September 2003 Archives

Smoke-less?

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SF State smokers had better start planning on bringing their cigarettes with them. The luxury of buying a pack of smokes from the Student Union is now a thing of the past.

California State University leaders have officially opened the doors for presidents of the system’s 23 campuses to implement a ban on the sales of any and all tobacco products effective August 15, 2003. A CSU committee unanimously approved the proposal that has called for swift changes to the largest four-year university system in the country, with over 389,000 students.

Many smokers on campus were unaware of the new policy early on in the semester. Students who expected to buy their cigarettes from either the Lobby Shop or the Snackademic in the student center were surprised to see all of the tobacco products removed from the shelves and replaced with small signs stating the new CSU decision.

Experts say that up to 53,000 Americans die each year from diseases related to secondhand smoke, making it the third-leading cause of preventable death behind smoking and alcohol use. Reports from CSU officials show that the rate of college students who smoke at least once a day has climbed from 22 percent a decade ago to almost 29 percent only two years ago.

“In light of what we now know about secondhand smoke, it’s time that we all make changes,” said Fresno State President John Welty. Fresno State has been a smoke-free campus since April 2003, designating only a few smoking areas within the school grounds for students who wish to smoke.

Groups like TACTIC (Together Against Campus Tobacco Investments Campaign), ASH (Action on Smoking and Health), and The San Francisco Tobacco Free Project consider the decision a small victory. “We’re not trying to take away students’ freedom,” said Gail Musolf, SF State student advocate. “This is just one step in the right direction. The tobacco industry is targeting 18-to 24-year-old students, and has made that group of students a focal point for years.”

Latino Issues Forum (LIF) got the ball rolling on tobacco curbing policies back in January 2002 when the group received a two-year grant estimated at $200,000 from the San Francisco Department of Public Health Tobacco Free Project (SFTFP) to carry out a tobacco free college campuses project at both City College of San Francisco and San Francisco State.

The group’s main goals of eliminating the availability of tobacco and tobacco subsidiary products and the elimination of tobacco advertising and sponsorship on campus and campus related events have both been achieved.

“The general reaction from most smokers was probably irritation,” said Snackademic employee and SF State junior, Bianca Cummings. “When I was in the bookstore somebody was complaining about how they had to pay a lot of money for their books, but couldn’t buy their cigarettes on campus any longer.”

At the other campus mini-mart, the Lobby Shop, tobacco products were made readily available until the entire supply had been depleted. It took only a week and a half after the fall semester began however, for the last pack of cigarettes to disappear off of the store shelves.

“Even after the banning, students who are unaware of the policy still come in daily asking to buy cigarettes,” said Elsa Ramos, manager of the Lobby Shop. “I think that a lot of smokers are mad at us, but it is not our policy it is the universities.”

Many non-smokers on campus have expressed that they are in favor of banning tobacco sales, but not in favor of taking away all of the smoker’s rights.

“It kind of seems like the health police are at it again,” said Karen Anne Light, a non-smoker and SF State sophomore. “I don’t think smoking is a good thing, but I don’t understand why it’s the school’s job to enforce rules against tobacco when they are selling nachos and soda which in the long-run can be just as bad”.

“When I sit here at my desk, a lot of smoke comes in through the doors,” said Christy Graham, a library employee. “If people want to still smoke, they certainly can, but I think that the university supporting tobacco sales when it’s known as a health hazard was a bad idea.”

Smokers on campus are annoyed that they now have to find another outlet to purchase their cigarettes. Many expressed that there really is no other place within reasonable walking distance where they can feed their tobacco addiction.

“It’s a pain in the ass, having to walk a couple of blocks to the store just to buy a pack of cigarettes,” said Yousif Sassi, an SF State sophomore.

“People are starting to sell packs of cigarettes on campus secretly, like from their backpacks,” said Nala Gardizi, an SF State sophomore. “They sell packs for like three bucks.”

“Non-smokers have been on our asses for like the last ten years, you can’t smoke anywhere anymore,” said John Lee, an SF State junior. “You know what they are; they’re a bunch of granola heads, that’s what they are.”

The California gubernatorial candidate forum at SF State shined the spotlight on lesser-known candidates who mainstream media have either ignored or made jokes about.

