SATIRE: Students annex abandoned A&P

Uprising over new vending machines led to destruction of Student Center

By John Dumm

The Student Community Center cafeteria has been named a demilitarized zone by the department of public safety because almost no human has stepped foot in there since the fall semester began. The only known human activity occurred when approximately 40 students have been estimated to have taken part in a spontaneous act of vandalism Wednesday, August 30 upon discovery of vending machines completely replacing hot meal options there, according to a public safety report.

As of July 2017, the Student Community Center cafeteria has been closed down for renovations, with no word from either staff or summer students on plans for the renovation inspiring rioting and spiking depression diagnosis rates as of August 30, as renovation seems to have ceased with the cafeteria in a completely inoperable, presumably condemned state.

“The place is completely dead, nothing but chairs anymore,” reports psychology student, CCM culinary economist, and noted chair enthusiast Matthew Bristol. “They walled up the debris from the last good eatery on campus, slapped down about seven vending machines, didn’t even bother filling them all — really, it’s an impressively, extravagantly, horrible remodel. It took genuine effort to disrespect the memory of the A-Caf this badly.”

A postmortem survey of the accessibility, affordability, and public knowledge of alternative restaurants reveals dire news and solid cause for the student exodus that has been rounding the rumor mills since the fall student influx.

“It’s like the architects got confused and figured the game room was a ritual-crafted portal to the Ledgewood Mall,” Bristol said. “The Cohen Cafe rework was by all reports a success, clean aesthetic, same friendly staff, new burgers, but the new burgers are the only viable option, and they cost eight bucks a pop- that’s just under eight individual dollar menu items at the Ledgewood chain restaurants, and about the price of a full meal at most of the Ledgewood specialties and the A&P district restaurants. That’s eight burgers per burger, people. If we’re getting gouged that hard, I want the option to order my meat medium rare. Or at the very least with an egg on it, or some other ridiculous, obtuse ingredient.”

Moe Che Sanders, a student who spends most of his time on campus in the video game room, said that he was baffled by what looks like deliberate support of the proto-socialist game room commune that has sprung up since the change.

“They’re even doing promotional discounts for Ledgewood restaurants, which is I suppose a direct subsidy to any students using this as an ersatz lab course in the Economics of Smuggling 101,” said Sanders, who insists that he is a smuggling major despite no such a program existing.

With regards to the A&P district restaurants: China City, Cluck U Chicken, and Scalici’s Pizzeria as of last survey their cheap prices, relatively high-quality food, and convenient location three minutes from Parking Lot One has sparked an almost total shift in the eating habits of all three main demographics of the SCC, Game Room, Pong Room, and Chair Enthusiasts, respectively.

“An actual relocation of the SCC is obviously completely unfeasible,” said frequent Ping Pong Room occupant Lizzy Pierre, toting a complex locational survey helpfully compiled by anonymous business and architecture students as part of an organized complaint to the dean. “Half the value of the place is that it’s an average ten-minute walk from every classroom on campus, and Lot One is already beyond feasible walking distance of the school’s main commuter hub- which is, paradoxically, the current SCC. Nonetheless, the A&P block is so close by car and fulfills so many of the community’s demands- Chinese food, Sportsbar food, Pizza food, there’s a card game shop down the way- next to, I think, a Thai food place and another pizza food- that the SCC regulars have established a kind of forward base there. The A&P itself, is, of course, derelict, which is where this ridiculous relocation idea came from.”

Pierre advises students affected by the teardown to pool their resources with the rest of the SCC community’s attempts to cope, contributing to the bizarre merchant commune formed around people with large cars and open schedules, contacting the musical theater department about their night-bombing and hostage raids on the culinary classrooms behind the primary conference room, or even just joining a support group and going on a diet now that Frosties are expensive again.


COLUMN: President’s Corner

Dr. Anthony Iacono
College President

It’s finally here. Another academic year to grow intellectually, cultivate new experiences, meet new people, and move forward in life. With all of the enthusiasm and encouragement I can muster, I urge you to get involved! After all, it’s your educational experience. This is your year. Make it your best by going above and beyond each and every day. I challenge you to expand your horizons and get more out of your educational experience by doing 10 simple things. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Ten is a lot. Ten is too much. Ten is not simple. Ten might even seem overwhelming. Continue reading, however, and you will see that 10 is entirely possible.

