APRIL 2015

Eat, Dance, Run, FUN!

The 2015 John Jay Alumni Reunion — a spectacular two-day, 50th anniversary celebration — is almost here, and there’s still time to join the festivities along with hundreds of other proud alumni.

More than 120 runners and walkers have signed up for the inaugural Race for Justice, a 5.5-kilometer run along the Hudson River on Saturday, April 25. Participants will receive a special gift bag that includes a custom-designed t-shirt, and medals will be awarded to the first-place finishers. The out-and-back race course will be monitored by John Jay coaches and athletes to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for all.

Individual entry is just $40, which includes the post-race Family Day brunch and carnival. There is a special team-entry price of $150 for a team of five, which also includes the brunch and carnival. To make the event a truly family affair, children under age 10 can race for free.

Sign-in for the Race for Justice starts at 8:00 A.M., with the starting gun set to go off at 9.

The 50th anniversary dinner on Friday, April 24, is attracting a record attendance, with nearly 500 seats reserved so far. The dinner itself will be preceded by a Founding Generation symposium, with surprise guests, and a networking and cocktail reception. Following dinner, at which a number of coveted annual awards will be presented, an after-party will rock the night away, with host Johnny Marines, manager of Aventura and Romeo Santos, and guest DJ Camilo of Hot 97 radio.

Individual dinner tickets are $50, which includes the reception, dinner and after-party. A table of eight is priced at $350. Tickets for just the after-party are $25.

Registration for Alumni Weekend events will close on Wednesday, April 22, and no walk-ins will be allowed, so don’t delay! Click here to register.

New Scholarship Honors Slain NYPD Officers
Program Unveiled at Reunion for John Jay’s NYPD Alumni

More than 200 current and former members of the NYPD who are John Jay alumni returned to their alma mater on March 11 for a special celebration of the College’s longstanding partnership and collaboration with the Police Department.

At the event, attended by Police Commissioner William Bratton, First Deputy Commissioner Benjamin Tucker (B.S. ’77) and other department leaders, the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations (NECO) unveiled a new scholarship in memory of Detectives Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, who were murdered in the line of duty in December 2014 while on patrol in Brooklyn.

“We thank the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations for their generosity and for partnering with the College to honor the memory of Detectives Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu,” said President Jeremy Travis. “Their legacy will be bolstered by the officers who will pursue higher education, graduate from John Jay and become law enforcement leaders.”

The NECO scholarship will honor the fallen officers’ legacy of selflessly protecting the City by providing incentive and support for officers to obtain their bachelor’s degrees at John Jay. By supporting the educational goals of officers who are committed to the values of community, the importance of diversity and the necessity of healing, the scholarship will contribute to the development of the future leadership of the NYPD.

Two scholarships, for up to$2,500 per semester, will be awarded each year for the next three years in honor of the slain detectives.

The National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations was created on the basis of its founders’ conviction that the diversity of the American people is what makes this nation great. Its mission is to honor and preserve this diversity and to foster tolerance, respect and understanding among religious and ethnic groups.

A John Jay Education Is Rated “Best Bang for the Buck”

In yet another endorsement of the value of a John Jay education, the College was recently ranked fourth in the Northeast in the “Best Bang for the Buck” of The Other College Guide: A Road Map to the Right School for You, published by Washington Monthly.  

In contrast to most popular college rankings that measure “how rich, prestigious and exclusive colleges are,” Washington Monthly noted, The Other College Guide shows students which schools are “the best value for your money based on ‘net’ (not sticker) price, how well they do graduating the students they admit, and whether those students go on to earn at least enough to pay off their loans.”

The new book is intended to provide guidance to help students find the right schools for them based on practical data and information about “which schools will charge you a fair price and not bury you in debt.” Washington Monthly has built a reputation for publishing rankings that go beyond the typical categories and illuminate affordability benefits and service contributions.

President Jeremy Travis said the latest ranking “reflects the progress we have made over the past decade to achieve senior college status, expand our liberal arts majors, strengthen existing majors, and adopt a cutting-edge general education program that engages and challenges our students."

The Washington Monthly ranking came on the heels of another important rating for John Jay College, on the U.S. News “short list” of top 10 schools whose graduates have the least student debt. An analysis of the Class of 2013 showed that only 20 percent of John Jay students borrowed money to attend college, while the vast majority graduated debt-free.

As part of the CUNY system, John Jay College has one of the lowest tuition fees among public colleges and universities in the nation, starting at $6,030 a year for in-state full-time students.

Click here to view the Washington Monthly rankings. 

George Abraham, former Alumni Association president, 1928–2015

George C. Abraham, a member of John Jay’s “Founding Generation” and a former president of the John Jay Alumni Association, died March 11 in Brooklyn. He was 86.

“George was president of the Alumni Executive Board when I arrived 10 years ago,” noted John Jay President Jeremy Travis. “I will always be indebted to him for his generosity and counsel as I assumed my new position.  He was a stalwart friend of the College and will be missed.”

