The year 2019 was a busy one for Wagner College, and news coverage of the school reflected that.
Here are summaries of each of the news stories published (online or in print) or broadcast about Wagner College in 2019. Each entry includes a “hot link” — just click on it to see the news story being described.
The news clips are organized into the following categories:
Slain student athlete — Wagner College began the year 2019 with the terrible news that one of our graduate students had been murdered while visiting family over the winter break.
General coverage — Stories published or broadcast throughout the year about Wagner College on a wide range of topics.
News reporting on Seahawk football coaches — Following a news story on an unsubstantiated allegation of misconduct, additional stories documented the appointment of a new head football coach.
Outgoing President Richard & Carin Guarasci — After 22 years at Wagner College and 17 years at the helm, Wagner College President Richard Guarasci and wife Carin Guarasci bade farewell to their longtime academic family at the May commencement program.
New President Joel W. & Jan Martin — On July 1, Joel W. Martin assumed the presidency at Wagner College, supported by wife Jan Martin.
College rankings — Several news stories documented Wagner College’s high levels of performance in the annual college rankings released at the beginning of each academic year.
Commencement 2019 — Several stories previewed and documented this year’s commencement exercise.
Wagner College Holocaust Center — The college’s Holocaust Center, led by history professor Lori Weintrob and supported by the Wagner College Chai Society, was extensively reported upon in 2019.
Wagner College Gallery — Features and briefs promoted several exhibitions displayed in the college’s art gallery in the Union Atrium.
Wagner College Theatre — Feature stories and previews documented the stage shows and personalities associated with the Wagner College Theatre program.
Hugh L. Carey Institute for Government Reform — The Carey Institute’s senior fellows, Joshua Spivak and Abraham Unger, wrote numerous opinion/editorial essays for newspapers and magazines nationwide and provided expert commentary for news articles on several current-affairs topics.
‘Daily Show’ clip goes viral — And, finally, we presented a summary of the biggest single Wagner College news story of the year: In the midst of a government shutdown over Trump administration demands for funding of a southern border wall, the staff of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” discovered an online video of Trump’s 2004 commencement address at Wagner College. On that video, Trump says to the graduates, “Never, ever give up; don’t give up; don’t allow it to happen. If there’s a concrete wall in front of you, go through it, go over, go around, but get to the other side of that wall.” Coverage of that brief Jan. 9 “Daily Show” segment went viral on the Internet for several days and was picked up by dozens of news organizations, resulting in the Wagner College name being heard for the first time by what is conservatively estimated to be more than a million people.
SCROLL DOWN TO FIND EACH SECTION FOR 2019 NEWS COVERAGE
SLAIN STUDENT ATHLETE
Jan. 2 — Staten Island Advance — Three days after the slaying of Wagner College student athlete Tyamonee Johnson while visiting home in suburban D.C. on winter break, the local Staten Island paper ran a news story about the tragedy. Read “Wagner Player Slain in Maryland.”
Jan. 2 — Washington Post — A WaPo crime brief reported that police had charged a young man in the killing of Tyamonee Johnson, characterizing it as “a domestic-related fatal shooting.” Read the Post brief here.
Jan. 4 — WUSA-TV — The most complete reporting on the killing of Wagner student Tyamonee Johnson was on the local news broadcast by WUSA-TV in Washington. “Tyamonee Johnson was a young man with a hundred things going right: college football, an M.B.A., a beautiful 10-month-old daughter,” the story opened. “But just before New Year’s one thing went terribly wrong and now his Fort Washington family is preparing to bury him.” Read the WUSA story about Tyamonee Johnson here.
March issue — AAC&U News — In September 2018, faculty and administrators from seven institutions gathered at Wagner College to share the work they had continued in the years since they all participated in the Faculty Leadership for Integrative Liberal Learning project with the Association of American Colleges and Universities. In the March issue of AAC&U News, faculty members and administrators from Wagner, Spelman College and Clark University shared how their institutions supported faculty efforts to integrate student learning. Read the AAC&U News story here.
March 23 — New York 1 — The local cable TV news channel covered the work of Wagner College sociology professor Bernadette Ludwig and her students with Napela, an organization serving the needs of Staten Island’s Liberian expatriate community. Read the Napela story here.
