All posts by lorenzo burgio

Review: ‘Get Out’ Addresses an Array of Issues

Image result for get out

by Laura Haspeslagh

Jordan Peele directed his first film “Get Out,” and it was genius. From the script down to the cast, it was well thought out.

It’s an indulging thriller at the surface, and a representation of racial tension in the United States at the root. Every scene has a form of a deeper message in which it addresses an array of issues from appropriation, to subtle racism, to our history of slavery that’s never going to be shaken off. It’s a jab at the underlying racism that goes on every day.

Peele is successful in making viewers feel uncomfortable throughout the movie. The film opens with an African-American man roaming the streets looking for a house, when he’s abducted by a man who emerges from a suspicious white car.

Then there’s Rose, the protagonist’s girlfriend, who is meant to appear trustworthy, yet she seems uneasy. There’s something about her that makes viewers shift a little in their seats, even though she stands up against the cop in Chris’ defense. When she hits a deer on their way to her parent’s house, she doesn’t appear to show much remorse, while Chris is clearly distressed by it (for reasons beyond just hitting a deer as we find out later). She has a naivety about her that feels like it can’t be trusted.

When Chris finally arrives to the house and meets Rose’s parents, the tension is felt amongst them, but there’s not enough to justify why. Even though she warned him that her father would say “I would have voted for Obama a third time if I could have,” it appears as though he is immediately trying to convince Chris that he’s not racist.

As the film progresses, the uncomfortable scenarios intensify. The subtle racism develops into blatant racist remarks from Rose’s family, while the house staff keeps getting weirder. Peele’s prospective of being African American in the United States is exaggerated for the sake of horror, but it’s also meant to be a projection of actual experiences that people go through. White people aren’t literally going around hypnotizing African-American men into deep voids, but there are real circumstances linked within the subtext of the film.

Subtext aside, the film is still a successful thriller. Films in that genre don’t usually end well because there’s often too much to resolve in a short period of time.

However, “Get Out” has viewers rooting for Chris through it all. Not to mention Chris’s TSA friend, Rod, providing the comedic relief we love and need. “Get Out” will have viewers leaving the theater thinking of all the connections and metaphors Peele strategically placed throughout the film for days afterwards.

Too Little Too Late: How a CCSU Student’s Death Could Have Been Prevented

Caution tape on the ladder near alley where Lavoie’s body was found. Photo Credit: Analisa Novak
Angry Bull will remain closed until March 24. Photo Credit: Analisa Novak
Chief Foley said the streets are full of litter and vomit following Thursday nights. Photo Credit: Analisa Novak

by, Analisa Novak

With midterms fast approaching, most Central Connecticut State University students can be found relieving stress by enjoying nights in downtown Hartford.

Taylor Lavoie, 18, East Granby, was one of those CCSU students as she and her friends packed into the crowded CTfastrak Bus on its way to Hartford this past Thursday night.

Drink specials like the “25 Cents Beer Night” weekly entice hundreds of local college students to the Angry Bull Saloon, where Lavoie and her three friends ended up.

As the evening wore on and the bars began to close, Lavoie and her friends became separated and her friends caught the last ride on the Fastrak out of downtown.

Lavoie did not; as her body was discovered later that evening in a five-foot alleyway between the Angry Bull Saloon and another building. Hartford Police and medical quickly responded to the scene and pronounced her dead.

The cause of death is still under investigation but is being ruled as an accidental fall, according to Deputy Police Chief Brian Foley. “At this time we have no indication that it was a homicide or a suicide, we believe it’s likely to be accidental.”

Investigators are still piecing together how Lavoie got on top of the Angry Bull roof, which is supposed to be closed and off limits to patrons. Lavoie is said to have fallen more than four stories.

According to Angry Bull, to get on the roof “a person must go up a stairwell from the second floor area through a fully blocking curtain, which indicates a blocked/off limits area. The roof access requires someone to go up two floors of abandoned space, continue to a ladder structure, climb it to a hatchway, then enter the roof through a small doorway area.”

Foley said that roof has no ledges and is extremely dangerous. “I went up on the roof, its treacherous, it’s disorientating, especially at night,” said Foley.

The mystery and questioning doesn’t stop there; investigators are working on answering how Lavoie was even allowed in the bar in the first place because, she was only 18 years old, far from the legal drinking age of 21.

Lavoie had an Angry Bull wristband on and a fake ID when her body was found, said investigators.

