Michela Flowers is a sophomore psychology major. Flowers recently came forward as one of the four students affected by the succession of bias incidents on campus. Here, Flowers expresses her opinions and concerns with the Curry College Administration as well as how they handle these incidences on campus.
The administration that runs Curry College is terrible.
They don’t care, except when the money flow is interrupted; but we know this.
They don’t take into account that their own students are hurting.
They ask us to speak up but when we do, we are only being heard, not listened to.
But what amazes me is even though the administration is so far up their own butts, the real faces of Curry College are extraordinary people.
These are the people you see day to day.
These are the smiling Stu crew, your friends, the professors, and the faculty and staff.
These people are the reason why I love Curry.
I had to get real low to realize how supportive and caring this community really is. When one bleeds, we all do. We help and care for each other because that’s what family does.
I wanted to express my anger towards the school, but this school is more than the stuffy people wanting to fill their pockets. It’s about the pride of being a Colonel and in being part of a truly loving Curry Community.
To those who reached out to me, I owe a tremendous thank you. Because of this strong Curry family I BLEED PURP FOREVER.
I am a senior at Curry College. I’m a Criminal Justice major with a double minor in Sociology and Communication. I guess you could say I am your average college student. I work on campus, I love spending time with my friends, and I too am elated when I get the “class is canceled” email.
Everyone in this world has things about themselves that make them different. I happen to have one big thing about me that in a sense separates me from the crowd here at Curry: I am a transgender male.
Being transgender at Curry College is exhausting, and these past two years I have had to scurry around MY campus and look over my shoulder just to make sure someone was not following me home.
From being called “faggot” on repeat to having someone etch “Caitlyn Jenner lives here” into my door while I slept, it has been exhausting.
When I heard about the “Hate Has No Home Here” forum that was being put on by upper administration and our president, Kenneth Quigley, I had a mix of emotions.
At first, I was slightly impressed. I remember thinking to myself, “Wow! Okay, this is good. Maybe people are going to start showing that they care.”
Then, as I sat reading the colorful email, an overwhelming sense of anger washed onto me.
I remember thinking, “Why now?”
Why not when I was a freshman and someone pushed me around and hit me in Hafer for being in the “wrong bathroom?”
Why not when I was a sophomore and was called a transvestite in front of my whole class?
Why not when I was a junior and I had to wake up to “I hope Donald Trump wipes out all of the tranny’s!” written on my bulletin board?
I sat there angrily clenching my fists wondering why all of a sudden it was so important for them to hold this campus-wide meeting when for years I had been suffering at the hands of people who shared the same “Colonel” name with me.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I understand the meaning behind the quote “better late than never.” In addition to that statement, let me add that I personally agree. I agree that it is better to show up somewhat than to be absent entirely.
However, I don’t agree with the idea that we should forget the damage that has been caused from so much silence.
I do not think the Curry Administration is doing the best job at acknowledging that they were extremely late to the game. A game that has caused myself and other students to fear walking out of our residential halls to simply attend the classes that WE pay for.
As far as the public forum goes, at which I was in attendance, I cannot help but feel steam-rolled.
A group of students and myself linked arms in the back of the assembly to show solidarity to the minority groups that have been affected, and at the end of the meeting President Quigley’s reaction showed me and other marginalized students his true colors.
Not only did our president, who mind you had just given a tearful speech about how he wanted the hate crimes to stop on campus, walk by us multiple times while ignoring our calls to him, but he managed to invalidate the struggles of those who had major concerns within the group.
I was holding a sign at the assembly that read, “President Quigley, I have been called a faggot and a tranny on this campus for two and a half years. Where have you been?”
Upon reading my sign, the president was quick to point his finger at me and say, “I’ve been here and you know I’ve been here.”
This made me, as a survivor of these transphobic attacks, feel nothing but muted. Within the years that I have been going through these hate crimes, this was the first time that I had ever heard from the president. This was the first time in all of my time at Curry College that I have even seen this man in person address the issue of hate on campus.
President Quigley left the chain of students after only about 5 minutes of discussion and departed while saying, “good luck to you guys.”