April 17 — silive.com — The Staten Island Advance website, silive.com, published a story about efforts to place a marker memorializing Wagner College’s former baseball diamond, Dr. Bill Willetts Field. Read the silive story here.
May 3 — Newsweek — Wagner College modern language professor Margarita Sanchez was one of the sources consulted by Newsweek reporter Sophia Waterfield for her story, “What is Cinco de Mayo?” Sanchez had previously been the expert source for a 2016 Wagner College Newsroom story about Cinco de Mayo. Read the Newsweek story here.
May 14 — Inside Higher Ed — Inside Higher Ed, a daily online newsletter, listed the three Wagner College faculty members who had recently been granted tenure by our board of trustees: Alison Arant, Utteeyo Dasgupta and Dane Stalcup. Congratulations to our newly tenured faculty!
May 16 — Advance — Society columnist Carol Ann Benanti ran a standalone photo feature highlighting a campus visit, including a planetarium show, by campers from Sunrise Day Camp, a program for kids with cancer and their siblings. See the Sunrise Day Camp visit photo feature.
July issue — Opera News — Wagner College voice instructor Angela Owens received a wonderful review in Opera News, one of the most highly regarded publications in classical music, for her performance in the recent recording of Richard Thompson’s “The Mask in the Mirror,” about the stormy relationship between writers Paul Laurence Dunbar and Alice Ruth Moore. Read the review of “Mask in the Mirror.”
July 3 — New Era — A newspaper published in Windhoek, Namibia, reported that Maggie Cross, director of Co-Curricular Programs at Wagner College, was one of the featured speakers at a leadership training seminar. Cross was connected to the seminar’s organizer through the Mandela Washington Fellowship, in which Wagner College participated for several years. Read here about the African Pathfinder Leaders Initiative.
July 31 — silive.com — Advance education reporter Annalise Knudson wrote a brief on two state grants awarded to a pair of Staten Island colleges, one of them being Wagner. We received $600,000 toward the extension of our stadium locker and training rooms. Read the Advance story, “State Grants Awarded.”
Aug. 27 — Advance — Reporter Rebeka Humbrecht wrote a Page One feature story about a composting program on the Wagner College campus. Read “Wagner College Offers Composting Program.”
September — CPA Journal — The September issue of this trade magazine, dedicated to accounting education, featured a profile of Kurtland Lloyd Sullivan ’18, a graduate student in Wagner College’s Nicolais School of Business. Read the profile of Kurtland Sullivan.
Sept. 8 — Advance — Carol Ann Benanti wrote about the honorees for the upcoming scholarship dinner of the Wagner College DaVinci Society. Read “DaVinci Society to Fete 7.”
Sept. 17 — Advance — In her weekly “In Class” column, Annalise Knudson reported that physician assistant professor Gail Tiburzi had been named interim director of Wagner College’s P.A. program following former director Nora Lowy’s appointment to a position at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Read the Sept. 17 “In Class” column.
Sept. 21 — Advance — Rebeka Humbrecht localized her Page One story on the Global Climate Strike demonstration in Manhattan by focusing on four Wagner College students who had participated. Read “I Want a Future.”
Sept. 25-27 — various outlets — On Sept. 24, Wagner College psychology professor Richard Brower made several remarks in a class about another group of students who were not meeting his expectations. In his remarks, taken by the students as a very bad joke, Brower said, “If I had a gun, I would shoot every one of them in the head.” Three hours later, one of those students reported the remarks to our Public Safety office, whose staff immediately went to Brower’s office and searched it for weapons before escorting him to the Provost’s Office. Brower was immediately suspended and barred from campus, and police were informed of the incident. Over the next three days, Brower’s remarks were the subject of numerous news stories published in the New York Post and the Staten Island Advance and broadcast on New York 1, WABC-7, WNBC-4, WCBS-2, WPIX-11, WINS-AM, WOR-AM and WCBS-AM. With the exception of a brief posted on the Inside Higher Ed news site, however, the story was not picked up by any national news broadcasts or publications.
Sept. 26 — Aljazeera — In a story about several Taiwan allies deserting the breakaway Chinese province, Wagner College government professor Shaohua Hu, an expert on Taiwanese foreign relations, was consulted. Read “Taiwan Weighs Options after Diplomatic Allies Switch Allegiance.”
