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The GO! New Orleans team snacking on some NOLA treats! (Courtesy of Nanor Hartounian)

Contributing Writer
Published: March 25, 2015

As my team and I spent our first night in New Orleans sitting on steps overlooking Jackson Square, sipping on Café Du Monde’s famous coffee and munching on beignets that were prepared to perfection, I came to a realization: of all the decisions I’ve made throughout my college career thus far, choosing to apply to Global Outreach (GO!) New Orleans was by far one of the best.

Prior to applying, I’d only heard positive things about GO!. It held the promise of being a learning opportunity in a multitude of ways, including the strengthening of one’s spirituality and sense of community on campus. With those incentives in mind, I applied without knowing just how deeply the decision would impact my life in the weeks to come.

Each GO! program is unique to the needs of its location. My team and I were given the opportunity to work with the St. Bernard Project, a non-profit organization that rebuilds homes destroyed by Hurricane Katrina within St. Bernard Parish, located in Southeast Louisiana. As we began our week on Monday, March 16, at a 6 a.m. orientation, I don’t think any of us knew what we were truly in for.

Our days were long, but incredibly full. We began each day by waking up at 5 a.m., eating breakfast, packing lunch and driving to the site of our project, where we worked the 7 a.m. – 1 p.m. shift. We were assigned to work on the home of a woman named Ms. Patricia, who was forced to evacuate her home with her granddaughter, then relocated to Texas to live with her brother and was unable to return to New Orleans until many years later.

Meeting her and getting the chance to hear her story were instrumental in how I, as well as the rest of my team, treated working on her home. During orientation, one of the co-founders of the St. Bernard Project stressed that each of its volunteers must keep “The Grandma Rule” in mind when working on their respective homes. In other words, we were expected to handle each task with the care and dedication we would channel if we were working on our own grandmothers’ homes. Ms. Patricia’s constant positive presence and willingness to talk to us about her tough journey added a personal connotation to the home that I believe made each working day more rewarding.

As a team, 11 of us helped to paint, fix up and refurbish Ms. Patricia’s home. Throughout the week, my team and I constantly pushed ourselves to new heights. Each of us conquered fears that tested both physical and mental resilience that we weren’t expecting to deal with. By the end of the week, we were all left with a bittersweet feeling. Sure, we all felt a bit homesick for the familiar. However, as our working days went on and we saw the slow but sure progress we were making on Ms. Patricia’s house, we all wanted to ensure that the next volunteer group would feel a similar sense of connection the home and work just as hard to revitalize it.

One of the most inspiring aspects of this trip was realizing the optimistic and unwavering way in which New Orleans as a whole responded to the effects of Katrina. After experiencing such a disastrous tragedy, you would expect there to be a loss of unity and hope among the community. Throughout my week in Louisiana, I learned that this couldn’t be farther from the truth. There is a sense of resolute support among those we met while volunteering that is almost unbelievable. I am confident that while relief efforts largely contributed to the city’s progress, much of why New Orleans stands strong today is due to the community’s solidarity.

With Katrina’s 10th anniversary coming up this August, we all found ourselves volunteering in New Orleans during a pivotal time. Personally, I couldn’t have asked for a better support system in my GO! team. Together, we got the opportunity to explore the unique NOLA community, contribute to the Katrina relief efforts, grow as human beings and – most importantly – become a family. And I wouldn’t trade it for the world (well, maybe a freshly baked beignet, but that’s up for debate).

Fordham couldn’t afford the $29,000 to $33,000 tent for the annual end-of-year bash. (Justin Rebollo/The Observer)

Published: March 11, 2015

“Under the Tent,” an annual event co-sponsored by United Student Government (USG) and Campus Activities Board (CAB) at Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) has been cancelled. The event, which marked the last day of programming at the end of the spring semester and took place on the Robert Moses Plaza, was cancelled due to financial constraints imposed by the cost of the tent.

According to Dr. Dorothy Wenzel, director of Student Leadership and Community Development (OSLCD) and USG Advisor, “Under the Tent” had been financed in the past by being able to keep the tent up for longer than one day. “The only way we could afford this event was to have the tent up through Commencement and share in the cost with all the departments that share in Commencement tent rental,” Wenzel said. This year, however, other departments and schools that would share the cost of the tent pulled out.

According to Wenzel, Fordham Law School (LAW) is using the new Law building for all their events, and the Graduate School of Social Services (GSS) decided not to host a reception this year, leaving the Graduate School of Business and the OSLCD to share the cost. In addition, due to an incident where the tent collapsed the night before the FCLC Alumni Reunion in June 2013, the cost of the tent increased for safety purposes.

