October 2004 Archives
A 10-year-old San Francisco community task force kicked off its official campaign at the Castro Street Fair to raise awareness about drug-related sexual assaults.
The San Francisco Adult Sexual Assault Task Force set up its booth in the heart of the fair passing out fliers and selling t-shirts with the common message of awareness and information on how to protect against sexual assaults. Members of the task force include San Francisco Police Department (SFPD), SF State’s Sexual Abuse Free Environment (SAFE) Place, San Francisco General Hospital and a slew of many others organizations.
“Eighty percent of all sexual assaults, you know who is assaulting you,” said Officer Ron Reynolds of SFPD’s Sex Crimes unit at the fair.
Often these sexual assault occurrences happen at bars, clubs, parties or any other place that may serve alcohol, according to Nina Jo Smith, coordinator of SF State’s SAFE Place.
“Drugs like GHB, ecstasy, ketamine (special K), these are the rape drugs generally used,” said SFPD’s Officer Belinda Kerr.
Some ways that members of the task force suggest to keep partygoers safe from drug-related sexual assault are to go out in groups and to look out for each other’s well being. Sexual assault can happen to both men and women, young or old, said Smith.
Perpetrators are difficult to identify, said Smith. They use con-artist types of strategies and plan carefully what they are going to do. The perpetrators often appear in a demeanor that may not fit the stereotypical image of a criminal.
Reported cases of drug-related sexual assault have been steadily on the rise and the need for informing the public became apparent, according to Kerr and Smith. Campaigning tactics include printing out posters, coasters and napkins that have the slogan “Who’s watching your drink?” to be placed in various bars around San Francisco.
“The main thrust of the campaign now is going to the street fairs,” said Smith.
“A lot of neighborhoods have street fairs… it’s a good time to talk to people when they’re relatively sober.”
Members of the task force also offer information on how to seek help if you have been sexually assaulted or if you know someone who has.
“Call the police. We would much rather be called a hundred times on false alarms than the one time it really happened,” said Reynolds.
Additional Reporting Done By Lemery Reyes
August Beck walks around the Quad carrying a box full of Ralph Nader bumper stickers, buttons and pamphlets as he struggles to hold a plastic bag of political t-shirts with a free hand.
With the elections this week, Beck and many SF State students are expressing their politics through fashion.
“We have sizes small to extra large," joked Beck as he walked through Malcolm X Plaza. Inside his plastic bag is a green "End The War, Vote Peace. Bring the Troops Home" t-shirt that the International Socialist Organization (ISO) is selling for $15 a piece.
“We've sold four so far,” said Beck.
According to Beck, who wears a blue "Vote Nader" button everywhere, political attire is a way for students to send a message. “We get compliments and people love the green shirt,” said Beck, 21. “Everyone wants the war to end and to bring the troops home.”
Historically, SF State has been a politically active campus. In 1968, students held protests against the Vietnam War, which eventually led to the creation of the ethnic studies department. Earlier this year, an estimated 1,500 students held a walkout in protest of the school budget cuts agreed to by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and California State University (CSU) Chancellor Charles B. Reed.
And with over 30,000 students and a heavily contested election this year, the buttons, t-shirts and other forms of political attire have hit the campus hard.
According to Kristy Collins, president of the Student Fashion Association on campus, fashion is a great way to visually express your thoughts. "Fashion is self-expression," said Collins. "Outrageous political shirts get more of a reaction from those who don't agree with it."
Michelle Cole owns the Lost Horizon shop on Haight Street, where many specialized t-shirts and hats are sold. According to Cole, the $22 President Bush satire shirts have been a hit with her customers. "It just came out really big," said Cole as she rings a customer up. "I normally wouldn't carry them (and) the customers introduced them to me."
While sales have been steady, said Cole, customers can choose between three Bush shirts. " 'Good Bush, Bad Bush' is their favorite," said Cole.
Jordan Green, a member of the Queer Alliance on campus, doesn't think political propaganda fashion makes a difference, especially in an election year. He also believes most people who wear the shirts don't understand the issues.
“Political shirts are dated,” said Green, 18. “To be political, you don't have to buy a shirt. People who wear them (t-shirts) are not really political. I saw this guy wear a 'No Blood for Oil' shirt and drove an SUV."
Theresa Caballero, 22, wears a white shirt in support of social workers and likes political fashion. “I think they're just great, like the pins or bumper stickers,” she said.
Susan Thompson is a registered Republican and supports President George W. Bush through a pair of flip-flops. “I'll wear a red t-shirt that says 'Decide for Him' on the front and on the back, 'Vote Bush,' ” said Thompson, 24.
“And the flip-flops are attached to my waist,” said Thompson, who describes herself as an “oppressed Republican” at SF State. “John Kerry is a flip-flop because actions speak louder than words. His voting is inconsistent.”
Enrique Cordeiro, 44, is a returning student and supports Kerry by wearing a Democrat National Convention baseball cap. "Bush has gotta go and Kerry's not that bad," said Cordeiro, who is a legal resident and cannot vote this year because he is not a U.S. citizen. "Kerry's far from perfect but is better than Bush."
Holly Cornel, an apparel and design merchandising student, wore a rhinestone pin this semester to encourage students to register and vote. “I think (fashion) doesn't have a strong influence on other people's opinions,” said Cornel, a 19-year-old registered Democrat.
“(Fashion) is a freedom of expression and college students are broke,” said Cornel. “Shirts cost extra and are not free like bumper stickers.”
Political Theater Live kicked off their first major show this semester in Malcolm X plaza, Thursday, Oct. 21.
“Education is bad. War is Good,” shouted a longhaired gentleman in a wheel chair framed as the "Anti-Guy" character, played by theater major Asher Lyons.
Under the electric blue autumn sky, the evolving troupe known as Political Theater Live presented the show as a way to create awareness through laughter about the upcoming November 2nd election. The hour performance consisted of skits parodying the “Lord of the Rings,” spoken word acts, and musical satyrs.
The group believes that political theater is an alternative to the speakers who simply take the stage spouting out cut and dry intellectual responses to the issues, said Lyons.
“I feel what's good is to go up on stage, especially while young students are on the campus, and inform the audience of what's happening through humor and parody,” he said.
The audience, which Lyons speaks of, is not the average theatergoer, who pays their admission with expectations. Instead, for these outdoor performances the audience is usually unaware that is about to begin, which requires the actors to use different skills then if they were acting in an indoor theater production.
In order to deal with an outdoor nonchalant audience, the actors have to make themselves heard, seen, and understood through over emphasized movements and vocals, Greg Zema, an actor in the performance, said.
“This is one medium where over acting is encouraged and embraced," he said.
Capturing the audience’s attention through over emphasis was only part of the problem the actors faced when organizing Thursday’s show. After initially gaining the attention of the audience--people eating, studying, socializing--the performers now had to hold their interest, Lyons said.
“There has to be an electricity that flows through the whole show. You want to do a scene, then jump back into a song, a spoken word piece, or another scene,” he said. "So the key is to jump from scene to scene, because any lag time in between gives the audience a chance to catch their breath and leave.”
Though some in the audience were hitting girls up for their phone numbers and talking to friends, there were enough catcalls and applause to let the actors know that people were listening.
Many people may still have a hard time accessing government documents or attending government meetings. Proposition 59 may make accessing these resources easier.
California laws, such as the California Public Records Act or the Ralph M. Brown Act, allow people to get government documents or attend meetings, but government officials may restrict them because they want to keep some documents or meetings secret.
Proposition 59 would ensure that people can have access to government documents or attend government meetings at the state and local level. Some information can be generalized or limited if it is necessary provided that government officials explain the reasons why there is a limited access. Private information like personal matters would still be private. Legislature’s records and meetings are exempted from the proposition, according to the Official Voters Information Guide.
This may sound similar to the laws California currently has for the public’s access to government documents and meetings. The laws California has now are statutory, but Proposition 59 would be a constitutional right, said Corey Cook, political science assistant professor.
“[Proposition 59] can change a legal dimension,” said Cook, whose interest is California and Urban Politics. “Proposition 59 can change the state constitution to guarantee that voters have a right to information.”
So, proposition 59 would maximize public access. Since the proposition is a constitutional amendment, courts would ensure that people could access public records in a proper way. Prop.59 would not cancel other existing laws, according to David Green, journalism lecturer teaching Mass Communication Laws.
Often people have to explain why they want to see government information to government officials, but if Proposition 59 passes, people would not have to go through that process. Instead, government officials have to explain why they don’t disclose some information. So, non-government people and officials’ positions would be reversed, according to Cook.
Ellenor Li, a sophomore statistics major, agrees with Proposition 59.
“We are paying taxes, so we should know what is going on in the government,” she said.
On the other hand, Proposition 59 is weak because a judge can still decide whether or not government information should be disclosed, so access to all government information is not absolute, Cook said.
“[Proposition 59] is very general and broad, not specific,” he said.
For example, if people want to see government officials’ work e-mail addresses and their salaries since people pay for their income, Proposition 59 would not guarantee that people could see them, he said.
Although this is an opposition, “it is a narrow argument,” said Cook.
Brian Kim, a senior history major, disagrees with Proposition 59 because he doesn’t think many people really need access to government information.
“How often do you see government documents?” said Kim. “It (Proposition 59) is useless.”
“It’s going to be passed for sure,” said Cook. “I will bet 75 percent of voters say yes and 25 percent of voters say no.”
For more information about Proposition 59, visit the Official Voters Information Guide Website http://www.voterguide.ss.ca.gov/propositions/prop59-title.htm
When casting your vote on Nov. 2 you typically think about Iraq, healthcare and the economy. Did you think twice that your vote might affect your sex life? The upcoming election is going to bring about a lot of change, and many of those changes are going to involve our sexual freedoms.
The issues at stake in the next four years involve reproductive rights of women including birth control options and the possible overturning of Roe v. Wade. It seems everything to do with the gay lifestyle is also up for debate; gay marriage issues, adoption rights for same-sex couples, being out in the military, and even the simple legality of the act of gay sex.
The two mainstream candidates are almost polar opposites on the issues of regarding sexuality and sexual freedoms. Kerry has made statements that church and state should be strongly separated, while Bush’s actions show support of a Christian lifestyle and ideals.
One of the biggest issues at stake for sexual freedom is the possible overturning of Roe v. Wade. In the next four-year term, three to four Supreme Court justices will be retiring. As it stands now five of nine justices support the decision, so by appointing three new judges this decision could be overturned. President Bush has made it very clear that he is Pro-Life in his creation of “unborn child’s rights,” as well as the attempt at banning partial-birth abortion, and supporting a law requiring minors have parental consent to receive an abortion. According to his campaign website he is, "the most pro-life president in history."
“This bill I am about to sign reflects the compassion and humanity of America,” said Bush signing the ban on partial-birth abortion in November 2003. He continued, “This executive branch will vigorously defend it against any who will try to overturn it in courts.”
Women's rights advocates such as Planned Parenthood, and the SF State group Voices for Sexual Freedom, or VOX, feel Bush has waged a "War against Women" by cutting down resources for reproductive health information, and using emotional language to misinform people about the real issues.
"With great precision, and often shielded by the smokescreen of war and a bad economy, George W. Bush is systematically working to gut reproductive freedom in the U.S. and around the world," said Jeanie Crossfield, co-founder of VOX, and volunteer at Planned Parenthood.
Kerry on the other hand has made statements that he believes in no restrictions on a woman’s right to choose, and will not appoint Supreme Court justices who will overturn Roe v. Wade.
“Abortion should be rare, but it should be safe and legal, and the government should stay out of the bedrooms of Americans,” said Kerry in April 2004.
Under the Bush administration, delving into women’s confidential records was their way of finding out if partial-birth abortion was a safe procedure. The ban on this procedure is still in court, and one must note that a ban such as this constitutionally has to make exceptions for the health of the mother, none of which were made.
“I believe the right of privacy is constitutional, protecting the right of privacy is not necessarily pro-choice, it is pro-rights of women,” said Kerry.
Although neither of the candidates agree that same-sex couples should be married, Kerry weighs heavier on the side of giving equal rights to same-sex couples. Kerry believes that same-sex couples should have the rights to all the tax and benefit options of married couples; he also believes that adoption rights should not discriminate based on the sexuality of the parents. Kerry supports the rights of same-sex couples to petition for immigration for their partner to come to America.
Bush’s views are much more conservative and based on a Christian belief system, relating issues back to how the founders of the country would have dealt with them.
Bush believes that marriage should not only be illegal for same-sex couples, and wants to constitutionally ban it. He was also against adding sexuality to the list of items covered by hate-crime legislation. To once again contrast the candidates, Bush supported the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” keep it to yourself moral of the military, while Kerry supports being out if you choose to.
The newly appointed Supreme Court justices will be able to shift the rights of women and gay citizens. Not only is there a strong possibility of abortion rights being reversed, but a recently decided case, Lawrence v. Texas, legalizing consensual sex between adults of the samesex. The current justices have a list of other cases in which they have decided against the favor of the gay or female party. For example, the majority of the Supreme Court justices believe it is okay to deny employment to gay Cub Scout masters, as well as denying the right of women to sue their rapists in civil court.
There are many issues dealing with our sexual freedoms in the next four years. When voting remember that there are big issues of war, money and global politics, but keep in mind whose ideology you want governing your bedroom.
After years of hard work and dedication to students and their profession, 27 faculty members were granted tenure for the 2004-05 academic year. Most of those who were granted tenure were promoted from assistant to associate professor. Ten faculty members received a promotion from associate professor to full professor status.
These faculty members were honored in a special celebration at the University Club on Tuesday.
According to Academic Senate Policy #S88-120, tenure is the right of a faculty member to continue at SF State unless voluntarily terminated or terminated for cause, lack of funds, or lack of work.
Faculty members have their performances reviewed each year by a retention and tenure committee, the department chair, and the dean of the faculty member’s College. The dean then forwards a recommendation of retention, termination, terminal year appointment, or tenure to the provost.
Tenure is usually granted to faculty members after six years of teaching at SF State. Provost John Gemello forwards his recommendations to President Robert Corrigan for a final decision on the granting of tenure to a faculty member.
President Corrigan, in special circumstances, may also award tenure earlier than the normal six-year probationary period. This is what happened to elementary education professor Christy Lao.
“This is my fourth year teaching and getting an early tenure made things more intense and harder on me,” said Lao. “I had to document everything in order to show evidence that I was teaching well, doing research, and doing community service. Collecting all this data and assembling it for review is very time-consuming. It was stressful at times.”
As Lao alludes to, faculty members at the time of tenure review are evaluated on teaching effectiveness, research and publication, and community service.
According to #S88-120, in terms of teaching effectiveness a faculty member must maintain an adequate scholarly level in providing instruction; must show commitment to high academic standards; must be successful in instructing students in the relevant disciplinary skills and subject matter; must be able, as a teacher, to guide and stimulate students; must be effective in advising; and must be willing to confer with students.
Evidence of teaching effectiveness is obtained from both students and colleagues. To show how important end-of-semester teacher evaluations done by students are to faculty members, these evaluations are a big part of tenure review.
“Student evaluations make a big difference,” said Bruce Manning, a chemistry professor who was granted tenure this year. “I have tried to make the extra effort and work hard to prepare for classes, so my students know I am making my best effort to be a good teacher and that I am prepared.”
While tenure and promotions provide an inner sense of pride and achievement in Manning and many other faculty members, helping students become better educated is what he is here to do and what he enjoys most about teaching.
“It’s very satisfying to know that SF State has recognized what I’ve done, and it makes me want to continue to work on behalf of the students and faculty,” said Manning. “I love working in the chemistry labs and in my lecture classes with students, because I want to move through the stereotype that chemistry is something all students fear. I love to watch them learn.”
For Nini Yang, an international business professor who was granted tenure this year, there are some expanded aspects of teaching she must encompass now that she has been granted tenure.
“As a tenured faculty member I have to provide more expertise in advising and developing a strong curriculum,” said Yang. “I had a lot of documents that I had to put together in a short time to get tenure.”
Through all the stresses and hours of work these faculty members have put in to insure tenure and promotions, one thing remains constant according to Manning—SF State values quality teaching.
A proposed ordinance requiring authorization for the demolition or change in use of a San Francisco movie theater prompted debate at today's Board of Supervisor’s Land Use Committee meeting.
The ordinance, a more permanent extension of temporary legislation, which was put in place earlier this month to curb theater demolition, will necessitate a conditional use of authorization for any project that closes down a neighborhood theater.
Under the proposed legislation, property owners that wish to knock down or change the use of a theater would be required to demonstrate that the theater is not economically viable, that any historic architecture will remain standing and that the impact of such a closure would not harm nearby businesses.
District 1 Supervisor Jake McGoldrick, who is cosponsoring the legislation along with District 3 Supervisor Aaron Peskin, feels that the damage to local businesses and neighborhoods is a powerful reason to back the initiative, using the contentious 4 Star Theater in the Richmond as an example.
“I am absolutely certain that if the 4 Star closed its doors tomorrow, it would create a domino effect of the local businesses,” McGoldrick said. “This is a theater that kids walk to, where parents can know they’re nearby and safe.”
The 4 Star Theater has been front and center in the recent debate. The historic theater, which was built around 1920 is now the subject of an intense battle between owner, operator and SF State alumnus Frank Lee and the Canaan Lutheran Church.
Lee has leased the land at 2200 Clement St. for the past 12 years, trying several times to purchase the real estate. Canaan Lutheran submitted a successful offer in 2001, and will fully take over the land in 2005, when Lee's lease ends. They have been working for years with an architect, and have plans to demolish the theater and erect a church.
If the theater ordinance passes, the Canaan Lutheran Church will have to go through the processes stipulated by the law, an obstacle they do not feel is fair or necessary. The group is asking for an exemption based upon their non-profit, religious status if the theater legislation is approved.
“We have waited a very long time for our church,” said Canaan Lutheran Pastor David Tin. “We want our church to be the spiritual home for our members and the neighborhood.”
Lee, however, believes that the life of the 4 Star has just as much impact on the neighborhood.
“We’ve worked for 12 years to build up this theater,” he said. “We screen independent Asian and American films that would otherwise not be seen in the Bay Area. I ask that the Board know and understand the importance of these theaters.”
The importance of independent theaters resonates with Zee Lo, an actor and producer who had three of his movies run at the 4 Star.
“To get movies shown in big theaters, you have to be a big star,” Lo said. “We need to have a place for independent movies to be shown. I really do sympathize with the church, though… perhaps we can come up with an alternative solution that would be beneficial for both groups.”
The proposed ordinance on theater preservation will be up for a full-board vote on Nov. 2. To learn more about the preservation of the 4 Star Theater, please visit www.save4star.net.
For information on other historic theaters, please visit the San Francisco Neighborhood Theater Foundation at www.sfntf.org.
View story on San Francisco Neighborhood Theatre Foundation: http://xpress.sfsu.edu/archives/life/001909.html
A large earthquake struck Japan, Saturday, Oct. 23, killing at least 23, injuring 2,300 and leaving seven people missing, according to the New York Times today.
Japan’s National Police Agency reported that the magnitude of 6.8, which happened in Niigata Prefecture 125 north of Tokyo, caused 52 landslides and destroyed 1,206 commercial or public buildings and 2,583 homes. Little quakes are still continuously happening in the area.
