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Read the articles below or click here for the PDF version: FINAL – KINGSMANSFALL2018ISSUE9


CLAS Student Government to Rebrand at USG

by Ryan Schwach, Managing News Editor

Changes are coming to the Brooklyn College governing landscape with the CLAS student government transitioning into USG, or Undergraduate Student Government in a process that aims to rebrand CLAS as the USG, and bring all BC undergraduate students under one single governing body.

As it currently stands there are two separate governing bodies that split students. Firstly, the aforementioned CLAS, which is technically responsible for any students designated as “Daytime” students as per the BC governance plan, and SGS, which is responsible for all “Nighttime” students. In the past these separate entities were responsible for two different schools, although that is no longer the case.

Upon arrival at Brooklyn College, undergrad students are put under one of the two designations, your designation will be printed just below your name on your ID card. Students under CLAS designation pay an activity fee to the CLAS government and are represented by them, while SGS designated students pay to the SGS who are responsible for them.

“The school is no longer doing that. Every incoming student is now designated as CLAS,” says Ethan Milich, CLAS Deputy Speaker and one of the major spearheads of the entire transition to USG.

Although, even with the phasing out of SGS designation, SGS still exists.

“There is a good portion of students that are not being represented by student government,” says Milich, who estimates the number of these students is in the thousands.

The main goal of the transition, which began last year, is to bring all undergrad students under the USG designation. Regardless, this does not affect SGS at all, and it will not alter the current student activity fee paid from students to their designated governing body, although the plan makes it so even students with the SGS designation get the full benefits from USG student government.

The transition was passed through a CLAS legislation called “The Undergraduate Student Government Transition Act” which was passed with 16 yes votes with 4 abstaining and formally signed Oct. 9 of this year.

A team of students formed the USG constitutional committee, a sanctioned group whose goal is to edit the by-laws and constitution within CLAS, as well as the Brooklyn governance policy of CLAS to make it so USG is responsible for all undergrad students.

The second part of the bill includes the entire re-branding of CLAS into USG, including a change in logo, which CLAS will be deciding through an open competition via social media to be rolled out in the next few weeks.

Going forward, a team of seven CLAS members will be created at the end of this semester to serve as a transition team to see the change forward. Next semester, the student government elections will be USG elections and if all goes smoothly and according the their schedule, CLAS should be totally transitioned into USG by the onset of the fall 2019 semester.

“We want to make it that we represent everybody,” says Milich.

Expect updates on this story, SGS’s role, and the overall transition in the coming weeks.

This article was originally published on 11/14/18 in Fall 2018 Issue 9.


Economics Professor Replaced Mid-semester, Possibly for “Ramming the Hole” on Social Media

By Samantha Castro and Quiara Vasquez, Layout Editor and Editor-In-Chief, with reporting assistance from Ryan Schwach

Students taking economics professor Yusheng Peng’s Introduction to Economic & Business Statistics class were not surprised to learn their professor had been replaced. On Oct. 25, Peng’s students received an e-mail from the chair of the economics department, Dr. Yehuda Klein, about a new instructor for the class beginning the following Tuesday.

Students weren’t too shocked about the sudden change. Comments on ratemyprofessor.com and the “Brooklyn College: In the Know 2” Facebook page suggest that Peng is unpopular with his former students, and that he is known for often being 30 to 45 minutes late to his classes.

“In terms of his teaching, it wasn’t good at all,” said Tony Liang, a student in the class formerly taught by Peng. “If he even came in, he only read off his PowerPoints and would usually mumble to himself. His Facebook and Twitter account is pretty active when he wasn’t here though.”

Peng regularly uses social media, cross-posting between his Twitter and Facebook accounts. His avatar is of children’s movie protagonist Chicken Little – but his posts are not quite child-friendly.

The Kingsman was first alerted to Peng’s social media activity during the First Amendment “teach-in” held Monday, Nov. 12. At the event, which was attended by Brooklyn College President Michelle Anderson, a student showed the assembled faculty a printout of a tweet Peng made on Sept. 21, 2018. The tweet was of a cartoon vagina holding a bottle labeled “poison” and yelling, “Do you want my mercy?”

Peng’s Twitter and Facebook pages – the latter of which identifies him as an employee of the “Brooklyn College Kopellman [sic] School of Business” – contain many similar posts with crude references to female anatomy. Many of these posts mention penetration, which Peng refers to as “ramming the f—ing hole.”

