December 2005 Archives
They've memorized faces, names, even dates-of-birth. Working daily with San Francisco's homeless makes the SFPD essential to getting Project Outreach up and running. More social work and less iron fist are the keys to its success.
Stan "Tookie" Williams is scheduled to be excuted December 13, 2005, but there are people who are protesting his execution. Some people believe that Williams is innocent of his crimes, due to an unfair trial, while others just don't believe in the death penalty itself. Hear the voices speak up for the co-founder of the Crips gang.
New homeless program Project Outreach and Project Connect have turned SF police into social workers. For the first time, results are visible on the city's notorious mean streets. More than 700 people have been taken off the streets and put into housing and rehabilitation programs, and more than 850 have taken the city's offer of a bus ticket back home.
Associated Students Inc.’s (ASI) board approved a new program, to be opened January 2006 that sets high hopes on recruitment and retention, while costing students $50,000 in its first six months.
Project Connect, Recruitment and Retention Resource Center, the brainchild of this year’s board, and maybe the determining factor for President Chris Jackson’s period in office, is the first full-time program ASI has implemented in over a decade.
ASI already has six other programs funded by the $42 fee students pay each semester for the 19-member student-elected board to represent them. Depending on enrollment, ASI’s budget runs close to $3 million. That number not only funds the programs, but also student organizations, operational expenses of the corporation and scholarships available for students.
Funding of the program was taken from operational expenses of ASI with a bulk of the money coming from graduation funding. Jackson plans on putting the money back into graduation during the mid-year adjustments. ASI’s budget is projected the year prior and enrollment is usually under projected. Because of this, ASI usually sees a surplus if enrollment is over projection, said Jackson.
In its mission statement, Project Connect “exists to empower and involve the student body to promote higher education and facilitate graduation in low income and historically under-represented communities.” The program plans on doing this by going to K-12 schools and community colleges to promote college awareness, which is the recruitment part. But according to Jackson, this is not a feeder program to SF State.
The other part, retention, involves information fairs, promoting of their 28 scholarships, and reestablishment of the book loan program.
Project Connect will prepare students for what it’s going to take to get into college and with a combination of ASI’s scholarships and short-term loans, according to Jackson.
“We can help assist students with the financial burden,” said Jackson.
Though there are programs on campus that assist current students, there aren’t any that has the recruitment factor, according to Project Connect Director Mario Flores.
“They don’t do outreach in the community to promotes higher education,” said Flores.
“This program is here to compliment existing university services.”
Flores, who has only been director for four weeks, is still in the planning and hiring stages of Project Connect. One of Flores' first duties was to identify ways to fund the book loan program. Flores has made an agreement with the bookstore where they will credit him $50 for every professor he gets from the College of Ethnic Studies to turn in their book list by Dec. 12. With the initial startup of $300 from ASI and the credit from the bookstore, Flores hopes to have books available to loan to students taking ethnic studies classes for the spring semester. He hopes to expand to all the colleges.
The College of Ethnic Studies was chosen because a strong relationship with Project Connect was already developed and because it only had four departments, according to Flores.
“I think it’s a great idea,” said Andrew Jolivette, assistant professor of American Indian Studies. Jolivette said that he would turn give his book list to the bookstore by Dec. 12.
Along with the new additions being planned for SF State, it is also expanding to include a new downtown San Francisco location.
The new space is being acquired in order to "have a major academic presence in the heart of the business community, enriching the university’s continuing education and graduate business opportunities," said the Director of Public Affairs, Ellen Griffin.
The Extended Learning program and the College of Business are scheduled to start occupying the new extension in the spring of 2007. SF State is renting the entire sixth floor and parts fifth of the Westfield San Francisco Center located on 835 Market St., according to a SF State's public affairs Nov. 15 press release.
"San Francisco State’s alumni drive the region’s economy, and it is time for us to have a major academic presence in the heart of the business community," stated SF State President Robert Corrigan in the press release.
According to Nancy Hayes, dean of the College of Business, the department is looking forward to the opening of the new addition.
"We hope to provide a convenient location for the working professional that is interested in getting their graduate business degree and broaden their access to the business community in San Francisco," said Hayes in a phone interview.
Jamie Way, SF State business senior, is in favor of the expansion.
"I think the expansion of SF State’s MBA program is great. It is very conveniently placed, so public transportation is easy, and it's in a great place for nine to fivers working on their degree," said Way. "I think because of the demand for more and more space in SFSU, it is common sense to make this move."
