September 2, 2014

Are We Paying Too Much For Water?

By: Fifi Youssef

Contributor

 A John Jay College student spends approximately $10,000 a semester in tuition, classes, student fees, books, metro cards, and lunch. The money spent each semester can easily increase as the price of a bottle of water increases in the John Jay College vending machines. 

With the price increase in water and healthy food, obesity rate increases too.

The obesity rate in 1990 was 9.3 percent, and by 2003 the percentage skyrocketed to 20.9 percent. By 2012 the rate reached 23.6 percent.

According to F as in Fat, a project of Trust for America’s Health, and the Robert Wood Johnson foundation, as of 2012, “Thirteen states now have adult obesity rates above 30 percent, 41 states have rates of at least 25 percent, and every state is above 20 percent.”

John Jay College of Criminal Justice can play a factor in these numbers, charging $1.75 for a bottle of water in the vending machines, and a dollar for a can of soda. This can change if John Jay lowers these prices.

By Christian Medina

By Christian Medina

“I think that it’s ridiculous, especially in schools. Obesity is becoming a huge epidemic among young people and children, so the least we can do is make water more affordable, or at least at a reasonable price,” said Dianna Sriskanda, a junior in English. “The fact that we can buy soda for a dollar, and not water, can often be a huge problem since we know all college students are broke.”

Sarah Dawud, a 22 year old John Jay student majoring in international criminal justice, thinks otherwise.”I think a person can spend the 2 dollars if they really wanted water and not sugary drinks; however, being that it is addicting, some people would rather drink that than drink water.”

The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Standards, suggests that lower calorie drinks should be sold 20 cents less than high calorie drinks.

They require that, “water be stocked in at least 2 slots/buttons per machine; Require water and seltzer be placed at eye level, or in the highest selling position. High calorie beverages should be placed farthest from eye level, or in the lowest selling position.”

Water is on the lower level, while sodas are on the upper level.

Water is on the lower level, while sodas are on the upper level.

Sriskanda finds this issue can easily be changed. “I think that water can be changed easily, like outside of school Poland spring water is a dollar, and in school we have a brand that is two dollars. So I think that maybe we could switch brands.”

The reason behind selling Aquafina water is because CUNY signed a contract with Pepsi Cola to sell only products from the Pepsi Cola Company, and Aquafina is a Pepsi Cola brand.

John Jay currently has The Answer Group Vendings, vending the college, and selling water for $1.75. Manger Alan Gold said, “All CUNY colleges are dictating the prices Pepsi Cola has set.”

However, William Mandile from Champion Vending USA, vendors to 11 CUNY colleges and Fordham University, sells the Aquafina water for $1.60.

“You have a vendor who’s taking advantage,” Mandile said,“What they’ll do is in between semesters they’ll jack-up the prices when no one is looking.”

Mandile explained that the prices are set from the company themselves, and that The Answers Group has a reputation for raising prices. “That’s their m.o.,” Mandile said.

In defense, Gold expressed that these accusations are both, “inflammatory and false.”

Compared to The Answer Group, Champions Vending speaks with the college, and once an agreement has been reached they post a notice on each of the vending machines explaining the reason for the increase. These notices will be left for approximately 3 weeks.

Other than the prices of water, the cafeteria food prices are also not helping. A salad costs no less than  $4.95 plus tax,  fries are $3.00 and a slice of pizza costs no less than $2.50.

“I know it’s like that outside of school, but I didn’t know it was that way in school. I think it’s awful, like this definitely contributes to obesity and all the other diseases people have,” said Sriskanda.

She went on to express, “Like I didn’t know pizza was almost three dollars cause in school a bowl of fruit is $3.75. So to know all the fattening foods are cheaper is horrible. And it definitely influences what people eat.”

Dawud, on the other hand, finds that it’s fine in a sense, since it’s up to the individual. “You get what you pay for. Pizza is satisfying, unhealthy, greasy and cheesy, an eye catcher, cheap and most definitely satisfying, but a salad can be very boring even though it’s healthy.”

Sriskanda proposed an idea in helping students eat healthier and lowering the obesity rate.