  1.       Meet your professors. They are extraordinary. Even a brief meeting to introduce yourself personally and to learn more about their work will enhance your CCM experience. I am continuously excited about their scholarly research and practices.  I know you will be too once you learn more about them. Many are highly recognized in their fields for their cutting-edge research, publications, and conference presentations.  They are active participants in the arts, creating breathtaking paintings, sculptures, and pushing the boundaries of photography. They compose original musical selections, including symphonies, and share their talent locally and globally. They are recognized vocalists, actors, dancers, poets, novelists, and playwrights. They are recognized industry leaders in fashion and design and engaged in innovative partnerships with organizations like NASA and the Department of Homeland Security. And, for the direct benefit of students, they are endlessly busy forging productive relationships with businesses, law enforcement agencies, healthcare organizations, and other colleges and universities.
  2.       Make a least one new friend among our staff members. Visit the Office of Campus Life, the Learning Resource Center library, the Tutoring Center, an academic office, Accessibility Services, the Testing Center, or any other office. You will find our staff are eager to help you get the most out of your CCM experience.
  3.       Enjoy a coffee or meal at any of our student eateries. The food is terrific, and the selections are better than ever!  If you’re lucky, you might even meet superstar food services employee Derrick Turner, a CCM alum who is so nice that some of our students and employees have dubbed him “the ambassador of CCM.” Trust me. He has an uncanny ability for improving everyone’s day.
  4.       Go somewhere new. Attend a CCM play, concert, dance recital, art show, sporting event, or any other engagement you have never attended in the past. Attend a Legacy Project lecture, visit the Longo Planetarium, or participate in a campus social activity that is new to you. Remember, it’s all about getting involved and expanding your horizons.
  5.       Do something new. Join a club or an honor society. Consider auditioning for a play or trying out for an athletic team. Long after graduation, you will likely find that these kinds of involvement will benefit you in many wonderful ways. Remember, getting involved allows you to not only expand your horizons but it also helps you build a network. It’s never too early to build a network of support for your CCM years and beyond.
  6.       Talk to me. Stop by my office, grab me on the sidewalk, chat with me at a campus sporting event, or simply say hello at a performing or visual arts show. Join me for lunch in the Cohen Café or chat with me over coffee at Starbucks. Consider attending one of my student focus groups. They are designed for you to share your thoughts and ideas. Follow me on Twitter @CCMProud where I feature all things CCM, including your accomplishments.
  7.       Talk to your classmates, and make new friends. Be the one who reaches out to others and extends an invitation to form a study group, attend a campus event, or create a new club; the Office of Campus Life is highly supportive and encourages your leadership.
  8.       Be the person who accepts the invitation – see #7.  Remember, our campus is a great place for a first meeting.
  9.       Read at least one really good book this fall. If you need a good recommendation, ask a professor, a librarian, someone in Campus Life, or your advisors. Ask me. I love to read.
  10.   Volunteer your time and talent this year. Whether you give one hour a year or an hour a day, helping others is a rewarding and easy way to make the world a little better. If you’re not sure how to get involved as a volunteer just ask someone in Campus Life. Many of our clubs involve volunteerism and getting involved is easier than you might think.

Getting the most out of your educational experience requires focus, adaptability, sacrifice, a willingness to try new things and an openness to new ideas. It takes hard work and dedication. Your best efforts, however, will almost certainly yield rewards that can last a lifetime.  When it comes to being a student, why settle for surviving when you could be thriving! Thank you for choosing CCM. I look forward to working with you!

Truth requires equal scrutiny for all extremes

By Elena Hooper
Opinion Editor

It’s no secret that the culture and society we live in is becoming steadily more progressive by the year. While the election in the past year has disheartened many and has taken us steps many back in terms of progressive government, the majority of progressives in this country still have not abandoned their progressive ideals. In many respects, it’s been for the better. Gay marriage is now legal. The number of educated young people is higher than it’s ever been (with even more women than men pursuing an undergrad). Career paths have been opened to both sexes that they were not able to pursue before, such as a female welder or a male nurse. Equal pay for both sexes, just to name a few. But within the past five years or so, with popular spearheads of the liberal movement like Anita Sarkeesian, Hillary Clinton, and celebrities such as Beyonce and Madonna, liberalism has taken a very self-centered turn and has become much more focused on the insecure needs of individuals who follow the movement and their desire to be accepted regardless of their shortcomings instead of fighting for political justice. Many who are part of the liberal movement have become much more focused on body image and identity, two things that are highly personal and have nothing to do with political progression. And because many who are part of this movement are overly concerned with their personal image and identity issues, it’s now seems to have become everyone else’s problem and is blamed, not on their own views of themselves, but mysterious outside forces whose existence is questionable.