SF State holds 444 international students from Japan, according to Jay Ward, coordinator for international student services. Some Japanese students were scared and concerned about their family when they heard the news.
Yasunori Nakano from Tokyo called his parents Sunday to see if everything was fine with them in Japan.
“There have been a lot of unusual natural disasters. Several Hurricanes in Florida and Japan just had a big typhoon (it killed 88 people two weeks ago),” said the 28-year-old Management Business Administration graduate student.
“I would go home if something like that happened in my hometown,” said Nakano, who was glad the quake did not happen in Tokyo.
Kozue Kamamoto, 20, has a friend from Niigata, who is attending school in Reno and called her yesterday.
“She said that a part of her parents’ home was damaged and glass broke all over the floor. Her parents are currently sleeping in the car,” said Kamamoto, a sophomore in broadcast major.
SF State has a full refund policy for students if they decided to leave the country for an emergency. Students have to submit a form called “Petition for Waiver of Financial Regulations,” to receive a full refund from the school, according to Devon Flynn, refund technician. The petition must have a proof of the emergency and after 3-4 weeks of approving process by the committee, the school would send a check with the full refund.
Students have to make sure they drop the classes before they leave, Flynn said.
All students are also entitled to pro-rata refund, which students would receive 54 percent of fees they paid before Nov. 1. After that date, they would receive 40 percent, Flynn said.
The form is available either at the Bursar’s office in the Administration Building or the Web site.
An open house event today at the Student Health Center (SHC) drew more than 400 SF State students who took advantage of testing their blood pressure, checking body fat, measuring bone density, getting their eyes checked and testing for HIV.
“Free snacks, come on down!” yelled Kamal Harb, a heath educator at SHC, inviting students to come in. The free food and the red balloons were eye-catching fronts that grabbed the attention of students walking by.
“We do this every fall semester to promote our services to students,” said Harb. “A lot of students don't know what we offer until they are graduating. We are dragging them in with food. It is interesting that we get people who have never been here before.”
Mark Chen, 22, a senior majoring in graphic design, visited the SHC for the first time of his 5-year-long education at SF State. He cited that the reason he never visited the SHC was that he didn’t know what they had to offer, plus he had his own health provider. Chen checked his blood pressure today and made plans to see more doctors to ask questions. He said the services are “more convenient” because they are “not too far away.”
“It's pretty professional. I like it. It's cool,” said Brian Martin, 18, a freshman majoring in nursing, about his visit to the SHC for the first time. He came in today to face the news about his body fat and was surprised to find out that it was “pretty average.” “I thought I was overweight,” he added.
Teresa Leu, a nutritionist at SHC, seemed the busiest today as an exceeding amount of students wanted to find out their body fat. She pinched the student's skin in various spots with a fat caliper and recorded the result on a chart to see if a person has below, above, average, or an unhealthy percentage of body fat.
Despite free offerings of food and health services, the SHC lacked the usual bustle for this time of year, as the doctors waited for students to come in and try out the services.
It’s pretty quiet today,” said Marie Schafle, director of SHC. “Last year you could not get through the corridors.”
Marian Yee, one of the organizers of the event said they have fewer people this year because they don't offer the flu vaccine this season. “It is usually our biggest draw,” said Yee, “but because of the contamination at the Chiron factory (who produced the vaccine), the SHC did not receive any this year.”
Several other factors marred the attendance of the SHC open house. The condom art exhibit, expected to participate in this health fair, was canceled because of the rainy weather, Yee said. Students also could not try the massage because, according to Yee, the SHC is currently negotiating the contract with the practitioners.
The SF State bookstore kicked off their golden anniversary this week with registers decked with purple and yellow balloons, pictures of the “old” bookstore on display, and over $5,000 in giveaways in celebration of “50 years of service” to the SF State community.
In addition to their new logo and product promotions, the SF State bookstore is also promoting a new image this semester in response to some of the student and faculty concerns about the high expense of textbooks.
“The bookstore got a bad rap with the professors because of the prices,” said Isabel Leus, a customer service cashier and recent graduate in creative writing. But she said this event is an effort to engage the students and faculty on campus so they can “be a part of what [the bookstore is] and what makes it great.”
With Amazon.com, Half.com, and other online booksellers, the bookstore realizes there is a lot of competition and that students don’t necessarily have to buy books on campus.
"We’ve had problems, losing a lot of business to Half.com and Ebay,” said Kirsten Giglione, marketing manager at the bookstore. “
"We know [textbooks] are expensive,” said Giglione, the lead coordinator for the store’s anniversary activities. So one idea at the beginning of this semester, she said, was to “give away” $500 worth in textbooks each to four students, which at the end of the semester the students would return the books.
“The bookstore as far as image on campus wants to be involved and have a better face to students rather than just be a retail store,” said Katie Woodrick, a cashier at customer service who has been at the bookstore for two years and also a recent creative writing graduate.
Giglione admits that they can’t give any textbooks away, but the promotions are a start. They are working on promoting a more “friendly image of the bookstore,” said Giglione. “[We want people to] look at the bookstore in a better light and not like ‘they’re going to take my money away.’”
She also added that few people know the bookstore is a non-profit. After overhead expenses, she said, everything earned goes back into the school.
The bookstore plays a large part in bringing literary events to campus as well. Along with selling general school supplies and textbooks, they have hosted such authors as filmmaker Michael Moore, author Jessica Hagedorn, and activist and poet Angela Davis.
“We also do events for campus authors,” said Ken White, manager of the general books section.
He mentioned that the bookstore has a legacy of its own.
“There are almost no independent bookstores in the Bay Area that are that old,” said White.
Elaine Enochs Ochoa, a kinesiology student, appreciates the festivities.
“It’s really nice they’re doing something to commemorate [the anniversary], and giving away valuable things because we [students] spend so much money,” said Ochoa.
Among the weekly prizes are new winter edition backpacks and messenger bags by popular brands such as Jansport or Ogio stuffed with sweaters, T-shirts, and other clothing items by Champion. The top prizes include a trip for two to Hawaii sponsored by the bookstore, a new Apple iPod, and a year’s supply of Rock Star Energy Drink.
To prepare for the event, she went through the library archives, with the help of Liz Nolan from the Alumni Association, and found an old picture of the University Club where the bookstore used to be housed. Members of the class of 1954 also had some ideas, and offered the cardboard cutouts and old yearbooks for the bookstore to feature in their display window, said Giglione.
“Because everybody shops [at the bookstore] is why we’re still here, so it’s our way of saying thanks,” said Giglione.
Since she became the emotional symbol of Michael Moore’s "Fahrenheit 9/11," Lila Lipscomb has used her voice to speak out against what she calls “an unjust war,” aiming to save the lives of the American troops in Iraq.
Lipscomb, who fully supports the government’s decision to invade Iraq in the beginning of the film, touches the hearts of many by the end, when she reads the letter her son sent her just before his death. The 26-year-old sergeant from Flint, Michigan, died in the crash of his Army Black Hawk helicopter in Central Iraq last year.
“Until you are personally affected you just don’t see things. You don’t know. I thought I knew it, but I didn’t,” Lipscomb said during a question and answer event in San Francisco’s Cowell Theater October 9.
The event was promoted by the People’s Opinion Project (The POP), a nonprofit education, awareness and advocacy agency that promotes international dialogue on cross-border conflict resolution and reconciliation.
Andrew Rice, a journalist and activist who lost his brother in the September 11 attacks, accompanied Lipscomb in the event, and also answered questions during a panel discussion to an audience of about 100 people.
“These two people are among the most affected by recent world-events,” said Ed Bice, the executive director of POP. “Their stories and others like them from people all over the world need to be heard."
Lipscomb has been invited to speak by organizations around the country, participated in rallies and joined organizations such as Military Families Speak Out.
“This is not a journey that I chose, but we have to try to do what we can to bring the truth to this unjust and to bring someone else’s child home,” she said. “And if I could bring just one child home to hold his mother and to let his mother hold him, than it’s all been worth it.”
The 50-year-old woman, who works as a special assistant to the president of a workforce development agency and has to take time off work to allow her activism, said privacy has become a precious thing in her life.
“When I go out to the store, people are looking at me,” Lipscomb said. “Sometimes they stop and say ‘is it really you?'”
Lipscomb often finds herself hugging these people, who most of the times, want to share their feelings and express their support, she said.
Although her life and her political views have changed, Lipscomb still puts out her flag outside her home in Flint, as she does in "Fahrenheit 9/11." She still is proud of her country, she said, but she has lost the faith and the loyalty she used to have for the people who are leading it.
“I still ask myself ‘was all the greed and the need to control worth my son’s blood?’ I don’t think so,” she said.
“And I still say who are we that we would be so arrogant that we would dare go into someone’s home and demand to tell them how they are supposed to live, so that we can control them? How arrogant are we?” Lipscomb said.
Lipscomb is grateful to Moore, who she keeps contact with by e-mail. “The film is a way to open people’s eyes,” she said.
She has seen the film several times, but she avoids seeing the footage in which a bomb explodes near two U.S. soldiers. “To me, that’s my child getting blown up.”
Her husband, Howard, who supports and accompanies the wife in her activist life, avoided mentioning President George W. Bush’s name, as did Lipscomb. They referred to him as the “current administration,” “the appointed president,” and “the other guy,” who they hope does not get re-elected.
That also was the hope of her son, as he noted in his last letter to his parents, which Lipscomp reads in the film. “What in the world’s wrong with Bush, trying to be like his dad?” her son, Michael, wrote.
“My son was a soldier; he had a job to do,” said Lipscomb's husband, Howard. “And he did it to the best of his ability, but the only thing he asked for is to never put them in harms way unless it’s necessary. And I think that’s all the troops are asking for.”
Lipscomb comes from what she calls a “military family.” Her father and her eldest daughter — who now has a one-year-old son — as well as her uncles, nephews and cousins, have served the military.
“In my family it was an honor to serve this country,” she said.
Nowadays, she said she would not try stop someone she knows from joining the army if “that is really what they wanted to do.” But if her youngest son, who is now 23 years old told her that he wanted to join the military, she would not even consider it as an option.
“I have given enough of my children. And if there were to be a draft right now, that would not be an option for my children, none of my children, or my grandchildren,” Lipscomb said.
Lipscomb plans to continue to fight for justice until all of the troops are back home safe, and she believes that one day she will stand face to face with President Bush, so that he can look into her eyes.
“I’ll know what I’m going to say to him when he is in front of me,” she said.
If the creatures, monsters, demons and derelicts that haunted many of the classic B-movie horror films of the 1950s came to life, invaded the Memphis recording studio of Sun Records, and partied with Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis, the end result of those sessions might have sounded something like the Cramps.
For nearly three decades now, the Cramps have been unleashing their fiendishly twisted and mutated style of rock ‘n’ roll on an unsuspecting world—surviving revolving door line-up changes, disastrous record label deals, and a myriad of obstacles that would have caused any lesser group of musical monsters to drive a stake through their own heart—but through it all, the mainstay devilish duo of Lux Interior on vocals and Poison Ivy on guitar have proved that staying sick (and true to their ideals) pays off in the long run.
Taking the raucous sound of classic rockabilly, adding a shot of nitro-glycerin fueled energy, and injecting a sexed-out sci-fi serum that would have made Dr. Jekyll OD, the Cramps began making their glorious noise back in 1976, quickly making a name for themselves with outrageous gigs at punk institutions CBGBs and Max’s Kansas City.
In the years since then, the band has amassed a devoted cult following, and released seminal albums such as “Gravest Hits,” “Songs the Lord Taught Us,” and “Bad Music for Bad People”—and toured relentlessly, putting on some of the craziest live shows in the history of rock.
With the group’s 30th year of existence rapidly approaching like a spectral banshee over a mist filled cemetery, the Cramps have just released “How To Make A Monster,” a two disc collection of demos, rehearsals, and live performances from the early days in their musical laboratory. The accompanying liner notes serve as a history lesson for those not familiar with the band’s music, or the story of how they came to be—which has often been a little unclear, with different rumors and tales circulating over the years.
“It’s very weird because sometimes we thought we should write a book or something, but after writing those liner notes, we decided, ‘no we don’t want to do that,” laughs Lux Interior.
“It’s kind of this like intense experience—you know some of it was fun, and some of it we just prefer not to go back and dredge that stuff up. There’s just always too much talk about us, and most of it is inaccurate all the time. Somebody will say something in 1978, and it follows you for the rest of your life, and it’s wrong. So I don’t know if that book thing will ever happen or not, but we did enjoy correcting a couple of things in [the liner notes].”
In addition to detailing how the band really started out, the set also provides a glimpse into the way some of the Cramps classic songs came to life, including the pulsating “TV Set” and creepy crawly “Human Fly”—tunes that helped form their now signature sound—a sound which they initially coined the term “psychobilly” for, when they made flyers to put up around town advertising their shows. Interior says that they no longer like to use “psychobilly” to describe what they do, however.
“We don’t use it to describe our self anymore because it’s become a different kind of music. I wasn’t aware of anybody else using that before we [did], we were using it in February of ’76—but later on, there were all these people that played this really fast, punk-rockabilly thing, and that became known as psychobilly.”
“It’s kind of like when we started out, punk rock was Television, Blondie, the Talking Heads, us and the Dead Boys—it was a big mix of music—but what punk rock is known as today is kind of a real narrow thing. I think psychobilly [today] kind of takes the sexual-ness out of rockabilly and that’s what the main ingredient was to us, you know, the groove and the backbeat and everything.”
In keeping with the dark and spooky, yet still seductive and fun-loving themes of their songs, the Cramps have made several music videos over the years paying homage to the underground or often times under-appreciated monster, science fiction, and horror movies of the past, which unfortunately have not been seen by too many people themselves. But that will all change next year, when the band plans to release a DVD of them.
“Some of the videos we’ve done are kind of a part of history now, just because they were made so long ago, and no one’s seen them. It could be like discovering some old lost movie, which is always fun.”
Fans of the Cramps and old monster movies alike are in for fun treat (or trick) this Sunday, when the band plays a very special Halloween concert at San Francisco’s historic (and perhaps haunted?) Warfield Theater.
SF State students are concerned with this year's presidential election. So much so that other issues like ranked-choice voting and local ballot propositions are not priorities.
Many are not sure how this election's voting process will work, and the local propositions and measure that are on the ballots are being ignored. Most students don't have the time to read them over and they say media coverage of these issues doesn't reach out to them.
“I honestly do not know anything about [ranked-choice voting],” said Andrea Deleon, 19, an environmental studies major. She said she has received some information about it in the mail, but has not had the time to read it over.
“When you are a college student you don’t have time,” Deleon said, “[and] it takes time to learn both sides of a proposition.”
“I haven’t read it yet,” said Debbie Djavaheri, 23, about the new ranked-choice voting system that will be used in San Francisco. “Maybe I’ll do it the day before, and I don’t think it will be too complicated,” said the speech communications major. She also said local newspapers covered the presidential race more often than the local issues.
San Franciscans approved the ranked-choice voting system in March 2002, and this Nov. 2 election voters will use the system for the first time to vote for supervisors in seven districts.
In the ranked-choice voting system, sample ballots show three columns with each representing the names of the candidates for supervisors. Voters mark their first choice in column one, their second choice in column two and their third choice in column three.
If no first choice candidate received the majority of the votes, the one with the fewest votes is eliminated from the race and his votes pass on to the voter's next choice.
If by then nobody gets a majority of the votes, the process continues until one candidate emerges with a majority, avoiding a run-off election.
“I think it is a good idea to be able to vote for more than one candidate as they do in Europe,” said Katrina Yeaw, 20, an international relations major and member of the Socialist's International Organization. She said it is not really as complicated as it sounds.
Creative writing major Khim Myrick , 21, said it was a good idea and "it takes away the complication of having a run-off election.”
Students who did not know about the new voting system in San Francisco also had little knowledge of the 14 propositions, plus Measure AA, the BART general obligation bond.
“I actually haven’t done any research yet,” said Jimmy Mai, 20, an undeclared major, referring to the local propositions. “They haven’t advertised anything except for the casinos,” he said with reference to Propositions 68 and 70 that would expand and create more casinos in the East Bay, which pits Indian tribes against non-Indian gambling institutions.
Mai said local newspapers should focus on local issues too. “We probably care more about what happens in San Francisco than in San Pablo,” Mai said.
Neha Shah, 19, a marketing major, said she did not know anything about the propositions either. “Honestly,” she said, “All I care about is Bush and Kerry.”
“I don’t know a lot,” said Becky McAllister when asked about the local propositions. “I’ve been focus on the national election,” she said, “but I am going to educate myself before I vote.”
Many students said the sample ballot should be worded more simply and precisely.
Emil Velasquez, 20, a molecular biology major has paid attention to Proposition A that is billed as “Affordable housing bonds.”
“I live in an apartment and it is too expensive,” Velasquez said, “and I want this proposition to pass to offer lower rents in San Francisco.”
Brandon Yacobellis, 22, a physics major, is considered Proposition F, which would allow non-citizen parents to vote in school board elections.
“Their children are at school,” said Yacobellis of the immigrant parents, “and they should have their say of what their children are doing.”
SF State students’ interest in the national election is a common attitude among college students nationwide, according to a study released Oct. 21 by Harvard University's Institute of Politics. The report suggests, “Nationally college students have an exceptionally high interest in the presidential campaign.”
Tammy Tien, 21, a BECA major, said she has not had time to get information about the local propositions; all that she is concerned about is the outcome of the presidential election. “If Bush gets reelected,” she said, “I want them to be the fastest four years of my life.”
After the controversial 2000 Bush election win, third-party supporters say they have some soul searching to do before casting their vote.
Should they vote for their third-party candidate and risk losing the White House to a president opposed to their ideas? Or should they vote for the big Democratic candidate and buy into the two party system?
Third-party votes can have the best of both worlds with an influx of websites promoting “vote-pairing.”
The premise for vote-pairing, also known as vote trading or vote-swapping, is simple. A third-party candidate voter in a swing state offers to trade votes with a Kerry voter in a secure state. Thus, the third party candidate gets the same amount of popular votes, while maximizing the amount of Kerry votes in states where some feel the Electoral system marginalizes the will of the people.
“In Florida, a Nader supporter’s vote for Nader is a principled act of futility that feels good and sends a message,” said SF State Political Science Professor Richard DeLeon. “But only at the risk of spoiling the Kerry vote and possibly helping to elect the greater of two evils. If only he or she could cast that Nader vote in a safe Democratic state like California where it could be counted in the final tallies and yet do no political harm.”
While there are several websites designed to pair voters together, the largest is VotePair.org. After signing up with the site, voters are paired off.
“We give [participants] each other’s e-mail addresses, help them get in contact with each other, and help each other to vote strategically,” said Amy Morris, a member of the VotePair.org political analysis committee. “Which means the swing state voter would vote for Kerry, and the secure state voter would vote for a third-party candidate.”
According to Morris, “the concept has caught on in a gigantic way. We have over 3,500 registered people from Utah. It’s really intense. The mayor of Salt Lake City said something about registering for Votepair.org.”
VotePair.org statistics show that over 12,000 people have registered with the site, but so far only about 1,500 pairs have been made. Morris said the disparity is due to the fact that there are many more Kerry voters than there are third-party voters in swing states.
