jannat sheikh

Paul Licitra becomes chairman of CCM’s Board of Trustees

Board of Trustee Chair Paul Licitra presents medallion to President Anthony Iacono. Photo Courtesy of CCM

By Marisa Goglia & Jannat Sheikh
Managing Editors

County College of Morris’ Board of Trustees Chair Paul Licitra spoke on behalf of the Board in front of a crowd of 400 at the Friday, Oct. 6 inauguration of County College of Morris’ third president, Dr. Anthony Iacono.

Licitra, in his third month as chair, held the distinct honor of bestowing the investiture of the ceremony.

“By the power invested in me by the Board of Trustees, I hereby confer upon you [Iacono] the title of president of County College of Morris and present to you this medallion as a symbol of that office,” Licitra said.

Iacono became president of CCM in September 2016 when Dr. Joseph Ricca was the board chair.

Growing up in Brooklyn, Licitra said having Depression Era parents had given him the mentality of a hard work ethic.

“My parents were both immigrants and they grew up in the Depression,”  Licitra said. “So I’ve always had the mentality of Depression Era parents, and you see like a little differently when you wake up in the morning and you only have three cents to your name which is what happened in our family. So I’m proud to be a first-generation American, and I’m proud to have gotten as far as I have, and I’ve worked for everything that I’ve done in life. Not just this, I was mayor of a town, I was commissioner in the state, chairman of the county planning board, you name it, I did it.”

In 1967, Licitra had served his country when he was drafted during the the Vietnam war in South Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, a river approximately half mile wide, according to the History Channel. Leading out of the Mekong are canals that are from 75 feet wide down to 35 feet wide. By the beginning of 1967 there were 490,000 American troops in South Vietnam along with 850,000 from South Vietnam, South Korea, and other U.S. allies, according to The New York Times.

“My country had called me; I’m a patriot, and I felt I had to give back,” Licitra said.  “My country was good to me, I want to be good to my country. And, when you go over there, you go over for your country …. You’re so intent on getting not only yourself home but all your friends, trying to make sure that they get home. And that’s what your main goal is at that point.”

Licitra was discharged Sept. 8, 1967 and started an insurance job the next day.

Licitra said that he previously investigated accidents when he was in Vietnam and saw a comparison in wanting to pursue a career path as an insurance  broker.

“I went into insurance because it was kind of related to what I was doing in the Army for my last four or five months which was military policeman,” Licitra said. “When I came back from Vietnam, I got a job in insurance, and I went to college at night. I did 128 credits in four years at night [at St. John’s University] … It was nothing that I woke up sometime as a five-year-old and said, ‘Yeah, I want to be an insurance man.’”

Having 45 years experience in the business gave Licitra the ability to run companies as president, vice president, and senior vice president.

“It was a very exciting field for me,” Licitra said. “I used to travel the world.  I used to travel the United States. I had some really nice clients, some really good exciting clients, and I used to service them. I used to meet CFO’s and have meetings with pioneers and people of business. You know, [insurance] provided somebody with protection. You do captives; you set up insurance companies; you set up client services … You know, it’s a lot different now. It was a plain vanilla envelope. Now, it isn’t a plain vanilla envelope.”

In 1990, Licitra decided to depart from insurance and  run for the mayor of Mount Olive. Licitra said as a resident, he wanted to bring new innovative ideas that would leave lasting impressions.

“It was enjoyable; I mean I managed to create a legacy,” Licitra said. “I did a lot of building. I built the sport’s complex; I built recreation fields, a library, a senior center, a municipal building, things that Mt. Olive needed, that I felt that it needed…And now, my grandchildren are growing up in town and they’re enjoying this. I get great pleasure out of that.”

Although Licitra said he had fond memories of being a councilman and mayor for 12 years, he would not do it again due to campaign  incivility and lack of appreciation.

“People expect too much out of their elected officials,” Licitra said. “It’s not that you can’t please everybody it’s that it’s not appreciated, ..I think people just wanted to win and beat you, not they want to ruin you. It just isn’t the same. I don’t like that mentality, it’s just not me … I’ve never run a bad campaign; I never ran after anybody. Even my Facebook page, if you go on it, I just don’t get involved in petty politics, name calling, and things like that. It just isn’t for me.”

Five years ago, Licitra was appointed to the Board of Trustees and became vice chairman a year and a half ago. Now, he takes his seat as chairman of the Board of Trustees approximately three months after Ricca resigned as the chairman to take the job as superintendent at the White Plains School District.

