Should Criminal Records Be On College Applications?

Everyone remembers the process of applying to colleges. Mostly basic questions fill up the pages until you get to the one that asks, “Have you ever been arrested or convicted of a felony?”

The answer to this could make or break someone’s college future. Three New York colleges have removed it from their application. However, Manhattan College is not one of them. But should it be?

Out of the three, St. John’s University is significant due to its size. The school has 20,000 students on four different campuses in New York state. The other two schools are Five Towns College and Dowling College, both located on Long Island.

New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said in a statement: “An arrest or police stop that did not result in a conviction, or a criminal record that was sealed or expunged, should not – indeed must not – be a standard question on a college application. Such a question can serve only to discourage New Yorkers from seeking a higher education.”

The colleges have agreed to work with an advocacy group called the Center for Community Alternatives, led by Schneiderman, to address these points of punishment and discrimination. These schools are the only three out of the 70 that were reviewed by the state attorney’s office.

Should prospective college students be punished for something that happened in high school? If it is a case of something more serious, then that is a different story. However, most of the time it is minor and should not affect the future of someone who wants to achieve more in his or her life.

The Center for Community Alternatives and the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers worked together on a 59 question survey to explore the history of criminal records on college applications. Two hundred and seventy-three college institutions responded. The majority, 66 percent, collected information from their applicants’ criminal records, but not all of them let it determine the application process.

The report states that private four-year schools are more likely to collect the information rather than two-year public schools. The other 38 percent do not collect any criminal record information and have not reported their campuses to be less safe than others.

MC is proud to be a Lasallian community. One of our major points, which are stated on our website, is to have respect for all people.

“We honor and respect the dignity of all individuals. Our mission of service, on and off campus, stems from the belief that all human beings deserve basic dignity. We eagerly explore new communities and different ways of thinking and being in order to cultivate a truly global perspective,” according to the MC website.

If MC is “diverse in backgrounds, interests, talents, beliefs and opinions,” then shouldn’t we accept students and give those who need one a second chance? One mistake should not mess up the rest of a student’s future, especially one who wants and works toward getting into a college.

Another point highlighted on the college’s website is our inclusive community. It repeats our welcoming of diversity and a lively community. “Manhattan College is passionately committed to policies of non-discrimination and we actively encourage an open-minded staff and student body. We’re committed to civil rights and freedom of expression for all people.”

With Lasallian values being an important factor at our school, it would be best for Manhattan College to also remove the criminal record question from our application. It will prove that we are in fact Lasallian and that we welcome diverse students to our school.

Women’s Basketball to Start Season on Friday

The 2014-2015 season is approaching for the Manhattan College women’s basketball team. After a tough loss in the exhibition game against Adelphi on Nov. 7, the team will start its season at home on Nov. 14 when they host Fairleigh Dickinson.

Preparations for the Season

As Manhattan prepares for the season, one thing that is important to them is their young players. They have nine underclassmen, including five freshmen. They increased the depth of the team and have been looking strong early on.

“The team is working very hard,” head coach John Olenowski said. “We have a lot of young players that are learning the college game. I’m happy with their work ethic at this point, and we’re excited to kick off the season.”

“Going into the season, we’re looking to get a lot of people playing,” junior Jacqui Thompson said. “We have a ton of players who can contribute so I think getting people in and out is what we’re looking to do.”

Another aspect of the game that has been helpful to the team is communication. Key things such as getting the younger players used to the game and players stepping up as leaders have improved the team and helped them get ready for the season.

“We have great team chemistry,” junior Shayna Ericksen said, “which is good especially because we are a young team. 

Look for Improvements

The team is ready for the new season and knows what they need and want to improve on from last year. After winning their first game of the season last year, they went on to a tough eight-game losing streak before winning back-to-back games again.

“We need to get off to a better start than we did last season,” Coach Olenowski said. “We need to be more consistent on the defensive end and improve on depth from last year, which I think is going to be one of our strengths.”

Things such as defense, rebounds and team communication are what they are working on to develop better. Ericksen emphasized rebounding and that the team had some flaws with them last year.

“Our transition game could be a lot better this year,” Thompson said. “We’re very athletic. We have a lot of young and athletic players, so looking to get the ball out and push it up the floor will definitely be better than it was last year.”

Key Aspects 

Important things that will help the team this season are their home games and young players.

“We have a good comfort level and it’s a big advantage for us,” Olenowski said of the team’s eight-game home stand.

Fifteen out of their 29 games are at Draddy Gymnasium. This includes the home stand for about a month in December.

“That’s going to be big for us,” Thompson said. “We’re a young team so playing on the court that we do everyday will really help us out a lot.”

The five freshmen have been making a strong impression on the team early on. Three of them started in the exhibition game. Nyasha Irizarry and freshman redshirt Kayla Grimme helped with a 15 and 10-point contribution respectively.

“Hopefully they’re just going to get better and better,” Olenowski said, “and that will help our program continue to get better. It’s nice knowing we will have them for the next four years.”

“I think its good,” Ericksen said. “We’ve got a lot of time to play together. People will get experience. We have a deep team so we can play multiple players.”

Overall Season Goals

Like every team before a new season, the Jaspers are setting goals within the MAAC conference and general goals of winning games and proving themselves to other teams.           

“Our goal is to finish in the top four of the conference,” Olenowski said. “We’ve been able to do this in 3 of 5 years, so that is our initial goal. That takes us into the conference tournament and, at that point, we want to be prepared to win that MAAC conference.”

Both Ericksen and Thompson agreed that proving other teams wrong is an important thing to the team this season. The team has great of talent and they are ready to win.

