March calls for justice for victims of police brutality

By Gabrielle Beacken
News Assistant

Pouring rain and icy weather couldn’t hinder the protesters’ spirits — students fought the challenging climate conditions and marched from the Education Building to the Towers in a demonstration supporting black lives and an end to police brutality on Saturday, Dec. 6.

Starting in Alumni Grove and wrapping its way around campus, the peaceful protest, “March for Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Akai Gurley, and all others who had their lives taken,” was handsomely attended. The march mirrored demonstrations around the country in the wake of two failed indictments of white police officers who killed unarmed, black males in Ferguson, Mo. and Staten Island.

“There has been no justice for the people whose lives have been taken by the police,” senior psychology major and chief organizer of the protest Gabriel Rojas said. “The officers involved in these various murders have not been charged for their crimes, and so there is a powerful force here in America that is continuously getting away with exerting their power wrongfully.”

The dispute over the use of deadly force by law enforcement and its tendencies to unfairly criminalize black males has become a contentious issue since the shooting of Michael Brown in August. The issue was further brought to light by the deaths of Eric Garner and Akai Gurley at the hands of the police, but a multitude of similar, yet less publicized incidents have routinely occurred around the country.

Unarmed, 18-year-old Michael Brown was fatally shot by Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson on Saturday, Aug. 9. Many details of the case remain ambiguous due to inconsistencies in witness testimony and evidence provided at the trial, and a grand jury subsequently refused to indict Wilson on charges of murder and manslaughter.

Unarmed, 43-year-old Eric Garner fatally sucumbed to an NYPD-banned chokehold method, implemented by police officer Daniel Pantaleo, on Thursday, July 17, in Staten Island. A video that shows the altercation was shared on the Internet and has since gone viral. Garner is heard several times in the video saying “I can’t breathe,” and protests over the grand jury’s refusal to indict Pantaleo have echoed his dying words.

Unarmed 28-year-old Akai Gurley was accidently, yet fatally, shot by a novice police officer, Peter Liang, in a dark stairwell of a Brooklyn housing project on Thursday, Nov. 20. The Brooklyn district attorney plans to convene a grand jury.

Moreover, according to a ProPublica.org analysis of federally collected data on fatal police shootings, recent studies suggest that young black males are 21 times more likely of being shot dead by police than their white counterparts. The ProPublica analysis specifically focuses on black males from age 14 to 19.

As a result, unrest has erupted across the nation, with relations between law enforcement and racial minorities have been increasingly strained. Many universities and colleges have hosted protests, as well, including the University of California Berkeley, Texas A&M University and Colorado College.

“I absolutely disagree (with the fact) that neither of them were indicted,” senior creative writing major Ashlee Cain said of officers Wilson and Pantaleo. “It’s outrageous with everything that has happened.”

Various chants were recited during Saturday afternoon’s campus protest, such as “Hands up, don’t shoot,” “No justice, no peace,” “Black lives matter,” “We can’t breathe, stop police brutality” and “Two hands in the air, but they don’t really care.”

“At this point I’m angry,” sophomore psychology major Ijal Thompson said. “I’m focused on activism. Hopefully, change comes in with legislation.”

An overarching theme of the protest was “Black Lives Matter,” as seen on the mural painted on the community message board outside the Brower Student Center. In response, some students questioned why the theme chose not to say “All Lives Matter.”

“The most important message from this protest is that black lives matter,” Rojas said. “Many people have been trying to say that all lives matter, but that is not the issue at hand.”

Rojas explained that, while human life should be universally protected, black lives are being taken and targeted by law enforcement officers at exceptional rates. This is an injustice that “we will not stand for,” Rojas said.

Students participated in the protest to spread awareness of the issues addressed in the Brown and Garner cases.

“I felt like I couldn’t do anything to help until I heard they were doing this,” Cain said.

Cain was excited to hear that there was a way to express her viewpoints through the convenient protest on campus.

“It’s easy for somebody who can’t go out into the world to show their support,” Cain said. “I really hope to spread awareness.”

Rojas and Campus Police coordinated together to map out a route for the protesters to march.

“Campus Police were actually very supportive of the protest, and they helped in planning the route that we marched,” Rojas said. “They told me that they wanted to help us get our message across and wanted to make sure it all ran smoothly, which is exactly what they did.”

The protest marched past Centennial towards the Education Building and then marched around all of the campus school buildings. Students living in Townhouses South, Travers and Wolfe, Cromwell, Decker, New Residence, Allen, Brewster and Eli Halls were all able to see and hear the protesters marching.

Protesting on campus not only affects the students participating, but also the students observing the demonstration and its messages.

“I just hope that the people who could not make it to the protest heard what we had to say and that it got them thinking about what we were protesting about,” Rojas said. “If we were able to just catch the attention of a few people, and inspire those people to at least think or talk about the current injustice against these black lives, then we have succeeded in making one step toward progress and fighting for the change that needs to come.”

