March 2005 Archives
After weeks of intense campaigning and debates on whether to save this campus' sports program, voters made history at the recent Associate Students Inc. elections.
The total turnout for the ASI elections this year was 4,257, compared to last year's turnout of about 2,500 voters.
Most voters came to the polls for the athletics referendum, which was on the ballot as well. The athletics referendum drew 5,224 voters this year, 967 more voters than the ASI elections.
However, more stayed to vote for ASI candidates this year. Last year, when the referendum accompanied the ASI elections, turnout for the referendum saw about 6,000 more voters than the elections.
"With recent budget cuts, I hope someone stands up for us," said Giao Le, a 28-year-old BECA major. "I voted because I want to make sure students' voices are being heard."
Horace Montgomery, leadership development coordinator for ASI, attributes the turnout to the energy and enthusiasm of this year’s candidates.
First-time voter Chris Lisciandro, 21, came to vote for the athletics referendum but voted in the ASI elections as well. Lisciandro, a speech communications major, said that he voted for Chris Jackson, who won the ASI presidency, because he seemed to believe in what he was talking about.
The first thing Jackson plans to work on is forming an ASI team that will focus on reaching out to students. He said he plans on going into classes and informing students about ASI.
“Semester by semester, I want to outreach and talk to at least 10,000 students,” said Jackson.
“I want ASI to take an active role in making lives of students better,” said Jackson, 21. “(I want students) to know who we are, what we do and how we can better serve them.”
Fellow SF4U slate member Maire Fowler will join Jackson as the new vice president of internal affairs. Fowler ran against Phil Kan, a 20-year-old political science major. Joining them in ASI's executive board are Think Pink slate members Jamie Domingo, vice president of finance, and Josef Anolin, vice president of external affairs.
"I am excited to have the opportunity to put my plans into action," said Fowler, 21, following the final ballot count on Tuesday. Fowler plans to create a five-year plan for ASI and advocate alternatives to handling budget cuts without fee increases for students.
Fowler, along with eight other elected candidates, won on the SF4U slate. Think Pink, the other main slate, had eight members elected into office. Two candidates unaffiliated with either slate also won seats on the 19-member board.
Slates, although not officially endorsed by ASI, promote a bipartisan government, said Leslye Tinson, an ASI office assistant. Slates are formed around candidates with the understanding that being part of a slate will increase voter turnout.
Georgiana Esquivias, a science and engineering representative candidate, said she was attracted to SF4U because she saw that Jackson had a plan, so she approached him about running on their slate.
“We were on the same page,” said Esquivias, who lost to Viet-Thi Ta of Think Pink by a mere 12 votes.
Jonathan Kakacek, Jackson’s opponent for ASI president, said that former candidates, even though not elected to office, should still continue to be involved.
“(They’ve) already shown so much interest and spirit,” said Kakacek, 23.
Kakacek, who lost by 537 votes, said he plans on still being involved with ASI.
Jackson and Fowler's main proposal is to combat budget cuts. Fowler said she will advocate for alternatives to fee increases.
ASI should stop walking hand in hand with the narrow agenda of the administration, she added.
Fowler, who was the junior class representative for 2004-2005, said she chose to run for vice president of internal affairs because she believes change comes from within in organizations like the student government.
"You have to put your socks on before your shoes," said Fowler.
Many candidates said that students are unaware of ASI, the events the group sponsors and what is taking place right here on campus.
"Why is it that we have freshmen living on campus who have no idea that there is a basketball game going on?" said Neha Shah, write-in business representative candidate. Shah, currently the freshman representative, lost to Chavon Smith by 10 votes.
Many candidates discussed implementing a new reader board at SF State, similar to the one at San Diego State University, which informs students about upcoming events.
"The big problem is that people really don't know what's happening on campus," Domingo said.
Domingo said he will recommend the allocation of funds to get a reader board, which would most likely be placed in a high-student-traffic area like on 19th Avenue or near the Cesar Chavez Student Center.
"I voted because I care about my school," said Grace Hernandez, 20, kinesiology major. "Whatever changes are made will directly affect me."
Despite SF State’s reputation as a commuter campus with questionable school spirit, students still want sports on campus and are willing to pay more money to keep the Gators alive.
In the March 14-16 elections, students overwhelmingly passed a referendum to more than double the student athletic fee. As a result, the fee will increase in steps every year until it reaches $60 in the 2008-09 school year.
The unofficial results, which must official be verified by the university, was 4,291 to 933 in favor of raising the fee, according to Katherine Day, referendum supervisor. On March 30, the Student Fee Advisory Committee voted unanimously to certify the unoffical results. The certification and recommendation will be sent to President Robert Corrigan for approval.
"President Corrigan is looking forward to receiving the recommendation of the Student Fee Advisory Committee,” Griffin said. “It is expected that the committee will certify and approve the election results, and that the president will support the fee increase.”
The referendum was placed on the ballot this year at the suggestion of the task force formed to address the future of athletics at SF State. Last year, a proposed athletic fee increase lost by 233 votes out of a total of about 8,500 cast. Because of the narrow margin, the task force, created by President Corrigan, recommended that the referendum be placed on the ballot again this year.
According Michael Simspon, athletic directors, he is appreciative and pleased about the certification.
"The vote is only a recommendation until President Corrigan signs it off," said Simpson. "It's not a done deal."
“I’m very happy that the referendum passed,” said J.E. “Penny” Saffold, vice president of student affairs and dean of students. “(I’m) particularly (pleased) that more than 4,000 students believe athletics has a role to play in university education.”
With the referendum passing, the fee, currently $25 a semester, will gradually increase each school year. The intramural fee, collected as part of the athletic fee, will double from $1 to $2 next year.
Cutbacks in athletics – and the resulting higher fees to maintain threatened programs – can be traced to the ongoing California budget crisis.
"The athletic referendum is not too much to ask for when other schools pay over $200 for athletics," said Giao Le, 28, BECA major. "SF State is too much of a commuter school and sports are a big part of building a community."
"It's exciting that there's an actual future for athletics," said Crystal Hutchinson, 22, member of the Lady Gators basketball team. "There's hope, that's all I got to say."
The California State University system wants students to walk the path leading to graduation a little quicker.
On March 18, in a 40-minute teleconference for CSU student press, Chancellor Charles Reed told a group of six student reporters that the 23-campus CSU system is not graduating students fast enough.
“We need to have a much higher percentage of our students complete their baccalaureate degrees within the six-year time that is measured,” Reed said.
Roughly 54 percent of all first-time freshmen that entered the CSU system for fall classes in 1997 had graduated by the spring of 2003. At SF State, just 38.5 percent had earned their degrees. Reed said he intends to improve those numbers.
Reed said officials are considering requiring students to choose a major by their sophomore year, while at the same time beefing up the advising system. Students can’t change their major before they’ve selected one, Reed said.
Reed also directed university officials to reevaluate degree requirements and if possible limit the number units required for graduation to 120 for as many programs as possible.
At SF State, the average student may not graduate in time because they are busier with other responsibilities, said Helen Goldsmith, SF State’s associate dean of undergraduate studies. More students at the university are also likely to need extra remedial classes in English and math, she said.
CSU statistics released this month indicated that just 63 percent of this year’s CSU freshmen class were prepared for college level math courses and just 53 percent were proficient enough to take their first college level English course.
Students who are unqualified to take their freshmen math and English classes often find themselves taking one or more remedial classes to raise their skills.
But for other students, just getting the classes they need can be a problem, Goldsmith said.
“We’re trying to make sure students have access to courses, but its difficult to figure out what’s needed,” she said.
Tracking student demand isn’t an exact science, Goldsmith said.
At SF State the university is short on instructors, according to several people interviewed for this story.
This year’s SF State total student population of 29,686 is taught by 1,581 professors and lecturers. That’s 141 fewer instructors than last year, teaching a student body that is 1,108 students larger.
Reed promised to hire more faculty and put to use a new student management system that will help the CSU track student demand and need for required classes. Almost $60 million of next year’s proposed CSU budget is slated to be used to hire faculty and support instruction throughout the CSU next year, Reed said.
Even with promises to hire more instructors, Mitch Turitz, SF State’s California Faculty Association chapter president, said SF State isn’t hiring faculty fast enough. Instead, they’re increasing class sizes and overworking existing instructors, he said.
Improving student advising services are a large part of the chancellor’s plan to speed students toward graduation.
The CSU plans to reallocate resources to improve student advising services making the path to graduation crystal clear, he said. Ideally, during their first two years, the CSU would like students to take the complete “60 credit hours,” Reed said. Those 60 credits would consist of required general education courses and necessary prerequisites for their major, leaving them with only another 60 units to graduation.
Brett Smith, the director of SF State’s undergraduate advising center, agreed with Reed that a significant number of students are unclear about some of the requirements needed to graduate. Some students, he said, are fearful about the quality of advice they are given and there exists a real "disconnection" between the people giving advice and the students receiving it, he said.
Reed also said that the CSU will be working closely with California’s community college and high school systems to ensure that students who enter the CSU are better prepared for the rigors of university life.
One of the tools the CSU system will use to educate potential students is a colorful, multi-language poster, printed in English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean that will be prominently displayed in high schools. This poster will show the CSU system’s recommendation on the courses needed to succeed.
“What we’re asking them to do is that during their 12th grade (year), instead of wasting it, messing around, getting a job, doing nothing, they better take algebra II, geometry, trigonometry," said Reed. "If they do that, they’ll be prepared to come to us."
From 1952 to 1962 Cesar Chavez worked for the Community Service Organization. Then in 1962, he left this full time job to contribute all his time creating a union for farm workers. After six months he had recruited more than 300 members of the National Farm Workers Union, as they called it.
California is the only state that recognizes Cesar Chavez for his hard work and dedication to helping farm workers. As Cesar Chavez Day is approaching on March 31, SF State students discuss what Cesar Chavez Day means to them.
The California studies program at SF State was officially saved from termination after the Academic Senate voted unanimously on March 30 to withdraw a proposal to discontinue the program.
Joel Kassiola, dean of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, spoke at the meeting in favor of saving the department and expressed gratitude to those involved with saving the program.
“I am pleased to report that, as a result of some hard work and discussion, we have found ways to save the required amount of money without discontinuing the program formally,” said Kassiola.
The California Studies minor program combines various disciplines such as anthropology, geology, and political science to teach a thorough understanding and appreciation of California and its history, geography, politics, and culture.
SF State is one of nine California State University campuses to offer the program. Sonoma State
University officials also considered terminating their Cal Studies program, but ultimately saved it as well.
SF State California Studies Program Director Lee Davis said he is “absolutely delighted” that the program is off the chopping block. “The jubilation is widespread,” said Davis. “The fact that it has been saved has done a tremendous service to (SF State) students and other schools with Cal Studies programs.”
Despite this victory, Davis said he is still concerned that California Studies may find itself in peril again in the future as SF State budget problems continue to mount.
“My fear is that the next time there’s a budget crisis, (Cal Studies) will be under fire all over again,” he said. “The bottom line is that the small departments are always in danger.”
For now, however, Davis said he is “thrilled” that California Studies is still an option for present and
future students. He said the department will host a celebratory party for California studies supporters on April 12 in the student union.
[X]press Staff Writer Samphors Chhun contributed to this article.
SF State joined with Stanford University, UC Berkley, Rice and St. Mary’s universities, Texas, Monday to host a videoconference dialogue with leaders of Sri Lankan organizations that are part of the tsunami relief effort to discuss the tragedy.
The Dec. 26, 2004 tsunami killed about 180,000 people in 11 countries and the number of missing is over 100,000, according to authorities in these countries.
Sri Lanka, the second most affected country in the tragedy, is now into the rebuilding phase- about 31,000 people died and 10,000 are still missing.
“We’re beginning… the reconstruction of permanent housing, school buildings, and health buildings,” said Lionel Fernando, chairman of the disaster relief for the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka. “I will suggest that there’s a lot of need and skills that we need and we need to help the victims to plan the future. This (the tsunami) wasn’t expected, like a war. It suddenly came and the people need to be helped, no matter the race, religion.”
“I am sure there are a lot of opportunities available (for students to help) in all areas,” said another Sri Lanka’s panelist when a Berkley student asked what people could do as volunteers.
Housing is one of Sri Lanka’s main concerns, according to panelists.
“Housing is going to be very complex,” said one of Sri Lanka’s panelists. “There’s no viability of land.”
