October 2005 Archives
SF State Students share their thoughts about Assistant Professor Antwi Akom being arrested and later charged with resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer.
Students attending California State Universities will be paying even more money per semester after the CSU Board of Trustees, on Wednesday, approved an 8 percent fee increase for undergraduate students and a ten percent fee increase for graduate students for the 2006-07 academic school year.
Faculty and students of the 23 CSU campuses, as well as members of the California Faculty Association, attended the meeting held at the Chancellor's Office in Long Beach, Ca. Before the voting began, the board gave students and faculty members an opportunity to express their opinions on the matter.
"I argued that the fee increases are unnecessary and unfair." said John Travis, president of the CFA. 'the CSU system is set up for students that come from middle or working class families. If the fees keep going up, a lot of these students will not be able to afford to go to state universities."
The reactions of students around campus reflected Travis' opinion.
"It almost seems like they are trying to keep students out of CSU's." said 22-year-old psychology major Chris Gavidia. 'state universities are supposed to provide affordable education for students and by raising fees they are doing the exact opposite."
Junior business major Heidi Hapin said that the fee increases will only make it harder for her to pay her student loans, which are already piling up.
"I don't know where I am going to get the money to pay for all these fee increases." she said. "I'm a single mom, trying to afford rent and now knowing that I'm going to pay more for school is discouraging."
The CSU website states that even though fees are going up, 'the CSU system is still the least costly university among its comparable institutions." One SF State student agreed with the argument.
"I have no choice but to pay the extra money." explained political science major Mike Hroshau. 'to tell you the truth, I can't say that I mind. Nowhere else in the U.S will I be able to get this kind of education for the price I'm paying."
The fee increases stem from a compact made three years ago by the governor and the CSU. The Compact cut $240 million from the CSU budget. In exchange for the cuts the governor promised to gradually inject more revenue into the CSU each year. This past July, the CSU general fund increased by $134 million dollars. A lot of the money was used to meet the new freshmen enrollment target as well as raising faculty salaries.
According to an agenda posted by the committee of finance at the Chancellor's Office, the Compact also proposed the fee increases in order to generate $79.5 million and in turn increase the CSU budget support by $235.5 million.
Despite this additional revenue, Travis said that students could expect to keep paying more money in years to come.
"Under the Compact, fees at CSU's will most likely increase for the next three to five years." Travis said. "And that's really too bad for the students."
One other thing that Travis said he is upset by is that the presidents of the different CSU campuses and employees at the Chancellor's office are set to get salary raises.
"While students are having to pay higher fees, the administration are getting raises." Travis related. "I don't understand how they can do that."
Something that students could consider to be a brighter note is that some of the money that will be generated by the fee increase is planned to be set aside for financial aid. Students also dodged another potential bullet at Wednesday's meeting where there was talk about raising fees by 10 percent each year for the next five years.
The proposition was declined - at least for now.
When African American professor Antwi Akom drove to San Francisco State University to retrieve a book for his class the next day, he never imagined he would end up behind bars.
Akom, who is 35 and on a tenure track, was arrested and charged with two felonies- resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer- after he was stopped and queried by a security guard around 11 p.m. The incident occurred Tuesday night on the way to his office in the College of Ethnic Studies.
According to the professor and his colleagues, the arrest occurred as Akom left the building to return to his car. They said he was hurrying because his two young children had fallen asleep in the back of the car.
The police report released by the university portrays a different version as told by the security guard and three police officers involved in the incident.
In the San Francisco State Police report, it is alleged Akom would not provide identification to a security guard, and was the aggressor in a struggle that led to one police officer suffering minor injuries and Akom being arrested.
The incident has led the university to call for calm and an external independent review to be headed by former San Francisco mayor Willie Brown and Louise H. Renne, former San Francisco city attorney and president of the SFPD's police commission.
"I have been heartened by the tone of many of the messages from faculty and staff concerning this painful event,'' said SF State President Robert A. Corrigan in a prepared statement released Friday.
Corrigan urged the campus community to avoid "a rush to judgement" and to "await the reviewers' report."
"The very fact that this process is going forward will, I hope, provide reassurance that San Francisco State University remains a safe and supportive environment for all."
Akom was released on his own recognizance Thursday Oct.27 and is expected to return to his teaching duties on Tuesday Nov. 1.
When asked why he would return to school so soon after this incident, University spokesperson Ellen Griffin said, "He is not perceived as a threat, not been convicted of anything, and this has nothing to do with his performance in the classroom."
She also added, "The university appointing an external review team is the smart step to take right now because the situation needs to be examined, the facts, eye witness reports need to be looked at in detail."
Kenneth P. Monteiro, acting dean of the School of Ethnic Studies, talked about the issue at a scheduled meeting Wednesday and urged the university to ask that the charges be dropped.
"(On Tuesday) night there was an altercation between one of our family members and a police officer on this campus," Monteiro told members of the Africana department. He said the department fully supports Akom.
After news of Akom's arrest broke, faculty and students expressed concern that the incident could be a case of racial profiling.
Since his release, supporters said Akom has been instructed by his attorney not to talk to the press.
But following the incident, he was in contact with Matthew Shenoda, an Ethnic Studies lecturer at SF state. Shenoda was called to the scene Tuesday night by Akom to pick the kids up from the scene and has been in touch with Akom since his arrest.
The two gave the following version of events:
At about 11 p.m., a security officer employed by Wackenhut Security confronted Akom and asked him what he was doing on campus, to which he replied he was a professor and was going to his office. While inside, the security guard called a campus officer to come to the location.
"When he came out, there was a white cop to meet him and told him to put his hands behind his back," Shenoda said. He said Akom told him an argument ensued, which turned physical. Two other officers were called to the scene, then handcuffed him and took him to jail.
?The officer didn?t tell him anything. It wasn?t until he was arrested that they told him he had assaulted a police officer,? said Ashley Moore, Akom?s teaching assistant who talked to him multiple times from his cell at county jail.
Two of the officers were black; the other was white, according to the statement released by the university. The white officer suffered minor injuries and was treated at a nearby hospital and released. He apparently was the first to encounter Akom.
In his police statement, the security guard said he was outside the lobby of the psychology building about five feet from the door when Akom walked towards him at a "brisk pace" about five feet from where he was standing.
Akom entered the building and the guard followed and asked the professor, "excuse me, do you work here?" The guard claims Akom then shouted, "Yeah, I work here!" and quickly went to the second floor. The guard said he followed, asking to see Akom's ID.
At that point the guard said he was frightened and went downstairs and called his supervisor who then informed police. The responding officers all acknowledge Akom told them he is a professor at the university.
Akom, a tall, dark skinned man with long dreadlocks, has been teaching at SF State since Aug. 2004. He has no previous record, and according to those who know him, he is extremely calm, patient and good tempered.
"The guy doesn't even have any parking tickets," said Shenoda. "The guy is as clean as it gets."
Don Menn, a journalism lecturer at SF State said that he goes into his office after hours all the time and he has never had a problem.
"I'm at SFSU often until after 11 p.m. and have run into security people and police officers occasionally," he said. "I, the middle-aged white guy, have never been hauled in because of book hunting in my own office. I don't know how this case could have been anything other than racially motivated."
One of Akom's colleagues said he has experienced racial profiling in the past.
Jeannine Villasenor currently works with him at Berkeley High School's Academic Pathways Project, a program Akom co-created to tutor urban youth and help them make a successful transition to college.
She also worked with Akom at the Institute for the Study of Social Change from 1999 to 2004 where Akom was a research fellow. Villasenor said Akom is often the victim of racial profiling.
"Antwi understands that he is often a target of racial profiling and he is overly nice and overly understanding to people who discriminate against him," she said. "He is extremely calm, extremely patient and extremely understanding."
Villasenor said when she and Akom worked at UC Berkeley the police would often give him a hard time for walking on campus.
"When we worked together there this happened to him often. The police would flash their lights on him and ask him what he was doing here," she said. "He has a history of this happening to him for no reason besides him being a young, urban, black man."
Tonight a meeting will be held in order to organize a rally for Professor Akom on Tuesday Nov. 1. The specific room is still to be announced, but it will be held at 7 p.m. in the Cesar Chavez Student Center.
[X]press staff writer and Oakland Tribune correspondant Jessica Jones wrote this story for both publications.
On Oct. 26, a new milestone in the war was surpassed when major newspapers reported the 2000th serviceman was killed in Iraq.
The next day, a debate entitled “Historical Perspective on the War in Iraq,” was presented in the Science Building at SF . A panel of U.S. and world history faculty agreed the war was an unquestionable disaster, but they argued over the best exit strategy.
Since 9-11, the history department has sponsored several public debates to explore the motive of the attack on the United States, yet Iraq - who had no involvement - has remained the key focus.
European History Professor Anthony D’Agostino noted that Iraq has the second most proven reserves of oil in the world. While oil was not the sole motive for the war, he said the insurrection has placed the pipelines in jeopardy.
“I don’t think it’s been demonstrated they can defend oil pipelines against an attack,” said D’Agostino. “That oil is sweet. It doesn’t require much refining and is fairly recoverable.”
The world is now going through an “oil shock” similar to the 1970s when predictions of “peak oil” meant drillers would find no new fields, and there is greater demand for oil now that China and India recently entered the auto age, according to D’Agostino. Eighty percent of world reserves are state owned and that has spawned a feeling of malaise among Western powers, he explained.
“The consensus in the business press is the only way to bring down oil shock is a breakthrough in production,” said D'Agostino. “Anticipated fields in Kazakhstan and the Caspian region have not borne out. But oil doesn’t mean perspectives of the U.S. (are?)focused on oil. Perhaps there was a grander vision than oil. Oil is only so important.”
D’Agostino said the lesson from Iraq is that Bush’s justification for the war now - bringing U.S. style democracy to the Mideast - is not likely to succeed because there has been no precedent for social democracy in the region.
“What is the point of staying in Iraq?” asked D’Agostino. “We’ve accomplished all we can. Hussein’s Bathist Party is out. There are no weapons of mass destruction. A civil war is already occurring. The only real reason for the U.S. to stay is to make sure Iraqi state oil doesn’t get all the oil.”
Tanya Erquiaga marched in the Sept. 24 rally against the war, but is no longer an activist.
Erquiaga said there has been no evidence the Iraq War was just for oil.
“I’m against the Bush administration policy," said Erquiaga, 26, social science senior. "I was all for Kerry. They say he was weak, but I liked his ideas. But let's follow up on what was started by Bush, but avoid further war.”
Moderator and history professor Jules Tygiel called the Iraq War a "blunder in which the U.S. should never have gotten involved."
"The democrats don’t know where to stand, and it inhibits a strong anti-war movement," he said. Dissenters should put their energy into the 2006 congressional elections to get more democrats in office if they want to send a message, he noted.
“People on the left haven’t asked, ‘what are the consequences of a pullout?’” said Tygiel. “What would Iran do if a Sunni/Shiite conflict ensued? Would a regional war develop with Iran intervening to save the Shiites? The Bush policy has not left us with any good alternatives. It is not entirely clear a pullout is an appropriate policy. We have to withdraw, but withdraw carefully.”
Mayor Gavin Newsom introduced his plan for universal health care, programs to better education and a new science and technology academy in his annual State of the City address on Wednesday at SF State.
“It is unorthodox, I admit, to deliver a State of the City at a state university, but the choice was made on purpose,” said Newsom from McKenna Theater to a packed house. “It is on our university, community college and high school campuses that our future is taking shape.”
“Never before has the State of the City address been given at San Francisco State University and that’s a big honor for all of us,” said Sam Rodriguez, director of government and community relations.
One of his most ambitious plans for his second year in office is to provide health care for all San Franciscans. His four-part plan includes auditing public health systems to understand primary care delivery in order to know what is working and what is not, shortening visit times from 90 to 45 minutes, keeping clinics open on weekends and evenings and hiring a new chief operating officer for the Department of Public Health to guarantee universal access.
“We recognize that we can neither thrive nor compete if we don’t first fulfill our obligation to take care of those living in our city,” Newsom said. “At every level, we are investing in a health care system that will sustain us through this new century.”
Newsom also said he has plans on improving his commitment to schools, students and teachers.
“Livability is determined first and foremost by the quality of our public education system,” Newsom said.
His administration plans on bringing teachers into difficult to recruit and hard to staff schools, expanding early learning by making sure that every child goes to pre-school by 2009, and setting a goal to make after school programs available for all elementary and middle school students. He also is working on creating an initiative that will allow the city to pay back student loans for math, science and special education teachers and creating a first time home buyer’s program that will help teachers buy a home.
