September 2004 Archives
Sitting at a desk in the library of the Office of International Programs (OIP), Kati Bell greeted 13 students eager to hear what the school had to offer in the way of adventure and life fulfillment.
“Where would you like to go?” Bell asked.
“France,” a student said.
“Yes, we have programs in France,” Bell said.
“Italy!” another student said, adding she is interested in studying art history.
“We have a good program in Florence,” Bell said.
“And Japan?” a third student inquired.
“University of Kyoto is a good one,” said Bell. “You guys are very demanding.”
Since a few years ago, SF State has remained the top school out of the 23 CSUs for both sending more students abroad through programs supported by the CSU system as well as for attracting more international students to its classrooms.
Last year 190 students carried their dreams overseas as a result of a combined effort by CSU programs and Bilateral Exchange Programs. The former is affiliated with more than 50 universities in 18 countries; the latter is an exclusive arrangement between SF State and universities and institutions of higher education in 14 countries.
For the present semester, 108 students are participating in the CSU programs alone. The closest competitor, San Luis Obispo, sent 62 students through the same program.
“Students need to know that it is possible to earn their degree while studying abroad,” said My Yarabinec, coordinator for Study Abroad and International Exchange Programs. “We can highly identify the right program for them.”
Yarabinec said in 1994, SF State sent only 20 students abroad. Now the school boasts nearly 200 students overseas.
Kati Bell, a Study Abroad advisor provides students with information about the nature of the programs, the destinations available, the prerequisites to qualify, and the approximate amount it costs to study abroad according to what returning students have calculated.
“Every major can benefit from an overseas experience,” Bell said to the students at the meeting, “[and] we have a lot of programs that are taught in English.” Bell emphasized this point because some students think learning a foreign language is a must, which discourages them from applying.
Bell said some programs require participants to have studied one or two years of a foreign language, such as ones in Mexico or Chile. The programs are very affordable and students can pay their current tuition while overseas and apply for loans.
A student does need a 2.75 GPA or a 3.0 GPA, depending on the program. Sometimes students who do not meet these requirements are also considered.
“I want to go to Japan to study Japanese Politics,” said Masao Kobayashi, 23, a political science major. He studied in Japan as a kid, but now he is considering going back to his homeland as a graduate student through the OIP programs.
“I want to experience a different culture,” said Ellen Keith, 26, an Urban Studies major. She said Australia would be a good destination, “though in the Netherlands it is cheap and I have friends,” she said.
Marisa Lear, 20, a psychology major, said she is interested in learning and experiencing other cultures and that she liked the fact that there are several destinations to pick from.
Those choices and destinations for SF State students would not be possible without the support of SF State’s administration.
“In the 1980s [the OIP] had two people,” said Dr. Richard Giardina, executive secretary of the Commision on University Strategic Planning (CUSP). “But [the school] has increased the budget of the office.” The OIP now has 15 people that serve international students, some 2,000 degree seekers and exchange students.
The participation of SF State’s students in sending students abroad to master’s programs ranked number nine in the country, according to the Institute Of International Education (IIE), a world authority in international education with headquarters in New York. In that same category San Luis Obispo ranked third.
This semester alone, the OIP has received 436 applications of which 215 have been completed and accepted.
Systemwide, the CSU sent 695 students abroad in 2003. Nationally, there are more than 160,000 students studying overseas, the IIE reported.
Open Doors, an annual report published by the IIE with the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs funding, found students spend short terms abroad (83 percent), whereas 85 percent of SF State students who go abroad stay for the academic year.
Open Doors also found Caucasian students accounted for nearly 80 percent of students going abroad. At SF State, between 30 percent and 37 percent of students who go overseas belong to minority groups.
SF State has designed a plan with specific goals to achieve by 2010, seeking to attain internationalization. Giardina envisioned the implementations of the commission’s recommendations.
“I am pretty sure people will come together to work on the implementation strategies,” he said.
He visualizes SF State as a school where the OIP will work with other departments to introduce internationalization issues in the various disciplines and more and more faculty with international experience would be hired.
He also hopes to make knowing a second language a requisite for graduation.
Two students who returned from abroad after an academic year shared their experiences.
“The professors teach one or two classes per semester, and they are very knowledgeable about their area of expertise,” said Aaron Rossi, 28, a graduate Italian major who returned in June from Pavia. “It was really amazing.”
“It was a fantastic experience and I grew a lot as a person,” said Siena Kautz, 22, a double major in criminal justice and Italian. “You see the world from a different perspective.”
“It gets better when [the comments] come from the alumni,” said Marisa Thigpen, International Exchange Programs Advisor. “[Going abroad] is going to be the best year of your life.”
Scantily dressed actors and actresses with bulging breasts and cut abs prance along primetime television programming on a regular basis. Images of sex are everywhere. Advertising with overt and subliminal sexual content is plastered on roadside billboards, entrenched in song lyrics, boldly displayed on t-shirts and dominates the pages of newspapers and magazines. Ironically, however, sex is seen but not discussed.
Most SF State students are uncomfortable with openly talking about sex with their partners, leaving them vulnerable to becoming additional statistics to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. While they agree that sex is stimulating and stress relieving, students often fail to engage in the responsibility of communication and protection.
“We expect guys to use condoms without us having to tell them,” said Pauline Meyer, an undeclared SF State sophomore. “When they don’t, it’s too late to say, ‘um, excuse me, this can’t happen if you don’t have a condom.’ You’re kind of trapped.”
According to Rafael Diaz, director of SF State’s Cesar Chavez Institute, many people who suspect they have been exposed to HIV do not get tested because they are afraid of knowing. In the meantime, he said, they continue to have unprotected sex with unsuspecting partners.
“The majority of students who visit my office are heterosexual women who are concerned about their status because of a cheating boyfriend,” said Albert Angelo, a health educator at the SF State Student Health Center.
Angelo moderates six HIV/AIDS workshops per semester where he educates in upwards of 1000 students on how to protect themselves and where to go for counseling and medical attention.
“The biggest misconception among students is that having a one-night stand is their greatest worry,” said Angelo. “Not true. Statistics show that the vast majority of HIV cases are caused by the person sleeping next you – the one you’ve been in a long term relationship with.”
Having unprotected sex one time with an HIV infected person does not necessarily mean that you will contract the virus. However, exposing yourself repeatedly to an infected person will increase your probability.
“No matter how much you think you trust someone, don’t,” said Stephanie Corbett, an SF State psychology student. “Always use a condom.”
The Center for Disease Control strongly agrees with Corbett. The CDC suggests that men and women be vigilant about using protection every time they engage in sexual activity because there are tens of thousands of Americans who are HIV positive but do not know it. This is attributed to the fact that symptoms are usually not prevalent until the virus has damaged the immune system to the point where the body can no longer fight off a minor virus, such as the common cold.
“HIV doesn’t kill you,” said Angelo. “It lets everything else kill you.”
The pharmaceutical industry markets a plethora of medications that promise those infected with HIV/AIDS the ability to participate in strenuous athletic activities. But Dr. Jose Ramon Fernandez-Pena, author of Aids: Contemporary Health Crisis, said the medications are a pipedream.
“What those ads don’t tell you is the meds cause such debilitating side effects that you’ll need to go to the bathroom every five minutes,” said Fernandez-Pena. “And when you’re taking 30 to 50 different pills a day, with all of their own and combined side effects, you aren’t going to feel like rock climbing or mountain biking for 10 miles.”
Ryan Olson, a design and industry master’s student, addressed an issue that many people believe excuses them from the AIDS pandemic.
“I’m married, so I don’t have to worry about AIDS,” said Olson. “It’s the furthest thing from my mind that she or I would have an outside relationship.”
Unfortunately, even married people should be proactive in ensuring their partners are not engaging in risky philandering. It is widely reported that over 50 percent of married men and women cheat at least once during their marriage. When this happens, the couple should immediately cease to have unprotected sex for six months from the last time the cheater had unprotected sex. At the six-month point both should get tested.
“Waiting the six months will guarantee the accuracy of the HIV/AIDS test and prevent the couple from having to be retested,” said Angelo.
Another unfortunate trend that married women need to be aware of is “the down low.” According to Angelo, it is when bi-sexual married men “hook-up” in secret.
“It’s mostly prevalent among black and Latino gay men who grew up in strict macho families where being homosexual is 100 percent unacceptable,” said Angelo. “They have professional careers, get married and have children for appearance purposes. Then they have separate lives where they have unprotected sex with other men. In fact, a high percentage of the new cases of HIV come from this sector of the gay community.”
SF State biology student Tiffany Parsons says that sex education should start at home at an early age. If kids cannot talk about sex at home, she questions, then how do parents expect their kids to feel comfortable and confident about discussing protection outside the home.
“Protect yourself,” said Parsons. “Your life is in your own hands.”
Every year students at SF State and around the country earn their degree and enter a job market that often asks them to choose between their passion and their bank account. Assuming that it’s impossible to have a career that is both personally fulfilling and financial secure, students shy away from opportunities with the more than 3,200 nonprofit organizations in California alone.
“There’s very little money in those agencies to go around,” said Bill Mooney, who graduated last spring with a B.A. in sociology from SF State. “ My experience is that they (nonprofits) are disorganized, and what they hope to achieve is often so daunting.”
While at State, Mooney interned with Green Action, an environmental nonprofit, and also volunteered with another organization that focused on tutoring refugees. Mooney turned down a full-time position with the later of the two, Refugee Transitions, due in part to funding and salary considerations. Although concerns about money, organization and job security in the nonprofit sector are valid, they are not universal and are often overshadowed by the “intellectual currency” these organizations provide.
Melissa Lunkin is the executive director of CORA (Community Overcoming Relations Abuse), a San Mateo based nonprofit focused on addressing domestic violence issues. Each year the center takes 4,700 hotline calls, provides legal assistance to 1,000 clients and assist nearly 10,000 San Mateo teens and adults through community based outreach programs. Although Lunkin had no previous experience in the field of domestic violence, she was able to use her experience as an Outward Bound day camp instructor and her MBA in finance to land her current position.
“I was looking for something that mattered more than the executives I was training,” said Lunkin.
Lunkin manages 35 full time staff members, 130 active volunteers and plays liaison to 15 board members; experts appointed by the nonprofit to oversee its finances, goals and direction. Lunkin said that although her work is both challenging and rewarding, there were in upwards of 100 such positions open when she was interviewing.
“Coming from the corporate culture, this world can make you crazy,” said Lunkin. “ You don’t get paid a lot of money and it’s intense work.”
The two biggest concerns related to pursuing a career in nonprofits tend to be money and burnout.
SF State Recreation and Leisure professor Regina Neu takes a more optimistic perspective when explaining these challenges.
“That’s part of the fun of working for many small nonprofit agencies,” said Neu. “You get to do everything.”
Neu has a background in elementary education and worked for years with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. She listed securing grant money and a slow moving bureaucracy as two additional challenges associated with nonprofits.
“It’s very difficult to get a consensus when you work for a group of people,” said Neu. “You don’t have one boss, you have 12.”
Neu is referring to the board members and varying levels of full-time staff that all tend to have a say in how most nonprofits are run. Neu also said that it is a challenge to keep a nonprofits volunteer staff motivated, due either to the tedious or overly stressful nature of their work.
“At Big Brothers Big Sisters, if I kept them (volunteers) for 18 months, I’d consider it a success,” said Neu.
Big Brothers Big Sisters focuses on pairing at risk youths with adult mentors. It is one of almost 2,000 Bay Area nonprofits that offer SF State graduates an opportunity to make an impact on their local or national communities while still earning a living.
Stacy Roberts previously worked in SF State’s college of education and is now the executive director of the Math and Science Network. The nonprofit focuses on exposing girls to careers in math and science through conferences were they meet professional woman ranging from biologists to physicists to astronauts.
“They teach them how to make slime, Lego’s, all that good stuff,” said Roberts.
Even with two masters degrees and 21 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, Roberts still finds the work both challenging and stressful. She listed a background in social work and the ability to write grant proposals as desirable skills when pursuing a career in nonprofits. She also said that patience and a sense of humor help allot.
“Every day that I keep our doors open is a miracle,” said Roberts. “And to work with a group of girls in a hands on experiment, and know that you made it happen is very rewarding and empowering.”
In the Bay Area alone, SF State students can find full-time work or volunteer opportunities in almost every conceivable subject of interest. The Volunteer Center, a nonprofit support and job listing organization covering San Francisco and San Mateo, currently has in upwards of 150 listings in the nonprofit sector that can be found at www.thevolunteercenter.net.
Hospice and Shanti both provide companionship and medical assistance to the terminally ill and their families. Americorps trains 50,000 Americans every year, most college graduates, in areas ranging from education to public safety, and offers money for graduate school. Animal shelters around the Bay Area work with organizations such as P.A.W.S. to find homes for stray animals at risk for being put to sleep.
SF State senior Costa Vorrises has been working for Newton Learning Center, a nonprofit agency based in Foster City specializing in after school tutoring, for the past five years. Vorrises said he enjoys the lively atmosphere and rewarding nature of his work, but fears he will not be able to maintain the high level of commitment that working with special needs children requires.
“Sometimes you just don’t want to do it,” said Vorrises. “Patience is a big thing when you get the same kid asking the same question 20 times in one minute.”
Vorrises said he sticks with it because of the impact he can make with the children he tutors.
“I enjoy the way I can interact with the parents and how they can see their kids communication and people skills improving,” said Vorrises.
Still, many SF State students harbor lingering concerns about their ability to survive and stay motivated in what is often an emotionally and fiscally draining field.
“Nonprofits interest me because they are human/care based rather than being money driven,” said Damoven Bozorgzadardbah, a CAD and French major. “But I’m also concerned about not being able to make a living and losing my passion.”
Professor Neu summarized what is most important to many students and corporate transplants that have chosen to work in the nonprofit sector.
“Every night when I went home, I could absolutely say I helped kids,” said Neu. “To most, it’s all about passion.”
An independent consulting firm has recommended the dean of the College of Ethnic Studies, Tomas Almaguer, who became dean in 2000, be placed on leave for up to one year.
The report, conducted by Diversity Matters, a consulting firm specializing in human resource management, was part of a settlement agreed by the California Faculty Association, a union representing 23,000 faculty and staff of the CSU, and SF State during a Dec. 2003 mediation session.
The Diversity Matters report was not part of a formal personnel review process and was not intended to assess the dean’s job performance or productivity, according to Jan Gregory, a CFA member.
A formal performance review of an administrator is undertaken by the university administration and college faculty. It occurs every five years. Almaguer is due for his formal performance review this fall or spring.
During the spring of 2003, CFA filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against the dean. This action was prompted by regular complaints from faculty within the college since the dean was hired, according to sources in CFA.
The settlement between CFA, which represented the faculty of the College of Ethnic Studies, and the university administration called for an “assessment of the climate of the College in regard to race and gender” instead of an investigation, according to the report.
The consultants interviewed 35 staff and faculty members individually and in groups, including an interview with the dean, in May. Their report was released in June and is a public document.
Key findings of the report included:
• “There is severe internal conflict and distrust in the College of Ethnic Studies.”
• Many people who support the dean consider his style “abrasive, rude, easily misunderstood and lacking in diplomacy.”
• 50 percent of women who were interviewed complained about “derogatory, inappropriate comments made by the dean.”
• A number of men who were interviewed supported allegations of negative treatment of women.
• The dean’s behavior is “not likely to change with corrective action.”
“I have no comment and don’t want to dignify the report,” Almaguer said, when
asked if he thought the report was fair and accurate.
Jim Okutsu, the associate dean of Ethnic Studies, also declined to comment
on the report.
The services of Diversity Matters cost $10,000 and were paid for jointly by the faculty union and university administration, according to Nina Fendel, regional staff coordinator for the CFA.
In their report, the team stated that the dean’s “Micro-management style is not conducive to collegiality and is a major factor in the high level of conflict between the dean and many faculty.” In addition, the report stated, “The dean is perceived as culturally insensitive and divisive.”
The report continued, “Given the numerous incidents detailed during the assessment process … any reasonable person would conclude that an investigation of sexual harassment is warranted.”
“We worked hard to make sure we put everything that was relevant into the report and all of us worked on it and agreed with it,” said Linda Gonzalez, one of the Diversity Matters consultants.
Calls to the SF State provost’s and president’s office were not returned.
Jan Gregory, faculty rights panel chair and CFA member, and Marilyn Verhey, dean of Faculty Affairs and Professional Development, responded to the report in an Aug. 17 letter to President Corrgian, proposing a “formal performance review process begin in fall 2004” to evaluate Almaguer.
Verhey and Gregory also recommended SF State:
• Bring in “an experienced consultant in conflict resolution to help faculty develop healthy strategies.”
• Create "a broader-based ‘leadership group’ on the College.”
• Have an “‘executive mentor’ … who might work with the dean on more appropriate strategies for interpersonal conduct with others.”
The president of the university can ultimately determine personnel matters like retention and dismissal.
“The university has agreed with all of the recommendations” in the Aug. 17 letter, said Verhey in a phone interview. “The administrative review committee for the dean is being constituted and the Academic Senate is going to be involved, working with the faculty [of Ethnic Studies] to develop a leadership group.”
When asked why CFA and Academic Affairs did not recommend Almaguer take a six- to 12-month administrative leave, as the Diversity Matters report suggested, Verhey said, "The report is advisory. Diversity Matters’ advice, along with our responsibility to uphold the University’s administrative review processes, was considered by CFA and Academic Affairs in making our recommendations."