“Maybe they could come up with a coupon system. At my old internship every time you purchased a healthy meal (like salad or sushi) you got this coupon, and once you had 5-6 coupons you got a meal. Each coupon would equal about a dollar so if you had five coupons you could get a meal that was five dollars, and you could only cash in if it covered the meal.”

She thinks it would work because the students would feel as if they were getting food for free and it’ll encourage them

“It all comes down to whether you are willing to pay a few more dollars for a salad and if you are committed to a healthy life-style. Some people buy pizza because it’s faster than waiting to pick out what salad you want,” Dawud said.

One Billion Rising For Justice on V-day

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By Marckincia Jean

Contributer

On Feb. 13, John Jay College students gathered to perform a dance routine for One Billion Rising For Justice, a campaign aimed at combating violence against women worldwide.

One Billion Rising is an international campaign in 207 countries that advocates for justice in issues pertaining to violence against women. According to their website, onebillionrising.org, Feb. 14 has been referred to as V-Day since 1998, and addresses that 1 in 3 women, or one billion women worldwide, will be raped or beaten during her lifetime.

The song “Break the Chain” is the theme song of the One Billion Rising global organization. Tena Clark wrote and performed it, and Debbie Allen choreographed the dance routine.

The song is fast paced and intense, and the dancers learned and rehearsed the routine by watching the “Break the Chain” YouTube video projected onto a screen in John Jay’s Black Box Theater. The dancers further rehearsed the routine at home or during their spare time.

Every student dancer was actively engaged, confident after many rehearsals and wore white John Jay College t-shirts. Thirteen dancers, all women comprised of ten students and three professors. There were only a handful of audience members, and every one of the participants were present despite the snowstorm that day.

The dance routine illustrates women’s determination to reclaim her body and resist confinement. “No more rape, incest or abuse. Women are not a possession” is a lyric that sums up the song well.

Gabrielle Salfati, a graduate Forensic Psychology professor at John Jay, not only specializes in the study of violence against women, but she also trains police officers, equipping them with methods and strategies that lead to quicker arrests.

Through her work, Salfati educates students about violence against women, while at the same time enabling police officers to better protect victims from their perpetrators.

The One Billion Rising campaign has built their foundation on these two main principles of education and activism.

The campaign empowers women and men to rid themselves of shame and humiliation by sharing their personal stories of survival. They also seek to have legislation passed that tackles issues of discrimination and inequality while protecting the victims and prosecuting the perpetrators.

Through dance, worship and protest, victims and families demand justice and assert a sense of safety in both private and public sectors. On Feb. 14, groups of people all over the world gathered in their communities to rehearse and perform a specific dance routine.

Professor Salfati seeks to “make students passionate about justice and advocating for justice.” She wants to ensure that students do not simply seek to reform the criminal justice system, but also “make sure that the system works well and make sure that people are safe.”

“Education opens up dialogue, gives people permission to talk about sensitive and important issues in a safe environment,” she added.

“Real education happens when you share ideas,” said Salfati. She emphasized that professors should help students practice what they have learned.

Salfati said the researching and actual event planning was difficult, but since it was an event organized by students, professors were even more encouraged to follow through with it.

“But it was worth it,” Salfati said. She would like to “make people aware, en- gaged and committed” to this cause.

Professor Elizabeth Hovey helped organize this event after attending The Vagina Monologues in the spring of 2012 and, from then on, she wanted to hold such an event on Valentine’s Day. According to the NYU Law website, The Vagina Monologues is a theatrical production based on a book that exposes issues pertaining to women, self-esteem, and oppression.

The Vagina Monologues is also an organization that provides financial aid and ongoing resources to women and men who are subjected to poverty and violence.

Hovey emphasized that, “Power only gets limited when people stand up to its abuse.”

Hovey said that the event was held at John Jay on Feb. 13, because most students do not have Friday classes, and many of them will not attend the public performances in the Hammerstein Ballroom, Grand Central and Times Square.

Nassima Ouaaz, a junior at John Jay College, said, “Dancing is used for political action and activism. For it to hit policy, it first has to capture the attention of the public.”

Ouaaz has previous dance experience. “Dance is one of my forms of catharsis,” Ouaaz said. “I dance to let loose, to let go of my oppression.”