“We can still do more to improve our schools and to encourage families to stay and raise their children in San Francisco,” Newsom said.
Newsom also said that San Francisco is destined to become a central hub for the biotechnology industry and announced the formation of the Science and Technology Academy, a new high school in Mission Bay that will focus on “this dynamic industry”.
Everything outlined in his address will cost $4.5 million, Newsom said after his speech.
Former Mayor Willie Brown was in attendance, as were Supervisors Fiona Ma, Ross Mirkarimi, Aaron Peskin and Sean Elsbernd.
When asked why Brown never came to SF State to make his State of the City address, Brown said,“The State of the City address is usually best held at city hall which is where I held it.”
“I wasn’t doing campaigning,” he added with a laugh.
Independent film has a new venue in the backyard of an unassuming West Oakland home, where SF State senior Jon Niemczyk and his housemates create an alternative to the typical college party.
“When we all decided to move in together, we wanted to actually have parties of some sort,” said the 27-year-old geography major. “But instead of the standard ‘let's get drunk, do drugs, and look at each other’ bashes you get bored of by the time you're in your mid-20s, we wanted to do something different.”
Niemczyk and his housemates Lance Phillips, Ryan Nosek and Marissa McCallum show independent films on a large, white plywood screen in their backyard. Their improvised theatre, which they call the New Moon Cinema, features films by cinema students, artists and musicians, as well as other creative people who may know very little about film.
Indie filmmaker Ethan Terry showed his first film at the inaugural New Moon Cinema event in September of 2004 and said he found it to be a really gratifying experience.
“It was a big ego-feed kind of a thing,” Terry said. “It was so intimate, it was a little nerve-wracking.”
Terry showed his first film “Alien Visitor from another Planet in Outer Space”? (the redundancy is intentional) to a crowd of around 40 people. It was shot digitally and did not command much of a budget, but how the film was made does not matter to NMC; so long as somebody has something to share.
“(Niemczyk) is trying to showcase different people,” Terry continued, as he lauded NMC for giving people a chance to share their art. “It’s strange that he put it together.”?
The party begins as people start rolling in around sundown, while visually arresting movies are shown on the screen with music dubbed over on a PA system. After people settle in, grab a beer from the keg, or some food from the house or off the grill, the featured filmmaker tells the audience about his work before it is shown. The event’s creators love the flexibility of the whole idea.
“It's a young event,” Niemczyk said. “We'll see how it evolves.”?
Neither Phillips nor Niemczyk have a background in film, but their lack of formal experience is one of the things that drive the duo.
“None of us know shit about film. We barely know any filmmakers,”? Niemczyk said. “It's just a good time, I guess, and people who show up to something like this are people who want to make an effort to be there, and not just get wasted on our dime.”
NMC’s modesty aside, people are starting to show up to these backyard viewings in larger numbers. The October 29 NMC Halloween party featured a live band and loops of gore-induced blood-feast zombie movies, including Peter Jackson’s campy horror classic “Dead Alive,” projected on the wall of their spacious living room.
Bloodsickle, the live-band in the backyard, played an eclectic mix of funny songs about drunk people with cameras and what messages the television sends them - ala Marsha Brady - while the costumed crowd drank their beers and laughed at the singer, as he twitched and jerked to the band’s frantic tempo.
Schedules of upcoming NMC events are available on their website at www.newmooncinema.com. Viewings are held each new moon 8 p.m.
After talks of eliminating the Junior English Proficiency Essay Test (JEPET) and increasing the number of lower division classes, the English department is looking for ways to ensure students enroll in and complete their English composition requirement in order to graduate.
The administration said that SF State plans to use some of the money from the California State University (CSU) budget increase this semester to open more lower division English classes such as 114 and 214. This semester has already seen a 10 percent increase in the lower division classes. Given that more sections are planned to be opened in the upcoming semester, the department will need to find lecturers for the respective classes.
Associate professor Sugie Goen is in charge of distributing teaching assignments to composition lecuturers. She said that opening enough sections and finding lecturers for the upcoming semesters will not be an easy task.
"Right now the English department has had to turn students away despite opening more sections," said Goen. "In the following semesters it's going to be tough to both accommodate students and find enough qualified lecturers for the new sections."
Jim Kohn, chair of the English department, explained that every semester new lecturers are hired and that the new sections will be taught by a combination of returning and new teachers. Whether or not current lecturers are willing to take on more work is still in question.
"I am teaching five sections this semester and although I love to teach them, I feel I'm not as accessible to my students," said English lecturer Sarah Fidelibus. "Right now I'm at my limit and can't teach more sections, but even if I could, I wouldn't. The amount of essays to grade would just be too overwhelming."
Fidelibus candidly explained that, other than for her love of teaching, a big reason why she decided to take on five sections was to better her financial situation. She stated that there are about 70 lecturers in the English department and that she personally only knew of one that would be willing to teach more sections. The lecturer in question was not available for comment.
Lecturer Brian Strang has been teaching English courses at SF State for ten years and he too has a full schedule. He, like Fidelibus, related that taking on more sections would neither benefit him nor his students.
"Teaching and grading composition classes can be a lot of work," said Strang. "Teaching five sections means I have to grade over 100 hundred papers every times students submit their essays."
Strang said that in his opinion, it would be almost humanly impossible to take on more sections and still be able to give students their papers back in a timely fashion.
During the last year, faculty from different colleges at SF State have formed a Writing Task Force. The Writing Task Force has been working on a report that in the future may relieve some pressure from the English department in respect to finding enough teachers to fill any voids.
They oppose the JEPET and believe that there are other ways to strengthen undergraduates' English skills. Their report proposed an idea that would completely revolutionize the means a student could complete their composition requirement.
"What the (Writing) Task Force wants to do is incorporate a writing course for every respective major on campus," said Kohn. "The one question that I have though is what instructors are they are going to hire to teach these composition classes."
Strang agreed that that would be the biggest issue if the proposition of the Writing Task Force is implemented.
"It'll be hard to find a chemistry teacher who also has the credentials to teach a composition class," remarked Strang. "It's going to be interesting to see what ends up happening."
Both Strang and Fidelibus have a hard time understanding why the JEPET is so disliked by the Writing Task Force and most especially why it's so disliked by the students.
"I really don't get it," said Fidelibus. "It's not like it is the end of the world that you have to go and take a test. And if you fail, well then you just have to take one more English class. I actually think that students end up enjoying (414). To tell you the truth it's one of my favorite classes to teach."
No matter what, it will take some time for the JEPET to disappear into what may one day be referred to as the dark ages when the JEPET ruled the world of the English composition requirement. Some say that it may take three to five years.
A new partnership between San Mateo County College District (SMCCD) and the California State University system is allowing students to earn four-year baccalaureate degrees through community colleges.
The program began in 2001 at Canada College and has also been made available to students from Skyline College and College of San Mateo.
“It’s great for commuter students,” said Noelle Messier, 24, communications major and student assistant at the University Center at Canada College. “They can get the same degree without having to travel all the way to the university.”
Several SF State degrees are available through the program, and Cal State Monterey Bay has also made degrees available for students.
“You are able to earn your teaching credential from San Francisco State while attending Canada,” said Messier. “It’s so convenient.”
The University Center at Canada was designed to assist those who have full-time jobs, families and other responsibilities that inhibit them from commuting to SF State’s campus.
“I had no idea there were options like this,” said Chrissy Martin, 19, an SF State freshman and a liberal studies major. “The idea that you don’t have to commute to get the same education sounds like it would help a lot of people out.”
Canada College is the only school in California to have a university center.
Students can do virtually everything on the Canada College campus as long as they adhere to deadlines set by SF State. They are able to pick up their OneStop Card and take the JEPET on the Canada campus as well. They also receive all of the same benefits that SF State students have such as access to the J. Paul Leonard Library and the SF State Health Center.
“Students can get a degree from San Francisco State and not even step foot on campus,” said Martin. “I think that is a pretty good deal.”
The Graduate Record Exam (G.R.E.), a nationwide test used for graduate school admissions, will be extended and overhauled in hopes that the new format will provide a more accurate gauge of studentâ€™s abilities.
The test is taken by approximately 500,000 students every year, and is used to measure analytical writing, and verbal and quantitative reasoning skills. It will expand from two and a half hours to four hours.
Currently, students taking the exam are given questions that are customized to their abilities. With the new format, students taking the test on each given day will receive the same questions regardless of their skills, and questions will never be reused.
While directors of the G.R.E. program believe these changes will give graduate schools a more precise judgment of studentâ€™s abilities, some education watchdog groups believe the changes wonâ€™t provide significant enough benefits to justify the costs of implementing the new test.
Robert Schaeffer, public education director of Fairtest, an organization working to correct flaws in national standardized testing, said the renovations will be expensive and superficial. He said the new test will frustrate students, while not providing more help to educators trying to decide whether students are qualified for graduate school.
â€śThe new format will cause a backlash among students. And itâ€™s likely the changes will be more expensive and not more predictive,â€ť said Schaeffer. â€śThereâ€™s no evidence indicating that the new test will be a better predictor.â€ť
Tom Ewing is the director of external communications at Education Testing Service (ETS), the company that designs the G.R.E. Ewing said ETS is halfway through conducting a month-long study on the new exam, and he was confident the format change would better prepare students for graduate level studies.
â€śThe new test will reflect real-life scenarios, measure critical reasoning, and will be less based on memorization and vocabulary,â€ť said Ewing. â€śWeâ€™re pretty much convinced it will be more valuable.â€ť
Schaeffer said he believed ETS may be changing the test in an effort to hold on to their market share. The company has recently lost two contracts, including the Graduate Management Admission Test (used to evaluate students applying to business management school), and is also the target of a class-action lawsuit. 1,000 students who took the GMAT in 2000 are preparing to file a case against ETS because the company scored the students mistakenly low, and did not admit the error until 10 months later.
And with the G.R.E. facing widespread criticism from the academic world, Schaeffer said the company is overhauling the test to keep the contract.
â€śThe G.R.E. and the company that produces it have been subject to a lot of criticism lately, and if your other products are being rejected, thereâ€™s pressure to hold on to what you have left,â€ť Schaeffer said.
Ewing said ETS doesnâ€™t need to worry about retaining the contract, and that the changes are being made for academic reasons.
â€śTests evolve and itâ€™s time for the G.R.E. to evolve. Weâ€™re responding to the needs of graduate schools.â€ť
While SF State does not administer the G.R.E., certain colleges at this school require students to take specialized G.R.E. subject-tests that will not be changed.
Inspired by SF State's anthropology program, alumnus Jay P. Young has pledged $300,000 to the department.
Young is providing $250,000 in his living trust and $50,000 within five years, making it the largest donation ever made to the department.
The donation will fund the creation of a Departmental Excellence Fund, a permanent endowment. According to Young, his donations are made without restrictions. Young also made a $1,000 separate cash donation directly to the department.
"It is up to the department chair to determine what is the best use of any funds," said Young in an email.
"We feel very honored and pleased, and look forward to figuring out what to do with the sum," said Professor James Quesada, chair of the Anthropology Department. "It's more than just the money, it's the acknowledgment (to the department)."
Young, who earned a bachelor's degree in anthropology from SF State in 1981, is fascinated by the many topics in anthropology, including ethnography, ancient cultures, and human biology.
Young began thinking about how state budget cuts were affecting SF State after the owner of the company he works for donated money to his own alma maters.
"I started wondering how a department like anthropology was getting along in these tough times at SFSU. It's easy not to think of the problems facing today's students once you graduate and leave the world of school," said Young, who is now the chief financial officer for the San Francisco Design Center.
Young contacted the SF State Office of University Development, and after several discussions, amended his trust documents to include a provision for SF State to create a Departmental Excellence Fund. During a meeting with Quesada, Young became "completely impressed" by the department, but was concerned by the budgeting and other constraints put on the department.
"In spite of the budget cuts, lack of adequate classroom and laboratory space, and anxiety due to the upcoming relocation of the department" Dr. Quesada and his department persevere in reaching the admirable goals that they have set for themselves," said Young. "Dr. Quesada's commitment to the department and students is 110 percent."
"Anthropology is interdisciplinary," said Quesada. "I think we take pride in being so broad. Our discipline by nature is very diverse."
Quesada feels that Young's donation "validates all we've done. It's very gratifying."
"Hopefully we prepare students to go out into the world and do good things," Quesada replied when asked about Young.
Anthropology Professor Bernard Wong describes the donation as a "shot in the arm" for the department.
"We are so happy to get it," said Wong. "I think it's very valuable, especially for this department. Everybody is so encouraged by the donation."
"I also hope that any publicity from my actions will encourage other students, alumni, or the general public, to donate where there is true need," Young said.
