Got Kik?

By Makinzi Hinkle

Staff Writer

When Pew Internet and American Life Project did a study back in 2009, it was confirmed that “sexting is a teen reality that’s here to stay” (CNN). According to CNN, teens sext because its to show off, to entice someone, to show interest in someone, or to prove commitment. Girls sext as a joke, to get attention, or they were pressured by a guy. For guys, they would blame it on being pressured from friends. Also, it’s a form of flirting, being cool or becoming popular. Nowadays, most teens are interested in sex. The more interest teens are in sex; the easier sexting is. Living in a generation where technology is a big hit, anything can be copied, sent and posted.  When teenagers send nudes, they never think about the consequences. Depending on what state you live in, there’s a potential for legal consequences. “A teen could face felony charges for texting explicit photos or even have to register as a sex offender” (www.kidshealth.com).

Other than humiliation and embarrassment, teenagers can experience bullying, the end of friendships, guilt, shame and the feeling of hopelessness. Along with Jessica Logan, Amanda Todd committed suicide at the age of 15. Both teens had their picture sent around and then got bullied for it. They were called rude names online and in person. Many friendships are broken up by one picture. This can lead to the teen feeling betrayed and/or alone. “Friends often distance themselves from the person being targeted because they fear they also will be bullied” (www.bullying.about.com).  Teenagers often regret participating in sexting. Their self-esteem will be impacted and it leaves them feeling vulnerable and exposed. Along with bullying, teens will become depressed. While feeling hopeless and depressed, the teen might contemplate suicide.

In 2008, Jessica Logan was found hanging in her bedroom. It was said that she had sent a nude to her boyfriend and he decided to send the picture over the internet. She was only 18 years old. In 2012, Amanda Todd sent a topless picture to an anonymous person on Facebook. A year later, the picture went viral and Todd began to get bullied and teased. It was so bad that Todd had to change school’s multiple times. She had no friends, classmates beat her up and she even tried drinking bleach. She was saved at the last minute. Todd took her life months later.

 

Advertisements

Are you anti-college?

By KYLEE BAGLEY

Staff Writer

The notion that traditional college is not for everyone is rapidly becoming part of mainstream society, but what about the idea of an anti-college? Anti-college is the opposite of traditional schooling, yet still higher education nonetheless. There are many people who believe this type of schooling is more beneficial for prospective students, but due to the short amount of time anti-schooling has been in effect, it is hard to know whether or not it truly is a better way to handle education.

In 2012, the Make School was founded on the idea of allowing students to learn and create without the pressure of grades and tuition fees. The only one of its kind, Make School has become a prototype of experiential learning with eyes heavily watching to see whether it will succeed or flounder.

Advocates for Make School and budding replications include the founders of PayPal, Virgin Airlines, and EBay. These are all people who didn’t go to college, or they themselves have dropped out. CCC’s Professor Kevin McGarvey thinks that these founders and geniuses like them are more readily available to support nontraditional ventures like Make School seeing as they flourished in this type of environment and felt that they didn’t need college.

Make School was co-founded by Jeremy Rossman and Ashu Desai. According to HuffingtonPost.com, Rossman and Desai were high school friends who, after each spending a year at MIT and UCLA, respectively, decided to take a semester off and explore the process of creating mobile apps. Rossman describes Make School as “a college replacement for founders and developers.”

MakeSchool.com reports they only have 50 spots to offer to prospective students each two-year program. There is only a 10 percent acceptance rate, but Make School is not for every major. The school specifically teaches classes in software engineering and computer sciences. According to McGarvey, “Make School is for people who are already at the top of their game. There are thousands of students who need the guidance a professor provides to point them in the right direction. Most people don’t just “know” these things; they have to be learned.”

What prospective students find so alluring is that Make School requires no upfront tuition. In a year where student loan debt is at 1.2 trillion in America (marketwatch.com) and the cost of tuition is at an all-time high, people are desperate to keep themselves out of monstrous debt. It is not until after graduating from Make School and acquiring a “career” that you are required to begin paying for your schooling. No official tuition rate has been released, but as stated on MakeSchool.com, students will pay 25% of their salary each year until the cost is covered.

