May 2004 Archives
SF State students and faculty members of the theater and arts department staged a political theater show last Thursday afternoon at Malcolm X plaza.
The 15-member group, including two professors, known as Political Theater Live presented The Gubanator as a way to create awareness of California’s budget cuts through a different medium.
Live theater allows for issues to be presented from a different angle, Senior Michael Uy Kelly, one of the two actors portraying Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in the performance, said.
“I think with protesting you either listen right away or not,” he said. “Theater gets people hooked into the story, not giving them time to shut it off or shut it out.”
The second of the two Schwarzeneggers, Gene Ketcherside, said a speaker who goes up on stage and rants evokes emotion, while a stage performance lends itself to more possibilities to portray emotions, because characters are created that are relevant to the idea. So the audience is exposed to a lot of different emotions that are associated with the policies that are coming from our government and the direct effect it has on the average person.
“The audience has an opportunity to relate to the people that are being affected,” he said. “Of course our campus is experiencing it first hand, so I guess the next step would be to try to get the message to people who maybe aren't thinking about this every day."
The idea of taking the Political Theater Live group off campus and presenting the performance to crowds who are not necessarily thinking or agree with the subject matter was also on the mind of Professor Carlos Baron, who portrayed Satan in a sketch.
There is no guarantee the group is going to be supported and nurtured the way they were here, Baron said. It was great to be able to take advantage of the microphones and technical support, but he wonders how they’re going to do it when they just show up at a location unannounced and go off.
“I always say we (performing arts) should be as important as the garbage collector, because people think about garbage every week. If we can have people thinking about theater that way in society… we would be in good shape, but we're not there; we're not essential,” Baron explained. “Therefore we need to go out and develop audiences, we need to go out and do outreach, and we also need to do something for our ideals.”
Two SF State Community Service Learning classes presented television, radio and print advertisements to their client, Theatre Bay Area Magazine, colleagues, and teachers during a ceremony Tuesday, May 11.
The Advanced Video Production class and the Advertising Creativity Class consisted of three competing groups who created their own advertising campaigns for the non-profit magazine. During the ceremony the groups saw, for the first time, what their competitors had been working on all semester.
The unveiling ceremony was held in the light storage room of the Creative Arts building. The three groups were each made up of roughly 20 students, but only up to six presented the final project to the audience of about 80.
Each group was required to do their own research into what kind of marketing would be most effective for the theatre audience. Groups focused on researching the target audience, the need for the magazine in the theatre industry and the competition. They then created numerous ads to cover the breadth of the magazine and explained why it is better than the other magazines targeting the same audience.
"By doing this we feel like we're giving back to the community and using the production skills we have learned here for a good cause," Vanessa Pinheiro, one group’s producer, said. "This was a service learning experience which combined learning with community service. It opened our eyes to the connection we have with the community."
During the unveiling ceremony each group presented the required two print ads, two radio ads and three television commercials, each portraying their unique style and tag lines. One television ad depicted classic theatre culture with pictures and sounds from actual theatre productions, while one radio ad portrayed the comprehensive scope of the magazine with the omnipresent voice of God enlightening theatregoers with news of the valuable resource, Theatre Bay Area Magazine.
One advertisement said the magazine is a monthly publication sold in 37 Bay Area bookstores. It covers theatre events throughout nine California counties, publishing information on 300 theatre companies. The magazine offers "the most complete guide to theatrical information in Northern California," another ad claimed.
The marketing committee of Theatre Bay Area Magazine will choose the specific ads they would like to use in their campaign, maybe picking favorite pieces from each group, magazine business manager Pete Ratajczak said.
Hamid Khani, professor of Advanced Video Production, said the process they use to create the ads is the same as professional advertising agencies. Potential clients come in at the beginning of the term and present their needs. The advertising groups, the students, decide which client they would like to work with and then split into groups that compete to have their ads chosen and ultimately used by the client.
"I think classes like this where you bridge what we're learning with the community is really important," Petra Denkert, another ad campaign producer, said. "It's just about as close as you can get to the real world while you're still a student."
Both the Editor-in-Chief Karen McKevitt and Ratajczak are SF State graduates, which gave them incentive to work with the school to create their advertising campaign. They said the magazine has very little money for advertising and they figured that someone at SF State would have the ability to help them create a campaign.
During the ceremony McKevitt thanked the students graciously and expressed her delight with the outcome of their efforts. "I'm really impressed with the professional presentation and very well articulated concepts of the ads," she said.
Ratajczak said after the ceremony, "The process was very easy, fantastic. The only complaint is we don't have enough money to show the ads more."
The print ads will come out as early as July, while the television and radio ads will not air until September or October, closer to theatre season, Ratajczak said.
Khani said other campaigns his classes have worked on include a Fair Trade Campaign, used to empower family farmers to seek fair wages for their work; and Early Prenatal Care Campaign, which informed lower income women of the need to seek prenatal care. The campaign to receive the most publicity was entitled Shop Smart, which encouraged people to buy food with minimal packaging. The Shop Smart ads were aired on all major TV network affiliates with $180,000 being spent on them. The ads potentially reached up to 12 million people, Khani said.
With many deeming last week’s campuswide student walkout a success, SF State students will continue to plan events to keep up the fight against the school’s budget cuts.
The walkout, which originated after a town hall meeting April 29 turned into an emotional meeting full of outburst and speeches from students decrying the budget cuts, started out at Malcolm X Plaza on the morning of May 12. From there, an estimated 1,500 students marched all over campus, chanting from building to building before returning to the plaza for discussion on the situation.
Although the protesters represent a small percentage of SF State's more than 28,000 students, and despite what some say was low media coverage and little success, demonstration organizers say they will keep pushing against the budget cuts.
Cathy Arroyo, a 28-year-old creative writing major and one of the main organizers of the walkout, felt the demonstration was a complete success.
“I think it was highly successful. It was a good demonstration to show how students are against the budget cuts. It was educational for the students on campus, because it made them aware of just how much is being cut. We got our message across, and we showed the state we will defend our education,” she said.
Kirya Traber, 19, agreed that the walkout was successful. The physiology major and International Socialist member said the walkout “was a great first step in the right direction. The turnout was larger than expected, which is good. After this, I hope Governor Schwarzenegger is shaking in his boots now.”
Arroyo felt the walkout was important to have because students need to show a unified front against the cuts.
“We can’t allow this to happen. I’m upset that (California State University Chancellor) Reed sold out the CSUs,” she said, referring to the deal the governor struck with the CSU and the University of California.
The public universities agreed not to fight budget cuts now in return for long-term financial stability later. In the governor’s May revision of the state budget, undergraduate students will pay 10 percent more in fees over three years while graduate students will pay about a 20 percent increase. The governor also abandoned plans to cut about $30 million from outreach programs.
The school realizes that students are frustrated with the budget cuts. “We know students are angered by what’s happening and that they need outlets for that anger,” conceded Christina Holmes, SF State's spokesperson. “Although the school would prefer that students go to class, they have a choice to do what they did.”
Holmes also felt the walkout was successful. “The students were able to get their voices heard and be safe. That was important.”
Some students, however, felt the protest was not a success. Sebastian Zavala, President of Student Kounsel for InterTribal Nations (SKINS), thought more media coverage was needed to make the walkout a hit. “I watched the TV news all night after the walkout, and no station carried a story about it. The whole point of the walkout was to make noise, to get attention. The media just didn’t capture it, so it didn’t do what it was supposed to do.”
Even though others didn’t call the walkout a success, Arroyo and other SF State students will continue to plan events dealing with the cuts. “A student coalition is slowly starting to build. We will try and get out the word on what’s happening, to keep the network going,” Arroyo said.
Along with creating “response teams,” the loose network of students will keep others informed about meetings the administration will have over the summer. “The administration makes a lot of their decisions in the summer months, so we feel it’s important for us to go to those meetings and be heard,” Arroyo said.
The next meeting the student network will have, to officially assess what actions should be taken next, will be at 2 p.m. Thursday, May 20, in Room C-112 of the Student Center.
Graduation, a culminating event for educationally battered students, is only a few days away.
“It’s finally here!” said Rachael Anderson, who has been at SF State for five years after changing majors from geography to psychology.
The graduation ceremony this year, rain or shine, will be held May 29 in Cox Stadium. Though beach balls, smoking, and drinking are prohibited at the event, they are usually there in one form or another, according to recently graduated alumni.
Special guests include Vartan Gregorian, who will deliver the commencement address and receive an honorary doctorate of humane letters. Gregorian is known for his work as president of both the New York Pubic Libraries and Brown University.
Additional honorees include alumnus and former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, who will receive an honorary doctorate of laws degree, SF State business communications professor Gary Selnow, receiving the Presidential Medal of Honor, and Chris Larsen, co-founder and CEO of the online lending company E-loan. These honorees are the alumni of the year.
Student participants are expected to wear a cap and gown, which can be rented or bought from the campus bookstore. Garments can be obtained up until May 27, two days before the ceremony.
“I will always keep my cap and tassel, though it is already gathering dust,” said Michael Smith, a cinema major who graduated in 2003.
Flowers can be purchased on campus the day of the ceremony. Last year purple orchid leis ran between $15 and $20.
A professional photography firm, Chappell-Aardvark Studios, has been hired by SF State and offers picture packages, including a photo of the graduate shaking hands with President Corrigan or the dean of their college.
A video of the ceremony is also available. To obtain a copy, reservations must be made with the Library’s media access center by calling 415-338-1229.
Each college or individual department has a reception, either pre- or post- ceremony. Information regarding these events can be found on the university's Web site or by calling the department of interest.
“Many students skip the main ceremony and chose to just attend one put on by their department,” said student adviser Greg Ryan.
Though approximately 3,659 students applied for graduation this semester, only one-third to half will actually graduate, according to Michael Garrity of the university’s institutional research department.
While students' graduation status will not be disclosed until a few months later when grades come out, this does not prohibit them from participating in the ceremony.
Without jumping off a high dive or swinging between parallel bars, Pierrette Jeanmonod has already been part of the last four summer Olympic games.
The SF State English professor sidelines as the official French interpreter for the Federale Internationale Gymnastique (F.I.G.) (International Federation of Gymnastics when translated into English from French), an organization who oversees the rules and regulations of gymnastics on the international level. The games in Athens, Greece will be the fourth Olympic event Jeanmonod has interpreted.
“It’s exciting and I have lots of friends there,” says the SF State alumna of her role at the Olympic games. Jeanmonod received both her BA degree and English literature Master’s degree from SF State.
