CCM Functions

Unity Day celebrates differences, highlights similarities

BY LINDSEY MEDWIN
Contributor

After a divisive fall semester that was punctuated by a contentious election cycle, the County College of Morris chapter of Phi Theta Kappa responded by hosting  a celebration of culture and difference.

Unity Day, held on Dec. 1, 2016, was planned as an event to bring together all walks of life on campus in order to educate attendees not only on different cultures, but what exactly unites them. This event ran from 12:30 to 2:00 and took place in the Davidson Rooms at the Student Community Center. The idea for Unity Day stemmed from PTK’s Honors in Action project and was developed with two leading themes: beauty and vulgarity.

“We wanted to do something that highlighted how different cultures go together,” said Michael Gosden, president of Phi Theta Kappa.

Though not particularly inspired from an on campus issue, but rather a bigger unification problem in society overall recently with the uproar over the election in particular, PTK aspired to organize an event to address these concerns and allow their intentions to spread beyond the grounds of CCM.

“We can start it at county [college] and spread it further throughout the county,” Gosden said.

Over the summer and throughout the fall 2016 semester, members of the chapter worked together and created Unity Day.

“It was a huge team effort, especially with our adviser, Dr. Bette Simmons.” said Gosden.

Unity Day kicked off with a cultural experience all college students can enjoy – free food. The event was catered by Forte Pizza, representing Italian culture, as well as a Dover restaurant which served empanadas from Spanish culture.

Attendees then had time to walk around the room lined with tables, each representing a specific culture.

“Those helming the tables displayed travel photos and various mementos from his or her respective culture,” said Nicholas Sisti, an attendee and contributor to Unity Day.

PTK included an informational kiosk designed to educate students on cultures the event was not representing directly. This was achieved by having a laptop open with heads of the table handy if anyone had questions.

“We would then briefly research on the internet whatever culture the student asked about and provide them with insight,” Sisti, a table head, said.

“We didn’t want to exclude anyone because that would defeat the purpose of the project,” Gosden said.

After some free time to explore the tables, everyone came together to participate in various group activities such as games and dancing. A game teaching colors in Italian was featured, as well as three different cultural dances from Greek, Korean and Spanish culture.

The dancing was like “one big multi-cultural dance party,” said Sisti.

In total, the event attracted about 50 people, a slightly higher number than expected by the chapter. Both the United Latino Organization and the Asian Students Association joined the event and contributed to its successes.

“Our Unity Day Event led to a greater appreciation of different cultures by a wide variety of students from across campus,” said Mohammad Rahmatullah, secretary of PTK.

In addition to hosting an upcoming blood drive and other various fundraisers, Phi Theta Kappa plans on duplicating Unity Day in the 2017 spring semester. Students can look forward to seeing this event brought back to campus and hopefully an expanded window of time to allow anyone interested in attending a greater opportunity to do so.

“If any students have any questions about PTK or how to join, they can stop by the office in room 130 in the Student Community Center,” said Gosden.

As multiple board members of PTK will be graduating at the end of this semester, Gosden and other executives expressed hope that the event will ultimately get passed down to the language department so Unity Day can make a customary appearance on campus in the future.

Any students with questions about PTK or about how to join can contact President Michael Gosden in SCC130.

New building to be named for exiting president

BY AMANDA ALLER
News Editor

DSCF7787

PHOTO CREDIT: AMANDA ALLER

The halls of DeMare Hall may seem a little quieter as of late as the musicians and thespians have been moved out of cramped classrooms in the County College of Morris’ main academic building to their new home in the soon-to-be dedicated Edward J. Yaw Music Technology Center.

“I’m honored, and this is meaningful to me in a lot of different ways,” said Edward Yaw, CCM president. “It’s meaningful because we’ve wanted to add this to the campus for many years… and my father was also a musician in upstate New York, so this has special meaning to me.”

Yaw said the new name will not take effect until the dedication ceremony on April 21, and until after the Board of Trustees approves it that week.

The CCM Board of Trustees broke ground on the new $8.5 million building in Sept. 2014.

“Since 2007, enrollment in our music technology programs has grown 36 percent,” said Edward Yaw, CCM President. “This new facility not only will address that growth but allow CCM to build upon the strengths of its music and performing arts programs. We are grateful to the residents of New Jersey and county officials for making this possible.”

Since 2014, the Building Our Future Bond Act has provided $750 million for New Jersey’s colleges. Of that, $200 million is going towards community colleges for much-needed construction and renovation projects.