More than 100 people attended the event to see democracy in action and to hear 18 candidates speak on issues close to them

The [X]press online forum was mediated by Davey D, of Hard Knock Radio, who steered candidates through a series of questions covering several topics ranging from balancing the budget to education. Candidates’ answers included several intriguing solutions for California’s budget problems, among them a proposal from Democrat Calvin Louie for Californians to prepay their taxes, as well as an argument by Jon Zellhoefer, a Republican, for the legalization of marijuana. In fact, all but one of the candidates supported the decriminalization of marijuana.

One topic the candidates were not overwhelmingly in agreement on was Proposition 54. Five of the candidates were in support of the measure.

“I think Prop. 54 eliminates the continual attempt to put us in a racial box,” said Democrat Dick Lane, a former professor at SF State.

Candidate William Tsangares stole the show with an impassioned speech against George Bush, the war in Iraq and the recall, while admitting that he “doesn’t have a chance” at becoming governor. “Vote no first,” urged Tsangares.

One of the more emotional moments of the forum happened when Sharon Rushford, an Independent, spoke of the injustice in the health care system by relating an anecdote of her husband losing one of his legs. Her husband’s leg were amputated, when according to Rushford, blood thinning might have cured the problem.

Many may consider a vote spent on a candidate without a chance of winning to be a waste but several candidates, including Democrat Christopher Ranken, urged the audience to vote on principles and applauded the recall for giving average people such as the citizen candidates the chance to get involved in politics.

While some candidates conceded that the odds of any of them becoming governor were pretty slim, they were appreciative of the forum for allowing them the chance to speak their minds.

“We have been ignored by mainstream media so we really appreciate this,” thanked Independent Bob McClain.

For coverage of these candidates, see our [X]press Recall Package and click on the "MORE CANDIDATES" button.

Letter From the Editor's Desk

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Everyone has an opinion on the recall, and journalists are certainly no exception. Love it or hate it, the recall has, at the very least, put politics at the fingertips of even the most apolitical of us. People who previously knew nothing about state politics are taking part in the recall: watching the debates, reading about the candidates, and running for office themselves.

[X]press is hosting two dozen of the local candidates in the spirit of offering coverage to those not so coveted by the mainstream media. These are determined candidates who, without the aid of media-savvy spokespeople and a host of political connections, have brought back grassroots campaigning based on serious issues and practical problem-solving rather than glitzy images and established party platforms.

We are proud to welcome these ordinary citizens who, in the true spirit of [X]press publications, are willing to shout out their messages as loudly as they can—regardless of who will hear them out.

Check out our exclusive online coverage of these interesting candidates, including our live webcast of the 22-candidate debate Thursday, September 25 at 7:00 pm.

Swedish students at San Francisco State were shocked the morning of September 11th to find that one of their most popular politicians had been assassinated.

46-year-old Foreign Minister Anna Lindh, counterpart to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, was attacked by a knife-wielding assailant in a busy clothing store in downtown Stockholm Wednesday afternoon, and died of wounds early Thursday morning.

The attacker remains at-large, causing one of the most open societies in the world to re-examine how public officials are protected, and whether more security is necessary.

"It's a big shock, politicians in Sweden have always been able to move around freely," said Theresa Stenebring, 21, an International Relations major from Göteborg, Sweden's second city.


Although Europe is generally seen as a safe place, assassinations and assassination attempts occurr periodically. The past two years have seen the murder of right-wing Dutch politician Pim Fortyn by an animal-rights activist, the killing of Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic by gangsters, and an attempt on the life of French President Jacques Chirac.

However, the most immediate memory for most Swedes is the killing of former Prime Minister Olof Palme, who was shot in 1986 by an unknown attacker outside a cinema less than 1,500 feet from where Lindh was murdered.

As with Lindh's killer, the man who assassinated Palme has not been caught, something which Swedish SF State students attribute to poor police work.

"I'm sure they will be looking for the assassin unsuccessfully for the next 10 years, and they'll be repeating the story for 10 years; the Swedish police are not very effective, and it will be just like with Palme," said Joanna Bujak, 21, a Business student from Uppsala, Sweden's university capital.

The killing comes at a significant time for the Swedish government, leading some to believe that Lindh's assassination was politically motivated. Swedish voters will cast their ballots on Sunday in a referendum on the Euro, the European Union's common currency. While others opposed transition to the Euro, Lindh, a member of the Social Democratic party was staunchly in support of the transition.

Although police have said that the stabbing was more or less random, Swedes at SF State have their doubts.

"They think it wasn't planned, but if he walked into a women's clothing shop it must have been somewhat planned," said Daniel Karlsson, 28, a student from Göteborg who studies in Australia.