CFA and SF State agreed to mediation rather than an investigation because “an investigation is oriented towards a violation of the law that would lead to a successful lawsuit,” said Fendel. She added both parties wanted to avoid a lawsuit that could drag on for years and instead undergo a more constructive process.
“This is a very tricky situation when you have a polarized college with some people who feel they are treated very poorly and others who feel they have been treated very well,” said Fendel. “We are continuing to get complaints since the report came out which concerns us greatly. We are setting up meetings with faculty in the college to answer questions about the situation, and to assist faculty."
Some faculty members in the college said the working atmosphere has not changed since the report was given to the university administration.
“I haven’t seen anything better,” said Marlon Hom, chair of the Asian American studies department. “It’s business as usual for the people who are in power.”
Dorothy Tsuruta, chair of the Black studies department, wrote in an e-mail to [X]Press, “The report was fair and accurate, and the Black studies department – along with faculty and staff in every department of the College of Ethnic Studies – respects the report and find the problems identified in the report are continuing, and in fact have escalated beginning with the first week of the fall semester.”
Other faculty in the college did not think the report was fair or accurate.
“The report confused department politics with college politics,” said Joanne Barker, assistant professor in the American Indian studies department. “[The problems] were generalized too quickly as a college wide problem.”
Barker, who was hired in 2003, said that there is perception in the college that new hires are “in the dean’s pocket” and that many in the American Indian studies department are “pro-dean.” However, she said the problems in the college “are old political and ideological perceptions” that pre-date the dean.
The report, she contended, did not reflect her experience teaching in the department. She said the report was the product of the biases of the Diversity Matters consultants, one of whom, she felt, asked leading questions about the college climate.
“I’ve spent an hour with the folks doing this study and I see nothing that indicates they heard anything I said,” said Clay Dumont, an associate professor in Sociology who is affiliated with the American Indian studies department.
Dumont, who also had not seen the report before speaking for this story, said the union must have sent the report to “disgruntled” faculty members.
“[The report] doesn’t reflect those of us who respect the dean,” said Dumont.
“The dean came with an agenda for this college to take a lead place in the country,” said Rafael Diaz, director of the Cesar Chavez Institute and professor in the Ethnic Studies program.
Diaz, who works almost exclusively off campus at the institute, said he was not interviewed for the report and had not seen the report before speaking for this story. But he said that many of the junior faculty members he works with are enthusiastic and enjoy their work in the college. The report, he said, is not accurate in its depiction of a climate of distrust or internal conflict.
“[Almaguer’s] personal style can be abrasive,” he said. “I think he’s wanted change and he has ruffled some feathers.”
SF State is a role model when it comes to mobilization efforts for voting registration, according to a new Harvard survey.
The school was singled out for effectively using innovative ways of making students aware of the importance of voting and encouraging their participation.
Based on responses from 249 U.S. colleges and universities, the survey concluded that only 16.9 percent of the schools polled met the standards set by the1998 Higher Education Act. More than one-third of the schools failed to meet even the spirit of the federal law that stipulates on-campus practices such as absentee ballot applications and voter registration drives.
SF State not only offers candidate nights, panel discussions and voter registration drives, but also a class to educate students on more in depth aspects of this year's election.
But the university's administration is only a facilitator in this process, said SF State political science professor Corey Cook. He said that a large part of the credit for these achievements should be given to the students, the faculty and the activist nature of the campus.
There are several student clubs and organizations at SF State that run ads in the campus newspaper, hold ballot receipt promotions and organize events to promote voter registration.
"President Corrigan deserves the credit for making this civic engagement one of the school priorities because not a lot of universities do this," Cook said. "But he is not the only one responsible for it. Even if the administration said 'we won't register anyone on campus anymore,' we'd still have a great voting turn-out," said Cook.
Nearly two out of three SFSU students who were eligible to vote did so in the 2002 elections, according to SF State's office of public affairs.
Some students said that the trend could be explained by the liberal views of San Francisco. Others said it's because of the constant critical thinking challenges that many professors emphasize in class.
“It's both,” said political science professor Nicole Watts. “The modeling that you see around this school and this activist environment is very inspirational to all of us.”
SF State graduate student Scott O'Brien said he chose to attend SF State because of its activist reputation.
"Here they get people to think critically and to be involved,” said O'Brien. “And that's one of the reasons I like it."
This semester, one of the projects Cook has assigned to his political science class includes choices such as volunteering in a political campaign and registering 10 voters. Most of the students chose to do the registering project.
"That's 2,500 voters," said Cook, as he estimated the number of students in his class.
However, Cook said his goal is not to get people to vote, but to have them execute their political power. He said people could do that even by not voting, as long as they have a reason for making such a decision.
"If they choose not to vote because they don't like any of the candidates or because they don't like the voting system, it's fine. They have made a decision," Cook said. "My problem is with the mindless, the one that doesn't care. My problem is with the one that says 'I'm a democrat because my mom is a democrat.'"
Those who vote based on what people tell them to do or based on a television commercial have a false sense of power, Cook said.
And students are working to educate those who think that way. "Only 25 percent of voters are between the ages 18 and 25. The rest of them are older people," said Viet-Thi Ta, an SF State physiology junior. "These people are setting the rules for us and young people think they won't be affected, but they will.
Ta is involved with two organizations on campus - the Beta Phi Sorority and the Asian Student Union - in which they have been planning events to promote voter registration and also to educate them on how to vote. They are also working to get speakers and panels on campus as the election day gets closer.
When it comes to politics and urban issues, "we're the best university in the world," said Cooks, who also is a former Hayward University professor and who chose SF State among the 34 other schools he has applied in the past.
"I can't imagine talking for 50 minutes here without being interrupted by a student, which is good. In most colleges in the U.S., you can do that and students will just listen and take notes," Cook said.
Budget pressures, staff shortages and two new state laws have recently spawned a move to suspend the gerontology program for at least the next two semesters, leaving classes intact for current students while closing the doors for applicants.
SF State’s Gerontology program plays a key role in preparing for a senior citizen population expected to reach 74 million in the next few decades. It is the first and only public school system in all of Northern California to offer a Master’s degree specifically geared towards the study of aging and the needs of the elderly.
“Every five seconds, someone turns 50,” said Brian de Vries, department chair of SF State’s Gerontology program.
This April, faculty and staff in the Gerontology program learned that Don Zingale, the former dean of the College of Health and Human Services (HSS) recommended the program for discontinuance as part of SF State’s attempt to resolve a $23 million budget gap.
But de Vries said that “HSS returned $900,000 to the state last semester; 10 percent of which was money earmarked for the Gerontology program.”
Soon after the college announced the possible discontinuance of the program, “letters started pouring in to President Robert Corrigan’s office disputing the dean’s decision. said Anabel Pelham, professor of Gerontology. “So far, Corrigan has received 300 letters in support of keeping the program open. Even the San Francisco Board of Supervisors weighed in on the issue in May, passing a resolution urging SF State to continue the program.”
Last week, SF State’s Academic Senate held an informational discussion on a proposal, requested by Gerontology faculty members and approved by the Senate’s Educational Policy Council, to suspend the program. Faculty said that suspension wouldn’t close the program or affect current students, but it would prevent any new enrollments in the major.
Gerontology faculty member Darlene Yee spoke last Tuesday to address senators’ questions as to why Gerontology faculty had asked for a suspension..
“There is now a statewide mandate, with two legislative bills, SB 953 and AB 2202, where the state of California is requiring the CSU system, and SFSU obviously, to address the issue of Gerontology curriculum,” said Yee.
These two statewide mandates hope to integrate the discipline of the study of gerontology with all health care related majors, such as nursing, mental health and social work.
In addition to the new state requirements, Yee also said that a heavy teaching workload was a reason program faculty is calling for a suspension. There are only three faculty members for the more than 80 students studying Gerontology.
“The program has the faculty working too hard,” said Richard Giardina, associate Vice President for Academic Planning & Assessment. “They are trying to teach more courses than there are students.”
But de Vries said more students continue to apply to the Gerontology department.
“The program has increased in student enrollment by 150 percent over the last three years,” de Vries said.
Gerontology student June Alexander knows quite a bit about the needs of older Americans. After retiring in 2001, Alexander says she became interested in pursuing a degree in the Gerontology program due to the support of Professor Pelham. Alexander, who said that she is only a couple of classes away from completing her own degree, explains that her focus is on what she calls positive aging, a combination of body, mind, spirit and attitude.
“Aging is something that starts with birth, and it’s the one social class that we’ll all be in one of these days, if we live long enough,” Alexander said.
“Nowadays, it’s not your grandmother’s or your mother’s old age. There’s so many neat things happening right now that we’re almost like pioneers.”
While Alexander said that there are have been some rough spots in the Gerontology program, overall she said that the department is very active, very strong and very well supported. Students in the Gerontology program are required to work 20 hours per week as part-time interns in the community of San Francisco, assisting local caregivers in tending to the needs of many older San Francisco residents.
“I think sometimes we’re better known in the community than we are on campus, but we’ll try to change that,” Alexander said.
Pelham also said that as more Americans pass beyond middle age and move into their 60’s, younger Americans may have to change some of the fears, myths and stereotypes often associated with aging.
“For the first time in human history, there’s going to be this enormous wave of adults called the Baby Boomers. This is an international phenomena – it’s not just in America. By 2010, ten thousand people a day are going to turn 60,” Pelham said. “It’s going to change everything,”
Katerina Siskron, director for the Russian Program at SF State has just returned to her office with a stack of envelopes, seven high.
“Every day we get letters of support for our program,” said Siskron. “It’s like getting fan mail, or something.”
When the CSU was forced to return $23 million to the state of California this past April, one of the proposals made by Paul Sherwin, dean of Humanities and the Humanities Council, was to save the University a mere $15,000 annually by altogether eliminating the Russian B.A and M.A from their curriculum.
Since then, the potential elimination of the Russian degree has been a hot issue, not only for SF State faculty members, but also the San Francisco community at large.
SF State’s Russian Department website hosts a page where concerned students and community members may sign a petition to save the Russian Program. More than 600 signatures in support of the petition have been received in the past month.
Paul Sherwin, dean of humanities presented a proposal on Sept. 22 to SF State’s Academic Senate in support for eliminating the Russian B.A and M.A
In the proposal, Sherwin said, “(The Russian program’s) scholarly achievements are modest; the undergraduate program is hardly distinctive.” Sherwin also said, “the program lacks the breadth, depth, and innovative vigor that characterize the other programs throughout the College of Humanities.”
But Svetlana Kristal, Russian lecturer said, “The Russian language is spoken all over the world; 300 million people speak Russian either as their first or second language. Eight percent of people in the Bay Area speak Russian. It deservers to be preserved.”
According to the 2000 U.S census, 8.3 percent of the United States population spoke Russian. “We still, to this day have a fast-growing community of Russians in the Bay Area,” said Kristal. “We come in second after the Chinese.”
But according to Sherwin’s elimination proposal, “links to the Russian community are not as strong as they once were.”
“That’s because the Cold War ended years ago,” Kristal said. “Of course they didn’t want to cut our program during the Cold War. But, now that the United States are friends with Russia, they want to cut our program.”
According to a study recorded by the CSU Academic Resource, the average Russian class size is about 13, compared to the 28-student average for the rest of the College of Humanities. Additionally, only eleven B.A degrees were awarded to Russian majors over the past five years, and five M.A degrees in Russian.
However, the Russian Bachelor’s Degree offered at SF State is the only one in all of northern California. The Master of Arts in Russian is the only one of its kind statewide.
According to Midori McKeon, chair of the Foreign Language Department, “Russia plays one of the key roles in the world’s war on terrorism and is an important partner of this nation in commerce, international politics, and scientific ventures.
Because of the Russian program’s potential elimination, Siskron said she was “only able to accept 10 of the 14 Bachelor degree applicants this semester. But even those students had to put ‘undeclared’ as their major. “We had to deny all 5 of our Master of Arts applicants,” Siskron said.
Amber Clark, 23 is a Russian studies major and Secretary/Treasurer for the Russian Club at SF State.
“The Russian program has a lot to offer,” Clark said. “The study of Russian literature really helps to humanize their culture. There is such a stigma on other cultures here in the United States, especially if we are, or have been, at war with them in the recent past.”
Clark is one of many students studying Russian to broaden her knowledge and understanding of other cultures. Clark said that it is easy for us to get stuck inside our own culture, and a program such as that of the Russian one can help students separate a culture’s true identity from what is being shown in the news on TV and in newspapers.
“Sometimes all we know of a culture is what we see in the news,” Clark said.
“And sometimes what we see in the news can generate fear and fear is what starts wars,” she said.
On October 6th, as per the request of both the Russian faculty as well as McKeon, a rebuttal will be presented to Sherwin’s elimination proposal before the SF State Academic Senate. On October 12th, a decision will be made whether or not to eliminate the B.A. and M.A. in Russian.
Siskron will use both the letters of support, as well as the online petition, showing the overwhelming support for the program. If you’d like to add your name to this list, go to http://www.sfsu.edu/~russian/
After months of contention, Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill on Sep. 18 that would have created limits on fee increases for in-state UC and CSU students.
The legislation, which was approved by the state legislature, would have gradually adjusted student fees annually according to changes in California per capita income.
Under AB 2710, the UC and CSU systems would have been able to increase fees a maximum of only 8 percent a year, in the case of a dire fiscal state emergency.
For example, if the failed AB 2710 had been passed before this fiscal school year, undergraduate student fees would have been raised 8 percent instead of 14, as was the case this semester.
In a press statement released by the governor’s office, Schwarzenegger wrote, “I am returning this bill without a signature. This bill establishes a resident student fee policy that is inconsistent with the student fee policy provisions of the higher education compact that I reached with the University of California and California State University systems.”
During meetings with the governor in May, UC President Robert Dynes and CSU chancellor Charles Reed entered into a compact with Schwarzenegger. The agreement stipulates that the CSU and UC system leaders will accept temporary budget cuts in exchange for restored funding by the year 2011.
“The legislation does not support the compact,” said Bruce Hamlett, chief consultant of the State Assembly Higher Education Committee. “That is something between the governor and the CSU and UC presidents.”
The legislation was also the subject of debate since Assemblywoman Carol Liu introduced it in Feb. 2004.
Proponents, such as Hamlett, had lauded the bill as a way to keep down escalating school tuitions in the state.
“This would have treated students as customers with a choice,” Hamlett said, adding that it would have helped keep student costs from skyrocketing.
Many student groups were also disappointed by the decision as well, including the California State Student Association.
“We wanted to push that bill as a priority,” said Joshua Castro, vice president of external affairs of SF State’s Associated Students and member of the CSSA.
“Now that he’s vetoed it we’re going to have to go back to the drawing board with that particular policy. But we do want a long-term fee policy instituted so that students could be safe from any large and sudden increases in their student fees.”
Opponents of the AB 2710 bill were glad to hear of the governor’s veto. Both the CSU and UC system administrators had opposed the bill.
“We very satisfied with the decision,” said CSU spokesperson Clara Potes-Fellow. “Schwarzenegger agreed with us.”
According to UC office of the president spokesperson Abby Lunardini, the bill would have limited their abilities to maintain the UC system by making it harder for them to make their own choices about student’s fees.
“We requested a veto from the governor for (AB 2710),” said Lunardini. “It would cap fees without providing adequate support for funding.”
Hamlett disagreed with the notion.
According to Hamlett, while AB 2710 would have limited the UC and CSU’s decision making, keeping student fee increases sensible was a main priority.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill that encourages universities, publishers, bookstores and faculty to work together to reduce the cost of textbooks for students, but vetoed a bill urging trustees to establish textbook rental programs on all CSU campuses.
AB 2477, signed by the governor on Sept. 16, encourages faculty, publishers and bookstores to share information about the prices of textbooks and publishing options available. With this information more accessible, faculty members are asked to consider the least costly practices in assigning textbooks, such as adopting cheaper editions that are educationally sound. The bill also suggests a review of the communication between professors and bookstores regarding the adoption and ordering of texts.
The bill urges instructors and publishers to only offer textbooks packaged with CD-ROMs or other extras if the bundling saves students money. “Unbundled” alternatives should be offered as well.
It asks publishers to list the prices of bundled, unbundled and supplemental materials, disclose how long an edition will be offered and provide a free copy for the library. Students and faculty should also be told how newer editions differ from older books.
On Sept. 16 Schwarzenegger also vetoed AB 2678, which created guidelines for a textbook rental program for CSU campuses. The governor said in his veto message that although he supports the idea of rental programs, he could not sign the bill.
“I am opposed to provisions in the bill [AB 2678] that would allow additional fees to be assessed to all students, even those not using the program, in order to keep a textbook rental service financially self sustaining,” said Schwarzenegger in his veto message.
Assemblyman Paul Koretz (D-West Hollywood) said in a written statement that the veto is a setback for textbook rental programs and college students.
“This veto increases the chances that textbook rental services at California colleges will be financially unsound and lacking in appropriate protections for students, faculty and administrators,” Koretz said.
Both bills come from a concern about the rising cost of textbooks.
Assemblywoman Carol Liu (D-La Canada Flintridge) began work on AB 2477 after a report published in January by the California Public Interest Research Group found that college students spend an average of $898 per year on textbooks. The report stated that textbooks packaged with CD-ROMs and workbooks, frequent new editions and the lack of awareness by faculty of the cost of books they assign all contributed to the steep hike.
Liu’s bill on textbook pricing has no enforcement power. Instead it urges and encourages cooperation to find ways to save students money on textbooks. Some say it will make little difference.
