November 2004 Archives
A man in a long black duster coat stalks suavely across the floor, his weapon of choice in hand. He lifts his arm and fires into the crowd. No, it wasn’t Chow Yun-Fat starring in another Hong Kong heroic bloodshed classic. The weapon at hand was a plastic spray bottle, and it was just part of a “John Woo Thanksgiving” one of the sketches performed by 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors on Nov. 30.
The Asian-American San Francisco sketch comedy ensemble performed to an enthusiastic near-capacity crowd at Jack Adams Hall, part of an Asian Student Union benefit for the 2005 Asian-American Studies Graduation Celebration. The six member troupe performed “Hatest Grits,” a collection of favorite sketches that plays like a combination of theater, stand-up, and situation comedy.
“They never know where to list us in the paper—is it theater, or is it comedy? They just sort of put us in the middle, under exotic dancing,” said Michael Hornbuckle, a member of the troupe as well as an information technology consultant for the College of Ethnic Studies.
From the “Bruce Can Cook” show, to the travails of a Chinatown street gang trainee, to a display of conjoined twin synchronized gymnastics (the sport of the future), 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors defused myths and stereotypes abut the Asian-American community with their comedy.
“I think the very presence of Asian-Americans onstage being very goofy, and dropping our pants, and saying really nonsensical things explodes a lot of Asian myths right there,” Hornbuckle said. “I think a lot of Asians are seen as studious and dorky and geeky and stuff like that, but we prove them wrong by being wacky.”
For 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors, just being the stars of the show is an act of stereotype busting.
“We’re seemingly pushed to the margins in everything whether it’s movies, or plays, or television," said Greg Watanabe, another member of the troupe. “So it’s nice to have a troupe that’s entirely Asian-American where we cover all ranges. Not only the lead, but also the foil, and the dupe, and we can do all of those things and have a much broader range than the narrow presentation that you normally see.”
Watanabe says that at the end of the day, they are primarily actors and not activists. However, he said the troupe does feel an affinity for the effort of activists.
“As entertainers, as artists, we try to change perception," Watanabe said. “We try to communicate stories that are Asian-American, and bring out issues that are Asian-American, but we can’t actually reach out and grab people and make them change their minds. We can only try and win them over to the side of cultural understanding.”
He highlighted one of the sketches in particular, in which the all-male Chinese Women’s Swim Team does an infomercial for eye-widening and breast-enlargement surgery.
“It (deals with) a lot of issues about Asian-American identity and internalized racism…but it also has guys running around in bikinis, so we run the full spectrum,” he said.
Along with appearances in locales as far-flung as Hong Kong and Washington DC, the group makes frequent appearances at SF State.
“They’re pretty much the first Asian American comedy tour that’s out there,” said Eddie Lee, a member of the ASU. “It’s pretty unique. You rarely see that. We’re really supportive of them, because of the fact that they’re Asian Americans representing.”
The Academic Senate voted 26 – 21, with one senator abstaining, to recommend that SF State keep the BA in Russian during their November 30 meeting.
Katerina Siskron, director of the Russian program stated shortly after the Educational Policies Committee recommended to discontinue the bachelor's in Russian, that she had confidence in the Academic Senate’s ability to look beyond the numbers and at the Russian program comprehensively and academically. She attended Tuesday’s meeting with her “heart in palm.”
About 20 students from SF State and City College of San Francisco held up a white banner with red and blue lettering: “CCSF Students say: Please save the Russian Major.”
Their hopes were answered as supporters in the Senate spent much of their time discussing the quality of the degree -- not focusing solely on the number of students enrolled in it.
Humanities professor Saul Steier, who voted in favor of the Russian program, said, “constituency for the Russian program is getting larger and larger and larger… [The] market value shouldn’t determine what the university offers.”
SF State Foreign Language chair Midori McKeon, who opened the debate with a 10-minute speech discussing the benefits of the Russian bachelor's, said, “Our Russian program is a dynamic program that continues to offer innovative new courses even under the threat of discontinuance.” Despite the lack of tenured faculty, “Teacher evaluations are all within the range of excellent, including a perfect 1.0,” McKeon said.
Several, including Siskron and McKeon, argued that if the Russian program had been reduced to a minor, CCSF transfers would not have courses available to them that had been available prior to transferring to SF State.
SF State’s Russian program is the “crown jewel of Russian programs within the CSU system” according to Marjorie Gelus, chair of the Department of Foreign Language at Sacramento State University. In addition, SF State's Russian program has a much higher rapport than San Diego State University's -- the only other Russian bachelor in the California State University System.
Despite EPC arguments that there aren’t enough students in the Russian degree to sustain it, enrollment in Russian courses are up 20 percent from the 2002 levels, McKeon said.
Not everyone was in support of saving the Russian program.
David Abella, Associated Student President, said during the debate, “My unscientific polls say that students need more English 214 and 414 classes. I have not heard from students that this [Russian] program is a priority.”
Humanities Dean Paul Sherwin maintains that in order for the bachelor's to flourish, two tenured faculty members will need to be hired, at a yearly cost of at least $100,000 each. Sherwin said that he does not see a significant number of students who take introductory Russian language classes moving on to advanced Russian language courses.
Erik Sordal, a business management major, did not look like many of his fellow students on Tuesday. While many others were bundled up in jackets, sweatshirts and earmuffs, he came to school with a t-shirt and jean shorts that dropped down to his knees.
While some may think Sordal was trying to show his toughness on one of the coldest days of the semester, he was merely baffled by the tremendously cold morning that descended on the Bay Area Tuesday morning.
“It was sunny when I got up this morning,” said Sordal. “So, I didn’t bring a jacket and the weather fooled me.”
The National Weather Service issued freeze warnings on Nov. 29 in areas that saw temperatures drop to between 28 degrees and 32 degrees. In San Francisco, the temperature dropped into the 30s overnight, but by Nov. 30 at 9 a.m. it reached 46 degrees. It was the first day that many students felt the grip of winter, and several of them had to change their normal routines.
“I had to stop running in the morning, because it’s too cold,” said Henry Jones, an electric engineering major. “I had to swim indoors to get my morning exercise.”
For some students, the cold weather affected other parts of their morning routine. Several said the cold weather made them try to squeeze out a few extra minutes in bed, making their mornings more of a rush than normal when they finally woke up.
“I got out of bed this morning at 7:35,” said Thao Do, a SF State sophomore who sat in front of the HSS building waiting for her boyfriend. “I usually wake up at 7:15, but the cold weather makes people get sick a lot and I would rather be home in my warm house sleeping.”
On the other hand, some SF State students went about their normal daily routine. The only real changes they made were to their wardrobe. Unlike Sordal, people like Herman Lum met the weather head-on.
“I didn’t really change my routine,” said Lum, a biology major. “I just put on more layers of clothing.”
While Lum shrugged off the idea of having to wear more layers of clothing, Liana Lau, a business major, said she was not very fond of having to dress warmer.
“It is really cold,” said Lau. “It is a hassle to dress warmer, and I usually don’t like to have too many extra layers of clothing, but I need to stay warm.”
Not only did students battle the weather to try and keep warm, but SF State professors also joined in the battle. Unlike many students, meteorology professors understood the dynamics of how and why this weather occurs.
“I had to put gloves on this morning when I rode my bicycle to school,” said David Dempsey, a meteorology professor. “I only have to wear gloves a couple times a year," he said. "Cold weather like this usually lasts only two or three days. The low temperatures are surging down from Alaska, and the sun isn’t shining directly on us like it does in the summer.”
Meteorology professor John Monteverdi likes rain and storms but not cold weather. “I like the energy of weather,” he said, "but as cold as it is here, the interior valleys are coldest. It was 19 degrees in Salinas.”
According to weather.com, high temperatures will range from 53 to 57 degrees for the next week. Low temperatures will remain in the mid 40s.
With these cold temperatures persisting, students will continue to be affected by the weather in a myriad of ways. It also means that students will need to dress in warm clothing in order to not be fooled by clear skies.
Despite the tremendous economic impact of CSU campuses on California outlined in a new report, state officials continue to raise tuition and fees to make up for the state's budget woes.
The study, released on Nov. 16 by ICF Consulting and requested by the CSU Board of Trustees, showed in detail the impact the CSU system has on the California economy. Many believe the new study will provide a reason to prevent further fee hikes.
The CSU Board of Trustees approved an 8 percent tuition hike for undergraduates and 10 percent raise for graduates on Oct. 28 for the 2005-2006 academic year, representing a 63 percent increase since fall 2002.
If approved by the state legislature, the fee increase might have an impact on undergraduate and graduate enrollment in the 23-campus system as it has been in the past.
The good economic news this study represents will give the California Faculty Association (CFA) the ammunition it needs to fight for bigger funds for the CSU system.
“This is a very important study confirming what the CFA has been saying for years,” said Alice Sunshine, communications director of the CFA.
Sunshine said the CFA is working with the state legislators, professors and students to raise awareness of the effect the CSU system has on California. She also said some legislators don’t know about it.
The CSU system contributes $13.6 billion annually in economic activity, supports 207, 000 jobs and generates some $760 million in taxes for California.
In addition, the study said that for every $1 the state invests in the CSU system, it returns $4.41.
SF State, the school generates almost $500 million into the Bay Area economy, and for every $1 invested in a student at SF State, it returns $6.05, the highest return according to the study.
“Higher education has become an investment good,” said Betty Blecha, professor of economics at SF State. She said she is not sure whether the study Working for California “is persuasive enough.”
“I think they miss the point,” referring to the authors of the study.
“Students are paying more and getting less,” she said.
Blecha also said that many people are concerned about young students not being able to go to college.
“For a country that believes in students making their dream come true, this should be a matter of concern,” Blecha said.
According to the CFA, 10,000 qualified students cannot enroll on the CSU system because tuition increases make it unaffordable, and also because the CSU Board of Trustees has not asked the state government for enough money to provide for more student enrollment.
The $4 billion budget the CSU Board of Trustees approved calls for an increase of 2.5 percent in government funds for student enrollment, whereas the CFA asked for a 4 percent increase that would allow some 4,800 new students to enroll in the CSU campuses.
Overall, the CSU Board of Trustees asked the government for $123 million increase. The CFA called for an additional $181 million to reach out to those students left behind, among other considerations.
“We are going to lobby and talk to members of the legislature because if we don’t ask what we want we are not going to get it,” said Sunshine.
Colleen Bentley-Adler, Director of Public Affairs for the CSU, said students should look into the future.
“It is not good for students,” said Bentley-Adler of the proposed tuition increase, “but you have to look at the value students will have to receive in the long term, the earnings they are going to have in the future,” she said.
The CSU budget proposal goes to the state Department of Finance in mid-January, which will allow the governor to consider it for the state’s budget 2005-2006.
As warden Jill Brown strolled beside a row of cells at San Quentin State Prison, she spotted a line of shredded bed sheets tied together and weighted. A hand from behind the bars tossed the line out of the cell. Brown stopped in her tracks.
“What are you doing?” she said.
The inmate behind the bars said, “I’m a fisherman.”
A few seconds later, Brown confiscated the “fishing line” and asked the man,
“Do you know who I am?”
“No,” he said.
“I’m Jill Brown,” she said. “I’m your warden.”
The prisoner’s bunkmate laughed as Brown moved on down the row of the 5th tier of the general population housing unit.
After almost six months as acting warden, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Brown to the post on November 4, leaving her in charge of more than 5,700 prisoners and the only prison in California with a death row. The 54-year-old SF State alumna is the 32nd warden at San Quentin and the second woman to hold the post.
Most of Brown’s career has been with the California Department of Corrections.
She met her late husband Samuel in the parole division in San Francisco and worked at corrections facilities in Soledad, Fresno, and Vacaville.
Former San Quentin warden Jeanne S. Woodford choose Brown to be acting warden when she accepted a position as director of the state corrections department.
"Selecting a warden is a comprehensive process that involves many people,” Woodford said in a written statement. “It is important to match the right person with the right institution. … (Brown) possesses commitment, is personable, and looks for collaboration among people.”
A small, self-sustaining city, the prison includes a Protestant and Catholic chapel, a fire station and various programs run by some 3,000 volunteers. It’s also a processing center for convicts from 11 Bay Area counties and houses about 500 prisoners condemned to die. Inmates as notorious as Charles Manson have been held in the prison, which is tucked against a hill overlooking the San Francisco Bay and Larkspur ferry lines.
“We make decisions every day that directly impact people’s lives,” Brown said.
“And we make decisions about people’s freedom and how they’re treated while they’re in our custody…There are people to be fearful of, definitely,” Brown said. “But everyone in here is someone’s son, someone’s father, grandfather, a lot of them are. And a lot of them have just made poor choices.”
Although she had attended college years ago, Brown left without a degree to be a wife and mother. She raised a son who died at the age of 4 and continued to work in corrections. By 1991, she was ready to return to school and obtain a degree.
Brown worked as a business manager at the California Department of Education Northern Diagnostic Center – then located at Winston Drive and Lake Merced Boulevard – while she attended classes at SF State full time. She said her reprieve from corrections helped her gain a greater understanding of prison inmates.
“I saw so many behaviors in little kids that I saw in inmates,” Brown said. “It was like, whoa, we need to deal with these problems when they’re little to prevent them from going to prison.”
Her former supervisor at the diagnostic center and long-time friend Mary Anne Nielsen said Brown worked effectively in both corrections and education. Her corrections background complimented her work and she offered unique insight to the center’s staff, even correctly identifying children who would end up in jail, Nielsen said.
“It was hard for me to think of her coming from corrections because the image I had of corrections people, she didn’t fit that mold at all,” Nielsen said. “First of all, she's brilliant, and she was incredibly compassionate.”
Brown received her Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration in 1995. Soon after, she left the center for a position at the Soledad prison facility.
Nielsen and Brown remain close friends. Years ago, Brown and her husband gave Nielsen’s 10-year-old son a tour of San Quentin as one of his birthday presents. It was an important lesson for her son, Nielsen said.
“Criminals don't have horns and tails,” Nielsen said. “They look just like us and that was important for [Brown], to teach us that you have to be aware of your personal safety, because you can't spot a criminal on the street, but also that the people in the prisons are human beings…She doesn't see them as numbers,” said Nielson. “She sees them as persons and each one of them has their own personal story. That might be portrayed by some people as weak. I don't see her as weak.”
As warden, Brown said she is committed to maintaining a safe prison and providing inmates with the tools they need to prosper on the outside.
“I would like to see us get to a point where we can close a prison because people have the tools to make a positive choice and not a bad choice and go to prison,” Brown said. “If we can do something to give a guy a tool, if he can pick it up and do something with it and not come back [to prison], then we all win.”
San Francisco State's California Faculty Association joined the locked-out workers at the Four Seasons Hotel, Thursday Nov. 18. On Saturday Nov. 20, both the management and the union agreed to have workers return to their jobs for the next 60 days during a "cooling-off period". However, the union will continue a boycott of the 14 hotels involved in the lockout.
With half of the U.S. college population considered overweight, many students are finding it difficult to workout while balancing academics. For many, hitting the conventional gym can become boring and routine. One SF State instructor has a workout alternative: aquatic fitness.
According to the American Obesity Association, 64.5 percent of adults age 20
or older are considered overweight, while 31 percent of the U.S. population is
obese. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines an overweight person with an "increased body weight in relation to height, when compared to some standard of acceptable or desirable weight." The CDC defines obesity "as an excessively high amount of body fat...in relation to lean body mass."
To help combat the war against flab, workout alternatives such as
aquatic fitness are starting to attract people of all ages for an intense, yet
enjoyable, workout similar to running around Lake Merced.
SF State instructor Beth Kelley leads KIN 173: Aquatic Fitness on Tuesday
and Thursday mornings. According to Kelley, taking an aquatic conditioning
class improves one’s physical condition, regardless of the student’s fitness
level or ability to swim. “There’s less impact and less weight bearing,” said
Kelley. “Everyone can do it.”
Kelley credits the increase of obesity to society’s “quick and easy” needs.
“It’s really a way of living,” said Kelley. “When you meet with friends or family, it’s usually over food.”
While some students may opt to take an aquatics class at a health club, Kelley
insists her class is different for many reasons. “You really learn what to do,” said Kelley. “You apply the concepts and theories versus just following an instructor.”
Mali Chipman, a liberal studies major, has never missed one of Kelley’s classes since the semester started. “I look forward to it,” said Chipman. “It’s effective. It’s increased my endurance, and I’ve built muscles.”
The majority of Kelley’s 50 students are female. There is less than
10 male students in the class.
“That’s a high number,” said Kelley, referring to the number of male students. “Honestly, most male students (have) said, 'I didn’t know this would be a fun and great class.' The feedback has been great.”
Arnold Thomson, a graduate student, doesn’t think too much about the male-to-female ratio.
“It has never crossed my mind,” said Thomson as he stretched in the
swimming pool. “I get a workout and it’s pretty fun.”
One day, Kelley challenged her students to use a variety of props and
equipment to incorporate in their workout. Hula Hoops, kickboards, fins and
beach balls floated throughout the pool as Kelley instructed her students to
use them for cardiovascular and strengthening exercises.
Normally, Kelley’s 55-minute class consists of a regular workout: warm-ups, stretching, cardiovascualr and strengthening movements, ending with a final stretch—all inside the pool. Earlier this week, Kelley asked her students if they noticed any physical changes since the semester started.
"My stomach's smaller," yelled one student. A variety of other replies soon followed, ranging from lost weight, smaller inner thighs to jeans fitting more loosely, experiencing less stress and sleeping comfortably at night.
According to the kinesiology department, aquatic fitness was last offered in
1995. Dr. Robert Spina, the new kinesiology department chair, is credited for the class's return. “It’s a great class,” said Spina. “That’s why I brought it
Of the 22 other CSU campuses, most offer similar aquatics classes such as aqua aerobics and swim fitness. Kelley plans to offer two sections of aquatic
fitness next semester since she nearly overenrolled this semester. “It uses
the pool differently than just for lap swimming,” said Kelley.
With the holidays looming, non-profit agencies across the Bay Area are putting out the call for contributions with extra urgency as donations of clothes, food, and funds make themselves scarce on the shelves. With a confluence of factors contributing to the slowdown in donations, many groups—including several at SF State—are making an effort to ensure that the needy can celebrate a happier holiday this year.
The San Francisco Food Bank has been hit hard by this year’s drop-off.
“We’ve seen a drop in donations since August,” said Jessica Castelli, a coordinator for the San Francisco Food Bank. “Our donations have seen a drop of about 200,000 pounds a month on average in terms of food.”
“Initially, donations came in very slowly,” said Jenny Luciano, spokesperson for the Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. Although publicity did result in a surge of donations for Thanksgiving, Luciano said that the group still has “definitely not met our goal for the holiday season.”
At San Francisco’s Glide Memorial Church, the story was the same.
“As far as holiday donations, it’s definitely down,” said Calvin Gipson, human services director at Glide Memorial. “About two weeks prior to Thanksgiving we’d only received about 10 turkeys. Then we went to the press and community and reached our goal of 1200 turkeys...we’re very grateful for that. Hopefully, for Christmas we won’t have the same challenges we did for Thanksgiving.”
Organizers cite several reasons for the slowdown in donations.
“I think people were distracted from giving by a number of things,” Luciano said. “Certainly there were the elections, and the Scott Peterson trial, and a number of work issues. Thanksgiving just snuck up on people.”
“One reason is the hurricanes in Florida which wiped out a lot of the produce and put California produce more in demand,” Castelli added. “Also, companies are more concerned with the bottom line. Food that would have been donated to us in the past is now going to secondary markets (such as discount groceries and 99 cent stores).”
A drop in donations means that food banks may have to make difficult choices, such as giving out smaller bags of food or otherwise cutting back services. Whatever the reason, potential cutbacks can be devastating for the needy, many of whom are working poor who cannot make ends meet.
According to urban studies professor Carol Silverman, “People are first poor because wages in many occupations are insufficient to provide for all basic necessities, particularly in a place such as San Francisco where housing is so expensive. Even those who work full time may run out of money by the end of the month.”
SF State students don’t have to leave campus to make a difference this year. A number of organizations at the school are accepting food and other donations for the needy.
One of them is the Students of Shalom, who have set up a number of donation bins on the ground floor of the Cesar Chavez Student Center. The group formed out of the homelessness and public policy course at SF State, taught by Bev Ovrebo.
According to Ovrebo, “(Giving) is very important…In the words of Gandhi, ‘No matter what you do, it may not make a difference, but it is very important that you do it.’
“It is very important that all of us, including students, remained aware and involved in the face of human suffering and injustice,” Ovrebo added. “Also, doing the donation drive raises consciousness around homelessness on this campus. The agencies that receive donations are always under funded and understaffed and can use all of the help they can get. Finally, this donation drive reminds us that there is no us and them in homelessness. There are homeless students on this campus, and many people on this campus are near-homeless.”
SF State’s Community Involvement Center also has donation bins in the Cesar Chavez Student Center. Students can also contact the CIC for more ways to help.
“It’s the holidays, and there are so many people out there who are homeless and don’t have the privileges that even we as students have,” said CIC Program Coordinator Michelle Penez. “Our mission is to get involved in the community and help those who need help.”
Organizations stressed that while the holidays are a popular time to give, donations are needed all the time.
“We raise 25 percent of our annual budget between October and January,” Castelli said. “It’s the giving season, but it’s important to give all year round.”
“We continue to address homelessness and poverty as an emergency to which charity and emergency help is extended at certain times of the year,” she said, “rather than as an entrenched social problem rooted in failed policies and social injustice.”