After six years of planning, the Academic Senate officially approved the combination of SF State's Physiological Psychology Master's Program and the Psychological Research Program.
Tuesday's meeting - between the Academic Senate and Coordinator of the Physiological Psychology Master's Program Mark Geisler and Chair of the Psychology Department Kathleen Mosier - was the second consecutive meeting that discussed the repercussions of combining two programs, which Geisler has confirmed to be minimal.
"No one is being let go, no one is being fired - literally. The students that come into the program, most of them have been entered under the Psychological Research concentration, which has an 80 - 90 percent overlap with the physiology psychology," said Geisler.
The psychology department started to debate integrating the two programs when the duties of the Physiological Psychology Master's Program became impossible to handle after Geisler was forced to conduct the program by himself.
"I think we didn't know what direction the department wanted to go in," said Mosier. "We left the program on the books, so it was still available to be revived. We weren't sure if we were going to beef up the program."
This may sound like a problem for students who are focusing on obtaining their master's degrees in physiology psychology and are planning to pursue their studies further and get a Ph.D. later on, but Geisler guarantees that the combining of the two programs will not harm a student's chance to receive a degree in physiological psychology.
Currently the 2005 - 2006 bulletin provides a section for the Physiological Psychology Program but directs students to enroll in Psychology Research. Although the psychology department has already been enforcing the integration of the two programs, Geisler explains that it was still necessary for the department to receive the green light from the Academic Council Committee.
"In order to make it official, even though we've been doing this forever, when you discontinue something just as I wanted to create a whole new program, I would have to do all the justification, get it approved through all the levels, and that is the same process to create something as it is something to end a program" said Geisler.
The approval from the Academic Council Committee will remove the physiologcal psychology section in the 2006- 2007 bulletin and will instead display only the Psychological Research Program.
Marija Dregic, a third year psychology international graduate student, was planning to enroll in the Physiological Psychology Program when the school bulletin referred her to register for the Psychological Research Program.
"This program supports the ideas of us who are always struggling with the main area of study. This will benefit the program, since all other psychology departments are very specific, it is very good to have one that it is more general," said Dregic.
Mosier has high hopes for the future and is confident that this move help facilitate the psychology department.
"This will strengthen the overall master level that we are offering. The more integration, the stronger we are."
At SF State, students evaluate professors based on their organization, knowledge of the subject matter, clarity, and now, thanks to Ratemyprofessors.com, their “hotness” factor.
In a category that was added to the Web site in 2001, students can award a red chili pepper to those professors that they deem attractive. The rating is based on the total number of times a professor is rated either hot or not. The hot chili appears by the professor's name if their “hotness total” is a positive number.
Mark Griffin, an associate professor in the Anthropology Department, is one of 1,223 SF State professors rated on the site. He is also among 266 that have received a rating of “hot.”
Jordan Green, a 19-year-old art major, uses the site to find good or bad teachers, but takes the chili pepper rating with a grain of salt.
“I personally think you should not rate on looks,” said Green. “I always thought the chili pepper meant they were really good. I guess I have to go back and check it out again.”
Tomoyo Ohashi, a 20-year-old speech and communications studies major, also uses the Web site to find that perfect professor.
“(The site is) really useful for when I am choosing classes,” said Ohashi. “And, yes, I do talk about whether or not my professor is hot with my friends.”
Ratemyprofessors.com was created in 1999 after founder John Swapceinski had a “particularly dastardly professor” and wanted to warn other students about this horrible professor. Since its launch, the Web site has grown in visitors every year. In one month alone, 1.8 million people visited the site. The site rates over 600,000 professors from over 5,000 schools.
Griffin openly supports sites like Ratemyprofessors.com, and even posts a links to Ratemyprofessors.com on his school Web site.
“I encourage all of my classes to use (the site) and to also contribute their own reviews,” said Griffin. “In my experience most students take classes because they need the course ... but if they find the professor attractive that’s just a bonus.”
Roe Gallo, a lecturer with the speech and communication studies department, was listed as “hot” on with 11 "hot" votes out of her 17 overall.
“Let’s face it- the first thing a person notices about you is your looks,” said Gallo. “Attractive people seem friendlier, nicer, easier to look at and be with. But this reaction is temporary.”
Gallo went on to explain how this attraction could affect the student teacher relationship.
“When teachers are comfortable with themselves and their sexuality and they are playful and fun loving, they come across as sexy,” she said. “I think students love this because they are again learning how to be more self confident and how to interact with the world comfortably.”
Ziadee Whiptail, a 33-year-old undeclared post bachelor’s student, felt that this site is borderline sexual harassment.
“The stuff about how cute the professor is, well, is really silly,” said Whiptail. “I feel it is really inappropriate to sexualize our professors. They’re here to do a job. There’s a big difference between acknowledging you’re attractive and writing "nice boobs" on an evaluation.”
Griffin himself has gotten over 40 student comments and has a rating of 4.5 but he just laughs about all the comments.
“I don’t mind being rated on my looks,” said Griffin. “I certainly think it’s flattering to be rated as ‘hot’.”
One of the central figures of the Civil Rights movement, Rosa Parks, passed away at the age of 92 on October 25, in her Detroit home. An iconic emblem of equal rights, Parks is best remembered for her refusal to get off a "whites only" seat on the bus the evening of December 1, 1955, which led to the rise of a near 13-month-long bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama.
At SF State, the country's pioneering advocate of Ethnic Studies, a room in the Student Union is named in her commemoration and many students expressed a loss upon news of her death.
"She was already an activist before this happened. This time, she just didn't feel like getting up," said Randy Leonard, 19, a civil engineering major.
Parks' refusal to budge that winter night in 1955 spawned many different theories as to why that discrimination was the last straw. Many claimed her to be an exhausted cleaning lady with tired feet or a "plant" by the NAACP, but factually, she was a 42-year old seamstress on her way home from a day at work.
In the end, students agree that it was because she was tired, both physically and mentally, of being treated as less than a human being.
Described as private and soft-spoken by her peers, her act of civil disobedience sparked a national interest in the treatment of blacks as civilians.
"She changed the way people perceived African-Americans, and that they're not just going take it anymore," said Sarah Broom, 24
"Women didn't really have a say back then, much less black women," said 23-year-old BECA major Joamel Gaviola.
Antricia Allen, 19, expressed that being an older woman thrown in jail created a consciousness that helped gather the African American community to boycott. The 381-day protest crippled the Montgomery bus system, in which 70 percent of the riders were black. Carpools were arranged by local churches, but most people walked, even as far as 20 miles on foot to show their disapproval.
There is also criticism about whether or not this culminating event was the actual spearhead of the movement, or if it overshadowed the actual people and day-to-day struggle of lesser-known activists propelling the movement forward.
"It (discrimination) had been happening to black folks for a while," said Gaviola. Although history would never be able to tell if the impact of the boycott created the actual movement itself, many identify it as a serendipitous event that only added momentum to the progression of equal rights.
"If it wasn't Rosa Parks, it would have been someone else. Emmit Till kind of started it already," said Leonard. (Emmit Till was a 14-year old African American boy who was murdered by two white men for whistling at a white woman.)
At the age of 92, almost 50 years after the boycott, Rosa Parks faced a different kind of world.
"Every day on the news there's black-on-black crime and gang violence. She must have asked herself "What was the point of me standing up if we were going to kill each other anyway? I risked my life," said Allen.
Although the laws have changed, people's view still have not changed, expressed Leonard.
"Throw a bunch of minorities in the Midwest and people would still react the way they did back then. The problem is that they're still not educated enough," said Gaviola.
San Francisco State professor Antwi Akom was arrested Tuesday night and placed in county jail after going into his campus office. He was released earlier this evening.
Many people are alleging the incident to be based on racial profiling.
"I think that [the officers] are racist pigs," said Matthew Shenoda a lecturer in the Ethnic Studies department, who has been talking to Akom. "It's a really clear cut case of racial profiling."
Campus police refused to comment on the incident.
While in jail, he spoke with numerous friends and colleagues in the Ethnic Studies Department to tell them what happened. Among them was Shenoda, his teaching assistant Ashley Moore, and Dean of Ethnic Studies Kenneth Monteiro.
According to their account, Akom came to campus around 10 p.m.Tuesday evening to pick up a book he needed for teaching his class.
When he arrived in the front of the Ethnic Studies building (which is where his office is located), he was approached by a security guard who asked him what he was doing here. Akom reportedly told the security guard he was a professor and he was going into his office. He then proceeded to go inside.
"When he came out, there was a white cop to meet him and told him to put his hands behind his back," said Shenoda.
Akom said the unidentified campus police officer was called by the security guard while he was inside of his office getting the book. He said he asked the officer why he was getting arrested, but the officer had no answer.
"The officer didn't tell him anything. It wasn't until he was arrested that they told him he had assaulted a police officer," said Moore, an SF State student.
The two began to argue and the officer then called two more police officers for backup. Moore said the three officers threw Akom to the ground and handcuffed him. During that process, one of them hit their face against his knee.
Akom is being charged with resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer, which are both felonies.
His bail was set at $51,000 and he was liable to be in jail for up to 72 hours. The San Francisco Police Department did not return calls for comment.
While Akom was getting the book out of his office, and later placed under arrest, his two small children were sleeping in the back of his car that was parked behind the Ethnic Studies Building.
Shenoda said Akom called him to come and pick up the children while he was being taken to the police station.
"Nobody had checked on the kids. When I got there to pick them up they were crying," Shenoda said.
The Black Studies department held a gathering today to discuss what happened to the professor.
"Last night there was an altercation between one of our family members and a police officer on this campus," said Kenneth Monteiro, the acting Dean of Ethnic Studies.
He said the University wrote a letter urging the San Francisco Police Department to release Akom as soon as possible. The letter was signed by SF State Chief of Police Kimberly Wible.
"We're all in support of Antwi getting out of prison," said Dorthy Tsuruta, the chair of the Africana department, before he was released. "That's my main concern right now. And then we've got to start doing some education on all the implication of the situation."
The University President, Provost and Public Affairs office were not available for questioning.
The last time there was an incident of police brutality with racial allegations was when a 15-year-old African American boy was slammed to the ground by San Francisco State police officers in 2004. The June Jordan High School for Equity student was on SF State's campus having lunch with his fellow classmates when the campus police assaulted him because they thought he had been involved in a previous conflict.
The officers slammed the student's head into the pavement several times and then put him on his back to arrest him. The student was later found innocent and no charges were filed against him. The incident sparked a protest and walk out by the high school students and SF students against police brutality.
Akom is a tall, dark-skinned, African American male with long locks.
"What's interesting is that he is living proof of what we teach in ethnic studies," said Shenoda. "At the end of the day you can have all the credentials in the world and it doesn't matter."
Moore thinks this is a blatant case of racism that is apparent in all aspects of our society.
"It's obvious what happened," she said. "He was a black man in a place he wasn't supposed to be."
Representatives of the California State University Board of Trustees recently announced at the California State Student Association conference at Humboldt State University that they will be voting on a proposed student fee increase at the upcoming Bakersfield convention today.
Since 2003, SF State has seen tuition rise by $324, from $1,240.00 in Fall 2003 to $1,564.00 in Fall 2005.
SF State international business major Elizabeth Navarro, 20, said she is opposed to the fee increase.
“That’s not fair for them to make the decision, not knowing how difficult it is to go to school and be stable,” Navarro said.
In a letter sent out over the summer, SF State informed students of the 2005-06 tuition increase. But some students still found themselves in shock this semester.
“We have to pay for books, gas, tuition, car insurance and family. It’s very stressful,” Navarro said.
The news comes as the College Board released two annual reports about student aid data and the social and economical impact of higher education on Tuesday, Oct. 18.
The Trends in College Pricing 2005 and Trends in Student Aid 2005 reports reveal tuition has continued to increase for public, private and community colleges over the last five years, stating the 7.1 percent increase is well above the inflation rate.
The good news is the 2005-06 academic year has seen the slowest increase since 2001.
The College Board, a nonprofit group which runs the SAT exam, did not give reasons as to why tuition has been on the rise.
Another trend the College Board report touched on was a 3 percent increase of financial aid per student, with a trend of grant aid being distributed to students in the higher income bracket, rather than to low-income students.
“They’re making higher education less accessible to people who are having a hard time already finding ways to pay for college,” says Terri Soto, 20, a health education major. “In the long run, it’ll effect society negatively.”
The College Board suggests the shift in grant aid distribution is due to an increase of grants given based on academic achievement instead of financial needs of a student.