Wenzel approached Brian Byrne, vice president for Lincoln Center and inquired if the tent could still be kept up through Commencement. “We were told we would have to rent the tent at the full tent rental cost for that one night, which is just cost prohibitive,” Wenzel said.

The total cost of the tent was between $29,000 and $33,000, according to Wenzel. “Part of that cost also factors in that we have to order a permit for the tent, which is around 6000,” she said, since the Plaza is open to the public and needed to be up to city code.

Though “Under the Tent” is cancelled, USG and CAB are exploring other options for an end of the year event to mark the last day of programming, according to Wenzel. A committee of representatives from both USG and CAB has been formed in order to play this event, and are being advised by Christina Frankovic, assistant director for Programming in OSLCD and CAB Advisor.

“This new group is trying to dream up a new event for the end of the year,” Wenzel said. “They’re just in the planning stages right now. It’ll be distinct … My understanding is that they’re looking to make it a completely different event.”

The new event will take place in the Atrium and Student Lounge, but that does not always have to be the case for future events, according to Wenzel. “Christina Frankovic has made comments that when we move to 140 [62nd Street], there would be a nice lounge space with outdoor space for that but that wouldn’t be until 2017,” Wenzel said. “Whether this year’s end of the year event sticks or the group next year decides they want to do something different, its too soon to tell.”

According to Louise Lingat, USG president and FCLC ’15, once both USG and CAB were informed that “Under the Tent” was being cancelled, both clubs decided to plan another event in its place. “It was just a mutual understanding and agreement that we still want to have an event because we felt there could be no end of year. We figured there needed to be an end of the year event because it would be wrong to deprive the students of that,” she said. “And as a senior leaving I would hate to not have one because it would be the last time I get to hang out with my undergraduate friends here.”

According to Laura Paone, CAB president and chair of the end of the year event committee and FCLC ’16, the committee is preliminary stages of planning. “We are working to create a new identity for this event. We want something that will have the same integrity as ‘Under the Tent’ but something that works in our current situation that we can replicate for years to come,” she said.

Leighton Magoon, Student Activities Budget Committee (SABC) chairperson, USG treasurer and FCLC ’17, who is sitting on the committee in a budget advisory capacity, feels that the committee is really driven to establish a new event with student input. “The committee’s coming up with a lot of ideas but we’re looking for student feedback from Gabelli students, Lincoln Center students, from freshmen to seniors we’d like to see because we’d like to make an event that’s just as good if not better than ‘Under the Tent,’” Magoon said.

Though “Under the Tent” was cancelled, Wenzel was happy to see that students came together to plan a new event. “Thats the one nice thing we’ll continue doing,” Wenzel said, “having that big event to celebrate the school year in a way that hadn’t been celebrated prior.”

Father McShane and other senior administrators urged faculty not to move forward with the petition to revoke Brennan’s degree. (Courtesy of George Bridges /KRT via TNS)

Published: February 11, 2015

Fordham faculty members have come together to create Fordham Faculty Against Torture (FFAT), an ad hoc committee formed in response to the report released by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) use of detention and interrogation policies. The committee has begun circulating a petition calling for Fordham to revoke the honorary degree conferred upon John Brennan, then Deputy National Security Advisor and currently Director of the CIA.

Father McShane and other senior administrators urged faculty not to move forward with the petition to revoke Brennan’s degree. (Courtesy of George Bridges /KRT via TNS)
Father McShane and other senior administrators urged faculty not to move forward with the petition to revoke Brennan’s degree. (Courtesy of George Bridges /KRT via TNS)

“In May 2012, despite the objections of both faculty and students, Fordham University awarded an honorary degree to John Brennan,” the petition reads. Other goals include “promoting reflection within the Fordham community on how our university can better live up to the values espoused in its mission statement” and “initiating a public dialogue on how, in the wake of the human rights violations committed by our government, we can advance the cause of restorative justice.”

The senate report, which was released in Dec. 2014, found that the CIA’s use of interrogation and detainment was “brutal and far worse than the CIA presented to policymakers.” The report also found that “the CIA’s use of its enhanced interrogation techniques was not an effective means of acquiring intelligence or gaining cooperation from detainees.” According to the report, the Senate committee also found that the justifications of its “enhanced interrogation methods rested on inaccurate claims” of effectiveness. 