“People are triggered by dance,” she added. She went on to say that there must be an emotional connection between the song, the dancers, and the audience.

The dancers, having backgrounds from all over the world, came to represent their country as well.

Marina Sorochinski, a John Jay College graduate student pursuing a PhD in psychology and law, said via email, “I think seeing millions of other women stand and dance side by side may help some victims.”

She went on to say, “Giving them power and will to fight against the abuse and violence can help them understand that they are not alone. It may, and I hope it will, empower some of the victims to seek help and seek justice for themselves and others, and stop the cycle of violence.”

A sophmore at John Jay, Marlen Ayala said, “I was afraid at first, but it made me feel confident to know that I am doing this for a good cause.”

Eve Ensler, the actor, playwright and activist who started One Billion Rising For Justice and V-Day spoke at John Jay on Jan. 27. She encourages dance as a means of expression due to its boundless nature.

Ensler said we need to share the stage for all of our causes. “Part of what, I dream, happens,” Ensler said in her lecture, “is that we all begin hooking up our stories.”

She has problems with this country’s training. “If you’ve gotten yourself through the door, good. You’re done,” Ensler said.“But that’s not the truth. The truth is, until we all get through the door, we’re not done.”

CUNY Service Corps Opens Opportunities

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By: Angeline Dominguez

Contributor

On Thursday, Feb. 12, the CUNY Service Corps held an information session in one of the lecture halls at John Jay College, for students during community hour.

As a part of the Service Corps, one will be able to get paid a set amount of $12 per hour for 12 hours weekly.

As Director Noel Blanchet describes, in some cases you will be able to find a site that, if permitted, will allow you to receive credit for some courses you are taking within the semester. Now, after enlisting in the Service Corps, 20% of John Jay’s students are receiving credit.

Due to weather conditions about ten to fifteen people were spotted at the event, including Blanchet. Everyone sat quietly with nothing but a sheet of paper and a pen in front of them, patiently waiting for the session to begin.

Blanchet welcomed everyone to begin and thanked students for attending. She then continued on for a full ten minutes explaining the purpose of the Service Corps.

‘CUNY students and faculty and staff members wanted to help, but there was no way to kind of get them together,” Blanchet said. “They wanted to develop something where they could have students ready and faculty and staff members ready to just send one email and have them come together and do something like sandy relief,” she said.

The CUNY Service Corps started in the fall of 2012. They currently have 719 Service Corps members, not only from John Jay College, but also seven other participating colleges, such as Lehman College, Borough of Manhattan Community College and many others. By fall 2014, they plan to have 850 spots filled. Since Feb. 3, 94 people have attended the sessions.

The CUNY Service Corps requires a one-year commitment that begins every fall semester. You have to be a full time student and must have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or above with at least 24 credits.

Students are given five choices of the job placement of their preference and of those five choices, depending on your application, will determine your placement. After close consideration it is imperative that students understand that they are not always subject to the placement of their choice, but almost always is granted one of their choices.

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Quincy Pennix, a senior at John Jay, found a job at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commision. He began his participation in the Service Corps when it first began. Pennix spoke from experience, “If we’re selected, we’ll be doing something that [has] never been done in the city…doing community service projects…doing something like this and making money. That’s a great thing.”

Pennix and Blanchet described the Service Corps as a learning experience. It is open to students who want to help out the community and want to be a part of something big, as the Service Corps is CUNY-wide. Last year 500 applications were submitted to the Service Corps, but only 200 were accepted. This year more than 500 applicants are expected but the amount accepted is decreasing to about 125.

The Service Corps opens opportunities to network, learn new skills, and allow you to gain knowledge about how to function in a professional environment.

Being a part of the Service Corps can be looked to as a “leg up” as Pennix put it in a previous interview. It can be a useful token to help guide you after you graduate and are ready to begin your career path.

“It’s definitely changed me in different ways,” Pennex said. “They’re willing to help you, if you’re willing to show that need for help.”

Violent Explosion Claims One of Our Own

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By: Jeffrey Nunziato

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

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

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

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

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

Salas’ wife, Jennifer, is five months pregnant.

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

Outlook vs Gmail

By Mark Sohan

 

John Jay College students find Microsoft Outlook frustrating despite the Department of Information Technology saying it enhances the CUNY experience.

