Monthly Archives: May, 2010

Recollecting Revolution While Reliving the Nightmare: Kent State 40 Years Later

Image from the Kent State massacre

By Katherine Lloyd 

For those who attended college during the Vietnam War, when the words “Kent State” are spoken, one may feel an ominous chill, followed by despair. The unfortunate chaos and macabre scene which took place on May 4, 1970, at Kent State University in Ohio, was the result of a protest (following the April 30 announcement of US troops entering Cambodia), turned ugly dispute, finishing with the death of four young students. 

Forty years after the horrific tragedy, SCCC students, faculty, and alumni sat in grief watching the film Kent State: The Day the War Came Home on May 4 in the Montauk Point room of the Babylon Student Center. The film depicted images of students alongside the National Guard bickering back and forth with each other, until the unthinkable happened; shots were fired. The commentary featured in the film was provided by students involved with the protest, as well as the soldiers who pulled their triggers. 

The phrase “time heals all wounds” was irrelevant, as Kevin McCoy, Ammerman campus librarian and member of New York Civil Liberties, hosted a panel discussion immediately following the film. Those who were on campus during this time expressed feelings of anguish and confusion as if the massacre had occurred yesterday. 

The discussion featured commentary from Maureen Clinton, former student and now faculty member of the college, Charles Funk, former adjunct professor and current owner of an insurance company, Norm West, a current faculty member, working at the college in 1970, and John Gallagher, former assistant to president of the college, and also former dean at the Grant campus. Each member of the panel had their own unique insight, and different recollection of the events which occurred on May 4, 1970. 

 With the graphic visuals displayed in the film, it was easy to empathize with students attending college at Kent State, but what of those who attended SCCC? “This was not like any other war”, said Clinton, who added that baby boomers were “the bridge group”, in reference to the difference of opinion in worldly views from their preceding age group. 

“My father’s generation would never understand,” Clinton said, as she recalled the protests which took place on campus during the Vietnam war. “My cousin’s body came home on Christmas day” she added, furthermore contributing to her activism during the war. Clinton recalled a “park in” which took place on campus, and how her generation now has a better understanding of “we’re not against the soldiers, we’re against the war”. 

 While the soldiers who fought in Vietnam did not have a choice in the matter this concept of blaming the war itself, rather than the soldier seemed extremely distant; the violence in Vietnam that was streaming through their televisions blinded the eyes of many, only leaving them to blame the soldiers, forgetting their government demanded their service. 

Charles Funk, who was featured in the acclaimed documentary Farmingville, expressed how he was “so sickened” and “so hurt” by what happened at Kent State. 

“We saw women and children burning to death from napalm,” Funk added, responding to the reason for the radical reaction many protesters conveyed during this period. Each speaker during the discussion had a difference in opinion on many topics but they all agreed on one thing: the media’s influence on the war. 

This war was not “sanitized” as John Gallagher explained it, elaborating that journalists and photographers had free reign to report any image or news from Vietnam back to the states. The terrifying images from the war were burned into the minds of many Americans, which caused a distorted view of the soldiers who were fighting there. 

Because of the lack of compassion some had for the veterans returning home from war, Gallagher stated that there were protests on campus, and although mild “Dr. Ammerman had trouble handling this…he was a WWII vet.” Gallagher added that while most of the country was bewildered about the reasons behind the war, the veterans coming home were just as clueless. He explained that “They were yelled at and spit on, they were confused themselves.” 

In addition to the broadcasts from Vietnam, the news reported in the US did not display protesters as the peaceful flower children that later generations have been told about. 

Funk noted a march he attended in Washington DC in which the speakers were “so eloquent, they were talking about war, not soldiers, but war. It was so peaceful”, then added that “ none of it was on the news,” implying that those not involved in the protests had been under the misconception that the activists against the war were hateful, and abusive toward soldiers. The reality of the situation was that soldiers along with protesters were all searching for a resolution for what seemed to be an endless battle. 

With all the conflicting views on Vietnam and Kent State, West, a history professor at the Ammerman campus recalls that “ there were no personal difficulties among the staff” while explaining the divide in opinions among the faculty at SCCC during this time. 

The discussion was concluded with final thoughts on the film, and also a comparison to the war going on today. West explained that he also held strong to his views that “the war was unjust,” and continued on, that the war today has “a different cause, but is also down the wrong path.” He added that “they should have never declared it a war to begin with.” Each speaker agreed that another factor contributing to the reaction from students during the Vietnam War was the draft, and later the lottery, whereas today the military is voluntary. 

“Discipline,” was the general response from each of the panel speakers when asked about what could have changed this day in history. “Bayonets! What were they thinking?” Funk exclaimed. 