CCM received a total of $10 million to construct the Music Technology Building along with upgrading its engineering labs. The Music Technology Center has since become a multi-purpose building used to house the college’s popular and growing music technology and other performing arts programs.

“The Music Technology Center is awesome and we’re getting modern technology shipped from other countries, which are specially made for our new building” said Ashley May, a student at CCM.

All of the funding for the facility is coming from the Building Our Future Bond Act that was approved by New Jersey voters in 2012.

Governor Chris Christie said that passage of the bond act would increase jobs as well as boost the state’s economy in terms of construction, teaching and maintaining the facilities.

“The Music Technology Building will be one of 176 projects that are underway at 46 of our college’s and universities throughout the state, and it’s important not only for the future jobs it will create but also for the men and women who work in the building trades across the state,” said Christie.

The Music Technology Center has been constructed as a 22,500-square-foot, two-story addition to the college’s Student Community Center. Academic programs to be housed in the new facility include Digital Media Technology, Drama, Media Technology, Music and Music Recording.

The facility includes an experimental theater lab that will serve as a large hands-on classroom with a recording studio and seating for 100-125 people, two standard classrooms, an electronic music/aural comprehension classroom, a piano lab, a second recording studio, scene shop, dressing rooms and multiple student practice rooms.

“You always dream about having nice facilities to work and teach in, but here the dream came true,” said Todd Collins, a music professor at CCM.

Women’s Center provides course to ‘Empowerment!’

BY GINA N. FICO
Acting News Editor

Women have benefited from the County College of Morris’ Women’s Center for over 25 years. Many women over the years gained self-esteem through counseling and courses for both their career and personal life.

Empowerment! is a 12-week, selective course that teaches women to “combat internal barriers, employability skills and experimental methods.” Attendance is mandatory and homework is given to the women.

“There is always something going on in a woman’s life that causes them to think, ‘What’s next?’” said Melissa Elias, Executive Director of the women’s center.

Elias said the program was created to make women go forward in their lives. In one of the activities, a human figure was drawn. She explained, inside the body was what others want and outside was what the women can do for themselves.

“It’s really designed to help women reflect and make the changes they want to make,” said Joanne Rohach, creator and facilitator of Empowerment.

Elias and Rohach “brainstormed” the idea for the course in June of 2013. Rohach has a long history of motivating women to reach their full potential. Empowerment! ran for the first time  in January of 2014.

“Back in 2011, I started providing workshops at the women’s center on a pro bono basis,” said Rohach.

Elias said in combination of Rohach’s experience and peer support in the group, the program is a great resource for women. It also attracts a diverse group of women each time it ran through its dynamic program.

“It’s a wonderful and beautiful thing,” said Elias.

Michele Coneys, job placement counselor at the Women’s Center said she has seen a lot of positives from Empowerment!

One of Coneys’ duties is to provide women with job postings. She said she finds speakers and facilitates meetings for the center.

“Empowerment! Helps women find jobs, and helps them find the confidence to find jobs,” Coney said. “It helps women feel better about themselves and opens up opportunities to them.”

Active shooter prep shows when to ‘Run, Hide, Fight’

BY DEREK ALLEN
Editor-in-Chief

The nightmare scenario of facing an active shooter roaming The County College of Morris has prompted officials to urge the campus community to know when to run, hide or fight.

untitled-infographic (1)

The prevalence of shootings happening in schools, movie theaters and other public places have sent shockwaves throughout the country. Two months into 2016, ten mass shootings have occurred at schools ranging from K-12 to High School, according to everytownresearch.org.

Here at the County College of Morris, the “active shooter” scenario has faculty, staff and students concerned. In response to those concerns, the department of public safety hosted an Active Shooter Forum, open to staff, students and faculty.

“Morris County is not immune to this,” Deputy Coordinator of Morris County’s Office of Emergency Management Jeff Paul said at the forum.“We don’t know where the next event will be, but there will be an event. The time is now to change that mindset and put resources to where they need to be so that we are, as one community, ready to respond to this event.”

The forum was attended by mostly faculty and a handful of students.

Critical Infrastructure Coordinator for the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Alfonse Imperiale showed data on mass shootings from various sources and clips from a Run, Hide, Fight instructional video.

According to a survey done by NYPD from 1992 to 2012 presented in the seminar, surveying 67 incidents: 96 percent of attackers were males between the ages of 13-19, 42 percent of attacks took place in the morning hours, and all shootings – except for Columbine – had one shooter acting alone.

