August 2005 Archives
As the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina's wrath is assessed in much of the South, SF State students from that region worry about their families back home.
Hurricane Katrina slammed into Florida as a Category 1 and trailed into Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi on Monday gaining momentum to a Category 4 with winds as high as 140 mph. The damage is extensive in four states, and many cities and towns were left severely flooded. Many people were killed and over one million were left without power. Katrina could be one of the most costly storms in recent history, according to state officials.
SF State student Erica Murray was in Florida when Katrina first hit land. The 19-year-old hospitality management major said when she looked out of the window of her family's home in Miami she could see how strong the winds were blowing because all the trees were moving in the same direction. The next morning, she and her family saw leaves everywhere, tree branches outside their front door and a couple of uprooted trees.
"Hurricane Katrina was definitely an unexpected surprise," Murray said. "It wasn't as bad as Hurricane Andrew back in '92, but it did a lot more damage than anyone expected it would."
After hours of cleaning up, Murray said she and her family drove around to calculate the total damage.
"Everywhere we drove there was nothing but trees turned over which broke down fences, walls, and some major flooding," she said. "We drove around in a parking lot and saw a tree had fallen over and took up the curb, and landed on the back windshield of a Cadillac. There were also signs that had fallen off and shattered on the ground."
Diana Wong, an 18-year-old marketing major, said she has watched this kind of destruction on television, but it has never hit this close to her hometown of Morgan City, which is west of New Orleans. She said her family was safe but many of her friends in Mississippi have no homes to go back to.
"I have been relentlessly trying to reach my friends who stayed for the storm, but I have not been able to contact them yet. I do not know if they are dead or alive and I am deeply worried," Wong said. "The Gulf Coast was like a second home to me, and now it's barely there."
Scott Hutton said he thinks his family's home in Louisiana might be flooded.
"I heard that a nearby hospital has seven feet of water on the first floor," the 21 year-old kinesiology alumnus said. "I can only assume that my house has just as much water."
With home and cell phone lines down, 19-year-old nursing major David Chan said he was not able to reach his family back home in Alabama. He was initially worried when Katrina became a Category 4 hurricane but found out Katrina only left minimal damage in his hometown of Mobile.
"I called a family friend and he said my family was fine. My family went to a friend's house to play Ma Jong [a Chinese card game] to pass time since all power was out," Chan said. "This is not the first hurricane my family has endured so it was a piece of cake."
Dennis Naquin said he has not been able to reach his family or friends in his hometown of New Orleans since Friday. He hopes his family listened to the order for a mandatory evacuation.
"We get hurricanes every year around this time," the 18-year-old student said. "I've evacuated so many times in the past couple of years for false alarms. Everyone kept saying that we are due for a big hurricane. That's what we got."
If you wish to donate to the National Disaster Relief Fund for victims of Hurricane Katrina, please visit the Red Cross website at Redcross.org
A federal Business International Education grant awarded to SF State’s College of Business is creating cutting-edge educational projects and practical learning opportunities for business students and faculty.
The $191,544 grant is the largest in the history of SF State’s College of Business, and will be used over the next two years to invest in programs that provide students with hands-on business education with small, family owned wineries in California.
The College of Business plans to use the grant money to provide faculty and graduate student resources to help small wineries with their marketing problems and international trade endeavors. Students and faculty will assist with data collecting, research and consulting, especially in the area of international trade.
“It’s a great training ground for students and faculty,” said Richard Castaldi, professor of business management and co-director of the grant. “We can apply some of the knowledge we’ve learned in the classroom and get experiential education in the field.”
Castaldi said the business school has been concentrating on the wine industry because of the prevalence of wineries in California, many of which are small, family owned operations that can use help with marketing and international trade endeavors.
“Here is an industry that is virtually in our backyard,” said Castaldi. “And it provides a unique learning opportunity for our faculty and students.”
According to the Wine Institute, an organization devoted to California wineries, 95 percent of the nation’s wine is produced in California at more than 1500 wineries.
“There aren’t many industries that are so concentrated in one area,” said Castaldi. “Where the California wine industry goes, the U.S. wine industry goes.”
California wineries shipped a record 428 million gallons of wine to the U.S. in 2004, and accounted for about two out of every three bottles sold in the nation.