In reference to Funk’s statement West added “ The authorities have to use maximum restraint, NO AMO!” 

The Four days leading up to the Kent State shootings were tumultuous and fearful. Ultimately, the lesson learned is when armed forces are called upon to handle a situation (in this case a war protest), the military is to control the crowd, and not become part of the chaos. 

The debate on who is at fault pertaining to Kent State may go on; however, this lack of restraint, and use of weapons ended the lives of Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, Sandra Scheuer , and William Schroeder in the name of a college protest.

Asian Culture Club hosts tea ceremony, Kimono dressing

By Donna Lynn

           A Japanese tea ceremony and kimono dressing performance was held in the Babylon Student Center, Montauk Point Room on May 12th. The demonstration was held by the Asian Culture Club and the Long Island Chano-Yu No Kai society.

         Students participated in the tea drinking and kimono dressing. The tea ceremony and kimono dresssing was performed by three student volunteers and three Asian women , Kauri Morita, Mizuho Izubuchi and Rie Telesca.

          Morita and Professor Estuko Donnelly explained and directed the tea ceremony while Mizuho Izubuchi acted as host. Morita and the three students sat on a bamboo mat while the host sat adjacent to them.

          The students had to take off their shoes and kneel down on the mat. The host presented them with a plate of sweets. The sweets must be eaten before serving tea. The sweets are made from sugar, starch and red bean paste. The sweets are very sugary.

          The tea ceremony is very ritualistic. The host sits in front of a hot water urn called a furugama. Before beginning to serve the tea she cleans the utensils with a napkin. While cleaning the utensils, the napkin must be folded in a certain way. After cleaning, she then proceeds to scoop water from the urn into a bowl that has tea in it. She mixes it then presents it to her guests. The guest must bow and say “I am going to drink your tea”.

          Before drinking the tea the guest must turn the bowl clockwise twice then take three and a half sips. Upon doing this the guest must then turn the bowl counter clockwise two times. After drinking the tea, the guest can examine the bowl.

          The bowls used in the tea ceremony are usually very expensive and well crafted. The second guest is then presented with the tea, he must ask the guest sitting next to him if he wants the first sip. If the guest declines he then can continue with the ritual. When all the guest are finished drinking the tea they must bow to the host. The host then will proceed to clean the utensils and bowl. After this is done the guest bow to the host once again and the ceremony is complete.

          The art of the tea ceremony began in China around the Zen Monks. It was used to ward off sleepiness during meditation. The tradition was then brought to Japan in the eighth century. It was popular with the wealthy and military classes. It became more popular in the fourteenth century. In the sixteenth century it took a more modern shape under the great tea master Sen Rikyu. The tradition became known as the “Way of Tea”.

          Tea drinking went back to the concept of tea and zen. It reinforced the code of rigid self control, austere simplicity and loyalty. The “Way of Tea” became known as Bushido. Modern day tea ceremonies are not as rigid as in the past.

          The Kimono dressing performance was then explained by Telesca. Two students volunteered to be dressed in a Kimono. The Kimono is worn with the opening in the front. The left side is then folded over the right side and a thin wrap is secured around the waist. A wide sash is then wrapped around the waist and then an “obi” is wrapped around the waits.

          In Kimono dressing first the woman must put on cotton, then silk, then a kimono. Before westerners came into Japan a kimono was worn everyday. You can even go to school to learn about how to wear a Kimono and become an expert at Kimono dressing. The most formal kimono is a silk kimono. Some Japanese families have certain emblems to identify them. They will wear a silk black Kimono with white emblems.

          The tea ceremony and kimono performance was an interesting look at the rituals performed in Japan. About 30 students attended and a sample of Japanese tea was served to all.

Women’s Tennis Team Stands Strong at National’s

The girl's outside the National's arena

It was just last October that the women’s tennis team at Suffolk Community College landed in 1st place at the regional tournament. They had been waiting anxiously for the past few months to get their shot at nationals in Arizona and this past week they finally did.

The trip began on April 30th when the girls arrived at JFK airport in NYC, ready to make their mark in Tuscan, Ariz. The flight was a long 5 and half hours but the girls were still pumped.

Fellow team member, Debra Denimark said, “The whole plane ride I just kept looking out the window saying, are we there yet? I was so excited!!”

According to her she wasn’t the only one excited. When the girls arrived at the airport in Arizona they drove to their hotel and unpacked their things.

“It was more of a vacation than a tournament! The girls didn’t have their matches until Monday and we arrived Saturday night. For the next two days they just hung out by the pool and relaxed until the tournament started Monday morning,” explained Coach Chris Cosenza.