Imperiale said there were 13 shootings in 2013, 15 shootings in 2014, and 23 shootings in 2015 in the U.S.

The video, from the Universities of Georgia and Alberta, asked students what they would do, with one student saying they would probably just freeze up. Students have so much to focus on, an active shooter situation is low on their list of priorities to think about. The video said people with a pre-set plan in mind are more likely to survive.

Imperiale said he recommends improvising with what is available. Backpack straps, belts and door stops can be used to keep doors closed. Desks and chairs can be used to barricade doors. Improvised weapons such as pens and scissors can be used to defend against a shooter. A backpack filled with thick textbooks might be enough to stop a bullet.

The video said to scan and assess the situation, consider your options, and act. Choose a safe exit, and do not attract the shooter’s attention.

“Knowing your environment and the room you are in helps,” said Imperiale. “If you see an exit but it’s down a hallway, don’t risk it. If there’s an empty classroom that’s closer, it’s better to go in there and hide.”

Imperiale said to turn off the lights, barricade the door and be quiet in the event of an active shooter. Call 911 as soon as the room is secure. Hide behind tables, mute phones, and wait for police.

Fighting, the video said, is a last resort if all other options fail. If forced to fight, disarm and incapacitate the shooter. “Mentally prepare” yourself to fight for your life, and decide ahead of time what each person will do if the shooter enters the room.

Imperiale said the first and foremost goal law enforcement has arriving on the scene is finding the active shooter and stopping them.

“That means when they come on to the scene, they’ll be moving towards gunshots,” said Imperiale. “Everyone in the building will be considered a suspect, because they don’t know [what the situation is]. When teams of officers do make contact with you, do not run towards them. Make sure your hands are visible to them. Hands are dangerous for law enforcement That’s what they’re looking at all the time.”

Imperiale said if you are forced to fight and are holding down an individual, keep your hands visible and cooperate with officers once they arrive.

“Any injured people they will bypass immediately,” said Imperiale. “They are looking for the threat, trying to neutralize it. Once the shooter has been contained or neutralized, the officers will begin treatment and evacuation.”

Chief of Randolph Township Police Department David Stokoe said he supports the principles behind the Run, Hide, Fight program.   

“You are far more likely to survive a violent encounter by making decisions based on what you’re encountering at that moment,” said Stokoe. “Theyare dynamic, rapidly changing situations. That decision to either run, hide or fight is going to change based on what you’re facing. You have to be able to think on your feet and make those decisions very quickly.”

Stokoe said pre-planning will help foster immediate action that could potentially save lives. Planning for this kind of situation anywhere, not only at school, can also potentially help save lives.

“The time to think about it is not when it’s happening,” said Stokoe. “The time to think about it is now.”

Stokoe said since the Randolph Police are located just up the road from CCM, the response time should anything happen would be no more than 5 minutes.

Officers from the Randolph Police Department have toured the campus to better understand the layout of the college in terms of entrances and exits. Officers can also communicate to Public Safety directly via radio.

“We encourage [our officers] to have that visible presence,” said Stokoe. “I hope you see them on a routine basis. We work very well with Public Safety. We’re all working towards improving and enhancing our abilities in response to these types of situations.”

According to Director of Public Safety Harvey Jackson, procedures are in place to evacuate each building in the event of an active shooter. Each building has three to four faculty members trained to assist public safety in an evacuation, called fire marshals. When a building is evacuated, fire marshals check each room to make sure no one is left behind. Students and faculty are ushered to staging areas, usually in front of the library or to lot eight.

Depending on the situation, the staging area may change. Students and staff would be notified by maintenance staff, who carry radios on them at all times and would be in contact with public safety.

Titan Alert would also be used in the event of an evacuation to communicate quickly with students and faculty.  

“Titan Alert is the method for which a student will be notified about school closures and other campus related emergencies,” said John R. Hurd, assistant professor of criminal justice.

“Since it seems most students have cell phones, even when on campus, that may be a preferred method to receive emergency messages.”

For an evacuation, the paging system would also be in use. In the event of an active shooter, depending on where the individual is, the paging system would not be activated in the area the shooter would be in. Maintenance is also on call in that situation if power needs to be cut to a building occupied by an active shooter.

“Personally, I feel no one can be prepared for this,” Jackson said. “We’re prepared as well as we can be. A community college is one of the hardest places to defend. Everything is public.”

Since CCM is a county college, most of the campus is legally public space. Anyone can walk onto campus, which makes it difficult to keep the campus secure.