However, at SF State grants are given to students in exceptional financial need and do not need to repaid, according to the SF State Financial Aid website. At SF State 65 percent of undergraduates who apply for aid receive need-based grants, with nine percent of all undergraduates receiving merit-based aid.
Political science major Claudia Mercado, 20, agrees that grants should be awarded based on academic achievement.
“If school is your priority and if you’re getting free money, you should be working for it,” said Mercado. “It should remain a combination of merit and financial need.”
At SF State 49 percent of students receive some form of financial aid, with a total of 39 percent of undergraduates having their financial needs fully met. Of those who receive financial aid, 71 percent receive grants or scholarships and 69 percent receive loans.
The 12 women of the Tall Ship Three-Day Challenge set sail on the Seaward, an 82-foot long schooner, Thursday night from Pier 40 in the San Francisco Bay. A captain, three crew members and two educators were along for the journey. They anchored in San Francisco Bay for the night and on Friday made their way North under the Golden Gate Bridge to Point Reyes.
The Challenge is put on by the Tall Ship Education Academy (TSEA) at SF State. It is a $950 adventure trip for women ages 18 and over to help raise funds for the TSEA’s Tall Ship Semester for Girls program. The TSEA started this program as a way to get women involved in the sailing community and help them to gain leadership, communication, and teamwork skills.
Along with these skills, Joanne Fedeyko, a participant, said she is excited about stepping out of her comfort zone.
“(This trip) is going to be one of those life-changing events for me,” said Fedeyko, an assistant to the vice president at the University of San Francisco and board member of the TSEA.
Most of the participants have minimal or no sailing background, but the TSEA gave them homework assignments that included reading about sailing to help them prepare for the trip.
“We had to read pages from the book, ‘The Complete Sailor,’” said Rebecca Goodman, a homemaker with no sailing experience. “But all of that is just a piece of paper until we’re out there.”
Part of this experience involves teaching the women how things work on a ship through short lessons, then applying it in real situations.
“We’re trying to accomplish getting to a point where they can sail comfortably by themselves without our help,” said Carter Cassel, a first deckhand mate on the trip who has ten years of experience on sail vessels.
On the trip, the women will be broken up into two “watches,” which in sailing terms explains how the boat operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Watches are the crew members who cover all the needs of the ship on a constant basis, which means that while some people are up, others are sleeping.
The two watches will serve as teams, in which the women will be presented challenges. These challenges include everything from who can raise the sails the fastest to who can pick up an overboard buoy the quickest to identifying the ropes on the ship.
“It’s not heavy competition, it’s really just for fun,” said Marcos Cortez, the lead instructor at the TSEA. “It’s going to be information that hopefully develops into a nice volume to have a working knowledge of how a ship works.”
The TSEA hopes to give women a realization of what they are capable of beyond sailing.
“(This kind of experience) often translates to their normal lives,” said Nettie Kelly, the executive director of TSEA and an educator aboard this trip. “They think, ‘If I can sail a boat, I can do anything.’”
The Challenge is also run to fill the need for an all women’s sailing experience.
“I like the idea that it’s sort of a women’s empowerment thing,” said Jennifer Eubank, an assistive technology assistant who has spent a lot of time on the water fishing in Alaska. “It’s a great way to learn things in a non-threatening way.”
The Seaward is steel with two 80-foot high masts, which are poles to hold up the sails, and 21 bunks below deck. This is its first overnight trip.
“(The Seaward) is a schooner for learning,” said Ken Neal-Boyd, the captain on this trip with 15 years experience and the director of Call of the Sea, a nonprofit organization. “The way she is a set up, is all around connecting people with the sea.”
The Seaward and those aboard return to Pier 40 on Sunday, October 23 at about 5 p.m. with a three-day sailing experience under their belt.
“It takes a lot of skill to sail and sail well,” said Cortez. “When they come back, they should feel a pretty solid sense of accomplishment.”
According to John Travis, president of the California Faculty Association, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger does not plan on young people voting in this November's election, even though the decisions could have serious impacts on their education.
"Proposition 75 makes it more difficult for public employee unions to argue for an increased budget, if we have to ask for money to speak on behalf of the CSU." Travis said.
If Proposition 75 passes public employee unions, like the CFA at SF State, would be required to get consent from its members before using any of their fees for political purposes. Critics of the initiative, such as the CFA and the Alliance for a Better California, claim that its passage will make it difficult for faculty unions to negotiate for better contracts or raises in pay.
Supporters of Proposition 75, such as Californians for Paycheck Protection, say that union members who do not agree with the politics of the union are involuntarily paying for political stances or candidates they may not support. Dues and fees collected for health care and charitable contributions would not be affected by the proposal, called the Paycheck Protection Initiative by its authors.
The proposition's main supporter and author Lewis Uhler, president of the National Taxpayer Limitation Committee, has a long history of trying to reduce union influence in California, according to the committee's Web site. He has authored many initiatives aimed at spending over the past thirty years, and has been consulted by every republican governor in California since Ronald Reagan.
Milton Friedman, who won the Nobel Prize in 1976 for economic science, also supports the bill, according to the voter packets mailed to millions of Californians a few weeks ago.
According to Corey Cook, associate professor of political science at SF State, the people behind the current initiative, whom he called a well interconnected policy network of people, have long tried to decrease union influence in California and have been fundamental in everything from term limits to the recall election that ousted Gray Davis. A similar bill went to the polls during the 1998 California primary election. Called Proposition 226, it was narrowly defeated, and Cook expects that this time may be no different.
"Given that people are energized about (Proposition 75) it will probably be a similar result," he said.
Graduating students looking for jobs in the public sector, such as teaching and law enforcement, may have fewer protections under the new provisions than have been enjoyed in the past, according to Travis.
Cook said that if the initiative passes, the unions would lose a lot of political power and that a lot more organizing on behalf of the unions would be necessary. He is optimistic that SF State voters are informed and organized enough to make an impact.
"I hope that by the time the election rolls around, (students) avail themselves of the information," he said. "Many of my students tell me 'I feel like I'm being lied to all the time.'"
SF State’s biology and computer science departments have worked together to create one of the most popular Internet databases for the highly researched Hedgehog Signal Pathway.
Hedgehog is the nickname of a secreted protein found in numerous organisms, including humans. When the Hedgehog is received, it activates a series of events in the cell, which is referred to as a signal pathway. These events can lead to mutations that result in different types of cancer, according to cell and molecular Biology Professor Felipe-Andres Ramirez-Weber.
One of the reasons the Hedgehog Signal Pathway is widely studied is because of the importance of the protein and its involvement in different types of diseases, according to Ramirez-Weber. The Hedgehog protein has been linked to various types of cancer including prostate, breast and pancreatic cancer.
“A cell (after receiving the protein Hh) will make important decisions, like to divide or turn on a typical protein that can make a hair, or make a nerve,” explained Ramirez-Weber, who does research on different signal pathways. “Because there are so many different components in interpreting the reception of Hedgehog, there are many diseases associated with it.”
The Ramirez-Weber Lab, an SF State biology lab located in Hensill Hall, gathers and does research to create a free and easy-to-use database which covers all aspects of the Hedgehog Signal Pathway, also referred to as Hh by researchers.
The database was created because the Hedgehog pathway has no central database for people researching the Hh protein, according to Ramirez-Weber, who discovered cytonemes(projections that different proteins expell that enable the proteins to morph cells, like Hh).
“This information (Hh research) is available, but we collect it all and put it in an easily accessible and organized format,” said Ramirez-Weber. “In a matter of clicks you can get the gene structure, the structure of the protein, and the information the researchers needs.”
Students working in the Ramirez-Web Lab validate by hand which gene sequences are valid, conduct and sort through research, and update the Web site regularly according to Kieran Hervold, 26-year-old biology senior who designs the Hedgehog Web site.
The Ramirez-Weber Lab conducts its own research on different strains of fruit flies in order to track the differences in genetics. It then uses these differences and compares it with the Hh protein, according to Ramirez-Weber.
“I try to figure the modes of transport of the wingless gene,” said 29-year-old Ouma Onguka, who is a graduate student in cellular and molecular biology and researches the genetics of wingless fruit flies in the lab. “The modes of transport in the wingless gene are similar to those of the Hedgehog.”
As the months go by, the online database’s popularity continues to grow. It is now ranked number one in its Google search class. In August the site received 5,000 hits and since then it has had more than 15,000 hits a month.
The two departments are in their final stages of making the database interactive for Hh research by adding an annotizer -an interactive tool that can be used by people viewing the website.
“We’re adding an innovated functionality that isn’t easy to find anywhere else,” said Professor Dragutin Petkovic, Computer Science Chair.
According to Petkovic, the database is currently in its first phase and phase two will enable its users to leave comments and post new findings on the different research called collaboration technology.
“The beauty of this Web site is the quality of the data,” said Petkovic.
The SF State Department of Parking and Transportation has created a new program called Ride Match to encourage students, faculty and staff to save resources and the environment by carpooling to school.
Ride Match is designed to team up members of the SF State community who live in proximity and have them carpool to and from campus.
Many SF State students acknowledge the benefits of a carpooling program and are eager to participate.
“I think (carpooling is) the smartest thing to do, not only for the environment but for yourself,” said SF State music and business major Price Troche. “It's so much easier to get around too.”
Terrie Soto, a 20-year-old undeclared major, agrees.
“Since tuition keeps going up, many students can’t afford cars, and some can’t even access public transportation,” she said. “(Carpooling) would help.”
According to the Department of Parking and Transportation, anyone interested in the program must fill out an application that can be found at the transportation office on North State Drive. After completing the application, participants will receive a list of people who live in their area who want to carpool to campus.
Lt. Amalia Borja, who represents the Parking and Transportation department at SF State, did not return several requests for comment.
California statewide census statistics from 2003 show that an average of 74 percent of commuters drive by themselves, compared to 12.6 percent of drivers who carpool, which is defined as two or more commuters sharing a ride to the same location.
Carpooling has been found to be an economically and environmentally beneficial by decreasing pollution, saving fossil fuels and reducing congestion, according to the California Department of Transportation.
Carpoolers are also permitted to use the High Occupancy Vehicle lanes (also known as the “diamond” lanes), which can decrease the time it takes to get to and from school.
At SF State, carpooling also increases the amount of parking available.
According to 2004 statistics from the American Automobile Association (AAA), solo drivers nationwide spend about 56 cents per mile, or about $8, 431 per year, which includes gas, car depreciation, maintenance and insurance.
Other programs that are similar to Ride Match also exist to encourage carpooling. ERideShare.com is a free nationwide service created for connecting commuters with other drivers who are going to the same locations. According to the website, 302 San Francisco commuters are currently sharing rides through ERideShare.
For those who carpool in San Mateo, either from or through San Mateo County, the Peninsula Traffic Congestion Relief Alliance has designed a program where one pays to drive with someone else, and for San Mateo college students, there is a Carpool to College program, which awards participates with a $20 gas card incentive.
Proposition 74 increases the probation period for public school teachers from two to five years. It also alters the process by which school boards can dismiss a teaching employee who receives two consecutive unsatisfactory performance evaluations.
Most Republicans support Proposition 74 while many Democrats have spoken out against it.
Supporters claim that regardless of their performance, once California school teachers reach their two-year tenure they are guaranteed a job for life. Even with unsatisfactory evaluations it is virtually impossible to have the teacher fired without paying them thousands of dollars.
Dubbing the proposition the “Put the Kids First Act,” proponents argue that it will help the California education system without spending any more money. It will supposedly require new teachers to work successfully for a longer period of time before they receive their tenure, and supporters claim that this will ensure that only capable, qualified and proven teachers will be granted long-term jobs.
"There's no proof that students will do better or teachers will be more qualified if the teacher probationary period is changed to five years from two years,” said freshman Kathleen Brennan, 18, an economics major. "Prop 74 does nothing to reward great teachers, but makes it harder to find and keep quality teachers that we desperately need right now."
Supporters of Proposition 74 also hold that the proposition will give more authority to principals and school districts to decide whether a teacher is performing well, and it will fix the current problem of locking teachers into the school system which makes it nearly impossible to get out of.
Opponents have dubbed Proposition 74 the “Blame Teachers Act.” They say that the measure would do nothing to improve public education and that it is just masking the real problems. They declare that it unfairly blames teachers for the problems in the public school system, and ignores the realities of under funding, overcrowding and the lack of materials and resources needed for effective teaching and learning.
Critics also say that the proposition is unnecessary, misleading and poorly drafted. They claim that in the end it will actually make it harder to get rid of a teacher who is not doing their job. They point out that even now no teacher has a guaranteed job, and that there is already a system in place to fire teachers who are not performing.