Abraham (B.S. ’75), served as the Alumni Association’s president from 1995–2005. He enjoyed a long and distinguished career with the NYPD that started in 1951 and included an assignment with a special undercover investigations unit that later evolved into the NYPD Intelligence Division. “He was a pioneer,” said his former police colleague and fellow John Jay alumnus Robert Hogan (B.A. ’71). “He was highly respected, very intelligent and very mature, a key player in the whole operation.”

Among other roles, Abraham recruited, trained and managed undercover officers who infiltrated black radical organizations, and his efforts and those of his operatives were later credited with thwarting a plot to blow up the Statue of Liberty and other national monuments.

He followed his NYPD service with another well regarded career in the private sector, and also taught at John Jay in the Department of Law, Police Science and Criminal Justice Administration.

He was presented with the 2009 Leadership and Service Award at that year’s Alumni Reunion. In July 2009, Abraham threw out the ceremonial first pitch at a game between the Staten Island Yankees and the Brooklyn Cyclones, in celebration of Alumni Family and Friends Class Day at Richmond County Bank Ballpark.

Students’ Creative Juices Flow in “Future of Justice” Exhibit

Grand Prize winners “An Open Letter to the Cop Who Shot Me,” by Spencer Washington, and “This American Life,” by Donauta Starcevic.

As John Jay’s yearlong 50th anniversary celebration enters the home stretch, student creativity has stepped to the fore, with the opening of “The Future of Justice,” an exhibition of contest-winning student artistic and written works.

On display through May 22 in the President’s Gallery on the 6th floor of Haaren Hall, the exhibition includes essays, video, mixed media and photography that articulate ideas about justice and celebrate the College’s mission.

“Whether articulating racial injustice, rendering through collage the plight of the immigrant, or photographing the next generation of law enforcement officers, these works of art and academic essays reflect the complexity of justice as it exists right now for students at John Jay College, an institution whose lofty mission invites reflection, but never simplification,” noted Professor Allison Pease, chair of the English Department, in a narrative accompanying the exhibit.

Submissions were solicited from the student body throughout the fall 2014 semester — a time frame that coincided with a number of controversial police shootings of African American men around the country, and the protests that ensued. As a consequence, Pease said, “a lot of the exhibit is about racial injustice.”

Two grand prizes were awarded by a selection committee that included, in addition to Pease, Professor Carmen Kynard of the English Department and Professors Roberto Visani and Cyriaco Lopes from the Department of Art and Music.

Spencer Washington, a senior honors student majoring in Public Administration, shared the top prize for his moving video poem “An Open Letter to the Cop Who Shot Me.” The other grand prize went to Donauta Starcevic for “This American Life,” a six-panel mixed-media presentation. Starcevic, a sophomore English major, is a previously undocumented student of Serbian/Jamaican lineage who recently got her green card.

Honorable mention was awarded to Ronny DeJesus, an Economics major who graduated in December 2014, for his photograph “End Racism.”

The exhibit also includes an essay titled “Police shootings, the new lynching, submitted by Rowland Davis, a student in the Prison to College Pipeline program at Otisville state prison. Also on display are four submissions from the 2014 Rubin Museum of Art writing competition.

College Hosts High-Level Probation Roundtable

Some of the biggest names in corrections and post-correctional supervision, from academia and the world of practice, gathered at John Jay in March for an intensive discussion of current probation practices and how to improve the management of probation violations.

Co-sponsored by the University of Minnesota’s Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice, participants examined key points of the Robina Institute’s recent report, “Profiles in Probation Revocation: Examining the Legal Framework in 21 States. The report takes a close look at state probation revocation practices and the Model Penal Code, and reveals a wide variation in such approaches nationwide.

The report is the first in a series that will be produced by the Robina Institute’s Probation Revocation Project. The report focuses on how legislatures and courts have defined the purpose and functions of probation in each state. Subsequent publications will look at how probation actually works within a given state’s legal framework.

The March 10 colloquium was convened by Kevin Reitz, co-director of the Robina Institute, and Ronald Corbet Jr., project director of Robina’s Community Sanctions and Revocation Project, and former acting Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Probation.

John Jay’s delegation on the A-list of participants included President Jeremy Travis; Distinguished Lecturer Martin Horn, former New York City Correction Commissioner and currently Executive Director of the New York State Sentencing Commission; Professor of Criminal Justice Jeff Mellow, and Assistant Professor of Public Management Karin Martin.

Also participating in the discussion were NYPD First Deputy Commissioner Benjamin Tucker; the Honorable Juanita Bing Newton, Dean of the New York State Judicial Institute; Michael Jacobson, Executive director of the CUNY Institute for State and Local Governance; top probation officials from New York City, Westchester, Putnam, Rockland and Suffolk counties, and representatives from the courts, the criminal defense bar and the not-for-profit sector.

The discussion at John Jay, and others like it to be held around the country, will inform the ongoing work of the Probation Revocation Project. The project will eventually provide technical assistance to selected sites with the aim of reducing probation revocations to prison through the implementation of procedures and best practices that serve public safety, as evidenced by reduced probationer recidivism and increased probationer success on supervision.

