Senior Moments: Class of 2018 talks graduation

By Sage Green

There are less than one hundred days left until graduation and the seniors are beginning to feel rather bittersweet about their last days here at The College at Brockport. Soon enough they’ll be taking their senior pictures, waiting in line at the bookstore for their cap and gown and framing that $100,000 piece of paper. As time continues to fly by, they can’t help but wonder how it all went by so fast.

Some seniors, are ready to graduate with no doubt in their mind. If anything the days are going by too slow. Dance major Olivia Cacciatore, is among those college seniors who are looking forward to walking across the stage in May.

“I feel like I was very ready for this moment,” Cacciatore said. “I am ready to graduate. I am ready for what’s ahead. I feel like I’m done with the school environment. I’m ready to go out into the real world, and find something in the corporate setting and just … start my career.”

Other seniors are more apprehensive about graduation. Their concerns are mainly in regard to what happens after college. Graphic design major Jeremy Moss is definitely feeling the pressure about having a job ready for after graduation.

“I, 100 percent, have anxieties about graduation,” Moss said. “My parents want me to have a job right after I graduate, so my main focus right now finding a job in graphic design as soon as I can.”

Some seniors are in complete disbelief that their college career is in its final stretch. Senior, Will Barr, can’t believe that his time at Brockport has almost come to an end.

“It doesn’t feel like there’s less than 75 days left of school, like that’s not a lot of time,” Barr said. “But I have a pretty good plan for after I graduate, and I feel pretty solid in that.”

When it comes to their final days at school, it causes some seniors to take a look back at their entire college career. They realized how much that the college has given to them throughout the years and they want younger students to know what they have available on campus.

“Make sure you use everything that’s offered to you,” history major Will Barr said. “Get involved, and make sure your friendships are genuine. Make sure you do know you want to do. And don’t just do something that’s going to make you a lot of money, like if you’re miserable making money there’s no point in making all that money.”

Many seniors take the time to reflect on their times here at Brockport and pass down what they’ve learned to any underclassmen.

“If you have doubts about joining a club or trying something new, you should just go for it,” Cacciatore said. “You can always back out if it isn’t for you, but you should at least try. Put yourself out there as much as possible. I started out being really shy, and because I got involved I have a lot of friends here on campus that will last a lifetime.”

Seniors are holding on tightly to what’s left of their college experience until they are forced to step out into the adult world. And no matter how the seniors may be feeling as they enter their final days as college undergraduates, whether that be nervousness, excitement or complete dread, the future is inevitable and they have almost survived their four years of undergrad.


The go-to late night food spots in Brockport

By Aidan Verbeke

As a follow-up to my last article on where to wet your beak in Brockport, this list will give you some direction on where to go past 2 a.m. to fill that void in your heart. That’s right, I’m talking about drunk food. These establishments are walking distance from the bars and will usually draw crowds outside waiting to get in. Though sometimes regrettable in the morning, your late-night meal can make you forget all your problems during the process. And isn’t that what college is all about?

Taste of Soul:

This one is a bit tricky because their hours are still being ironed out and it can be hit or miss on weekends. However, when it is open late, this comfort food newcomer deserves a spot up there with the legends.

Cons: Like I said above, the hours are not permanent right now so don’t only have your heart set on fried chicken or pork chops.  

Pros: Comfort food at a reasonable price. You won’t even know you’re in the mood for fried chicken or mac & cheese, or even some deviled eggs, until it’s all gone. If greasy is your way to go, Taste of Soul should be your last stop before home.

Perri’s Pizzeria:

Perri’s menu runs deep during the day and can do more than just slices of pizza. But when it comes to late-night, and for the sake of this article, there are only three options that matter: Cheese, Pepperoni or Buffalo Chicken. The line is usually out the door but the huge slices are worth the wait.

Cons: Service can get a little hairy with all the customers jammed in there. Be sure to say your name clearly, listen for it and don’t let anyone steal your identity and in turn, your slice. Also with everyone jockeying for position in line, tempers can flare.

Pros: Pizza is an anytime food, most would agree. Most would also agree that it is close to its best after a night of drinking. The quality of the pizza is great and the quantity is even better. Each slice comes equipped with a nice little sleeve that the ‘za slides right into to save for later. Of course if you simply can’t wait, or don’t trust your inebriated self when it comes to balance, the restaurant stays open until 3 a.m.