But this progression has reached a point where it’s no longer leading us up a mountain to victory, but driving itself and anyone who associates with it off a steep cliff. I say this because I have a feeling that some who may have read the previous sentence before the last where I made a remark about the equal pay between men and women may have become frustrated, maybe even offended. “But that’s not true!” some may cry. “A woman makes 77 cents to a man’s dollar. Her salary is more than 20 percent lower than a man’s just because of her gender. How can you say we have equal pay?” While many people believe this statistic, it’s been proven many times to be a complete myth along with a few other widely regurgitated “facts”. Many liberals argue that women making 77 percent of men’s incomes on average is evidence of a sexist economy and therefore, a generally sexist western culture. However, this statistic does not take into account variables such as careers and degrees that women are more likely to pursue.

The gender pay gap myth has been debunked by numerous economic studies, a credible one being from the Foundation for Economic Education, and when the data is looked at more closely, it’s evident that there is a different story to be told. What the data actually represents is the median salary of women working full time divided by the median salary of men working full time. These numbers do not take into account occupation, education, or hours worked per week. When you consider these variables, you will find that the “gap” is largely influenced by choice. Women, on average, are more likely to pursue jobs and careers that are not particularly high earning like child care or public education while men are more likely to pursue high earning careers like careers in STEM. Women are also more likely to work part time and be less willing to work overtime when in a full time job. They are also not as likely to take big risks when it comes to career decisions and prefer stability. These are all choices women make about their careers, and even if it may be influenced by social expectations, they have almost nothing to do with the decisions made by employers and companies and certainly has nothing to do with what the liberal collective likes to call the “wretched patriarchy”.

Yes. The patriarchy, that boogeyman in the closet that liberals want everyone to fear so that their ideology will gain favor and thus more power in society. And while there’s nothing wrong with wanting your ideology heard, it’s completely different when you use your ideology as a force to control others with for your own ego stroking and validation. This is the case in many of the situations where such statistics are brought up. They are used to scare women and brainwash them into thinking that they’re more oppressed than they actually are, and those who believe that they are not oppressed to begin with are ostracized and verbally abused, sometimes even physically attacked. For example, popular political YouTuber Lauren Southern was covering a free speech rally and the University of Toronto for her channel. Southern is outspoken against fourth wave feminism and the radical left collective and an avid supporter of free speech. At this rally, she had numerous encounters with people on the radical left who shouted obscenities at her and would refuse to talk when she would question them about the event, until finally a man she was questioning (but I’m pretty sure the fellow went by some other sparkly gender identity) punched her directly in the face. All because she didn’t share the same radical opinion as them, even though Southern is not a conservative in the least. I don’t know about you, but I think type of behavior should at least raise some questions. But apparently, it’s done the opposite in many places in our country, especially on college campuses.

This very vocal group of people have single handedly dominated the conversation on identity politics and social issues on many of our country’s more progressive campuses. With each passing year, campus after campus has submitted to this vitriolic ideology in order to please its growing popularity. It’s taken over many classrooms where civil discourse was meant to educate, but now has many students putting their fingers in their ears not wanting to be offended. It’s even found its way into our own campus, unbeknownst to many of its students.

