Brett Friedensohn

CCM lacrosse looking to gain wins, experience

News Editor

The lacrosse team at County College of Morris is looking to redeem itself from the 2016 season when it finished its season 1-5 in the region and 2-14 overall and looks to achieve a playoff spot by finishing .500 or better either in region play or overall for the first time since 2011.

The Titans lost 2017 season opener Wednesday, March 8 to Ocean County College 30-2, their largest deficit in more than six seasons. Their 14-2 loss to Union County College Wednesday, April 5 brought their record to 0-2 in the region and 0-5 overall.

Head coach Angel Lastra, who made the transition to the helm of the team this season after working as an assistant coach last season, said after the first game that despite early challenges, he remains optimistic.

“Being in charge of everything is definitely difficult, but like I said, it’s a new challenge, and it’s something to push forward,” Lastra said. “The first game was only our first game. It was my first time head coaching, and it was their first time with especially my philosophy, but it’s just something that you need to push through, and it was unfortunate that the score was that way, but we’re moving forward.”

Lastra said that his philosophy entails discipline and that his players need to work on skills including communication and plan execution.

“I have the game plan in plan,” Lastra said. “It’s just implementing, just talking, just communicating, just following; it’s just the gameplan, not causing penalties, catching and throwing are probably the biggest things that we need to work on.”

Co-captain and attacker Paul Bokun said that he expects this year’s team to be better than last year’s because of his teammates’ focus and Lastra’s leadership.

“Last year, it was more of a club team; a lot of us just didn’t really give a s***,” said Bokun, a business administration major at CCM. “We all just drank and chilled, and now, this year, we’ve got a real team; we have a coach that actually cares, and we’ve got a bunch of players that are on the same page.”

Bokun said that after the season opening loss, he and his teammates should stay positive in order to improve.

“We let up 10 goals in the first quarter, and then, everybody just rolled over on their backs, and it wouldn’t have been like that if we had just kept with it and not given up. If we didn’t give up, that game would have been 20-10; we probably wouldn’t have won, but it probably wouldn’t have been a s*** show like it was.”

Co-captain and midfielder Anthony DeLaurentis agreed with Bokun about his team’s attitude towards the game.

“It’s actually trying to develop a program,” said DeLaurentis. “It’s not just come and get babysat by a coach.”

DeLaurentis said that one of his team’s struggles was the freshmen’s adjustment to the program.

“There’s a lot of first year kids, so it’s hard for them to come in, and they’re fresh out of high school, and they’re not used to playing on the college level yet,” DeLaurentis said. “It’s not even that it’s that much harder, it’s a lot more running, it’s a lot faster, it’s a lot more physical. It’s the little things that kids have to get used to, and that’s a big thing this year is that our coach has focused on those little things to get us all working all together.”

Students can see the last home game of CCM lacrosse at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 26 against Brookdale Community College on the upper soccer field next to Parking Lot 1.

SGA shakeup: President out mid-semester


The president of the Student Government Association (SGA) was ousted mid-semester after he was found to be ineligible for the position.

Stanley White was elected to the post in May but graduated on Aug. 30. White neglected to inform the school of his status change, and the college neglected to verify his enrollment status.

“As we go through the semester we are always looking at the status of any of our officers,” said Janique Caffie, dean of enrollment management and student development. “In doing so, reaching the mid semester just to make sure everyone is doing well academically, it was discovered that Mr. [Stanley] White had graduated.”

Malik White, digital media studies major at the County College of Morris (CCM), is now the president of the SGA.

“It’s tough to do a transition in the middle of the semester, so it’s been a challenge,” said SGA co-adviser, Don Phelps. “Malik was the only member of the executive board so he has lot’s of positions to fill.”

Malik White was the vice president prior to the change on Oct. 14. Since his appointment, Andrew Ginsberg, public and nonprofit administration major at CCM, has been named treasurer. Ginsberg was treasurer of the SGA last year as well.

According to Caffie, one of the stipulations for presidency is that the student be in a degree seeking program

Caffie said Stanley White had been unable to attend the college council meetings, at which his role would have been to read the SGA meeting minutes. Malik White has been attending them in his place.