Proposition 74 does not directly affect SF State professors, but if it passes it will impact students graduating into the teaching field.
“I am voting no on Prop. 74 on Nov. 8 because Prop. 74 is a waste of time and money. It's avoiding the real problems in schools today,” said Brennan. “The money spent on implementing Prop 74 could instead go to buying new books and computers for our school and helping reduce class size.”
On Wednesday, Oct. 19, a happily starving crowd filled SF State’s Jack Adams’ Hall at sundown. About 350 students and faculty joined the Muslim Student Association and the Muslim Women’s Student Association to spend a day without food and water.
For the third year SF State, together with about a hundred colleges and universities around the country, hosted a Fast-A-Thon, inviting non-Muslims to experience a whole day of fasting to raise money to feed those in need and gain a better understanding of Ramadan.
The ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, which this year has started on Oct. 4 and will end on Nov. 3, is believed to be the time when the Prophet Muhammad began to receive God’s revelations of the Quran.
For 30 days Muslims renounce food, water and sexual relations from dusk to dawn. “On a deeper level,” MBA student Vendula Sadreddin said, “fasting not only involves the stomach, but also the eyes, the ears, the tongue, and even the mind. Fasting is refraining from all things which take away from the remembrance of God.”
At 6.30 p.m. Abdul-Rahman Taleb-Agha, MSA president, said a prayer ending the fast and, according to tradition, the shaky and pale guests were treated to dates and water. A sumptuous Indian and Arabic dinner offered by local sponsors followed. After fasting for the first time, Associated Students Inc. President Chris Jackson shared with the crowd his “overwhelming feel of joy” for being allowed to eat again.
About 250 non-Muslim students pledged to fast because they were “hungry for change.” Sociology major Loubna Qutami, a Greek-Orthodox, was one of them. “I wanted to show our Muslim brothers and sisters at SF State,” she said, “that we understand and appreciate their culture and their religion and that we stand in solidarity with them in their right to preserve it.”
After experiencing for one day what Muslims choose to do for a whole month, many students said that they have a new appreciation and respect for their strong will. Sophia Olkhova, a 15-year-old student at San Francisco School of the Arts, said that fasting was more tiring than she thought it would be, but enjoyed the experience. “It makes you appreciate more the food instead of gobbling it like everyday and you feel grateful when you eat,” she said.
For each pledge, sponsoring businesses donated money, this year directed to the non-profit Hidaya Foundation and its relief operations to earthquake victims in Pakistan. The event helped raise more than $6,000, which was more than double that of last year, according to organizers. Charity is one of the five pillars of Islam and even more important during Ramadan, Taleb-Agha explained. Sharing food is also an Islamic custom.
“It’s a time to be aware about how people around you feel,” 18-year-old law major Mokhtar Alkhansali said. “If you’re hungry,” he said, “you know how homeless feel every day.”
Salam Hassan, a Computer Engineering major who moved from native Iraq to San Francisco four months ago to study, said that it’s been a real shock to see the amount of poor people in San Francisco. “I couldn’t have imagined that in the most wonderful city in the world, where 80 percent of the stores are restaurants, there are people who can’t eat,” he said.
For Hassan the gathering on campus was particularly special. “This is the first year that I spent Ramadan outside my country and it’s hard because in the Middle East this is a time when families have to be together.” But being here has some positive aspects, he said. “Compared to Iraq, where temperatures can be 140 (degrees) sometimes while you’re not having food and water, fasting in San Francisco is like a nice picnic!”
SF State's faculty will receive their first raise in three years as campus negotiators reached an agreement on a salary increase of 3.5 percent.
Faculty will begin seeing the increase on their Nov. 1 paychecks. The increase is retroactive to July 1, and money owed from this time period will be issued as a lump-sum payment that will be processed in mid-October, according to the California Faculty Association’s Web site.
Both the CFA and California State University representatives hailed the agreement as a triumph, but also recognized that significant issues still must be discussed before a final contract can be agreed upon.
“We are negotiating different aspects,” said Clara Potes-Fellow, media relations manager for the CSU system. "It's all give and take."
The Academic Senate, after praising the agreement at its last meeting, called on both parties to resolve the remaining matters in a "faculty-friendly" manner.
In a press release, CFA officials called the agreement “a positive sign that the trustees and the CSU administration can be persuaded to do the right thing.
“The trustees and the administration were motivated, we hope, by the personal sacrifices that faculty have made over the last two and a half years. During this time we have worked harder than ever while receiving no pay raises at all.”
In early September, negotiations came to a halt after CSU officials added new provisions to an already agreed-upon general salary increase proposal. The controversial provisions are not on the current salary proposal.
Among the many difficult issues facing the ongoing contract negotiations is whether or not CSU will get rid of the Faculty Early Retirement Plan (FERP). Getting rid of the FERP will likely cause a flood of early retirements before the program ends, according to Linda Ellis, director of the SF State Museum Studies program and a faculty representative at SF State.
By getting rid of longtime instructors who get paid more, Ellis said, the CSU could replace them with younger teachers who are paid less. The issue of merit pay is also a very contentious issue.
“This is a way of killing the civil service system,” Ellis said. “Merit pay means that not everyone gets a raise; it’s a very antagonistic system.”
SF State faculty have been working since 2004 under an extension of their old contract. Negotiators on both sides agreed to extend the contract one year in hopes of an improved economy providing enough funding for the two sides to edge closer in negotiations.
The Academic Senate at SF State approved four new minors to offer science and engineering majors new educational options and opportunities.
The minors, which have yet to be approved by the president of the university, consist of mechanical, electrical, civil and computer engineering.
Because engineering majors require intense coursework, these minors would allow students to learn about different types of engineering without the stress of a double-major. The minors consist of about 21 units each, not including prerequisites in certain lower-division math and science courses.
“(This) should have been done earlier,” said Shy-Shenq Liou, director of the School of Engineering. Liou said that since 1987, SF State has offered bachelor degrees in the three core factions of engineering. In 2003, a degree in computer engineering was implemented.
The prerequisites are geared toward current science, math and engineering students. They consist of courses from calculus, physics, chemistry, linear algebra and computer science.
The idea of engineering minors sounded "awesomely amazing" to Daniel Marcus, a junior mechanical engineering major.
Marcus, 20, said he understands the importance of knowing different factions of engineering.
"It is a very 'hands on' field, and to a certain degree almost guarantees a job upon graduating," he said.
Although Marcus said he thinks it may be difficult for the average student to connect two types of engineering, it would grant a student the opportunity to take different classes and figure out which type they're most interested in.
According to Liou, if a civil engineering major chooses another type of engineering as a minor, it will show up on their transcript.
"(Students can) integrate the programs and it can have additional advantages," he said. "For example, a physics major can choose mechanical engineering to give them high-tech industry experience. It gives the student leverage."
As of fall 2004, there were 626 engineering students enrolled at SF State, according to a campus census. Over 200 students majored in electrical engineering and 154 students chose civil engineering.
“I chose (engineering) because I’ve always been great at math and science, and I love to build and fix things and see how they work,” said Joyce Edey, 19.
Edey, a sophomore civil engineering major, said she might choose mechanical engineering if the minors are approved. She said she knows that it would allow her a broader range of job options for the future, and “it wouldn’t be too much extra work.”
The minor is only 21 units, and many of the science and engineering majors may already have the prerequisites.
According to Liou, “if (the student) is graduating in the spring with the prerequisites cleared, they can start the minor now."
Also, Liou noted that courses can overlap from their major, which would help them complete the minor. The School of Engineering can officially offer the minor after it has been signed, and if they are approved this semester, students can start with the units they already have.
Sung Hu, associate dean of the College of Science of Engineering, said that because the Academic Senate approved the minors, it is highly likely that the university president or vice president will approve them as well.
"The different types of majors are better in terms of students who are interested in different types of engineering," Hu said. In the past few years, students have expressed interest in different types of engineering. He said he thinks that the minors will allow engineering students the chance to explore those options.
He added that it grants non-engineering majors, especially physics and applied math students, the opportunity to learn about the subject without the full-scale major.
Liou recommends the minors to "anyone who's interested," noting that it's a great option for science majors who have taken extensive math and science courses. To non-science majors, he suggests stopping by his office for more information.
Susanna Sanchez’s freshman year at SF State was her first taste of independence, a curfew-free lifestyle and credit card debt.
A nationwide survey by Smith College, a liberal art college for women, found that 23 percent of students are using credit cards to pay for tuition, and 53 percent are willing to add the expenses of textbooks, school supplies and other necessities to their next credit card bill.
Sanchez, 19, decided to take out student loans when her decision to use a credit card to pay for tuition put her $3,000 dollars in debt. Her loan allowed her to pay off her bill completely, but she regrets using the credit card as an easy, on-the-spot, payment.
“I realize now how much more I would have had to pay my credit card, and that it would have been smarter for me to take out loans rather than succumbing to using credit cards,” Sanchez said.
Director of Public Affairs and Publications, Ellen Griffin, said that 35 - 40 percent of SF State students use credit cards to pay for registration fees, tuition, housing and other university charges.
“Our Bursar’s Office warns that credit cards are an appropriate financial resource for emergency funding, but students could find themselves in an endless cycle of credit card dependency when they use them for day-to-day purchases,” said Griffin.
She advises students to be cognizant of the fact that, if these charges are not paid within a reasonable time, they will accumulate additional debts to a point that could jeopardize their financial stability.
According to SF State Economics Professor Dr. Daniel Vencill, credit cards require students to pay their debt immediately, while student loans are more flexible toward student’s needs and do not require immediate payment. He also emphasized that interest rates in credit cards are up to 16 - 18 percent, while student loans only have 5 - 7 percent interest rate with the option of paying it back after graduation.
Vencill explained that credit card companies choose to target students due to their motivation to pay for school without consideration for the outcome.
“Credit card companies have solicited students and handed out credit cards like candy, and students who have no experience go on debt because they have no experience with balancing and budgeting their money,” said Vencill. “They have this credit card with a limit of several thousands of dollars that will take 20 years to pay off.”
He added that due to California’s deficit, the government is less willing to pay for student education, cornering students to pay a bigger portion of their education than some students can afford.
“Everyone is sucked in,” said Vencill. “Low-income people are forced and middle-income people are seduced into using cards.”
Using credit cards usually leads to overspending due to accessibility and the illusion that money can be spent now and be paid later, and credit card companies rope students into debt, said Vencill.
In a 2001 study conducted by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, 83 percent of undergraduate students have at least one credit card and a balance of more than $2,000, which means millions of dollars in interest profit for credit card companies.
Nancy Nguyen, a sophomore, obtained her first credit card during her second semester at SF State to build her credit, but by the time she finished her first year, she had accrued more than $2,000 in debt, which she is slowly paying off in $100 installments.
“I had no money and work wasn’t paying enough and my parents only give $300 for rent, so I had to charge everything,” said 19-year-old Nguyen.
Although she did not drop out of school, she was forced to continue her education at Skyline Community College to lessen her school fees and tuition.
Vencill warns students that placing high priority on education leads to some students misusing their credit cards. Also, with the rise of tuition fees, students are feeling the pressure to be in more debt to fulfill their education, he said.
Go ahead and call him crazy, because his name says it all. Jose Cuellar, AKA Dr. Loco, is a professor at SF State and a member of a rock n' roll band.
Dr. Loco looks like a character straight from a Cheech and Chong movie, with a braided sliver goatee, a plaid flannel shirt and a pair Dickies.
He is also the head honcho of Dr. Loco's Rockin' Jalapeno Band, and is one of the band members responsible for infusing an extra twist into the Tex-Mex musical group. He is accountable for the band's vocals, flute, accordion and saxophone. Together they have produced four CD's, in order by release date: Con Safos, Movimiento Music, Puro Party and Barrio Ritmos & Blues. Two of the four CD's are available on iTunes.
"I started the band back at Stanford in 1988," said Dr. Loco.
Dr. Loco has been a professor of Raza studies at SF State since 1990. For the first eight years he served as department chair, and although he is no longer in the position he remains actively involved. He has been known to combine academics with music.
"It's taking the notion of this ethnic studies paradigm and bringing it to a whole new level, by adding arts to it," said Dr. Loco.
Recently Dr. Loco incorporated his love of teaching with his love of music in the revival of the 1977, Rob M. Young film, Alambrista. The critically acclaimed film, which translates to "the fence cutter," is a movie that documents the struggles of a young migrant farm worker from Mexico after he crosses the border into the United States.
"The purpose of me reviving the film is to help the neediest," said Dr. Loco. "They are the undocumented workers in the United States."