Have any who may be reading heard of the Women’s Center at CCM? I’m sure many were confused by that question as I was, too. It’s a curious situation, too. There’s been further investigation done by our Editor-in-Chief Brett Friedensohn on another article, and he’s uncovered some interesting information. It turns out that CCM’s Women’s Center is not even technically part of the school. The school allows them to use office space but is state funded and geared towards women in the community, not on the college campus. And even though the claim is that the department is open mostly for women in the outside community, the Women’s Center has its own page on the CCM website and calls itself “The Women’s Center at CCM,” as well as using grants from the state made out to the school, an annual one of approximately $130,000 to be exact. On top of that, the school gives them supplies and free HR support. When questioned about the exact reasoning behind this odd arrangement, Dr. Bette Simmons, vice president of student development and enrollment management, stated that one of the main purposes of having this arrangement is to make draw more people to the college. To make the college appear humanitarian, giving the college a specific image to draw in more revenue. It’s no coincidence that the desire for the college to have this image coincides with our current social and political climate. Many colleges have now adopted this image because they know it’s profitable. The demand for “equity” and ridiculous accommodations for all groups of people (some whose legitimacy is questionable, but that’s a discussion for another day) has many campuses in a death grip, “give us what we want or we’ll make you look bad.” This ideology has the power that it does because it’s become extremely popular, especially among young college-aged people, and while there are fewer people in this collective that will enact physical violence on others, there’s still an alarmingly large number of people who accept this ideology and dismiss the more extreme actions without question.

The behaviors of some of the subgroups within this collective border on a cult mentality, and it’s become incredibly dangerous to the safety of our free speech and our social discourse. “But wait!” they cry again. “Our ideas are trying to improve society. We’re trying to create a safe environment for people of all races, sexualities, and genders to live in. We’re trying to protect the marginalized against those who oppress them, like the alt-right. How can you say that our ideas threaten free speech?” While those efforts are admirable and liberal ideas have improved society in the past, thought policing is still thought policing. Censorship is still censorship. Propaganda is still propaganda. And it happens on both radical sides of the political spectrum. No matter what the ideology is, these actions are used when the party in question wants to exercise control over people’s actions and thoughts, silence opposing ideas, and keep those who follow ignorant by feeding them false information about the world around them. This is all done when the organization wants to gain power for personal gain, often monetary and/or social.

Neither radical side wants to admit to this since both will always claim that they “just want to make the world a better place” (yes, even Neo-Nazis are technically trying to make the world a better place), but really the majority of their beliefs are centered around self-interest, egotistical gratification, and insecurity. They fear the majority of what the world has to offer, so they feel much safer in their confined little bubble with people who parrot each other’s ideas. Many of these people just want to feel important and accepted in some group and can often get addicted to the power it gives them. Yes, the radical left and the alt-right have two very different ideas in mind for what they want for the world, but upon closer inspection, it becomes clear that they are both rotten to the core.

Now I do want to make one thing clear: I am by no means a conservative, or even a centrist for that matter. I’m actually quite a left-leaning person, most likely a progressive, but I can still see things wrong with how people on the left treat others. It’s just as wrong as if a conservative person did the same thing. It’s not about what your goal is; it’s about why you’re pursuing it, and it’s about time those on the radical left were exposed for their selfish and trivial interests since there’s been plenty of exposing done to right wing. Maybe they’re not the only problem.

Misconceptions concerning Muslims

Features Writer

There are many people, including a few County College of Morris students, who are understandably unaware of true Islamic beliefs. Misrepresentation of Islam, the second largest religion in the world after Christianity, are spreading rather than being corrected.

Furthermore, Islam is the fastest growing religion according to Pew Research Center, a “nonpartisan fact tank.” There are approximately 1.6 billion Muslims. The number of Muslims is predicted to exceed the number of Christians by the end of this century if the current demographic trends of Muslims continue to increase.

“I feel like there are a lot of misconceptions about Islam,” said Rachel Miller, a psychology major at CCM. “People should be more open to understanding [Islam] the way they are open to understanding most other religions.”

Miller said that she respects Islam just as any other religion in the world. She believes that Muslims, the followers of Islam, should be respected like everyone else.

Of course, some common falsities of Islam continue to create confusion. A couple of the misconceptions are regarding Jesus and his importance in Islam and the impact of feminism in Islam.

In fact, Jesus is considered to be a prophet in Islam. Unlike Christianity, Jesus is not believed to be God’s son in Islam. Some people think that Muslims do not accept Jesus, however, Muslims believe him to be a messenger of God.

In addition, one of the ways these misconceptions can be erased, or at least decreased, is by spreading knowledge and the truth.

“Islam has such a negative connotation in the media these days, and it’s a shame,” said Christine Quigley, a liberal arts major at CCM. “I feel that it is such a peaceful religion.”

Quigley said that she learned about Islam in her middle school world history class. The knowledge she gained led her to view Islam as she said she views every other religion, with respect.