CCM now has an upgraded camera system, able to follow anyone on campus in real time. Another upgrade coming soon is an electronic panic button. Computers in classrooms will be equipped with a clickable button that, when activated, displays a graphic of a red button with a ten second countdown and an option to cancel the call or continue.

Jackson had a working version of the electronic panic button in his office, and demonstrated what would happen if it was activated. Once pressed, the button disappeared from his computer and an alarm sounded in the public safety main office.

The panic button can also be programmed to alert other staff in the area once it has been activated, letting others know an incident may be in progress.

The phones in every classroom can function as a panic button as well. Any phone picked up automatically dials public safety, so if a phone is picked up and left dangling that immediately raises a red flag and elicits a response from public safety. However, if it is safe to do so, it is better to call 911 directly in the event of an emergency.

According to Vice President of Business and Finance at CCM Karen VanDerhoof, training for the possibility of an active shooter will begin in March of 2016. FEMA will do a two day training session with staff on campus.

“It will basically run us through how to assess our emergency operations plan, communication strategies and how to identify and deal with situations,” VanDerhoof said. “How to deal with the aftermath of a situation, grief counseling, all of those types of things.”

VanDerhoof said a camera drill is being planned involving Public Safety, the Randolph Township Police Department and the Office of Emergency Management.

“They’ll bring their command bus here and they’ll have connectivity to our cameras on campus,” VanDerhoof said. “It will be like a pursuit drill, where we might have an individual on campus who might not belong here and we’ll be able to track, pursue and hopefully apprehend that person. That’s the first drill that will be happening later this fall.”

The next drill, planned for sometime in the fall of 2016, will be a full on active shooter drill. The drill will involve students, faculty and emergency responders, testing the college’s response to the possibility of a mass shooting.

“We are planning to do an active shooter drill on campus in the future,” said Paul. “I can’t give you a timetable on that yet, but it’s in the works. There’s a lot in the works, but it does take time. What we need to do with an active shooter event is give you your options, train with your options, have observers and evaluators there, have after-action reports. There’s a lot we need for a drill of this kind. We’re going to build on that and work from there.”

Director of the Sherman H. Masten Learning Resource Center Heather Craven said the forum was a good review of options available in the event of an emergency.

“It was really good to get first hand answers to our questions. We feel more prepared and we’ve put more thought into what we’d do,” Craven said.

Edward Yaw, CCM President, said there is no universal response to an incident, and that procedures change depending on the situation. The main focus of these preparations is communication and rapid response.

“God forbid it ever happens,” VanDerhoof said. “The odds are not great, but you never know. Very fortunately, we have very little issues on this campus, with any type of crime. But you can’t assume that it would never happen here…Unfortunately, it happens everywhere. You can’t have the mindset that it can never happen here, you have to assume it could and just be as prepared as possible for it. And that’s what we’re moving towards.”

For more information on the Run, Hide, Fight program and a full emergency response guide, visit ccm.edu/publicsafety.

 

 

Shooting hoops to ‘Kill Cancer’

BY BRETT FRIEDENSOHN
Sports Editor

 

The women’s basketball team at the County College of Morris dedicated its final game of the 2015-16 season as a “Kill Cancer Night” and a “Sophomore Night.”

The team donated the proceeds from its final game of the 2015-16 season to the Hackensack University Medical Center to help alleviate the medical bills of one of the hospital’s leukemia patients, the father of a player on the team. The team raised money by charging attendees admission and accepting donations.

“I was pleased that [the players] were doing a community service,” said Brenda DeNure, head coach of women’s basketball. “I think it’s important that the girls understand what it means to be a part of the community.”

Some players on the team spoke about the effect that the event will have.

“[The patient] loves basketball; he loves watching his daughter play, so I think she thought it was pretty nice of us to get something like that together to do that for him,” said Pamela Hun, nutrition major. “We had matching socks, we made bows for each other for the game, and we all got together for a cause to play basketball and raise money for her father. “

Brielle Bolgero, exercise science major, said the event accomplished a lot.

“Us donating it really helped a lot of people,” Bolgero said.

Bolgero said she admired the generosity people on the men’s basketball team showed who attended the event.

“Even though we didn’t charge the boys any money to watch, all of them did donate money,” Bolgero said. “That was a nice thing to hear.”

To show their support, about 50 to 60 people attended the game.