Malik White had undergone training with Stanley White during the summer months to prepare for the fall semester, but he had been focusing on his role as vice president. Now Caffie said the school is working to help him understand his new responsibilities.

“Everybody in SGA is fine with Malik coming in,” said Ginsberg. “They’re happier with him than with Stanley.”

The current SGA has had a rough semester thus far. Caffie said she felt they were struggling to work together, but she hoped that with Malik White as president, they would be able to work more cohesively together.

“The mood for this year was already set, which was unfortunately negative, but I’m trying to make sure there’s no bad blood,” said Malik White. “People need to come together and realize that we have problems and we need to start working together.”

Malik White was chosen as president due to his previous position as vice president.

“It’s like what would happen in the case, any time the president of the United States has to go under the knife,” said Caffie. “When that happens then the vice president just steps into the role until such time that the president is back on his or her feet.”

Caffie said they plan on keeping Malik White as the president through the entire academic year.

“He would be president for the remainder of the academic year if he so chooses,” said Caffie. “If he chooses to step down then the next step for the institution is to hold new elections, and that’s what we would do. Until he tells us otherwise, he is the SGA president.”

Malik White is not planning, as of now, to step down during the year. It has been a challenging transition for him, but he has the support of his adviser and he said he would like to see the position through.

“I only had one day of training,” said Malik White. “Don has been very helpful. If it gets too overwhelming, Don and Dr. Simmons said I can step down to vice president until I’m ready to run for president again.”

Caffie said the school would ultimately support him if he chose to make that decision.

“It is hard to step into a position that you didn’t originally want to have,” said Caffie. “He ran for vice president, that’s what he felt he was capable of contributing at this level of his academic career, his leadership career here at CCM. He’s expressed his own concern about his ability to be the president, so it’s a learning experience for himself.”

While according to Phelps this is not the first time a transition has been made mid-semester, Caffie said she believes this is the first time in her tenure here that it has happened. She further said that, it may be a rare situation at CCM, but this is not an unusual experience in a professional environment. This could be a learning experience for members of the SGA.

“It’s not easy to work with people who are like yourself as well as different from yourself, so hopefully this experience will have been a learning lesson for everyone involved,” said Caffie. “There’s a lot to be learned from this whole process.”

While there may be things to be learned from this, Phelps said he doesn’t want the SGA to dwell on the change and let it affect the remainder of their year.

“As adviser, I want people to take this experience and look forward,” said Phelps. “I’m looking forward to SGA moving on and looking forward to a fresh start.”

Dr. Bette Simmons, vice president of student development and enrollment was unable to be reached for comment.

‘Black Art Matters’ exhibit comes to CCM

News Editor

The County College of Morris’ art gallery in the Learning Resource Center opened a display called “Black Art Matters” Monday, Feb. 6 to highlight the work of local black artists in honor of Black History Month.

To accomplish this, the gallery’s director Todd Doney asked Jersey City painter Alvin Pettit to curate the display. Doney and Pettit met each other teaching art at the Kubert School in Dover, and while Pettit left the school in 2010, they still consider each other personal friends.

Doney said that he wanted to expose bring black art to an area with a low African-American population in order to diversify cultural exposure. 3.7 percent of Morris County residents identify as “Black or African American alone” while 83.8 percent of Morris County residents identify as “White alone” as of July 2015, according to the U.S. Census.

“It’s not necessarily the history but that there are great artists that happen to be African-American, and we want to recognize that,”  Doney said. “I think our students need to see some other cultures besides what we have here … I’d like to introduce them and say, ‘Hey, there’s a lot of talented African-American artists.’”

Pettit said that he wanted to give the artists a free range, not holding them to any specific theme.

“I just wanted to collect ideas from various African-American artists without holding them to any theme,” Pettit said. “As far as the different styles that are represented in the gallery, I let everyone come in with their own style, the still lives, the abstract, just to show the diversity within African-American art.”

Pettit, who has paintings featured in the display, said that he likes to add messages to his art.