Sept. 29 — Advance — Carol Ann Benanti documented this year’s DaVinci Society scholarship dinner. Read “Wagner College Scholarship Dinner Celebrates Italian-Americans.”
Oct. 9 — Advance — Irene Spezzamonte followed up on the tragic hit-and-run death in 2012 of Wagner College nursing student R.J. Tillman, killed while cycling home from a study session at the Horrmann Library. Read “There Is a Hole in my Heart.”
Oct. 22 — Advance — Irene Spezzamonte wrote a story about the “ghost bikes” set up to memorialize each of the six Staten Island cyclists killed in hit-and-run automobile accidents, including Wagner College student R.J. Tillman. Read “ ‘Ghost Bikes’ Set Up in Their Memory.”
Oct. 31 — Advance — An unbylined 2-page Halloween-themed feature highlighted several supposedly haunted structures on Staten Island; as has been the case for many years, the Cunard villa on our campus was among them, allegedly the site of a suicide whose victim’s face occasionally appears in an upper-floor window. Read “Where the Ghosts Live.”
Nov. 9 — Advance — Reporter Victoria Ifatusin wrote about the college’s annual Veterans Day observance, attended this year by Staten Island’s congressional representative Max Rose. Read “Veterans Honored for their Service.”
Nov. 12 — Advance — In this rather curious story, reporter Kyle Lawson noted that a recent study by Hunger Free America said that one in eight New York City residents are unable to afford adequate food. After noting that high-school and college-age students are included in the set of all NYC residents, he went on to look at programs addressing food insecurity at Wagner College and St. John’s University. He said that Wagner’s college readiness program “in part addresses food insecurity.” (The director of that program says there is no specific element addressing food insecurity.) Read “Hunger Remains a Problem for High School and College Students.”
Nov. 22 & 24 — NY1 & Advance — Wagner College nursing students on assignment at the Eger Health Care and Rehabilitation Center on Staten Island came to know a woman who began her nursing studies at Wagner in the 1940s but was forced by circumstances to drop out. Our students arranged for the alumna, Virginia McGinley Lawless, to be given a certificate naming her an honorary nurse. Read the Advance story, “Woman, 97, Named an Honorary Nurse,” and watch the New York 1 story, “97 Year Old Achieves Lifelong Dream.”
Nov. 18 — silive.com — Advance entertainment writer Victoria Priola posted a brief about a TV series shooting on campus. Read “CBS Series ‘Bull’ Films at Wagner College.”
Nov. 20 — Advance — Another curious story from our local newspaper, this time by Annalise Knudson, announced in its title that it would focus on the challenge young grads face in paying off student loans, but reported that only 2.7% of Wagner grads default on their loans. Read the story for yourself: “Repaying Loans at SI’s 3 Colleges can be Tough, Data Shows.”
Nov. 27 — Advance — Annalise Knudson reported that “Wagner College Names New Director of P.A. Program.”
Dec. 10 — Advance — In her weekly education column, Annalise Knudson highlighted Math Start, a new element of the 30,000 Degrees college readiness program spearheaded in 2015 by Wagner College in partnership with St. John’s University and the College of Staten Island. Read “In Class: Math Start.”
NEWS REPORTING ON SEAHAWK FOOTBALL COACHES
Nov. 8 — Advance — Nearly two weeks after he started looking into “multiple tips” that Wagner College head football coach Jason Houghtaling was “under investigation,” Joseph Ostapiuk reported that an attorney retained by the parent of a Wagner football player said that “allegations of physical and verbal abuse by [Houghtaling] have been brought to my attention … [which] go well beyond what is customary in the rough and tumble world of college athletics.” Wagner’s press office declined to comment on this personnel matter, but the college’s H.R. chief confirmed to Ostapiuk that an investigation of Houghtaling had been initiated (without going into further details). Read “Verbal Abuse or Sports Culture?”
Dec. 7 — Advance — One month after the Advance reported on an investigation of abuse allegations against Coach Jason Houghtaling, Wagner College announced he was being removed after four straight losing seasons at the football team’s helm. Read “Wagner Makes a Coaching Change.”
Dec. 8 — Advance — The day after announcing Houghtaling’s ouster, Wagner named alumnus Tom Masella as its new head football coach. Masella, a Staten Island native, is a Wagner Hall of Fame member and was most recently defensive coordinator at Bryant University. Read “Masella Taking Reins at Wagner.”