Junior psychology major Angela Tengelics agreed with Rojas: Seeing students protesting in the pouring rain makes a statement. Tengelics added that anything that can be done to get the conversation started is an important catalyst for social change.

“If no one else is going to stand up against this injustice, someone has to,” Tengelics said.

Online testing wrong way to go: PARCC exams set to replace NJASK and HSPA

New standardized tests taken online may prove costly to some students. (AP Photo)
New standardized tests taken online may prove costly to some students. (AP Photo)

By Alyssa Sanford

Standardized testing in New Jersey is about to become a lot more demanding — and discriminating — for students of all ages.

If you haven’t heard of PARCC — the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers — that’s because it’s a new, online standardized test. According to the New York Times, PARCC has been adopted by school districts in 12 states, including New Jer- sey. PARCC is set to replace tests like the NJASK and HSPA, which tested students from third to eighth grade and high school juniors, respectively.

The new standardized tests are a result of Common Core standards. New Jersey adopted the Common Core in 2010, which is a set of standards in English and mathematics education. Students all across America are expected to learn a specific set of skills in both of these subject areas and take standardized tests that reflect their overall understanding of those concepts. The goal of implementing the Common Core is preparation for college and the work- force, with the National Governor’s Association arguing that “all students (will be) prepared to succeed in our global economy and society” after preparing for and taking these tests.

In the spring of 2015, New Jersey students from third grade to 12th grade will be required to take a series of PARCC tests. The New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) reports that there will be a performance-based assessment; a speaking and listening as- sessment; and an end-of-year, computer-based assessment. As the tests will be administered online, the durations will rival that of the SAT. Third graders, for example, will be expected to complete approximately eight hours worth of testing, while juniors in high school will spend nine hours and 55 minutes in total on their tests. Tests will only be available for 20-day windows.

It’s no secret that there are academic achievement gaps between students in affluent districts and students in urban and urban-rim districts. For instance, according to data on GreatSchools.org, Trenton Central High students scored an average 66 percent in language arts literacy on the HSPAs in 2013 and 35 percent in math proficiency. The state average for 2013 was 92 percent for language arts literacy and 80 percent for math proficiency. By comparison, Hopewell Valley Central High, a local suburban high school, scored 97 percent in language arts literacy and 92 percent in math proficiency.

These tests were taken with No. 2 pencils and Scantrons. Imagine the disparity between these two districts when standardized testing is administered online, when students from urban districts may lack sufficient access to a computer or struggle with using one.

It seems to me that PARCC testing, while designed to effectively prepare all students for college and the work- force, is actually designed to further impede at-risk students from performing well. The sheer number of hours that students are expected to devote to these tests is daunting enough, but insisting that these tests be taken online when there are thousands of students without proper computing skills simply makes no sense. If anything, Common Core standards should strive to make standardized testing fit the needs and abilities of all students. This is the wrong approach.

The pressure placed on students to perform well is oftentimes overbearing and stressful, especially after they return from a long holiday break. (Courtney Wirths / Features Editor)

Finals after Thanksgiving are an unhealthy tease

By Ellie Schuckman                                                                                                      News Assistant

With the semester coming to an end, the pressure is on to hand in assignments, boost grades and cram for those pesky finals. But what happens when that pressure builds and the stress becomes overwhelming, especially after the Thanksgiving break?

Professors often tell students to enjoy their days off, but not many can truly relax when papers are due and exams are right around the corner. Returning home for five days, spending time with family and friends and “relaxing” is an unhealthy tease.

Now, I love Thanksgiving just like many others, but when it falls in the last week of November, the stress is on. By the time we start school again, there is only one week of classes left before the dreaded finals. That is hardly enough time to barrel down on the work that needs to be done while still studying for extensive tests.

When the dorms reopen and students finally get back to campus, the last thing anyone wants to do is sit down and write that 10 page paper or memorize an entire presentation.

Even though the date of the national holiday is not changing anytime soon, more preparation can be done to transition from break back to schoolwork. While students can try to finish assignments before they leave for the long weekend, professors, too, must be understanding in giving due dates.

Of course, the expectation of college calls for often lengthy papers and daunting projects, however, there must be a consideration that accomplishing these tasks is not always easy.

If students are overly stressed, they will not be able to produce their best work, and the entire point of a professor giving an assignment will be null and void.

Perhaps exams should always start the third week of December, or maybe final papers must be due before the break.

Whatever the solution may be, one thing is utterly clear: The pressure of finals immediately following a lengthy break is unhealthy.

Hohmuth rebukes claims that club has skin problems

This opinion piece was written in response to the article “Aikido Club booted from wrestling room,” published on Nov. 19, 2014.