“Mine is usually figurative work, but I usually try to throw in some kind of concept rather than just being a model, a figurative model,” Pettit said. “For instance, one I have in there, ‘Southern Quilt,’ it actually talks about, the model’s holding a quilt, but it goes into the history of how closely they were made, if you go back into the South.”

Doney said that he enjoyed Pettit’s style of artwork.

“He’s a very traditional painter,” Doney said. “Very representational, but he has a little bit of a flair and a little bit of stylized some of his color usage, and to me, it hits a chord … Everybody’s different, but I happen to like what he’s doing.”

Eric Andrews, another Jersey City artist, made an homage to hip hop with a collection of fast-form acrylic caricatures of rappers. Andrews grew up in Detroit and began attending Parsons School of Design in Manhattan in the early 1980s during hip hop’s infancy, and he said that hip-hop has inspired his artwork since he began listening to underground records in the late 1970s. However, he said that when rap goes mainstream, it usually loses artistic value in order to make a profit. In his image making, he said that he tries to keep love for art like underground rappers.

“I thought it was more appropriate to do it in a more rough manner than to try to some oil paintings of hip hop artists,” Andrews said. “This is somewhat sticking true to the nature of hip hop because it’s meaty; it’s graphic; it’s quick.”

Andrews said that he also enjoys making political artwork. In the Black Art Matters exhibit, Andrews has featured portrait oil paint portraits of black political figures including Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King, Jr., both of whom he compared to rappers.

“If [Douglass] had been born in the 70s, he would have been a fan of hip hop,” Andrews said. “He was very progressive, questioning the mainstream … And talk about Martin Luther King, that guy’s cadence.”

Fernando Cunha, a liberal arts major at CCM, said that Yvonne Bandy’s acrylic painting “ERASEISM: A Matter of the Heart,” which shows stick figure imagery depicting the United States slave trade hidden in the background of the painting, said that the painting gave a clear message about the United States’ treatment of African-Americans.

“I see black people being hung, black people being jailed, fists full of money, and it really doesn’t leave much to the imagination,” Cunha said. “I think that whoever painted this put the cross in red on top to show the hypocrisy, and also because America’s such a Christian nation, but at the same time, it’s unbelievably hypocritical.”

Richard Pairazaman, a music recording major at CCM, said that he took an interest in “Little Bird” by Cory Ford.

“Mostly, I love a lot of the art that has a lot of vibrant color,” Pairazaman said. “Color very much catches my eye, and I love the way that the gold compliments with the different shades of black and white and purple, and then the bird really just stands out … There are colors in the bird that there are no where else present in the piece.”

Pat Moran, a graphic design major at CCM, said that he noticed a parallel between “Ecce Homo” and “Road to Calvary,” both acrylic paintings by Tyler Ballon.

“Seeing this gentleman in the bandana, he’s handcuffed, but his stature is very, almost, it’s almost like Jesus-like on a crucifix, so there’s kind of interesting things going on there, but seeing these scenarios painted on this scale I think is powerful on its own,” Moran said. “I think it’s very interesting how these gentlemen are on the sidewalk, on the street, and they’re carrying this cross, and they’re both looking up into the sky, so both of these pieces I think point towards faith and looking forward towards something or having some sort of progression going on.”

Moran said that as the painting depicting people scale makes an impression.

“Whenever you see a big piece of art, it’s always more powerful, especially when it’s a human figure just because they’re here with us,” Moran said. “Seeing these scenarios painted on this scale I think is powerful on its own; it speaks on its own.”

Stephaun Johnson, a business administration major at CCM, said that he enjoyed “Lucifer,” an abstract oil painting by Clifton Walston, because it perplexed him.

“I really don’t understand it, but I kind of see the depictions of faces and stuff,” Johnson said. “But that’s what grabs me, that the message is somewhere hidden in here, but I have to decipher it.”

The Black Art Matters exhibit opens at noon every weekday in the CCM art gallery until Friday, March 31.

CCM softball team work to build off past success

News Editor

The softball team at County College of Morris has begun practicing for its 2017 regular season which it will open Sunday, March 5 against Rowan College at Gloucester County.

The Titans look to repeat their region title victory after winning the 2016 National Junior College Athletic Association Region XIX Championship May 6, 2016.