As an interpreter, someone who mediates between speakers of different languages, she is an integral part of Olympic meetings and press conferences where speakers of German, Russian, Spanish, French and English find themselves in a single room. In Jeanmonod’s case, she is the go-between for two parties - one French speaking and the other English speaking. When someone speaks in French, she listens and then repeats it in English and visa versa.
The irony of it all, is she happened on her first interpreting job, and knew nothing about gymnastics.
In 1985, Andrea Schmid, an SF State kinesiology professor at the time and a gymnast holding two Olympic medals for Hungary, needed someone to translate French into English. A member of the F.I.G. rhythmic gymnastics technical committee, Schmid, who currently goes by Schmid Shapiro, was referred to Jeanmonod , a recent SF State graduate working as a teaching assistant in the French department. The native of Switzerland accepted the task and the next thing Jeanmonod knew, she was Schmid’s personal translator at the Federation conference. Once there, the Federation offered her the position as French translator.
The opportunities for those skilled in a language in addition to English can be rewarding, according to Midori McKeon, SF State's Foreign Languages and Literatures department chair. It can propel a career whether it is direct translation, such as Jeanmonod’s case or simply a resource for job such as accounting.
“They tend to receive higher salaries because of high language abilities and can propel one’s career very far,” she says. Some of the foreign language programs at SF State, such as the Japanese language program offer courses in translation.
There are two types of verbal translation, simultaneous and consecutive, according to Jeanmonod, who does both.
A typical simultaneous interpretation occurs at a meeting. In this situation, Jeanmonod will translate a speaker’s words nearly instantly after he has spoken them. It is easier, she says, because translation becomes automatic and there is not time to edit, she simply repeats what has been said in one language in the other. This type is more word-for-word literal translation.
“When the person says,” uh” you say uh,” she says. “If someone asked, I wouldn’t even know what I had said.”
A press conference is one senaerio consecutive translation takes place. To illustrate, a reporter will ask a question. Jeanmonod will comprehend the question, translate it, listen to the interviewee’s response and then state it to the reporter. She says it involves listening to whom she is interpreting and then repeating in a grammatical and understandable manner.
Jeanmonod says, this type of interpretation can be the most difficult for a translator because she must listen to and remember several sentences at a time before she is given the opportunity to repeat it in its translated form.
“You have to remember to make sentences that make sense,” she says.
Although simultaneous appears difficult and thus seems more impressive to others, consecutive interpretation is actually more difficult, she says. When Jeanmond translates, she likes to take things a bit further and copy the tone and context of the person being translated.
“When they get excited, I get excited. Some translators talk like this,” she says tracing an imaginary horizontal line in the air.
In addition to translating at summer Olympic events, it is also Jeanmonod’s duty to translate the Federation’s rhythmic gymnastics code, a written guide of gymnatics’ rules and points. Every four years this code, which is written in French, is updated. The Federation divides the sport of gymnastics into four disciplines: men’s artistic, women’s artistic, trampoline and rhythmic gymnastics; Jeanmonod only translates the latter.
Jeanmonod, who also has a background in Russian character dance, says the draw for continuing her translation work is her enjoyment of watching the sport. She finds similarities between dance and gymnastics performances.
But she also likes it for the opportunities to have fun. She admits that sometimes, during congressional meetings, she will crack a joke.
“Then I can tell by who is laughing, who is listening in English,” she says.
Jeanmonod will be at the Olympic games in Athens, Greece from Aug. 7 to Aug. 30, with enough in time to catch the opening and closing ceremonies.
Karan “Sunny” Goel looks you in the eyes when you are talking. He shakes your hand when he greets you and on the surface, he resembles any other college student at SF State. The difference is that Sunny is blind.
Tap, tap, tap is the sound of Goel’s cane as he walks down the long corridors between SF State buildings. People jump out of the way or rush past him without a care of the man who has a visual map of the entire university in his head, a feat to which he does not give a second thought.
Sunny, a name given to him by an uncle, was born in Ludhiana, Punjab, India in 1981. His transformation from sight to virtual blindness and his enthusiasm for new experiences has carried Sunny from his home to SF State, a university he decided best suited his needs.
“I chose San Francisco because the weather makes for easier navigation, as opposed to Denver where my uncle lives,” Goel said.
Goel said SF State provided the diversity and degree program that he wanted to pursue when he moved to the United States.
Having lived in the Village at Centennial Square, he quickly explored the campus. Goel navigated the tumultuous chaos of the Cesar Chavez Student Center and spent a week learning the entire map of the university through the Braille and mobility training provided by the SF State Disabilities Programs and Resource Center (DPRC).
“People’s vision comes in all varieties,” said Jeff Brown, a counselor who has been with DPRC since 1992.
“Sunny has clearly been successful at SF State and is a testament to the greatness of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA),” said Brown referring to a federal law passed in 1990 ensuring federal regulations to help those with disabilities have equal access to all public places and career opportunities.
Just getting to this point in his life where he can accept and welcome help for his disease has been the hardest part for Goel.
While still living in India, Goel was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa at the age of 16. According to Goel, he and his parents flew all over India and eventually to Chicago looking for a cure.
“We found one doctor doing research in Chicago, but he told us a possible cure was experimental and not ready for humans,” Goel said.
Retinitis pigmentosa is a group of disorders that cause degeneration of the retina, according to Blindness.org. The site also refers to the disease as a genetic disorder that is inherited from either the mother or the father.
When Goel first received the news, he was in disbelief. He noticed a lack of sight when he played soccer or went to the movies, but in no way did he want to believe he was going blind.
“I didn’t want to tell anyone that I was partially blind,” he said. “People (in India) feel you’re totally handicapped if you’re blind,” he said.
Goel was so distraught that he eventually dropped out of high school in his junior year. He said he just could not take the questions and alienation.
He finally decided to take correspondence courses, which led to him having enough credits to earn his high school diploma and set his sights on college.
“My parents wanted me to go to Chicago or St. Louis where I had uncles, but I researched schools and liked SF State,” Goel said.
With his student visa in hand, Goel landed in San Francisco with no grasp of what the city looked or felt like. His cousin picked him up at the airport, but after a week of living together, Goel realized he was becoming a burden. At that point, he was happy to move into The Village at Centennial Square.
Not until Goel started going around campus did he realize some people’s attitudes against the disease that took him so long to come to terms with.
“I hear people tell each other ‘Watch out there’s a blind person coming,’” Goel said referring to when he uses his cane.
During his usual break time on campus, Goel said that people in the food lines usually are friendly. But if he asks for help, he feels dependent, so more often than not he does not ask.
“95 percent of people have never met a blind person,” Goel said.
Only one time during the last two years did Goel have a problem with people challenging his rights as a blind student.
During an ethnic studies class last spring, Goel asked if he could have extra time to take an exam because he needed help from the DPRC.
“Why should I give you extra time?” was the reply of his professor.
Goel went and called the DPRC and reported the incident. Goel said that after that the professor was called in for a conversation about the laws and rights of those who are blind. The incident has never crept up since.
“You probably don’t know he’s blind until he tells you,” said Chrissy Nguyen, a business major and friend of Sunny.
“I never thought of him differently though, I see him as a person and a friend,” Nguyen said.
Outside of working on his degree in business, Goel surprises people when he goes out to bars and restaurants. His friends used to ask if he would be OK in a nightclub, and Goel reacted like anyone else, “Why not?”
He did point out that invariably there are some problems with waiters at restaurants.
“One out of four are not receptive to helping me with the menu,” Goel said.
Like a lot of other students, Goel enjoys sports. He takes special pride in rock climbing, skiing and rafting.
Goel himself does not care about blindness but hopes that society will one day accept the disease as just a part of life.
“Many people are just uneducated about blindness,” Goel said.
SF State students who have not shown proof of immunization for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) may have an immunization hold on their record and not even know it.
Upon attending SF State, students have one semester to show proof. For those who have not an immunization hold will be placed on their record and will be unable to register for classes for the Fall 2004 semester. But this semester notices sent to students regarding proof of immunization has changed. Notifications have been sent to students' SF State e-mail accounts. However some students do not have an account or even if they do they check it rarely.
"It is different this semester. The notifications have been sent to SFSU e-mail accounts instead of a letter" Kamal Harb, Student Heath Service Center (SHS) health educator said. "All these people that have to fulfill this requirement are not checking their SFSU e-mail account or they don't have one."
All SF State students born after January 1, 1957 are required to show proof of immunization for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR). Also students who are 18 years old or younger must show proof of Hepatitis B vaccination.
To accommodate this need, SHS has provided special hours this month until May 27 for students to receive the MMR vaccination for $12. Because SHS will not be running with a full staff during the summer, this service will not be available.
In previous years more people have utilized this service. SHS Director Marie Schafle believes that because of the e-mail notifications only a few people are getting the vaccination.
"Hardly anybody has come now. Normally it is packed. Hundreds of people usually attend," Schafle said.
According to Schafle most people get the shot because they are unable to obtain documentation that they have received the MMR vaccination. Either students are unable or unwilling to contact their pediatricians or their parents for the records.
In California, the MMR vaccination is required to attend any school. As children, most U.S. students have already received the MMR vaccine. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, children should get two doses of the MMR vaccine, the first between the 12 and 15 months and the second at 4 to 6 years old.
The SF State registrar's office will accept baby records, medical records, military documents and/or other school transcripts that indicate the vaccinations have been taken. Blood tests showing immunity to measles, rubella and Hepatitis B will also be accepted.
"As long as it's (MMR or Hepatitis B vaccinations) on there, we will take it," Gene Ferguson, registrar at the one-stop student services building said.
MMR is caused by a virus and is very infectious. The CDC states that is spread from person to person through the air. Measles, mumps and rubella can cause serious health problems, including brain damage, and meningitis.
"The MMR vaccine is so important because rubella causes birth defects and the child could be born deaf. And there are many women at child-bearing age on campus," Schafle said.
Students can receive the MMR or Hepatitis B vaccinations anywhere, but they are offered at discounted rates at SHS. For more information contact SHS at
338-1719 or visit its Web site.
Last Friday, members of the California Faculty Association met with Assemblymember Leland Y. Yee-District 12, and District Director David Burruto, to lobby a plan to save the California State University system from further cuts.
The association has proposed an alternative deal to the one made between the University of California, the CSU and Gov. Schwarzenegger May 11, in which the university officials agreed to an additional $700 million cuts in both systems now, in exchange for a promise of financial stability in the future.
Mitch Turitz, CFA president of the SF State chapter, told Leland’s office that since Proposition 98, which was passed in 1988 and guaranteed public schools a certain amount of funding each year, has been suspended by an earlier agreement between the governor and K-12 representatives, one percent of the freed-up funds should go to the CSU system.