“Unless ‘encourage’ implies something in the order of blackmail, the bill has little or no enforcement measures,” said Larry Klingenberg, an SF State engineering lecturer and member of both the Student Affairs Committee and Academic Senate. “The bottom line is, the legislature is requesting the publishers to make less money. This is America. It will never happen.”
Klingenberg tries to save his students money by placing copies of required textbooks in the library reserve room. He suggested SF State could begin a similar practice of buying about 30 copies of popular textbooks and placing them in the reserve room for students to use. If the technique became widespread, it could place publishers in a financial bind and force them to lower prices, Klingenberg said.
Psychology professor David Matsumoto said that textbook publishers are willing, when asked, to provide unbundled books or extra copies for teacher’s assistants and the library reserve room.
Association of American Publishers Executive Director for Higher Education Bruce Hildebrand said Liu’s bill will not change how publishers do business because they already work with campuses and instructors to give them “hundreds of thousands” of textbook options.
“If they request it, we’ll provide it,” Hildebrand said. “If they don’t, then we’re a highly competitive business and whoever comes out with the best product that the professors prefer, then that’s the product that will come into the classroom.”
SFSU Bookstore General Manager Robert Strong said textbook rental programs are not necessarily the answer. He said the textbook buy-back program could save students the same amount of money if professors worked with bookstores to get orders in on time.
Instructors are told to submit their lists of required materials one to two weeks before the buy-back program launches each semester. If a textbook has already been requested for the coming semester, the bookstore pays students 50 percent of a book’s value. If not, students receive the wholesale value—about $12 for a $100 book—or nothing.
“The faculty need to be aware of the options and the effect of their decisions or lack of decisions,” Strong said. “And look for cheaper options.”
A repeat break-in leaves non-profit program in danger of temporary closure.
Over the weekend, an unidentified suspect broke into the HSS building, where the non-profit coalition Jumpstart is located and stole a computer, laptop and fax machine
For the second time in two weeks their office has been broken into. Seven digital cameras, a pocket personal computer and one video camera were stolen during the September 11th weekend.
“Our program can’t function now because they’ve stolen everything,” said Jumpstart site director Lygia Stebbing.
“They busted into five different offices this weekend--there’s no way to secure our office or equipment.”
Steebing suspected the thief broke into the office by climbing onto a garbage can outside the building, then climbing onto a walking ledge surrounding HSS and finally kicking in the window.
Since the program is uninsured by the university, Jumpstart is left without any resources to continue their work. The mentoring staff won’t be paid on time because the coordinators don’t have the computer resources to enter and complete their pay roll, said Cindy Cervantes, the associate site director.
“This is the second time this has happened and all campus police told us to do was lock our windows,” said Cervantes. “It hurts because our organization is for kids from low-income communities, so stealing from us is like stealing from those kids.”
Campus police are in possession of a videotape of the suspect from the first break-in, but are in the process of reviewing the surveillance tape.
“We have no suspects at this time,” said Sgt. Jennifer Schwartz of the campus police. “The investigation is still fresh.”
Jumpstart is aimed at providing mentoring and financial literacy education for students. The program pairs college students with low-income kindergarten through 12th graders for one year working on language, literacy and social skills.
The camera equipment stolen from the program was used to create picture books for the kids in the program, while the computer equipment stolen was used to store lesson plans for students and calculate Jumpstart’s payroll, said Stebbing.
“It’s ridiculous that this has happened again,” said Cervantes. “It is the worst time that this could have happened because we are still recovering from budget cuts.”
Team leader and mentor for the program, Alecsis Ducusin, is upset with the lack of action from campus police.
“These kids already lack a lot of things,” said Ducusin. “They look up to us for supplies and support and we don’t have anything for them now.”
In the Greek Orthodox tradition, Saturday of the Souls is a twice-yearly celebration intended, in part, to remind the living of the fragile nature of life and the finality of death. Nothing seemed more self-evident Friday night as friends and family packed into the Fountain of Youth Chapel at Greek Memorial Park to honor the life of SF State photojournalist Stacey Doukas.
Remembered for her passion, selflessness and vibrant, flowing dreadlocks, Doukas left an almost universal glow with everyone she met.
“You can’t think of Stacey without smiling,” said Tula Gieseker, Doukas’ aunt whom Stacey called ‘Tootsie.’
Killed in a car accident Wednesday, Sept. 8. Anastasia Irini Doukas, 28, was buried with her grandfather Nicolas in a massive, granite plot at the peak of Greek Memorial Park, the cemetery he founded in 1935. Mourners stacked brilliantly colored flower arrangements nearly seven feet high around the flagpole that marks Doukas’ gravesite.
In Greek, Anastasia means “the resurrection” and Doukas’ final resting place is just feet from the small, wooden chapel that as children, she and her brother Greg would race to finish cleaning in preparation for the Saturday of the Souls celebration.
But there was no celebration Friday as more than 300 people came to pay homage to a dutiful daughter, loyal friend and gifted student. For many, the memorial was a needed release.
“It was a lot more healing than I expected,” said Karen Chan, Doukas’ best friend since grade school. “I felt like I could sleep that night.”
At the age of 12, Doukas met Chan at Fernando Rivera Middle School. At the predominantly Philipino school, the two “outcasts” clicked instantly and spent hours reading silently in the library.
“We saw each other everyday with the rest of the nerdier kids who would sooner read Clan of the Cave Bear than play tetherball,” Chan said. “We were just a couple of misfits who fit.”
Doukas’ mother has multiple sclerosis and it was at around that time that she began to deteriorate. Her mother would soon require constant supervision and Doukas took it upon herself to take care of her-- along with rigors of school, work and a large Greek family.
“It was very hard for her to balance work and school, but she never once used it as an excuse,” said Ken Kobre, director of the photojournalism sequence at SF State. “I don’t know any student who has had that big of a burden.”
Doukas had to repeat many of her photojournalism courses and Kobre said that the technical elements didn’t come easy to her. Chan tried to shed light on some of these challenging moments.
“Her mother would go into the hospital, and those are the times she fell apart in school,” Chan said.
Doukas also cared for, and lived with, her elderly grandmother, or “yaya” in Greek.
“As soon as she came in the room she would say ‘Yaya how can I help you? Yaha what can I do for you,’” said Tula Doukas, Stacey’s grandmother.
It seemed Doukas lived a double life: One part “dutiful daughter,” one part passionate and eccentric student.
In addition to photography and writing, Doukas studied German, a passion acquired after embarking on a semester abroad to Europe in 1997.
Wanting to stay in Europe but feeling an immense responsibility to her family back home, Doukas returned in 2000.
“Family always came first,” said best friend Chan.
Back at home, Doukas enrolled at SF State and worked her way through the photojournalism sequence, producing note worthy photo stories covering a Mission restaurant, a female boxer and a cross-dresser. Kobre said that she had recently turned the corner professionally.
“She finally understood what photojournalism meant and it was a marvelous thing to see,” said Kobre.
Students, friends and family all spoke of a caring, kind and thoughtful woman who accepted everyone unconditionally and who lit up the room wherever she went. And no one could forget the dreadlocks.
“She was really someone special and her hair reflected that,” said Sara Henderson, a photojournalism major and friend of Doukas’. “She was always really nice and picked me up with encouragement. That’s just who Stacey was.”
Henderson is one of several SF State photojournalism students who indicated that Doukas had played a major role in keeping them in the department.
“She wouldn’t let me quit,” said Ted Mendoza. “She had a way of bringing people back.”
Others spoke of the sincerity and sometimes brutal honesty that earned her loyal friends and an occasional enemy.
“She was a great friend to have and was always transparent,” said SF State alumnus Martin Jimenez. “She would give you an opinion, money, anything you needed…but she would always let you know where you stood with her. She never held anything back.”
The photojournalism department is working on plans to release a book comprised of Doukas’ work, with proceeds going to a scholarship already established in her name. The hope is not only to raise money but also awareness.
“Looking at the projects she did, you really got a sense of who she was: a sensitive and talented photographer,” said friend and photojournalist Natalie Schrik. “ Her family didn’t know a lot about what she did at school. We can give them a piece of her they didn’t know.”
Friends attribute Doukas’ rough, flamboyant, in your face attitude to her childhood with a tough and protective brother, and to her mother’s increasingly dependent medical situation.
“She just never got a break,” said Chan. “A lot of people didn’t realize just how vulnerable and needy she was because she played the tough girl. She still needed love, support and someone to hold her hand.”
Chan said that Doukas often struggled with her self-esteem, but that she recently had been more upbeat due to a big promotion and blossoming relationship. She was promoted to a salaried managerial position at Medjoul, a Mediterranean restaurant she only recently began working at and for which she had no previous experience.
“She was just so proud of herself,” Chan said.
She had also purchased airline tickets to visit a man oversees for whom Doukas had developed a growing romance.
“He really accepted her for who she was,” said Chan. “She truly loved him.”
On the verge of graduation, with a new job and promising relationship, Doukas drove her father’s Toyota Forerunner into the exit lane on Highway 280 South early Wednesday morning and ran the stop sign at Mariposa. Her vehicle jumped the curb and struck the three-foot, steel guardrails and fell nearly 50 feet back onto the highway.
Her death leaves close friends and family with vivid memories of a smart, funny and often misunderstood woman whose selflessness and artistic vision will be remembered through memories and the scholarship that bears her name.
“I don’t think she ever realized how much love was available to her,” said Chan.
“Under all that wild stuff, she was really a sweet and thoughtful girl.”
Chris Jackson hangs out at the same table inside the food court everyday. For over a year, the politically and socially active student has entertained friends by talking about upcoming fraternity socials or debating with them about his favorite topics: politics and sports.
According to Jackson, who currently interns with District 6 Supervisor Chris Daly, the “table,” which is located by the Gold Coast Grill area, is his outlet for tranquility.
“It’s a great release for me and a place for me to be myself,” said Jackson, 21.
He then points to a group of friends that walks by to greet him. For over an hour, Jackson sees someone he knows from his table every 10 minutes and takes a moment to laugh with them.
“My friends aren’t really into politics like me but we do talk about it and debate sometimes,” said Jackson. “That’s why I love them,” referring to a time he and his friend, Adam Johnson, got into a debate with the Lyndon LaRouche table on 19th Avenue.
“It was a pretty good philosophical discussion about Kerry and why we should vote for their candidate instead,” said Jackson. “We got to know about their candidate a little bit more.”
For Jackson, who is originally from the East Bay but now resides five minutes from campus, politics is a very important part of his life and society in general, said Jackson.
“I just got involved with school politics. I was the Associated Students sophomore representative last year and didn’t realize a lot of what was going on in school,” said Jackson.
“I didn’t know where my student fees were going and when I was the sophomore representative, I thought, ‘Man, this is great,’” said Jackson. “I also took a class on San Francisco politics and I just knew I wanted to be involved.”
According to Jackson, he spent a day at City Hall looking for an internship and knocked on Supervisor Daly’s office. Daly, who is known for his fiery temper, had a nasty public exchange with former Mayor Willie Brown two years ago over the city’s homeless issue.
“Chris has a temper, is fiery and passionate,” said Jackson. “I knew I wanted to be Supervisor Daly’s intern because we have the same styles.”
“I knocked and knocked. Then I opened the mail slot and yelled,
‘Hello, hello?’ No one answered and I just walked away,” recalled Jackson. “Then, Rachel Redonize (an aide to Supervisor Daly) opened the door and we did an interview that day. That’s how it started.”
Jackson was exposed to poverty at an early age.
“I went to Saint Leo the Great Elementary [School] and remember in the fifth grade, a homeless man with a ‘I’m poor’ sign by Piedmont Avenue,” said Jackson. “A man in a BMW drove up to him and told him that he had a job and that he should get one too.”
“I keep that in my heart,” said Jackson. “I can’t condemn those who sell drugs. I know some of them didn’t have the same benefits as me. I was lucky, I grew up in the suburbs and went to catholic school.”
Jackson has also been involved with Ross Mirkarimi’s campaign for District 5 supervisor for over two months and is currently taking 16 units on top of his internship and duties on the Youth Commission at City Hall. He is also has a commitment to the Iota Phi Theta fraternity, where his nickname is “Politically Incorrect.”
Nicole Derse is Mirkarmi’s campaign coordinator. According to Derse, who has known Jackson for over a year, the SF State student is very passionate about politics. “Chris is an amazing and incredible leader,” said Derse, 26. “He’s honest and tirelessly wants to change the city. He’s also courageous and works with the hardest issues, such as violence and youth employment.”
Mirkarimi, a long-time activist and member of the California Green Party, agrees with Derse. “Chris is a real joy to be politicking with.
He’s got solid grasp for making people feel empowered and a large appetite for promoting the civic good,” said Mirkarimi.
“Politics is important because it affects African-Americans,” said Jackson. “My people are dying on the streets and there’s a high rate of violence. I also can’t say this is a Bayview-Hunter’s Point problem, but a citywide problem. Everyone is hurt by it and we need citywide measures to address the quality of life.”
According to Jackson, when he has free time, he spends his Sundays with his mother in Pinole, where she currently lives and where raised him as a single parent.
“I get my hard work ethics form my mom. She’s from Arkansas and works hard. She raised me by herself,” said Jackson.
For Jackson, who is double majoring in speech communications and urban studies, his future consists of politics. On his outgoing message on his voicemail, Jackson proclaims he will be the next “mayor of San Francisco, governor of California and president of the U.S.” Until he graduates in one year, the Dallas Cowboys fan plans to return to SF State’s Associated Students to continue to root for the underdogs.
Jackson said, “The Dallas Cowboys used to win but I love them when they lose.”
“I root for the underdogs because I’m an underdog. I’m a person of color in politics and was born an underdog,” said Jackson. “The people before me worked four times hard and I have to work two times harder. That’s my mentality.”
It is a Wednesday morning and McKenna Theater is packed full with students taking an American Politics course. Their professor, Corey Cook, paces on stage. He asks if anyone saw the Bush twins’ speech during the Republican National Convention.
“Were you impressed by that?” he asked. “They are very articulate and intelligent young women.”
Students laugh as Cook switched gears, this time targeting the Democrats.
In 2000, the Democratic Party talked about how they oversaw an 18 percent increase in wages over 10 years. What they failed to mention, Cook said, is the workday increased by 18 percent.
Political science professors at SF State face a dilemma in how to address their political leanings in the classroom. While many students engage in passionate political debates, these professors find themselves in a delicate balancing act -- defending both conservative and liberal viewpoints to encourage discourse.
While most professors do not explicitly state which political party they belong to, students said they can often identify their professors’ views by the topics, issues emphasized and language.
Faculty members said any expression of their own political leanings is done fairly and students are encouraged to share their own contrasting viewpoints.
Gerard Heather, who has taught at SF State since 1969, said proselytizing is simply not good teaching.
“If I teach well, they will not know if I’m a liberal, a Democrat, a Republican, a conservative,” Heather said.
Instead, Heather said students must hear a variety of the ideas so they can make their own decisions based on reasonable and compelling evidence.
“The point is to educate, to bring students out of their prejudice and see the world in a larger way,” Heather said. “Only then can you have your ideology, when you have considered your opponent.”
Faculty members said they are careful not to unduly influencing their students, especially when students look to professors for guidance in understanding complicated subjects.
“The goal of my class is to have intelligent discourse on issues of politics,” said Cook, a professor at SF State for two years.
Cook said many students do not agree with him ideologically and the best way to elicit candid responses is to speak his mind on the issues. Like many of his colleagues, he does not openly endorse a political candidate or give an opinion on specific topics.
He said his political perspective comes through in the discussion of issues he is interested in, like workers’ wages and the decline of the middle class, and political bias--whether implicit or explicit--is inherent in a politics course.
“I don’t teach my own politics,” he said. “My goal is to be critical toward the political system and make arguments.”
“Most professors don’t bring up [their political views] unless it’s a political forum class,” said Carlos Zepeda, president of the Political Science Student Association.
A registered Republican whose father is a political adviser to President Bush, Zepeda said his political science professors encourage him speak out because it causes other students to debate in class.
He said there was only one class where he was not given the time or opportunity to speak, although he declined to name the class.
“From my point of view there are certain professors who make it apparent they are from the left,” he said.
One such professor is Robert Smith. He teaches an American Politics class and said that depending on the class, he usually reveals his political point of view in the first week.
“It usually comes out during the first lecture, which is about bias,” Smith said.
A Christian black nationalist, he was influenced by the socialization process of the 1960s.
Smith’s view is that the best way to address bias is to state it and let the listener beware.
American Politics and Political Parties professor Francis Neely agreed.
“It’s impossible for ideology not to be in the mix or classes,” he said. “I generally don’t bring it up much.”
Neely often will not reveal his partisanship for the whole semester and seldom talks about himself in the classroom because “it gets in the way,” he said. He is concerned he could improperly influence his students’ thinking.
This is also a concern of Heather who said some students are impressionable, either still developing their ideology or holding conflicted ideas about issues.
“We don’t want them to be overly deferential to authority,” he said.
“I think it’s appropriate for professors to express their political ideas as long as they allow for the students to feel comfortable expressing theirs as well,” said political science major Stan Goff.
But fellow political science major James Ramirez, 29, said professors should keep their political leanings to themselves.
“When you’re in college, you’re like a sponge,” Ramirez said. “You should soak it all in and then decide what you want to remove and what you want to keep. … Someone who doesn’t know any better might take what [professors] say as gospel.”