Well, Mr. President, I am going to need more than your “good luck.” I am going to need visible and tangible change on this campus, and until that is provided to the students who are seen as “different” at Curry, I will continue to speak up and speak out against the injustices that are being done to others and to myself in this community.
I understand the intent behind the slogan “Hate Has No Home Here,” but until we can say that with confidence, and until ALL of the administration is fully backing our marginalized and our targeted students, it’s just a slogan.
Hate, unfortunately, does have a home here at the moment — as much as you would like to believe that it doesn’t. Hate has made its home here, and it’s time for the administration to stand up and work harder to evict it.
As the sun set over Milton, Curry students faced their fears on Friday the 13th by daring to enter a haunted house right here on campus.
Students who volunteered to be part of the Haunted Stu dressed up in clown costumes and wore creepy masks to scare their classmates in a haunted house constructed by the Student Center team.
“I’m on the supervisory board for theater and they came in asking for actors. So I volunteered,” said senior communication major Joe Capozzo. “Bringing fear up to people that are safe and controlled allows people to [give control of] being safe back to the actors. There’s no real danger it’s like a horror movie.”
Actors of the haunted house didn’t have any rehearsal time, simply doing their best impersonations of terrifying creatures; and having a lot of fun doing it.
“They asked for actors from Curry Theater and needed ten spots filled. It looked like fun so I wanted to do it,” said Martha Konstantinidis, a senior communication major.
Group after group walked through the door, looking back to wave their friends one last goodbye, not knowing what to expect next.
The haunted house was forty-five feet long and turned Westhaver Park into a giant maze filled with creepy creatures around every corner as well as a combination of strobe lights and other effects.
“I felt really excited because I love haunted houses,” said first year communication major Olivia Hull. “The strobe lights made it lot scarier for me, because it made it hard to tell what was a real person about to jump out at us or if it was just a decoration.”
Overall, the Haunted Stu received positive feedback as an exciting attraction to get students ready for the upcoming spooky Halloween season.
“The haunted house was awesome, it was surprisingly much scarier and better than I expected,” said freshman nursing major Chloe Rosa.
“Honestly it was fun getting to scare people and actually see a Curry event be fun,” said sophomore science major Ryan Gamble, who was one of the actors. “I would love to do it again.”
However, freshman communication major Alex Fanikos suggested that next time Curry has a haunted house to “make it longer and maybe involve the Student Center and have it go through one of those buildings.”
Freaky Friday the 13th was also Fun Friday the 13th thanks to the Curry Student Center, a makeshift haunted house, and some super scary students.
One former division-three standout turned accredited public speaker came to the Katz Gymnasium to address student-athletes pursuing the dreams he once had.
Aaron Cooksey grew up not far from the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, and soon grew fond of sports of all kinds.
By the time he got to high school he played football, basketball, and baseball; excelling at all three. His play caught the attention of colleges from all over the nation and from each level of competition.
A clipping from the Canton Newspaper
In his first three years at Hoover High School, Cooksey was never found at a party due to the strict guilty-by-association rules in the athletic department. He took it upon himself as a leader in both the athletic and academic arenas to set the example that you don’t need to party.
His senior year the rules were relaxed a bit but it still took until the wintertime for his teammates to coerce him to join in on the festivities that night. Go figure, the party got busted and police found him after the evacuation subsided.
Despite not even having a drink, he tried going right to his principal Monday morning to share his side of the story. He only expressed how disappointed he was in a role-model like Cooksey making such a decision.
From then on, his sights were straightened and he came to the decision that he wanted to be a two-sport athlete at the next level. One of the offers he had on the table was to nearby Mount Union College and he packed his bags for the 30-minute trek.
However, at the end of one of the last spring practices, Cooksey went out for a route and felt a pop in his knee. He said it was the worst pain he had ever experienced, for about 30 seconds. After he limped off, his knee didn’t swell the way a torn ACL would so he was under the assumption it was only cartilage damage.
That turned out not to be the case, and the torn ACL kept him out of the football season while putting the baseball season in doubt. In that initial defeat of the prognosis, Cooksey turned to his first alcoholic beverage.