“We raised awareness that we have a CCM basketball team, and people came to support, so maybe next year, the girls will have more supporters and fans to come out for them,” Hun said. “It keeps you positive when people are watching and cheering for you, so I feel that it will be better for the team next year.”

Monica Kulelcki, an exercise science major, said she was impressed with the turnout.

“It was our last game, so I was hoping a lot of people would come out and support us,”

Before the game, DeNure gave her sophomores a speech and several gifts, including a cake with pictures of the their faces, basketball shaped cookies with their names on it, balloons, and flowers.

“I really enjoyed it,” said Michaela Piserchia, a hospitality management major. “I wasn’t sure if they were gonna do anything like that. Last year we were kind of in between coaches, and so they weren’t really sure what to do. It was really nice that they recognized the sophomores.”

DeNure said the sophomores, who will not play for CCM next season, played their hearts out in their last game.

“They gave everything they had,” said DeNure. “I said, ‘It was the last game you will play here. Give it everything you’ve got.’”

Hun, a sophomore, said it might be her last game in general.

“I mean, for me, I’ve been playing my whole life, so it was just sad to realize that I’m never going to play on an actual team again,” said Hun.

Bolgero, another sophomore, said they went into the game trying to get a win against their tough competitor, Manor College.

“We all played really hard and gave it our all,” said Bolgero.

According to DeNure, the team lost 69-40 to Manor, but managed to raise $130 for their cause.

 

Jersey-wide photography showcased at CCM

Photo by Amanda Aller

Photo Credit: Amanda Aller

BY DEREK ALLEN

Editor-in-Chief

Landscapes, portraits, and graphic art are all on display at the County College of Morris art gallery.

The CCM art gallery, located near the library in the Learning Resource Center, is hosting a photography exhibition showcasing artwork from various New Jersey artists. 15 members of the New Jersey Photography Forum (NJPF) will display their work.

“We are very pleased to be partnering with one of the largest photography groups in New Jersey to present this special exhibit in our gallery,” said Todd Doney, professor of visual arts and curator of the CCM gallery.

The exhibit, titled “Dimensions: A NJPF Invitational,” features work from artists all over New Jersey encompassing a broad range of subjects, ranging from traditional portraits and landscapes to abstract photography. Art featured will have been captured in a variety of ways, using traditional film photography, digital photography or even cell phone photography.

“This exhibit will not only be a visually exciting event for the viewer, it will also be instructional and inspirational for the young student photographer who is just starting to explore the art form,” said Nancy Ori, co-curator for the exhibit. “We are very happy to be partnering with the County College of Morris with this special project. As an organization, we are dedicated to developing the art form of photography and assisting artists to grow and develop in the field.”

Giovanni D’Amico, a visual arts major, said he thinks the artwork on display is amazing.

“It’s great to see new things curated by the school,” said D’Amico. “They rotate it frequently, so there’s always something new to see.”

All works presented in the exhibit will be available for sale.

The next show presented in the gallery will be a student best-in-show, planned to start on April 17.

 

Speaker advocates cutting prison population by half

BY BETH PETER
Managing Editor

 

Enraptured students clung to every word as criminal justice reform advocate Glenn Martin spoke on Thursday, Feb. 11 at the latest installment of the Legacy Project lecture series at the County College of Morris.

Martin outlined a bold plan to cut the amount of people in prison in half by 2030.

“Whether you did something wrong or not,” said Martin, president of JustLeadershipUSA, “The fact that you get sent to a jail where your safety is in jeopardy every moment while you’re there, and your human dignity is taken away as you cross the bridge to Rikers [Island], felt problematic to me. Even at the age of 16.”

If Martin sounds like he is speaking from experience, it is because he is, having spent the balance of six years incarcerated.

Martin founded JLUSA with the goal of halving the American incarcerated population by 2030. According to the mission statement, JLUSA “empowers people most affected by incarceration to drive policy reform.”

In the Student Community Center at CCM, Martin spoke to roughly 300 students and faculty members about his mission.

“I don’t think the irony has escaped many people nowadays in 2016 that in the land of the free, that we have the highest rate of incarceration in the world,” Sociology Professor Gerald S. Kloby said in his introductory remarks. “Or, technically, I suppose the second highest incarceration rate. Only one country locks up a higher percentage of its people than the United States and that’s the tiny nation of Seychelles which is a country of less than a hundred thousand people.”

Kloby praised the Legacy Project’s efficacy in bringing in an impressive spread of speakers over the last three years, lauding the lectures as “good for all of us, good for students mostly and good for faculty. We found them very inspiring.”