Softball head coach Greg Wardlow said that a lack of pitching depth may hinder his team.

During the fall preseason, the team had three pitchers, two of whom have since announced that they cannot play this season because of injuries. Since then, the coaches have been working to find players who have had some experience pitching and train them so that they can pitch behind starter Mary Mastriani. These backups consist of infielder Carly McDaniel, outfielder Taylor Van Sant, second baseman Kellyann McClain who pitched one inning for CCM last season, and Vincenza Megone who pitched for Bloomfield High School until her graduation in 2015 and played for CCM in the fall 2015 preseason but not the spring 2016 regular season.

Despite this, Wardlow said that this season’s team is akin to last year’s.

“Other than the pitching depth issue, I think our team is comparable to last year,” Wardlow said. “And we’re always optimistic. Maybe we’re a bit better … I think our overall defense is shaping up to be a little bit better than last year. I think our team speed is definitely a little bit better.”

Wardlow expressed confidence in Mastriani as the starting pitcher. Mastriani pitched in 2016 with a record of 22-6, and was named by international softball news agency Fastpitch News as an NJCAA Division II All-American for the fall 2016 preseason, along with four other pitchers nationally.

“She was one of the principal reasons why we won the regional championship,” Wardlow said. “And she’s back and continues to give us optimism, but our pitching depth behind that took a bit of a hit, so right now, we have quantity, not sure of the quality in our second and third pitchers, but we’re working on that … They’re not as experienced as the two pitchers we lost, but we’re still optimistic that with Mary leading the way, when we get to the big games, we’ll still be okay.”

Magone said that she was adjusting back into the pitching role.

“I feel confident,” Magone said. “It’s fine. I did it all my life, so it’s just like muscle memory.”

Softball assistant coach John Baccolini has focused in on training the backup pitchers this season.

“They’re all well-quality athletes,” Baccolini said. “We start off with fastball and changeup first, and then, we’ve been doing mostly that in late December and January, and then, as we move into the middle of February, we’ll start working on their breaking pitches.”

CCM president encourages students, faculty to help devise new budget

News Editor

As County College of Morris president Dr. Anthony Iacono devises a new strategic plan for the school, he is encouraging students and faculty to voice their opinions on what they want to see continue and what they want to see change.

Iacono hosted meetings Wednesday, Feb. 8 and Tuesday, Feb. 14 in an effort to gain insight on what the college needs to revamp as the administration builds the new strategic plan, which acts as a blueprint for the college’s way of operating to meet the priorities on which the college will focus in the next few years. Iacono expects the plan to take about six months to fully develop.

Some of the issues that arose in these meetings were increasing accessibility for students who struggle to move around campus because of physical disabilities, registration difficulties for military personnel, community college stigma, and the quality and enrollment of CCM’s honors classes.

“Part of really developing a good strategic plan is taking time to listen to lots of people who are the stakeholders, which is anyone who has anything invested in the institution, so that might be someone who works for the college; it could be students, members of the community and so forth,” Iacono said. “So what we really want to do is have a chance to really listen, to hear what’s on people’s minds, so what we’re looking for is things that you think are working really well and things that you feel that we should do more of. It’s great to share that. Things that you think we’re not doing at all that you think we should be giving some attention to, we want to hear that, and if there’s things that you think we’re not doing that well, we want to hear that, also.”

Marisa Goglia, a CCM journalism major with cerebral palsy, said that one major problem within Accessibility Services is the lack of accessibility to both the third floor and the bathrooms.

“I have to ask people to open restroom doors for me, and I like being independent,” Goglia said.

Iacono voiced interest in increasing accessibility at CCM, citing that about 1,000 students utilize Accessibility Services. He said that he would look into installing accessible door buttons for the bathrooms and creating means to making the third floor accessible to students with disabilities.

“It’s a really important population, and we need to focus more on it,” Iacono said. “It’s hard enough to go to college, but for some students, it can be even more challenging than that because you have to learn the campus, what are the resources, and where are the resources.”