SF State's Academic Senate voted 25 –15 with 3 abstentions to discontinue the last Master of Arts in Russian within the entire CSU system.
The proposed discontinuance by the EPC of the Bachelor of Arts in Russian remains to be voted on and President Corrigan will make the last and final decision as to the ultimate fate of SF State’s Russian program.
Russian program director Katerina Siskron and Foreign Language Chair Midori McKeon did not dispute the proposal for discontinuance of the M.A, due to the lack of tenure track faculty the program has. There was some talk, however, of the M.A. program being needed to fully master the language of Russian.
“Learning the Russian language is harder than Spanish or French for example,” said Siskron. “While, in two or three years you can be almost fluent in one of the romance languages, it takes longer to learn Russian for most people.”
McKeon said that eliminating the Russian M.A “would turn the clock back to 1964 when there was no Master of Arts in Russian.”
Even with a majority of the senate voting in favor of discontinuing the M.A, there were several senate members who were displeased with the provisional discontinuance and noted several Russian-literate authors who have helped shape our present understanding of the Russian culture.
Many senate members also noted that the Russian program was not a “stand alone” program and served many other departments within the University such as Creative Writing and English.
Marlon Hom, Academic Senate member and Chair of SF State’s Asian American Studies program was among the few that did not vote in favor of the discontinuance.
“I believe that language study is an integral component in educating good citizenshipand civility in a nation of diverse ethnic and cultural heritages such as ours,” said Hom. “I suspect there are more Russians who can speak English than Americans who can speak Russian. That should tell us something about our nation's attitude towards language studies.”
During the meeting, Russian studies students were able to speak to the importance that the Russian program has been for them.
Russian studies major and co-president of SF State’s Russian club Amber Clark, 23, was among the students who spoke. As a Russian student, Clark agrees that the Russian language is more difficult to learn than some, and argued that reducing the program to a minor would not give students the necessary tools that they would need to fully understand the Russian language.
While Dean of Humanities Paul Sherwin does not believe that the program has enough demand to maintain its present status, in a previous interview Clark had said, “Just because Russian is not a big money-maker, does it not deserve to be on campus?”
Siskron argued that the University was choosing quality over quantity by making the choice to discontinue the Russian degrees.
On Nov. 30th, the academic senate will host a second and final hearing in regards to the proposed discontinuance of the Russian B.A. If it is voted to be discontinued, it will be the last Bachelor of Arts within the CSU system in Northern California.
As SF State students race to download the latest and coolest ring tone to their cell phones, music artists and producers hear the ka’-ching of the registers and rake it in.
According to Forbes Magazine, customized ring tones were a $2.5 billion industry worldwide in 2003. While downloaders in the U.S. accounted for $80 million in 2003, Forbes estimated that that figure would rise to $100 million by year’s end.
Customized ring tones are 30-second song clips that substitute for the standardized ring. These tones usually cost between $ .99 to $2.00.
Drew Young, speech communication senior, has 15 to 20 different song clips for ringers. “I love music,” he said. “It’s like a competition with your friends. When you got that one hit that no one has, you’re envied, and everyone wants to know where you got it.”
Ronen Sperto, senior in theater arts, demonstrated his customized ring tone to two friends who burst into laughter at what they heard.
“It’s a clip from an early-80’s workout tape,” explained Sperto, who downloaded the ring tone from Cingular’s website. “It’s Arnold Schwarzenegger counting down an aerobic workout to Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believing.’”
Although he was happy with his Cingular ring tone, he was shocked to find that the $1.99 price tag for the specialized tone ended up costing $5 after state and federal taxed were added to his cell phone bill.
“It’s about personality and personalizing your phone,” said Jamar Collins, industrial arts senior, who has a different ring tone for each of his friends and family members. “My phone has web access so I download the rings that are free. If there is one that I really, really want and I know my friends don’t have it, I’ll break down and pay for it. Otherwise, I’m happy with the ones that are free.”
Marie Adorable, an undeclared freshman, said that rather than downloading song clips she composes her own music to personalize her ring tone. While she acknowledged this may take more time than downloading clips of published songs, Adorable noted that students can compose rings while waiting in a long line or are bored.
“We have our phones with us all the time anyway,” said Adorable, who declared that the ability to compose her own original music for ring tones is an art form. “People can [compose ring clips] when they get bored or have some extra time on their hands. And it’s a great way for everyone to hear your music.”
Because some students deem the price tag too high for these downloadable ring tones, they have figured a way around the $1.50 to $1.99 fees. Nicholas Argintino, a freshman in biophysics, said he has between 15 and 20 ring tones on his cell phone that he has not paid for. He explained how he and his friends swap ring tones.
“First, you go to the ring tone option on your cell phone and press send,” explained Argentino. “Then I align my infrared light on the top of my cell phone with the infrared lights on my brother’s or friends’ cell phone and press send. ”
“I do it because I don’t want to pay,” said Argentino.
According to Dr. Sanjit Sengupta, chair of SF States marketing department, customized ring tones are the latest form of caller I.D. He said that people no longer have to pick up their phone to see who is calling because the ring tones can identify the caller from across the room.
“It’s entertainment, first and foremost,” said Sengupta. “People download songs to their iPods and movies to DVDs, so downloading song clips is characteristic of the trend in technology to make life more convenient.”
Sengupta said that although we live in a digital divide, where everyone cannot afford to purchase the latest technological invention upon conception, prices eventually decline with demand, allowing the penetration of technology to ultimately even out.
“Before, we couldn’t buy music for $ .99,” continued Sengupta. “You had to spend $17 on the whole album if you wanted to hear a song. But the more people demand a product, the cheaper it becomes. Instant gratification of the affluent drives down the cost for those less affluent.”
“On the upside, it will add great value to our need for convenience,” said Sengupta. “The downside is we’re too easily accessible and have to deal with intrusions at all hours of the day and night.”
Kat Allen , environmental studies freshman said that she considers spending money on ring tones outrageous, so she avoids the temptation by leaving her cell phone on vibrate.
.“It just goes to show how out of control technology has become,” said Allen. “I’m just not that attached to my cell phone where I feel the need to spend more than I have to just to hear it ring differently.”
‘Tis the season for SF State partygoers and planners to begin filling in their
calendars with scheduled celebrations and get-togethers.
The balance between making a good impression on friends, while making the
party fun is something many prospective hosts take into consideration when
organizing a holiday get-together.
With a plethora of party themes available to choose from, a host may choose to
throw a wine tasting affair.
“I don’t drink wine because I don’t know how to pick them out,” said Ariel
Bloomberg, a senior in business. “I would go to a wine tasting party in a heartbeat, if just to learn the difference between chardonnay and cabernet.”
There are a few simple rules that will benefit anyone thinking of hosting such a get-together.
First, make sure that your guests know that the only alcohol at this party is wine. This will give your beer guzzling friends fair warning to R.S.V.P. with a “thanks, but no thanks” if they are not interested in trying something new. In turn, it will keep you from having an unsatisfied guest at your holiday party, and from wasting good wine.
Second, decide on a theme for your party. Choosing amoungst the limitless varieties of wines from around the world can be daunting. Make it easy on yourself by picking a few different wines from the same vineyard and same year. For example, you can have five different red wines from Ridge Vineyards 2002. Or pick two different vineyards; three different red wines from Napa Valley and three different red wines from Sonoma County. You can even serve two white and two red wines from California and two white and two red wines from Bordeaux.
Third, you can decide on providing all of the wine, or have each guest bring a
bottle. Just remember to clue them into your theme. It is also a good idea to set a price range so that someone doesn’t show up with a $3.99 bottle of wine when the rest of the guests are providing a $40 bottle. This will also help keep the quality of wine uniform.
Fourth, be sure to provide snacks. Nuts, various regional cheeses, crackers and fruit (grapes and sliced apples) are easy to prepare and go well with any wine.
Lastly, note cards describing the vineyard and characteristics of the wine will
assist your guests in knowing what to expect when tasting each wine.
“It takes training to develop a pallet for wine,” said Fran Lightly, winemaker and
owner of the Diablo Grande Wine Gallery. “In your planning, you need to first take into consideration your guest’s level of experience to wine drinking.”
Lightly said that throwing a wine tasting party is the perfect alternative to the
usual holiday get-together. He also noted that although people in their early twenties are used to drinking soft drinks and beer, there are plenty of sweeter wines available that are acceptable to their taste buds.
“A wine tasting party is a great way to wean an inexperienced wine drinker off
carbonated drinks and soda,” said Lightly, whose SOMA facility holds an art
gallery and wine tasting bar. “They usually start with white zinfandels and sweeter champagnes until they become more experienced wine drinkers.”
Sandra Menendez, a junior majoring in psychology, said that she prefers mixed alcoholic beverages to wine because she does not like the bitter taste of most wines.
“I’ve tried wine a few times,” said Menendez as she scrunched up her face in disapproval. “But if there are fruitier ones out there, I guess a wine tasting party is a good way to try ‘em out.”
Wine experts suggest that it is important that guests of wine tasting parties
be of the same knowledge and experience. This is so guests don’t feel inundated with information or lectured about the various types of wine and the process it takes to make it.
“There is no right or wrong way to taste wine,” said Lightly. “And we don’t tell
people what they should be tasting. We simply tell them there are particular
characteristics present in the wine, such as aromas and flavors. Depending on the level of experience to wine drinking, it may mean they don’t experience anything present in a particular wine.”
For the inexperienced wine crowds, Lightly said, the host should choose more white wines than reds because reds are more tart and dry due to tannins – a natural chemical in the skin of red grapes that cause the wine to taste dryer. After pouring one ounce of each wine the host should inform the guests of the characteristics present in the wine. Do this for each bottle. He says that this will take approximately 30 minutes, after which, the guests should mingle and be allowed to further experience the wines on their own.
“I don’t like wine…at all,” said Petra Lopper, a junior majoring in political science. “It would definitely be good if one of my friends had one of those party’s to mention ahead of time that wine was the only alcohol being served. I’d probably still go, but at least I wouldn’t show up disappointed that I couldn’t get an apple martini or cosmo.”
Viviian Browne, leasing consultant at an upscale apartment building in San Francisco, said that she hosts a weekly wine tasting party for her residents as a way for them to get to know each other.
“It’s the most casual and easy going, yet elegant way to get everyone together,” said Browne, as she opens five bottles of cabernets from Napa Valley. “At each table I have two bottles of the same wine with a little note card that gives a brief history of the vineyard and the characteristics of the wine. The tenants love it because a lot of them are business travelers or from other states and this is a good way to introduce them to California wines.”
Browne said that at least 50 tenants with varying degrees of wine experience
attend her weekly parties in the fifth-floor community room every Friday night after work.
“We wouldn’t have them if they weren’t popular,” said Browne, as she organizes
various cheese platters. “And people of all ages – legal of course – attend.”
There is checklist of party supplies needed for your wine tasting shindig.
First, Be sure to have several bottles of water on hand so that your guests can swish their mouths clear before the next taste of wine. Water is also helpful if you only have one glass per person-- as opposed to a new glass for each guest to use for each different wine they will taste that evening.
It is also a good idea to have a few buckets on hand so your guests can rinse
their glass with the bottled water, as well as to spit in should they absolutely not want to swallow a particular wine.
12-ounce wine glasses are the standard used for wine tasting, however, there are no official shapes, capacities, sizes or color of wine glasses.
And finally, blank note cards and pencils for your guests to write down the wines they prefer will help them remember their favorites the next time they serve wine or go to a wine tasting party.
Catherine Ross, a dance instructor from Oakland said she plans a wine
tasting party for a few girlfriends to start the holiday season.
“I do this every year,” said Ross, as she shops for several bottles of deep purple
and merlot wines at Vino Venue, also in SOMA . “This place is amazing. You can taste the wine before you purchase it, so if you want to try something new, before spending $40 a bottle, you can taste an ounce for $2.”
Ross said that she and her friends go holiday gift shopping the day after
Thanksgiving, then retreat to her house for a wine-drinking-gift-wrapping party.
“It’s a ritual,” said Ross. “It is so much more fun to drink wine at home than
cosmos. We save the hard stuff for happy-hour.”
Faculty and students give their input about the CSU Board of Trustees’ decision to increase student fee by eight percent. When the state budget is approved, full-time undergrads will pay $186 more than this semester’s fees and graduate students will pay $206 more.
We ask students and faculty how they feel about the tuition increase.
More than 280 SF State students and faculty members filled seats in the Seven Hills Conference Center Nov. 18 to hear Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta Menchú Tum talk about her experience as a human rights activist.
“I’ve read her book ‘Crossing Borders’ in my human rights class,” said Humarra Rashid, a junior at SF State. “This is a great opportunity to see her book come to life.”
Gianzi Perez, a BECCA junior, waited over 90 minutes in line for the chance to see the woman for which there is a hall named after on the third floor of the Cesar Chavez Student Center.
“It’s not everyday that you get to hear a Nobel Peace Prize Winner,” said Perez.
“Throughout her life she has exposed the social inequalities of the indigenous culture in Guatemala, so I’m sure she’ll have a lot of interesting and sad things to tell us.”
The late morning festivities began when director of Associated Students performing arts Muata Kenyatta introduced Floyd Red Crow Westerman, Native-American folk artist, who played guitar, sang a few folk songs and spoke passionately of the need for more women to take charge and make decisions that affect the world and civilization.
Then, Cindy Morales and Raul Alcaraz of La Raza made their way to the microphone and introduced Menchú Tum as the leader of Indian rights in Guatemala and the entire hemisphere.
“She has stood for peace, justice, dignity and balance,” said Alcaraz. “It is our great honor and blessing to introduce one of the most important leaders of our time.”
As Tum made her way to the podium, the entire audience stood, cheered and applauded for several minutes.
“I think young people have a responsibility to carry on the struggle,” said Tum, through an English-speaking interpreter. “I hope that you all will be our guide into the future.”
Tum continued by speaking poignantly of the abuse and exploitation of Guatemalan land and natural resources by Westerners.
“The problem is how we use the land,” said Tum. “The Western concept only sees land as an economic point of view.”
“When we talk about agrarian reform, (Westerners) have to see land as our mother – it covers us and our ancestors,” Tum said. “Our culture can flourish with spirit, not just seeing material values of our land.”
Menchú Tum also told her attentive audience that commensurate to the number of people on Earth, there are too few people in charge, which she characterized as a “domination problem.”
“We did not create the line we walk,” she said. “In Guatemala we still see that land is in the hands of a few. The sources of water are not in the hands of the peasants or the public collective hands. It’s in the hands of the very few who make all of the decisions.”
According to Menchú Tum, global warming has been particularly bad in Guatemala this year. Several years of drought, she said, have caused hundreds of thousands of acres of corn crops to dry up throughout large areas of Guatemala.
Before she was a teenager, Menchú Tum began fighting for social reforms that helped bolster the women’s rights movement in Guatemala. After witnessing first-hand the abuse of Guatemalan farm workers, Menchú Tum, along with her parents and brother joined the Committee of the Peasant Union which organized demonstrations for better work conditions for indigenous people.
Menchú Tum’s parents and brother were accused by Guatemalan security forces of taking part in anti-governmental activities and were subsequently arrested, tortured, and eventually murdered. Menchú Tum, determined to continue fighting for justice and equality of her people, joined a group called the 31stst of January Popular Front, which educated the Indian peasant population in resistance to massive military oppression.
Her unyielding activism forced Menchú Tum into hiding. In order to escape persecution, she left her beloved Guatemalan homeland for Mexico where she continued her fight against the indigenous plight of Guatemalans and Indian peasant peoples from abroad.
“There are over 2000 clandestine bodies spread out all over Guatemala that deserve a dignified burial,” she told the audience. “We have to arduously work to show the genocide that has happened to (the indigenous people).”
Menchú Tum ended her hour-long talk by asking that the young people in the audience to encourage the United Nations (UN) and international community not to withdraw peacekeeping troops from Guatemala.
“We all have to work together to strengthen the indigenous movement in order to have peace,” said Menchú Tum. “And make sure we have human rights in Guatemala.”
Many audience members then gave Menchú Tum another standing ovation and formed a long single-file line to get copies of her books autographed by the Nobel Peace Prize winner.
Evelyn Derderian, sociology senior, said she was so moved and touched by Menchú Tum’s powerful words that she bought a copy of a book by Menchú Tum that she already owns just to get it autographed.
“I was really impressed,” said Tania Compos, psychology senior, whose family was forced to flee El Salvador due to their political activism. “It’s important to get the word out about the consequences of capitalism - World Bank, NAFTA – otherwise everything will remain the same – power in the hands of a few.”
A group of eight students and one professor from SF State traveled to Mexico City last spring to learn about political and social movements in that country. The connection made between the American students and the Mexican people became more than simply an educational experience.
Professor Teresa Carrillo’s U.S.-Mexico Connection class, a course in the La Raza Studies program at SF State, had the opportunity to travel to Mexico City and put what they learned in the classroom to use. Mexico City is the second largest urban area in the world with a population of 18 million, according to a National Geographic survey in 2000. Comparatively, New York City comes in fourth with almost 17 million.
The students left San Francisco the day after graduation and spent 11 days in Mexico City and the nearby state of Morelos meeting with community-based organizations, political groups, independent and governmental agencies, and individual activists.
On Nov. 16, the group held the fifth annual "The Other Side of Mexico: Report Back From Mexico Solidarity Study Tour" meeting, showing pictures and sharing information about the trip. The U.S.-Mexico Connection class prepares students by conducting research on Mexican community-based organizations and contacting those organizations to arrange face-to-face meetings. The class is required to raise $2000 in donations to give to the organizations. Each student is also responsible for raising $900 to cover expenses for the trip, including airfare, transportation, housing, and meals.
During the meeting, students shared details about the trip and the impact it made on them individually.
"In the United States we often think of the Mexican people as being apathetic when it comes to social and political issues in that country," said Yvette Flores, a graduate student at SF State who traveled to Mexico.
"It’s just not true," said Flores. "They are active people with active voices who understand political and social issues in a very meaningful way." Flores also said the trip made her analyze what it means to be a Mexican American.
“They had hard questions for us too,” said Flores. “Like what are we doing in the United States to change things, and when are we going to get Bush out of here.”
Professor Carrillo had the idea of creating a class that focused on the many ways the United States and Mexico are connected after reading textbooks about Mexico, but experiencing something different when she traveled there.
“The opportunity to travel to Mexico and experience the culture brings the materials to life in the classroom,” she said. "There is such a rapid, intense history of Mexico, and the students are able to experience the contemporary rapid changes going on right now in that country."
Each student picks an organization that is involved in political or social change in Mexico. They are then required to write an in-depth paper about that organization, contact them, and raise money to take donations to them.
The students were taken to an underground special collection area to view Mexico’s historic international treaties, including the original Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
"We just felt really special to be seeing those historic documents, they're national treasures protected in thick glass cases," said Monica Garcia, a senior majoring in international relations. "The artistry and detail that went into the treaties is amazing."
Carlos Torres, an ethnic studies student interested in immigration law, researched the Frente Zapatista de Liberacion Nacional (FZLN) and got to meet with two of its organizers who talked about their accomplishments working with sex workers in Mexico City. The Zapatistas work hard educating the Mexican community about safe sex, health issues, and reforming the way the police in Mexico City respond to the sex workers. Torres described violent and scary incidents between the sex workers and the police to a crowd of almost 30 SF State students who came to the report back session. Torres said he was mostly surprised by the practical way the Zapatistas work with the community.
"In the media, especially in the United States, we see the Zapatistas wearing their masks and carrying guns, but in Mexico City they are approachable, peaceful, and very practical in the methods they use." Torres said they work closely with the community and try to diffuse information.
The students visited a primary school in the tiny village of Cuentepec in the State of Morelos where the children speak both Spanish and Nahuatl, a native and ancient Aztec language. The children and the SF State students were equally intrigued with each other, since many of the children had never heard the English language and the SF State students had never heard Nahuatl. The students said they were impressed by the way the small village keeps their Nahuatl culture alive despite massive out-migration, discrimination and poverty.
“This is where I think many of the students saw what our policies are doing to Mexican families,” Carrillo said. “Many of the kids haven’t seen their fathers for awhile because one or both parents are working in the United States.”
The students donated a brand new Apple computer to the school.
Comercio Justo, a fair trade establishment that sells coffee and guarantees fair prices to the producers and fair wages to the workers, met with the students and explained how their organization promotes a fair trade seal on products that are certified to comply with these stringent requirements.
The organization claims that about 17 percent of coffee in Denmark and other European countries comes from fair trade establishments, whereas less than one percent of coffee in the United States comes from fair trade establishments. Organizations like Comercio Justo are looking to recruit American students with business and technical skills to help develop potential fair trade markets.
“This meeting opened up new possibilities for students who want to work in business without selling their souls to capitalism,” said Carrillo. It also made many of the students think about commerce in general.
“We don’t usually think about where our money goes politically,” said Loren Micalizio, a graduate student working on a master's in cinema studies. Micalizio took the class to correspond with the research she is doing on the representation of the U.S.-Mexico border in cinema.
The students talked to organizers from the Frente Civico, who fought hard to keep a Costco out of a small community near Mexico City. There were ancient trees, which many community members considered ancestors, cleared to make room for the Costco. Although they did not succeed in keeping the American corporation out, they continue to fight other huge corporations from trying to build in these small communities.
“There are a lot of people standing up against the government,” Flores said about these activists. “They use some of the same methods, like tree sitting, but the police have guns aimed at them, and that’s deep,” she said.
The students were surprised by the Mexican people's incredible openness to talk, especially about politics, and their ability to separate the American people from the American government. They all agreed that by going to Mexico they were able to get a better view of the imperialistic power of the United States by gaining an awareness of what other people think about us.
