All posts by Signal Contributor

France revises ban on gay men donating blood

By Catherine Herbert
Staff Writer

Beginning next year, France will be lifting its ban on gay men donating blood, according to French officials, the New York Times reported. This antiquated law, which France enacted in 1983, is a remnant of the AIDS crisis and the social stigmas that surrounded it in the late 1980s.

“Giving one’s blood is an act of generosity and of civic responsibility that cannot be conditioned by sexual orientation,” said Marisol Touraine, the health minister of France, the New York Times reported.

France is joining other European countries in a trend to dismantle, or at least weaken, these laws. Next spring, France will begin to let men who have not been sexually active with other men for at least a year to donate their blood, the New York Times reported. Continue reading

Torture survivors share stories of struggles

By Kyra Mackesy

Three survivors of torture from Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and Cameroon shared their stories of the government imprisonment and torture they each endured after they fought for the rights of their organizations.

Torture, Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition (TASSC), the organization that brought the three individuals to asylum in the U.S., spoke to students at the College on Wednesday, Nov.  4, in the Spiritual Center to explain the group’s missions and share how students can help.

Speakers share stories about surviving politically-motivated torture. (Keri Fitzpatrick / Staff Photographer)

The event highlighted three survivors: Merga, Charles and Lewis. The three men are educated professionals who have devoted their lives to fighting for what they believe in, but were ultimately mentally and physically tortured for their actions by their countries’ corrupt governments. Continue reading

After 35 years, China allows two-child families

By Catherine Herbert

The Chinese Communist Party announced on Thursday, Oct. 26, that China is forgoing its long-standing one-child policy that prohibited families from having more than one child, and will now allow two children in one family, BBC reported.

Before the new “one couple, two children” policy can be enacted, approval from the National People’s Congress, China’s top legislature, must be granted in March, reported CNN.

This 1979 policy has been strictly enforced by Chinese Communist Party officials for more than three decades.

Consequences from one-child policy need time to rectify. (AP Photo)

The policy is a way to control China’s rapidly increasing population rate. In 1979, China’s population was one billion, and after 35 years of this policy, the rule is said to have prevented about 400 million births, National Geographic reported. Continue reading

The Millenium performs intimate acoustic set

By Carlie Goode

The Friday, Nov. 6, CUB Alt concert featuring The Millenium and opening performers Kiernan McMullan and Carter Hulsey was a fine evening of homey alternative rock that garnered a low attendance — not at all matching the quality of the performances.

With no time wasted on introductions, opener McMullan plunged into his act, performing many of his original songs, including “Speak Your Mind.” His music was worldly and sweet, reflecting McMullan’s international background, including his birth in Hong Kong and connections to Boston, Ireland and Australia.

The solo artist was tapping his knuckles on the soundboard of his guitar between strokes for percussion and at one point sang directly into the hole of his guitar. Continue reading

Short story writer brings wit and humor to reading

By Hannah Rodriguez

Lydia Davis, recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship Award in 1997 and an exceptional short story writer, visited the College on Wednesday, Nov. 4, in the Library Auditorium to speak about her journey as a writer. During her visit, Davis shared excerpts from her most recent collection of short stories, “Can’t and Won’t: Stories.”

“Can’t and Won’t” contains 122 short stories, one of the largest collections that Davis has published thus far. Each story ranges in length and subject and Davis was able to share her passion with the crowd of invested listeners. Continue reading

The string instruments grace the stage for ‘Concerto Grosso.’ (Kim Iannarone / Photo Editor)

TCNJ Orchestra stuns with classic songs

By Brielle Bryan

As the sky darkened on Wednesday, Nov. 4, the number of students walking across campus grew scarce. All was quiet outside as students, family members and friends entered a packed Mayo Concert Hall for the TCNJ Orchestra performance.

With the lights dimmed, conductor Harold Levin walked on stage and the student performers rose from their seats.

The string instruments grace the stage for ‘Concerto Grosso.’ (Kim Iannarone / Photo Editor)
The string instruments grace the stage for ‘Concerto Grosso.’ (Kim Iannarone / Photo Editor)

Levin took the hand of his head violinist, junior music performance major Thérèse DeGenova, and kissed it as he welcomed the crowd to introduce the first piece of the night, “The March and Procession of Bacchus” by French composer Leo Delibes, from the ballet, “Sylvia.”

“I saw that we had nine weeks of rehearsals, I knew the level of the orchestra, and what was appropriate to prepare,” Levin said on picking pieces for the orchestra to perform. Continue reading

Scientists should skip space and search seas

We need to explore Earth’s oceans before searching other planets. (AP Photo)
We need to explore Earth’s oceans before searching other planets. (AP Photo)

By Kevin Shaw

Space: the final frontier. Or is it? The continuing mission for “Star Trek’s” Starship Enterprise was to explore strange new worlds and seek out new life, but it didn’t have to travel thousands of lightyears to do so. There are strange new worlds and undiscovered life much closer to home. Rather than focusing on space, we should be exploring under the seas of our own little blue planet.

High resolution images from orbital and earthbound telescopes like Hubble, Kepler and the Palomar Observatory have recently sparked a major interest in space exploration. Big budget Hollywood films like “Interstellar,” “Gravity” and “The Martian,” as well as the recent revival of “The Cosmos” TV series, have only fanned the flames. Continue reading

Students take concert to the next level

By Connor Smith

Kendall Hall was cozily filled to the brim with both students and members of the community on Friday, Oct. 30, as an eager audience was ready to take part in a unique concert experience — the chance to see classic video game soundtracks and environments brought to life by the College’s wind ensemble.