He also said the temporary shelters, where many are living after the disaster, will not provide enough protection to the some 450,000 people who do not have homes once the monsoon season begins in June-- the monsoon season in Southern Asia and India brings heavy rains to the subcontinent.
The panelists were grateful to the international humanitarian response to the tragedy.
“This event provoked humanity across borders,” said one of them. “Shelter, food items and medicine came to the victims.”
“I must say no contagious disease took place because we’ve had a high level of medication,” said another panelist.
Some were worried the videoconference was going to be cancelled because of Indonesia’s earthquake of 8.7 magnitude that shook the country today, in which about 1,000 people died, according to Indonesia’s authorities.
One of Sri Lanka’s panelists said the quake was reported by the international media right after it occurred, giving officials enough time to evacuate coastal areas and helping the evacuation to be “calm.”
“It demonstrates the power of communication and that two hours is sufficient to evacuate a population,” he said. “I was surprised to see the way it (the evacuation) was managed.”
“Individual responses (to the tsunami) have been very prompt because of communication, as one of the leaders (Sri Lankan) has pointed out in the conference,” said Nadiya Kravets, international relations major.
“Communication has enabled a lot of response,” Kravets said “Instead of governments taking the charge of the situation, it is the citizens who have pressured the governments to really give up.
Kravets said that the U.S.’s first initial government response “was really low in terms of funding,” but it improved after some international pressure.
“I think at this point it’s really the power of the civil society across the world to be responsible for this type of humanitarian efforts,” Kravets said.
Veronica Canton, president of the Americans for Informed Democracy (AID), said the conference was successful and students were able to interact with those who are directly involved in Sri Lanka’s rebuilding process.
“I thought it (the videoconference) was pretty cool,” said Vish Seshadri, 21, an international relations student. “I did not expect so much information.”
About 14 students gathered for the event in the ground level audio visual room of the J. Paul Leonard Library from 6:30 and 8 p.m.
The videoconference is the second of the series called Partners for Progress that allows U.S. citizens and tsunami victims to speak about the rebuilding effort in the region and seeks to sustain public awareness about the tragedy and to ensure long-term international support for rebuilding.
For more information go to the following website www.aidemocracy.org
Associated Students Inc. President David Abella was accused of mishandling $1,250 by members of the board of directors during their last meeting on March 16, and may face legal action.
The issue stemmed when Abella mislead the ASI board and staff members when he told them in January that he would hire an outside consultant to conduct performance evaluations for full-time ASI staff. It was eventually discovered by the ASI board in early March that Abella hired the consultant to evaluate a single employee, not the whole staff.
In January, Abella established a contractual agreement with Valerie Edwards, an outside consultant, to conduct performance evaluations for full-time ASI employees and staff members. The agreement called for Edwards to be paid $125 an hour for a maximum of 10 hours of work. The spending of the $1,250 was never approved by the board and would have come out of the student-funded $3 million that the ASI controls.
One of the board members said they will take action to remove Abella from office, which would involve a lawsuit in Superior court.
The March 16 meeting also included a dispute on whether to terminate two other ASI board members for attendance violations.
Vice President of Internal Affairs Sergio Rodriguez added a cease-and-desist action item, which the board approved, to the agenda at the beginning of the meeting to prevent further consultation with Edwards. Rodriguez could not be reached for further comment.
In 2001, the board hired Edwards, currently a fieldwork consultant and lecturer for the school of social welfare at UC Berkeley, for a comparability study. The study compared the job responsibilities of ASI staff and employees with those at other California State Universities. Edwards could not be reached for comment by press time.
ASI Executive Director Peter Koo said he initially contacted Edwards last January to conduct what he believed would be a comparability study.
“I gave her the information that the ASI president wanted to meet with (her) first before (she) met with me,” said Koo. “So she came to campus and met with him but she never met with me. No phone call or e-mail or correspondence after that until March. When I thought that two months was a long time for her not to give us any information so I gave her a courtesy phone call.”
Koo said he made the call to Edwards in early March. “She said she’s not doing a comparability analysis, she was doing something else for the president and I asked her to fax over the material she was working on and she said ‘I can’t do that unless the president authorizes it.’”
According to the minutes for the March 2 ASI board meeting, Abella said that his deal with Edwards was not in fact a comparability study, but a performance evaluation for Executive Director Peter Koo.
The minutes also state Koo’s response, which was, “Thank you, since Mr. Abella went on record and stated he was working on a performance evaluation, I would also like the minutes to reflect that the conversations that I had with Ms. Edwards was specifically about the comparability analysis. This is the first time I’ve learned that this has turned into an evaluation, so since I did not enter a contract with
Valerie Edwards at any point, or on behalf of the board, any payment will be directed to the president, since he states that he took the initiative, all payment will be directed to him.”
In a memo obtained by [X]press that Abella sent to the ASI board of directors on March 8, Abella agreed to assume all financial responsibility for his approved funding.
“I’ve made my mistake and it was a big one,” Abella said before the board during their meeting March
16. “And it’s gonna cost me a lot.”
In the memo, Abella also stated: “After reviewing the ASI Bylaws after our March 2, 2005 meeting, I realized that my actions were out of order. When I entered into this agreement I overstepped my authorities as President/CEO of this corporation. Only the Board of Directors retains the authority to enter into a contractual agreement, such as the one I have disclosed ...
"Although this action took place in January, the Board of Directors did not delegate me the authority to act on behalf of the corporation; therefore I am at fault.”
In a separate memo sent by Abella on Nov. 22, 2004, he asked that all ASI employees submit desk audits to associate director Jamila Ali by Dec. 8. The desk audits were to determine whether all 22 ASI staff positions were properly classified. Abella stated in the memo that the evaluations were “not related to the yearly ASI performance evaluations” that usually occur in late November.
Ali said the evaluations Abella asked ASI staff to submit were never used by Edwards and are still sitting in her office.
“(Edwards) was hired to evaluate a single employee position, and (David) lied to us about what she would be doing,“ said junior class representative Maire Fowler.
Fowler, who also sits on the Internal Affairs Committee, said in mid-February she noticed that Abella had hired a “personal consultant” and questioned him about it.
“He didn’t have a response,“ said Fowler. “He was stonewalling people about it. He was trying to shift the focus of what was going on.”
According to the minutes for the March 2 meeting, Koo stated that he didn’t have a problem with a performance evaluation being conducted on him, but questioned it because one already exists for full-time ASI staff.
“We have an evaluation form that we have but he thought it was not sufficient enough so he wanted to change it, I guess,” Koo said.
Also in dispute at the meeting was a proposal to remove senior class representative Marisol Almaguer and science and engineering representative Jacqueline Fernandez for allegedly missing the first three board meetings. The fourth ASI meeting was held March 16, but it was the first meeting Almaguer and Fernandez attended.
Both board members received memos on March 15 informing them that the board would be reviewing their ASI employment.
Graduate representative and chief justice of the board Michael Trujillo sent the memo, which cited an old ASI bylaw that gives the board the authority to dismiss directors for “failing to attend two consecutive board meetings.”
However, the bylaw stated in the memo sent by Trujillo, “Article VII, Section 2: Article C,” does not exist in current ASI bylaws, but is an ASI policy. The inaccurate citing of bylaws in the memo initiated a dispute between Fernandez and Trujillo.
Current ASI bylaws do allow the board to dismiss members for failing to attend two consecutive meetings.
During the meeting, Trujillo admitted that he obtained the information from the ASI Web site, which he was then told contains bylaws that are two years old. Trujillo, who ran for ASI office with Abella on the Think P.I.N.K. slate in 2004, declined to comment after the meeting concluded.
Almaguer and Fernandez both said they have not attended previous meetings because of scheduling conflicts with their classes.
Almaguer, who said she is taking a dance class during the scheduled meeting times, is in her final semester at SF State. An English major and dance minor, Almaguer said she needs the class in order to graduate.
Fernandez, a biology major and chemistry minor, said she has a little more than a year to go to complete her bachelor’s degree, and said she sent an e-mail to Abella stating that her chemistry class would cause her to miss board meetings.
“If you are a board member you need to attend meetings," Abella said. "We all have class (and) we all have (other committee meetings). I forwarded a recommendation to chief justice (Trujillo) to look into (these attendance violations).”
But according to the current ASI bylaws, it is the duty of the corporate secretary to enforce the attendance policy. Fernandez is currently the corporate secretary.
“You want to remove two (board) members with 42 days left (in the semester) instead of focusing on the fact that our president David Abella committed fraud?” Fernandez said. “Why waste our time with petty stuff when Mr. Abella is our president and he’s committed fraud?”
Almaguer said she plans on taking action to have Abella removed as ASI president. According to the ASI bylaws, in order to “effectuate removal (of a director), (a) suit must be filed in the Superior Court of the County of San Francisco by (another) director.”
“I told (Abella) I was going to sue him,” Almaguer said.
SF State hosted the national championship tournament of the Cross Examination Debate Association March 19-22. Top debaters were determined following grueling testimony.
The 34th CEDA championship culminated in the splendor of the Peninsula Grand Ballroom of the SFO Hyatt Regency Hotel. But to get to the grand finale, over 100 two-member teams from universities across the nation competed in preliminary trials of eight rounds each taking place in Burk Hall and the Humanities building.
This year’s topic, selected in August by the CEDA governing board to allowing debaters time for research, focused on fossil fuels with a resolution deciding whether the U.S. government should form a conservation policy to reduce non-governmental oil use.
The 64 teams posting at least a 5-3 record in the preliminary rounds proceeded to the elimination rounds. SF State fielded four teams, with the team of Aaron Fritsch and Vince Alvarez just missing the cutoff at 4-4.
“Competitive debate provides a forum at an advanced level to explain how things work in the world,” said Fritsch, a speech and communications junior. He added that he wants to attend law school and eventually work for the American Civil Liberties Union.
“(Debate) opens up your learning opportunities to forms of thought that may not be offered by university classes,” said Alvarez, a sophomore who majors in political science.
SF State partners Alexis Litzky and Allison Brownlow, who went 5-3 in the preliminaries, advanced to the first elimination round before they were beaten by a team from Whitman College of Walla Walla, Wash.
“I have read more and learned more for debate, specifically in critical theory and literature, not ordinarily learned in class,” said Litzky, a speech communications senior.
Because debaters speak very quickly, it is not a spectator-friendly competition. The format allows two opposing teams - one argues in the affirmative, proposing or praising a plan, and the other argues in the negative, criticizing the plan or claiming it will not work as promised.
The first four speeches, each up to nine minutes, are called constructive speeches. Each is followed by a three-minute cross examination. The debate is concluded with two six-minute rebuttal speeches by each side.
The preliminary debates are scored by one judge each, while eliminations have three judges, and the final has nine. There is no collaboration among judges, to avoid influencing one another or the possibility of a ‘power pull’ of the majority to sway the minority.
As the affirmative side delivers each speech, the negative side collects the text of their completed arguments at the podium to examine if evidence is as good as they claim and check for consistency.
Teammates sometimes warn a speaker when their time is almost expired or interject evidence to support their arguments.
Constructive speeches may include verbatim passages of source texts that include newspapers, magazines, technical journals or books on philosophy, government or social sciences. The more current a source publication, the stronger the argument. Rebuttals are almost completely extemporaneous, responding to the opponents’ claims. While one side is speaking, opponents jot down copious notes or rifle through a small library of portfolios full of source texts that can refute an opponent‘s argument.
“We make arguments during tournaments that (competitive debate) should be more accessible,” said Brownlow. “One of the ways to make debate more accessible is to slow down the pace of the arguments. But (debate) has made me a better public speaker and … made me think much quicker on my feet."
Litzky stressed how much debaters enjoy the camaraderie of all team members including those of other universities. But she noted there is a competitiveness similar to sports.
“Before and after a round you can be very friendly with opponents, because there’s this sense of community," she said. "But once the tournament begins, it’s all business. If personal politics is involved, it sometimes can get very heated.”
Ryan Galloway, one of three judges who unanimously chose the Whitman College team, which knocked out SF State's Litzky and Brownlow from the elimination rounds, said the debate was "nail-bitingly close ... all speeches 'A+'."
Teddy Albiniak is a speech and communications graduate student and an assistant debate coach for SF State. He explained that debate cannot be simplified without doing the activity an injustice because of the complexity of debate's nuances (a judge's philosophy, the debaters’ style and their political arguments).