A recent Supreme Court decision that allows wine-makers to ship their products anywhere in the U.S. will significantly bolster the program’s effectiveness and potential, said Castaldi.
Faculty members from four departments- management, information systems, marketing and decision sciences- drafted the grant proposal and will lead the project.
The grant will be divided and allotted to a number of projects. Some of the projects are designed to be academic in nature and further the College of Business by providing educational resources, and a series of outreach projects that are aimed at helping the College become more connected with the business community and enhancing the trade capabilities of the local wineries.
One project, developed by Professor of Decision Sciences Susan Cholette, will use data gathered from the wineries to create “cutting-edge” software that will match small wineries with distributors that will fit their unique distribution requirements. Cholette hopes the project will encourage small wineries to export their products.
Another project - headed by Professor of Marketing Mahmood Hussain - will focus on building a curriculum and knowledge base of Southeastern Asia, which Castaldi said has become a “hot-bed business area” that has been largely neglected by the College’s international business curriculum. Plans have been introduced for a series of marketing courses that will focus on the marketing practices and culture of the area.
“There’s no reason why people in Japan shouldn’t be able to enjoy Californian wine,” said Cholette.
Other projects funded by the grant include development of case studies, an elaborate online learning system for teaching international business and a family-owned winery conference on international marketing.
“We’re going to help them with pretty much anything they need help with for the next two years,” said Castaldi.
The Business and International Education grant program, operated by the U.S. Department of Education aims to “provide funds to institutions of higher education that enter into an agreement with a trade association and/or business to improve the academic teaching of the business curriculum and to conduct outreach activities that expand the capacity of the business community to engage in international economic activities,” according to the Department of Education’s website.
The grant is a 50-50 matching contribution grant, meaning the College must match each dollar contributed by the Department of Education. The grant is the fourth of its kind received by the SF State College of Business, totaling more than 750,000 dollars in federal funds.
While the wine companies are not paying for the resources provided by the College, they are providing students with time, resources, and valuable and educational information about their business operations.
The program provides the faculty with many research opportunities to collect data, study it, and then write papers and case studies for academic journals and textbooks which will then be used to educate SF State business students. The exposure may create additional jobs for graduates as well, agrees Castaldi and Cholette.
“It enhances our professional development, it enhances the reputation of the College of Business, and it enhances the reputation of SF State within our business community,” said Castaldi. “Not to mention the hands-on practical education being provided to our students.”
On Sept. 1 Muni will increase its fare from $1.25 to $1.50, bringing student organizers from SF State to come together in an effort to persuade others to take part in a social strike.
Instead of trying to shut the transit system down, organizers say riders can take it over by refusing to pay the new fee.
Strike organizers said a social strike is a form of protest that will not cause any delay to commuters. Those participating will board buses and trains as usual, but without paying a fare. They might also choose to pay a partial fare or show drivers a “transfer flyer” that states, “Riders Don’t Pay, Drivers Don’t Collect.”
Geography major Jason Zimmerman has been organizing the strike at both a city-wide and campus level with the Adventure Club, a newly formed radical group on campus.
“The goal is to force a political crisis so that they [Muni officials] have to respond to the people,” Zimmerman said.”
He also noted the fare strike won’t stop until Muni reverses the fee increase as well as the service cuts and driver layoffs.
The main concern about the fare increase vocally expressed by the Coalition for Transit Justice is that with less drivers and buses, riders will end up paying more for less-adequate service.
Muni spokesperson Maggie Lynch could not be reached for comment, but recently told the San Francisco Bay Guardian the measures are “about keeping the service going.”
She stated those not paying “might veil their theft as a transit strike, but it’s stealing.”
Strike organizers disagree.
“Downtown businesses should be responsible in subsidizing Muni for bringing to their steps thousands of employees working for them,” geography major Joshua Alperin said.
History major Dave Carr is also part of the organizing group.
“This is an issue that transcends politics,” Carr said. “People are just saying that they can’t afford another fare increase.”
The Municipal Transportation Agency, Muni’s oversight commission, approved a series of measures last March as part of an attempt to alleviate a $57 million deficit. These measures were strongly criticized by transit advocates and community organizations.