By Art Hohmuth                                                                                                    Professor of Psychology and Faculty Adviser to the Aikido Club

Regarding “Aikido Club booted from wrestling room,” published in The Signal on Nov. 19, I found comments by Coach Galante to be quite incredulous. He is quoted as saying, “Ringworm, MRSA,  infantigo, staff – we don’t see issues with that nearly as much as last year.” The implication that this is because the Aikido Club and the Brazilian Ju Jitsu Club are not using the wrestling room this year strains credibility. Not a single member of either club has experienced a skin problem, even though last year our faces were on the same mats as the wrestlers. How could we possibly pass on skin diseases we don’t have, especially when the coach claims to disinfect the mats twice a day? These are diseases which are most readily transmitted by skin to skin contact — wrestler to wrestler.

At another point, the coach is quoted as saying, regarding the clubs, that he is not sure “if they should have been there in the first place.” Really? Athletic directors and previous coaches have been making mistakes for 26 years?

Unlike the swimming, tennis and basketball coaches, Mr Galante seems to want total dominion over his sports venue. A reasonable person might conclude that raising concern over the spread of disease is a ploy to suggest that wrestling is in a special category, immune from the stated Student Affairs policy, which says that ap- proved clubs have the right to request the use of facilities, as available.

College receives grant for recovery programs

By Mylin Batipps
News Assistant

On Thursday, Dec. 4, Governor Chris Christie granted $245,000 to the College in support of students battling alcoholism, substance abuse and mental health issues, according to Jennifer Velez, commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Human Services.

“We often times don’t have a good opportunity to come and announce funding for many things, and this is something so critically important,” Velez said.

Velez, as well as representatives from the School of Nursing, School of Education and Student Affairs, assembled in Loser Hall to discuss the opportunities the grant will provide to the College’s student body.

The grant, better known as the Recovery Support and Environmental Management Strategies to Prevent and Reduce Substance Abuse on College Campuses, will assist in establishing housing for students in recovery stages from alcoholism and substance abuse. The funds will also assist in implementing more late-night programs as part of its Environmental Strategies program, serving as an alternative for students.

This is a competitive grant, according to Ellen Lovejoy from the Department of Human Services. Both the College and Rutgers University, in their applications, demonstrated the most valuable programs for students suffering from substance abuse and mental health problems, resulting in the grant being awarded to further enhance their programs. The effectiveness of the College’s Alcohol and Drug Education Program in particular, as wells as its Counseling and Psychological Services, were factors taken into consideration for the grant.

“(The College) had to have a pretty substantial existing program and a willingness to buy in by the leadership and administration,” Lovejoy said.

The National Institution of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reported in 2014 that over 1,800 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die each year from alcohol-related injuries, according to Velez. Addressing the problem of alcohol and substance abuse is something that all colleges and universities should regularly examine as closely as possible, including the College, she said.

The TCNJ Clinic is just one of the departments on campus fully supporting the College’s move to achieve an even greater sense of awareness of substance abuse and mental health. Alexa Carvalho, a graduate student in the counselor education program and intern of the Clinic, is excited to assist in the up and coming programs.

“Coming right into this graduate program, I understand a lot of the drinking behaviors, the drug use and how that has a negative impact on not only the individuals, but their families as well,” Carvalho said. “Being able to address those needs within the community will be a great pleasure.”

Carvalho and the TCNJ Clinic will bring their Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART) Recovery programs to the students who will be living in the designated recovery housing. The programs take place three days a week and serve as alternatives for students uncomfortable participating in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings, Carvalho said.

According to Director Nancy Scott,  the TCNJ Clinic is well on its way to figuring out the logistics of the housing.

“We will be starting small, so we’re hoping to have six to seven students in a house,” Scott said. “We actually met with Campus Police to figure out where the best place to have it would be. We’re going to use one of our off-campus homes, but it will be very close to campus — within walking distance.”

In regard to the late-night events, the College hopes to work with the Office of Recreation to coordinate athletic events like volleyball, in addition to organizing movie nights and other various activities.

“The 10-12 p.m. time period … that’s a critical time period for students,” Scott said, explaining that most instances of alcohol abuse occur during the late hours. “That’s when they’re just getting ready to go out and do something. So we want to make sure they have good alternatives.”

According to Velez, the N.J. Department of Human Resources and the College is trying to put students’ well-being first through the launch of the new recovery programs.

“The safety of our students is one of the highest priorities, if not the highest priority,” Velez said.

 

Kim’s Declassified: 6 Things You’ll Miss About College When You’re Home For Winter Break

By Kimberly Ilkowski
Review Editor

As we enter December and finals week and drag our bodies over the finish line of this semester all anyone can think about is finally going home. Getting the chance to see relatives and friends and celebrate the holidays is a nice reward after fighting our way through the last few weeks of classes. After a while though, you’ll realize the little things at the College you just can’t get anywhere else.