There is no guarantee that your voting partner will go vote according to the deal, but the site offers several suggestions for judging your partner’s validity.
According to the site, “if you think your pair partner is an imposter, there’s a simple solution: don’t do it. You can simply say ‘no, thank you’ and start over again.”
The prospective vote trader would be given a new trading partner right away.
“This kind of mutually beneficial exchange of proxy votes depends on mutual trust,” said DeLeon. “There’s no way either voter can be absolutely sure the other didn’t defect. But, speaking for myself as a Bay Area Kerry supporter, I am now seriously considering logging on to votepair.org to arrange such a vote swap."
“I’m thinking, if I vote for Nader rather than for Kerry, I would have little to lose whatever my partner does, and I would gain the satisfaction of knowing there’s at least an increased likelihood, based on the pledge, that he or she will vote for Kerry rather than for Nader in a state where that switch might have an impact at the margins.”
The website, and the concept of vote-pairing, has fielded accusations of illegitimacy.
“It’s illegal to do this,” said Leo Locayo, spokesperson from the Bay Area chapter of the Republican Party. “Your vote is your vote, and you vote where you live. It’s not a matter of maximizing or minimizing…you’re just not supposed to do it. It’s not very democratic. Each person has their vote in their territory, and that’s just the way our country is.”
The controversy over vote-pairing is nothing new. A number of vote-pairing websites in place during the 2000 presidential election were issued cease-and-desist letters from Republican Bill Jones, then Secretary of State of California.
Alan Porter, the owner of one of the sites targeted, filed a suit against Jones in 2000 alleging violation of the First Amendment. The ACLU and the National Voting Rights Institute, among others, assisted Porter in his suit. After years of litigation, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled against Jones. A final judgment in the case is still pending.
According to the VotePair.org website, vote-pairing “is a form of political association and expression protected by the First Amendment. No state even tried to make vote-pairing or ‘vote-trading’ illegal in 2000 and none of the tens of thousands of people who did it were ever prosecuted for anything.”
Meanwhile, thousands continue to use vote-pairing websites.
“I support Kerry,” said Benjamin Friedman, a recent UC Berkeley graduate and registered user of VotePair.org. “I would tend to support a candidate for the Green Party in terms of my politics, but this really is a strategic vote to move the country more towards policies I want. I really feel like it’s an adult decision to realize how much you have to compromise. To make a relatively better decision as opposed to what you really want to do. I just really hope people use it,” Friedman added, “So people can really vote their lack of support for mainstream, corporate-supported Democratic party, and but still keep Bush from getting the office.”
Soon after her mother died, and just four years after her father passed away, SF State student Melanie Puno says she thought a lot about death and dying. Now a 22-year-old junior majoring in liberal studies, Puno was only 13 when she became an orphan. Then, battling grief and remorse while feeling intense anger and confusion difficult to describe, Puno says she reached the breaking point late one night during her first year of high school.
“I wrote a letter, I had it planned out,” says Puno. “I didn’t think about the future. I just spiraled out of control.”
Alone in her room that night, Puno prepared to end her pain permanently. Wrapping loneliness and loss into a strike against her own life, Puno says she felt then that death was the only option she had left. As she talks about her suicide attempt eight years ago, Puno’s voice echoes the sadness she felt as she remembers why she wanted to die.
“You think it’s the only way to end your pain,” Puno says.
Unable to speak with friends or family, most of whom Puno says simply did not know what to tell her, she withdrew into a deepening depression that left her feeling isolated and alone.
“It was hard for them to find the words to talk with me,” Puno says. “They didn’t want me to relive the grief and anger, and they were trying to be very careful about what they said.”
While relatively few adolescents deal with the extreme type of trauma that Puno experienced in coping with her parents’ deaths, a far larger number of college students confront the same intense feelings of loneliness and isolation that lead to similar thoughts of suicide.
Like Puno, these young men and women also face family and friends that do not know what to do or say, and sometimes, those most in distress do not get the help they need until it’s too late.
According to recent reports from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), suicide now ranks as the third leading cause of death among men and women aged 15 to 25. Among college students, suicide climbs to the number two spot, second only to accidental deaths as a measure of fatalities. But for every student that succeeds in taking their own life, an estimated 200 attempt and fail.
Internationally, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported in 2000 that 815,000 people died as the result of suicide, a figure nearly two and a half times higher than the number of deaths caused by global conflicts and warfare.
Locally, according to the CDC, San Francisco has the highest suicide rate of all Bay Area communities, at 16.27 suicides per 100,000 deaths.
In SF State’s Student Counseling Center, Clinical Director Willie Mullins knows the grim statistics. While Mullins said that no SF State student has taken their life on campus in many years, he worries that too many students may be thinking about hurting themselves and not seeking professional assistance.
“Help is available,” said Mullins. “There are resources, both on campus and in the community.”
Mullins also said that an estimated 1,000 to 1,200 students die each year from suicide while in college.
“One is too many,” Mullins said.
According to most experts, including Mullins, it is a myth that you should not ask a friend or family member if they are thinking about suicide.
“It’s OK to ask, ‘Are you thinking about killing yourself?’” said Mullins. “People, a lot of times, don’t pay attention. We’re so locked into our own worlds.”
Mullins and others agree that the warning signs of suicide include:
• A change in eating habits, either eating too much or too little
• Diversion from normal sleeping patterns
• Changes or swings in mood or attitude
• Giving away cherished or prized possessions
• Withdrawing from friends
Statistically, suicide is a disproportionate killer, affecting men four times more than women and hitting some ethnic groups harder than others. Especially hard hit are Native Americans, particularly the Inuit of northern Canada, and citizens of countries formerly part of the Soviet Union. But anyone who is contemplating taking his or her own life needs to seek help immediately, regardless of gender or race.
Student Melanie Puno agrees that getting help, especially professional help, is the key to breaking the vicious spiral of pain and despair that can lead to suicide. While Puno said that it was thoughts of hurting her own family and friends that stopped her from taking her own life, she sees sharing pain with others as the only certain way to begin coping and avoid the types of thinking that can end in suicide.
“In dealing with any experience that is confusing or traumatic, it’s highly important to seek out friends, family or professional help,” Puno said. “They can just be there for you. If I’d dealt with this by myself, I wouldn’t be here.”
In an email to SF State students on October 19, President Robert Corrigan encouraged students to get involved in this year’s election process.
Aside from going to the polls to vote on Tuesday, November 2, another way that SF State students can participate in the democratic process is by serving as an election day poll worker.
The SF Department of Elections has encouraged college students to sign up as Election Day poll workers and the department will work with SF State to ensure that students who participate as poll workers receive credit for missing class on November 2.
Students will also receive a stipend of either $112 or $155 for successfully completing the mandatory 3-hour training session and Election Day poll coverage.
“There are two positions a poll worker has to choose from,” said Edgar Cruz of the SF Board of Elections. “After passing a short 10-question assessment test, they can choose to be an inspector or clerk.”
A San Francisco County poll clerk receives a stipend of $112 to work from
6:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and is responsible for verifying that voters are in the correct voting precinct by looking up their name and address in the county’s voter roster. Clerks also hand out ballots to voters and give them instructions on how use the provided materials.
An inspector, on the other hand, receives a stipend of $155, but with that comes more responsibility. He or she must pick up the ballots at City Hall the night before the election, open and supervise the voting site, report unlawful activity inside the facility and safeguard the cast ballots until a county sheriff picks them up at the end of the night.
“It’s a lot to ask of someone,” said Cruz. “But if we don’t want what happened in Florida to happen here, the people have to volunteer to do this.”
Each county sets their own pay rate for poll workers according to their budget, said a representative from Acting Director of Elections John Arntz’s office. SF County pays a little more than other counties in northern California as a means of making sure those who have signed up actually show up on time and stay until the ballots are picked up.
Although the county does everything it can to have a sheriff retrieve the ballots by 9 p.m., there have been occasions when the ballots were not picked up until midnight. Arntz’s representative continued to say that should a student choose to work as an inspector, he or she should be prepared to deal with any glitch that may arise.
“People should not sign up to be poll workers to get paid because there isn’t any money in it,” said a representative of Gail Pellerin, county clerk of Santa Cruz. “They should do it to serve a civic duty.”
Although all of the election officers [X]press interviewed for this article stated that their poll worker positions are full for this November’s election, they are all accepting names of qualified and interested students for their waiting list.
“As in every election, people who sign up get ill or just don’t show up,” said Cruz. “In 2000 it was like pulling teeth to get people to sign up. This year, we have 5000 people signed up. I think more people signed up to work because there is more at stake than in 2000. If this election goes to shit, people want to be able to say it wasn’t their fault.”
Cruz noted that the state designated deadline for training to be a poll worker is October 29, therefore, all interested parties should call or visit the county election board that they registered to vote with as soon as possible.
“I don’t care who people vote for,” said Joshua Castro, SF State’s associated students vice president of external affairs. “What matters to me is that they vote and get civically involved.”
A trio of students unfolded a homemade banner made of computer paper during the Oct. 19 meeting of the academic senate.
It said in red marker, “Save BSIT.”
And they stood there, in the back of the Nob Hill Room in the Seven Hills Conference center, drawing curious glances from more than one senator as they decided the fate of the Bachelor of Science in Industrial Technology degree.
Ultimately, the SF State Academic Senate avoided a vote to shutter the program and chose instead to pass a motion introduced by Senator Oswaldo Garcia, that sent the measure back to the Educational Policies Council for further review and a later vote.
The Senate is in the midst of hearing proposals that would permanently shut down or suspend up to 12 of the University’s academic programs. One program, the Bachelor of Social Sciences was not lucky enough to get a second look as the senate voted to recommend its discontinuance.
During the first reading before the Senate on Oct. 5, Raymond Miller, a professor of international relations and social science, defended the Social Science program.
“The argument for discontinuance [of the social science degree] is uninformed,” he said during the open-floor period of the senate meeting.
It is important to have generic interdisciplinary programs, Miller said. He also pointed out that 11 of the 12 degree programs being considered for discontinuance are interdisciplinary.
“Suspension is a possible solution to discontinuance,” he said. “That way (the program) can be resuscitated later.”
The social science program is comprised of five required core courses and another 27 -36 units of courses chosen by the student in consultation with an advisor. The university reported that 72 students were enrolled in the program last year.
At the latest senate meeting, Professor Miller once again spoke in defense of social science.
“The curriculum in social science… is still the national model and standard. It’s a very basic and simple curriculum that is not costly,” Miller said, adding shortly after that the persistent personal and management problems that have plagued the program can be addressed during its suspension.
Senator Darlene Yee supported the motion to cut social science. She based her support on statistics showing weak demand for the program and the lack of a formal rebuttal from the program’s faculty.
Enrollment figures rank the degree 13th out of the 16 offered by the college of Behavioral and Social Sciences.
The senate voted to recommend discontinuance of the program to SF State President Robert Corrigan who will make the final decision.
“I asked several times, but never received compelling reasons for keeping or suspending this program in social science… I don’t see support for this program,” Yee said.
Last year the university reported that 57 students, 10 percent of the department of Design and Industry, were seeking a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Technology.
It is a program built around technical and management based course offerings from the departments of DAI, information systems and business analysis, mathematics and management. According to the program’s website, “the degree prepares students for leadership across a broad variety of technical industries.”
The process that led to the proposal to cut BSIT bothered at least one senator.
Senator Oswaldo Garcia, the chair of the geosciences program, said he was troubled by the “tremendous discrepancies made between the written report [to discontinue BSIT] and comments made during interviews.”
He also expressed concerns that lecturers were not fully free to express their views in the process.
“It is most disturbing to me that the vote to discontinue the program was not taken by secret ballot. Considering that the department is both, as others, contains faculty who are tenure track and lecturers, I think that it is a significant flaw in the process when votes are not taken in secret, people are not fully free to express their opinions.”
Twenty-seven of his fellow senators agreed that another look at the program was necessary and voted in favor of his motion. Eleven senators voted against the motion and four senators abstained.
The decision to cut the Industrial Technology degree was based on current and future budget pressures that require the university to prioritize its mission.
“The BSIT, though a fine and important degree, is now on the margin of the mission of our department and the College of Creative Arts,” said a memorandum to the Educational Policies Council from Richardo Gomes, DAI chair and Jane Veeder, the spring 2004 acting chair of DAI.
But the memo also said, “Without the university’s request, we would chose to retain this program because it still produces a small, but well prepared number of students for the community”
The Educational Policies Council will review BSIT on Oct. 26, with a vote scheduled before the Senate on Nov. 2.
Emotions ran high at the Debate Against War Friday, Oct. 15, where student run organizations hosted a lively discussion at a crowded auditorium inside Burk Hall.
In SF State’s first political student debate, College Republicans, Students for Nader, and Students Against War voiced their concerns in a two and a half hour format. Six minutes was allotted for one member of each organization to declare their parties stance on the War in Iraq.
Foreign policy leading to the U.S. led war in Iraq dominated the six panel discussion that alternated between debate, rebuttal and, often time, negotiators of peace, to an audience who was also eager to express their political views.
“The problem is not that we where too imperialist, but that we where too passive,” said Christopher Finarelli, Vice President of College Republicans in his opening speech that outlined the events leading up to Sept. 11, specifically the 1993 World Trade Center attacks, the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombing in Africa and the U.S.S. Cole bombing in 2000.
Finarelli ended his remarks by asking his neighboring panelist to detail their parties post 9/11 actions followed by an explanation of how the U.S. would be today as a result of those policies.
That request was not immediately addressed, instead, Brandi Chalker, from Students Against War, highlighted the organizations, “four points of unity,” that calls for an end to oppression of all people and a social demand to fund schools for education.
“We oppose all U.S. occupation and wars of aggression,” said Chalker, a petite woman whose voice could be heard outside the basement halls where students stood in the doorways to see the debate.
“The report came out last week that proves that there were no weapons of mass destruction,” said Chalker, referring to U.S. weapons inspector David Kay’s committee meeting with the Senate of Armed Forces last Wednesday.
The tone of the debate escalated when Students for Nader, Leigh Smith asked, “Why is this happing?”
“Wars are launched for profit,” said Smith, as she reiterated comments made by Students Against War.
During her rebuttal, Smith admonished the audience to mobilize against war by joining any progressive organizations dedicated to enacting change.
“What we get from Kerry and Bush is ‘trust me’ not, build, unite, struggle,” said Smith.
The debate hit a rough spot when the moderators from College Republicans and Students for Nader could not control random outburst coming from an audience already equipped with enough boos, jeers and applause to last all night.
“Obviously Cheney is a total Nazi,” said a male student who sat on the front row.
Finarelli shook his head and pointed his finger at the student.
“Just to let you know, he was at a debate in Berkeley and the police had to escort him out,” said Finarelli, alerting the public to the blond-haired youth wearing a cobalt cotton tee shirt.
“The Nazi is a socialist like the guy you’re representing,” said a female student who sat next to him.
Another student sitting in the second row cut through the mumbling to direct a question towards Students against War.
“Your said the main reason we should pull out of Iraq is because women and children are being killed…Do you think we should have not stopped Hitler during WWII,?
A long silence followed, the quietest moment during this heated debate caught Chalker and Ed Hernandez, member of the Internationalist Socialists, off guard as they debated among themselves who would answer.
Hernandez attempted to answer the question but midstream the panelist decided change the format once again. Other students were anxiously waiting to have their voices heard. By the end of the debate, Students against War did not return to the question.
SF State was bombarded with the first real storm of the winter season. Students and adminstrators share their stories about how the rain affects them.
A 500-year-old event stirred emotions with SF State students Thursday, Oct. 14 as they debated amongst themselves on what must be the focus of the Columbus/Indigenous People’ s Day celebration.
The Indigenous People's Day, an event organized by three student organizations, La Raza, SKINs, and Mecha, at the Malcolm X Plaza, expressed the importance of this holiday in American society from the perspective of the indigenous people.
"This is a day to celebrate the struggle and resistance of the indigenous people to maintain their religious, their music and their culture,” said Maritza Torres, 20, a political science major and one of the coordinators of the event.
The organizers and participants of the event celebrated the holiday with aboriginal music, and gracious danzantes clad in colorful indigenous regalias as they performed a religious dance “that is like a prayer,” according to Michelle Moreira, 19, an undeclared major and a SKIN member.
The event made some students question the validity of the holiday.
“I do not know why it is called Columbus Day,” said Jesus McKeag, 30, a civil engineer major. “It should be more dignified to celebrate the indigenous day,” said the Tsalagi-Cherokee decendent.
"I don’t have any problem with [the holiday] being called Columbus Day,” said Scott Cox, 20, a history major. “It is hard not to be moved by their culture,” he said enjoying the event under the sunny sky.
Columbus Day has been celebrated nationwide since 1968, and it has sparked debate ever since.
“Why should we celebrate a person who massacred a group of people?” asked Jeannette Santillan, 23, a broadcasting major. “The indigenous people were here before [Columbus] came,” she said. “That is an essential part of who we are.”
Jeni Lucero Rivera, 21, agreed. “Celebrating Columbus Day is an insult to our people,” she said. “It is not the artifacts that they left us but the values.”
Students will debate this holiday for years to come. But SF State student, Scott Cox summed-up the way society tends to brush off these events, “It is kind of sad that this happens once a year, afterwards we get back to the European culture.”
The presidential election draws nearer every day and SF State students are not taking their right to vote lightly. Students are informing themselves about the election and the different candidates they have to choose from. Many students know who they will vote for, some are undecided and others believe that third- party candidates are throwing off the whole race.
An unidentified woman had her leg severed after she was hit and caught under a K-line Muni car last Wednesday.
According to police and eyewitnesses, the young woman was attempting to catch the westbound K-line car when she ran into the intersection of Miramar and Ocean Avenue at 2:58 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 13.
The Muni car had a green light, according to Sgt. Bragagnola of the San Francisco Police Department. Paramedics took the girl to San Francisco General Hospital, and as of 9 p.m., she was in serious but stable condition.
Caitlin Pettus was reading a book on that westbound car when it suddenly came to a screeching halt, propelling passengers out of their seats.
“I thought we had hit a car,” said Pettus, 21.
The car remained still with its doors unopened for several minutes, and looking out the window, Pettus said she could see the victim’s upper torso sticking out from under the wheels. Then, Pettus said, the driver made an announcement.
“You can stay on the train or get off,” said the driver. “There has been an accident.”
At the same time, Jennifer Newbold and her twin sister Rebeka saw the accident occur as they drove to SF State campus.
They quickly called 9-1-1, Jennifer said, and pleaded for them to come quickly.
“This girl is dying- she’s bleeding in the middle of the street,” said Jennifer, a journalism student at SF State. “She is gonna die here.”
Jennifer said that after the accident, the Muni driver repeatedly claimed that the light was green.
One passenger attacked the Muni driver, accusing him and waving a backpack until he was restrained, said Rebeka.
“He kept saying, ‘He has no remorse, he has no remorse, he doesn’t give a shit,'” Rebeka said.
The young woman’s name, and whether she attends SF State, could not be determined.
Officer Barbara Dullea said she was one of the first officers on the scene. She discovered the victim’s age from her passport, but could not release the victim’s age until her family members were notified.
“I wouldn’t expect that, you know,” Officer Dullea said. “To go out and catch the bus and not come back in the same way you went out.”