Dr. Milton Bennett’s Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (DMIS) helps explain the significance of moving from ethnocentrism (believing one’s own beliefs and values are superior) to ethnorelativism. One who is ethnorelative would be open to and respectful towards other religions and cultures. Becoming ethnorelative is the last “step” to Bennett’s DMIS.

“The first thing I think of when I hear the word Islam is Muslim women,” Quigley said. “A lot of people think that Muslim women are oppressed because of how the media portrays them, and I learned that Islam actually preaches feminism. I think people fail to recognize the strength and capacity of Muslim women.”

Approximately six-in-ten Muslim American women say they wear the headcover, or hijab, at least sometime according to Pew Research Center. Some people mistake the hijab for oppression while many view the hijab as a symbol of feminism.

All in all, the fact is that Islam is growing, and the number of Muslims are increasing. There are approximately 3.3 million Muslims of all ages in the U.S. as of 2015 according to a survey done by Pew Research Center.

“I think people need more knowledge about the religion of Islam,” said Muhammad Bilal Ahmad, a business administration major at CCM. “It is not a religion of hate and racism. It is the religion of peace.”

Ahmad said that some people have asked him strange questions in the past regarding his religion, Islam. He has gotten questions such as, “Are all Muslims terrorists?” Even though this question was asked in a joking manner, it was disrespectful toward Ahmad.

Nearly half of the Muslims in America fault their own Islamic leaders for the lack of condemning extremism, according to Pew Research Center. Approximately 48 percent of Muslim Americans say Muslims leaders have not done enough.

In any case, knowing the facts and spreading knowledge is key. As said by Martin Luther King Jr., “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

President’s Corner

Dr. Tony Iacono
College President

I have always loved reading as long as I can remember. Growing up, our home was filled with a variety of books, magazines and newspapers.  My parents were big readers. They liked contemporary biographies, any topic in history and, in the case of my dad, any book related to baseball. In addition to the shelves of books around the house, trips to the public library and my school library were regular events that I relished. In second grade, I discovered Roald Dahl and read every one of his books with tremendous enthusiasm. If memory serves, I even faked illness to skip school and finish Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It was a good choice. I have no memory of the school work I had to make-up but I do remember spending a really good day living vicariously through my hero Charlie Bucket. Somewhere around fourth grade, I discovered C. S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. Six books loaded with fantasy along with issues too complex for me to understand at the time. Lewis stirred my imagination for many years and gave me much to contemplate.  Unlike my parents, I spent most of my time reading fiction but I also enjoyed biographies of presidents, inventors and explorers. I’m not sure my parents were always aware of what I was reading but they always indulged me when I asked for a quarter to buy a comic book or even a dollar for two paperback books that could be purchased at the annual school book sale. When quarantined to my bedroom with chicken-pox in the fourth grade, my dad cheered me up by bringing me a copy of Rolling Stone magazine. This “life changing” moment introduced me to modern American culture and writing more colorful than I had previously encountered in the stories of Roald Dahl and C.S. Lewis.

I didn’t know it at the time but my love for reading was helping me develop a strong vocabulary, introducing me to complex and intriguing ideas, and allowing me to meet extraordinary people and creatures scattered across continents over eons of time. Granted, some of these beings never existed; yet I still counted them as my most adventurous friends.  In sixth grade, my teacher Mr. Shirer introduced me to local color through the writings of Mark Twain and, in a less definitive way, Theodore Taylor. I loved the hours he spent reading to his students and the way he brought Huck, Tom, Timothy and Philip to life. New characters to meet, new places to travel, and new words and pronunciations to master. My seventh grade year afforded me the opportunity to enroll in a humanities literature course taught by Mrs. Morganroth. The standout book that year was S. E. Hinton’s The Outsiders. High school exposed me to Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allan Poe, Walt Whitman, Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. All were lost on me at the time. I instead gravitated toward Stephen King, a writer my high school teachers apparently found unworthy of attention. As a freshman in college, I took another humanities literature course over a summer semester. Through an exceptional professor, nineteenth century poets and writers who had previously escaped my attention came to life and have remained important to me ever since. It was also during this remarkable summer course that I discovered one of my two favorite books, the Odyssey. This summer course also introduced me to the Age of Enlightenment and the Romantic Era; and thus I found the second of my two favorite fiction books, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Imagine the power and influence of one professor during a short and well spent summer semester. Remarkable.