“I don’t believe in pure neutrality,” said Nicole Watts, a political science professor at SF State since 2003. “I don’t think I am a neutral arbiter but I think that you can have opinions and not let them dominate a presentation.”
Of the seven political science professors interviewed, four said they will vote for Sen. John Kerry on Nov. 2. Two others said it depends on how close the election is and were considering voting for Ralph Nader. One said he planned to vote for Nader.
Five professors are currently members of the Democratic Party. The others were registered as Independents or were without a party. One called himself “too far to the left” for the Democrats.
Moreover, among some members of the faculty sharing similar political outlooks, the most heated political discussions are not always the product of the professors’ lectures but are often between students. Faculty members sometimes act as referees and try to prevent politics from getting personal.
“The students really provoke partisan discussions,” said Erin Scholnick, a third semester teacher’s assistant for Cook’s American Politics course.
She said the professors always welcomed such debates but strive to keep the discussion balanced.
Jon Sacco, a political science and pre-law major, called these interactions “healthy debate” encouraged by the professors who, in all the political science courses he attended, see these debates as adding relevance to the class.
“What is predominately a left-leaning [student] base is balanced out by the prickly nature of Republican [students],” Sacco said.
Political Science Student Association president Zepeda disagreed.
“I know for a fact that most students [who have a conservative perspective] won’t speak up because they feel the professor will downgrade them,” Zepeda said.
Conservative students usually remain silent because they “don’t know what it means to be a conservative,” Zepeda said.
Neely said he understands the trepidation of students who have a minority political view to speak up.
“No one is more conscious of this than I am in the classroom,” he said.
Teacher’s assistant Louise Hendrickson said students should tell the professor if they feel uncomfortable discussing their ideas in class. She said a professor cannot address a problem unless they are aware there is one.
Students who feel their side of a debate is being ignored are encouraged to bring up ideas in class.
“If they raise their hand and say I don’t think we’re covering this [topic], any professor, at least in the political science department, will say OK, let me talk about that,” Hendrickson said.
No matter what side of the political spectrum the professors’ ideologies fall, the debate surrounding political objectivity in the classroom persists.
“These issues aren’t black and white,” said Watts. “There aren’t easy answers and I want students to thrash around in that.”
Editors Note: While reporting for this story, the Golden Gate [X]Press limited the scope of the topic to the political science department in an effort to keep the story manageable and relevent.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed an Assembly bill on Saturday that would have raised the minimum wage in California $1 per hour by July 2006.
In his veto message regarding AB 2832, the governor said the wage hike would cost businesses $3 billion to $4.4 billion dollars and discourage business and job growth in the state.
“We have launched California’s recovery by making our state a more attractive place to do business, so that employers will stay in our state, expand in our state, and create more jobs here,” Schwarzenegger said in a written statement. “Now is not the time to create barriers to our economic recovery or reverse the momentum we have generated. I want to create more jobs and make every California job more secure.”
Assemblywoman Sally Lieber (D-Mountain View) authored the bill that would have raised the minimum wage from $6.75 per hour to $7.25 per hour on July 1, 2005 and then $7.75 on July 1, 2006.
“Even though a couple hundred dollars a month doesn’t make a difference to our governor, it does make a difference to low-income families,” Lieber said.
During the legislative process, polls done by supporters of the bill showed an average of 70 percent of voters agreed the minimum wage should be raised, she said.
“When most voters think about if they can live on $6.75 an hour, the answer is no,” Lieber said.
International business major Shasta Burnach said the minimum wage is too low. As a waitress in Costa Mesa she relied on her tips, which made up the majority of her income.
“I probably wouldn’t have even noticed [a wage increase],” Burnach said.
San Francisco voters approved an $8.50 minimum wage this year but Eli Taylor said he still works two jobs to make ends meet. He works as a server at a restaurant and promoter.
“I spend like $2,000 a month just maintaining life; insurance, car maintenance, gas, bridge tolls,” said Taylor, a graphic design and marketing major.
The minimum raise increase in San Francisco hit employers hard, according to one SF State restaurant manager who asked that he remain anonymous. Salaried employees are given smaller bonuses and long-term employees are upset that new hires earn the same amount they worked years to obtain, he said.
“It hurts the employers, it hurts the managers, it hurts a lot of people,” the manager said.
Lieber said she would regroup with women, minority, labor and faith-based groups that supported the bill to discuss the next step. She said if supporters feel the minimum wage bill could be successful, she would reintroduce it to the state legislator. She is also considering a ballot initiative to take the subject directly to the voters.
Lieber said the current minimum wage is 88 cents below the poverty line, which means those workers rely on the state to meet many of their needs. The majority of those workers are the breadwinners, women and minorities, she said.
“It’s just an indicator that our recovery is going to be on the backs of women and people of color,” Lieber said.
Kveta Kneprova loves linguistics. A lot. She spends a great deal of time in the realm of words and syntax.
“I am not afraid of [English] grammar,” she said.
Kneprova, 28, will acquire her M.A. in English next Spring, and her plans for the future look promising – though not without concerns.
Despite a lackluster job market and rising tuition fees, SF State international students plan to stay in the country long enough to get job experience and to get an advanced degree in their field.
The decision to stay in the country after graduation is not unique to SF State international students, according to Career Center Director Jack Brewer. He said students spend a year in the U.S. after getting their degree to gain experience in their careers.
Serena Mars, 21, a marketing major from France graduates in December and talked about her plans after graduation.
“I am going to do an internship in New York,” Mars said. Six or seven months afterwards, she will move back to France. Mars said her experience at SF State was not a great one; though she recognized this is a good school, she said that it is not “above average.”
Thomas Vieilledent, Mars’ boyfriend also from France agreed. Vieilledent, 24 and a Business Administration major who graduates next Spring, said that he got better grades here than in France because education at SF State is a “bit too low compared to other schools in California.”
However, he has found opportunity at SF State.
“I’ll go to Southern California to work for a surf clothing company,” Vieilledent said. He also said that he has friends in that company, which has headquarters in France.
His decision to get back to his home country is a calculated one.
“If I can get a good job opportunity, I’ll move back to France,” Vieilledent said. He later said that money is one of the main reasons why he would stay longer in the United States.
But getting money and job experience after graduation are only part of a more complex situation international students confront when it comes to making a decision to stay in the U.S. or return to their countries of origin.
“If their country is politically unstable, as in the case of Eritrea, they’ll stay in the United States,” Said Sophie Clavier, Graduate Director and Advisor of the International Relations Department.
She said that sometimes students’ parents move to the U.S. and prompt changes in immigration status.
At SF State, nearly 600 international students graduate every year, said Dr. Yenbo Wu, Director of the Office of International Programs,
Business is their preferred major, followed by science and engineering.
Wu said that “nobody knows what they [international students] do after graduation,” referring to whether those students remain in the country looking for jobs, or if they move back to their homeland. “It varies from case to case,” he said.
“They don’t tell,” Dr. Wu said. They do if they are asked.
Shiho Kawamura, 23, a biology major from Japan who graduates in three semesters, is planning her future early.
“I am going to get a master’s degree and then a Ph.D. maybe in Oregon,” she said.
Kawamura who is already working on a research project with her teachers said that her research provides her with more knowledge and opportunity in her field.
Whether to stay in the United States or get back to Japan is not a difficult decision. “It doesn’t really matter,” she said, “[because] Japan has very good research programs.”
Kawamura also said that being an international student is difficult because “tuition is higher every year and we cannot dropout.”
Kveta Kneprova, who is from the Czech Republic was attending Monterrey Institute of International Studies but realized the school was “very expensive.”
“This program [Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages at SF State] was more practical, and for me was very good to focus on practice,” Kneprova said.
The San Jose resident also said that she is concerned that after getting her M.A. in English she might not be able to land a job “because I am a not native speaker.”
“Getting a job it’s a market-driven decision, it’s the economy,” said Jack Brewer of the Career Center, commenting o the possibilities of international students applying for jobs.
“To me,” Brewer said, “international students are not foreigners.”
Chris Buccieri’s two-bedroom apartment in the newly remodeled Towers at Centennial Square looks like many apartments on campus. It’s small, posters hang strategically on the walls, and stacks of PlayStation 2 games piled high on the floor under the television in the living room.
The apartment is furnished with a large dining room table, but the four chairs used to dine are absent. For now Buccieri and his roommates use the table as storage and eat their meals on the couch. Food in their kitchen cupboards is sparse and, according to Buccieri and other students living in the Towers, so is hot water at the end of the day.
The Towers at Centennial Square re-opened on August 22, 2004. It houses 650 first and second-year students under the age of 20. The Towers were closed in May 2000 because of problems with water intrusion and mold.
According to Philippe Cumia, Assistant Director of Housing Marketing & Communication, the whole exterior of the building was redone, along with the interior.
“The building is 90 percent new,” said Cumia.
The foundation of the previous structure was strengthened, all the windows were replaced and new appliances, furniture, and flooring were installed.
Buccieri, a freshman at SF State, likes his new apartment and says it’s nicer than others on campus, but he is concerned about problems he says need fixed.
“The wall behind the shower is warped-looking and the fixture that turns the shower on unscrews in my hand,” he said.
There are other problems in the bathroom too. The caulking that usually runs along the crack where the bathtub meets the shower wall is missing. Instead there is a thin plastic ‘wing’ that is glued to each corner of the bathtub. “I’m not sure what they’re for, but it kind of looks like shady construction,” Buccieri said pointing to the bathtub.
SF State freshman Nicole Lance has similar problems in her room. “There’s a gap where the caulking should go and we have the same ugly plastic things in our bathtub,” she said. Lance moved into the building a week earlier than other students and said she had to deal first hand with last minute construction kinks like not having hot water or electricity.
Alex Davidson works at the front desk of the new STTC and says things have been quiet in that part of the building. “There was construction going on up until three days before the building officially opened, so you’ve got to expect some things are not going to be finished,” said Davidson, a junior.
Cumia said there were minor problems in one apartment concerning the bathtub area but that it had been quickly fixed.
Another student who wanted to remain anonymous is also upset about the condition of the building.
“My roommate and I are pissed about certain problems that aren’t being dealt with,” she said. The SF State sophomore said they are missing screens on their windows, there is no seal or caulking around the bathtub and the elevator is broken. She also complains about the laundry system.
“We were also supposed to use our student ID cards to do laundry instead of quarters, but that doesn’t work either,” she said. She has received notices that say repairs will be done, but said she thinks the school did the bare minimum to get students moved in. She also complained of not having hot water in the mornings and evenings.
Buccieri does have screens on his windows but remembers hearing a loud crash one day while sitting on the couch in his apartment on the fifth floor.
“My windows were open, I was watching television and the next thing I know the screens fell out of the window and landed on the ground outside,” he said. The screens were replaced shortly after.
Jan Andreasen, Executive Director of Housing and Residential Services, said they don't have screens for the first three floors of the building. They have contracted with another company to produce screens but since the windows are custom made, it is taking time to manufacture.
Additionally, she said that they have an on-going problem with one of the elevators in the Towers at Centennial Square (TCS). The contractor continues to order parts to fix it. However, each fix, she said, turns up another problem. Most of the problems are on the minor side and are correctable, according to Andreasen.
Andreasen said there were minor problems with pipes hooked incorrectly causing small backups in certain units. She said it is being corrected immediately. In some cases, said Andreasen, they have asked students to allow workers in their apartments to correct problems, but the students have full use of all the appliances in their unit during the work.
Andreasen feels the issues the building is experiencing are common to newly renovated building openings. SF State continues to keep the original project coordinator on campus to protect the buildings operationally. Andreasen said the project coordinator has been effective in troubleshooting issues as they come up and everyone wants problems corrected as soon as possible.
If the SF State employees who have given money to presidential campaigns this election cycle were to pick the next president, John Kerry would win in a landslide.
Campaign donors who identified themselves as SF State employees are giving nearly $88 to John Kerry and the Democratic Party for every dollar their colleagues on campus are contributing to President Bush and the Republican Party, according to campaign donor receipts collected by Political Money Line, an independent non-partisan campaign finance organization.
The organization warns that some political campaigns skirt the law and fail to identify their donor’s employer, but results from Political Money Line’s database indicate the presidential campaigns to elect Bush and Kerry accurately report their donor’s occupation and employer.
“One hundred to one. That sounds about right,” Ellen McElhinny said, when told an earlier slightly higher estimate of how much her fellow employees favor Kerry.
McElhinny, a Geography and Human Environmental Studies lecturer, has donated $2000 to Kerry's campaign this year.
She is one of 25 SF State employees who have made contributions of greater then $200 this election cycle. Twenty-four have contributed a total of $21,900 to Kerry and the Democrats.
The Republicans have netted one donation of $250.
Dr. Phil Kipper, the Broadcast and Electronic Communications department chair, did not get the opportunity to go on vacation this year. So he and his wife donated $6000 from their vacation funds to Kerry’s campaign and the Democratic National Party, making him the largest contributor at SF State this year.
Kipper donates yearly, but he has contributed more this election cycle than ever before, he said.
“I feel that this is an incredibly important election, in terms of what future effects it could have on the economy and the Supreme Court,” he said.
The strong support for Kerry came as no shock for Ambassador David Fischer, SF State’s diplomat in residence.
“San Francisco State is one of the 10 most liberal universities in the
country. I’m amazed you found even one Republican. I only know two,” he said, after giving a lecture on terrorism and its effect on the presidential election.
Fischer teaches courses in International Relations at SF State.
He strongly criticized the President and the current administration in an Aug. 15 lecture he gave for a course on the presidential election and the issues surrounding it.
“The Bush Administration is the most extraordinary ruthless political machine in my lifetime,” he said at the beginning of class. Near the end of his lecture he added, “I’ll vote for anybody, but Bush.”
SF State employees’ financial support of Kerry’s campaign is similar to the amount of support Kerry is getting from those working in education as a whole. Seventy-three percent of the more than $20.5 million contributed this election cycle by donors who work in education has gone to Kerry and the Democratic Party, a report prepared by the Center for Responsive Politics said.
Dr. Robert Cherny, a SF State history professor, and a large contributor to the Kerry campaign this year, is not surprised that his colleagues support Kerry by such a wide margin. “It is nothing new that university faculty members in a liberal city to be liberal and Democratic,” he wrote in an email.
Cherny said Liberals and Democrats are more concerned about the nation’s future than ever before and President Bush is taking initiatives that break with American traditions. He blamed the president for declaring war without being first attacked, for creating a “monumental debt that is likely to be a crushing burden on our children,” and for endangering civil liberties, he wrote.
“I am deeply worried about the future course of the nation. So I've contributed more to the Kerry campaign than I've ever contributed before,” Cherny wrote.
Last July, Dr. Christopher Carrington, an assistant professor of sociology at SF State wrote a check for $500 to Kerry’s campaign. At the age of 18 he made his first $25 donation to President Jimmy Carter’s re-election campaign and has continued to support every Democratic presidential and senatorial nominee since.
He said the President and his administration have a “public policy driven by ideology, ignorance, greed, short-term interests, and pandering to the most extreme and insidious special interests.”
“In my view," he added, "when someone cares both about evidence, and about the well being of others, such a combination inevitably leads to support for Democrats over Republicans, liberals over conservatives.”
Police said this week that a man suspected of exposing himself to more than 25 women in the past year, including several SF State students last fall, has struck again and investigators want women to keep an eye out for anyone fitting the suspect’s description.
San Francisco Police Department Sex Crimes Inspector William Kidd said the incidents of indecent exposure and misdemeanor sexual assault began in March 2003 and Police continued to hear about similar incidents throughout that summer. That October, at least nine women told police that a man exposed his penis or masturbated in front of them, including three SF State students. Other than a couple of incidents in March, police had not heard of the flasher this year until last month, when he harassed at least two more women in the outer Sunset district.
“This is a guy who’s been the most prolific of anything I’ve seen,” Kidd said. “It’s pretty extreme.”
Kidd said a report of a man masturbating in the library last fall is probably an isolated incident.
Victims identified a white man in his mid-20s to mid-30s, weighing between 160 to 200 pounds with a medium build. He wears a hooded sweatshirt with the hood up, and mirrored or dark sunglasses.
Police believe the man harassed 25 to 30 mostly Asian females between the ages of 12 and 30. A DNA sample taken from the scene of one incident near SF State linked the man to a similar incident in Milpitas last spring.
Kidd said the man is usually with a car descibed as green Toyota Camry or similar vehicle, and pretends to be doing something in the car. He waits until the woman passes and then approaches her. A few times he has held the woman’s arm or shoulders to make her stay while he masturbates, although these women have all been able to break away. The suspect’s operation scares them off before they get a good look at him or his car.
“He’s doing it in a way that’s pretty careful in which the victim’s basically chased off or fled,” Kidd said. “Even though they saw him in the vehicle, they've fled away from the area and they didn't see the vehicle (clearly).”
Victims can take notice of things that are more descriptive than a car if they encounter a flasher, according to Nina Jo Smith, the coordinator of the Sexual Abuse Free Environment Place resource center at SF State. A person’s shoes, smell or even how they walk can give police specific details about a suspect.
Attackers want a reaction, either shock or fear, so Smith said that if faced with sexual assault, try to stay calm. If there are other people around, attract attention by yelling and running.
Biology major Trinh Huynh, 19, said she was walking home to The Villas Parkmerced last year after 9 p.m. when a man tried to get her to come over and talk to him.
“I didn’t even bother to look back,” Huynh said. “And it was pretty late and there weren’t any people around.”
Sarah Griggi, a 22-year-old math student in the credential program, said she usually feels safe on campus.