“A lot of teams aren’t expecting us to be anything special,” Thompson said. “I think we are something special so my goal is to upset a ton of teams that aren’t expecting much from us.”

How New York is Improving Two Years After Sandy

The East coast was changed forever when it was hit hard by Superstorm Sandy in the fall of 2012. Boardwalks were ripped apart, houses were destroyed and there were record-breaking flood levels. Miles of shoreline beaches were damaged up the coast. The storm resulted in 117 deaths, 53 in New York State. Two years later, New York City is one of the areas still recovering from the storm and looking forward to prepare for future storms.

On October 26 2012, Hurricane Sandy barreled up the East coast as a category one storm with 80 mph winds. New York, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Maryland declared states of emergency. Connecticut, New Jersey and Massachusetts declared it a day later. On Oct. 28, New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) suspended all services. Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered the closing of NYC public schools and evacuations in low-lying areas. Sandy hit land on Oct. 29 as a category two storm.

Eleven million commuters were left with no service. About 6,700 National Guard were in active duty in the affected states. By the time the storm made landfall in New Jersey, it had downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone. Still strong, it caused almost eight million businesses and households to lose power across 15 states and 9,000 people spent the night in Red Cross shelters in 13 states.

Two years later, plans and proposals have been made to improve the coastline of New York City in preparation of the next big storm. The Department of Housing and Urban Development started an international design competition to elicit innovative plans. The winning proposal is called Big U and it would contain an eight-mile construction around the Manhattan coastline. It would start at West 57th Street south to Battery Park and up to East 42nd Street.

The project will contain 10-foot-tall beams that will guard the edges of the island. They will be barriers to the water while also blending into and becoming a part of a newly imagined set of waterfront parks along the bottom coast of New York City. However, the plan is designed in so-called compartments and the first one is set to start in 2017 with construction on the East Side lasting three years and a $335 million price tag. It is like a trial to see if it helps enough to spread to the rest of the coastline. The project is still unfunded for the West Side and Lower Manhattan.

More projects have been chosen in the federal government’s Rebuild by Design campaign. These will add natural protections in the waters off of the Staten Island shore, the New York Harbor and the South Bronx shoreline. These projects, on the other hand, need additional funding and political support in order to be completed. The problem is that we need significant changes now. With the rate of climate change and dangerous storms, something needs to be done now to protect this area from future trouble.

As the two-year anniversary has approached, there are still many aspects and areas that need to be fixed. For one, New York City’s “Build It Back” program has stalled. It was launched after the storm to rebuild damaged or destroyed homes and cover out-of-pocket expenses for the homeowners and businesses. It was revealed by the city’s Department of Investigation that 90 percent of applicants have yet to receive any assistance – that is 14,000 homeowners.

In addition, the Federal Emergency Management Agency originally gave $1.4 billion for disaster relief in five different states. However, they are asking for some of its money back. The Associated Press learned in September that FEMA asked about 850 households to return $5.8 million. The agency mismanaged the amount of money they could give and now about $53 million is under review.

As the hurricane season of 2014 is coming to a close, we can only look forward to the city’s proposed protection of the coastlines and hope that the area is not hit hard by another storm before the construction can be finished in the coming years

Jaspers Finish Season on a High Note

Fun. Exciting. Inconsistent.

Members of the Manhattan College women’s soccer team (3-5-2 MAAC, 8-8-2) described their 2014 season as it was coming to an end. They finished the season with a strong 4-2 win against MAAC opponent Saint Peter’s. It was a bittersweet moment for the team as it was their final game playing together.

“We just wanted to play for each other,” senior Daniella Morgante said about her final game. “As seniors, we wanted to take the last four years and put it into one game.”

Their win against Saint Peter’s was their 17th straight over the Peacocks. Sophomore Tara Teal found the back of the net first for the Jaspers off a pass from senior Aislinn McIlvenny. Sophomore Lizzy Carlson scored with an assist by Teal to give Manhattan a 2-0 lead.

“We had the best record since I’ve been here,” senior Shannon Garrity said. “Everyone has contributed so much this year, on and off the field.”

Saint Peter’s responded quickly before McIlvenny scored on a penalty kick about 20 minutes into the second half, her 10th of the season. Freshman Dylan Burns recorded her first career goal and sealed Manhattan’s 4-2 victory. As the season came to a close, the team had positive thoughts on what they accomplished this year.

“Something to be proud of is getting through the season with limited players,” assistant coach Sarah Brady said. “We were hit terribly with injuries. The positive is that is younger players stepped up and kept us within the running. I couldn’t be prouder of the players who stepped in.”

Freshman Carly Perry also looked on the plus side when it came to overcoming injuries.

“I feel like we did really well despite the injuries. We only had two subs for a good chunk of the season,” Perry said. “So it’s really cool that we were able to pull off some wins.”

The team was happy to finish on a high note after a tough loss against Canisius to eliminate them from playoff contention. Their chances were left up to that game, and it did not go in their favor. However, the team stayed positive that the loss would help them in the future.

“Any high-pressure situation like that is hard,” Morgante said. “There’s so much on the line. The only thing you can do is be there for each other and support each other no matter what happens, and that’s what we did.”

In their final week of the season, members of the team looked back at their impressive season and how to improve for next year. Injuries were one factor that the team hopes won’t affect them so much in the future. The team also tended to sit back on defense more and being more offensive is something they want to change.

“We gave up some soft goals, ones that we could have definitely avoided,” Assistant Coach Sarah Brady said. “That’s probably the most disappointing thing. There was nothing that absolutely ripped us apart, but we kept making the same errors.”

“Going forward, we’ve got to work on defense,” Garrity said, “and clearing balls out of the box and the air. On the attacking side, we need to work on finishing our opportunities.”