“There is no overestimating the genius filling the p—y with pennies,” Peng wrote on Facebook on June 26. “Filling up alotta p—ies will make you alotta money. The genius of this win-win strategy is that it does not cost the piglets a thing, as if coins are falling from the sky. All the Hebrew piglets have to do is to list a few dudes who refused to flip coins in the piggy purse as ‘national security risk’ and the rest of the dudes will be scared into submission.”

Many of Peng’s posts take aim at a group which he refers to as “Hebrew swines” or “swientists.” In a post dated April 10, Peng asks his followers to “take a good look at the stupid faces of the Chemist pigs […] parading themselves on campus.”

“Do yourself a huge favor and stop bragging about surviving the Holocaust,” Peng posted on his Facebook on March 29. “We all know you were pulled out of the Nazi gas chamber by American soldiers and have been reciprocating the favor by murdering the innocent and f—ing up the American legal system.”

Over 4,000 Brooklyn College students identify as Jewish.

Other topics on Peng’s Twitter and Facebook include references to the “deep state,” criticisms of Marxism, and his write-in campaign to elect him to Congress as a representative of his native Greenwich, Connecticut. (Peng did not win that election.)

According to Liang, his new professor for the class, Evan Siegel, was asked about Peng’s absence. Siegel responded that it might be due to Peng’s nonstop latenesses and absences. The Kingsman could not reach Siegel for comment.

In a statement to The Kingsman, Economics Department chairperson Yehuda Klein confirmed that he sent Peng’s class an e-mail, but declined to comment further.

“I did send an email to the Professor Peng’s class stating that their professor was being replaced, however, I am not permitted to disclose the official reason or factors for the switch,” Klein told The Kingsman. “Brooklyn College cannot comment on investigations or complaints regarding violations of University policy or Title IX, as these are considered personnel matters. However, Brooklyn College takes these kinds of allegations very seriously and investigates them thoroughly and fairly. If a complaint involves violations of gender, race, or religious discrimination, our specially trained staff in the Office of Diversity Investigations reviews the allegations, conducts a risk assessment, and if necessary, implements interim or permanent measures to ensure the safety our students and our campus community.”

This article was originally published on 11/14/18 in Fall 2018 Issue 9.


Facilities Town Meeting: Informative, Underattended

By Quiara Vasquez, Editor-In-Chief

On Thursday, Nov. 8, the college held what it hopes will be the first of a series of town halls on the state of facilities on campus.

Alan Gilbert, the college’s Senior VP for Finance and Administration, addressed the crowd of about twenty students who had assembled in SUBO’s Amersfort Lounge. He began by recapping Facilities’ achievements over the past semester. The most notable of these achievements were the improvements made during the “90-Day Challenge” last semester. In under three months, Facilities repaired all 757 of the broken fixtures in the 236 bathrooms across campus.

Gilbert then described various “capital projects” on campus, such as the Tow Center for the Performing Arts, which opened this semester four years behind schedule and without Wi-Fi. According to Gilbert, Wi-Fi will be added to the Tow Center by spring. Also slated for completion by the end of the spring semester is the newly renovated Whitehead Plaza, which had its existing seating moved in front of the library. Gilbert also mentioned several remodeled lecture halls in the works, all of which will be wheelchair-accessible.

He then pivoted to discuss the results of a recent survey by Facilities, held in spring 2018. 1,660 students responded to the survey, which is only 9% of the student body. Gilbert noted that these comments were “mostly bad, but all polite” and showed the audience a word cloud of issues that kept popping up – “bathrooms,” “toilets” and “broken” most prominent.

91.6% of the students surveyed thought that the college grounds were in “satisfactory condition.” By contrast, only 59.1% of students thought that “public spaces” (e.g., staircases) on campus were satisfactory, and only 54.2% thought classrooms were in acceptable condition. However, only 19.2% of those surveyed thought the restrooms on campus were in satisfactory condition.

Gilbert credited the disparity to the efforts of supervisor Steven Alliano. Alliano was recently put in charge of the college custodial teams as a direct consequence of his performance keeping the grounds clean.