1) The people on your floor
Will I miss the guy next door to me constantly reciting raps for what’s sure to be a flourishing future music career? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have someone right down the hall you’ll miss this winter break. Maybe it’s the girl with total disregard for quiet hours. Perhaps it’s the guys in the room above you that get the sudden and incessant urge to rearrange their bedroom furniture at 2 in the morning. Whoever your quirky neighbors may be — whether they make you laugh or want to cry — you’ll miss the silly shenanigans that take place in your residence hall.

2) The workers
Who will remind me it’s hump day while I’m at home? Who will super-size my order of french fries? Who’s going to countdown the days until the weekend? How any of us will survive without Big Larry, Eve or any of the other great people that work at the College is a mystery. Looks like we’ll have to rely on self motivation until January 25.

3) Meal Equiv
I’ll miss those beautiful 2 ½ hours where anything is possible. Do I want a cheesesteak from the Rat or sushi from the Lion’s Den? There’s only one thing better than food: free food. At home we’re going to have to get used to buying things with actual money. Don’t feel bad if you hand the cashier at Wawa or Quik Chek your student i.d., it happens to the best of us. May our love affair with meal equiv never die.

4) Sports/clubs/organization
If you’re lucky, you’ll find a group of people on campus just as crazy as you are! No matter what sports team, club or organization you’re in, you’re bound to miss them the month you’ll be away. I’m happy to be able to call the editors at The Signal a second family. If me screaming into my pillow after every production night is any indication then, yes, I just CAN’T WAIT to be back next semester. With whatever you may be involved in, enjoy it to the utmost degree and get excited for the fun the spring will hold.

5) Relative independence
It’s going to be strange going back to living under your parents roof and rules. Say goodbye to the judgement free zone of Netflix binge watching in your dorm room. Three episodes in, your mother will probably tell you to get a hobby. And it’s looking like ordering a large pizza for a late night snack isn’t as normal at home as it is at school. So, run, boys and girls, don’t eat your vegetables, relish in the glory of not having to wear pants and do whatever the hell you want to do now before it’s too late.

6) The wifi/communal bathrooms/homework
Oh, wait, wrong list. Disregard number 6.

From the Roberts: Reunited in Spain

By Raquel Roberts and Samantha Roberts
Bloggers

¡Saludos desde España! After three (very long and seemingly endless) three months apart, we though to ourselves, “What better place for a family reunion than Sevilla, Spain?” So now we are writing you from Raquel’s apartment in the center of the city and we could not be more excited to be back together and blogging. Samantha’s jaw went slack when she took in the amazing old city and all of its tremendous architecture and ruins. And when Raquel took her to the local restaurants for tapas Samantha was at a loss for words once more. BUT the two of them could be found mouth agape and astounded by the gorgeous fashions on all of the Sevillans.

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If you’re like us, then fitting all of your favorite wardrobe pieces into your tiny suitcase (shoes included) is a struggle when preparing for travel. So, when coming to Spain, Samantha had to pack selectively. For shoe wear, she decided on her white converse, her distressed black-heeled booties, and a pair of leather combat boots: all of which are staples in her American wardrobe.

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“At first, I wasn’t sure if I should take my heeled booties with me to Spain because I didn’t know if I would get much use out of them,” Samantha says. “As soon as I got to Spain, I realized that booties are just as huge in Spanish fashion as they are back home. Definitely a good choice to bring them!”

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To indulge in this Spanish/ American fashion trend like Samantha, all you will need is a simple pair of leather booties. The two of us love them so much because they polish off any outfit and they are so easy to wear. Above are a few of our (affordable and adorable) favorites!

Another Spanish/American fashion trend that the two of us love: all things leather.

Raquel says, “I have bought so many leather staple items since studying abroad in Spain! My favorite so far is this pair of Leather Zara leggings. They are so easy to wear. And let’s be honest, I feel like a complete badass wearing them.” We love that Raquel’s outfit manages to bring the best of Spanish and American style. Raquel’s all black-Spanish look is polished off with a big, and very American-style typical, flannel. In order to rock a casual, leather-bottomed ensemble, like Raquel, pair your pants with a black high-neck tank, an oversized sweater, cardigan or flannel, and a black (leather, of course) ankle boot.  Below are a few of our favorite leather staples:

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The best thing about leather is its ability to be made casual or absolutely posh. But no matter what, rocking leather gives your outfit a sleek chic and daringly sexy appeal to it.

Until next time fashionistas!

Hasta luego,
From The Roberts

Echoes: Finding a new lens

By Neil Nadpara
Blogger

It has still not hit me that I have two weeks left in Prague. Over these past few months, I have become so accustomed to the city and I truly feel at home here. I grew up in a suburban New Jersey town and TCNJ has a similar suburban environment. The transition to living in Prague has been extraordinary in so many ways. Unlike other parts of the Czech Republic, Prague is much more culturally accepting and diverse. Yet, in a smooth and subtle manner, I believe I have integrated into Czech culture in some aspects. I have ingrained several Czech tendencies in my own behavior, but in particular I have become more cognizant of noise levels.