“The exciting part of that was the inauguration, and I was partaking in the inauguration. I was the one that represented the school to give the baton to Dr. Iacono,” Licitra said. “And that was the first time I was involved in something like that. It was exciting. So, as the chairman, I represented the Board.”

Licitra said with the chairmanship comes with varying responsibilities in contrast to the previous positions on the board.

“ You’re more involved,” Licitra said.  “Dr. Iacono calls me up all day long and tells me this happened or that happened. But, you don’t have that when you’re a regular board member. You do run committees, and you do run reports.

Licitra said that he instituted a monthly meeting with Iacono and the Board of Trustees.

“We can tell him what’s on our mind and he can tell us what’s on his mind,” Licitra said. “And I think that’s important that you get people in different avenues, different people. You want builders, you want accountants, you want teachers, you want administrators. So  you’ve got to have a board full of these people. And, we have a good mix on the board right now and we get along..I feel that this is my extended family right now.”

Licitra said he would like  to see more student involvement within the meetings, and for them to know that the door is always open.

“I think they feel that we’re not available, and we’re always available,” Licitra said. “ I think I would like to see more mentorship from the board to the students. We do have a student representative and each one of them were great. Every year we have a new one. And, every single one has been as good as the other. But, some of them were fantastic. I think I’d like to see more of the student’s take more interest in the meetings.”

Licitra said he thinks it is important that the college gets to know each trustee personally.

“I’d rather them get to know each other one on one, but if they get to know them through your newspaper, then they’ll see that we’re just people,” Licitra said. “They have ideas; they have experience. So that’s good; that’s good for the student body, and we’re head and shoulder about everybody around us.”

Officials working with CCM on fire code compliance

By Brett Friedensohn & Jannat Sheikh
Editor-in-Chief, Managing Editor

The New Jersey Division of Fire Safety has been working with Randolph Township’s fire code official to resolve County College of Morris’ outdated fire inspection certificates, according to Department of Community Affairs Communications Office Strategic Director Lisa Ryan.

Prep Lab

County College of Morris chemistry prep lab in Sheffield Hall. Photo by Brett Friedensohn.

Currently, there are multiple areas on campus with outdated fire inspection certificates. Updated certificates are required by the state to be posted.

Karen Vanderhoof, vice president of business and finance at CCM, said that after a meeting Monday, Oct. 23 with Randolph Fire Official Richard Briant, the two parties agreed that the college will take down outdated certificates and post updated ones in the Dragonetti Auditorium, the Davidson Rooms, the Health and Physical Education Building, the Cohen Cafe, the Learning Resource Center, the Plant and Maintenance Building, and the lecture halls in Sheffield Hall, Cohen Hall, and DeMare Hall.

Briant said he was in contact with a representative of the Division of Fire Safety to make sure the certificates are posted in the area or areas required by the code. Before a meeting with the division Monday, Oct. 30, he  He said that the purpose of it was “to have an agreement” with the Division of Fire Safety.

As of Tuesday, Oct. 31, outdated Uniform Fire Code Certificates of Inspection are still up in five areas on campus.

These areas are Sheffield Hall, Cohen Hall, Emeriti Hall, the Student Center Cafe, and the Student Community Center as a whole. The SCC has posted a Life Hazard Use Certificate of Registration which is made out to “County College of Morris Library” and expired Sunday, Nov. 5.

An expired certificate of inspection in the auditorium box office window was taken down, but an outdated Life Hazard Use Certificate of Registration is up in the hallway outside the box office as of Friday, Nov. 2. The certificate expired in 2014, is made out to “County College of Morris Library,” and does not indicate that it is registered for the auditorium.

Despite the majority of the campus’ science labs being situated in Sheffield Hall, VanDerhoof said that science labs do not fall under the building qualifications that would constitute the necessity for certificates posted. She said that public buildings that do require them are recreation centers and places of assembly and fuel dispensing.

Ryan said that classrooms qualify as places of assembly and did not specify if this applies to only K-12 or includes college. She said that science labs qualify as life hazard use buildings depending on “the quantities of waste or chemicals stored in the building.”

When asked to comment on Ryan’s statement, VanDerhoof said that code is very complex and specifies that classrooms for K-12 be inspected.

“The code also gives a lot of authority to the local fire official,” VanDerhoof said in an email. “We have always worked closely with our local code official.”

Youngtown publically disclosed eight outdated certificates Wednesday, Oct. 11. These certificates included the one in Sheffield Hall, which expired in 2010. Youngtown first reported on the issue in November 2016.

