Author: alexagagosz

Political & Media Commentary

The archaic state of America

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The Election of 2016 brought the country back a generation through crisis and class

Throughout the presidential election of 2016, there were two distinct breeds of voters that were paying attention to the candidates from the time of the primaries until the victory speech in the early morning hours of Nov. 9, 2016 when now President-Elect Donald J. Trump took the stage.

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By Twitter user TexasTribune

Businessman and reality powerhouse Trump, also known as the man who fired people on the show “The Apprentice,” ran for president and led his campaign strictly on an overwhelmingly negative tone, which in turn would galvanize his base of mostly white, uneducated men. As he led an explosive campaign that would challenge the meaning of being politically correct with attacks toward the left, the minorities, women, disabled and anyone else that did not share his same privileged values or catechized him, he ran a strong campaign no matter what the values of what seemed to be the majority of voters.

Even with her towering resumé that was brimming with policy, advocacy and practice in crisis, the democratic candidate could not relate to the people of the 2016 nation.

However, up against him, and in some cases seemed to be overshadowed despite the inexperience of her competitor, stood former senator, secretary of state and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.  Even with her towering resumé that was brimming with policy, advocacy and practice in crisis, the democratic candidate could not relate to the people of the 2016 nation.

After a slanderous primary season, the Bernie Sanders supporters of mostly college-age students took to third party candidates or held onto their undecided claims, giving Clinton a tough time with the millennial vote that historically should have been clinched by her democratic platform. Even with Clinton’s wins on the debate stages, her staff’s efforts and the way that she admitted to her mistakes in the email fiasco, it wasn’t enough. The country wanted something different and new instead of the experienced or polished when sending someone to Washington D.C.

With both the nation’s bitter shun against a vast playing ground that the democratic party worked off of whether it be socialism, progressive attitudes, more government-funded programs, the political party label that republicans refused to vote for or support or maybe just being referred to as the “better choice” candidate, Donald Trump, the inexperienced, took the nation by surprise and concluded the election with a victory.

What did the Trump Campaign do well?

Donald Trump, despite the argument of being a one-man team for the majority of the election season, led a strong campaign because it was Trump. Before discussing views or remarks that would spark a media frenzy and lead to an apology from republican party leaders, Trump was an outsider. He was someone of the reality television world and was a tabloid magnet for years.

Although, with a different glass ceiling that democratic candidate Hillary Clinton spoke on throughout the election, Trump had a contrasting glass ceiling and he ended up shattering it.

For some scholars, it’s thought that he was never suppose to win the election or even make it past the primaries, meaning he did not intend to grow successful in the political realm. Although, with a different glass ceiling that democratic candidate Hillary Clinton spoke on throughout the election, Trump had a contrasting glass ceiling and he ended up shattering it.

The future nominee stood up adjacent to both seasoned and professional senators, governors and those who came from a political family throughout the primaries on the main stage. He, however, who made comments that would violate women for their looks and makeup of being a woman such as fellow republican candidate Carly Fiorina or [then] Fox News journalist Megyn Kelly

Trump would go, as many news outlets and voters would call it, “off script.” This version of Trump, would lead the country to believe that he was sexist, homophobic, racist, as well as many other terms of the types of people that he would challenge and bombard. Kelly questioned this in a primary debate where he called Trump out for his comments.

“You’ve called women you don’t like ‘fat pigs,’ ‘dogs,’ ‘slobs,’ and ‘disgusting animals,’” she said.

“You’ve called women you don’t like ‘fat pigs,’ ‘dogs,’ ‘slobs,’ and ‘disgusting animals,’” she said.

Trump fired back “Only Rosie O’Donnell” with sheer laughter from the audience in the background.

Kelly went on, “Your Twitter account has several disparaging comments about women’s looks. You once told a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice that it would be ‘a pretty picture to see her on her knees.’ Does that sound to you like the temperament of a man that we should elect as president?”

Trump’s answer consisted of blaming America and said that what was wrong with the country is that people attempt to be “politically correct.” Another, grand round of applause and cheers from the crowd showed that it was socially acceptable throughout his base to attack, criticize and berate women of all types and almost celebrate this “war on women” as Kelly called it.  Trump saw that it was almost too easy to go “off script.”

While democrats and even some republicans thought of his platform as “something to do” for him, and not really taking him seriously in the primaries, it was a reality check when he won the nomination. This very nomination was what both gave a reality check to party leaders and democrats but also to his base- who rallied around him even more by the more derogatory statements he made public. Throughout his campaign in the general election, his beliefs on women and minorities were supported by white supremacists and alt-right believers.

After the video that was leaked of him sexually exploiting his former woman co-host on The Apprentice, party leader and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan did not take his endorsement of Trump away but instead said that he could not “defend him anymore.” Both men and women backers defended Trump in this difficult point during his campaign.

Throughout the eighteen months that it took until the victory speech was given at 3:30 a.m. on Nov. 9, Trump led his campaign on an overwhelmingly negative platform. In both the race for the primaries and the general election, he would state repeatedly that “America was heading in a very bad direction.” Trump, without the basis of facts or any type of arguments to back up his statements, said that countries like Russia and China were “winning over us” but didn’t say how or in what.

According to a study conducted by the Harvard Kennedy School of Politics, the media even played a part in his victory by fulfilling their jobs by covering the overwhelming statements he made. The study suggested that the mass coverage on Trump, especially his comments, “normalized” the negativity, giving him and his platform the upper hand. He played his platform right by taking and almost “owning” the negativity and blame game. He claimed that America should not be politically correct and that the people in the country were “too thinned skinned” but some said he was some of the worst. For example, when Clinton made her “basket of deplorables” comment,” Trump used it against her and said that she was “filled with hatred” and negativity for a population of the American people. In one sense, she used his own words against him and he turned around and did the same to her.

