by Ally Hutzler
As this semester comes to a close, The Quadrangle would like to continue its tradition of reflecting on some of the biggest stories of the fall 2017 term. These past few months the Manhattan College community saw the students come together in response to Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Maria, debated the controversial issue of observing the Columbus Day holiday, and responded to increased media attention on student misconduct, among other things. The Quadrangle also continued its tradition of releasing special issues with the publication of The Faith Issue, which explored the many ways concerns of faith and religion manifest on our campus. Here are some of the stories The Quadrangle has covered this fall.
Campus Comes Together For Hurricane Relief
Students and faculty barely returned to the Manhattan College campus before Hurricane Harvey barrelled through Texas. The Category Four storm dumped over 50 inches of rain in some parts of the state. Social media editor Tara Marin first reported on the tragedy early in September, interviewing students who are Texas natives as well as talking to some alumni who found themselves in the middle of the storm.
Marisa Piazza, a member of the class of 2016 who currently lives in Texas, had already raised $6,000 for relief aid just two weeks after the storm passed. At the end of September, student government and student engagement worked together to hold a benefit concert in Jasper Hall’s backyard to raise money for those affected by Harvey. The event, which included free food trucks and live performances by members of the performing arts department, raised $300.
Just after Hurricane Harvey another strong storm made headlines this fall after Hurricane Maria caused major damage and a humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico. The category five storm left the entire island without water, electricity, and means of communication. Taylor Brethauer, our arts and entertainment editor, wrote an article about how MC students created the #DoItForPR campaign for relief. The group worked with the Bronx borough president Ruben Diaz Jr. at a local drive where donations of food and other essential items were collected to be sent to the island. The group also raised over $1,000 by hosting a grilled cheese night in Horan Hall. ““We Puerto Ricans are very strong people and we will get through this,” Ana Efe, a Puerto Rican student, told The Quadrangle.
MC Community Debates Observation of Columbus Day Holiday
The deadly events that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia this past summer, where a young woman was killed by white supremacists protesting the removal of a confederate statue, sparked a national debate over monuments across the U.S. This conversation extended to the ethical considerations of the celebration of Columbus Day, and Manhattan College professor Robert Geraci brought a motion before the college senate proposing the college no longer recognize Columbus Day as a campus-wide holiday and replace it with Election Day.
“Any historically accurate understanding of Columbus knows he didn’t just maybe do some bad things; he was actively engaged in slavery, as well as rapine and genocidal behavior,” Geraci wrote in an email to The Quadrangle. “Defending him as having done good things (whatever those may be remain conveniently unsaid!) is a lot like saying there are ‘very fine people’ among the Neo-Nazi community.”
The issue was never resolved in the senate as the proposal was tabled twice. As Haley Burnside reported, during their October meeting the senate agreed that a survey should be sent to students to “gauge their thoughts on the Columbus Day proposal” but no such survey has yet to be sent.
MC Gains Unfavorable Media Attention After Halloweekend
As our assistant arts and entertainment editor Rose Brennan reported, student misconduct in the area was the highlight of several news articles after several neighbors complained of inappropriate behavior by Jaspers during Halloweekend festivities.
The first of these stories was published on WNBC on Nov. 3 and stated that, “rambunctious party-goers are leaving behind trash, empty beer cans and even trails of vomit around their quiet community.” The story was picked up by the New York Post and The Riverdale Press. After these articles were published, Vice President for Student Life Richard Satterlee and Dean of Students Michael Cary sent a school-wide email to the community. “The conduct depicted in these reports reflects serious disregard for our neighbors and the local community,” the email read. “As Lasallians, we know it is our responsibility to act with civility and decorum at all times, both on and off-campus.” Satterlee and Cary also stated that the college was working with outside parties including the NYPD, elected officials and Riverdale residents to address the issues raised in the articles.
This is not the first time the college has been under fire by local residents. In September of 2015 the neighborhood were upset with student noise behavior, prompting the social media account “Sleepless in Riverdale” to be created by one disgruntled neighbor. In response, student government created a sub committee titled the “Student Neighborhood Relations Committee” aimed to improve relations between the college and the Riverdale area.
The Faith Issue
On Nov. 7, The Quadrangle released this semester’s special issue titled “The Faith Issue.” The 14-page edition focused on examining the role faith plays in our community and in college life as a whole. The paper featured profiles with religious studies professors Natalia Imperatori-Lee and Robert Geraci, examined the college’s various religious practices, highlighted MC’s movement towards inclusivity by sitting down with members of the LGBTQ community, and talked to Catholic, Muslim, Jewish, and Hindu students across campus. In the sports section, editors RikkiLynn Shields and Charles Lippolis explored how sports fandom can be a religion of its own. The edition featured two editorials by Professor Lois Harr and Rabea Ali, the president of the Muslim Student Association.