The committee is comprised of seven professors: Dr. Orlando Rodriguez, professor of sociology and anthropology in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences; Dr. Jeanne Flavin, professor of sociology and anthropology; Dr. Jeannine Hill Fletcher, professor of theology; Dr. Glenn Hendler, associate professor and chair of English; Dr. Bradford Hinze, Rahner Chair and professor of theology; Dr. James Kim, assistant professor of English; and Dr. David Myers, professor of history. 

The group formed after Rodriguez sent an email to some colleagues who had initially opposed the honorary degree in 2012, according to Hendler. “There was some e-mail discussion of how we might respond and how distressing it was that Fordham had given an honor to a man who was not only implicated in the act of torture, but who also continued to defend the actions of the government and refused to rule out torture in the future,” Hendler said in an email. 

Bob Howe, senior director of communications, has declined to comment until the petition is delivered to the Board of Trustees of Fordham University. 

The idea of a petition came about when someone asked what it would take to get Fordham to revoke the honorary degree from Brennan. “This idea became a focus of the discussion, and the seven of us started a separate e-mail discussion to write the petition and plan its distribution,” Hendler said. 

Before circulating the petition among faculty, FFAT shared the document with Rev. Joseph M. McShane S.J., president of Fordham University, who requested that the group meet with him prior to circulation, according to documents attached to the petition. “At that meeting, which included President McShane, Provost Stephen Freedman and other senior administrators, they argued that we should not go forward with the petition,” the document states. 

In a letter to McShane on Jan. 29, 2015, the committee responded that they intend to “move forward with our petition and to begin organizing a series of events on torture, human rights and restorative justice for this spring and the 2015-16 academic year.” The committee also responded to McShane’s suggestion that Brennan be brought to campus before the circulation of the petition, by stating, “After considerable reflection, we concluded that the kind of dialogue we seek would not be enhanced by Mr. Brennan’s presence.” 

“We reached consensus – not so much that Mr. Brennan ‘would not add anything to the dialogue,’ but rather that his presence was not necessary for such a dialogue to take place,” Hendler explained. The committee wants to engage in restorative justice, Hendler said, and the “process of restorative justice has to start from an acknowledgment that a wrong has been committed. Mr. Brennan is a perpetrator of the wrong being discussed, and as far as I know has not acknowledged that fact.” 

However, Hendler stressed that he does not believe that any of his colleagues think Brennan should not be invited to speak on campus. “We merely disagreed with the argument that such dialogue with Mr. Brennan should precede the circulation of the petition,” Hendler said. 

According to Hendler, the response to the petition, has been “overwhelmingly positive, with more support than I think any of us expected.” The petition has surpassed FFAT’s goal of 150 signatures, and at the time of this publication over 215 faculty members and students have signed it. 

For Hendler, revoking Brennan’s honorary degree is necessary. “By granting this honorary degree, Fordham has implicated itself in the practice and justification of torture – a practice that is in Catholic doctrine and nearly every other religious and ethical system considered an absolute evil in all circumstances,” Hendler said. “I can imagine no way of countering this implication better than revoking the honorary degree and publicly expressing regret that it was ever given.” 

According to Hendler, FFAT has a number of ideas for events for later in the semester and for the next academic year. “President McShane has encouraged us to begin the dialogue called for in our petition, but has not provided any resources to help us do so,” Hendler said. “So we will probably start with events that draw on expertise here at Fordham, but I hope that other programs, departments and institutes – and student groups – will join us with both material support and help planning and organizing events.” 

Hendler encourages students who want to get involved to sign and circulate the petition among the Fordham community. The petition can be found here. Students are also encouraged to reach out to one of the seven faculty members in order to volunteer and help plan discussions. “Our hope is not that the seven faculty members on this list will organize our own spectacular events that galvanize the community,” Hendler said, “but that students, faculty, alums and others recognize that this is an issue that strikes to the core of Fordham’s identity.” 


This is not the first time Residence Hall lounges have doubled for classrooms, according to Dean of Students at FCLC Keith Eldredge. (JESS LUSZCZYK/The Observer)
This is not the first time Residence Hall lounges have doubled for classrooms, according to Dean of Students at FCLC Keith Eldredge. (JESS LUSZCZYK/The Observer)

Assistant News Co-Editor and Staff Writer
Published: January 28, 2015

Part of McKeon Residence Hall is acting as an academic building this semester with two sections of Math for Business Calculus being held on the 22nd floor. The lounge, already equipped with a projector and whiteboards, officially doubles as a classroom. Although this is a first for McKeon, the concept of class being taught outside the classroom is not a new one for Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC). 

“In the past, professors would occasionally teach a class in fifth floor lounge in McMahon Hall, if they needed a different setting,” Dean of Students at FCLC, Keith Eldredge said.