One element that Trump had the strongest throughout the campaign is that he refused to side with anyone but himself.

One element that Trump had the strongest throughout the campaign is that he refused to side with anyone but himself. He didn’t listen to his opponents when they criticized him or apologize for almost anything that he said or did, and he did the same when it came to his own party. He was relentless when it came to discussing the “people of Washington” or speaking on Congress when the majority of Congress was republican. He not only attacked President Barack Obama and his time in office but also slandered Speaker of the House Paul Ryan relentlessly. As for his base, who voted for him with the conception that he would be “different” than the seasoned politicians that are voted into office, he played this natural card well by both those against him, but also attacking those on his side of the playing ground.

What did the Clinton Campaign do well?

Hillary Clinton, who has a rich resumé to backup her claims in policy and advocacy, was relentless and strong throughout the election. Opposite of Trump, who had a personality for television, she at first lacked the relatability factor as well as trying to pull together the former Bernie Sanders supporters and those strongly opposed to Trump but still republicans into her court. She had a tough task to attempt to unite the country that only seemed split during the campaign season but purely evident after the election results came in across the nation.

“Everyday Americans need a champion. And I want to be that champion.”

In Clinton’s first tweet to launch her campaign in April of 2015, she said, “Everyday Americans need a champion. And I want to be that champion.” From then until the final hours of Election Day, Clinton ran on the basis of uniting the country, despite the deep divide. Both she and her staff fought on an optimistic movement, especially against Trump’s negative tone. Going back to when she was First Lady to then her campaign, she always did well when she went back to her roots when she would fight for children and families. She has a long history of working with the Children’s Defense Fund, giving opportunity to all children to reach their potential and instilling that it is important that all children- whether they be citizens of the United States or immigrants, receive education and health care.

“Human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights once and for all.”

Before being secretary of state or senator, she was an advocate for human rights- highlighting the famous quote “Human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights once and for all.” The work that she did for the past couple of decades were also the highlights of her campaign. Throughout the campaign trail, she spoke relentlessly on policy, even if it wasn’t covered in the media compared to Trump’s slanderous and fixated views of the day. In the debates, Clinton was seasoned and polished after hours of practicing, positioning herself to be on top of Trump’s “off script” version as well as the Kellyann Conway version of himself, courtesy of his well to-do and well rehearsed campaign manager.

Clinton had clearly outshined the businessman in her knowledge during the first presidential debate on Sept. 26 with the attempt to present the facts off the bat in the beginning. Clinton, who took the first presidential debate for the two candidates extremely seriously in her preparation and research, had excelled in a multitude of areas: one being her characteristics within handling Trump’s bashes and blunt statements that were either irrelevant or untrue. The two candidates had walked onto the stage that night with one thing in mind: winning. However, there was only one candidate that had actually succeeded in turning undecided voters onto their campaign trail as well as strengthening the already supporters that they had. This same debate style that she had reflected the other two debates to mirror her performance.

For Trump, he had his campaign manager serve as the bandage of his entire campaign- including what happened before he started his road toward a political office. As for Clinton, the nation barely heard from campaign manager Robby Mook besides the few broadcast news interviews that he conducted with CBSN. Clinton, instead, served as the person that conducted both the good and the bad sides to the campaign. This drew to wonder, who will Trump appoint to apologize or explain his actions and motives to the American people? For Clinton, there was no question.

What did the Trump campaign do poorly?

Trump, much like his competitor, had a difficult time connecting to certain demographics- some that were crucial to not only win the election but also to connect to before assuming the role of the top office in the nation. As for Trump, after a slew of his controversial statements that made headlines more than a dozen times per month, he failed to connect with the very people that he practically declared war on: women. Whether they be educated or not, both suburban and urban women had cast the majority of their votes to Clinton. Despite his claims on Twitter and in the debates, he did not take the African-American vote, but instead failed to produce it completely with the majority heading to the Clinton side of the spectrum. He not only attacked, but nearly harassed women throughout his entire campaign to instill that he was pro-men and pro-white. From the primaries until to his present day transition team, he discussed Mexico and immigrants from there in the most negative connotations where he called them “rapists” and “drug dealers” with promises to “build a wall” to separate the states from “the Mexicans.” Trump’s base relished in his statements and met them with great applause. For Trump, his inexcusable statements may have worked for his base, but he did not welcome any other new voters throughout the general election trail.

During the race to Election Day, the Klu Klux Klan (KKK) endorsed now president-elect Trump and he disregarded it. He did not speak out against the endorsement or against the KKK. Instead, he acted as if he was delighted by the endorsement by the white supremacists.

What did the Clinton campaign do poorly?

Several odds stood against Clinton as she launched her campaign to run for president in April of 2015. She was seeking a third term of the democratic party, she had headlines on her email scandal causing a national security crisis and the nation was sick of seasoned politicians. Because of these handful of reasons, it would seem possible that a candidate from the republican party leaders’ pick was possible- maybe a Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio at best. Instead, though, the nation picked outside of the leaders’ realm and went into an inexperienced in policy Trump, who excelled in the business world- some scholars note due to economic reasons that he would shine in this regard. But in the most obvious of reasons, Clinton had the woman factor against her as well. If the world was ready for a woman president, it would be Clinton for her experience. But because of a slew of issues during the campaign trail and issues that were brought up from before her campaign trail, she was not voted in. For example, it took her until the first debate to admit her and her apology to the email scandal where she used a private email server while serving as secretary of state. The factor, which may seem minor in some positions, is horrifying for national security. Clinton should have, first and foremost, not have used a private email server. But secondly, she should have apologized and said “I made a mistake” well before she actually did and discussed what was actually in the emails instead of rubbing it off as nothing at first.