SF State’s highest populated major is business, approximately 1,100 students graduated with different business administrative degrees last year. There are about 447 graduate students currently in the MBA program.
The College of Business will hold meetings with its graduate students to discuss the move and students will be updated throughout the year, according to Hayes.
A recent survey shows that even after four years of high school math and english classes, many university students are unprepared for college-level education.
The faculty survey conducted by the Higher Education Research Institute, a Los Angeles based research program that examines and evaluates post secondary education and research training, found that 40 percent of professors consider their students to be lacking the proper preparation and skills for satisfactory performance in class.
The study's findings do not surprise Karen Kingsbury, director of new student programs and retention. She estimated that over half of the 3,200 first time freshman attending SF State this year are enrolled in remedial english and/or math classes.
“I would say it’s fairly common to hear instructors bemoan the fact that their students aren’t the articulate writers that they would like them to be,” said Kingsbury.
The California State University Fall 2004 Proficiency Report found that 51.3 percent of first time freshmen were proficient in English, while 56.5 percent were proficient in mathematics.
Kingsbury is not placing the entire responsibility of non-proficient students on high schools, saying that some students simply do not perform well on tests.
“A lot of students feel that they’re not good testers,” said Kingsbury. “Our students have very busy lives and these kind of challenges can affect their studies and sometimes that's the reason they’re not able to pass.”
Deborah VanDommelen, director of the Learning Assistance Center at SF State, stresses that some students may not have had the proper role models to facilitate their studies or were not given the right opportunities to enhance their education.
“They may have been under the misconception that they are prepared and that’s not to say that students who got ‘As’ and ‘Bs’ in certain situations may have been prepared,” said VanDommelen. “Students are getting mixed messages and it may take them a whole semester to catch up, and they realize that they aren’t prepared as they thought they were and that’s a hard thing to cope with.”
Lizzy Birnbaum, 18, is in her first year at SF State and enrolled in an intro to college writing class. Her high school academic performance was more than average, and she excelled with straight ‘As’ during her senior year, but she was not that shocked by her placement test results.
“In high school everything is given to you, but here you have to pick up a text book, learn everything on your own,” she said.
Professor Mark Spinrad comments that it is rare for first-time college students to be at a college writing level and that most students still have a lot of work ahead of them.
"College is a new world with new conventions and expectations and vocabulary," said Spinrad. "Learning to write at a college level takes time because it really is akin to second language acquisition."
Whether students are in his remedial english class as a requirement or for enrichment, Spinrad feels guilty for those who put in the effort but are still unable to pass his class, but he knows that it would be a it would be a disservice to pass them.
"Students very rarely get how useful writing is," said Spinrad. "For most college students, writing equals demonstrating what you know about something, i.e. regurgitating facts and figures on a paper/in-class essay, which is such a myopic, simplistic understanding."
Students who are still battling to pass their remedial classes may utilize the tutoring services provided by the university, in which 25 percent of the students seeking help at the Learning Assistance Center are in remedial classes.
“We try to be aware of the different factors and situations students may have so that we can be open to respond to the different opportunities we can offer them,” said VanDommelen.
Former SF State student Wallace Richards disappeared on Nov. 10 and is still missing, despite family and police efforts to locate him.
“Whatever information anyone has can be extremely helpful at this point,” said Sabrina Ford, 23, Richards’ girlfriend.
Richards, a 23 year old Berkeley resident, was last seen on the morning of Nov. 10 after dropping off a friend in San Francisco, and the car he was driving was discovered less than a week later by police on Hesperian Boulevard at Embers Way in San Lorenzo.
Belinda Richards, the mother of the missing man, says that she is having difficulty obtaining his records from MetroPCS, a cell phone company.
“I am very upset,” Belinda Richards said.
Family and friends of the Richards are doing everything they can to encourage people to come forward with information.
“We’ll take any information,” said Belinda Richards. “You never know what’s important.”
Belinda Richards would especially like to hear from “anyone who may have seen him on November 9 or knew of his plans.”
Wallace Richards was planning on re-enrolling at SF State in January, to finish his degree, according to Belinda Richards. He enjoyed hanging out on campus with his friends on a bench near the quad.
“He used to hang out there all the time,” said Ford.
A vigil was held for Wallace Richards in November to show support for the missing man.
Wallace Richards was last seen wearing a white t-shirt, blue jeans, a light-weight hunter-green and gray Northface jacket, and driving a gold 2002 Mercedes Benz C240, according to the website his family and friends have set up . He is African-American and is 6 feet 3 inches and 235 pounds.