“It was intense,” said Stacey Carrasco, a second-year graduate student in ethnic studies. “It served a lot of purposes.”
The students were able to learn, network, and now spread that knowledge to fellow classmates.
“Knowledge built upon knowledge pushes you into more growth,” said Carrillo. “Each individual will take the information and hopefully put it into action.”
In room 134 of the Creative Arts building, on a foggy Thursday morning just after 9:30 a.m., a group of 34 SF State students listen intently as their instructor excitedly expounds upon Shakespearian classics from generations long since past.
Near the back of the room, just inches from the door, sits 64-year-old Karen Grech, and she, too, is from a different generation. Unlike many younger students in Theater Arts 401 – Theater Backgrounds, Grech occasionally stops her furious note taking and just sits back and enjoys the video clips from Shakespeare’s Henry the VI, which her instructor, Mohammad Kowsar, shows on a 25-inch television set in the front of the classroom.
Grech, as a member of SF State’s Sixty-Plus program, has the option to audit
nearly any class on campus for $75 a year, so she doesn’t have to worry about grades or midterms or finals. Still, she buys the books like everyone else and carries them in a canvas bag bought during a recent trip to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival that she slings on the back of her seat.
Occasionally, Grech lets out a pleasant sigh, or an “ohh” or an “ahh” at a particularly powerful or emotional moment in the play. When one actor in the video calls another character “Dick” instead of “Richard,” Grech reacts along with everyone else in the class.
“You didn’t know the language was so contemporary, did you?” says Kowsar as snickers and titters scatter around the room. “Nooo…,” says Grech as she joins in the laughter at the unexpected comment in the play.
Few SF State students have probably ever heard of the university’s Sixty-Plus program, which isn’t surprising since the vast majority of students wouldn’t qualify for membership in an organization reserved for senior citizens. But Irwin Kelly, president of the BETA chapter of Sixty-Plus, one of two chapters in the 600-member strong program, hopes to change that.
Kelly, along with leaders from the GAMMA chapter, plans to hold a 30-year anniversary celebration for the Sixty-Plus program in May of next year. If he can get the kinds of big-name speakers he wants for the gala event, Kelly said he’s confident that both SF State students, and especially university administrators, will have no choice but to recognize to the presence of so many senior citizens on campus.
“The squeaky wheel gets the grease – and we’re not squeaky,” said Kelly, a retired professor of economics who taught at SF State. “We want the university to become aware of us. Probably the bulk of our people are SF State alumni.
"It’s really important to them that the Administration recognize us.”
Although the visibility of Sixty-Plus program has waned in recent years, Professor Anabel Pelham, a faculty member in SF State’s gerontology program, believes this is temporary. Pelham notes that as more and more Baby Boomers reach retirement age, the SF State’s need for programs like Sixty-Plus is likely to increase.
“We may be looking a future with exponential growth,” Pelham said.
In the 1980s, when potential Sixty-Plus members faced a two-year long waiting list, the original chapter, ALPHA, expanded into the two new chapters, BETA and GAMMA. In the 1990s, with a dwindling number of active members, ALPHA merged back into the two current chapters.
When the Sixty-Plus program started in 1975, Pelham cited the energy of SF State professor Adrian Greenberg as a key factor in the program’s inception.
“Adrian was a character – a wonderful man,” Pelham said. “Adrian would come into my office like a whirlwind. He was on a mission: to bring higher education to seniors.”
But only about 25 percent of the Sixty-Plus members choose to audit classes at the college said BETA president Kelly, with most members opting instead to join a staggering list of regular and special events hosted by the two chapters and advertised in their monthly newsletters, the BETA By-Line and the GAMMA Ray.
In addition to regular bi-monthly chapter meetings, held in the Rosa Parks room in the Cesar Chavez Students Center, recent Sixty-Plus events included a trip to Palm Springs for both chapters and a trip for GAMMA members to the Ashland, Ore. Shakespeare Festival. Most months, the two chapters hold a wide variety of activities, including expensive and cut-rate gourmet dinners, plays, movies, theater shows, and walking tours in and around San Francisco.
While most younger SF State students might prefer clubbing and dancing instead of walking tours and the ballet, Sixty-Plus members tend towards a more high-brow and low-key set of activities, as befits their age, education, and tastes. Still, Sixty-Plus members seem to have just as much fun at their events as does the typically younger and hipper campus crowd.
GAMMA member Ted Samuel is responsible for many of the Sixty-Plus groups’ cultural events, and he said he isn’t about to let age or retirement get him down.
“I’m in charge of getting tickets for the Best of Broadway shows – ACT, the Berkeley Rep., the San Francisco Symphony, the San Francisco Ballet, Lamplighters – all of these places, I get the cut-rate prices,” said Samuel.
While Samuel said that only 12 people signed up to see the new play Little Shop of Horrors, usually 50 or more Sixty-Plus members attend San Francisco Symphony concerts.
Grech agrees that it is the age-defying and adventure-inspired spirits demonstrated by the members of Sixty-Plus that make the group special.
“It’s a good group to belong to,” said Grech. “It’s just getting out and doing things. You’ve got something to do, something to look forward to. Comradeship and companionship. You have a few oddballs, but mostly everyone gets along. They’re quality people.”
Since the election there have been many political pundits in the media.
Some have speculated that the presidential election results were swayed by people voting with "moral values" in mind.
We ask students what led you to vote in the election and what is your definition of moral values?
A rally at Malcolm X Plaza by General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS) on the afternoon of Wednesday, Nov. 17 ended with members of GUPS and Hillel conversing in several informal small groups at one end of the plaza.
Past rallies involving both groups have resulted in intervention by the campus police. Members of both groups say they are glad this rally ended in discussion and dialogue.
“I think it was good that (GUPS members) came down from the stage,” said Shanie Kletter, 21, a former Israeli programming intern for Hillel who attended the rally. “It’s more important to have dialogue than to stand and shout things.”
Kletter, who is currently a volunteer at Hillel, said it is one of the few times she can recall a GUPS or Hillel rally not ending in arguments.
GUPS co-president Jennifer, who declined to give her last name, said she felt the rally was “clean” and their were no attacks from either GUPS or Hillel.
For their first rally of the semester, GUPS mounted a green tarp representing the partition wall Israel is building between the border of Israel and occupied territories in the West Bank. Signs mounted around the plaza defined Zionism, showed pictures of miserable conditions under which Palestinians are presently living, and had slogans charging that Israel had killed Palestinian children and asserting the right to Palestinian self-determination.
Speakers at the rally spoke of the brutality of the Israeli occupation and reminded listeners that Americans were supporting the atrocities through the billions of dollars in aid monies from the United States to Israel every year.
According to a July 12 report by the Congressional Research Service, Israel has received about $3 billion dollars in aid from the United States along with another $3 billion in loans, private philanthropy, and bonds every year since 1985.
Much of the money Israel gets from the United States government has gone to support Israel's military. According to the July 12 report, the Bush administration requested about $2.69 billion for grants to Israel in fiscal year 2004. $2.2 billion, or 82.9 percent, went to support Israel's military; the rest went to support the economy and for assisting in the settlement of Israeli refugees.
Randall Rishe, a SF State history and criminal justice major, took a different
route through campus to visit an ATM and ended up taking part in the discussion between members of GUPS and Hillel.
He agrees the most viable part of the rally was the discussion at the rally’s end.
Rishe, who claims no affilation with either group, said he found the rally ridiculous because it was filled with sound bites rather than facts. As a history major, he said he based his rebuttals on historically based facts “that are generally agreed on by most people.”
Rishe quoted John Adams to give his take on the rally: ” ''Wishes, intentions and passions are no substitute for facts and evidence.' ”
Hillel participated in the event by standing on the Quad in silent protest. Loubna, a member of GUPS who was active at the day’s event, reacted to that.
“We found it disrespectful (that members of Hillel) were standing in the quad,” she said. But she said she acknowledged their right to free speech.
Loubna also declined to give her last name.
Although disappointed with the low student turnout, Loubna said GUPS plans on
future events with more speakers.
For the last seven weeks, hotel workers and management have been at odds over contractual issues. Fourteen hotels in San Francisco have felt the affects of the strike turned lockout. Both sides in the issue feel they aren’t getting what they want.
Click on the HIT THE LINE button to your left to hear the entire story.
Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch proposed an amendment to the constitution that would allow naturalized citizens after 20 years of residency to run for president of the United States. This discussion has leaned almost completely to talk of Gov. Schwarzenegger joinning the race in 2008.
Click on the multimedia for SF State reactions.
After the death last week of PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, many world leaders wonder what Arafat’s death and legacy may mean for peace in Israel and the Occupied Territories. This week, SF State students enrolled in International Relations 324 had a rare opportunity to hear first-hand from Israeli Deputy Consul General Omer Caspi about what he thinks the future holds for both the Palestinian and Israeli peoples.
On Nov. 15 at 10:15 a.m., in room 349 of the HSS building, Caspi spoke for about 40 minutes, detailing the history of the peace process and discussing Israeli hopes for a new Palestinian peace partner now that Arafat is dead.
After his speech, Caspi took questions from students for another 50 minutes, speaking on topics ranging from the Iranian nuclear program to the disputed massacre in the Palestinian refugee camp at Jenin.
“I’m very happy to be here,” said Caspi, after a brief introduction by Professor Dwight Simpson.
Caspi told students that he had also taken classes in international relations when he was a student at Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He also said that he came to San Francisco about a year ago to join the consul general’s staff.
Caspi then quickly launched into a talk about the history of the peace process in Israel, and said that most Israeli government leaders since the mid-1970s have strived to achieve lasting peace with each of their neighbors.
“It started in 1977, with Anwar Sadat,” said Caspi. “(The) ‘73 War, the Yom Kippur War – Egypt was regarded as Israel’s number one enemy. I believe that peace became possible mainly because of leadership. Both sides had the courage and the determination to go against their societies. Most important was to have a partner on the other side who can deliver.”
The deputy consul also talked about more recent peace initiatives, and described what he says went wrong during negotiations in the mid-1990s.
“The most important, most difficult issues were left to the end,” Caspi said. “I believe that was the problem. We never had a chance to talk about the really difficult issues, like Jerusalem. We never talked about refugees; we never talked about borders. We failed. Terrorism was never stopped.”
But Caspi also said Arafat too was responsible for the failure to achieve peace.
“We offered them a capital of Palestine, in Eastern Jerusalem,” said Caspi. “We offered them the Temple Mount, the holiest place in the Jewish religion. We offered them 80 percent of the territories in Gaza and the West Bank. Arafat didn’t take it. If you really choose the path of peace instead of terrorism, you go back to Ramallah, you don’t go back to terrorism. Arafat didn’t do all that.
“We realized that we had no partner on the other side,” said Caspi. “For us, the conclusion was that Arafat was no real partner for peace.”
The deputy consul also discussed why Israeli leaders support construction of a security barrier between Israel and the West Bank, a barrier that some Palestinians have called the "Apartheid Wall." Caspi said the barrier was an effective security measure that prevents terror attacks.
“People couldn’t leave their homes,” he said. “Snipers used to shoot workers along the highway. There are points where it takes less then 10 minutes by car from Palestinian-controlled areas to Israel. We realized that only a physical barrier would stop them from coming into Israel.”
Caspi called it a temporary solution, and said that the barrier could be removed in two days, if necessary.
“It’s a temporary measure, and it’s an effective measure,” Caspi said. “Less than 5 percent of the barrier is made with concrete. The rest of the security barrier is a fence, like we have with Egypt. For the last year, we’ve seen a 90 percent reduction (in attacks) in areas where we have the fence. Once terrorism stops, there is no need for this fence.”
After Caspi spoke, many students asked him questions, including one student who said she was from the town of Jenin, in the West Bank. The student asked the deputy consul about a massacre that Palestinians reported in 2002 during an Israeli incursion into the refugee camp at Jenin.
“There was no massacre in Jenin,” said Caspi. “You have to know the facts. It’s the toughest thing for Palestinians and Palestinian supporters to admit that their leaders are liars. There was no massacre. The UN proved it. There were fights – that was true. There was a war going on.”
But the unidentified student persisted. She said she didn't like Arafat's policies, but didn't know how to help change her homeland.
“I don’t have the power for anyone to listen to me,” she said. “We don’t have Britain backing us up, we don’t have the U.S.”
Other students asked about the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s plan to withdraw from the Gaza Strip.
“You should remember his (Prime Minister Sharon’s) situation in Israel,” said Caspi. “Disengagement is the first phase. I believe that, at the end of the day, disengagement will go through. It will be a terrible day for the settlers, but we have to go through with it.”
After Caspi finished his talk, he spent a few minutes with some students in the classroom, holding an informal discussion. Other students, standing in the hallway outside of the classroom where Caspi spoke, offered their opinions on Caspi’s words.
Student Matthew Davis said he liked Caspi’s talk.
“He was a very good speaker,” Davis said. “He seemed to keep the mood very calm, considering there’s a lot of information on both sides that needs to be resolved. I think he did a good job.”
Rahim Alibhai said he liked Caspi’s relative youth and the corresponding attitudes that appear to go with it.
“I thought that he was a good representative of Israelis, mainly because of his viewpoints,” Alibhai said. “He does have a better view, I think, of what the future will be like.”
Pouring rain, emergency ponchos and umbrellas did not stop SF State sorority Alpha Phi from attempting to raise money for the Alpha Phi Foundation for Cardiac Care and Research.
Wearing tight T-shirts, the sorority held Teeter-totter-a-thon Fall 2004, on the lawn of Malcolm X Plaza. The event included all 63 girls in the SF State chapter taking turns on the totter from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., a bake sale and a barbecue.
Despite the terrible weather, the Alpha Phi’s were focused on making their goal of $2,000. "Rain or shine, we are here all the time," said Alpha Phi sister 20-year-old Haley Chaplin. Fellow sister, 20-year old Shannon Boyd, said, " It’s like being a kid again."
Hot dogs, soda, chips and a variety of baked goods were on sale throughout the day while the sorority sisters riding the teeter-totter tried to encourage students to support there cause and participate in the barbecue for $2. In addition to the students, all 63 girls sent out letters to friends, family, and business organizations for donations. They expect to receive the funds by weeks end.
The resourceful girls of Alpha Phi had the T-shirts for the event made by sorority sister Caitlin James father and the teeter-totter made by sister Erin Garvey's boyfriend.
"The fun part is after the event we get to keep the teeter-totter," said Garvey.
Along with the 144 national Alpha Phi chapters, SF State’s Alpha’s support philanthropic causes.
"Each semester we raise money and we have a goal as a chapter to raise $4000 a year. Every girl is riding it (the teeter-totter)," said Director of Philanthropy for SF State Alpha Phi, 19-year old Brittany Ruinger.
In 1872 the 10 founders of Alpha Phi decided to focus their volunteer time on Cardiac Research and Care, because of their symbol, a heart. Although Cardiac issues are their main focus, each chapter in Alpha Phi has other issues to address. SF State's Alpha Phi's also work on raising money for grants and for girls who need help financially.
While SF State Alpha Phi's are ambitious in their attempts to raise money for the foundation, Santa Clara University earned $30,000 last year for the cause. Alpha Phi is the number two sorority nationally that donates money to philanthropic organizations.
But SF State Alpha Phi's are no slackers.
"It was worth staying out in the rain, because now the sun is shining and we can start the barbecue and raise some money", said sister Jen Conforti.
All proceeds from today’s event will be sent to Northwestern University in Chicago, the Alpha Phi headquarters, to be dispersed.
An initiative that would place a hefty surcharge on students who stay in school too long has sparked a debate throughout the CSU system that promises to reshape the way students get academic advising.
At the center of the controversy is Gov. Schwarzenegger's definition of “excess units” and who should pay for them.
The Governor recommends charging CSU students who exceed 132 units – or 10 percent of their degree’s requirements - a $200 penalty per extra unit.
If implemented, 1,495 SF State students could be affected, a report from the Office of Enrollment Planning and Management says.
But CSU administrators are pushing for changes in the proposal that would shift the financial burden from students to the individual campus. Last May, the CSU Academic Senate voted to recommend that the surcharge apply only to students who have exceeded 144 units – or 120 percent – of their degree’s requirements.
At this higher level, 813 SF State students would be affected, 682 students less than at the levels proposed by the Governor.
So far no formal proposal has been presented to the campuses, but data is being collected to respond to the Governor, said Jo Volkert, Associate Vice President of SF State’s Enrollment Planning and Management.
SF State history professor, Robert Cherny, the former chair of the CSU’s Academic Senate, said the Chancellor’s office has consistently stated it does not want to penalize students. Efforts are being made to identify certain groups with good reasons to take more classes than required, he said.
“We don’t want to discourage students by charging them a lot of extra money,” he said.
However, the proposal is still something California’s Department of Finance wants and it could, he said, craft budget language that would require the students to pay.
The State projects that up to $24.4 million in additional revenue for the CSU system could be generated by the surcharges.
With student populations growing and a state budget shortfall, the need to address an increasing bottleneck of students who take too many units necessitates measures that encourage students to graduate, said Darlene Yee, the chair of SF State's Enrollment Management Committee.
“[We] want to be proactive in working with students and meet their academic interests, but we need to be mindful of the time to degree and help students graduate in a timely fashion,” she said.
SF State’s Enrollment Management Committee issued several recommendations on how to help students with extra units graduate in its 2005-06 Enrollment Management plan.
They recommend advisors help students who have a high unit count create a degree completion plan. If the students fail to meet with the advisor, their records will be placed on hold and if they fail to graduate on time, they will be barred from future class registration, it says.
Students need to consistently meet with their advisors, Yee said. When asked whether she thought the school had enough advisors, she said that every tenured and tenure-track faculty member on campus is an advisor. “It’s our job,” but more advising help is always welcome, she said.
Despite promises to provide exceptions to some students, the California State Student Association opposes the measure.
Manolo Paltin, the CSSA chair, understands the predicament that students who take too many classes create, still the CSSA is opposing the measure for one simple reason: "Using money to influence student behavior effects students of low income,” he said. Paltin believes you need to talk about student advising when you talk about students who take too many extra units.
Brett Smith, director of SF State’s Undergraduate Advising Center, believes students would benefit from a better-coordinated advising system. Mandatory advising is a good idea, but like most departments on campus, advising has had to endure difficult budget cuts, he said.
Students who wait until the last minute to get questions answered and then become discouraged when asked to wait are one of the problems he sees. He recommends students come in throughout the entire semester, not just at the end.
“How many of you will meet with an advisor in the middle of the semester to discuss graduation or plans for the next semester,” he asks?
Not many, and for him that is part of the dilemma. Advising has to be participatory, he said; students need to seek it.
A California Senate Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review notes that UC and CSU officials question the potential benefits of the surcharge.
“…students would, presumably, graduate and/or stop taking classes if the cost were to escalate to $200-$300 per unit,” their report says.
The transcripts of 300 SF State students with extra units were examined to determine why they have not graduated.
So far, several sources informed of the study, which is nearing completion, said that the data demonstrates that most students are making academic progress. Some students are double-majors, some studied abroad, some took classes in a foreign language and others have completed classes necessary to move on to graduate school. Few, however, are said to have gotten sidetracked.
The results are a solid basis to tell the Governor that most students are not taking unnecessary classes, Cherny said.
Anastasia Plumb has a name as seemingly fit for Middle Earth as for middle management at SF State. And the comparison isn't that far off. Plumb, a project manager in Academic Resources specializing in space management, is writing her masters thesis on Tolkien.
"I absolutely love him (Tolkien)," said Plumb, an English literature major. "and the research that goes into creating the languages and make-up of Middle Earth."
Behind her desk in the Administration Building stands an 8-by-10-inch, framed photograph of Plumb standing proudly by a life-sized, cardboard cutout of Orlando Bloom’s character Legolas. The image dwarfs a smaller picture of her husband. Playful, but a slight bit defensive about her passion for "The Lord of the Rings," Plumb tried to further explain her thesis topic, which will specifically address the issue of "crisis of the self," as it applies to the book's resurgence in the 1960s.
"It's not always seen as a scholarly topic," said Plumb. "But I would like to change that perception. I think in life you need to do what you love and it will become its own god for you."
As a project manager in space management, Plumb is responsible for coordinating all faculty and staff moves, such as relocating administrative employees for the library or Hensill Hall renovating and retrofitting projects. She is also responsible for getting each classroom and office space fitted with the proper equipment, lighting and furniture, while keeping in mind the special needs of a diverse, often demanding staff.
"There's such a space crunch on this campus," said Plumb. "We want to do everything we can at a certain standard and make things nice for people, but budget demands don't always allow for exactly what we want."
Plumb is a regular at SF State meetings with builders and contractors, often playing liaison for the school, and ensuring that the final product is in line with academic needs. Since taking the position over two years ago, the 29-year-old Phoenix native has instituted -- along with her former supervisor Zelinda Zingaro -- campus walk-arounds where she looks for broken lights, chipped tiles or beat-up furniture.
"We, unfortunately, live in a society where appearances are vital," said Plumb. "And the way the university looks is very important to creating an atmosphere in which students want to study, professors want to teach, and staff want to work."
Growing up with her sister Andrea in the warm, temperate climate of Phoenix, Plumb said she never wanted for anything and developed a life-long passion for the outdoors.
"I love the desert's red-rocks, blooming cacti and warm, lightning storms," said Plumb. "One can smell the rain on the desert hours before it begins. The moment it started, my sister and I would sprint outside in our bathing suits."