Click here to read the Robina Institute’s report “Profiles in Probation Revocation.”


Presenting. . .

Ann A. Huse (English) gave a talk for the Andrew Marvell Society at the South-Central Renaissance Conference in Raleigh, N.C., on March 13. The paper was titled "The Engraved Cloister: Marvell and the `Monasticon Anglicanum.'"

Rosemary Barberet (Sociology), Susan Kang (Political Science) and graduate students Heather Jones and Elizabeth Ortiz participated March 12 in a panel discussion sponsored by the International Sociological Association in conjunction with the annual session of the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women. As part of a panel on Institutional Mechanisms, Human Rights and Armed Conflict: Assessing the Situation for Women and Girls, the professors and students presented the results of their fall 2014 Diplomacy Lab Project with the U.S. Department of State, which explored "Women and Security Sector Reform: Best Practices to Increase Women in Criminal Justice Professions in Post-Conflict and Post-Transition States.”

Jodie Roure (Latin American and Latina/o Studies) participated in a panel discussion as part of the 59th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. The panel focused on the documentary “Justice for My Sister,” a film about a Guatemalan woman’s three-year battle to hold her sister's killer accountable. Roure’s forthcoming book, Domestic Violence in Latin America: Implementing International Human Rights Law and Principles, will be published by the University of Pennsylvania Press as part of its Human Rights Series.

The Printed Page

Delores Jones Brown, Beverly Frazier (Law, Police Science and Criminal Justice Administration) and Marvie Brooks (Library, ret.) are co-editors of the new African Americans and Criminal Justice: An Encyclopedia. Published by ABC-CLIO (formerly Greenwood Press), the work includes essays from more than 50 distinguished scholars nationwide, and has been described as an “essential learning resource for all American citizens, regardless of race or age.”

John Matteson's (English) article “Finding Private Suhre: On the Trail of Louisa May Alcott's 'Prince of Patients’” has been published in the March 2015 issue of New England Quarterly. John is now “elbow-deep in page proofs” for his Annotated Little Women, to be published by W. W. Norton and Company this November.

Cathy Spatz Widom (Psychology) has had her latest researching findings on the cycle of violence published in the March 27 issue of the journal Science. The article, “Intergenerational Transmission of Child Abuse and Neglect: Real or Detection Bias?” reported that offspring of parents with histories of child abuse and neglect are themselves at risk for childhood neglect and sexual abuse, but not physical abuse. Click here to read the full article.

Scott Atran (Sociology) had his op-ed titled “The Kurds’ Heroic Stand Against ISIS” published in The New York Times on March 16. The commentary was co-authored with Douglas M. Stone, a retired major general in the Marine Corps. The authors travelled to the frontlines of the conflict in Kirkuk, Iraq, to speak with Kurds fighting the Islamic State, as well as with Islamic State fighters capture by the Kurds. To read the article, click here.

Douglas Evans and Jeremy Porter (Research and Evaluation Center) co-authored the article “Criminal History and Landlord Rental Decisions: A New York Quasi-Experimental Study” that appeared in the September 2014 issue of the Journal of Experimental Criminology. The article explores the effect of a criminal conviction on landlord decisions to consider prospective tenants. Click here to read the article online.

Eric Piza’s (Law, Police Science and Criminal Justice Administration) article “The Effects of Merging Proactive CCTV Monitoring with Directed Police Patrol: A Randomized Controlled Trial” was published in the September 2014 issue of the Journal of Experimental Criminology. Co-authored with researchers from Rutgers University and the University of Cincinnati, the article explores the effect of increased certainty of punishment on reported crime levels in closed-circuit TV target areas in Newark, N.J. Click here to read the article online.


Jodie Roure (Latin American and Latina/o Studies) was honored March 31 by the Puerto Rican Bar Association as one of the winners of the 2015 Flor de Maga Award. An outspoken advocate of improved access to the legal profession for underrepresented students, Roure founded and directs the Ronald H. Brown Law School Prep Program, a partnership between John Jay and St. John’s University Law School.

Benjamin Lapidus (Art & Music) has been named as one of three winners of the 2015 Díaz-Ayala Library Travel Grant competition, sponsored by the Cuban Research Institute, the Latin American and Caribbean Center, and the Libraries at Florida International University. For his project "Como un milagro: The Musical Influence of Juanito Márquez on the Popular Song of Four Continents," Lapidus will conduct research at FIU to document, catalogue and analyze the work of Juanito Márquez, a renowned Cuban composer, arranger, orchestrator, producer and guitarist.

Letter of the Law

Former U.S. District Judge Stephen C. Robinson, now a partner in the law firm of Skadden Arps, served as the inspiring keynote speaker at John Jay's annual Law Day event on March 21, which also served as a celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Pre Law Institute. More than 300 students were in attendance to hear and interact with dozens of speakers and scores of attorney mentors, and learn about such topics as how to fund law school, strategies for success on the LSAT, career options after law school, and more. In addition, a number of John Jay alumni who are now law students discussed their experiences. Click here for full photo gallery.