Organizers point out Lynch said to the Bay Guardian that because of the deficit Muni won't be able to increase the presence of fare inspectors to deal with a potential fare strike.
In 2003 the agency raised its prices from $1 to $1.25, which was the first fare increase in almost a decade, Muni officials stated.
According to the Muni's official website "Traveling without a valid Proof of Payment
or supplying false information to a Fare Inspector, may result in fines of up
Several SF State students who commute by Muni regularly said they won’t be affected because they hold the Monthly Fast Pass, which will remain $45.
History major Adam Nelson is one of them. Although he doesn’t believe the fare strike will change anything, he agrees with the symbolic aspect of it.
“I would join the fare strike if I had to pay the new fare,” Nelson said.
Liberal studies major Ashley Shaw, who commutes three times a week form Concord, said she will take part in the protest.
“I have to concentrate on all my classes in fewer days because I can’t afford to pay so often the $12 it cost me to come to campus,” she said. “SF State should find a way to subsidize public transport for students. It’s about keeping education affordable.”
Environmental studies major Anjali Shrestha said she won’t participate because she commutes from Oakland where ACT [Alameda-Contra Costa Transit] already cost $1.50. The Muni fare increase won’t mean that much to her, and she doesn’t want to be caught without paying and end up late for class.
Kinesiology major Joe Wong has a different opinion. He admitted he probably won’t pay for his Muni fare “more to take advantage of the free ride.”
According to Carr, if organizers are optimistic about riders' participation to the strike, they can't foresee the response from Muni officials. He said the outcome will be “thought-provoking.”
“People will realize that they have the right to livable infrastructures and they can dare to speak out," Carr said.
Social Strike Legal Team (415) 285-1011
An experimental class developed in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks is attracting an array of students eager to explore the concepts of social justice and the United States’ role in the world.
The class, now in its third semester, is based out of the College of Behavioral and Social Science (BSS) and deals with a new topic each semester. This semester’s course topic is Social Justice and Social Change: Race/Ethnicity, Class, Gender, Sexuality, Disability at Home and Abroad. The curriculum for the two-unit class is centered around panel and roundtable discussions, and utilizes multimedia pieces.
“We wanted to do something more than merely express our opinions about the (Iraq) war,” said BSS dean and co-creator of the class, Joel Kassiola. Kassiola said he was “delighted to assume the responsibility” of both coordinating the class and monitoring the panel discussions.
More than 50 faculty members are scheduled to participate as panelists this semester as well as President Robert Corrigan, who will participate in a discussion on access and equity to higher education on Nov. 2.
Kassiola conceded that this semester’s topic is more wide-ranging than it has been in the past, but said that he “thought we could engage more faculty members, and we were right.”
According to Kassiola, the class has two goals; the first being to explore the concepts of social justice, and the second being the application of those concepts into our society. Issues of race, gender and others are openly discussed, and Kassiola pushes for students to speak openly and honestly amongst themselves and to panelists.
“There is no learning without discomfort,” Kassiola said.
Kathyrn Johnson, the BSS coordinator for special projects, co-created the class with Kassiola and said drop-ins are always welcome. She said that there are also no requirements that attendees even be SF
State students, and added that people will often come to hear discussions on particular subjects. During the first class session on Aug. 24, the crowd of 55 students consisted of graduate students, former SF State students and members of the community.
“I’m not doing this for credits anymore,” said Sarita Groisser, who earned her teaching credential from SF State 18 years ago and now works for the school district. “I’m doing this for me as a human being.”
The first semester’s topic was U.S. in the 21st Century, and the class’ success led to a second semester, which coincided with last year’s presidential election. Experts were brought in to discuss topics from the Electoral College to watching and critiquing conventions. 350 people joined the class in Jack Adams Hall on election night to watch the results come in and receive analysis.
“We’ve built a great tradition of audience participation,” Kassiola said.
The Morris K. Udall Foundation awarded a $5000 scholarship to SF State environmental studies major Charlotte Ely, the first recipient of the award in school history.
The Morris K. Udall Scholarship is awarded annually to students exhibiting a commitment to the environment through volunteer work and scholastic achievement. In 1992, the U.S. Congress established the Udall Foundation, which offers the scholarships for those studying ecology, Native American public policy or health care.