Make School gives no grades. There are no tests or homework. Rather, they focus on project-based learning. Depending on the rapid advances in the technological world, students learn based on what is happening right now. In an interview with Seeker Stories, a YouTube channel that produces short documentaries, Rossman described their core philosophy: “…if you teach the same thing two years in a row, it has got to be wrong because computer science as a field and software engineering as a discipline are moving so fast.”

This new twist on education has raised the bar for effective learning, but McGarvey thinks colleges have nothing to fear. “Don’t count colleges out yet. Students learn to think critically; they discover ideas and concepts that hadn’t occurred to them before. They become individuals who can make rational decisions and think for themselves. For so many, college is a rite of passage into adulthood.”

There is no one right way for a person to learn, similar to the question students ask themselves, “Am I a visual learner? Auditory? Kinesthetic?” McGarvey stated, “The best and brightest rise to the top regardless. But that’s a small number of gifted people. Most of the rest need a push, a nudge in the right direction, some moral support when things become overwhelming. Those are some of the things a college like Cumberland does best.” And it’s true. The best type of schooling for an individual is based solely on said individual’s personality.

Make School offers students another alternative to traditional school. With diverse types of schooling popping up like this, it is clear to see that people are taking school seriously; something that can only cause our country to progress more rapidly.

Riker’s Island: Gaining freedom through self-expression

By KYLEE BAGLEY

Staff Writer

Riker’s Island is most known for being New York’s main jail complex and one of the world’s largest correctional institutions. Motherjones.com, a nonprofit news outlet, reports it as being one of America’s top ten worst prisons, but now, Riker’s Island is getting attention set in a whole new light. According to an interview with The New York Times, Miles Hodges, a spoken word poet and ambassador for the New York Public Library, has been developing a spoken word program at Riker’s over the past few months.

Hodges is currently working on two programs. The first being a spoken-word writing workshop for young women in their late teens and early twenties located in the Rose M. Singer Center, one of Riker’s nine functioning jails. The latter being performing his own hard hitting poems to inmates of the Eric M. Taylor Center, a male only jail.

You might be wondering what Hodges was thinking when implicating these workshops into the Riker’s Island culture, and it’s safe to say the inmates were too. After the initial indifference and lack of desire to attend, the male inmates were left with a new appreciation for the artistic medium.

Before beginning Hodges told inmates, “I’m a firm believer in the power of storytelling. I believe in its ability to change people’s minds. And I believe in being honest and speaking from a true and honest place.” Hodges’ goal in partnering with the New York Public Library is to create programs that entice the millennial generation to find and cultivate their voice in the form of creative outlet.

In an interview afterwards with The New York Times, Anthony Hernandez, an inmate serving several months for drug possession, said he had been reluctant to attend the program; he had expected it to be boring and stodgy. But he concluded, ‘It hit more like where you are from, a more different poetry.’”

At this specific visit that Hernandez attended, Hodges performed “Harlem,” arguably his best and most well known poem. In this poem, he describes the streets of Harlem as having, “Roached blunts and roached joints…scattered around the purple, pink, and black chalked R.I.P. signs as if whispering from the Concrete Jungle, ‘I’m resting in peace and high.’” These words resonate immensely with the inmates, most of whom spent their lives in the projects of New York before being incarcerated, and are used to the poverty, gang violence, and self-reliance that line the streets of so many urban cities across America.

Where some people make the mistake of dismissing poetry as being frilly and not relatable, Hodges reveals to inmates that poetry, specifically slam poetry, can be very raw and very real. In his collaborative poem, “Strive,” that he co-wrote and performs with Carvens Lissaint, Hodges makes his message to the Riker’s Island inmates clear: “Strive- Like you know prisons are man-made but minds are God-made.”

America: Cutting back on culture

By KYLEE BAGLEY

Staff Writer

Gentrification is rapidly spreading throughout all major cities in the U.S. by erasing the cultures that once made these cities so vibrant. Gentrification is defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary as, “the process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle-class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces poorer residents.” While the general ideas of renewal and rebuilding are a solid foundation, the phenomena that gentrification has become in recent years shows the increasing lack of compassion for things that do not directly affect us.

