Despite how almost nothing in the world is black and white, it’s entirely too common for people to assume as much. There’s more than two political parties, there’s more than two sexual orientations; there are at least a few colors in between black and white. The world isn’t simple, and shouldn’t be treated as such.
The theme of “Spectrum” will hit on all of these, finding middle ground and scattering entire spectrums for something interesting that’s in between.
Under the Arch Editor
Table of Contents (updated throughout the week)
Rating Places by Eva Dominguez
Column: Lucy Parks and the Movement Against Student Debt, Pt. I by Emma Scoble
By Emma Scoble
Editor’s Note: This investigative piece on Lucy Parks, her associates in SLAM, and their fight against NYU student debt was initially inspired by our “Money” theme but remains relevant as the conditions surrounding Lucy Parks’ exit from NYU remain the same.
On a crisp, autumn evening, the sun was still shining in a cloudless sky as I buzzed myself into a brownstone apartment building, located in the Bedford neighborhood of Brooklyn. Inside, I am welcomed into a kitchen filled by the aroma of tandoori spices. “She’s almost here,” Cayden, an NYU Senior, tells me. By “she,” Cayden is referring to Lucy Parks, the would-be Gallatin junior who dropped out of NYU in September and subsequently released an open letter to President John Sexton on the internet about her financial struggle and criticisms of student debt and financial aid at NYU. In the three weeks since the letter was released on September 10th, Lucy’s letter went viral and garnered national media attention. The letter has since been seen by over 98,000 viewers and news organizations such as the Huffington Post and Yahoo! Media have given her a platform to tell her story. The buzzer by the door rings, and in walks Lucy herself, just as Cayden pulls a sizzling tray of tandoori chicken from the oven.
Lucy Parks at a protest in Washington Square Park. (Photo courtesy of Lucy Parks)
Tonight, I have come to dinner for a round-table discussion about student debt with roommates Cayden, Lucy, and Katie (whose real name has been withdrawn due to her on-campus employment), who are all active and vocal members of the Student Labor Action Movement (SLAM). SLAM is a student organization that aims to combat student debt, both at NYU and across the nation, as well as better the conditions of students currently struggling financially. The purpose of my visit is not to rehash the details of Lucy’s well-known story, nor is it to bemoan the financial struggles of simultaneously dealing with NYU tuition and the cost of living in the city, which all NYU students are already quite aware of. As 51% of New York University students are currently receiving financial aid (as reported by the 2015 U.S. News Report on Colleges) and an average of only 59% of total need is met, a high number of students have firsthand experience with the difficulty and realities of monetary burden and debt. Tonight, I hope to discuss their perspective on real solutions.
By Kyung Jae Min
James Han is a NYU student and a member of Latakerz, an underground Korean hip-hop group. Pronounced “La-Takerz,” with ‘La’ as part of the friendly and harmonious A-chord (coming from The Sound of Music’s “Do-Re-Mi”). Taking this La and conveying its emotional message through symphonic ensembles is the group’s objective.
Their official logo.
Call it fate or coincidence, all members first met in the same neighborhood, Yangjae-Dong. Their love for hip-hop brought them together at the age of 14. These young artists spent their days listening, creating, and playing music. They found rap to be a medium through which they could share and convey their inner thoughts. It all started with trivial matters such as irritation towards their daily hunger while they waited for lunch, or girlfriends. The more they delved into hip-hop, the more they realized that it was ‘it’. Soon after, most members of the crew, excluding Han, dropped out of school, breaking the Asian social value placed on academics. Han could not drop out, as he had plans to apply to college in the United States, but nonetheless, enclosed in their own world, they lived doing what they loved.
Photos by Hae Bin Kim
Located at the north end of Greenwich Village, Union Square Park serves as a cultural hub of the Village, with Union Square Station not far beneath it. With huge swathes of people moving through the station each day, subways truly are the great equalizer of New York City.
“What’s your greatest fear?”
“Well how do I put it… heights?”