twin towers

Meet the model/actress/student who brought patriotism to USC, and don’t miss the plot twist toward the end of the story.

 

Jennifer Ann Massey was supposed to swing through the World Trade Center subway stop en route to a modeling gig in Brooklyn right around 8:45 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001.

Instead, the Southern Texas native overslept, and watched in horror with the rest of America as two commercial jetliners flew into the twin towers.

“I could have been underneath when they came down,” the spunky, bright and beautiful University of Southern California student and actress told The College Fix in a recent interview.

In the wake of the attacks, the patriotism and camaraderie was palpable, she said.

“That week, everyone was an American,” Massey said. “In that tragedy, people came together.”

However more recently, as a college student at the University of Southern California, the lack of campus memorials or observances on the anniversary of 9/11 has bothered Massey, she said, adding it’s not just the school, sometimes it seems the entire greater Los Angeles area could care less about the day.

So Massey did something about it, what she calls her “crazy journey.” She made calls. She set up meetings. She sent flurries of emails. She gave presentations. She bugged people, then bugged them some more. She didn’t take no for an answer.

And when it was all said and done – what she called months of “sweat, tears, but no blood” – the history major secured a chunk of steel from one of the Twin Towers that will photo 3serve as the cornerstone of a future 9/11 memorial at the private university.

“It’s the top of an I-beam,” Massey said excitedly. “It weighs about 100 pounds.”

The memorial was secured thanks to the backing of University of Southern California administrators – and in particular Dr. Varun Soni, dean of religious life – who allowed Massey to lobby for the steel on the school’s behalf.

Campus officials say they are designing the memorial now, and hope to install it sometime soon near the school’s Department of Public Safety building.

“Jennifer Massey really took the lead on this project, and reached out to the 9/11 Families Association and the Fire Department of New York,” Soni said in an email to The Fix. “This would not have happened without her perseverance and hard work.”

“9/11 was not just an American tragedy, but a global one,” he added. “Indeed, more than 90 countries were represented in the deaths at the World Trade Center. Given that our campus is truly a global location, with 8,000 international students from all over the world, we feel that USC is an appropriate place for the memorial. We hope that it will be visited not just by our students, but also by our neighborhood communities and university visitors.”

For Massey, however, it’s all about America.

“It might sound cheesy, but I’m really a patriotic American,” she said. “This memorial will mean we stand in solidarity with New York, with what happened that day. We are not going to forget, either. It didn’t just happen to New York, it happened to all Americans.”

In fact, Massey is so dedicated to America, she sort of gave up her impressive acting career to pursue a larger priority – her passion to promote conservative ideals on campus. Massey – insert dramatic pause – is president of the USC College Republicans.

“I took that knowing I’d probably never get an acting job again,” she said of coming out as a Republican.

She is quick to emphasize being a Republican has nothing to do with her patriotism, or her effort to bring the World Trade Center steel to campus. In fact, she didn’t tout that connection during any of her interactions bringing the I-beam to the West Coast.

“This is not about politics, I just wanted to get this done,” she said.

Nevertheless, the journey from working in the modeling world and notoriously left-leaning Hollywood circles to touting conservative ideals to peers is a rare path, indeed. But to Massey, it’s simple.

“It’s common sense,” she said.

Jennifer Kabbany is associate editor of The College Fix.

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A science professor at Columbia University on Monday began a quantum mechanics lecture by stripping into his boxers and eating a banana while rap music played in the background.

Then it got weird.

The professor, Emlyn Hughes, proceeded to redress himself in black, complete with sunglasses, and hug himself on stage at the front of the classroom, a large theater.

As Hughes sat in the fetal position, two “actors” dressed in ninja costumes walked onstage and placed white stuffed animals – lambs – on stools before the audience, according to a student-recorded video of the incident posted on Vimeo.com by “Bwog,” a campus news website run by Columbia students.

The ninjas blindfolded the lambs, then a ninja impaled one of the stuffed animals with a long sword and banged it against the stool – right as an image of a plane hitting one of the Twin Towers on 9/11 started rolling on a large screen behind the performance.

Students in the video could initially be heard laughing and giggling and questioning the performance when it started, even squealing in shock with Hughes had first undressed.

“I am so confused,” one female student said on the video. “What is happening.”

After the lamb’s grisly “death” and the images of 9/11, the footage turned into a montage that included clips of Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and Hitler – as well as numerous shots of war images – tanks rolling, bombs exploding, people hanging upside-down, troops marching, and the like.

As the footage continued, a rap song called “Drop It Like It’s Hot” played in the background.

Students’ reaction turned from laughter and amused surprised to concern, according to comments heard on the video.

“What the f**k is happening,” one female student asked. “Is this real life? … How does this relate to anything?”

Eventually, the film ended and the professor began his lecture. But when he first grabbed his microphone, at least one student mistook it for a gun, saying with concern: “He has a gun, he has a gun.”

The bizarre episode lasted less than ten minutes. The Vimeo clip included the very first part of Hughes’ lecture, in which he told students that “in order to learn quantum mechanics, you have to strip to your raw, erase all the garbage from your brain and start over again. … Everything you do in your everyday life is totally opposite of what you are going to learn in quantum mechanics.”

The Columbia Daily Spectator, the student campus newspaper that reported the news Monday of the professor’s performance, quoted several students who said they were troubled and confused by what unfolded.

Student Maura Barry-Garland told The Spectator that “the incident was all the more disconcerting because Hughes did not provide an explanation for using those images.

“It was very disturbing, and I don’t think anyone in the audience got what he was doing. He didn’t explain it or provide a context, and that’s why it was offensive to me and to other people,” she told the student newspaper.

The Spectator also reported Hughes’ performance Monday was not his first “stunt,” noting in a 2011 lecture “he showed students nude photos of Woodstock attendees.”

According to his bio page on the university’s website, Hughes stated that “via my background in nuclear physics activities, I have a deep interest in issues relevant to nuclear proliferation.”

WARNING: Video contains some profanity. (NSFW)

FroSci Gone Wild from Bwog on Vimeo.

Click here to read the Columbia Daily Spectator article on the incident.

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IMAGE: Bwog/Vimeo.com