In the Oct. 11 report, CCM Compliance Officer Dawn Latincsics said that the college had in possession updated certificates for all CCM buildings but that there was no posting requirement. Briant and Department of Community Affairs Communications Director Tomari Petty, however, said that the law states otherwise. On Friday, Nov. 3, Latincsics clarified that the certificates are required to be posted in Life Hazard Use areas.

Latincsics also said that day that CCM will keep on record all updated fire certificates in the department of public safety instead of plastering them around the campus. Latincsics said that Briant spoke with a state representative who will allow CCM to keep all the certificates and registrations in a binder kept in the department of public safety available and accessible for anyone to view.

“That way, we don’t have to go running around remembering where the last person in charge of it stuck it on,” Latincsics said.

Each certificate of inspection states, “This certificate must be posted in a conspicuous location in the above premises.” The premise listed above this statement is the building to which the certificate is registered.

Before the meeting between VanDerhoof and Briant, Youngtown staff found one more area with an outdated certificate and four with no certificates posted at all.

The Davidson Rooms’ fire code certificate and Sterno use permit expired in 2013. They were both taken down by Monday, Oct. 23. The areas with no certificates posted were DeMare Hall, HPE, the LRC, and the Music Technology Center.

The Uniform Fire Safety Act of 1983 states that certain public buildings must be inspected periodically depending on their potential risk for fire-related incidents and that after an area is inspected, it must display a certificate of inspection in an inconspicuous location.

The act was first passed because of several multiple-death fires within the state, according to Petty.

On Jan. 19, 2000, three students were killed and 59 injured after a fire in a Seton Hall University residence hall fire; students who pleaded guilty said that they intended it as a prank, according to New Jersey Advance Media. Campus administrators said that the university was under complete compliance with the fire code, but since, the university has since made several fire safety strides including updating and installing sprinklers and banning smoking in all residence halls.

Briant returned to CCM at the end of October to reinspect violations he found over the summer and certificates have now been been issued for the building where corrective action has taken place.

Briant said there are a few buildings that share a violation that requires a specialized contractor to complete the work. He is allowing time for the work to be done, and the extension date is Sunday, Dec. 31. The certificate for Sheffield Hall is not issued due to the extension of time, according to Briant.

Latincsics said that a common violation at CCM is that sprayed on fireproofing insulation has fallen off of beams and that the college needs quotes from three vendors before work is done on this. She also said that Briant will need to return after Dec. 31 to insure that the correct changes are made. CCM will receive the most updated versions of the certificate for each building when it is completely satisfactory.

If any old certificates are found around campus, VanDerhoof and Latincsics said they would appreciate if it is brought to their attention and taken down. They can be reached respectively at kvanderhoof@ccm.edu and dlatincsics@ccm.edu. Latincsics said that she and representatives from public safety have looked around for outdated certificates to take down but have not been able to find many.

“For the life of me, I have no idea where they still might be,” Latincsics said.

Multiple buildings at CCM behind on state-required inspection certificates


A certificate expired in 2008 posted in Emeriti Hall. Photo by Jannat Sheikh

Campus officials say fire safety certificates have been issued, not displayed

By Jannat Sheikh
Managing Editor

County College of Morris has not posted in eight areas on campus updated fire safety inspection certificates required by the state, with many expiring before Youngtown first reported on the issue in November 2016.

The Randolph Township Fire Department has inspected the entire campus, but the college has not posted current certifications, according to Dawn Latincsics, compliance officer of human resources and former environmental health and safety coordinator department of public safety.

The areas behind on posting certificates are the Student Community Center, Student Center Cafe, Dragonetti Auditorium, Henderson Hall, Sheffield Hall, Cohen Hall, Cohen Cafe, and Emeriti Hall.

The New Jersey State Uniform Fire Safety Act of 1983 contains the state’s Uniform Fire Code which says that certain public buildings must be inspected periodically depending on their potential risk for fire-related incidents. It also says that when an area is inspection, there must be in it a certificate of inspection displayed in a conspicuous location. Each certificate includes dates of inspection and expiration.

Latincsics said that Richard Briant, Fire Official from the Bureau of Fire Prevention at the Randolph Township Fire Department, inspected every building on campus over the summer.

Briant said that the new certificates have not been issued because the college needs time to show that it has fixed violations and that the Fire Department gives CCM 30 days to take care of the violations. However, Latincsics turned over to Youngtown a copy of an updated certificate for the Cohen Cafe which has not been posted. The certificate says that it was issued Thursday, Sept. 14 and will expire Sept. 30, 2018 and explicitly says that there are no fire safety violations with the area.