Prauge Blog
Platform of a Prague metro (Photo courtesy of Neil Nadpara)

Public transport is very accessible, effective and popular in Prague. However, it is quite interesting how quiet it is no matter how packed it can get. People seldom talk on the metro and even when they do they use “library voices.” On my third day in Prague, my friends and I were having a conversation and joking around on the metro in our normal speaking voices. After a few minutes, an old man said something to us in Czech and motioned with his hand for us to quiet down. We didn’t realize how loud we were being in comparison to what the general standard in Prague is. There is a cultural difference in acceptable noise levels in the United States and the Czech Republic. For example, it is normal for a subway in New York City to be loud but the same does not apply to a metro in Prague.

Over the semester, I have noticed myself instinctually speaking more quietly on the public transport. It has become a part of me and my general behavior. It is interesting how easily a seemingly trivial aspect of Czech culture has become a part of me. I believe I will find it irritating how loud Americans are when I come back home and ride the New York City subway. And I would have never realized such a thing and developed such a vastly different perception on acceptable noise level if I did not come abroad to Prague.

The beauty of studying abroad and experiencing a new culture is that it allows you to view your own culture from a fresh and unique perspective. It opens your eyes to cultural tendencies and subtleties that you would have never noticed living your whole life in the bubble that is the United States. Everyone is born with a particular lens through which they view the world. If they spend their entire life living in the same area and influenced by the same culture, their view of the world will always be limited by that one lens. Studying abroad and living in a new culture offers you an entirely new lens through which to view the world and understand it further.

I am so grateful I have had the opportunity to study abroad in Prague, and my most prized “souvenir” is coming home with a new lens to view the world. I wholeheartedly encourage all college students to seize the opportunity to study abroad while it still lasts.

Echoes: No Sugar Coating Here

By Emma Kumpf
Blogger

It is Sunday, the first day of the work week here and the weather could not match my feelings any better.  The gray sky creates a canopy of darkness over the rainy streets of Amman.  I am trying to get work done, but my mind wanders.  I thought that culture shock would never catch me.  My past experiences with travel and exposure to many different cultures led me to believe that I am better than that (arrogant, I know).  They say that everybody experiences culture shock at some point; it’s just a matter of when, where, and how.  I refused to believe that was true for me, until now.  The dreary weather perpetuates my feelings of discontent and bleh.  I’ve caught the culture shock bug and it’s difficult to shake, so I’ve resorted to writing it all down.

It’s hard to say when or how this began, but these feelings were definitely pushed over the edge by the arrival of the holiday season.  This is one of my favorite times of year; I love the cheesy holiday movies, the wonderfully chaotic and beautiful family gatherings, and the extra splash of joy in the air.  This is my favorite time of year, but this year it is hard to recognize the holiday season.  In a Muslim country there is not an abundance of candy canes  or pumpkin anything; there are no joyful Santas standing outside the grocery store seeking to make the holidays brighter for those in need; there is no tangible holiday spirit in the air.  It is simply a dreary time of year when life goes on.

One of the few rainy days in the city of Amman
One of the few rainy days in the city of Amman (Photo courtesy of Emma Kumpf)

I keep finding myself melancholy that the holidays I love are not celebrated here.  Instead of accepting this as part of my study abroad experience, I feel sullen and depressed.  How could people not celebrate MY holidays?  Why would they want to miss out on the most wonderful time of the year?  I realize that these feelings are entirely American and unaccepting of the culture in which I am supposed to be immersing myself, but I cannot help it.  I cannot help but miss home during this time of year.  I can try to recreate my traditions from home, but I don’t think that’s the point.

I think this agitation is me learning to accept a different culture; it is a test to decide whether or not I can survive living in a society different than mine.  My time here had moved past the honeymoon phase and life here is simply normal.  It is no longer a vacation.  I am learning to survive in a different country, in a different culture, where a different religion is practiced and different holidays are celebrated.  The arrival of the holiday season has forced me to face my situation. I am no longer sailing on a cloud of falafel and happiness.  Life here is real, and I must accept that.

At the end of the day, I realize that trying to force my own holidays on another country and society is not immersing myself in a culture; it is doing the exact opposite.  I am learning to cope without some of the important things from home.  I long ago learned how to deal without Chipotle or Target, but I am now faced with deeper and bigger challenges.  I am learning to live without some things that are fundamental to my culture.  I am learning how to live life abroad, and at the end of the day I know I can do it.