Dr. Loco and his colleagues revitalized the film with a $240,000 grant from the Ford Foundation. The director's cut film includes: new scenes, added English subtitles, interviews and a new soundtrack preformed by Cuellar's newest band, "Dr.Loco & sus Tiburones del Norte."
They also added a volume of original essays by La Raza experts, which Dr. Loco and fellow SF State professor, Teresa Carillo, both contributed to.
"The film and the book are here to open people's eyes," said Dr. Loco. "Make them think about what has changed and what has stayed the same in the last 30 years."
The book of essays, DVD and complete soundtrack were published at the University of New Mexico Press, and they are now being sold together as a package.
"My ultimate goal is to inform and help," said Dr. Loco.
Dr. Loco has a strong background in music. He started to perform in public at the age of five. By the time he graduated from high school he was regularly performing with big-name groups, and not too long after that he even took a stab at being a casino musician.
Today he still performs with both Dr. Loco's bands, and hopes to have music in his life for many years to come.
"I was born and raised within a musical working-class familia," said Dr. Loco.
President George W. Bush recently called on Americans to conserve gasoline by hanging up those car keys and using more public transportation.
“We can all pitch in,” Bush said in a press conference two weeks ago. “People just need to recognize that the storms have caused disruption.”
Bush also said that the administration may need to dip further into the government’s petroleum reserve and keep relaxing environmental and transportation rules in an effort to get more gasoline flowing.
Many SF State students said that encouraging more people to take public transportation is a “worthy” cause, but with increased Muni fees and service cuts, the issue becomes tricky.
“More people taking public transportation means more kids will be late to class,” said
Jennifer Zucca, a 23-year-old transfer student. “More people on the bus means they will be more crowded. Maybe if there was more public transportation it would be better.”
Jessica Ridout, a 24-year-old Human Sexuality and Sociology major, agrees that there needs to be improvements in reliable public transportation.
“People are not going to take it if it’s not convenient,” said Ridout.
Raising parking prices for motorists is another way that campuses such as SF State can encourage the use of public transportation.
“SF State should not coddle motorists,” said Jason Henderson, assistant professor in the Geography and Environmental Studies. “[In raising fees], the funds could be used to provide alternatives to driving. SF State should proactively work with the city and Caltrans to make 19th Ave. safer for cycling, pedestrians and transit users.”
But not everyone believes that San Francisco’s public transportation is in need of improvement.
“San Francisco has one of the best and safest public transportation systems in the United States,” said Andrew McDonald, a 25-year-old Dentistry major. “I think that everyone that can feasibly take public transit into the city does. If not, they should have their head examined because it seems like a no brainier.”
Henderson said that SF State is not doing much to encourage students to use public transportation instead of driving.
“The bike barn is out of the way and not promoted. A bike barn should be set up in the parking lot next to the Admin building on the corner of Holloway and 19th. That would provide exposure and convenience,” said Henderson.
“Transit is not promoted, and students are treated like second class citizens. SF State should provide eco-passes and get students using transit.”
SF State has been taking steps in an attempt to help students conserve their gas. There are free shuttles from Bart to campus, as well as a newly formed Ride Match Program, which matches SF State faculty, staff and students with others in their area who would also wish to carpool to school.
Carmen Ray, a 23-year-old English major, is discouraged by the lack of transportation options.
“We can't really win either way,” said Carmen Ray, a 23-year-old English major. “Gas and parking are ridiculous, but at the same time Muni is cutting back service and raising rates. We need a more financially viable option.”
Ray has a simple solution to this problem.
“I'm getting a bike!”
As temperatures peaked into the mid 80’s, athletes raced down one of San Francisco’s steepest streets – on snow.
Icer Air 2005, which was put on by the Tahoe-based Icer company that sells spray wax and apparel, was hosted by Olympic gold medalist Johnny Mosely and featured over 20 professional skiers and snowboarders hurdling down a snow laden Fillmore Street.
After they leaped out of a trolley car parked at the top of Broadway, riders whizzed down past the stop signs and flew over a jump at Vallejo made of concrete and Styrofoam then landed near Green Street.
On an unusually hot day in San Francisco, crew members in red T-shirts and some wearing baseball caps that read “San Francisco Snow Removal” stayed busy sprinkling salt and packing snow in order to keep the surface hard and to reduce slush.
Despite noise level, traffic, and safety concerns from residents in and around the Pacific Heights neighborhood, Icer gained approval last Thursday from the Interdepartmental Staff Committee on Traffic and Transportation to dump over 10,000 cubic feet of snow.
Onlookers at the daylong affair were overwhelmingly excited and appreciative.
“I think it’s (the event) a great idea. It’s brought a lot of people out and it’s fun just to see something completely different, kind of wacky,” said Heidi Erieksen of San Francisco.
However, some of the residents concerns turned out to be valid. The unexpected crowd size that continued to swell throughout the day resulted in more traffic congestion while beverage cans, programs, and flyers were left soaking in the drenched streets.
In addition, two people were taken to a nearby hospital with minor injuries after a couple competitors crashed into the sidelines.
The “first of its kind urban ski event” as Icer dubbed it was a surreal experience not only for the people watching but also for the participants, many of whom had not been on the slopes since last winter.
“It’s kind of weird to just jump on your snowboard and jump down the city streets,” said Lake Tahoe native and Winter X Games bronze medalist, Jimi Tomer.
And for some, it was a first visit to San Francisco.
Jamie Anderson, 15, and the only female competitor, was excited to explore the city over the weekend. Anderson was the youngest person ever to compete in the Winter X Games in 2004.
“This is my first time. We’re gonna go shopping and stuff,” she said.
Not everyone on the slope was there for the competition.
Jeff Breidenbach of San Francisco asked Icer Air in advance if he could take his cross-country skis and ski up the slope in between runs.
“It’s not often someone gets the chance to ski up the streets of San Francisco,” he said.
As if watching skiers and snowboarders get air over pastel-colored victorians were not enough, Danville couple Bill Parker and Tracey Daily decided the event was the perfect setting to take a leap of faith. After saying their I do’s, they put on their ski boots and skied down the slope.
The 50 cents it costs you to super size your meal may well cost you more in medical bills in the long run.
One hundred and nineteen million, or 64.5 percent, of American adults are overweight or obese. For Hispanics and African Americans, the rate is even higher. In 2008, a projected 73 percent of American adults will be overweight or obese. These staggering statistics are part of a 2005 report called “F as in Fat” released by Trust for America’s Health, a non-profit organization working on disease prevention as a national priority.
For many SF State students, obesity and being overweight are as far away as finding a good paying job in the same field as your degree. For others, the issue is more prevalent.
Tyne Johnson, 19, said that weight is on her mind every time she shops for clothes.
“It’s awkward shopping,” said Johnson, a size 11 sophomore. “I can’t fit into anything so I don’t like shopping.”
The crisis extends far beyond finding a cute outfit. According to the National Institute of Health and the Center for Disease Control (CDC), being overweight or obese increases an individual’s risk of developing over 35 major diseases, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer.
Obesity contributes to about 66 percent of heart disease, 20 percent of cancer in women and 15 percent of cancer in men, according to the CDC.
Danielle Barcy’s aunt nearly died from Type 2 diabetes.
“My cousin came home and she (the aunt) was on the floor,” said Barcy, a biology major.
According to Teresa Leu, registered dietician, nutritionist and health educator at SF State, the overwhelming cause of obesity and being overweight is poor diet and lack of exercise. To prevent obesity or being overweight Leu suggests listening to your body.
“Distinguishing physical (hunger) from non-hunger, emotional, stress eating (is a major key),” she said.
“Some students underestimate how much they need to weigh. If a student is athletic and has a substantial amount of muscle, he/she can hold more total weight. Other students set unrealistic weight goals due to society’s definition of beauty,” said Leu.
Leu added that students seeking advice can make an appointment with the nutritionist at the Student Health Center.
Students can also incorporate exercise into their class schedule by enrolling in the many exercise classes offered by the kinesiology department. Another option is going to the open workout hours for the gym and pool.
“Students do not need to go on a fad diet to lose weight,” said Leu. “A moderate improvement in the diet teamed with increased exercise can lead to healthy weight loss. Slow weight loss stays off better and leads to more body fat loss than muscle loss.”
Whether it’s increased exercise or a better diet, adult Americans will have to learn how to deal with this growing problem that some have called a national epidemic.
“I do kung fu because its part of general education,” said Johnson, “but my breakfast is usually a Snickers and a Coke.”
The Pre-Health Professions Student Association (PHPSA) is helping students in the health field select a post-graduate school and choose a career.
“Students who go into health professions need support,” said Professor Barry Rothman, who has been the PHPSA adviser for the last 10 years. “The organization (PHPSA) helps navigate the waters for students interested in health professions.”
The PHPSA, located in HSS 111, assists students in pre-medical, pre-dental, pre-veterinarian, pre-pharmaceutical, or nursing programs by offering moral support, advising for classes, and study guides for entry tests to post graduate schools.
According to PHPSA President Grace Malvar, a 26-year-old post-baccalaureate student, the most helpful aspects of the organization are the leaderships the networking and the resources available,
The association, created in 1979, holds workshops for students and brings recruiters and speakers from different medical schools to campus, allowing students to develop connections in the health field.
It also provides old exams that members can use as study guides.
Teada San, 20-year-old biology sophomore, said in an email that she joined the association because she saw that preparation books were available in the PHPSA office.
“The Pre-Health Professions Student Alliance has a lot of practice books for the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) and a lot of pamphlets for different schools that I may be interested in going to for med school,” explained San, who has been in the program for two semesters. “The people and officers are really helpful and nice; without them I would be clueless.”
According to Rothman, the student run organization has helped hundreds of students in achieving their professional goals over the years.
PHPSA now has approximately 120 students in the organization, according to Ferdos Abdulkerim, 20, PHPSA vice president of members.
Most of the students in charge of the PHPSA are in pre-health courses themselves.
“We (PHPSA) really care because we share the same interests and goals as the students who join,” said Henrietta Tran, the pre-nursing chair.
“It’s (PHPSA) definitely important because SF State doesn’t have a pre-med program, so there isn’t much guidance,” said Abdulkerim. “It’s difficult for students to apply for medical school because of the lack of resources on campus. The organization provides it (the resources).”
To join PHPSA students must be enrolled in at least six units at SF State and submit applications to the PHPSA office.
Meetings will start at the end of this month and will be held monthly, according to Malvar. Office hours are Monday through Friday at various hours according to Tran, a physiology junior.
The PHPSA is in the midst of negotiating with the Post Baccalaureate Student Organization, an organization of graduate students returning to school. By taking more classes involved students can benefit from a wider range of resources. Students currently in the program will be able to talk and network with students who have graduated already.
”Pre-meds have to get good grades, get clinical experience, take the MCAT, apply to graduate schools, make a personal statement, and be savvy with medical technology,” said Rothman. “It’s good to have an organization that is like a family and professional group to help support the students.”
Students danced, pixie performers twirled fire batons and Dolores Huerta spoke of organizing for a greater good at the 30th anniversary gala of the Cesar Chavez Student Center Friday night.
“This is a very special place,” Huerta said. “San Francisco State has such a great history of activism.”
Huerta, a great believer of activism herself, began the National Farm Workers Association with Cesar Chavez and is currently working on the Dolores Huerta Foundation, a organization training people to organize their community.
The gala was the closing event of a month-long celebration that included a film festival of student's work and a series on the 1968 student strikes. The center's staff had been putting together the events for more than six months.
“The center is the heart of the campus,” said Aimee Barnes, program coordinator for the student center. “We really wanted to celebrate the history of the building in an unusual and memorable way.”
Barnes added that they (the student center staff) also just wanted to say thank you to the students who support the student center. They did that Friday night by offering free food, two bands and an array of performers wowing the crowd.
The student center, a separate entity from the university, is supported by the $62 student center fee and revenue from vendors. The center offers a wide variety of services, from housing SF State's student government, bookstore, and lounge areas to offering food service; they even offer DVD rentals.
The 30th anniversary celebration was intended to bring out students to a campus known for being a commuter school. Trays of chicken wings, cheese and crackers and cookies lured them in and the entertainment made them stay on a chilly night when the campus would usually be deserted. According to Katherine Day, project coordinator for the student center, the event was aimed at outreaching to the new community that is now developing on campus.
Anthony Morin, 18, is a dorm resident a stopped by the celebration on his way to the Olive Garden.
"The noise brought us here," he said, "but I love the diversity, culture and so many different people from different places. There's not a lot of life on campus on the weekends."
Organizers had hoped for a turnout of about 400 people, however estimates of the crowd were placed at only about 100.
Most SF State students, like senior Andrew Morris, 23, have only used the center to buy food while on campus.