"It's the antithesis of 'Hardball' (a political talk show on MSNBC) because there's a comparison of arguments, a plethora of voices and not just political sound bites," said Albiniak.
In the championship debate, UC Berkeley junior Craig Wickersham and senior Stacy Nathan defeated
Dartmouth sophomore Kathryn Clark and junior Brian Smith by a 7-2 score.
Shawn Whalen, an SF State lecturer in speech and communication, past president of the CEDA and the organizer of this year's tournament, thanked Dean of Humanities Paul Sherwin and Speech and Communications Department Chair Gerianne Merrigan. Without their help, Whalen said, the tournament would not have been possible.
"I think if you talk to any student in debate, (they will tell you) it is one of the most important things they've ever done," said Whalen.
Many SF State students support a San Francisco Superior Court Judgeï¿½s ruling that the state ban on same sex marriage violates equal rights for citizens.
Superior Court Judge Richard Kramer argued in his opinion on March 14 that creating benefits for same-sex domestic partnerships without allowing marriage was insufficient. He referred to the 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education, which forced the desegregation of public schools and overturned the doctrine of ï¿½separate but equal.ï¿½
ï¿½It was a move in the right direction,ï¿½ said SF State student Billy Chaudy, 23, a graduate student in physics.
ï¿½Itï¿½s not my lifestyle, (but) I think they should be allowed to marry,ï¿½ said Jordan Perlman, 22, a business major.
State law currently prohibits same-sex couples from marrying. Voters approved Proposition 22 in 2000 to amend two sections of the California Family Code to define marriage as a union between a man and woman.
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom defied state law last year by instructing the city clerk to issue marriage licenses to some 4,000 gay and lesbian couples.
Kramerï¿½s ruling came as the result of a lawsuit filed by San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera on behalf of more than a dozen same sex couples. Kramer addressed the matter of the California Constitution directly, wrote, ï¿½no rational purpose exists for limiting marriage in this state to opposite sex partners."
The historic decision once again puts San Francisco in the limelight of the same sex marriage issue one year after the California Supreme Court voided the same sex marriages licenses.
Brandi Chalker, 20, international relations major, supports same sex marriage. She said public opinion is similar to that in 1948 when a U.S. Supreme Court decision resulted in California becoming the first state to legalize interracial marriage in America.
Chalker was optimistic and added that it may be hard to imagine now, but at one time the majority of the country did not support interracial marriage.
Diane Lai, 20, business major, said news of the ruling was great.
"I see nothing wrong with gay marriage,ï¿½ Lai said. ï¿½I think everyone should have equal rights.
ï¿½After everything the city has been through, it may be slow progress, but it's progress."
Henry Hopkins, 20, cinema major, said to deny equal rights to everyone in America is against the foundation of what this country claims to represent - freedom.
He said there should be laws and regulations, but laws that deny people freedom do not stand up for the best interests of the country.
ï¿½There shouldnï¿½t be rules for people based on the moral standings of a couple (of) people,ï¿½ Hopkins said.
Troy Nuijens, 25, disagreed and said all marriages should be illegal.
"I would argue that gay marriage is wrong,ï¿½ said Nuijens, a theater and political science major. ï¿½Itï¿½s something that should happen in the church and not something that should happen in the government.ï¿½
ï¿½I donï¿½t think (same sex marriage) is necessary,ï¿½ said Zainab Sharif, 23, an English major. "I think marriage was created for a man and woman to share a family.ï¿½
ï¿½The case is likely to be appealed and will eventually end up before the California Supreme Court,ï¿½ said Alexis Truchan, spokeswoman for City Attorney Herrera.
After the ruling, Herrera told reporters he was optimistic the decision ï¿½will withstand the inevitable appeals.ï¿½
The SF State Student Affairs Committee is looking for ways to alleviate high transportation costs for SF State students who commute using public transportation.
On March 15, the committee discussed the possibility of a special fare-free transit pass program that would allow SF State students to ride San Francisco’s Muni system for discounted rates.
The program, dubbed “class pass,” would give students unlimited semester-long access to Muni buses and light rail trains without paying a fare each time, and without buying expensive monthly passes from Muni. The university would purchase bulk transit directly from Muni at a negotiable rate and give passes to students and perhaps staff and faculty.
Many other Bay Area universities such as the University of San Francisco (USF), San Jose State University and University of California Berkeley already enjoy fare-free transit pass programs for students and faculty.
SF State students who use Muni to commute to school on a daily basis must pay full price for transit fares, which may be increasing in the near future due to Muni’s budget deficit.
Student Affairs Committee member Larry Klingenberg said the SAC is “aware of the plights of students with high costs of living,” and that student transportation is a “hot issue” that has long been neglected at SF State.
“The SAC is trying to start a little momentum on this issue,” said Klingenberg. “It has been out there for a while but not a thing has been done yet.”
SF State child and adolescent development major John Green, 18, uses Muni to commute to school and work. Green said a class pass would alleviate the hassle of scrounging for round-trip fares and the unaffordability of monthly passes.
“Paying a $1.25 every time I get on Muni is hard, and a monthly pass is way too much,” Green said. “It’s like another cell phone bill.”
Jennifer Olsen is a policy associate for Transportation for a Livable City, a non-profit organization that encourages the use of class pass programs to better our city environment.
Olsen spoke at the SAC meeting about the many benefits of a class pass system and how they may be applied at SF State.
“Transportation is a pretty big burden,” said Olsen. “The class pass really affords students mobility and encourages the use of public transportation.”
According to TLC, a fare-free transit system reduces demand for parking, reduces traffic congestion and air pollution, increases students’ options for jobs and housing and ultimately cuts university spending on parking accommodations.
“The benefits so thoroughly outweigh the costs of these programs,” said Olsen. “This is money that would eventually need to have been spent on parking garages.”
San Jose State University’s commute coordinator Andy Chow said San Jose State’s “Eco Pass” system “greatly alleviated” a lot of the parking shortages that San Jose State faced before the program’s initiation.
“It’s a very popular program on campus,” said Chow. “It encourages people to try public transportation instead of driving.”
A survey conducted at UC Berkeley to evaluate the effectiveness of Berkeley’s class pass system showed a 250 percent increase in transit ridership in the first year of the program’s implementation.
Alison Richardson, director of student activities at USF, said she is pleased with the university’s class pass program. Richardson said the pass encourages students who live on campus to get out and explore San Francisco.
“I think students really take advantage of the pass,” said Richardson. “It allows better access to the city and the community.”
USF communications major Sharee Nuez, 20, takes advantage of her student transit pass and calls it “very beneficial and convenient.”
“Transit would be a pain without (the pass),” said Nuez. “I mean, who actually carries around the change to always pay fares?”
Universities vary in the methods they choose to pay for the bulk transit passes; most Bay Area schools opt for mandatory student fees paid at the beginning of each semester. UC Berkeley and San Jose State students pay $37.20 and $21.50, respectively, as part of registration costs. USF students pay $60-75, depending on the semester.
Other funding options include using parking revenues and fines, general funds or even grant money.
Richardson said the mandatory fees for all students create a problem for students who do not use MUNI, but must pay regardless.
Many commuters at SF State do not live within city limits and would have no use for an unlimited Muni pass and would not want to pay extra fees for a service they would barely use.
Business administration major Michelle Fasig, 21, lives outside of San Francisco and said she rarely uses public transportation.
“(A class pass) really wouldn’t benefit me at all, so I shouldn’t have to pay for it,” said Fasig. “The fees are already so high, a transit fee would make it ridiculous.”
Green said he would not mind paying an additional student fee to make student transit passes possible.
“If I was to pay an additional fee, I would expect it to be reasonable,” Green said. “Something like $30 dollars would make it a lot cheaper and easier to get (transportation costs) out of the way at the beginning of the semester.”
SF State business communications major Lisa Ekroth, 24, commutes to campus from the Haight District. Ekroth said that although the pass would help with her commuting costs, paying for the pass should not be mandatory.
“It’s a good idea, and it would help me out, but it’s not for everyone,” said Ekroth. “It shouldn’t be mandatory for people who aren’t going to use it.”
Olsen stresses that the benefits of the transit pass system would be beneficial for all members of the SF State community, not just students who commute on Muni.
“When more people use transit, less people drive, which reduces traffic and parking problems,” said Olsen. “Everyone will benefit, whether they take public transportation or not.”
“Every dollar spent on a class pass can be thought of as being used twice,” Olsen adds, “first as transportation and second as student aid.”
With SF State students voting this week to determine the future of athletics on campus, other schools in the California State University system have found their own ways to deal with budget cuts.
Every campus handles fiscal issues differently, according to SF State Athletic Director Michael J. Simpson.
But how did athletics get left behind in the shuffle of decisions made?
When funding cuts were first proposed, many CSU campuses created plans of action, so that they wouldn’t be left in the dark when trickier decisions arose down the road.
Robert Harris, director of advancement services at Cal State Stanislaus, said the university didn’t set aside actual money but the administration proactively thought ahead about what they may be faced with.
“We were able to take the cuts and still keep positions because our administration planned ahead,” Harris said. “You have to be prepared and anticipate as much as you can.”
Harris also said their action was to hold off on marking funds for future spending because they knew that there were going to be tough times ahead.
SF State saw problems brewing about two years ago and Simpson said he earmarked some funds to make this year's athletics programs possible.
“We are still $600,000 short this year,” Simpson said. “I had no idea it was going to be this bad.”
The California State Polytechnic University at Pomona also made plans ahead of time to prepare for the cuts that were coming to all CSUs.
“With the anticipated 12 percent cuts coming, our VP of Finance acted proactively making internal cutbacks, like an internal reshuffling, so that when the cuts came we only absorbed six percent,” said Julie Hall, director of development for Cal Poly Pomona. “I compare it to a squirrel storing its nuts for the upcoming winter.”
SF State administrators have dealt with very difficult decisions concerning the recent budget cuts proposed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s plan for education. According to documents from the California Department of Finance, a total of $771 million in general funds were cut from CSU budgets, with $531 million in 2003-2004 and $240 million in 2004-2005.
Because of the cuts in general fund money, SF State has had to make the decision to cut the $1.4 million in general fund money from the athletic department, leaving them with less than half of their original budget to work with, according to Simpson. He explained further that there are two basic types of funding: student fees, which account for $1.25 million, and the general fund money, which accounted for $1.4 million.
Another form of funding that is essential to a program’s success comes from external support, which is a combination of philanthropic support, grants and contracted revenues that can come from individuals, alumni, endowments, foundations, corporations and other organizations.
In 2003-2004, the CSU external support came close to $1.3 billion, representing more than $3,000 per student. SF State’s external support from special revenue has rapidly increased over the past five years while voluntary support has slowly increased.
In 2000-2001, $12.7 million came from voluntary support and $44.3 million from special revenue for a total $57 million. In 2001-2002, revenues consisted of $7.8 million from voluntary support and $50.5 million from special revenue for a total $58.3 million. In 2002-2003, $12.6 million came from voluntary support with $47.7 million came from special revenue for a total $60.3 million. In 2003-2004, $17.3 million came from voluntary support and $83.4 million came from special revenue for a total $100.7 million.
The charitable gifts, included in the voluntary support area, were at the lowest amount in the past five years, with $7.4 million compared to the $11 million in 2002-2003 and even higher in 1999-2000 and 2000-2001.
Another weak area of external support is the alumni contributions, which stayed at a steady seven percent from 2000 to 2005 and only account for nine percent of total CSU donations.
According to the SF State Alumni Association, no donations were made to athletics through their organization last year.
Both Simpson and Doug Hupke, assistant athletic director for facilities and development, agreed that alumni donations are good but small, so they rely mostly on the fundraising events for their funding and support.
Harris said that they get funding through media guide sales, selling signage to businesses, the department-wide Crab Feed event, and camps and clinics that the individual teams hold.
“Stanislaus' athletics has a good constituency supporting us that we couldn’t function without because they give us external funds,” Harris said. “We fundraised approximately $600,000 last year.”
Each year SF State has three major fundraisers that bring in approximately $50,000 yearly, Hupke said.
Without the $1.4 million in general funds, the athletic department can’t function, which is why the referendum to increase fees was presented with students.
“The school never intentionally tries to hurt anyone,” Simpson said. “There is a prioritizing that happens during these times and for (SF) State, the academics are the school’s number one priority.”
In a recent memo to SF State students, President Robert A. Corrigan said, “I propose that we use this time of change as an opportunity to rethink athletics on this campus and to shape a program that continues to model the ethical best of college sports programs while at the same time meeting with success in an arena of our own choosing.”