Echoes: 10 Differences Between Spain and the U.S. That You Might Not Have Thought Of

 By Christina Madsen
Blogger

With just a few weeks left of my semester abroad, I thought it might be interesting to share some of the major differences I have noticed between Spaniards (or Catalans) and Americans. Of course I expected there to be lots of cultural differences, but here are some examples of the daily things that still surprise about the culture:

  1. Extreme PDA. One of the first things I noticed when I arrived here is that there are couples kissing everywhere! Unlike in the U.S., it is not uncommon for a couple to be making out right next to you as you are on your way to school in the morning on the metro. I’m starting to wonder if it’s the “latino passion” or if Americans are really just very anti-PDA.
  2. Sobremesa.” In Spain I have noticed that it can be considered disrespectful to get up from the table right after finishing dinner. It is almost expected to stay at the table and share stories and talk even after everyone is finished eating the meal, this is called “sobremesa.” I suspect that this tradition is attributed to how much family is valued here in Spain.
  3. The way of greeting people. Back in the states, it is pretty common to greet someone by hugging them or even shaking their hand, but it Spain it is custom to give two kisses, one on each cheek. I was surprised that this is even the norm for when you meet someone for the first time!
  4. Unrefrigerated dairy products. I noticed that my host mom does not refrigerate eggs and milk does not seem to be refrigerated until after opening, which took some time to get used to.
  5. What is salad dressing? This might sound weird, but I also noticed that salad dressing is not a thing here. Salads are almost always just dressed with some olive oil.
  6. Hello carbs. Pretty much every single meal here is served with baguette. Don’t get me wrong, I love my bread, but something tells me that my luggage won’t be the only thing coming back to the US heavier.
  7. Limited store hours. Stores are not open as late in Spain and most stores are closed on Sundays. This has been an adjustment for me since I have always been used to running errands on Sundays back at home. Also, some places are closed for a few hours in the middle of each day for “siesta time.” As far as I can tell though, it is not as common for people to actually take a siesta anymore.
  8. Everything happens later. Although I had heard that Spaniards eat dinner much later, around 10 p.m., I was not expecting the nightlife to also start so much later. In Spain, it is pretty typical to go to a club around 2 a.m., whereas in the US this is often around the time that I get home from a night out.
  9. Overall slower pace of life. This is definitely one of my favorite things about Spain (besides café con leche of course). Back at home everyone always seems to be in a rush and pressed for time. Here people value just sitting down at a cafe and enjoying their morning coffee instead of the American on-the-go mentality.
  10. Sweatpants are not a thing here. I was never one to wear sweatpants, but I soon realized that pretty much the only students wearing sweatpants around campus are other Americans.

Lion’s Playlist: Thanksgiving Playlist

By Nicole Ciullo
Blogger

With Thanksgiving just last week, I am reminded of how there is so much in life to be thankful for. Whether it is the love of family and friends, the privilege of receiving an education, or food and a place to call home, there are endless things to be grateful for. Here is a playlist for Thanksgiving.

You’ve Got a Friend in Me – Randy Newman

Around this time, we should be thankful for our friends, both old and new. They support us through all of the stressful times in life and we often forget to appreciate them. So, call your friends and remind them how much you value them and remember to always be a friend to someone else.

We are Family – Sister Sledge

Perfect for every family reunion, this song really reminds us to value our family members. The song lyrics say that “living life is fun and we’ve just begun, to get our share of the world’s delights.” So celebrate being alive and spending the holidays with your family. We often take advantage of those precious moments we spend with the ones we love.

Time Flies – Porcupine Tree

This song discusses how as we get older, time flies by faster and faster. We need to enjoy things for what they are now and seize the day. Be thankful for what you have now and stop trying to change the past.

Handlebars – Flobots

As individuals, we are given the opportunity to use our natural talents to change the world in either a positive or negative way. The build-up in lyrics in the song show how by starting out with the small and simple things, we are capable of creating something greater than ourselves.

Proud to Be an American – Lee Greenwood

As an American citizen, I am lucky to have my freedom and liberties. Be thankful for the many men and women who are protecting our country each day and are unable to spend the holiday season with their families. Thank you to all of our soldiers and the many men and women who have died to defend our rights.

An open discussion on sexual assualt

By Dan Hitchen
Correspondent

From the start of her lecture, successful activist, writer and educator Stephanie Gilmore made sure to give credit to college students around the country for spearheading the movement against sexual violence on campuses.

The talk, sponsored by the Women’s Center, took place on Tuesday, Nov. 18,  in the Library Auditorium.

Gilmore unabashedly spoke to students on issues of sexual violence in various areas of our lives and culture — in sports, in college and in our own homes.

It’s an issue, she said, that has been on activists’ radars since the ’70s and hasn’t gone away yet.

She backed her statement up with countless modern day instances, demonstrating how rape culture has pervaded college campuses.

“We’ve really started to see this proliferation of rape culture coming into public conversation, especally around sexual violence after the assault at Duke,” Gilmore said, regarding the 2006 trial in which three lacrosse players were wrongly accused of raping a woman. The charges were ultimately dismissed.