Another issue Clinton had was her relatability tactic. For many, they viewed her as the woman with all the facts but wouldn’t be able to connect to the American people. In the debates, she proved those wrong when she instantly talked about her granddaughter and what future she wanted for her when in a future America. However, these small remarks weren’t enough for the American people. Apparently, the nation of 2016 wanted a candidate that wasn’t afraid to say anything at all. Maybe for some points, Clinton should have gone “off script” for specific moments of her debates, podcasts and interviews. Clearly not the point of Trump, but to “get real” as some put it, with the American people that Trump was successful at.

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President-Elect Donald Trump during his victory speech

Donald Trump’s campaign may have seemed to be ineffective during any other time, but the nation of 2016 thought differently. For his base, they were more motivated by his comments against women and minorities because it challenged political correctness and the traditional politician’s “look.” The nation of 2016, especially Trump’s base and the silent majority, were seeking “change.” But this change was not the type that Bernie Sanders in the primaries, Hillary Clinton throughout her time in public service or even Barack Obama spoke on in 2008 and 2012. This type of change was the type that made the country go backwards by a generation. In his motto “Make America Great Again,” which could be interpreted “Make America White Again,” or to go backwards to how things use to be. The election of 2016 served as the country was divided not just by political parties and two candidates. Instead, it was the divide of introducing new ideas that would serve as progressive in nature versus the nature of going back in time to the way things use to be- not inclusive but strictly to those who were successful during that time, which were white men. The nation sought out and found the person that was completely inexperienced and picked them over one of the most qualified people to ever run for president in the history of the United States- whether they be woman or man. Both candidates ran strong campaigns, whether it be because of their base or because of being inclusive to the entire nation, they rallied those that believed in their message.

Media Campaign Coverage Incentive:

The presidential election of 2016 played a major role in exposing not only the divided nation but also the roles of media in influence versus good, political journalism. Despite a turbulent relationship with now President-Elect Donald Trump and the media world after he has made slanderous comments that the media “rigged” the election as well as the fill of fake news spread across social media through aggressive headlines, the media and Trump are currently in a “dangerous phase” according to Fox News reporter Megyn Kelly. However, there’s a thin line that comes to play in presidential election coverage between influence and coverage. The role of journalists, no matter what they are covering, is now considered the “old-style journalism” which covers the “who, what, where, when, and how.” The press play a vital role to report the news and report it correctly. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Due to manipulative and systematic ways of reporting- or not reporting- specific issues or events, it creates a matter of influence on the news teams’ audience.

For example, viewers can chose to watch Fox News for coverage on Clinton’s emails and they way they slander her in a way that makes Donald Trump look better. Or, viewers can watch CBS News and say just the opposite. In the print world, The New Yorker magazine takes a liberal take on issues, especially with coverage on the presidential election. As for the Wall Street Journal, they take a more moderate approach while the editorials tend to be more conservative than The New Yorker.

Strengths and Weaknesses of our Existing Coverage:

After the Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, and deception of the Vietnam War, journalists have turned to a more “investigative” style of reporting in a way that gives news viewers and readers a “broader” sense. The role the media should play is not to serve as an influencer, but instead to educate through straight facts and hard news in order for the reader, listener or viewer to make up their own mind. However, there is a difference between coverage and influence, but it’s a thin line that some can cross quite easily. In a study by Harvard Kennedy School, they pointed out that because Donald Trump was such an irregular character, it was difficult to not cover what he said  when he was “off script” and why it was a main focus for much of the campaign trail. This would also serve as another reason that policy was not covered so much on both sides. During this election cycle, readers would have to seek out policies that both candidates had by going onto their website or reading into their history since many news outlets barely covered the issues but instead of the Hollywood-like theme of the road to election day. It was broadcasted that Trump wanted to “build a wall” and he was looking to deport families, but how was he going to conduct these ideas? Clinton would go to talk about policy throughout the debates, but was told she needed to be more relatable instead of just listing facts by predictions in the media and campaign analysis in newspapers.

As for the widespread of false news, especially throughout this election season, it is important for the nation to have a choice where they get their news, but websites especially need to be held accountable for what they publish for the world-wide web to view. For example, it is against journalistic ethics to publish a false report that could potentially hard a person’s credibility or credentials. In numerous cases, both candidate’s of this election season had gone through this from Hillary Clinton’s alleged sex scandals with children to Donald Trump’s cheating ways in business. It was every day that a new, false report would come out that would state, “sources said,” but none of it would be backed up by fact, but instead by conspiracy theories from either side of the political spectrum, or an idea of something even lower. It’s crucial that these reports to cease, but not only from election coverage, but instead from all coverage that is reported in the news or on websites that claim to be “the news.”

Recommendations for Presidential Election 2020:

The election of 2016 proved that there is both a divided nation but also a divided media world. It is crucial for the media to go back to their roots and readopt “old-style journalism.” For example, the exemplary outlet throughout the entire campaign season was The Washington Post. The newspaper as well as their online counterpart had broken down the policies, the issues, and each candidate for what they stood for in the same style. The critiqued in their editorials, but they critiqued both candidate in the same way and value as the other. Instead of choosing what readers should know, they gave the readers everything and left it up to them to decide what and who they were going to vote for. The Washington Post continues, throughout the transition time frame, to restrict themselves to reporting the facts instead of shedding one person in good light and another in a negative context.

In addition, because this election season was so important in the realm of social media, it is important for education reasons to filter fake news outlets. For example, the number of shares an article will receive because of a controversial headline that sides with the way some are thinking, such as the website, “Occupy Democrats” has become a widespread issue on what people believe is actually going on in the realm of campaigns and the road to Election Day. For traditional news outlets who look to report only the facts such as The Washington Post and New York Times, it is important for them to fix the spread of fake news by correcting it and by finding out the facts. If not, the untrust in the media will continue to rise.

