Expression Wall Captures Thoughts on Newtown & Gun Violence

Angry. Saddened. Baffled. Introspective. A full range of emotions and reactions was on display starting March 12 as an Expression Wall went up in the Kroll Atrium of the new building, signaling the opening of a semester-long Remembering Newtown event series.


John Jay President Jeremy Travis called on the College community to come together in the aftermath of the December 14, 2012, massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, to build on President Obama’s challenge to turn pain into positive action. The first step in the process of healing and remembering, the Expression Wall, inspired the College’s students, faculty and staff, to put thoughts into words on simple green paper ribbons.


“I’m delighted to see how this community has come together on this,” said President Travis, “and grateful that we have become stronger in our commitment to do something about gun violence.”


Student Council President Mehak Kapoor read a poem, “We Will Remember,” written by Kathleen Casey Nazarenko for the Newtown/Sandy Hook Poem Project, before pinning a green ribbon bearing the words “JJC Remembers Newtown” on President Travis. The two then posted the first of the sentiments on the wall, and others quickly followed. The postings included:


“R.I.P., Little Angels”
“In memory of Andrew Wyckoff, who might have lived if guns weren’t available”
“…we will get through this together, one step at a time”
“Should never have happened!”


Travis said of the wall, which will remain up through the end of the school year: “This sets the stage for the rest of the semester, as we do our part to pay homage to victims of gun violence and spur meaningful dialogue and action.”


All of the events in the Remembering Newtown series are free of charge and open to the public. For a complete schedule, including dates, times and locations, visit the John Jay homepage at




Dr. Hazel Duke Keynotes Annual Malcolm/King Breakfast

Capping Black History Month at John Jay, the 23rd annual Malcolm/King Breakfast on February 22 was a vibrant celebration of African American history, heritage, scholarship and community.


Dean of Graduate and Professional Studies Jannette Domingo provided welcoming remarks in which she noted that the Malcolm/King Breakfast has been held every year since 1991 amid a backdrop of political, economic and social challenges. “Today our challenges range from economic uncertainty to threats of violence, be they terrorism, gun violence or domestic violence. But in the midst of all of this, we need to create many opportunities to celebrate and nourish our spirits,” Domingo said.


Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Jane Bowers welcomed the event’s honoree, the Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes, and keynote speaker, Dr. Hazel Dukes, saying that both individuals follow in a long line of distinguished Malcolm/King Breakfast speakers. “The message of King and Malcolm X still rings true today,” Bowers said. “God knows we still need fierce advocates for justice in a world so full of injustice.”


Forbes, known as “the preacher’s preacher,” is the Harry Emerson Fosdick Distinguished Professor at Union Theological Seminary, and Senior Minister Emeritus of The Riverside Church. “John Jay College was always open to everyone in the community,” he observed. “Diversity was not some philosophical theory or practice. This school seems to say if you have the commitment to the task, we don’t care what your previous conditions of servitude were. You come on in. It was normal and natural for all God’s children to have a place at the table. That’s why I like you.”


Dukes, who is president of the NAACP New York State Conference and a member of the NAACP National Board of Directors and Executive Committee, told attendees: “Once you’re accepted in this college, each one of you has the obligation to be the Martin and the Malcolm in your own way.”


“You have the right to have your own direction of how you want to make your mark,” Dukes said. “But remember, to be a leader you need to have followers, because if there are no followers you’re just a leader taking a walk.”


Proceeds from the Malcolm/King Breakfast are used to support a leadership scholarship for John Jay students who demonstrate outstanding academic achievement and success in African American studies. The 2013 Malcolm/King Scholarships were presented to Alejandro Madi and Hathor Nefertiti Williams.


The 2013 breakfast was the last for Domingo, who was a founding member and first chair of the Breakfast Committee and is retiring this year. Professor Delores Jones-Brown of the Department of Law, Police Science and Criminal Justice Administration presented Domingo with a plaque recognizing her years of leadership, mentorship and vision. “Words cannot express the hole left in John Jay College by your departure,” said Jones-Brown.


A Winner On and Off the Court

John Jay men’s basketball player Jamar Harry has had a season to remember, and only two things were missing that might have made it better – a conference championship, and his mother.


Harry, who was named 2012-2013 Player of the Year by the CUNY Athletic Conference (CUNYAC) on February 13, saw his championship dream fall just short 10 days later when the Bloodhounds lost to the College of Staten Island 80-74 in the conference tournament final. The absence of his mother, Tessa Warren, is something he has been dealing with since 1994 when, just a month before his fourth birthday, she was fatally shot by fans celebrating a New York Knicks playoff victory on the street below their Crown Heights apartment.


A soft-spoken 6-foot-2 senior who dreams of playing semi-pro basketball overseas, Harry lit up the conference during the regular season with a scoring average of 16.8 points per game, in addition to 8.3 rebounds per game. His end-of-season honor follows the Rookie of the Year award he earned in 2010-2011. Eventually, the Criminal Justice major hopes to become an FBI agent.


The full story of Harry’s lifelong love affair with basketball, including his rise to conference stardom and the tragic death of his mother, was recently featured in the New York Daily News. To read the full article, click here.