Students who check their school email may already know Microsoft Outlook is their email client.

John Jay College uses Microsoft Outlook because the technology adviser committee selected it as the standard email client for CUNY in 2006.

Joseph Laub, a member of John Jay’s Department of Information Technology, believes that Microsoft Outlook unified John Jay’s services.

“Microsoft Outlook makes it easy for students and faculty members to use one username and password to log into many of the college’s services such as email, Wi-Fi, campus computers and online library,” Laub said.

Some students do not agree with Laub. Francisco Cinta, a junior, said “I cannot figure out how to get my John Jay email account on my phone.”

“I find the John Jay email to be frustrating because each semester you have to go through the whole process of forwarding it to your primary email,” said senior Orayne Williams.

In fact, some students would prefer that John Jay use GMAIL instead of Outlook, “I would love if John Jay used GMAIL that way it would be easier to check my main email and school email in one app,” Abdoulaye Diallo, a senior, said.

Today, there are more enterprise email clients available. If John Jay desired, it would be possible to change the colleges email client to a new one.

“A change in email service would mean having a different username and password for each of John Jay’s services,” said Laub. “John Jay does not have a high budget as other colleges.”

John Jay uses email as the primary way for professors to communicate with students, but getting school email on mobile devices can be difficult for some. “It sucks. I cannot get the John Jay email on my phone, so I don’t get notified when my professors email me,” said senior, Sarah Guillet.

For students who are able to use Microsoft Outlook on their mobile devices, they find it useful, “It’s pretty convenient because I can make sure the professor got and received my message,” said Marcos Colon, a junior.

Some find Microsoft Outlook to be professional, “I think John Jay should stick with Microsoft Outlook since most if not all big corporations and businesses out there use Outlook and thus it gets students familiar with the service once they get into the work force,” said junior Marcos Colon.

Texting could be the best way for professors to get information to students outside of the classroom.

Within the last ten years, texting has become extremely popular. Colleges could adopt texting in favor of emails. It is possible to send one text to multiple recipients, so professors could text all students with one text message.

Texting is already in place within the CUNY system, as “CUNY Alert” texts every student regarding emergencies. Luis Lara, a senior, said, “I would definitely prefer professors use texting instead of emails.”

While some John Jay students continue to have issues with Microsoft Outlook, some still prefer it for it’s professional layout.

How Safe Are We At John Jay?

By Alana Albert

 

Reports of shootings in public areas are rising. You hear about them happening in malls, schools, churches, and other places where we think we are safe.

Recently, according to a November 5th, New York Times article, Richard Shoop walked into a New Jersey Mall, pulled out an AK 47 assault rifle, and shot into the air.

Though no one was targeted or injured, the shooting scared shoppers. It caused them to run and hide in fear for their lives.

Situations like this cause people to wonder about their safety in public areas.

Shootings are not the only safety issues to be concerned about. Stabbings are also an issue. And one was reported right on John Jay’s campus.

According to a March 21 Sentinel article, there was a stabbing in the West Port building. Two students got into a fight. The cause of the fight is unclear. However, it resulted with one student being stabbed and the other being arrested.

Many students found out through an email. Some found out through friends, but  others found out from being in the building. The article reported that students were screaming and running out of their classrooms.

“I remember getting an email about it. Back then I didn’t have any classes in the West Port building, but I was like, what if that happened in the hallway while I’m walking with my son?” said Daphnie Gonzalez, a sophomore and history major.

“The situation was handled very well,” said Ryan Eustace, John Jay’s Risk Management and Ethics Manager. The situation Eustace is referring to is the assault that occurred in march 2013.

Eustace did not give details about the incident. However, he did say that the assailant was arrested, and the student who was injured was sent to St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital.

“The situation was a tragedy. However, it is a good learning experience. It helps officers to understand how to handle these situations better. Because situations like these on our campus are very rare”, said Eustace.

An October 3rd, Sentinel article stated: the most common crimes on campus are larceny and harassment. The article also stated that “the most common threats are for professors dealing with a co-worker or students upset about grades.”

Though shootings do not occur and though stabbings are rare on John Jay’s campus, they are still crimes. These types of crimes can cause some concern for students and faculty members’ safety.