“As of right now with the daylight, I feel very safe,” Griggi said. “But I’ll tell you right now my fiancée made me get a cell phone for the first time.”
SF State Department of Public Safety Sgt. Jennifer Schwartz said students should travel in pairs, especially at night, to protect themselves. Students can also use the “blue light” telephones to dial 87200 for the Campus Alliance for a Risk-Free Environment escort service if they feel unsafe walking alone on campus.
“We often say, if the situation doesn’t feel right to you, then it probably isn’t right, and get to an area of safety, like inside a building where you can call for help,” said Schwartz, in an e-mail statement.
Smith said students should have a plan in case someone tries to harass, assault or make them feel uncomfortable. But if something does happen, to tell someone or call the police immediately. University police can notify Smith in the event of a rape or sexual assault.
“It’s very intimidating, which is what it’s meant to be- to frighten, to shock,” Smith said. “They may feel scared, or why me, or there’s all this self-blame like, why was I there or why was I by myself.”
Kidd said most flashers are caught quickly - after only three to four incidents - but this suspect is unusual in that he has been in a variety of locations and gotten away with a number of attacks.
“What we are hoping women will do is be aware of a guy who fits that description,” Kidd said. “They need to be wary, especially if they see him around an automobile and get the license of the automobile.”
“That’s how this guy is going to get caught,” he said. “Someone’s going to spot him or they’re going to see him before he sees them.”
For more info on S.A.F.E. Place
For more info on C.A.R.E. Program
Given the nationwide increase in cases of identity theft, some SF State students are concerned that their personal information is not prudently safeguarded on or off campus. A student's social security number is directly linked to everything from employment and credit history to bank and academic records. So students wonder why SF State does not implement a safer method of identification, other than by social security numbers.
Cinema senior Nile Dunn has experienced stolen identity. A thief established a corporation in Dunn's name and opened an American Express Corporate card using Dunn’s social security number. It was not until American Express’s collection department called him looking for an immediate payment that Dunn realized the fraudulent activity.
“I was shocked, “ said Dunn. “American Express told me that I had to write letters to all three major credit bureaus letting them know that I did not opened that account. Once I did that, American Express opened their own investigation. It took a whole year before the mess was cleared up. It was a real hassle because I couldn't get a credit card issued to me during that entire time and I really needed one.”
Dunn noted that since this experience, he does not to use his name and social security number together when ordering over the telephone or Internet. He also suggested that students request a copy of their credit report, which costs $3, at least once a year.
Kim Quinteros, a liberal arts junior was amazed when she transferred from San Francisco City College to find that SF State compels students to use their social security numbers as identification around campus.
“In 2004, I would expect State to be more technologically advanced than City,” she said. “At City College, students are issued a random set of numbers to use as identification to alleviate the possibility of fraudulent use of social security numbers.”
It is a long tradition of some SF State professors to post, outside of their offices, semester grades next to each student's social security number. They also have a tendency to haphazardly pass around attendance rosters with students' names and social security numbers for students to check their own attendance for the day.
Although Jennifer Schwartz, senior sergeant of SF State Police Department, said that there have been no cases of identity theft filed at SF State, the open display of social security numbers is a severe violation of student privacy.
“We are advised not to carry our social security cards in our wallets, yet professors have our social security numbers floating around everywhere,” Quinteros continues. “What's up with that?”
“I have to use Blackboard for certain classes,” said Nancy Lee, a TESOL graduate student. “It isn't very secure when we type in our social security number because the actual numbers pop up, as opposed to asterisks.”
This could mean bad news if someone with malicious intent was looking over her shoulder. But the SF State community can breathe a sigh of relief because change is on the horizon.
Suzanne Dmytrenko, SF State registrar, recently met with campus officials to announce a 12-month plan to convert the current system of using social security numbers as identification, to one that uses a 9-digit numerical university I.D. (UNI).
“We're getting everyone together to tell them that this is a priority,” said Dmytrenko. “Over the next year we will work with each department to expunge their current system, and upgrade them to the new one.”
Additionally, Dmytrenko said that the campus One Card will have the new UNI encoded on the back on the black strip. If a student forgets the assigned UNI, she or he will be able to retrieve the number from a secure SF State web page. This, she said, should put students minds at ease, as the threat of identity theft will be greatly diminished.
But identity theft can also occur while a student is traveling through the information superhighway.
As 21st century consumers, many SF State students make a large portion of their purchases via electronic commerce (e-commerce). And unless their computer is installed with firewall software to keep hackers from spying while they are on-line, students are vulnerable. An Internet thief can steal credit card numbers, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, medical records etc.
For this reason, it is paramount that students make sure that every Web site they purchase from uses encryption technology. This will scramble the data they send over the Internet, and thwart hackers from gaining access to their personal history.
It is easy to tell if a Web site is secure by looking at the URL box - https:// should be displayed. The “s” signifies that the site is secure. Another determining factor of security is a closed padlock at the bottom right hand corner of the web page.
“As far as e-commerce, you should be conservative about what information you give out because it's not that difficult for hackers to get personal and private information,” said creative writing senior Joseph Parese. “Be conscientious of your surroundings, and treat the Internet like it's real life.”
Activist, educator, author and former SF State professor, Angela Davis, was on campus Monday, September 20 to discuss the prison industrial complex in the United States. Students, faculty, graduates and guests trickled in to Jack Adams Hall for the one o’clock event. At 15 minutes past the hour when Davis walked on to the stage there was standing room only and the audience erupted in applause.
Veronica Melton, a junior studying psychology, sat in the second row holding two books, “Are Prisons Obsolete?” by Angela Davis and “The House that Race Built” a compilation of work from various authors, intellectuals and activists, including Davis. Melton had seen Davis speak twice before and has been inspired by her words and her work.
“She is a dynamic speaker,” said Melton, who finds inspiration in people like Davis, who inspire young people. Melton spoke of what she saw as a disconnect between individuals and the community, especially in communities of color.
“It is important that we have forums like this, to help people realize they need to rise to a higher level of consciousness to get rid of ignorance – that to me is a disease, as bad as Syphilis and AIDS.” Melton said that attending events like this one can serve as a glimmer of hope. “It keeps me strong."
Davis spoke for an hour and a half, commenting on the current state of the US prison system. She called the sexual, physical, and mental abuse inflicted on Iraqi prisoners at the hands of American female soldiers an example of the United States military’s idea of female equality. She also spoke about routine cavity searches performed on American prisoners, in particular women, in the context of sexual assault.
Davis vividly painted a picture of prisoners in [super] maximum-security prisons throwing their own feces on guards, “because it is all they have left.”
The prison industrial complex, as Davis calls it, is made up of several corporations who profit from the prison system in the United States. These corporations benefit in various ways from using labor from incarcerated men and women to produce various products, to being contracted to carry the collect calls made from prison phones.
The solution Davis posed to prison abuse and the prison industrial complex is simple, not easy, but simple: abolish the entire prison system, as we know it. “It sounds scary,” acknowledged Davis, “but think about who these prisoners are. Some of them are your family members. It’s amazing what ideology can do, that it creates these images that cause you to ignore your own experiences.”
Davis suggested that the United States create new institutions that would make the prison system, as we know it obsolete.
Davis spoke of the public school system, which she said tracks students from poor neighborhoods, not toward college, but toward prison. The only alternative for many of these students, she said, is the military.
While Davis said that she does not subscribe to the cynical attitude that nothing has changed for people of color in the United States, she does say that the effects of slavery are more evident in the black community today, than ever before.
Davis said that education needs to be presented to children in a different light to inspire them to learn and improve on the condition of their communities.
“I would like to suggest that education is about more than just making money,” Davis said. She added that if the joy of learning was expressed to children that maybe they would choose education over “conflicting stepping stones to monetary gain, such as sports, music and drug trafficking.”
Davis expressed concern with the lack of importance placed on education today, in particular in communities of color and said that while individual responsibility is a big part of the problem, it cannot fix an entire system.
“Justice is blind, right?” asked Davis. Students responded to this question with laughter. “Well, the law cannot grasp the profound differences among us – differences that shape us before we face the law in its neutral domain.”
Davis herself is more than qualified to discuss the prison system in the United States, having served time in prison herself after being placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted List as a result of her activism work with groups such as The Black Panther Party. Davis, who spent nearly 13 years teaching at SF State, said she hopes that it is still a place for “radical social transformation” and encouraged all students to support Project Rebound, a special admissions program at SF State for men and women in and from the prison system.
A date with Rosie. Enjoying a little southern comfort. Airing the orchid. That is what some people call it, but most women are too embarrassed to admit they do it, let alone come up with nicknames. There is anxiety linked to the question: do you masturbate? Within a group, a nervous glance shoots around before any one woman will say yes, because the automatic and expected answer is no.
Statistics show that about 80 percent of women masturbate, but where are these women? There are mixed opinions as to why this is such a taboo act and topic. Some reasons given for this anxiety are as simple as it being embarrassing, to the very deep sociopolitical workings of our society.
“Men are looked at as horny, but for a woman it is out of the ordinary. Women are supposed to be able to say no,” said Emily Klein, 24, a SF State student. Many resources on the subject concur, despite the sexual revolution of the 70s, women are still thought of as being less sexual than their male counterparts.
“We are led to believe that women think about sex and desire sex much less. Society creates outcasts of women who are open sexually. Many women are ashamed to admit they are horny,” said an article on Sexinfo101.com, a Web site dedicated to toys, information, and resources on all aspects of sex.
This common view of women’s sexuality makes sense of why so many women are embarrassed by the mention of self-pleasure. If you are the only one in the group that is feeling this ‘unnatural’ urge, of course there is unease related to the topic.
Women’s Studies professor Jillian Sandell notes that this unease is not unwarranted. Women’s sexuality has not only been restricted by clothing and moral chastisement, but also medically through clitoridectomies, which create a negative context that carries on today.
“It stems from double standards on female and male sex. Within culture, men have ‘inherent, dominant’ sexual desire, a ‘need’ for lots of sex as often as possible. So it is expected and accepted, necessary and unavoidable,” said Marsha Johnson, 22, SF State student. “Conventionally for women, sex isn’t just physical. It's supposed to be with love and a relationship, so masturbation is unnecessary.”
This is another familiar ideology; women are not sexual unless there is a relationship, or if they are in love. This common misconception creates false ideas that masturbation is nothing more than a flash in the pan thing, when for women it can be a much more educative experience. The female orgasm is hard to come by, and more often than not women cannot attain an orgasm through sex. According to many experts, by masturbating women are not only more likely to have an orgasm, but much more likely to show their partners how to give them one.
“If you have a partner, it is believed that your sexual activities with them should fulfill all your needs. While a nice ideal, in real life, a lot of women’s sexual needs are not met fully by their partner, no matter how good and loving a partner they have,” Sexinfo101
As it is commonly seen in movies and television, women are not supposed to be blatant about sex. If they are, they are portrayed as the hyper-sex-drive woman who just can’t get enough, while if they were male that would be normal.
“Society, parents, and religion are the most common causes of these issues as it has always been implied that there was something wrong with female sexuality,” said Abby of Abby’s Sexual Health Web site.
The deep-seeded sociological explanations may be a little heavy, but claiming the anxiety around female masturbation is due to simple peer pressure is perhaps too simple as well. While the jury is still out on this touchy issue, put your feelers out and see what rubs you the right way.
Last Tuesday, during the first fall semester meeting of SF State’s Academic Senate, senators received a report on a voter registration event program that could include campus visits from SF Mayor Gavin Newsom and Adonal Foyle, a player for the Golden State Warriors.
Later in the meeting, the Senate also approved a controversial proposal for the 2005 summer academic schedule and authorized several changes in SF State’s Women’s Studies Program.
Chris Treadway, SF State’s Director of Government and Community Relations, told senators that her office is working with the San Francisco Urban Institute to organize the mayor’s visit in addition to several other voter registration events.
In February, Mayor Newsom made headlines across the nation when San Francisco City Hall issued nearly 4,000 marriage licenses to gay men and women. Although Treadway couldn’t provide a date for Newsom’s visit, she expressed hope that it would occur before the Nov. 2 presidential election.
“We’re working with the mayor’s office on some kind voter education, ‘get out the vote’ press event being held here on campus sometime, hopefully, right before the election,” Treadway said. “We’re also having a voter rally.”
Susan Alunan, acting director of SF State’s Urban Institute, said she hoped to set up a debate between Newsom and Foyle.
Associated Students President David Abella confirmed his support for the upcoming voter registration events.
“Associated Students again this year will be involved in voter registration, as we were last year,” he said. In addition, Abella said that Associated Students would mainly target students living on campus, with a goal of signing up 3,500 new voters.
Even after some senators expressed concern at the hectic pace of SF State’s five-week terms, the Senate unanimously approved a proposed schedule for next year’s summer semester.
While senators admit that SF State President Robert Corrigan retains the final say in any changes approved by the Academic Senate, they acknowledge that Corrigan usually accepts Senate recommendations.
Under the 2004 summer schedule, classes started on a Wednesday, giving students five weekends interspaced between the 25 or 26 days of instruction in the term. Next year, summer classes will begin on a Monday instead. Deborah Gerson, a social sciences lecturer, said the proposed five week terms might rob students of an extra weekend in which to study.
“We’re confining it to four weekends, which increases the stress,” she said. “[This summer] I did it because I needed the money, and students took it because they needed the units. I would say, honestly, everybody was shortchanged and very, very stressed.”
Associate Humanities Professor Saul Steier disagreed and suggested that some students like the five-week courses.
“There are some courses that I teach that can be done very successfully in five weeks,” Steier said. “Some students are willing to put in 54 hours per week if they know they only have to do it for five weeks.”
Also during the meeting, senators approved a set of changes to core class requirements for SF State’s undergraduate Women’s Studies Program. Moallen said that the number of required core classes in both the major and the minor would drop from 18 to 12 units, allowing more student choice in electives.
“We’re not changing our major or our minor or eliminating any courses,” said Moallen. “Our proposed changes reflect three decades of scholarship [in the field]. The changes will create more academic coherence, continuity and consistency.”
Drinking soda and sweetened drinks can cause obesity, diabetes and bone fractures, recent studies say. But how much is too much?
According to Harvard School of Public Health, drinking just one soda a day increases the risk of developing type 2, (the most common type) of diabetes in women, by 85 percent.
Harvard researchers observed more than 91,000 women who drank soda every day and found that they also gained about 10 pounds. This confirms an earlier study, published in 2001 in the medical journal The Lancet stating that an extra soda drink a day increases the risk of obesity in children by 60 percent.
The same study concluded that the rate of obesity among children in the United States increased by 100 percent between 1980 and 1994.
The researchers at Harvard Medical School suggest that teenage girls should drink less soda as it causes bone fractures, obesity and tooth decay. This new study, published in August of this year, found that 9th and 10th grade girls who drink soda are three times more likely to have weaker bones than those who do not drink carbonated beverages.
But the opinions of experts regarding consumption of soft drinks vary.
“One soda is not going to do anything,” said Albert Angelo, a health educator at SF State. “It’s overall calories. If somebody is maxing out their number of calories, what happens is they go beyond their maximum number of calories by having one more soda. Then yeah, of course they are going to gain weight.”
Health experts recommend approximately only 10 percent of the 2,000 calorie diet (about 10 teaspoons) a day should come from added sugar. However, an average American adult consumes twice that amount and an average teenager eats three times more sugar a day, said Teresa Leu, a SF State nutritionist.
“I typically see half a dozen to a dozen students each semester with weight gain primarily due to excess intake of sodas and sometimes even fruit juices,” said Leu. “I suggest students read their labels and note two things: how many servings are there in the container, and how many total grams of sugar are they taking in (every four gram of sugar equals one teaspoon of sugar).”
But Adam Burke, a holistic health specialist and a professor at SF State, said that drinking soda is “terrible” since it contains an “immense amount of sugar” – up to 13 teaspoons in one can.
Drinking less sugared drinks like diet soda or ginger soda is better, but they are still carbonated, said Burke. Carbonation, in addition to sugar, over activates the liver and affects muscular health from the Chinese perspective, Burke said.
“You shouldn’t drink it (soda) at all,” said Burke. “Drink water, tea and fruit juice.”
Albert Angelo recommended looking at the overall diet and examining what you are eating every day.
Health experts suggest eating fruits, vegetables and drinking fresh water or diluted fruit juice (water with a slice of lemon or orange in it) as a healthy solution to include in an everyday diet.
Sue Wang noticed her left ankle was starting to swell.
Two days before, the 29-year-old business graduate student from Taiwan twisted her ankle in the library as she ran to embrace a friend.
The persistent pain convinced her she needed to see a doctor so she went to the Student Health Service building where doctors wrapped her broken ankle.
“I bought health insurance here on campus two years ago,” said Wang, “and I have used it twice,” she said, sporting a wide smile.
Though SF State international students exude confidence and peace of mind due to the service they receive from their health care providers, most new foreign students on campus skip the health care system workshop provided by the Student Health Service, leading to unsettling circumstances and misunderstandings.
“I think that [Somerton] Student Insurance is pretty good,” said Kamal Harb, a Health Educator at Student Health Service. He said that Somerton, the health care broker that provides insurance to California State University students, international and domestic, covers “most things” required by the university.
Among them, SF State requires the coverage to include medical evacuation (to
transport a patient to the nearest facility capable of providing the care needed) and repatriation of remains (should the person die, to prepare the remains for transport, including documentation and shipping container).
At the beginning of every semester, Harb and another colleague conduct a two-hour long workshop on health education for international students.
