March 2006 Archives
On April 18th, 1906, an earthquake hit San Francisco so hard that its force almost destroyed the city by the bay. One hundred years later, [X]press takes a look at the earthquake heard 'round the world.
At the time SF State, then known as San Francisco Normal School, was located on Powell Street.The earthquake destroyed the campus and all records predating 1906.
“The staff and students moved across the Bay to Oakland's Grant School for eleven weeks, and then in June moved back to the site which many of us call the "Old Campus," Helene Whitson, former SF State archivist for 35 years, told the [X]press. “Now [the] UC Extension at the corner of Buchanan and Hermann. It was only one block in size at that time, and we later gained another block. We were the first public school in the city to re-open after the fire.”
San Franciscans were eager to restore living and business standards back to their condition prior to the earthquake. With the opening of the Panama Pacific International Exposition in 1915, San Francisco business men helped finance the fair to ensure that San Francisco was still a major city.
Several fires broke out in the city following the earthquake. Many were uncontrollable, destroying 87 percent of all buildings and homes in San Francisco, according to 1906, written by James Dalessndro. The 1906 earthquake left 250,000 refugees, slightly more than half of San Francisco’s population of 450,000 at the time. 15,000 refugees sought out shelter and supplies in the Presidio.
Currently, the Presidio is hosting the 1906 Earthquake and the Army Exhibit. Located near the Old Post Hospital at Lincoln Boulevard and Funston Avenue, Army tents are set up to recreate the refugee camps of 1906. The tents include exhibits showing the Army’s role in relief efforts.
Other events marking the 1906 earthquake include:
—1906 Great Earthquake and Fire Exposition at Pier 48. April 15-April 17, 9 a.m.- 6 p.m. daily. Free to the public. Sponsored by the San Francisco Fire Department Historical Society. The event will feature memorabilia from the quake, vintage fire equipment, earthquake and fire safety awareness exhibits and live entertainment. Local schools are encouraged to take field trips to the expo on Monday, April 17, when the focus will be on education.
—1906 Expo Firefighter Ball, Pier 48, Shed C. April, 15, 8 p.m.-midnight. Tickets are $50 each. Sponsored by the San Francisco Fire Department Historical Society. There will be a dance, live entertainment and a costume contest. Attendees are encouraged to wear turn-of-the-century attire.
www.1906expo.com, or to order tickets call 1-800-310-6563.
—Gala dinner at the Palace Hotel. April 17, reception begins at 6 p.m. Tickets are $500 per person or $1,500 for two tickets to the dinner, an overnight stay at the hotel and a commemorative breakfast the following morning. Sponsored by the San Francisco Museum and Historical Society and the Chinese Historical Society of America.
—Lotta’s Fountain Annual Commemoration. April 18, 4:30-5:30 a.m. Market Street, at the intersection of Kearny, Third and Geary streets. This is the centerpiece of the city’s anniversary events and will pay tribute to those who perished, feature more than a dozen quake survivors and mark the exact moment the quake struck.
—1906 Earthquake and Fire Parade. April 18, 10 a.m. The parade begins at City Hall and proceeds down Market Street to Justin Herman Plaza, where there will be live entertainment and historic exhibits.
Israel’s elections came to a close late Tuesday evening, as interim Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his Kadima party, originally founded by Ariel Sharon, won the majority of parliamentary seats. Earlier polls had projected the Kadima party to win.
Kadima’s victory came from a record low in votes, but still awarded them the majority with 28 out of 120 seats in the Knesset, or parliament. Second place went to the left-wing Labor party with 20 seats, and the ultra-Orthodox Shas party came in third with 13 seats. Because there were not enough seats won by Kadima to dominate the Knesset entirely, they must now form a coalition by choosing other political parties to cooperate with – something that might be difficult given the variety of political stances between the three majority groups.
After Palestinian elections were held in January and militant group Hamas won the majority of seats in the Palestinian parliament, anticipation grew to see how Israelis would react to the Palestinian election with their votes.