If anybody has any information about Wallace Richards, they are encouraged to call the Berkeley police Missing Persons/Detective Division at 510-981-5900.
Enrollment each year is steadily growing. Over the last 10 years SF State has seen an 8 percent student increase, and it is predicted by the California State University system that enrollment throughout the CSU’s will have a 2.5 percent growth per year, according to Jo Volkert, assistant vice president of Enrollment Planning.
This semester SF State has 28,950 students, which is an approximate 4 percent increase from last year’s 28,804 head count.
“Although it is very difficult to accurately predict beyond one to two years, SF State might be over 30,000 headcount in four to five years,” said Volkert.
With enrollment steadily increasing over the next decade, it will be necessary for SF State to undergo some physical and internal changes.
“San Francisco State University is developing a comprehensive master plan in anticipation of an increase in the campus population,” said Ellen Griffin, director of Public Affairs and Publications in an email.
In the beginning of this year the Board of Supervisors approved a new master plan of SF State. It includes Hensil hall renovations, a new parking structure, a renovated and expanded library, the new creative arts building, and an engineering and computer science building, a new building replacing the existing HSS building, and a health physical education and recreation building.
Hensil Hall had health and safety problems, but this semester the $18 million renovations were finished. It underwent physical and superficial upgrades to better serve SF State students.
When Hensil Hall was built in 1972 it included a greenhouse, and because of current fire requirements it was expanded to include a fire rated corridor to improve the eighth floor exit, according Roger Fish, director of Capital Planning, Design and Construction.
The 30-year-old life science building renovations also included earthquake reinforcement (or seismic resistance), an upgraded upgrade of the ventilation system, the animal health care facility was completely renovated, environmental chambers in the building were refurbished, and the teaching and research labs were remodeled.
“We have improved seismic strengthening by adding two steel buttresses and shear walls to improve the seismic resistance capacity to the building,” explained Fish.
Currently SF State is working on an approximate $99 million expansion of the campus library. The new library is said to be approximately 382,000 square feet, which is a 100,000 square feet larger. The expansion includes more study areas for students and the Sutro Library – which is now located on Winston Drive —will be added to the campus library.
An automated storage and retrieval unit will be added to basement of the library, and it will undergo renovations to bring the building up to seismic code, according to the library plans.
The library is in its first steps of renovated to better suit the increase of students since it was built, said Fish. When the building was built it accommodated 16,000 full-time students; the new building will support 20,000 full-time students.
“The current plan is to construct the (Sutro Library) first, when the addition is completed, the library functions will be relocated into the addition,” said Fish. “Other existing facilities will be identified on campus to absorb study areas affected by the project.”
The project began in 2000, and is said to be finished in the summer of 2007, according to the Office of Capital Planning, Design and Construction.
A new creative arts building is also being added to the campus in fall 2012. The new building will be built in two phases and located in the large field south of Font Boulevard.
The upcoming creative arts building will be 240,000 square feet, which is 65,000 square feet larger than the existing building, according to Fish. It will include a 250-seat black box theatre, a 1,200-seat auditorium, and a 350-seat recital hall.
The master plan also shows SF State an additional parking structure, Fish said the campus has not started planning this project yet. Currently the university has 2,600, which are enough parking spaces for about 9 percent of its students.
The Parking and Transportation department is working with the Master Plan Sub-Committee on Transportation, Circulation and Parking and they met once in November, according Amalia Borja, the captain of Public Safety.
The parking lot plans, along with the development of the engineering and computer science building, the a new building replacing HSS, and the health physical education and recreation building are not being discussed yet, according to Fish.
The university is also adding 350 spaces in the Towers at Centennial Square apartments next academic year to freshmen students, according to Philippe Cumia, associate director of residential services. This will give SF State a total of 1500 on-campus spaces for freshmen students.
Earlier this semester SF State purchased what was previously known as the Stonestown Apartments, adding 697 potential housing units to the campus. Currently, there are existing tenants living there, but when units become available SF State will offer them to students, faculty, and staff, said Cumia.
SF State is in the process of developing a system that will “give students the opportunity to indicate the courses they plan to take in future semesters at the time they register,” according Volkert. This data collected will be given to departments so they can accommodate students better by understanding what classes are in high demand.
According to Ellen Griffin, director of public affairs, SF State does not yet know how they will accommodate the student increases because it is too soon to say. But once they have the master plan processed the information will be available. Griffin also explained that the State is willing to fund enrollment increases with general fund support dollars.