D’Angelo Torres, a soldier in the New Jersey National Guard and engineering major in his first semester at CCM, said that many soldiers experience an unwanted surprise when first registering for classes at CCM. Torres said that despite the Guard paying for its soldiers’ tuition at CCM, no one makes it abundantly clear that the Guard does not pay for additional fees, and many soldiers do not know that they need to pay for this until they submit their waiver documentation to the bursar’s office.

“I already knew that I already had fees and extra stuff to pay, so I wasn’t surprised, but at the same time, I didn’t really see anybody telling me that I had extra fees and all that other stuff,” Torres said. “But I did ask, and the veteran’s office, they were really helpful with everything, but there wasn’t anyone informing this, what the extra fees were until we got to the bursar’s office.”

Dr. Bette Simmons, vice president of student development at CCM, said that students have complained about this before, and she said that there is a disagreement on who holds the responsibility of clarifying this. Simmons said that some believe each soldier’s commander should hold the responsibility while others feel the obligation should rest on CCM.

Iacono asked Torres where he thinks this information should be available and asked if the college should add it on its website as the site undergoes reconstruction.

“It’ll happen in two phases,” Iacono said. “One is just to tweak it out a little bit and make the registration process easier, what have you, and get our catalog online, and then, after that, we’ll spend about a year redoing it, and there’ll be some listening sessions with the committees and so forth as well. Is that where it should be? Where should we be telling people? Because you would not be too thrilled if it was just a sign right in front of the bursar’s window. It’s a little late at that point, right? Where can we make you aware of that?

Torres said that both CCM and the National Guard should make soldiers’ necessary payments clear to them.

“I feel like it’s on both sides,” Torres said. “The commander, they should really emphasize that, ‘Yeah, we pay for the college but just the tuition not the fees and whatnot,’ and it’s just really a communication between the military and state schools. Online would be nice, maybe registration’s office at some point, at some point before the bursar’s office so that when you go there, you already have a good idea of what you’re paying and why you’re paying it.”

Iacono also acknowledged the stigma surrounding attending community college, and took suggestions for how to combat that stigma.

“There’s roughly 1,300 community colleges around the country, and they’ll all tell you, if there’s one thing we all have in common, it’s the stigma factor,” Iacono said. “Talk to us about the stigma factor. Did you experience that? What does it sound like? What is the stigma, really?”

Brian Gilligan, a criminal justice major at CCM, said that he noticed many students in his high school considering themselves more elite for attending universities; however, he said that many of these students have not had successful academic careers.

“Usually the kids that perpetuated the stigma, they went to a university and failed out in another year,” Gilligan said. “I think that if someone’s at a university, they think it’s more elite. Like, they go to Rutgers, and they think they’re more elite than the community school, and it could be wealth, like, ‘Oh, my parents have enough money to afford Rutgers, and so I’m richer,’ so it’s wealth-based, or it’s elitist, kind of.”

Sussex County resident Arrik Leman said that many students and faculty members pushed stigmas of community colleges, directing those stigmas especially at Sussex County Community College (SCCC). Leman said that this was one of the reasons he decided to attend CCM over SCCC.

“When I was in high school, there was a huge push of if you’re going to county, go to CCM, which is good for you guys,” Leman said. “The big problem when people look at county colleges is that they are not reliable is the feeling I get, and that’s why a lot of people from Sussex County end up coming here because they’re worried that if they get into a program, a class that’s required to graduate won’t be able to fill up, and the class won’t be available, and they’ll have to wait until next year or next year.”

Leman expressed satisfaction with choosing CCM over SCCC.

“It’s normally worth the drive, and it’s more professional because this is comparable to a real school,” Leman said.

When Simmons asked students for ideas on how to combat community college stigma, Gilligan said that CCM should publicize some of its successful alumni.

“We need to find success stories of people graduating and from here and going to some good school or getting a really good job,” Gilligan said. “And maybe that might help. And advertizing it.”

Jodi Petrakian, a humanities and social sciences major who takes honors classes at CCM, said that she would like to see more enrollment and consistency in CCM’s honors classes.

“I think that we need to maybe push them,” Petrakian said. “There’s not a lot of students in them … There are some professors who have just decided to do whatever they want, and it doesn’t always turn out well, or it’s just kind of gibberish that you’re listening to for a while.”