In addition to news outlets changing, education needs to as well. It’s crucial that journalism and current events are taught in schools from kindergarten through grade twelve. Whether a person goes to college or not, it’s important for them to know what to look for while reading, viewing or listening to the news. The news, at this point, is inevitable to hear and discuss, especially with this most recent election season. Instead of waiting until college to offer courses, it’s important to start at an early age to educate people on what is coverage and what is influence.

Collegiate Reporting

Marisa Kelly next president of Suffolk

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After a historic and highly anticipated search, Marisa Kelly has been named the permanent president of Suffolk University. Since October of 2016, the Presidential Search Committee formed, led by Chairman John Brooks. After a national search was conducted, they came to the decision after nearly 85 candidates applied, including an estimated 20 sitting presidents at various universities.

After countless hours of interviewing candidates, Board of Trustees Chairman Bob Lamb and now President Marisa Kelly said in a joint phone interview with The Suffolk Journal that the time of Suffolk’s Board and upper administration feud is resolved.

“Those days are behind us,” said Kelly in an interview with The Journal on Wednesday. “We have a fabulous Board of Trustees.”

Lamb, who has spoken highly of Kelly in the past, said on Wednesday night that he was “delighted” by the Board’s decision.

Kelly, who has been in the position of acting president for  20 months, said that she is “so honored as Suffolk is such a special place.”

“I couldn’t imagine this step of my career at any other institution,” said Kelly of Suffolk to a Journal reporter.

Lamb, who said that there was “no assumption” or “pre-determination” when the Committee was formed that Kelly would be named.

Kelly signed a five year contract with the university but said to The Journal on Wednesday night, “I am hoping it will be longer.”

Lamb mirrored that same sentiment.

Lamb, who echoed Brooks statement in a public Student Government Association (SGA) meeting on Nov. 30, which was published in a recent article by The Journal, that “nearly” 85 candidates applied, with an estimated 20 current or sitting presidents at other universities until the Search Committee narrowed their selection to 11 semi-finalists, then down to four finalists.

Kelly has raised more [money] in her term than the university has in the past seven years, said Lamb. Lamb cited the $3M and $10M gifts that Kelly worked for from alumni this past year.

Candidates were filtered down to two, including Kelly, on Monday night.

Kelly said she is looking forward to working on a number of initiatives as permanent president, including the innovation of Suffolk’s academic programs, continue to tell the Suffolk story on a global scale, stay committed to the university’s core and continue fundraising success with partnerships and donors, foundations, nonprofits and government agencies.

Since 2010, Suffolk has experienced a media frenzy of negative headlines that included a revolving door of presidents. Kelly and Lamb said they are confident in working together, as they have since both took their positions.

“We are thriving now and we are going to thrive in the future,” said Kelly. “Faculty and staff are excited about who we are.”

Alongside Kelly has stood Acting Provost Sebastian Royo, also a faculty member within the government department. Kelly said there will be a search for a permanent provost in the near future, whether it will begin during the upcoming fall semester or start before then. It is not confirmed if Royo will apply for the job.

“[Sebastian] has been a wonderful partner,” said Kelly.

According to a Boston Globe article published on Thursday morning, Kelly will begin her permanent role as president on July 1.

Collegiate Reporting

Mueller takes aim at Russia: Indictments in probe continue

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Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office released a 14th indictment that targeted the Dutch attorney Alex van der Zwaan on Tuesday morning in relation to the investigation into Russia’s meddling with the United States’ 2016 presidential election.

The indictment accused van der Zwaan of making false statements to the FBI “willfully and knowingly,” including communication with lobbyist and American political consultant Rick Gates and an individual labeled as “Person A,” according to the indictment.

The Russian government denied that it meddled in the Donald Trump campaign during the Kremlin’s first remarks on Monday after the first wave of 13 Russian nationals were indicted Friday. The charges against the Russian nationals were on charges of conspiring to defraud the U.S., according to multiple news reports.

Spokesperson for Russian President Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Peskov, told BBC News that the indictments provided “no substantial evidence” of Russian interference.

As for sophomore Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE), History major and former Republican turned Democrat Matt O’Brien, the indictments did not surprise him.

“The evidence has proven interference by the Russians time and again,” said O’Brien to The Suffolk Journal on Tuesday afternoon after news broke of van der Zwaan’s indictment.

Senior Business Information Systems major Alexi Korolev, who is originally from Moscow, has said he does not identify as a Trump or President Vladimir Putin supporter in recent interviews with The Suffolk Journal. Korolev told a Journal reporter that Russian citizens, as a general population, supported Trump throughout the campaign trail much more than Democratic nominee and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. However, this same support may not have trickled into the Trump presidency, according to Korolev.

“One of the major reasons for that is simply because Clinton had expressed herself rather hostile toward Russians, whereas Trump has always been fond of Russians and wanted to extend our beneficial business partnership. The Russian media also did a fine job of portraying Trump in a much better light,” said Korolev. “But that was a year ago.”

Mueller laid out the charges against the Russian nationals as well as three Russian entities on Friday, according to multiple reports.

The indictment described in detail that actions against the U.S. political system, which began as early as 2014 when the Russian organization Internet Research Agency began interference that included the 2016 elections, according to the indictment.

The Russian nationals had allegedly posed as citizens of the U.S. and operated social media pages and groups that would attract American audiences under false personas. Two of these Russians are said to have traveled to the U.S. in 2014 in order to gather intelligence for such operations, according to Mueller’s indictment.

For sophomore PPE major Geoffrey Scales, who has actively identified as a Trump supporter said that the recent indictments serve as a telltale sign that “something happened” with Russia.

“Whether that be their own interference in our election or some sort of collusion with the Trump campaign, the truth needs to come out,” said Scales to The Journal on Tuesday night. “Whether President Trump likes it or not.”