Ely was one of 81 Udall scholarship recipients this year. Winners competed with 436 other students from 211 colleges and universities across the nation. All successful candidates were invited earlier this month to an all-expense paid conference in Tucson, Arizona to study how to best mitigate groundwater depletion.
Colleagues who know Ely say her dedication to improving the environment helped discipline her to become the outstanding student that earned the $5,000 scholarship. Ely, an SF State senior, has interned for both the Presidio National Park doing habitat restoration, and at the Sierra Club as a canvasser.
“There’s a direct link on how you treat your body and how you treat the world,” said Ely. “If people took better care of themselves, the world would take better care of the planet.”
Ely admits the scholarship search was a rigorous process; she had the entire application memorized when she submitted it just before deadline. The scholarship application required her to write an essay of how Udall, whose conservation advocacy she already knew well from her environmental law policy class, influenced her life.
Udall was a congressman from Arizona who served from 1961 to 1991, when he was forced to retire after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. He was noted as a stellar advocate of conservation and is remembered for sponsoring the Alaska Lands Act of 1980 that doubled the size of the National Park System and tripled federal wilderness lands.
Bonnie Nelson has known Ely for her entire life and has noticed an amazing transformation in her since she began her environmental studies. Nelson is Ely’s supervisor at Nelson/Nygaard Transportation, a consulting firm that advises city mass transit agencies on how to maximize efficiency in the Bay Area. She recalled that Ely matured from a young girl swayed by emotions into an adult more scrupulous in her approach.
“(She) backs her opinions with facts now,” said Nelson. “Charlotte is someone who always questions things. She keeps you on your toes (and) you can rely on her to keep you intellectually honest.”
Ely said she would like to change people’s idea of what a healthy environment should be. She also said she would like to see more mass transit oriented development, more green open space and additional government regulation promoting sustainability of natural resources.
“There’s no reason anyone should drive to SF State,” said Ely. “People should bike to school or use MUNI. But MUNI needs to improve as well”
To encourage bicycling Ely maintains that the university needs to relax rules on where cyclists can park. She also said, “it would be great,” if MUNI provided a discounted monthly pass for all faculty, staff, and students. She also sees a need for the school to provide more recycling receptacles, at least one for every classroom building. Also she noted that the food courts in the Cesar Chavez Student Center could reduce substantial amounts of trash by substituting paper cups for reusable ones, or better still, if people brought their own.
Although the Udall Scholarship was the most generous one Ely could find, it will still only cover her final year in school. Should there be any discretionary funds left by the end of the year, Ely said she would like to take part in the Wild Lands Study, a program offered by UC Santa Barbara that conducts tours of the Alaska Wilderness.
“I think Charlotte is one of the most stubborn and loving people I know,” said Nelson. “It’s a funny combination, but it works out well.”
A new, privately funded creative arts building is in the works after SF State received the largest donation pledge in school history.
Manny and Neda Mashouf, both SF State alumni, pledged a donation of $10 million, which will go towards a new performing and electronic media arts building. The donation by the Mashoufs more than doubles the previous largest donation in school history, a $3 million pledge made by George and Judy Marcus.
The Marcuses made the donation made in January 2005 and went towards the International Center for the Arts, which is based in the College of Creative Arts and showcases art from all over the world.
President Robert Corrigan first revealed the pledge during the Alumni Hall of Fame Induction ceremony on May 27, where Mashouf was named SF State's 2005 Alumnus of the Year. Corrigan officially announced the donation the next day in front of a packed house at Cox Stadium during SF State’s 104th commencement ceremony.
Manny, who graduated from SF State in 1966 with a bachelor's degree in political science, is the founder of bebe stores inc., which specializes in contemporary women’s apparel. He also serves as a member of the SF State College of Business Advisory Board.
His wife Neda, currently the vice chair of bebe stores, graduated from SF State in 1984 with a bachelor's degree in computer science. The Mashoufs’ son Karim graduated from SF State in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing.
"Neda and I are excited to be a part of an innovative university that understands the changing needs of its community and the impact that technology has on every aspect of life such as music, art and business,” Mashouf said in a university press release announcing the donation. He declined further comment to [X]press.
