About me

I am an honors student studying history and English literature at CUNY Hunter College while aspiring to a career in journalism. Last year, I revived my college's only student-run news publication, The Envoy. As its Editor-in-Chief, I guide editors, reporters and other folks toward a mission to provide meaningful journalism to the college community. This fall, I am also an Election SOS fellow with WZZM, an ABC affiliate in West Michigan, where I help the newsroom report on the historic 2020 election. My own work has been published in several outlets. Please use this website to view my writing samples, and please feel free to reach out to me at laurenhakimi28@gmail.com.

MTA Reps Present Plan for Long-Awaited Updates To 68th Street-Hunter College Station

MTA representatives presented a plan to Manhattan Community Board 8 on Wednesday evening for long-awaited updates that would make the 68th Street-Hunter College station compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The plan, which was originally proposed in 2012, still must be approved by the Federal Transit Administration and NYC Department of Transportation before construction begins. The accessibility updates include three new ADA-compliant elevators and two new stair entrances

How some cable news networks helped clear the way for Trump's false declaration of victory

I love the PBS Newshour. I watch it religiously, so of course I was livestreaming their election night special coverage on YouTube. In many ways, its coverage of election night was great — true to character, Judy Woodruff refused to give into the anxiety that characterizes other TV news programs, historians and other experts provided much-needed context, and the host and correspondents cautioned viewers throughout the night that it would be a while before we knew the election’s outcome. But, li

Financial Aid Wait Times Increased Amid Pandemic

In a popular post in the Hunter College Students Facebook group, a student posted a meme: “A gun to your head and you have one phone call,” it said. “If they answer, you die. If they don’t, you’re free. Who you calling?” That was back in February, before the financial aid office began operating remotely because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, the problem with wait times for students hoping to speak with Hunter’s financial aid counselors has worsened. “In the past, students could visit th

Custodial Assistant at Hostos Community College Sues Hostos, CUNY Over Gender, Sexual Orientation Discrimination

In a lawsuit filed on Thursday in the Southern District of New York, a lesbian custodial assistant who worked at Hostos Community College says that she experienced derogatory comments about her gender and sexual orientation by coworkers, and that supervisors failed to properly address her complaints. Erica Rodriguez, who began working at Hostos in spring 2019, alleges in the complaint that she received offensive remarks about her appearance and gender expression and was accused of having an aff

CUNY Extends Deadline for Official Course Withdrawal To End of Semester

CUNY students will now have until the end of each semester to withdraw from a course and receive a non-punitive grade of W, according to an email shared with The Envoy. In March, CUNY extended the deadline for students to withdraw from a course with a grade of W to the last day of spring semester classes. That extension is now being made permanent, according to an email sent to CUNY administrators Monday morning from CUNY provost José Luis Cruz. “An analysis of Spring 2020 class withdrawals sh

‘A Sour Life Lesson’: Pell Recipients Disqualified From Receiving Summer Scholarships

They registered for summer classes, thinking they’d get scholarships. By the time they were told they didn’t qualify, classes had already started, and it was too late to get a full tuition refund. As part of its “make this summer count” initiative, Hunter sent out mass emails to students advertising a $450 discount on summer classes. One email showed only three qualifications: show progress toward your degree, enroll in a summer class at Hunter and submit the summer scholarship application. Day

‘I Will Have to Drop Out’: Students Protest Proposed Tuition Increase

Students voiced opposition this week to a proposed $320 per-year increase in the price of attending a CUNY school. On Monday, the University Student Senate released testimony it collected from several hundred students, faculty and alumni imploring the board of trustees to vote against the tuition increase. Then, on Saturday, students protested in Brooklyn in the pouring rain arguing that funding for the police should be redirected to public education. In their letters, hundreds of students expl

‘Why We Drive’ Takes Aim at Self-Driving Vehicles and Other Threats to Car Culture

Why did Jack Kerouac write On The Road, and Willie Nelson “On The Road Again?” Why did America sing “Ventura Highway,” and why do people take cross-country road trips? In a book called Why We Drive: Toward a Philosophy of the Open Road, one might expect for these questions to be pondered. Matthew Crawford, the book’s author, could have opted to examine American culture, from manifest destiny to the highway project of the 1950s and beyond. But for Crawford, author of 2009’s Shop Class as Soulcraf

Students Demand Action From Administration: ‘What Are You Going to Do for Your Black Students?’