Because of the reports of theft and the stabbing that occurred in March, some students feel unsafe at John Jay.

“I can’t trust nobody,” said Jessica Collins, senior and humanities and justice major.

Though some people on campus feel unsafe, there are students and faculty members who trust the security management.

I feel that way because I am relatively confident in the punitive powers of John Jay safety procedures,” said John Pittman, a psychology and humanities and justice professor, when asked why he felt safe at school.

John Jay security management work hard to protect students and faculty members. And it shows in numbers.

For example, John Jay is one of the safest colleges in CUNY. According John Jay’s 2012 crime log, the most reported crime is theft.

Some colleges have more crimes reported. There are reports of theft, aggravated assault, burglary, motor theft, drug arrests, drug violations, and liquor violations.

According to Kingsborough’s Community College 2012 crime log, there were two aggravated assaults, one motor vehicle theft, one burglary, one sex offense (forcible), one liquor arrest, five liquor violations, four drug arrests, three drug violations, and three illegal weapon possessions were reported.

Medgar Evers 2012 crime log reports seven aggravated assaults, five drug violations, three robberies, and one burglary.

Lehman college 2012 crime log reports one drug arrest and one liquor violation.

And John Jay’s 2012 crime log shows only a few reports. Two burglary reports. And one report of aggravated assault. This information does not include the incident, that occurred in March 2013.

These crime logs are broken down into four categories: on campus and off campus crimes, public property, and on campus residential crimes. The crimes reported here are crimes committed on campus only.

“SafeI feel safe,” said Suad Omeragic, a senior and humanities and justice major.

John Jay may be one of the safest colleges because it has several types of security management. Not a lot of students know that there are different security managements.

“I noticed the different uniforms. I see the ones with the light blue shirts and the ones that don’t,” said Gonzalez, when asked if she knew about the several types of security managements.

There are public safety, private safety, and peace officers. Each are trained to handle certain situations in the school.

Charles Nemeth, a member of campus safety and advisory committee, professor, and chair of the department of Security, Fire, Emergency Management, said there are not a lot of colleges that merge these types of management.

Nemeth has devoted his entire career to study and practice law. He believes having private security in our school is important.

Private security is devoted to serving students. Some of the private security members are students. The difference between private security and public safety is “public safety has more power than private safety officers,” said Nemeth.

Peace officers are the ones who wear a similar uniform to police officers. “They can make an arrest but they do not have weapons,” said Eustace

Private safety officers are able to check for ID and help you with small needs. When intense situations occur, like stabbings or shootings, peace officers can assist private and public officers until police officers arrive.

Before everyone was stopped, but now John Jay students are priority,” said Nemeth

Nemeth elaborated and said that before the new management, everyone was stopped. Students and faculty members were treated the same as non-campus members.

In order to keep us safe here are some things John Jay’s security management wants students and faculty members to know: if you see suspicious activity, contact the public safety department. Avoid empty rooms or areas in the building.

Always keep your personal and valuable items close by. For faculty members: if you have to leave your office, make sure you lock your door before you leave.

If you leave the school late at night, walk on well-lit streets. Avoid alleys or entry ways. If you feel threatened, you can request for a public safety officers to escort you.

For students or faculty members who still feel unsafe, well known Alumni and former CUNY public safety officer Yance Vargas says via email, “Be alert to any dangers. Know the closest exits. If a safe exit is not available, safely make your way to the nearest office or classroom and secure the door. Most importantly, especially in today’s age, people are advised to silence their devices to avoid attracting attention, and call 911 when it is safe to do so”.

There are emergency phones throughout the campus. If you have an emergency, you can dial 8888 to contact public safety.

John Jay’s security management is doing everything they can to make the school, students, and faculty members feel safe.

If you would like more information about the college’s security management or access to the annual security report, you can stop by John Jay’s public safety office in the New Building. Their office room number is L2.61.00.

African-Americans Evolving in Comic Books

By Alex Guzman

Can you think of a comic book or graphic novel whose central character is black?  Have you ever read of a black superhero that is not merely a sidekick, or an irrelevant character? Last month “Heroes in Black: Race, Image, Ideology and the Evolution of Comics Scholarship” was an event held at the CUNY Graduate Center on 34th Street and 5th Avenue in Manhattan. Professor Jonathan W. Gray, an assistant professor of English at John Jay College lead this talk.