Iacono said that he was considering creating an honors program at CCM rather than only having individual honors classes.

Petrakian said that an honors program would benefit students.

“Definitely, I think an honors program would benefit a lot of people,” Petrakian said. “I think a program would be nice to be able to say that you’re doing it even and then to be able to have specific classes that are a little bit more rigorous and a little more attentive.”

With public funding dwindling, CCM raises students’ costs for second consecutive year

Sports Editor

Students at the County College of Morris will pay more to attend the college thanks to a tuition and fee increase approved by CCM’s Board of Trustees at its meeting Wednesday, Jan. 18.

The cost of tuition per credit will rise from $123 to $125 for in-county students, and the college fee will rise from $27 to $29 per credit, effective summer 2017. The cost per credit will rise from $246 to $250 for out-of-county students, and from $351 to $357 for out-of-state students.

A hike in tuition costs has occurred at CCM now for the second consecutive year. At its meeting Jan. 20, 2016, CCM’s Board of Trustees approved of a tuition hike from $121 to $123 per credit for in-county students.

The cost to attend CCM is rising because of a lack of funding from both the state and county, according to John Young, director of budget and compliance at CCM.

For the 2017-18 school year, the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders agreed to give $11.8 million to fund CCM, accounting for 21.1 percent of the college’s necessary expenses, and the state of New Jersey agreed to give $7,000,440 to fund the school, accounting for 12.5 percent of the college’s costs, according to Young. In contrast, for the 2007-08 school year, CCM received about $13 million from the county and $9 million from the state. The college expects that for the 2017-18 school year, the money coming from tuition and fees will account for 64.5 percent of CCM’s expenses, and the money earned from tuition and fees will total $36,062,820.

The state of New Jersey originally intended for funding of community colleges to be paid in equal share by three entities: the state, the county and the students, with each entity paying one third of its community college’s necessary expenses, according to the New Jersey Council of Community Colleges, which says on its website that it “has consistently endorsed this funding plan for community colleges.” Young said that because of the lack of public support, this has not gone as planned.

“That was the idealistic theory back when the community colleges were created in the 1960s,” Young said. “But in New Jersey, that never came to fruition, and if you were to see some of the data over the last 10, 20 years, in fact, the student share of the tuition is actually going up because it declines in public support.”

CCM president Dr. Anthony Iacono, who suggested the costs for the price hike, said that he wanted to keep tuition prices as low as possible, and that he wanted to continue having price hikes in small increments.

“Schools who don’t raise it minimally and incrementally, what happens – we don’t want to be in this position – is they hold off on doing it; everyone’s kind of happy, ‘Wow, no increases this year. Hey, no increases again this year.’ Then, they wake up, and all of a sudden, huge increase, and then, instead of 2 percent, you’re talking 20 percent, 40 percent,” Iacono said. “And that’s a shock to people to do that kind of thing.”

A similar situation to what Iacono described happened at Sussex County Community College (SCCC), when, according to, the college increased its in-county tuition by 9.9 percent in February 2015. In December 2016, about 70 students at SCCC protested the lack of public funding in downtown Newton, New Jersey, the location of the Sussex County Freeholder Board, according to the New Jersey Herald. A CCM student who attended SCCC last semester said that she witnessed the protests but did not participate in them.

“I was more focused on the studies, but I was still like, ‘Oh, it’s crazy’ because they kept bumping it up every semester,” said Kristen Sferlazzo, nursing major at CCM.

Sferlazzo, a Sussex County resident who pays at the out-of-county tuition rate, said that she transferred to CCM mainly because she considers herself likely to earn better nursing jobs with a nursing degree from CCM rather than SCCC. Despite her disappointment in the price hike, Sferlazzo said that she still intends to graduate from CCM and that she hopes to do so by spring 2018.

“If I was paying it for myself, I’d also be disapointed, but especially because it’s my parents’ money, and they want to, not go a cheaper way, but they’re paying a bit more for the better program,” Sferlazzo said. “They might be more disappointed with the prices since we’re out-of-county, not in-county, so it’s double the price I think.”