Throughout the weekend, Trump went on a “Tweet storm,” after the indictments were released.

“I never said Russia did not meddle in the election, I said ‘it may be Russia, or China or another country or group, or it may be a 400 pound genius sitting in bed and playing with his computer,” Trump tweeted early Sunday morning. “The Russian “hoax” was that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia – it never did!”

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters during a live press conference on Tuesday afternoon that Trump “has been very hard on Russia.”

Trump continued to look to Twitter in order to broadcast his opinion on the indictments throughout President’s Day.

“Obama was President up to, and beyond, the 2016 Election,” Trump tweeted Monday morning. “So why didn’t he do something about Russian meddling?”

For O’Brien, he said it is time for Trump to step up and admit Russia’s interference.

“Now it’s time for our president to condemn Russia for their actions,” said O’Brien. “If he won’t, it’s time for the people to do it for him.”

Collegiate Reporting

Fighting Spirit: Gazzani talks terms’ final stretch

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With plans and initiatives in hand, Student Government Association (SGA) President Daniel Gazzani headed into the final stage of his term. Ambitious as he is available, Gazzani’s work as the first international student as SGA president so far has been rooted in his deep passion to build a sense of community at the university.

The string of dominating topics he had chosen to pinpoint will find Gazzani essentially everywhere on campus. Whether he’s sitting behind his desk on the fourth floor of Sawyer, in Presidential Search meetings, connecting students across the globe or decoding the workings of a mobile app as a “one-stop shop,” his work has been meant to “serve Suffolk’s students and make their lives easier.”

Gazzani spoke candidly in a recent interview with The Suffolk Journal, which regarded his administration’s four main goals that he set out in the beginning of his term in May. These objectives included setting up an emergency fund scholarship for international students, rebuilding a relationship between the Board of Trustees, Faculty Senate and students, frame a mobile app for students and develop a leadership coalition program between Suffolk’s SGA and local high schools.

Referencing former SGA President Sean Walsh’s term as a “time of transition,” Gazzani said that he also assumed office during a critical point for the university.

“After [former] President [Margaret] McKenna was terminated, we were in a period where the university was looking for stability again,” said Gazzani, who is also a sitting student member on Suffolk’s Presidential Search Committee, led by frontman and Trustee John Brooks. “I think we had moved forward from that period and so when I became president, my entire goal was to resume the work that I had started when I was vice president.”

As a student leader who began to be apart of SGA during his sophomore year as a senator, the Venezuelan native has been dedicated to his work for his fellow international students since he ran for and clinched the vice presidency for his junior year.

Throughout this past summer and fall semester, a string of natural disasters had impacted the home countries of many international students in the Boston area. Since international students do not receive need-based scholarships, Gazzani set out to help those affected by these events.

“What if there is an international student that’s facing an unprecedented financial circumstance where they cannot pay for college,” said Gazzani. “There’s little relief to help these types of students out.”

Earnest for these students, Gazzani looked to create the “International Assistance Scholarship,” that would strictly be for international students in case of an emergency.

“We don’t want the message from Suffolk to be to their international student community that we only want you if you can pay,” said Gazzani. “We want the message to be that this is a university that embraces diversity and inclusion. And we’re going to help you stay here as long as we can.”

Gazzani worked with Senior Vice President of Finance Laura Sander, Associate Vice President of Bursar & Financial Planning Michelle Quinlan and Director of Student Financial Services Jennifer Ricciardi to put in a request for the scholarship to the Board of Trustees for the next fiscal year. If it passes, the scholarship will provide $30,000 worth of relief each year.

“It’s not too much of an amount where the Board will say no and it’s big enough to completely cover one-full semester with tuition and room and board for one student,” said Gazzani. “We can prevent one student from going home to where their life could be in danger.”

SGA Secretary Morgan Robb, who works closely with Gazzani, said he has been clearly focused on inclusion and has stayed persistent with the administration.

“Not only were we, as an organization, able to raise money, but he also has worked on having the university focus on building a fund for it,” said Robb to a Journal reporter on Tuesday night. “His passion has never wavered all year.”

Both Sander and Quinlan did not respond to contact with The Journal as of Tuesday night.

“This is the goal I am most proud of. As an international student myself, I can definitely feel for this and I know the struggles that we face here on campus,” said Gazzani. “I want to make sure that we keep creating opportunities for all students.”

With just three months left in his term, Gazzani has been proud to serve as Suffolk’s first international student president, where he has been able to “open new doors” for future international students looking to run for office. As he has stuck to his roots throughout his time in SGA by standing by diversity and inclusion, Gazzani believes that his legacy is “one of change.”


Collegiate Reporting

State of the Union: Democrats have watershed moment, Trump looks for unity in push of GOP message

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President Donald Trump had snatched the stage of his first State of the Union Speech in a venture to reset his presidency. With a deeply divided nation tuning in and split Congress filing in the Chamber, Trump attempted the deploy of a number of instigative phrases that would soften the rhetoric around his first year in office.

In the context of plummeting approval ratings and the charge of new voices challenging his message in the upcoming midterm elections, Trump stuck to the script and had ushered in a “new American moment” as he issued a call for unity.

The speech had looped through some of Trump’s favorite policy areas, erratically moving from foreign policy subject to a domestic issue, and back; ranging from slashing business regulations, a jump in economic growth and cited his recent tax cut legislation.

For Suffolk University sophomore Politics, Philosophy and Economics [PPE] major and Trump supporter Geoffrey Scales, the president’s messages included issues that Scales backed the leader on such as the economic boost, but critiqued his delivery.

“[Trump] hit most of the points he needed,” said Scales. “But a lot of the rhetoric fell flat. The big moments were clear but did not deliver the way it was intended to.”

Trump’s tone throughout his speech had directly contradicted his typical, off-the-cuff comments, typically seen on his Twitter page, that had not only been credited to his election win, but also made enemies within his own party.