White characters, like Superman and Batman, are more prevalent in comics than black protagonists. There were differences in their upbringings and how they became superheroes, but almost all of them were white. Black superheroes, like Luke Cage, were not always painted in the best light. Even though Cage was the main character in his comic, he was born of the exploitation of black people in the film industry. He portrayed the archetype of the big buck.

“Early black characters faced moral quandaries [and were] placed under the gaze of white superheroes [and] popular culture,” Professor Gray said. Compared to the 1970’s, black characters now embody fewer stereotypes.

The African riots and the Black Panther movement heavily influenced Cage’s character when Luke Cage comics first came out. But after his disappearance for some time, he reappeared with the rise of Barack Obama as a state senator.

The new Luke Cage looked different from how he used to look in the 70’s, which gave off a less extremist image, according to Gray. His new costume helped him to better fit in as a member of society rather than being associated with a specific ethnic group. He was now integrated with the black working class, rather than the black power movement.

Gray quoted Scott Buktaman, who said that young scholars say that comics pay special attention to non-traditional superheroes. Gray also quotes Scott McCloud, who claims “universality of the cartoon image” as a “white, heteronormative, masculine subject.”

Gray spoke of neo-liberalism and the introduction of the first black comic book characters to appear on their own.

“In 1975, Marvel creates four iconic black characters,” Gray said. He speaks of the Black Panther, Storm, The Falcon and the aforementioned Luke Cage.

Gray remembered how, in one comic, The Falcon is fighting an enemy while Captain America watches. He claimed that this “endorses militant black masculinity, [which] mirrors and mimics that of the reader.”

Gray mentioned that many considered The Falcon who was the true hero of that comic. He explained how “this displacement of course is incomplete [because] The Falcon has never had his own comic book.”

Gray looked at his audience to read their reaction, and continued, “I began to see Superman as a punk, that Superman didn’t relate to replenishing the earth, like Huey Newton and other people did,” Gray said. “In essence, Superman is a phony and a fake. He never saved any black people in this country in any comic book stories.”

The last of Gray’s PowerPoint slides was of Luke Cage. In this interpretation, Cage was a more humanized multicultural member of society, and not so much a member of one ethnic group specifically, as he walked with his white wife, pushing his multiracial infant son in his stroller.

Professor Gray is teaching The African-American Experience: Comparative Racial Perspectives in the Spring 2014 semester.

New Vice President Elected to Student Council

By Melissa Kong

Staff Writer

Student Council-Chris Ferreiras

 

There’s a new vice president in town. On Oct. 2, John Jay’s Student Council elected Julio Torres as vice president to replace Salahdine Baroudi, who resigned early September.

Torres, 26 and a Global History Major, is a former active duty service member in the U.S  Army. He was the president of the John Jay Veterans Association, as well as a Senior class representative. To take up this new role, Torres had to resign from those positions mentioned above.

Though Torres already assumed the responsibilities as Student Council’s new vice president, the shift of the change has not yet been updated on the college Jay Stop website.

Torres joined Student Council because he felt he was the right man for the job saying there was a lot of work to do once there was a vacancy.

“I offered my experience and promised to do my best,” Torres said. “With my experience in the military I thought I could fill this role.”

In an email sent to the Sentinel, Baroudi explained the reasons for his resignation.

“Ultimately, what led to my resignation as the Vice President of Student Government was other responsibilities that, I felt, fell in more closer relation to my career interests.”

Baroudi later went on to reflect about his time serving as Student Council Vice President.

“I carefully considered my 2 years of working within Student Government, and the four to five month term as Vice President, and realized that I had completed a significant portion of my duties and objectives within the position,” said Baroudi.

As for Torres, he told the Sentinel of his broad agenda.

“My plans are to fill all committees available for student representation on campus, make changes to the Student Government Charter which will increase the efficiency of Student Governance within John Jay, assist the Student Council Representatives with their tasks and event planning, revise various reference material used by Student Government, formalize a John Jay homelessness initiative and have an ROTC information session,” said Torres.