The proposal, which was handed to Burruto, is called the “1% Option,” because it would generate $342 million dollars for the CSU and provide a partial 2004-05 budget solution.
“If these budgets happen, we would have already endured over half a billion dollars in cuts in two years and it’s going to be devastating to our economy and the future of California,” Turitz told Burruto.
Along with Turitz, were SF State, CFA members Julian F. Randolph, professor emeritus of foreign language, professor of health education and lobbyist Ramon Castellblanch, and creative arts professor Joel Schecter.
“I want to know what the Democratic leadership is going to do when it comes time to debate,” Castellblanch asked Burruto.
Burruto responded by saying that the CSU cuts are a very serious issue for the legislature. “I’m very pleased that you have a plan and I am going to review it with the staff and see what can be done,” he said.
Burruto said that the debates are just beginning.
Turitz said the money taken from Proposition 98 funds can be made up for by creating revenue such as introducing oil severance tax or taxing the purchases of yachts and aircraft. Presently a person may buy a yacht in a state that does not charge sales tax and store it there for 90 days and not pay taxes on it in California.
“Eliminating these tax loopholes would see to it that students who are eligible for entrance will not be denied to the CSU system,” said Turitz.
A copy of the proposal detailed how California is the only state that does not tax oil when it is removed from the ground. By taxing such a process the state can generate at least $300 million, the document indicated.
Randolph, who is an alumnus of SF State, said that many elected officials were educated at a CSU and that this is “yet another sword in the heart of the master plan.” He is referring to the promise made in the mid-1960’s that every person in California was entitled to an opportunity for an education.
Yee told the group that he is sympathetic to the situation and as a SF State alumnus he was surprised at the deal made. “I was shocked at how the administration capitulated the request made by the governor.”
Although these cuts still have to pass the state legislature this summer, the CFA will continue to have lobby days with its representatives. The next scheduled lobby day is on May 21 with Assemblyman Gene Mullin, and May 28 with Sen. Jackie Speier, D-San Francisco. If you are interested in attending the meetings please contact CFA at (415) 338-6232.
The California State University system is the largest one of its kind in the country, with 43,700 faculty members, 390,000 students, 23 campuses, and six off-campus centers.
To maintain order in the system, there is a hierarchy of administrative power. The highest-ranking individual, the chief executive officer, is Chancellor Charles B. Reed, who has a long history of juggling education and administration.
With harsh budget cuts anticipated to ravish the CSU system, Reed has been thrust into the spotlight and became somewhat of a VIP.
The chancellor took some of his time recently to answer a few questions for starving SF State students hungry for information.
These questions were answered in an e-mail response.
Xpress: What would you say are some positive things happening in the CSU system right now?
Reed: CSU is maintaining its high-level education standards in spite of the budget cuts. CSU is contributing to the California economy by providing 77,000 graduates every year fully prepared to join the workforce in a variety of fields, including engineering, nursing, computer science, business, agriculture, education, and communication.
CSU students pay the lowest fees of comparable public universities in the nation. CSU is the most diverse university in the nation with students of color topping 53%. Several CSU campuses are among the top 20 universities nationally in number of graduates who later earn doctorate degrees.
Xpress: Who is your boss -- do you have to answer to anybody?
Reed: The CSU Board of Trustees: 24 members, 18 appointed by the governor.
Xpress: What is your role in Sacramento, and do you ever do lobby work? How often to you meet with political leaders?
Reed: Constantly. Not only with Sacramento leaders but also with Washington, D.C. leaders.
Xpress: What is your long-term vision for the CSU system?
Reed: Securing adequate higher education funding, maintaining high academic standards, maintaining quality and access, and making CSU the economic engine of California’s economy.
Xpress: How do you feel about the different approaches that CSUs are taking to allot budget cuts in their universities, especially SF State's proposed "deep and
narrow" cuts versus cuts across the board?
Reed: The presidents made a decision after consulting with the campus constituents. I trust their judgment. Each campus is different and each campus should make the decisions based on what is good for that campus.
Xpress: What is your relationship with SF State President Corrigan? How often do you see or speak with him? What was your last conversation about?
Reed: I see him at least once every month, either at a Board of Trustees meeting or at Executive Council, which is the council of all the presidents. Our last conversation was about the budget, which is what most of my conversations are about these days. I talk with him by phone at least every 10 days.
Xpress: What is the most pressing issue you see facing both the CSUs and society at large?
Reed: There are several:
· Access to affordable education
· National security
· Information security
· Access to health care
· Improvement of the public schools
· Federal deficit-spending
Xpress: What does education need to focus on?
· Academic quality
· Degree completion rates
· Improvement of public elementary and secondary schools
· Teacher preparation
Xpress: How are you helping with the CSU budget crisis? What steps are you taking?
Reed: Keeping in close contact with the Department of Finance, the governor and the legislature.
Xpress: Describe your relationship with the faculty and if/or how will the budget issue put more strain on it?
Cordial and professional.
The word “Moor” has different meanings to different people. It means a person of North African descent to some, and a Black Muslim to others. But to some people, the word “Moor” is the definition of a culture blotted out over time by those who consider history to be the domain of the European.
In an effort to promote an ethnic-based account of history, promote Moorish culture and provide fellowship for new and continuing SF State students, Greg Slocum, a senior studying Black Studies and Liberal Arts, started an organization named the Moorish Sports Club (MSC) last fall.
Like the nationwide Islamic MSC, SF State’s version is based on the teachings of Drew Ali, or the Noble Drew Ali to followers of Moorish Science. Ali first preached Moorish Science in the late 1920s, and it is based on five principles: love, truth, peace, freedom, and justice.
According to Moorish Science, Moorish culture can best be described as the native cultures of non-Europeans, or more specifically, people of color. Moors believe they are the aboriginal people of the Americas and Africa, who, before becoming enslaved and labeled as Black or African, maintained a culture that was distinctly Moorish.
The MSC seeks to unite people of color at SF State and is open to all faiths. To club members, Moor does not equate African. By promoting their Moorish heritage, members of the club want to disassociate themselves with being identified by the color of their skin.
“The word Moor among society is something that we should be identified (with),” said Slocum, who serves as the club's president. “It has political significance. (Noble Drew Ali) said the labels placed on us, Negro, Black, Colored, those are not only derogatory terms, they can be used against us in political spheres – even in sexual spheres.
“Having a national identity makes a difference between some plain, insignificant name to something that actually stands for something or means something that has a tradition. Black? What’s the tradition with Black? What about Negroes? Who are the ancient Negroes?,” Slocum said with a giggle. “That doesn’t make sense.”
Learning through fellowship among people of color is a tool the club the uses to promote Moorish history.
“With Islam and Moorish Science, we’re looking at the human race being connected one way or another. I don’t want to say one big human family, but it’s a big connection,” Slocum said.
Slocum decided to start the club after he realized the need for an ethnic-based presence to help students become acculturated to their surroundings in San Francisco.
“All these people on this campus, a majority of them are not from this area,” Slocum said. “So here on this campus we try to extend a welcome, a continuous welcome for people that are in need. And that’s one of the main things people need here, is a sense of direction: where they’re at, how to get around, but also personal help. A lot people don’t know how to go about certain things or how to look at themselves. We’re helping, but we help externally and internally.
“When you look at the structure (of SF State) people come and go, whereas in a normal society someone might come into your neighborhood and they’re there five, 10, 15, 20 years. Here people come through four years, sometimes two years and a lot of the people who come are young people, just left home and don’t know anybody."
Marquez Bey, an SF State history major, has studied Moorish Science for 15 years. He was attracted to Ali’s teachings after hearing he was instructed by Marcus Garvey. “I was younger and already a Muslim,” Bey said. “I was introduced to the (Islamic) Moorish Sports Club by a friend and what got me interested was the history for non-Arab Muslims.”
The club’s gatherings don’t follow a set pattern. One meeting might be a history-related feature film with a Moorish presence, the next a discussion on the division of ethnicities according to the European-Asiatic concept.
With regards to historical teachings, the club will talk about Moorish influence in Sri Lanka, Senegal (named by the Moors), Spain, post-inquisition migrations to Ireland and Scotland of Moors, and also the presence of Moorish navigators from the Canary Islands with Christopher Columbus when he discovered America.
The club will also discuss a key to Ali’s teachings, which was the historical presence of Atlantis, a land he considered part of the Moorish dominion named “Amexem.” Ali said in the Moorish Koran this dominion extended from “north-east and south-west Africa, across the great Atlantis even unto the present north, south and central America and also Mexico and the Atlantis islands [the Caribbean]."
For followers of Moorish Science, this is proven by archeological evidence of a pre-Columbian, African presence in South America and the eastern seaboard of the U.S. Ali taught that Plato, the Bible and the Koran testified to the evidence for the existence of Atlantis. Each gives account of a cataclysmic event, which destroyed whole civilizations. Moorish Science connects these events and say they happened circa 1500 B.C.
The term Moor itself, according to Moorish Science, is symbolic of the words “mariner” and “trader.”
According to Slocum, the MSC is an orthodox club because it’s trying to be as original as possible by getting away from Euro-centric historical accounts. “I don’t want to point figures at who’s messing up stuff, but a lot of it is obvious,” he said.
Bey feels the MSC is beneficial to the student body at SF State. “Moorish Science teaches people to be better citizens of society and teaches people who they are – their culture and their history,” he said. “The Moorish Sports Club can enrich the culture of people at San Francisco State.”
Slocum stressed the openness to diversity the club embraces. “We look at everybody of color doing their own thing,” he said. “And that’s what Noble Drew Ali said; the time would come when every nation would have to worship under its own divine fig tree.
“In other words, do what’s right and what’s necessary for whoever you and your people are and how you all live according to your ancestry and heritage. But make sure it’s right according to divine law, universal law.”
Nandini Chattopadhyay is a multilingual world traveler who is driven in life by a passion -- getting to know different cultures and understanding their philosophies.
When the Indian-born girl arrived in the United States, some five years ago, she enrolled at SF State not knowing what she wanted to major on. While at school, she held one, sometimes two, part-time jobs. The money was spent on what she liked the most: traveling.
Her black eyes have seen the beauties of Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Netherlands, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand, and Brazil. She has also lived in Montreal, Canada, where she attended McGill University for a year. But she says that she doesn’t like traveling as a tourist.
"I like to stay and make connections with people to really feel and understand their culture," said Chattopadhyay. "When I went to Brazil for example, I only spent one month there and I felt like I wanted to go back for at least a year to learn more about their music, their culture and their history.”
A decision for a major “came naturally,” explains the 24-year-old. “Anthropology -- learning what different societies are like -- that is what I have naturally been doing all my life.”