Jenifer Campbell, director of Residential Life at FCLC, said, “It was a natural segue with McKeon Hall that we continue the same tradition. Professors teaching integrated learning community courses [now] have the option to have sessions in the [McKeon] building if they choose to do so.”

According to Rev. Vincent DeCola S.J., assistant dean and program advisor for the Gabelli School of Business at Lincoln Center (GSBLC), who is teaching the class, the decision to use McKeon 2205 resulted from both the necessity for space and the drive to facilitate integrated learning. “[The decision was made] partially out of default. McKeon Hall has allowed for us to grow our numbers; however, we haven’t grown our space yet – especially our classroom space,” he said.

Timing also contributed to the decision to hold the classes later in the afternoon. Eldredge added, “As classroom availability is tighter in the night than it is during the day, with graduate school and professional continuing studies classes being taught [in Lowenstein], we were looking at a class time later on in the day.”

The two sections are being held back-to-back on Mondays and Thursdays, from 4:00 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. For those living in the building, including DeCola himself, it will mean a short commute.

“Another reason why I thought it would be a good idea to teach a calculus class [in McKeon] was because the vast majority of students taking the class are in their freshman year,” he said. 

For commuters taking the class, Eldredge said, “It is simply a matter of signing up. Father Vin has given a list of those students [enrolled] to public safety.”

“The security guard has been very good about keeping that list,” DeCola said.

Beyond the need for space, DeCola sees the decision as a way to realize the concept of integrated learning. He said,  “Using the room is homage to the idea that learning should be able to take place in all aspects of life, beyond the cube known as the classroom.”

According to Eldredge, “Having a classroom in a residence hall has some attractiveness to it. There is [certainly] a distinction between your academic life and intellectual pursuits, and your social life and living space. To some extent, we want to a see a merger [of these], as the hallmark of Jesuit education is being a well-rounded person.”

Campbell, on her initial reaction to DeCola’s proposal, said, “Wonderful. It gives an opportunity for learning to take place outside the traditional classroom setting.”

The class already experienced a bump in the road during the first week of class, when issues with room reservations forced the class to be held in an available room in the Law School. 

As for the rest of the semester, DeCola affirms that McKeon Hall will be reserved for the classes during that period. 

Even though 2205 will be used as a classroom, Eldredge maintains that “first and foremost, [McKeon 2205] is a residence hall lounge, and we want it to be available for students living in the building who need the space. It is a pilot experiment. We don’t know how many professors are interested, or what bumps we’ll encounter, but if it works well, it’ll likely continue.” 

“Everything affects everybody, because we are all human and we all live in this world,” Jodiann Hines said. (Jason Boit / The Observer)
“Everything affects everybody, because we are all human and we all live in this world,” Jodiann Hines said. (Jason Boit / The Observer)
“Everything affects everybody, because we are all human and we all live in this world,” Jodiann Hines said. (Jason Boit / The Observer)

News Editor
Published: December 9, 2014

On Tuesday, Dec. 9, over 100 students participated in a “Die-In” to commemorate victims of police brutality, held in Pope Auditorium at Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC). At 11:21 a.m., the students engaged in four and a half minutes of silence to represent the number of hours Michael Brown’s body lay in the streets of Ferguson after being shot by Officer Darren Wilson.  

The time, 11:21 a.m., signified Nov. 21, the day St. Louis District Attorney Robert McCulloch announced that the Wilson would not be indicted for the homicide of Brown. 

President of the Black Student Alliance (BSA), Jodiann Hines, FCLC ’15 spearheaded the event, along with BSA editorial board members, Georgina Owolabi, vice president, FCLC ’16, Zann Ballsun-Simms, press relations and FCLC ’16, Courtney Romans, secretary and FCLC ’17, and Maia Bedford and artistic liaison FCLC ’15. The event began with the recitation of four poems. 

“The justice system is not a failed system. The ‘just-us’ system was not made to protect us, just them,” read a line from the final poem. By “us,” the poem referred to minorities.

 Introducing the moment of silence, Hines said, “For me, being an older sister to a … black male, is so hard.”  She continued to speak about her 19-year-old brother and her worries when he is not safely in their house. “People don’t like him because of the color of his skin, it’s ridiculous,” she said to the crowd. As she wiped tears from her eyes, the crowd applauded her.

Hines urged everyone as they rose, “As cliché  it sounds, be the change you want to see in the world. Point out racism, sexism, all these things when you see [them].”

“Don’t just sit there when you see it because it doesn’t affect you. Everything affects everybody because we are all human and we all live in this world,” she said to the crowd.