One of the tasks that Baroudi had that still needs to be fulfilled is filling committee seats. The task is essential because it gives careful consideration to issues pertaining to college policies and other student related concerns on campus.

For Student Council’s President Clinton Dyer Jr. he stated, “I trusted in his ability,” he expressed that because of Baroudi 2 year Student Government experience, he had very high expectations.  One major expectation that Dyer had for the former Student Council Vice President was the fulfillment of committee seats which according to Dyer, Baroudi failed to do.

Though it isn’t ideal to have a student council member resign mid-semester,  Torres is optimistic about his new position.

“I hope to embody the Student Council motto of “Catalyst for Change,” said Torres.

“I hope to accomplish all of my plans while maintaining my GPA. I hope to assist homeless students of John Jay and replicate this effort throughout CUNY.”

Veterans at John Jay Explain The Pros and Cons of Service

 

By Simone Isaac

Staff Writer

 

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Tuition, sign-up bonuses and travel opportunities await those who join the military, but not everyone is suited for it said Welby Alcantara, John Jay’s Veterans Affairs Coordinator.

Alcantara, a Marine veteran, said the reasons vary as to why people join.”It is important to know one’s reason for joining the military.”

E4 specialist, Claudine Solomon, currently stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas, said she joined the Army to provide for her family in a tough economy but does not plan to renew her contract.

“I was raised in Bed-Stuy,” said Latoya Clarke, 29.

Clarke joined the Army to show that good things can come from Bed-Stuy. After serving eight years on active duty, she is now a reservist recently deployed to Afghanistan.

Others join the Army so it can help them go to college.

32-year-old veteran Jason Spencer, a Jamaican immigrant, joined the National Guard because he wanted his college tuition paid. Horrified by post 9/11 rescue operations, he joined the US Army and served eight years receiving his citizenship in the process.

“I had feelings of patriotism after immigration,” said Yevgeny Gershman. A John Jay alum and Russian immigrant, Gershman enlisted with the National Guard before becoming an Army reservist.

Joseph Moore, a senior studying Security Management at John Jay, said that he joined the National Guard to protect his country post 9/11 because he, too, felt a sense of patriotism.

Adam Baumel, a sophomore and Political Science major also at John Jay, joined the U.S. Navy impulsively: “I wanted money for college, to see the world and to force me to grow up faster than I was in college,” he said.

Another benefit is traveling, a sentiment expressed by Moore and Alcantara. Spencer has been to Hawaii and Iraq.

Solomon said that salary is guaranteed twice a month despite sick leave absences.

“The basic salary sucks,” said Moore, “but the perks add up.” Benefits such as a monthly living stipend and free medical care add up to a better take-home salary.

A financial incentive, also known as a sign-up bonus, may be offered to join the military depending on the need of the service and the recruit’s specialty,  Alcantara and Gershman explained.

Low-interest-rate housing loans are available to military personnel, whether active, reservist or veteran. The Montgomery GI bill, established in 1944, provides tuition for college and graduate school for those who enlist. Spencer is now in college and Gershman has his Masters in Criminal Justice. Clarke can use her benefits to pay for her son’s college education or that of another family member.

Members indicated that one never leaves the service the same way he or she entered. Recruits learn discipline, loyalty, respect, sense of duty, courage, integrity, honor, and the determination to rise to leadership. Gershman attested that he lost his fear of public speaking.

Drawbacks to enlisting in the military can include emotional stresses from selfless service, for example, fear of death while deployed during wartime and separation from family for long periods of time. Baumel said that he missed both of his grandparents’ funerals and his best friend’s wedding due to military missions. Gershman said that one’s body belongs to the service. Vaccinations, including trial vaccines, are not optional.

Spencer, Clarke and Solomon said that they missed their children’s developing stages. These estranged relationships can remain for many years because sometimes the familial bonds are not repaired even after retirement.

While deployed, soldiers must develop a mental barrier to distance themselves from thoughts and memories of loved ones to keep themselves sharp on the battlefield.

The possibility for alcoholism, drug use, memory loss and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, are among other long term and potentially permanent effects of serving in the military. “My drinking increased when I returned, to numb the pain and cope with the insanity of war,” said Spencer.

