March 4, 2015

Controversy Over Statue

By Arianny Reyes

Staff Writer

Last December, faculty and students were introduced to a statue in memorial of first Chief Justice John Jay in the Kroll Atrium to remind students about Jay’s legacy and as a means to recognize his achievements.

“As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of our College’s founding, it is fitting that we have on campus a life-size statue of our namesake John Jay,” said Chief of Communications Officer Rama Sudhakar. “The location is fitting as its standing in the large atrium where you enter the college, on the steps where students and other members of our community gather, so it becomes part of our daily lives on campus,” she  added.

Despite the school’s best intentions, its location has created controversy amongst students. On one hand, some students claim the statue fails to create a positive impact. On the other hand, other students believe it is in the wrong place.

Rabel Polanco, a junior at John Jay says, “The location of the statue does not give it enough attribute. It doesn’t look professional.”

The five foot, 10 inch bronze statue cost $125,000 and was funded through a combination of private donations and rental income from private events held on campus, according to Sudhakar. It was sculptured by Ivan Schwartz at Studio EIS, in Brooklyn,  who has done works such as the Signers’ Hall Gallery at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.

Students like Manuel Castillo have suggested other locations for the statue such as the Jay Walk, or the entrance of the New Building. Castillo, a sophomore, also concern about the administration’s use of money.

Castillo claims that buying the statue was a poor use of money, which could have been used to help students with financial struggles or organizations in school that help students with financial difficulties such as the Petrie Student Emergency Fund. “They don’t understand what a modern day student goes through. They struggle with bills and have to be near broke to receive help,” said Castillo.

Petrie, located in the New Building, Room L.68.00, helps students with Metrocards, food vouchers, housing assistance, medical care and much more that could be a burden in the students’ academic success. For more information you can visit www.jjay.cuny.edu or go to the Counseling Department.

Despite negative claims and disagreement on the statue’s location, Criminal Justice student, Allison Gristki says, “It shows the significance of the school and what it stands for, justice and peace.”

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.”

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.

 

Do You Fit the Description?

By Julio Delgado

Contributing Writer

Racial profiling and police brutality cases are on the rise. This year alone, Michael Brown, an unarmed black male, was killed by a police officer on August 9th, 2014. Eric Garner, another unarmed black male, was put in a chokehold by law enforcement officials and strangled to death on July 17th, 2014. Even though these incidents happened several months ago, the Internet and news are still talking about these cases. The similarities in these incidents raise the question of racial discrepancies in law enforcement, and threaten the safety of minorities whether young like 18-year-old Michael Brown, or mature like 29-year-old Eric Garner.

John Jay College for Criminal Justice is a school with a racially diverse student and faculty population. However, does being in a school focusing on criminal justice ensure that students won’t be subjected to racial profiling by law enforcement? Paul Mitchell is a black male student here at John Jay who served as a marine and now studies criminal justice. “There were three instances in my life where I was stopped by police,” he said, explaining his encounters with law enforcement officials.

“One time I was stopped randomly while walking to school and I was searched and patted down for weapons. Another time I was stopped at a police check point while driving. The other cars had speedy check outs, however I was pulled over for a longer period of time and my car was searched,” Mitchell explains. Despite being a marine, and criminal justice student, Mitchell has been subject to racial profiling and humiliating searches by police officials.

Another student by the name of Shade James, a black female attending John Jay College, has too been stopped by law enforcement. “I was on my way home one day with a friend and we were stopped and questioned by police when trying to take the train,” she says.

Corey Adams, a black male looking to transfer to John Jay College, has been stopped and searched by a police officer when on his way to work. “My father is in law enforcement and I am interested in studying this as well. It’s shocking that in this day and age the black community is still targeted by police,” he said.

With constant protests, conflict, and laws enforced to treat this issue it is unsettling for many, especially those of the black community, to know these racial problems with police still exist. “The Brown or Garner incidents really do raise a red flag. These men were unarmed and still shared the same fate,” says Adams.

After the death of Michael Brown there was a demand for the Vehicle Stop Report in Ferguson, Missouri. According to the website of the Missouri Attorney General, Chris Koster’s website , this re­port measures the likelihood of drivers of a certain race being stopped based on their proportion of Missouri’s population at age 16 and over. Huffington Post states that African American drivers are subject to more stop and searches than whites. “African-American drivers in [Ferguson] represented 86 percent of all traffic stops despite making up only 67 percent of the city’s population; white drivers, by con­trast, accounted for only about 13 percent of the traffic stops in Ferguson despite making up 29 percent of its population.”

“Before I was stopped by police, I used to think the only blacks that would get stopped were those wearing hoodies and sagging their pants,” says Adams. “But it is not the case since I always dress to impress. Whether I’m going to work, school or hang­ing out I also take great pride in displaying myself in a professional manner,” he said.

With such a huge variety of races at John Jay, most of it consisting of minori­ties considering a future in law enforce­ment; it is important to address and bring this issue of racial profiling to light.

Three black students, two attend­ing John Jay and one transferring to John Jay, have been subjected to ran­dom stops and search by law enforce­ment. These students share an optimis­tic outlook, however that they can help and change the future of racial profiling.

 

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

By Nicole Scaffidi

Contributing Writer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

By: Keyunna Singleton

By: Keyunna Singleton

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Ebola 2

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.”