The out-of-county tuition rate for attending CCM is exactly double the in-county tuition rate.

Iacono said that he has a different view on funding public higher education than the Morris County Freeholders and New Jersey state legislators.

“A lot of times, many states look at it simply as an expense item, but a lot of us look at it as an investment item, and it’s the best investment you can make,” Iacono said. “It’s the biggest investment in your future you can make. Provide public dollars; people get a good education, they go to work, everybody’s lives get better. You have a well-educated, well-trained workforce, which means you have a better-educated citizenry, so on all levels, it benefits enormously. So it’s a difference in philosophy: Do you see education as an expense, or do you see it as an investment? I see it as the best investment you could possibly make.”

Iacono said that he respects why the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders does not provide CCM with the funding that he would like.

“They have lots of priorities, and all those priorities are competing, so the same county government that funds us has to do with the quality of the roads, has to do with providing funding to things like your police departments, your fire departments,” Iacono said. “All of these things are vital, so they’ve got a lot of competing priorities as well. As much as we want to say, ‘We’re it; just move the money over here,’ we do appreciate that they’re looking after the entire county.”

Dr. Bette Simmons, vice president of student development and enrollment management, said that she and Iacono are organizing a student lobbying trip to the New Jersey State Capitol in Trenton, New Jersey, scheduled for Monday, March 6, and that any students interested in attending this may email her at

“Sometimes, when you listen to the constituent and the person who is the beneficiary of that funding and have them tell their story, you would go down, you would talk to the legislators, you would talk about why you chose a community college, you’d talk about where you think that you would get you and how that will then benefit the state and the county, that puts it into real perspective,” Simmons said. “You’re not just a number. You really are a person with a story to tell, and so, having an opportunity to talk to legislators, to have our legislators talk to our students about the value of that education and how you’re thinking economically about why you came to County College of Morris and where it’s going to get you later on that will then benefit the community. That’s also important I think to have them continue to hear.”

Simmons agreed with Iacono that it is better to keep the price hikes minimal instead of having a lull without them following a great spike.

“Because we’ve been very mindful about making it a minimal increase, it doesn’t hit the pocket of students so dramatically as we would see with some of the other colleges that went up dramatically,” Simmons said. “We try to stay very focused on what we hear from the students, share that with the business and finance side so that when we do make a decision regarding an increase, we’re doing it thinking about the students the whole way around.”

Tyler Thompson, music recording major at CCM, said that he does not much mind the price hike, and said that he would like for the state to fund the school more.

“I guess it’s not really that big of a deal as of right now because it’s only a few dollars, but if it goes up $15, $20 [per credit] plus, then, I think it’s starting to get a little bit much, so I guess state funding is probably a big thing we should probably go with if possible,” Thompson said. “I’ll see a $20, $25 raise [total], but I don’t think it’ll be that big of a deal for me, personally.”

Lusianna Romero, fashion design major at CCM, said that CCM should explore alternative options to fund the school.

“I feel like they should create more events in school, which I feel there isn’t as much of,” Romero said. “Yeah, there’s events, but the problem is that everything’s basically almost free. They don’t have events where students come and actually pay for stuff. Okay, fine, it costs a little bit more, but it’s actually helping the school out, or for example, even having the community outside like Randolph, Denville, Dover, and all these different cities come out and actually even create this big event where everyone participates and comes and helps out. Maybe … doing a car wash or any other things the school could do to actually raise that money.”

Iacono said that the County College of Morris Foundation provides about $200,000 annually to fund scholarships for CCM students by accepting donations from people in the community, thus making it easier for students to fund their education.

“We’re fortunate to live in a county that’s very generous, and we have a lot of good donors behind us,” Iacono said. “It really makes a big difference.”

Iacono said that CCM will probably reduce pricing in the unlikely event that the state increases funding to the school.

“If for some reason – we’re not anticipating it – the state were to dramatically increase the funding, we’d probably back way off this,” Iacono said. “But we’re not anticipating that, unfortunately.”

Men’s b-ball looks to finish strong

Sports Editor

A season that started out hopeful took a quick turn as the County College of Morris men’s basketball team failed to build on early momentum and its record dropped to 5-11 as the season winds down.