He also said that he wanted to create an alternative model for athletics on campus and that the Task Force created for this situation was looking at athletics with hope but with realism.
The Task Force’s final report showed that 91 percent of SF State students agreed that participation in athletics should be an option, and 78 percent of students support the continuance of the athletic program.
The report also showed that over half of students would be willing to pay an increased fee for athletics, which includes intramural teams. This report showed overall that students are in support of athletics, but three-fourths of them said that there was a lack of publicity for the events.
San Jose State University’s Associate Student Government President, Rachael Greathouse, said the university’s administration and Academic Senate makes it a point to be as accessible as possible to students.
Greathouse said San Jose State University’s president writes a column in the student newspaper, explaining what is going on with the school’s budget and other information that the students need to be informed about on a regular basis. Greathouse further explained that they don’t need to hold surveys about student opinions because they hold budgetary open forums, and the students know exactly where to go for information.
Students at San Diego State University voted against a fee referendum last April but their campus President, Stephen L. Weber, who has since 1996 followed the advice of the majority vote in fee referenda, decided to override the vote for the well-being of the school. He said they wouldn’t have been able to provide more classes if student fees were not increased and athletics would have been put in a bad situation regarding funding.
"I cannot allow our students and this university to fall victim to this budget crisis when we have ways to mitigate it," Weber said.
According to SF State News memos, after last year’s referendum vote for the increase in athletic student fees, which was defeated by 233 votes, President Corrigan said that he would not override the vote because it represented how the students felt about athletics.
“In my opinion, SFSU is in the state it is because over the last 20 years, the administration has not continued to sustain and engage their student population,” Hall said.
A comparison of the fees charged throughout the CSU shows that SF State has consistently stayed below the average for total state university and campus fees from 2001 to 2005.
According to the CSU website, in 2001-2002, SF State fees were $1,826, Stanislaus $1,875, Cal Poly $1,795, San Jose State $1909, with the average fee for all CSUs at $1,876. In 2002-2003, fees included SF State at $1,970, Stanislaus at $2,023, Cal Poly at $1,939, SJSU at $2,059, with the average fees at $2,070. In 2003-2004, fees for SF State were $2,480, Stanislaus was $2,503, Cal Poly was $2,500, SJSU was $2,563, and the average fee was $2,572. In 2004-2005, fees for SF State were $2,880, Stanislaus was $2,807, Cal Poly was $2,811, SJSU was $2,958, and the average fee was $2,916.
Getting a fee referendum passed is key to keeping a campus functioning, Hall said.
“You have to emphasize how athletics is important to non-athletes and why athletics is an integral part of the overall college experience,” Hall said. “Because the diversity is so strong in schools like San Francisco, Long Beach and Cal Poly, you must tie in what sports are unique to that culture; to get the students involved and engaged.”
NEXA founder and director Michael Gregory died of a heart attack on Feb. 22 at his Mill Valley home. He was 75 years old.
Gregory taught English and NEXA courses, an interdisciplinary program that combines the science and humanities, at SF State from 1958-2002. A memorial will be held on May 6, in Humanities 133.
"He was a very inspiring individual," said Geoffrey Green, current program director of NEXA. "He held himself … and others to a very high standard. At times (it was) challenging but very fulfilling to work with him."
Gregory’s colleagues often referred to him as brilliant and witty although many didn’t know him personally. Green knew Gregory professionally since 1983 but didn’t know him outside of work.
“He didn’t come in and tell jokes, but he had a ironic comedy that often times people would be moved to laughter,” said Green.
Gregory was born in 1929 and is survived by three daughters, Erika Gregory-Mollner of Vallejo, Alexa Gregory-Wane of Kensington, and Tanya Gregory of Florence, Italy; two ex-wives, Jan Gregory, professor of English at SF State, and Ora Cipolla; and three grandchildren, Hannah, Jeremy and Jack, according to Nancy Pappas, College of Humanities administration analyst.
“He was sort of larger than life,” said Susan Lea, professor and graduate coordinator of the physics and astronomy department.
“The NEXA program was his baby and I think he lived his life for it,” said Lea.
Gregory’s family has requested contributions be made in his name to the Milo Foundation, a domestic animal sanctuary, or the NEXA program at SF State.
"Michael Gregory’s commitment to high standards and innovative education lives on in the memory of all who knew him," said Green. "He will be missed."
SF State engineering students interested in military job opportunities met with recruiters on campus last week to discuss employment options, despite the loud yells of student protestors.
The Army Corps of Engineers, the Air Force and the Marines set up tables at the Career Center Employer Showcase last week in Jack Adams Hall to pass out information and talk to students interested in working for the military after graduation.
There are an estimated 100 engineering graduating students this semester, said Shy-Shenq Liou, engineering department director. For many of the soon-to-be graduates, finding local jobs would be ideal.
Matt Ford, a junior studying electrical engineering, went to the job fair to talk to the recruiters.
“The recruiters are offering management and leadership positions, and officer training," said Ford, who talked to the U.S. Air Force recruiters. "For what I am pursuing that would be a good option for me after graduation.”
According to Tyson S. Eckerle, a biologist with the Army Corps of Engineers, the military is always looking to recruit.
“We are looking for civil engineers, biologists, physical scientists and civic planners,” said Eckerle. “When a student comes into the fair and approaches our booth, we immediately let them know about current job openings, and if they are interested, we start the application process.”
Master Sgt. David Erbe, a full-time Air Force recruiter who was at the career fair, said he thinks it's important for students to have access to this information.
For junior Amir Ali, a civil engineering major, it was difficult to get information about job opportunities with the demonstrators’ presence.
“I'm a little surprised by the protests,” said Ali. “Do they realize the military is here recruiting for science and technology jobs?
“I know that engineering is a subject that will contribute to society, no matter who does it, but I also think it's good students are able to express their concerns with the military being on campus.”
Specialized positions in the medical field, like nursing and dentistry, and positions in the civil engineering fields, like design and research, are needed in the military, said Erbe.
“There is a real lack of people filling these positions, so we are here to find qualified students who may be interested in joining when they graduate,” said Erbe.
Ford, who has been studying electrical engineering at SF State for three years, is concerned about
finding a job after graduation because many U.S. companies are beginning to outsource more jobs.
Offshore outsourcing - the exporting of jobs once done in the United States - is on the rise, according to a report done by Gartner Inc., an information technology research firm. The study predicts more than 40 percent of U.S. companies will have already shipped some tech-related work overseas by 2006. Another report from Forrester Research, a technology-consulting firm in Massachusetts, suggests that between now and 2015 about 3.3 million white-collar positions will shift abroad.
“A job in Silicon Valley was way more of an option five years ago, so I have to look in other places,” said Ford.
Military recruiters such as Tyson and Erbe are able to hire students directly because of the Federal Career Intern Program, which former President Bill Clinton signed in 2000.
The program is designed to assist federal agencies in recruiting and attracting men and women who have a variety of experiences, academic disciplines, and skills to help agencies meet critical needs. It is designed to offer professional civil service experience to students and to provide a pool of experienced job candidates to agencies.
“Once they submit a resume it's a fairly easy hiring process because of the program,” Tyson said about students interested in military jobs.
The most important thing for electrical engineering student Ford is to find a job within his field after graduation and the military recruiters gave him all the information he needed to start making those important choices.
“The military inspires me,” said Ford. “I don't really support everything that is going on in the Middle East right now, but to me it's a job like any other.”
SF State's largest college is choosing a new dean and defying their traditional process by picking nominees without backgrounds in education.
“This is the appropriate time to have a dean that’s strong in strategic management and has resources in the business community,” said Victor Cordell, director of the College of Business Graduate Studies Program. He added that SF State has never had a dean “that I know of” who lacked experience in education - “they’ve all been academics.”
According to Sanjit Sengupta, chair of the marketing department and a member of the search committee, the next dean will also be the business school’s first without a Ph.D. The decision to make such a hire was agreed on by faculty and staff at a town hall style meeting last fall.
Sengupta, said that the "experience with deans in the past was that they were not effective in getting visibility for the college in the business community."
SF State President Robert Corrigan assisted efforts to locate an outside dean by enlisting the services of executive search firm Korn Ferry. Officials in the business school credit the firm with helping to locate some of the initial six candidates - a field that was trimmed to four earlier this semester.
On-campus visits have been arranged for the four remaining candidates, all of whom have ties to Bay Area businesses. The visits offer faculty, staff and students the chance to pose questions to the candidates before one is selected to replace acting Dean Bill Perttula, who has signaled that he is not interested in the job. Perttula has held the position for one year, filling in after Jerry Platt left to take a job at the private University of Redlands.
He added that the school was asking candidates for the permanent position to commit to serving a minimum of five years, an commitment that will factor heavily into the college’s choice.
The College of Business has more than 4,700 undergraduate students, 700 graduate students and over 100 faculty members. It is the largest accredited business school in California and, according to Perttula, it is still growing.
The college is in the process of privatizing the graduate business programs. This will alleviate the reliance on state university monies, but will also require the College of Business to recruit more graduate students and obtain other funding to support its programs.
“There are two ways to bring in money - (through) specialized MBAs or from straight donations from corporations,” said Perttula. Hiring a dean from the business world may help attract more graduate students, and getting those students to enroll at SF State will be “a big issue for the new dean,” he said.
Having a dean without educational experience "doesn't bother me at all," said 24-year-old business finance major Lev Malanin. "Most of the successful businessmen I've seen haven't even gone to college at all."
Another finance major, Steve Schlegel, called hiring a businessperson "a great idea." "Normally deans get in because they can't do anything else,” he said. They also "don't know where a lot of the students are really trying to get."
“A successful dean in the business school today should be spending 75 to 80 percent of his time externally - dealing with development programs and public relations,” said Cordell. He said that a dean from outside the academia realm would probably be the best fit.
Ads for the graduate program are being placed in national magazines such as Newsweek and Business Week. The Accelerated MBA (AMBA) program has placed an SF State College of Business satellite campus in the heart of San Francisco’s Financial District and has enrolled 185 graduate students.
There are also campuses in Redwood City and at Canada College.
“Now we need somebody who can sell our programs to businesses and get them to pay high tuitions,” said Sengupta.
"This may be harder on the college as a whole,” said dean's assistant Janet Remolona. “But it’s a necessary decision we all made as a department.”
The Selection Process:
The selection process began last December, when six candidates were selected and brought to campus for preliminary visits. After that visit, the selection committee - comprised of six business college faculty members, one staff member and four members from other areas of campus - eliminated two candidates from the running.
During the past two weeks, the four finalists have made individual trips to SF State and met with the committee and other faculty. The committee will then “make out (a) report to the provost (John Gemello) after spring break, and then candidates are called back for a meeting with Corrigan,” said Sengupta.
Corrigan and Germello will then decide on the new dean based on their personal meetings and the reports supplied by the selection committee.
“We’re not selecting the person, we’re just ruling out ones that aren’t acceptable,” Sengupta said of the committee’s role in the hiring process. He added that the committee “hopes an offer will be made before the end of the spring semester,” and have the new dean in place by this summer.
Roger Gray has served for 18 years as Chief Information Officer at PG&E. He guided the company through California’s power crisis of 2000, and has had to deal with several cutbacks.
Dennis Wu is a UC Berkeley graduate and recently retired as National Director for Deloitte and Touche LLP’s Chinese Service Group. Raised in the Philippines by Chinese parents, Wu could bring a command of several Asian cultures and dialects to the campus that has awarded the most business degrees to Asian Americans in the United States.
Peter Giles is president and CEO of the San Jose-based Tech Museum of Innovation, and he is scheduled to retire from that post on March 31. Through the museum, Giles has created several community partnerships and led teacher training classes and field trips.
Nancy Hayes worked as a general manager at IBM in San Francisco in the mid-90s. Hayes then worked in New York before ending up in Los Angeles and is now CEO and President of WISE Senior Services.
Associated Students Inc. President David Abella was accused of mishandling $1,250 by some of his board members in a meeting yesterday and may face legal action.
The ASI board of directors meeting also included a dispute to terminate two other ASI board members for attendance violations.
One of the issues in question occurred last January when Abella established a contractual agreement with Valerie Edwards, an outside consultant, to conduct performance evaluations for full-time ASI employees and staff members. The agreement called for Edwards to be paid $125 an hour for a maximum of ten hours of work. The spending of the $1,250 was never approved by the board and would have come out of the student-funded $3 million that the ASI is in control of.