Financial support for her dreams came when an e-mail was sent to her announcing the first year of the Merage Institute for The American Dream Immigrant Student Scholarship. The $20,000 scholarship is offered to immigrant students who want to go to graduate school, have become U.S. citizens, or intend to become one and held a green card.
“I sent an e-mail to all (SF State) seniors who had a GPA over 3.7," said Beverly Voloshin, faculty coordinator of the academic honors and scholarships office at SF State. "A lot of students showed interest in the scholarship and about eight of them completed the entire application process, Nandini (Chattopadhyay) was one of them. There were 15 awards to be given among nominees from 21 universities countrywide. Each university could nominate up to three students, and most of those were elite universities such as Harvard, Stanford and Princeton University. It was very competitive," she said.
“Nandini (Chattopadhyay) showed really good leadership qualities. She has done very interesting anthropology research work in India. She has also volunteered for a fundraising event for homeless Brazilian children.” said Voloshin, who is also the chair of award’s selection committee.
Chattopadhyay is going to use the first half of the award, which is given in two annual installments, to develop her multimedia project involving the disenfranchised Afro-Brazilian communities in the state of Bahia, Brazil. The other half will be for her graduate school expenses, which she hopes will be at either Berkeley or Stanford. “If not I’ll go to the University of Hawaii, where the weather is better.”
“When she heard that she had won she called me immediately," said Neshna Friend, 37, who has been friends with Chattopadhyay for over two years. "She couldn’t even speak. But I wasn’t surprised because what she wanted to do was so original and excellent that I knew she was going to win it."
“When I went to the city of Salvador, in Bahia, I was impressed by how the community there expressed their voices through music and arts," said Chattopadhyay, who is fascinated by all types of music. "So I want this project to be not just my perspective of that community but I want them to be involved in it. I am going to produce it through their eyes."
She plans to distribute disposable cameras to the community, including children, so they can take pictures of what is important to them. She hopes to put together photos, images and sounds into one package that should translate the impact of arts in those people’s lives.
For someone who speaks Bengali, Hindi, French, English and some Spanish, the new Portuguese language does not seem to intimidate the long-haired, smiling girl. “When I was there (in Brazil) I couldn’t really speak the language, but I felt like I understood everybody. I’m sure it will be OK,” she said.
“Pushkin (a nickname which most of her friends and relatives call Chattopadhyay) is always ready for anything. She is not afraid and she is always ready to go,” said her friend and study partner Nina Giampaoli, an anthropology major at SF State.
Flying from Singapore to the United States on a one day notice might have contributed to those traits. Chattopadhyay received her green card a day before she turned 21. Because she had gotten it though her father, who owned a software company in Singapore, she had to be a minor by the time she entered the United States. She and her family left Singapore at 6 p.m. and with the advantage of the 12-hour difference they arrived at 8 p.m. in the U.S., she said.
But that gave her the chance to attend an American university, which is what she wanted to do, and the freedom to come and go as she will, which is what she likes to do.
“There are so many parallel realities in life and I just like learning about those," she said. "There is no right way for anything in life. If every one understood that there are so many different ways of seeing and thinking about something, if they judged less what they see, the world would be a much better place," she said.
“She is really optimistic, and one of those really warm people. She is always wearing bright yellow, orange colors that match with that beautiful brown skin tone she has. She is just a wonderful person,” said Giampaoli.
What do the Asian crab, North American Comb Jelly and Asian kelp have in common? They are all dominant, invasive species, responsible for much of the corruption of the San Francisco Bay's ecosystems.
In fact, according to Chris Brown -- marine biological technician and grad student at SF State's Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies (RTC) -- "80 and as much as 90 percent of all marine invertebraes within the San Francisco Bay are non-native, invasive species."
Because of the high number of invasive species dominating the San Francisco Bay, some of its ecosystems -- plant and animal alike -- are at high risk of extinction. Invasive species are the cause; SF State's RTC may point the way to a cure.
The RTC is the only marine field station hosted by a CSU. The 32-acre lab-centered research facility is located just outside the Tiburon peninsula. On-site professional scientists both teach upper-division biology courses and assist in conducting research and experiments to assist in dealing with the problem of the San Francisco Bay’s depleting wetlands and natural ecosystems.
“It was definitely a niche that needed to be filled,” said Adria Lassiter, RTC instructor and outreach coordinator. “There was no other academic setting covering the SF Bay. The San Francisco Bay is only about 10,000-years-old. It’s still in its developmental process; animal and plant life is still being established; niche’s are still being filled, dominant species determined.”
Regardless of how young SF Bay is, it is already undergoing some drastic changes. Invasive species, a problem facing many coastlines, has hit the bay hard in the last decade. The RTC has set out its team of research scientists and students to observe the habits of the newly introduced species into the Bay, testing for compatibility with native species.
"Ultimately, my motivation to study invasives is self-interest," said John Durand, a marine biology graduate. "I have an interest in our existence; if we don't attempt to stop the ongoing problem of invasives, or ultimately, the depletion of ecosystems, something else will eventually replace us."
There are currently 12 students taking upper-division courses at RTC. Courses range from Wetland Ecology (Biol. 395) to Molecular Approaches (Biol. 863). While these courses are offered on SF State’s main campus, students who choose to take courses at RTC have the advantage of completing their fieldwork amongst the largest estuary on the West Coast.
“We have a very small, tight-knit group of students and research scientists on site, here,” said Alissa Arp, biology professor and director of RTC. “Because of that, our students enjoy a very invigorating, inspiring experience while researching here.”
Invasive species are usually introduced into an ecosystem when excess ballast water gets dumped into the Pacific Ocean before the ship returns home.
“Ballast water from ships coming in from other parts of the world (especially Asia), bring in non-native species such as Asian crab, the North American Comb Jelly and Asian kelp,” said Keun Hyung Choi. “Most of these species are very dominant and are invading and threatening our eco system.”
Both native and non-native species depend on Phytoplankton, microscopic oceanic plants, the backbone of the marine food chain, for survival. Dominant, invasive species eating up large quantities of phytoplankton native species depend on.
In short, if invasive species aren’t put back in their natural environment or killed off, our ecosystem could suffer.
The RTC, recognizing this fact has dedicated its research to publishing data of its observations of the relationship between non-native species and native species versus Phytoplankton. Recommendations to agencies, such as California's Department of Fish and Game are made, which can then produce governmental programs and initiatives to stop the ongoing problem of invasive species.
“We are facing the problem of losing large quantities of ecosystems,” said Lassiter. “When that happens, animals become endangered to the point of extinction.”
And, when a chain in the food web is broken it affects everyone. Non-native species can have a drastic effect on our weather, our rain supply, and ultimately, our well-being.
The mudflats are one example of a depleting ecosystem. An off-shore habitat for several different and diverse species of bird such as the sand piper and clapper rail, both plant and animal are facing extinction. This is mostly due to incoming non-native species.
“East Coast salt marsh species are coming to the West Coast,” said RTC oceanography scientist, Wim Kimmerer. “These species are developing a hybrid with local species, causing them to grow much taller than they would on the East Coast. Because of this, we have a lack of a true winter. This, in turn, dramatically changes our physical environment.”
Kimmerer spends the bulk of his time analyzing the impact that we as humans have on marine ecosystems and vice versa.
The RTC has been operating as a satellite SF State campus for 25 years. Tenure-track professors were introduced to the center eight years ago. While upper division and graduate study is the norm at RTC, the center will launch a G.E course, Marine Biology (Biol. 160) in fall 2004. Students concerned about commuting will be happy to know that shuttle service is available from the main SF State campus to the Tiburon facility.
What started out as 30 students marching around the Cesar Chavez Student Center at 10 a.m. swelled to about several hundred students blocking 19th Avenue during a walk out Wednesday to protest the budget cuts.
Although the protest was labeled as a statewide walk out, students at other CSUs did not do the same Wednesday, according to campuses public affairs offices. Long Beach State had a protest last week.
Students waved banners, flags and signs throughout campus with inscriptions such as, “Cut Corrigan, not classes,” “Stop closing the door on education” and “education is under attack; what do we do? Rise up and fight back!” One poster claimed that Chancellor Charles Reed sold out.
About 800 students rallied in Malcolm X Plaza as students and faculty spoke about the effects of the budget cuts before they marched to 19th Avenue.
The crowd grew to about 1,500 students who chanted “education is liberation” to the tune of a drum, horn and banjo while marching through each building on campus, alerting students of the walk out.
A smaller group of students, which Public Affairs estimated at 250, marched to the 19th Avenue intersection, blocking traffic, which was diverted down Holloway Avenue by SF State public safety. As agreed with public safety, the traffic block only lasted for 15 minutes, after which some students marched through the buildings again and others dispersed. A small group met in Malcolm X Plaza and moved to the Quad to continue talks.
“We want to show both the CSU administration and the government that we, as students are united against these cuts,” said Mandy Smith, an undeclared freshman. “It’s about solidarity and that it’s not just a few of us who are against these budget cuts, but all of us.”
“We’re not going to take this, and we don’t have to,” said psychology sophomore Kirya Traber. “We fought for the ethnic studies department in 1968. The whole university shut down for seven months. We were told that we wouldn’t be able to get the department, but we did, anyway.”
A major argument presented at the rally dealt with the amount of money being invested in the war in Iraq.
“Only 5 percent of state and federal taxes go to education; 50 percent goes to war. There’s enough money to give every single college student in this country a free education,” Traber said.
“I believe a lot of money is being spent on war, but not on schools,” said communications student Siaira Harris. “The usual political rhetoric is that we’re supposed to be the future and yet, there seems to be a very anti-young adult agenda coming from the president and governor.”
According to the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, an average of $5 is returned to the economy for every dollar invested in education. This translates to about $15 billion put back into California’s economy.
Regardless, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and California’s public universities struck a deal Tuesday, in which the universities agreed not to fight budget cuts this time around in return for a promise of long-term financial stability. The deal includes a plan to cut an additional $700 million from the CSU and University of California systems.
SF State in April announced $10.3 million in cuts to Academic Affairs’ $113 million budget. This put up five undergraduate and five graduate programs for elimination.
The governor’s deal bypassed the Legislature, which still must back the plan.
If approved, universities will potentially see an enrollment growth in fall 2005, saving schools from again turning away eligible freshman.
Under the six-year deal, which Schwarzenegger referred to as a “win-win situation,” undergraduate students will see fees increase and will be paying about 30 percent more than they’re paying now in the 2007-08 school year, and graduate students will be paying about 50 percent more. According to the deal, fees will not increase more than 10 percent each year, unless economic circumstances occur that require otherwise.