On Tuesday, Nov. 19, the team stood at 1-0 in region play and 3-3 overall after an 88-75 win over Orange County Community College. The Titans then lost seven consecutive games, starting with a 103-84 loss to Union County College Tuesday, Nov. 22 and ending with a 102-80 loss to Essex County College Thursday, Dec. 15. CCM broke its streak with a 91-84 win over Sussex County Community College (SCCC) Thursday, Dec. 22 before winning 100-71 to Top Rock Academy Thursday, Jan. 5 and then losing 98-72 to Manor County College Saturday, Jan. 14, bringing the team’s record to 1-6 in region play and 5-11 overall. In order to pick up their record again, the Titans hope to improve their defense and regain injured players.

CCM men’s basketball head coach Anthony Obery said that his team has quality shooting abilities but they need to work to improve their defense.

“Our defense has got to be our main focus,” Obery said. “We can score with the best of them. Our offense is not the problem … It’s not all about scoring. I want them to understand that going to different schools and getting scholarships, the majority of the time, it happens on the defensive end of the floor, and if those guys buy into that, then they’ll understand what it takes to win games. And until they understand what defense is, they won’t win.”

Obery said that injuries have hindered his team, citing injuries to guards Najee Plunkett and Damoine Askew, the latter of whom has played through his injury by competing in some games and sitting out of others, and forward Funot Woldentnsai who returned for the Titans’ Dec. 22 win over SCCC.

“A lot of our problem is we have no depth on the bench because of injury, so that’s why a lot of our starting five are getting tired,” Obery said. “But they’re still fighting no matter what. When we lose, it’s close games. It’s not games where we’re getting blown out the water, but some games, when it comes down to five minutes on the clock, my guys have no energy left because we have no bench.”

During four of the seven losses during CCM’s streak, the team lost by 10 points or fewer.

CCM athletic director Jack Sullivan said the day after the Titans’ Jan. 5 win over Top Rock Academy that the team was developing well despite the injuries.

“Everybody gets bumps and bruises; it happens,” Sullivan said. “That’s why you have a bench. That’s why there’s depth on the team. You don’t just carry five guys. That’s why you carry 10. What I saw last night was very encouraging. Everyone played a lot of minutes, and everybody contributed and did a nice job, so hopefully, that’s a sign of things to come.”

Obery said that in order to improve its defense, his team should focus on man coverage.

“Our guards have a hard time standing in front of our man because they’re so used to relying on the help from our bigs,” Obery said. “I don’t want them to rely on help because that gets us in foul trouble a lot, so I want them to learn and to understand that when you go into the next level, not just here but if you want to continue playing basketball, you have to stay in front of your man, and so, our man-to-man defense has to get better.”

CCM men’s basketball guard and business administration major Quinten Pharis cited conditioning and shooting as strengths for his team.

“We’re more conditioned than most of the teams,” Pharis said. “Shooting-wise, I feel like we could run teams out of the gym with our shooting, and if we play together on our defense, there’s not a lot of teams that could beat us.”

CCM men’s basketball guard and business administration major Kendrick Clayton said that the gaining of returning players should help his team.

“We’ll have a fuller team, deeper team, deeper rotations,” Clayton said.

Sullivan said that winter break, during which the team had a two-week stretch without gameplay, should help.

“The more they play together, the more they’ll get to know each other, the better the chemistry, the better the commodore and the teamwork, so it should be a nice second half,” Sullivan said. “At the end of the first semester, you’re always under a lot of stress because of finals and papers and stuff like that, so what happens in the first semester usually gets erased when you have this big of a break. So I think they always come back with a new sense of energy and focus and enthusiasm, and I think they came back, got right back to work, did a nice job last night, and hopefully, it’s a step in the right direction.”

Obery said that his team has understanding of and love for basketball.

“None of these players that I have never give me a doubt in my mind that they don’t love the game,” Obery said. “It means that we’re better than what we should be. Even though they lose, they understand why we lose … They know why we’re losing games, and that’s what makes the difference. If I had a team that didn’t understand why we keep losing, then that would be a different story.”