Kenneth Monteiro, former dean of human relations and a professor in the psychology department, is acting dean of the College of Ethnic Studies after Tomas Almaguer resigned Oct. 7.
Monteiro was asked by SF State President Robert Corrigan to fill the seat vacated by Almaguer whose resignation came months after a report from Diversity Matters recommended he be placed on leave.
Monteiro, who has worked with many faculty members of the college, accepted the president’s offer, which came into affect Oct. 13. Corrigan announced Almaguer’s resignation to the Academic Senate and Ethnic Studies faculty in two separate meetings Oct. 8.
According to a letter from Provost Jim Gemello to the College of Ethnic Studies leadership, Almaguer will return to “his tenured position as a full professor of Ethnic Studies" work on the “completion of a book for which he is under contract with the University of California Press.” Gemello also wrote that Almaguer will “pursue his scholarship at the University of California, Berkeley, where he will be a Visiting Scholar in the Center for Latino Policy Research and the Comparative Ethnic Studies Department.”
The Oct. 13 letter also addressed whether the recommendations in the Diversity Matters report will continue to be implemented.
“Two recommendations addressed the needs of the faculty and the College as a whole, and we will move ahead on them,” Gemello wrote. “The first calls for creating a broader based ‘leadership group’ in the College to address specific ways to effect climate change…and the second for engagement of a consultant experienced in conflict resolution to work with faculty to ease tensions and help foster positive collegial relationships.”
Monteiro, who said he was surprised by Almaguer’s resignation, will have the task of finding a new permanent dean of the college, a process he expects to take about two years. He also said that despite being familiar with the faculty and college, “I need to come in very open and help the faculty realize and rediscover core values and a vision” for the College of Ethnic Studies.
Over the next two weeks, he said, he will meet every staff and faculty member in the college. After introductions, Monteiro and faculty members of the college will start a one year process designed to focus on the college and “re-clarify what we’re about and put the focus on what we’re becoming,” Monteiro said.
This is necessary, he said, because it ensures that all faculty members will be able to answer questions throughout the search process with some continuity and unity. When asked what he will tell a potential candidate about Almaguer’s resignation, Monteiro said, “I would encourage that person to talk with the former dean because [Almaguer] knows what his experience here was.”
In terms of the past conflicts within the college and the Diversity Matters report, Monteiro said simply, “I want to be able to tell them how we handled it.”
While he could not comment on why he was chosen by the president to be the college’s acting dean, Monteiro did say that he was experienced in dealing with faculty complaints across campus and he has a great affinity for the College of Ethnic Studies.
The qualifications he and the college faculty will be looking for in a new dean have yet to be decided, Monteiro said. “[Potential candidates] need to be experienced in terms of diversity and culture [and] just being a member of one group isn’t experience enough. [They] need an understanding in the academics, politics, and social layers between each community.” He added that “the College of Ethnic Studies is playing out what is happening in America, San Francisco and SF State.”
Moreover, for the faculty involved this represents another step in building the future of the college.
“I was disappointed by the announcement and I believe that the conflict could have been addressed through the provost’s recommendations,” said Joanne Barker, assistant professor of American Indian studies, referring to Almaguer’s resignation. “We support the interim dean and are working with each other, the president, the provost and are moving forward.”
“I’m looking forward to the future – another chapter in the college,” said Marlon Hom, department chair of Asian American studies.
This presents an opportunity for the college to be “stronger than before,” said Hijolepochtli, a third year graduate student in Ethnic Studies who asked to be quoted by his indigenous name. Many faculty members are now more relaxed since the dean’s resignation, he said, and this presents a clean slate for the college. He added that graduate students are planning a festival for the spring to showcase the college’s literary contributions, indigenous music and workshops.
Mostly important, Hijolepochtli said looking for a new dean offers an opportunity for graduate students to be involved in the hiring of the new dean through a student representative on the hiring committee.
“We want to reunify and work on what the college should be like,” he said.
Stephanie Gonzalez, 21, already knows who she’s voting for on Nov. 2, but she couldn’t help but watch a bit of the third presidential debate as she passed through the Cesar Chavez student center.
“It doesn’t matter because I already know I’m voting for Kerry,” Gonzalez said. “It’s relevant, but it’s not at the same time.”
For many SF State students like Gonzalez, the final debate between President George W. Bush and Sen. John Kerry was more of a platform for issues important to them – affirmative action, higher-education costs, same-sex marriage, the draft – than a contest for their vote.
In the humanities building auditorium, Kathryn Johnson’s presidential election class watched a twenty-foot projection of the event.
Students were engaged in the debate for over an hour, clapping and laughing at times. They listened intently as both candidates talked about the rising costs of college.
“Bush said he helped more students get Pell grants,” said Jared Lee, a 20-year-old cinema major. “And I liked how Kerry explained that was because so many people fell below the poverty level during his presidency.”
Lee also said the way both candidates talked about religion troubled him. “In a time when we’re fighting Islam, it’s not the best idea to bring up religious ideology.”
There was little support for Bush in the classroom, but not everyone was voting for Kerry. Some said they were voting for Ralph Nader and others were undecided.
James Ramirez, an ROTC student, said he would have voted for John Edwards if he had the chance.
“As of right now, I’m just going to be voting on propositions. I’m not going to be picking the next president,” Ramirez said.
In the student center, many watched the debate in a less academic setting.
One group sat at sticky tables outside The Pub and watched Kerry and Bush trade jabs with the aroma of beer in the air. With the lights turned out and the debate projected on a pull-down screen, politics was the only topic of drunken conversation.
“I’m having a hard time hearing because of the jerks behind me,” said Emily Cochran, 23, gesturing toward hree men behind her engaging in their own debate.
Inside The Pub, sports fans tuned out the elections and watched the Yankees beat the Red Sox.
A crowd of about fifty followed the debate in the lower conference level of the Cesar Chavez student center. Students sat close to each other and those without a seat sat on the ground with backpacks at their feet.
Chris Nwadigo, a 29-year-old independent, said he would decide his vote after the final debate.
“Kerry is winning this one,” Nwadigo said. “Bush does not make any sense. He does not talk like a president.”
Sounds of the debate were heard in stereo from the windows of faculty and staff housing. Outside the Humanities building, Ciara Bella, 25, listened to the broadcast in a Dodge Caravan with the window down.
“I really wish I could see it on TV so I could watch their faces,” said Bella, an independent BECA major. “Bush seems like he’s more on the defensive this time… but I’m hearing the same thing from the first two debates. It’s like, answer the damn question.”
Professors across campus cancelled classes or rolled TVs into their rooms.
Access to events like this is one reason SF State has one of the most politically involved student bodies in the nation, according to a September study conducted by the Chronicle of Higher Education and Harvard University’s Institute of Politics.
Back in the humanities building, everyone in the presidential election class perked up as the moderator said the debate was about to end.
Both candidates had the chance to send a final message to SF State students and the rest of the world.
The incumbent president urged Americans to elect a leader with “firm resolve and clear purpose.”
“We must never waver,” Bush said.
Kerry’s last thoughts pointed to a change in policy, “we can reach higher. I believe we can do better.”
Sparked by the recent expiration of the Assault Weapons Ban, which regulated military-style firearms and bullet clip capacity, America has again become the focal point of a global debate on gun-related violence. For many of SF State's international students, the issue remains completely “foreign.”
“I don't know anybody who owns a gun and I've never been afraid of guns,” said Stine Larsen, a Dutch foreign exchange student studying photojournalism.
Denmark, like many European countries, has heavy regulations on civilian firearm possession, limiting their use almost exclusively to gun clubs and hunting. In fact most countries in the European union- which boasted a collective gun-related murder rate of 1.7 per hundred thousand in 2000- posses gun laws much stricter than those in the U.S.
Examples include mandatory psychiatric evaluations, age restrictions, training and gun-club requirements, documented “proof of need” laws and even police sponsored raids of civilians rumored to posses gun surpluses.
“I think the biggest problem with guns in America is that they are legal,” said Larsen. “But I also think the problem can be explained by your welfare, or non-welfare, system. The difference between the poor and the people who have money is so huge, and many can't afford healthcare and education for their children.”
Tighter regulations and more progressive health and social services programs alone have not been able to completely stop the spread of violence overseas.
In May 2002, Robert Steinhauser, 19 years old at the time, methodically executed 12 teachers, two students and a police officer at Johann Gutenberg High School in Erfurt, Germany before turning his pump-action shotgun on himself. A Time-Europe article the following week quoted a visibly shaken news anchor as saying, “It's the kind of thing you expect to happen in America.”
German exchange student Hannah Schunter took the analogy one step further.
“I think he saw Columbine and wanted to imitate that same thing,” said Schunter. “That's been the only shooting like that.”
Although not entirely accurate, due to additional high-profile German shootings in 2002, 2000 and 1999, Schunter's comment points to a larger trend highlighted in a 2000 World Bank/CDC study and Time Europe follow-up piece, documenting trends in countries gun murder rates. Of the 14 most notable gun-related incidents listed in the article- dating back to 1964- six of the 14 (43%) took place in America. That is an almost
identical figure to that of the World Bank/CDC study done almost 5 years earlier, confirming, if nothing else, that the problem isn't going away.
Schunter and boyfriend Ingolf Barth both reiterated Larsen's earlier claims that class and social system play a key role in America's alarming figures. Germany, like Denmark, has a strong welfare and healthcare system available to all its citizens. But more recent attempts to privatize the German system, like the U.S., have already had a notable impact on the psyche of the country.
Barth said that Germany's nearly 4 million unemployed are weighing down the economy and creating a gap in the class system that is synonymous with America's own gun violence debate.
“Germany is starting to have problems (violence) in the cities, Frankfurt specifically, because of the large social differences,” said Barth. “People are becoming disappointed and don't know what to do.”
Shunter said that much of America’s gun-violence problem is undoubtedly motivated by poverty, race-related anger and easy access to firearms.
“You see someone on the street and they're different and you don't know what to do,” said Schunter. “There's criminality in Germany but they don't point a gun at you, they just want your money. It's all about how you deal with your problems.”
Another example, France, also has comprehensive medical and social services programs and a thriving government-driven benefits system. But Nathalie Chun, a 21-year-old SF State French foreign exchange student, thinks there is a more telling reason why American’s are so often prone to pulling the trigger.
“Here in the U.S. you a have a lot of these 24-hour news stations, which we don't have in France,” Chun said. “We tend to have like six channels and no cable.”
Chun said that the French tend to look skeptically at the American media's seeming obsession with the sensational and violent.
“From the French point of view, many of you Americans appear stupid, crazy and all having guns,” Chun said. “You actually have TV shows that follow police chasing criminals.”
A more eerie moment came when Chun reflected on the impact that Hollywood and cable television have had in establishing America's infamous global reputation.
“The first time I saw the news of 9/11, I thought it was a TV show and I went back to playing with my cousin," Chun said. “I really thought it was an American movie.”
Dr. Marc Dollinger recently hosted a symposium in room 587 of the Humanities building on the relationship between American Jews and Black Nationalism between 1958 and 1964.
Dollinger, the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Chair in Jewish Studies and Social Responsibility at SF State, talked to the 10 Jewish department faculty and 2 students who attended, about how these two ethnic groups shared very similar struggles of inequality and civil rights violations.
“In the 50s, blacks and Jews entered the civil rights movement as partners, fighting against discrimination in jobs, pay, housing and education.” said Dollinger. “By the mid 60s they split and became adversaries.”
Dollinger described how blacks and Jews worked in concert for many decades warding off threats and violence from the Ku Klux Klan, as well as discrimination from employers and landlords. He said that blacks and Jews worked together to end “separate but equal” in the landmark case of Brown Vs. Board of Education. According to Dollinger, Jews, more than any other group, helped fund many endeavors embarked upon by black organizations such as the NAACP and the Urban League.
“Jews accounted for more than half of the whites who marched in Mississippi against Jim Crow laws on behalf of blacks,” said Dollinger. “And Jewish lawyers defended blacks from erroneous charges of rape and murder.”
The relationship started to strain the late-1960s and early 1970s when blacks became resentful of Jews, not because they were Jews, but because they made money in the black community, yet did not reinvest any of the profits back into the black community, according to Bobby Farlice, Afrikan Residents Association at SF State.
“After the anti-war movement, Jews didn’t have anything to fight for,” said Farlice. “The imperialistic minds of those in the American Jewish community didn’t understand why, after they help win the fight for equality and civil rights, why blacks were still angry.”
Farlice continued to say that as Jews moved up the socioeconomic ladder and out of the slums and ghettos, blacks were stuck in the same place and felt they were being taken advantage of and forgotten by the very group whom they once fought side-by-side.
“Even throughout the civil rights movement, most Jews could return to their middle and upper middle class lives after a weekend march,” said Farlice. “Blacks had no where to retreat. This was their life.”
Jews had an easier time of attaining success during and after the civil rights movement because they had white skin and could conceal the fact that they were Jews, according Bryon Farmer, black studies senior. On the other hand, he said, most blacks did not have that same luxury, therefore struggles against racism, bigotry and discrimination carried on.
The inception of nationalistic black organizations such as the Black Panthers and Nation of Islam in the late 1960s, highlighted and exposed the Jewish rapid climb up the socioeconomic ladder, and began the campaigns of Black Power and Black is Beautiful .
In the 1960s the Black Panther Party advocated black pride and self-reliance, according to Dollinger. However, rather than focusing on equality through integration, the organization stood for cultural nationalism, and freedom from white culture, politics and economics. Although “black power” had a strong effect on the consciousness of the black community, the movement was seen as a separatist and anti-white movement, hence, dismantled by government authorities.
“In the 1960s, everyone was agreeing with everyone - Dr. King and other civil rights leaders were advocating an interracial society, and respect and acceptance for the differences between the many American cultures,” said Dollinger. “The Black Power movement was the first movement of blacks of separation from white society.”
While he agreed with most of Dollinger’s assessment of the relationship between American blacks and Jews, Farlice stressed the significance of the U.S. government’s dismantling of the successful Black Power movement from further prospering.
“They went to work on allowing drugs into our communities,” said Farlice. “The government wanted to keep black and brown people from organizing because they saw the success of the Brown Beret’s, Black Panther’s and Students for a Democratic Society as a threat.”
Dollinger continued to say that Jews benefited from the Black Power movement even though they were on the front line of the attack. With blacks publicizing “black is beautiful”, Jews could then publicize, “Jews are beautiful” and “is it right for the Jews”.
“Without the black nationalists movement, there would have been a Jewish movement,” said Dolliger. “If Jews couldn’t find justice in Biloxi, USA, they weren’t going to find it in Kiev, USSR.”
Flu shots will not be offered to SF State students this semester. Chiron, the largest U.S. supplier of the vaccine Fluvirin, announced that it would not distribute any of its scheduled 48 million doses to U.S. hospitals and clinics due to contamination of serratia at its Liverpool, England facility.
“We are not going to have the flu vaccine at all this semester,” says Kamal Harb, a health educator at SF State Student Health Services Center. “To prevent yourself from getting the flu, students should frequently wash their hands and stay away from other people who are sick. If you sneeze, do so in your sleeve, not your hands because you can transfer germs to your nose and mouth.”
Harb also suggests that students call their local Longs Drugs and Walgreens to see if they sell Flu Mist. “It’s a nasal spray that works just as well as the shot,” Herb said. “But it’s only for healthy people between the ages 5 and 59.”
The Student Health Center does not offer the Flu Mist because it’s too expensive. Harb said that the manufacturer charges $14 for each dose, and SF State would have to charge $25 dollars to cover administrative fees.
“If students buy it directly from a local pharmacy, it will only cost them $14,” said Harb. “We’re working with the manufacturer to lower the price, but as for now, students are better off purchasing it on their own.”
At a recent press conference, the Center for Disease Control asked that all healthy people between the ages of 2 to 64 abstain from seeking the Fluvirin influenza vaccine in order to make the limited quantity currently on hand available to those in high risk categories. But many people who work in hospitals, daycare centers and schools depend on the safeguards provided by the vaccine. They are now left vulnerable to cross contamination, which occurs when children pass flu germs to teachers, who can pass them to their family members, who can pass them to their friends and co-workers, etc.
When the shortage of Fluvirin was first made public two weeks ago, the CDC discouraged health officials from giving flu shots to low risk individuals. However, as of last Friday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will fine any health care official who gives a flu shot to anyone that is not at high risk.
“This is so troubling and terrible,” said SF State nursing senior Katrina Weinskowski. “I am around so many people everyday, exposing myself to TB, flu, shingles and other contagious viruses and I worry about cross contamination to myself, students and elderly patients.”
Without a flu shot, Weinskowski said that her health and grades are at risk because she spends 14 hours per week on campus and 16 hours per week working in a hospital. But because she is not in the high-risk group, she is not eligible to receive a shot, despite the fact she works in a hospital.
“What am I suppose to do if I get sick for a week or two,” said Wienskowski. “That’s 30 to 60 hours of class and work that I’d miss. This is absolutely crazy.”
Stuck in a windowless office at Valley Medical Center in San Jose, Monica Brown fielded over 200 calls in one eight-hour shift, involving inquires and requests for the flu vaccine.
“A panic seems to have taken over people’s minds,” said Brown, 24, a communication operator at Valley Medical Center. “We have people calling from all over the Bay Area looking for the shot. I have to tell them that we don’t have the vaccine available because we’re experiencing a shortage. And even if we did, they couldn’t get the shot unless they’re in one of the high risk groups.”
According to on-going reports, the CDC and HHS are relying on Aventis Pasteur to help alleviate the shortfall in availability in the flu vaccine.
“We do have an extensive waitlist for the vaccine due to the licensing problems of Chiron, but we expect to offer all those on the waitlist the vaccine by November,” said Monica, an Aventis representative who is only authorized to give her first name. “It only takes 4 months to produce the vaccine. If Chiron had known in August when they notified the public that there’d be a delay in distribution in their vaccine that they’d have licensing problems in October, Adventis would have been able to close the gap. But we have every expectation of full-filling the needs of the American public by November.”
The Asian American Christian Fellowship (AACF) and the Intervarsity More Than Conquerors SF State student clubs hosted Revelation, an Inspiration Hip-Hop Music Event at the Malcom X Plaza today.
The two student organizations came together to unify their beliefs on religion, while trying to encourage students to search for spiritual enlightenment, and reveal to others what was before unknown to them.
About 200 students gathered around the crowded plaza to watch the two hour event, which included $4 Chinese food, performances by Vince Tafoya, a Christian R&B artist, Roots of Brazil, BBoys, Capoeira and Inspirational Messages.
Speaker Christian Roman Padilla, spoke about his search for truth and peace, in what he calls "a world of deception." Padilla, who has been sober for two years, spoke about his hardcore drug use, sex and partying. After trafficking ecstasy for two years and hitting rock bottom, the SF State student sought out spiritual enlightenment and "embraced Jesus as his savior."
"People re-create images about themselves to make them feel better," said Padilla. "If those things (sex, drugs and rock n'roll) are things that don't bring fulfillment, we're deceiving ourselves from the Freedom that comes from admitting that we have issues. In all my searching, what I found in Jesus, was more powerful than anything else."