The educators teach the students how to access health care in the United States, but of the 400 estimated new international students at SF State every semester, only 50 to 100 of them take advantage of the workshop.
International students who do not attend the workshop are often confused when they need to see a doctor.
“I was very surprised and upset when I saw bills coming in,” Wang said.
After her initial shock, she approached the Student Health Service again and asked the administrators many questions.
It turned out there was a misunderstanding. The administrators taught her how to file a claim, the bills stopped coming and Somerton Student Insurance took care of her.
“What happens is that they don’t know how the system works,” said Karen Flynn, cashier supervisor at the Student Health Service.
Because of cultural differences, international students make some initial mistakes when accessing health care. In some countries like China, students don’t ask their doctors questions because they “don’t want to cross the line,” Flynn said.
According to Flynn, international students are puzzled when they have to wait to see a doctor as the physicians attend the most urgent cases first. In their countries those students are attended by doctors soon.
“They almost laugh when I say that American students don’t know how [the process of getting health care] is done either,” Flynn said.
Seung Hwan Yoon from South Korea, recounted his first experience with American doctors earlier this year.
“I had a car accident in January as I headed to the [SFO] airport,” the 28-year-old computer science major said. He was in the back seat of a friend’s car when an automobile hit the trunk of the car, straining his lower back.
After seeing a chiropractor for three months, he noticed something wrong with his urine. He went to the Student Health Service and they helped him make an appointment with a specialist.
“It is OK,” Hwan said of the insurance he purchased. “I just want to know why they take so much time to find out what problem I have.”
But Somerton Student Insurance is not the only health provider international students can buy.
Oliver Fitzgerald, of England, bought a health insurance policy at home. The 20-year-old American studies major said he paid only $750 for a year of coverage; other students paid $830 for a year from Somerton.
“My health is never a concern,” Fitzgerald said. “[Because] the insurance is there.”
In a recent marketing contest in Chicago, Somerton Student Insurance announced its plans of revamping its image and of expanding within the student market.
“There shouldn’t be any concern for international students,” said John Breckenridge, vice president of sales at Somerton. Within the CSU system, 2 percent of the domestic students bought the health care program from Somerton, whereas 75 percent of international students did so.
Meanwhile, international students enjoy the fact that they are covered by health insurance.
26-year-old Haili Wu, from China, said that her friends talk about health insurance.
“They say that if we don’t have health insurance we are putting ourselves in a kind of danger,” the Public Administration major said.
Sue Wang agreed. She looks at her injured ankle, and making an extraordinary effort to stand up on her crutches she said, “It must be very painful not to have health insurance.”
Hebron Viray wants to go back home, which is a continent away from SF State. Unlike some foreign-born college students who have adapted to living in the United States, Viray is one of the few who is willing to trade a comfortable life here, all in the name of community service.
“I knew what I wanted to be,” said Viray, a 21-year-old nursing student. “After I graduate in two years, I want to move back to the Philippines to open a [medical] clinic for kids because they need good workers. I want to take my education here back to the Philippines and help the community.”
The current El Sobrante (Contra Costa County) resident, and eldest of two children, moved to the Bay Area when she was 10. “I came here because my dad came here before us and he petitioned my mom, brother and me. It wasn’t much of a choice. I wanted to leave to see my dad and my mindset was ‘I was going to see my dad,’” said Viray.
But, after 11 years of living in the U.S., Viray has rejected the dual citizenship option made possible by the Dual Citizenship bill Philippine President Gloria Arroyo signed last year.
According to the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security, Viray's current status is known as a legal permanent resident (LRP). In a report published by Homeland Security in 2002, Viray is one of the 3,315 LRPs residing in California. She is also one of the 2,355 eligible to become a naturalized U.S. citizen as has met the five-year residency requirement.
The National Statistical Coordination Board (NSC) is a government organization that gathers statistical information throughout the Philippines. According to the NSC, there was an estimated 24 million citizens living in poverty in 2003. There are currently 86,241,697 people living in the Philippines as of July 2004, according to the CIA World Factbook.
"I do want to go back to the Philippines, but I don't know where the loyalty would be," said Viray, who claims choosing between the U.S. and the Philippines would be a hard choice.
"I'll live off my green card [for now], that's good enough," said Viray, who is required to renew her Alien Registration Receipt Card, or green card, every 10 years.
For Viray, who is planning to visit the Philippines in December, volunteering in various Bay Area communities is important to her. Viray is currently the president of Circle K, a collegiate organization based on volunteering and leadership on campus, and has a busy weekly schedule. She has spent a lot of time and personal cash in her organization.
"I donate my money and time here. We don't have a budget for this yet," said Viray as she unpacks two boxes of Capri Suns, a plastic bag of oranges and 10 Pringles canisters in room T-160 of the Cesar Chavez Student Center.
According to Viray, one nursing class is seven hours long. “On Tuesdays, from 2:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m., I work at the John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek for the clinical, which is hands-on experience for me. It’s the practical side of the nursing course,” said Viray last Wednesday, before the first Circle K meeting of the semester.
“Then I drive all the way back home to El Sobrante and have to get up the next day, which is suppose to be my day off. On Thursdays, I go to the meetings our parent sponsor, Kiwanis, holds in San Francisco," she said.
“I rarely have free time and sleep when I do. I’m currently taking 11 units, which may not seem like a lot, but for the nursing program, it doesn’t reflect how much we put into it,” said Viray.
Antonio Taylor, a friend and the current vice president of Circle K, has known Viray for over a year. "Naw, it doesn't surprise that she wants to go back to the Philippines, simply because she's already told me her plans to go back," said Taylor.
"Personally, she's a great friend. She's the type that even if we weren't in Circle K together, we'd be great friends,” said Taylor. “Of course I'd prefer her to stay in the U.S. because I believe she has a lot of good things here in the States, like all of her friends... Personally I'd wish she'd never leave.”
Sung Lee has known Viray since their high school days at Berkeley High over two years ago. "I am truly amazed by her as a person. She multitasks too much and she's stressed at times. She makes me feel so inadequate and always makes me question what more I could do as an individual," said Lee, 19.
Last weekend, Viray and her fellow Circle K friends spent the whole Saturday doing volunteer work from San Francisco to Vallejo. The first volunteer event started at the Glide Memorial United Methodist Church in the Tenderloin area at 7:00 a.m., then they traveled to Marine World for a muscular dystrophy event, and continued the Los Gatos in the South Bay for a picnic.
"For me, not everything is about money. It's a great place to live here, but I'm not happy here," said Viray in a past interview with the Xpress.
For more information on href="http://www.sfcirclek.org" target="_blank">Circle K
The current state budget woes have left many SF State students wondering how they are going to pay for college. With the dramatic increase in tuition costs, the federal and state loans that serve as a buffer zone to many SF State students are not spreading out as thickly as they did in semesters past.
Relief is available from an entity probably not yet considered by most.
Accessible to SF State students is a scholarship that offers up to $17,000 per year for tuition. This scholarship also offers guaranteed job placement in a management position after graduation. Additionally, all recipients are guaranteed top-notch, often times free, healthcare for themselves and their dependants- something millions of Americans are having great difficulty affording these days. And if that were not enough, once on the job, the winners of this scholarship receive 30-days vacation per year.
Unlike most scholarships, this one does not discriminate. It is open to all fields of study, all ethnicities, and both men and women. It is the (Army) Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) Scholarship.
“The program pays my tuition, and I get a $200 stipend every month,” said Kathleen Booth, a junior nursing student, during a recent physical training session. “But it’s more than that. I’m learning to become a leader.”
Besides paying for college, the Army ROTC program affords the students leadership training and experience that prepares them to become commissioned Army officers upon college graduation. As a Second Lieutenant, the officer position is equated to that of a corporate manager. She or he will be expected to lead, manage, counsel and motivate other enlisted soldiers.
“I develop leaders,” said Lieutenant Colonel Scott Donaldson, commander of the cadets, as he surveyed the ROTC students weekly physical training session at University of San Francisco Fitness Center. “That is my sole responsibility and I take it very seriously.”
The ROTC classes are electives that students take in conjunction with their regular college courses. This means they remain civilians while they earn their degrees. It is also a good opportunity for those who are not 100 percent ready to leave home right away, to ease themselves into the Army lifestyle.
“This program is completely voluntary,” said Lt. Colonel Donaldson, who is a former West Point baseball recruit. “If they decide to leave the program prior to graduation, we don’t force them to stay. ”
According to Lt. Colonel Donaldson, the cadets have the luxury of choosing to either go Active Duty or into the Reserves. He said that although it is highly competitive, the current trend is opting for Active Duty.
“Right now, there is a big demand for nurses," said Lt. Colonel Donaldson. "After graduation they immediately get assigned to an entire ward or platoon, so the span of responsibility is far greater than that of a civilian nurse. There is also a big demand for business majors in the Army ROTC, who go on to careers in air defense, aviation, engineering, intelligence, finance and ordnance.”
As Army ROTC cadets, the students cannot be activated or deployed, so they do not have to worry about being shipped off to a military installation in the middle of a semester, which takes a lot of pressure off of them while attending SF State.
“They can’t touch me until I graduate,” said Douglas Gist, a graphic communications student who recently transferred to SF State from Korea, where he served as an interrogator.
Another SF State student, who wished not to have her name printed, was weeks away from being sent to Iraq before she decided to join the Army ROTC.
“The ROTC program saved me,” she said. “I was already in the Army as an enlisted person and was notified that I’d be getting orders to go to Iraq. I told my commander that I was thinking of joining the ROTC program to become an officer. He said, ‘If they sign you before we send your orders, that’s fine.’ Needless to say, I worked hard to get all of my paperwork done fast.”
The Army ROTC has another function, that of sorority or fraternity, that is important to a lot of college students.
“It gives us a group to associate with,” said Lindsay Wild, a nursing major. “We motivate and encourage each other. We learn self-discipline, which carries over into all aspects of life. So you end up setting higher standards for yourself.”
As an added benefit to fulfilling the ROTC commitment, the Army offers their officers assistance with job placement after their term of service. Although some Soldiers spend a life-long career in the Army, others chose not to re-enlist after their initial four or six year commitment. Through the Partnership for Youth Success Program, Soldiers are granted priority consideration at many Fortune 500 companies all over the country.
“I love the Army for all of the many opportunities it offers,” said cadet Sam Rafael.
For more information about ROTC classes, click here.
The Academic Senate unanimously approved department requirement changes proposed by Women's Studies program chair Minoo Moallem, this past Tuesday.
These new changes will update the department while maintaining their current curriculum and without having to eliminate any courses.
According to Moallem, chair of the Women's Studies department, the reason for revision is multifold. Some of the reasons she listed include,creating space for an interdisciplinary and multicultural approach to knowledge in the core courses, to enhance our capacity to advise our students both qualitatively and quantitatively, and to create more space for faculty to work collaboratively in relation to core courses.
Moallem said that these changes would focus on issues of race, with an emphasis on women of color in particular.
Further, according to Moallem, the updated major will provide a wider array of choice in electives outside the department by requiring students to have six units worth of electives outside the department, and reducing the number of core requirement units in Women's Studies from 18 to 12 units.
The Women's Studies program was introduced to SF State in 1976 as a response to an active group of feminists on campus.
In 1986, the program evolved into a department which offered both a major and minor in the field. Today, nearly thirty years after its conception, a Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts and minor are offered by the department.
According to a report released by the department, the number of students majoring in Women's Studies has almost doubled in the past four years. In 2000, there were 30 students; during Spring of 2004 there were 51.
"The program exists to focus on women's issues in literature, history, sociology, anthropology, as well as cultural and ethnic studies," Moallem said.
A degree in Women's Studies can prepare its students for a wide array of career opportunities including teaching, journalism, counseling, law, social work, health and administration.
"I am extremely excited about the changes being made," said assistant professor and graduate advisor of Women's Studies, Deborah Cohler. “This is a terrific revision. I feel that we are moving forward in a positive way."
Cohler said that the core courses in the Women's Studies major will begin to be more integrated, (in that) all courses will look at race, gender, sexuality, and not just a few.
The new proposed plan has been in the works since 1999 and will go into effect in 2005.
Jillian Sandell, Women's Studies undergradute advisor and assistant professor said that she was excited by the changes.
"We can now offer an integrated major that reflects current scholarship in women's studies," said Sandell, "especially the importance of interdisciplinary methodologies and transnational approaches to the study of gender, sexuality and race."
A small crowd gathered by the television set with their pizza and beer close by. They weren't cheering for the San Francisco 49ers but for the Republican National Convention (RNC) in New York City, in which President George W. Bush accepted his party's official nomination last week.
Derrick Wray, a 27-year-old criminal justice major and president of SF State's College Republicans, rarely looked away from the RNC. For over an hour, Wray sat a table apart, alone from his fellow 20-something Republicans.
As he twirled a blue "Vote Republican" balloon and watched the president's speech, the former Democrat laughed when a TV close up zoomed on Vice President Dick Cheney.
"He never looks excited," exclaimed Wray.
Former College Republicans president and founder, Maria Trapalis, joined Wray at the South San Francisco Round Table to watch the RNC.
During the convention, Gov. Schwarzenneger and Georgia Senator Zell Miller, a Democrat, made speeches in support of the re-election of President Bush.
“It’s important to put every face out there. Our group is ideologically diverse,” said Wray, adding that the Bush twins, Barbara and Jenna, 22, should not reflect what the GOP stands for.
“[Their speech Wednesday night] was silly and they’re not gifted speakers. The jokes fell flat and I wasn’t moved. It was just silly,” said Wray.
For Wray and his group of ten Bush supporters, they were proud of what President Bush has accomplished these past four years.
“He did very well tonight and he did what he had to do. He gets a lot of grief for his grammar, but he’s very well-spoken,” said Wray, who didn’t leave his table once for a post-RNC speech stretch.
Critics have accused the GOP for exploiting the Sept. 11 event for political gains.
“Sept. 11 is an issue that should be discussed and it’s not being exploited. Leadership qualities from George W. Bush were exhibited from September 11 and this is similar to [Sen. John] Kerry and Vietnam,” said Wray.
“I think [Bush] is a strong leader and has strengthened our military. Kerry is a flip-flopper and will say anything to please a crowd. It’s stupid. He should stick with his story.
“Every politician changes their mind. It’s good to know they’re open to being wrong,” said Wray, referring to the comment President Bush made on national television about not winning the war on terror. Since the comment aired on NBC, the Bush administration claims the president meant the war could not be won in a conventional way.
“I know what he’s trying to say,” said Wray. “It’s not like World War II. It’s more than the U.S. versus one country. We need to [re]elect him to win this war. This is a long-term struggle and it is winnable,” said the self-described die-hard Bush supporter.
On the College Republicans’ Web site, SF State is called the “belly of the beast” for liberals and Wray said he knows the upcoming elections will be a close one.
SF State student Stacey Erin Doukas died wednesday morning, Sep. 08, when her two-door convertible fell from a San Francisco overpass.
The first impact on a city street near the Mariposa St. on-ramp caused Doukas’ 1987 BMW to fall onto Interstate 280 at 2:26 a.m., California Highway Patrol said.
The 28-year-old journalism senior studied photography, writing and German, and was close to graduation, according to friends and professors.
“She only had to finish a couple of classes,” Johanna Luddy, an SF State photojournalist and colleague of Doukas, said. “She was always talking about how she was so excited to graduate.”
“This is a potentially dangerous profession and it is sadder yet to see someone with so much promise who never got out the door,” John Burks, SF State journalism chair, said.
SF State professor Ken Kobre taught Doukas in several photography classes.
“She was a charming person – warm, funny,” Kobre said. “Everyone will remember her for her dreadlocks.”
Magazine Reporting professor Yvonne Daley said Stacey was a passionate writer who understood the English language well.
“I like that she cared about people,” Daley said. “She was a great team player, and she really cared about people.”
Stacey’s uncle, Steve Doukas, said memorial services will be held Friday, 7p.m. at Duggan Family Serra Mortuary in Daly City – owned by family friends. The inurnment will be held Saturday, 1p.m. at the Greek Orthodox Memorial Church.
Money may be sent to the future scholarship for SF State photojournalism department in lue of flowers.
Contributions by staff writer Sean McCourt
Boos and hisses rang out from the 50 men and women gathered at the Democratic Party headquarters in San Francisco Thursday night as they watched George W. Bush accept the presidential nomination at the Republican National Convention in New York City.
Young, old and of every skin tone, the supporters of Sen. John Kerry wore yellow stickers that read “Every Vote Counts” and lit candles as a sign of unity with other Democrats watching the same speech across the country. California State Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, and San Francisco Supervisor Chris Daly joined the vigil dubbed “1,000 Points of Light” by the Democratic National Committee.
The lively group huddled around three televisions in the modest campaign office on Market Street. They shouted protests and insults while waving Kerry-Edwards campaign signs. They scoffed when Bush said he has provided a safer America and a stronger economy. Many simply shook their heads in dismay. It was all lies or at least disingenuous, they said.
One-third of the group at the Democratic headquarters was between the ages of 18-35, including Jenn Schultz. She said Bush’s remarks were full of “false anecdotes.”
“Basically everything he’s put forward he hasn’t done, I don’t believe he will do or he didn’t say how he would do it,” Schultz said.
Some of those ideas included expanded Pell Grants for low and middle income families and making sure Americans earn a college education before they enter the workforce.
“It wasn’t a dramatic, bold speech,” said SF State political science assistant professor Corey Cook. “But rather one that said I can’t believe you’re going to elect this other guy so let me tear him down a bit and assert that things are getting better.”
