Curry College Looks to Land Mount Ida Students

BY COLE McNANNA // May 3, 2018

Since Mount Ida College in Newton announced its impending closure last month, Curry College has been one of the leading schools aiding students in finding a new home.

Mount Ida President Barry Brown informed faculty, staff, and students via email in early April that the school will be absorbed by UMass Amherst. Mount Ida students would be granted admission to UMass Dartmouth, located in the southern tip of the state, approximately 60 miles from Newton and Boston.

Mount Ida previously explored merging with Lasell College, also in Newton, both the parties couldn’t come to an agreement. In the end, Mount Ida’s board of trustees decided that the last best option was shuttering the financially strapped college altogether.

“We were getting emails almost every day about what was happening…they were taking us step-by-step with it,” said Mount Ida sophomore Melissa Gilson, an Early Education major, about the potential merging with Lasell. “Then we got an email saying [the merger] wasn’t happening and then two weeks later it’s, ‘School’s closing now; sorry we got bought out.’”

Curry senior staff members and various academic departments quickly jumped into action. With more than 1,000 Mount Ida undergraduates needing a new college to attend, this posed an opportunity for Curry to good by those students while at the same time to do well financially through an influx of additional tuition and room and board.

Michael Bosco, assistant vice president of academic affairs at Curry College, who worked in Mount Ida’s Enrollment Management department from 2005-2010, led a team at Curry that included Financial Services as well as Admissions.

“We got faculty department chairs engaged in looking at how our curriculum and the Mount Ida curriculum align and where there could be some synergy between programs,” said Bosco. “Mount Ida had some specialized programs that we don’t offer here, and then we have some programs that are very similar.”

As an example, he noted the Psychology curriculum between the two colleges varied slightly, but “the department figured out how to make it work for students.”

“There’s a course here that is almost equivalent to the course they offered, so we’ve developed a portfolio assignment which allows students to demonstrate the proficiencies to meet that course.”

To date, more than 150 Mount Ida students have applied to transfer to Curry College, one of many areas schools that have courted the newly displaced undergraduates. A certain percentage of those students will be accepted, and a smaller percentage will actually enroll.

“I can’t predict what the yield will be on that yet,” said Bosco. “The goal is to help these students land on their feet. They’ve sort of had the rug pulled out from under them.”

He also noted that with most schools accepting applications throughout the summer, there isn’t a hard-and-fast deadline that students need to meet. However, “we’d like to see as many students committed by June 1 so we know how to proceed throughout the summer and what adjustments we may need to make in order to facilitate the students properly.”

Not only has the Admission Department stepped up to provide expedited review of applications, financial aid packages, and transfer credit review, but the Athletic Department has been busy recruiting prospective transfers.

“We didn’t want to feel like we were being vultures because we heard a lot of stories about schools that went in there just trying to pick away at people,” said Curry Athletic Director Vinnie Eruzione. “We didn’t do it that way. We had a nice conversation and asked them, ‘How can we help out? What can we do to service your students and, more specifically, your student-athletes?’”

Eruzione has a list of Mount Ida student-athletes, taking up more than two pages, who have applied or been on a tour of Curry since news of the school’s closure broke.

Man…It Really Is Over

By Barak Swarttz // March 22, 2018 //

Just like that. Four years. Four LONG years of college basketball. I do not even know where to begin to compress the past four years into a few paragraphs.

The most recent memory I have is my senior day from this past season. A lot of people came to the game, for both teams. It was a high-energy game, which made it that much better for me because I feed off of energy and always have since I picked up a basketball. Dead basketball gyms are the worst environments to play in. Period.

The gym was loud, the fans were involved and the game was chippy. It’s funny actually…my entire life I have never gotten a technical foul. Ever. Not in travel leagues, camps, clinics, when I played in Israel, AAU, high school or college. Never. I always wondered if I was ever going to get one and my last college basketball game would have been an ironic time to.

During the first half, I forced the player I was guarding to travel and the crowd started going nuts. I proceeded to look at him and scream in his face because I was amped up – that’s just how I am; a very, very emotional player.

Right after, the referee sprinted up to me, got close to my face and said, “Don’t do that again, none of that. That’s where things get messy.”