The opportunity to have read many books and articles over a period that spans a little more than four decades is not rooted simply in the previously mentioned acquired skills or the overwhelming joy of reading itself, but also in the ability to continuously improve my understanding of people, diverse cultures, organizational systems and more by studying history, literature, math, science, the arts, technology, anthropology, psychology, economics and more. Today, I continue to read both fiction and nonfiction. I begin each day by reading several online newspapers and a number of articles related to education, diversity, global and local politics, business, and innovation.  Since last summer, I have enjoyed and learned from numerous books including Edward O. Wilson’s Meaning of Human Existence; Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind; Bailey, Jaggers and Jenkins Redesigning America’s Community Colleges, James Donovan’s A Terrible Glory: Custer and the Battle of Little Big Horn The Last Great Battle of the American West,  The Third Wave by Steve Case, Geoff Emerick’s Here, There and Everywhere, and am finishing Susan Butler’s Roosevelt and Stalin: Portrait of a Partnership. In between, I snuck in a few fiction reads including One-Hit Willie by Daily Record columnist William Westhoven, Mitch Album’s The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto, and the William P. Young’s The Shack. Spring is here and for me that means Hemingway while summer almost always includes a reading of the Odyssey, a book so rich that I always discover something new. I still have a great library in my life and so do you. Just visit the amazing staff in the Sherman H. Masten Learning Resource Center. If they don’t have something you want, then ask them. They can probably find a copy for you. I’ll be visiting soon to request Agustin Fuentes’ new book The Creative Spark: How Imagination Made Humans Exceptional.

I hope you’re considering enrolling in classes this summer and I hope that at least one will have as deep an impact on your life as my freshman literature course continues to have on mine. More so, however, if reading is not a big part of your life, I encourage you to develop this habit until it becomes a passion. The benefits are overwhelming both personally and professionally. By the way, thanks for reading the Youngtown. I love this paper and am continuously impressed with the faculty and students who have made it a tremendous success and an indispensable resource at CCM. Congratulations to the Youngtown staff for winning numerous journalism awards recently.  I am hardly surprised but deeply proud of them. To learn more about the energetic and impressive team that produces the Youngtown, checkout my interview with them at: https://youtu.be/Y8nVP660LZ8 and while you’re at it follow me on Twitter @CCMProud and share what you’re reading. I’m always looking for something new!

Campus-wide search for student vaping between classes

Satire Editor

County College of Morris security officials began a massive campus-wide manhunt on Feb. 21 for a rogue student caught taking hits from a vape pen between classes.

“This is a dangerous individual who shows a flagrant disregard for the rule of law,” said an unidentified campus official. “Without rules, we’re no better than the animals. We may as well be geese. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live in a world we’re all vaping geese.”

The search for the student has already injured several campus security officials who inhaled some of the vapor trails while in pursuit of the student. As tens of officials scramble to find the fugitive vaper, officials advise that students who encounter him to be on guard as he is “mildly dangerous.”

The as-of-yet unidentified student was caught on security footage across campus releasing trails of vapor on his journey between classes and appears to be a 5’10” male in an Avenged Sevenfold hoodie.

“See, the problem you have there is that you just described every vaper on campus,” said Tom Cloudston, a pro-vaping rights activist. “It’s a slippery slope, you know, stopping every guy who’s 5’10” in an Avenged Sevenfold hoodie and searching them. It’s profiling, is what it is.”

Cloudston has advised vapers on campus to be on alert and remember their rights. In an effort to self-police the community before further regulatory restraints are put in place, he is calling for the vaping community at large to report this individual if they see him.

Vaping is a serious offense and individuals convicted of vaping on campus face prison terms from 15 years to life and a fine of up to $12,000. Students charged with vaping who have successfully avoided conviction are often still subject to social ostracization.

“I used to vape from time to time on campus,” said Johnny Jabro, a student who was charged with vaping. “Even though they couldn’t prove it and let me go, my friends wouldn’t even look me in the eyes after that and we just drifted. Now I wander the halls alone, left to repent for the error of my ways.”

Jabro advised vapers to “leave their vaping days behind them” and that “vaping ruins lives.”