According to the girls that Monday, and the rest of the week, was beautiful weather, sunny and hot with temperatures around the 80’s. The girls practiced early each morning and then took a bus to where the tournament was being held. They only had about 2 matches each day because of the weather (once it got around 1pm it was too hot to play).

The first day all of the girls won their first matches but out of the six girls on the team, two lost their second matches.

“It was tough! A lot tougher than I thought it would be. The girls we played were really good. They were teams from all over different regions,” said team member, Jessica Lynn Sanwald.

The next 2 days the matches grew tougher for the girls as they were up against even better opponents. By the third day only one team member was left to play in the finals on Thursday May 6th (the same day they would catch a late plane back home).

In a tough effort, the last standing team member, Stephanie Vidal (who plays in the 1st singles spot) lost to an opponent from Weston Community College, a school in Virginia.

Stephanie explained the match and her disappointment with losing. “It was so tough, she was really good. The first set we were kind of equal but by the second set she was definitely taking the lead. I was really disappointed, I think maybe my nerves got to me. But then that’s my fault, you know? She deserved to win because she kept her cool and played hard. I definitely would be up for a rematch, though, one day! Bring it on!”

Most of the girls were happy with how they played and Coach Cosenza said he was very proud of all of them. Most of them won’t be returning to play on the team again next year, though. Almost all the girls are either graduating and getting their associates or transferring. “It’s a shame to see them go. These girls are all very talented and it will be a big loss next year when most of them leave the school. They all got along together very well and there was never any disagreements or fighting. You don’t see that very often with sports teams because their usually competitive. But not for these girls,” stated Coach Cosenza. The last time the schools women’s tennis team went to Nationals was a few years back in 2006. The coach says he hopes it wont be another long wait to get back to Arizona and finish what they started.

Panel Speaks Out on Immigration Reform

By Donna Lynn           

              Immigrant awareness day was held on May 4th at Suffolk Community College. “Why we March” a panel of three immigrant rights advocates, spoke at the Babylon Student Center in the Montauk Point Room. On the panel was Louis Valenzuela, Executive Director of the Long Island Immigrant Alliance, Ana Giraldo, bilingual community advocate and Suffolk Community College Alumni and artist Margerita Espada.

            Valenzuela started off the discussion explaining why the immigrant community marched in Washington on March 21st. During his bid for election, President Obama promised immigration reform which would allow millions of immigrants a path to citizenship. Obama was supposed to speak out on immigration reform at his State Of The Union address. He only devoted 90 seconds to the issue and the immigrants of America were outraged. A march was then organized to demand immigration reform and to defend the rights of foreign workers.

            Before the march, President Obama met with Senator Schumer and other advocates. No concessions were made but the president was very supportive of the immigrant’s plight.

            The Fb1070 bill which was put into law by Arizona was the next topic. The Arizona law requires foreigners to have immigration status paperwork or documentation on their persons as all times. This is needed in the event they are involved in a crime or legal matter. It is a crime not to be in the possession of these documents.

            “In Germany similar bills gave rise to the Third Reich. We need to put an end to the deportation and raids in Arizona” Valenzuela said.

            Intervention on behalf of the immigrants is needed in Arizona. It is horrific and sad that the immigrants of Arizona must deal with this abuse. Each day there are more and more lawsuits because of this law and boycotts are being held.

            Espada spoke about how art is a tool for social change. She is the director of Teato Yerbabruja, a theater group that puts on plays that express the concerns and plight of the immigrant. The stories bring to the forefront the issues and the humanity. The plays are tools to aid in organizing the immigrants and gaining public support.

            The Theater group is currently putting on a play entitled “What Killed Marcello Lucero”.

            “The play focuses on the political and social reasons it happened on Long Island. The play is a platform to expose the reality of the abuse immigrants must endure. Many people don’t believe it is a true story “said Espada.

            Giraldo discussed the Dream Act. The Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors Act are a piece of proposed federal legislation that has been introduced to the United States Senate and House of Representatives. This bill would provide undocumented alien students who graduate from high school and are in good moral standing the opportunity to earn residency. They have to have been in the country for five years. After high school graduation they would be able to retain temporary residence for a six year period. Within the six years they must have completed two years of college or two years military service. Upon doing this they are granted permanent residency.

            Without legal documentation, immigrant students cannot receive financial aid for college or government grants. They can pursue a degree but upon graduation cannot retain legal employment.

            “We are loosing great minds and expertise” said Giraldo

            Giraldo then went on to say that the issues of immigration cannot be just viewed on the local news but there are other forums. There is the Hispanic news and other places to keep you updated. It is wise to get both sides of the story.

