Nine Apps to Help You Ace Student Life

By Deirra Francis Stevenson

Students rely on their smartphones. Photo courtesy of jeshoots.com.

In just seven years, access to digital devices has risen substantially, with 77 percent of Americans using smart phones in 2017, according to a Pew Research Center report, up from just 35 percent in 2011. Smartphone use is nearly universal among younger adults, the report adds, with 92 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds now owning one. We asked Lehman students what apps they find indispensible to navigate their lives both on and off campus. 

Dropbox, an all-purpose storage and transfer app, syncs your files to its cloud the moment they’re uploaded, as well as all future changes. “Dropbox is a great way to transfer files to others,” says Lehman student John Rodriguez. “If you forget your phone or document at home, it’s in the cloud and can easily be accessed through an internet connection.” The versatile app serves a variety of devices from Windows desktop to Mac laptop and Android phone. 

During those long nights when you’re stuck on an online quiz or a hard to answer textbook question, Quizlet makes relentless studying a little less overwhelming. Whether it’s robotics or Shakespeare, this flashcard app is a lifesaver, helping students with both studying for tests and homework assignments. 

LinkedIn is a networking platform for working professionals. It lets you create an account and upload your resume to showcase your skills and job training.  “Instead of just saving connections you’ve met throughout your professional life, actively engage with contacts by liking, sharing, and commenting on their activity,” states Time.com.

Banking mobile apps, Zelle and Venmo, come in handy when students have limited time to find the bank of their choice. Zelle is easy to use because of its three choices: send, request, and split money. However, if the recipient doesn’t already have Zelle it will become a task to activate the sending option, though most banks do offer it. Venmo likewise can be used to split a bill, pay back friends, or purchase products and services. The app is free if you send money from your Venmo balance, debit card or bank account, while a 3 percent fee is added for credit cards. Receiving money and making purchases, however, is free. 

Whether you attend college far from home or around the block, safety can be a major concern. An app that makes friends and family as well as students feel safer is SafeTrek, an emergency signaling app. If you feel in danger and there is either no time to make a phone call or you don’t know your exact location, you can open SafeTrek, depress and hold a button, and if you don’t enter a pin number in 10 seconds, the app sends your location and an alarm signal to the police. Jashera Nalls, an Africana Studies major at Lehman who walks to the bus station late nights after class, told the Meridian, “I take precautions such as talking on the phone with my dad and carrying pepper spray. What about if something happens and my dad can’t get to me fast enough? An App that has a buddy system until I’m home would be great.” 

For students running late or just looking for alternatives to public transportation, Uber and Lyft are convenient solutions. “The option to share rides makes the cost lower than an already reasonable price,” says Lehman student Jocelyn Carson. “You have the option of sharing a ride with another passenger whose destination is along your route.  I use Lyft for my early Saturday class when trains aren’t running their usual schedule.”

The everyday challenges of student life can take a toll. To help students relieve stress, psychologists and educators created a mindfulness meditation app called Smiling Mind. It’s a great energizer bunny for the mind that helps users create a balance between mental health and their studies. “It helps that this app is free,” says Lehman film major Shanese Latiya. “I listen to it during in the morning after my alarm wakes me up or during a crowded train ride in the day. In this day and age people are consumed with social media first thing in the morning, but for me, Smiling Mind helps to focus on living my best life rather than what others are doing.” 

Lehman Students Find Self-Expression in Bold Hair Colors

By Deirdre Fanzo

Dyed hair and the positive feedback it draws from others can greatly increase people’s confidence and self-esteem, argues Masey White in USA Today College. While a conservative viewpoint might tie colorful hair to a lack of professionalism, today’s reality is that dyed hair is an expression of personality that does not detract from a person’s work ethic. “My expression of my individuality is not something that affects my work ethic or skills,” White asserts. This notion is clearly shared by many members of the Lehman community, who use colorful hair to express themselves.

Hayong Lau photographed in Lehman’s Music Building Cafeteria. All photographs by Deirdre Fanzo.

Business Administration major Hayong Lau dyes her hair a soft purple, almost periwinkle color. She told the Meridian that her hair color expresses that she is “just crazy and I don’t care.” She added, “I just want to have fun.”

Jasmine Joseph photographed in Lehman’s Music Building Cafeteria. 

Jasmine Joseph photographed in Lehman’s Music Building Cafeteria. 

Jasmine Joseph is an English and Africana Studies double major, whose hair is currently a deep, vibrant shade of red. She says she wants the color of her hair to express that “I just don’t care about what other people think.”

Waverliey Torres photographed in the Lehman College Underground Radio club room.