“The CSU system allocates the funding growth to the 23 CSU campuses. With these funds we are able to hire more faculty to teach more sections and fund other necessary programmatic needs and services including staff,” said Griffin.
Many students like Michael Casey, 22-year-old cinema senior, say they are not affected by the increase of students.
“Personally I haven’t had trouble with getting into classes because of increased enrollment. I can only think of one time,” said Casey. “I am not here enough to really be affected.”
Technical and professional writing major, Liz Owens, 24, thinks that SF State should add more sections to accommodate the increasing amount of students.
“I’ve heard a lot of talk in my classes about expanding discussion classes into lectures. I don’t think this is a good idea because you loose a lot in a lecture class. You don’t get to hear what other people have to say,” said Owens. “More sections will enable the school to keep smaller class sizes.”
Associated Students Inc. (ASI) currently has six programs and are planning to open a seventh in January 2006. All of ASI's programs are funded by the $42 fee students pay every semester for the 19-seat student-elected board to represent them. With a budget of close to $3 million, almost a third of that, $817,541, is budgeted on programs this year. Here's how those six programs are doing.
The Early Childhood Education Center (ECEC) provides a childcare program for students, staff and faculty with children from ages six months up to 5 years old. The ECEC, located near the dorms, is one of the most credited childcare facilities in the state. Enrollment priority is given to low-income students and ECEC currently has 147 families with one or two children enrolled.
"We work every semester on keeping our national association for education of young children accreditation (NAEYC) (and) keeping our center’s quality of childcare really high for supporting student-parents," said Carol Rector, pre-school program coordinator.
Though the ECEC did not have a fundraiser this semester, the parent advisory committee is planning one for next semester.
2. Project Rebound
Established in 1967, Project Rebound works to enroll people out of the criminal justice system and into SF State. Using the slogan “Education as an alternative to incarceration,” the program works as a bridge, sometimes while the person is in prison, helping make the transfer to SF State as easy as possible by providing resources inside and outside of the university. Project Rebound has admitted 22 new applicants this semester, bringing total enrollment up to 40.
This semester, the program offered a monthly “Conscious Movie Series” showing documentaries about politics and the criminal justice system. Documentaries this semester included “These Streets are Watching,” a prison-focused film about police brutality. The program also focused on at-risk youth by bringing together high schools in the Mission District to paint a memorial at 23rd and Bartlett streets.
“Whenever they need support we are always there, for whatever reasons at different times,” said Director Jason Bell. “Coming through the system myself, knowing that education is so far removed from the system, it’s important to me.”
Project Rebound is located in the Cesar Chavez Student Center in T-138
3. Women’s Center
The Women’s Center offers a library of books about women and referrals to Bay Area bookstores, shelters, counseling, health centers, and political organizations for women.
4. Legal Resource Center
The Legal Resource Center (LRC) provides students with information and referrals when dealing with legal issues. The staff informs students as to what the laws says about their issue, research the information and if need be, students may make an appointment with an attorney at the rate of $10 for a half hour.
“Oftentimes, they (students) just want to know what their rights are,” said Director Alonzo Jones.
The LRC has contacts with many legal agencies in the Bay Area that are low-cost or no-cost, and selects agencies that are accommodating to students, according to Jones.
This semester, the LRC saw an average of 49 students per week, according to Jones. In November, they held a “Know Your Rights” clinic, making experts available for complicated housing issues. A seminar with experts in traffic and immigration laws is planned for December.
The LRC is located in the Cesar Chavez Student Center in M-113A
Education and Referral Organization for Sexuality (EROS) works on promoting diversity, tolerance and responsibility towards sexuality by offering education and services to students. Students are welcomed to free items, such as condoms, lubricants and dental dams, and a library of over 200 books on sex. EROS also offers peer counseling and referrals.
This semester, EROS has collaborated with other organizations on five or six events to help educate attendees on sex, according to Director Elsa Pena. They also held “Monster Massive,” a costume party for students promoting safe sex and alcohol and drug awareness. Pena also plans on expanding the library to include a video collection. Pena also wants to work on making EROS more known to students.
“I want this place to be just as well known as the student health center,” said Pena.
EROS is located in the Cesar Chavez Student Center in M-109.
6. Performing Arts and Lecture
Performing Arts and Lecture, a university program before becoming an ASI program, have been putting on films, lectures, concerts, special events and arts and craft fairs for SF State students. This semester, the program has shown five movies, including the Longest Yard and War of the Worlds. Vendors were also invited to participant in their semi annual craft fair held at the Cesar Chavez Student Center.