Vice President of Internal Affairs Sergio Rodriguez added a cease and desist action to the agenda at the beginning of the meeting to prevent further consultation with Edwards, which the board ultimately passed.
In a memo obtained by [X]press that Abella sent to the ASI board of directors on March 8, Abella agreed to assume all financial responsibility for his approved funding.
“I’ve made my mistake and it was a big one,” Abella said yesterday before the board. “And it’s gonna cost me a lot.”
In the memo, Abella also states “After reviewing the ASI Bylaws after our March 2, 2005 meeting, I realized that my actions were out of order. When I entered into this agreement I overstepped my authorities as President/CEO of this corporation. Only the Board of Directors retains the authority to enter into a contractual agreement, such as the one I have disclosed … Although this action took place in January, the Board of Directors did not delegate me the authority to act on behalf of the corporation; therefore I am at fault.”
Also in dispute yesterday was a proposal to remove senior class representative Marisol Almaguer and science and engineering representative Jacqueline Fernandez for allegedly missing three out of four board meetings. The fourth ASI meeting was held yesterday, and it was the first meeting Almaguer and Fernandez attended.
Both board members received memos two days ago informing them that the board would be reviewing their ASI employment.
Graduate representative and chief justice of the board Michael Trujillo sent the memo, which cited an ASI bylaw that states the authority of the board to dismiss directors for “failing to attend two consecutive board meetings.”
However, the bylaw that was stated in the memo, “Article VII: Section 2: Article C,” does not exist in current ASI bylaws.
During the meeting, Trujillo admitted that he obtained the information from the ASI Web site, which he was promptly told contains bylaws that are two years old.
Trujillo declined to comment after the meeting concluded.
Almaguer and Fernandez both said they have not attended previous meetings because of scheduling conflicts with their classes.
Almaguer, who said she is taking Dance 434 during the scheduled meeting times, is in her final semester at SF State. Almaguer, an English major and dance minor, said she needs the class in order to graduate. Fernandez, a biology major and chemistry minor, said she has a little more than a year to go to complete her bachelor’s degree, and said she explained to Abella that her Chemistry 115 class would cause her to miss board meetings.
“If you are a board member you need to attend meetings. We all have class, we all have (other committee meetings),” Abella said. “I forwarded a recommendation to the chief justice (Trujillo) to look into (these attendance violations).”
But according to the current ASI bylaws, it is the duty of the corporate secretary to enforce the attendance policy. Fernandez is currently the corporate secretary.
“You want to remove two (board) members with 42 days left instead of focusing on the fact that our president David Abella committed fraud?” Fernandez said. “Why waste our time with petty stuff when Mr. Abella is our president and he’s committed fraud?”
Almaguer said she plans on taking action to have Abella removed as ASI president. According to the ASI bylaws, “to effectuate removal (of a Director), suit must be filed in the Superior Court of the County of San Francisco by (another) Director.”
“I told him I was going to sue him,” Almaguer said.
The future of the athletic department at SF State is in jeopardy, as the students are voting whether or not to keep the department for a tuition increase of $17 a semester, with an increase of one dollar each semester after. The SF State Cheer Team is among those who are trying to get students to vote in favor of athletics on March 14-16, as they are preparing to go to nationals for the first time in the history of SFSU. The cheerleaders are worried that this might be the first and last time the SFSU cheer team goes to nationals, and are doing everything they can to get students to vote yes on the fee referendum.
In the middle of midterms, when students are struggling with exams and the sleep deprivation and stress that comes with it, SF State’s Student Health Advisory Committee offered a one-day carnival to prevent and release stress.
The event, a Stress Relief Day, took place in the Quad outside the Cesar Chavez Student Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, and is offered every semester. The event was organized by SHAC, a student-run organization that works with the Student Health Center to offer recommendations for the center and student health in general.
David Huang, president of SHAC, said the purpose of the event was to help students relax – therefore the event is usually held during the time of midterms.
“The point is for students to come here and have fun and release their stress,” Huang said.
Students could enjoy free activities, including an inflatable obstacle course, an inflatable boxing ring with matching inflatable gloves and one-on-one counseling regarding eating habits and massage. The activities were funded by the Associated Students Inc.
Kamal Harb, health educator at the Student Health Center and advisor to SHAC, said another goal of the event is to educate students about programs or practices that could help them deal with stress in the future.
Several health-linked student organizations also tabled in front of the quad, including CEASE (Creating Empowerment through Alcohol and Substance-Abuse Education), the AIDS Coordinating Committee, SAFE, (Sexual Abuse Free Environment) and EROS, (Educational and Referral Organization on Sexuality).
Felicia Lee, 23, major of child and adolescent development and member of EROS, said the main purpose of the tabling was to make students aware of resources that the campus offers in the areas of health and sexuality.
Lee said handing out free gifts was a good way of grabbing people’s attention, and EROS offered free condoms to passersby. However, not everyone stopped by, even if they seemed interested and kept looking at the table, she said.
“Sometimes people are kind of shy to come up,” said Lee.
Students that stopped by at the Carnival said they enjoyed the event.
Shawntel Covington, and 18-year-old biology major, went on the obstacle course and afterwards proudly declared that she had won over her friend Oscar Edwards, but later admitted it was the other way around.
“It was great,” Covington said. “I had a lot of fun.”
Matthew Cummings, a SF State graduate of the theatre department who was on campus to meet friends and use campus resources, stopped by the quad for the free massage offered by students from the World School of Massage and Holistic Health. He said the massage helped him to relax and reduce tension in his body.
Cummings said he thought the carnival was a great idea and that the campus should offer events like it on more regular basis.
“I think stress is students’ biggest enemy and it’s vital to have various programs on campus to reduce stress in order to have academic quality,” said Cummings.
With the recent attempted robbery that has prompted police to post information bulletins on campus and vehicular theft rates at SF State leading other Bay Area colleges over a three-year period, we asked several SF State students if they felt safe on campus.
An SF State student said she was denied her right to free speech when she was allegedly “pushed” by campus police officers at a job fair event on campus.
Paradis Esmaeili, 18, was one of the many students prohibited from distributing anti-military pamphlets at the second day of the Career Center Employer Showcase at Jack Adams Hall. On March 9, over 100 students protested the U.S. Air Force and Army Corps of Engineers recruiting tables.
According to Esmaeili, a Students Against War (SAW) member, eight police officers surrounded her and pushed her toward the doorway after she refused to leave the campus career fair on March 10.
“I told them that it’s my right to be here and the cops started pushing me,” said Esmaeili. “They told me that I don’t have a right to be here to pass out flyers.”
Esmaeili attended the job fair along with three other SAW members to protest military recruiters second day on campus.
“The military’s ‘Don’t ask, Don’t tell’ policy violates the school’s policy of anti-discrimination,” said Esmaeili.
According to Ellen Griffin, university spokeswoman, there were no pushing and shoving incidents that she was aware of.
“Two students came in to pass out literature and attempted to sit down, to make an area for themselves,” said Griffin. “They were told not to, that this was not the purpose of the event, and asked to leave. UPD asked for their identification on the way out. They (the students) refused and tried to run away. They were stopped by other police and eventually did give identification.”
Esmaeili said that officers directed her to the designated free speech areas outside the Malcolm X plaza. According to Angela Sposito, executive assistant to the Academic Senate (AS), the free speech platforms were unofficially established by AS in 1991.
“I wasn’t aware the constitution designates (a) certain area of free speech,” added Esmaeili.
According to Griffin, Esmaeili was in violation of SF State’s Student Code of Conduct. “It’s clearly a violation of the Student Code of Conduct to disrupt a scheduled event,” she said. "Is the student suggesting she could go into a class and sing opera? I think there are some misconceptions regarding free speech and that should be explored.”
Registered student groups can talk to organizers of events and ask for permission to distribute literature they might be granted permission, said Griffin. According to the Office of Student Programs Leadership Development website, SAW is a registered organization on campus. It is unclear whether Esmaeili and the other SAW members requested such permission to distribute literature.
“I don’t think it (the Wednesday and Thursday incidents) will really change how we run these types of events,” said Griffin. “There are policies in place to make sure students have the right to free speech, and there are policies that govern acceptable student conduct on campus.”
Reasons prompting disciplinary action include using amplified sound without permission and disrupting school activity, said Griffin. It is highly likely that students who participate and violate the student code of conduct will be referred for possible student disciplinary action, said Griffin.
SF State faculty has broad academic freedoms and it would be unlikely for the school to take action against them for involvement in Wednesday’s protest, added Griffin.
“I think students should be able to protest something they find wrong with the administration,” said Allison Sharplin, age 21, anthropology major. “ I don’t think they should be suspended for executing their rights.”
Under the Solomon Amendment, federal funding may be cut for schools that refuse to give military recruiters access. SF State receives approximately $20 million in federal funding under these categories that go to educational programs, said Griffin.
“They (military recruiters) will be given access as other recruiters are, consistent with the laws we need to follow. To lose more than $20 million in federal grants and contracts will be to the great detriment of the students,” she said.
Andrea Lamadora is standing outside the Mingle Boutique at 1815 Union St., her hands in the pockets of her tattered jeans. She talks with friends while enjoying the unusually warm weather. The breeze blows through her long hair and feather earrings.
Inside the boutique, well-dressed women sip on their drinks and munch on hors d’oeuvres while browsing through racks of clothes, all crafted by local Bay Area designers. Lamadora, an SF State design major, was among those displaying their wares.
At one of San Francisco’s fanciest shopping corridors, the brown sheer kimono blouse Lamadora paired with distressed jeans and slip-on Indian shoes stood out amid the high priced fashion seen on Union Street, and that is the point, said Lamadora.
She has big plans for her clothing line, House of Mamasan. Starting a clothing company from the ground up is empowering, said Lamadora.
“This is one small step for us,” Lamadora said, referring to the opening of Mingle. “We’re going worldwide (with House of Mamasan).”
The need to succeed as an independent designer stems from childhood, said Lamadora. Raised in the Hunter’s Point neighborhood by a single working mother, she started making clothes with her mother and sisters when she was eight years old. The need to create her own style was born early, and her clothes were a creative outlet for her. When friends and schoolmates liked her designs, she began making things for them, and she loved doing it, said Lamadora.
Lamadora, 24, applied for a business license in 2001 after an up-and-coming singer she had been dressing told her that her style was runway-worthy. She began working on the clothing line with her sister, SF State marketing major Kila Lamadora, who does the marketing for the clothing line.
Both Andrea and Kila are full-time students and work part-time as stylists and even as nannies.
“It can be difficult managing everything, but when something needs to be done, it gets done,” said Andrea.
Andrea designs all of her pieces herself and makes the clothes with the fabric she has collected from countries she has visited.
“I’ve been to Cuba, Thailand and Hawaii,” said Andrea. “My designs incorporate the beauty of all cultures and everything the Bay Area (has to offer) - politics, music, urban life,” said Andrea.
Before launching and designing her own clothing line, Andrea was a broadcast and electronic communication arts major, but said she realized that she could never be herself in the broadcast profession.
“I felt I would be a puppet,” said Andrea. “And I could never be happy doing that.”
The sisters had their first stroke of luck in 2002 when the once then-unknown Bay Area songstress Goapele’s record, “Closer,” climbed into the Top 100, reaching #63 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.
“When we met Goapele, she hadn’t made a name for herself but I started dressing her,” said Andrea. "When her record made it to radio and she started attending red carpet events, everyone wanted to know who her stylist was."
“She helped to create a buzz around Mamasan,” said Kila.
Kila and Andrea said that the start of having a successful business begins with having faith in yourself.
“If you believe in yourself, others will believe in you too,” said Andrea.
Besides believing, Andrea said she would advise anyone trying to start their own business to get a business license. She added that their success can be attributed to old fashioned hard work and love for what you do.
“This is not a job," said Andrea. "I love what I do and it shows in the final product.”
The twosome hopes to one day open small boutiques worldwide that will feature only House of Mamasan designs and launch a new line for mass production for stores like Macy’s along with a clothing line for men.
Because of the expensive process of getting clothing into retail, they were blessed to have the chance to have their clothes in Mingle, said Kila, because the funds for Mamasan are very limited.
All of the money that goes into the clothing line comes out of the sisters’ own pockets.
“After paying the house rent and whatever else we need to survive, there is not that much money left for Mamasan,” said Kila.