“The university is really appreciative of the Mashouf's love for SFSU and their incredible generosity,” said SF State spokeswoman Ellen Griffin.
The gift from the Mashoufs is also the second largest donation received by a California State University.
The new building, which will be named for the Mashoufs, will reportedly be located on the corner of Font and Lake Merced Blvd and cover five and a half acres of land. The current creative arts building covers approximately four acres.
Construction of the new building is not scheduled to take place until the 2009-2010 school year, and the building is scheduled to open around fall of 2012, according to the university news release.
The building will be the new home of the Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts Department, the Theatre Arts Department and School of Music and Dance. It will have a 250-seat black box theater, a 350-seat recital hall, a 450-seat theater and a 1,200-seat auditorium.
The largest theater in the current creative arts building is McKenna Theater, which seats 701.
"We need to have a good facility that will benefit our future students," said Wan-Lee Cheng, acting dean of the college of creative arts. "Many of our facilities are too old and not really worth renovation."
"If you were to walk around the (current creative arts) building, you'll know why (the new building) is going there," said Theater Arts Department Chair Roy Conboy.
"These facilities are out of date and decrepit," he said, pointing to a spot on the ceiling where a tile once existed. “The roof leaks and we work with a lot of equipment in performing arts that could be damaged (by the rain).”
Conboy said he and other department chairs and faculty members in the College of Creative Arts have been working towards the creation of a new creative arts building for the last decade.
“From the department level, we’ve been urging it for eight or ten years,” Conboy said. “But we went into the planning stages four years ago.”
According to Griffin, the Mashoufs decided to pledge their donation towards the new creative arts building after several conversations with university officials.
The current creative arts building is scheduled to be demolished, and there is no word yet as to what will take its place.
Prior to the $10 million donation, the Mashoufs had already donated more than $200,000 to SF State.
SF State now has a former IBM and nonprofit executive to head its College of Business this semester.
“It’s an honor to join this team and I’m looking forward to growing the college of business and continuing to provide an exceptional business education,” said newly appointed dean Nancy Hayes, who began her position on August 1.
SF State’s College of Business is the largest in the state of California and among the 20 largest business schools nationwide. It is also among the roughly 25 percent of business schools in the U.S. that are fully accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. SF State’s
College of Business enrolls approximately 5,000 undergraduate students each year.
Hayes, a native of Chicago, graduated with a master of business administration in finance from the University of Chicago and a bachelor of arts in English and marketing from the University of Dayton.
This semester, the college will have 11 new professors “from all over the world” which will increase the full time faculty by almost 10 percent and “contribute significantly to many fascinating areas of study,” said Hayes.
“I’m a business person, and my skill is management and leadership,” said Hayes, who most recently worked as the president and CEO of WISE Senior Services, a non-profit organization that provides care to low-income and at-risk elders.
“I am an experienced practitioner of what we are teaching.”
She has also served as the CEO of the non-profit STARBRIGHT foundation, which develops technology projects such as videos and CD-ROMs that “empower seriously ill children to combat the medical and emotional challenges they face on a daily basis,” according to the STARBRIGHT Web site.
Before moving on to non-profit organizations, Hayes spent 20 years working in management and marketing for IBM computers and ultimately became general manager of international operations for the company's Worldwide Sales and Services division.
Hayes is looking forward to making positive changes within the college and enabling the faculty to be “the best at education, research and community development.”
“Right now I’m just getting to know everyone and identify opportunities for change, and then we’ll coalesce to improve our overall delivery of education,” said Hayes.
A big-ticket purchase over the summer will soon yield affordable housing for SF State faculty and upperclassmen.
On June 15th, SF State purchased the 697-unit Stonestown Apartment complex, located at 295 Buckingham Way, to provide additional on-campus housing, according to Philippe Cumia, associate director of residential administrative services. The university has since renamed the apartment complex University Park North.
“The good news is rents will cover the (purchase) price (of the complex),” said Jo Volkert, associate vice president of enrollment planning. “It is not part of the General Fund.
“The purchase was in response to increased enrollment, particularly (students) from Southern
California, and current students say they appreciate the additional services.”