Martin’s experience in prison was an enthralling story on its own.

“At the age of 16 I got arrested for petty larceny and shoplifting and found myself at a place called Rikers Island,” Martin said. The prison is the second largest jail in the United States. “In New York, we charge 16-year-olds as adults.”

According to a 2014 report by the Department of Justice, at Rikers “a deep-seated culture of violence is pervasive throughout the adolescent facilities.”

“He focused a lot on the human being and the value of a human being and how our prison system dehumanizes people so much,” said Spyridoula Fotinis, an international studies major. “I thought that was very cool, that from experience he was speaking.”

Martin said the experience in prison becomes a series of bad choices.

“As soon as you get there, at the age of 16, you quickly have to make a decision,” Martin said. “You either have to be predator, or prey.”

This decision is very nearly irreversible, Martin said, and he shared the story of a man who, on Martin’s first day there, attempted to take his leather coat from him.

“And if you give up your leather coat in that moment, you will probably not be able to come back from that,” Martin said. “And so I had a fight with him and that resulted in four stab wounds in my body that I still have today, in my neck and in my back.”

Martin said of the 9,800 people at Rikers today, the majority of them, over 80 percent, are there as detainees.

“They’re charged with a crime, they’re not convicted of anything, and they’re subject to vast amounts of violence,” Martin said.

Further, with what Martin calls collateral consequences, the punishments doled out by imprisonment can be much longer lasting and more pervasive than required by the courts. He referenced the The Four E’s:  education, employment, enfranchisement, and equality.

“If you have a criminal record, with all the criminal record discrimination that exists in this country, most of it statutory, some of it practical, it takes away all of those things,” Martin said.

According to Martin, this leaves the formerly incarcerated with far fewer options than an individual who never entered the criminal justice system.

“There are universities, there are colleges, I don’t know what the rules are in this one, that say if you have a criminal record you can’t even apply to go to school here,” Martin said. “There are some higher education institutions where they don’t ever have people show up on campus, it’s all remote, and they still don’t let you apply if you have a felony.”

This can seem very dismal, but Martin has a plan with which he hopes to halve the incarcerated population by the year 2030.

“If you’ll notice, I’ve been up here for maybe 15 minutes already and I haven’t said convict, I haven’t said ex-offender, I haven’t said inmate and I haven’t said prisoner. I haven’t said any of the words given to us by the system to refer to people in the system,” Martin said. “Why?  Because if we can’t humanize people who end up in prison in this country, we’ll never end mass incarceration.”

Martin said he has a plan. If we can humanize individuals who are incarcerated, he postulates that we will then be able to look incarceration in a different light.

“If they’re just inmates, and animals, and thugs, and all of the dog-whistle words we tend to use about people who end up in the system, then who cares,” Martin said. “And if they’re that scary, then I don’t care what it costs to lock them up. But if they’re human beings, and if they’re anything like us, then we stop for a minute.”

Martin also touched on the overwhelming majority of people of color in the United States prison system. According to the NAACP, African American and Hispanics make up 58 percent of all those incarcerated, while they’re only about one quarter of the US population.

“I think his complete lack of fear to bring up…the things going on that built up our institutions, the way he talked about white privilege, the way he talked about America’s history so boldly was so powerful to me,” said Sabrina Alvarado, a liberal arts major.

Though spoken eloquently, Martin’s plan did not appease every listener.

“I thought he was a little bit simplistic,” said criminal justice Professor John Hurd. “I see that we can do better than we’re doing. I see that we can reduce [the incarcerated population].”

Hurd said he thought Martin put too much weight on the racism inherent in the system.

“I think the problem is deeper than just race,” Hurd said. “It almost has to be just culture. The culture of criminal justice almost has to be changed”

Hurd said the personification of justice, a blindfolded woman holding a set of scales, is supposed to symbolize justice being blind to race, religion, color or sexual orientation.

“She’s just looking at: these are the facts, this is the penalty,” Hurd said. “I wonder if we could ever get to a society where that’s the way we dealt with justice.”

Hurd did agree with Martin that the problem of crime is tied to areas that are more socioeconomically depressed. Hurd, though, focused also on the “Three Strikes” statutes present in many states.

According to the Department of Justice, the “Three Strikes” statutes give mandatory life imprisonment if an individual is convicted in federal court of a serious violent felony and has two or more prior convictions in federal or state courts, at least one of which is a serious violent felony. The other prior offense may be a serious drug offense.

