New Halloween Is the Goriest Yet

By Hector Bello

Promotional poster for “Halloween.” Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Four decades after its original release in 1978, “Halloween” leaves fans with mixed feelings.

“Halloween” tells the story of sixty-year-old serial killer Michael Myers, who murdered his sister Judith in 1963 and was locked up until his escape in 1978. Since then, Myers continuously returns to his quiet hometown in Illinois to prey on new victims.

In its 40-year run, the franchise has had tremendous success with 11 films about the infamous Michael Myers, played by actor Nick Castle. The first movie grossed a total of $70 million worldwide. The newest movie grossed a total of $77.5 million in its first week, topping the box office for the month of October.
 
Michael Myers kills the most people in the 2018 film -- a total of 17. Throughout the movie, Myers sadistically terrorizes his victims. In one scene, he steps on his psychiatrist’s head. In another, he pins one of his victims to the wall with a knife. He also destroys a man’s jaw and takes out all the teeth of another man.
 
The gruesome, bloody scenes evoked skepticism in audience members like Lisa Sheridan, a student from the CUNY Graduate Center. She commented: “Long on gore, short on plot. The movie serves its market ‘date night movies for high schoolers’. I tend to fuse ‘Friday the 13th’ and ‘Halloween’ in my mind because they were so similar.”
 
Other students appreciated the film’s dark humor. Alana Johnson, a York College graduate, said, “my favorite scene was when the killer went into the house of the babysitter and the kid ran downstairs screaming that he saw the Boogeyman. That was funny.”    
 
Funny or not, the bloodshed is relentless. Michael Myers is shot and stabbed repeatedly in the movie but does not die. Spoiler alert: in the end, Myers’ sister, Laurie Strode (played by Jamie Lee Curtis), locks him in a gas chamber inside her basement and burns him alive. Injured, she manages to make it out of the house alive after a final fight with the serial killer. 

Her survival is an example of one way the film goes in a new direction. Most of the previous movies, with the exception of “Halloween III,” show Strode running away from her brother, who wants to kill her after he murders her immediate family. However, this time their roles have been reversed, with Strode now much stronger and ready to defend herself against her brother.
 
The alteration satisfied some fans. “The new twist did a lot of justice to the franchise,” said Jason Moreno. “It was a solid movie…[with] nothing stupid.”

Johnson agreed, “I don’t really like horror movies. However, it was a great movie and I don’t regret coming.”
 
To all the gore and horror fans, “Halloween” will not disappoint. 

Journalists Offer Advice to Lehman’s Aspiring Journalists

By Hector Bello

Enthusiastic MSNBC journalists Daniela Pierre-Bravo, Devyn Rafols-Nuñez, Lauren Coffelt and Leonor Ayala with Director of Student Life, Michael E. Sullivan after the panel discussion. Photo by Hector Bello.

Tell new stories and be unstoppable -- this was some of the advice that three MSNBC journalists had for Lehman students hoping to work in media. Daniela Pierre-Bravo, Devyn Rafols-Nuñez, Lauren Coffelt and Leonor Ayala visited Lehman on Oct. 11, where enthusiastic students flooded them with questions about diversity in the industry and strategies for getting entry level positions. 

“One of the most important things that journalism students should know is that they can create their own narratives. The question to a journalist should be what is something new that you can bring to the table,” said Daniela Pierre-Bravo, the booking producer for MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “It’s more about making your own story more than anything, and pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. Even though there are obstacles, there is no way that you should not make it in the journalism industry.”

MSNBC associate producer for NBC Nightly News Devyn Rafols-Nuñez emphasized the importance of writing: “The opportunities for writers in MSNBC are huge! However, it’s more pushed to the digital side nowadays but it’s the same principle. The company just hired 50 new journalists only to write. You definitely need to know how to write as a journalist.” 

Founded in 1996, MSNBC also owns Telemundo, which is a strong platform for bilingual students at Lehman. However, according to the Pew Research Center, in the last decade, “newsroom employment declined 23 percent,” a trend which might cause anxiety in college students trying to succeed in the industry.

The Chair of the Journalism and Media Studies Department Thomas O’ Hanlon, who worked for NBC for several years, explained that the panel could help students overcome these worries. “Information is valuable. It’s a new field for people that are graduating from college and to have an inside perspective such as this…is a tremendously useful thing,” he said. “Journalism is a profession that is gradually evolving. It serves a vital function in our society. I think it is exciting that there are many new opportunities in journalism and I look forward to seeing our students rise to that opportunity.”     