By Monday evening, when Hunter College President Jennifer Raab released a statement on the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minnesota police officer, protests against police brutality had already gripped New York City, and cities across the United States, for four days. Yet Raab’s statement, while it denounced racism and Floyd’s death, did not mention the Black Lives Matter movement or the protests in which many Hunter students have been involved, nor did it outline any new actions the c

COVID-19 and the Struggle Over CUNY Tuition

Before the coronavirus wreaked its havoc, Lael Manalo’s days started early and ended late. The Hunter College senior’s lifestyle featured long commutes and full days of work followed by evening classes. Manalo began working as a dental assistant this past year to help cover her tuition. Before she lost her job due to COVID-19, the full-time student worked between 22 and 26 hours per week across the four days the dentist’s office she worked at was open. “Not only was it a challenge to find time

‘Shortlisted’ Is the Story of 9 Women Who Would Have Changed the Supreme Court

As society increasingly values diversity, politicians feel the pressure to respond. In the case of presidents, their dedication to diversity can be evaluated based on who they appoint to federal courts. But before there was presumptive 2020 democratic nominee Joe Biden pledging to appoint the first black female Supreme Court justice if he wins the presidency, there was Ronald Reagan in 1980 promising to nominate the first woman ever to have a seat on the bench. The conservative icon fulfilled hi

Bhaskar, AHU Projected To Win USG Election

Preliminary election results show that Hardik Bhaskar of A Hunter United has been elected president of Undergraduate Student Government, while A Hunter United is projected to win 20 out of 35 seats in the government. Bhaskar, who won by a slim 39-vote majority over Adamma Chiamaka Ogbennaya of A Hunter Alliance, has served this past school year as USG’s student welfare commissioner. During the campaign, Bhaskar called upon his experience working with marginalized students and organizing communi

Mother-Daughter Memoir ‘What We Carry’ Asks Readers Not to Judge

“Mayudi, I want to tell you a story,” says Maya Shanbhag Lang’s mother at the beginning of the author’s memoir, What We Carry. Lang has recently given birth to her daughter, Zoe, and she’s living in Seattle, where her mother has generously come to visit from the East Coast. The story her mother tells is about a woman in a river, holding her son in her arms, trying, like so many mothers, not to drown. In the end, she faces an almost-impossible decision: she must choose whether to save herself or

State Financial Plan Spells Potential Doom for Higher Ed

New York State plans to cut spending on localities by $8.2 billion in fiscal year 2021, according to the state’s financial plan released on Saturday. Featured on the list of localities is higher education, which includes CUNY, its state equivalent SUNY and financial aid programs like the Tuition Assistance Program. Other institutions to be hit with budget cuts include K-12 schools, public transit and Medicaid. The planned spending cuts are based on a projected loss of tax revenue because of CO

Why the Quarantine Episode of ‘SNL’ Felt So Comforting

Saturday Night Live aired this weekend for the first time since March 7, but while it may have been Saturday Night Live, it wasn’t Saturday night live, as the episode itself made clear. “There’s no such thing as Saturdays anymore—it’s just, everyday is today. And we’re not really live,” surprise host and COVID-19 survivor Tom Hanks explained in the opening monologue from his kitchen. The sketches were produced in advance of showtime, with cast members all in quarantine. On a show where so much

CUNY Students Scramble After COVID-19 Dorm Evictions, Demand Spring Tuition Refunds

This story was produced as part of the City Limits Accountability Reporting Initiative for Youth (CLARIFY) program. Across the city, businesses, institutions and individuals have had to make sacrifices to help mitigate the spread of coronavirus. Laid off from their jobs and removed from their dormitories, students at the City University of New York feel like they’ve done more than their fair share, and they’re calling for state and CUNY leadership to rectify it. After in-person classes at CUNY

ASAP Ferg to Perform at Spring Concert, Along With Hunter Idol Winner Janine Moises

ASAP Ferg will perform at this year’s spring concert, announced USG President Kamalpreet Kaur at Friday’s Valentine’s-themed Just Desserts event. USG also announced the winner of Hunter Idol, Janine Moises, adding that she will have a chance to open for the rapper from Harlem at the concert on April 2. “I feel amazing,” said the singer and pianist after learning that she won. “My parents wanted me to go through the medical path, but I just chose my passion, which is music, and here I am!” Mois
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