Of course, cynical students have long accused the college of maintaining the much-photographed quad at the expense of other, less visible spaces on campus for publicity reasons. Gilbert name-dropped one such student: Andrea di Salvio, creator of the popular Brokelyn College Instagram page, which documents decaying infrastructure and broken fixtures around campus.
“That really can’t be our first source when something goes wrong,” said Gilbert, who acknowledged that there are many problems on campus for Facilities to tackle. He encouraged students to report issues through the BC Navigator App, or to send their problems directly to Facilities via e-mail at BCFIX-IT@brooklyn.cuny.edu. Gilbert also stressed that students should not under any circumstance flush objects down the toilet, as each clog takes between one and three hours to fix – time which could be spent on more urgent repairs across campus. Also, he told everyone present to take the anonymous Fall 2018 Facilities Survey, and to talk to leaders in student government about issues on campus.

Unfortunately, given the low turnout at the town hall, Gilbert’s pleas may have fallen on deaf ears. Several students watched the proceedings on Facebook Live, courtesy of a stream from CLAS President Eytan Galanter’s phone, but the digital turnout was not much more than the physical turnout. When Gilbert asked the online audience for questions during the Q&A segment, only one commenter chimed in; shortly afterwards, Galanter’s phone died.

Facilities plans to hold additional town halls in the spring. Hopefully, more students will show up then to discuss these important issues.

This article was originally published on 11/14/18 in Fall 2018 Issue 9.


On-Campus Education Opportunity for Senior Citizens May End

By Allison Rapp, Managing Digital Editor

College only lasts for four years. For many people, those years fly by. But why should the learning stop there? Brooklyn Lifelong Learning, a continuing education program for retired adults, has made it possible for seniors to get out and about, and back in the classroom.

Situated in a couple of offices on the third floor of Boylan Hall, Brooklyn Lifelong Learning (BLL), has been offering classes for 41 years, and is the second oldest lifelong learning program in the country. Though it started as the Institute for Retirees in Pursuit of Education, and changed to a non-profit organization in 2013, the central objective of the program has remained the same: to provide senior citizens the opportunity to continue their education in an environment with their peers. Currently, there is a wide range of classes to choose from, including topics like criminal law, theatre, painting, and Spanish. There are also occasional museum and city trips for the members. For less than 100 dollars per year, members can take as many classes as they wish. With over 450 members, the popularity is so great that the program implemented summer and winter sessions along with the regular fall and spring semesters. All of the teachers are retirees as well, and work as volunteers.With low costs and plenty of members, the program has been thriving for years. But recently BLL, which exists independently from the college, was asked to vacate from their space.

According to Morty Marshack, one of the ten BLL board members, Brooklyn College sent a letter on July 30 of this year, asking the group to move out of their rooms in Boylan by August 13 because the college needed the space for the large new influx of Excelsior scholarship students. Marshack and his colleagues were able to negotiate with the college, pointing out that two weeks notice was hardly enough time, and asking if it would be possible to move to a different part of the campus. Brooklyn College first told them that there may be space available in Roosevelt, but this was soon taken off the table. As of now, BLL has been asked to leave at the end of the semester, on December 20, and they will have to find their own off-campus space. Of course, this would mean paying rent, and being forced to raise their fees and subsequently lose members.

“Where do we go December 20?”, Marshack said, “We’re struggling with that.”

Presently, Brooklyn College hosts 18,000 students, one of the highest numbers the campus has seen in decades, but not nearly a record. In the 1970’s, there were over 30,000 students in attendance at Brooklyn College.

“The college has always said, and we have always agreed, that their first responsibility is to their students,” said another board member that wish to remain anonymous. “but they do have a strategic plan; it’s on their website, and the fifth goal is community involvement. As a public institution, we feel like they do have an obligation [to support BLL]. We don’t exist without the college, it’s a basic tenant of the whole lifelong learning movement, which is an international movement, that you be associated with a college or university.”

For the teachers of BLL, being on a college campus is a large part of what makes the program so enjoyable for everyone involved.

“For people who want to keep the brain alive, which is very important as a senior, this is wonderful,” says Dianne Stillman, a teacher at BLL, a former attorney, and  a BC graduate (‘69). “People come with walkers, canes, they’re excited to be here.”

Annette Libert, another BLL teacher, adds that the program gives students a “purpose’ for the week, prevents isolation among senior citizens, and gives them a space to convene.

“We should share our experiences,” she said. “We’re all retired people and we come to the classroom with different experiences.”

As for the students, the classes are always something to look forward to. Susan Rovzar, commutes weekly from the upper east side.