The $134 million acquisition will be financed by a CSU general revenue bond, though rent payments and property fees will repay the bond as well as pay for property maintenance, according an SF State news release.
Previously, campus-adjacent housing was only made available to freshmen and sophomores under the age of 20, Cumia said.
The garden and tower apartments will rent for $1,200 a month for one bedroom, $1,400 for two bedrooms and $1,800 for a three-bedroom unit, requiring a one-year-lease to move in. These are actually 10 to 15 percent below market value, Cumia said.
The complex’s current tenants will not be evicted and may stay as long as they like, said Volkert. Faculty and students can move in as vacancies open up, but currently there are only a few one-bedroom apartments available.
SF State provides housing for 2,270 of its 28,804 students. Past surveys have cited housing as a top concern among students and faculty.
“When you can offer a better rate, I think students want to take advantage of that,” Volkert said. “(University Park North) is a lot shorter commute.”
Enrollment at SF State is on the rise. The number of applications for this fall is 23 percent higher than last year for entering freshman and nearly 10 percent higher for upper classmen.
Yet some dispute the claims of this housing policy strategy aimed at attracting staff and pupils.
SF State English Professor Jagdish Jain has lived at the apartments for over 10 years. In some ways the acquisition was a good move on the part of the school, said Jain because there few options available to SF State for future expansion. But Jain, who now pays 30 percent of his income for rent, wonders what benefits may be gained now that the school is managing the apartments.
“Are faculty and students going to be given a lower rate?” he asked. “The rents are not cheap at all.”
“Only the future will tell how successful they will be (at) lower(ing) rents. I believed that was the intention (when buying the complex), or are they entering the profit-making market?” he asked.
Jain said he would like to see some sort of input on the part of faculty and student tenants to determine how the apartments may offer more perquisites to them. He added that he could not possibly afford a median-priced home in San Francisco, now costing more than $700,000.
“If I could convert my apartment into a condo, I (would) buy it,” Jain said. “That’ll be the most affordable thing I could do.”
SF State accounting major Maria Widjaja has lived at the apartments for over two years. She shares her two-bedroom unit with a roommate since she cannot afford the $1,500 rent by herself, she said.
Widjaja said she has been disappointed since the school took over management.
“I thought it was going to be student-friendly fees,” said Widjaja. “If you don’t lower it, at least let it stay the same, but actually it rose a bit.”
Jain also complained that current management did not respond promptly to maintenance requests. He said that a broken window latch required nine days to replace.
Victor Ramos, chief engineer at the apartment complex, said a change in the phone system required tenants to leave messages with maintenance requests, which are then forwarded to his beeper.
“Most maintenance is done within 24 hours,” said Ramos. “We’re not perfect. We do the best we can.
“If a tenant is dissatisfied, they are always welcome to do repairs themselves.”
Associated Students Inc. (ASI) Board of Directors are addressing ethics issues brought up by the previous board, outreaching to students who don’t know what ASI is, and putting together a new program which, in part, is designed to help students graduate faster.
“Already this summer, we’ve left ASI better than what we started off with,” said incoming ASI President Chris Jackson about the progress the new board has made.
Each semester students pay $42 to the student government, ASI, to be their influence on campus. Depending on enrollment, ASI takes in on average $2.3 million a year. ASI’s board of directors decides the best way to allocate the money, after subtracting operational fees. Board members are students, elected by students, who decide what will best serve the students' interests. Members hold term for one year, beginning in May. ASI also serves as the student’s voice to SF State’s administration by serving on committees that directly effect students such as the fee advisory committee and the Athletics advisory fee committee.
The 2004-2005 ASI Board of Directors had a tempestuous year, from the release of a five-year staff member to a cease and desist order given by the board to their President David Abella after he charged $1200 worth of services without board approval.
This year’s board is hoping to avoid any similar issues from last year by creating an ethics policy for its members. According to Jackson, the board is voting on it mid to late September. Jackson says he hopes to make all ASI policies available on their website at www.asisfsu.org.
ASI is also in the process of creating duty statements for the class representatives. Jackson said in the past it took board members a semester to understand ASI and then another to work on re-election.