While still being prescribed pain-killers from post-surgery, the addition of alcohol (and a lot of it) did not make for a positive concoction. He had his first taste, and he was hooked.
Cooksey pushed on, however, and beat the 6-month recovery target and made it to the diamond for the first practices.
Although that return would not be long-lived as he went to run out a bunt during a drill and re-tore the same ACL trying to take second base.
The second injury to the same knee within a year of each other devastated Cooksey and pushed him to the brink of his addiction. His grades slipped as they no longer determined his eligibility and he noted he spent more time in bars and at other colleges than he did on his own campus.
He rarely thought about the consequences of his driving under the influence and eventually built a tolerance and comfortability with it. However, it wasn’t after much longer that that all changed.
Cooksey met a friend early on in his time at Mount Union, sparking a conversation with Andrea Calderone while still stumbling around on crutches fresh off his first ACL tear. Over their time together, the pair became like family studying eating and hanging out together.
Fast forward to a 21-year old Cooksey and a 20-year old Calderone driving along after lunch. Cooksey had a couple beers but still got behind the wheel, initially making a few wrong turns leading to a small detour from their original destination.
Cooksey turned left onto a road and fell in behind another car going around the 35-MPH speed limit. Cooksey didn’t have much recollection of the conversation that eventually led him to take his eyes off the road to laugh at a joke.
While closing in on the lead car traveling closer to 65 miles per hour Cooksey was soon directly behind them, needing to make a decision. Fearing a child in the backseat, he swerved to the right, off the road, causing his car to flip three times before wrapping around a telephone pole.
Cooksey could remember the distinct noise of shattered glass falling and making contact with other glass or metal all around him. He thought he had been dreaming but soon came to and realized he had to find Andrea.
Cooksey’s car as a result of the crash // Photo from Dropyourpride.org
Cooksey owned up automatically, knowing the police were going to find alcohol and drugs in his system. He eventually blew a 0.16 BAC and soon had to face Calderone’s family in court.
Cooksey described the agony he could see in Mr. Calderone’s face that he still can envision in his head. After all was said and done, Cooksey was to serve four years in jail and lose his license for the rest of his life.
His dream of playing sports until he could become an elementary school teacher was gone as was his best friend from college.
Cooksey eventually left prison and went back to school to finish his degree, something no one can ever take away from him now. He also travels around the country to speak with different athletic programs, relaying his message to the same group he once made up.
The first coach to give him that platform was one who recruited him out of high school when he was at the helm of the Youngstown State football program. Then-Ohio State University Head Coach Jim Tressel reached back out and hooked Cooksey on something more positive.
Since then, he’s been to schools at each division within the NCAA spanning 11 years.
Curry College Athletic Director, Vinnie Eruzione, felt the need to have Cooksey come to Milton to speak to the Colonels. Coaches and players from every team were invited and Eruzione thinks they were quite responsive.
According to his count, approximately 400 student-athletes showed up to what they thought was going to be just another speech.
“What sets him apart, just like last year’s speaker Hudson Taylor, is that they are real-life experiences,” Eruzione noted. “It’s not someone telling you not to do something because they read it wasn’t good. He delivered a message that affects a lot of others, not just you.”
One senior captain of the basketball team, Barak Swarttz, mentioned that it was very important that student-athletes heard his message together.
“Being in the gym with the entire athletic body of the Curry Community was powerful,” Swarttz noted. “We are all leaders across campus and it was important for all of us to be in the room together to hear that story from someone who was once in all of our shoes.”
Junior Sophia Marchant of the softball team echoed Swarttz comments adding there was plenty of common ground.
“It was definitely easier to relate to; him just speaking to athletes since he was an athlete,” Marchant said. “He wasn’t standing behind the podium; he was up close to us and talked to us instead of at us.”
That response was exactly what Cooksey was looking for, and really what he was expecting coming in.
“I love coming up to the New England area, I love Boston, and I have friends up here,” Cooksey said after his speech. “When I’m in Massachusetts then you know what you’re going to get out of students wherever they’re at, there’s a certain level of respect so it’s always good to come into Massachusetts.”
The Colonels respected Cooksey and he gave it right back, sending the message that is still resonating with student-athletes not to get behind the wheel under the influence.