When Plumb was 16, her sister was first diagnosed with leukemia and Anastasia endured a painful bone marrow transplant. Andrea eventually went into remission, and the two sisters ran the Alaska Marathon in 1999, "as a form of closure."
Eleven years later the disease returned, and this time Anastasia donated stem cells to her sister, which she said, "just further demonstrates the importance of stem cell research and the ways in which it can save lives."
"My sister says to plan again for the Alaska Marathon in 2007," Plumb said.
Plumb's father is a police officer and a former professional bodybuilder who competed in Mr. Natural Arizona, and at one point held Gold's Gym's record for leg presses. He once worked out with Arnold Schwarzenegger and introduced both his daughters to the seven-time Mr. Universe, as well as sometime-rival Lou Ferrigno. Plumb said that her father's daunting presence was a big test for would-be suitors, and the first time her sister's husband met their father was no exception.
"You've seen my knife collection and you've seen my gun collection," Plumb recalls her father saying. "So you know I can kill you from far away or make it up-close and personal."
In high school, Plumb was president of the theater club, captain of the speech team, and a straight-A student who was wholly focused on becoming an actress. After graduation reality set in.
"I had always been a great student, but to make it in theatre, you have to be amazing at singing, dancing and acting," said Plumb. “Considering this, I eventually decided that I didn't want to be a waitress all my life."
In 1993, Plumb began college at Pepperdine University, studying telecommunications with an emphasis in TV and film management. She quickly went to London as an exchange student, and then on to Heidelberg, Germany for a second year abroad. She lights up when recalling the cobblestone streets, vibrant culture and storied castle grounds situated along the Neckar River, around which she would jog on a daily basis.
"That was the best year of my life," Plumb said.
She returned to Pepperdine the following fall to complete her final two years, and spent each summer interning in San Francisco at Charles Schwab & Co. After graduation, she was one of 15 candidates chosen from a pool of 250 to enroll in a six-week intensive training program with the financial mega-company. Riding the dot-com wave, Plumb completed the program and took a position in mutual funds, where she then passed her Series 7 and Series 63 tests to become a certified trader. While working at Schwab, she met her husband, Richard Plumb, who is a native of England.
"We met on a company rafting trip that I organized and have been inseparable ever since," Plumb said.
After the bubble burst in early 2001, Plumb decided to return to school to get her masters at SF State, and knew that she would also need to work at the university in order to pull-off the daily commute from Concord.
Plumb submitted her application, and having more than adequate experience in business and management, as well as a background in event planning, was offered the position she now holds.
She speaks fondly of the diversity of faculty and staff she works with on a daily basis, but says that like all jobs, it is not without its challenges.
"The people I work with are very helpful and gracious that someone is trying to take care of their needs," said Plumb. "But it is often quite a challenge to pull together all these different departments and get them to communicate, while not stepping on each other's toes."
Those who work with Plumb seem to echoe her warm sentiments.
"In the often prickly issues our department deals with, I rely not only on
Anastasia for support and solid judgment, but also on her good nature and
sense of humor," said Space Analyst Lenelle Yapana. "She truly does care about people first and creates great rapport with others."
For now, Plumb is focused on finishing her masters, and then moving on to a doctorate program in educational leadership. With that completed, she hopes to continue working in administration at the college level, and feels she has a lot to offer.
"I find it fascinating the way universities run, and I'd love to be a person to make them work even better," Plumb said.
Supervisor Sean Elsbernd beat out 12 other candidates on Election Day to secure his seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, according to preliminary results from the department of elections.
Elsbernd – an attorney, former mayor’s liaison to the board and legislative aid to former supervisor Tony Hall – said his priorities will continue to be increasing home ownership, fiscal responsibility at City Hall and addressing quality of life issues in District 7, which includes the Inner Sunset, West Portal and SF State.
Elsbernd has been quoted as saying he was, “thrown into the deep end of the pool,” when Mayor Gavin Newsom appointed the 28-year-old 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.
“The vote was a ratification of the appointment,” Elsbernd said. “It reinforces what I said the day of my appointment: My job is to serve the constituents of District 7.”
An electronic glitch held up the tabulation of the ranked-choice voting system for two days. As of November 12, Elsbernd had received 13,625 votes over Christine Linnenbach's 10,307.
The supervisor wants to be “active and responsive” to the students at SF State. He is planning monthly visits to the campus with Associated Students Inc. President David Abella, working with the political science department on offering internships at his office and has offered to write a monthly column for the [X]press.
SF State political science professor Corey Cook said there is a need to deepen the relationship between City Hall and the campus, and the supervisor seems interested in improving that working relationship.
“He does his own work, so it’s pretty cool that a day or two after the election he says, ‘hey, it looks like I won, so what do you want me to do?’” Cook said.
“I don't know if it's visiting a class or sitting in the quad, but I have every intention of being available to the students of SF State,” Elsbernd said.
Last Saturday Muslim students at SF State ended their month-long fast known as the holy month of Ramadan.
Ramadan is a time when more than one billion Muslims worldwide sacrifice the use of all things that bring them pleasure, such as food, water, and sex to show ones loyalty to Allah (God). According to this year’s lunar calendar, Ramadan started October 15 and ended November 12.
“The purpose of Ramadan is to show your loyalty to God by controlling your desires,” said Jasenao Sabanobic, member of the Muslim Student Association at SF State who is originally from Bosnia Hertsogovina. “You cannot put anything in your mouth – food or water. You must control your temptations so that you don’t break your sawm (fast).”
Ramadan is considered by Muslims to be a celebration of spiritually and ethically cleansing themselves in order to be acceptable to God, to their families, and to their communities. They prophesize that if they pray and fast and are charitable, then those around them will see their example and follow suit.
Kadra Ahmed, junior cellular molecular biology student and member of the Muslim Student Association, said that giving up one’s pleasures reminds you to value all of the blessings that God grants us each day.
“You learn to appreciate the value of a simple sip of water on your thirstiest day,” said Ahmed who moved to the Bay Area from Somalia in 2001. “There are millions of people who do not have access to water the way we do and giving it up during Ramadan makes you realize the beautiful gifts from God.”
From “suhoor” (the break of dawn) to “iftar” (the setting of the sun), Muslims are not permitted to eat or drink. However, they are permitted to have meals prior to “suhoor” and after “iftar.”
According to Ahmed, Ramadan is much more than just fasting. She said that Muslims also must prove they are good people through good deeds. Among the ways of accomplishing this, Muslims must refrain from saying negative things about other people.
“We also pay a lot of charity to the needy people by giving them food, money, clothing and other things,” said Ahmed. “When you give charity during the month of Ramadan, you will be rewarded by God several more times than what you gave.”
According to the Quran, Muslims must give 2.5 percent of their total savings to charity once per year. Many Muslims wait until this holy month to give this donation in order to garner the benefits from God of giving during Ramadan.
“Lailat ul-Qadr is the 27th day of Ramadan and is very special to Muslims,” said Sabanobic. “It was when the angel Gabrielle informed Mohammad that he was the chosen one. It takes place the last 10 days of Ramadan, which is when we give most of the charity for the year.”
After her afternoon prayer in the Muslim Student Association office, Dorothy Ali, an SF State student, wished to speak of the recent passing of Yassir Arafat, leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organization and practicing Muslim.
"Ramadan is a hehad - a self struggle to make yourself a better person so that you are accountable to God," said Ali. "I think it is remarkable that Arafat died on Lailat ul-Qadr. He is the Gandhi of the Palestinian people. He spent his life fighting for justice for the Palestinian people. He lived his life selflessly. And since he died in the last 10 days of Ramadan - which are the holiest - means that he is with Allah. This really is a special Ramadan."
Luay Abralshammat, who is a master's student in economics at SF State and a Muslim from Saudi Arabia, said that Arafat's passing during Lailat ul-Qatr is good for the Palestinian people.
"It is not for me to say that (Arafat) is with God right now," said Abralshammat. "But it is definitely a blessing for him, his family and his people that he died during Ramadan."
Muslims usually pray five times a day, according to Ahmed. However, during the month of Ramadan, they participate in an additional daily prayer that lasts at least one-and-a-half hours after iftar. This particularly long prayer is called “tarawih.” The person leading “tarawih” reads several chapters from the holy Quran. By the last day of Ramadan, the entire Quran has been read.
“On the last day [of Ramadan], there is a mandatory day of zakah (charitable giving) where everyone in the family, even a one-month old baby, has to give between $5 and $7 to feed another person who cannot afford lunch," said Ahmed. "It’s how we make sure that all Muslims have something to eat on Eid al-Fitr (the celebration that ends Ramadan).”
"La illah il alah," said Ali. "It means there is no god, but God."
It may be just a dusty workshop in the middle of the Science building, but inside students are changing the lives of people half the world away. Behind the door of Room 245 is Whirlwind Wheelchair International (WWI), an organization devoted to ensuring that disabled people in the poorest countries have access to wheelchairs they can afford and maintain.
The sparks fly and welder’s torches flame as students assemble wheelchairs as well as hope for thousands of disabled people in developing countries. The organization was most recently honored at the November 10 Tech Museum Awards, which recognizes organizations that use technology to benefit humanity.
It was high-tech award for a low-tech approach.
Instead of donating used wheelchairs designed for cut sidewalks and smooth floors to people in developing countries, WWI designs inexpensive, utilitarian wheelchairs that work better in rugged terrain and are easier to fix.
"They’re dirt cheap and easily repairable around the world,” said Ralf Hotchkiss, WWI co-founder, chief engineer and instructor of the wheelchair construction class at SF State. “If they fell off the roof of a bus halfway across Africa, they’d take them to a bicycle repairperson and get any part of their chair made while you wait, even by a mechanic who’d never seen a chair before.”
According to NASA engineer and frequent WWI collaborator Omar Talavera, the gift of mobility can make a world of difference for a person with a disability. Talavera, a native of Nicaragua, was forced to temporarily give up his studies because his lack of a functioning wheelchair made it impossible to attend his classes. He says that others in Nicaragua shared his experience.
The people he saw in Nicaragua, they were young people with their lives ahead of them, Talavera said. But they didn't have economic resources or mobility.
Without a wheelchair, a person can’t move, and if they can’t move, they can’t work toward their aspirations.
The organization also puts an emphasis on designing chairs that disabled people can build themselves. Besides providing opportunity for employment, this also helps ensure that wheelchair riders can make any repairs to their wheelchairs themselves—and hold on to their hard-won mobility.
“It’s like that saying, ‘give a man a fish and he eats just for a day, but teach him how to fish and he eats for a lifetime,” said Dana Bolles, a former SF State student who’s been coming back to volunteer with the class for several years.
“We go along the same way. We teach them how to build a chair and how to maintain it, and then they’re set.”
The group is always redesigning chairs to be more practical and affordable, constantly looking at prototypes, altering designs, and making improvements to existing chairs—all of which is done in SF State's design class.
In a room scattered with disembodied wheelchair parts, heavy equipment and the occasional sparkly-pink child’s bicycle, students come together every Wednesday to create prototype chairs that will serve as the model for builders across the world.
The hum of the sewing machine, the whir of a drill and the clang of hammers on metal create a cacophony of productivity as students — a dozen or so each semester -- expertly maneuver their way around the cluttered, classroom-sized workspace. Although the class is open-registration and no skills are required, students interact easily with heavy-duty equipment
“There really aren’t any prerequisites,” said student Mario Velasco, an industrial technology major. “They show you how to work everything, with a focus on safety.”
“We can teach the average person all the skills really quite quickly,” said Bob Incerti, instructor in wheelchair design and fabrication. “And that’s an exciting part of the course because you have a lot of people who come in, that really had never done anything, and they’re apprehensive, and within a month or two
it’s rare that someone’s not fairly confident.”
Since the chair is designed so that people with disabilities can actively make the wheelchair themselves, students do much of their work while sitting in prototypes created by overseas WWI workshops.
Students even ride prototype wheelchairs during their lunch break. They zoom down the incline on the way to the cafeteria and achieve something less than a zoom going up the hill on the way back.
“We switch off models, and we go on different obstacle courses that Ralf (Hotchkiss) has figured out throughout the campus," said Velasco. “Just to understand the different designs that are out there and what they’re meant for.”
Many of the students come back semester after semester.
“There are a lot of returnees,” Velasco said. “People love this class.”
According to WWI Office Administrator Pat Orr, this is the only class she’s ever been a part of where students come back to help and tutor others.
“It says volumes about the teacher and the way that this class has been handled. “ Orr said.
“There’s a great sense of camaraderie,” said industrial arts major Jim Tay.
“It’s a stress reliever,” said mechanical engineering major Carolina Silva, who plans to take the class again next semester. “You don’t do any studying, or calculations, or reading or writing, it’s just kinda' like a hobby in a way.”
The students also find the work they do rewarding.
“I’ve become aware of what’s really going on in the world,” said industrial design major Andre Gauthier. “And how privileged we are in the United States to have easy access to things, where in third-world countries it’s very hard for wheelchair riders to get around.”
“It was the only thing I thought was a valid use of an industrial design degree,” said Chris Howard, who works for WWI as designer/draftsman/shop manager.
“This is a very practical use of the degree. It’s very worthwhile. And I’ve been kind of fortunate with my education and things like that, so this is just a way to do something useful with it and give something back .”
For Dana Bolles, who works as an environmental science specialist at NASA’s Ames Research Center and also rides a wheelchair, the work the group does is especially gratifying.
“(It’s very rewarding) being able to go and help people get mobility,” Bolles said. “I know how important it is in my life. If I didn’t have my chair, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
SF State’s Museum Studies new exhibit, ‘Civilized Lands,’ a collection of beautiful and colorful pieces from the ancient Middle East is now on display.
Artifacts range from pottery, coinage and clay tablets during the time of the Badarian Culture of Egypt in 5500 B.C., up through Tunisian clay lamps from the fourth through the sixth centuries, A.D.
“We want to present to the public something different than what they see on television,” said the museum's program director, Linda Ellis. “Some of the artifacts on display come from the very first cities and civilizations known and it is important that we correctly understand the culture.”
The Sumerian culture, one of many cultures vibrantly displayed in the museum, is the oldest organized civilization that we know of. The Sumerians became fully developed in Mesopotamia about 5000 B.C., and farmed as early as 9000 B.C. The Sumerians noted themselves as the Kengir, which literally translates into English as, the ‘civilized land.’
The Sumerians are responsible for giving us our time chart, in which we count 60 seconds to a minute, 60 minutes to an hour and 360 degrees to a perfect circle. The Sumerians are also credited in 3000 B.C. with the domestication of plants and animals.
In addition, Mesopotamia is considered to be the "birthplace of beer," in which, according to the museum studies students, both men and women drank as far back as 6,000 years ago.
While some objects on display are from the Museum Studies Sutro Egyptian collection (displayed in the Spring), many are on loan from the Rosicrucian Museum in San Jose and the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.
Julia DeVere, a museum studies graduate student said the theme for the upcoming exhibit is decided upon based on what they are able to get out on loan from the various museums.
“At the beginning of the semester, we all (as a class) brainstorm what will be covered, while trying to give a broad history to the small pieces,” DeVere said.
DeVere also said that the museum studies courses, 710 (curation) and 730 (outreach), are designed to give students time to create a catalog and gallery guide to the museum exhibits. The museum studies students also create the wall posters and infographs that adorn the museum walls.
The exhibit’s oldest piece comes from the Neolithic Stone Age (around 5500 B.C.) in the form of a large clay vase. The vase is predominantly a reddish-brown while the entrance to the vase is black.
“The vase was created, fired upside-down,” said museum studies graduate student Katrina Jones. “The top part is black because it was sitting in ashes where oxygen could not get to it. The rest of the vase remained red where it could get oxygen.”
Jones said that she is amazed at the durability of the artifacts that have lasted through the centuries as well as they have. Fine detailing on many of the clay bowls and lamps are still prominently seen, even after thousands of years of aging.
The museum is located in Humanities 510 and is open Monday through Friday, 11-4.
For many student bicyclists, weaving through 19th Avenue can be a dangerous hassle. According to a 2002 report published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 48,000 bicyclists in the United States have reported traffic-related injuries.
Accidents still occur near SF State and students and public officials are demanding change. Benjamin Lyon is one of the organizers of SF State's newly formed Street Thunder Bicycle Club. The organization plans to bring awareness and education about safety issues bicyclists face on campus. According to Lyon, who has been hit six times by motorists, he would like to prevent other students from experiencing the pain he has.
"There's a share of responsibility," said Lyon. "A bike weighs 20 to 30 pounds and vehicles weigh several tons."
Lyon's last incident took place in 2001 at the corner of Buckingham and 19th Avenue, which resulted in a broken wrist. The very same spot Lyon was hit is the location that the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (SFBC) and SF State students hope to add a bike lane. The San Francisco Deptartment of Parking and Transportation (DPT) has been involved with the SF Bike Plan Update, which plans to add more bike lanes along Holloway Avenue as well.
Joshua Hart is the program director for the SFBC and believes the three-mile stretch of 19th Avenue is dangerous and prohibits bicyclists from sharing lanes with motorists. "19th Avenue is a huge barrier to bicyclists," said Hart in a phone interview. "Up and down 19th Avenue is dangerous. It's not ideal."
According to Hart, there are over 30,000 riders throughout the city. A 2002 DPT report showed a decline of bicycle-related collisions. In 2002, there were 285 citywide reports compared to 2001 when there were 339 reported collisions.
Earlier this year, Speaker Pro Tempore Leland Yee (D-SF) authored Assembly Bill 2568, which would fine unsafe motorists along 19th Avenue twice the amount of a regular ticket. In 2003, SF State cinema graduate Srijaya Dalton was killed in a hit and run on 19th Avenue at the intersection of Quintara Street.
District 7 Supervisor Sean Elsbernd, who replaced Supervisor Tony Hall in August, isn't too concerned with SF State's bicycle inquiries. According to Elsbernd, who has met with the SFBC and DPT, he is curently focusing on "long-term" solutions for SF State and the city, but notes the situation does not require "immediate attention."
"SF State isn't [that] big of a problem," said Elsbernd in a phone interview.
Currently, the DPT’s Bicycle Program staff is working to update the outdated 1997 San Francisco Bicycle Plan. Plans include more educational outreach, more enforcement and bicycle parking. The Bicycle Plan update will also include the supplemental design guidelines, which include the Shared Use pavement marking for bicyclists and motorists. The Board of Supervisors must approve the updated bicycle plan in order for the plan to become implemented.
The Bicycle Program also launched the Coexists Campaign in an effort to create “respect between bicyclists and motorists,” which they also hope will create safer road conditions for everyone.
On top of adding more lanes, Lyon and his friends are promoting the Bike Barn, a facility on campus that students and faculty can use for free. Noriko Yashui, a Bike Barn attendant, agrees with Lyon that not many students park their bikes in the Bike Barn under the Gym. According to UPD Sgt. Jennifer Schwartz, the Bike Barn can accommodate up to 450 bicycles.
"I'm concerned that most people don't know about this (Bike Barn)," said Yasui as she works a drizzly morning shift. Yasui also believes that bicycles are safer at the Bike Barn with an attendant present than around the campus. "Many people's bikes get stolen and someone's always here [to watch them]."
On average, there are 30 to 70 bicycles parked under the gym a day. On rainy days, most students opt to drive or take public transportation. One rainy morning last week, only five users logged into the bike barn. "It's slower (here) in the winter time and when it rains," said Yashui.
Sam Hartman, 24, parks at the bike barn "almost everyday." He understands why some students opt to park within the campus.
"Sometimes I don't use it because it takes time to walk to class," said Hartman.
Lyon would like to see SF State offer more resources, such as tools for bicyclists through a shift in the school's transportation spending.
"The school doesn't offer much to the student bicyclists besides the Bike Barn," said Lyon. "We would like to work on developing an on-campus repair shop.
“I’m not a martyr," added Lyon. "I just want to be able to choose my mode of transportation."
SF State’s Educational Policies Committee (EPC) voted 15-1 on Nov. 9 to refer the Bachelor's and Master's in Russian to the Academic Senate for discontinuance.
Components such as not enough students earning a Bachelor's in Russian -- 88 have been awarded in the past 20 years -- a lack of tenured faculty and not enough students using the degree after graduating were keys of the decision.
Paul Sherwin, dean of Humanities, presented his argument for discontinuance before the EPC while Katerina Siskron, Russian program director, and Midori McKeon, the foreign language chair argued to save the degree.
“While I am saddened by this event, the arguments in support of keeping the Russian degree program are not compelling,” said Sherwin in his opening statement to the EPC. “We must understand that we are not here to discontinue Russian. We will keep the (Russian) language and literature courses in order to keep the minor.”
Sherwin said cost was the main factor in wanting to discontinue the Russian degree. While acknowledging that the elimination of the degrees would save SF State $15,000 per year, Sherwin said, in the long run, the elimination would accrue “massive, permanent savings to the college.”
Sherwin said SF State would save money because the university would not have to hire on any tenured faculty if the degree was eliminated.
Siskron admitted that Russian was vulnerable to discontinuance for many reasons, including a lack of tenured faculty. Professor Ershov, the Russian program’s senior tenured professor went on sick leave five years ago.
"He (Ershov) loved to teach and didn’t want to give up," Siskron said. "He kept hoping that he’d be well enough to come back. It wasn’t until March of this year that his sick leave ran out and he was not well enough to continue teaching, so he had to retire.”
Still, both Siskron and McKeon argued the Russian program is strong as it stands. They recognized its importance to the San Francisco and Bay Area communities by noting the massive support that it has recieved over the past several months.
Resolutions passed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, the CSU Foreign Language Council and the Immigrants Rights Commission supported the program.