            Questions were posed by the audience to the panel. One question was that the immigrants are depleting our resources, what do you see as a solution? Valenzuela stated that there are myths about immigrants that have become facts. You repeat stereotypes about people and its starts to replace the individual humanity. Despite how difficult it is to believe it, immigrants contribute far more than they take in services. 500,000 immigrants contribute 10.7 billion dollars to the economy.

            The FB1070 bill is depleting resources in Arizona. Billions is being used to enforce the law and jails that the immigrants are being retained in. These facilities are privately operated. A lot of money is being spent on private sources just to enforce this law.

            Giraldo added that immigrants do not go to local hospitals unless there is an emergency. They get a bill and must pay it like everyone else.

            Giraldo also added that immigrants are misrepresented in the media. In the NY Times there was a one page article on the Arizona FB1070 bill. Over 10 times the word illegal was used in describing immigrants. In Time Magazine there was a four page article, blog and discussion. Illegal was only used to refer to illegal immigration.

            Valenzuela expressed his hope for success of the Conceptual Immigration Reform Outline. If this outline is enacted into a bill it will both tighten the border control and provide a route to citizenship for thousands of illegals.  The outline calls for illegals to be registered and be issued visas. They will also be allowed to travel outside the United States. In phase two of the outline, after eight years and good conduct they become legal residents.

            Lisa Melendez, Professor of Library Sciences and advisor of Latino Del Mundo the College students club, assisted in the organizing of the forum.

            “Immigration reform is long overdue and immigrants have been and will continue to contribute to our society on many levels. It is time we start acknowledging this reality rather than believe the myths that circulate” said Melendez”

            No money was paid to the speakers to put on this forum.

Facts and Misconceptions About the Financial Aid Process

Financial Aid Campus Director Katie Briscoe Baum

By Diego Bustamante          

           Students line up every semester to apply for Financial Aid and although it’s a long process, many students finish without comprehending the steps involved.

            While some apply and go through the process smoothly, others don’t understand it and either prolong it or leave with many questions in there heads.   There are many student assistance programs available that are not taken advantage of. The underlying reason is that many don’t even know that they are eligible for aid.

            “Every student files FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) regardless of the college the student is in,” Financial Aid Campus Director Katie Briscoe Baum said. “In addition to Grants,  New York State Residents apply for TAP (Tuition Assistance Program). Everyone qualifies for something.”

             Many forms of financial assistance for students comes in grants, sholarships, loans, work-study, tax credits, and other special programs. Of the grants there are the Federal Pell, NYS TAP, Federal Supplement Education Opportunity, College, NYS Aid for Part-time Study, of the scholarships, Leaders of Tomorrow, Academic Excellence, college, of the loans, Federal Stanford (subsidized and unsubsidized), Federal Plus, Alternate (private), and of the work-study there is the Federal College program. Additionally, there are tax credits and other special programs.

             “There has been no reduction in TAP,” Baum said. “There has been an expansion of PELL. The only reduction that has been made has been to the work-study program.”

             There are students who will wonder why reimbursement is taking so long to kick in for them. Some will wonder why the full approved amount of aid is being denied upon further evaluation of their aid. Others may be thinking if they are eligible for anything else.

             “I was supposed to get $2,650 but I ended up receiving $1,520 and when I went down to the Financial Aid office I was basically told that the money technically isn‘t mine,” Accounting Major Cory Mahoney said. “My question is why would they put it down as our reward if it isn’t really ours. Most students are just happy to get a check in the mail and don’t really pay attention to their Financial Aid like they should be because if you don’t keep record they’ll find some way to lower it.”

               There are students who have completed the Financial Aid process numerous times and still have questions. The campus will be holding Financial Aid workshops in the Mildred Green Lounge in the Babylon Student Center May 17 from 12 noon to 1 p.m. and May 20 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. These workshops will be for those who want to learn what errors not to make and also ask professionals questions.

                 “At bill time some students may come to Financial Aid and not see the full amount,” Baum said. “This is because the student may have been approved by the state but also by law if the school finds the student not to be taking the required credits, then the student will be de-certified. For example the school determines if the student meets the income criteria but not the educational criteria or if a student is repeating a class. Additionally, the aid process may get slowed down if a student doesn‘t fill out the application correctly, if the application processor finds inconsistencies in the application, as well the number of students applying because last year this campus saw an increase of 27% in FAFSA enrollment.”

             Most of the students find the process endearing. Others could care less as long as they get help. There were students have positive feedback about the applying for financial assistance.

              “You have to wait for it but it’s a easy and straight-forward process,” Auto Technician Major Terrence Barrientos said. “It’s been helping me out with school. It’s not that difficult because all you really have to do is go to school.”