She continued to cite other examples of rape culture that the country has seen in recent years, such as the Ben Roethlisberger and the Ray Rice cases. The Rice case happened this past year, and “one commentator suggested that the lesson to be learned was to next time take the stairs,” after Rice assaulted his wife in an elevator, according to Gilmore.

One of the issues that Gilmore brought up — a letter sent out to Georgia Tech pledges titled “Luring Your Rapebait” — especially hit a chord with one audience member, Kat Wan, a freshman biomedical engineering major. The letter explained demeaning ways that men could pick up women at parties.

“I don’t know if it was surprising or not,” Wan said. “I just think its sad that someone would put their entire future at risk just to promote something like rape culture to other pledges.”

It’s these kinds of cases that Gilmore said create a culture where rape and sexual violence are seen as facts of life, things that can’t be avoided.

“I think we should stay aware of our surroundings,” Wan said. “ I don’t think we should be complacent with accepting that things just are going to happen. We shouldn’t get comfortable with the idea that sexual violence is just a part of life.”

Gilmore acknowledged that there are college students who reject the promotion or acceptance of rape culture as a part of life.

Gilmore referred to a protest at Dickinson College that occurred in 2011 as a prime example of students who she believes are leading the movement against sexual violence in college.

“These students were standing outside of the admissions office, and not only were the Board of Trustees on campus, but new students and their parents were, too, and here are students chanting about sexual violence,” Gilmore said. “That was pretty clever.”

It’s these types of students who Gilmore trusts with keeping alive the movement for which she gave up her job as a college professor — a movement she wants as many people to be as passionate about as she is.

Still, for Gilmore, her most important job remains listening to and working with college students on issues small and large.

“I think it is incredibly important that we think about, talk about, and do the work of activism — as difficult as it can be and as hard as it often is for us,” she said.

WGS majors explore their future job options

Habitat for Humanity welcomes those who want to help the community. (AP Photo)
Habitat for Humanity welcomes those who want to help the community. (AP Photo)

By Gabriela Rey
Correspondent

For the first time at the College, a women’s and gender studies opportunities fair was held where students sought potential work opportunities provided by local activist and community-outreach organizations.

Various groups from Trenton attended the fair, including Life Ties, Out in Jersey, Planned Parenthood, Habitat for Humanity, Womanspace, Kidsbridge, Center for Community Engaged Learning & Research and Trenton Area Soup Kitchen on Friday, Nov. 21.

The fair, run by senior women’s and gender studies and English double major Amy Chen, attracted students with WGS majors, minors and anyone with a general interest in these studies in order to broaden their opportunities for internships and volunteer openings.

“I think that a question a lot of people have after (learning about what a WGS major entials) is, ‘OK, so now I know what this is, but how can I really do anything with this information?’” Chen said.

According to Chen, many people think that WGS involves putting issues like social justice and gender inequality into a scholarly context — but it goes much deeper than that.   

Chen worked with Cecila Colbeth, the WGS program coordinator, to put this event in motion and expand the resources available to students preparing for the work field.

“When people say ‘women’s and gender studies,’ they think, ‘Whoo, feminism.’ But it’s actually so much more,” Chen said. “All the negative ‘–isms’ that are out there end up being tied into this, and that ends up leading to a lot of opportunities to expand your knowledge and to engage in critical debate, and also to just get involved.”

Allowing these organizations to present their work and opportunities to students was a way for Chen to illustrate the different routes someone can take with the major and show that students don’t have to settle within the clichés.

Senior WGS and math double major Danielle Murphy came to scope out the fair, hoping to find a few opportunities of interest.

“I am trying to see what my options are with both my majors, but the fair was mostly volunteer and internships, and I was looking more for jobs,” Murphy said. “It was definitely geared more toward underclassmen.”

In general, the opportunities fair was a successful first step in guiding students toward a wide range of opportunities within the area, but as Murphy pointed out, there are some areas that can be approved upon for the next time the fair is held.

“Some people might be interested in pursuing this as a career or just on the side as being involved or starting a non-profit,” Chen said. “Others might want to volunteer their time, but they might not know where to start. They might not know the resources that are out there, so we’re hoping to give students some resources into that.”

‘Mulaney’ co-stars make the crowd roar

By Kimberly Ilkowski
Review Editor

Comedian Seaton Smith saw a crackhead pick up a rat and smack a woman in the face with it.

“I saw that with my Christian eyes. I saw a woman get rat-smacked,” Smith said as he began his lurid tale of an unlikely encounter in Washington, D.C.

So began the College Union Board’s fall comedy show, featuring the explosive personality of opener Smith and self-deprecating humor of longtime “Saturday Night Live” writer John Mulaney in Kendall Hall on Saturday, Nov. 22.