But Richard Giardina, Assistant to Academic Planning said at the meeting that it may not be important to “offer Russian at this institution,” and that the student and societal need and desire for Russian does not match the University's ability to provide a Russian degree program.
SF State student Oxsana Bobarykin, 22, is majoring in Liberal Studies with a minor in Russian. Bobarykin said that she moved from Orange County, Calif. to major in Russian at SF State, upon hearing of the program’s positive reputation in the Bay Area.
When she was admitted to SF State, however, Bobarykin’s request to major in Russian was reduced to a minor, due to the possible discontinuance.
Bobarykin shot up out of her seat to voice her opinion after Giardina's comment.
“There is a need for Russian here,” Bobarykin said. “There is a societal need for people like myself who moved here 14 years ago from the Soviet Union. They are all getting to the age where they are needing to retain their culture.”
In addition, Siskron said that student enrollment in Russian 101 is up 38 percent overall and Russian language, according to the U.S Census for 2000, is the fastest growing language in the United States next to Mandarin.
SF State student Cliff Anderson-Bergman, 22, is working towards his doctorate in math. “A Ph.D. in math requires that you minor in either French, German or Russian.”
Siskron also said, “the Federal Government has recently once again acknowledged the importance of Russian as one of the languages strategic for national security.”
But Giardina said that the Russian program needs a minimum of two tenure-track faculty to survive as a degree program. Giardina also said that it would cost the University no less than $100,000 per year for each tenured faculty member that they hire.
However, Dr. Julian Randolph, former language department chair at SF State said, “show me chapter, book and verse where it says that tenure track faculty is needed. I would really like to see where it says that.”
Randolph also said that the “University treats the department of Foreign Languages as it pleases, giving it credit only when it wants to” and “eliminating the Russian degree would continue the downhill process for the program until it is eliminated altogether.”
While Sherwin said that the Humanities council unanimously voted to refer the Russian degree for discontinuance, McKeon said that the entire body of the foreign language department, 61 members strong, signed the letter of support for Russian, that was sent to President Corrigan on May 11, 2004.
The Academic Senate will meet Tuesday, Nov. 16 to review the proposal for discontinuance as well as the rebuttal. The decisions of the EPC and AS will go to President Corrigan’s office for final review.
“(The decision made by the EPC) is very disappointing, but it’s not over yet,” said McKeon.
“I believe that we presented a good case,” said Siskron. “I have faith in the Academic Senate, that they will look at more than just the budget, that they will look at the situation more comprehensively and academically.”
After nearly two weeks of rumors and speculation regarding the deteriorating health of PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, Palestinian officials announced late Wednesday, Nov. 10 that the 75-year-old leader had died in a military hospital outside of Paris.
According to reports from the Associated Press, Arafat died at 3:30 a.m. after slipping into a coma from which he never recovered.
Palestinian Cabinet Minister Saeb Erekat confirmed Arafat’s death at a press conference in Arafat’s demolished headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah,. Some Israeli newspapers, including the English-language daily Haaretz, had already reported earlier in the day that Arafat had died.
Revered by many Palestinians as a hero, yet frequently derided by Israeli officials and many Western nations as a terrorist, Arafat’s legacy and his death will undoubtedly have an enormous impact on the continuing violence and stalled peace process in Israel and the occupied territories.
While Palestinian officials have scrambled in recent days to reorganize their leadership in the case of Arafat death, the lack of a hand-picked successor could jeopardize Arafat’s often-expressed dream of a Palestinian state.
However, many Palestinians and Jewish students at SF State say they feel that Arafat’s death could also spark new hope for an end to the fighting and an eventual reconciliation in the region both look upon as their ancestral home.
“Arafat is a symbol of the Palestinian struggle,” said Charlie El-Qare, president of the SF State-based General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS), in a statement issued on Nov. 10.
El-Qare went on to discuss his thoughts and hopes for the future.
“I hope that Israel will not choose to miss this opportunity to make peace,” El-Qare said. “I hope that the U.S. and Israel will return to the bargaining table and not continue (Israeli Prime Minister Ariel) Sharon’s unilateral withdrawal plan.”
Other Palestinian students at SF State also expressed their concerns and hopes.
Musa Yasin, a 21-year-old political science major at SF State, expressed his hope that Arafat’s death may help revive the peace process by bringing new leadership to the Palestinian people.
Yasin said he was born in the U.S., but has often traveled with his father to the small town of Yabroud, in the occupied territories, where his family comes from. The last time he visited relatives in the region was in 1994, when the peace process looked hopeful and travel was much easier then it is today.
“After [Arafat] being in power for so long, after the last 6 to 8 years, when the relations started going down hill, it came to the point where we need someone else to start a new peace process,” said Yasin.
Ramiz Hasan, a 23-year-old dual major in political science and criminal justice, said he looks forward to new Palestinian leadership, but worries that it may take time for a new leader to emerge.
“There is a great possibility for a struggle for power,” said Hasan. “I think the Palestinian people should hold elections and find their new leader and I don’t care who the West thinks is good or not. We don’t need a puppet.”
Hasan acknowledged though that any new leader would have to work with all sides, including Israel and the West, to find peace, but stressed that the needs of Palestinians must come first.
“What the Palestinians need is peace and security, and to live with their Israeli neighbors,” said Hasan. “He has to have legitimate support from the people as a whole. The new leader has to work with the Western powers in order to find a solution.”
Last week in the Cesar Chavez Student Center, Janan Eadeh, secretary of the General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS) speculated about what might happen should Arafat die.
“If he dies, there’s going to be a lot of chaos,” said Eadeh. “I’m not looking forward to that.”
But Eadeh too pointed out that Arafat’s death could have a long-term, beneficial effect in the Middle East if a new leader emerged who could bridge the conflict and help both Israelis and Palestinians achieve a peaceful settlement to their long-standing disputes.
In an email on Nov. 5, SF State political science professor Nicole Watts said she was also concerned about what could happen after Arafat’s death.
“Because Arafat has maintained such a high degree of control over the Palestinian Authority and because he has not specified a process by which leadership should be transferred after his death or ‘retirement,’ his death or incapacitation will create a certain level of crisis,” Watts wrote in a written response to an interview request.
Like Eadeh, Watts too sees some hope that Arafat's death might spark a change in Middle Eastern politics.
“Over time, it is possible that Arafat's passing could allow other leaders to begin establishing new and more productive relations with Israeli authorities and the U.S. New leadership could also re-engage ordinary Palestinians, many of whom have become increasingly disillusioned with the current Palestinian leadership," Watts wrote.
After a cancelled class in the international relations department last week, SF State international relations Professor Dwight Simpson sat in with a group of three students at an impromptu round-table discussion on Arafat’s illness. The students and Simpson talked about future prospects for peace in a region all too often torn by terrorism and strife.
Diana Turken, a 22-year-old English literature major and a Jewish American student, expressed her support for Israel’s reaction to Arafat’s illness and the agreement two weeks ago to allow the Palestinian leader to leave the compound where he’s been surrounded by Israeli military forces since the latest Intifada began. However, Turken said she had little confidence that Arafat could have ever brought peace in between Israelis and Palestinians.
“I don’t think Arafat is a very good leader for the Palestinian people,” said Turken. She also speculated that Arafat might become a martyr.
Simpson and each of the students also said that they wondered about who might fill Arafat’s position as leader of the Palestinian people.
“I’m very worried about the future,” Simpson said. “In the absence of Arafat, who still has a substantial following, who’s going to fill the power vacuum?”
In her email, Watts too expressed concern about who might succeed Arafat.
“It is also very likely there will be a struggle for Palestinian leadership between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority; this could potentially be quite violent and make life all the more miserable for ordinary Palestinians,” Watts wrote.
But beyond the worries, most Palestinian students at SF State seem to focus on a brighter future for both Palestinians and Israelis.
“The only thing that we have is hope,” said Yasin. “Once hope dies, we have nothing else.”
Photographs of distraught children, gun-toting soldiers and dead bodies were displayed on the walls. The pictures, printed from the Internet, were intended to give those in attendance a sense of what is going in Haiti.
Members of Latin American Empowerment, an informal organization of SF State students, welcomed Pier Labossiere, co-founder of the Haitian Action Committee to campus on Tuesday.
Before his arrival, at just a few minutes past 2 p.m., it was clear the small conference room on the terrace level of Jack Adams Hall was going to be standing room only.
Before he began his introduction of Labossiere, Latin American Empowerment Member Camilo Torres asked those in attendance how they heard of the event and why they decided to come.
A curly-haired young man sitting in the front row directly facing Torres said his father was born in Haiti and the country was something he’d always wanted to know more about.
The young woman sitting next to him said that she’d visited the Dominican Republic recently and was told not to go to Haiti.
Others said they saw fliers posted on campus and thought it would be interesting. Another young man said, from his seat on the floor, he was interested to find out what happened to Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide, as he has seen little or no coverage in mainstream media.
News reports printed in the New York Times and other media outlets stated Aristide, Haiti’s first democratically elected president, resigned under immense pressure from the U.S. government.
Labossiere said Aristide didn’t voluntarily leave the presidency and his country on a U.S.-chartered plane but that he was held at gunpoint, forced to board the plane and kidnapped.
Labossiere supports the Lavalas movement, Aristide’s political party, primarily made up of Haiti’s poor majority. He presented a film by Oakland-based filmmaker, Kevin Pine entitled “We will bend but we shall Not Break.” This short film, a work in progress, focuses on the Lavalas movement.
Labossiere offered a brief history of Haiti including French colonization, enslavement, slave revolt and the Thomas Jefferson instituted U.S. boycott of Haiti.
Labossiere criticized the media, in particular large papers like the New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle for reporting, what he calls, blatant lies.
“It is not an accident. They have created a campaign of mass misinformation,” Labossiere said.
Labossiere said when journalists and celebrities travel to Haiti they are shielded from the poor and only interact with the rich who oppose the Lavalas movement.
Just before Labossiere concluded the discussion, Camilo Torres passed around a hat and asked that students give whatever change they had to Labossiere to be donated to the Haitian Action Network. Several students dug in their pocket and contributed.
Latin American Empowerment is not an official club or organization recognized by the university, it is a group of students who meet once a week to discuss social and political issues and exchange information in keeping with their “each one, teach one” philosophy.
“We are trying to raise consciousness,” says member Camilo Torres. When asked his position in Latin American Empowerment, Torres says that there is no hierarchy and it isn’t a “club” in the traditional sense.
“We’re just Latin American Empowerment… people.”
Torres said over the course of the semester, with each meeting and subsequent discussion, he has watched people’s intellect grow.
Before walking Labossiere out of Cesar Chavez, Torres counted the bills and coins that filled his cap and handed Labossiere almost 60 dollars.
A new heart drug that has significant positive effects for only African Americans has been put on the fast track for Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approval, after test results were released Monday, Nov. 8, at a meeting of the American Heart Association in New Orleans.
The drug, called BiDil, is manufactured by Mass. based NitroMed inc. and will be the first ever drug labeled and marketed for a specific racial group, according to the FDA.
After receiving a patent for the drug in late August, NitroMed submitted drug trial data to the FDA that will set launch time for the new drug in early 2005.
The original study in the 1980s did not focus on one specific race, but after analyzing the data, principal researcher Dr. Jay Cohn of the University of Minnesota discovered that the drug reduced heart failure significantly in African Americans.
A second test trial confirmed the benefits of the new drug in African Americans. Over two years, BiDil reduced the death rate in African American patients from 10.2 percent to 6.2 percent and reduced hospitalizations from 24.4 percent to 16.4 percent.
With the drug, African Americans had a 43 percent better survival rate. The second trial of the drug was halted before it could be completed so test subjects receiving a placebo could be given the medication.
“If its effective and I believe it should be released,” said De'George Griffin, 20, an African American student at SF State. Griffin said that if BiDil worked mostly for whites, there would probably be no controversy.
BiDil is a combination of the generic drug isosorbide dinitrate, which stimulates production of nitric oxide in the body and is beneficial to the heart, along with Hydralazine, which is used in the treatment of high blood pressure. Combined, the two drugs work better than traditional heart treatment medications in African Americans.
Recent controversy surrounding the drug, centers on the racial aspects of treatment and marketing.
Because the drug has real benefits, it is likely to be approved by the FDA, Dr. M. Gregg Bloche of Johns Hopkins University wrote in an editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine.
But because the drug is beneficial only to African Americans and will be labeled as an African American only drug marketed strictly to that race, it is a potential problem in colorblind medical treatment, Bloche also wrote.
Not releasing the drug because of its racial selectivity would have drawbacks as well. In 2003, a potential AIDS vaccine called AIDSVAX failed in drug trials in all groups except African Americans. When the report was released, there was outcry from the black community to continue the trials for Blacks, who have been hit hard by the AIDS epidemic all over the world.
“Our country has this kind of favoritism,” said Griffin. “They market fashion to African Americans, why not drugs as well?”
Volunteers at the Democratic National Headquarters in San Francisco spent most of election day trying to increase voter turnout.
Staff members directed volunteers to specific tasks such as precinct walks and phone calls to get last minute voters out to the polls.
As the presidential election hung in the balance last Tuesday night, many SF State students hoped Ohio, a swing state, would pull through for Sen. John Kerry and the country.
"I'm voting for Kerry," said Kate Bradely, microbiology freshman. "People will be pissed if Ohio doesn't go to Kerry."
At 1:30 a.m. Wednesday morning, Sen. John Edwards addressed a crowd of Kerry/Edwards supporters in Boston letting them know that because the vote count in Ohio was still outstanding they would not be calling the election in either direction until every absentee, provisional and cast vote was counted.
Kerry’s advisors predicted he would win the state of Ohio. Ultimately, the voters had another candidate in mind.
“I am extremely happy that President Bush has been re-elected,” said Sgt. David Nicks, dressed in brown army fatigues, waiting for a connecting flight at Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport. “I feel that Kerry’s plan to bring us home from Afghanistan would have been the wrong move because we’re doing really good things there.”
“The media always focuses on the bad things,” Nicks continued as he sipped a mid-morning tall coffee from the airport Starbucks. “This will be my second tour there and I can’t wait to get there. We’ve opened several schools, and the kids love us. The American media never shows the kids running up to us and hugging and cheering us. You have no idea how good it feels to know that you are responsible for grown men standing in line to vote for the first time.”
Jim Trakas, chairman of the Cuyahoga County Republican Party said that although Bush did not win the large county of Cuyahoga, he did better than expected.
“We didn’t expect to win Cuyahoga because it is a Democratic stronghold,” said Trakas, visibly exhausted from a long campaign season. “We were, however, successful at taking a play from their playbook – grassroots. We went door-to-door in Cuyahoga asking people to vote their moral conscience for President Bush. The numbers aren’t in, but we’re confident we got at least 75% of registered Republicans in the county to vote Bush.”
The moral values plea seemed to have worked on Timothy Klauss, a chemical engineering sophomore at Cleveland State University.
“I voted for Bush because I thought he was the right man for the job,” said Klauss. “His policies on abortion and banning gay marriage are good. Without moral values the country would deteriorate.”
Nathan Faber, chemical engineering freshman at Case Western Reserve University, said his absentee ballot vote for Bush came down to the moral issues of gay marriage and abortion because on every other issue, Kerry and Bush campaigned on the same platform.
“I was happy when I saw the gap [between Bush and Kerry] staying at 100,000 [votes] in Ohio,” said Faber, who was excited to go against his liberal professors who were sure Kerry would win. “I had a feeling [Bush] was going to win it.”
Sarah Gilliam, international studies sophomore and pre-med student at Case Western Reserve University, and her roommate Stephanie Erchect still had Bush signs plastered on their dorm door and walls on Thursday afternoon
“I voted for Bush because of things like abortion, the issue of gay marriage, and I’m also against stem cell research,” said Gilliam, who stayed up until 5:30 a.m. for election results. “And I don’t think he’s done a bad job the last four years, so I was like, let’s vote for him again.”
Gilliam said students supporting Kerry yelled at Erchect and her, and they wrote anti-Bush slogans on the Bush signs posted on their door. She said they laughed it off because they had a right to their opinion.
“This was my first election, so it was like, ‘Wow, I’m voting for George Bush,’” said Erchect, who voted via Michigan absentee ballot based on his moral issues platform. “You’ll always remember the first one.”
Looking forward to the 2008 presidential race, Erchect said she thinks former New York City mayor Rudy Guiliani should run since Vice President Dick Cheney has no plans to do so.
Marie Johnson, junior chemistry student at Case Western Reserve University said she was undecided when the Democrats were going through their primary, however, once John Kerry became the Democratic candidate she knew she would vote for Bush.
“There were important issues on the ballot, but what really made me vote was the fact that I’m from a state where the election was going to be really close, so my vote really counted,” said Johnson. “And national security - having a child, I’m really concerned with where this country is going.”
According to Cindy Marizette, Executive Director of the Cuyahoga County Democrats, the Bush campaign did a better job at getting out the vote this year than in any of the 20 years she has been involved in politics.
“They were everywhere in Cuyahoga County,” said Marizette. “But they didn’t win it. I am proud and can hold my head high knowing that Cuyahoga worked hard and went to Kerry. I just wish the rest of the state had the sense to do the same.”
A trail of bobbing lighted balloons curves alongside the Embarcadero, contrasting distinctly from the clear black night sky. The balloons are held by families, friends, company teams and civic groups who raised funds and walk to support and commemorate the lives touched by cancer.
The Archbishop Riordan High School band jumpstarted, "The Light the Night Walk," the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's annual nationwide evening walk, at the Justin Herman Plaza, that celebrates and honors the lives affected by cancer.
"Everyone's a brother or a sister," said 17 year-old band player Mario Melara, holding his saxophone. we are all one community. Why not help? Even if you don't know someone who is afflicted with Leukemia, it doesn't matter, you can just help."
"If you can't support financially then I think just contributing with your time and effort and coming out and showing the survivors here support," said 29 year-old Jill LeVan wearing a ,˜Light the Night" button and a ˜Livestrong" bracelet.
Last Saturday, marked the sixth year the event has been held in San Francisco. There are 63 chapters across the country holding similar events. This particular event raised $225,000.
More than a walk, Light the Night is a community celebration and coming-together, with food, music and family activities, providing help and hope for thousands of cancer patients and their families.
Kirsten Wolberg, a chair member for two years, came in support of her husband Mark Wolberg who is a survivor of lymphoma.
"When something like that happens to you, you find there's not a lot you can
do," said Wolberg. "You feel pretty helpless and so I got involved with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society sort of as my one way I can make a difference."
"I'm very passionate and committed to raising money to fight cancer," says Wolberg, with her four year-old daughter Margo at her side.
"It's a really easy event to do," says Casey Shaughnessy, Public & Media Relations manager for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. "Some of the marathons that require a lot more demanding exercise are sometimes inaccessible to people. This is wonderful; it's a really easy evening walk, so the whole family can come out."
An archway of red and white balloons floats above the supporters as they flood the finish way. Melisa Montoya, a 28 year-old campaign manager for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, cheers finishers with a group of friends.
"My grandfather passed away from lymphoma a few years ago, so this is something that is close to my heart, something that I love doing everyday, says Montoya. "This the epitome of support right here."
A woman who wishes to remain anonymous came to the event in hopes of creating awareness about the deadliness of cancer. Her late husband passed away last month from acute leukemia. "I hadn't realized it was such a dreadful disease," said the mother holding her sleeping baby on her shoulder. "I thought it was quite curable so it came as a big shock," said the woman with teary eyes.
The Odyssey, a jazz band, played for the remainder of the event which ended around 9PM. Children danced on the pavement surrounded by the murmur of conversations from their parents.
"I got goosebumps really," said Shane Ashley, lead singer of the Odyssey, looking at the white paper bags glowing from lit candles on the stage. "Looking at all the people with the balloons. There's just so much faith in here right now, it's really good. It makes me feel good."
"We want to thank everyone who helped make tonight possible from our sponsors to our volunteers to you guys for coming out tonight," announces Renee Richardson, KFOG deejay.
It's great to see the community out here with all the kids and the strollers; it's just great," said LeVan with a chuckle.
Filipino students of all ages met on campus one evening to discuss an issue that concerns their community: how to help over 80,000 Filipino World War II veterans receive the full equity, or benefits, they were denied for their service over 60 years ago.
Jun Cruz, an SF State graduate student and member of Student Action for Veteran Equity (S.A.V.E.), asks a group of 20 young Filipino students one Monday evening, "Who was the president of the U.S. that enacted the Executive Order calling Filipinos to serve in the U.S. military?"
As some shrugged their shoulders or turned to look at the ceiling for the possible answer, a student yells out, "Roosevelt. FDR."
Cruz and many Filipino students at SF State have been working feverishly with other colleges in the Bay Area to help Filipino veterans receive full equity, or full benefits and recognition, for aiding the U.S. military from 1941 to 1945.
Many college students from SF State to USF to UC Davis established S.A.V.E in 2001. S.A.V.E has been a forceful voice for student activism in the community. Since 2003, members of the organization pushed for the 108th Congress to pass H.R. 677, the Filipino Veterans Act of 2003.
The bill was introduced by Rep. Randy Cunningham, CA-51.
In order for the bill to pass, it needed 219 co-sponsors and has 207 supporters. S.A.V.E plans to help reintroduce another bill for the 109th Congress, which will reconvene next January. Last year, President George W. Bush signed Public Law 108-1709, which gives health care benefits to eligible World War II Filipino veterans. In order to become eligible veterans must prove their service, something that many students feel is an injustice because of lost documents during the war.