Both clubs have around 70 members and seek out a diverse group of people racially and sexually. The AACF has been at SF State for two years, while More Than Conquerors are now in their third year, but have been around, on and off, for over 70 years. The two clubs try annually to host atlas one event together each semester.
"We are seeking relationships with God and really trying to show people it's ok to love Jesus and be cool," said 21-year-old Junior Haley Boiyee. She is an active member of More Than Conquerors and is elated by the bonds and friendships she has made.
Along with Boiyee, many of the clubs members spend time with fellow believers going to the movies, dinner or ice skating. "We laugh a lot," said Boiyee. To her, building relationships around Jesus is more important than drinking or having sex.
Kim Fong, a 20-year-old AACF member, has been involved with the group for three years. "The theme or idea of our clubs is to seek relationships with God and others," Fong said.
AACF and More Than Conquerors meet once weekly to discuss their beliefs and pray. They seek to bring Jesus Christ to the SF State campus and let people find his love and share the love they found in Jesus with SF State students. They consider their organizations as a comfortable place to make relationships and all become brothers and sisters with Jesus.
Candice Orr rushes to finish her cigarette as she walks towards Mary Park Hall.
Orr is one of the many residents on campus who can receive penalties for smoking within the resident community if caught. Since SF State became a smoke-free campus this past August, students who reside on campus and violate the no-smoking policy are the only group on campus subjected to penalties.
Frank Johnson, 18, also lives in the dorms and is upset with how resident smokers are treated. “It’s screwed,” said Johnson. “I like living here otherwise.”
According to a number of student residents, the resident assistants, or RA’s, are encouraged to issue “write-ups,” or Incident Reports, which details the student’s offense and possible sanctions. If a resident assistant decides to file the report, it is done electronically and a hard copy is printed for the student and up to seven administrators within the Housing and Residential Services. Resident assistants can also opt to give verbal warnings instead of the write-ups.
For the past 11 years, SF State has been moving towards a smoke-free campus. In 1993, former Gov. Pete Wilson signed and issued Executive Order W-42-93, which banned smoking in any state-owned or leased buildings. Last August, President Robert Corrigan issued University Executive Order #03-31, which prohibited smoking 20 to 30 ft. from any campus buildings. That same month, the campus bookstore ended the sale of any tobacco products. This year, the Academic Senate on campus approved a resolution for a smoke-free campus.
According to Phillipe Cumia, who is the assistant director of housing marketing and communication, his staff have responsiblities and are obligated to follow.
“Resident assistants have been reminding residents who smoke on campus that we are now a smoke-free University and smoking is only allowed in designated areas,” said Cumia in an e-mailed statement. “There are several of those around the housing community.”
Students who have been written up can choose to go through an informal review, which is the Judicial Review Board, or J-Board, where fellow peers handle the violations. According to Jennifer Chau, who is a member of J-Board, there are approximately 30 students from the dormitories and towers on the board. Chau’s duties include giving “sanctions that are reasonable.
Prior to moving to SF State, students are required to sign a “living agreement contract” with the Housing and Residential Services, said Chau, which helps explain why resident students are obliged to follow agreed standards. While filling out the contract, students are also asked if they prefer living with a smoker or non-smoker.
Johnson resides in Mary Park Hall and is a smoker. “We get warned a lot,” said Johnson, who sat on the block of Lake Merced Drive and State Drive, which is a designated smoking area for the residents.
According to Johnson, the resident director of Mary Park Hall, Kate Humpharies almost made him and his friends pick cigarette butts up as form of sanction. Johnson also claims he had to go online and finish an educational test on smoking.
“Modules. [You] go online for 30 minutes and there’s different stuff like community respect or smoking,” added Johnson. "You have to complete and read the test about why smoking is bad for you, it’ll kill you."
“Everyone’s learned not to smoke outside, “ said Johnson.
Most of the resident assistants contacted by the [X]press have refused to speak to any press without approval from a supervisor. Many staff administrators as well could not speak to the press as well without consent from Cumia. A few R.A’s declined to provide their names, for fear of being reprimanded, but did speak about management’s need for “uniformity.”
“All R.A.’s need to write people up because we don’t want to create the bad or good R.A.,” said one R.A. who declined to provide their name. “It’s fucked up, but consistent.”
Until recently, residents in the towers have been given the option to smoke on Font Blvd., State Dr. or by the conference center, which is a long walk and can be dangerous late at night. The smoking designated area on State Drive was created for the freshmen and sophomore students living by Mary Park Hall and Mary Ward Hall last week. Previously, there were only seven designated smoking areas on campus, which many students saw as an inconvenience.
According to Orr, who smokes on State Dr., she chooses that area versus Lake Merced or Font Blvd for safety issues. “There’s no lighting out by Lake Merced,” said Orr.
“Bullshit, it’s dangerous to tell people addicted to cigarettes [to go far],” said one R.A. “You [can] get mugged.”
Narges Gadizi, 22, regularly smokes outside the Malcolm X plaza. According to Gadizi, she has never been stopped by campus authorities and doesn’t think it’s fair for students living on campus to be singled out.
“That’s ridiculous,” said Gadizi. “It’s saying they’re young, they can’t be trusted. I understand if it’s inside, but outside, wow.”
John Sebastian, 21, also smokes outside Malcolm X. He agrees with Gadizi’s thoughts. “That’s unfair and it sucks because I was about to live there,” laughed Sebastian. “We’re all adults, we know it’s bad, we know about lung cancer, emphysema. But, it’s still my choice,” added Sebastian.
The CSU Board of Trustees will make an important decision next week that might affect the cost of education for future CSU students.
The board will decide on Oct. 28 on a long-term student fee policy that could potentially cap annual fee increases as they inch upwards, to the point where students are paying one third of the total cost of their education.
The proposed policy expands upon an existing 1993 fee policy, which mandated that students eventually take on the cost of one-third of the total cost of education, with the state paying the rest of the cost.
Currently, CSU students pay only 21 percent of the cost of their educations.
According to CSU spokesperson Clara Potes-Fellow, the state currently pays
$7,496 dollars of the total cost for each student’s education--which adds up to over $11,000.
The proposed policy, which was introduced at the Sept. 14 board of trustees meeting in Long Beach, would set guidelines for how much the fees could advance in any year, as students go from paying 21 to 33 percent of the cost of their educations. Under the proposal, student fees would be prohibited from increasing more than 10 percent a year.
Currently, there are no state guidelines for how much schools can raise their fees from year to year.
“What the long-term fee policy intends to do is set a standard of how much to increase (tuition) per year, to avoid any huge increases that students are faced with,” said Eric Guerra, member of the CSU Board of Trustees and a student at Sacramento State University. “If it’s gradual, predictable, and moderate, then parents and students can plan accordingly how much it’s going to cost to get through their education.”
According to Guerra, the only fee-raising guideline currently in place “is that the cost of education should be a third (of the total cost to the state) and that the board of trustees will take necessary action to adjust fee revenue to accommodate for the budget for that year. So what the long-term fee policy intends to do is say, OK, understanding that there’s state fiscal austerity—tough budget times—we’re going to set guidelines that so that people can plan.”
Student fees will be adjusted until students are eventually paying for a third of the cost of their education, after which fees will be raised as needed while at the same keeping in accordance with per-capita income in the state.
The new fee increase schedule was proposed as a response to the widely fluctuating fees over the past couple of years.
According to a CSU press release, “Since (1993), the instability of the state budget created a series of unpredictable changes in student fees. Reductions were implemented in good economic times, and sudden increases were adopted
to help cope with the state fiscal crisis in the last three years.”
Fee increase jumps have been particularly severe in the past couple of years.
For the 2004-2005 academic year, the cost of CSU system wide fees rose to $2,334 from $2,046, representing an increase of about 14 percent over the previous year.
However, this fee jump pales in comparison to the fee jump between the 2002-2003 school year and the 2003-2004 school year, when the cost of CSU system fees jumped from $1,572 to $2,046—nearly 30 percent.
Such increases would be not be possible under the new proposal.
The proposal has drawn some mixed reactions from officials, as had the 1993 proposal to up the proportion of the cost of education paid by students.
Jack O’Connell, state superintendent of public instruction and a member of the CSU Board of Trustees, has voiced his concerns.
“He’s opposed to raising student fees because he thinks there ought to be more state support for student fees and to avoid having to raise them,” said
O’Connell spokesperson, Rick Miller. “That’s his general position. Having said that, he does endorse a long-term fee policy, but he thinks there ought to be a greater state investment in students.”
State Speaker Fabio Nuñez, also member of the Board of Trustees, also warns against continued fee increases.
“The speaker is opposed to any effort that would exclude qualified students from admission to California’s public universities,” said spokesperson Nick Velazquez.
According to Velazquez, while reasonable student fee increases may be necessary, Nuñez wishes to ensure that they do not “exclude middle class students from receiving quality education in our state’s public universities.”
With the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season fast approaching, SF State students have leisurely begun to compare prices of airline tickets for the best possible deal.
“I actually started looking for my winter ticket this past summer,” said Chad McClymonds, an international relations sophomore. “It’s early, but that’s how I know how much I have to save.”
Many technically savvy students skip the travel agent route and spend hours navigating such sites as Travelocity, Expedia, Priceline and Orbitz because of the all-in-one convenience these online companies provide, such as searching all major airlines for availability, affordable prices, hotel and car rental.
“The challenge you have (with purchasing tickets online) is that you have to go where they want you to go,” said Dr. David Jones, SF State Travel and Leisure professor. “If you want to add or delay connections to fit your schedule, those Web sites are not convenient.”
Jones went on to say that as a result of lost revenue since the inception of these online discount travel sites, airlines have started offering, “guaranteed lowest price” fares. Jones made the argument that travelers also get a better deal when purchasing tickets directly from an airline’s Web site because if changes do become necessary, travelers can deal directly with that airline.
“Once you purchase a ticket online, that’s it,” said Jones. “The ticket is non-refundable, non-changeable.”
Notwithstanding rising fuel costs, travel industry officials said that airline ticket prices have been lower the past four quarters than the four previous quarters. However, they anticipate that there will be a spike in prices this holiday season due to unavailability of seats.
“The increase in fuel doesn’t add much to a ticket,” said Troy Mayes, a AAA travel specialist. “On average, only $2.50 per ticket. But because more people are flying this year than the past 3-to-4 years, travelers need to consider availability.”
According to Mayes, 2004 Thanksgiving travelers thus far have booked flights for November 23 and 27, and that the longer one waits, the fewer the options they will have to choose from.
“I don’t want students to panic,” said Mayes, “but if they plan to fly this holiday season, now is the time to book.”
Currently, a San Francisco-to-Denver ticket costs $289. That price could as much as double in two weeks, according to an American Airlines reservation specialist.
“I don’t do anything last minute,” said Rachel Barton, an international relations senior. “I plan my trips as far ahead as 7 months”
Barton said that she looks through the travel section of the Sunday edition of the SF Chronicle for interesting places to visit and then makes her travel arrangements with STA, the world's largest budget travel agency for students under 26. Between the money she saves booking through STA, and staying in hostels, she is able to frequently backpack through Europe.
Many students praised the independent airline, JetBlue, who recently added flights out of San Jose, Boston, Denver, San Diego, Sacramento, Las Vegas and New York City’s LaGuardia Airport.
“The best last minute airline is JetBlue,” said George Pahulu, an electrical engineering senior. “I usually pay between $87 and $110 for a roundtrip ticket from Oakland to Long Beach.”
Pahulu, who flies from San Francisco to Long Beach at least once a month, said that included in the price of a JetBlue ticket, passengers can expect a non-stop flight, access to DirecTV and a brown bag snack. He went on to say that the price is usually the same whether you book four weeks in advance or the same day. But as the word gets out on JetBlue's bargains, seats will quickly fill up.
“JetBlue’s customer service is the best I have ever experienced,” said Shortcake Seuga, a 4th year liberal arts student. “The flight attendants and pilots constantly crack jokes with the passengers on every flight. It makes the flight go by faster and is more personable. I’d describe them as informally professional.”
Since 9/11, Seuga said that she feels most comfortable flying from smaller airports on smaller planes. Therefore, flying on JetBlue from Oakland and Long Beach 8-to-10 times per school year takes most of the pressure and fear out of flying for her.
"JetBlue's Web site is really easy to search," said Mayes. "And their on-time arrival is better than United and American. They can charge less for tickets because they don't offer hot meal service, and they only operate one type of aircraft so they've become experts at flying it. Another reason for the low fares they offer is that their hangers are tucked away from the general runways, which is good because the commercial air traffic can be backed up from 15 minutes to 2 hours."
If a seat is not available on a particular JetBlue flight, both Seuga and Pahula said that they use the travel Web site studentuniverse.com. Only students and faculty are eligible to purchase tickets from this Web site, therefore the company requires its members to fill out an application that asks for enrollment status, name, address and telephone number of the school, which StudentUniverse then verifies before allowing students and faculty members to purchase airline tickets.
“I love this site,” said Seugua. “You can upgrade to first class and get great last minute prices. They have links to hostels, railways, travel guides, health and safety alerts, hotels and car rentals. Everything sites like Expedia and Priceline have, but StudentUniverse has better deals.”
The scheduled Oct. 12 Education Policies Council meeting regarding the hearing of the proposed discontinuance of the Russian program was postponed until at least Oct. 26.
Russian program director Katerina Siskron asked for an extension so that she could obtain copies of the letters in support of the Russian program that were written to President Robert Corrigan by members of the San Francisco community.
“We wanted to use the letters of support as an argument to our defense for saving the program,” said Siskron. “We can’t make copies of any of the letters; we can only take notes. We asked for an extension because we could not access the letters of support in a timely manner."
Dean of Humanities Paul Sherwin initially slated the Russian B.A. and M.A. for discontinuance in April when the CSU was forced to give back more than $20 million to the State.
“Most of the letters that were addressed to Corrigan regarding support for the Russian program were forwarded to me," Sherwin said. “Anything that came my way, I gave them copies of.”
Sherwin also said that while the B.A. and M.A. offered in Russian would be eliminated, a minor would still be offered. Russian language, history and culture courses would remain intact.
According to Sherwin, only 11 master's and 88 bachelor's degrees in Russian have been awarded in the past 20 years. To Sherwin, this makes eliminating the degrees an “easy call not to continue.”
The EPC, a sub-committee of the Academic Senate, must base their decision whether or not to refer a degree program for discontinuance based on SF State’s Academic Mission and Goals. The Academic Senate must decide whether or not a certain program serves the department, falls in line with affirmative action goals, and provides special service to the community at large, to name a few.
Paul Rosenberg, a native San Franciscan and Russian studies major at SF State believes that the Russian program is meeting SF State’s Academic Mission and Goals by fulfilling its service to the community.
“This is an excellent program that is all-encompassing in regards to teaching culture, language and history of Russia,” Rosenberg said. “So many jobs are created through this program, and many of its graduates go on to become involved with our rich Russian heritage, even here in the Bay Area.”
Rosenberg also said that many Russian businesses in San Francisco have become actively involved in keeping SF State’s Russian program alive. For example, he and his wife Olga run CTA Lasers, a company that assists the San Francisco Planetarium in running its laser light shows.
Rosenberg said that he has done his part in alerting San Francisco’s Russian community regarding the possible discontinuance of the Russian program. “The response and support of the community has been phenomenal toward the program,” Rosenberg said.
Unlike Rosenberg, there are those who are less than supportive of the supportive response that San Francisco's Russian community has given to the Russian program.
“I know that Corrigan is sympathetic to save the Russian program,” said Jeff Bleich, CSU Board of Trustees member. “But I also know that he has to look out for the core needs of the community and give priority to those programs which reflect the Bay Area’s resources. I know that Corrigan is not happy to make the decision to discontinue any program, but that's just the way it goes, sometimes."
However, Duarte Silva, Foreign Language Chair at Stanford first heard about the potential discontinuance of SF State’s Russian program through his students and faculty. Silva is one of many who have voiced their concern to Corrigan regarding the proposed discontinuance of the program.
“We live in a time when availability for education regarding other cultures should be increasing, not decreasing,” Silva said.
Candidates seeking election to the District 7 San Francisco Board of Supervisors seat said they want to help the SF State student population by offering discounted Muni passes or seeking greater input from students.
The [X]press interviewed 10 of the 13 candidates about the election and issues in the district that includes the Inner Sunset, West Portal, West Twin Peaks and Park Merced. Three candidates could not be reached for this article.
Several candidates said they would like to combat traffic and parking issues around SF State by making public transportation more affordable for students.
Financial advisor Isaac Wang would like to include a $75 transportation fee each semester for SF State students. The fee would allow student identification cards to be used as a Muni passes for a discounted fare. Although some students may still choose to drive, Wang called the plan a “no-brainer.”
“That’s the way we’re going to reduce the college student burden of paying the $1.25 or buying the Fast Pass,” Wang said.
But any transportation fee would require an extensive approval process involving Muni, city leaders, the Associated Students Inc., the Student Fee Advisory Committee, SF State President Robert Corrigan and approval of two-thirds of the student body in an advisory referendum. Candidates said obtaining approval from students for fees has proven difficult in the past.
Pat Lakey, a labor union representative and carpenter who worked on the Towers at Centennial Square, would rather offer free rides during peak commuter hours, even if just for a trial period to increase ridership, and send more buses to the routes students regularly use.
“[Muni] should take that into consideration and know these areas and send two or three buses out at a time to accommodate all the students,” Lakey said.
Several candidates agree a discount could be offered to students, but others worry the $10 Fast Pass for youth and seniors could put Muni in a tough financial spot if students also qualified for the reduced fare.
Svetlana Kaff, an immigration attorney who graduated from SF State in 1998, said Muni could use smaller buses or passenger vans for night owl services to compensate for the cost.
“I don’t advocate for reducing Muni staff, just saving money on gas and energy by using smaller buses,” Kaff said.
Former supervisor Tony Hall would have been running for reelection for the District 7 seat, but resigned in August to head the Treasure Island Development Authority. Mayor Gavin Newsom appointed Sean Elsbernd to replace Hall, which prompted several more people to enter the race.
At a candidate forum in Jack Adams Hall on Oct. 8, one student told the candidates it was “unacceptable” that the previous supervisor had never visited the campus. Several candidates said they will maintain an “open door” policy if elected to ensure that students feel comfortable sharing their concerns.
Arsenio Belenson, a pet shop owner in West Portal, said students should expect their supervisor to be an active member of the community.
“Some candidates, after the election, you won't see their faces,” Belenson said. “They're coming from the woodwork. Whatever happens, I'll still be there for you. That's the difference between me and them.”
The student population in District 7 -- which has about 43,000 registered voters -- is an important one. SF State, City College of San Francisco and UC San Francisco are all in the district, but candidates said they rarely hear from students.
“We seek them, they love it,” said Michael Mallen, a management consultant who worked for Angela Alioto when she was president of the Board of Supervisors. “But as far as them seeking us, I think it’s a mixed bag. I think they come to us when there’s issues.”
Some of the candidates would like to see SF State students take on an active role in city politics. If elected, Mallen said he would employ a full-time intern from the SF State political science department.
“Interns often focus on issues close to them and it’s great experience for the intern and benefits the office,” Mallen said.
Vernon Grigg said the key is to make sure students are stakeholders in their community.