               The majority of the students agree that the Financial Aid Office does what needs to get done. The complaints from students is in organization although it should be noted that a contributing factor to the chaos is possibly SCCC’s leniency for late registration that four year schools are more strict with. The opinions of some of the students is that both the “online” and “on the line” steps are tedious.

               “I think it could be handled better because it’s just crazy how I had to wait on a line for an hour just to ask one question,” Liberal Arts Major Justin Okley said. “The online forms are a bit excessive. My experience with the whole process was good but I just think they need to organize better.”

              Most of the students agree that others attending college should inform themselves more about student financial assistance. While there are some students who find more favor for the Financial Aid process than others, they and the faculty share the agreement that students should take the most advantage of the assistance that is out there. The Financial Aid Department at Suffolk Community College encourages students to apply for assistance they haven’t already and to attend the workshops, if needed.

               “I encourage more and more people to file because there are too many people who don’t complete the process due to how intimidating it is,” Baum said. “File even if you don’t think you need it. Don’t miss the opportunity because more students may actually qualify due to the current conditions of the economy.”

Plant Operations Plans Pothole Repair

By Matt Skolnick

Besides watching for pedestrians, other vehicles, and the occasional suicidal gaggle of geese, drivers on the Ammerman campus have another major hazard to look out for: potholes.

“The roads are in dire need of repair. They have potholes without a doubt. The good news is we have funding to repair them,” the Director of Plant Operations, Ed Benz said.

It appears that plant operations, the department responsible for the upkeep and repair of campus grounds has their work cut out for them. Broken pavement can be found on campus roadways and parking lots ranging from as small as a fist to almost as large as a smart car.

David Devine, a 19-year-old accounting major from Blue Point said he finds potholes on campus “annoying.” While bad pavement may be a nuisance to some students, driving around campus has become a matter of public safety to others.

“It’s almost dangerous,” said George Pekar, a 19-year-old psychology major from Farmingville. “I have to drive on the other side of the road just to get out of the potholes. I haven’t popped a tire yet, but it’s an accident waiting to happen,” said Pekar.

His fears of vehicular damage are not without reason. According to public safety incident report logs, from 2008 to March 10th, seven complaints pertaining to vehicular damage caused by potholes were put in to the Office of Public Safety. Reported damages included multiple flat tires, bent or dented rims, and one case of damage to an axle and sidewall. Incident reports indicated that vehicle models from as far back as 1994 to as recent as 2009 required repair.

Of the seven incidents listed, two drivers requested in written statements that the college reimburse them for the cost of repairs. According to the Office of Legal Affairs, “The County will be paying only one claim for damage from a pothole during the spring 2010 semester.”
It is important to note that the only claims of vehicular damage in the last two years were placed in the months of February and March after the record amounts of snowfall Long Island received this winter.

 “Over the course of a cold, moist winter, potholes will become larger as the season progresses, probably causing more tire damage,” said Assistant professor of Geology Joan Horn who was not surprised by the uptick in incidents. Horn attributes the formation of potholes to a “freezing-thawing cycle” that occurs when water seeps into small cracks in pavement and freezes. Horn explained that when the water freezes it expands and causes the cracks to widen and deepen into the potholes students see on campus.

In one public safety incident report, a student in a written statement claimed there was “a massive pothole that instantly blew out my two right tires.” In another incident report, after getting a flat tire another student wrote, “instead of finding more ways to embezzle…the cash out of our pockets, can you make the roads more drivable please?”

Benz is hoping to do just that by overseeing some much needed roadwork. He noted a capital project going into effect now for roadwork that would cover all three campuses.

While Benz is looking forward to improving driving conditions, he cautioned that plant operations “[doesn’t] have funding to repair all the roads.” According to the Office of Legal Affairs, the project allows for $94,000 for design and $1,326,000 for construction. Benz explained that an engineering firm was hired in 2009 to rate the roads and put forth recommendations for repair. As part of the engineering firm’s findings, they estimated that “to do all the roadways and all the parking lots [on the Ammerman campus] would run you almost $15 million to resurface everything,” Benz said. While there is not enough money to replace all of the asphalt on campus, in lieu of an exact amount, Benz explained that “the outside engineering firm…feels that the Ammerman campus should get a larger portion of the pie because our roadways are in the worst shape [of all three campuses]

In order to use the funds most efficiently, Benz stated that the engineering firm will focus on the campus roads because plant operations feels they “need it more than the parking lots” and also because “the majority of students utilize the roadways”. He then clarified that potholes in parking lots won’t be ignored but will still be handled by plant operations under their regular operating budget. “We can do that ourselves. We can go in there, clean out the cracks, and put some hot asphalt in there” said Benz.
While funds from the operating budget and Capital project are available now, plant operations has been waiting until the warmer weather to do most of their road repair work. At the same time, Benz said that plant operations looks at potholes on a “case by case basis” and that if they hear of a problem of particular concern they try to repair it right away. “You can repair [pavement] in the winter time, but there is no guarantee that [the asphalt] is going to take and bond properly…so we try to do it during the summer months,” Benz said.