At the end of World War II, of the 66 allies the U.S. military had, under the President’s Executive Order of 1941, Filipino veterans were deemed non-U.S. citizens, even though they were inducted into the U.S. Army Forces in the Far East, or U.S.A.F.F.E. Five years later, under the Recession Act, Congress deemed the Filipino veterans as inactive through military, naval or air service.
Jaymee Faith Sagisi, 27, is an SF State graduate and now works with the Veterans Equity Center (VEC) as a legal volunteer. Sagisi believes the U.S. government is being disrespectful to the Filipino veterans.
“It’s a sad situation, they’re our elders,” said Sagisi as a group of SF State students gathered at the Veterans Equity Center to make banners and buttons for the Veterans Day parade. “They’re [the government] waiting for the veterans to die.”
According to Sagisi, who is currently a law student, everyone agrees that the veterans deserve full recognition for their service. “It globally unites the left and right, and they know it,” said Sagisi.
Carlo Montemayor, a 20-year-old SF State student, dropped by the VEC late Friday night to help make buttons. Montemayor said he was not familiar with the issues veterans face today until earlier this year.
“I had no idea,” said Montemayor, who credits Psyche and Behavior of Pilipinos, an Asian American studies class, for introducing him to the Pilipino American Collegiate Endeavor, which educated him about issues within the community.
Professor Danilo Begonia is the instructor of AAS 355: Psyche and Behavior of Pilipinos, and he has talked with his current students about World War II and how it affected the Philippine islands and culture. "The history of World War II is part of the Filipino struggle for liberation," said Begonia.
One of the many lessons introduced in AAS 355 is the concept of Kapwa, which is a shared identity. For the Filipino veterans, Begonia sees the men as strong. "It's a Kapwa-based struggle and they do it togther."
Begonia has also encouraged his students to participate in the Veteranos Project, where students interview and record the story of Filipino veterans. "To have my students in the presence of these great men is powerful and inspirational," said Begonia. "With knowledge comes responsibilty."
PACE is an organization on campus Filipinos and non-Filipinos can turn to for information about the Filipino community. The League of Filipino Students is another organization students are involved with as well.
Montemayor also believes many students on campus are not well informed about the veterans.
“We don’t hear about it in the newspaper, television, magazines or anything,” said Montemayor. “We don’t learn about Philippine history in school unless you take an Asian American studies class.”
For Cruz and Charles Ramilo, a fellow SF State student and S.A.V.E. member, leading educational workshops on the history of Filipino veterans is a great way to bring awareness. Last year, S.A.V.E launched the Brown Ribbon campaign, which the press release addressed as stemming from the “issue of injustice toward our Filipino WWII veterans."
According to SF State’s demographics report in 2003, there is an estimated 2,200 Filipino students studying on campus. Sagisi remains hopeful that the veterans will receive full benefits. She also believes many Filipino students should become involved with the Filipino community and understand why some students are not involved.
“SF State remains a commuter school,” said Sagisi. “It’s hard to get that message out there.”
The American Language Institute (ALI) is still recovering from the tightened immigration laws that have affected their student applicants because of the terrorist attacks of Sept.11, 2001 and the institute’s payments to San Francisco State.
Due to widespread fear among potential foreign students of being treated with suspicion once entering the United States and the immigration hurdles to get student visas, the ALI experienced a slash in its student enrollment by 40 percent in 2003.
In addition, lack of classrooms and adequate classroom size to accommodate its students has been a continuous concern to ALI officials and a difficult decision to manage for San Francisco State administrators.
“We provide academic and cultural skills for students who want to attend American colleges and universities,” said Dr. H. Douglas Brown, the director of the American Language Institute. “We’ve become a kind of gateway to San Francisco State for students of other countries.”
The American Language Institute was founded in 1961 and it provides intensive language skills to international students and a unique highly regarded master’s degree through its Teaching English to Students of Other Languages (TESOL) program.
The ALI curriculum provides courses in reading, writing, grammar, cultural skills and TOEFL preparation. Its classes are divided in four levels, from low intermediate (TOEFL 325) to advanced classes (TOEFL 600). Class size averages between 15 and 18 students. Around 20 percent apply to San Francisco State upon completing their program at the ALI, and 21 percent transfer to other institutions.
“All of our teachers are in the TESOL program, whereas at some other institutions that teach English teachers are not even required to hold a B.A. degree,” said Peg Sarosy an ALI academic coordinator in reference to what makes her institution different from its competitors.
“The best thing about ALI is its environment,” said Shelley Ruby, 28, a teacher who teaches advanced speech and listening. “Everybody is collaborative and every teacher is extremely helpful,” said Ruby. She said she loves working with ALI administrators. “They are very good mentors.”
The 22-hour per week program for students not only teaches English; it also emphasizes cultural skills for students to succeed in the American college system.
Nicole Frantz, an ALI program coordinator and student advisor, said students also learn multimedia programs and how to write academic papers. In addition, students learn how to interact with teachers in the classroom the way domestic students do.
“I am comfortable with my classmates and teachers, and everybody is very friendly,” said Jun Igarashi, 24, an ALI student from Japan who holds a degree in economics. At the end of the semester he plans to return home to work on his field.
“Teachers care about you and they let you express your opinion,” said Wansika Phukmeetong, 28, an ALI student from Thailand. She is enrolled in an intermediate class and plans to transfer to a four-year institution.
To Ga-Ryung Park, 19, an ALI student from South Korea, said cultural skills have not been difficult for her because Americans have influenced most cultures.
When these students return to their countries of origin, it is likely they will spread the experience they had at the ALI to their home campuses, ALI officials said.
The American Language Institute relies on the students’ fees for institutional survival. It is an organization affiliated with San Francisco State but it does not receive any financial support from the university.
“All our revenue comes from the students but 30 percent of it goes to the university,” said Dr. Brown.
In 2000, the ALI payments to San Francisco State rose to 30 percent, up from 14 percent. The ALI budget for 2004 is $750,000.
Fee increases to students enrolled at the ALI rose modestly, some 5 percent to 10 percent, said Dr. Brown, adding there has not been any fee increase in the last two years.
The ALI charges $2,750 for the spring and fall semesters. In the summer semester it charges $2,400.
All ALI students have access to San Francisco State facilities, such as the gyms, the library and the student health center.
The American Language Institute is a small program linked to SF State through the College of Extended Learning and to the English Department at the College of Humanities. It housed up to 150 students per semester in the late 90s. For the present fall semester only 100 students are enrolled, the majority coming from the Asian region.
But if budget constraints and immigration hurdles that dwindled students’ enrollment post Sept. 11 were not enough to hit the ALI, San Francisco State’s policy in regard of classroom allocations also hurt ALI’s expansion.
“One of my concerns is that the administration doesn’t give us the kind of priority we would like to have,” said Dr. Brown.“They give us what is left over,” Brown said in regard of classroom allocations, “and that’s a physical constraint.”
“That’s not going to change,” said Ray Paton, administrative operations assistant of the Academic Affairs department.
Paton said it is the policy of the university to give priority to classes that teach regular university classes and that decision comes from the provost office.
In the fall of 2003, the ALI officials requested 10 classrooms and the school’s administration gave them seven; this year, the ALI got eight classrooms, Paton said.
He also said there are lots of space during 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. and after 5 p.m., besides the weekends.
“The reality is,” Paton said, “as long as the demand for regular university classes is high it will be impossible to change the classroom arrangements with the ALI.”
That situation does not keep Dr. Brown from planning a better time for his institution.
“By the end of 2005 we should be back to normal,” he said. He also said he dreams of a set of classrooms he can count on to expand, to make the American Language Institute more visible on campus.
And in budgetary terms he dreams of a lower payment to San Francisco State. “But I guess I am dreaming too much,” said Dr. Brown.
The housing crunch in San Francisco leaves little room for first-time homebuyers. Residents are opting to rent hoping someday the market will come down to reasonable levels. A graduate of SF State played that waiting game and finally decided to take matters into his own hands.
The result is sitting in Lot A at SBC Park.
Scott Redmond is the brainchild behind NowHouse, an eco-friendly affordable housing project on display in the parking lot of San Francisco’s downtown stadium through December.
Redmond has come a long way since graduating from SF State in 1979 with a degree in sociology/cultural anthropology and a minor in architecture/engineering. His idea of building a house came after being fed up for decades about the rising housing costs in San Francisco.
Redmond began developing several design patents. He took the technology he used in his career as an architect and teamed it with the concept of clean green affordable housing. The result of that combination was NowHouse.
“The world is dying,” said Redmond. “All notable scientists say the world has reached an environment crisis because of political and business interests.” Redmond wanted to show a connection between living in a clean environment and being healthy.
"Cancer is rising and it’s directly related to industrial reasons so it doesn’t make sense to live in a home that is toxic," he said. "Home is supposed to be your castle, a sanctuary where you feel safe, but if the rubber mats under your carpet and the materials in your walls are toxic, it directly affects your well being."
Redmond is also concerned about the impact building materials have on our environment. NowHouse is made to order with new-growth bamboo floors, non-toxic paint, solar panels and wind energy technologies. Wood walls are insulated with environmentally friendly steam-expanded foam and are strong enough to withstand 160-mph winds. The house requires no drywall and no expert carpentry crew due to it’s precut and ready to assemble panels.
Redmond credits two former SF State professors for inspiring him with advice that helped him make it to where he is today. Film professor Irving Saraf taught Redmond that people are only limited by their own imagination.
"That was a big one for me," he said. "It was that ‘think outside of the box’ type of awareness that freed me to explore other options."
Professor Herb Zettle taught a television course that emphasized the importance of precision and craft in the use of tools. Redmond said that class got him focused on technology and its power.
The 2,400-square-foot NowHouse invention took 35 days to build. The two-story structure is complete with modern top-of-the-line accessories including state-of-the-art technology running digital appliances and media all wired into an integrated system.
"I really wanted to show people that modular pre-fab design systems don't have to look funky," said Redmond.
The NowHouse project brings together 100 corporate sponsors and several government agencies like the San Francisco Department of the Environment, who recently announced a commitment to incorporate renewable energy, water conservation, and green building materials to all municipal buildings consisting of more than 5,000 square feet of floor space.
Redmond hopes to sell 1000 clones of NowHouse across the country. The panels cost about $100,000, which includes installation, then another $70,000 for appliances, but in the Bay Area it could cost up to $600,000 once the cost of land, building permits and property taxes are factored in.
According to Redmond, new construction in the Bay Area begins around $200 per square foot, but NowHouse runs about $150. Costs would vary and could be considerably cheaper in other areas of the country, said Redmond.
Redmond is now talking to city officials about having a lottery to give low-income families the opportunity to have a NowHouse. He is hoping to find sponsors from around the Bay Area to buy the home and donate it to the lottery. Names would then be added to a pool and several homes would be donated to needy families. The city already has land set aside for projects like this, said Redmond.
San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom proclaimed Oct. 29 NowHouse Project Awareness Day in San Francisco, and Redmond has been asked to be involved in the United Nations World Environment Day on Jun. 5, 2005.
"I just want to continue using technology solutions to improve people’s lives," said Redmond. This SF State over-achiever may be one step closer to changing the world's view of healthy sustainable living.
For more information about NowHouse go to http://www.nowhouse.org
After several years of steep fee increases, SF State students will find themselves paying even more tuition for Fall 2005.
On October 28, the CSU Board of Trustees voted 15-3 to increase student fees. After the budget is approved by the state legislature, student fees will be hiked by eight percent, amounting to a $186 increase for undergrads and a $215 increase for graduate students.
“The budget was planned and based on the higher education compact with the governor," said Clara Potes-Fellow, a CSU spokesperson. “That compact called for an 8 percent fee increase for both the UC system and the CSU system.”
Governor Schwarzenegger and the heads of the UC and CSU systems made the Higher Education Pact behind closed doors in May. The pact calls for the both systems to raise their funds yearly for the next several years. In return, Schwarzenegger promised to begin returning funding to the system in 2005. Until then, the CSU is financially strapped.
“The CSU has sustained budget cuts for the past three years,” said Potes-Fellow. “The CSU needs to increase revenue in order to provide the instruction and the faculty necessary to help students.”
“The reality is the CSUs have not received enough funding from the general fund to meet the need,” said Eric Guerra, a member of the CSU Board of Trustees and a student at Sacramento State. Guerra was one of the three dissenting votes. “And so the student trustees are forced to look at students as the other options to collect revenue. The root problem is not at the trustee level. That’s the final stage. The root problem is in financing public education. And that comes from the state level.”
Many feel that the state should be doing more now to cover the cost of education.
“It’s necessary to have a certain amount of funding in order for us to have the system funded well, but to me the focus should be on holding the legislature accountable,” said David Abella, president of the SFSU Associated Students. “So although it’s necessary to have more revenue, and more fees, more general fund support, the key should really be on holding the legislature accountable for funding higher education fully.”
Some worry that the recent spate of tuition hikes is pricing students out of an education.
“In a period of five years, (yearly) CSU fees will have gone up by a thousand dollars,” Guerra said. “That’s pretty significant. What that means to middle class families is the inability to pay for books, rent… it’s difficult to come up with the amount of money that it’s costing for student fees nowadays.”
Students are not much happier.
"An increase will suck, either way," said SF State student Vanessa Mora. "I'll probably need to work more hours in order to help balance out having to pay for increased tuition."
SF State Student Catharine Escarcesa also expressed surprised at another tuition hike coming so soon after last year's.
"I guess for people who can't afford it, it's kind of [prohibitive]," Escarcesa said.
California State Treasurer Phil Angelides is looking for a legislator to back his proposal to use publicly owned real estate to increase funding for the UC, CSU and community college system.
On October 19, Angelides announced his idea to create a California Hope Endowment that would manage the estimated $5 billion in state-owned land assets, including office buildings, warehouses and undeveloped lands. The endowment would run the state’s properties like a company and direct the revenues toward higher education goals through a CalHope Trust, according to the treasurer’s proposal.
Mitchel Benson, the treasurer’s spokesman, said the endowment would include non-environmentally sensitive urban and industrial land and be held to the same land use standards as private developers. Hospitals, prisons, parks and protected environmental lands would not be affected.
The CalHope Trust would decide how the money is spent, but Angelides wants to use the trust to increase the number of students entering and graduating from college. He estimates the endowment could raise $300 million per year to help fund college preparation and outreach programs, advanced placement classes, counseling and financial aid.
By Angelides’ estimates, the trust – once it is up and running – could pay for 19,000 students to attend a CSU campus or cover 385,000 students at a community college.
Although the proposal sounds like a win for both the government and college students, SF State public administration assistant professor Sheldon Gen said linking land management with higher education is “unnatural” and “tenuous.”
“It makes him look good on two fronts,” Gen said. “He’s bringing in more revenues and making the government more efficient, while helping a topic that’s popular with the voters, which is higher education.”
Gen said Texas A&M University and the University of Texas receive money from oil taxes. Although the link between education and oil is also unclear, Texans decided higher education was a priority and the state’s natural resource of oil was a way to help pay for it, Gen said.
But Gen warns that dictating where revenues should be spent could create problems for legislators.
“If there is a mismanagement of state-owned property, then we ought to be fixing that problem independent of how that money is used,” Gen said.
“In a budget crunch time, you can’t tell me that the legislature isn't going to see that the CSU has this money in the form of an endowment [and may see some flexibility in the CSU budget],” Gen said.
While other portions of the state budget, like elementary school funding, are constitutionally protected, higher education is not. Benson said California’s budgetary process is "too precarious and injurious" and a "bold, proactive initiative" is needed to ensure funding for colleges and universities.
"I don't think you can rely on the state budgetary process to protect you from bigger classes and higher fees anymore," Benson said.
Angelides uses the Department of Motor Vehicles’ Fell Street building at the tip of Golden Gate Park as one example of a state-owned location not being used to its full potential. The location has a large parking lot and could be developed to include a multi-story building with retail on the first floor, the DMV on the second and private office space on the third floor.
Benson said the treasurer is currently meeting with California legislators to find a sponsor to draft the proposal into a bill.
Although it received little attention during the final weeks of the presidential election, Angelides’ proposal will likely be a popular one and legislators would have a hard time saying no to it, Gen said.
“Education, in general, is a very appealing thing to the voters,” Gen said. “So any feather you can have in your hat that is for education is great. At the same time, any feather you can have in your cap that increases the efficiency of government, without raising taxes, is also good.”
The proposal could prove helpful or hurtful if Angelides runs for governor in 2006, as many political analysts have suggested. Whether or not it goes into effect, Benson said the goal is to discuss how to get more students into college and graduated.
"Will the ultimate answer be precisely what he's saying?” Benson said. “[Angelides is] not saying that. He's saying it's a good beginning to open the discussion, to open the debate. But what he's tired of is the discussion of how do we cut higher education?"
The College Republicans’ table in front of Malcolm X Plaza filled up with police as students expressed their opinions about election results early Wednesday afternoon.
The student club laid out a table as part of the day’s nonprofit job and internship fair along the quad and celebrated the reelection of President George W. Bush.
It wasn’t long before a group of about 13 uniformed police officers and some plain-clothes officers were called in to stand between the group of protestors and the club’s members.
“It’s just really sad we can’t peaceably assemble,” said Leigh Wolf, a member of the club, “even without violence.”
The group of protesters yelled out chants of “Get Out” and “The People United, We’ll Never Be Divided.”
Club members responded by holding up signs saying “Peace Is Not Free,” which only irritated the crowd even more.
The group marched through buildings around campus chanting “Walkout, Do It For Your Country” and “No Justice, No Peace.”
After about 150 students assembled, the group marched back to the club’s table at the Cesar Chavez Student Center.
“We’re protesting the unjust electoral system,” said George Sanchez, one of the protestors. “It’s a system manipulated by corporate interest and not poor working class people.”
Sanchez said over 50 percent of the U.S. population voted yesterday. He said even if Kerry defeated Bush, the entire country wasn’t represented.
“They’re trying to stop our Freedom of Speech,” said Derek Wray, president of the College Republicans. “At school like SF State, people can’t respect our intelligential voice. They’re just mad that we won.”
“I am proud that there is dialogue, but I don’t think this is dialogue as much as yelling each other,” said David Abella, the Associated Students (AS) president in witness to the protest. “I saw a lot of positive energy regarding this election, not just for the presidency, but on other initiatives as well.”
The protestors migrated to Malcolm X Plaza while the College Republicans took down their table and left under the protection of police at 1:30 p.m.
SF State University Police Department reported to the Cesar Chavez student center to breakup a heated political debate between unofficial surrogates of President George W. Bush and Sen. John Kerry Monday afternoon.
A crowd of approximately 100 gathered in front of a table setup by Republican supporters of the Bush/Cheney ticket to hear a contentious discussion over the Iraq war.
“Bush is a murderer,” shouted Nala Mohammadi, business junior and supporter of the Kerry/Edwards ticket. “How can you stand up there and support him?”
“Bush is a liberator, and you’re a terrorist,” countered Victor Traycey, Republican Bush supporter. “If you don’t like what he’s doing, why don’t you go back to the country you came from?”
As the debate grew more heated with name calling from both sides, Mohammadi pointed her finger in Traycey’s face as they shouted at each other.
Visibly upset with his accusations, Mohammadi went to grab an item off the table when suddenly Traycey pushed her hand away. Mohammadi then lunged at Traycey.
Her friends restrained her but she struggled to break free from their grip and Mohammadi tried to run back towards the table of Republicans.
“He called me a terrorist because I oppose the occupation of Iraq,” Mohammadi said. “Where is the democracy in this country?”
A police officer, who refused to comment, stepped in and warned Mohammadi about the consequences of the argument turning physical and the officers words appeared to calm her flaring temper.
“While I give these guys credit for having the balls to be out here with Bush signs, they have to know that they are getting nowhere screaming at people,” said Randall Szabo, English senior and witness to the debate and scuffle. “They should learn how to respect people, especially when they know the campus is more liberal than they are.”
Cinthya Acuna, a junior majoring in nursing, said that she was shocked that the Kerry/Edwards supporters did not have a table set up with signs and stickers like the Bush/Cheney people.
However, a few minutes after the altercation between Mohammadi and Traycey ended, fine arts senior Tanya Beaudet joined the large gathering with a roll of Kerry/Edwards lapel stickers.
“I bought these with my own money,” Beaudet said of the roll of 5000 stickers. “I was going to hand them out tomorrow, but when I saw what was going on here, I felt that I had to do something.”
Ali Amirkizi, a cellular molecular biology senior, offered to help Beaudet hand out stickers. He said that although he is not eligible to vote until he becomes an American citizen next year, he wanted to do whatever he could to help Kerry win the election.
“Bush has got to go,” said Amirkizi, who is from Iran. “The worse thing he’s done to the world is starting this war with Iraq. For the interest of the country and the world, I hope Kerry wins tomorrow.”
While the police made no arrests, Mohammadi said she plans to file a police report against Traycey for allegedly hitting her.
The loss of the presidential candidate John Kerry evoked a strong reaction on SF State Campus on Wednesday after the preliminary election results came in. Students’ feelings ranged from protesting to apocalyptic views and conspiracy theories.
“Oh shit, we’re all gonna die,” yelled some students in the student depot who watched MSNBC Wednesday morning news broadcast showing 51 to 48 percent votes leading Bush to victory.
Students in protest organized at least one walk out Wednesday cruising around campus, yelling “walk out, get Bush out,” trying to gain more support.
“Bush won. We don’t know what to do,” said one of the participants of the spontaneous protest.
Most students asked though were not surprised about the outcome of the elections.
“I knew Bush was going to win,” said Ming Zhang, 28, a business major student. He said that he as well as many Chinese people hold a believe that Bush was “meant to be.”