Swarttz, who is also a Resident Assistant on campus, has always been vigilant of friends and very against drunk driving.
“Being someone that is so against drinking and driving, hearing his story just made me want to always be on the lookout for others,” Swarttz explained. “I know there are people my age, younger and older that continue to do that. With that being said, I am going to continue to make as much of an effort to try and prevent and eliminate driving under the influence as much as I can.”
Cooksey ended his presentation dropping the same set of keys that took the life of his best friend. Now, he invites everyone to Drop Your Pride and not drive under the influence.
Tuesday evening, one alumnus of Curry College came back to campus to share pieces of advice to aid seniors getting ready to graduate and join the work force.
However, this accounting major did not have much downtime between graduation and his next step, the Masters of Business Administration.
Moussa Seck didn’t take an accounting class at Stoughton High School until his final year there despite having strengths in organization and math. In that time though, he fell in love and figured out that is what he wanted to do.
“I considered business interesting, but I didn’t necessarily know what I wanted to do,” Seck noted about his high school career. “I didn’t want to take a risk because first of all I didn’t have a direction so why would I risk something that I wasn’t too sure of? So I did something that would allow me to apply my skills anywhere.”
He was able to do just that when he started commuting to Curry College as a freshman in the fall of 2006. There he was able to set his whole course load for his eight semesters, organizing exactly what he’d have to do when.
After those four years, he wasted no time in both searching for a job but also continuing his education. In another two years he would finish his MBA at the same school he went for his undergrad, and also land his initial job offer.
Attending a networking event in acquiesce ended up being the first step that Seck took into the accounting world. He urged students in attendance to not think twice about going to events like those because of that one person you may meet that could lead to further interaction.
He was able to make that one important connection and started at CBIZ Tofias, one of the region’s top accounting firms.
“I ended up getting a job offer before I even graduated,” Seck recounted. “So I took the summer off then started working in August so I was working my first job and getting my MBA in tandem which was frustrating at times.”
In that case, Seck never had a time in his life where he was out of school and out of a job, a prospect foreign to many college graduates. However, within the accounting discipline, school is almost never out of the question as the 30-year old is still spending time in the classroom, this time at Boston College.
Seck also recently achieved CPA status, becoming a Certified Public Accountant, allowing his work in the public sector to soar. He has recently moved into the Real Estate sector and has worked on the new practice facilities for the Bruins and Celtics off I-90.
Another big project his firm, HYM Investments, has been working on is the renovation of Suffolk Downs which boats 14 million square feet of space. Seck noted the 20-year project will likely end up providing the area with a mini-city with residential, professional, and leisure opportunities all on site.
However, Seck would not have been able to get to any of these places had he not put in the work during his undergraduate career. Through the help of his professors and the Center for Career Development, he was able to secure an internship halfway through his eight semesters and was able to get a taste of what was to come.
He enjoyed the view and has since made plenty of experiences in a field that he enjoys. Now, he has taken the time to come back and talk to a few accounting majors who will be following in his footsteps and joining his ranks in the near future.
One thing that could help those students get to that point is joining Professional Associations specific to the industry, like the American Accounting Association (AAA). He noted that the people in those groups are all trying to help younger members find jobs so that they can reach the same positions that they’re currently in.
He also mentioned to keep goals for after graduation reasonable. Obviously students are not going to be looking for CEO positions as 22-year olds, but “find somewhere with room for growth,” Seck said.
He mentioned to find a place that will allow you to use your skills and climb the ladder so that you can later become that CEO that you wanted to be when you were sitting in SCRH. However, Seck also mentioned that it may not be as automatic as a flip of a switch.
“Not to come off as threatening but recognize that it is tough,” Seck explained. “It’s a matter of trying early and trying hard. Associate yourself with as many organizations and tools that are going to help you with this search as possible and don’t be lazy when it comes to networking because ultimately it comes down to who you know.”
At the end of the day Curry College has set their students up for success so once their eight semester commitment is up, they won’t have to be sitting on their parents’ couch for long. Moussa Seck is just one example of the stable of example Curry Graduates. What’s stopping you from being the next one?