Dec. 10 — Advance — A final story about the introduction of new head football coach Tom Masella: “Wagner’s New Coach is ‘Just a Kid from Staten Island’.”
OUTGOING PRESIDENT RICHARD & CARIN GUARASCI
Jan. 18 — Staten Island Advance — Society columnist Carol Ann Benanti wrote about the 2019 Minty Awards Dinner Gala, created by Michael Pinto ’10 to honor and support student theater on Staten Island, which this year gave its Community Enrichment Award to Richard and Carin Guarasci. Also recognized this year was Wagner College Theatre graduate Richie Byrne ’85. Read “Minty Organization Hosts Annual Gala.”
May 6 — Advance — In a pictorial feature, the Advance highlighted the five women honored at a recent luncheon held by the Staten Island Jewish Community Center. One of those women was Wagner’s own Carin Guarasci, wife of President Richard Guarasci. See the pictorial feature here.
May 29 — Advance — Wagner College President Richard Guarasci attended a community speak-out condemning the vandalizing of a Jewish religious school on Staten Island, which the Advance reported upon. “Such acts have no place in our society,” Guarasci said. Read the story, “Coming Together to Denounce Hate.”
Dec. 17 — Advance — In her weekly education column, Annalise Knudson highlighted a new higher-education consulting firm created by Wagner College President Emeritus Richard Guarasci. Read “In Class: New Consulting Firm.”
NEW PRESIDENT JOEL W. & JAN MARTIN
Aug. 4 — Advance — Advance food writer Pamela Silvestri wrote about a “tea party” thrown by the Wagner College Guild to welcome Jan Martin, wife of new Wagner College president Joel Martin, to Grymes Hill. Read “Wagner College Holds Tea Party for New ‘First Lady’.”
Aug. 7 — Opelika Observer — The weekly newspaper of Opelika, Alabama, hometown of Wagner College’s new president, Joel Martin, reprinted the Wagner Magazine profile of Martin published earlier that month. The story was written by Wagner Magazine editor Laura Barlament. Read “Opelikian Joel W. Martin … ”
Aug. 23 — Advance — Annalise Knudson highlighted the role of Wagner College’s new president, Joel W. Martin, and wife Jan Martin in her story about the beginning of the new academic year. Read “Welcome, Seahawks!”
Aug. 28 — Advance — Pam Silvestri wrote a second story based on the Guild tea party (first covered in an Aug. 4 story) welcoming Jan Martin to Wagner College. This story focused on Wagner head chef Michael Purpura, a Staten Island native and staple of local fine dining, who shared two of his recipes. Read “Michael Purpura Shares some Summer Recipes at Wagner College Guild Tea.”
Aug. 7 — Advance — Annalise Knudson reported that Wagner College had been named as one of America’s top colleges in the Princeton Review’s annual Best Colleges guide. The guide also named the Wagner College Theatre program number 3 in the nation. Read “Princeton Review Names Wagner College a Top School.”
Aug. 20 — Advance — Annalise Knudson wrote about some of Wagner College’s rankings achievements, including Forbes, Money.com and the Princeton Review. Read “Wagner College Gets Top Rankings.”
Sept. 15 — Advance — Annalise Knudson reported that “Wagner College was ranked in the top 18% of northern regional universities in the new U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges 2020 guide.” Read “U.S. News & World Report Recognizes Wagner College.”
April 11 — Advance — The Advance previewed Wagner’s 2019 commencement program, featuring outgoing president Richard Guarasci as its keynote speaker. Read about Commencement 2019 here.
April 12 — Inside Higher Ed — Inside Higher Ed, a daily online news publication about higher education, included Wagner College commencement speaker Richard Guarasci in its weekly listing of upcoming graduation keynote addresses. See the Inside Higher Ed listing here.
May 10 — Advance & NY1 — The Staten Island Advance and New York 1 both covered Wagner College’s 2019 commencement program, which honored retiring president Richard Guarasci and his wife Carin.