In cities such as Philadelphia and Brooklyn, gentrification stands out in stark contrast to the urban spaces that have yet to be enshrouded by hipster coffee shops, microbreweries, and luxury apartments. At first thought, gentrification comes off as a good theory. Most definitions lack the latter part, actively ignoring the thousands of people who are evicted or forced to leave their homes by rent increases designed to push out individuals and families that don’t fit the new white-washed neighborhoods. If utilized correctly, the basis of renewal and rebuilding could make neighborhoods such as those surrounding Temple University in Philadelphia, flourish in ways that celebrate the diverse cultures that make these communities home to so many people.

Instead of displacing those who cannot afford the increased price of living, couldn’t the city government assist the current residents and business owners in gaining a post-secondary education, evolving their businesses, and growing their own community? Of course, this wouldn’t make as much profit for the city government, and in a country as profit-focused as America, that’s a no go.

According to a recent study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, about 15 percent of Philadelphia neighborhoods are being gentrified. Comparably, research by governing.com shows that 29.8 percent of Brooklyn neighborhoods have been gentrifying since 2000. The merger of the affluent and the low-income residents usually results in tension and misunderstanding. This leaves the minorities who were born and raised in the neighborhood feeling like outsiders, where they once felt most comfortable.

Jenae McDonald, a friend of mine who lives in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, is currently facing the harsh realities of gentrification, every time she walks out her front door. When asked what’s changed and why it matters, McDonald had this to say: “The culture behind the neighborhood is what’s changing more than anything. Kids don’t even play outside anymore. Block parties aren’t even thriving like they use to. Gentrification not only drives away people but the souls of the people. There used to be a comfort walking down the block and I don’t physically feel that anymore. Caribbean restaurants have even watered down themselves to accommodate the new wave of people. The fact that culture is blatantly being stripped separates us more than anything. Instead of unifying us in the community, gentrification only leaves disdain.”

We all enjoy overpriced coffee shops and perusing quirky clothing stores, but there are plenty of them in the more affluent parts of the city that make displacing hoards of people from their homes seem excessive at the very least. Gentrification takes culture and tradition and assimilates it into a bland “melting pot”, where the diverse cultures that created America as the powerful immigrant country it once was, are only showcased as Halloween costumes and in off-color humor.

Trans Lives Matter

By Marla Newsom

Keisha Jenkins, 22, was attacked and killed by five to six males, and shot in the back while exiting her vehicle. Keyshia Blige, 33, shot in the shoulder, and lost control of her vehicle resulting in a crash that killed her. Jasmine Collins, 32, stabbed to death over an argument about the shoes she was wearing. Tamara Dominguez, 36, was the victim of a brutal killing that police have not labeled a hate crime. Elisha Walker, 20, who had been reported missing was found beaten dead and buried behind a house. Kandis Capri, 35, shot to death with no suspect found. Ashton O’Hara, 25, beaten to death. Shade Schuler, 23, shot to death. Amber Monroe, 20, shot to death. K.C. Haggard, 66, stabbed to death. India Clarke, 25, beaten to death. Mercedes Williamson, 17, stabbed to death and buried in a field. London Chanel, 21, stabbed to death. Kristina Gomez Reinwald, 46, stabbed to death. Penny Proud, 21, shot to death. Taja Gabrielle DeJesus, 36, stabbed to death. Yazmin Vash Payne, 33, stabbed to death. Ty Underwood, 24, shot to death. Lamia Beard, 30, shot to death. Lamar “Papi” Edwards, 20, shot to death. Bri Golec, 22, stabbed to death by father.

All of the names listed are transgender women. A record breaking 22 trans women have been murdered in 2015 that has been recorded. Most of these deaths are not labeled as a hate crime by police, but the question is, “Should these be labeled as hate crimes?” and if so, “Why aren’t they?” These women were killed maliciously and it makes you think about the transphobia that is going on in our country and whether or not it is taken as serious as it should be. All of these names should not be forgotten, but be a reminder that transphobia is real and it exists in our country. The lists of deaths will continue to grow the longer we don’t take a stand. Some of the women listed were college students with a life ahead of them, but like you and me, they won’t be able to finish.