I walked away with a huge grin on my face and thought to myself, “Man…that would have been the perfect time,” but I did want to preserve my clean record at the same time. After that, I was convinced that I was going to go the rest of my life without ever receiving a technical foul…but two weeks later, guess what?

In just my second men’s league game, I got T’d up for saying, “Man I think that was a terrible call,” under my breath; what a warm welcome to the league. Life is funny, man.

Continue reading “Man…It Really Is Over”

Controversial Children’s Book Author Talks About Social Change

BY SARAH SIMMONS // March 8, 2018 //

Michael Willhoite, author and illustrator of numerous children’s books about LGBT families, spoke to the Curry College Community about how art has the ability to advocate for social change.

Willhoite, who spoke on Monday during an Honors Program sponsored event, has composed 16 books, many of which have been challenged due to content relating to LGBT families.

According to the American Library Association (ALA), his most popular children’s book, Daddy’s Roommate, was the second most challenged books between the years of 1990 and 1999, resulting in its banishment from various libraries and schools.

Jayson Baker, a communications professor and Director of the Honors Program, said he asked Willhoite to speak on campus because he breaks the traditional stereotypes associated with both military veterans and the gay community.

“Michael is a pioneer in the mission to promote tolerance,” stated Baker.

Willhoite told the audience that much of Daddy’s Roommate grew out of his own sexuality. The protagonist in the book is unnamed and he explained that his idea was for the character to be “the everyone” for the children of LGBTQ parents.

While one of the intentions of his book was to promote tolerance, he explained that there were plenty of people who were uncomfortable with the book because they felt as though it promoted homosexuality.

“Yeah because Moby Dick is promoting the love of whales too,” replied Willhoite.

Willhoite’s works have subjected him to more adversity than just being barred from schools. He mentioned that he has received copious amounts of death threats both via voicemail and postal service.

In addition, every year for ten years, he got a postcard saying he should, “forget all that homosexual stuff and come back to Jesus.”

However, his career has endured because of a lack of willingness to give into these threats and went on to a question and answer session with everyone in attendance.

One student asked what advice Willhoite would give to someone facing adversity.

Stressing the importance of calling attention to injustice, he said simply, “Hang in there and tell everyone.”

After the event, Willhoite explained the importance of media representation.

“I think the media has been a major influence in making LGBTQ issues comfortable for mainstream society,” he stated. “And of course, children in more traditional families can benefit by reading my book and others like it. Finding that different cultures and groups are worthy of respect is the true beginning of education.”

Although not everyone was so quick to hop on the bandwagon and acknowledge the work of an outlier in the community. April McAllister, sophomore and president of the Gender Sexuality Alliance, stated she was disappointed with the choice of the speaker.

“They picked the whitest, most privileged person from the LGBTQ community and it is not an accurate portrayal of the experiences of all members of the community.”

She emphasized the importance of discussing intersectionality and privilege in relation to these topics.

However, at the end of the day, Professor Baker took away more positives than negatives and stated he would love to have Willhoite back on campus in the future.

“Honors students need to recognize that our identities intersect rigid classifications,” said Baker. “Life is more complex than many dominant forces in the culture would like us to think.”

Curry Students Honor Trayvon Martin, Host Discussion to Inform Others

BY LUCAS FERREIRA // March 1, 2018 //

An informational session concerning the Black Lives Matter movement was held earlier this week to provide a space for students to discuss current racial issues, perceptions, and differences in a safe environment.

The event was sponsored by Women and Gender Studies, the Multicultural Student Union and the Black Student Union to commemorate the six-year anniversary of Trayvon Martin’s murder, widely believed to be the starting point for the Black Lives Matter movement.

The facilitators made a point to present various images of African Americans who were also subject to deadly force by police officers.

The conversation ended up turning towards students’ and faculty’s thoughts concerning racial perceptions on campus. Such thoughts that surfaced involved how students from different backgrounds interact on campus, and multiple questions that were aimed at specific societal expectations versus those of others.

Dr. U. Melissa Anyiwo, a Politics and History professor at Curry College, attended the event and was impressed by the collective efforts of students to discuss these issues that are often considered ‘sensitive’ for normal conversations.