In addition, Latincsics said there were “minor findings” that violated the code in some of the buildings during the inspection. Briant said that he expects to return in late October to re-inspect the campus.

Latincsics also said that there is no requirement to post the certificates although each one says, “This certificate must be posted in a conspicuous location in the above premises.”

In addition, Briant said that the updated certificates are required to be displayed in a prominent location.

“I think some of them are just old certificates that have been posted and just not taken down,” Latincsics said. “ There’s not a requirement to post them. But, [Briant] does come up frequently to check requirements of the code depending on the life hazard use of the building.”

Moreover, one of these certificates states that it expired almost 10 years ago. The certificate of inspection located in Emeriti Hall was issued Oct. 12, 2007 and expired Aug. 31, 2008. The one in Cohen Hall was issued Dec. 23, 2009 and expired Sept. 30, 2010. The Henderson Hall certificate was issued April 19, 2013 and expired Feb. 15, 2015.

“The inspections are done as required by the Randolph Fire Marshal,” Latincsics said. “Certificates are old or out of date, and some actually expired …We’re not posting them any further, as far as I know …There isn’t a current work order that has been put out, but that’s something that we can look at to see where [the certificates] are and bring them down so we don’t have the confusion.”

The Uniform Fire Code describes life hazard use as “the use of a building or structure that may constitute a potential risk to human life, public welfare or firefighters.” The majority of the campus’ science labs are situated in Sheffield Hall, and the culinary arts classes are taught in the Student Center.

Non-life hazard use buildings are checked periodically, Briant said. However, the CCM auditorium is required to be inspected quarterly while other buildings are checked annually.

Some concerned students at CCM  said they would appreciate updated certificates.

“They should update it unless they want problems if students start posting it on social media,” said Zay Ellison, an early childhood development major at CCM. “I don’t think the school wants to get in trouble over a simple task to just change a sheet of paper.”

Ellison said students should feel reassured that their safety is CCM’s first priority, but instead  these certificates might end up making students feel unsafe.

Like Ellison, another student believes that this can lead CCM to unnecessary trouble.

“To be honest, I think it’s a bad look for the college considering these forms are being publicly displayed,” said Fahad Siddiqui, a biology major at CCM. “They are expired for multiple years already, and I feel like some students who actually care might even complain to higher authority feeling as if they are not safe.”

On the other hand, one student tried looking at the situation through the school’s perspective.

“I would believe that running a college is a lot of work and very time consuming,” said Abbey Long, a journalism major at CCM. “They could just be busy and forgot.”

Previously shut-down SGA prepares for elections

By Jannat Sheikh
News Editor

County College of Morris has begun the process to revive the Student Government Association in hopes to restore activity by Tuesday, Oct. 24.

In the spring 2017 semester, the SGA was shut down and the elections were canceled due to miscommunication, dysfunction, and allegations of dereliction of duty. There was confusion regarding the existence of discrimination clause in the SGA constitution. However, all clubs are covered under an anti-discrimination clause enacted by the Board of Trustees; no club or organization’s constitution can supercede that campus-wide edict.

Moreover, in April 2017, a few members of the SGA senate brought allegations against former President Malik White for sexual misconduct and tried to impeach him. After a thorough investigation, White was absolved of all allegations. Since then, the SGA has been disbanded.

Now, the process for identifying interested SGA candidates will start with one of two information sessions, according to Dr. Bette Simmons, vice president of student development and enrollment management. The first information session was Tuesday, Sept. 12, and the second will be Tuesday, Oct. 3.

“At these information sessions, students will learn about the new process for nominations and elections,” Simmons said.

Furthermore, Simmons said that this new process will include interested students applying for available positions and interviewing with a Nomination Committee consisting of faculty and staff appointed by Simmons. The individuals will be selected by this committee to get on the ballot.

“I won’t let the SGA office or club room become a hangout space; that’s what the pingpong room and game room is for.”

Demylee Pablos

SGA presidential candidate

“All candidates will need to be approved by two thirds of the Nomination Committee,” said Don Phelps, associate director of Campus Life and former co-advisor of the SGA.

In addition, the number of students who may run cannot yet be determined. This can only be known when the individuals apply for the available positions.

Available positions include Executive Board members (President, Vice President, Inter Club Council, Treasurer, Secretary) and 21 Senators.