Jimmy Z’s:

The ultimate. When the lights go on and you finish your last drink, the next question is you’ll have to ask yourself or your buddies is simple: “Should we get Jimmy Z’s?” If the answer is yes then you have some more questions about the menu that you’ll have to decide for yourself but you cannot go wrong with a garbage plate.

Cons: The first time you walk past Jimmy Z’s you might think it is a nightclub with the line and bouncer at the door. It seems daunting and can sometimes cost you an extra 20 minutes or so, but if you’re loyal you’ll be rewarded.

Pros: A garbage plate is an Upstate New York specialty and Jimmy Z’s boasts a top-notch plate every time. Whether you had a little too much to drink or were the responsible one tasked with getting your friend home safe, a garbage plate will hit the spot. The staff is friendly and the service is first-rate, especially considering the volume they see every weekend.

Brockport Nightlife Rundown

By Aidan Verbeke

Barber’s Grill and Tap Room

22 Main Street

Brockport, NY 14420


Overview: Barber’s is your best bet for a night to hang out, drink some beer and eat some wings. While it is usually not known for being the final stop for students on the weekend, it is a favorite for alumni and locals. There are 36 beers on tap are served in their signature mason jars. Free popcorn is handed out in empty beer pitchers.

Night Not to Miss: Monday. Wing Night at Barber’s is something every student should experience at least once their Brockport careers. Traditional wings are $.50 from 8 p.m. until Midnight with 15 sauces to choose from. If you don’t mind walking out smelling like the fryer, Wing Night is can’t miss.

Don’t Just Take it from Me: “When I come back to Brockport, I usually go to Barber’s more often than I did when I was a student. It just has more of an alumni vibe now and sometimes that’s better than the college crowd.” Amelia Brueckman, Brockport Class of 2016.  

C & S Saloon  

34 Main Street

Brockport, NY 14420

585- 637-3233

Overview: Probably the most “dive” bar on our list, C & S is another hangout where wings and beer reign supreme. Pool, darts and Big Buck Hunter are also features that enhance the drinking experience. There are picnic-type tables as well as booths that can comfortably fit a large amount of patrons.

Night Not to Miss: Thursday. From 11 until 1 a.m. on Thursdays, C & S will be bumping. Customers can enjoy $1.50 mixed drinks and tap beers. Thursdays are a staple for students and is when C & S solidifies itself in Brockport.

Don’t Just Take it from Me: Thursdays are my favorite night to go out in Brockport and it Is because of C & S. It’s cheap and fun and the music is awesome.” Bridgette Schaal, Class of 2018.


Fazool’s Casual Italian Kitchen

51 Market St

Brockport, NY 14420   


Overview: Yes, you read that correctly. Former Brockport students have been shocked at find out that Fazool’s threw its hat in the late-night ring this year. Once known for its chicken parm, Fazool’s is now one of the main destinations for students to go until last call. The main room features plenty of televisions and sports memorabilia that will catch your eye. There is a patio for when the weather is nice that provides more room for drinking and catching up.

Night Not to Miss: Friday. Landing the coveted Friday spot is quite an impressive feat for this new hotspot. The live DJ and embarrassing karaoke are the biggest sellers for students. There is often a decent line outside around midnight, but the wait is worth it. $6.00 pitchers of beer await you on the inside.

Don’t Just Take it from Me: “Fazool’s came out of nowhere this year but it is definitely my favorite place to go. The staff is awesome and the atmosphere is great.” Connor Hutchins, Class of 2020.

The Red Jug Pub

38 Merchant St

Brockport, NY 14420


Overview: Though to most it may seem like “The Jug” has been around forever, it has only been in Brockport since the Fall Semester of 2016. Everything you can look for in a college bar, Red Jug has a large half-circle bar with plenty of beers on tap and bartenders to serve them. The weekends get crowded and loud and anyone who likes to dance and sing can find comfort at Red Jug.

Night Not to Miss: Tuesday. It is well-known that Red Jug is a weekend hotspot but Tuesdays are perhaps the most bang for your buck. $1.00 drafts on most beers attracts a large crowd of students looking for a midweek night out.

Don’t Just Take it from Me: “Red Jug came around when Brockport needed a new, fun bar and it has not disappointed. Every night of the week can be a good time.” Zac, Sikich, Class of 2018.



Say It Isn’t So: Debunking the Brockport STD Myth

By Mark Cuminale

For many years, The College at Brockport has been the subject of a particularly nasty rumor that claims it has the highest rate of sexually transmitted diseases in the nation.