“I thought [that] was an incredibly effective event,” Anyiwo stated in admiration of the talk. “…but more importantly, I think we learned how to communicate with each other.”

Beyond providing general information and dispelling disinformation about the movement, students were encouraged to talk about their personal views regarding police, personal safety, school shootings, and the distance students maintain by forming comfort groups to feel included within the school.

“I feel like what came out in the room was that both students, white and non-white, are afraid to actually communicate because they’re afraid of saying the wrong thing or being perceived wrong,” Anyiwo noted.

A big topic that came up during the conversation was the idea of self-segregating groups of students, and the idea that while it provides comfort to be with people of similar races or ethnicities, it does not resolve the overall problem of unifying the student body.

Forcing students to come together and acknowledge there is a problem could be a solution, however, a forceful approach by faculty and staff to help this could also prove unhelpful if students don’t feel comfortable in breaching these topics.

Anyiwo suggests that perhaps meeting once a month could be beneficial to keeping these conversations active and at the forefront of students’ minds, especially if they’re established in a respectful, controlled space with regulated rules to keep the conversation civil.

Black Lives Matter was founded by Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometi in 2013 after nation-wide protests erupted after the killing of Mike Brown, Trayvon Martin, and other notable victims of fatal force used by police.

Students present during the meeting were able to express themselves in an unguarded manner, specifically giving voices to problems on campus that normally wouldn’t be addressed, and providing the opportunity for new voices to be heard.

At the end, students were asked to write positive messages on rocks to later be placed in Westhaver Park, in front of the Student Center.

This event demonstrates that Curry College students want to be fully heard regarding diversity issues on campus, and are beginning to take that representation and voice into their own hands.

Hockey Suffers Another Quarterfinal Exit

BY STEVEN SOUSA // Feb. 18, 2018 //

For the second year in a row, the fourth-seeded Colonels hosted a Commonwealth Coast Conference Quarterfinal and fell to the visiting #5 seed.

Curry limped into the matchup with the Nichols College Bison Saturday night having already split the regular season series.

The game started out favorably for the Colonels, as they jumped out to a two-goal lead after Adam Valadao and Matthew Henderson found the back of the net within a minute of each other.

But soon their lack of depth and fatigue would catch up.  With 1:40 left in the first period, Bison forward J.B. Baker capitalized on a Curry penalty to cut the lead in half.

Later in the second frame, forward Matthew Menta tied the game before forward Vincent Crivello buried Nichols’ third unanswered goal to grab a 3-2 lead going into the final stanza.

Colonels’ head coach T.J. Manastersky attributed the lapse to key players being banged up.

“You have to lean a lot on guys so they’re exhausted, they played too much, especially some of our top guys,” said Manastersky.  “They played too many minutes but they were still one bounce away from overtime, twice.”

The game started to get chippy towards the end of the second period which usually can be a sign of frustration, but Manastersky felt it was a good thing for his team.

“I actually liked what I saw on the bench because I thought since we were so short and that we were tired, we needed some adrenaline to fire us up and get us going,” explained Manastersky.

It did give Curry a little bit of the spark it needed with five minutes to play when forward Zachary White put the puck in the net to tie the game at three apiece and put the Colonels on the brink of overtime.

However, the Bison had other plans and about a minute later, Menta registered his second goal of the game to grab the lead and the win for the visitors.

“It’s a game of bounces, we didn’t get one or two but that doesn’t change the way we played or our effort in everything we did tonight; I’m really proud of this team,” Manastersky noted.  “Resiliency; no one quit, they stuck together, they kept working to the very end.”

Ironically for the seniors, their final season ends the same way their freshman year did, with a one-point, playoff loss to the Bison.

Manastersky feels for the seniors but at the same time, he has an eye on the future, which he considers to be very bright.

“Our seniors have done a great job in terms of leading the way and with thirteen freshmen who got to see that, learn that, and develop this year, it’s incredibly positive for them,” said Manastersky.

“You gotta build on it, but right now you’re in a period of mourning. It’s going to be tough for a couple days but then you slowly come out of it and before you know it, you’re back at it trying to build this team,” Manastersky concluded.