In fact, the Inter-Club Council Chairperson will be voted on by CCM students during the election.  In the past, the ICC Chair was selected by the Senate according to Phelps.

Demylee Pablos, a hospitality management major at CCM, is one of the students interested in running for SGA president.

“Last semester had a lot of miscommunication and misunderstandings,” Pablos said. “Although I am nervous, I can assure you that I’m ready for the responsibility.”

Also, Pablos said that she will prevent misunderstandings by having an open dialogue with the students involved in clubs.

“Unlike a lot of people I know, I have an open dialogue with every person,” Pablos added. “And I won’t let the SGA office or club room become a hangout space; that’s what the pingpong room and game room is for.”

Pablos does not know anyone else who may be running in the elections.

On another note, students will be able to vote once an approved slate has been identified, according to Simmons.

Students can then vote in online elections which will be live on Blackboard from Tuesday, Oct. 17 to Thursday, Oct. 19, according to Phelps.

As Simmons said during the spring 2017 semester after the initial fallout, “I would expect the student government to really represent the student body and if we have such a small number of people voting, then it clearly won’t be representative.”

The SGA at CCM Facebook page states that the SGA is here to listen to the students and help resolve student issues. They are the official liaison between the students and the faculty. The SGA aims to create an enjoyable atmosphere for everyone at CCM.

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.”

Blackboard becomes backbone of campus communication


Grades, presentations, discussion boards and assignments are just moments away from students at County College of Morris through Blackboard Learn, an online learning portal.

CCM students are assigned to a Blackboard account from their first day on campus in order to access information for some classes. Not all professors use Blackboard, which frustrates some students who want to keep their work organized.

“I find Blackboard helpful when it comes to communicating with professors about homework assignments and material that was reviewed in class,” said Carsyn St. John, a occupational therapy major at CCM. “I would find it even more useful if each professor was required to use the learning portal.”

St. John is not alone in her desire for a more universal adoption of Blackboard throughout campus.

“I actually like Blackboard,” said Faiza Khan, a humanities major at CCM. “It bothers me when professors don’t utilize it.”

The idea that Blackboard is a useful tool stems from its access to class materials and constant updates of grades.

“[Blackboard] keeps me organized and let’s me know how I am doing throughout the semester,” Khan said.

Other students consider Blackboard to be a bit outdated and in need for improvement.

“I would really appreciate if there was a chat, similar to Instant Messenger, to either chat with your professor or even a help desk,” said Jenny Carroll, a communication major at CCM. “Going back and forth from Blackboard to e-mail is tedious. Having a way to communicate on Blackboard fast and effectively would be ideal.”

Carroll said that she is a student that has had several online classes, and professors who love Blackboard. However, she personally feels that Blackboard was frustrating to navigate at first.

“Overall, Blackboard is very boring, and the layout is not interesting to maneuver whatsoever,” said Carroll.

Blackboard Learn can be accessed at courses.ccm.edu.

New year’s resolutions denied or applied: students attack back


Many people, including students at the County College of Morris, decided what they want to enhance or change about themselves in 2017.

While some people stick with their New Year’s resolutions, it’s more common to throw in the towel, according to research by the University of Scranton which estimates that only 8 percent of people achieve their New Year’s goals.

“I actually made a list,” said Hope Motzenbecker, a communication major at CCM.  

“Maybe I deleted it,” Motzenbecker said, as she searched through her phone. “Yeah, I deleted it.”

Motzenbecker recalled that one of the resolutions on her list was to practice the piano everyday. She explained that she did not go through with her resolutions because she had other things to do.

Approximately 40 percent of Americans take part in New Year’s resolutions according to Forbes. The other 60 percent do not set goals for the upcoming year.

“I wanted to get more organized,” said Miguel Romero, a criminal justice major at CCM. “I wanted to get a new job, to make more money.”

Romero said that this year has been going very well for him. He said he is more organized and he recently got a raise at his current job, falling in line with his resolutions.

On the top of the most popular resolutions list is to get healthier according to NBC News. The data from Google shows that “get healthy” was searched 62,776,640 times in 2016.

“I wanted to run more,” said Valentina Marmolejo, a communication major at CCM. “But I haven’t really been outside because it’s been raining nonstop… It’s also freezing so it’s kind of killing any motivation I had in me.”

Many are in the same boat as Marmolejo. Although people are enthusiastic about their resolutions, different variables can slow down the process of accomplishing a certain goal, and, in the end, make walking away the easiest option. Only time will tell how well people do maintaining their resolutions this year.