Hurd said these “Three Strikes” laws increase the prison population because people tend to age out of crime.

“You’re always going to have your career criminals, but there are some people who stopped committing crimes at age 22, 23, 24,” Hurd said. “The inherent unfairness with the ‘Three Strikes’ law is you’re put into jail for 25 to life at a point in their life when they’re just about ready to age out of crime naturally.”

Hurd said his goal is to get the young offender out of the system before they even get in the system.

“His idea is great,” Hurd said of Martin. “I feel like there can be some reform to the criminal justice system.”

Martin said it’s important to not shy away from potentially difficult topics, to share stories about hardships.

“If you look historically in this country, that’s how movements are built,” Martin said. “Movements have faces, movements have stories. Movements have narratives, movements have real people. And movements have people who are not directly impacted by an issue standing alongside people who are because they feel connected because of their humanity. But we don’t get there if we don’t tell stories.”

 

Legacy Project takes trip to prison

BY DEREK ALLEN
Editor-in-Chief

For the past three academic years, the Legacy Project has showcased a multitude of perspectives through various guest speakers.

From civil rights issue to the exiled King of Tibet the speakers were meant to be as engaging as they are diverse. Last semester’s topic was genocide, and this year the Legacy Project is spending some time behind bars.

This event’s keynote speaker will be Glenn E. Martin, founder and president of JustLeadershipUSA (JLUSA), an advocacy group aiming to cut the United States’ incarcerated  population in half by 2030.

“We are eager for Glenn Martin to bring his expertise and passion for this Legacy

Project topic to campus,” said Professor Emily Birx, co-chair of the Legacy Project. “The state of

this country’s correctional system is a highly debated subject.”

Professor John Soltes, co-chair of the Legacy Project, said Martin will most likely talk about the future of his advocacy goals with a personal perspective. Martin, himself, has spent six years in prison.

According to a statement from justleadershipusa.org, “Americans across the political spectrum are coming to terms with the reality that our current rates of incarceration are too costly, ineffective, and unsustainable… Problems like mental illness, substance abuse, and homelessness are better addressed through comprehensive community based social services and interventions that cost less and yield greater results.”

Apart from the JLUSA, Martin has been involved in the Fortune Society, a re-entry organization devoted to helping former prisoners as well as the Inside Out Coalition, a group working to remove barriers to higher education prisoners face both in and out of prison.

“He speaks to all types of audiences,” said Soltes. “He’s an activist but he also talks to law enforcement as well. I think he’s very realistic in what he’s trying to accomplish.”

The event takes place at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb 11 in the Student Community Center, Davidson Rooms.

Martin speaking will mark the eighth Legacy Project event. The Legacy Project was started at CCM to provide scholastic opportunities for students outside of the traditional classroom setting. The goal of the project is to highlight a particular movement, time period or influential person during each semester’s event. The group hopes that the project will draw outside speakers to the campus who can bring their talents and perspectives to students and faculty.

“Our thought is to simply be engaging, and we always talk about context,” said Soltes. “So students can see that these big issues, some of them historical and some of them not so much, have a context in their life.”

The future of the Legacy Project is looking towards the presidential race. For the fall 2016 semester, the project is looking to feature representatives of nominee beliefs, as well as a speaker on disengaged voters to talk about voter apathy.

Another topic that may be chosen for future Legacy Projects is the issue of drugs in America.

“The topic would be chosen for the war on drugs, which a lot of people say is failing in many ways. And also the ongoing debate about legalization of some drugs for medicinal or recreational use,” Soltes said.  “It’s a big issue.”

Soltes said the topic of prison reform and the war on drugs were popular when student surveys were done last year.

CCM students wrestle with major decision

BY NATASHA GRIFFITH
Contributor

 

Many students at the County College of Morris are uncertain about what they want to declare as their major. To some, picking a major is the same thing as trying to decide what career they will have for the rest of their lives. Because of this, some people end up having to change their majors multiple times, resulting in an extension on their graduation date and being forced to spend more money. Most students at CCM, and at other colleges, tend to pick their major based on what they’re most passionate about or what they excel at the most. Sometimes, a student can have too many interests which can lead to trouble picking just one concentration.

“I have so many interests that I often find it difficult to pick just one major,” said Megan McCevoy, a liberal arts major at CCM. “I might just have to settle with human resources since I’m really good at customer service.”

On the other hand, with jobs being so plentiful in the math and science fields, some college students tend to pick their majors based on the probability of being hired immediately after graduation.