Waverliery Torres is a biology major and a member of the Lehman College Underground Radio. Her hair resembles the sunset and is a colorful combination of orange, blonde, and pink. Torres stated, “I’m a very artistic person… I enjoy color combinations. I don’t think hair should be boring…I believe your hair should be a creative outlet.”

Abirami Rajeev photographed during an overnight class trip to the Washington DC area. 

Math major Abirami Rajeev told the Meridian that she has dyed her hair many different colors. Right now, it is a dark green shade. Abi stated that she originally started dying her hair because she desired something that was “a little different. Now, it’s more expressing my general state of mind.” She added, “I associate green with nature and serenity and it’s a part of my life I’m trying to get more in touch with. Plus, I just love the color green.”

‘Devilman Crybaby’ Delivers a Hellish Reincarnation of a Classic Manga

By Juan Vasquez

Cover of “Devilman Crybaby.”
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

At its core, Netflix’s new “Devilman Crybaby” is a bloody, perverse, visceral masterpiece that appeals to the ear and eye. A 2018 reboot of the classic anime-nasty “Devilman,” originally released in 1972, this modernized take directed by Masaaki Yuasa is filled with freestyle hip-hop, drugs, graphic sex, and gore. 

The plot follows Akira Fudo on his quest to save humankind from demons. With some help from his friend Ryo Asuka, Akira merges with a demon and becomes the titular Devilman as he visits a drug filled, sex crazed nightclub.

The shining gem of this new “Devilman Crybaby” is how faithfully it adapts the original manga while introducing a modern twist and a few plot alterations. One such change is the addition of a track team subplot. While I must admit that the subplot seems like a weird addition to the dark, ultraviolent world of Japanese Manga artist Go Nagai, I came to like it and was shocked to see how it added to the plot and setting. Similarly stunning is the more savage killing of a certain main character. While the death in manga was certainly gruesome and leaves quite the mark with you, “Devilman Crybaby” kicks this up to an eleven. 

The animation quality is also a cut above your average anime production. The animators at Science Saru clearly put a lot of effort into “Devilman Crybaby.” While there was one scene that may have been animated in Flash, creating a downgrade in animation quality, the studio made sure that this limited OVA (Original Video Animation) series was a feast for the eyes. 

This leads to my one criticism of the series: this is not an anime that you can watch with your family. There is a ton of graphic sex, graphic death scenes, casual nudity, and enough diabolical themes to shake a stick at. If you are planning to watch this anime in public or with sensitive friends and family, my one piece of advice would be: don’t. 

While viewers may want to advise the utmost discretion while watching this series, Devilman Crybaby is not to be missed.   

Bronxites Tackle Discrimination in XFL Revival

By Jorel Lonesome

XFL logo. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Vince McMahon is relaunching his ill-fated Xtreme Football League (XFL), and many Bronx residents object to its new discriminatory rules and what some see as McMahon taking a page from Donald Trump’s playbook. 

“I think this is just his Donald Trump maneuver where Vince persuades the masses to get people interested then over time he’ll walk away from it,” said Bronx resident Raquel Brahmbhatt, 29, cashier at Gamestop on Greenwich St in Manhattan. Brahmbhatt believes that McMahon and Trump have similar approaches to gaining an audience for their shows. “Right now he’s a salesman, a clever businessman. So right now he’ll say whatever gets people’s attention.”

This will be the second time McMahon tries to get his extreme league off the ground. The original XFL debuted—and then failed—in 2001 as a joint venture between WWE and NBC. XFL’s gimmicks included fewer rules, rougher play, scantily clad cheerleaders, cross promotion with pro wrestling superstars, and innovative use of technologies during games, including player microphones and aerial cameras. However, fans quickly soured on the poor quality of games and focus on eccentric personalities. 

On Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018, McMahon, the chairman and chief executive of WWE, announced his plan to relaunch the XFL. The reboot will be owned by McMahon’s Alpha Entertainment, a separate company from WWE. As he continues to revive the XFL, he will remain in his current position with WWE. This updated XFL will have eight teams, 40-man active rosters and a 10-week regular season schedule followed by playoffs. Its quicker, “family-friendly” version of football will limit games to about two hours. 

However, McMahon also created new standards this time around, including a ban on players displaying their “politics” during games, a policy many Bronxites say is unfair, especially the rule against kneeling during the national anthem. In the XFL, players must stand for the national anthem, a practice McMahon sees as an opportunity to gain NFL fans who have expressed dissatisfaction over the ongoing player protests against racial injustice.

“People don’t want social and political issues coming into play when they are trying to be entertained,” McMahon told ESPN. “We want someone who wants to take a knee to do their version of that on their personal time.” McMahon also stated that he will not allow players with criminal records to join the league.  