The College’s music department presented “Pixel Music: Video Game Soundtracks in Concert,” conducted by David Vickerman. The concert also featured performances by the College’s Chorale, conducted by John Leonard.

“Video games have evolved faster than any art form,” Vickerman said. Continue reading

College alumnus details working as science journalist

By Emily Solinski                                                                                     Correspondent

“My job is not to satisfy the scientist, but to satisfy my readers,” Grant said. “I’m not going to use the jargon, I’m going to put it in my own words.”

Grant’s talk addressed the process of simplifying information from complex science journals, press releases and media outlets and then how to convey the information into news for the general public.

Grant confronts this challenge every day within his profession as a writer covering physics for Science News magazine, based in Washington, D.C. Continue reading

Famed journalists talk investigative reporting

By Megan Kelly                                                                                         Correspondent

Passion. Determination. Fearlessness.

These were the words used by Professor Emilie Lounsberry to describe Barbara Laker and Wendy Ruderman, two Philadelphia Daily News reporters who uncovered police corruption in Philadelphia, earning them a Pulitzer Prize in 2010 for their hard work. The two came to the College on Wednesday, Oct. 28, to speak about their journey and the book that spawned from the investigation, “Busted: A Tale of Corruption and Betrayal in the City of Brotherly Love.”

Ruderman and Laker began their investigation in December of 2008 when drug dealer Benny Martinez, working as a drug informant for the Philadelphia Police Department, came to Ruderman in fear that both an officer and a drug dealer wanted him dead. Continue reading

Event marks three years since Hurricane Sandy

By Matthew Green                                                                                 Correspondent

Exactly three years after devastating Hurricane Sandy slammed the state of New Jersey, a crowd of students and faculty gathered for a roundtable discussion and question and answer session with several individuals who were directly affected by the crisis.

“I can’t think of a natural event that shaped New Jersey culture as much as Hurricane Sandy did,” said Matthew Bender, associate professor of history and director of the Hurricane Sandy Oral History Project.

The audience heard personal experiences and in-depth analyses from Diane Bates, professor of sociology; Michael Nordquist, interim executive director for the Bonner Institute for Civic and Community Engagement; Gary Szatkowski, meteorologist-in-charge for the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration; social worker Carolyn Olsen and Lieutenant John Barcus on Thursday, Oct. 29, in the Education Building at 7 p.m. Continue reading

Weedman discusses fight for marijuana legalization

By Emma Califano                                                                                   Correspondent

Political science professor and local Assemblyman Reed Gusciora’s “Politics of Marijuana” class welcomed Ed Forchion, a well-known advocate for the legalization of marijuana. Some people might better know him as N.J. Weedman.

On Wednesday, Oct. 28, in the Social Science Building, Forchion made a special appearance to tell his journey toward supporting the legalization of marijuana.

It all started when Forchion was arrested on November 24, 1997, in Belmar, N.J., when he was pulled over and the arresting officer found a pound of weed in the back of his car. Forchion was also indicted for trying to ship 40 pounds of marijuana from Arizona to New Jersey via FedEx. He faced 20 years in prison, but was able to take a plea deal and received a drastically reduced sentence.

“Here I was, getting arrested on marijuana charges — a plant — by people who smelled like cigarettes, and I thought to myself, why is this worse?” Forchion asked. Continue reading

Famed musicians recall Trenton’s troubled jazz history

By Ashley Skowronek                                                                         Correspondent

The College’s Trenton Makes Music class was graced with the presence of three celebrated jazz musicians on Tuesday, Oct. 27, each of whom partook in molding the city’s renowned music history. The presentation was aimed to document Trenton and its role in popular culture.

Students welcomed instrumentalists Thomas Grice, Gil Toth and Thomas Passerella, an alumnus of the College. The date marked Grice’s triumphant return to the College nearly a year after flooding the Don C. Evans Black Box Theatre with the deftly crafted notes poured from his saxophone.

“Luck is when preparation meets opportunity,” Passerella said.  Continue reading

The 1975 display new music style

By Julia Dzurillay

Imagine a band of good-looking, young men singing about real-life situations highlighting love, heartbreak, alcohol and drugs. A few bands come to mind, but no other band does it quite like The 1975, an indie-alternative band from the United Kingdom.

Frontman Matty Healy has been writing songs since his childhood days, but it wasn’t until 2002 that The 1975 was brought to life. After the massive success of their 2013 self-titled album and non-stop touring around the world, the boys are back with a new single.

Instead of their usual alternative music, the band has turned in a direction of a sound which Healy called “bubblegum-pink pop.” This innovative genre title definitely captures the essence of their new single “Love Me,” which was released Thursday, Oct. 8.

Healy dances around in the band’s flashy new video. (
Healy dances around in the band’s flashy new video. (

Within a week, the song reached No. 1 on the UK charts and gained support from fans across the globe. The band was ecstatic with the positive feedback. Healy tweeted to fans, “I am so incredibly humbled and in love with you all, I really am. Let’s keep it there and show pop music what’s up!!” Continue reading