"It's just hard to believe that it's true--she was our face to the world."

After Swedish Prime Minister Göran Persson's announcement of Lindh's death this morning, condolences poured into Stockholm. Flags flew at half-mast while sporting events and concerts were cancelled.

Despite the fact that Lindh was a harsh critic of the Bush administration, at one point calling him the 'Lone Ranger' for his invasion of Iraq, the U.S. government quickly released a statement praising her.

"Anna will be remembered for her outstanding contributions to international diplomacy and transatlantic relations. She had a special energy, integrity and compassion and she spent a great deal of her time focusing her efforts on global humanitarian issues. Anna was a cherished colleague and friend, and I will miss her," said Secretary of State Colin Powell in a prepared statement.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the news of Lindh's death went almost completely unnoticed in the United States, which was busy commemorating the second anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. This was not the case among Swedes on campus, however.

" I don't understand why--this kind of thing just doesn't happen in Sweden," stated Petra Denkert, 27, a Swedish BECA major.

Some were more philosophical, however.

"September 11th. Now we have horrible things for each of our countries in the same day," said Karlsson.

For more information, visit the official portal of the Swedish government , the Swedish Social-Democrat Party site (Lindh's party), or EU Observer for further EU-related news .

A Force Against Sex Crimes

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SF State’s police chief will join a new task force that will convene in two weeks to assess and change the way the state’s colleges and universities prevent and react to sex crimes.

Chief Kimberly Wible, 45, will act as an advisory on campus law enforcement issues.

The group is a response to varying safety standards throughout state college and university campuses. Gov. Gray Davis signed the bill creating the 15-member California Campus Sexual Assault Task Force in September 2002.

“We wanted to develop uniform standards, so you could go to any college campus in California and guarantee a certain (standard) level of safety,” said William Wong, chief of staff for Assemblymember Judy Chu, D-Monterey Park, who authored the bill.

As a former rape crisis counselor and instructor at East Los Angeles College, Chu has interest and experience in both safety and women’s issues.

To establish a viable plan that will act as a guide for colleges and universities throughout California, Chu created a bill mandating that a group of experts be gathered “to find out what works and what doesn’t,” according to Wong.

Wible is one of the two California State University representatives, according to Amber Pasricha, spokeswoman for Davis.

“The selection process is the same as for any other task force,” Pasricha said. “The candidates submit an application, which they can obtain from the Internet, and the office selects those they find to be most qualified.”

Wible found herself a member of another elite group 15 years ago when she became the California State University system’s youngest police chief. She also said she is currently the second youngest police chief appointed in California.

In addition, Wible oversees the CSU system and SF State compliance to the Jeanne Cleary Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act of 1990. The act requires colleges receiving federal funds to report the sexual assault incidents occurring on their campuses.

SF State had a total of 11 reports of forcible and non-forcible sex offenses, according to data for the four-year time period of 1999 to 2001.

Wible was not available for extensive comments. The task force’s goal is to create a standard system for gathering information on and addressing incidences of sexual assault on college and university campuses.

But first, the force goes through an assessment process that includes reviewing prevention education programs, as well as current laws and resources available to sex crime victims within California’s institutions of higher learning.

There are 10 categories of representatives that fill the task force. They range from people who work within California higher education institutions, rape crisis centers, the State Department of Health Services and two members of the public.

Requirements of the task force include: conducting four meetings and three public hearings, and generating a “Campus Blueprint to Address Sexual Assault” that will be presented to the legislature on or before April 1, 2004.

As set out in the bill, Gov. Davis appoints 14 out of the 15-member task force. The 15th, chosen by state Attorney General Bill Lockyer, is required to be a representative from the attorney general’s office.

Lockyer chose Patty O’Ran, assistant director of the Attorney General’s Crime and Violence Prevention Center. O’Ran’s work in the prevention field includes domestic violence, teen violence and child abuse.

“The Attorney General’s Offic feels any kind of crime data collection provides a better picture and extent of the problem,” she said.

The task force is administered by the Sexual Assault Branch of the California Office of Criminal Justice and Planning; its members are not given a salary.

For more information on the Task Force, contact the Sexual Assault Branch of the Office of Criminal Justice and Planning at (916) 324-9120. For more information on SF State crime statistics call the campus Department of Public Safety’s information line at (415) 338-7200.

When the six-way talks aimed at resolving the crisis over North Korea's alleged nuclear program adjourned on August 29th, repercussions were felt in the corridors of power in world capitals and the halls of San Francisco State.