Some Bronx residents and workers argue this is opportunism and that it’s going too far. “Vince McMahon can always change the rules around,” said Bronxite Stephen O’Hara, 41, a retail sales associate at Home Depot in New Rochelle in Westchester County, New York. “I think he will reject players with criminal records that involve assault and domestic violence charges. The DUI and marijuana charges shouldn’t rule someone out. Violence, on the other hand, is a different story. I personally don’t want to see athletes that beat their wives, making thousands or millions of dollars for games that they play.”

Bronx residents also see McMahon’s decision to ban athletes that have criminal records from the XFL as hypocritical since the WWE chairman allows wrestlers with a rap sheet to work for him. “It’s contradictory of Vince McMahon to be annoyed at NFL players for having ‘politics’ interfere with the games and then have rules that are basically ‘no politics unless they’re mine,’” said Bronx resident Nicolás Cruz, 28, a cashier at Hot Topic in Kings Plaza Shopping Center in Brooklyn. “With that rule applied to WWE there’d be almost zero wrestlers on the roster. Wrestler Scott Hall was arrested years ago for choking out his girlfriend after falling into a drunken rage. Hall shot a man with his own gun and admitted that he killed him.” 

Fellow Bronxite Daniel Weeks, 33, a volunteer at National Parks Conservation Association in New York City, agreed. “Wrestler Randy Orton might be one of the top stars of the WWE right now, but he has been suspended by the company for violating their wellness policy,” said Weeks. “Randy got arrested for going AWOL many times in the Marine Corps, and disobeyed orders from a commanding officer. He went to military prison for it.”

Kevin Draper argues in the New York Times that “McMahon is following, President Trump’s lead on politics as well as showmanship.” He points out that “Trump, who has denounced N.F.L. players’ protesting racial injustice by refusing to stand during the anthem, has long been involved with the McMahons and W.W.E. Linda McMahon, Vince’s wife, was appointed by Trump to run the Small Business Administration on Feb. 14th, 2017.” 

“Trump has also hosted wrestling events at his properties,” Draper adds, “and has been involved in the showmanship, once shaving McMahon’s head in the middle of a ring. Trump was also involved in an alternative professional league in the 1980s, owning the New Jersey Generals of the short-lived United States Football League.”

While Draper states that McMahon had not consulted with Trump about the XFL, he notes that McMahon’s “ban on politics during games would extend to the president’s positions.” 

Bronx native Nathan Daniels, 26, a Remote Computer Programmer at Euro-Pro Operating LLC in Boston, MA, agrees that McMahon is backing Trump’s positions. “I think Vince McMahon’s ideas or rules for the XFL are linked to his relationship with President Donald Trump,” Daniels said.  “McMahon and Donald Trump worked together for years. Trump was a part of WWE’s main event storyline at WrestleMania 23 ‘The Battle of the Billionaires story arc.”  

It remains to be seen whether McMahon’s new XFL venture will gain more traction than the original version. McMahon expects the XFL League to start play in 2020, according to the New York Times.

MTA Moves Lehman Students at a Snail’s Pace—at Best

By Hector Bello

Lehman College students exiting the 4 train at Bedford Park Station. Photo by Hector Bello.

Lehman students have not seen any relief in subway delays and service suspensions, despite an MTA announcement in July of 2017 that promised improvements. This hits many Lehman students hard, as the MTA’s dysfunction often penalizes them as they try to get to class on time. 

Danny Rodriguez told the Meridian that he has, “found it challenging to explain to professors why he’s late to class because the subway delays excuse is too commonly used.” Since most professors include a class policy that penalizes students for arriving late, Rodriguez is not the only with this problem.

The Meridian conducted a poll of twenty-three Lehman College students which showed that 84 percent travel to school via mass transit, and that 47 percent have had to explain to their professors the reason for lateness. Nursing major Trinidad Rodriguez says, “I spent almost two years trying to explain [to] my professor why I was late.” Our survey also revealed that 39 percent of students reported being late several times a week because of train delays.    

Lehman’s absence and lateness policy states that students can be absent twice with no penalty. But after their first two absences, students’ grades can be affected, and this in turn can also affect their eligibility for financial aid benefits. 

Doctor Sarah Ohmer, a Lehman professor of Latin American Studies and African Studies, says that after the first two absences, “you start losing five points for every time that you miss class. If you have three tardies that equals one absence. So, if you’re on that subway that is late then it will not affect your grade until it happens several times, then you have to be accountable for lateness.”       