Leslie Leonhardt, executive director of the Union Street Merchants Association, said new businesses are always opening and closing on Union Street.
“I’m surprised that any shops are doing well,”” Leonhardt said, adding that many new shops close because of the misconception shoppers have that all shops on Union Street are high-end.
Mimi Ting, the owner of Mingle, met the sisters in late January when they replied to an ad. “I was looking for (local) designers with unique backgrounds and styles,” said Ting. Ting added that the different styles will give the sisters an edge on the competition.
“I want my clothes to be bought and worn by everyday people,” said Andrea. “The store is the best way to make this happen.”
Jessica Spencer, designer for independent children’s clothing Jen Jen, said that at least half of all new clothing lines fail within the first three years, but the future for independent clothing lines is looking brighter.
“The fashion industry is saturated with clothing lines and people are looking to independent designers,” said Spencer. “The market is changing and clothing lines focusing on specialized clothing designs (like Jen Jen) are in demand.”
Kila and Andrea said they agree.
The Early Childhood Education Center will start renovation in mid-March, adding sink units that will make the center a more health-friendly environment for its teachers and children.
The center is adding six sink units - four sinks for children and two sinks for teachers. The renovation will also include installing counter lights, which will allow direct light for teachers to work with, and wall cabinets for additional storage space in the infant/toddler rooms.
With the addition of sink units in infant/toddler classrooms, the children will be able to wash their hands in the eating area after snack time instead of proceeding to the bathroom to wash their hands, making it a more sanitary environment.
“We want the children to wash their hands frequently because they are so oral,” said Sarah Johnson, director of the ECEC center. “Hand washing prevents germs.”
Since not all classrooms are equipped with infant/toddler sinks, the children are put in a difficult situation when they have to wash their hands in an adult sink. Currently, teachers must lay the child stomach down onto a diaper-changing table while the child washes their hands.
According to Johnson, the positions of some sinks in the center's infant/toddler rooms are also a cause for concern. Because of the lack of adult sinks, teachers can strain their backs while washing their hands in the children sinks.
“The sinks are definitely a problem because it can become a workers' comp issue, and it is dangerous,” said Yoshi Watanabe, a 22-year-old student teacher and a double major in business and child and adolescent development. “Otherwise I think the center is quite complete.”
The center has been owned and operated by Associated Students Inc. since 1984, and accommodates 100 children that are divided into two programs of infant/toddler and preschool.
The construction will cost $71,500. Bright Beginnings, a program of the Children’s Council of San Francisco, will pay some $68,000 of the renovation cost, with another $3,188 from a grant through the city’s Low Income Fund.
The reason for the current reconstruction is based on two assessments done annually to examine space and furnishing, personal care routines, language reasoning, activities, interaction, program structure, and staff. Last year, the center got a rating of five on both assessments, which use a seven-point scale.
“Everybody would like to score a seven, but not everybody is perfect,” said Johnson. “(A score of less than seven doesn’t mean) we have to make these changes, but to receive a better score it is recommended.”
Reconstruction will be started during spring break and continue for the next eight weeks, after business hours and during the weekends.
Will “Iron Shiek” Youmans stands in the middle of the Malcolm X Plaza prompting the crowd to chant, “No justice, no peace!” His is 6 feet 3 inches tall and wears a white and green Palestine jersey while he raps from an activist point of view.
“I’m not a rapper who dabbles in politics,” Iron Sheik says after his fourth performance at SF State. “I don’t really respect that as much. Sometimes it can be very simplistic and not progressive. I’m trying to educate people.”
The hip-hop performance on Thursday was one of several events planned by the General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS) and the Arab Student Coalition to celebrate Arab and North Africa Awareness Week.
Monday kicked off the celebration with music, dance, artwork, and food. Tuesday night the organization presented the film “We Interrupt this Empire,” a movie on protesting the war in Iraq. The theme for Thursday was “politics in the Middle East”.
The weeklong celebration is the first on campus. Arab and North Africa Awareness Week takes place on CSU and UC campuses and focuses on educating students about Arab Nations.
“We’re trying to think of different ways this semester to reach out to our student body and really make them interested in learning about our issues and our struggles,” said Loubma Qutafi, a psychology major and member of GUPS. “We thought that hip-hop was a good way to integrate our struggles because, in the hip-hip community here, they talk about so many other struggles.”
Iron Shiek and Ibrahim “Patriarch” Batshon entertained curious audience members and participants of the Arab and North Africa Awareness Week who gathered in the Malcolm X Plaza to get a dose of the political messages relayed in the performer’s lyrics. The rappers incorporated both personal experiences and political views in their rhymes.
“Very beautiful, very energizing, I felt it from the moment I stepped foot on 19th Avenue all the way down, so I came rushing to them,” said Sari-Sabella, a film and production major. Hardly a shy member of the audience, Sabella created a show of his own by dancing while Shiek performed.
Though, both hip-hop artists have very different styles on how they deliver their music, the words lyrically spoken portray a common idea. When Patriarch approached the microphone, the words “fuck peace!” easily poured from his mouth.
He wore a black T-shirt that read “power, respect” with the movie title, “Juice” imprinted just below the slogan, a film that featured the late hip-hop icon Tupac Shakur. Patriarch lured in the audience by mirroring the charismatic rapping style of Shakur.
“What I meant by fuck peace is because of the state we’re in right now, where no one is giving, no one is ready to put out a helping hand and help so, I’m like fuck peace, give me a piece, (Tupac) said that,” said Patriarch.
Arab and North Africa Awareness Week will end with GUPS hosting an “Arabi style” party from 9:30 p.m. – 2 a.m. Friday at the Marrakech restaurant in San Francisco. There is a $10 cover charge.
U.S. military recruiters left a campus career fair an hour early on March 9 after extensive student demonstrations for and against military recruitment.
Over 100 students surrounded U.S. Air Force and Army Corps of Engineers recruiters’ tables at the Career Center Employer Showcase at Jack Adams Hall. A group of five College Republicans blocked protesters and yelled “Don’t join if you don’t want to.”
“Our military is racist, homophobic, sexist and screwing people,” said Students Against War (SAW) member Michael Hoffman, 24, a physics major. “Recruitment on campus is wrong.”
SAW members said they hoped the protest would rally students to take action against recruiters on campus.
“We don’t allow the recruiters on our campus because of the military’s discrimination of homosexuals,” said Alex Schmaus, an environmental studies sophomore. “(The) ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy … goes clearly against campus discriminatory policy. They shouldn’t be on campus.”
Sarah Ballinger, liberal studies major, said the recruiters’ early departure was due to the protester’s efforts.
“I think that if we weren’t there, they would’ve stayed until closing,” said Ballinger. “They realized that we weren’t going anywhere and they weren’t going to recruit anyone, so they left.”
Support for SAW’s protest was not unanimous, several College Republicans waved banners that read, “You don’t have to support the war to support our military” and “end the commie occupation of SFSU.”
Leigh Wolfe, 18, a broadcasting major and member of the College Republicans said he was disappointed that students were not more supportive of our nation’s military.
“I wish they had a little more appreciation for what our troops are doing overseas,” said Wolfe. “They’re fighting for us and dying to protect us at home and (the protesters) are pretty much anti-anything.”
The two-day career expo was co-sponsored by the science and engineering departments.
Jack Brewer, the career center’s director, said the center treats all recruiters the same and doesn’t distinguish between corporations, non-profits or the military.
“It’s my understanding that if a university would deny access by military recruiters, that they could lose federal funding for financial aid and also any funding from the department of defense,” said Brewer.
“If there is a policy set up by the university about denying access to (discriminatory employers) then obviously I’d have to follow that policy. I’m not currently aware of any such policy.”
Political Science professor James Martel said recruiters should be kept off campus.
"The ban against gays in the military is pure discrimination, pure bigotry on the part of the U.S. government with no rationale whatsoever," Martel said. "It sends a signal to the entire nation that it's OK to discriminate against lesbians and gay men."
Tyson Eckerele, a 25-year-old biologist with the Army Corps of Engineering, couldn’t recall any similar opposition or protests on other college campuses.
“This hasn’t happened to us before at UC Berkeley or at Stanford,” said Eckerele, who is a self-described liberal.
According to Jim Fizzell, employee specialist at Stanford University’s Career Center, the Army has attended past career fairs on their campus.
“There’s never been a problem with them being here,” said Fizzell during a telephone interview.
Brian Honeycutt, Master Sgt. and Air Force recruiter, was undaunted by the SF State protesters.
“They have the right to protest peacefully if they want to,” said Honeycutt. “But we aren’t leaving unless other employers want us to. They can protest all day and we’ll stay right here.”
Most employers who paid to attend the fair respected the students’ right to express themselves, but some felt the protest detracted from their goals at the job fair.
Nancy Peterson is a recruiter for John Muir and Mt. Diablo Health Systems said the protest discouraged students from entering the job fair and made the atmosphere uncomfortable.
“The temperature is about 98 degrees, we haven’t seen any nursing students, and you can’t be heard over the yelling,” said Peterson. “So it’s a bit disappointing for us here.”
Peterson said her organization wasn’t able to accomplish anything at the fair and would definitely ask more questions before paying to attend another job fair at SF State.
Pacific Medical Center recruiter Rachel Barnes has been to SF State three times before.
“It was the most entertained I’ve been since I’ve been here,” she said.
Jeff Boyette, an organizer with the International Socialist Organization (ISO) at SF State, was pleased by the fact that the recruiters left the career fair early.
“Yes, it was indeed a success because a lot of the students came out for this,” said Boyette.
Ballinger said she wanted the military out of the school.
“They’re a discriminatory organization that is taking our brothers and sisters and classmates to a war for oil and empire,” said Ballinger.
College Republicans vice-president Chris Finarelli demonstrated at Malcolm X Plaza and at Jack Adams Hall.
“I support SAW’s right to be here just like the Peace Corps has a right to be here, just like the environmentalists who solicit me every time I walk on campus here, just like UNICEF, they all have a right to be here,” Finarelli said.
“The military is an all voluntary organization, they’re not soliciting people they’re simply sit behind the table with their hands in their pockets and wait until somebody comes up and asks for some information.”
Ballinger said the recruiters’ early departure was due to the protester’s efforts.
“I think that if we weren’t there, they would’ve stayed until closing,” said Ballinger. “They realized that we weren’t going anywhere and they weren’t going to recruit anyone, so they left.”
San Francisco is notorious for having very little housing at a very high cost. For students and faculty on tight budgets, this can be a deterring factor in whether they decide to come to SF State.
In an effort to try and alleviate the burden of finding affordable housing in San Francisco, the California State Board of Trustees is scheduled to vote on a $145 million bond on March 16 that would allow SF State to purchase the Stonestown Apartments for use as student and faculty housing.
“Housing is clearly expensive in the Bay Area,” said SF State Director of Public Affairs Ellen Griffin. “We have lost faculty because of it.”
If approved, the money will come from a system-wide revenue bond that is similar to a home mortgage and would be repaid with rental payments from the leased units, according to Griffin.
The purchase of the 697-unit complex, which is located adjacent to the SF State campus, would give the school a large number of affordable apartments to offer their faculty and staff.
Residents of the apartments, though, have reservations about the school purchasing the complex and worry about possible evictions should the deal be approved.
“We have heard that we should not worry about being evicted,” said Stonestown resident Eddie Jen. “But if the school is buying the buildings for their students and professors, where does that leave those of us who aren’t affiliated with the school?”
Stonestown apartment resident Ron Abrigo said although he knows SF State legally can not evict anyone he still has concerns about the schools purchase.
"I just feel like the school is trying to take over this whole area," Abrigo said. "I understand that affordable housing is hard to find in San Francisco, but I don't want to see this whole area turned into a residence hall for San Francisco State."
Stonestown apartment management said that they would speak to residents with concerns on a case-by-case basis but declined to comment on the purchase any further.
SF State, however, said that they have no plans of evicting any of the current residents. Initially, according to Griffin, there will not be a lot of faculty and students occupying the apartments. As current residents vacate on their own, the apartments would then be made available to either students or faculty first.
“We have absolutely no intentions to evict anyone,” Griffin said. “We will fully respect rent control laws and the tenancy of the renter.”
Once purchased, an outside management company will oversee the property and be responsible for renting the apartments out. Students and faculty interested in living in one of the units would apply at the apartment leasing office and will have first priority.