“Lifelong learning programs bring retired members of a community together to share social and intellectual pursuits, “she said. “What better place to do that then in a college environment?”

What better place than a college? For BLL, there is no better place, which is why the classroom vacate request truly affects the future of their program.

“Through this class, I have met a wonderful group of new friends, many of whom live in Brooklyn,” Rovzar said. “We enjoy sharing stories about our families, interests and careers over coffee and lunch and have begun to explore new areas of both Manhattan and Brooklyn that may be unfamiliar to each of us. Learning doesn’t stop when our classes end!”

For those interested in obtaining a membership for a friend or family member, there is a special offer available for the Spring/Summer semester (starting in February) of only $50; or membership for a full year (starting in September) is $94. More information can be found at  bll.brooklyn.cuny.edu.

This article was originally published on 11/14/18 in Fall 2018 Issue 9.


Theatre Review: “Uncle Vanya”

By Quiara Vasquez, Editor-In-Chief

Everyone knows Anton Chekhov was the premiere Russian dramaturg of his day… but were you aware Chekhov was also a graduate of the Brooklyn College MFA Playwriting Program? Truly incredible; especially when you consider that he died a quarter-century before Brooklyn College even opened and never so much as set foot in the New World. Great artists can transcend space and time like that, you know.

I kid, I kid. Still, the Theater Department’s decision to stage “Uncle Vanya” in a season allegedly dedicated to the works of its MFA playwrights is somewhat suspect. Sure, this version of “Uncle Vanya” was translated from the original Russian by Annie Baker, the BC alum-slash-MacArthur genius-slash-Pulitzer winner. But I can’t take it as anything but a tacit admission that no one wants to sit through four hours of “The Flick,” 2014 Pulitzer for Drama be damned. Then again, this production of “Uncle Vanya” has a lot in common with Baker’s magnum opus: the dialogue is peppered with “ers” and “ums,” nothing really happens, and it goes on forever.

I KID, I KID! I actually rather enjoyed this “Uncle Vanya,” in large part thanks to Baker’s translation. Plenty of productions have tried to “modernize” classic (read: public domain) plays by putting the actors in modern dress while leaving the book unchanged. This staging takes the opposite approach. The stage design and costuming are period-appropriate; the revised translation and performances are anything but. Some of these changes strengthen the themes of the original play: Dr. Astrov’s tirades about the deforestation which he predicts will be complete within fifteen years are uncomfortably prescient given our current environmental crisis, for instance. Some of these changes – Vanya and his niece making a mermaid in pantomime, topped off by a clapback for a tail – are just plain fun. They don’t “update” the material for the twenty-first century so much as they revitalize it – making the play feel fresh and vivid.

The highlight of this “Uncle Vanya” is, well, Uncle Vanya. Geovonday Jones is a dynamo of charisma, and his performance makes Vanya’s cynicism and despair extraverted and funny rather than dour and tragic, even when he (spoilers!) attempts suicide. He’s surrounded by talented actors too – Maria Mukuka as his charming niece Sonya, Carol Mazhuvancheril as the sycophantic Telegin, Jorge Sanchez-Diaz as the sensitive Astrov, and Anthon Mondesir as the pompous Professor whose ungratefulness drives Vanya to murder (spoilers again, sorry).

It’s a great cast befitting a great production. I’m still a bit nonplussed by the choice of “Uncle Vanya” in the first place, but that’s not the fault of the excellent cast or crew. They and director Kevin Hourigan should give themselves a round of applause for this warm-hearted take on a stodgy old Chekhov classic.

This article was originally published on 11/14/18 in Fall 2018 Issue 9.


Steeler Le’Veon Bell Out of 2018 Season

By Jasmine Peralta, Sports Editor

Le’Veon Bell has still not reported to the Steelers and will now be sitting out for the rest of the season. How did it get to this? We’re taking a look back.

The announcement came Tuesday afternoon when it was reported that Bell had not made it for his 4 p.m. deadline leaving forfeited the entirety of the $14.54 million salary which he was scheduled to make on the franchise tag, plus a reported $200,000 more in benefits.

This isn’t the first time Bell had troubles with the Steelers. Earlier this year he had given up $8.55 million by having dodged the Steelers during the season’s first 10 weeks and on July 16, Bell had missed his deadline with the Steelers to reach a new deal.