- Read the complete, 3-page illustrated Advance feature
- Watch Advance photojournalist Jan Somma-Hamel’s short video story
- Watch the New York 1 commencement story
WAGNER COLLEGE HOLOCAUST CENTER
March 31 — Advance — Wagner College history professor Lori Weintrob, founding director of our Holocaust Center, was named by the Staten Island Advance as one of six Women of Achievement, a tremendous honor in the local community. Read about Dr. Weintrob’s honor.
April 16 — Advance — Advance reporter Shira Stoll wrote about John and Amy Pregulman’s mission to photograph every living Holocaust survivor, which brought them to Wagner College. Holocaust Center director Lori Weintrob brought together four Staten Island Holocaust survivors for the project. Read Shira Stoll’s story here.
May 3 — Advance — Lori Weintrob’s distinction as a Staten Island Advance Woman of Achievement was featured in a special section of the May 3 issue of the paper. See the photos and profile of Lori Weintrob.
Sept. 18 — Advance — Holocaust Center director Lori Weintrob was among those honored at this year’s Pride Center of Staten Island gala. Read about the “One Island, One Pride” fundraiser.
Oct. 7 — silive.com — Lori Weintrob spoke at a program celebrating the publication of a new book, “The Ribnitzer Rebbe,” by Holocaust survivor and Wagner College honorary doctoral honoree Romi Cohen. Cohen’s previous book, “The Youngest Partisan,” was an autobiography that focused on the Holocaust years when he was a hunted fugitive. Read Carol Ann Benanti’s story about the gathering that honored Romi Cohen’s new book.
Oct. 17 — Advance — Staten Island Advance video journalist Shira Stoll has produced “Rise Up,” a deeply moving 12-minute video documenting the creation of a musical play featuring Wagner College students portraying the testimonies of Holocaust survivors living on Staten Island. Watch the documentary short and read a synopsis of the work by Wagner College students and faculty members in our online Newsroom. An extended story about the project, written by Shira Stoll, was published online and in the Oct. 20 Staten Island Advance.
Dec. 18 — Advance — Joseph Ostapiuk documented a gathering of community leaders expressing opposition to the rising wave of anti-Semitism sweeping the country. Among those speaking at the event was Lori Weintrob. Read “In Wake of Shooting, Interfaith Leaders Gather in Mosque.”
WAGNER COLLEGE GALLERY
March 14 — Advance — The local newspaper’s weekly entertainment section featured a calendar plug for an ongoing exhibition in the Wagner College Gallery. See the page from the AWE section here.
March 16 — Advance — The Saturday Advance’s “Biggest & Best” rundown of weekend activities also plugged the ongoing exhibition in the Wagner College Gallery. See the “Biggest & Best” page here.
May 25 & 30 — Advance — The Staten Island Advance plugged the Wagner College Gallery’s exhibition of recent works by retired Wagner art professor Bill Murphy. See the “Weekend’s Biggest & Best” announcement, and the Advance Weekly Entertainment section’s plug.
Nov. 7 & 9 — Advance — The local newspaper plugged an alumna’s art exhibition in the Wagner College Gallery, called “Amor Fati,” in its weekend entertainment supplement and its weekend highlights page. See the Nov. 7 AWE page, and the Nov. 9 “Biggest & Best” page.
WAGNER COLLEGE THEATRE
Feb. 6 — Broadway World — A theater news website ran a promo for the upcoming Wagner College Theatre fundraiser, “Phantasmagoria.” Read the Broadway World brief here.
Feb. 21 — Advance — The “Weekend Alert” in the Advance Weekly Entertainment tab prominently plugged the Wagner College Theatre production of “My One and Only.” See the AWE promo here.
Feb. 23 — Advance — The Saturday paper’s “guide to this weekend’s biggest and best” also plugged the WCT’s “My One and Only.” See the “Biggest & Best” page featuring the WCT plug.
Feb. 27 — Broadway World — Broadway World previewed the WCT’s annual Dance Project production in our Stage One studio theater. Read about “Rekindling Discovery,” the 2019 Dance Project production.
April 9 — Broadway World — This Broadway theatrical news site previewed the Wagner College Theatre’s production of the Gilbert & Sullivan classic operetta, “The Pirates of Penzance.” Read the Broadway World preview here.
April 11 — Advance AWE — The Advance Weekly Entertainment calendar plugged both “The Pirates of Penzance” and the ongoing exhibition on the Wagner College Gallery. See the page from the April 11 AWE section.