But CCSU student Sabrea Collins said that Lavoie getting into Angry Bull is no mystery at all. Collins, who is under the age of 21, has also been to Angry Bull Saloon plenty of times and said sometimes patrons don’t even need a fake ID, just an additional 10 dollars.

“If you have a fake ID you just give it to them and if you don’t just give them money,” Collins said.

CCSU Student Abe Caban also said that Angry Bull’s lack of proper identification is what makes it a popular for college students.

“If you paid twenty dollars and you’re sixteen, you can get in for free with a Fake ID. You can see the environment and see that kids are underage there.”

Angry Bull was under a watchful eye from the Hartford Police dating back to November of last year. Foley said that Hartford Police had made multiple complaints to the Liquor Control Commission, the most recent complaint on Feb. 24.

Foley said that The Department of Consumer Protection, who oversees all liquor controls alongside with the Hartford Police, was planning an undercover raid for next week. Staffing and availability from both departments played an important key on why the raid was delayed.

“When they did want to do an operation next week we couldn’t do it because it’s all hands on deck for the St. Patrick’s Day parade and for the basketball tournament and cheerleader competition, so it’s going to be a busy weekend. We were in communication with them this week, they had our documentation, we wished it moved faster in a perfect world but that’s not where we are,” Foley said.

CCSU Senior Mark Mancini said that with a raid or not, it was well known to everyone that alcohol was being served to underage students and something should have been done to prevent this tragedy.

“It’s just a shame that students who are out there looking for a good time, something unfortunate would happen. The amount of underage students that let in is unreal there,” said Mancini.

CCSU Student Government Association President Jahmil Effend said that this could have been easily preventable and it’s unfortunate that CCSU and the family had to lose someone in order for action to be taken.

“The Angry Bull Saloon has had a notorious reputation of allowing underage students to get in. The police in the area have dealt with countless complaints, but nothing has been done. This tragedy could have been avoided had the bar staff and management acted appropriately,” Effend said.

Angry Bull remained quiet most of Friday morning. It released a statement later that night on their Facebook page denying allegations that it serves patrons who are under age.

“We consistently have several members of our security staff outside the entry door of the establishment to ensure all patrons are checked for proper identification stating they are 21 or above.”

In that statement, Angry Bull said it is devastated by the death of Lavoie and that there thoughts and prayers are with her family.

Lavoie, who was a biology major, lived in the Mid Campus Dorms. CCSU President Dr. Zulma Toro released a statement in which she extended her condolences to those who knew Lavoie.

“Beyond the grief that we feel, tragedies such as this remind us how important it is for us as a community to cherish and support each other,” Dr. Toro said.

Counseling services are currently being offered by the Wellness Center for any students who wish to seek it. John Campbell, of the Campus Ministry is also available to speak to students. There is no word at the moment of a planned memorial for Lavoie.

The doors of Angry Bull remained shut Friday evening and will remain closed for the next couple of weeks. Angry Bull voluntarily suspended their liquor permit on Friday.

“The Angry Bull Saloon voluntarily met with and agreed to suspend its liquor permit out of respect for the family of the deceased in this difficult time.”

According to Foley it will remain suspended until March 24.

Angry Bull will be using its suspension time to “review procedures and the incident with the Hartford Police Department and Department of Consumer Protection.”

Foley has not indicated if this is a permanent suspension.

The bar permittee is listed as Stephen White. He is said to be cooperating with investigators.

The investigation is ongoing and anybody who has information on this is urged to call the Hartford Police.

If Angry Bull reopens its doors, some CCSU students, like Caban, will not be returning. “I just went there for the first time and I’ll probably never go back to be honest.”


A Concern for AmeriCorps Funding

by Lorenzo Burgio

NEW BRITAIN — A concern over possible cuts to AmeriCorps’ funding was expressed to Sen. Richard Blumenthal during a town hall meeting held at Central Connecticut State University in Welte Auditorium on Sunday, Feb. 27.

“There has recently been a potential list of programs that will be cut by the White House and that includes AmeriCorps. This would devastate the programs — it would definitely directly affect Teach For America,” said Christopher Marinelli, Social Justice Chair of the CCSU Student Government Association, to Blumenthal in front of a crowd of several hundred.

“The past four years here [at CCSU], it has always been my expectation that upon graduation I will enter public service,” said Marinelli, who added he begins a job with Teach For America in the fall.

AmeriCorps funds Teach For America, the Peace Corp and United Way. ”All these organizations are under the umbrella of the AmeriCorps grant,” Marinelli said to The Recorder. This would impact about 800 Teach For America participants in Connecticut alone.

