Letters to the Editor

To the Editor:
I am writing to you to discuss the unreasonable restrictions, as described in a letter from Michelle McCullers, the Associate Director of Residence Life, being put on resident students who are staying on campus over Thanksgiving Break. Thanksgiving is a time to be around people you care about and to reflect on everything that you have to be thankful for. Thanksgiving is a celebration of life and prosperity and no one should spend Thanksgiving alone. With this in mind it doesn’t seem right that St. Johns is adding more restrictions to the visitation rights of students during this holiday. One restriction that doesn’t make any sense is the removal of the right to have an overnight guest. It’s okay for students to have overnight guests when there are classes in session and over the weekends, so why is the right removed during a holiday when no one has classes and people have more time to spend with each other? Removing the right to have guests that are not a St. Johns student also makes little sense. Thanksgiving is a holiday that is supposed to bring friends and families together, but St. Johns is standing in the way of that by not allowing students to have their parents or other non-students as guests. While these restrictions are annoying, the one that really crosses the line is “Gatherings of any kind are not permitted.” Not only are student’s not allowed to have their parents over or friends who don’t live in the same dorm, but they are even being restricted from gathering with friends from the same building! I realize that St. Johns is afraid of and trying to prevent parties from occurring in their dorm buildings, but these restrictions are taking things way too far.

The first amendment in the Bill of Rights grants us the right to peaceful assembly and St. Johns is taking that right away from us. It appears that St. Johns wants the unfortunate students who have to stay on campus over Thanksgiving Break to spend it alone in their rooms. That is wrong.

Andrew Culy
St. John’s College

Re: “Health Food Choice Still Has Room for Improvement” Oct.25:
Although the article makes a few good points, economically on the healthy food that is offered through out the St. John’s campus, I find that it is not the school’s place to control what the students should be eating. There is no need for the University to make healthy decisions for the students. It’s the student’s choice to make what they want and how they want to eat.

However, the prices of healthier choices compared to junk food choices are discouraging. The cost of healthier things, such as soy chips should be the same as regular potato chips, and should not be overpriced because students that make prefer to have the soy chips would rather buy the potato chips because it is cheaper. In this way, the University should encourage healthier decisions, not by changing what they already provide because many students on their own would prefer fast food.

Indira Udairam
College of Pharmacy and Allied Health

Letter to the Editor:
I am currently a freshman at SJU. First, I would like to explain that I come from a very academically challenging school: Seton Hall Prep of West Orange New Jersey. The first time I heard of St. John’s University was from a family friend who had graduated the pharmacology program in 1982. He told me many interesting facts about the school and spoke very highly of its academic prestige. As a chemistry major I thought that this was the perfect environment for me to carry out my undergraduate education in. I received a very sufficient scholarship and decided in May of 2006 that SJU was the school for me.

However, once I moved on campus as a resident and began my classes my view of the school began to change. I felt that many of my courses were being “dumified” for lack of a better word.

The course load on average is at most, one-fourth of what it had been at Seton Hall Prep. Many of the students in my classes think that college is a joke: nothing more than their High School classrooms relocated. Unfortunately because this is a thought shared by the majority of the students in my classes, my teachers have no other choice but to make the work load something that these type of students can handle. The more I interacted with other students of the University the more I realized that SJU will basically accept anyone with a High School Diploma. Perhaps this is an exaggerated view of reality but non-the-less is a view of someone in these classes.

Although I felt this way, I do not believe that this institution was always like this. As mentioned, a major deciding factor for me was a very close family friend who had attended the University in the ’80s. As he had described it, this was once an institution of integrity, academic challenge, and self-worth. People would graduate the University proud to hold a degree from St. John’s. So what has happened caused such dramatic change? Whatever it is, I hope the University will solve this issues and return to the University it once was.

Now that I have disclosed with what I agreed with in your article I have to argue a point that actually perplexed me as I rolled across it. After stating such solid facts about the institution you began to argue the fact that maybe one of its problems is its policy of being a “dry” campus. How exactly does the institutions academic integrity have anything, what-so-ever, to do with its policy on alcohol? If anything, wouldn’t alcohol cause students to be to hangover to go to class? And doesn’t alcohol kill brain cells thus, retarding the learning process and hindering one’s potential to excel?

Then you pose the idea that maybe if St. John’s was a wet campus, we would have better social networks. I have been at this school merely two months and have seen people act out in ways that could have either killed themselves, or others. Please, Mr. Pasqualina, do not think I am na’ve: I come from a very Italian family and have grown up around alcohol since the second I was born. Therefore, I, more than most people, would ideally have no restrictions on alcohol, but many of these kids are inexperienced and immature and because of this, they cannot handle the freedom of college; I saw people staying up all night the first few days we had moved in, just because there was no one there to tell them to go to bed. Unfortunately, alcohol in the hands of these types of kids is too much of a danger and I do not see how this would restore any of the integrity, social and academic, this school once had.

Michael Knierim
Class of 2010

To the Editor (Oct. 25) Re: 300 Million Americans:
I am a first year student dorming here on the Queens campus. The recent article in the Torch, “300 Million Americans,” truly ignited a fire in me. How can we stop immigration? How can we shut down our borders?

The writer made several points in his article. Yes, America’s population is rising. Yes, American money is being lost. However, one must realize that without immigration, there would be no America. It is immigration that built this country. By closing down doors, America is turning back on what it has stood for. Let us remember what it says on the Statue of Liberty, our symbol of freedom and hope, written by Emma Lazarus.

“‘Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!’ cries she
With silent lips. ‘Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!'”

How can we shut our doors America? Instead of chasing away those who seek to live here, let us welcome them in as brothers and sisters. It is then and only then that we can solve our problems.

Nithin Thomas
Class 2012