“I don’t care if students don’t know us by name,” Jackson said. “The one thing I do care about is that they know they have a student government that is there to represent them. I’m trying to make us, as an organization, successful.”
During his campaign, Jackson said that one of the most difficult things he had to deal with was trying to convince students to vote without them knowing what ASI is or what it is that they do throughout the year. Last May’s election drew in the largest number of voters in five years but only reflected about 8 percent of the semester’s enrollment. Jackson hopes to improve this and has promised to outreach to at least 10,000 students this year. One of the things he says he wants to do is build up a database of students so that ASI can communicate to the students they serve.
“It’s all about accountability,” said Jackson, who wants to have an open door policy that would enable any student to come up to his office and voice their concerns. “I just want to be an accessible person,” Jackson added.
The Recruitment Retention Center, or Project Connect, is Jackson’s flagship project this year. Project Connect will help address the number of years it takes a student to get out of SF State. According to Jackson the average time is six years, Jackson hopes to lower this to at least five years. The trick is to take 15 units and not 12 if they want to graduate sooner, Jackson said. Project Connect also hopes to outreach to students in San Francisco city schools, promoting college awareness and specifically targeting low-income, under-represented students.
“Education is the quickest way to get out of the situation you are in,” Jackson said.
ASI also has to fill four vacated board seats; that of Representative at Large, Junior Class Representative, College of Education and College of Humanities Representatives. Jackson said that representatives for all the positions, except for the Education Representative, will likely be confirmed at next Wednesday's board meeting.
“We’ve hit the ground running since May 2, and we’ve been running on full capacity, hopefully the students see that,” Jackson said.
Every day 127 workers on campus walk by without being noticed. They are the custodians and the groundskeepers of SF State, dressed in their dark green jumpsuits and blue shirts.
They clean more than 23 buildings, 80 floors and 250 bathrooms. They clean the drains for three months every autumn and prune the trees in the winter. They wax every professor’s office floor twice a year.
Gil Salvador works as a groundskeeper at SF State. He says that one of the hardest jobs he must deal with is chalking the athletic field before games. At the end of the last school year, Salvador was also dealing with his son surpassing him speaking and writing in English.
He now studies with his son, and brings his elementary vocabulary book with him to the beginning-level ESL class at SF State that has been teaching him and roughly 20 other school employees all summer.
Maureen Fitzgerald, a lecturer in the English department, was inspired to form a class to teach English to interested SF State employees after a group of workers at a campus restaurant she frequents asked her to teach them English.
“It seems obscene to have people that want to learn, and who work at a university, and aren’t given the opportunity,” Fitzgerald said.
California State Employees Association Chief Steward Mary Grant soon took up the cause and proposed the class to the administration.
After nearly two years of negotiation, a class was formed for the workers, members of CSEA’s Unit 5. The class began running for an hour a day three days a week from July 11 to August 18.
Grant claims that there are workers' rights issues involved in increasing workers' English proficiency.
"Employees can't participate in the job evaluation process, take advantage of any professional advancement opportunities, or help maintain safety standards if he or she cannot read and write basic English," she said.
"I see it as the union's and as human resources' responsibility to give them the opportunity to advance at SFSU," Grant said.
Associate Vice President of Human Resources Denise Fox Needleman says that the university approached the class with a "two-fold objective."
"The purpose is to enhance communication and to facilitate upward mobility," Fox Needleman said.
As SF State employees, Unit 5 workers are eligible to utilize the fee waiver and career development programs, which allow them to earn degrees for $3 per class-if they can speak enough English to enroll.
“I want them to have the ability to do what they want,” said Fitzgerald, who also pointed out that many members of her class “are also learning how to be students.”
Students at the final class on August 17 were eager to find ways to continue. Fernando Cardenas, who works a night job before coming to work on campus at 5:00am, and cannot find an alternate ESL class, proposed writing letters to union reps and supervisors. The students have also considered starting a petition.
The future of the class will be worked out during a meeting between Fitzgerald and Fox Needleman. According to Fox Needleman, the administration wants to evaluate how many employees are interested in the class, how the class is benefitting those employees and what time will work best to accomodate their operational requirements.
Grant and Fitzgerald both remain optimistic about the class’ continuation.