“There is something about him,” said Zhang. “He believes in what he does and he stands firmly on that. He was meant to make trouble in the Middle East that could lead to World War III. It’s not positive, but it’s true”. Chang also added that to his knowledge most of the Chinese community voted for Kerry. He himself voted for neither and picked an independent party candidate.
Bo Kim, a member of Korean Student Organization watched TV last night following the election coverage. “I was surprised to see that much red,” she said referring to the color of the republican states on the map compared to the blue color of the democrats. “I thought it was half and half,” she added.
Eddie Lee, 20, a member of Asian Student Union (ASU) on campus said he was not surprised. But he had a feeling Bush was going to win. But when he heard the news Wednesday morning his reaction was rejecting. “I was throwing up, ” he said, “I could not believe what was happening.” Lee said that a lot of parents are worried about their college-age children getting drafted.
Jerry Chan, 23, also a member of ASU, offered an explanation for the Bush’s victory. “Bush did a good job connecting to people especially colored communities,” said Chan. “It’s hard when you have two party system and people like me are still in the position where violence and poverty are the biggest issues. Whether it’s republican or democratic party, I’m still in the same place.” Chan said that’s how many people still think and feel powerless about their vote.
Another explanation offered by Omar Alcala, 18, a business major student, had to do with the origins of each presidential candidate in relation to the Midwest and the South, the main battlegrounds. Because Bush is from Texas, Alcala said, he could get the Southern States and the Midwest where Kerry who is from Massachusetts did not stand a chance.
Some students said that Bush was likely to win because he made a “lot of mess” in the Middle East and is a better candidate to clean it up than someone new.
Ellenor Li, 20, ASU member, said that she would like to see Bush to “finish what he started,” referring to the war on terror. “If Bush has a plan I want to see it executed.” Li and many other ASU members said they were suspicious about the integrity of the presidential elections. “I think it’s a conspiracy,” Li said. “He (Bush) paid to get those votes and his brother is the governor of Florida.”
Jaih Mcreynolds, a representative of the Associated Students Inc., said she was shocked to see the results. She said that when she watched the election on TV and saw only a few states mostly on the East and the West coast colored blue, she could not understand why. “I’m glad that California was one of the few states that supported Kerry, but the rest of the nation is not feeling the same way,” she said.
Mcreynolds offered an advice to all students to watch closely what happens in the future. “ We as the people should pay more attention to the policies and laws. We should take more action instead of letting people decide for us."
Sen. John Kerry conceded victory to President George W. Bush today in Boston and said it is time for a divided American public to work toward unity.
“It is now clear that even when all the provisional ballots are counted – and they will be counted – there won’t be enough outstanding votes for us to win,” Kerry told an enthusiastic crowd at the historic Faneuil Hall in Boston, Mass.
About 60 SF State students gathered around a television to watch a live broadcast of Kerry’s speech on MSNBC in the lower level of the Cesar Chavez Student Center. Unlike Kerry’s home-state Boston supporters, the students were solemn and attentive as Kerry said he called Bush earlier in the day to congratulate him on the victory.
“We talked about the danger of the division in our country and the desperate need for unity in our country,” Kerry said. “Today, I hope, we can begin.”
His running mate, Sen. John Edwards (D-North Carolina), addressed the crowd and news media first and was insistent that the remaining provisional ballots in Ohio would be counted.
“It was a long night and a long morning, and even though the outcome won’t change, I want you to know we will continue to fight for every vote,” Edwards said.
News agencies declared President Bush the winner late Tuesday night after the Ohio Secretary of State reported about 51 percent of the state’s votes in favor of the former Texas governor. Kerry received more than 48 percent of the vote.
Bush led Ohio with 136,483 votes and the remaining 155,337 provisional ballots are unlikely to change the outcome. Provisional ballots must be verified as valid and then counted.
The Ohio results became a necessary win for either candidate when the electoral votes began splitting between Bush and Kerry. Bush took the major battleground state of Florida, which had been the focus of a major balloting controversy in the 2000 presidential election that was resolved in the Supreme Court. Kerry took a decisive win in Pennsylvania.
Sociology major James Jetton, 29, waited in the student center for Kerry’s speech, which was expected at 10 a.m. this morning.
“[Kerry] doesn’t really have any grounds to contest the election right now,” Jetton said.
Bush also won the popular vote but the results from many states were close.
“I don’t know if I wish [Kerry and Edwards] would have held out longer or not because now all these analysts are talking about bringing the nation together and obviously the country’s divided,” Jennifer Florez, a sociology major said.
History major Shruti Patel, 21, wished Kerry didn't concede the race.
"But I don't wants what happened last time [to happen]," Patel said. "Where it went on for a couple of weeks."
At 11 a.m., both the Kerry and Edwards families filed into Faneuil Hall and took their places below the podium. Edwards introduced Kerry as a “great American” and “the man who refused to surrender the hopes and dreams of the country he loves so much.”
The crowd gave Kerry a rousing and extended round of applause as he stepped behind the podium.
“You just have no idea how warm and generous that welcome is,” Kerry said.
Kerry reiterated the need for Americans to work together to find a common cause “without anger or rancor.”
“I did my best to explain my vision and hopes for American,” Kerry said. “I wish things had turned out differently … but in American elections, there are no losers because we all wake up the next morning Americans.”
Both Edwards and Kerry thanked the thousands of volunteers who had worked on the campaign.
“You can be disappointed but you cannot walk away,” Edwards said. “This fight has just begun.”
“I wish, you don’t know how much I wish, I had brought this race home for them,” Kerry told the volunteers. “The time will come, the election will come, when your ballots will change the world and it’s worth fighting for.”
“So with gratitude in my heart, I leave this campaign with a prayer,” Kerry said. “And that prayer is simple, God bless America.”
Paintings and photography are one of the oldest methods of expressing sex and sexual themes. The 16th century was filled with religious messages of chastity and morality. Photos in the early 1900s had pin-ups and risqué sexual images for that time. Dali and other painters express sexual frustration and intense sexual energy in their work, and others use this method to show darker sexual themes.
The late 1980s and early 1990s had many artists who through a mixture of photography and special effects created some of the most controversial exhibits in the later half of the century. These artists were shot down with charges of child pornography, obscenity and rubbing the Christian Action Network (CAN), a right-wing Christian organization, the wrong way.
Just as with right-wing Christian groups today have stirred up trouble for Howard Stern with the FCC, and scared other radio jockeys away from repeating such behaviors with threats of huge fines, artists in the early 1990s were censored as well.
Sally Mann was one of these artists who was shut down by claims that her work was child pornography. Her exhibits called "Immediate Family," and "At Twelve," are nude photographs of her children.
"Mann combines the natural voyeurism of the photographer with the natural exhibitionism of children," the Chicago-Sun Times described the exhibits. However this is not how conservative Christian groups saw her work. Although she was not arrested, Mann's work was scrutinized in a ring of lawsuits involving child molesters, and censorship cases with Barnes and Noble book stores.
Robert Mapplethorpe’s name is always of interest when mentioning sexual material in photography, according to Professor Saul Steier teacher of the Images of Eroticism course at SF State. His work was kicked out of a Cincinnati exhibit after being called pornographic and obscene. His collections showed some of the more painful parts of human sexuality including anal penetration, and other homoerotic photos that made conservative groups uncomfortable. Other museums would not display his work after that, fearing they would lose their federal funding.
Andres Serrano had among other risque pieces a photo titled “Piss Christ," which was the final straw that led to Senator Jesse Helms supporting an amendment that would require the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to not fund art that might offend certain groups. This piece was a photo of a crucifix submerged in Serrano's urine.
In 1998, after much debate, the provision adding that the NEA must consider "general standards of decency and respect for the diverse beliefs and values of the American Public," when granting money to artists was passed.
"The decision carries troubling implications for all government programs that involve of the arts, libraries, museums, public broadcasting and other institutions," said a statement by the People for the American Way, a watchdog group monitoring the right wing.
"The decision may lead to future government restrictions that will chill First Amendment rights by causing such institutions to shy away from controversial topics or viewpoints in order to receive needed funds," the statement continued.
The current battles with the FCC over what is or is not decent for the public to see and hear is not an unfamiliar story. The NEA and FCC both have been swayed by conservative Christians who use their political clout to maintain their set of standards for the rest of the public.
"It is not much of a stretch to see the political motivations behind this movement," said Bob Batchelor of the History News Network. "In general terms, the kind of people who support restrictions against indecent programming are voters George W. Bush is seeking, while those who don't want to limit free speech are usually in Democratic challenger John Kerry's camp."
In light of Bush's success at the polls on Tuesday, implications are that this will not be the end of the censorship battle that has radio, television and all other broadcast mediums meticulously scanning their programs to avoid fines.
The night of Nov. 2 spurred three very different and somewhat similar election celebrations in San Francisco. The following mulitmedia package was produced by Karim Amara, John Chell and James Adamson and is here to give you insight into how the Republican, Democrat and Green parties follow the election process on the big night.
Students at SF State have found a way to silently express their political views in a manner that speaks louder than words - through fashion.
Political tension has been on a continuous rise leading up to the 2004 Presidential Election. On a campus that is famous for its diversity and unique sense of style, students are using their clothing as a means of boldly stepping out and broadcasting their political views.
Supporting vast realms of attire ranging from political T-shirts, jewelry and American flags, students at SF State are embracing the opportunity to make their opinions known and using fashion to reach all walks of life.
Some countries around the world require their citizens by law to vote, known as compulsory voting. In Australia, for example, if able citizens do not have a valid reason for not attending a polling place and dropping off a ballot, they are charged with a fine, according to the Legal Information Access Centre’s website. In a recent Newsweek article, Anna Quindlen suggests a similar compulsory voting system to be introduced in the U.S. to try and increase voter turn-out in this country.
SF State students give their opinion on whether or not the U.S. should adopt such a system.
SF State students braved snaking lines in the school library and long waits in polling places across the Bay Area Tuesday in order to make their opinions heard on a plethora of state ballot measures and propositions.
Amongst the most controversial props on the ballot was Proposition 66, which proposed limitations to the state's hotly debated “Three Strikes” law.
Losing with a 53 percent majority, the proposition would have limited application of the “Three Strikes” law to violent and serious felonies. Currently, a petty theft or drug conviction is enough to send some repeat felons to prison for 25 years to life.
“I think that's one of the most important (propositions),” said SF State theater and psychology major Brian Vanderbilt, who voted against the measure. “There's too many people in the prison system clogging the works. It's time to put what the “Three Strikes” law was created for in place, so it can actually work now.”
The proposition took an early lead but lost ground as more votes were tallied.
Another contentious winner was Proposition 71, which supports stem cell research in the state. Passing with a 59 percent majority, the proposition will authorize $3 billion dollars in bonds to establish a “California Institute for Regenerative Medicine” to regulate and fund stem cell research.
Proponents touted the proposition as a way to further a promising field or research that could provide cures and treatments for cancer, diabetes, heart disease and spinal chord injuries. However, some voters remained unconvinced at the ballot box.
“I think that too many people underestimate the negative consequences that can be had from that kind of research,” said Brandon Reed, an SF State cell and molecular biology major. “I think there's a lot of power for biologists doing that research to do a lot of good, but there's a lot of power also for it to do a lot of harm, and I think people don't realize it dehumanizes us and takes away from who we are.”
Also passing with a strong majority was Proposition 69, which will now require law enforcement to take samples of DNA from felons, for use in a state DNA database. The measure was a particularly controversial one on campus.
“That... is crazy right there,” said first-year SF State Student Paul Rojas. “They’re just going to take DNA from anybody now.”
Proposition 59 also passed with a comfortable 83 percent majority. The proposition will amend the California constitution to allow for greater public access to government meetings and documents.
State voters gave Governor Schwarzenegger several victories on propositions Tuesday, but he campaigned particularly hard against the Indian gaming propositions. Voters agreed, and Props 68 and 70 lost by 83 and 76 percent, respectively.
Proposition 68 would have required Indian gambling casinos to pay 25 percent of their revenues to the state. Had the tribes refused to do so, it would have authorized the state to allow Indian casino-style gambling off of tribal lands. Proposition 70 would have lifted limits on the number and types of games allowed on tribal lands, among other things.
Most ballot measures were decided by much narrower margins.
Proposition 72, which would have compelled medium and large businesses to provide health care for their employees, lost by less than one percent of the vote. Backers had supported it as a way to ensure health care for more Californians.
“In my La Raza class, they told us that there's like 300,000 Latino people in the community that will get health insurance through it,” said cinema major Kevin Seihan, who voted for the proposition. “So I thought that it would help.” Also, my sister and (others) who work jobs like that will get health insurance.”
However, supporters were outnumbered.
“I vote no for that,” Rojas said. “We're driving a lot of businesses out.”
Another business-related measure, Proposition 64, passed with a 58 percent majority. The measure will limit the types of lawsuits that can be brought against businesses.
Designed to channel money to the state children's hospitals, Proposition 61 passed with a 58 percent majority. The prop authorizes $750 million in bonds for improvements to eligible state children's hospitals.
"I think getting good healthcare for children is important," said SF student Maria Reyes, who voted for the measure.
Proposition 63, which will levy a one percent tax on California's richest for the expansion of mental health care services across the state, passed with a 53 percent majority. The prop will affect individuals with more than $1 million in taxable income.
Another healthcare related measure, Proposition 67, did not fare nearly as well. The measure, which would have levied an extra three percent surcharge on telephones in order to make improvements for hospitals, failed with a decisive 71 percent of voters against.
The ballot had two election-related props, with different outcomes. Passing with a 67 percent majority, Proposition 60 will now amend the state constitution to require that the top vote-getter from each party in a primary election be allowed to go on to the general election.
Proposition 62 failed with a 54 percent majority. It would have given all primary election voters the chance to vote for any candidate, with the top two vote-getters being placed on the election ballot.
Several local government-related bonds also passed. Proposition 1A, which will restrict state control over local government finances, won by 83 percent. Proposition 65, an abandoned early version of Proposition 1A, lost by 62 percent.
The Bay Area had its own share of contoversial ballot measures.
After passing with a 64 majority, Proposition A will authorize the city to borrow $200,000,000 to build and renovate affordable housing. San Francisco voted 51 percent against Proposition F, which would have allowed non-citizens with children in city schools to vote in school board elections. 54 percent of voters agreed with Proposition H, which will now officially name the stadium at Candlestick Point “Candlestick Park.”
Another well-publicized San Francisco ballot measure was that of Proposition N, which made it city policy to urge the United States to withdraw military personnel from Iraq. It passed with a 63 percent majority.
“I think that is was kind of obvious already that San Francisco doesn’t want to go to war,” Rojas said. “This is just admitting it.”
In Oakland, 65 percent of voters passed Measure Z, which will now soften law interference of cannabis clubs and move to legalize private adult marijuana use. Also in Alameda County, 63 percent of Berkeley voters moved against Measure Q, which would have loosened law enforcement against prostitution.
Faced with a number of confusing propositions, many voting students on campus said that they had chosen to skip the proposition section of the ballot.
“Honestly, all I really voted for was the presidential vote,” said SF State finance major Kristen Wong. “I just left them blank, because I didn't really have a strong opinion about them.”
A mix of anxiety and curiosity filled SF State’s Jack Adams’ Hall Tuesday evening, as students and professors awaited for the results of the presidential election.
About 200 students gathered to watch the returns on CNN while a panel of SF State political science professors answered questions and gave their input on the close race that will determine the future of America.
As CNN analysts indicated that
Ohio became the central focus of the decision at around 9 p.m., professor Corey Cook checked other news sources on the Internet to announce more updated projections.
“We’re finding it is really difficult for Kerry to win Ohio,” said Cook, after he made a quick math analysis that estimated Kerry was in need of 60,000 votes to win the buckeye state.
Those who started with big democratic hopes soon began to lose their enthusiasm.
“I’m nervous,” said Jessica Nowicki, an SF State Freshman. “I want Kerry to win because of woman rights and war issues, but I actually think Bush is going to win,” she said.
“My gut feeling is that Bush is going to win,” said Michael Trujillo, who is a graduate representative in the Associated Student’s board of directors. “I’ll fell very disappointed if that happens. I don’t think he’s done a job worth a reelection,” Trujillo said as CNN continued to call states such as Arizona, Arkansas and Colorado in favor of Bush.
Only a few students cheered with the results.
Freshman Kristel Thyring was one of the few.
“I voted for him and I expect him to win, although it’s still very close right now,” said Thyring, who moved from San Luis Obispo to San Francisco four months ago and has been surprised by the liberal views of San Francisco.
Big cheers filled the room when the 55 electoral votes from California brought Kerry’s numbers to 188 votes at around 8 p.m., making it close to the 197 votes Bush had at the time.
But after television stations called the state of Florida with 52 percent of votes for Bush, and announced that he had 51 percent of the votes in Ohio, student’s faces looked grim.
“The best case scenario for Kerry if he loses in Ohio is a tie, but even if that happens the House of Representatives will get to decide and he will still lose, since most of the representatives are republicans,” said Joel Kassiola, dean of the behavioral and social science college.
While some looked disappointed, others looked for the good side of the projected results.
“With Bush in power in the next four years the country will deteriorate even more, but there might be some long-term benefits,” said Adam Sgrenci, a graduate International Relations student.
“If Kerry wins, people are going to say ‘OK the country is fine,’ and they won’t realize that there’s still so much oppression,” explained Sgrenci’s friend, Alison Lejevne, who is also a graduate student at SF State.
“With Bush, people who are on the defense and are not activists are more likely to protest and be on the uprising to change things,” Lejevne said. “I’m disappointed, but not surprised,” she added.
But hopes and projections apart, the official results probably will not be announced until the end of the day tomorrow, said Kassiola. “Unless, of course, there are other legal challenges, like there was last time.”
SF State women talk about the importance of their vote in the 2004 election. They discuss the importance of gaining their right to vote and using that power to influence elections.
We ask women at SF State “Why Do You Think It is Important for Women to Vote in This Election?”
In an effort to protect commuters in the days leading up to our national election, BART has heavily increased police and other security patrols. However, unlike past security increases, SWAT teams will be deployed in full tactical gear.
According to the BART website, security increases also include: extra police officers randomly holding and sweeping trains, explosive-detecting K-9 patrol teams, administrative staff patrolling trains and stations in bright green vests and numerous behind the scene steps to secure sensitive areas.
On the day before the election, we asked San Francisco State students who ride BART their opinion on the pre-election security increases?
A measure supporting embryonic stem cell research, Proposition 71, passed Tuesday, Nov. 2 with 59 percent of Californians voting for it. San Francisco voters overwhelmingly supported the proposition seventy-one percent voted in favor of the research.
Spending will be restricted to $350 million per year from $3 billion in tax-free bonds, and $3 billion will accumulate in interest, totaling $6 billion.
"I didn't vote," said undeclared major Kevin Liu. "But I am glad it (Prop.71) passed becuase it (stem cell research) could help people, without hurting anyone."
Stem cells are unspecialized cells that give rise to a specialized cell, like a blood cell. Embryonic stem-cell research would use the stem cells from embryos in attempt to find a cure for diseases under the proposition embryos may be cloned for research called “somatic cell nuclear transfer.”
An estimated $185 million within ten years will be generated from the research, including up to 22,000 jobs. The state will share in the royalties, according to yeson71.com. The coalition supporting the proposition stated on the Web site that stem cell research could save the country billions of dollars a year on health care costs by curing diseases.
Sen. John Kerry, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom support the proposition.
“At a time when healthcare costs are skyrocketing, Prop. 71 could significantly reduce state health care costs,” said Newsom on Aug. 18, according to the Web site. “If stem cell research and its associated technologies reduce state health care costs by even one percent, Prop.71 would pay for itself several times over during the following decade.”
Those against the proposition cite major ethical dilemmas because there is no government standard for embryo research, and France and Germany just passed laws outlawing the same research, according to noonprop71.org. Stem cell research is already performed on adult stem cells, where there is no ethical concern.
“I think stem cell research is needed, but there should be limitations, otherwise I would have voted for it,” said SF State student Nadia Carcamo. “Aborting a baby is more humane than performing research on an embryo.”
Many medical research companies, including Hollywood celebrities’ organizations like the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and The Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation support Prop. 71.
"I voted against it," said International Relations major Erica Perez. "Performing research on an embryo does not seem right to me."
Michael J. Fox and Christopher Reeve prior to his recent death, filmed television commercials voicing their support for prop.71—the messages have aired throughout the election season. Hollywood star Mel Gibson can also be heard in radio advertisements denouncing Prop. 71.
"I did not pay attention to the celebrity commercials," said Perez. "I don't care what they (celebrities) think because I know they are not going to give me the pros and cons of the proposition."
The supporters of Prop. 71 have raised more than $23 million for their campaign. The opposition collected $280,000, and contributions under $100 do not have to be reported, according to healthvote2004.org. Californians account for 81 percent of the money. The Klein Financial Corporation and Robert Klein together contributed $2.6 million to the cause, the largest donation. The Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund gave $1 million.
Election Day 2004 proved historic in San Francisco as the ranked-choice voting system became effective for the odd numbered districts’ Board of Supervisors races. Despite the confusion surrounding ranked-choice voting, registered voters went to the polls and tried to make sense of the little known system. Mixed reactions stemmed from the first time use of this new system.
Amanda Martinez, 21, who exit polled on Election Day, explained her understanding of ranked-choice voting.
“Ranked-choice voting is being enacted for the first time here in San Francisco since it was voted in 2001, and now it’s starting. And we’re starting it with district elections, and soon it will be for citywide elections. And what it is, ranked-choice voting, is you get more than one choice. You get three choices. It also eliminates runoffs,” Martinez said.