Lehman student Natalia Quinones, 23, a film and TV studies major, said she found the panel, “very informative. As a student majoring in film and TV studies, I found it very useful to learn more about areas in my field. I am glad that Lehman did this panel because it helps people like me.” 

Director of Campus Life, Michael E. Sullivan said, “The goal was to bring people from the journalism and media fields and have them hear the stories, know what it’s required to make it in the industry and just know what it takes to be a journalist. It was a great event for prospective journalists and Lehman took full advantage.”

Lehman Playwrights Festival Centers Student Realities

By Hector Bello

Actors Brian Paredes and Kevin Vencosme play Roberto and Hector in “Sheema’s Wolf.” Photo by Hector Bello.

The special effects produced in this semester’s New Student Playwrights Festival took spectators on a magical journey into diverse realities. Running from Mar. 1-3 at the Lovinger Theatre, this spring’s festival, which happens every semester, showcased the work of six student playwrights: Yasmilka Clase’s “Speed Dating,” Erachie Brown’s “Your Cheating Heart,” Leonel Henriquez’s “Sheema’s Wolf,” Leslie Huynh’s “Passing” Eloy Rosario “Unrequited,” and Robert Torigoe’s “Deliver Me.” (Full disclosure: Henriquez is the managing editor of this paper.)

Despite the small size of the stage, the production team managed to use it effectively to make the audience part of the script. Director and Lehman professor Stephanie Stowe said, “Our choice to make people sit around the actors and actresses was an artistic choice. When we allow people to sit next to the performers, it surprises them and gives the plays a more intimate, personal feeling between the performers and the audience.” 

Stowe also noted that the production was completed under a tight deadline. “We only had two weeks to prepare everything,” she explained. “We had to proofread the plays, choose the clothing and everything. It was hard work but we got it done.”

Scene from “Deliver Me” by Torigoe. Photo by Hector Bello.

Student writers and actors who participated felt empowered by the opportunity to take the stage. Lehman student Brian Paredes, who plays Roberto in “Sheema’s Wolf,” by Leonel Henriquez, said it fed his love of acting. “We had new faces as well as old faces. Behind the scenes, it was good…this is what I need in my life.”  

Theatre major and senior Robert Torigoe, author of “Deliver Me,” said he is evolving as a writer and felt amazing writing this specific play.  He said, “It is the beginning. I am just beginning to write plays. I keep writing more and seeing if I can write more plays in the future!” 

Audience members also enjoyed the production. Lehman student Kelvin Santos, 28, said the first play, “Sheema’s Wolf,” was his favorite.  He said, “It was just so funny. I could relate with all the characters. The way they spoke, dressed and behaved was like what I live in the Bronx every day.”

Student Government Considers Costly Event

By Hector Bello

Center for the Performing Arts at Lehman College. Photo by Hector Bello.  

The Student Government Association (SGA) is deliberating whether they should spend $17,000 of their $30,000 budget on a concert. This appears to be the latest of a series of initiatives on which the SGA has been working during its tenure. Others include opening the library 24 hours a day during midterms and finals, establishing an SGA scholarship, and building a place for students to pray and meditate. If the SGA reaches a final agreement to have a concert, they would have to spend $10,000 to rent the Lehman Center for the Performing Arts to host American rapper, songwriter and television personality Safaree, who would then charge seven thousand dollars to perform. 

SGA president Victoria Antonetti, a physics and math double major, told the Meridian, “We want to make something good to celebrate our student body, faculty and history. So, we came up with a concert. When we’re doing an event and it is something that we would have to spend over $10,000, by responsibility we would have to make at least half of the money back.” To earn this money back, all attendees would be charged an admission fee.

The Monroe and Rose D. Lovinger Theatre at Lehman College. Photo by Hector Bello.  

Anthropology, biology and chemistry major and Vice-President of Internal Affairs Erick Peguero proposed the idea of the concert to the SGA. He told the Meridian, “We have two options. Either we bring Safaree for $7,000 or we bring Kesha for $20,000. The only problem with Kesha is that after singing four songs she charges us like if she is performing a full concert.”     

Lehman senior Ramsey Tapia says, “I think it is a good idea to have a concert on campus. Many students want to get involved but don’t know how to do it.” Tapia also expressed doubts about the event. “I don’t know Safaree, so I don’t think that bringing him is going to be useful. I am all for the concert idea, but we should bring a popular artist instead.” 

Until the SGA decides to spend it, the money will stay on reserve. Although a concert would be a way of using the reserve money for perhaps a large number of students to participate in an extracurricular activity, the concert idea is still being negotiated and will not be confirmed until after their April 16 meeting. SGA elections have also been held, April 17-19. Please log in to our website for the latest update on the concert.

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.”