“I was actually here doing some homework and I heard the drums from the library so I walked over here,” said Morris nodding his head to the music of the Gee Yung Lion Dancers. Morris added that the celebration was the first time he had attended any extracurricular event on campus.
Not only students, but also faculty and staff stayed to enjoy the event. Most of the services offered in the center remained open so that students could come in and ask questions. Tiffany Fisher, assistant director for Project Rebound, brought her daughters Imani, 4, and Aniya, 3, to enjoy the event.
“Oh they love it,” said Fisher, 23, a psychology major, “They don't want to leave.”
“Personally, I hope it rejuvenates us for the future,” said Barnes adding that they wanted to be revolutionary on how they provided programs, “It's work but it's also a service.”
Thousands marched downtown Sept. 24 to protest the war in Iraq. People who attended the event share their views on the war and Bush's administration.
Click on the button to the right to watch the multimedia feature.
Four years after the Patriot Act was enacted in hopes to combat terrorism, some critics have questioned whether Americans are any safer now than before the terrorist attacks of 9-11.
Congress passed the Patriot Act on Oct. 6, 2001 and required 16 provisions to expire at the end of this year unless they renewed it. It was designed to help national security investigations by expanding the government’s surveillance powers but several advocacy groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union objected to the law because they maintained that it infringed upon civil rights.
The new Anti-Terrorism Intelligence Tools Improvement Act, HR 3179 was introduced by Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and Rep. Porter Goss (R-Fla., now CIA Director).
Two versions of the bill, one by the House that would make 14 of 16 provisions permanent and extend the other two by ten years, while the Senate extension is for four years, paved the way for fall negotiations.
The Political Science Student Association (PSSA), a non-partisan organization, hosted a town hall meeting of 20 persons on Monday, Oct. 3 at SF State to debate the Patriot Act’s effectiveness.
Adrian Covert, 22, a political science senior and president of the PSSA, said the Patriot Act had a precedent in the Sedition Act of World War I, which was far more overreaching than the Patriot Act.
He also said the bulk of the Patriot Act was concerned with reorganizing the various intelligent agencies so the FBI and CIA could share information, which he explained was previously illegal.
“The majority of the Act is a net good thing for the U.S.,” said Covert. “One could argue that we have not had a terror attack on U.S. soil since 9-11. I don’t know that it’s due to the Act but proponents cite that as proof of its effectiveness.”
He went on to say that he was concerned about the Act’s provision allowing the government to probe into the library records of citizens. He maintained this authority places some people under government suspicion just because of the materials they borrow from a library. Certain parts of the Act should be removed permanently, he said.
Peter Zerzan, 20, a political science junior, said 9-11 was a horrible tragedy and everyone would like to see the perpetrators brought to justice. He went on that there is a difference between justice and vengeance, and since 9-11 the U.S. has been pursuing the latter.
“We have waged wars without any thought of how it affects the world,” said Zerzan. “We have broken liberties we have had for the last 100 years. The U.S. has been breaking laws - spying on and detaining people, to get people who weren’t even responsible for 9-11.”
The Congress was forced into a position to make a hasty decision about the Patriot Act and now they need to slow down the process to expand it said Dell Brooks, 33, a political science junior and vice president of PSSA.
“There’s way too much freedom for the government to violate our civil rights,” said Brooks. “I’d like to see checks and balances on the FBI before their powers are expanded.
“Most people feel it’s fruitless, but if enough people express an opinion to a senator it will give them pause,” Brooks added. “If you’re silent, you’re basically giving Congress support.”
Among the new amendments to the Act are requirements that the FBI must gain approval from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court before seizing documents from financial companies, libraries, and doctors' offices.
The pending legislation does not take into account a recent decision in Los Angeles by U.S. District Court Judge Audrey Collins who ruled that several terms in the Patriot Act were "impermissibly vague" and violate the Fifth Amendment.
However, influential business organizations complained to Congress that the Patriot Act has made it too simple to procure confidential business records.
A coalition called Association of Corporate Counsel, which includes the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, has proposed amendments that would require investigators to disclose how the data they seek is linked to suspected terrorists, and permit businesses to challenge the subpoenas in court.
Joel Kassiola, dean of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, said it is important for all citizens to understand how the Patriot Act affects them.
“(Bush) can’t be a one-issue administration however important terrorism might be,” said Kassiola. “The Bush Administration, from an outsider’s point of view, is focusing on terrorism while losing sight of nuclear proliferation, third world debt, global warming, the AIDS pandemic and other problems.”
Covert ended the forum paraphrasing the patriot Benjamin Franklin, “Those who would sacrifice freedom in the name of temporary security deserve neither.”
Last month, U.S. generals told Congress that American forces would not defeat the insurgency. They reported that the military campaign was creating more terrorists than it was stopping, and it was crucial for the U.S. to begin a gradual withdrawal from Iraq.
But the question of whether America should begin withdrawing troops is plagued with uncertainty. There is civil war, a stable government has yet to emerge, and only one battalion of Iraqi forces can fight without the help of American troops.
Some advocate immediate withdrawal, contending that troops should leave soon because they are increasing the possibility of a nuclear attack on America, and intensifying civil war by trying to unite a profoundly divided country.
Others argue that wanting to bring troops home now is an attitude fundamentally disconnected from the battleground in Iraq, insisting that a premature withdrawal will plunge the country into escalated chaos.
Former military intelligence officer David Dionisi has talked to more than a 100 veterans of the Iraq war. He said that with each day the American military is in Iraq, it becomes easier for terrorists to direct hatred towards America, resulting in the expansion of a thriving jihadist network which is increasingly capable of delivering a nuclear attack on the U.S.
“When the U.S. is over there pursuing evil, setting up a puppet government so we can take their oil and control the largest source of water in the Middle East, we‘re only guaranteed that the situations going to get worse,” said Dionisi. “And it’s going to lead to nuclear retaliation.”
In Dionisi’s book, “American Hiroshima,“ he warned that Al-Qaeda is planning to kill four million Americans by detonating nuclear “suitcase” bombs (devices small enough to fit in 100-pound suitcases) at eight nuclear power plants in or near San Francisco, New York, Washington D.C., Miami, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Boston.
Esam Pasha, a native Iraqi artist who came to America in June 2005, feared the country would slip deeper into civil war if the military left. But he urged the U.S. to change its military strategy.
“They aren’t controlling the borders, and they’re letting the terrorists cross the borders easily. So they come in and they fight them in the country. Why let them cross?”
He believes the key to creating stability is training an Iraqi army to defend the country. “It would be practical to recruit experienced Iraqi officers who speak the language, who know the country.”
Peter Galbraith, a consultant who helped Iraqi government officials form their constitution, said the U.S. must begin withdrawal because American efforts to unite the country under a single national Iraqi army are actually intensifying civil war.
He points out that Iraq is split into three deeply-divided states which are loyal to their own communities instead of the nation, with Kurds wanting their own country, and a civil war ensuing between Shiites who control the government and Sunnis who fuel the insurgency.
“Even by paying soldiers salaries that are ten times the military salaries under Saddam Hussein, the United States cannot build an Iraqi army when there is no Iraqi nation.”
Illustrating his argument is the composition of the 115 Iraqi army battalions: 60 of them are made up of only Shiites, 45 of them are made up of only Sunnis, and nine of them are made up of only Kurds.
He says the U.S. army cannot solve the situation, and the best way to combat the insurgency, led primarily by Sunnis, is to let Sunnis control their own government and military.
“Thanks to their regional armies, Kurdistan and the Shiite south are stable and reasonably secure. A Sunni Arab military force—responsible not to a Shiite-dominated federal government or an American occupation army but to Sunni officers and a Sunni Arab political authority—is the best hope of combating the Sunni Arab insurgency and its jihadist allies,” said Galbraith.
After a year of leading an infantry platoon in Iraq, Paul Rieckhoff formed Operation Truth, an advocacy group for veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. He said that beginning withdrawal means more bloodshed and mayhem.
“If you start bringing troops home now, you’re going to see a dramatic increase in casualties, the country’s going to become a lot more unstable, and it‘s going to make the job a lot harder for the troops that are still over there,” said Rieckhoff.
Students who are betting on their education to pay off their loans might be bargaining for more than they can afford.
The National Center for Public Reports and Higher Education released a report earlier this year stating that 20 percent of students who take out student loans and drop out of school will be more in debt with their educational loans than students who borrow money and stay in school to finish their studies.
According to the report written by University of Pennsylvania Professors Laura Perna and Lawrence Gladieux, students who finish their university studies and obtain degrees will usually be presented with better career opportunities than someone who did not graduate, and will therefore be more able to pay off student loans.
“Individuals who complete at least a bachelor's degree average substantially higher salaries than individuals who attain lower levels of education,” said Perna. “The analyses in this report also show that they have lower rates of defaulting on their loans.”
SF State’s Director of Financial Aid Barbara Hubler has seen the numbers of students borrowing money for their education increase and estimates that about 50 percent of students receive aid and that 70 percent of them opt to take out student loans.
Perna and Gladieux assessed that students who come from low-income homes, and with families who have very little educational background are usually the ones who end up dropping out of school.
“The analyses suggest that students with low family incomes and/or low parental education may be less knowledgeable about what is required to "succeed" in higher education,” said Perna. “In addition, family income and parental education are correlated with academic preparation.”
Helen Goldsmith, associate dean of the Undergraduate Studies Program at SF State, agrees with Perna and Gladiuex’s findings. Goldsmith said that the high cost of living in San Francisco makes it difficult for students to afford school on top of living expenses, which can change the student’s priorities.
“It’s really hard to put school first when there are so many things to deal with,” said Goldsmith. “We don’t have pots of money available for people to take so they can finish their education. If you don’t have a lot of personal resource and family resources then there is less of a safety net.”
Goldsmith explained that students attend school to improve their education and lifestyle, but are often unprepared to deal with the financial repercussions of obtaining their degrees. She said students take out loans to pay for school and also work part or full-time jobs to pay for living.
“A lot of students get jobs while in college and they will be working in the Gap and get a promotion, and they think that they are getting a lot of money and decide to stop going to school,” said Goldsmith.
Former SF State student Pete Susoev has not been in school since he was 21 years old. His education lasted for almost 3 years and a year before he could graduate, he decided to drop out of school to pursue his interest in filmmaking.
Susoev splits his 45-hour work week between being an audio visual technician at the San Francisco Public Library and a supervisor at the Stonestown YMCA. He shares part of the rent with his girlfriend, but her full-time nursing studies only allows her 15 hours of work a week, which barely contributes to their $800 monthly rent.
“I’m pretty much ľ of our income,” said Susoev. “We are paying more than we can really afford right now because between (student) loans, credit card debts, bills, and insurance we accumulatively pay more than $2,000 a month.”
Susoev, who is planning on taking out more student loans to return to school next Fall, regrets leaving school before completing his bachelor’s in broadcasting, but understands that in order to complete his education he will have to borrow more money.
“Ideally I probably would have a better job, because regardless of what you graduate with there’s someone out there willing to give you a job because you have a degree, so technically I would be able to go beyond what I do right now,” he said. “There’s also that feeling of completion, and I’m not looking forward to being 30 and a senior.”
Keeping your wisdom teeth through your twenties may not be so wise after all, according to the results of a seven-year research study by the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS).
Young adults, ages 20-35, have a higher risk of developing Chronic Oral Inflammation of the gums if their third molars (wisdom teeth) are kept, according to two different long-term studies, conducted by the AAOMS and The Oral Maxillofacial Surgery Foundation (OMSF).
Dr. Robert S. Glickman, from the New York University of Dentistry, explained that the primary health concern with all teeth is infection. However, because third molars are in a unique place, infection may spread from the lower jaw molars to the neck, the sinuses, or even the brain if infection occurs in the upper jaw.
According to the Baja Institute of Oral Surgery, 85 percent of people nationwide between the ages of 16-20 have all four of their wisdom teeth. In an informal poll on campus of nearly 100 students between ages 18 and 27, more than half still had their wisdom teeth. Dentists advise that wisdom teeth should be removed no later than age 24.
Junior Shushannah Akin, 21, said that she does not ever plan on getting her wisdom teeth pulled. "Neither of my parents had theirs pulled, so I'm hoping genetics is on my side." Akin said. The AAOMS states that even if a molar does not bother you, it could still pose problems and should therefore be checked twice a year.
“These infections, if they spread, can be quite serious, life threatening, and often require hospitalization and surgery.” Glickman said. “Worst case scenario, the lower jaw (infection) can spread to the chest. The upper jaw (infection can spread) to the eye and in the worst case scenario, the brain. The actual study identified possible long term consequences for chronic inflammation.”