Ian Rapoport reported, the Steelers offered Bell up to $70 million over five years. Once again, that number was not enough. It did not reach the $15 million per year figure Bell had previously set, nor did it reach the $17 million figure floated in 2018. Bell was once again conscripted into a one-year deal. There was nothing he could do to change that.

On July 25, Bell didn’t report to boot camp for the second consecutive year causing friction within the team. Aside from his problems in July, Bell releases his album on August 3 entitled, “My Side of Things” in which regained the sympathy from fans getting a chance to say his side of the story.

About month later on September 5, there is no sign of Bell for the Monday night Labor Day game nor the teams first practice that Wednesday. This was confirmed by Aditi Kinkhabwala who tweeted, “#Steelers have a team meeting at 9 a.m. One of Le’Veon Bell’s teammates just messaged me: no sign of him yet.” Later on that day his agent, Adisa Barkari, dropped a bomb confirming that “Bell is looking out for his long-term health with his decision, and he compelled the hosts to read between the lines. That implies that Bell plans to miss more games. As long he is on the active roster, or injured reserve, for six games, he will have earned an accrued year of NFL service time. That will allow Bell to become a free agent next season. Skipping the rest of the games will only cost Bell money from his 2018 salary, and whatever market value he loses in the process.” And Bell’s teammate we’re extremely furious. Ed Bouchette tweeted, “Steelers teammates not happy with Le’Veon Bell no-show, led by vet G Ramon Foster, their player rep: “What do you do? here’s a guy who doesn’t give a damn, I guess so we’ll treat it as such. I just hate it came to this.” Maurkice Pouncey and David DeCastro also had comments of their own.

“Why play hide and seek? Why let your agent say this?” said Pouncey, the team’s starting center.

Towards the end of September, Adam Schefter tweeted that, “Steelers now listening to trade offers for RB Le’Veon Bell, league sources tell ESPN.”

Reports of Bell wanting to end his career as a Steeler began on October 1. “I could be naïve or hopeful, but at the end of the day, I feel like that’s what’s going to happen. I don’t think they really want me gone. That could be me being prideful. But I’m still holding out hope.” — Le’Veon Bell on wanting to finish his career in Pittsburgh, via Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.

On November 8, Bell removes the Steelers from his Twitter bio and just two days later, Schefter tweets, “Steelers’ running back Le’Veon Bell is unlikely to report to the team by Tuesday’s deadline, which would make him ineligible to play the rest of this season, multiple league sources tell ESPN.”

Following today’s announcement, no one is really sure where Bell’s career is headed but, I guess we’ll have to see what happens next.

This article was originally published on 11/14/18 in Fall 2018 Issue 9.


FIFA Players May Lose a Spot in 2022 World Cup

By Jasmine Peralta, Sports Editor

Gianni Infantino, president of Fifa has warned players that they would be banned from the 2022 World Cup if they participate in any breakaway European Super League.

According to a BBC report, Infantino said it was Fifa’s duty to “protect football”.

The news broke last Wednesday when Infantino announced that he would not hold back from punishing stars at clubs such as Real Madrid, Manchester City, and Paris Saint-Germain if they left their national associations to form a privately-owned league. Among players that could include Argentina’s Lionel Messi, Brazilian Neymar, France’s Kylian Mbappe,  and Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo.

“You are either in or you are out,” said Infantino.

Talks of this began to come about after the German publication, Der Spiegel published confidential Fifa documents revealing that 16 of Europe’s leading clubs had held secret talks over the idea.

Infantino explained that his plan would possibly feature twelve European clubs in a 24-team lineup, and worth a promised $3 billion every four years.  The plan would be lucrative for clubs taking part, to also keep money in the soccer family.

Fifa would use 25 percent of revenue to share globally. According to Reuters, back in May, “Infantino revealed plans for a new Global Nations League and a revamped Club World Cup which he says are backed by a ‘solid and serious’ group of investors willing to spend $25 billion over a 12-year cycle starting in 2021.”

Fans took it to Twitter to bash Infantino and his new plans. @Josh_Newtonn tweeted, “Get out of our beautiful sport #infantino, shame on you @FIFAcom.”

Several European leagues including the Premier League, Bundesliga, and La Liga have made it clear that they are unwilling to endorse the project at this stage.

This article was originally published on 11/14/18 in Fall 2018 Issue 9.

 

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