If you look up “SUNY Brockport” on Urban Dictionary, you’ll find a vulgar account that condemns the college for its “excessively high STD rates,” and its low academic standards.

“In my 17 years [at The College at Brockport] I’ve heard that [the STD rate] is the highest in the state, the country and the world,” Clinic Coordinator at the Hazen Student Health Center Lynne Maier said. “It’s absolutely not true! Our STD rates fit within the national average of any college population.”

Though data indicates that there is nothing abnormal about the STD rate on campus, the rumor still persists.

“It was a rumor I heard freshman year,” senior Elisha “Eli” Madison said. “Everyone was saying that we were number one in chlamydia or herpes or some other vague STD. After I heard like four people say it, I checked to make sure it wasn’t true.”

The fact that Madison no longer believes the STD myth is a testament to his own diligence and research.

For many students, the STD myth gets placed into a mental filing cabinet for obscure information where it stays unchallenged.

“I have heard that we have the highest rate of STDs, on campus, in the dorms and stuff like that,” sports management major Kaylee Pilon said. “I’ve lived in Brockport all my life, so I can’t really justify it, or deny it.”

For Maier, whose office performs around 90 STD tests a month, the fact that the truth is obscured by a heinous myth is a point of contention for her.

“I actually had a friend call me from Buffalo and say she wouldn’t send her daughter to Brockport because of [the rumor],” Maier said. “We should probably do some social media campaigns to help break it.”

Though she doesn’t approve of the false rumors, Maier insists that it is still extremely important for sexually active students to get tested.

“You don’t need to get tested because of the [rumored] high STD rate,” Maier said. “You need to get tested because you’re having unprotected sex and you should want to do what’s best for  your health.”

Taste of Soul brings southern charm to Brockport

By Adam Simmons

taste of soul
Taste Of Soul can be found on Main Street in Brockport.

The Village of Brockport introduced a new restaurant on Dec. 6, 2017, called Taste of Soul. Taste of Soul is a small but family-oriented restaurant specializing in southern fried chicken, buffalo wings, ribs, fish and other popular southern dishes. Timothy Lee, owner of the new establishment, has always carried a love for cooking and is finally pursuing his passion at 77 Main St. in Brockport.

 We had the pleasure of speaking to general manager, Keri Frank, who had only optimistic things to say about this new business.  

“Timothy Lee, our owner, grew up in Alabama and always had the goal of opening a restaurant,” Frank said. “ Eventually he moved to the Brockport area to be closer with his family.  Driving down Main Street one day he saw the location for sale and put it all into action.”

Many businesses in Brockport thrive thanks in part to being so close to The College at Brockport community when classes are in session.

“A huge reason as to why many students love Taste of Soul is because of our vegan menu,” Keri Frank said. “When many think of a restaurant specializing in southern fried chicken and other foods of that nature, they don’t expect a vegan menu which has gravitated many.”

Since its opening, the restaurant has experienced a constant flow of customers. The Daley family had nothing but positive things to say after enjoying dinner at Taste of Soul. 

“The service here is phenomenal,” Michael Daley said. “Not nearly enough places surrounding the area have southern fried chicken, especially this good. We like how family friendly the place is.”

“Every time we walk through the doors we’re immediately greeted with a hello from an employee,” Erin Daley said.  

Taste of Soul is slowly but surely leaving its mark on Main Street and the village as a whole. As it works to become an established business in the village, the potential for it to become a staple of the community seems infinite.

New Year, new me

By Brandon Costolnick


When the clock strikes midnight on December 31, people all around the country rejoice and embrace as they celebrate the coming of a new year.  For many, there are high hopes that this year will be better than the last and that they will grow and change for the better. New Year’s resolutions are set with this particular goal in mind.  Now that time has passed we thought it would be a good idea to check in with a few students enrolled at The College at Brockport to see if they were able to keep their promises to themselves.

Brockport junior, Catherine Mattis, is no stranger to the “New Year, new me” philosophy. She has been setting New Year’s resolutions for years now. Each year she has looked to improve herself in a different way, and this time it’s through positivity.

“My Resolution was to be more positive,” Mattis said. “I am a big fan of positive psychology. I believe that if you put good into the world then you get good out of it.”

However, this isn’t a traditional resolution. Usually when someone makes a New Year’s resolution it is about measurable things like losing weight or making more money. Mattis explained that her more philosophical approach makes for a more beneficial promise.