With the summer a few months away, the funding in place, and an engineering company at the ready, plant operations is hoping to smooth out some of those “annoying” potholes while making the campus roads a safer place to drive for everyone.

H1N1: Is it still a threat?

By Matt Kogut  

It has caused chaos, clamor, and commotion and has killed more than 17,483 people worldwide.

The Swine Flu, as it may have been more commonly known, is still most commonly active in parts of the tropical zones of Asia, the Americas, and Africa according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has reported that the Swine Flu virus does not normally infect humans but there have been sporadic human infections occurring around the world. These cases though have occurred among persons with direct exposure to pigs that may have had the virus. The CDC has indicated there are multiple strains and different variations of the swine flu have emerged but the most common, and recent, strain of virus has come in the name of the H1N1 Virus.

Almost a year ago, on April 24, 2009, the WHO issued its first H1N1 Virus update reporting, “influenza-like illness in the United States and Mexico.” The update reported that the U.S had seven confirmed cases of the Swine Flu/H1N1 Virus and nine suspected cases but no deaths. Mexico had 18 confirmed cases regarding the Swine Flu/H1N1 Virus but no deaths. By their 56th update on July 1, 2009, it was confirmed as a worldwide pandemic infecting 83,509 persons and confirmed 353 deaths in more than 100 nations, provinces, and/or territories worldwide. By that time, world frenzy ensued and hospitals and doctor’s offices worldwide were mobilized to the best of their ability in order to provide the best care possible to possibly infected persons. Its current estimates report, “As of 28 March 2010, worldwide more than 213 countries and overseas territories or communities have reported laboratory confirmed cases of pandemic influenza H1N1 2009, including over 17483 deaths.”

Now, a year later, a lot more is known about the virus. But was there ever, and is there still unnecessary “hype” over the H1N1 Virus?

“Hysteria over the H1N1 Virus was caused by two reasons,” Dr. Frances LaFauci, Associate Dean of Nursing stated. “One, it was a new virus that no one ever heard of before, and the second reason that even really concerned me was it seemed like children and pregnant women were having the most problems. If you look at deaths and people that were sickest, it was young people under 25, young adults, and pregnant women. With the young population, it always causes hysteria because parents don’t want their children to die.”

La Fauci also mentioned the unique pattern the epidemic took. “It didn’t follow the pattern of the regular influenza virus. It came out in the spring, so I am looking to see if there is another outbreak this season. The normal flu starts in the fall and goes into winter and March. H1N1 started in April and peaked in summer, early fall then slowed down a little. We don’t know if it slowed down because we immunized a lot of people or that’s just what the virus was doing. We don’t know what a virus is going to do.”

How much more serious is the H1N1 Virus as opposed to the common influenza virus? According to Professor Susan Dewey-Hammer, College-Wide Nursing Coordinator said, “Not really more serious but the individuals who have problems with H1N1 fall into a different age group than the individual’s that are usually affected by the regular seasonal flu.” LaFauci also said, “The traditional influenza virus affects the very elderly and the really young.” So how much of a threat is the H1N1 Virus to the college community? “It is a threat to SCCC but not as great of a threat as it is to colleges where students actually live on campus, we are a commuter campus.” said Dewey-Hammer. “Communicable diseases will spread faster in a more closed environment,” added LaFauci. What if there happened to be an outbreak on campus? “The Pandemic Influenza Plan is a document within the College’s Emergency Response Plan. The Pandemic Influenza Plan contains procedural mechanisms to follow depending on the level of the outbreak and clearly delineates who is responsible to execute those actions to ensure protecting the safety of the college community. The plan contains information on established cleaning protocols, notification templates, alternative delivery of services for the College community and policies to follow when faced with an outbreak.” Vice President for Planning and Institutional Assessment Joanne Braxton responded.

Student reaction sounds similar to what faculty and administration are saying.

“I definitely think there is a lot of “hype” over H1N1 but I wouldn’t be so quick to say that it’s unnecessary,” said Heather Cordle, 20, first year nursing student said. “In reality, there were tens of thousands of people all over the world dying. Those who had access to better health care and medications heard of it, but never saw it firsthand.” When asked whether she thought it was more serious than the regular common flu, she responded by saying, “I would say it’s pretty serious.”

When there is a worldwide pandemic occurring, it is hard to help calm anxieties of people who might be living in fear of contracting the virus.