“I would very much be heartened to hear more from the students and to know that they are engaged in the political dialogue and they're engaged in the political life,” Grigg said. “We need involvement. We need people. We need thoughts. We need ideas. We need energy.”
“They’re often the forgotten citizens who are at that point in their life when they’re figuring out what they want to do,” Lakey said. “I think they’re discounted when they shouldn’t be.”
Please note this is the second article in a two part series.
For More Information On The Candidates:
The grass field in front of the Malcolm X plaza was filled with Astro-jumps, blowup boxing rinks and foam gladiator-style combat pits all in the name of healthy stress release.
The Stress Release Carnival, organized by the Student Health Advisory Committee (SHAC), is a bi-yearly event put on around the middle of every semester to coincide with midterm examinations.
SHAC is a student run committee that works as an advisory board for the Health Center and represents student interests. The Stress Release Carnival was funded from the Associated Students.
"We want to give people a breather from midterm stress and educate them on ways to relieve stress," said David Haung, a Post baccalaureate chemistry student and the president of the SHAC.
"There is a lot of information that is constructive and positive on how to deal with stress in way that is not destructive,"Haung said.
Tables set up along the walkway offered information on health services on campus, holistic health care and sexual education.
"Sometimes when people are stressed they turn to alcohol and drugs. To help those people we provide information and resources to give them alternatives," said Isabel Mendoza, a senior psychology major who works for the Creating Empowerment through Alcohol and Substance-abuse Education program. C.E.A.S.E., a confidentiality assured program, located in the student services building, offers information and counseling services to students seeking help from substance abuse and addiction problems.
According to a survey of 100 students, 11 percent said they drink alcohol to relieve stress.
Many of the students utilizing the stress releasing devices had never heard of the SHAC before, but are thankful for the chance to reap the benefits of their services. After swinging punches in a bouncy boxing rink with oversized padded gloves, Ven Baker, a 21-year-old BECCA major said.
"I am tired now. I was able to expend some stressful energy and I feel like a healthier person for it," he said.
At the SHAC booth, volunteers passed out pamphlets that gave advice and suggestions to achieving healthy stress management, such as getting plenty of rest, eating well and exercising. They also passed out stress balls and gave out 'what do you know about stress' quiz to test students knowledge on safely coping with stress.
Local businesses also came out for the Stress Release Carnival to support healthy behavior. Dr. Brad Rottakher, a San Francisco Chiropractor, set up a booth offering free massage and neck and back pain screening.
"This is just a way of providing alternative health care to people of SF State, we are out here three or four times a year doing education and promotion," said Rottacker.
For more information on stress management contact the SHAC, e-mail at email@example.com.
SF State President Robert Corrigan has announced the resignation of Ethnic Studies Dean Tomas Almaguer.
Corrigan made the announcement during a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Academic Senate on Friday morning. He asked Kenneth Monteiro, a professor in the Psychology department, to act as dean of the college.
Corrigan also met with the Ethnic Studies faculty to tell them about Almaguer’s departure from SF State.
The resignation comes after a Diversity Matters recommended Almaguer be placed on leave.
Jan Gregory, a California Faculty Association member and lecturer in the English department, raised concerns over whether the most recent grievances filed against the dean would go forward or be withdrawn.
During the spring of 2003, California Faculty Association 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 four years ago, according to sources in CFA.
The settlement between CFA, which represents 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” which resulted in the Diversity Matters report that was released in June.
Grievances that have been filed since this settlement will continue to be investigated unless they are withdrawn by the individual faculty members who filed them, said Gregory, citing an Academic Senate discussion meeting where this issue was addressed.
“The dean’s resignation is effective immediately,” said Ellen Griffin, director of public affairs. “[Almaguer] retains his tenure professorship in the college.”
Almaguer will work on a book that he is under contract with University of California Press to finish, Griffin added, saying “the president [Corrigan] accepted his resignation with deepest regret” and said the college made great strides towards fulfilling Almaguer’s vision in the last four years.
Monteiro will be acting dean while a nationwide search is held to find Almaguer’s replacement.
Griffin said she was “fairly certain” that the formal performance review of Almaguer, scheduled to start this fall, would not continue since he is no longer dean of the College of Ethnic Studies. Specific recommendations made in the Diversity Matters report about the faculty of the college will continue as planned.
University administration has yet to release a formal statement about Almaguer’s resignation.
Adults and children alike flocked to the opening of "Shrek 2." It became the biggest animated hit in domestic box office history grossing more than $364 million in its first four weeks.
The DreamWorks movie premiered in major international markets like Australia, France, Germany, and Japan. Pixar had five straight award-winning hits in "Toy Story," "A Bug’s Life," "Toy Story 2," "Monsters, Inc.," and "Finding Nemo."
Another animation film opened recently that was highly anticipated among certain circles. Although the title includes the word “innocence” in it, it’s not intended for children.
Written and directed by Mamoru Oshii, "Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence" opened nationwide Sept. 17. It is a sequel to the Japanese filmmaker’s 1995 anime, "Ghost in the Shell," about a female detective who inhabits and then loses her artificial body.
Set in 2032, the new anime centers on her former colleague, the stone-faced cyborg Bateau (part human, part robot), who is a male cop in an unknown government’s antiterrorist division.
What gets "Innocence" off and rolling is a plot to hunt potentially homicidal gynoids (female pleasure robots) whose primary use is sex. The creatures have suddenly begun freaking out, killing their owners and disappearing. Since this could be a national security issue, Bateau’s elite Section 9 is called to investigate.
The "Ghost in the Shell" series is an example of an unusual form of Japanese animation that takes as its first rule the idea that grown-up movies can be animated.
It may be a new concept for American animators, but it’s old news in Japan, where the culture takes stories told in pictures seriously.
"[Anime] comes from a lot of experimental graphic design stuff in Japan," said SF State conceptual information arts major Kuroha Mitsuo. "Japan is a real visually orientated culture."
Mitsuo grew up in Japan and remembers watching anime as a young child.
"A whole culture of films and series’ in Japan, from the sappiest kid movies and adult love stories to hyper-violent samurai and gangster works to cruel hard-core porn, regularly arrives on screens in animated form", said Mitsuo.
While movies like "Shrek" and "Finding Nemo" deal with some adult themes like self-confidence, trust, perseverance, and nobility, anime like "Ghost in the Shell" goes deeper, touching on subjects of human identity, consciousness, reality, and what it means to have a soul.
Japanese animation has become an underground subculture in America, said Mitsuo, because the more traditional cartoons here are child-orientated.
Mitsuo thinks animation in the States is less aggressive. The subject matter is different in Japan, said Mitsuo, where it’s common to see Japanese businessmen in fancy suits reading popular comic books on the subway.
"The audience is not as limited in Japan," he said. "Japanese animation can take place in a fantasy world similar to dreaming, but it also uses subjects from everyday life. There’s more variety in the content."
Some popular American movies and books have been influenced by Japanese animation.
The Wachowski brothers, creators of "The Matrix" trilogy openly admitted to being inspired by "Ghost in the Shell," according to SFgate.com.
Ridley Scott’s 1982 sci-fi classic "Blade Runner," although made before "Ghost in the Shell," resembles the same popular theme of robots living side-by-side with humans; the line between human existence and robot awareness being blurred.
Isaac Asimov’s book "I, Robot" was written in 1950, yet the three laws of robotics are also seen in Oshii’s "Innocence."
Whether we influenced them or they influenced us, the popularity of anime is growing in the States.
"Ghost in the Shell’s" 1995 cinematic run achieved what was then the highest gross for a theatrical release of an anime feature. On home video its flourishing cult following made it the first anime production to ever reach No. 1 on the Billboard Home Video charts. It eventually moved over a million units on VHS and DVD.
Another example of that growing popularity can be seen right here at SF State. Anime FX, a club on campus promoting the love and curiosity of anime, hosted their first anime screening on Sept. 24 with a five-hour dose of anime action, comedy and drama. They plan to hold this event annually.
Gathered together in a dark windowless room in the Science building, a group of anime lovers cheered and laughed as 13 different anime films played.
Anime FX librarian Jimmy Mai gets licensing permission to show the flicks to the public for free and the popularity of the club keeps growing every year. The club started in 1995 to not only entertain students, but to help students learn and be enlightened with what Japanese animation has to offer, said Mai.
Lita Cho, a freshman majoring in Japanese, first saw Japanese animation in the 5th grade. It was the distinct cartoon style that captured her interest.
"I remember watching 'Sailor Moon' and not realizing it was anime, but it caught my eye and I’ve loved it ever since," she said. "It was so different the way characters were drawn with the big eyes and pretty feminine bodies."
Brad Uyeda, a senior majoring in animation, started noticing Japanese animation his freshman year in high school because of the intense graphics. He likes the attention to detail and the realism of the graphics. He also thinks American animation is over-simplified.
A few of Uyeda’s favorite anime films are "Samurai X," "Ninja Scroll" and "Ghost in the Shell." He has a theory on why the craze is catching on in the States.
"People are getting used to seeing it now in our culture and they like it because it’s not Disney," said Uyeda. "It’s everything we go to the movies to watch. Live action and emotions are captured in this type of animation, and I think people are attracted to that. There are no limits."
Uyeda goes to Japantown for anime and Japanese comic books, known as “manga.” Another place students like Uyeda and senior Jason Mitchell, an art major with an emphasis in animation, go for their anime fix is online. Imports can be bought from websites like Amazon.com.
Mitchell remembers seeing "Sailor Moon" on UPN as a kid. He liked the colors and use of shadows, but said it was the content that kept him interested.
"There’s a lot more censorship restrictions in the United States," said Mitchell. "A lot of stories get neutered because they feel like the public won’t respond very well, while if I’m getting something that’s imported it comes from another culture and there aren’t the same censorship issues."
Mitchell thinks there is more freedom in Japan to develop stories that appeal to adults, and he also thinks Japanese animation is getting even more coverage in the press.
"It’s interesting to see things like 'Ghost in the Shell 2' in the theater," said Mitchell. "When 'Ghost in the Shell' came out in '95 it was dubbed and had a limited release in the States starting on the East Coast and gradually worked it’s way here. Nine years later the sequel has a national release with it playing in more than one theater in the Bay Area."
That’s nice to see, he said, especially for people like him who love it and want to see it on the big screen.
Adult themes mixed with stylish animation resonate with students. But unlike popular American animation, the lessons learned may be different.
"Anime taught me about different perspectives; bad isn’t necessarily bad and good isn’t always good," said Cho, who thinks American cartoons are too predictable.
In anime, she said, the plots are more complex and the line between bad and good is often blurred. "The stories are more complicated," she said. "Just like real life."
Every year since 1987, National Coming Out Day provides an opportunity for LGBT individuals and their allies to come together and show support for those who have, or are about to, come out of the closest.
Students marked the occasion Monday with a celebration sponsored by the SF State Queer Alliance. Several dozen celebrants convened in Rigoberta Menchu Hall, where they listened to live music, snacked on cookies and carrot sticks, and managed to seat more people on the small couches than was ever intended.
Participants also got a chance to swap their own coming out stories as organizers passed around a microphone to anyone willing to share.
Courtney Hosmon, events coordinator for the Queer Alliance, shared a humorous story about how she was pleasantly surprised by her motherï¿½s positive reaction to her coming out.
ï¿½I was like, did you know I was gay,ï¿½ Hosmon said. ï¿½We kinda figured it out, we were just waiting for you to come out to us,ï¿½ she said her mother responded.
ï¿½And then she said, ï¿½OK, well, Iï¿½ll let your grandparents know, and your uncle, and your dad will send an e-mail to the other side of the family,ï¿½ so pretty much my whole family knows,ï¿½ she said.
ï¿½Now itï¿½s great. My coming out story rocks. My dad and my mom are my biggest supporters. My dad bought a queer ally shirt, he wears it, he jumps on stage and dances with tranny boys,ï¿½ Hosmon said.
The stories ranged from the bittersweet to the funny, but almost all were hopeful. One speaker described the falling out with his father over the disclosure of his sexuality, only to find out later that his father had started keeping gay resource pamphlets in his conservative Fillmore barbershop.
Another speaker described the gastronomic dangers of coming out to a friend while simultaneously wolfing down Thai food.
People spoke of how glad they were to be there.
ï¿½Itï¿½s really important to recognize parts of our identity and be proud of who we are,ï¿½ said Allison Sharplin, social coordinator for the Queer Alliance. ï¿½Whether youï¿½re coming out today as gay, or as a knitter...or just as someone who really likes Bette Davis movies. Itï¿½s a really important day.ï¿½
The event drew many supporters and friends.
ï¿½Iï¿½m here as a queer ally, in support of LGBT people and family members, and friends and family of those who are a part of LGBT community,ï¿½ said SF State senior Tiffany Banks. ï¿½Weï¿½re just sitting here, having a good time, having a celebration, and enjoying each otherï¿½s company.ï¿½
ï¿½[Events like this] are important so that people donï¿½t feel that theyï¿½re alone, and [so that] they have an outlet to express themselves,ï¿½ she said.
Presidential candidate Ralph Nader and his vice presidential running mate, Peter Camejo,Speaking spoke to an audience of over 700 people in a packed McKenna Theater at SF State on Monday, Oct. 11.
Nader and his running mate used SF State’s cheering students as a forum to outline their reasons for running in one of the most hotly competitive national elections in decades.
“This is not going to be a touchy-feely situation,” said Nader as he began his talk. One unidentified man then quickly shouted, “You’re number one!” as Nader took the stage.
For the next 45 minutes, Nader spoke about his campaign and discussed why he’s running against Democratic candidate John Kerry, who many feel has a much better chance of winning the Nov. election.
Nader kept to his main theme of corporate control and power in the political process, where Nader sees a combination of money and economics that twists the priorities of both Democrats and Republicans.
He blasted both Bush and Kerry, asking pointed questions about both candidates’ membership in the secret Skull and Bones society at Yale University.
“One is Skull, the other is Bones,” said Nader, referring to the two top presidential candidates.
Nader also talked about circular alliances between military contractors and the government. He described a situation where he said American companies create new weapons systems, sell them to the US, then sell them to foreign nations so they can go back to the Pentagon and ask for more money to build new weapons systems to defend against the last generation of weapons systems.
“[But] back at home, there’s not enough money for schools,” Nader said.
Nader soon turned the talk towards the occupation in Iraq, and told the audience that he had a plan to withdraw US troops within six months, which brought cheers from many listeners.
“You don’t think the Iraqis know why we’re there?” said Nader, describing the connection between oil and the U.S. occupation Iraq.
Later, when Nader asked the crowd how many put in 50 hours a year investigating their own political representatives, only one man raised his hand. When Nader asked how many put that much time into watching sports, many more raised hands appeared.
“Corporations are entertaining us into silliness,” Nader said. “We pay, we pay and they’re laughing at us.”
Discussing his plan to deal with drug addiction, Nader asked marijuana smokers in the audience for a show of hands. About a quarter of the crowd rasied their hands and Nader responded that pot wasn’t a problem, but the current administration’s approach to drug addiction might be.
“It’s not working, it’s filling our prisons,” Nader.
Nader’s running mate, Peter Camejo, also gave a brief speech before Nader addressed the audience.
At times humorous and then serious, Camejo asked about why Kerry seemed to inexplicably praise Bush on occasion. He wanted to know why the Bush administration picked Iyad Allawi, who Camejo said had former ties to terror, as the interim leader of Iraq.
“We now have a terrorist as a prime minister [in Iraq],” Camejo said.
Students had a generally positive reaction to Camejo's speech.
“Camejo was definitely the charismatic speaker,” said journalism student and Republican Layne Karafantis.
“I think it’s great that the people who vote for Nader have such strong moral convictions that they will not sell their soul and vote for Kerry, as Camejo charmingly remarked," Karafantis said.
"Finally, I think it’s great that Bush will be re-elected.”
Before the speech, several students waiting in line at the door to the McKenna Theater said they had doubts about whom they would vote for in the Nov. 2 election.
“I’m pretty sure who I’m going to vote for, but I’d just like to see what he [Nader] has to offer,” said student Alissa Lamb.
Socialist Francisco Reyes also said he wanted to hear Nader’s views.
“I’m not going to vote for Bush, Kerry or Nader,” said Reyes. “I just want to hear him [Nader] out.”
Democrats too were interested in hearing Nader’s speech
“I’m curious to see what Ralph Nader has to say about his campaign for the presidency, and about him siphoning votes away from John Kerry in a very important election,” said Democrat Rebecca Farmer, showing her Kerry for President button on her bag.
In the last few minutes of Nader’s speech, Lyndon LaRouche supporter Ben Dennison, heckled Nader and suggested that the campaign is financed by Republicans.
“The Bush administration poses a much greater threat,” said Dennison. “If Nader really wanted to affect change, he’d do it in the Democratic party.”
Todd Chretien, a recent SF State graduate and the California coordinator for Nader’s campaign, said he helped arrange Nader’s talk at SF State, due in large part to the reception Nader received in 2000, when he last visited SF State, and the campus group Students for Nader.
“He knows there’s a long tradition of students at SF State supporting third-party candidates,” Chretien said.
When Nader left the stage and began signing copies of his book, Green Party member Allison Haagensen said that she liked Nader’s speech.
“I don’t think he’s going to win, but I think he inspires people.”
On a warm sunny Monday afternoon a number of Native American dancers wearing their native dress could be seen dancing and chanting as a drummer beat on his drum. At one-point, children who were either from the crowd or who had parents dancing joined in to form a huge circle around the drummer.
Sponsored by the SF State Family Resource Center this event was organized as a Stay In School Day for SF State parents who are trying to manage their family life along with taking their classes. It showcased dances by the Grupo Xiuhcoatl tribe who were protesting Columbus day, a day they say honors a man who helped start the horrendous killing of indigenous people. After the Native performers were done performing, the Native band called Crave took the stage for their set.
Christina Badasow, a 41-year-old nursing student who helped organize the event for the Resource Center said that they decided to showcase Native dancers because they wanted to attract different ethnicities to their center. Badasow said that the Native American performers don’t consider their performance as a dance but as a way of offering prayer to the earth and for the different students who are parents. According to Badasow, the meaning of the performers going into a circle was that they wanted to represent the Earth as a global community.
“We wanted to inform the different students who are parents that they can get help, since these students not only have to face looming deadlines and budget cuts but they have to deal with work and their family life too," said Badasow.
“The Center has a computer lab, a child family room that has different activities to help keep the children content while their parents go to their classes, write papers or study for their exams.”
This day was also Bring Your Child to School Day so that’s why a lot of dancers, who happen to be SF State students brought their children along. There were different tables set around the outside of the Malcolm X Plaza where students could get information about financial aid, the SF State program Jumpstart and aid for low income families.
“Many people would be surprise to hear that we have lot of students that are on welfare -including myself – but that doesn’t mean that we don’t work, it just means we need a little extra help to get by as we try to get our degree,” said Badasow.
“Another fact that would surprise people is the number of students that are temporarly homeless meaning that they go from house to house or live in their car as they try to get their feet back on their ground. We help them fill out financial aid forms along with welfare forms so that they can go to this school to improve their lives”.
The Family Resource Center is located in HSS 120 across from the café. Their number is (415) 405-0410.
When registering for his fall 2004 classes, senior music major Daniel Jalkut noticed his registration time was significantly later than other students.