While this may seem like a distant issue for Americans, and particularly students, the North Korean crisis does affect a small aspect of the San Francisco State community, Korean-Americans, and Korean students who have come to the United States to study.

Returning from the summit in Beijing, Secretary of State Colin Powell said that the North Korean delegation had threatened to test a nuclear device in the near future, a statement denied by Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, also a participant in the talks. Seemingly lost in the war of words between Washington, Moscow, and Pyongyang was the voice of South Korea, which has the most to gain or lose, depending on the outcome of the crisis.

Although opinions vary, many in the Korean community feel that President Bush's labeling of North Korea as a central figure in the "axis of evil" after the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001 only provided a further excuse for the reclusive regime to further its nuclear ambitions, and pushed back any chances for reunification.

"I don't think most American people realize the danger because they're so far away," says Paul Kim, a 23-year-old Korean-American studying at City College. The Americans are cornering North Korea, so they feel like they have no choice but to develop nuclear weapons. As long as [North Korean leader] Kim Jong-Il is in power he'll want to protect himself."

According to Dr. Chunghee Soh, a professor of Anthropology at SF State, and an expert on Korean culture, there is no single opinion on how best to resolve the crisis, and move towards an eventual reunification.

"Korean politics are divided into 2 extreme positions- in between is the silent majority," says Dr. Soh. "On one hand are the Progressives, the supporters of the 'Sunshine Policy [A policy of engaging the North, rather than isolating it],'under [former South Korean President] Kim Dae-Jung who felt that it was best to promote dialogue with North Korea. The Conservatives feel that nothing has changed, and they disagree with this approach."

Wonik Chang, 24, graduated from SF State in May 2003 with a degree in Computer Science. He plans to return to complete his Masters degree at SF State, but will first return to South Korea in December for his 2-year compulsory military service.

Like all Koreans of his generation, Chang has never known a world without the divided peninsula, but still feels a deep connection to the North Koreans. Chang believes that that the nuclear crisis, and the ongoing North/South conflict is not important for most Korean-Americans, particularly people his age. As a native Korean, Chang is not able to have the same distance.

"The North Koreans are similar, but they just live in communism. Korean people in the US think of the North as not 'us', not connected. For me, they're still one country," Chang says.

This being said, Chang is also realistic about the danger that the government of North Korea poses to his homeland. His parents, and almost his entire family still remain in the South, which the North has pledged to cover in a 'sea of fire' if provoked.

"As South Koreans we can't forget that we are still technically at war, the North Koreans are still our enemy, and that nuclear weapons could someday be used against us," says Chang.

According to Dr. Soh, like many immigrant populations, Korean-Americans do not necessarily try to stay close with their native land after arriving in America. She does point out that this is not the case in every Korean-American home, perspectives vary widely, and the San Francisco community is not nearly as homogenous as others in Los Angeles or New York. The common perspective among many Korean-Americans is simply that they want to end the struggle.

"Because of the distance I'm not sure whether it [the conflict] directly affects Korean-American lives unless they have jobs that are based on Korean companies, or other connections," Soh states.

Steve Lee, 19, is an Asian-American Studies sophomore at SF State, and a Korean-American. He was born in the United States, but lived in South Korea for 6 years as a child and teenager. Unlike many of his generation, he has strong opinions about the conflict in his homeland.

"Because I'm young maybe I have something more to say," he says. "It's a touchy subject though. My parents say 'why do we have to care, it'll just create more arguments."

Considering the impact the Korean conflict has had on their lives, both Korean-Americans and Koreans seem very reluctant to discuss the issue. Among many Korean students families, the war and subsequent armistice was something of a forbidden topic whether because of separated families, personal tragedies, or political disagreements.

"In my family it was never discussed," says Paul Kim.

Wonik Chang concurs.

"Both my father and grandfather went through the Korean War, and before that the Japanese colonization," remembers Chang.

"My grandfather was in the South Korean Navy during the war, but we never talked about it. He had some of his family in the North. Actually, my mother's father was married in North Korea, but had to move because his family was murdered."

Related Links

News and information from the South Korean government
North Korean Central News Agency
South Korea's largest English-language newspaper
Official North Korean government portal
South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Off the Wagon

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Overall alcohol use and related misconduct on SF State’s main campus follows the downward trend noted across all California State University campuses in a July 16 report from CSU’s Committee on Educational Policy, but violations in the residential community are steadily rising.