Smith went on to explain the origins of the rodent based brawl — a crackhead was holding a giant rat and upon seeing this, a woman told the man it was disgusting.

“I saw the crackhead pick up the rat and start swingin’. Let me back up, I don’t actually know if he was a crackhead, at this point, I just hope,” Smith said. “I hope there’s no man skipping doing crack and going right to swinging rats.”

Smith shares amusing tales in an engaging opening act. (Samantha Selikoff / Staff Photographer
Smith shares amusing tales in an engaging opening act. (Samantha Selikoff / Staff Photographer

When Smith admitted he didn’t try to stop this confrontation, he simply explained the silent agreement between everyone living in a major city.

“If you live in any city there’s a universal rule — when you see a mad man swinging a rat over his head, that guy needs some space,” Smith said.

Smith, who co-stars with Mulaney on the recent Fox television sitcom “Mulaney,” brought a bold energy to the stage, tackling hard-hitting and taboo topics with confidence.

The D.C.-based comedian discussed various topics in politics and his confusion with black politicians dating white Republicans. Before long, Smith recognized some audience members were not accustomed to his blunt sense of humor, especially when it came to race, political beliefs and the strings of expletives he used.

Smith also spoke candidly about the legacy Martin Luther King Jr. left on the world and the influence he had on his family.

“I feel bad for Coretta Scott King,” Smith started, referring to King’s late wife, then pointed to a couple sitting in the audience.

“Let’s say you guys are together for a long time and then he saves an entire race of people, could you say shit to him?” Smith asked. “No, you couldn’t be like, ‘Martin, you better stay home tonight.’ Bitch, please. Let me explain one thing. I am a holiday.”

In an interview with The Signal, Smith divulged about his recent transition from stand up to acting for “Mulaney” and how he would like to continue doing both in the future.

“They’re different sides of the same art form,” Smith said. “I like learning and growing and all that jazz.”

Smith will be on tour in the following months and has plans to release a new comedy album this spring.

Following Smith’s performance, a dapper Mulaney, dressed in his signature suit and tie style, greeted Kendall with The Signal in hand as he proceeded to discover what really takes place on campus via stories on the front page.

Mulaney uses a copy of 'The Signal' as inspiration during his witty set. (Samantha Selikoff / Staff Photographer)
Mulaney uses a copy of ‘The Signal’ as inspiration during his witty set. (Samantha Selikoff / Staff Photographer)

Mulaney got married this summer, and he and his wife Annemarie share their home with their tiny French bulldog puppy, Petunia. Upon hearing about all of Petunia’s adorable antics, students let out audible oohs and awes.

“You better get those awes out of your system, cause there’s a lot more comin’,” Mulaney teased.

Throughout the evening, Mulaney engaged the audience in this way, even responding to hecklers and picking people out to ask about their majors and time at the College, adding an inclusive feeling to an otherwise large crowd.

Many of Mulaney’s jokes stemmed from outrageous personal experiences while performing. He also detailed grappling with the unintended side effects of his slender appearance and friendly demeanor.

At one point, Mulaney looked back on when he used to perform at The Stress Factory in New Brunswick, N.J., and how he was nearly beaten up.

“I give off a vibe that I wasn’t beat up enough,” Mulaney said. “Some people give off the vibe of like, ‘Do not fuck with me.’ My vibe is more like, ‘You can pour soup in my lap and I’ll probably apologize to you.’”

In another account of the horrors of stand up, Mulaney said he once performed in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, on a makeshift stage of 2x4s that were lying in the dirt.

The people at the event were not a fan of Mulaney’s work and were more fixated on the beer truck that was parked directly next to him.

One heckler there finally shouted in a deep southern accent, “Excuse me sir, I think I speak for everyone here when I say that we would enjoy silence more than the sound of your voice.”

Mulaney was captivated by how simultaneously mean and eloquently worded the insult was.

“If that was the last line of a Maya Angelou poem, you would just close the book and look out the window and think about what you did with your life,” Mulaney said.

He and his wife don’t have any children yet, but Mulaney believes kids have the most rapidly growing rights in America.

“Kids get everything they want now — there’s  two ‘Rio’s now, three ‘Madagascar’s, two ‘Happy Feet,’ two ‘Kung Fu Panda’s and five ‘Ice Age’ movies,” Mulaney said. “I’m not saying they’re bad movies, I’m just saying this is a lot of entertainment for an audience of people that if you put them in a room and turned the lights off and said ‘go to bed,’ they would go to bed.”

In an interview with The Signal, Mulaney elaborated on what techniques work better in stand up and those that work best while acting on “Mulaney.”

“Stand up is really about the people in front of you, and the TV show, even though we have a live audience, it’s a lot more doing it to the camera so that it’s to the audience at home,” Mulaney said. “Here, the live audience is the final word, but on a TV show you’re using the live audience for energy and as an ingredient rather than judge and jury.”

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