In the past few years, the school has bought six buildings in another adjacent residential complex, including the Park Merced apartments.
Carolyn Cahn, head of the resident’s association for Park Merced, said that so far having so many students in Park Merced has not been a problem and that the major concern has been on finding parking in the area.
“Typically, there’s a higher number of students per unit,” Cahn said. “This causes a lack of parking in the area.”
Residents should not fear evictions, Cahn said.
“One of the advantages of rent control is that they legally can’t evict.” Cahn said.
For the students and faculty who spend a lot of time and energy trying to find an affordable place to live, the news of the possible purchase is good.
“I am happy that the school is trying to do something to help us find places to live that are affordable and close to campus,” said sociology major Adrian Lewis, 24. “I feel like I pay so much to live in the city and on a student’s budget, I don’t have a lot left over for anything else.”
The Stonestown apartments offer low-rise and high-rise buildings with units having up to three bedrooms. One-bedroom apartments rent for $1299, two-bedrooms for $1599, and three-bedroom units for $1850. When SF State purchases the property, the prices will most likely stay the same, Griffin said.
More than 1300 people have committed suicide off the bridge since it opened in 1937, which averages to about 10-20 deaths a year. Family and friends of those who have lost their lives this way have claimed that the bridge just makes suicide "too easy," and the city should install suicide barriers. As the city discusses its plans for suicide barriers on the bridge, we asked several SF State students what they think about the city's plans for suicide barriers.
SF State students are concerned about looming Muni fare increases after the Municipal Transportation Agency approved a 2005-2006 budget that included fare increases, increased parking rates and fines, and service cuts.
The budget must now be approved Mayor Gavin Newsom and San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors.
Many SF State students said they are already short on finances due to education and living costs, and increased Muni fares will just add to a list of monthly expenses that are already difficult to manage.
Sociology major Katie Klain, 22, already has enough trouble scraping together the current fares.
“Obviously I don’t have the money,” Klain said. “I mean, I’m sneaking on the bus right now.”
Klain said the increase would discourage her and other students from riding Muni.
“It’s unfortunate because SF has one of the best public transportation systems, that we can’t utilize because the fares keep going up,” Klain said.
Muni’s new budget is intended to bail the transportation agency out of a $57.3 million deficit by increasing adult fares from $1.25 to $1.50, senior and youth fares from 35 to 50 cents, and monthly passes from $45 to $50. If the mayor’s office and the board of supervisors approve the budget, the increases could take effect as soon as Sept. 1.
But it may be too soon to panic. San Francisco Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin said the proposed budget is “hanging in the balance” of the board’s approval.
“It requires eight votes to reject (the budget),” Peskin said, “And we’re darn close to that number.”
Peskin is concerned that Muni’s deficit will fall entirely on the shoulders of the riders and not on beneficiaries of Muni’s services, such as downtown businesses that rely on Muni for their commuting employees.
Peter Ragone, communications director for San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, said that the mayor would rather not increase fares, but acknowledges that Muni is in “severe” financial trouble and needs a solution.
“The mayor is open to all potential options,” Ragone said. “He will consider all potential alternatives put forth by the board of supervisors and others.”
Student Orlando Modeno, 34, said that the fare increase is actually not that bad, considering the fact that Muni is still cheaper than public transportation in many U.S. cities.
“I think (the fare increase) is consistent with fares across country,” said Modeno. “I feel it’s a pretty good deal, it’s very justifiable.”
Public transportation fares for a one-way bus ticket in New York City are $5 during peak hours and riders must pay extra for transfers. Sacramento bus fares already cost $1.50, but transportation in Los Angeles and Washington D.C. is only $1.25.
Another of Peskin’s concerns is increased pollution from former Muni riders opting to drive their cars instead of paying the high rates.
Christopher Cornell, 35, a broadcast and electronic communication arts major, said that he would not hesitate to start driving to school if the fares go up.
“If they’re going to make it too much of a pain, I might as well drive,” said Cornell.
SF State computer science major Eric Gregory, 23, said that the fare increases would be more acceptable if there was an increase in service, rather than a decrease.
“It’s kinda like if you work somewhere and you ask for a raise, and at the same time you want to be less productive,” Gregory said. “I think they obviously need the money. I just wish they didn’t have to gouge me for it.”
Free rides on public transportation may be in the future for residents and visitors alike in the Bay Area.
This summer, air quality and public transit agencies will put together a plan to waive fares on the first five weekdays declared "Spare the Air" days. These are days when the Bay Area is in jeopardy of falling below federal air quality standards.
Last summer Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) implemented two days of free rides after smog built up in the air. According to BART officials, those days saw an eight-percent increase in ridership.
Now, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), the Regional Transportation Planning Agency and air quality officials want to expand the program. Some SF State students and employees participated in last summer’s "Spare the Air" service and they would like to see more of it.
The commission is negotiating with the six largest Bay Area transit agencies - BART, AC Transit, Golden Gate Transit, SamTrans, Caltrain, and San Francisco’s Municipal Railway (Muni), to adopt the "Spare the Air" complimentary commute.
The additional transit systems are still evaluating the standby operations and will make a decision by mid-March. The federal Department of Transportation has budgeted $4 million to fund the project beginning June 1.
“The kiosks were just open and no one looked at your ticket,” said SF State marketing junior Rachael Gero, recalling last summer’s BART "Spare the Air" program. “It was very convenient.”
Gero, who commutes from Lafayette, explained that it was cheaper than filling up with unleaded and enabled less wear and tear on her car. But she complained that just twice a year is not very constructive.
“Maybe they could run the ‘Spare the Air’ service one or two days a month," said Gero. "What’s the point? BART is just trying to please the eco-friendly people. If we could cut local usage of bridges, we would free up the roads for tourists.”
“I liked it,” said SF State building engineer Tommie Robinson. “It saved me more than $7 a day. Anytime you spend that kind of money, ‘Spare the Air’ days are beneficial.”
Both Gero and Robinson previously drove to school but said they now find that the convenience of driving is not worth the search for parking and fighting rush-hour traffic. Robinson, who commutes from San Leandro, gets a free transfer at the Daily City BART to connect with the #28 Muni bus, which drops passengers off right in front of SF State.
Although the MTC enjoys overwhelming support for the free transit proposal, it is not without its critics.
“’Spare the Air’ is basically a joke,” said David Schonbrunn, a SF State graduate and president of Transportation Solutions Defense and Education Fund (TRANSDEF), a non-profit organization.
He said TRANSDEF pushes for environmental sustainability and making the Bay Area a better place to live. Schonbrunn explained the MTC refuses to take action to reduce private-passenger vehicle travel that would substantially lessen smog. He criticized the Ozone Plan, MTC's smog reduction initiative, for falling short of acceptable federal ozone emissions levels. He also accused the MTC of not doing enough to reduce smog and that it would be much worse except for the fact that fewer people are driving because the economy is so bad.
“Cars are the number one source of air pollution,” said Luna Salaver, public information officer for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. “They create hundreds of tons of ozone precursors (volatile organics and oxides of nitrogen). So we want people to use public transit because it would help keep the environment healthy.”
There can be two kinds of ozone, according to the Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough County’s (Florida) Web site. The harmless variety protects plants and animals from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. The dangerous ozone, made mostly by cars, happens when organic compounds and nitrogen compounds mix in the presence of sunlight. They are known as ozone precursors. It may worsen lung ailments such as emphysema or bronchitis and weaken the immune system.
Salaver explained that ground-level ozone concentration builds up on windless days when temperatures rise above 90 degrees, and therefore trigger "Spare the Air" designations. She said people could register for smog alerts at http://www.sparetheair.org.
SF State geography professor Dr. Glenn Fieldman called the free rides a good idea. But she questioned if the money might be spent more suitably.
"I wonder whether we might be better off to try to keep fares from going up rather than putting money into free fares on certain days,” Fieldman said. “Part of whether this could work depends on whether the $4 million could be (legally) used this way."
Added Gero: “I know a ton of people who go to Saint Mary’s, Berkeley, UCSF, and Hayward, They’d all use BART on ‘Spare the Air’ days. They should do it on MUNI too. That’d be awesome.”
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is seeking ways to overhaul the long-established CalPERS benefit and pension plan, and some SF State faculty view the proposals as everything from "a risky proposition" to "a terrible idea."
California State University members of the pension plan pay slightly more than 5 percent of their checks to California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) in exchange for a guaranteed pension at retirement. The government then contributes any additional funds needed to ensure the pension amount.
The governor has proposed restructuring the $180 billion CalPERS investment pension fund, which serves over 1.4 million state employees and more than 20,000 CSU faculty members. Under Schwarzenegger's plan, new employees would be given 401(k) plans and have to invest individually beginning in 2007.
“It’s the difference between taking money you have and investing it in a bank where you’re insured by the FDIC, and investing the money in an account where you can get three times the interest but have no security,” said ethnic studies professor Leon Cathey. "It’s not a good idea.”
Many faculty members see the governor’s proposal as an attack on their pensions and worry that the campus’ ability to recruit new faculty will be diminished if the governor’s proposal is implemented.
Mitch Turitz, president of the SF State chapter of the California Faculty Association, said that school is already at a disadvantage when hiring due to the CSU policy of not adjusting salaries for cost of living. By converting the guaranteed CalPERS pension fund into an individualized form of “legal gambling,” Turitz warned that even more setbacks will occur on a campus that is already losing professors at a higher rate than they are hiring them.
“This is not good for any public employee in the state,” Turitz said. “The items are politically interrelated ... and if the government succeeds in reducing pension benefits, that increases the likelihood of success in reducing health benefits.”
Shidong Li, an associate professor in the math department, said the “government is not valuing professors as they should,” and called any cuts to CalPERS “a disadvantage to getting people to work for the government and in California.”
Li said the faculty lack “striking power,” since only students would be hurt by a strike that would have "no economic damage.” He said that is “why they always cut education first.”
Schwarzenegger’s office released figures showing projected savings on the over $2 billion annually that the state contributes to CalPERS. California Faculty Association numbers project a loss for at least 10 years if the switches are made.
Accounting professor Ken Danko said the government is essentially “transferring risk from the state to the individual.”
“I don’t mind the risk, but I want to know where that additional money will be coming from," Danko said. "Anything the state cuts, individuals will have to make up, which would essentially be a salary reduction.”
Danko also noted that when the stock market is high the state's contribution is lower. During the bull markets earlier this decade CalPERS became the second largest investment retirement fund in the world, behind only Norway's national plan, and there were several times that the state did not have to contribute any funds.
Dr. Robert Williams, a senator for the Statewide Academic Senate, questioned why “a pension that is well managed” should be under attack.
“It is not a fiscal question, (rather) it is a political question,” he said. "(The proposed changes) won’t result in positive profitability.”
Political opponents say the governor's plan is aimed at the administration board members at CalPERS, including State Treasurer Phil Angelides, for their activist agenda in recent years. The board has leveraged the $180 billion fund to try and persuade businesses to adopt more socially responsible practices.
"There is a renewed level of activism because we have just been through, in the last two or three years in this country, the greatest wave of corporate scandal ... since the 1920s,” Angelides told reporters in December 2003. Several high-profile businesses, including Enron and WorldCom, have been decimated in recent years by allegations of widespread fraud.
The CalPERS board backed workers in the Safeway strikes last year and filed suit against the New York Stock Exchange in 2003, when Exchange Chairman Dick Grasso was forced to resign after terms of his $139 million pay package were revealed.
The CalPERS board rejected Schwarzenegger’s proposal to overhaul the plan on Feb. 16 with a 9-3 vote. The vote is a recommendation to the CSU Board of Trustees and CSU Chancellor Charles Reed, who will have the ultimate say in whether to accept the governor’s proposal and end the current CalPERS plan for CSU employees.
Williams said the statewide Academic Senate is already exploring ways to respond to anticipated reaction from Schwarzenegger, who said recently that he is “at war” with state Democrats. The California Faculty Association is circulating a petition and will present it to local legislators at their offices this and next Friday.
Three weeks after New York health officials announced that they had detected a previously unknown strain of HIV, students at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Alliance voiced their concern with the possibility of a new strain.
“It’s scary if it is as bad as they say,” said philosophy and French major Topher Simon, 20, a member of LGBA. “It reaffirms the deadliness of HIV. Many people believe if you take AZT (an HIV drug), you will be safe.”
The new strain was detected in a 46-year-old man in New York by doctors at the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center in Manhattan. It is resistant to three of the four types of drugs currently used to combat HIV. It is also said to lead to the rapid onset of full-blown AIDS.