He was completely unaware of what was holding him back: the Junior English Proficiency Test, otherwise known as the JEPET.
Because Jalkut was a senior and had not completed the JEPET, he lost his priority registration time. On Sept. 18 Jalkut took the exam, but only because a friend was already taking it. He was unaware that the exam was the reason for his late registration time.
“I was not well informed and I think I was more informed than a lot of people,” Jalkut said. “I actually talked to people after I took the exam who didn’t even know it existed.”
According to Joan Starkovich, JEPET faculty support coordinator, the rule has always been that students must complete the JEPET after finishing English 114, 214 and before completing 80 units of classes. In the past this rule was never enforced, but penalties started being implemented this semester.
Starting in fall 2004, students who have completed more than 100 units and have not taken the JEPET will lose priority registration. In spring 2005, students with more than 90 units will lose priority and in fall 2005 the penalty will come into full enforcement, with students who have taken more than 80 units without passing the exam losing priority.
Starkovich also dispelled one myth that an academic hold could be placed on a student who has not completed the JEPET. The only penalty a student faces is loss of priority registration for not completing the JEPET. No academic hold will be enforced.
A second myth of the JEPET is that a mandatory number of people fail the exam. This is untrue, said Starkovich. JEPET exams are read by two SF State faculty members and graded on a scale of one to four; one being “inadequate” and four being “superior.” If there is a difference of opinion on a test’s score, the exam is read by a third faculty member. A student must score a three or better to pass.
To earn a score of three or four on the exam, the student must exhibit the ability to create and develop a solid thesis that is both logical and coherent in the context of the test question. Examiners also watch for mechanical errors as well as clear and direct style.
An example test provided on the JEPET Web site talks about the residents of Bay City, who have to decide whether to build a new stadium for their football team. The writer is provided with a list of facts to use to support an argument either for or against the new stadium.
Another issue surrounding the JEPET is the cost. On Sept. 18 the test cost was officially increased from $20 to $40. According to Testing Center director Jerry Carrig, 1,343 students took the exam on Sept. 18, generating more than $53,000 for SF State. The JEPET will be given five times this academic year.
Carrig said that these fees went to costs such as supplies, mailings and the faculty that administer and grade the exams. He said it also pays for counseling sessions that are provided to educate students who did not pass the JEPET about why they failed.
Carrig also stated that for the fall 2004/spring 2005 academic year, the SF State Testing Center was forced to reduce its budget by 70 percent, and any overage of money from the exam would go towards compensating for that loss. Carrig refused to detail exactly how the money was used, how much overage was generated and where that extra income went.
“The cost issue is kind of interesting,” said Jalkut. “It’s not like an SAT where it’s paying people lots of money to design questions. To be honest it seemed it was a poorly constructed question…I didn’t feel like it was written particularly well.”
The definition of the JEPET provided by the University is an essay examination where “students are given one and a half hours in which to construct a well-organized and developed expository essay on a given topic of general interest.”
The exam is part of a CSU system-wide requirement called the Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR). According to Starkovich, GWAR was, “designed to make sure all students could handle upper division writing before they take the bulk of their upper division coursework.”
CSU schools have the option of offering a proficiency exam like JEPET or forcing students to take an upper-division English course such as ENGLISH 414. Starkovich said that in the 1970s SF State did not have the JEPET and required all students to take English 414, but that the cost became prohibitively expensive.
College students will do almost anything for free money. Last week in SF State’s Malcolm X plaza, the challenge was to eat a can of plain unheated spam with hands behind their backs. The fastest eater walked away with $100 in cash from event sponsor Pilipino American Collegiate Endeavor (PACE).
“I thought I was going to choke at first,” said senior John Orille, 21, SF State kinesiology major. Orille, who ate his can of spam in nine bites, won the contest and received the $100 prize.
Although 12 people signed up to participate, 10 were able to compete. The remaining two were disqualified; one because he took a bite before the contest and wanted to add rice to his spam.
The processed pork eating contest helped to promote PACE’s next event on Saturday, October 9, also known as SPAM -- an acronym for Showcasing Pilipino Artists and Musicians.
In its eighth year, the showcase provides a place for talented Pilipino artists and musicians to perform.
“We provide the venue and the crowd,” said Roeul Custodio, 21, PACE Activities Coordinator.
The opportunity for exposure is a key reason for artist and musician showcase. After appearing in SPAM, performers have been recruited to perform at other events, according to Custodio.
It is PACE’s biggest event for the fall semester, according to Zoila Navales, Public Relations Coordinator for the club.
The artists and musicians of SPAM perform Saturday, October 9 at 5 p.m. in Jack Adams Hall. The admission price for this family event is $10 at the door; $8 presale.
Candidates vying for a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors appeared at a candidate forum in Jack Adams Hall on Friday to discuss election issues like pedestrian and public safety and diversity in schools.
About 275 SF State students listened to eight out of 13 candidates share their credentials and goals for District 7, which includes SF State, the Inner Sunset and West Portal. A ninth candidate, Isaac Wang, sent a written apology for not being able to attend.
Eighteen students asked the candidates questions about traffic on 19th Avenue, pedestrian safety and car thefts and vandalism around campus. Several candidates debated the San Francisco Unified School District’s controversial diversity index and the Head Start program’s efforts to unionize.
“It’s our one and only chance as students to put them in check,” Jessica Whittle, an international business freshman said. “Under normal circumstances they tell us what they’re going to do and then don’t do it. This is our chance to tell them what we want them to do.”
Sociology freshman Krissi Bettencourt asked the candidates how they plan to enrich her college experience. She told them increased fees forced her to work more and spend less time on campus and studying. Candidate Milton O’Brien interrupted Bettencourt.
“Young lady, that’s up to you,” said O’Brien, a chiropractor who ran for the office four years ago. “It is not our job to make sure that you have an enriched life. You need to go out and make your own experiences.”
Many of the students in the auditorium whispered and shook their heads at the response. It led Bettencourt to change her mind about who’s getting her vote.
“I was seriously leaning towards voting for him because he seemed like he had a good sense of humor -- and a little spunky,” Bettencourt said after the forum. “I can’t believe he just attacked me like that, in front of a room full of students. Now I’m voting for Shawn Reifsteck.”
[X]Press interviewed nine of the candidates about the election and issues in the district of almost 43,000 registered voters. Four other candidates were unable to be reached in time for this article.
Many of the candidates are running on quality of life issues and all of them offered suggestions for dealing with pedestrian safety along 19th Avenue, where six pedestrians have died since 2001. The high number of people and automobiles driving between U.S. Highway 101, California State Route 1 and Interstate 280 make for a dangerous stretch of road, prompting complaints from local residents and legislators.
Some candidates suggested relatively minor changes to the six-lane roadway including more visibility strips, speed bumps and pedestrian countdown lights. Several proposed reducing the speed limit or increasing fines for speeding. Others have ideas for larger projects such as circular intersections in key areas or pedestrian overpasses and tunnels.
But 19th Avenue is also a state highway, which means whoever is elected on Nov. 2 will have to work with the California Department of Transportation for approval on any changes to the roadway. As a result, some candidates are seeking more local control of the road.
“Even though it’s state controlled, we have the opportunity to have local authority over it, like Van Ness Avenue, which is [a highway and] has exemptions to manage the traffic there from a local jurisdiction,” Shawn Reifsteck told the [X]Press.
Reifsteck is an executive for charitable and nonprofit organizations who worked on the Howard Dean campaign during the presidential primaries and decided to run for office himself while driving home from Iowa after Dean’s defeat.
O’Brien said he’s concerned that a tunnel or overhead passage would be more dangerous.
“If you’re a 65-year-old man or woman, after dark, who are you going to run into down there [in a tunnel]?” O’Brien said.
O’Brien believes laser or infrared lights across an intersection at the level of car’s windshield would caution drivers that pedestrians have the right of way.
Christine Linnenbach, a former public defense attorney, said the traffic coming from commuters driving between Marin and San Mateo counties is a problem. She would like to meet with city, county and state officials to find an affordable solution.
“I’m really being very honest about these issues because finding the money for
these great promises is going to be very difficult,” Linnenbach said.
At the candidate forum on Friday, incumbent Sean Elsbernd told students funding has already been secured. Now a decision has to be made about whether to create a pedestrian tunnel, overhead bridge walkway or increased visibility for crosswalks.
“Maybe we’re at the point where we have to consider radical changes to 19th Avenue,” Elsbernd told the [X]Press.
Mayor Gavin Newsom appointed Elsbernd to the Board of Supervisors on August 5. Then supervisor Tony Hall resigned to head the Treasure Island Development Authority, paving the way for Elsbernd’s appointment. Since then Elsbernd has been balancing his new duties as supervisor with the challenges of launching his first political campaign in a crowded field of 13 candidates with less than one month until Election Day.
“I was thrown into the deep end of the pool,” Elsbernd said. “There’s no question about it.”
[X]Press Staff Writer YaVaughnie Wilkins contributed to this article. Please note this is the first article in a two part series.
For More Information On The Candidates:
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution last week urging President Robert Corrigan to continue SF State’s Russian program.
Supervisor Jake McGoldrick, who co-sponsored the resolution with Supervisor Bevan Dufty, initially introduced the resolution during the Sept. 28 board meeting. The adoption was then passed by a unanimous vote on behalf of the Board on Oct. 5.
“I can’t remember the Board ever taking such a strong stand for an academic teaching institute, as in the case of the Russian program,” McGoldrick said. “SF State has an obligation to provide for both the Russian as well as non-Russian communities of San Francisco and to provide tools that will enable its students to be culturally literate.”
McGoldrick said that he “remembers back in April when (the Russian program) was initially slated for discontinuance. Siskron (Russian Program Director) sat across from me in my office, begging me to do something about the possible elimination of the program.”
The resolution drafted by McGoldrick and Dufty recognized San Francisco’s 80,000-strong Russian-speaking population as the chief reason why SF State should hang on to the program. It also mentions the Russian program being “recognized as a leader in the California State University System.”
McGoldrick also said the fast-growing Russian population in San Francisco and demands on educational, medical and social services for the Russian community are phenomenal.
“Our Russian community contributes everything from arts and music to different foods. There is a critical mass of Russian culture here,” McGoldrick said.
Supervisor Dufty, who is noted for hiring the first Russian-speaking
Neighborhood Services liaison at San Francisco City Hall, said that he co-sponsored the resolution for many reasons. One reason being that he studied Russian as a child.
“I am hopeful that the state economy will rise from the deficit that it is in,” Dufty said.
Midori McKeon, chair of SF State’s foreign language department said that “academically, the discontinuance (of the Russian degree program) would directly contradict the stated mission of SF State to promote respect for and appreciation of the human diversity and the cultural mosaic of the city of San Francisco and the Bay Area.”
McKeon said that with the help of both the foreign language department and the Russian department, the university was able to work with local community leaders such as government officials of San Francisco, legislatures in
Sacramento and several academic associations like the CSU Foreign Language Council, to reach out to the world community through the Russian program’s website.
Katerina Siskron, Russian program director, said, “The Russian language is the gateweay to all other Slavic languages. If you are fluent in Russian, it can take as little as one year to learn any other Slavic language.”
Leon Igudesman is just one of many San Francisco residents who are in support of the Board of Supervisor’s resolution.
Igudesman migrated from Russia to San Francisco 25 years ago. He and his wife Elizabeth have contributed greatly to both the Russian and non-Russian communities of San Francisco. Igudesman plays violin for the San Francisco Opera while his wife works for a real estate agency in San Francisco.
“(It’s) only logical for (SF State) to keep the Russian degree program,” Igudesman said. “It is important to emphasize that we have a very active Russian community here in San Francisco. Russians who move here from Russia tend to contribute to the community right away.”
The Richmond district and the area on Geary, between 18th and 25th Avenues hosts a large Russian population both by way of residents and businesses.
“Most Russians who move here come to work, either to start their own business or work in technical or financial fields,” Igudesman said. “And many of us choose to move to San Francisco specifically because of the natural beauty of the city as well as its reputation for an all inclusive attitude. The nice climate also helps.”
The resolution to continue the Russian program will be forwarded to Corrigan, Mayor Gavin Newsom, Governor Schwarzenegger, state senators and trustees of the State University Center.
Dr. Albrida Rose, a professor of dance, announced Monday Oct. 4, that she and three of her student teachers will be presenting at the 6th Annual National Dance Education Organization Conference at Michigan State University.
For first time SF State faculty and students will be attending this national conference and will show case their project and methodology in front of a panel of peers and professionals titled, “It Does Take a Village to Raise A Child,” a collaborate project between her dance students and community children.
“This project benefits the children, future teachers, community, and SF State,” said Dr. Rose.
The conference is sponsored by the National Dance Education Organization a Non-profit organization that promotes excellence in dance education and instruction. They service a large area of dance teachers and educators as well, private dance studios.
The conference theme is Merging Worlds: Dance, Education, Society and Politics. Both will share the outcome and methodology of their project will be shared by SF State students who have been involved in the program one or three years.
They will give an in-depth summary of their experiences with the children, parents, and directors, and supervisors of each site in the “Village.” Each site is facilitated by student teachers in Master programs along with SF State dance and production students. Dr. Rose oversees all three sites.
“This is a partnership between youth and students,” said Dr. Rose, “It is to enhance learning and knowing,” she said.
Graduate student Natalie Freitas, is a student teacher who will discuss her experience at 50 Raymond, one of the sites at the “Village.”
“The children were excited to move and dance,” said Freitas, who will discuss how she has interacted with the children and applied the methods of socialization.
There are 40 children in her dance class who are very active who are a challenge to somewhat shy who look at the floor when they speak..
She explains how she starts and ends each class with the children in a circle, which she calls her community exercise. Many of the children remember her from last year and feel comfortable around her.
“Since I grew up in the suburbs this is a unique opportunity for me,” said Freitas, “It’s a different experience I appreciate,” she said.
Samantha Luster, who was not presented at the meeting, however, Dr. Rose gave a brief of what she will present. Luster is also a student teacher who works with the children at Holy Angeles, a private school in San Francisco.
“Samantha works under challenging conditions,” said Dr. Rose.
The children at Holy Angeles do not have an indoor facility to practice their dance lesson; they practice outside in the yard on the asphalt. When it rains they must practice in one of the small classrooms inside.
Katrina Morin, is another student teacher who works with the children at John McLearn school who was assigned the responsibility of writing and documenting the discussion and presentation which will run in the Journal of Dance Education (JODE).
Those attending the conference are Dr. Abrida Rose, and student teachers, Natalie Freitas, Katrina Morin, and Samantha Luster. The conference will take place at Michigan State University October 20 – 24, 2004. Dr. Rose and her students will present on Friday, October 22, from 2:30 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.
A coalition of scientists, researchers, and educators—including a professor at SF State—are taking part in an ambitious project to help learn more about, and understand better, the ocean current systems off of the California coastline.
The Coastal Ocean Current Monitoring Program (COCMP) aims to study, track and predict the movement of water atop the surface of the ocean that flows near the shoreline, and has a direct impact on the coastal environment.
While the primary goal of the project is provide real time monitoring and reporting of ocean surface currents, according to SF State professor Toby Garfield, it will also improve surf and wave forecasting along the coast, expand the collection of meteorological data, improve wind models, and improve models of coastal ocean circulation.
Garfield, in addition to teaching oceanography courses at SF State and working at the Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies, is the lead principal investigator for the Northern California portion of the COCMP.
“We’ll provide hourly estimates of the surface circulation, and within a very short amount of time, we’ll have them available on the web,” Garfield said.
There are nearly 20 universities and groups working on the project.
Real world applications for the information that the project will gather, in addition to the basic scientific knowledge that will be gained, include providing information that the Coast Guard can use for search and rescue operations, and agencies responding to oil spills or sewage leaks can use to help them plan better for containment strategies.
Jeff Paduan of the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, and co-lead investigator for the Northern California portion of COCMP, envisions a time when real-time data can be combined with archived information to create models and a basis for better predictions for all kinds of possible situations.
“Generally there are these two categories [of uses]—one is immediately responding, having the best sort of weather forecast for what’s happening out there, so you know which direction to sort of head things off, and the other is in the statistical sense, what are the strengths of the currents and the directions and how are they changing,” Paduan said.
“If you can get within an hour or two a map of what the currents are doing, one thing we hope to do is to add a simple 24-hour projection capability as well onto this real time data—so that you get today’s currents and then a map that changes sort of into a forecast, and that’s the kind of thing that spill responders and search and rescue we hope will begin to rely on more.”
The actual monitoring itself will mainly be done using a technology called High Frequency Radar—a low wattage radio signal projected onto the oceans’ waves from strategically placed antennas long the coastline.
“[The antennas] send out a certain wavelength, and through the physics of what’s going on, that energy gets reflected off the surface of the ocean back to those antennas,” said Garfield.
“The best analogy is the Doppler Effect of a train—you know when a train is coming towards you, the whistle pitch is fairly high, and as it goes away the pitch goes down—it’s basically using a combination of the Doppler Effect and what we call Bragg Scatter, which is how sonar works, and how radar works. The principals are pretty similar, but this is using radio waves instead.”
A few other isolated water-based instruments will be used for the project as well, to compliment the HF Radar data in the creation of models for the surface currents, and by way of inference, deduce what is happening in the deeper part of the water column.
Measurements will also be taken to study the area closest to the shoreline (also known as the surf zone) and how currents affect it, by analyzing wave direction data taken from off shore buoys, according to Ed Thornton, a COCMP participant also from the Naval Postgraduate School.
“The current and sediment transport calculations will give information on dispersion of contaminants, run-off and discharge from land, and information on erosion processes,” said Thornton.
Initial funding for the project, which amounts to $21 million, is coming from the California Clean Water, Clean Air, Safe Neighborhood Parks, and Coastal Protection Act of 2002, and the Water Security, Clean Drinking Water, Coastal and Beach Protection Act of 2002—two propositions (40 and 50) passed by California voters in 2002.
The project participants are finalizing their work statement with the Coastal Conservancy, the state agency that is managing the COCMP.
The next step for Garfield and his co-workers will be to start the process of picking antenna sites and acquiring the necessary permits to begin the actual building of the infrastructure, which he hopes will be up and running in four years.
“There is a lot of effort at the national level on ocean observing going on,” Garfield said. “A congressionally mandated report called the ‘Oceans Report’ is coming out, and the Pew Oceans Commission, [along with] the National Academy of Sciences all published reports recently saying ‘Hey, we’ve got to start focusing on the ocean.’ So the fact that the state is taking this initiative is really exciting, and puts us in a great spot nationally.”
Already struggling with feelings of pain and loss due to the deaths of two students and a faculty member, SF State journalism students fell silent once again Monday morning at the news of a third tragedy.
Shawn Kelley, 22, a senior journalism major and staff writer for [X]Press Magazine, died early Saturday morning.
Kelley was a graduate of Milpitas High School and a transfer student from De Anza Community College.
The announcement was received by a clearly shell-shocked group of student writers and photographers who, in the last six months, had already endured the loss of recent alumnus Adam Brodsky, student Stacey Doukas and Professor Torri Minton. The death of another student clearly weighed heavily on many in the room.