Harry was one of four men’s and women’s basketball players from John Jay to win conference honors this season. His teammate, senior Isaiah Holman, was named a first-team All Star after averaging a team-high of 18.1 points per game. From the women’s team, which was eliminated by Hunter College in the conference quarterfinals, Jamecia Forsythe, a junior, was named a first-team All Star after leading CUNYAC in rebounding with 13.8 per game, and senior Victoria Story was named a second-team All Star.


Harry and Forsythe were also both named first-team All Stars by the Eastern College Athletic Conference Metro Region.



From the South Bronx to the White House: An Advocate and an Intern


Kalema Boateng, a graduate student in Public Administration, recently became John Jay’s second student to win a prestigious White House Internship.


“I’m excited and determined to do the best that I can,” said Boateng, who came to John Jay from Barnard College, where she majored in psychology, education and women’s leadership. “I know it’s going to be a lot of work, and I am grateful to the White House and to John Jay for this opportunity. I’m going to try to make John Jay proud and everyone who is supporting me.”


Boateng says that it was John Jay’s mission of “Educating for Justice,” its curriculum, faculty and diverse student body that drew her to the school. She decided to pursue a dual specialization in Operations and Emergency Management in the MPA program because it would provide her with the broadest range of education and skills in event/emergency management.


But her true passion, she admits, is in youth advocacy, women’s leadership and helping people of color in underserved communities.


“I was born and raised in the South Bronx — one of the hardest communities in the Bronx,” she said. “I’ve seen a lot of teenage pregnancies, high unemployment rates, drug-related issues, high incarceration of youth and men of color. These experiences of my own life as well as the political and economic climate honed my interest and passion in public policy and in helping young girls.”


Will Simpkins, Director of John Jay’s Center for Career & Professional Development, said of Boateng’s achievement: “The White House Internship Program is one of the most prestigious internships, and certainly one of the most competitive, available to college students in the United States. That Kalema successfully applied, interviewed and was offered a position speaks tremendously of her professionalism. Kalema will bring our philosophy of ‘Educating for Justice’ to Washington.” 


Boateng hopes that the White House Internship Program will help her reach her long-term goal of securing a job in federal government that focuses on issues affecting inner-city youth, particularly girls. “I could not walk this earth without trying to help someone know their own rights and without knowing that I was representing justice,” she said.



Trustee Ron Moelis Shares Expertise with Students

One of the newest members of the John Jay College Foundation Board of Trustees, Ron Moelis, brought his considerable experience and expertise to bear as a “Professional in Residence” during a February 25 seminar hosted by the Center for Career and Professional Development.


Moelis, who spoke on careers in law, real estate and public service, is co-founder, CEO and chairman of L+M Development Partners Inc., a leader in developing affordable, mixed-income and market-rate housing. He met with students for a group discussion, and then had follow-up one-on-one conversations with them.


Professor Sondra Leftoff of the Interdisciplinary Studies Program participated in the event with interns from the internship course she teaches that focuses on community problem-solving and housing. 


The Professional in Residence series was created in 2012 to provide students and alumni with opportunities for career exploration, networking and mentorship. The series continues throughout the spring semester, with other presenters who include Rossana Rosado, Publisher and CEO of El Diario La Prensa, March 12; Johnny Marines, former John Jay student and NYPD sergeant, and now manager of the Latin music artists Aventura and Romeo Santos, April 4; Alan L. Blass, forensic accountant and president of the New York City Chapter of Certified Fraud Examiners, April 8.


For more information on the Professional in Residence series, contact the Center for Career and Professional Development at


Trustees in the News

Here in the media capital of the world, the John Jay Foundation’s trustees continue to make news. Here are some recent write-ups:


Paula Anderson
Trustee and John Jay alumna Paula Anderson is the subject of a profile, “The Voice of Experience,” on the Web site She discusses her work as a litigator for Shearman & Sterling LLP and her activism on behalf of diversity within the legal profession. The Glass Hammer is an online community for women executives in financial services, law and business. Click here to read the profile, which appeared on February 27.


Arthur Mirante II
“The 30-Minute Interview,” a feature of The New York Times Business Section, focused on Foundation vice chairman Arthur Mirante II on March 12. Mirante talks about his work as a “rainmaker” for Avison Young, the Canadian commercial real estate firm for which he is a principal and president of its Tri-State division. To read the interview, click here.



The AIDS Crisis: Learning from the Past

The early years of the AIDS epidemic may have occurred before most current John Jay students were born, but on March 5, the College community got a vivid introduction to (or reminder of) that watershed period in recent U.S. history, with a special screening of the Oscar-nominated documentary “How to Survive a Plague.”


The screening, in the Gerald Lynch Theater, brought together students, faculty and staff to learn about the early years of the AIDS crisis and to celebrate the achievements of advocacy groups in taking on Washington and the medical establishment to save lives. The evening also included a panel discussion featuring (in photo from l. to r.): Laura Pinsky, founder of the Gay Health Advocacy Project; Peter Staley, an early leader of ACT UP and the founder of the Treatment Advocacy Group; Professor Abby Stein, panel moderator, and Whitney Brown, former president of the John Jay Student Council, and passionate AIDS activist.