Some Democratic lawmakers were worried about the plan to increase student fees and preserve the cuts in enrollment.
“Somebody has to fight for these students, and I intend to do so,” said State Sen. Jack Scott, a Democrat and chairman of the Senate’s education-budget subcommittee, in the Chronicle of Higher Education on Wednesday. “The State Legislatures was not party to this agreement. Therefore, I intend to explore the options for preserving access for all eligible students.”
In response to the statewide educational budget plan, David Abella, president of Associated Students Inc. for SF State said, “It’s our job to read the document in it’s entirety and find specific points of contention that are not good for, or in the best interest of students; that’s the job we must do.”
“I think what they are doing, while I appreciate the effort, won’t have the impact on the people who are making the decisions on the budget,” said English major and senior Jason Colan of the march.
But international relations student Brandi Chalker argued that it is our job to make Schwarzenegger carry out his obligation and stand up to us.
“Schwarzenegger ran for a platform that was in support of education, now he’s slashing it. I simply want him to be accountable for his actions,” Chalker said.
“Hopefully with students united with the community and faculty, it puts the pressure on every single legislator to say, ‘no’ to this deal. It’s bad for students--- and it’s bad for faculty. We have no voice in this,” said Eric Mar, Asian American studies lecturer and San Francisco school board member.
According to Cathy Arroyo, creative writing senior and rally organizer, the plan for the march grew out of an overwhelming student realization that all students of need to be aware of the extremity of the cuts.
For students who are interested in getting involved in the ongoing fight against CSU budget cuts, there will be a meeting held 2 p.m. May 20 in room C-112 in the Student Center to discuss further strategies to save the CSU.
Additional reporting by Julia Palma and Julyette Moreno
Envision walking from the corner of 19th and Holloway avenues across the street towards MUNI, wearing a blindfold and using a cane. A professor explains the path and the noise and warns of the speeding traffic and horns.
This is the reality for students enrolled in Special Education 823, Methods in Orientation and Mobility IV.
The class takes students out onto the campus with blindfolds and canes so they will be able to experience visual impairment for themselves and learn techniques that they will someday teach their students. Most of these students hope to enter the medical field specializing in helping the blind with issues of mobility and orientation.
“OM (Orientation and mobility) is choreographed chaos,” said Dr. Sandra Rosen, professor and coordinator of the OM program explaining how each session is explained ahead of time but still unpredictable.
“San Francisco is the perfect environment, with the buses, trains and MUNI for teaching this kind of program,” Rosen said.
The OM program is the second oldest in the country, having been started in 1966, and it is one of the only programs that teaches students to work with both the deaf and blind from childhood to adulthood.
The program, which takes anywhere from one-and-a-half to three years to complete, is also the model on which Russia is developing their own program, according to Rosen.
Every Saturday from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m., the methods class meets in Burk Hall 149 to discuss the day's coming paths. The students then spilt into groups and go outside to tackle the chaos of a campus with lots of open space.
“Traversing the campus can be a daunting task,” said Gina di Grazia, an occupational health therapist at a San Francisco hospital.
“This class is important because people with visual impairments don’t have their needs fully attended to,” said di Grazia, who plans to open a vision rehabilatation services center after she graduates.
Nancy Mitcher, a master’s student, understands why the methods class is a vital part of the education training.
“We’re simulating an advantageous life situation,” Mitcher said, relating all the training to the reality of those who are visually impaired.
“It’s part of understanding what blind students go through,” she said. However, not all students became part of the program out of a current career or goal.
Kate Bolton-Schmakler was a fifth-year senior in college when she was listening to Stevie Wonder and it dawned on her that he was both creative and blind.
“They don’t enter your world, you enter theirs,” she said.
That foray into a different way of sensing the environment is exactly what Rosen wants to teach each of her students.
During the class on Saturday, May 8, Rosen quizzed each student in her group as to which clues will help a visually impaired person realize their position on campus.
“The noise at the Plaza is a clue,” said Rosen when addressing her students.
Rosen than repeated a statement that her students should remember when they are training their future students.
“University campuses are the easiest place in the world to get lost and lose your orientation,” said Rosen.
Students who go through the program and graduate with a master's degree in special education (specializing in OM) and/or the California clinical rehabillative services credential in OM are 100 percent employable said Rosen.
The federal government needs 10,000 people and all the programs in the country put together only produce close to 200 people a year said Rosen.
“People are desperately wanted for this program,” Rosen said.
For months now SF State’s athletic department’s had its head on the chopping block. Now, the axe has fallen.
“It’s for sure,” said senior tennis player Cookie Sambrano of the athletic department cuts. “They cut women’s tennis, women’s volleyball and women’s track. Baseball, softball, men’s soccer and wrestling are going to be the only full-time sports next year, all rest are going to be part time. My coach was given her two weeks notice yesterday – I heard about the other sports by word of mouth among the athletes.”
The athletic department administration has neither confirmed nor denied the validity of Sambrano’s statement, but sources within the department said it is true.
The athletic department’s cuts will be officially announced today via a press release through Office of Public Affairs.
Still, the mood around the main gym remains somber.
“More than being happy for those programs that are going to continue, we’re sad about the programs that are not going to be continuing and our colleagues who are being released,” said baseball coach Matt Markovich, whose Gator team finished just a half-game out of the playoffs for the second consecutive season. “Nobody goes into coaching for the money or the chance for advancement – we all do it because we love our sports and we have a passion for teaching. If nothing else these cuts put a little bit of pressure on the programs that are continuing to continue to improve and show their worth to this campus.”
Elysa Laskin of the now defunct Gator tennis team transferred to SF State this year from Cuesta College to play for Coach Marla Ried and earn her degree. Now she finds herself in the unenviable position of choosing between the sport she loves and her education.
“I have one more year of eligibility, but I’m not going to transfer again. I just transferred, and I’m not in a position to up and transfer again, so I’m pretty much done playing college tennis,” said Laskin after hearing from a teammate that their team was among the budget casualties. “It’s affected me pretty hard; I had an OK season last year, but I was looking forward to improving next year and going out on a high note, now that’s been cut short.”
“To me it’s absolutely ridiculous. It’s not up to me to say which sports should stay or go, nobody should,” an angry Sambrano said of the cuts. “Athletics are a big part of the university experience. I’m pretty mad about it. We represent our school every day on campus and off. I transferred here, and I’m proud to be an SF State student. I love to represent the school – I graduate in three weeks, and I wouldn’t have gotten this far without athletics.
"I feel the worst about the swim team. They’ve had a team here for what, 74 years? I don’t feel like us athletes stood up for the swim team enough because we felt like we were all safe. Maybe if we had took a stand then and been more supportive of the swim team we could have prevented all these cuts.”
Additional reporting by Cassandra Braun and Todd E. Swenson.
With the end of his enlistment in the U.S. Air Force only a month away, standing on the border of Iraq and Kuwait during the first week of Operation Iraqi Freedom wasn’t exactly where Staff Sgt. Gregory Green thought his military career would climax.
But even so, there he was, in the dead of night, in the freezing cold with his fellow troops of the 820 Security Forces Group and engulfed in a cloud of anticipation so thick you could plow through it with an M1 Abrams tank.
This was the unit’s third day without sleep since leaving their makeshift base at Kuwait City International Airport. At 8 a.m. the next morning they would escort British engineers from the border to a base the U.S. Army had secured 5 miles outside of Al-Nassiriya.
“We got to the border, and that whole night we just froze,” said Green, 24, an engineering major and president of the San Francisco College Republicans (SFCR) at SF State. “And the next morning, we were supposed to be driving in (to Iraq) and no one could sleep. You’re about to go to war and nobody knows what to expect.”
Something else Green didn’t anticipate was the contrast in receptions he’d receive upon his return home. After being greeted with a hero’s welcome at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia, he was astonished to discover anti-U.S. sentiment permeating throughout San Francisco.
The overwhelming anti-war overtones Green felt, and at the time, the uncertain future for the School of Engineering made his decision to transfer to the University of Nevada-Reno for the fall 2004 semester that much easier.
But as part of a military convoy of over 400 vehicles in the Middle East desert, sitting in class was two months off and Green plopped in the back of an open-air truck called a “duce and a half” with 11 other soldiers as their unit sped toward Al-Nassiriya.
“That convoy, that was probably the scariest time while I was there. You’re driving, and you don’t know what you’re going to come up to next,” Green said. “Iraqis would drive past the convoy, which was very nerve racking ... Most of these were actually soldiers looking for an easy target they could ambush.”
Iraqi bunkers loomed atop each overpass.
“We were worried someone was going to pop out and throw grenades down on us or someone would pop out with a gun. We didn’t know, and that was the scary part.”
Children running out of bombed buildings in one Iraqi village just across the border were also cause for concern. “They were known to pull out handguns, so we had them in our sights at all times,” Green said. “Unfortunately, one of the convoys right behind us ran one of them over and killed him.”
Men, women and children welcomed the convoy into Al-Nassiriya. His stay lasted a month, taking Green right up to the end of his enlistment. He says his contact with the city's citizenry was minimal once inside the base, but “I saw how they lived, and it’s horrible. I saw a lot of people waving at us, giving thumbs up and peace signs. So to me, that shows their support.”
Green considers being afforded a prompt exit from Iraq a reward for a job well done; his performance earned him a Commendation Medal in outstanding service for setting up the communications networks at the base in Al-Nassiriya.
Now it was back to Moody, a town adorned with yellow ribbons by its residents to show their overwhelming support for the military. But from there he was on his way home to California and felt some unnerving surprises once inside San Francisco.
“My first impression was, "Thank God I’m in this beautiful, awesome city," Green said. “I was so happy. I had worked so hard to get to this point, and now I’m finally here.
“But then as I kept coming to classes and tried to talk to a lot of people, I see all the posters all over and I see the news in San Francisco, I started to realize this city is not supporting me. This is not my city. It was making me sick. It’s still making sick, it makes my head spin.”
He joined SFCR last fall, and has been a welcomed addition to the club.
“No one at this school really knows what’s going on in Iraq,” said SFCR member Shari Oliver, a junior and Chinese/international relations major. “(He) helps promote the other side of the story. He was actually there so it’s like having a primary source.”
Derek Wray, a criminal justice major who will take over as SFCR president once Green transfers, agrees. “No matter how much we read or research the news, actually being there, he gives a totally different perspective,” Wray said. “The stories he’s told me are stuff I’ve never heard before. He’s brought new light on the conflict, to me at least.”
Green admits to a level of naivety with regards to being surprised at the reaction against the war he noticed in San Francisco and especially at SF State. He does not believe diversity in opinion is alive or welcomed on campus.