After the event ended, Hines requested that everyone leave Pope in silence and reflect on what they had all done.

Assistant Dean For Juniors and Transfers Milton J. Bravo attended the event. “That means it really had spread … if it’s getting to the higher ups,” Hines said. She was happy to see so many students and faculty present. Dorothy Wenzel, Ph.D, director of the Office of Student Leadership and Community Development (OSLCD) and Christina Frankovic, assistant director of programming, were also in attendance. 

Maloney will re-open to all students after break, but law students are petitioning for a year-round ban. (Tyler Martins / The Observer)
Maloney will re-open to all students after break, but law students are petitioning for a year-round ban. (Tyler Martins / The Observer)
Maloney will re-open to all students after break, but law students are petitioning for a year-round ban. (Tyler Martins / The Observer)

Staff Writer
Published: December 10, 2014

Undergraduates at Fordham College at Lincoln Center’s (FCLC) campus were banned from the Law School Library on Nov. 24. The T.J. and Nancy Maloney Library is currently exclusive to members of the Fordham University School of Law (LAW) until after winter break.

“The [Law School] administration has its reasons for the restriction of access to law students,” Dean of Students at FCLC, Keith Eldredge, said. “In all likelihood, the plan would be to implement this [restriction] at every [Fordham Law School] exam period going forward,” Eldredge continued. “After exams end, the library would go back to full use for anybody in the community.”

As of Dec. 1, Eldredge made the official announcement about alternative study spaces opening up to undergraduates effective Dec. 10. The email announcement accentuated Quinn Library as the undergraduate study space, including McKeon 2-01A being designated a study annex starting Dec. 2 open through out finals. Additional annex locations include McMahon 109, the former Faculty Dining Hall now known as PL100, and Schmeltzer Dining Hall, more commonly known as Slice of Life, The Grille At 62nd and Sammie’s, has now extended its hours during finals to make up for the late hours of the now off-limits Jazzman’s Café. 

According to Eldredge, law students will not be barred from Quinn Library like undergraduates have been restricted from Maloney.

Noise disruption in Maloney appeared to be the main complaint of the law students. “Primarily complaints were about noise levels, though there were also complaints about alcohol. On one occasion, there was an excessive amount of alcohol found in a study room,” Eldredge said.

As Maloney is situated in the same building as McKeon Hall, it is many freshmens’ preferred study space. According to Megan Crane, FCLC ’18, it is affectionately known to her and others as the “Lawbrary.”  Crane said,“I relied so much on it to study because it’s such a quiet space … It kept me so focused.”

Crane had heard rumors of law students getting annoyed with undergraduate students for using their library. “But I don’t understand why they would ban us if it’s helping us get our work done,” she said.

Dillon Reebok, Gabelli School of Business at Lincoln Center (GSBLC) ’18, agreed with Crane. “I think it’s ridiculous because it’s also one of our dining areas because of Jazzman’s [Café].” Jazzman’s Cafe is located on the second floor of Maloney, and is the only dining option open Sunday afternoons, from 12 p.m. until 9 p.m. Reebok, however, wasn’t concerned about a potential lack of study space, “but it’s more of a nuisance that we can’t than an actual concern.”

However, the law students are concerned about space and sound issues. Evan King, LAW ’15, said, “it’s difficult to even get a seat.” King continued, “If I go up there, I need to be able to sit down immediately, and I’ll probably be there for 12 hours [studying].”

He continued, “After being an undergrad and going through the same set of undergrad finals, being in law school, it’s a different game.”

“Quinn Library is available as a resource more geared toward [undergraduate] classes and studies,” King also said. “I don’t really see why a law student would ever need to go get materials from Quinn [Library] … The quiet place to study in a library setting, both places meet that need.”

In an email interview, Michael Martin, dean of the Fordham Law School, said, “I’m very pleased that the new building has allowed the Law School to be more integrated into the life of all students at Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus.

“At the same time, we have to ensure that the Law Library continues to meet the needs of law students in providing a quiet place for their focused study in preparation for and during exam periods. Therefore, I made the decision to limit access [to] non-law students during exam periods,” Martin continued.

Law students seem to approve of the ban, as they feel their study space is “much quieter,” Melissa Fabi, LAW ’16, said. She continued, “Undergrads tend to talk more, it breaks your focus; they’re rowdy and laughing with their friends and there are a lot of them … it’s really disruptive toward us.” When asked about the current state of Maloney Library, Fabi added, “It’s absolutely quieter, you can actually study there now and I think [the ban] should be year-round.” Kiran Gill, LAW ’16, agreed with Fabi,  “We’re starting to form a petition to make the ban year-round because it feels so disruptive to have [undergraduates] present.” 