“I have always been a people person, I do love helping people,” said Heather Sommers, a nursing student at CCM. “But I also decided to get a nursing degree because there will always be a demand for nurses. I want a secure job after college.”

The majority of the student population at CCM tends to be in their early twenties, so this is a common problem on campus because it can be difficult for people that age to decide the trajectory of their lives. This uncertainty can cause people to change their minds constantly, thus increasing the time it takes to graduate with a degree.

“I’m not entirely sure what I want to do after [college], which is why I’m a liberal arts major,” said Spyridoula Fotinis, a liberal arts major at CCM. “But I do know that I want to travel or do something with the United Nations, so I’ll probably end up majoring in international studies.”

Because some of the students are uncertain about what they want to obtain their degree in, it starts to become an exorbitant expense. College is not cheap, and some people end up having to take out loans or apply for financial aid.

“In a way, it’s almost a little risky trying to choose a major,” Fotinis said. “You’re spending so much money in getting an education and you can’t always be sure that you will get a job in your field.” Another fear that many students have is investing a lot of money in their college courses and, after four years, ending up with a large amount of debt and a job that they could have had even without a degree.

“I love drawing and painting and art in general,” Sommers said. “But I don’t want to become a ‘starving artist.’ I’m scared that I will end up in debt and be unable to pay it off if I get a low paying job.”

CCM alum talks campus life, shares Holocaust film

BY KRISTEN URBAN
Contributor

On Nov 5, Philippe Dumouline, a former student, returned to educate the students on his experience coming to America from Haiti to pursue his education and show the video project he made on the holocaust when he attended the County College of Morris in 1990. Almost every seat was filled for his presentation on Dumouline’s experiences at CCM 15 years ago.

“When I lived in Haiti in Dec of 1987, Haiti was in a situation where political climate was not about education,” said Dumouline.

“I was trying to pursue my career in broadcast journalism, which was not an option for me in Haiti. So I decided to leave and go to the US to get an education and I came to Dover, NJ.”

Dumouline explained how he settled in Morristown, NJ and decided to enroll at CCM. In his world history class, he met elderly classmate Erich Katzinstin. Dumouline said that one day they were talking about the Holocaust and Katzinstin mentioned how he had lived through that time in history. Dumouline instantly became intrigued to learn more about Katzinstin’s story.

“After class I started talking to him and we talked for hours that he even missed his bus home, so I offered to give him a ride home,” said Dumouline. “I then asked him if I could film him and tell his story.”

Dumouline said that Katzinstin agreed to share his story and on April 19, 1990, the video was shot and broadcasted everywhere on campus. The name of the film was “Nie Wieder,” meaning ‘never again’ in German. Every student watched in silence when Dumouline put his film on. It started in Katzinstin’s home where the interview took place. Katzinstin started explaining where he lived in Germany, his social life, and showed pictures of him and his family back in Germany.

“Hitler’s policy was to destroy Jewish business, and blamed the economic hard times on Jewish business,” said Katzinstin. “In Nov of 1938, that was the beginning of the Nazi final solution.”

Katzinstin explained how all Jewish stores were damaged, synagogues were destroyed and many Jewish men were arrested and later on taken to concentration camps. Dumouline put clips of these acts going on in Germany during this time into his video.

“A storm trooper allowed me to stay at his house, and I felt there was no future for me and I started crying,” said Katzinstin.

Katzinstin said that that’s when he realized he needed to get out of Germany.

“I was fortunate enough some business friend of mine offered me to stay in England for nine months until my visa for America was approved.”

Katzinstin said how his passport allowed him to leave Germany but it was stamped ‘Jew,’ so that meant he could never return.

“I never wanted to return to Germany after that… Leaving your homeland, leaving your parents, it’s hard to know that you will never see your parents again,” said Katzinstin.

Katzinstin explained how both of his parents were arrested in 1940 and put into concentration camps, where they eventually passed away. In Jan of 1940, Katzinstin said he arrived in New York City and eventually relocated to Morristown, NJ.

The end of the video had Katzinstin and Dumouline in the classroom with Katzinstin telling the class how much he appreciated what Dumouline had done for him in sharing his story.

Every student a faculty member gave a round of applause for this emotional video. Dumouline then gave an update on Katzinstin’s work with equal rights activism and how he passed away in Sept 1993 and donated his body to science. Dumouline then took a Q and A where students and professors asked him many questions where Dumouline revealed that he had a connection with Katzinstin going through similar pain in having to leave their homeland to survive.