“I would have liked to have seen maybe an opportunity to speak with someone who knew about the virus and what was being done about it nationally as well as internationally,” Cordle said.

Another suggestion was “to stay away from individuals with the symptoms and to get the vaccination,” Dewey-Hammer said. LaFauci added, “With all illnesses if you’re sick, stay home. If you cough, cough into your arm. Wash your hands…basic hygiene techniques are the best to prevent any kind of illness.”

“Individuals should contact their personal physician if they have fears about the virus,” Braxton said.

The virus itself is still a cause for concern it seems, but according to the WHO, the global impact of the current pandemic has not yet been estimated. Typically, the numbers of deaths from seasonal influenza or past pandemics are estimated using statistical models. A more accurate assessment of mortality from the pandemic, using statistical models, will likely be possible in about one to two years. But the best way to prevent any illness is to be educated in prevention.

Ammerman Campus Holds Third Annual Creative Writing Festival

The Keynote Speaker Enzo Surin
By Diego Bustamante
 
      The Annual Creative Writing Festival celebrated its third year on the Ammerman Campus Saturday, May 1.
     Students, teachers, and authors gathered together for a celebration of writing by doing a number of activities that ranged from workshops, panels, readings, and creative writing awards presentations on the campus.
     The day-long event began with registration at 8:45 a.m. and ended with the closing remarks at 5 p.m.
     This year’s special guests included authors  such as Lawrence Epstein, Stephanos Papadopoulos, and Dava Sobel, as well as keynote speaker Enzo Surin.
     After the students registered, they were welcomed to watch a performance by the comedic improvisation group The Dead Improv Society. Following this was a welcome address by the Creative Writing Festival Committee. Poet Stephanos Papadopoulos and non-fiction writer Dava Sobel then gave readings of some of their works.
     “It is in part organized by the English department faculty and the Society of Writers,” Creative Writing Festival Committee member and English  Professor Maria Kranidis said. “The keynote speaker will come in and speak while everyone eats and will discuss the correlation between creative writing and literacy. The students will break into groups for panel discussions.”
     The list of panel discussions ranged from a variety of different topics that students could enjoy. From 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. there were activities for participants such as The Muse Revisited: A Conversion Story  focused on the importance of a writer finding inspiration for his or her work.
     The MFA in Creative Writing was  a panel discussion about the degree, what to study, the Supplemental Certificate Program and career opportunities after study.
 Historical Novels and poems highlighted the pros and cons of writing in a different time and setting, and The First American Quebecer Novel was about John Ofrias focusing on his fiction writing in his journals in both English and French. Also,  a workshop on The Language of Inquiry offered information about the meaning of language as well as creating word experiments that focused on the poetry’s role.
     Passion Speaks to Love, and Fear Listens to Death involved those who exploredE.E. Cummings poems that dealt with passion and fear when in love.
     “We always encourage students to bring friends and family every year because everyone is welcome to come and participate,” Creative Writing Committee member Professor Sarah Gutowski said. “Through the day we’re announcing winners for the creative writing award that end up receiving cash prizes, and the first place winner will receive publication for his or her work. Those who did not sign up this year shouldn’t be discouraged because there is always next year.”
     From 12:45 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. lunch was held at the Montauk Point Room at the Babylon Student Center and the Keynote address was given by Enzo Surin a poet, play writer and founder of INKpals (Partnership affecting literacy). He addressed the concept of uniting creative and expressive art with scholastic teaching in order to encourage more people to read and gain more knowledge to become successful. Afterwards Creative Writing Festival Award Winners gave a presentation of their work.
     “It is such an awesome experience,”  Kranidis said. “You get to see writers living the life,  living that life in the city and coming out to see us. Students and faculty come together to celebrate contemporary literature.”
     Additionally, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. students engaged with authors Dava Sobel and Larry Epstein about how they came up with their ideas, the type of literature they write and being in the profession. This was followed by a half an hour break and book signing.
     Afterwards, the discussion panels commenced again, and  students had the option of choosing a Screenwriting Primer in which students learned to compose three to four pages of a movie script.
     Eat, Write! stressed  the importance food has on the creative process, and a workshop on Poetic Drama  focused on stories being told in poetry through imagery and students attempting this with their own poems.
     The Moment Playwright workshop focused on the aspects of creating a play, An Ax For The Frozen Sea, in which students wrote a short hate letter and bucket list and presented it with emotion. Finally,  Jump Start Your Imagination With Free Writing gave participants an opportunity at writing and developing skills that make the participant aware of their strengths.
     “It puts creativity into peoples minds and gives them the opportunity to explore,” Visual Arts Major Brittany Anderson said. “My boyfriend would definitely like this.”
     The closing remarks of the ceremony commenced at 4:40 p.m. Those who participated gathered together one last time. During this time the Creative Writing Committee and the special guests gave their good byes and thanked everyone for coming.
     “It encourages students to be in an atmosphere where they can be connected to other writers and realize that they are not alone because they often wonder if what they are doing is a waste of time,” Kranidis said. “My favorite part is when students receive an award because they are so proud. If anyone is interested in getting involved, look us up on Facebook or go to our website at thecwfestivalatsccc.com.”