Researchers now believe, however, that there are many factors in play and that it may not necessarily be a new, stronger strain of the virus.
“We may well have jumped the gun,” said Dr. Christopher Carrington, SF State professor of sociology and human sexuality. “I’ve known of cases of rapid progression before. It is going to take time to know if we are dealing with something new.”
Although Simon said that he thinks this new strain is scary, he said he does not feel any more at risk than he did before because he knows the risks and is safe.
Tim Sherrill, 26, an English literature major and member of LGBA said that it is times such as this that
“reaffirm the need to spread safe sex prevention.”
Heather Rodriguez, a member of the campus sexual health peer education group PEACH, said she believes that people need to realize how important practicing safe sex is. She said that over the years with the manageability of HIV, so many people seem to have forgotten just how risky being unsafe can
“Now, so many gay young men are so complacent because it has been a manageable disease,” Rodriguez said. “This makes them realize that it is still out there and it can kill.”
As far as a new strain of HIV being detected, researchers believe that there is still so much to be learned. There are numerous factors that could be involved in the way the New York man has reacted to the virus, including a breakdown of his immune system due to heavy crystal methamphetamine use.
“This is not a unique set of circumstances,” Carrington said. “HIV is rapidly evolving and the fact of the matter is that we’ve got to keep moving because the virus is constantly moving.”
Carrington also said that he thinks health officials should have all the facts before they make announcements that could cause a widespread fear in the community.
“I think there are unintended consequences when social institutions, like public health, make these such announcements without strong empirical evidence,” Carrington said.
“The fear produced might alter behavior for a short period, but such announcements, if they prove false, also lead many of the populations at greatest risk for HIV to wonder if the institutions have other agendas, and are possibly overstating the risk for one reason or another.”
SF State students and representatives from Americans for Informed Democracy (AID) met last night on the SF State campus, via conferencing technology. Students from around the globe were given a forum in which to discuss American power and global security.
Using videoconferencing technology, students from the University of Denver, University of Illinois, University of the Philippines Manila, University of Canberra, Australia and SF State were able to not only see but hear each other in real time, as well as exchange a wide range of political viewpoints “face to face.”
“This type of diplomacy - exchanging ideas internationally - even within our own United States, is really what is the key to uniting and creating better foreign policy and peace,” said SF State student and AID member Susan Thompson.
A dozen students gathered in the ground level audio visual room of the J. Paul Leonard Library, ready to listen and discuss a wide range of issues, including the 2004 election results, the newly announced nuclear weapons of North Korea, and, the media’s role in informing Americans.
It became apparent that students from the Philippines, Australia, Illinois and SF State didn’t see eye-to-eye on U.S. foreign policy, with the students from Denver taking the most conservative stance. Students from the University of Oklahoma were also supposed to join the conservative side with Denver, but video malfunctions made it impossible for them to connect.
The discussion at times took a very serious tone with many students wanting to give their opinions on the issues, but a mutual respect was always maintained with some repartee between schools. SF State listened for the bulk of the conference, giving well-thought responses at opportune moments.
“We really have to empower ourselves as citizens, to take diplomacy into our own hands and if we see the world or our country going into a particular direction that we feel is misguided then we need to take it back,” said one SF State student. “This videoconference is a wonderful example of citizen to citizen diplomacy and a way for us to improve our image abroad.”
Australia seemed to take the lead in many of the conversations with strong opinions against America’s media outlets, its claimed solo activities and aggressive foreign policies.
“Particularly in the last four or five years, the US has been acting like a rogue. And while it’s legitimate for the U.S. to be called upon at times to use its power to protect global security, it’s important to remember that using American power should almost always be done under the legitimacy of some sort of multinational institution,” said one student from University of Canberra, Australia. “The world is almost certainly a less safe place now after the invasion … this sent a signal to the world that the U.S. no longer respects the authority of the United Nations.”
The Philippines, resolute in their stance, continued to uphold and reinforce its position on America’s aggressive foreign policy and argued what needs to be done to change it.
“The U.S. needs to exhaust all other alternatives and submit to the U.N.’s actions before taking it upon themselves. Admittedly, we are living in a unilateral world where the U.S. is taking a lead in securing world peace,” said one student from University of Philippines Manila. “The problem is that this act of the U.S. instigates terrorists groups and allies to gang up on the US … that’s the main reason why there are threats to America … it is wise for the U.S. to rethink its policies and deviate from its aggressive stand.”
Denver commented on the media’s role in creating perceptions and the need for third party media watchdogs.
“It (people’s perceptions) makes a mockery of media and makes us look like idiots in the way we go about our research,” said one student from University of Denver. “We need to start with the media and how they approach young students in this country and how they perceive it. In order for them to get really a clear sense we need to go ahead and engage in these third party media watchdogs to make sure that we are really getting our news.”
AID is a non-partisan, not for profit organization, working to raise global awareness on more than 175 U.S. university campuses and in more than 10 countries. Through town hall meetings, leadership retreats, opinion pieces and reports on issues AID aspires to create a new generation of globally conscious leaders.
“Now more than ever it is an essential right and duty for our generation, within the United States and the rest of the world, to be informed on issues affecting us all,” said SF State student Veronica Canton, campus coordinator for the SF State chapter of AID. “It is our duty to be involved in our communities to raise awareness, to take responsibility of making our common goals a reality and to define our role in the world as a positive example for generations to follow.”
The Center for the Enhancement of Teaching (CET) organized two one-hour classes last week to help faculty explore the option of creating low-cost readers for their classes.
Pearson Custom Publishing conducted the classes to demonstrate the cost-effective aspects of condensing a large amount of textbook chapters and articles into one reader.
“How many times have you had an instructor say, 'This is the book you need, and you also need all the articles?' ” said Kevin Kelly, the assistant director for CET. “Or how many times have you not used your whole textbook?”
Professors who require their students to read materials from various sources for class may help the student financially by condensing this material into a reader, Kelly said.
According to Rob Strong, the general manager of the SFSU Bookstore, the average price of readers at the bookstore is about $18. The most expensive reader the bookstore offers this semester, for English 732, a seminar for Teaching English as a Second Language, costs $69.
“Usually they turn out cheaper,” said visual communications major Agustin Gonzales, 23, who was in the SFSU Bookstore last week looking for a reader for his weight training class. “Sometimes they’re not as big and bulky (as textbooks). They’re straight to the point as far as information. You don’t have to skip around in the chapters.”
Kelly, who organized the event, posted information about the two classes through the campus Web site. He also sent e-mails to department chairs and deans to alert faculty that might be interested in this new option. A total of nine faculty members attended the classes, Kelly said.
Aileen Hartunian, the acquisitions editor for Pearson, mediated the two meetings to show an overview of the advantages of creating a Pearson reader. However, according to Hartunian, 80 percent of the material in any custom reader must be from Pearson. This means that instructors wishing to include their own work, or any other third-party material that is not offered by Pearson, can do so only if the other four-fifths of the material is from Pearson.
However, there are other options for faculty wishing to create readers for their courses. The Rapid Copy Center, located on the first floor of the J. Paul Leonard Library, prints about 260 different course readers per semester, said Richard Uchida, the business officer for the center.
Professors must first submit to the bookstore the specific chapters or journal articles they wish to include in their reader. The bookstore staff will then contact the original publisher to obtain copyright clearance. Once the publisher and the bookstore have agreed upon a royalty amount, the reader is then submitted to the Rapid Copy Center where Uchida said they usually can be printed by the next day.
“The printing part is fast,” said Uchida. “What takes time is the copyright clearance.”
The copyright clearance can take anywhere from one to three weeks, according to Strong, with the average royalty amount being about $7 per reader.
Another low-cost option for faculty is to take advantage of the thousands of journal articles already posted on the Web site for the campus library, according to university librarian Deborah Masters. The university pays a subscription fee every year to give students and faculty the access to a vast amount of journal articles for research.
“What the library wants to do is give faculty an efficient repertoire of material to draw from,” said Masters.
The library can also post articles and text that is not currently offered on its Web site. After the rights are cleared by the bookstore, the text can be scanned into the database and accessed by students taking that specific course. A password is provided to the instructor that wishes to use the material, Masters said.
Masters also said that several chapters, but not entire textbooks, can be scanned.
Harold Larrimore, an English major, said he would rather have a textbook than a custom reader.
“I don't mind paying $40 for a hardcover text because it will last me,” said Larrimore, 34. “A reader won't last.”
Another drawback to readers is that students who usually sell their textbooks back at the end of a semester won’t be able to do so with readers. “(The information in the readers) changes every semester,” said Strong. “That’s the purpose of a reader, to be able to change the material.”
Undeclared student Lucy Ramos, 19, purchased a $10 reader for her Humanities 220 class last week. Ramos said she didn’t mind the price, but questioned the reader’s durability.
“I think $10 is pretty good, (but) anything over that would be stupid,” said Ramos. “You’re just paying for a bunch of (articles), and I’ll probably lose all the papers in this anyway.”
SF State leads other Bay Area colleges in vehicular theft rates over a three-year period, according to statistics compiled by university police departments.
The Department of Public Safety at SF State reported more vehicles stolen from 2001-2003 than Cal State Hayward, Sonoma State University, San Jose State University, UC San Francisco, University of San Francisco or City College of San Francisco.
SF State Department of Public Safety media spokesperson Capt. Amalia Borja attributes SF State’s vehicular theft and burglary rates to the university’s proximity to major city roadways and freeways, which allow thieves a quick getaway. SF State’s reputation as a commuter campus also makes it desirable for automobile thieves, Borja said.
SF State interior design major Jackie Vojvoda, 20, had her silver 2001 Honda Civic stolen from a parking garage in Park Merced. Initially Vojvoda thought her car had been towed and she immediately called university police.
“When I called the (university police) and told them my car was gone, they said it was probably stolen and didn’t even sound surprised because it happens so much,” Vojvoda said.
Vojvoda is one of many SF State students whose cars have been stolen or burglarized on campus or in the surrounding area.
Music major Eric Montgomery, 19, had his car burglarized overnight on Lake Merced Boulevard while he was living in the dorms last year. The burglars cut a hole in the door of his ’96 Chevy Blazer and made off with his in-dash CD player.
“I was kinda pissed off,” said Montgomery. “I figured my car wouldn’t get messed with right in front of the dorms.”
Montgomery said that there are not enough options for secure parking on campus, so students are forced to park in unsafe areas.
“Not everyone wants to park in the garage on campus because you have to pay and it’s a long walk,” Montgomery said, “So we have to park elsewhere and there isn’t any security.”
Car stereos are the most common items taken, but students have lost countless CDs, iPods, purses,
wallets and laptops, according to university police crime logs.
Since January of this year, 16 cars have been reported burglarized and five have been stolen on campus or within the immediate area, according to crime logs. In the first three months of 2005, five more cars have been burglarized and two more have been stolen than during the last three months of 2004.
Of the 16 burglaries that have occurred so far this year, 10 occurred on Font Boulevard, three on Lake Merced Boulevard, and three on 19th Avenue. Borja said the highest risk areas are Lake Merced and Junipero Serra Boulevards, and students should avoid leaving cars parked and unattended for long periods.
Borja said university police conduct regular patrols of these problem areas and work together with the San Francisco Police Department to find trends in auto theft and burglary. University police also rely heavily on the campus community to report crimes and suspicious behavior, Borja said.
Borja recommends that students should park in well lit areas, use additional security such as extra locks, car alarms and devices such as “The Club.” She also stresses that valuables should never be left in an unattended vehicle, even in the trunk.
“We will continue to increase patrols and work with the campus community to decrease the number of vehicle thefts and burglaries,” said Borja.
When a car is reported stolen to university police, officers confirm the last seen location of the vehicle, take a report and enter the information into the Stolen Vehicle System, a nationwide computerized system for finding stolen cars.
The Insurance Information Institute reports that a motor vehicle is stolen every 25 seconds in the United States. The odds that a vehicle will be stolen were 1 in 186 in 2002, with higher odds in urban areas. The top three most frequently stolen cars are the Toyota Camry, the Honda Accord and the Honda Civic, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
Students like Vojvoda and Montgomery said they have learned valuable lessons about parking around SF State.
“You have to really be careful where you park around here, especially in the garages,” Vojvoda said. “You’d think the garages were safe, but really the streets are a better place because there are more people watching.”