“At orientation they talked about how important diversity was at this school; diversity meaning acceptance of every point of view,” Green said. “I came to learn that diversity only means what (SF State) wants it to mean. True diversity isn’t happening on this campus, and it’s ridiculous for them to say that it is.”
However, Green is quick to add the San Francisco College Republicans’ recent debate with the Students Against War (SAW) was a step in the right direction. He even admits to agreeing with SAW on a couple of points, most notably its criticism of U.S. support for leaders like Saddam Hussein when it suits national interests, then withdrawing that support when those interests shift.
“It’s a good argument,” Green said, “but that doesn’t justify not doing the right thing now. It doesn’t justify why we shouldn’t fix some of the mistakes we’ve made in the past.”
Green believes it’s impossible to be against the war and support the troops at the same time. He believes people should be able to express their views, but at the same time they need to consider the moral of soldiers serving in combat.
He says opposition at home has a direct correlation to soldiers being killed on the battlefield, so opposition should come in the form of discussions, not marches.
“Military members naturally have strong emotions towards how their fellow countrymen and women feel,” Green said. “If a soldier has any doubt about what they are doing, they will hesitate. It’s our mind’s natural reaction. They will hesitate, and they will die.
“You only have time to react, and that reaction better be the one that saves you and your unit. A sliver of a doubt, created by a soldier seeing a glimpse of some opinion article telling him what he is doing is wrong may be just enough to cause hesitation. If (we) talk, that’s not going to effect the soldier over there, so that’s the best answer.”
In February, long-standing PR Director Ligeia Polidora stepped down from her ten- year position. Now, hardly three months later, her temporary replacement, Interim PR Director Christina Holmes will leave in June.
One might wonder, what on earth we did to this poor woman to make her want to leave so soon. The $10.3 million in budget cuts that the CSU system had to take recently could easily suggest that Ms. Holmes is getting away while the getting is good.
"There’s nothing scandalous behind my leaving,” said Holmes. “My husband and I are relocating to Vancouver, Washington.”
In fact, plans of moving out of the Bay Area had been negotiated between Ms. Holmes and her husband, Colin for some time.
“As much as I love the Bay Area, it’s just getting too expensive,” said Holmes. “You have to have two steady incomes in order to live here. I don’t want to have to put my job before my family,” she said.
Of the recent budget cuts, Holmes believes that she has remained strong, despite some of the turbulent changes . While six staff positions were lost in her office due to the recent budget crisis, she said thatshe was able to maintain healthy relations with the public as well as the press.
“It was very painful and hard for everyone,” said Holmes. “I believe that these cuts are only temporary. This is California---- there’s a reason 33 million people live in this wonderful state. This budget crisis won’t last forever.”
“I believe that I have a strong work ethic,” said Holmes. “I have always liked a challenge. I had an important duty to get the message out to students about the cuts.”
Holmes, whose former position was assistant to the public relations director will be one of many positions that will be eliminated. Moreover, the Development and Public Relations offices will soon be merged, reusluting in consolidation of several positions The Public Relations senior staff writer, who is in charge of putting out all of the campus-related press releases onto SF State's web server will be reassigned to the development office. The part time, temporary staff writer position will be eliminated altogether
Holmes, who graduated from SF State with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism in 1990, spent the following 10 years as a reporter for various small newspapers, such as the Pasadena Star News and Torrence Daily Breeze, a newspaper outside Los Angeles.
“I knew I wanted to be a reporter when I was in the sixth grade, after I worked for the school paper,” said Holmes. “I love to talk to people and am naturally nosey and curious.
In 2000, Holmes found herself back in the Bay Area soon after marrying her husband.
“I discovered that journalism was not a family- friendly job and although I wanted to work with media, I also knew that I couldn’t keep up with the demands that come with writing for a daily newspaper.”
Holmes soon landed a job at the College of San Mateo as their marketing director. She soon thereafter saw an opening for assistant public relations director at SF State. Holmes applied for the job, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Holmes had several roles while maintaining the position of PR Director. Most importantly, she handled media relations. She also helped publicize stories from the College Of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services to outside press.
Ariane Bicho, director of public relations for the College of Creative Arts described Ms. Holmes as smart, dedicated, professional, positive."
Bicho said that Holmes’ only perceived weak spot seems to be that “she works too hard.”
“Often as I’m leaving campus around 6 p.m or so, I see her plugging away at her computer,” said Bicho.
Adrianne Bee, editor of the SFSU magazine, called Holmes “amazing.”
“She can race to a campus protest, field a reporter's call on her cell phone, and edit a press release--all at the same time,” said Bee. “She works at a furious pace and doesn't stop long after most of us have called it a day. And this is only one of her jobs--somehow Christina also finds the time to be a devoted mom.”
Even after she is long gone from the SF State campus, Holmes has no intent of leaving the wonderful world of media. Even with a family, she still has plans to continue developing her skills in Public Relations and print media.
“I would love to stay in the public affairs realm after moving to Washington--- or start my own newspaper,” said Holmes.
The decorations were hung in mass and the mariachi music tingled students ears as they took time to enjoy a drink at the Pub Wednesday afternoon in celebration of Cinco de Mayo.
The holiday commemorates the victory of the Mexicans over the French Army at the Battle of Puebla in 1862 and not Mexico’s Independence, which is observed Sept. 16.
Since the Pub is located in SF State’s Student Center, it gave students a chance to relax and enjoy the holiday in between classes or get an early start on the evening.
Senior Jessica Norm said because of her heavy work load she would not be able to go out to celebrate, so she was thankful she could take some time in between her classes, which lasts until 10 p.m., to partake in the celebration if only for an hour.
"With all the decorations hung, the Pub really looks great," she said. "It’s a great way form me to escape from a long busy day."
Todd Singer, a 22 year-old engineering student, said he went down to Mexico for spring break and that the decorations really helped to give the Pub a cantina feel.
"It’s fantastic," he said. "I came to the Pub this afternoon not knowing what to expect but am pleasantly surprised at the transformation of the Pub."
While the handful of students hung out and talked, the Pub Manager Ferras Jweinat was preparing tubs of ice cold Mexican cervazas, which were on special all day. He said each year the celebration is more successful than expected, and although a lot of students make their way to the Pub, the scene always has been mellow.
In between prepping the Pub for the evening, serving beer and food, and striking up a friendly conversation with a customer, Jweinat helped the Golden Brands delivery guys, who were sent out to decorate bars and Mexican restaurants.
"Today we didn’t do any deliveries were just mostly going out and decorating, putting banners and balloons up in time for everybody’s parties they are having tonight," Manfred Cortez said.
What started as a formal town hall meeting with full dinner and dessert buffet transformed into a standing-room-only, emotion-packed event in Jack Adams Hall on April 29.
Students and faculty and prominent social workers and business leaders from the Bay Area and throughout California jammed the auditorium to fight the proposed budget cuts to the California State University system –- which is up for final revision before the State Assembly May 14 -- and testify about the economic consequences to the Bay Area.
They called for ending cuts to classes, faculty, programs and services, as well as in the athletic and creative arts departments.
Student Ramon Acevedo walked to the center of the room and announced his discontent with the meeting shortly after its start and during the introduction of speaker Eric Mar, president of the San Francisco School Board.
“Yeah, hold up,” Acevedo said to the panel. "There’s about 200 students outside that are still trying to come in. If this a town hall meeting …”
The crowd interrupted the 22-year-old junior by chanting “OPEN UP THE DOORS.” They were opened. Each audience member immediately stood up, grabbed their tables and dragged them to the room’s perimeter, redefining the meeting’s atmosphere by making room for the students.
Within minutes the center of the floor was transformed into general seating and filled with concerned, cross-legged students who listened intently.
Two student speakers riled the crowd and asked the organizers of the meeting to have more students come up to the podium.
Before they turned the microphone over to the students, the scheduled student speakers set a tone of disgust at the proposed budget and abhorrence at SF State administration’s alleged strategy to pass the bulk of the burden onto the students.
“Where is the administration? Where is Corrigan?” Arroyo asked. “Because he doesn’t show up to these meetings, he doesn’t listen to us, and I think he’s a little bit afraid. ... We’re giving him a message from the students: We’re not going to stand for this shit!”
“What we’ve learned from administration is that they’re going to go ahead and they’re going to attack us when we turn our backs,” Arroyo said. “That means that when we’re in finals, and when we’re not here during the summertime, they’re going to make even more cuts. They’re going to implement even more fees, and they're going to cut even more departments…”
But after the second scheduled SF State student speaker, Cathy Arroyo, motivated the crowd to be proactive, Acevedo once again led much of the same crowd he brought in back out when he stood and announced he was going out to Malcolm X Plaza to try to mobilize students.
Before the students left, some participated in an unplanned part of the meeting by offering testimony on how SF State and its programs have fundamentally improved and enriched their lives and how atrocious the idea of the cuts are. And they called for SF State President Robert Corrigan (who wasn’t there), and other administrators to take a salary cut.
Although this meeting was planned before the start of this semester in response to the Assembly’s proposed budget revision in January, Legislative leaders sent spokespeople in their stead. The panel included staff members for Assemblymen Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, and Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, State Senator Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, San Francisco Assessor Mabel Teng, and Supervisor Tony Hall. San Francisco Supervisor Chris Daly was the lone legislator that came in person.
Daly explained after the meeting that he gets along well with Assemblyman Leno and state Senator John Burton, D-San Francisco, but they are already against such cuts. Locally the Board of Supervisors has its own budget issues, but after attending Thursday’s meeting, he can bring a resolution to the board and “officially chime in on the issue.”
“With the recall and Schwarzenegger in there, and whom he owes his office to, it’s a little bit juiced,” Daly said. “So it’s going to be difficult to impossible, but the louder the voice is, the more embarrassed the governor is by the decision that he’s about to make.”
Daly and the legislative stand-ins also heard from leaders of local and state economies and services, including Barry Schiller, retired vice president of a semiconductor industry; information technology journalist Peggy Aycinena; and Ron Smith, regional vice president of the Hospital Council of Northern California Pacific Medical Center. Each spoke on the devastating impact the cuts to the CSU will have on the economy now and for years to come.
One of Thursday night’s speakers, Dr. Michael Potepan, chair of SF State’s economics department, supplied an economic impact analysis.
“I’m not going to bog you all down with numbers,” he said. He proceeded with a simplified overhead projection of how the economic disaster Californians are living would worsen from the projected loss in student enrollments from the cuts.