"The union will work as hard as it possibly can to present the next level of ESL classes to the grounds and housing workers; and since the program has been this successful so far . . . we have every reason to believe it will continue and will work," Grant said.
The Academic Student Employees (ASEs) will begin this semester with their first ever union contract. Negotiations for the union were often contentious last year, and culminated in a one-day strike last December.
The contract for the ASEs (which include Teaching Associates, Instructional Student Assistants and Graduate Assistants) was negotiated after joining the United Auto Workers. UAW 4123 now represents 6,000 members on CSU’s 23 campuses, and more than 500 workers at SF State.
A guaranteed pay increase of 3.5 percent will take effect on October 1 of this year. Employees will also receive a $54 bonus check.
“We’re happy to have a contract for members and rights that we can enforce,” said Interim President of UAW 4123 Xochitl Lopez.
Lopez said that receiving excessive workloads and not being properly informed of job notifications had also been concerns for many ASEs.
UAW began representing ASEs thirty years ago at the University of Wisconsin. They have become prevelant on the west coast, with chapters at the University of Washington and University of California systems.
Lopez, says that seeing the discrepency between UC and CSU workers was a large factor in the decision to affiliate.
“We’re looking forward to a new, productive and cooperative relationship with the CSU,” said Lopez, an ASE at Sacramento State.
UAW is still currently drafting its bylaws and will then appoint representatives at each CSU campus, including SF State. The appointments will likely be made this semester according to Lopez.
The California Faculty Association, meanwhile, will return to work without the new contract that officers thought they would be able to negotiate with the CSU over the summer.
The CSU is the largest university system in the United States and the CFA represents its 23,000 professors, lecturers, librarians and counselors. Talks did not yield a new contract before the break, largely due to the faculty’s opppsition to the mandated defined-contribution retirement system proposed by the state last year that could potentially force faculty into early retirement.
SF State is once again being recognized for its community involvement by being profiled in a new book, “Colleges with a Conscience: 81 Great Schools with Outstanding Community Involvement."
SF State was chosen out of 900 universities across the nation to be profiled in the new book from the Princeton Review, due to the university’s involvement in community service learning (CSL) courses.
The Community Service Learning Program is a program of the San Francisco Urban Institute and began at SF State in 1997. Students in CSL-eligible classes can elect to earn extra units by completing a minimum of 20 hours of outside volunteer and community service duties.
During the 2004-2005 school year, 7,043 SF State students took part in the programs, according to Emilie Bromet-Bauer, the program director for the Office of Community Service learning. This semester there are 46 different departments that offer CSL courses, with approximately 73 different courses to choose from Bromet-Bauer said.
“There are a lot of advantages for a student in a community service learning course that they might not get in a regular course,” said Bromet-Bauer. “We provide the course grades, units, and hours of service (on transcripts), that’s really important when you are applying for grad school or applying for a job.
“Some jobs ask for transcripts and they will see that you have experience in the field.”
SF State is one of five universities in the nation, and the first in California, to track community service work on transcripts, according to Perla Barrientos, the director for the Office of Community Service learning.
“Sometimes you learn something in a course, but it’s important to apply it to real life and get some practical hands-on experience,” Bromet-Bauer said. “At the same time, (students) are helping the community.
“They are making a difference.”
Dance major Jennifer Phoenix, 29, participated in a dance-oriented CSL course last fall, teaching dance and coordinating dance recitals for underprivileged youth in Visitacion Valley. She is taking the same course again this year, but this time she will be setting up the curriculum for the youth class.
“It’s a huge joy,” Phoenix said. “But it’s definitely not an easy process.
“It takes work, it takes effort.”
“It’s the real world,” said dance and music Professor Albirda Rose. “People getting degrees need to know what the real world is, and this is it.”
Rose coordinated the Visitacion Valley dance program, and received an award last year from the Office of Community Service Learning for her efforts.
“I like being able to watch the growth and the shock of the students leaving (SF State) and going into communities they’ve never been to and realizing the world is much larger than them.”
A list of departments that offer community service courses, as well as a brief description of the courses, can be found at www.sfsu.edu/~ocsl/ descrip
. The last day to add a class is Friday, September 9.