President’s Corner

College President

It is amazing to think that the semester is approximately half over. We are at the point where, for many students, walking across the graduation stage is a rapidly approaching reality. I truly enjoy that day. It is wonderful to celebrate with so many great and hard working students. It is also the time of year when some students are thinking about transferring out of CCM before earning their associate degree or, worse, stopping out or even dropping out of college. Whether you are considering withdrawing from a course, transferring out of CCM before earning your degree, stopping out or dropping out, I urge you to consider the long term advantages and drawbacks. Most of all, I urge you to avoid making these decisions without talking to your professors, your adviser or someone from CCM who is able to help you make the best decision based upon your concern, i.e. a financial aid counselor.  

I recently had a good conversation with a group of students and I asked them why they thought students transferred to other schools before completing their associate degree at CCM. They responded that it was due to a number of reasons, including the fact that some students enrolled at CCM with the original intent of staying for only one year. For others, it was the opportunity to move away to an environment they envisioned as more exciting. There are many reasons students leave CCM before finishing their degree and, in some cases, it may make sense but a few things to consider that my student discussion group felt most students did not know before deciding to leave early. First, approximately 80 percent of students who complete their associate degree transfer successfully to a school of their choice. Second, the graduation rate of CCM students who transfer after earning their associate degree are equal to or greater than native university students. Third, students who transfer without completing their associate degree first have baccalaureate graduation rates that, at some schools, can be as low as 30 percent.  This is due to numerous conditions including credits that are lost during the transfer process. Lost credits can set students back a semester or more and cost them significantly more money than they would have otherwise spent had they remained at CCM. Increased costs are related not only to direct educational expenses but also to lost wages due to delayed graduation. Since the average starting salary for a baccalaureate graduate is somewhere in the neighborhood of $45,000, an extra semester could add $20,000 or more to a student’s educational expenses due to delayed entry into the workforce.  Remember, the goal of college is to learn, earn a degree with as little debt as possible, launch your career and enjoy the fruits of your labor – not pay as much money as possible, incur more debt than necessary, and make payments on a student loan that is literally the size of a small mortgage. In many cases, loans may be a practical solution to reaching your educational goals but keeping them as small as possible should be paramount.  Finally, students who complete their degrees before transferring often receive generous academic scholarships. CCM has many articulation agreements with colleges and universities across NJ and around the nation. Consider Rutgers on our campus or our many agreements with Montclair, NJIT, Rowan, and other fine schools. Think about Farleigh Dickinson where CCM graduates receive a 40 percent tuition discount upon transfer. Explore your options by scheduling an appointment with transfer advisor Kari Hawkins to find a transfer option that is best for you. My student friends tell me she is amazing and really helped them.

As previously stated, this is the time of the semester when students begin to withdraw from classes, stop out and even drop out. Before you withdraw from a course, be sure to talk with your professor and decide together if that option really makes sense. If you are receiving any type of financial aid, loans, scholarships, work study funding, etc., you should consider the impact of withdrawing from even one course. For those not familiar, stopping out is when students decide to take a semester or more off with the intent of returning in the near future. Every situation is different, but in my case I remained in college from associate degree through doctoral degree. I worked lots of different jobs and made loads of sacrifices. My fear was that if I stopped, life would present distractions that would prevent me from completing my education. I was determined to earn my degrees and refused to let anything stop me. As a student, I was always worried whether or not this approach was a good choice. At times this was a hard decision and the temptation to stop out was occasionally tempting. But it was more than worth it. The struggle taught me how to persevere through challenging times and taught me to never, ever, ever give up on myself. I did it and so can you. I was the first person in my immediate family to go to college and, although I was not as well prepared academically as I should have been, I had a dream and was willing to work hard. Luckily, I also had the support of family and friends, exceptional professors, a terrific advisor and patient tutors.

When you came to CCM, I hope you came with a dream just as I did when I enrolled at Indian River Community College almost three decades ago. If you didn’t, seek and find your passion. The world is a big place with lots of distractions and the journey to the graduation stage takes a lot of focus and grit. That is why I am so proud of those who will soon walk and earn the appreciation and respect that they deserve. Each of our future graduates could have dropped out but they followed their dreams and I encourage you to do the same. So, before you drop a class, stop out or drop out, talk with your professors, your advisor, a department chair, a financial aid staff member or someone in Campus Life. Talk to me or any member of our administrative team. Let us help you finish what you started. Let us help you fulfill your dreams. I did it and so can you. And, yes, it really is worth it!