“In the past those haven’t worked for me, but this positivity ties into all of that,” Mattis said. “I’m definitely a much happier person now then I was a semester ago.”

Someone who shares Mattis’s ideas is fellow junior, Matthew Fritschi.  His resolution was also to be more positive, but he achieved a very different outcome.

“I was trying to be more positive but honestly I forgot about it until right now,” Fritschi said. “I guess I just didn’t put enough effort into it and have been focusing on other things like school instead.”

Fritschi attributed some of his downfall to the fact that you can’t measure being positive.  Positivity is an emotion and can easily be forgotten.

“If it was something more tangible then I may have gone after it a little bit more because there is a goal for me to follow,” Fritschi said. “ I probably still wouldn’t have succeeded but the effort would have been different.”

Not everyone decides to take part in the yearly ritual. For some the making of New Year’s resolutions seems trivial, for others it’s simply too hard. Junior Sam Welkley weighed in on why he chose not to participate this year.

“You can start doing something new at any point during the year,” Welkley said. “You don’t need a new year to improve yourself. However, if people want to rally around this specific day then I fully support them.”

Whether you are still true to your resolution or have fallen short, every day brings a new chance to not only better yourself, but the world around you.

What a Wonder it is! Review on “Wonder of the World”

By Vanessa Ryland-Buntley

“Wonder of the World” by David Lindsay-Abaire was brought to the stage at The College at Brockport’s Mainstage in the Tower Fine Art’s building the last two weekends in April 2017. The play which was directed by Ruth Childs, Associate Professor at The College at Brockport, was a comedy brought to life by a vibrant cast of eight people.

The story focused on the life of Cass played by Tricia Plinzke. She ends up leaving her husband Kip, played by Cody Kaminska, to do all the things she never got to check off of her list and runs into her zany, eventual side-kick Lois, played by Brigette Meskell.  Cass is trying to start a new life and Lois is trying to end hers and they end up mingling their sordid, funny backstories with a few people they meet at the look-out point in Niagara Falls.

The play had everything a good movie would have, suspense, action, comedy, love, death and even strange fetishes.  Because the comedic timing seemed to be almost always on point, I almost forgot that a death happened.  The twist, the death happened to the person not trying to die.

Plinzke’s infectious personality had me rooting for the end of her marriage and the beginning of her happiness even though Kip seemed to love her. The opening scene started with a clip of Marilyn Monroe in her film Niagara and it was hard not to draw parallels to Plinzke and Monroe throughout the play.

She kept her bubbly personality through most of the play which made for an amazing pairing between her and the drunk and depressed Lois.  Meskell did a wonderful job of pairing her physical comedy with her phenomenal stage presence. The two along with the other crazy characters brought the play to life. Karla and Glen played by Grace Cunningham and Jake Dion were tourists/private investigators hired by Kip to find Cass. In their journey to find her, they found out how small the world was. This play was a perfect way to end the Mainstage season for the spring.  Even though the play almost ended in tragedy because Cass’s love interest, Captain Mike, played by Steven Penta, was abruptly shot near the end; it ended up having a happy ending. Lois and Cass went over the falls in a barrel together but lived to tell it, all while checking things off of Cass’s to-do list.

Islam, Not ISIS

By Breonnah Colon

There is a tragedy taking place within the world and it is not getting very much media coverage, therefore many people are unaware of it. There is a genocide taking place in the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. The country is located on the border of five others: India, Bangladesh, Laos, Thailand and China. As a result of its geological location, the population of Myanmar is quite diverse, however, there is still a minority group within the nation- the Rohingya people. The Rohingya people are Muslim and practice Islam as their religion. It is this religious practice that is causing the Rohingya people to be targeted by the military of Myanmar since the religion followed by most people in the country is a form of Buddhism.

New sources such as CNN and BBC News have been covering stories on the genocide occasionally, however, the circumstances facing the Rohingya people have been taking place for as long as four years. In the year of 2012, Myanmar experienced a sort of civil war where an article on entitles “Is genocide unfolding in Myanmar?” by Matthew Smith explained, “Buddhist civilians and state security forces unleashed coordinated attacks against Rohingya and other Muslims. I documented pre-dawn raids and cold-blooded massacres.”

A lot of people are still at risk, especially children.

The article went on to state, “Children were hacked to death. Some were thrown into fires.” While the violence facing the Rohingya may have diminished over the past few years, it seems tensions are once again rising and the victims are the Rohingya people.