37 percent of students surveyed also consider train delays when choosing their classes. Some do not schedule morning classes because they fear they may not make it on time due to the MTA’s dysfunctional system. Those that do told the Meridian that they must schedule extra time for their trip to school. “For afternoon classes I don’t really care about the train schedule but for morning classes I give myself maybe an hour and a half to make it to school,” says biology major Valentina Castellon.    

“If I bike to school, it will take me less time to make it to school than if I take the MTA.” 

- Business Administration major Michael New

However, one insider was at least optimistic about future improvements. David Alvarado, a contractor for the MTA, said the chance of delays, “depends [on] which train you take. While I find the four-train to be always crowded and in delay, the D-line takes me wherever I need to go fast and efficiently.” He added that many of the delays can be attributed to the advanced age of the trains. “Every time that the train is delayed it is being maintained. You cannot compare a hundred-years-old train with trains such as the one in France or China that are only forty years old … The older the train is, the more maintenance it needs.”

Alvarado noted that Joseph J. Lhota, the new MTA director, “has worked in train systems in Europe and Asia… [And] he plans to bring the same efficiency here to the United States. Let us pray that he improves train traffic in the city.”

Until these improvements happen, though, students are left paying the price—and looking for alternatives. Business administration major Michael New says, “If I bike to school, it will take me less time to make it to school than if I take the MTA.” 

Parkland Shooting Leaves Lehman Students Doubting Campus Safety

By Hector Bello

Unguarded entrance to Lehman. Photo by Hector Bello

“If it can happen in Florida, then it can happen over here in any college in New York too,” said Lehman Biology major Carelitza Fernandez about the shooting in Parkland Florida. Fernandez explained that her fear increased following this Feb. 14 incident at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in which Nikolas Cruz, 19, killed 17 students. “Of course, I am concerned that something similar can happen in our school,” she continued, “because on average there are at least two school shootings a week in the U.S.” 

Many blame the high rate of shootings on the lack of laws regulating gun sales. Even for people that need psychiatric help it is easy to acquire semi-automatic weapons.  According to ProCon.org, “As much as 40 percent of all gun sales are undocumented private party sales that do not require a background check (aka the “gun show loophole.”)

 Along with renewing the national debate on gun control, the Parkland shooting had many Lehman students feeling unsafe, especially since at Lehman only two out of the six entrances are guarded. “It is absurd how anyone could walk through Lehman,” said Lehman business major Jesus Hernandez, “The question is, is our school prepared for an emergency like that? I feel like we should be more cautious and raise awareness. Yes, I am concerned. I believe that we should have an action plan in case of an emergency.”     

Although she noted that the campus entrance she uses is guarded, Lehman nursing major Angelica Olivares seconded her sense of potential threat for “other people like women in the night time…it is dangerous and it should be guarded. To be honest, yes, every day I am concerned because anything can happen on this campus.” 

Lehman computer science major Alex Mayi expressed mistrust of safety mechanisms in general. “You know, sometimes campus security officers are not so efficient when dealing with things like guns and rifles,” he explained. He added, “I know that gun laws in New York State are a little bit better and can protect us a lot more, but it is definitely still a threat and something that we should be constantly vigilant about and make drills for it to keep our campus safe.” 

Lehman Students Denounce Lack of DACA Deal

By Shaiann Frazier

Protestors stand with DACA. Photo courtesy of Flickr.

Nearly two weeks after the Trump administration’s legislative deadline passed, the future of over 700,000 immigrants remains in limbo, and Lehman students continue to demand their renewed protection under legislation known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The White House had designated March 5 as the deadline to reach a bipartisan deal on the bill, but two federal judges, in California and New York, issued injuctions on January 10 and February 13 respectively that block this deadline. While this gives those covered by DACA more time to apply for extensions, it also leaves them worried about their future in America. 

Tapanga Perry, 18, a freshmen and nursing major at Lehman, said, “I feel that people’s DACA shouldn’t be taken away because everybody has the right to live the American dream. And it wouldn’t be right to send people back.”

DACA was an executive order created by former President Barack Obama back in 2012. It allowed undocumented immigrants to legally reside in the US for two years without the fear of deportation. Under this order, immigrants received background checks and were given two-year renewable permits that allowed them to receive an education, secure legal jobs, and obtain valid driver licenses. 

To be protected under DACA, immigrants had to be between 15 and 31 years old when submitting their request, and to have been residing here since before June 15, 2007 as mandated by the Department of Homeland Security. This past September, the Trump administration rescinded DACA, and gave Congress six months to negotiate a deal that would keep those under DACA free from deportation and protect border security. As the March 5 deadline came and went, neither Republicans nor Democrats managed to come up with a passable bill.