His report showed SF State students pump $387 million into the local economy through purchasing products, renting apartments, etc., and that the university itself and its affiliates pump $341 million into the local economy through building contracts, hiring staff, etc. He then explained that economists calculate more than twice that amount being added to the community once it hits the economy using their “Multiplier Effect.” It all adds up to nearly $1.2 billion.
“I found, even as an economist dealing with large numbers in many different contexts, I was a little surprised to see such a large number,” Potepan testified. “A billion dollars in the local economy is a strong impact.”
Over 50 students and faculty gathered today in Room C-112 to strategize protests against proposed budget cuts to the California State Universities (CSUs). The group organized three days of action: participating in a state-wide walkout with other CSUs May 12, holding a press conference May 13 to address the May budget revision due from the state Legislature that day, and pressuring the SF State administration to halt the cuts with campus protests May 14.
The group's plans represent a sustained energy created at last week's Save the CSU town hall meeting, in which students took over the proceedings to protest a lack of student speakers, then marched out of the meeting to have their own.
Ed Hernandez, senior Liberal Studies major, began the meeting by emphasizing the importance of unity between departments. "What they want is for us to fight for our own little piece of the pie," said Hernandez. "What we need to fight for is no cuts to the CSUs across the board."
Students in the room then introduced themselves and stated which department or organization they came from. A wide variety were represented, including the dance, physics, and social Work departments, as well as Education Opportunity Program (EOP) and the Campaign to Save the Death Penalty.
SF State student Cathy Arroyo then outlined the plan for the three days of activity. Cynthia Boroboa, a Junior CAD major who has been fighting the proposed cuts to EOP since last December, explained the reasons for the protests.
"We've tried everything -- letter writing, phone banking, pressuring the administration, going to legislative hearings and giving testimonial," she said. "So now we are looking to create a civil disobedience to get media attention to the stop the Governor from making cuts to the CSUs."
The meeting then opened up to general comments, which included emotional pleas for more organizing, both elation and dismay at the number of students present, and suggestions as to how to make the protests most effective.
"We need to let everyone know that CSU has a voice and an active population here," said Xochitl Sanchez-Zarama, an EOP faculty member.
Mike Ilich, a social science graduate student, emphasized the need to end the debates that plagued last week's meeting over whether to fight state-level or campus-level adminstration to stop the cuts. "They're playing games with us, passing the buck as to whose fault it is... (the protests) shouldn't be directed solely towards the state. It needs to be towards both of them," he said.
After nearly an hour of discussion, the meeting broke up into three groups to plan each day's event.
The April 27 incident in which some claim campus police used excessive force on a student from the campus' high school has triggered a range of emotions and reactions.
It sparked a protest by the Afrikan Black Historical Commemoration Committee the day after and more than 100 comments on the Xpress Web site -- some claiming brutality and unfair treatment of the high schoolers and some questioning why SF State has a high school on the campus in the first place.
While the university says the Department of Public Safety is aggressively pursuing an investigation in the alleged misconduct of a police officer, it said certain claims made by witnesses were untrue. Christina Holmes, university spokesperson, said a baton was not used to pull the 15-year-old male over a railing in front of Burk Hall, that the student was not beaten while he was pinned down and that the student had attacked a police officer.
Reactions parallel the differing accounts. Some say the treatment and arrest of the high school student was heavy handed and racially motivated. Others say the police handled the situation appropriately. Some have no idea the incident even happened.
The June Jordan Small School For Equity mission statement reads: “Nurturing adult student relationships in a safe, personalized, and vibrant learning environment where students and families feel they belong.”
Yet according to SF State and June Jordan student reactions, the five SF State campus police officers did not foster, “a nurturing or safe environment for students,” when they allegedly used excessive force on a 15-year-old student who was playing rough with his friends during lunchtime. (Police Brutality Claims Cause Protest: 4/28/2004)
“I observed a different reaction from the students who actually witnessed the arrest and the students who heard about it,” said Dickson Lam, a humanities teacher at June Jordan Small School. "The students who saw the arrest looked shocked and in disbelief after lunch. It was obvious that they had been traumatized. A lot of students were shocked that this happened on a college campus.”
June Jordan and SF State students cited racism, age discrimination and police misconduct as the central issues.
“It is very unfortunate to hear what has happened to this student, but the concentration was on his race and it should be on the fact that this is a youth issue and not a race issue,” said SF State senior Michelle Boral, 23, a nursing student.
The incident report in the campus police media log said the boy resisted and obstructed a peace officer after 20 male and female students were involved in a physical fight in front of Thornton Hall. Officers responded, according to the report, and determined a group of students walking toward Burk Hall was engaged in the fight.
Witnesses said an officer approached the 15-year-old and that the teen walked away. Witnesses also said the police used a baton held at the student’s neck to pull him over a railing in front of Burk Hall. The university said that is untrue and that it took four officers to subdue the teen after he allegedly attacked the officer.
“Regardless of the crime, it was excessive because I have heard of other incidents regarding the police and this high school. And what the police need is more sensitivity training towards the youth. ... There is no way that a child can be seen as a physical threat to a cop,” said Eva Miranda, 23, a child adolescent development major.
Many students from the high school are saddened by this event and concerned for their fellow student, who has remained unnamed. This is the first time this first year school year has experienced such a harsh reaction from campus police although Christina Holmes said campus police have responded to 16 incidents at the high school this school year ranging from vandalism to fighting.
“How can the police beat up a 14-year-old boy trying to go to school when people are getting killed everyday in the ghetto,” said Marlesha, a 14-year-old student and friend of the arrested student, “They didn’t need to pin him down or handle him like that. I feel disrespected.” Marlesha requested that her last name be withheld.
But not all feel that the police used excessive force.
Emily Felsenstein, 23, a senior biology major, said the campus police handled the situation appropriately. "My take is that police need to handle safety on campus. I would rather feel safe than for police to be delicate in confrontations and feel unsafe," she said.
There’s not enough information to make a judgment, according to Chris Steinmetz.
“The story is too unclear. There is not enough say from the police, and detainees tend to paint the story to their best interest. I also think that it is better for police to be heavy handed than light handed,” said the 23-year-old senior in international relations.
Faculty members at the high school are trying to collaborate a communication procedure with campus police to ensure that this type of incident doesn’t happen again. Typically at lunchtime, faculty members equipped with walkie-talkies supervise the students in the courtyard at Burk Hall and in the Student Center. DID THIS HAPPEN? This lunchtime supervision procedure will remain the same until the end of the school year.
The June Jordan Small School For Equity, part of San Francisco Unified School District, has held classes for its ninth-grade students on SF State’s campus since September. The students have had some struggles adjusting to high school life on a college campus.
“We’re high school students; we want to play basketball during lunchtime. It is hard to do that here,” said Lashanae, a 15-year-old student at June Jordan Small School For Equity. Lashanae, who requested her last name be withheld, has not had any bad encounters with campus security this year.
The Afrikan Black Historical Commemoration Committee, whose members led the protest against the police last Wednesday, feels that this cannot be the end of the incident. “I live in east Oakland, and I have two children who live there. So I come from this as a concerned parent and faculty member,” said Jamila Ali, faculty adviser for the organization. "If these charges against this student were concrete they would have stuck, but they were dropped. This cannot be the end. We need disciplinary measures (against the police involved) and to see the results."
Marissa Arterberry from SF State's Black Student Union said, “It is messed up. This is a part of everyday life. If it hasn’t happened to you, than you know someone who it has happened to. I think the police discriminated against this student because of the color of his skin. If this had been a white kid they wouldn’t have used such brutality.”
Out of respect for the victim and his family’s wishes, Kate Goka, co-director of the high school, had only one comment on the incident: “We would like to maintain a good relationship with campus security.”
On Wednesday, May 5 the June Jordan faculty and students are holding an invitee-only community speak out about the incident.
“We want to create a safe forum where students can voice their feelings on the incident,” said Matt Alexander, a humanities teacher at June Jordan. “Our primary goal is to keep the students safe.”
SF State came one step closer to becoming a smoke-free campus after Academic Senate members overwhelmingly supported a proposal at a recent meeting at the Seven Hills Conference Center.
The proposition, which would limit smoking to a few designated areas, met little resistance, and will become a reality if President Robert Corrigan approves it. While the Academic Senate was practically unanimous in moving the second reading along, student reaction was mixed.
Currently, lighting up within 30 feet of a building entrance is forbidden, but critics said the rule is seldom if ever enforced.
“When we walk through campus, there is no way to avoid walking past smokers because the pathways are, maybe, 10 to 12 feet wide and people walk around with cigarettes,” Senate member Deborah Gerson said at the meeting. “The 30 foot rule doesn’t address the reality of the geography of the campus.”
Gerson, a social science and sociology lecturer, said she “got all sorts of lip” when she asked people to smoke further from buildings.
“The only thing that will address the reality of the geography of the campus is to confine the smokers, so that those of us who walk around have the opportunity to avoid them,” she said.
SF State wouldn’t be the first CSU to implement this policy. Fresno State passed legislation a year ago limiting smokers to 17 different areas on the campus of about 21,000 students.
At about the same time, SF State extended the non-smoking area from 20 to 30 feet from buildings.
Mor recently, in August 2003, the SF State bookstore stopped selling tobacco products through the two snack shops it operates in the Cesar Chavez Student Center.
The Academic Senate cites the negative health effects of second-hand smoke as the motivating factor behind the regulation. Scott Jerris, an accounting professor, said he would like to go a step further and ban smoking 100 percent.
But the proposal will not become rule unless it is approved by Corrigan. The university president has the power to request changes to a resolution. The president's office did not comment on its position.
Some students thought the new rule would be too harsh.
“I remember when I first came here,” Fred Roche, a 19 year old smoker said. “They moved us to thirty feet, and we made concessions. I thought it was fine, but now they want us to do this?”
“Where’s it going to stop? It’s annoying. Why do they choose this, now? What about the smog from all the cars driving around the campus? Why do they waste time on this when the school is dealing with so many financial difficulties,” said Jennifer Plotke, 32, a health sciences major and non-smoker. “It’s not going to work because police have more important things to worry about.”
But many students, agreed with the proposal.
“I like it because every time I walk outside a building, it feels like I’m going straight into the smoking section,” said non-smoker and senior psychology major Mindy Wen, 28.
The proposal is not yet the official rule at SF State and some policy makers are concerned with a few issues. The total cost of designating and building areas on campus is unknown, and Associate Professor Connie Ulasewicz wondered if making smokers go out of their way would contribute to another problem: tardiness.
High school students from the June Jordan School for Equity expressed their thoughts and emotions, ranging from confusion to concern, about the alleged police brutality in April involving a 15-year-old JJSE student.