How could such a thing take place without anyone intervening? Well, whether or not an actual genocide is taking place has been quite a controversial topic, especially since the current leader of the country, Aung San Suu Kyi denies there is a genocide taking place, despite people referring to the horrendous acts against the Rohingya people can be equated to an ethnic cleansing. An article on entitled “Myanmar says ‘no evidence’ of Rohingya genocide” explained, “(The government in Myanmar) dismissed allegations of genocide on the basis that there are still Rohingya Muslims living in Rakhine and that Islamic religious buildings have not been destroyed. It said it had so far found ‘insufficient evidence’ that anyone had been raped by security forces, despite widespread claims. Accusations of arson, arbitrary arrest and torture are still being investigated.” The article also explains that there have been allegation of militant government forces targeting Rohingya civilians and killing them as punishment and retaliation for attacks by Rohingya rebels.

How could such a devastating terror take place for an entire group of people and most of the world not know? Did you hear about the three Muslim family members who were murdered in February of 2015 over an argument about parking? How about the woman in New York City who had her hijab set on fire in a “possible hate crime” in September of 2016? Most people would not be able to identify these stories, all of which were captured and shared publicly by reliable news sources such as The New York Times, The Washington Post and NPR. It is quite clear there has been a growing trend of violence against Muslims both within the United States and globally. Yet, if these things are being covered by such prominent ad well-known news sources, why aren’t these stories more widely known? Perhaps because bigger headlines read about terror attacks in Paris or Boston or even Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan carried out by the notorious terrorist group ISIS make up most of the news regarding the Muslim community. This sort of coverage leaves a very strong message about Islam and those who practice the religion in people’s’ minds and that message is almost always the idea that Islam is a very violent religion and Muslim are extremists who look to oppress anyone who goes against them. Much like the Rohingya people in Myanmar, this sort of majority thinking victimizes the minority group: Muslims.

Islam is the second largest religion in the world and fastest growing  major religion today, with as many as 1.7 billion people identifying as Muslim. That’s almost as much as a quarter of the entire global population. Despite the prevalence of the religion, however, Islam is very often misunderstood and preconceived as violent due to media coverage and stereotypes. This sort of social stigma deeply impacts individuals with Muslim backgrounds.

Jesus Maldonado is a Muslim of Puerto Rican descent. He faces a sort of discrimination quite rare due to the fact that he does not inherently look Muslim, yet is.

“People don’t believe me when I say I’m Boricua (Puerto Rican) and Muslim,” Maldonado said. “I usually have to speak in arabic and then spanish to kind of prove my point.”

The stereotypes goes beyond his language. Maldonado explained a time at The College at Brockport’s dining hall where he asked if the meat served was halal, which is a sort of dietary practice followed by Muslims. The server was a Muslim woman wearing a hijab, however, since Maldonado did not look Muslim to her she questioned what he knew about halal food and why he was asking.

Such situations take place constantly Maldonado explained. He was either too spanish for his fellow Muslims or too Muslim for his hispanic counterparts, however, this is nothing new for Maldonado.

“It doesn’t bother me. This is who I am, I’ve always been Puerto Rican and Muslim,” Maldonado said. “If someone is interested in either my faith or my culture we discuss it, if not we don’t.”

While Maldonado may be used to the sorts of stereotypes and discrimination that cause a difference for those who practice religion, others are not so used to it. Dayana Germain is a Christian woman of Haitian descent, yet her partner is an Egyptian Muslim. While religion wasn’t a big part of their relationship in the beginning, her partner has recently started to become more involved in his faith.

“He’s been reading the Quran more and he prays several times, sometimes three times a day,” Germain said.

While the practices of her partner do not bother Germain she admits that it’s certainly a different experience for their relationship which has caused her to learn more about Islam.

“I didn’t know too much about Islam. I knew it was a religion and that there were some things people were saying bad about it, but I like to know things for myself so I didn’t just listen to what others said,” Germain said.

She went on to explain that she has also taken to reading the Quran and was surprised by the teachings she came across.

“I’m a Christian woman, but even I must admit the teachings (presented by the Quran) are really good,” Germain said.

Both Maldonado and Germain are touched by Islam everyday, both experience the impacts of having the guidelines and teachings of Islam play a role in their lives. Yet many others do not have this firsthand experience and as a result view Islam only by preconceptions introduced by the masses. It is this sort of understanding that allows such horrors like the genocide in Myanmar to take place against innocent Muslim people. What can we do to help put an end to the discrimination and mistreatment of a group of people that make up almost a quarter of the world’s population? Educate ourselves.