Both parties proposed bills that ensure the pathway to citizenship for most immigrants, but Trump rejected them. A bill needs at least 60 affirmative votes in the Senate to pass, as well as an affirmative majority vote in the House before it reaches the president’s desk, where he may still veto it.

“The fact that a deal hasn’t been reached saddens me because I feel that [DACA] is an opportunity for people to be able to advance in their lives and get a better education.” 

- Frances Latalladi, 42, a Lehman senior and journalism major

As the law now stands, those under DACA will continue to reside in the U.S. until their work permits have expired. New applicants who applied before September 5, along with renewal applicants that were processed before October 5, can remain in the U.S. Now that the issue will be taken up in the court system, those who couldn’t make the deadline have a temporary reprieve, but must still live in fear for their long-term future.

George Abraham, 22, a junior and business administration major at Lehman said, “It’s depressing, these are families you’re talking about who are being treated like they have no values. There’s no remorse.”

According to a recent report from the Department of Homeland Security, 983 undocumented immigrants protected under DACA could lose their protected status every day, and nearly 30,000 people could be deported each month for the next two years if Congress fails to reach a deal.

The most vulnerable group under DACA are the “dreamers,” a term used to refer to people covered under the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act of 2001, which offered legal status to undocumented immigrants in return for attending college or joining the military.

According to a report from the Migration Policy Institute in 2014, over 241,000 DACA immigrants were enrolled in college, and nearly 57,000 of them had already earned a bachelor’s degree. 

Frances Latalladi, 42, a Lehman senior and journalism major, stressed how vital this opportunity is for many Dreamers. “The fact that a deal hasn’t been reached saddens me,” she said, “because I feel that [DACA] is an opportunity for people to be able to advance in their lives and get a better education.”

Bryan Diaz, 21, a computer science major at Lehman, agreed. “I feel like there’s many [dreamers] that need an opportunity in life,” he said. “And by getting deported they are being deprived of it.”

Michael Anti, 22, a computer science major at Lehman who was born in Ghana, also questioned the logic of the Trump administration. “I have a friend who’s under DACA and he’s a nice person,” he said. “And I don’t see why they would want to deport somebody like him, he’s contributing to society, he has a goal, and he wants to do something good.”

Lehman College Mourns the Loss of Yoryi Dume

By Deirdre Fanzo

Students and faculty write their final thoughts to Yoryi on a board dedicated to his memory. Picture courtesy of the Office of Prestigious Awards. 

On the afternoon of Jan. 31st, Joseph Magdaleno notified the Lehman community via email that Yoryi Dume, a senior at Lehman, had passed away over the winter break. The email did not disclose a cause of death. This news came as a terrible shock to students and faculty members, many of whom had forged close relationships with the young scholar. 

“The amount of love he had for people is shared throughout. We all loved him as deeply as he loved us.” 

- Hilliary Frank, a Lehman chemistry major

Dume entered Lehman in the fall semester of 2014 as a member of the Lehman Scholar’s Program, a demanding program that requires its students to take on a rigorous course load and maintain a high GPA. Dume was an enthusiastic student who had no trouble with these requirements. He approached his studies with determination and set the bar high for the other students in his classes. 

Dume spent much of his time in Lehman’s Office of Prestigious Awards (OPA) where, according to its director, Professor Augustine, “he was a very good mentor to many people. Yoryi was like everybody’s big brother. He had big dreams.” It was under Augustine’s mentorship that Dume applied for his very first scholarship, which he was ultimately awarded. Dume had hoped to attend Duke University for graduate school where he would have continued to pursue an education in Latin American Studies. 

Dume also spent time studying abroad in Brazil. He fostered a great love for Latin American Studies, and his time in Brazil allowed him to celebrate this passion. According to Augustine, “Travel was where [Yoryi] found his happiest moments.” 

Memorial service for Yoryi Dume. Picture courtesy of Jennifer Mackenzie.

On Feb. 1, faculty and students gathered in the OPA for a memorial for Dume. The following day, a separate memorial service was held in the Student Life Building. In the OPA, those who had gathered wrote letters to Dume, which were placed in a box that now holds a place of honor in the office. His professors and peers also shared thoughts, memories, and anecdotes of their times together with him, and there was not a dry eye in the room. 

Students Helina Owusu-Sekyere, a biology major, and Hilliary Frank, a chemistry major, knew Dume closely through time spent together at the OPA. Owusu-Sekyere said he “was a wonderful person. He was very determined.” Frank and Augustine both emphasized that “he was always there for you.” Frank added, “The amount of love he had for people is shared throughout. We all loved him as deeply as he loved us.”