Societal Realization Occurs on Tropical Vacation

By Katherine Lloyd

Cartoon by thebuttercompartment.com

Spending a week abroad in Costa Rica did not fail in providing culture shock for a young woman from Long Island. Among the extensive natural beauty, the kindness of its residents, and the various outdoor activities, my most intriguing activity in Costa Rica was a conversation between myself and an Austrian backpacker at a bar in the town of Domincal.

     While my sister and this backpacker’s acquaintance engaged in a discussion, my friend and I sat on bar stools alongside a billiard table sharing our experiences in foreign countries with Lucas, 23 from Austria.

     The conversation took a political turn when the young gentleman teasingly uttered, “I heard the laws on weapons are lenient in the United States. Do you ladies carry guns?”

     We laughed and briefly explained our bill of rights, and the different ways to interpret our country’s constitution.

While Lucas was puzzled about our second amendment, this conversation led to a chat involving health care reform in the United States, which naturally evolved into a critical analysis of our president’s time spent in the White House thus far.

     After the political segment was concluded, we spoke about society, pop culture, and music. When my party and I retired for the evening, I was left with my own thoughts. The motif of our dialogue was excess, capitalism, and ignorance; therefore, I couldn’t help but ask myself a disturbing question; are we perceived as greedy gun-toting narcissists? If my predictions are true, the nation’s youth need to give this country a makeover.

     The sub cultural war for years has been on capitalism, greed, and the distortion of what a human should value; however, it has taken a turn with Obama’s presidency, in which youths along with elders fear there is some underlying “master plan” the president has for our country.

     For those who succeed at staying up to speed with sub-cultural trends, this shift in political thought threw many for a loop. While it is understandable to feel threatened by our government (especially exiting the Bush administration), and without feeding into the hoopla about being right or left winged, we must recognize a vital issue ; the way one values the dollar has distorted the way one values health, livelihood, and genuine happiness.

     The choice of whether to value money overall is one’s prerogative, alongside the way one views healthcare in the country, however, society exemplifies daily the way managed care has gone from patient to profit. The fickle nature of private insurers and the lack of familiarity HMOs may have with disabled patients caused many to be denied health services, and/or insurance.

     We have taken a step back in the services our facilities once provided for patients, and now a physician must admit or release a patient in a matter of hours. Time is money, and within the standards of society it is only fair to make the assessment of whether one is ill or not according to the hour, right?

     As a result of this, in the last 10 years, the US was ranked lower in quality health care than Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic (two countries which the US is significantly wealthier than).

     It is a valid argument to state that this issue on the quality of healthcare and entrance of the federal government into healthcare reform (minimizing use of private insurers) may infringe the rights of the state, or may raise taxes. So, brand me a member of the New World Order, but since when did one’s well being come with a price tag?

     Opportunities for debate pertaining to this subject exist, but we need money to function in the world, and having plenty to spare is wonderful. This is not the matter at hand. The concern is at which point can Americans take the emphasis off numbers and figures and place it onto one’s physical well being.

     Anyone can share an opinion on what is most valued in society, but what is indisputable is media’s encouragement in choosing which side of the political spectrum one must stand on.

     Various news stations are powered by politics, swaying the American citizen in the direction of the Democrats or Republicans. This has only encouraged the world to be a more black and white place, while the colorful minds of youths who do not meet this society standard, (evidently) are left to have socio-political conversations over beer and cigarettes.

     The media have also provided a diversion and allowance for ignorance with the introduction of reality TV, and the focus on the lives of the rich and famous. Promoting this decadence is another way of associating money with eternal happiness. Because of this vast hedonism streaming through our cable boxes, young men and women cannot seem to differentiate a celebrity, a politician, a solider, or a civilian.

     Because of socially and politically active young people, there is hope to actively unify the nation. Having an educated opinion on current circumstances pertaining to the country has a greater benefit than being uninformed.

    The youth of the U.S. have the ability to refuse to be defined by corporations, healthcare, the NRA, and the cast of the Jersey Shore, so please, if you must read a tabloid, compliment it with national and world news, and if you must be hip and apathetic, at least have some insightful global knowledge to throw around at a bar in a foreign land!