Though the ban is now set for undergraduates, law students are still allowed access to Quinn Library. “For 1L [First year] legal research classes, they ask you to find older laws there [in Quinn],” Gill said. “But for regular classes, everything you need is in the Law Library, and for journals, everything you need is in the Law Library.”

Undergraduates, especially those who are not freshmen feel this restricts them even more from the new building. Miriam Ambrosino, FCLC ’17, said, “I think it’s a great thing that our campus has these new spaces, and banning the law library nullifies that this year is a new year for Fordham students … it just seems like the whole new building is off-limits to us.” 

Hunter Lang, FCLC ’17, also used Maloney Library, and agreed with Ambrosino’s point that there is no access for upperclass students in McKeon Hall as a whole. “The only place I’ve really been in the new building is the law library, and now I can’t go there,” she said.

Published: December 10, 2014

On Thursday, Dec. 4, Fordham College at Lincoln Center’s (FCLC)’s United Student Government (USG) approved the creation of five new clubs on campus, according to Vice President of Operations Jacob Azrilyant, FCLC ’16.

The addition of the five clubs brings the total of clubs created this semester to a record high of seven. Only six clubs were created during the entire 2013-2014 academic year. 

The clubs approved this semester include Archery Club, Generation Citizen, Basketball Club, Film Society, Investment Group at Fordham Lincoln Center, Model United Nations and Philosophy club.

The process for starting a new club on campus begins with the parties interested in submitting an online form. Next, the students meet with USG’s Vice President of Operations to discuss the club registration packet, which “contains the advisor consent form, executive board information, club member petitions and example constitution,” Azrilyant said.

Crafting the constitution “can take up to several weeks, to a month, [to] two months depending on how complex they want their constitution to be,” Azrilyant said. Club constitutions “outline everything from the executive board members, who they are when they meet, what their purpose is, when they hold elections,” according to Azrilyant.

After several rounds of revisions, the constitution is reviewed by Keith Eldredge, dean of students at FCLC, and Dorothy Wenzel, Ph.D, director of the Office of Student Leadership and Community Development (OSLCD). Once approved, the club registration packet is up for a vote by the USG Senate.

If approved, clubs will be put on a 14-week probationary period, where they can only request two budget line items from Student Activities Budget Committee (SABC). “Full approval can take somewhere from a month up to a full semester,” Azrilyant said.

“Given the seven we just approved, there have been 18 other club requests,” Azrilyant said. “Four out of the 18 are currently in the constitution editing process.”

According to Azrilyant, there has been more interest in creating clubs on campus this year. “Last year, we had 21 outstanding club requests, which means not approved, and right now, there have been 25 [outstanding] club requests this semester alone.”

How has the new freshmen class impacted club requests? “13 of the requests this semester are from freshmen,” Azrilyant said. Of the seven clubs approved this semester, two have been spearheaded by freshmen: Film Society and the Investment Group at Fordham Lincoln Center. “I find it interesting how freshmen are always the most excited,” he said. “Day two of orientation, I got two new club requests.”

“This freshman class specifically, has shown a particular amount of energy we haven’t seen before-culture changes from class to class but they are really enthusiastic,” Azrilyant said.

The downside to approving a record number of clubs is whether or not SABC will be able to fill budget requests. “The student activities fee is the same every year, and the amount of money we have every year stays the same. We’re hoping with the new [Gabelli School of Business at Lincoln Center] that we will see an increase, but I can’t say with any certitude that that will be enough,” Azrilyant said.

“While not all clubs ask for a lot of money, it’s a question of how many because eventually we won’t be able to support a large amount of clubs,” he said.

A short answer component has been added to the club registration packet this year as a result to the drastic increase in club requests, where interested parties must outline how their proposed club will benefit the community, its short and long-term goals, and an example of what a typical club meeting would look like. 

In addition, the Operations Committee now requires a sample budget. “This will help raise the standard of clubs because sometimes we get a club that’s not a really formed idea,” Azrilyant said. 

Melissa Benoist’s character, Nicole, plays a Fordham student in the film “Whiplash”. (Property of Sony Classics)
Melissa Benoist’s character, Nicole, plays a Fordham student in the film “Whiplash”.  (Property of Sony Classics)
Melissa Benoist’s character, Nicole, plays a Fordham student in the film “Whiplash”. (Property of Sony Classics)

Staff Writer
Published: December 10, 2014

Though they run the spectrum from ruthless and intelligent lawyers as found in “Michael Clayton” to unfocused philosophy majors as in “Whiplash”, portrayals of Fordham students and graduates are becoming more noticeable in film. In modern film and television, audiences see both the good and bad sides of characters associated with Fordham.