Trans Advocates such as Laverne Cox, Janet Mock, Aydian Dowling, Amiyah Scott, and Jen Richards continue to raise great awareness for the transgender community and inform those who aren’t aware of transphobia. Oxford Dictionary states that transphobia is an intense dislike of or prejudice against transsexual or transgender people. In recent news, Caitlyn Jenner has brought a light to the transgender community, but she does not represent them as a whole.

The National Health Care for the Homeless Council states, “In a study of 381 LBGT youth service providers, three of the top reported reasons for LBGT youth becoming homeless were: running away due to family rejection (46% of respondents), being forced out or expelled from the home by their parents (43% of respondents), and aging out of the foster care system (17% of respondents).” While most are forced to leave home to live on the streets or in foster care there are some who try to find housing on their own. The National Transgender Discrimination Study states that 19% of those who try to live on their own are denied and 11% are evicted. In addition, the struggle continues while finding jobs; of those who have jobs 47% admitted to different employee outcomes than others, and 90% face harassment or rude conduct on the job.

As students, there is much we can change about the world around us for the better if we open our hearts and our minds. Should our value on earth be determined by our sex or gender? Our generation has immense power to bring awareness to transphobia issues. What will you do about it?

College students support Syrian Refugee effort

By Yvonne Curry

Staff Writer

  More than 200,000 Syrians have lost their lives in four years of armed conflict confirmed a report by BBC News March 12, 2015.  The same report states that the conflict began with anti-government protests and was escalated into a full-scale civil war.  More than 11 million others have been forced from their homes as forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad of Syria and those opposed to his rule battle each other – as well as jihadist militants from the Islamic State. The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stated in a speech at the UN in January 2014, “What began as another Arab Spring uprising against an autocratic ruler has mushroomed into a brutal proxy war that has drawn in regional and world powers.”
As a result, this horrific outcry has touched individuals all over the globe. The Wall Street Journal reported on September 12, 2015 that tens of thousands of demonstrators in Europe rallied to express sympathy toward migrants seeking refuge in the region amid the largest migration of displaced people since the end of World War II.  According to the Journal, about 30,000 people converged in Copenhagen carrying banners such as “Refugees Welcome.”  In Hamburg, Germany, more than 24,000 people demonstrated against xenophobia and racism.  Demonstrators also marched in London to pressure the British government to take in more refugees.
These world powers are not all on the same page as their protesters.  In fact, the president of Hungary defended his country’s tough migrant policy in a German tabloid Bild quoted in an interview as staring, “These migrants don’t come from the war zone, but from camps in Syria’s neighboring countries Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, where they were in safety and thus didn’t fear of their lives, but for wanting a better life.”  Hungary’s president also stated in the interview that he could understand the Syrian’s for this, but there is no fundamental right to a better life.  He believes there is only a right to security and human dignity.
According to USAID.gov, the United States remains committed to helping the innocent children, women, and men affected by the ongoing conflict in Syria.  The total U.S. humanitarian assistance since the start of the conflict in March 2011 is now more than $3 billion.  The United States remains the single-largest donor of humanitarian aid for those affected by Syria’s crisis, which has become its biggest humanitarian emergency of our era.
An article, written by Hannan Adely of NorthJersey.com’s local news, stated that as the refugees arrive in the country in the next two years, many residents of North Jersey will likely meet people who have suffered and persevered in the way one family of Jersey City has described their journey from Syria.
Hussam Alroustom, his wife, and two children arrived in in Jersey City, New Jersey in July 2013 after fleeing Syria in April 2013.  In the interview, Hussam explained how he and his family didn’t have the basics of life.  They had lost everything, so for him and his family to come to the United States, he was willing because there was nothing for them to lose.  Alroustom described in his interview a city called Homs where he and his family lived before the war.
Located in west central Syria it was one of the first places to join the rebellion against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, and it was commonly the site of mass anti-government demonstrations as passive protests were replaced by armed revolt once the country descended into civil war.  When Alroustom and his family would return home after bombings, he said they would find shattered windows and blasted walls, until the toll was so great they decided to leave.  The stayed with relatives in two other places, but those neighborhoods also came under fire.
It’s stories like Alroustom’s that may have prompted a national network for college students founded last year called Students Organize for Syria (SOS) featured in a September 16, 2015 article for USA Today to spring into action taking, the refugee crisis as a call to arms to reinvigorate their campaign to raise awareness about the plight of Syrians and the need to assist them in their quest for a free Syria, according to the article.