The President of the AAOMS, Dr. Daniel J. Daly Jr., said in an online press conference that there were 254 people participating in one of their studies who had no symptoms of infection, had all four of their wisdom teeth, and who were willing to keep the teeth for five years. After inspection of their molars, almost 60 percent of the patients had signs of gum disease due to a specific bacteria around the molars, and 25 percent of the patients’ infections got significantly worse in just two years. The patients did not realize that they even had an infection.
Several types of chronic oral inflammation, which causes most types of wisdom tooth decay, are “transmissible, infectious diseases that are characterized by a certain bacteria,” Daly said. “The bacteria colonize, producing a breakdown in the local tissue, bone and collagen in the mouth.” When this happens, the gums will swell and they might bleed. Left untreated, and if the condition becomes too severe, lesions could form anywhere in the mouth, including the toungue.
There are deep pockets that form around the tooth, allowing bacteria to form in the gums which results in Periodontal or Periocronitis disease. These two diseases are the most common forms of gum disease and having one of them enables the bacteria to release toxins into the gums and, over time, provide a portal into the bloodstream for bacteria. In turn, this results in bacteria flowing to the jaw, which can cause cysts or tumors on the neck, chest, sinus and brain.
"My jaw was too small and they said I had no space so I got them all out." Tracey Wilson, a 21-year-old junior said. "I only felt the tip of maybe one or two-that's it"
“Having health problems because of wisdom teeth varies. They could impact the adjacent tooth, and having a small jaw increases the chances because they are harder to clean… individually, or by a dentist.” Mary Majorossy, a dental assistant at the Castro Dental Group said.
“It is not all that common to get a cyst or tumor,” said Dr. Jennifer Creelman, DDS. “In my eight years of practice, I’ve only seen one tumor-benign-but you should still get them (wisdom teeth) out because the jaws are not big enough for those third molars. When they erupt, there is communication between the mouth and bone, and that is pretty dangerous.”
The results of the study also suggested that even when wisdom teeth come in through the tissue correctly in an upright position, they are just as likely to exhibit inflammation as those that remain impacted or buried in the gums.
“Now that studies show that kids are being born without wisdom teeth, and in my philosophy, if evolution is showing that we don’t need them, then we don’t need them, even if they are healthy wisdom teeth.” Creelman said.
“Wisdom teeth do not need to be there because deep pockets still form." Creelman said. "Very few people can keep them healthy enough and have clean enough oral hygiene to keep them from producing bacteria.”
Although previous studies have shown that systemic effects tend to occur more in older populations, dentists still warn younger adults not to take any chances.
“You can’t rely on symptoms as a message to do something about your wisdom teeth, the bacteria is present," Dr. Steven Offenbacher, DDS, lead investigator on the AAOMS team said during the online press conference.
“My advice is to have your teeth examined regularly while you are in this age group.”
The sight of solicitors along the path from the quad to the corner of 19th and Holloway Avenues is familiar to many students, but lately, several people have been spotted soliciting funds inside campus buildings.
Assistant Professor Venise Wagner said that a solicitor came into her Journalism 200 class and dropped off literature. The solicitor, who was handing out political pamphlets, just “dropped the materials in the seats,” according to Wagner.
At first, Wagner did not see the solicitor or notice anything out of the ordinary.
“Somebody stopped me before I started my lecture and asked me if the materials were part of the lecture,” Wagner said. “(The solicitor) didn’t even ask me if it was ok. I know how pesky they are, I guess they’re just trying to be aggressive.”
Wagner continued to teach her class after the incident happened.
“I put it out of my mind and kept on going,” said Wagner, who said she didn’t lodge a complaint against the solicitor. “I didn’t make a big deal out of it. I don’t get flustered.”
Another solicitor was spotted in the Reading Reserve Room of the J. Paul Leonard Library going from student to student asking for donations to an unknown charity. After taking one lap around the silent room, the man left.
According to Charlie Derby, a charity recruiter who came to SF State to solicit for a fundraising company, there is a ethical distinction between people who enter campus buildings to solicit funds, and those who stay outside.
“It’s a numbers game,” said Derby. “It’s the type of job that’s centered around commission, so some people do whatever it takes (and) you see the ugly side of sales.”
Derby, who only solicits outside, says that pressure from employers may drive solicitors to enter campus buildings and that inexperienced solicitors may be going about the business the wrong way.
“There’s a huge turnover rate,” said Derby. “It’s fast money. (Some people) don’t do it the right way. People get caught up in commission.”
According to Derby, if a charity receives complaints about their solicitors, the solicitors run the risk of being “let go.”
“That has happened before,” said Derby, who said that solicitors entering campus buildings happens “a lot of the time.” He said he does not do it himself because of a “sense of pride” about his job.
To some students, avoiding campus solicitors is not a problem. Jonathan Merolla, a BECA major, said that campus solicitors do not particularly bother him.
“I have respect for those who are out there trying to be positive,” said Merolla, 23, who said that he does not mind people who petition for the environment and student-related activities, but dislikes solicitors with political messages.
“It’s just their job. They’ve got to do it, I’m not against it,” said Excel Mercado, a finance major, as he walked away from a solicitor near the Administration building.
“We never (go inside buildings),” said Jesse Schele, another solicitor. “We don’t usually come here. I don’t know about approaching people when they’re sitting.”
But Schele said that entering buildings to solicit for funds would be a good strategy if it were allowed.
“When people abuse the job, people start to reject it,” said Derby. “When you’re wearing a charity’s t-shirt, you represent that charity. You don’t want to give them a bad name. Pride is crucial to the job.”
According to Director of Public Safety Kim Wible and Interim Director of Public Affairs Ellen Griffin, complaints about solicitors are handled by Public Safety.
“If someone does observe someone disrupting a class, public safety would respond,” said Griffin.
Impacted by the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, Megan Deutsch was determined to find a way to help victims. She came up with an idea the whole school could jump on board with: a giant yard sale.
The yard sale will be held on Oct. 20 and 21 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the grassy area of the SF State quad. All the proceeds will go to the victims of Hurricane Katrina and Rita via the Salvation Army.
The event will consist of selling items such as music, clothes, electronics, home decor, small furniture, books and movies.
“It’s sad to think that these people could be potentially forgotten about,” said Deutsch of those affected by the hurricane.
Deutsch, a senior anthropology major at SF State began networking for the event with the Students for Critical Anthropology club (SCA), in which she is the secretary.
“The SCA is helping promote, recruit volunteers and anything else Megan needs,” said Jennifer Wolowic, president of the SCA. “We are committed to what the school does for social justice and this is a great way to help out.”
Many of the volunteers for the yard sale are from the SCA, but it is important to Deutsch that the event stays focused on the victims.
“We have about 35 volunteers and are looking for about 60 or 70,” said Deutsch.
After finding a club to sponsor the event, Deutsch contacted the Office of Student Programs & Leadership Development (OSPLD) to begin learning how to organize the yard sale. OSPLD approves all student club events at SF State.
Deutsch also plans to distribute flyers throughout the neighborhoods surrounding SF State.
“We want to get families to donate because college kids don’t always have stuff to donate,” said Michelle Montoya, the president of the SF State College Democrats.
The College Democrats have been looking for a way to help victims of the hurricane, and Montoya said this unique opportunity is ideal.
“It’s more than just passing a bucket around,” said Montoya.
Lyndsay Taylor, Deutsch’s assistant, heard her announce the event in class and said she knew she wanted to get involved.
“I was looking for a way to give, but didn’t have any money, so this sounded perfect,” said Taylor.
Taylor said that any donations, or any people who can come and volunteer for a few hours, would be a big help.
“(The yard sale is) also about bringing the community together,” said Deutsch.
Deutsch is in the process of trying to find a storage spot on campus that will house all the items being donated to the yard sale. She is also trying to get businesses on board to donate gifts and funds.
“We have some Playstations and are hoping to get more electronic items to sell,” said Deutsch.
Because she is in school, Deutsch was going to wait until next summer try to help the victims, but then she realized there was something she could do while at SF State.
“These people aren’t just going to be better. They are beyond homeless,” said Deutsch.
David Abella, the previous Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) president is off the hook for the $1,250 he spent last semester without board authorization.
Last year’s board approved payment for work even after accusations of fraud and embezzlement rose up against Abella.
Abella, whose term ended in May 2005, came under fire when he authorized work to be done that had not been sanctioned by the board. Abella presented findings at one of the last meetings of his presidency and the board retroactively approved the funding.
The consultant had been hired to do a comparability analysis on all full-time employees. Abella presented them with a way to evaluate the executive director of ASI.
Without her canine companion, Andrea Drago would be completely lost as she stumbles around blindfolded with her arm out to detect obstacles.
Drago is one of two students participating in the world’s first master’s degree program in guide dog mobility at SF State.
The program is being offered after two years of planning by the apprentice program manager of Guide Dogs for the Blind, Kathy Kelly and Dr. Sandra Rosen of SF State’s Department of Special Education.
According to Rosen, the Guide Dog Mobility Program aims to set an international model that makes changes needed to better accommodate clients with more than just visual impairments. The program will prepare graduate students for individualized client training and instruct them on several facets of dog training, including canine disposition.
“The population of blind people who use guide dogs is changing," Rosen said. "There are not just blind people using guide dogs, but now they are serving people with low vision, and senior citizens who have disabilities in addition to blindness. We are the first university to rise to the challenge."
Drago and Michael McDonald are the only two fortunate candidates to be enrolled in the program’s first semester. There were several applicants, but Drago and McDonald were the two best candidates interviewed for the demanding course.
The students must become proficient in all areas of guide dog mobility, including working in kennels, feeding and grooming the dogs and doing on-site observations of veterinarian clinics.
“Honestly, every single day has challenged me with something new," McDonald said.
Drago, a 22-year-old undergraduate of California Polytechnic State University, is excited to see what opportunities the program will create in her future and hopes to be employed as an instructor at the Guide Dogs for the Blind.
Guide Dogs for the Blind, a non-profit organization based in San Rafael, has completely financed the program and it also awards its students a $12,000 scholarship for the two-year course. The full-time program requires its students to attend hands-on training sessions at the Guide Dogs for the Blind campus five times a week and attend one evening lecture a week at SF State.
“There are a lot of hands on mileage with handling dogs ... not just learning from books and writing papers," Rosen said. "It’s hands on from the beginning with dogs and clients for two years."
McDonald, who found out about the new guide dogs program earlier this winter, has a strict schedule to follow each week for the next two years, which is exhausting for the 32-year-old who recently moved from Santa Clara to an apartment near the Guide Dogs for the Blind campus.
“I find that it is very inspiring that the dogs I’m working with in the kennels are going to be working with people who are blind or have other disabilities,” McDonald said.
Rosen and Kelly keeping their fingers crossed for the future of the program, and hope to admit more than two students for their next enrollment.
“We have gobs of interest, and I hope to expand the program – take in more folks, set up additional classes, and collaborate with other dog guide schools throughout the country,” Rosen said.
Rosen hopes to generate more student interest in the Guide Dog Mobility Program before the October 15 deadline for spring enrollment since the announcement for the first semester of the program was short notice.
“We are currently accepting applications for next year," Rosen said. "We have six slots open and we’re hoping to fill them."
For more information, visit Online.sfsu.edu/~guidedog/
Associated Student Inc. (ASI) has voted not to suspend Horace Montgomery, leadership development coordinator, after an August 24 shoving and shouting match with President Chris Jackson. The vote was seven to three with five abstaining.
According to police report, Jackson followed Montgomery to his office after a disagreement about meeting minutes. Jackson shouted at Montgomery threatening to have him fired. Once at Montgomery’s office, Jackson tried to stop Montgomery from going in at which time, Montgomery shoved him aside, locked the door and called his superiors.
Three weeks later, on September 14, the personnel committee made the recommendation to suspend Montgomery for the fall semester. According to an anonymous source, another recommendation made was to withhold one month’s pay from Jackson. Both recommendations were voted down simultaneously.
“It’s an unfortunate incident,” said Peter Koo, executive director for ASI. Koo added that he did not agree with the recommendation made by the personnel committee.
ASI currently has no policies to address internal conflicts between board and staff members. Aside from the vote made by the board, no other disciplinary action has been taking against Jackson or Montgomery to date.
Both Jackson and Montgomery made no comment about the incident citing legal ramifications.
Montgomery has been on staff with ASI since January 2003. Prior to that, he served on the board as ethnic rep and then vice president of external affairs. Montgomery’s responsibilities include running the summer training programs for incoming board members and advising them on day-to-day aspects of being on the board.