A visibly emotional [X]Press Magazine Managing Editor Michelle Griesgraber struggled Monday to deliver the bad news to fellow [X]Press staff members and left in tears after making the initial announcement. Those in the room were rendered speechless. One of Kelley’s friends began slowly shaking his head as he stared blankly at the ground. He then raised his hand.
“We were supposed to go to a baseball game last Wednesday but I couldn’t make it,” said SF State senior, Kota Morikawa. "He looked so healthy the last time I saw him."
Shawn Patrick Kelley was born February 4, 1982 and attended Milpitas High School where he played forward for the Trojans soccer team. His father is a baseball coach in Milpitas and coached Shawn, who was a big Oakland A’s fan, up until high school.
“Family and friends were the most important thing for him,” said Morikawa.
After graduating, Kelley stayed close to home attending De Anza Community College where he earned an associated degree and wrote two articles for the student paper. The first article was an opinion piece focusing on the vast ethnic and cultural diversity of the student body at De Anza, and how much Kelley appreciated the experience of learning from them. The article seems like a fitting representation of a number of common themes in his life, including kindness, courtesy and hard work.
“Everything about him was so genuine,” said Michelle Griesgraber, the co-managing editor for the [X]Press Magazine. “When he would raise his hand I would literally scoot forward in my seat and cut anyone off who was talking… because it was probably the most profound thing that was said in the last hour.”
Griesgraber said that when she needed a top-notch writer, she always knew where to turn.
“Shawn was our rock star,” said Griesgraber. “ He gave it all for the guts and glory in a story.”
Griesgraber and co-managing editor Katy Anderson worked with Kelley late into the night last Friday revising what would be his last story- a profile of Sacramento Rivercat minor league baseball star Dan Johnson and his dreams of making the major leagues.
“He spent so much time and effort on that story and wanted it to be perfect,” Griesgraber said.
Yvonne Daley, [X]Press Magazine’s senior advisor and associate professor of journalism, said Kelley fought hard to maintain the continuity of his original story after Johnson was recently called up to Oakland Athletics.
“It was typical Shawn,” said Daley. “He was being very polite and considerate but defending every word of his story. It was his baby, so he was protective of it.”
Being a huge sports fan and consummate professional, Daley said Kelley, “was like a kid in a candy store,” when covering the Rivercat player.
Sara Wolfram was the photographer paired with Kelley for the baseball article. She said that Kelley was initially a bit star-struck by the Rivercat team, but quickly adjusted.
“He was standing frozen by the dugout, in this nice black dress shirt he wore because he really wanted to make a good impression,” Wolfram said. “He eventually loosened up and mentioned at the end how much of a thrill it was.”
Reacting to the news of his death, Wolfram echoed feelings of shock and sadness felt throughout the journalism department. Emotions that have become eerily familiar this semester.
“He had goals, dreams and things he wanted to work out in his head,” said Wolfram. “It just doesn’t make sense.”
Michael Chu met Kelley and Morikawa (Kota) in a reporting class taught by Torri Minton last fall. Minton died this summer of cancer and Chu recalled how all three students were shaken by the news of her death.
“Me, Kota and Shawn were all shocked when we talked the first day of fall class about Torri,” Chu said. “Now it’s just me and Kota talking about Shawn.”
Almost uniformly remembered as a polite, intelligent and unshakably positive spirit, Kelley will not soon be forgotten.
“I never once heard him say a negative thing,” said Chu. “He was hands down the nicest guy I have ever met in my life.”
As of Monday, the cause of death has still not been released. Services for Kelley will be private and his family has set up a Web blog to give mourners a forum to tell stories, gives thanks and express their sorrow over the loss of the dynamic student. Also, staff from SF State’s Counseling and Psychological Services department made another appearance with the journalism department this Wednesday to discuss issues of stress and grieving. Their services are free for all students, as part of the cost of tuition.
The predetermined theme for the upcoming edition of [X]Press Magazine will be “hope” and “despair” and will memorialize and include Kelley’s final article.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution this Tuesday, Oct. 5, to urge SF State President Robert Corrigan to continue the Russian degree program.
The resolution recognized San Francisco’s large Russian- speaking population (more than 10 percent), as the chief reason for why SF State should hang on to its Russian program. It also makes mention of the Russian program being “recognized as a leader in the California State University System.”
“I can’t remember the Board ever taking such a strong stand for an academic teaching institute,” said Supervisor Jake McGoldrick. “San Francisco State has an obligation to provide for both the Russian as well as non-Russian communities of San Francisco,” he said.
McGoldrick, who co-sponsored the resolution with Supervisor Bevan Dufty, initially introduced the resolution during last week’s board meeting. The adoption was then passed by a unanimous vote on behalf of the board one week later.
“Russian contributions (to San Francisco) are significant,” said McGoldrick. “Our Russian community contributes everything from arts and music to different foods. There is a critical mass of Russian culture, here,” he said
McGoldrick also said that with a growing Russian population such as it is in San Francisco, demands on educational, medical and social services for the Russian community are phenomenal.
Dufty, who is noted for hiring in the first Russian-speaking Neighborhood Services liaison at San Francisco City Hall, said that he co –sponsored the resolution for many reasons. One paramount reason for co-sponsoring the resolution is that he studied Russian as a child.
“I am hopeful that the state economy will rise from the deficit that it is in,” said Dufty.
In addition to Corrigan, the resolution will also be forwarded to Gov. Schwarzenegger, as well as state senators and trustees of the State University Center.
Many faculty members in the College of Ethnic Studies are calling for the removal of Tomas Almaguer, dean of the college.
A letter dated Sept. 24 was signed by 18 senior faculty members of the college representing every department, except American Indian studies, and was sent to President Robert Corrigan and Provost John Gemello.
The letter obtained by [X]press represents most senior faculty of the college who collectively composed and signed the letter, said Marlon Hom, chair of the Asian American studies department. The letter represents a vote of no confidence by the signing faculty members, who make up about half of tenured faculty in the college.
“This letter says more than anything else the sentiments of the faculty of that college,” said Kim Geron, a California Faculty Association member and professor at CSU Hayward. Geron was an observer at the Sept. 28 SF State union meeting held to address the problems within the college.
The Sept. 24 letter was written in response to a report released over the summer by an independent consulting firm, Diversity Matters. Diversity Matters’ report addressed the tumultuous working environment of the college and recommended the dean be placed on leave while a formal investigation take place.
CFA, whose members include SF State staff and faculty, and the Office Faculty Affairs, responded to Diversity Matters’ report on Aug. 17, asking the university to formally review the dean but not place him on leave, as the Diversity Matters report did.
Some faculty members within the College of Ethnic Studies are dissatisfied with the decision.
“I believe the [Aug.17] letter was watered-down [and] that was relatively soft,” said Daniel Gonzales, an associate professor of Asian American studies, referring to the CFA and Faculty Affairs letter.
During the course of reporting for this story, several reporters attempted to gain interviews with faculty from each department of the college, most of whom declined to comment.
The Sept. 24 letter originating from the College of Ethnic Studies, stated “the undersigned senior faculty in the College of Ethnic Studies, unequivocally state that we have NO CONFIDENCE [in] Tomas Almaguer as the dean of [the] College of Ethnic Studies,” and continued, “[The undersigned faculty] unanimously endorse all the Diversity Matters recommendations and urge [Corrigan and Gemello] to implement them as soon as possible.”
The letter also asked for a meeting with the president and provost “in order that we may hear firsthand your vision and plan for the future of Ethnic Studies on this campus.”
On Sept. 28, a union meeting was held for the faculty of Ethnic Studies to discuss why CFA refrained from requesting that the dean be placed on leave.
The meeting was held for those who “objected strongly to the [Aug.17] letter and didn’t understand that the letter corresponded with almost every major recommendation in the Diversity Matters report,” said Jan Gregory, a CFA member and an SF State English lecturer.
“Some faculty have serious concerns about what they see as a serious disjunction between the two documents,” she added.
The meeting was attended by Mitch Turitz, the SF State CFA faculty union president; Nina Fendel, regional staff coordinator for CFA; Geron; Gregory; as well as various Ethnic Studies faculty.
Wednesday morning after the meeting, Almaguer called the [X]Press office saying a death threat was made against him during the meeting, which he did not attend, but was informed of by a colleague at the meeting. He declined to give the name of the person and comment about the incident.
The police are currently investigating the matter and the police report was not available when this story went to print.
“Somebody said words to the affect of the tension is still very thick and they are not happy with the way SF State is handling the situation,” Turitz said.
“They feel the pressure on the faculty is too much.”
Writing to the President Corrigan in an e-mail about the alleged death threat, Gregory, Turitz, Geron and two representatives from CFA, expressed their concern over what they called a “false allegation.” They wrote, “The frustration that the faculty focused on during the meeting was inaction” and that “this allegation further provides evidence that the climate in the college is not tolerable for anybody.”
Ellen Griffin, interim director of the Office of Public Affairs, said because there is “still no report from public safety about the alleged threat,” she could neither confirm nor deny the incident nor make a statement on behalf of the university.
“We think the ball is in the president’s court in this situation,” said Geron. “The president has to realize there is a crisis and when a leader cannot command respect of the faculty there is a problem.”
Political Science students will have the opportunity to participate in a study by the Public Research Institute on voter response to the new ranked-choice voting in the November election, said political science professor Francis Neely.
Neely and professor Corey Cook are the principal researchers on the study and will be asking for student volunteers in the political science department to collect data as exit pollers on Election Day, survey people who send in absentee ballots, while they also learn how research design in political science works, Neely said.
Ranked-choice voting, also called instant runoff voting, allows voters to rank the candidates on the ballot first, second and third. The votes are counted in rounds, and the candidate with the most votes and at least 50 percent of the overall vote would win automatically.
If no candidate received fifty percent of the vote, the second choice on the ballot is counted and added to the vote count of the top candidates, and the last place finisher is disqualified.
The process is repeated until the candidate with the most votes also receives 50 percent of the overall votes.
The study is “all but certain” to be approved by the Board of Supervisors and given a $15,000 budget, said Neely.
When the study receives final approval, outside funding will still be sought, he said.
“Even with volunteers it's hard to do a thorough study on that budget,” said Neely.
San Francisco has already spent $776,000 on educational pamphlets, advertisements and community meetings, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Concerns about ranked-choice voting include whether or not voters will understand the ballots and be able to mark them correctly, said Neely.
When the study is developed, exit poll questions will most likely ask voters who they voted for, whether they had problems understanding or filling out the ballots and how they liked the new voting system.
The study will help gauge the success or failure of ranked-choice voting among voters themselves.
Although it is more common in other countries, ranked-choice voting is not new to the United States. New York City, Ann Arbor and Cincinnati have all tried ranked-choice voting at various times. In San Francisco, only the Board of Supervisors will be on the ballot as ranked-choice, while the state and federal elections will not change.
San Francisco has several ranked-choice voting presentations scheduled in October all over San Francisco and an interactive demonstration available online, according to the Department of Elections website.
To get more information on ranked-choice voting and an interactive demonstration click here.
Chanting and angry voices filled the air yesterday outside the downtown San Francisco Macy’s building where the Cheesecake Factory restaurant encompasses the top floor.
Young students, activists and restaurant workers were gathered outside to demand that Cheesecake management speak with them. For over two years current and former Cheesecake workers have been trying to settle claims adding up to more than $1 million in back pay for illegally denying them breaks.
Young Workers United, a grassroots organization fighting for low-wage and unemployed workers in the service industry, joined the fight to increase the pressure on Cheesecake. Over 150 workers have filed claims with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (CDLSE) for all breaks missed.
“We filed this claim over a year ago and the Cheesecake has been dragging this issue on,” said former employee and SF State senior in computer science, Jason Lockwood.
Part of the demonstration included presenting Cheesecake management with a petition signed by over 80 employees demanding that the claims be paid. The organizers want the Cheesecake to adopt a code of conduct that management must follow pertaining to the treatment of their workers.
Supervisor Matt Gonzalez joined the protest and acted as arbitrator, trying to encourage open communication between the workers and management but Cheesecake management refused to comment and directed the workers to their corporate office.
“This is not a poor company, it’s successful,” said Gonzalez. “It’s important that we let them know that the public is taking notice and we want these claims settled.”
Members from other city organizations were also lending support during the demonstration.
Chris Jackson, an SF State urban studies senior and member of Youth Commission, a citywide organization working for youths rights, spoke at the demonstration rallying and organizing protesters.
“I’ve worked a lot of crap service jobs and I know what it’s like to be mistreated,” said Jackson. “We’re here to bring awareness about the poor working conditions at Cheesecake and other service sector jobs.”
SF State students Siaira Harris and Marsha Johnson were also at the protest lending support and demanding basic worker rights for Cheesecake employees.
“My claim is $6,700 for every break I wasn’t given in the three years I’ve been working at Cheesecake,” said current employee and SF State BECA senior, Nick Doheny. “At first we (employees) were trying to settle as a group, but they (Cheesecake) wanted to deal with every claim separately, which will take forever. But we’re going to keep the pressure on them until they settle.”
Patty Senecal, a former employee and City College student, filed a claim for $4,000 for rest and meal breaks that she never received and has yet to receive her back wages.
“It started small with just two claims and has grown to over 140 claims that haven’t been paid,” said Senecal. “But we’re going to get the community and media involved until they change their working environment and settle our claims.”
If you want to learn more about the Cheesecake Factory employee claims or Young Workers United, they are holding a meeting October 11 at 6 p.m. at 215 Golden Gate Avenue or you can check out their website Young Workers United
SF State creative writing major Kelly Gallagher says she knows both sides of the coin when it comes to relationships and sex.
On a typically busy day by the Cesar Chavez Student center, with other students walking, talking, and passing by her, the 20-year-old bisexual openly confides that she still hasn't experienced the explosive kind of sensation with a woman that she has with a man.
Then again, unlike many other sexually active women her age, Gallagher says she has something with which to compare.
“Oh, that was probably like two years ago that I had my first one,” says Gallagher. “I didn’t start learning until I had my first boyfriend when I was 18.”
Few topics these days are as complicated, controversial and forbidden as love and sex. And no part of sex is as shrouded in folklore, myth, and mystery as the pinnacle of male and female pleasure.
Orgasm is obviously a satisfying moment in the mating game, but significant physical and psychological differences between men and women often leave lovers short of hitting the big “O.”
For women, orgasm can be elusive or impossible to achieve. But sex experts now say that men, too, may not be tapping their true potential between the sheets.
“We tend to think that sex is natural, but it’s a learned behavior,” said SF State sex expert and psychologist Dr. Jeff LeRoux. “Maybe pelvic thrusting is built in, but the rest has to be learned. It seems to take longer for women to learn how to orgasm. It’s not a given for men either, although men usually have less trouble reaching orgasm than women do.”
Fellow SF State sex lecturer Ann Auleb agrees that women need to know more about their bodies and their minds if they hope to achieve that magical moment during sex.
Auleb said women could benefit from direct stimulation of the clitoris, which may offer what Auleb called a “blended orgasm,” a kind of sexual double-header that foreplay and penetration may provide but intercourse alone doesn’t.
“Women need a lot more time,” Auleb said. “Women are socialized to take care of everyone in the world. They may be more worried about their partner’s pleasure than their own.”
Mookey Goh is a 23-year-old SF State student and self-proclaimed “tranny boy.” Goh prefers to be called "ze" rather than a he or a she. Goh said ze knows a great deal about women and orgasm.
According to Goh, ze grew up in a family of 10 boys who loved watching porn movies. The first film she remembers seeing was “Snow White and the Seven Dildoes.” It gave her some odd ideas about sex and women, ze said.
“Girls with long fingernails and high heals, that’s how I thought it’d be,” Goh said. “Straight porn, that’s really bad. With what they do with the girls’ clit, it looks painful.”
Goh said ze now knows much more about pleasing women, but ze wishes her partners would stay interested beyond the five orgasms ze claims ze usually gives them.
Ze says ze helped one woman reach 12 orgasms, which may explain why Goh said ze’s witnessed on several occasions the very real but frequently misunderstood phenomenon of female ejaculation.
Visually, female ejaculation can look similar to urination, but research shows that the fluid is typically colorless, odorless and chemically distinct from urine.
“[Female ejaculation] kind of freaks me out. It’s like someone peed on me, but it enhances the sexual act for my partner,” Goh said.
According to LeRoux, female ejaculation is perhaps so shrouded in myth that many women never experience it. Even if they do, LeRoux said, it’s rare and it’s only one aspect of the wide variation in human sexual response.
“For most women, it’s not a big thing,” LeRoux said. “It’s kind of embarrassing. It’s not central to pleasure as it is for men. It’s not part of most people’s experience.”
For men’s climb to the heights of ecstasy, says Auleb, the goal shouldn’t be to rush toward orgasm but to learn techniques for control.
While women reach an orgasmic plateau and stay there, men must climb the mountain of pleasure after each orgasm.
Yoga can help men learn to extend their enjoyment and sexual practice, either by themselves or with a partner, and can lead them on the path towards multiple orgasms which men rarely experience, said Auleb.
Both Auleb and LeRoux suggest that sex education is a good starting point for enhancing orgasmic pleasure for each gender.
SF State students seem to agree. Auleb said she is teaching the basics of sexuality to 900 students this semester, some of the largest classes on campus.
Bisexual student Kelly Gallagher said she has learned a lot in the sex classes she’s taken at SF State.
“I’m not a human sexuality major, but it’s really tempting,” Gallagher said. “I’ve helped other women, but they haven’t helped me back yet.”
Public funds for sexual education can be hard to come by. So when the Ford Foundation announced plans to create and help fund four worldwide centers devoted to human sexuality, Dr. Gilbert Herdt decided to apply.
Now, armed with a $1 million grant from the Ford Foundation, Herdt heads SF State’s National Sexuality Research Center (NSRC). The center, which opened Feb. 20, 2003, is dedicated to being a public resource on human sexuality.
“We address sexual heath issues around the world,” said Herdt, the director of SF State’s human sexuality department.
The NSRC fulfills its mission in several ways. For one, it attracts students and educators from all over the world to its summer institute on sexuality, society, and health.
It also disseminates and publishes the latest research on sexuality on its Web site, and its two publications: a magazine, American Sexuality, and its academic journal, Sexuality Research & Social Policy.
“Sexuality is always treated as political football with cycles of panicked reactions in the United States,” Herdt said. “It’s very difficult to get funding in the United States. You can get government funding for research, but to provide general (human sexuality) education is very, very hard.”
The Ford Foundation, an independent organization created with funds from Henry and Edsel Ford, provides most of the funding for the NSRC.
According to Ford Foundation’s Web site, its mission to focus on sexuality and reproductive health depends on “efforts to build knowledge, develop policy and deepen public understanding of sexuality and its relationship to human fulfillment, culture, religion and identity.”
She and Herdt both said in separate interviews that the current political climate and emphasis on abstinence-only education makes getting government funding difficult.
“The current administration spends $270 billion on abstinence-only education,” she said. No research has conclusively shown that abstinence-only education works, Young said.
The NSRC provides accurate information based on evidence instead of politics and policy, she said.
Herdt said the NSRC will undertake two new initiatives soon. One initiative calls for the research center to work with community colleges to improve the quality of the sexual education they can provide to their students. The second is an assessment of how sexuality is being taught in medical schools.
“Medical students are trained on Viagra, but get no sexuality education,” said Herdt.