At a glance: news briefs
January 24, 2008 4:39 PM
Suspect in grade-changing scandal to appear in court Jan. 30
A former SF State student accused of paying more than $4,000 to falsify 15 grades at his community college will appear in Contra Costa County Superior Court on Jan. 30 to set a date for his trial.
Christopher MacAtulad, of Pittsburg, pleaded not guilty last September to one felony count of conspiring to commit computer fraud. He is one of more than 30 students from Pleasant Hill’s Diablo Valley College who have been charged in one of the Bay Area’s biggest grade scandals.
MacAtulad used his falsified transcripts to obtain admission to SF State in the fall of 2006, according to a complaint filed by District Attorney Dodie Katague. Of the 34 named by prosecutors in July of last year, MacAtulad, who allegedly took out credit card loans to change 15 grades, including eight failing grades, may have benefited the most from the scheme, having far more grades changed than any other student implicated.
The DVC transfer student was one of eight students named with ties to SF State. The university penalized five current students, two who applied for the fall 2007 semester, and one former student after the Admissions Office received corrected transcripts from DVC.
The scandal was uncovered in January 2006 after a DVC instructor noticed a student kept reappearing on his roster with A grades. The instructor contacted DVC officials who began an investigation that discovered student workers in the Admissions and Records Office had changed more than 400 grades over a span of five years.
Four student workers were named in the original complaint filed by prosecutors last July. Two of them, Julian Revilleza and Jeremy Tato, began working with prosecutors to help them nab another 15, who were named in a separate complaint filed in late November.
DVC is the second largest community college feeder school to SF State, sending an average of 280 students a year to the university, according to a California Postsecondary Education Commission report.
SF State freshman application deadline pushed back
Due to the budget cuts made by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, the California State University has bumped its fall 2008 freshmen application deadline to Feb. 1.
The SF State deadline was Jan. 15. “The deadline for SF State’s [fall 2008 freshmen application] was the same time as last year so our date was not really affected,” said Jo Volkert, assistant vice president for enrollment management at SF State.
Students planning to transfer to SF State will have an earlier application deadline. Applications were due on March 28, but SF State has bumped the deadline to March 3.
Volkert’s suggestion to incoming freshmen who have missed the SF State deadline is to apply to other CSUs that have later deadlines, or go to a community college or apply for spring 2009. Applications for spring 2009 will be due in August.
SF State received 28,680 freshmen applications for the fall of 2008 compared to last year’s 24,690 freshmen applications, Volkert said.
The Real World could become your world, open casting calls in SF
On Saturday January 26 open casting calls for MTV’s reality TV series “The Real World” will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Suite 181.
The nightclub is located at 181 Eddy St. by Taylor Street. The show’s producers ask that you bring a recent photograph of yourself (which will not be returned) and a valid form of identification.
Those with a military identification will be allowed to go to the front of the line without waiting.
The show, currently in its 19th season, records the lives of seven strangers living together for several months.
The casting call is for the 21st season which will follow the upcoming one, “The Real World: Hollywood.”
SF State student found stabbed to death at Santa Rosa house party
SF State business student Benjamin Herbert Floriani, 21, was fatally stabbed at a house party in Santa Rosa on the morning of Dec. 15. He was dead when emergency services arrived.
Santa Rosa police were notified approximately at 1:09 a.m. that someone had been stabbed in the 700 block of Blair Place in Santa Rosa.
“When emergency personnel arrived, a male was found deceased on the living floor,” said Sgt. Lisa Banayat of the Santa Rosa Police Department.
Between Saturday, Dec. 15 and Monday, Dec. 17, five suspects connected to the stabbing and three other stabbings at the same party were arrested. Alex Paul Hopper, 20, Matthew Timothy O’Day, 19, and Donald Bittner, 19, were booked on suspicion of murder. Noah H. Minuskin, 19, and Rory O’Day, 18, were booked with alleged accessory to the murder. All of the suspects are residents of Santa Rosa. Minuskin’s bail was set at $500,000, and O’Day was being held without bail.
Three other victims sustained injuries and were initially listed to be in critical condition, but they are now expected to survive, Banayat said. They were described as men in their late teens or early 20s. Their names have not been released.
All of the suspects were arrainged in Sonoma County Superior Court in December, and a preliminary hearing was held yesterday, Jan. 22.
Police aren’t releasing any other details about the slaying, and declined to comment on a motive.
Investigators are still looking for witnesses with information regarding the death of Floriani.
Witnesses said a group of men were seen arguing at the party, and that as many as 50 people were in attendance.
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