Ranked-choice voting allows voters to choose their top three candidates. If there is no majority winner in a race, ranked-choice voting becomes effective. The votes are dispersed to each candidate’s total votes. By voting for a second and third favorite candidate, voters participate in electing the winner, even if their first choice is not a contender. The point of ranked-choice voting is to eliminate December runoff elections when there is no majority winner. It will be used for future mayoral races and other city elected positions.
Standing on the corner of Mission and 24th street campaigning for District 9 Supervisor candidate Miguel Bustos, Eric Areguello, sees ranked-choice voting as a negative change.
“I think it’s a bad idea. It confuses a lot of people. They didn’t put out good materials to educate the public. And I think people don’t really know what’s going on. Very little, very late. And even the explanations that were given in a lot of locations, it wasn’t very clear, people were very confused,” he said.
Although the new system was explained in the sample ballot mailed to San Francisco citizens, as well as on the Sfgov.org Website, citywide publicity was scarce. Voters that wanted to understand the system had to seek the information out independently. Mica Shiner, 23, and her friend were informed of RCV through a public forum. They were invited to the forum, but did not see a lot of citywide effort to explain the system.
“Actually we went to a town hall sort of, and that’s how we found out about it. Our neighbors invited us to come with them. If I hadn’t heard of it via PODER’s thing, other than I read through the propositions and I noticed it in there, but I had already been familiarized with it, so I didn’t really pay attention. Other than that I don’t think I’ve really heard anything about it at all,” Shiner said.
Martinez, interested in the system because of discussions in her classes, was aware of the lack of information on the system.
“I didn’t see any publicity in the city at all. Only reason I knew about it was through political science classes and doing my own investigation. As far as publicity throughout the city, I didn’t see posters. I didn’t see pamphlets or information. And I only really heard about it through the news a day or two before the elections,” said Martinez.
Many voters went to the polls with minimal knowledge of the system. Josh Lippi, 21, a Music student at SFSU, vaguely knew of the ranked-choice voting system and was prompted to vote for three candidates based on his experience at his polling place.
“I honestly only voted for three because there was a lot of controversy while I was doing the regular voting. I had noticed a lot of commotion about the rank-choice because people wanted to vote for one, and they would vote the same person all three times. And it wasn’t accepting in the machine. So, I only voted for three, so I didn’t have to deal with any commotion. I could just turn it in and leave. I guess officially you didn’t have to vote for three you could vote for one. But, people working the polls, I don’t know, it wasn’t organized well,” Lippi said.
Some citizens were informed of the system and went into the polls prepared to use it. Colin Murray, a student at SFSU, knew of RCV prior to placing his votes.
“I’ve heard about it for a while, actually I’d known about it. It’s just been a fact that they do it in Europe, and that’s a really good idea. I’ve known for a while, I guess probably through, I knew from my voter pamphlet for sure when I got that. And, I had heard about it on the radio also. I think it had an affect because a lot more people were able to run. More chance of a lesser known candidate winning,” Murray said.
The first use of the ranked-choice voting system has come and gone, leaving voters with mixed feelings on the efficiency of the new system.
“I honestly don’t have a lot of personal experience with the runoff system, because this was the first time I did vote. So I haven’t had to experience voting in a runoff. But, I would imagine if it’s going to avoid runoffs it would be easier,” Lippi said.
Campaigner Areguello understands the intention of ranked-choice voting, but he believes the system is unnecessary.
“Rank choice is supposed to benefit people who are running against an incumbent, that’s what they say, but as far as if that’s what’s going to happen we don’t know. I just think they should leave it the old way. It’s much more clear, it’s more fair for all the candidates, even the incumbent. I think they should just leave it the way it was, he said.
SF State students can easily vote in this election with a polling precinct in the reading room of the J. Paul Leonard Library.
This is only the second time in SF State history that students have had the luxury of voting on campus. After registering the required 250 voters to be established as a precinct in 2002, SF State's own polling place is a relief to hundreds of student voters.
“Voting on campus is so much better than having to find transportation to go and vote,” said David Garcia, majoring in BECA. “It's my break in between classes right now so I can vote and go to class without every having to leave school.”
Many other voters exiting the poll share the relief of accessibility of voting on campus.
“I think a lot of students will take the attitude of 'why not' if they're already here,” said Kari Knight, 19, a freshman English major. “It may be a long line, but it's just such an important election. It will definitely help out that we're able to vote on campus.”
With the elimination of transportation hindering student voters, perhaps a higher percentage of eligible SF State voters will cast ballots. According to a survey conducted by the Public Research Institute, an independent public policy research organization on campus, nearly 66 percent of SF State voters cast ballots in the November 2002 election.
A new poll by the Harvard Institute of Policy shows a dramatic rise in interest in this year's presidential campaign on college campuses. They expect 72 percent of college students to vote in this election, a dramatic turnout from previous elections.
In the reading room where the poll is located, a long line of students extends past rows of books and shelves. Garcia complains that this is the longest he has ever waited to vote.
“Every other time I've voted it has only taken ten minutes,” David Garcia said. “I've been here for half an hour.”
Charlie Leer, a 19-year-old psychology major, waited an hour.
“It took forever to vote today, but there's going to be a line anywhere,” he said. This is my first time to vote and it's great because I live in the dorms and just walked here.”
Ellen Griffin of the Office of Public Affairs said that SF State has registered 2,800 voters in the past two years, and 600 of those live on campus. SF State received the polling precinct as a result of enlarged campus efforts and a growth in student housing that helped achieve the numbers, Griffin said.
An estimated half hour line is the only thing standing in between students and their opportunity to express their opinions through voting. Absentee and provisional ballots are also welcome at the poll until 8 p.m.
While voters packed polling places in San Francisco on Election Day, about 100 SF State students canvassed the city’s precincts to assess ranked-choice voting.
Working in groups of two, the students asked San Francisco voters to fill out an anonymous two-page questionnaire detailing their experiences with the latest twist in a voting system as old as democracy itself.
The volunteers conducted exit polling for the city and county of San Francisco, according to SF State Political Science Professor Francis Neely.
“It’s a study of the new ranked-choice voting system,” said Neely. “It will be one of the first implementations of ranked-choice voting in San Francisco.”
The survey was financed primarily by the city and county of San Francisco to find out how well voters react to an unfamiliar voting system.
To conduct the study, city officials asked the Public Research Institute and SF State’s College of Behavioral and Social Sciences (BSS) to handle the survey.
Neely said that voters approved a ballot measure in 2000 authorizing San Francisco officials to use the new ranked-choice system, sometimes called instant-runoff voting, in elections for city offices and the Board of Supervisors, but questions and concerns from the Secretary of State delayed the implementation until this election year.
According to Neely, election officials in San Francisco will use the results of the SF State survey to gauge how well voters responded to the new system which should allow city officials to fine tune the process in future contests.
In addition to exit polling on the day of the election, Neely said that SF State’s Political Science department is also sending out questionnaires to absentee voters in seven supervisory districts across the city.
During this election, ranked-choice voting occurred only in races for positions on San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors, and then only in districts holding elections this year.
At a polling place in West Portal Elementary School, just above the MUNI rail station, SF State students Christine Hager and Richard Lynch asked voters to fill out the questionnaires and place them in a box marked with SF State’s name and logo.
“Two or three kids wanted to take the survey,” Lynch said. “We asked their parents to take the survey instead.”
During the afternoon, Hager and Lynch said that few voters were coming to the polls, but both said they expected the pace to pick up when people got off work.
“Oprah is still on,” Lynch said.
Lynch, undeclared, said he volunteered to help with the survey because of the extra credit offered for his introductory political science class. Hager, on the other hand, is a political science major, and she was pleased the survey, which she said SF State professors put together in just a few weeks, was taking place at all.
“I’m really glad that the survey happened,” Hager said. “I think it’s good to know what voters think and what they want.”
Professor Neely said he had to arrange for additional questionnaire forms for some of the students at the polls because more voters decided to participate than expected. Neely said he hopes to get more than 4,000 voters to fill out the forms.
Later, in San Francisco’s district three, SF State students Bryan Williams and Elizabeth Troast stood out in front of the Hotel Cable Car and handed out dozens of questionnaires to voters.
“I work in the Public Research Institute as a research assistant,” Troast said. “I’m just helping out and filling in wherever.”
Troast wore several sticky badges on her shirt asking voters in both Chinese and in Spanish to take the survey. While Troast said she does not speak either language, she pointed to them and asked voters to take the survey even if they did not speak or read English.
One of the key motivations behind the survey, according to Neely, was to make certain that all of San Francisco’s ethnically diverse voters understood how the new ranked-choice system works.
Neely said when he and his colleagues realized they couldn’t take a truly random survey with the resources available, he carefully selected the precincts students would cover to give an accurate representation of average voters and voters with special needs.
No matter what the survey reveals, at least one supervisory candidate said he is optimistic about the new system.
Sal Busalacchi, who’s running against Democratic incumbent Aaron Peskin in district three, said he believes ranked-choice voting may help level the playing field for lesser-financed campaigns.
“It improves the chances of the people who have the least amount of money – it gives them a shot,” said Busalacchi. “It’s got to help. If it goes well in San Francisco, it could go nationwide.”
It is just after dawn. Mark Sanchez and supporters, who are seeking re-election on the San Francisco Board of Education that he unexpectedly won in 2000, stand at the Castro Station entrance campaigning while potential voters whisk past them on their way to work.
Between 6:30 and 9 a.m., Sanchez and fellow San Francisco Green Party members passed out leaflets to potential voters on Election Day hoping to get that last vote and a hopeful re-election.
Since being elected to the board in 2000, Sanchez, 41, said he understands what it takes to be successful on the board and the duties that come with it, such as creating and passing legislation and resolution, hiring and firing of superintendents if needed and finalizing the budget.
“I ran four years ago because there hadn’t been a school teacher on the board for six years and I felt that there were major decisions being made about schools and kids,” he said.
Sanchez said, as a board member, he tries to address every concern that students, parents and teachers have. “I do enjoy getting to work with teachers, parents and students and going out into the community and seeing what their concerns are trying to advocate for those concerns, that’s my main job.”
Sanchez teaches 8th grade science in Menlo Park, Calif., at Garfield Charter School. Prior to teaching at Garfield Charter, Sanchez taught elementary at Glen Park, Edison and Paul Revere schools in San Francisco. Because of his 2000 election, he stopped teaching for the San Francisco Unified School District because it was deemed a “conflict of interest” to have him concurrently teach and be a board member.
Four years ago, Sanchez was not sure he had a chance of winning at all and admittedly lacked political experience. His campaign was not as large as others and he didn’t have much money to work with.
“Four years ago we won but it was in a way definitely unexpected because we spent $6,000 for a city wide race and nobody on the campaign, including myself, had any experience working at a political campaign before.”
Four years later, it is different.
For the last four months, the Sanchez camp has been campaigning for his re-election. But Sanchez has not spent too much time out in the public campaigning due to his work schedule. Sanchez said today he took the day off from school to hand out leaflets to potential voters.
“We are more aware of the dynamics and what you need to do to win in so far as getting the appropriate endorsements and making sure that you get your out name in different ways,” he said. “The major difference this time is that I actually have a campaign (people who work for him).”
Susie Siegel, who has been campaigning for Sanchez the last two months, holds a sign atop the Castro Station steps in support of him encouraging voters to re-elect Sanchez.
“The campaigning is going fantastic,” Siegel said. “I enjoy it because I believe in the cause.” Siegel is concerned with the state of education like many others with a vested interest in schools. “It goes beyond the classroom,” she said. “It’s state, local, and national.”
After the campaign at the Castro Station, Sanchez and his campaigners pack up their belongings and head over to the Mission District then later at the Balboa Bart Station. “I’m going to sleep all night for sure because I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in three weeks.”
Among the 100 sample questions stated in the U.S. Department of Justice’s A Guide to Naturalization is question #93: “What is the most important right granted to United States citizens?” The answer: “The right to vote.”
In San Francisco there are on average 2,400 people sworn in during the United States citizenship ceremony at the Masonic Auditorium every month. The 2004 election is the first opportunity many of them will have to vote.
Immigrants are often type cast as people who run across borders to take jobs from American people, but many immigrants are more patriotic than native-born citizens. They become citizens, but it’s a struggle every step of the way. It can take years to become an American citizen -- from reams of paperwork, hefty application fees and countless hours of studying. Native U.S. citizens often take voting for granted or decide not to bother with voting.
Liz McMillan came to the end of the citizenship process this year after eight years of waiting. On the day she took her citizenship test, she sat nervously in the waiting room. When called she was received coldly by the immigration officer. She was asked to read 10 questions on the sheet of paper and answer the questions. Line for line, she read and answered each question. At the end of the exam, the officer congratulated her on passing the test, but requested additional information - five years worth of tax returns by 8 a.m. the following day. If she could not deliver the copies, her application would be denied and she would have to reapply.
“Going through the immigration system, I feel like I mastered a new skill – patience,” says McMillan. “It’s a waiting game, but a worthwhile wait because now America is my home and I can vote.”
McMillan is excited about voting for the first time and submitted her absentee vote weeks ago. “I’m invested in the voting process and take it seriously. I did lots of research to making sure I’m well informed before deciding to vote for Kerry,” says McMillan. “I think people are truly fed-up with Bush – but he might win. Hopefully not, but maybe.”
McMillan is not alone with her anxiety about this election. When new citizens are asked what they think about the current president, they are very vocal in their opinions.
“Where do I begin?” gasps Amelia Dizdarevic, who came from Bosnia seven years ago and became a citizen in August 2003. “The current so-called president has failed the American people, divided the country and pushed the world aside.” She goes on to say that President Bush has violated major international agreements such as the Geneva Convention as well as human rights and environmental laws.
“He has created a mess in the world by preemptively attacking a foreign country, attending to special interests and mixing religion and state affairs, the consequences of which will be felt in America for many years,” says Dizdarevic. “And above all, he has lied to the American people.”
This feeling of betrayal continues among new citizens. Claire Bannister and Harvey Balack moved to the United States during their childhood and neither felt it was necessary to apply for citizenship until shortly after the last presidential election.
“I do not have a lot of confidence that our current president has the best interests of the citizens of the United States at heart,” says Bannister. “I disagree strongly with him about his ‘moral imperatives’ and his dogmatic and faith-based belief that what he wants is right or proper for our – or any other - country. He has all the qualifications of a dictator.”
It is an American’s birthright to vote, and some take it for granted. But those who are sworn in as new citizens take the whole process very seriously, especially the ability to cast their vote.
“Where normally the Republican Party tended to be fiscally conservative (at least in theory), the current party just pays lip service to these values and have been horribly irresponsible,” says Balack, who is originally from the United Kingdom. “I have gone from being a Republican to being a Libertarian, and I'm voting for the Democratic Party.”
This year, for many of these new citizens, will be their first chance to vote and have a voice in their new country. America is the home of the brave and the land of the free, and although America may be hated by many it’s still the land of opportunity whose citizens, both native-born and immigrant, call home.
“Voting is the main tool in the hands of citizens that enables them to change things in their country - if you do not vote, don't complain," says Dizdarevic. “The right to vote is one of the main advantages of U.S. citizenship, and yes, I do plan to vote. Regardless of how illusionary it may seem, every vote counts.”
SF State University Police Department (UPD) was called to the Cesar Chavez student center to breakup a heated political debate between unofficial surrogates of President George W. Bush and Sen. John Kerry, Monday afternoon.
A crowd of approximately 100 gathered in front of a table setup by Republican supporters of the Bush/Cheney ticket to hear a contentious discussion over the Iraq war.
"Bush is a murderer," shouted Nala Mohammadi, business junior and supporter of the Kerry/Edwards ticket. "How can you stand up there and support him?"
"Bush is a liberator, and you're a terrorist," countered Victor Traycey, Republican Bush supporter. "If you don't like what he's doing, why don't you go back to the country you came from?"
As the debate grew more heated with name calling from both sides, Mohammadi pointed her finger in Traycey's face as they shouted at each other. Visibly upset with his accusations, Mohammadi went to grab an item off the table when suddenly Traycey pushed her hand away. Mohammadi then lunged at Traycey.
Her friends restrained her but she struggled to break free from their grip and Mohammadi tried to run back towards the table of Republicans.
"He called me a terrorist because I oppose the occupation of Iraq," said Mohammadi. "Where is the democracy in this country?"
A police officer, who refused comment, stepped in and warned Mohammadi about the consequences of the argument turning physical and the officers words appeared to calm her flared temper.
"While I give these guys credit for having the balls to be out here with Bush signs, they have to know that they are getting nowhere screaming at people," said Randall Szabo, English senior and witness to the debate and scuffle. "They should learn how to respect people, especially when they know the campus is more liberal than they are."
Cinthya Acuna, a junior majoring in nursing, said that she was shocked that the Kerry/Edwards supporters did not have a table set up with signs and stickers like the Bush/Cheney people.
However, a few minutes after the altercation between Mohammadi and Traycey ended, fine arts senior Tanya Beaudet joined the large gathering with a roll of Kerry/Edwards lapel stickers.
"I bought these with my own money," Beaudet said of the roll of 5000 stickers. "I was going to hand them out tomorrow, but when I saw what was going on here, I felt that I had to do something."
Ali Amirkizi, a cellular molecular biology senior, offered to help Beaudet hand out stickers. He said though he is not eligible to vote until he becomes an American citizen next year, he wanted to do whatever he could to help Kerry win the election.
"Bush has got to go," said Amirkizi, who is from Iran. "The worse thing he's done to the world is starting this war with Iraq. For the interest of the country and the world, I hope Kerry wins tomorrow."
While the police made no arrests, Mohammadi said she plans to file a police report against Traycey for allegedly hitting her.
The debate over California’s Proposition 71 is intensifying as election day draws closer, and the parties for and against the ballot initiative are securing last minute endorsements and airing commercials they hope will sway voters’ decisions when they go to the polls Tuesday.
Proposition 71, which would fund and support stem cell research in California, has been hailed by supporters as a way to possibly finding cures for many debilitating diseases, and assailed by opponents for its dependency on public financing and the way the research would be overseen.
According the National Institutes of Health, stem cells are “unspecialized,” meaning they do not perform specific functions within the body such as the beating cells of the heart muscle, or the insulin producing cells of the pancreas.
Under certain experimental conditions, stem cells can be induced to become cells that do in fact perform special functions, and can also renew themselves over long periods of time. Because of this, scientists hope that these stem cells may be used in the future to treat diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and diabetes, along with treating spinal cord injuries.
Proposition 71 would establish the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine to regulate stem-cell research and provide the necessary funding for the research and facilities.
The money for the measure would come from the sale by the state of $3 billion in general obligation bonds, which would be paid off over the course of 30 years, adding another $3 billion in interest, for a total cost to the state of $6 billion.
In a press release issued Oct. 18, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said, “I am, of course a supporter of stem cell research. Research that we do now holds the promise of cures for tomorrow.
“The creativity and resources are right here in California. We are the world’s bio-tech leader and Prop. 71 will help ensure that we maintain that position while saving lives in the process.”
Michael Goldman, a professor of Biology at SF State, also endorses the proposition. "I am solidly in favor [of it]. While I don't think it's really California's responsibility to carry out this essential work for the entire nation, I do believe someone has to take the first bold step, and I'm glad it's us," said Goldman. "California law encourages the research, but now we're offering to pay for it as well. Unfortunately, more conservative legislation on a national basis could make the work illegal."
Other supporters include California State Senator and SF State alumni John Burton (D-San Francisco), along with Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo). Actor Michael J. Fox, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, has recently appeared in television commercials broadcast throughout the state endorsing the proposition.
As with every issue, however, there are two sides to the story. Recently, several people and groups in the state have come out against Proposition 71, charging that the measure has not been written with the best interests of patients, taxpayers, and responsible research in mind.
“I think that all Californians should be worried just by the amount of money, it’s really quite an audacious raid on California’s treasury,” said Jesse Reynolds, program director for the Center for Genetics and Society, a non-profit group based in Oakland. “It will cost $6 billion after interest, and it will lock up that money for one specific type of research—it lacks the flexibility that if other avenues of medical research appear more promising, California won’t be able to pursue those.”
Reynolds said the risks of the particular types of technology and research that would be conducted, along with their possible effects on women whose eggs would be used in the research.
He also questioned how the patents and intellectual properties that may arise from the studies, and the potentially resulting money, would then be divided between the state and private companies involved. “The Center supports embryonic stem cell research and its public funding, but it needs to have responsible public oversight.”
Tina Stevens, who teaches history at SF State, and wrote “Bioethics in America: Origins and Cultural Politics,” a book published in 2003 by Johns Hopkins University Press, is also opposed to Proposition 71. “[Proposition 71] has inadequate controls over certain things like women’s health issues, inheritable genetic modification, [and] human reproductive cloning. It builds in legal exemptions for itself, and its claims for promises we feel are inflated, as well.”
Stevens, who has also taught a class in Bioethics at UC Berkeley, is a member of Pro-Choice Alliance Against Prop. 71, a coalition composed of individuals and groups that count the California Nurses Association and the National Women’s Health Network among its supporters.
“The problem is that with such tremendous financial conflict of interest, one could, even unintentionally, inflate claims, and overlook ethical difficulties that require good oversight, and regulations that need to be spelled out very clearly,” said Stevens.
Both Reynolds and Stevens stressed that they and their groups are pro-choice, and support stem cell research in principal—they just don’t think that Proposition 71 is the right way to go about doing it.
According to a statewide survey released this month by the Public Policy Institute of California, Proposition 71 is favored 50% to 39% among likely voters.