However, Trump was not the only politician in the spotlight Tuesday night. Strategically positioned in a vocational high school in Fall River, MA, the young Congressman Joe Kennedy III made a rebuttal speech for the Democrats and may have spoken to the voters that felt left behind in Trump’s speech.

“Our vision for this union is guided by a simple belief that equality and economic dignity should be afforded to every American,” said Kennedy in a press release.

In a time when the Democratic base may have a chance to seize back more seats in Congress after the special and municipal elections of 2017, Scales said the Democrats may have “struck gold” with choosing Kennedy.

“[Kennedy’s rebuttal] was a watershed moment for the Democratic party,” said Scales, who voted for Trump in the 2016 presidential election. “In a way, Kennedy is a democratic ‘throwback.’ He is progressive but relates more to the common working man.”

“This was the missing link that the Democrats did not have in 2016,” said Scales.

While Trump somewhat steered from discussing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals [DACA] program when he left the vague statement of “Americans are dreamers, too,” Kennedy spoke in Spanish.

“And to all the Dreamers watching tonight, let me be clear: Ustedes son parte de nuestra historia.Vamos a luchar por ustedes y no nos vamos alejar,” said Kennedy. “You are a part of our story. We will fight for you. We will not walk away.”

At last year’s inaugural address that had strictly been centered around “American carnage,” Trump had worked Tuesday night to convince his uncertain public, and Congress, that he could unify the mangled nation.

As Trump pushed the GOP agenda in a call for unity, Kennedy told the nation that Democrats had the answer. Kennedy, who had cheering students from the Fall River technical school in front of him, had painted the picture of America in the past year, brimmed with mass shootings, civil rights pushed back, far-right rhetoric and even hinted at the Russian probe.

“Russia [is] knee-deep in our democracy,” said Kennedy.

Sophomore PPE and History major and former Republican turned Democrat Matt O’Brien questioned if some of Trump’s key points of victory were aftermath effects of former President Barack Obama’s administration such as the African-American unemployment rate, that had began its decline in 2010, according to a Washington Post fact checker during the speech.

O’Brien, who said he compared Trump’s unusually long speech to a listicle that could have been headlined, “17 things to make America great again,” is pleased that the president did not mention “crooked Hillary,” or make stabs at Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY). Though the former Trump supporter rated the president address well, O’Brien said that Kennedy was “more relatable” and spoke to the younger generation.

“The idea he holds of America is the idea I hold,” said O’Brien.

Collegiate Reporting

Walsh clinches mayor’s race for second term

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Mayor Marty Walsh trounced into a second term in office on Tuesday night and outplayed his challenger, City Councilor Tito Jackson. By more than 31 percentage points, the incumbent easily took the mayor’s race by storm after already four years of leading with a firm and capable attitude as he fought for all residents of the city of Boston.

After a string of endorsements from Massachusetts officials, Walsh bolstered his campaign from speaking out against the disorder in Washington and was able to avert Jackson, who fought to become Boston’s first black mayor.

“Tonight, we commit once again to be a city for all of us, to bring opportunity to everyone,” said Walsh to press and supporters at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel on Tuesday night after the Associated Press called the votes.

Suffolk University sophomore, Student Government Association (SGA) Senator, Republican and campaign intern for Mike Kelley for City Council for District 2, Matt O’Brien told a Journal reporter that this election would serve as a referendum to Walsh’s job performance.

“Mayor Walsh has proven capable in standing up for all residents of Boston,” said O’Brien as he explained that Walsh has demonstrated himself as a reformer. “He has stood up for working families, immigrant families and to the Trump administration. His speaking out on issues such as the Paris Climate Agreement and DACA have put both himself and the City of Boston on the map.”

The lopsided race is said to have exposed some of the city’s most imperative issues as well as stimulated debate over Walsh’s priorities as mayor, with Jackson leading the conversation.

“I believe Jackson [ran] a campaign to hold the mayor accountable,” said O’Brien.

The District 7 councilor, who lagged in a recent Suffolk University/ Boston Globe poll by 35 points, had announced his candidacy in January and had immediately plagued Walsh for his potential big business ventures instead of focusing on the city’s most vulnerable.

“The poll is a powerful validation of Mayor Walsh’s first term in office,” said Director of the Suffolk’s Political Research Center David Paleologos.

After the defeat for Jackson’s campaign was announced, he vowed to his supporters to continue to push his message for more spending on schools instead of “giving away” tax incentives to big companies, such as Amazon.

Walsh, surrounded by reporters at his celebration in Copley Square, swore to continue to fight for his free community college plan, housing opportunities across the city, to end the surge in homelessness, help immigrant families, among his original campaign promises.

“Four years ago, my dream came true: you chose this son of immigrants to serve the city we love,” said Walsh in a statement to The Journal late Tuesday night. “I said then: we are in this together. Every neighborhood. Every race and religion.”

Sophomore SGA Senator Sophia Romeo said she saw proof of Walsh’s strong re-election campaign early on; with his name “plastered everywhere” from Hubway bikes to garbage cans as a reflection of his efforts on the city’s economy and efforts for small business owners.

“He’s taking Boston in a direction where it is competitive with other progressive and innovative cities,” said Romeo. “The push to have Amazon headquarters in Boston is also important to me as a students since it will open up job opportunities and boost the culture coming to Boston.”

SGA Vice President Yasir Batalvi supported the Walsh political machine throughout his campaign to strive for another four years in office.

“Under his leadership, Boston has continued down the path of growth, progress, and development that we, as residents, deserve and the rest of the country expects,” said Batalvi. “He’s an aid to our community, a help to students and graduates, and a mayor that’s willing to take risks to push our city toward the best possible future.”