However, these effects are dependent on several factors. One of which is the branch of the military one served in, for example, the Army, Coast Guard, Navy, Marine, National Guard, etc. Other factors include deployment, and whether the country is at war. Even the rank and specialty one has when enlisting is another factor- a surgeon will not be as easily exposed to combat action as a footman will.

Clarke and Spencer said civilians do not understand veterans, and readjusting to civilian life can be difficult. People seem to be so casual and care-free and don’t seem to understand the fragility of life. Spencer said, “Civilians don’t appreciate what they have because they have never walked in the shoes of military personnel or a veteran.”

All interviewees agree that one needs to be mentally and physically prepared, seize the opportunity if possible, prepare to be tested, remember that one’s body belongs to the service, and financial opportunities vary and can be generational.

Military personnel understand the emotional turmoil and trauma each may face. They support each other in various ways. Spencer primarily hires veterans in his restaurant.

Five of the seven interviewed emphatically said if they could go back in time, they would serve in the military. Moreover, they each gave words of advice.

“Go for it,” said Spencer. “Do as much as you can because you don’t know when you can check out.”

Gershman said to “consider motivation” and determine your preparedness to make the ultimate sacrifice of your life.

Baumel said to do research and carefully analyze what recruiters say.

Moore said to ask about experiences in the field, regardless of active duty, reservist or veteran. He said, “It is a lifestyle, it’s not a 9-5.”

Female Basketball Player Breaks Records

 

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By Keyunna Singleton

Staff Writer

Jamecia Forsythe, of John Jay’s Women’s Basketball team, is set to have record-breaking season.

Forsythe, a senior and second year captain, is projected to surpass a 1000 points and 1000 rebounds for her career.She is 31 points and 78 rebounds away from the milestone.

The 21 year-old would be the first John Jay student, and the third female athlete in the NCAA CUNY conference to do this.Forsythe has played for the team since her freshman year and became team captain as a Junior.

“It hasn’t hit me yet that I’m going to be the first ever John Jay student to do this,” said Forsythe. “I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but I can’t wait for it to happen.”

Nonetheless, her ultimate goal is to win a championship. Something she has targeted since becoming a Bloodhound.

“I want a chip first and foremost,” Forsythe said.

To reinforce the idea of winning into her team, she draws from Ian Terry for inspiration. Terry was the winner from season 14 of “Big Brother”, her favorite reality show.

According to Forsythe, Terry says, “If you can plan it and you can see it then you can have it.”

She refers to this quote to focus her game, especially when preparing to play against Baruch College. Baruch’s basketball team is the six-time CUNY conference champion.

“Someone has to stop them, why not us?” said Forsythe.

It’s been 21 years since John Jay’s women’s basketball team has won a championship and Forsythe believes that the opportunity is waiting for her.

Her mother, Joan Forsythe, is “delighted” by her daughter’s passion, though there was a time when it affected their relationship.

Joan Forsythe, a mother of four, refers to her only daughter as “Mecia”. “I did not always want Mecia to play basketball,” she said. “I wanted her to be regular.”

After seeing how much her daughter loved basketball, she wants to see her “go all the away.”

Forsythe’s mother used to worry about her daughter’s distant traveling and staying late at practices and games.

“She used to go alone,” she said of her daughter, while other parents would drop their daughters off and pick them up.

Because she had to work, often two jobs, Forsythe did a lot of traveling on the buses and trains by her self. Ms. Forsythe admits to asking her daughter not to go to practice at times.

Forsythe always declined. “She never, never, never missed a day even if it was cold or she was sick,” Ms. Forsythe said.

“Sometimes she would be so sore that she would have to eat in bed. But she always keep up with her school work,” she said.

Forsythe has been an excellent student since grade school. Graduating second in her class in junior high and high school, her mother finds her drive and determination admirable.

Back at John Jay, her coach Diane Ramirez says “I love her like she is my own daughter.”

Ramirez refers to Forsythe as “the hardest working student athlete I’ve ever had.”

Forsythe plans to continue her education at medical school after she graduates in May. She encourages anyone that has a goal in life to pursue it, no matter the obstacles. “If you have a love for something, don’t let anything stop it.”