“I would say just do research so you can know for yourself,” Germain said.

Perhaps with a wider understanding of Islam and the different cultures that make up the faith, the major headlines will ring with just as much urgency when Muslims are under attack as when non-muslims are attacked and maybe those attacks wouldn’t happen so frequently in the first place.

People of Brockport’s Past: Serial Killer Joel Rifkin

Joel Rifkin getting arrested for 9 counts of murder. phot credits:

By Jordan Soldaczewski

Look around the room you’re in. Now think about the fact that one of those people may one day become a serial killer.

This may not seem possible, but for Brockport student Robert Mladinich, this was reality. In 1993 he read the paper one day to find out that one of his former classmates from college was on trial for the murder of nine women.

Joel Rifkin was pulled over for a missing license plate on his car where police discovered a corpse in the trunk. Rifkin was arrested for murder and was later charged with various other counts of murder. He admitted to killing 17 people and to targeting female prostitutes. However, he was only tried for 9, since that is all the FBI were able to find. He will serve 203 years in the Clinton Correctional Facility in the North Country of NY.

Rifkin was born in 1959 and grew up on Long Island. He had a troubled childhood. He was an adopted child with diagnosed dyslexia, a low IQ, and an awkward nature. Rifkin was different from his peers, which led them to exclude him, especially when he tried to get involved in activities like the track team and the yearbook club.

In 1972 he was inspired by the Alfred Hitchcock film Frenzy, leading to his later obsession with strangling prostitutes. In this same year his parents gave him a car that he used to begin picking up prostitutes.

Rifkin attended Nassau Community College for one semester and then dropped out. He then took three years to pursue landscaping in various parts of the country.

Rifkin then started at SUNY Brockport in 1977 and pursued photojournalism. Classmate Robert Mladinich shared a story about working on an article for The Stylus with Rifkin as explained in Mlandinich’s book, From the Mouth of the Monster: The Joel Rifkin Story. Rifkin and Mladinich were covering a boxing match featuring up-and-coming boxer, Rocky Fratto. The two had a lot in common to talk about on the thirty minute ride to Rochester and when the match took a turn of events, they were able to share a moment which most journalists dream of. Fratto was named the winner of a fight he clearly lost causing the crowd to become furious and drunkenly throw items and punches Fratto’s way.

“Joel initially sought refuge under the ring, but quickly realized that from a journalistic standpoint, valor took precedence over safety. He was soon amid the fray, firing away with his camera like a front-line war correspondent while bullets whizzed past his head. We could not believe our good fortune. On our very first paid assignment ever, we would not just be reporting the news, we were actually becoming part of it,” Mladinich said.

At Brockport, students truly looked up to Rifkin for his photography skill. The photography club and most others believed he would go on to become a successful photographer, that is until he dropped out. Rifkin was battling severe depression leading to his low grades and sloppiness. He found it hard to commit to his relationship at the time and often went to Rochester to pick up hookers. This all lead to the demise of his relationship and his academic career. Rifkin has argued that if he had access to anti-depression medication, he may have become the successful photographer he was destined to be and not the murder he is.

Rifkin moved back to Long Island with his parents and pursued a career in retail with the company Record World. He enjoyed it at first, until he had difficulty with the accounting aspects of paperwork. Rifkin felt like he had fallen back into his childhood years when he struggled to do simple math and would often get frustrated by it.

In 1986, Rifkins’ father became terminally ill and begged his son to take classes at SUNY Farmingdale. Rifkin enrolled in Biology and at midterms his father fell into a coma. The day before he died Rifkin said into his unconscious ear, “Gee, Dad, I got a ninety, isn’t that great?”

After his father’s death, Rifkin went back into his ways, working landscaping side jobs to pay the expenses of prostitutes. Officially out of college, instead of studying a major, Rifkin studied past crimes to learn how to cover up murder. Since he lived at home, Rifkin would have to wait until his mom was out of town to turn his sick fantasies into reality.

Rifkins first murder wasn’t until 1989. His next murder was 18 months later. After that it became routine to Rifkin.

17 victims lives were allegedly taken by Joel Rifkin. Killing became routine to him and he says he is surprised he wasn’t caught sooner, especially when disposing of the bodies which he often dismembered and disguised in burlap bags or paint cans on the way to dumping it into a river or a secluded area.