May 5 — Advance — In a society feature, “Fashion & Faces,” the Advance showed photos of some of the Wagner College Theatre alumni and professors attending a reunion of the cast and crew of a previous WCT production of “The Pirates of Penzance.” See the “Pirates” reunion photos here.
May 25 — Advance — Longtime Wagner College adjunct theater professor Charlie Siedenburg ’95 was among the community leaders saluted at the Spotlight Theatre’s annual Gratitude Gala. See Carol Ann Benanti’s story on the Gratitude Gala.
Oct. 27 — Broadway World — Theatre blogger Sarah Jae Leiber wrote about the Wagner College Theatre’s upcoming Stage One production of a new musical, “Our New Town,” about an incident of gun violence on a college campus in the middle of a performance of Thornton Wilder’s classic play. Read “New Musical ‘Our New Town’ Centers Students in the Gun Violence Conversation.”
Nov. 12 — Broadway World — This online theater news website featured the upcoming Wagner College Theatre mainstage production of “She Loves Me.” Read the Broadway World preview of “She Loves Me.”
Nov. 18 — silive.com — Victoria Priola wrote about the selection of Wagner College Theatre graduate Emma Pittman in on online promotional competition for a Broadway role. Read “Wagner College Alumna Named a Finalist in Broadway’s ‘Search for Roxie’.”
Nov. 23 — Advance — The Saturday highlight of weekend activities featured the Wagner College Theatre production of “She Loves Me” as well as the alumna art exhibition, “Amor Fati,” in the Wagner College Gallery. See the Nov. 23 “Biggest & Best” page.
Dec. 12 — Broadway World — Gay theater columnist Bobby Patrick praised a holiday revue staged at the Manhattan cabaret, Don’t Tell Mama, by Wagner College grad twins Matt and John Drinkwater ’19 and featuring a cast of their fellow WCT alums and current students. Read Patrick’s delightfully flamboyant review, “ ‘The Drinkwater Brothers & Friends Christmas Wonderland Winter Extravaganza Spectacular’ is a Lot of Title for a Lot of Show.”
HUGH L. CAREY INSTITUTE FOR GOVERNMENT REFORM
Jan. 5 — CNN — While Mike Pence might not have to worry about his place on the 2020 GOP ticket, the guy at the top of the ticket has plenty of reason for concern, according to Joshua Spivak’s historical perspective on next year’s presidential contest. Read “History Shows Trump Should be Worried.” Spivak, a senior fellow at Wagner College’s Hugh L. Carey Institute for Government Reform, writes numerous op-ed essays for newspapers, magazines and other news outlets each month that offer historic perspectives on current affairs.
Jan. 17 — CNN — Joshua Spivak wrote that, strategically, it made sense for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to deny President Trump his invitation to deliver the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress — and, both historically and statutorily, there was no requirement that the president deliver his SOTU address, live, on television, before the House and Senate. Read “Pelosi’s on the Right Track with State of the Union Plan.”
Jan. 30 — Newsweek — Joshua Spivak looked at the independent presidential run of former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, providing historic perspective on the likelihood of a successful run by someone other than a major-party candidate. Read his op-ed essay, “President Schultz? Not While the Electoral College is Around.”
Jan. 31 — The Hill — Wagner College government professor and Carey Institute fellow Abe Unger took a different tack on the same subject addressed by Joshua Spivak, explaining in his op-ed for the Congressional news website, The Hill, why he thought Howard Schultz’s presidential run as an independent candidate added value to the contest. Read Abe Unger’s op-ed essay here.
Feb. 28 — Jewish Standard — The Jewish Standard, the oldest Jewish weekly newspaper in New Jersey, ran a feature story on a recent book by Wagner government professor and campus rabbi Abe Unger, “A Jewish Public Theology: God and the Global City,” published last August by Rowman & Littlefield’s Lexington Books imprint. Read Joanne Palmer’s story here.
March 2 — The Hill — In this op-ed essay, Abe Unger considers how to close the growing wage disparity in the United States. Read “How to Close America’s Income Gap.”
March 11 — L.A. Times — Joshua Spivak considers former vice president Joe Biden’s possible bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in light of other veeps’ successes in primary contests. Read his Los Angeles Times op-ed essay.