According the Director Muata Kenyatta, the program has served over 2,700 students this semester. They have plans on expanding the program more so by offering as many free events as they can and also by addressing the change and expansion of the campus.
“We’re here to take care of the students,” said Kenyatta. “We’re determined and dedicated to the students, making sure they get something back for their fees.”
Performing Arts and Lecture is located in the Cesar Chavez Student Center in T-115
The San Francisco State University Exchange can be a more cost-efficient way to buy and sell books but members of the student organization say that many students have yet to take advantage of it.
The SFSU Exchange is a Web site (www.sfsuexchange.com) that was created three years ago by former SF State business graduate student Kirk Lawrence. It is now a registered student organization whose main goal is providing students with the most effective methods of buying and selling textbooks.
“The bookstore only gives (students) about 40 percent of the original cost of the book,” said Sasha Mircov, a business graduate student and former president of the SFSU Exchange.
Wendy Johnson, the bookstores text book department manager, responded that students can get up to 50 percent for books that are needed for next semester classes.
“The percentage that students get for other books varies depending on the demand,” said Johnson.
Mircov said that through the Web site, students would still get 30 to 40 percent more money than they would be receiving from the book store.
On the Web site students are able to search for textbooks and post their own listings. Once students buy or sell a book through the site, SFSU Exchange is out of the picture and it is up to the students to get together and follow through with the transaction.
Despite the fact that students can find themselves with more cash in their pockets by using SFSU Exchange, only 2,000 of SF State's roughly 30,000 students have registered with the site. Members of the organization said that this is because the Web site has never been well promoted, due to a lack of funds.
"The organization receives some money from Associated Students, Inc (ASI) and from voluntary service fees,” said SFSU Exchange member Bettina Reiter. “Students are asked to pay voluntary fees via a check or through PayPal. The voluntary fees never exceed $4.99 for sellers and there is a set price of 99 cents for buyers but the program has been losing money because students hardly ever pay the fees.”
To spread awareness of the program the SFSU Exchange will host an end-of-semester party from 12:00 p.m. to 2 p.m. in the Malcolm X Plaza on Dec. 8. According to a press release from the organization the event "will be the finale of a semester-long campaign to promote the use of (the) Web site, and will allow students to investigate their options for buying an selling their text book.”
“We have been planning this party since the beginning of the semester,” said Reiter. “We are going to have tables with laptops so that students can register to the Web site as well as live music, games and a raffle.”
There will be a $200 cash prize for the winner of the raffle and the winners of the games will be rewarded $20 gift certificates. For a chance to win the raffle, students must register on the Web site before Dec. 8.
Reiter said that if students register before February of next year, they will not be sent invoices requesting voluntary fees.
ASI is also starting a student book program of their own that is set to launch next semester.
“It will be a book loan service for all students especially low-income students,” said Mario Flores, the ASI director of Project Connect. “I am going to find out more on the Book Exchange program and if I see that it caters to all students and that it’s well managed, I will definitely be interested in creating a sort of partnership.”
SF State is the first university in the world to offer a program that trains educators how to teach visually impaired people to use Guide Dogs.
But SF State is not alone.
Guide Dogs for the Blind, in San Rafael, is collaborating with the University in offering a guide graduate certificate in Guide Dog Mobility.
Michael Hingson, the National Public Affairs Representative for Guide Dogs for the Blind, has traveled with a Guide Dog since 1964—when he was only 14.
Hingson and “Roselle”, his fifth Guide Dog, are well-known as representatives of the strength of the human/animal bond and have escaped from the 9/11 attack in the World Trade Center.
Hingson said other schools might consider this kind of program, but they need to go further.
“We are using techniques that are mostly used by sighted people to teach blind people to travel,” Hingson said. “We are beginning to look at how a blind person might teach a blind person how to use a guide dog.”
The Guide Dogs for the Blind started in a rented home in Los Gatos, California and moved to San Rafael in 1947 in order to meet the increasing demands for its services.
Lois Merrihew and Don Donaldson established the school in 1942 to help wounded servicemen who would return from the World War II without their sight.
Since then, the school has provided more than 10,000 dogs to visually impaired people.
David Kent, a Guide Dog owner for 26 years, is one of them.
Kent is the first person to travel from Europe to the United States with a Guide Dog in the airplane’s cabinet.
“International travel has become a whole lot easier,” Kent said.
“The ability to move around with my dog, independently, means a lot because it gives my independence and dignity back in a way that using a white cane never could.”