“Whiplash”, a film about a drummer fighting against his intense music instructor at a prestigious conservatory, does not portray Fordham in a positive manner. Early on in the movie, the drummer Andrew, played by actor Miles Teller, asks out Melissa Benoist’s character, Nicole; Nicole mentions she is a philosophy major at Fordham, which she jokes is a useless major. 

While this can be taken as either a comment against either Fordham or philosophy in general, a more negative sting to Fordham is found in the USA show “Suits”. The show has frequently derided Fordham as a “third-tier school, like Arizona State.” 

There are more positive portrayals of characters educated at Fordham, however. In the final season of “The Newsroom”, Maggie Jordan begins dating a fictional professor at Fordham Law Jack Spaniel, who debates her on ethical reporting in his first appearance on the show. He is also revealed to be a survivor of the Boston Marathon bombings in  the show and is unafraid of challenging Maggie in her attempt to get a story dishonestly.

Portrayal is not limited to supporting characters as seen in the preceding examples. There are also main protagonists, such as Matt Damon’s character in “The Adjustment Bureau”, who obtained both his undergraduate and law degrees at Fordham before entering a career in politics. As the film is set in New York City, this can also speak to the regional recognition of Fordham as a New York institution.

Another positive and difficult portrayal is in the film “Michael Clayton”. In the film, the titular character, portrayed by George Clooney, is said to have attended Fordham Law in a breakdown of his personal history. The film goes on to show Clayton as an intelligent, practical and, above all else, a ruthless litigator. Ty Burr in his review of the film for The Boston Globe said, “Clayton is an outer-borough boy, a graduate of Fordham Law rather than Harvard, the kid who made good from a family of cops … He’s the fixer, the guy other attorneys call when their clients run someone over with their Porsches.” 

Despite these portrayals, students currently attending Fordham do not notice their school in film. Kyndal Jackson, FCLC ’17, said, “No, I’m not aware of any [reference] to Fordham, though I don’t watch a lot of scripted television.”

Aakash Kumar, FCLC ’17, agreed that he wasn’t aware of the latest references to Fordham in film and TV. . He said, “I know that they’ve used Rose Hill [Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH)] to film for a bunch of [television] shows and I’ve seen them … but I don’t know about any [references] to Fordham.” 

While FCLC as a credible institution has certainly gained ground and has exposure, both positive and negative, it still needs more exposure and mentions to become ingrained in the public memory in comparison to Ivy League schools, but it is quickly getting there.

Alexander Jahani, FCLC ’15, uses LED light bulbs in the exhibition “Suspension Points.” (Jason Boit / The Observer)
Alexander Jahani, FCLC ’15, uses LED light bulbs in the exhibition “Suspension Points.” (Jason Boit / The Observer)
Alexander Jahani, FCLC ’15, uses LED light bulbs in the exhibition “Suspension Points.” (Jason Boit / The Observer)

Arts & Culture Editor
Published: December 10, 2014

From old-fashioned to modern modes of communication, ranging from postcards to Facebook, there seems to be endless ways of reaching out to anyone. Separated by two hemispheres and one equator, students from Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC)  and Queensland University of Technology, an Australian-based university,  use art to display both the challenging and availing aspects of receiving a message in the exhibition “Suspension Points,” featured now through Jan. 25 in Ildiko Butler Gallery at FCLC.

As part of their senior collaboration projects, students from both Fordham and Queensland selected three forms of communication, ranging from the postcard to the social media websites like Facebook and Instagram. Students would then produce a work of art in response to their correspondence with their respective partners. “[The students] were prohibited from contacting their partner through any other mode of communication, other than the one they had chosen,” Casey Ruble, Fordham’s artist-in-residence and coordinator of the senior collaboration, said. “There are no restrictions on them, other than the fact that they had to use their assigned communication format.”

For some students, it was easy to correspond with their partner on the other side of the world and create a provocative piece. “Our mode of communication was Facebook,” C. Sarah Strafford, FCLC ’15, said. “At first, [my partner and I] started chatting and found that we shared a lot of the same interests. Then, we thought, why don’t we think about communicating back and forth and how this can be interpreted.”

Because of this way of communication via Facebook, Strafford wanted to focus her project on the social media channel’s lack of privacy and how different types of people are perceived on it. “For the concept, I finally thought, why don’t I do a take on the kind of imagery that you see on social media – and we thought, printing out our conversations was the best way to go,” she said.