Cook said the speech attacked Kerry and even though it was billed as a substantive speech, it was remarkably short on details.
“It was pretty much, I’m the commander-in-chief,” Cook said. “I know what’s right in the world and this guy doesn’t have the competance to be commander-in-chief.”
Before Bush’s speech began, chairman of the California Democratic Party Art Torres spoke by candlelight to the group and eight others like it spread throughout the state that were listening in on a conference call. It took only moments for the Bush bashing to begin.
“I just read the president’s speech when it was given to me a few minutes ago,” Torres said. “It’s depressing as you can get. He even has a comment in Spanish, as if he can speak Spanish.”
“Maybe better than English,” one man said.
Torres also took aim at Bush’s stance on the war in Iraq.
“How dare you suggest that we’re not behind our troops over there,” Torres said. “We want them home and they shouldn’t have been there in the first place.”
Torres used the moment to rally his fellow democrats. He asked them to get involved in the campaign by volunteering, phone banking and precinct walking.
Five weeks earlier, the group had watched their own presidential nominee take to the podium. Tonight, their attention was fixed on his opponent as two large American flags parted and the president appeared on stage at Madison Square Garden. The San Francisco democrats jeered and taunted Bush and almost all remained in their seats for the entire speech.
“We will build a safer world and a more hopeful America -- and nothing will hold us back,” Bush said.
“Except him,” one Democrat shouted to the group.
One viewer counted the “lies” Bush told during his speech and at one point chanted, “Four more lies. Four more lies.”
The Kerry supporters laughed several times during the speech, when Bush said he was running for reelection with a compassionate conservative philosophy and when he spoke in Spanish.
Bush received a back-handed compliment from the group on a health insurance proposal.
“More than half of the uninsured are small business employees and their families,” Bush said. “In a new term, we must allow small firms to join together to purchase insurance at the discounts available to big companies.”
“That’s his first good idea tonight,” one older woman said.
The loudest applause came when a protester appeared in the convention arena and was quickly escorted out. And towards the end the group chanted, “We want Kerry. We want Kerry.”
Many of the younger members of the viewing group were upset group that Bush invoked the memory of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks several times during the speech.
“It’s offensive using the memory of 9-11 for political gain,” Sarah Weston said. “Especially for people who have lost people during that time, it’s just horrible.”
For Leno and Daly, the evening was the climax of a convention they characterized as divisive and mean spirited.
“This is just a convention brought to you by the WWF (World Wrestling Federation),” Daly said. “It’s no holds barred.”
“The entire week they were selling fear,” Leno said. “Fear that if we change leaders now the world will come to an end ... and divisive that anyone who thinks differently than them is unpatriotic.”
Both agreed that democrats had been more reserved during their convention in Boston. Bush mentioned Kerry, either by name or “my opponent,” nine times on Thursday night. During Kerry’s acceptance speech, the president was addressed three times.
“All the taunting poses a danger for Kerry,” viewer Erik Wood said. “I think it’s a danger he can overcome.”
Lisa Williams, the Democratic Party campaign director for San Francisco, said the tone of the GOP convention has helped boost voter participation at the campaign office. The number of people walking into the campaign office and offering to help out doubled during the convention.
“The telephone started ringing off the hook,” Williams said. “People call and say, ‘I want to come and volunteer, what can I do?’”
Now that the first two weeks of classes are out of the way, the stress level of SF State students should have leveled off. After all, those little white add stickers of mercy have all been handed out, so students pretty much know what their schedule is for the semester.
However, for those who drive to school, there lingers that annoying and unavoidable ritual of desperately searching for a parking space on or as close to campus as possible.
Parking spaces are slim pickings, particularly for those whose classes commence in the early morning hours between eight and ten.
There are close to 29,000 students currently enrolled at SF State, according to Jo Volkert, Associate Vice President of Enrollment Planning and Management. Yet, there are only a combined total of 1,967 student parking slots in Lots 20 and 25 to be shared on a first-come, first-served basis. And parking on the street is no picnic either due to the strictly enforced one-hour, and if you are lucky, two-hour parking limits along SF State side streets.
This dreaded hunt for car space can add hours to a student’s weekly class schedule.
"I leave home an hour before my classes start because I know I have to find parking," said senior accounting student Mitchell Young, who ventures to SF State three days a week.
The problem a lot of students have with time limit parking is that it does not coincide with their class schedule.
"I still have classes today,” said Fayola Welsh, a junior business student who left home forty minutes early to find a parking spot on the corner of Arellano and Holloway Avenues. “But I have to move my car from this spot so I don’t get a ticket."
After receiving two $35 tickets in one day, Jamar Clayton, a creative writing senior, decided he could not afford to park on the street for free because his classes are longer than the time limits allotted.
“The parking situation here sucks," said Clayton. “I just park at Stonestown Mall for the day and walk the extra few minutes."
The students are not the only ones suffering from the lack of parking spaces. Residents also have their complaints.
"I live here, and I can’t find a spot," said Arellano Avenue resident Robert Martinez. "Sometimes I have to park half a mile from my house because students park on these streets from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. everyday."
Martinez stated that, to avoid acquiring tickets, he and his neighbors look out for each other by wiping off the blue chalk lines on their car tires that are put there by SF Department of Parking and Transportation (SFDPT) officers trying to track how long a car is parked in a timed zone.
"At $35 each, they add up,” said Martinez. “Last year, I paid more money in parking tickets than I did in tuition at City College."
On average, a single officer can write over fifty parking citations per day.
One officer, who wished not to have his name printed, said he has heard every excuse in the book.
"If they are nice, I won’t give them a ticket," said the officer, as he filled out a $35 citation for a silver Honda Accord on Tapia Drive. "But I threaten to give them a ticket next time."
The other parking option to SF State students is Lot 20. The four level parking structure built in 1962 can host 1,548 cars, and is part of the main campus. It costs $1 per hour or $5 per day to park.
"I spend $25 a week parking here," said freshman biology student Jean Baptiste Akre, Jr. "I am very pissed that semester permits are not available."
"We don’t have enough spaces," said Sergeant Jennifer Schwartz of the SF State Police Department. "We could not guarantee those who purchased semester permits could find parking every time they came on campus."
Some students complain of the lack of security in the dark lower levels of Lot 20.
"I never see security in the garage,” said Katrina Pangilinan, an undeclared sophomore. “The only people I see are the guys who walk around checking to make sure you have a permit in your window."
Schwartz countered by noting that Campus police patrol all of the parking structures 24-hours a day, 7-days a week. And if students do not feel safe for any reason, they should call Campus Alliance for a Risk-free Environment (C.A.R.E.) at 415-388-7200 for an immediate escort from their car to class, or from class to their car. This service is free of charge, and offered on an unlimited basis.
The consequences of a parking violation in one of the campus parking lots are more costly than the punishment from the SFDPT.
"On average, 7,500 parking citations are issued per semester," said Schwartz.
An invalid hourly permit citation costs $55. However, if a student chances their luck at parking in a disabled spot without a valid permit, the penalty is $275.
The university’s decision this fall to make the campus “smoke free” is causing a good deal of confusion between students and staff. SF State President Robert Corrigan circulated an executive directive on Aug. 1, in which he explained the new policy prohibiting smoking anywhere on campus outside of a handful of designated areas.
Apparently the memo hasn’t traveled too far.
“I haven’t seen any signs,” said Michael Sciono, an SF State sophomore found smoking outside the bookstore Wednesday afternoon. “You’re actually the first person that’s confronted me.”
The school has designated seven smoking areas that students are strongly encouraged to use when the urge to light up strikes. The problem is that no one seems to know where they are.
“Most smokers are polite and don’t want to piss people off,” said Matt Williman, a freshman majoring in Computer Engineering. “What they need to do is put some signs up telling us where to go.”
Although most students seem happy to cooperate, there are some who doubt that the mandate, which essentially is a suggestion carrying no legal weight, will be actively imposed.
“They’re not going to enforce it, they’re just trying to put the fear of God in us,” said senior Allen Ramsey. “I think it’s stupid.”
Although the university is, for now, treating the issue as a voluntary policy, it does have the right and power to back up the smoking ban with disciplinary sanctions. Like countless other CSU mandates such as its sexual harassment, alcohol and skateboard policy, SF State students agree by default to all the rules of the institution by choosing to attend classes. The campus is essentially the private property of the state of California.
“It’s like the CEO of a company setting policy for a private business,” said Sheldon Gen, an assistant professor of public policy at SF State. “Just look at Cal Poly, which is a completely dry campus... it’s not surprising SF State has decided to ban smoking.”
Gen did warn that the policy becomes problematic if it is not well advertised.
“It (policy) becomes a mute point if many of the students aren’t informed and there is no implementation,” said Gen.
As professor Gen alluded to, the CSU system, as well a most campuses across the country, contains countless examples of such lightly enforced rules or mandates.
Humboldt State University has adopted a similar smoking ban this semester and has not, as of yet, seen a need to back it up with any sort of disciplinary action.
“We ask the community to regulate itself whenever possible,” said Humboldt State acting Chief of police Tom Dewey. “If we have the resources available, we will act on each complaint on a case-by-case basis.”
Dewey said that the campus police department receives three or four complaints a week dealing with students smoking too close to dorm or classroom doorways, but has yet to take any formal disciplinary action.
“There’s no fine, they’re just asked to leave,” said Dewey.
The University of Georgia’s smoking ban, unlike CSU’s, is backed by the authority of the Clark County Commission, and allows for fines of up to $500.
Although SF State’s ban is one of the most extreme in the CSU system, similar regulations exist in such high profile schools as the University of Kansas, Boston College, American University and the University of Wisconsin.
Part of the reason for such lax enforcement of this, and many other mandates, may have to do with a lack of need. CSU’s smoking policy was born from a student-led petition collected from eight separate campuses, and its scope has expanded each year with the support of the student body. University officials across the nation have repeatedly documented the active role their students have taken in forming such policies.
This is quite possibly the reason President Corrigan chose to end his memo to faculty and students regarding the smoking ban in the manner he did.
‘The success of this policy will depend on the thoughtfulness, consideration and cooperation of smokers and nonsmokers.’
Because many of the actions regulated by mandates, including the smoking ban, are not illegal, campus police are forced to leave the enforcement of these rules to university officials and concerned students.
“It’s an administrative thing,” said SF State police Corporal Emilio Balistriri. “We can only ask them kindly, just like you.”
Kevin Costello should have spent last Friday doing what every college freshman does during his or her first couple of weeks at their new campus and home—settling into dorm life, getting to know his classmates, and looking forward to the semester ahead.
Instead, Costello’s family and friends remembered the 17- year-old in a private memorial along the coast of Monterey Bay, after he died Aug. 31 from serious injuries sustained in an accidental fall in the Marin Headlands.
Costello, who graduated from North Monterey County High School last June and had just moved to San Francisco, slipped and fell into a remote cove while hiking as part of a retreat for the school’s incoming freshman in the Presidential Scholars Program.
“He was a joy,” said Jeremy Rubenstein, Costello’s high school English teacher.
“It’s such a loss.”
Rubenstein said that Costello was an extremely hard working student, who always completed his assignments thoroughly, and engaged his classmates in intelligent and respectful discussions of important issues. He added that in addition to his English studies, Costello loved science and music, particularly jazz and punk.
“It’s hard for me to convey to anybody who didn’t know him how totally exceptional this kid was—definitely one of a kind. I taught at UCSC for 5 years, and this is my fourth or fifth year of doing high school, and he was the smartest kid I’ve ever had in either place—period.”
A team of astronomers, including SF State faculty and alumni, announced on Aug. 31 the discovery of two new planets, one orbiting the star Gliese 436 and the other circling Rho Cancri.
The discovery of the new planets, both approximately the size of Neptune, is the first time astronomers have seen extra-solar planets smaller than Saturn.
One of the new finds also marks the discovery of the first-known star system with four planets orbiting a star other than our own.
Dr. Chris McCarthy, an astronomer with SF State’s astronomy and Physics department, said he and his colleagues are pleased with their latest find.
“Yes, there’s been a very exciting discovery,” McCarthy said. “Previously we’d only been able to find planets as big as Jupiter. It’s easier to find these large planets.
“Currently, no Earth-bound observatory has the capability of detecting an Earth-type planet – yet. We’re trying to work our way down to that level of detectability so this is an important step in that goal.”
The planet hunting team, which includes former SF State astronomy professor Geoff Marcy, current SF State astronomer Dr. Debra Fischer and alumni Paul Butler, used the W.M. Keck telescope in Hawaii and telescopes at Lick Observatory to find the new planets.
The first of the two new planets orbits an M-type dwarf star. The second new planet revolves around a yellow dwarf star, similar to our sun. Dwarf stars are typically small, low mass objects and are the most common type of stars in the universe.
Because astronomers have already discovered three other planets orbiting Rho Cancri, the new find makes it the first quintuple, or 4-planet, star system ever seen.
In a press release from the National Science Foundation, Marcy described the difficulty of finding a planet around a red dwarf star like Gliese 436.
“They’re hard because they’re so dim,” Marcy said. “Only with the largest telescopes in the world – the Keck for example – can you do the Doppler technique on them, and then only with the very nearest.”
McCarthy said the Doppler method for finding extra-solar planets is similar to a traffic cop using radar to catch a speeding driver.
“Instead of speeding cars, we measure speeding stars,” he said.
Back in 1995, SF State astronomers barely missed discovering the very first extra-solar planet ever found. A Swiss-led team announced the discovery of a planet orbiting the star 51 Pegasi just days before SF State’s team confirmed their first planetary find.
So far, the SF State team, known as the California & Carnegie Planet Search, still leads the race for the most number of extra-solar planets detected with over 80 discoveries to their credit.
“It’s important to understand the makeup of the cosmos,” McCarthy said. “We’d like to know how we fit in. Is Earth typical? Are there many or few (Earth-like planets)?”
McCarthy said he believes that SIM will detect an Earth-sized planet sometime before 2010. In a thesis he wrote in the early ‘90s, he predicted that astronomers would find the first extra solar planet within five years.
“Someday we’ll find a planet like Earth,” he said.
During a highly contested presidential election year at a politically-charged school, some foreign and immigrant students at SF State have reservations when it comes to expressing their political views.
Cultural upbringing and concerns about their status in the United States motivate many of the students to adopt a political position, but in some cases, concerns about political activities upsetting their international peers prevent students from engaging in politics.
“Everybody in my opinion has a political leaning,” said Sanjoy Banerjee, professor and interim-chair of the International Relations department. “[and] any person with a personal view can make any [political] demonstration permitted by law.”
“I am not interested in politics [because] I am not a citizen,” said Masaru Yoshimura, a 22-year-old cinema major from Japan.
Yoshimura said he is aware that non-citizens do not participate in politics in this country.
“If I go back to Japan next year maybe I would attend some democratic event to vote,” he said.
Last year 5,333 foreign students attended classes, contributing over $86 million to the school’s budget, according to an economic analysis of SF State prepared by Michael J. Potepan of the department of economics. The total number of students enrolled last year was 28,128.
“I am a foreign student,” said Yasumasa Kato. “If I am involved in politics, I do not think that would be safe for me.” Kato mentioned that he might get in trouble with immigration authorities if he gets involved in activities unrelated to school.
Kato, 34, studies international relations at SF State, and this semester he is taking a class about development in third world countries. He has participated in the political process in Japan and indicated that if he was allowed to vote, he would vote for John Kerry.
“I am really interested in the presidential elections,” Kato said. “But I better stay away from it.”
American students are scattered all over the world. Kati Anderson Bell, an adviser for students abroad, talked about the way her department addresses students going abroad.
“We advise American students to keep up with current events,” said Anderson. “When it comes to participating in a political manifestation [abroad], we tell them to be very cautious. It is a safety issue.”
Safety is also a key component of some foreign students’ attitudes toward politics at SF State. The Patriot Act, the law passed by Congress in Nov. 2001 that gives the government power to investigate a student’s school record, has a lot to do with these fears.
“One could argue that because of the Patriot Act there is some curtailment in the freedom of speech,” Prof. Banerjee said.
But he also said some students have written in newspapers expressing freely their opinion, despite curtailments.
Nikko, a computer science grad student who does not want his last name to be printed on the grounds that his opinions might upset somebody in his country, witnessed the way foreigners are treated at American airports.
According to Nikko, immigration officials interrogate everyone, and they are fingerprinted every time they leave or enter the country.
He said Asian people are “very passive,” and that when he goes back to Taiwan he will try to “educate” his friends about America. Nikko abstains from participating in politics, and he has a strong reason for that.
“If we cannot vote, I think that it is pretty much useless,” he said.
Professor Ellis Burcu of the International Relations department deeply understands why foreign and immigrant students avoid being involved in politics on campus.
In addition to some legal hurdles, these students are accountable to their families who often times pay for their high tuition fees.
She said she always encourages her international students to speak up and talk about the realities of their countries. “This campus is so diverse that sometimes international students seem to disappear,” she said.
However limited, immigrant students can participate in the democratic process by volunteering for a political faction of their choice, and though many foreign students might prefer to avoid politics, Prof. Banerjee has something to tell them:
“Students should not be inactive.”
SF State’s Department of Public Relations has been through some major changes in the past year. One of the biggest changes is their spokesperson.
Former Assistant Interim Public Relations Director Ellen Griffin accepted the role as PR director Aug. 25, making her the third one SF State has had this year.
Once Ligeia Polidora left the position as PR director this past February after 10 years of service, the position was then passed on to her assistant, Christina Holmes, who has since relocated with her family to Washington.