The high school students and faculty of JJSE and the Afrikan Black Historical Commemoration Committee came together Wednesday for a speak-out forum in Jack Adams Hall.
Several JJSE students began the forum by expressing their thoughts about the incident through poems and short essays.
Then Andres Soto, a Richmond resident and policy director for the Trauma Foundation for San Francisco General Hospital, spoke of his experience with the Richmond police.
Yesterday marked the two-year anniversary of when he and his two sons were beaten and arrested by Richmond Police, Soto said. Soto is the lead plaintiff in a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city of Richmond for alleged police brutality.
After Soto's speech, the students were broken up into groups of students, JJSE instructors and ABHCC students. They had a roundtable discussion of past experiences with police, and they discussed three questions: how can they change behavior of cops, what to do if confronted and how to prevent future incidents. Someone from each group wrote down the group solutions on poster paper, which they plan to give to the police.
“It’s great to hear high school students express themselves,” said Chris Jackson, 21, a speech communications major. “I learned that you have more rights than you think you do. It (the form) was very important and great that students are learning something outside the textbook.”
After each group presented its answers, two mothers of JJSE students - Toni Gill and the mother of the 15-year-old in the incident – gave their advice.
Gill said she commended the protest and speak-out and said Martin Luther King Jr. would be proud to see the students not being silent.
The mother of the student involved in the incident, who wishes to remain anonymous, told the students she is very upset about what happened and thanked them for their support.
“I’m very sorry the situation had to happen,” the mother said afterward. “But I hope out of all of this, something good comes out of it. As adults, we realize our positions, and we need to be supportive, encouraging, nurturing and empowering them to be the leaders of the tomorrow.”
The JJSE students are on the right path on standing up for their rights and justice, but it will be a long commitment for the victims and supporters, Soto said afterward.
ABHCC, composed of SF State students, hosted the event. “I’m extremely proud of the JJSE students and the work they did today,” said Rakita O’Neal, head of council for ABHCC. “Because not only are they the future, they are our today. For them to be leaders in their community like they were today, they have to continue to fight their own fight with their peers and those older than them.”
The $10.3 million CSU budget cuts are sparking fears of shrinking programs, lower standards in education, and matriculating at SF State under the seven-year plan.
When presented with an assignment to seek out student reaction to the budget cuts, a journalism class found varied responses, from those who were trying to hope for the best to those who were trying to look for another school.
The following responses were gathered from Prof. Austin Long-Scott's Journalism 300 class.
"It feels like we (students) don't have a lot of say as to how the cuts are being made. I feel like I can't really do anything about it."
Janice Manansala, junior, switching major from DAI to marketing because of cuts
Reported by Carinna M. Acevedo
"It's a string of decisions by the eligible voters who don't vote and legislators who aren't held accountable. They don't seem to realize that life is interconnected. If people aren't in school or working, then crime goes up. Then medical problems arise because you're depressed. I wonder a lot about what the world is going to be like when I finally graduate."
Marcia Santill, junior, business
Reported by YaVaughnie Wilkins
"I'll be paying more money next year, and that upsets me because my family is not rich; they already complain to me now about the money. It's crazy, everything is gong to go up, literally everything, from tuition to all the other fees, and I live in the village and even they're going up on rent for next year--five percent--and rent already costs damn near $800 just to share a room. I'm going to leave this school a very poor man--hell, I'm poor now."
Justin Truskey, 22, international relations
Reported by Yamina Washington
"I have to think about every penny I spend now, all from groceries to my $35-a-month birth control pills. I didn't want to dip into my savings but I had to, because even though school fees have increased, my student loans have not. I am also worried about not graduating in time because I cannot get all the classes I need, which will mean that I'll have to dip into my savings even more."
Agatha Lennert, 28, international relations
Reported by Louise Hagstrom
"As a graduate student, I'm going to be hit with a 40 percent (fee) increase. I think the governor hates graduate students.
Klaudya Martinez, graduate student, political science
Reported by YaVaughnie Wilkins
"I keep trying to psych myself out into thinking that everything will be all right, but I'm not really sure. I'm one of those students they (FAFSA) say whose parents make too much money, but yet my parents can't afford to put me through college. So with these budget cuts, I'll have to take out bigger loans, which will require me to pay back even more money; I just don't know how I'm going to do it."
Kokeetia McElwee, 22, kinesiology
Reported by Yamina Washington
"I fear for my health. I'm serious. It seems like they (administration) don't have enough money to keep the bathrooms and classrooms clean and sanitary."
Bernadette Torres, junior, environmental studies
Reported by Carinna M. Acevedo
"I did want to graduate within the next year or so. I planned to stay for my master's in Early Childhood Development, but that looks way out of the picture now. But I mean I love the school; the people are so diverse and the campus is gorgeous. It's just the question at hand now is will SFSU stay this way?"
Lejoi Mims, Dean of Students
Reported by Veronica Alvarez Lake
Impacted Departments and Reduced Classes:
"Some of the criminal justice classes won't be available next semester so I might have to transfer to a different university. Right now there's a 50 percent chance that I will transfer."
Edward Ferreira, junior, criminal justice
Reported by Carinna M. Acevedo
"I'm a little worried when the time comes that I can't get my classes, but I'll figure it out. If I can't get my classes then I'll go to a different school because there's no point in staying at this school if I can't get my classes."
Chris Sanchez, freshman, computer science
Reported by Carinna M. Acevedo
"I've already had a rough time registering for summer school. They don't have all the classes I need right now and that sets me back. Most likely I would have graduated in 2005, but with the budget cuts, it won't probably be until 2006."
Kyle Stanner, 21, political science
Reported by Yamina Washington
"I'm supposed to go study abroad next year in London. Am I going to have something to come back to? I'm not sure at this point, and pretty worried."
Chris Busch, industrial technology
Reported by Chris Shepard
The Faculty and Staff
"We aren't the only ones complaining. The teachers are exceedingly frustrated with the administration. They feel for us, and I'm grateful to them because they're doing the best they can...the security guards who walk me to my car at night are also getting their hours and jobs cut. It's been hard on everyone."
Marcia Santill, junior, business
Reported by YaVaughnie Wilkins
The Past, Present and Future of the CSU
"They have been making cuts ever since I got to this school. I'm not worried--I wonder if this school has ever really had a grip of money to work with."
Adam Rabinivitz, BECA
Reported by Chris Shepard
"If you look at the decade of the 1990s, the CSU did not do very well financially in the face of the greatest economic boom in the history of the state. How can it hope to do well during a recession, or normal times? The people of California have too many other programs where they want to invest money that used to come to the CSU. It's difficult to fight that trend. I fear for the system over the next decade unless a real change of interests and attitudes about the CSU change quickly."
Dr. Steve Evans, kinesiology department
Reported by Uriah Jacquez
"Corrigan and Schwarzenegger are damaging our society. How can we continue to be the number-one nation if we can't get an education? They aren't investing enough in the future of California, and they'll regret it."
Marcia Santill, junior, business
Reported by YaVaughnie Wilkins
Have something else to add about budget cuts? Leave a comment in the field to the right.
Welcomed by the traditional dance, song and music of various Asian and Pacific Islander (API) groups, the Asian and Pacific Islander Mural, a project of the SF State Student Center Governing Board, was unveiled last Friday afternoon. The day’s event celebrated the completion of a project that spanned two years.
“Today is the fruits of all our labor. It’s kind of unreal after so much time,” said David Abella, project co-chair and new Associated Students Inc. president.
The mural commemorates the achievement of past Asians and Pacific Islanders who have influenced Bay area communities. The mural’s impetus is a response to the extensive diversity of SF State and the introduction of a campus ethnic studies curriculum, the result of a student strike in the late 1960s, according to project creator Mariko Katayama.
Throughout the three-hour event, a crowd fluctuating from 100 to 300 people meandered over to the southwest side of the Cesar Chavez Student Center to take in the sights, sounds and samplings of API food.
Performances by eight groups included: a Samoan Ave Ceremony to bless the event, Hawaiian Hula, Tongan Tau’olunga, and the playing of traditional Chinese instruments by the Ehru-Guzheng duo.
Speakers Haunani-Kay Trask, University of Hawai’i instructor and human rights advocate, and Fred Ho, musician, composer, producer and political activist, spoke of the API struggles of the past and gave words of hope and inspiration for the future. Trask is also one of the figures in the mural.
At the actual unveiling near the end of the afternoon, many in attendance were in awe of not just the artistry but the diversity of figures who were represented in the mural.
“I think it is beautiful; it represents a lot of Asian and Pacific Islander culture – it’s more multicultural than other murals (on campus),” said Alex Estacio, 21, Asian American studies and marketing major, who was observing the mural with a friend.
Katayama was equally thrilled. “Love it,” was her response to the mural.
“I’m blown away by the talent and all the images of people,” she said.
David Cho, the artist, said it was what the display of culture and historical impact that drew him to the project. He worked for 20 full days to produce the final mural, which is acrylic painted on canvas.
“I feel like it’s a small contribution compared to all the people on the mural,” said Cho. “It was definitely a spiritual experience for me and I fed off the energy of them,” he said pointing to mural.
The content for the mural came from surveys handed out to students in Malcolm X Plaza in 2002. Wong and Katayama wanted students’ opinions about who best represented a particular API culture. Co-chairs Abella and Wong also held two eight-hour town hall meetings in November to discuss the mural’s final content.
The mural depicts 10 figures, four symbols and three groups all centered around themes of self-determination, justice and human rights.
The tree in the center of the mural dominates the majority the upperhalf of the background, spreading its limbs. Although the style has a softness of a chalk drawing, the colors are vibrant shades of purple and green, and a bright blue.
The figures representative of the past and present API leaders are positioned throughout the foreground.
They include: Yuri Kochiyama, who fought for Japanese American internee reparations; Angel Santos, who worked in Guam for Chammorro sovereignty; Mohandas K. Gandhi, who brought independence to India while using his belief of nonviolent protest; Tupua Tamasese, a leader in the Mau movement for Samoan independence from Britain; Queen Liliuokalani, aimed to preserve Hawai’i for the native people; Queen Salote, a Tongan monarch respected for a caring nature toward her people; Jhansi Lakshmi Bai, Indian heroine who led a revolt against British rule; Larry Dulay Itliong, lead organizer in the agricultural farm worker movement; Ahn Chang Ho, a leader in the Korean independence movement; and Haunani Kay-Trask, current University of Hawai’i professor and Hawai’ian sovereignty advocate.
“It’s more than just a mural. With it we reached out to the community, and it reminds people of where we are and where we need to go,” said Tina Wong, co-chair and ASI financial chair.