Similarly, Alexander Jahani’s, FCLC ’15, direct conversation with his partner via Twitter led to a piece that conveys his take on social media. “My project is essentially two LED light bulbs that are positioned right next to each other. I wanted to translate those Twitter conversations in a simple way, to say that, these are signals of communication and a message. And although these messages are under 140 characters, they are still a message,” he said.

In the class, some students chose a mode of communication that prevented them from talking to their partner on the other side. As a result, they were faced with the challenge of creating an art piece out of that miscommunication. “I chose my medium of communication to be message in a bottle,” Tochi Mgbenwelu, FCLC ’15, said. “I knew that I was never going to be communicating with my partner because messages in a bottle don’t work like Skype.”

Mgbenwelu used film to show her experience using this mode of communication. “I recorded my experience going to Coney Island and throwing the message in the bottle in the water. I also did the same thing at the Hudson River.”

According to each of the Fordham students, this project unexpectedly brought them and their Australian partners closer together.

Even with a public forum like Twitter, Jahani was able to form a close connection with his partner. “My partner and I would send each other direct messages – it was a more intimate way of communicating, because we got to learn about each other,” he said. “We talked about things I didn’t necessarily affect the project directly. But, we got to talk about our approach to the project and what one thought about the other’s piece.”

For Mgbenwelu, she was able to learn a lot about her partner through their mode of communication. “My partner brought five bottles and she wrote me 20 letters – each letter representing each year of her life. She put four letters in each bottle and shared secrets in her letters that she didn’t want to share with anybody. Initially, she was going to throw them in the water, but then I told her that I am going to read these,” she said. “She shared really deep things in these letters, and it was nice to know that I am the only other person who knows these things.”

Such forms of communication are able to bring people together, according to Ruble. “There is this assumption that these communication formats can bring us together and allow for a kind of intimacy between two different people who are separated by long distance,” she said. “But these pieces question if that is the case and the idea of communication formats of drawing people together.”

Best Coast will headline the third annual WinterFest. (Klaus Hiltscher via Flickr.)
Best Coast will headline the third annual WinterFest. (Klaus Hiltscher via Flickr.)

Published: December 4, 2014
Additional Reporting by Ian Schaefer and Connor Mannion.

Best Coast, an American rock duo, will headline the third annual WinterFest Concert at Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) on Friday, Jan. 23, 2015, the WinterFest Concert committee announced today during the Winterfest Artist Release Party.

The event, which took place in the Student Lounge, followed the United Student Government (USG) Tree Lighting on the Robert Moses Plaza.

Molly Hellauer, FCLC ’16 and Chair of WinterFest Concert Committee, discussed how the committee chose Best Coast. “We start our search by looking at artists, who fit in our budget, and once we have a shortlist of four to 7 seven, we poll the FCLC community. Then we make a decision among the committee on who would be the best performers for the FCLC community,” she said.

“I know that we were really leaning toward Best Coast,” committee member Emma Lemar, FCLC’15, said “It’s really exciting we could get them because I feel even if you don’t know them; their concert will be really fun and have a lot of energy.”

Best Coast was formed in California in 2009, and consists of songwriter, vocalist and guitarist Bethany Cosentino and guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Bobb Bruno. Best Coast’s first studio album, “Crazy for You,” reached #36 on the charts when it was released in 2010. Their second and latest studio album, “The Only Place,” has reached #24.

Students at the release party had a variety of reactions. Leighton Magoon, FCLC’17, expressed his excitement at getting to know a new band. “Last year, I had never heard of Dr. Dog before they performed and when I went to WinterFest, I was really happy with the performance. It seemed like from what the consensus was, the reaction was pretty good, and I’m looking forward to it,” he said. 

Kelveen Fabian, FCLC ’17, agreed with Magoon. “I’ve never heard of Best Coast, but from what I’ve heard it sounded pretty good so I’m pretty excited. I like to explore new music,” he said. 

Andrew Donchak, FCLC ’18, was impressed with the committee’s excitement. “It’s exciting. I initially had my doubts about the whole event, but after tonight, I’m really pumped for the whole thing. It’s going to be fun.”

With the concert less than two months, advertising and promoting the event are next on the agenda for the concert committee. “We’re going to start the push for advertising, get the name of the band out there and get students to know the date and most importantly, know who’s coming and get excited. Tickets start the first week of classes at 4pm on the Plaza and we’re selling tickets straight through to the 22nd,” Hellauer said.