March 28 — Newsweek — Joshua Spivak explains why he thinks Joe Biden should wait to name his vice presidential running mate. Read Spivak’s Newsweek op-ed.
April 2 — Baltimore Sun — Joshua Spivak, a nationally recognized expert in recall elections, was consulted as a source for a news story about the question of forcing Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh out of office in the face of corruption allegations. Read the Baltimore Sun story here.
April 7 — Washington Post — Joshua Spivak’s historical perspective on the electoral college seems to have struck a chord across the country; it was published in at least a dozen daily newspapers, including the Washington Post. Read Spivak’s electoral college op-ed essay.
April 12 — The Hill — Abe Unger wrote about how justice-driven investing could stimulate the creation of new jobs. Read Unger’s essay on “impact investing.”
April 25 — Chicago Tribune — In a column about corruption allegations facing Chicago Alderman Edward Burke, Joshua Spivak’s historic insights into the recall of elected officials were cited. Read the Chicago Tribune column here.
May 1 — N.Y. Daily News — One of NYC’s two major tabloid newspapers ran an op-ed by Seymour Lachman, founding director and dean emeritus of the Carey Institute, on the democratic reforms still needed in the New York Legislature. Lachman, a Wagner College trustee and former New York state senator, is co-author of “Three Men in a Room: The Inside Story of Power and Betrayal in an American Statehouse” (New Press, 2006). Read the Daily News op-ed here.
May 13 — Houston Chronicle — In this op-ed, Joshua Spivak looks at Joe Biden’s pragmatic approach to the Democratic primary race and suggests that Biden consider appealing to Libertarian voters, given the Libertarians’ surprising success in the 2016 election. Read “Why Joe Biden Needs Libertarians.”
May 15 — Governing — Alan Greenblatt called upon Joshua Spivak as one of his expert sources for a story in Governing magazine about how Colorado Republicans were using bids for recall elections to oust Democratic state legislators. Read the Colorado recall story.
May 24 — silive.com — The Staten Island Advance website published a story about a marketing study that showed Gen Xers and Millenials did not shop at physical stores as much as their predecessors had, but that Generation Z might contribute to the renewal of brick-and-mortar shopping. For expert perspective, the Advance reporter consulted Abraham Unger, whose research focuses on urban development. Read the story about Gen Z shopping.
June 3 — Governing — In this op-ed, Joshua Spivak says that special elections usually have low turnouts, but says that’s not necessarily the case with recall elections. Read “The Myth of Special Elections.”
June 26 — Advance — For a story on the decline in the number of baby boomers across Staten Island, Advance reporter Tracey Porpora called upon urban studies professor Abe Unger for expert insight. Read “Tottenville Sees Highest Drop.”
July 22 — multiple outlets — Reporting in three national news outlets focused on Republican-instigated recall efforts to unseat Colorado’s Democratic governor and two Democratic state legislators. Joshua Spivak was consulted as an expert source for all three stories.
- Read the Associated Press story published in the Alton, Ill. Telegraph.
- Read the story published in the Stateline daily news blog, supported by the nonprofit Pew Charitable Trusts.
- Read the story published in the Wall Street Journal.
Aug. 13 — Newsweek — Joshua Spivak suggests that a wave of Republican-led recall efforts is primarily a push back against their 2018 losses, but will likely be seen “as a desperate move by sore losers to rerun recent elections.” Read his op-ed, “The Republican Party’s Recall Bonanza Could Backfire — Badly.”
Aug. 19 — FiveThirtyEight — Nathaniel Rakich wrote a story for FiveThirtyEight — an online news site that focuses on opinion poll analysis, politics, economics, and sports blogging — about the recent surge in recall elections. Naturally, one of the sources to whom he turned for expert insight was Joshua Spivak of the Carey Institute. Read the story, “Recalling Governors is All the Rage this Year.”
Aug. 21 — Anchorage Daily News — Joshua Spivak’s op-ed looks at the effort to recall Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy following his line-item veto cuts of $444 million in the latest state budget. Read “The Unique Challenge of the Alaska Gubernatorial Recall.”
Sept. 2 — Colo. Public Radio — Reporter Bente Birkland covered another Colorado recall effort, tapping Joshua Spivak as a source. Read “Senate President Leroy Garcia is Latest Target of Recall Campaigns in Colorado.”