The Boston Globe, U.S. Senior Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), U.S. Junior Senator Ed Markey (D-MA), former 2013 Mayoral challenger John Connolly, Planned Parenthood of Massachusetts, Attorney General Maura Healey, among others all endorsed Walsh.

“After four years of hard work, I believe it more deeply than ever: when we come together, Boston, anything is possible,” said Walsh in a statement to The Journal. “The choices we make for Boston are not just on election day. The choices we make every day are what bring us together as a city. Across all our differences, we vote with our feet to come here, and we vote with our hearts to stay.”

Collegiate Reporting

Suffolk looks to add more student housing

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When advertising major Kate Cusick was gearing up this past summer to leave Paris, she was on her own to find a place to live in Boston, with little help from her own university’s student housing.

After spending the entirety of her junior year studying abroad in Paris, the emerging senior decided to spend the summer before her last year at Suffolk in France to work. Throughout the summer, Cusick was actively looking for apartments in Boston to spend her final year before graduation.

With family occupied in Rhode Island, it was impossible for Cusick to commute from there to Suffolk each day and to find lodging space seemed nearly impossible.

“There’s so much spam on Craigslist and I discovered a lot of apartments don’t want to lease to undergrads,” said Cusick in a recent interview with The Suffolk Journal. Eventually Cusick found an apartment that she would be able to pay for through her earnings, but it fell through while she was still residing in France.

Cusick contacted Suffolk for tips to close on an apartment, but said in an interview that she was told that her price range was “too low” and she would have to find a place that would eventually be $400 more than her initial budget.

“This was clearly not something that I could afford,” said Cusick.

Like Cusick, undergraduate students across Suffolk University struggle to find housing, specifically after students’ first year.

Freshmen journalism major Brandon Clay said to a Journal reporter in an interview on Tuesday that he is “stressed” about his living situation for the next four years.

”I love living on-campus. If I don’t get chosen for the lottery, I have no clue where I will live next year,” said Clay. “Giving us more housing would be really helpful and I wouldn’t be as worried.”

Suffolk is looking to change this attitude toward limited housing.

“It’s safe to say that we are always looking for opportunities to provide more beds for Suffolk students,” said Vice President of External Affairs John Nucci in an interview. As an East Boston native, former city councilor, school committeeman, Massport Community Advisory Committee member and community activist, Nucci looks to figure additional housing for Suffolk students.

Suffolk currently houses 23 to 24 percent of students in the present dormitory buildings: Miller Hall on Somerset Street, 150 Tremont, 10 West or the Modern Theatre apartments.

However, this time, the dormitory would not necessarily be situated in downtown Boston, but in a neighborhood of Boston where the commute time would be around 10 minutes.

“It’s not so much distance as it is the issue of commute time,” said Nucci in an interview on Friday afternoon. “We’re looking at the idea of having something located on an MBTA line.”

With strong ties and credibility to East Boston, Nucci admitted to having already looked at opportunities in the area, as well as in Charlestown and South Boston, steering clear from Downtown’s soaring prices.

“We have a leg up going in [to East Boston],” said Nucci.

Suffolk hired commercial real estate powerhouse Colliers International, a company Suffolk has worked with in the past, to help with the project after a request for proposal [RFP] process the university held this summer.

“Colliers is helping us out with both technical assistance and advisory services,” said Nucci. The amount of knowledge that Colliers had on the local market and surrounding areas made them the best choice, he said.

According to Nucci, many developers have already approached the university with potential sites, as Suffolk will not be building from the “ground up.”

“[Colliers will help us] review ability, affordability, and [the buildings’] location among other issues,” said Nucci.

Much like how many universities are tackling development projects, Suffolk is looking for a public-private partnership with a developer, or owner, of a building. In sight, Nucci said that a private developer would provide the facility and Suffolk would manage it. Nucci is looking to have this partnership be long-term with an extensive lease and Suffolk is looking to move onto a new opportunity soon.

“This is an urgent matter so there is a sense of urgency,” said Nucci. “It’s part of the existing strategic plan to increase housed students.”

A team that has consisted of Nucci, the Financial Department, Student Affairs and Residence Life have a “great say” about the type of facility that Suffolk leases from in the near future.

“If the right opportunity presents itself, we would move on it,” said Nucci.

However, the process to receive the city’s approval is comprehensive, and Nucci, as someone with more than 30 years of public service, is familiar with the road ahead.

“Any development that we do get will require approval from the city and it is an extensive process. In terms of meeting with neighbors and with community members, we will need to get approval from that neighborhood,” said Nucci as he cited the rocky relationship that Suffolk had with Beacon Hill before he worked in the university’s external affairs unit. “There was no trust [with Beacon Hill], no credibility and, quite frankly, the university had run over [the Hill’s] best interests. Prior to me coming and prior to this department of External Affairs being created, there was no department for community relations here at Suffolk. And it showed. We have turned that around completely.”

Nucci emphasized that it would be important for Suffolk to not “repeat history” with a neighborhood, much like it did with Beacon Hill. He said that Suffolk would have to gain credibility and trust with the neighborhood that they would move a residence hall to, and ensure to the community that a dormitory would be in their best interest.

“The main concern, that many neighborhoods have, is that there are students in private housing that perhaps make noise or the neighbors consider to be disruptive,” said Nucci. “If we can take those students out of that private housing and put them in a supervised university setting, that concern will change.”

“My message [to neighborhoods] usually is that [students are] coming anyway,” said Nucci.

Cusick, who battled to find an apartment while across the Atlantic Ocean, and now pays more each month than she did in Paris, said that she thinks that additional housing at Suffolk is vital.

“I really think that offering more on-campus housing would be a great option for people who are coming back to the U.S. from abroad or have just transferred and need a place to live,” she said. “I have had numerous Suffolk friends who were also in my situation.”