When you think of the people who attended the same college as you, you’re inclined to think about the people who have been successful. There are many interesting people who went to Brockport including renowned actors, film producers, journalists, entrepreneurs, senators, and more. What you may not think of are the murderers who walked the same halls as you do now, let alone serial killers.


“A Blue Light in Your Pocket”

Photo: courtesy of

By Johnny Nixon

The Blue Light system is a series of phones that have been placed across campuses around the country to be used as an emergency contact system. With the rise of cell phone use and campus safety apps, some campuses are reconsidering the value of maintaining the Blue Light System.

There are 47 Blue Light phones located across the College at Brockport campus, but Chief of University Police Edward Giblin says that they are rarely used.

“In the past 8 years that I have been at the college, I remember the phones being used only once for a medical emergency. A student was having a seizure,” said Giblin. “They have also been used a couple of times when students have requested an escort.”

Other than those few instances, Giblin says they have received prank calls, in which they only hear giggles at the other end of the line.

The SUNY New Paltz campus has recently taken measures to add another level of safety for their faculty and staff by implementing an app called Rave Guardian.

Deputy Chief Mary Ritayik of the New Paltz campus police said that the decision to switch to the app as a primary means of safety on the campus was in part influenced by advancements in technology.

“Blue Light was around since landlines, when people had to go to a specific location for a phone,” Ritayik said. “It was great tech 40 years ago. We still have them but they are hardly used.”

Ritayik says the phones are great to have around if someone’s cell phone were to die, but for the most part cell phones have replaced them as a primary source of emergency communication.

“We heard about Rave Guardian,” Ritayik said. “We were already using the Rave text system for mass notifications. This app has great benefit. We call it like a ‘Blue Light in your pocket’.”

Ritayik described the usefulness of the app, saying that it has a wide range of benefits. The app includes functions such as a timed alarm, a GPS locator, and even the option to fill out medical and personal information that could assist first responders to an emergency.

She said the app is especially useful on college campuses when students have to walk somewhere and are concerned for their safety.

“The timer function allows students to set a timed alarm,” Ritayik said. “Say you list your roommate as a contact [on the app], so if you are walking from your room to the library, you set the timer to say, 15 minutes, or however long it takes you to get there. Once you get to your destination, you would turn the timer off… If you don’t turn it off, the app notifies your roommate, who could then call you or go to your location to see if you are alright.”

Ritayik said that the university police allows students to list them as a designated contact for the timed alarm. They have a computer specifically set up to receive the notifications and automatically accept. The police can then call the phone that sent the alarm to see if everything is alright, similar to how the Blue Light system would works after being activated.

If the police are needed for an emergency or escort or receive no reply, they will send a car to the phone’s location.

Although Blue Light is no longer used as a primary source of communication by the New Paltz campus police, Ritayik still thinks it is important to have them available on the campus.

“It is a nice resource to have their, say you lose your phone or it dies, it is important to be able to still make a call,” Ritayik said.

However, some have argued that cell phones have rendered the Blue Light System completely obsolete. The University of Colorado Boulder has recently removed the system from their campus entirely.

“It’s is just not being used,” said Ryan Huff, CU Boulder’s campus spokesperson. “It has been several years since the campus has received a legitimate phone call through the system.”

The university installed the system over 20 years ago. Huff said that by the time they made the decision to uninstall the system, the phones were outdated and needed replacement parts.

“Instead of dumping more money into a system no one was using anyway, we pulled all of the phones, and instead invested the money into a safety app, which is called Lifeline,” Huff said.

The app is a free service that the campus takes great measures to market to their students. The link to the app store is located on the school website, and they encourage students to download it.

Huff said that students do not need to rely on a phone system to stay safe. 

“It’s a multilayered process. We encourage students to walk with a friend at night,” Huff said. “It is important to have well lit areas and to encourage people to be good bystanders.”

Huff believes that educating students on taking precautions is the best way to keep them safe.

At Brockport, Chief Gilbin thinks that although the Blue Light Phones are hardly used, they remain an important part of campus safety.

“Most of our phones are equipped with exterior speakers,” Giblin said. “If we have to make an emergency announcement, students will hear it. We do tests once a semester, and you can hear the messages inside and outside of the buildings on campus, say if you out near a parking lot.”

While the Brockport campus still hasn’t decided on an app, Chief Giblin says the campus police are currently looking into one to implement.