The event was hosted by the College’s LGBTQ Task Force and co-sponsored by the Interdisciplinary Studies Program, the Center for Careers and Professional Development, the Division of Student Affairs, the Women’s Center, and Spectrum, the student club for LGBT students and their allies.



Helping Homeless Vets

Building on the success of the latest Treats for Troops drive, the College’s Office of Community Outreach and Service Learning launched a new initiative to provide survival kits to homeless veterans in the New York area.


Treats for Troops typically provides care packages for John Jay students who are in the military stationed in Afghanistan. The fundraising component of this year’s fourth annual collection effort succeeded to an extent that allowed the office’s cadre of student Community Service Representatives (CSR) to purchase essential items for similar care packages earmarked for veterans whose military service is completed but who have ended up homeless on the streets of New York.


“One of our CSRs, Alison Lazaro, researched the best prices for the greatest abundance of essential items, and then ordered all the supplies,” said Declan Walsh, director of the community outreach office. Lazaro got in touch Veterans’ Affairs Coordinator Welby Alcantara, who recruited students from the John Jay Veterans Association to help with the logistics of properly packaging the survival kits.


“The kits include emergency space blankets, toiletries, information of available services and even document protectors,” said Walsh.


CSRs will help distribute the survival kits to New York homeless shelters that focus on veterans in need, including Reality House, an Astoria, Queens-based shelter and service provider.


“The veteran’s love for helping other vets and doing community service, that’s what being a vet is all about,” said Alcantara.



On Board

Lynette Cook-Francis (left) has been named as John Jay’s new Vice President for Student Affairs. Cook-Francis comes to John Jay from the University of Arizona, where she served for 15 years, most recently as the university’s Senior Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs. As an administrator at UA, Cook-Francis directed the development and implementation of a university-wide strategic plan for student success that won a “best practices” national award from the Consortium for Student Retention Data Exchange. A native of Jamaica, Queens, Cook-Francis sees John Jay as something of a homecoming. “I’m so excited to be here,” she said. “The opportunity for student contact is why I came, and I feel right at home with the energy here.”


Carol Kashow (Athletics) is John Jay’s new Director of Athletics, taking the reins of a program that includes 14 intercollegiate teams as well as recreational and intramural programs. Kashow comes to John Jay from Hostos Community College, where she was Director of Athletics. She has also been Associate Director of Athletics at Hunter College, among other positions she has held. Kashow is also an accomplished and widely respected collegiate softball and badminton coach.


Jane Tennen (Marketing and Development) joined John Jay on March 11 as the new Executive Director of Development. Tennen had been Director of Resource Development for the CUNY Creative Arts Team, and previously was an independent consultant for such organizations as WNYC radio, the Newark Museum, New York University and others. She has an MFA in nonprofit theater administration from Yale Drama School.


Stephanie Autenrieth (Enrollment Management) is the College’s new Director of Admissions. She was most recently the Director of Graduate and Adult Admission at St. Peter’s University in Jersey City, NJ, and previously served as Director of Recruitment Management and Analysis at The New School. Autenrieth earned a Master of Education degree in Educational Research, Measurement and Evaluation from Boston College.




Charles Strozier (History/Center on Terrorism) was interviewed for the OWN Network program “Our America With Lisa Ling” about cults and new religious movements. The exclusive Web video is featured in The Huffington Post as part of a report on Doug Perry, a cyber preacher who stresses a vow of spiritual martyrdom.


The Printed Page


Mucahit Bilici (Sociology) was interviewed March 3 in Today's Zaman, an English-language daily published in Turkey, in which he discusses the Kurdish problem in Turkey and the prospects for resolving the longstanding conflict between Turks and Kurds. Bilici was also interviewed recently on the BBC show “Night Waves” regarding Muslim comedy in the United States.


Gloria Browne-Marshall (Law, Police Science and Criminal Justice Administration) had her commentary “Sex Trafficking as Modern-Day Slavery” published in Black Star News on February 19.




Graham Kates (Center on Media, Crime and Justice) has received a $3,000 grant from the Fund for Investigative Journalism for a multimedia exploration of how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency handles environmental crimes. Kates is deputy editor of The Crime Report, the online journal that will publish the article resulting from his investigation.




Jane Katz (Health and Physical Education) has been selected as one of the 2013 “Power 25” by Aquatics International, a roundup of the most influential people in aquatics in the past 25 years. Katz, a longtime swimming coach and educator at CUNY and still active as a Masters swimming competitor, is part of a roster that also includes Olympic superstars Michael Phelps, Janet Evans and Greg Louganis. The entire “Power 25” listing can be viewed online at


Claudia Calirman (Art and Music) has been awarded the 12th annual Arvey Book Award for best book of the year from the Association of Latin American Art, for her new book Brazilian Art under Dictatorship: Antonio Manuel, Artur Barrio and Cildo Meireles. The book, which looks at art and creativity during the most brutal and repressive years of the military dictatorship in Brazil in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, was cited for “its nuanced insight into a fascinating chapter of Brazilian visual culture.”