Collegiate Reporting

Suffolk places in national ranking system, twice

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Alexa Gagosz/Editor-In-Chief
For the second year in a row, Suffolk University had clinched seventh place as an institution focused on global experience and education, according to the 2018 U.S. News & World Report’s Best National Universities list.

Suffolk, which rose seven spots in the category from the 2017 list for its considerable international student population, classroom sizes and academic excellence.

The university sealed the 181st spot on the list for the top level institutions to offer expansive choices of majors, master’s and doctoral degrees.

Suffolk fell two spots from the previous year in the Most International Students list. U.S. News and World Report relies on reported data from the previous academic year, according to a university spokesperson. For the 2017 list, Suffolk topped the region with 22 percent international students among undergraduate enrollment. For the 2018 list, Suffolk fell one percent in the number of international students, which dropped the university to seventh place.

Boston University ranked fifth in this same category and Northeastern University ranked behind Suffolk in tenth place. Emerson College did not rank on the “Best National Universities” list nor the “Most International Students” list, according to the magazine’s website. Emerson, however, did place on the Northeastern regional list, a list that Suffolk used to rank on before being considered for the “Best National Universities” list.

“It’s our incredible diversity that sets Suffolk apart, and it’s great to see so many international students choosing Suffolk as a place to share their amazing experiences and learn from those around them,” said junior economics major and Vice President of the International Student Association, Charles Tang, an international student from Guangzhou, China to a Journal reporter on Sunday night.

Alongside a large international student population and offering undergraduate and advanced degree programs in more than 60 areas of study, Suffolk is said to have ranked due to smaller class sizes compared to other schools. Forty-eight percent of classes that were offered last year had fewer than 20 students and .2 percent of classes offered had less than 50 students per class, according to a press release by Suffolk’s Office of Public Affairs.

“The latest U.S. News rankings recognize the excellence of a Suffolk education and the strength of our academic programs,” said Acting President Marisa Kelly in a press release.

Suffolk recently partnered with INTO University Partnerships, an independent organization that recruits and expands higher education opportunities to students across the globe. Acting Provost Sebastian Royo, who has been a key player in bringing INTO onto Suffolk’s campus, hopes that INTO’s efforts will eventually enhance the university’s rankings that are based on international student populations and creating a diverse campus.

“The numbers have been going down for the last couple years which is consistent with the national trend,” said Royo in an interview on Monday. “Some of it has to do with what is happening in their countries of origin. It’s harder for families to fund the immigration of students abroad. The hope is that with the partnership with into, we can not only stabilize the numbers, but grow.”

“They have an outreach that we don’t have,” said Royo.

Suffolk also ranked in the High School Counselor and Business Programs list by the magazine for 2018.


Collegiate Reporting

Suffolk picks from within for new VP of Diversity, Access and Inclusion

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Suffolk University’s own Joyya Smith will step into the shoes of a new administrative role as of Sept. 18. Smith, the current director of the Center for Academic Access and Opportunity [CAAO], will now play a larger role within Suffolk’s top offices as the Vice President of Diversity, Access, and Inclusion, according to a university spokesperson.

“I’m hoping that the diversity on this campus will lead to an infused energy that allows us to celebrate one another and allows us to expand our horizons, to definitely be global citizens and to definitely be more than just a scholar,” said Smith in an interview on Friday afternoon.

This new VP position was one of the key recommendations from the Diversity Task Force report that came out last May after an almost year-long study on the university. The report had suggested that the position would report directly to the president, “have ‘actionable power’ whereby they could ensure that all components of the diversity plan at the university be conducted properly” and would “run subcommittees with the ability to evaluate and act where necessary.”

The decision for internal reconstructing without an external search was Acting President Kelly’s decision and the Board of Trustees were informed in advance, according to a university spokesperson on Saturday afternoon.

“The main priority is to bring awareness to diversity matters; ways to be accessible for all people here on campus and to also to be inclusive and to make that part of the fabric of Suffolk so that people don’t feel left out, that they feel like they have a place to learn and grow,” said Smith to a Journal reporter.

Smith is said to continue her work in providing leadership to the CAAO, according to a press release.

“It was very important to appoint someone to this position who could hit the ground running,” said Acting President Marisa Kelly, according to an email that was sent by the Public Affairs Office. “Joyya will be able to do so because she has already forged productive relationships with people in offices across campus who are critical to our ability to move forward in achieving our diversity goals, including the Center for Teaching and Scholarly Excellence, Student Affairs, the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion, and Human Resources.”

According to Nathan Roman, an Academic & Research Advisor for the McNair Scholars Program within the CAAO, Smith has easily transitioned as the director of the Center in less than a year with “energy and excitement.”

“[Smith] is perfect as she combines her experience in higher education with the heart to truly serve the students of Suffolk,” said Roman in an interview with a Journal reporter on Friday afternoon.

Editor’s Note: Chris DeGusto, News Editor, contributed to the reporting of this story.

Collegiate Reporting

Electrical smoke sounds alarms in 73 Tremont

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Alarms went off multiple times throughout Friday morning before an evacuation tone drew both Suffolk University and Citizens Bank employees out of the Rosalie K. Stahl Building at 73 Tremont Street.

Employees from various departments across the university stood outside in the rain for more than an hour while members of the Boston Fire Department checked each floor of the building, from the garage to the roof. Suffolk University Police Department (SUPD) officers told employees standing outside on Beacon Street that there was electrical smoke that had sounded the alarms in the lobby area from what he said was an electrical fuse.

Employees on the 12th floor of 73 had told a Journal reporter that the alarm had sounded multiple times, some for only a few seconds, before the evacuation tone sounded around 8:40 a.m.

Three Boston Fire Department trucks were parked along the Tremont Street property on Beacon Street with multiple others on Tremont.

Employees were allowed back into the building between 10:00a.m. and 10:15 a.m.