The report highlights CSU’s recommendations in 2001 for each campus to improve enforcement of its alcohol policies, better inform students and their parents of those policies and encourage responsible use of alcohol on campus and in the surrounding community. After two years, preliminary findings from CSU-wide surveys show alcohol use down by 5 to 10 percent and alcohol-related misconduct down 10 to 15 percent between 2002 and 2003, according to the report.

The total number of liquor violations dropped to 121 in 2002 from 169 the year before, according to SF State’s Department of Public Safety. But SF State’s residential community, which includes Mary Park and Mary Ward Halls and The Village at Centennial Square, is bucking the downward trend. Incidents of illegal alcohol use have been climbing, from 81 in 1999 to 114 in 2002.

Lt. Jerry Troubaugh of the Department of Public Safety’s Special Services Division said the alcohol-related incidents noted in the residential community are not necessarily committed by SF State’s resident students. The incidents are logged in the statistics based on where they happened, he said.

In other words, a drunken person who wandered off Lake Merced Boulevard into the area of The Village and was arrested would be logged in the residential community statistics for alcohol-related arrests.

Still, there are known problems with alcohol among some groups of SF State’s students.

Michael Ritter, coordinator of SF State’s Creating Empowerment Through Alcohol and Substance-Abuse Education (CEASE) program, said traditional college-drinking patterns show that freshmen can be a problem group.

"Freshmen do a lot of experimenting and that includes with alcohol," he said.

The mingled thrill and anxiety of being away from home and the freedom to try new things often causes freshmen to be more likely to abuse alcohol, Ritter said.

The times of heavy alcohol consumption are often during the first couple of weeks of school as people come to campus for the first time, reunite with old friends and celebrate, Ritter said.

The connection between alcohol use among freshmen and SF State’s residential community might have to do with the large number of freshmen in Mary Park and Mary Ward Halls, Ritter said.

Most of the students in Mary Park and Mary Ward Halls are under 20 years old, said David Rourke, assistant director of SF State’s Residential Life Department.

"We have a dry community," he said, but admitted the rules are not always followed. Crime statistics testify to that.

For example, the residential community accounted for two of the three arrests and 79 of the 80 disciplinary referrals in 1999.

Rourke said that only about a third of SF State students in the halls had a problem with occasional binge drinking.

"Those are the ones on the floors in the bathrooms," he said.

Rourke referred to an incident over the Aug. 23 weekend when a few students got drunk and collapsed between the Halls and The Village.

Troubaugh from Public Safety spoke of two incidents that weekend when students were helplessly drunk in SF State’s residential areas. The police came and took the students away to the county jail for the night to sober up, he said.

In 2001, the number of alcohol-related arrests across all of the main campus, including the residential communities, went from four arrests in 2000 to eight in 2001 and from 90 disciplinary referrals to 161. In this same year, the number of students of drinking age living on campus increased dramatically with the opening of The Village, SF State’s housing for upperclassmen.

But the opening of The Village did not cause a spike in alcohol-related incidents within the residential community; instead, the numbers of arrests and referrals continued to rise at the same steady rate as in previous years.

Mike Murphy, general manager of The Village, said the Residential Affairs department of the Village does a good job of working with residents to keep them informed of campus policy and enforcement procedures and encourage them to get involved in community events that don’t involve alcohol. He credits the department’s 12-person staff for keeping alcohol-related misconduct under control.

But alcohol use is a major part of life at the Village. Matt Prince, a resident at The Village, said there have been parties every night since people started moving in this semester. The 22-year old business major described these parties as a way for students to unwind after the demands of work and school. But some parties were more about hanging out and playing cards, he said.

“This is a very quiet party school,” he said.

Prince described bartending his own “Pimps and Ho’s” party over the weekend as a smooth event – people started arriving at 10:30 and were out by 12:15, fifteen minutes before The Village’s time for mandating quiet. But by that time, “people were just getting buzzed,” not yet really partying. He then went to another party that lasted until 3:30.

Prince said he did not attend all the parties at The Village out of concern for his health and his work, but said partying was a definite part of the college experience.

Overall, SF State’s students are not heavy drinkers, according to Ritter from CEASE. Among the 70 percent of students who drink, the average they consume is only 2.5 drinks per week, Ritter said referring to a survey done by the Core Institute of the University of Southern Illinois in the spring 2002. Only 30 percent of the 2000 students who responded to the survey said they occasionally binge drink.

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