Sept. 2 — USA Today — Joshua Spivak’s op-ed takes a historic survey of how several states’ votes in the Electoral College have shifted over time. Read “The Electoral College Isn’t Set in Stone.”
Sept. 4 — NPR’s Morning Edition — Colorado Public Radio’s Bente Birkland recapped her earlier story on her state’s recall election, including Joshua Spivak in her analysis. Listen to Birkland’s NPR story about Colorado recalls.
Sept. 10 — N.Y. Jewish Week — In the runup to the 2019 Days of Awe, Rabbi Dr. Abraham Unger wrote a reflection for the Jewish Week, a 145-year-old newspaper serving the Jewish community of metropolitan New York City. Read “Repenting for ‘Secular’ Sins.”
Oct. 9 — Newsweek — In this op-ed, Joshua Spivak looks at the constitutional and historic precedents that could determine whether Donald Trump would be able to run for re-election if he is removed from office by the Senate. The short answer: Yes, it’s possible that he could. Read “Trump Can Get Both Impeached and Reelected.”
Oct. 23 — Whittier Daily News — Joshua Spivak was an expert source consulted for this news story about an effort to mount a recall election against two members of the El Rancho Unified School District in central Los Angeles County, California. Read “El Rancho Unified Recall Effort Leaps First Hurdle.”
Oct. 24 — Newsweek — In this op-ed essay, Joshua Spivak looks at the role of the South Carolina Democratic presidential primary election in former vice president Joe Biden’s strategy for winning his party’s nomination. Read “Biden’s Southern Strategy.”
Nov. 6 — KTOO — This story, aired on the Juneau, Alaska public radio station, focuses on a recall effort mired in procedural controversy — and Joshua Spivak was the primary source. Read “Alaska Courts Must Choose Between a Liberal or Strict Interpretation of Recall Law.”
Dec. 4 — The Hill — In the face of withering criticism by President Trump and Republican Party operatives of the federal employees who make American government work, Joshua Spivak wrote an op-ed essay, “Why American Civil Servants Matter.”
Dec. 23 — Newsweek — In Joshua Spivak’s final op-ed of the year, he asked, “Do Iowa and New Hampshire Deserve Their Pivotal Role in the Primaries?”
‘DAILY SHOW’ CLIP GOES VIRAL
Jan. 9 — Following the initiation of a government shutdown by President Trump, who refused to sign appropriations bills sent to him from Congress that did not include $5 billion to begin constructing a wall along the Mexican border, staff at “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” (on the Comedy Central cable TV network) found the video posted online in 2017 by Wagner College government department chairman Steve Snow of Donald Trump’s 2004 commencement address.
About 12½ minutes into the 14-minute video, Trump tells Wagner graduates, “Never, ever give up; don’t give up; don’t allow it to happen. If there’s a concrete wall in front of you, go through it, go over, go around, but get to the other side of that wall.”
On “The Daily Show,” Trevor Noah — himself an immigrant from South Africa, raised under the apartheid regime — prefaced the clip by observing that “nothing will stop immigrants from trying to come to America. It’s a place that people dream of coming to because people who are trying to make a better, safer life for their families will do anything to achieve that dream, and I know Donald Trump understands this because of this video we found from 15 years ago.”
And then the Internet blew up.
Beginning with short stories posted overnight on the Huffington Post and Slate websites, followed by clips on U.K. news sites like the Daily Mail and the Guardian (5 hours ahead of New York), and continuing all the next day on everything from Mashable to the Washington Post, CNN, network and local TV news broadcasts and in daily newspapers, the story went truly viral. Though we could not take a physical count, we have good reason to guess that at least 100 online sites picked up the “Daily Show” clip, the Wagner commencement clip and some form of commentary on the irony of President Trump advocating the construction of a border wall today when he encouraged college graduates in 2004 to “go through it, go over, go around, but get to the other side of that wall.”
By the end of the day on Friday, Jan. 11, well over a million people had heard of Wagner College for the first time.
The “Daily Show” clip also revived the dormant petition campaign encouraging Wagner College trustees to rescind Donald Trump’s honorary doctorate.
Here are a very few select links related to the “Daily Show” piece and the succeeding storm of Internet posts and news stories: