February 28, 2015

Situationships: New Era of Love on Campus

By Dudline Pierre

Contributing Writer

Image Courtesy Wikicommons

Image Courtesy Wikicommons

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unveiling History

By Noemi Baez

Contributing Writer

By: Yanel Escobar

By: Yanel Escobar

On Dec. 8, John Jay College of Criminal Justice unveiled their first ever life-sized statue of the United States first Chief of Justice, John Jay. The bronze statue stands at a height of 5’7” and a weight of 670 pounds in the Lynn and Jules Kroll Atrium of the New Building. The statue was revealed during community hour with live music and refreshments for the students. The unveiling of the statue was featured in Monday’s edition of the New York Times, noting the words of John Jay’s president, “John Jay is our forgotten Founding Father, one of the greatest New Yorkers, who helped create our democracy, our students, who are devoted to the common good, will be inspired by his example.”

 

Classroom Etiquette: To Eat or Not To Eat

By Jonathan Richards

Contributing Writer

By: Ryan Abdelhafez

By: Ryan Abdelhafez

Ever been too busy to get breakfast and spent your first two back to back classes thinking about what you’re going to eat when class is over instead of the lecture? Or been satisfied in class but couldn’t focus because of someone four feet away from you was obnoxiously slurping on a bowl of chicken noodle soup?

Even if you’re a freshman you’ve probably experienced one or both of these at this point of the semester. So the question now is whether it is better to stay hungry and courteous to all around you at the expense of your focus? Or eat in class and be focused at the expense of someone else’s?

Before you answer that question you have to consider the food policy. You may or may not have noticed the sign in classrooms with a big picture of a drink and some food with the caption “No food or drink allowed”. That goes from small snacks that people may see on a daily basis such as fruit, candy, chips, or even a protein bar, that are tolerable to most people, to full meals people occasionally see like a burger with fries, pastrami sandwiches, or chicken salads.

This policy is not just to spite students. This policy is there to promote a healthy clean environment inside the classroom that many students, and professors alike, haven’t contributed to maintaining. Wrappings, boxes, crumbs, and bones are some of the things that are left behind by the people that won’t take the time to clean after themselves which goes against the clean environment that students should have the opportunity to learn in. “What are the janitors here for?”

Gashi, a third year student at John Jay, only recently found out that such a policy existed. “Whether or not I ate in a classroom never depended on a laminated sheet of paper plastered on the wall when I first walk in the classroom. It has always been left up to the professor that I had at that time. If I had a professor that said we are allowed to eat, I damn well had my pizza or whatever I felt like bringing to class in class, but if the professor didn’t allow eating in that class then I didn’t eat, but even those professors didn’t mind water in the class.”

“It’s hard for me to stay focused when hungry,” Edwinson Matias a Junior said “I’m pretty sure many people would agree that when you’re hungry, focusing on anything becomes a task.” He was exuberant while expressing this.

It’s not hard to see why he and other students feel so passionate about this topic. Since there is only 10 minutes to get from class to class, excluding community hour, students don’t have much time to even grab a Snickers.

“I can understand not bringing out a home cooked meal or something too smelly, but I’m not allowed to have even a rice krispy or something to quell my hunger and help me focus better? We don’t need a food policy, we need more time in our mornings, and in between classes,” said Matias.

Students aren’t eating in class because the food is good, they eat because without food their focus would drop, and consequentially, their grade will follow as well. although eating in class has the opposite effect to some students.“It’s distracting,” Luke Dure a sophomore at John Jay stated while shaking his head. “I know it’s hard to focus in class on an empty stomach, but having an empty stomach and having someone near you chow down on their BLT from subways is even worse.

Almost all students suffer from that same problem of hunger during classes but not all of them have the leisure to fix it, and it isn’t fair to those who can’t. Plus no one wants to hear someone smacking on any food, I don’t care if I just had thanksgiving dinner, I’d still lose focus, and at least an empty stomach is quieter. It’s all about equality to me.”

Students like Dure disagrees with Matias and Gashi, for them it’s harder to focus while eating or hearing someone eat. The food policy has a clear intention but students have either taken it out of its original context, with a grain of salt, or never heard of it in the first place. What has been put there to keep classroom clean has been turned to an attack on the focus of the students.

It’s arguable whether it is better to be hungry for another hour or have to deal with someone munching on popcorn near you, but the debate shouldn’t be between students on that subject, it should be on whether the food policy is effective or not. Seeing that students follow this depending on the professor, it can be said that it isn’t.

 

Does Catcalling Cross the Line or Is It a Compliment?

By Valentina Henriquez

Staff Writer

By: Ryan Abdelhafez

By: Ryan Abdelhafez

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tis The [Sports] Seasons For Distractions

By Zachary Ashman

Contributing Writer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Oh Why Wi-Fi? John Jay’s Wi-Fi Woes

By Jennifer Rivera

Contributing Writer

By:Ryan Abdelhafez Eliza Oler Epstein, Patrick Patterson, Jennifer Khan trying to access wi-fi on their laptop.

By:Ryan Abdelhafez
Eliza Oler Epstein, Patrick Patterson, Jennifer Khan trying to access Wi-Fi on their laptop.

The iconic symbol of available Wi-Fi feeds the human population with the hopes of gaining internet connection for free after paying your technology fee. Students of John Jay College find themselves bombarded with schoolwork throughout the week, which requires the usage of internet on campus for the most part.

Understanding how far humanity has come in developing and improving the internet, most people would assume that this is the least of their worries.

The Department of Information Technology (DoIT) is dedicated to keeping the students of John Jay College connected to the world through online means. In doing so, some students have much to complain about in regards to the schools Wi-Fi connection.

On September 29th, members of the John Jay community had received an email notice from the Chief Information Officer (CIO), Joseph Laub, that the Wi-Fi will be upgraded at 10:15pm on Oct. 3rd.

For reasons it states, “This planned outage is necessary to double the number of devices that can connect. Following the start of the Fall 2014 semester the number of devices connecting to Wi-Fi grew exponentially. This maintenance window will allow DoIT to better manage this increased demand.” Yet, despite the upgrades, some people still have issues with the Wi-Fi.

Anthony Diaz, 21 and an upper sophomore of John Jay states, “The school’s Wi-Fi is really good in some places, but it has trouble extending through the whole school. Maybe the school doesn’t have enough money to increase the mbps in their Wi-Fi.” Troubled with the idea he adds, “I’m satisfied so far since I’m lucky that most of the classrooms I’m in have it, but I feel that it needs to do better.”

Students like Diaz have much to say in regards to their Wi-Fi experiences. Shivani Jones, 21, a senior of John Jay, states how unhappy she is with the Wi-Fi, “It sucks and takes forever to load. Even when it is at full strength, it won’t connect. Like today, it took my girlfriend two hours to fill out a five minute application.” While attempting to connect using her John Jay username and password under the “John Jay Students” service set identifier (SSID), Jones found it hard to connect anywhere. She states that by using her cell phone, iPad, iPod, and laptop, her attempts failed in getting a faster service with the schools Wi-Fi.

Oneil Hinds, Director of Network and Telecommunications Services, describes just how important it is to consistently keep up to date with technology especially when students log in on a daily basis. He states that there is “an ever-increasing demand for Wi-Fi service” and “subsequently the Information Technology department parallels that demand with continuous improvement of the wireless infrastructure”.

Whoever has access to their John Jay email understand that they are able to connect to the student login or staff and faculty login. The problem is, there are multiple devices connected per individual. Many users are dependent on the Wi-Fi through their cell phones, tablets and laptops. Thus, those same connections cause traffic and slower connections. Some users may confuse slowdown in their Internet for slow Wi-Fi.

There are over 315 access points for students to connect to which are dependable for up to 300 feet in range. The access point can support up to 30 people at its optimum level.

In the first week of the Fall semester, Hinds, and many other employees who work in the DoIT department, find themselves astounded by the numbers of login access. There were over 6,000 devices logged in on a daily basis. The 6,000 devices connected had slowed down the connection speed leading to complaints. Even so, this was quickly addressed with the aforementioned upgrade that was performed on October 3rd.

In order to improve the schools Wi-Fi, DoIT has been working on a Capital Project. The Capital Project, as stated by Hinds, is supported by the money given directly from the city. A significant portion of this financial allocation will go towards the improvement of campus-wide wireless coverage. According to Hinds, “DoIT is currently in negotiations to increase the Internet bandwidth 10 times the current speed as well”.

So don’t fret about shutting down your devices, that is until new technology comes in.

Thank You For Not Smoking

By Quanisha Simmons

Contributing Writer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Professor Majic Sheds Light On Sex Work Field

By Rehana Sancho

Staff Writer

sex work politics

Photo Courtesy of Wikicommons The cover of Professor Majic’s latest book, which can be found on Amazon.

Professor Samantha Majic, assistant professor of political science at John Jay, has unleashed a new wave of feminism and open-mindedness about the sex industry here on campus. Strutting down the halls with her high heels and often very fashionable outfits, Professor Majic has cast a spell on many young women who hope to follow in her advocate footsteps.

Professor Majic is teaching a class titled “Women and Politics” for the Political Science Department. The lectures include topics about the many types of feminist theories, such as radical feminism, liberal feminism, socialist feminism and modern feminism. The course also sheds light on some controversial feminists such as Beyoncé, and well noted modern political women, such as Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton, as well as other women in politics, both national and international.

At 36 years old, Professor Majic has received four degrees; a B.A from the University of Toronto, two Masters Degrees from both York University and Cornell University, and lastly a Ph.D. from Cornell University. She had written one book, “Sex Work Politics: From Protest to Service Provision” and is co-editor of another, “Negotiating Sex Work.”

According to the University of Pennsylvania Press, “Sex Work Politics” is “an excellent, important book. Samantha Majic’s detailed community research will transform our views of sex workers as well as our understanding of the potential for nonprofit community organizations and social movements to achieve lasting political change.”

Professor Majic based her research in California where she worked with the St. James Infirmary (SJI) and the California Prostitution Education Project (CAL-PEP). She worked with sex workers, volunteering, interviewing and grasping an overall understanding of how and why they became a sex worker. Majic came to the conclusion that “all sex workers aren’t victims,” and centered the thesis of her book around the understanding of why sex work should be decriminalized.

Majic argues that sex work should be decriminalized with policy considerations that would equate to safe and healthy sexual practices for both the sex worker’s and their clients. However, Majic is not advocating for total government intervention, because sex workers should have a say on how they want to be governed based on their experience with the sex trade.

Majic believes that people should think more broadly about sex work. She feels like a “poor women sexuality is policed,” and that there is an assumption that all sex workers are either criminals or victims. “sex workers are not just women who have been stuff in the back of a truck,” explains Majic. According to Majic, people often confuse sex work with sex trafficking which is when a person, involuntarily, is coerce into the sex trade by another person or group. Some people are making a personal decision to become a sex worker.

Majic

Photo Courtesy of John Jay Website Professor Samantha Majic

To introduce her research and open the floor to sex work conversation, Professor Majic spearheaded the “Sex Work Initiative” forum this fall in the Moot Court Room here on campus. Through six diverse events such as a book talk, film screenings/debate, and panel discussions with people who are involved in the sex work industry, students were exposed to an alternative view of the sex work field.

Students listened to excerpts and brief summaries of Professor Majic’s book, “Sex Work Politics: From Protest to Service Provision.” Majic explained that sex workers aren’t just prostitutes, they are also escorts, pornography stars and exotic dancers; people who choose to make a career or make money using their bodies.

After attending three of the sex initiative forums, Hadassah Yisrael, a sophomore, explained she felt like she was given a one on one experience other professors seldom offer. Yiseral explains that the forums were thought provoking. “Our ideas of sex workers are usually procreated by the media,” said Yisrael. “This is the best event I seen from a professor.”

After the forum, Yisrael said she is eager to take one of Professor Majic’s classes because of the testimonies she heard from the former sex worker at the event, and Professor Majic herself. “The world is so heteronormative. It doesn’t allow for fluid identities,” explained Yisrael. “I believe taking a class of her will allow me to continue to explore what I’ve learned from the forum.

M.G Robinson, a junior, is a student in Professor Majic’s “Women and Politics” class, “I have been so inspired by not only the forum, but the feminist theories she has introduced me too.” Robinson explains that meeting congressional woman Helen Rosenthal, in class, showed her that Professor Majic actually cares about her cause and her students.

But the females on campus aren’t the only people being influenced by Professor Majic, Abran Acosta, a junior, explained. “I never looked at politics as a gendered field, but learning about how long and hard women have fought for their rights, beyond suffrage, I can’t take the little things for granted anymore.”

Acosta went further to say, “Even though I don’t always agree with what she says in class, I do agree that the information she provides, to these classes full of women will increase women’s involvement in politics and ultimately increase gender equality.

Professor Majic’s research, classes, and forums has created a platform to discuss issues such as sex work and women’s equality. Whether or not everyone agrees with her research, judging by student’s reactions and her jammed packed forums, Professor Majic is providing John Jay students with three things they love; controversy, open-minded debates, and a source for inspiration.

 

Ebola Prompts CUNY Protocol

By Fathema Ahmed

Staff Writer

Ebola

By: Fathema Ahmed The largest isolation center within Haaren Hall, in room C22. This room was previously a dressing room but has been converted in case of an outbreak.

The City University of New York (CUNY) is working with the city to be prepared in case of an Ebola outbreak in CUNY schools, even following the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s guidelines.

On Thursday, Oct. 6, CUNY Chancellor James Milliken sent out a memorandum to Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Finance and Administration Robert Pignatello about Ebola preparedness.

“Although the Ebola threat to the CUNY community is small, the University has taken a number of measures to minimize risk. We have been communicating with public health agencies; our Infectious Diseases Committee meets regularly to ensure that our campuses are prepared for contingencies; and campus representatives are briefed at various forums, such as the University’s Risk Management and Business Continuity Council,” stated Milliken in his memorandum. “We have also been working with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which has prepared a guidance document for colleges and universities and an Ebola evaluation algorithm.”

According to the CUNY website, each CUNY campus has a liaison who is in charge of dispersing information and abiding by CUNY guidelines on screening for and responding to any potential issues. The office of the Chancellor asked each college to appoint a liaison, and President Jeremy Travis appointed Pignatello to be the campus liaison for John Jay.

“We’ve been coordinating on a local effort to be prepared in case we have a case of Ebola. We’ve had three meetings, sometimes with phone calls where the campus representatives all gather together, talking about what’s going on and what’s happening in different campuses,” said Pignatello in regards to how he is coordinating with other campus liaisons.

“The risk for members of the CUNY community to be exposed is viewed as low but the consequences if someone were to get ill are very high, so it was taken very seriously, ” continued Pignatello.

New York has been forced to handle a case of Ebola itself. On Wednesday, Oct. 23, the New York City Department of Health and Hygiene reported a case of Ebola in a medical aid worker. The next day, New York City doctor Craig Spencer, 33, was confirmed to be the first and only person in New York State of having the Ebola virus after returning from Guinea; one of the countries in West Africa that has been affected by the virus.

He worked there for five weeks with the humanitarian-aid organization “Doctors Without Borders,” treating victims of the deadly virus. Spencer spent 19 days in isolation at Bellevue Hospital where he was treated. It is not known whether the experimental drug and blood plasma from recovered Ebola patient Nancy Writebol, 59, made a difference or whether his body killed the virus on it’s own. Spencer was released on Tuesday, Nov. 11.

Shortly after Spencer was confirmed of having the Ebola virus, Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York, announced that anyone that had direct contact with Ebola patients in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone had to go through a mandatory quarantine for 21 days. On Wednesday, Oct. 26, Cuomo announced that people coming from West Africa that did not show symptoms would be allowed to stay home for the allotted time, and that health care workers would be checking in on the patients twice a day to monitor their symptoms.

CUNY also has created isolation centers in the event of someone having the Ebola virus at CUNY. If a patient shows symptoms of Ebola and has traveled to an affected area, or had contact with someone with a confirmed case of Ebola in the 21 days before the illness, the patient will be placed in an isolated room, ideally with a private bathroom. The New York City Health Department will be contacted to guide the college through the process and to tell them what to do next.

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By: Fathema Ahmed The private bathroom for the isolation center located in C2201 of Haaren Hall.

John Jay College has identified an area in each of the college buildings and public safety officers, and health office employees have been trained in how to respond in the event that a member of the John Jay community were to show symptoms of the virus. The main isolation center is in the health office, which will be used during business hours. Unlike New York State regulation, the quarantine is not forced.

“The use of the isolation area is voluntary, you can’t make someone go into an isolation center, but if they present themselves with one of the risk factors, we would invite them to go into the isolation center to evaluate the situation and they would be willing to come in and then basically take over,” said Pignatello regarding forced quarantine. “We can’t force someone from John Jay to stay against their will, so that’s why we would contact the department of health and they would evaluate and follow all appropriate rules and regulations. They’re the ones whose guidance we would follow.”

Pignatello advises that students get a flu shot in order to avoid the confusion of whether someone is infected with Ebola or the flu, as flu symptoms are similar to that of Ebola.

According to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, some symptoms of Ebola include, but are not limited to, fever, headaches, joint and muscle aches, nausea, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain and lack of appetite. Flu symptoms that are common with Ebola are fevers, headaches, aches, diarrhea and vomiting.

“Symptoms usually appear eight to 10 days after exposure but may appear anywhere from two to 21 days after exposure. People only become contagious after they begin to have symptoms. If a person does not develop symptoms within 21 days after exposure, he or she is not at risk of Ebola,” stated the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene on their website.

According to the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, you are not at risk unless you traveled to Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone and had direct contact through broken skin or your mouth, eyes or nose with bodily fluids such as blood, vomit, urine, feces and sweat of a person infected with the virus or a person who died of the disease.

“This is not a disease that is well known to people and not a lot of people know about how it spreads, how to contract it, how to tell if someone might be affected. We had the federal government through the CDC (United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), the state department of health and the city department of health all put out information. A lot of it is identical, but a lot of it is similar,” said Pignatello on how John Jay is making students aware of the disease.

“There is a lot of information that is on the college’s website and the college has put up posters and flyers and so forth, about what we know about Ebola, about what we know about getting infected,” continued Pignatello.

While there are protocols at CUNY, there are students who are not aware of them. “I didn’t know about the protocols. If I knew about it I would feel that CUNY realizes that it’s a big issue and they’re doing something about it,” said Crystal Santos, a freshman at John Jay.

“You should be reminded that there’s this disease like Ebola out there. You should always be sanitary. In classrooms they should educate a little more about it. We use it as a joke because we’re not as educated about it,” continued Santos.

The CUNY homepage has an Ebola information link that it will continue to update. The link connects to different Ebola resources.

“We don’t want to overreact. We want to take reasonable precautions. That’s part of the challenge, the challenge here is to protect the safety of the people in our community and at the same time preserve and protect the privacy rights of everyone who might be suspected of being unhealthy. It’s not our job to diagnose people, we’re not doctors,” said Pignatello.

 

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.

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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.”

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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.”