formatted

Moreover, the article states that SOS plans to partner with a program called Paper Airplanes this fall, which lets college students tutor Syrians in English via Skype.  The program aims to help Syrians pursue a secondary education in the U.S., Turkey, Europe and more.  If CCC college students would like to get involved log onto http://organize4syria.com/ and click “Get Involved.”

With great powers comes great responsibility; Here’s why you need to vote

By Marla Newsom

Staff Writer

  “Why do I have to vote? My vote doesn’t matter.” YES. Yes it does. Every single vote matters, especially if you are a millennial.  Unless you have been living under a rock for the past month or so, I am sure you have seen and heard Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton all over television, radio, and social media platforms. I’m sure you are aware that Trump and Clinton are both running for president but there are probably several other candidates you don’t know anything about. It is time to educate yourself on who will lead our country.
There are numerous ways you can register to vote. If you have a printer at your house or have time between classes to stop at the library you can go online to: http://www.state.nj.us/state/elections/voting-information.html and print out an application form there. The form tells you exactly how to go about sending it in. All you have to do is fold the paper a couple of times and add tape. It really is that easy. If for some reason you can’t print out an application, you can always stop at the DMV and fill one out there.
If reading this article has helped you realize that you want to vote, but you have no idea who to vote for, I can help you with that as well. There are two parties in the Presidential election: Republican (the elephant) and Democrat (the donkey). You may find elephants cuter than donkeys or vice-versa, but these mascots were actually popularized by artist, Thomas Nast. He came up with the idea after Democratic candidate Andrew Jackson was referred to as a “jackass.” Nast decided to use that perception in a newspaper cartoon where he chose a donkey or “ass” to represent the Democratic Party, while an elephant would represent the Republican Party. The concept stuck, so please remember that when voting.
What’s the difference between the two? To begin, Republicans are more conservative, as Democrats are more liberal. This means regarding issues such as abortion, according to Gallup.com, 68% of Republicans are pro life, while 62% of Democrats are pro-choice. In the terms of social ideas, Republicans base their ideas on individual rights and justice, whereas Democrats base their social ideas on community and social responsibility. Just because there are two sides doesn’t automatically mean that every single candidate on either side believes the same thing as the other. This can make deciding that much harder. You hear people talking about Trump and Clinton often, but you shouldn’t assume because you’re a Democrat that the obvious choice is Clinton. After all, you may not stand by her choices, as they do not represent the Democratic Party as a whole.
Watching the debates and reading articles might not be something you like or understand, and that’s okay. There is a website that can help. A free website to help make your decision an easier, better informed one. The website is: http://secure.isidewith.com/political-quiz. The site features an online quiz that asks you questions regarding popular topics, such as “Do you support the legalization of same sex marriage?” before having you rate it, based on how important this issue is to you from least to most. There are 10 different sections, varying from society to immigration. Most of the sections have about three questions, but you have the option to answer more questions in that certain section if you wish to find the perfect candidate for you. If you don’t understand the question there is always a “learn more” button to help further explain the topic to you.
The quiz takes about five minutes without using this “learn more” feature. Once you have answered all the questions it will take about 30 seconds to get your results. These results come out as percentages, meaning you could agree 99% with one candidate, but still agree 2% with another. This doesn’t mean you have to vote for your number one result; it’s more of a suggestion to follow up.
This quiz gives you a more general idea on who and what to research, given the results. Owen James, a student, took the quiz and found it, “So cool. I liked the option to read more.”
We can continue to change the world, but only if we make the effort. The next time you will have a say is four years after our next President is elected. If you don’t vote, you have no choice.