"(Ellen) will make an awesome PR director,” said Holmes. "She is smart, knowledgeable and dedicated."
As public relations director, Griffin will be responsible for handling numerous media concerns and questions, as well as issuing press releases to local newspapers and radio stations if a newsworthy event should break on campus.
Griffin has several years of public relations experience behind her, ranging from University level to various health associations.
As a spokesperson, Griffin is very aware of the demands that come with being a University spokesperson, acknowledging that there are times when her duties as campus spokesperson have her working long into the night.
“As PR director, if the media calls asking me for information or a press release, I can’t tell them, ‘sorry I can’t talk, I need to go home and sleep,’” Griffin said. “I need to put in whatever time it takes to get the job done.” And the time that she puts in to her job can go way beyond a 40-hour work week.
Holmes said that Griffin is "very cool and calm in the middle of a crisis," a key ingredient to being a good PR director.
“(A campus spokesperson) needs to be flexible, respond to unprecedented issues and keep a cool head all at the same time, in order to communicate effectively,” said Griffin.
While Griffin is keeping an open mind with regard to which issues she would like to tackle this semester, it is clear that she is determined to stay ahead of the game to ensure that relations with outside media runs smoothly.
Janet Wade, who is the publication manager for SFSU magazine has worked with Ellen for a number of years on the magazine. She described Griffin as being "an excellent manager, fair, and has a good sense of humor." Wade also said that Griffin "has become director of the office at a difficult time, when Public Affairs and Publications lost significant staff (during budget cuts). She has done a great job bringing both offices together as a single unit."
Even with all of the obstacles that she will no doubt face this semester, Griffin sees many advantages in her job.
“First and foremost, I love SF State,” she said. “It is a treasure full of committed and smart people.” She also said she enjoys the variety and change that come about from working in the public relations office.
Aside from running around the Public Relations office, Griffin spent the last couple of years at SF State working for SFSU Magazine as both a science writer and advisor to the editorial team.
Sheldon Axler, Dean of the Science Department said, "Ellen has an excellent understanding of what will make a science story appeal to the public." Axler also said that "Ellen knows her way around acadamia; I congratulate her and look forward to working with her in her new position."
“I love to write. I love media. I love researching,” Griffin said. “I am a nosey person and assume that the rest of the world wants to know what I’ve learned as well….This is achieved by good communication with media by using the best tools available to get the message out, and by making the most out of the technology available to us."
"I think the University is in good hands with Ellen as the campus spokesperson," said Holmes. "I think she is an excellent choice."
The phones ring non-stop one afternoon and students bump into each other like the swinging doors on the first floor of the business building.
The action is taking place at a trailer tucked between trees and the gymnasium.
Adam Calmenson, 41, has his gray t-shirt and navy blue sweater sleeves rolled up on an unusually sunny day on campus. As the program director for the
Community Involvement Center (CIC), he doesn't sit for more than a minute.
He can't. SF State students are in and out of the 60 by 30 feet trailer and Calmenson is quick to greet each visitor.
In 1973, Dr. Gilbert Robison, a former English professor on campus, created the CIC when it was known as the Center for Institutional Change at SF State. It wasn't until 1986 when the volunteer organization became the CIC. Fifteen years ago, the psychology building was the original location for the CIC until 2002.
All throughout the campus, there are notices and invitations for students interested in earning up to six credit units through volunteering and taking a weekly one-hour seminar class. While some students walk past the notices, others are taking the opportunity to gain hands-on experience before the first seminar meeting, which is scheduled for Sept. 20.
Danielle Freeman-Reynolds, a 23-year-old sociology major, stopped by the CIC one afternoon. Freeman-Reynolds said she spent 10 minutes inside the CIC's resource center, where the walls are plastered with flyers for volunteer opportunities in fields such as domestic violence, the youth or HIV-related services. Though she came out empty handed, because of a scheduling conflict, the future guidance counselor hopeful isn't giving up.
"The CIC is helpful but I need to take an hour inside the resource center, not just 10 minutes," said Freeman-Reynolds.
Nitza Bevzerides, 24, was also at the CIC one afternoon. Bevzerides was able to schedule an interview with a CIC teaching assistant, a process that occurs prior to officially joining the volunteer internship personal and professional development program, or VIPD.
"I'd like to go into the environment and tackle issues that need addressing," said Bevzerides. "[I’d] definitely also teach things to the youth," she added.
For Calmenson and his staff of 16, all are part-time employees that can only work up to 30 hours a week. The CIC is student-run and organized through the Office of Community Service Learning. For over 12 years, non-profits have been invited to meet SF State students free of charge. Next week, from Sept. 13-15, the CIC is hosting the annual non-profit agency fair outside the Humanities building.
According to Calmenson, the upcoming fair is one way for students to interact personally with possible volunteer agencies.
"We set it up so students having a hard time finding a placement on campus get exposure. We'll be full by the 20th," said Calmenson, a San Francisco native that graduated from Lowell High School.
While many students such as Bevzerides opt to find a possible volunteer placement through the CIC, Calmenson acknowledges that many students on campus are resourceful and go outside the CIC for volunteer opportunities.
“We have the resource system and are open to the public. There are great websites out there but the thing is, we’re just trying to promote community involvement,” said Calmenson.
“This is a commuter school and you can say nothing to your classmates and get straight As in class. You’re actively learning and teaching from others [through volunteering]. It’s a two way process and a dynamic way to learn.”
Careful not to label itself a “real news show,” The Daily Show with John Stewart delivers a satirical take on the 2004 presidential election to perhaps the most elusive audience for politicians - 18 to 29 year olds.
With John Kerry’s appearance Aug. 24 appearance on Stewart’s show, the pages of national newspapers were aflame with talk about how relevant the Daily Show has become. From Kerry’s perspective, it was a way of reaching this group of voters (or, more frequently, non-voters) in a forum they are increasingly turning to.
In January, a Pew Research Center for the People and the Press produced a report, which found the Daily Show was on par with such traditional outlets as public television broadcasts, Sunday morning news organizations and weekly news magazines.
The Pew report also found 21 percent of young people ages 18-29 get their campaign news from comedy TV shows, one percent higher than those who use the internet.
In the overall American population, eight percent of adults get their news from comedy shows - up two percent from 2000, but still well below traditional news programs.
“They don’t necessarily believe the Pew Research Center,” said Steve Albani, spokesman for Comedy Central, referring to producers of The Daily Show. “There were certain nuances that didn’t get examined closely,” he said.
“The Daily Show is entertainment and the point is to make people laugh, not to be their primary source of political news.”
The show is designed around the premise that the audience has some basic knowledge of current events so that the irony of the show’s commentary is immediate and clear.
Young people, like SF State students, are drawn to the show because it “filters out the b.s. and provides the viewers with what they [the producers] believe to be a kernel of truth,” Albani said.
Those who did watch it said they did so as a relief from what they said was the drudgery of daily news, but not as their primary source of political news.
“It’s the fact that it presents itself as a fake news show,” said Victor Omar Vargas, a fine art and industrial design major at SF State. “It’s easier to digest than regular news, especially with harder issues like war and people dying.”
“The average student is not terribly involved in the intricacies of policy,” Tabb said.
Chris Paterson, an assistant professor of media studies at the University of San Francisco wrote in an email interview that the appeal of late night TV, “has taken the role of capping off the day for younger people but they are tuning in for entertainment, not news.”
Even if “The Daily Show” isn’t reinventing political satire and serving as just entertainment, the show’s popularity reigns beyond simple viewing.
Comedy TV “just lightens up the load when I’ve had a hard day,” said Victor Omar Vargas. “I don’t use it to make a decision like who to vote for.”
SF State Housing and Residential Services hosted a memorial Aug.31 for 17-year-old Kevin Costello, a SF State freshman who died that morning after injuries he sustained while on a University-sponsored Presidential Scholar field trip.
Most of the 182 people in attendance at the memorial were freshmen students living in the dorms, a few residential advisers and members of the faculty also attended. Admittedly, only a handful of those present ever got a chance to meet Costello. He was a sixth-floor resident of Mary Ward Hall for less than a week.
Costello died when he slipped while taking pictures with his new digital camera.
“Kevin was introduced to me on paper, in application form,” Gail Whitaker, associate vice president of academic program development, said at the memorial service. She reviews and advises President Corrigan on applicants for the Presidential Scholar award.
“I checked his application and it had all the stellar numbers,” she said. Whitaker noted that she saw no grade less than an A – on Costello’s transcripts. She also read a recommendation letter from Jeremy Rubenstein, Costello’s former English teacher at North Monterey County High School. He wrote that Costello earned the only A+ he had ever given.
Costello was a straight-A student who loved music, surfing and photography. “In college I plan to study the sciences, particularly marine biology,” wrote Costello in his Presidential Scholar application. He also wrote that he hoped to document oceanographic research by using his own photographs.
Sarah Calhoun, a Presidential Scholar who was with Costello when he slipped, spoke at the memorial. She said Costello was “amazing, brilliant…” and he was “eager to live and love.”
William Greene, Costello’s roommate in Mary Ward Hall, also spoke at the service. “I didn’t know him all too well, maybe a week, but he was a cool guy,” said Greene. “It really sucks but that’s life. I won’t ever forget him. I knew we were going to be pals all through college.”
Because the first day to move into the dorms on campus was Aug. 22, only six days prior to Costello’s accident, most residents and staff never got to know him.
“When I first got notice of the event I had a hard time dealing with it because when they said Kevin Costello I had such a hard time putting the face to the name,” said Wesley Burford, Costello’s sixth-floor resident adviser.
During the open microphone section of the memorial DJ Morales, director of residential life, invited students to share thoughts and memories.
“I did not have the opportunity to meet him and I feel that was my loss,” said the first student who spoke. “Our loss was really his potential.”
Raymond Pestrong, SF State professor of geology and faculty director of the Presidential Scholars Program, was on the field trip with Costello. He told the audience that he was sitting directly opposite Costello on the bus to the Marin Headlands. He said he remembered the student was sprawled out and had taken up both seats.
“I could have spoken to him and I didn’t and that’s a terrible loss,” said Pestrong to the audience. “In that few minutes I could have made a connection and that’s my loss. Completely unaware of it of course.” The professor then went on to say, “I am in a state of complete shock.”
Pestrong, like most speakers during the memorial, suggested to the audience that they take the opportunity to reach out and say hello to someone when they have the chance.
“I urge you to be kind to one another. It’s what makes a community and we have one here,” he said to the room full of mostly new students.
Courtney Oxen, a fellow Presidential Scholar who was also on the field trip, echoed Pestrong’s sentiments. “Absolutely nothing is permanent,” she said.
“Cherish every second, make sure that when you see that person stop and say hi because who knows if you’ll have that chance again.”
Of the almost one dozen speakers at the memorial, only a group of three students who went up to the microphone together really knew Costello. The two men and one woman grew up with Costello on the central coast of California.
Westin Chu spoke to the audience about his memories of playing hockey and snowboarding with Costello. The woman shared a memory of Costello teaching her how to surf.
“I’m sure he would really appreciate all you guys coming out,” said Chu, who is also a student at SF State.
A long line of students, 20 deep, stretched from the entrance of the auditorium in the Humanities building Wednesday night, Aug. 25 for the first class in a series of lectures on the upcoming political election.
They waited adjacent to a table encouraging them to not only vote but vote Democrat. The students murmured to each other, asking if this long line was to get into the class. Some picked up political pamphlets on the table while others attached Kerry pins to their backpacks.
With the prospect of giving students and voters a deeper understanding of this year’s election, the College of Behavior and Social Science (BSS) started its second year of lectures entitled, “The 2004 Presidential Elections: Issues and Analysis.”
Organized by BSS Dean Joel Kassiola, the nearly two-hour, two-unit lectures are a response to what he considered the superficial and often simplistic coverage the media give to elections and politics in general.
He developed the series – which will focus on the role of the media in elections, same-sex marriages, the environment, health care, and other issues – to provide a class-by-class development of the current political climate starting with the history of the Electoral College.
“Faculty members approach topics differently than the press and they have more time express those ideas than a 20-inch article,” Kassiola said before the class on Wednesday. “They bring scholarly reading to the topics and I think they approach topics in a different way than journalists.” Academics, he added, are more committed to the process of reasoning and can pursue unpopular ideas, an uncommon thing in journalism.
“There is tremendous interest in this campaign,” said Jules Tygiel, a professor of history at State and the College Democrats faculty advisor, when asked about the student turnout. He, along with his wife, passed out fliers, John Kerry buttons, posters and voter registration forms to students waiting to get into the class.
“This is the most important election of our time and I am motivated [to be here] by how important it is for students to get involved.”
The auditorium filled quickly exceeding the 75 enrolled students. The lecture featured three speakers: Robert Cherny, professor of history; Michael Graham, professor of political science; and Christopher Waldrep, chair and professor of history.
Each speaker discussed a different part of American politics, the Electoral College and the evolution of the presidential campaign, providing insight into how these institutions have impacted the contemporary political landscape.
“I don’t know anything about the election,” said Sarah Oberman, a business major who attended the class. “I don’t know why I want to lean one way or another.” The class, she said, would help make her a better-informed voter though she would have understood more if the lecturers used “elementary terms about what they were explaining.”
The number of students attending the class was an indication of changing attitudes on campus in the last four years.
When asked at the end of the lecture if voting had become obsolete, Waldrep replied, to much laughter, “It was a very common attitude on this campus in 2000 to hear there’s little difference between Republicans and Democrats. I haven’t heard that lately.”
The San Francisco College Democrats, a fledging student organization headed by SF State student Wes McGaughey, encouraged students to register to vote outside the auditorium.
Arriving directly from work in a blue dress shirt and yellow tie, McGaughey passed out information about the College Democrats, hoping to recruit more members and officers.
“If I had time I would have dressed more college student like,” he confessed before recounting the many obstacles he faced in organizing the College Democrats, like surmounting the political apathy of college students and the lack of support from the university administration. He hopes the organization will change student awareness of political decisions.
The protests earlier this year over fee increases, he said, where largely ineffective because students were demonstrating after the policies were already in place.
He also hadn’t been able to get university permission for the College Democrats to gain non-profit status, making contributions tax deductible.
“People have become disenchanted with politics and I want to present an image that’s cool,” he said about the College Democrats. So far the organization has registered 86 students to vote; 72 of who are registered Democrats.
The lectures will be held every Wednesday night starting at 7:15 p.m. through Dec. 8 in Humanities 133. During Election Day, Nov. 2, the class will be held in Jack Adams Hall for a special election night session featuring live commentary and post-election analysis from faculty.
Smoking has become a hot issue at SF State this fall as a new mandate that limits tobacco use to seven designated zones takes effect.
Many at SF State wonder whether the fledgling policy will accomplish its stated goal and eliminate second-hand smoke from heavily trafficked areas on campus or if the rule will merely be a loosely enforced attempt at eliminating smoke.
“I don’t see what the point is,” Madison Peet, a non-smoking sophomore said.
“It doesn’t look like anyone’s made an effort to find the smoking sections. Besides, who cares if they smoke outside anyway?”
An announcement was posted on the SF State Web site in August, and it was accompanied by a map detailing where smoking is allowed on campus but no signs have been posted yet to help smokers find the areas, and many find that the areas located on the perimeter of campus are too far to bother with.
“There’s nowhere to go near the Humanities building,” 22-year-old smoker Justin Milunas said. “I don’t want to impose my smoke on others, but come on, smokers have rights too.”
The Environmental Protection Agency classified first-hand and second-hand tobacco smoke as a Class A carcinogen in 1993. Given enough doses of the substance, humans are known to develop nose or lung cancer.
SF State English lecturer Pierrette Jeanmonod, came to school Aug. 31 with the words Athens 2004 printed on the back of an ordinary white shirt. Her Olympic photo ID reflects the gleaming light as it hangs around her neck. The only difference between Jeanmonod and everyone else is her attire was part of her uniform as a translator for the 2004 games.
Dressed in a green jacket and blue pants, Jeanmonod was an official French interpreter for the International Federation of Gymnastics. She has just come back to SF State from Athens on Aug. 31.
This is not the first time she has been in the company of the world’s finest athletes. Athens is her fifth Olympic games and she has been the official French interpreter for 19 years. Over the course of nearly two decades she has worked in Seoul, Barcelona, Atlanta and Sydney.
Jeanmonod said the hardest thing, as a translato,r is to interpret just what people are saying to each other.
“I have to get close to people’s meaning,” she said.
She added that political discussion is especially hard.
“You have to be very careful of what people said. Otherwise you create problems,” she added.
While working in Athens, the Paul Hamm gymnastic controversy unfolded and he was asked to return his gold medal because of judging errors. Jeanmonod worked for that case, but she could not disclose the details because information discussed in the Olympic committee is confidential.
Jeanmonod is originally from Switzerland and came to the U.S. when she was 20 years old. While working in the SF State French department, Andrea Schmid-Shapiro a kinesiology professor and two times Olympic medal holder in gymnastics for Hungary, asked her be a translator in 1985.
“Of course, it was exciting,” she said, referring to when Schmid-Shapiro asked her.
Since going to the Olympic congress before the 1988 Olympic games in Seoul, South Korea, Schmid-Shapiro has supported athletes, coaches and judges behind the scenes.
Jeanmonod shared her Athens Olympic experiences with her students by showing her Olympic opening ceremony package, which contains a small gold bell, a white handkerchief, tickets and a small light.
Her students seem to be interested, she said and added that they all seem to love her Olympic fashion.