow’s eyes, is providing a good experience to the student athletes that make up the teams at John Jay. If overall record is what she means in terms of experience, she might be right.

Five of the teams that have new coaches are coming off losing seasons in at least two of the past three years. The men’s and women’s basketball team both went 9-17 overall, the men’s soccer team went 4-14-1, and the Women’s soccer team went 4-15 in their previous season. The men’s baseball team went 7-25 earlier this year.

All told, these five teams have racked up 33 wins and 88 losses combined in the past year which equals a .272 win percentage. College of Staten Island has a .694 win percentage and Brooklyn College, which doesn’t have a baseball team like the other teams do, has a .641 percent. Even the City College of New York had a .410 win percentage and they had only one team with a winning record.

“It was a simple matter of having different philosophies,” said Kashow in regards to the replacement of men’s basketball coach Otis Fenn. “There are a lot of ways to skin the cat, so to speak.”

Kashow repeatedly made mention of making sure John Jay athletes have an excellent academic experience. Coupled with the underperforming year that John Jay teams’ had, replacing almost half of the coaches seems less drastic even if it might have rubbed a couple players the wrong way.

“[Fenn] was here since I first got here so I guess he wanted to finish it out with [us],” said Korede Griffith, a student athlete on the men’s basketball team. “The fact that he couldn’t probably hurt him, but he’s a proud man so he’ll be fine.”

While most of the team said they didn’t have any real problems with Fenn’s leadership,  some even went so far as to call him a cool person, they were focused on the future.

“I basically think she wanted to rebuild and he wasn’t a part of the process,” said men’s basketball player Darrell Robinson when asked about the coaching change. “[The new coach] is building a culture.”

Robinson’s culture remark is in reference to the fact that the new coach, Ryan Hyland, has the team doing conditioning and strength workouts already, something that Fenn apparently never had them do.

“He got us doing preconditioning,” said the 21 year old Griffith. “He has us meet together like once a week, it’s a good thing. [Fenn] wouldn’t have had this last year, we wouldn’t have been here.”

Former assistant coach of the women’s basketball team, Mike Williams, is heading up the preconditioning and weightlifting for the men’s and women’s basketball programs.

“Coach Molly [Light] and Coach Ryan [Hyland] are very eager, they just want to win,” said Williams. “It’s really a fresh start in the sense that they’re not here to play any games. Coach Molly, her overall goal is to coach D1, she knows that to do that she needs to start winning championships at this level.”

Williams said he believes that Kashow is getting off to a good start, and he stressed that when he was hired he made it clear that it was championship or nothing for him. The new coaching changes aren’t always resulting in a noticeable change towards creating a winning philosophy yet though.

The Men’s and Women’s soccer teams are still underperforming significantly. The men’s soccer team, under the leadership of Bradley Johnson, is 5-9. The women’s soccer team currently has a 2-12 record under new coach Casey Sommers.

Other teams with new coaches, like men’s baseball and the cheerleading squad, won’t have a chance to display a change from last season until 2015 at the earliest. Men’s and women’s basketball starts in November so for now the excellent academic experiences Kashow values are still a work-in-progress.

“I think they got to be more aggressive with it, I know they came in and wanted to change things a little bit slowly. That’s great but then this team is getting left behind, the other teams in CUNY are not making those steps,” said Williams about how the athletic department should proceed from here on out. “They did a great job fixing the gym floor, a fantastic job, but now lets get athletes in the gym.”

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.”

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]

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.

Faulty CUNYfirst Launch Causes Misconceptions

CUNYfirst_L9

By: Angeline Dominguez

Staff

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

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”.