“What expectations are there right now between the Democratic and Republican members of Congress to uphold this program amongst the cuts that are kind of being floated around? And is there anything that we should do besides just calling and getting involved in the local political process to kind of make sure these programs are maintained?” Marinelli asked Blumenthal.

“We all are involved in public life because of role models we had, and because of examples of leadership that we follow. And the Peace Corp and Teach for America… give people a way to make a difference and to begin careers in public service and civic engagement,” said Blumenthal.

“I am going to continue fighting for them because they make a difference to the young people who are taught, to people abroad who see Americans and that’s the way they regard this country, as the way they see those young Americans who are idealistic and caring and generous,” added the senator. “They are essential to our fighting as a democracy.”

“It was great to hear him [Blumenthal] on recorder saying he will uphold these organizations,” said Marinelli after the meeting.

‘Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets’

by Lorenzo Burgio

Non-conservative media outlets were barred from entering the White House press briefing last Friday because President Donald Trump considered them “enemies of the people.”

The media outlets that did not make the cut were CNN, The New York Times, BuzzFeed, the BBC, the Los Angeles Times and Politico. ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX were all allowed to enter.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer chose not to use the podium to conduct the briefing, but instead held an informal gathering with the selected news outlets.

These actions are simply unacceptable. The First Amendment guarantees citizens of the country to a free press. It is fundamental for a democracy to allow all media outlets, whether or not they lean left or right, into White House briefings.

There should not and cannot be a specific agenda when dealing with the public and the information they are presented about government actions. If there is an agenda held by the government regarding the press, it is not a democracy.

Allowing all news outlets into briefings provides the public with enough information from diverse sources to use in conjunction with other information and reporting from those organizations, to formulate their own opinion.

It is every citizen’s right to choose what news outlets they use to inform themselves. It is unethical and immoral for a government administration to dictate what outlets are publicizing what information.

This needs to be handled with urgency and caution. Whether the reasoning for these actions are because these news outlets “have been too mean to the president,” as Sean Spicer said, or due to specific agendas and information that can only be shared with some, it is un-American and unethical.

The manner in which news outlets are being handled at the White House is a threat to the nation’s liberty, right to be informed and the words of the Founding Fathers.

“Our liberty depends on the freedom of press, and that cannot be limited without being lost,” said Thomas Jefferson.

This idea needs to be at the forefront of every citizen’s mind, regarding this situation. These actions are only causing the public to be ill-informed.

It did not seem like Trump was thinking of the importance of a free press when conducting this action, but rather was likely preoccupied with the idea of Napoléon Bonaparte that, “Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets.”

Why CCSU Police Department is Accredited

by  Cyrus dos Santos

The Central Connecticut State University Police Department is setting the standard for community policing.

In November 2016, CCSUPD received re-accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. “It’s a group that measures high excellence in law enforcement,” said Sgt. Jerry Erwin.

For Erwin, this means a determination of excellence for the CCSU community. Had they failed in re-certification, he believes it would be “letting down the community.”

The department has been accredited since 2004, when they first applied to CALEA. Initial acceptance is based on successful compliance with 464 standards set by CALEA. The certification lasts four years. Re-certification culminates in a three-day, on-site inspection of all general orders and practices, where they must meet 188 standards.

One guideline is the Prisoner Transport Standard, which aligns with CCSUPD’s Double-Locking Policy. During an arrest, police must double-lock handcuffs to prevent the bracelets from tightening, which can cut off blood circulation, cause nerve injury or even break the wrist. Following that, they must pat down the suspect to assure there is nothing that can cause the arresting officer or the detainee harm, such as weapons or drugs.

“You then put the subject in the car,” said Erwin. The officer must verify the back seat is free from anything that can cause harm, or “anything in the car that would place blame on them when, really, they didn’t have anything to do with it.” This must be followed by securing the suspect with a safety belt and safely transporting them back to the station for processing.

“Being thorough is the most important part of the job,” said Erwin.

CALEA requires departments to have an established Preparedness Program. CCSU is included within the city of New Britain as a critical triage site in the instance of a natural disaster. In the event of an emergency, first responders would make use of the Bubble, Memorial Hall and other such facilities. “We’re the biggest place with alternative power,” said Erwin.

One benefit of accreditation is legal defense in situations of civil litigation or any other instance where the department may face legal action. “By us following the accreditation standards and our policies, CALEA will send a team of lawyers to assist us,” said Erwin.

The department is monitored by yearly, electronic progress reports that tracks their progress. Accreditation and software costs CCSUPD approximately $8,000 annually.