Some speculation arose that Benjamin Netenyahu’s right-wing Likud party might win the majority of votes based on their more hardedge policy surrounding Israeli-Palestinian relations, but instead, Likud only won 11 seats – a crushing defeat compared to the 38 seats they won in 2003.
On Monday, Professor Dwight Simpson, a professor and expert in Middle Eastern politics at San Francisco State University anticipated the election outcome as it would help to determine the future of Israeli-Palestinian relations.
“This is an enormous dilemma for Hamas -- how to proceed. (It is) a dilemma for Israel and for the United States on what to do. So we’re sort of floating, waiting first of all, for the Israeli election,” says Simpson.
After Kadima’s victory was declared, Hatem Bazian, professor of Middle East studies at UC Berkeley discussed how the new political structure emerging in Israel might cause more problems down the road – steering away from improvement in relations between Israelis and Palestinians.
“These elections didn’t give Netenyahu the boost he hoped for,” says Bazian. “He used considerable bombastic statements that didn’t help him in standing. Olmert, on the other hand, has no military background and that might hurt him in the long run because that is very important in the Israeli political structure. The structure has now suffered a fracture and there is now a very divided Israeli political landscape. Unfortunately, the contours of the conflict have not changed.”
At the Jewish Studies office in SFSU’s Humanities building, students came to watch televised coverage of the election sponsored by the Israeli Coalition and the international Jewish organization Hillel.
Alon Shalev, Executive director of San Francisco Hillel, witnessed a steady stream of students Israeli and non-Israeli students witnessing election coverage and showing interest in what would be the outcome.
“The Middle East is a very central part of what is going on in this world right now, unfortunately. These elections, we hope, are going to be a breakthrough that will provide a consensus in Israeli society towards peace, from both sides -- because peace has to be two-sided,” says Shalev.
Bret Allen, 23, is co-chair of the Israel Coalition at San Francisco Hillel came to watch the election, insisting on its importance.
“It seems to be a very left-wing majority in the Israeli government right now,” says Allen.
“I believe that the Israeli elections so far have proven very hopeful. Most of my friends here on campus would have voted for Kadima. From the people I’ve talked to, they believe there is a hope for the future, because without change you have no future. You can’t keep occupying territories and keep calling yourself a democratic state while you continue to oppress a people that have nothing to live for. I believe this new government will install security for both Palestinians and Israelis.”
A rack-mounted sound mixing board was stolen from a studio used by jazz students in the Creative Arts building.
The theft occurred the night of March 23, after the building had been locked up, said Brandi Brandes, budget coordinator for the music department. She said that a technician had checked the room out before locking up at 11 p.m.
“It almost seems like someone hid in the building,” she said.
The thief or thieves attempted to take another piece of equipment from the room, but it was bolted down, so nothing else was stolen.
Brandes said that with the limited development budget for the jazz program, students will be stuck with substandard equipment.
“We’re trying to build a collection of up to date gear for the jazz department,” she said.
She said that the department has lost a few guitar amps to thieves in the past. There is security in place, but music department students have to have access to the equipment to practice.
“I just want people to be aware and keep their eyes open,” she said.
This month’s Associated Students Inc. election named speech communications major Maire Fowler as the next president. Her term begins May 1.
“We need a lot more student representation,” said Fowler, 22, who currently serves as ASI Vice President of Internal Affairs and a representative on the Student Center Governing Board (SCGB).
Fowler said there are many committees whose decisions affect students, but there aren’t enough students on them. Some of the more important ones she mentioned are the University Master Plan, which works on the overall vision for developing SF State, the Budget Committee, the Instructionally Related Activities (IRA) Committee, which allocates funding for educationally related materials and endeavors, the Student Fee Advisory, which reviews and consults on fee changes, and the Academic Senate.
“You don’t have to be a member of Associated Students to get involved,” Fowler said.
To increase student awareness during her presidency, Fowler wants to create a discourse magazine about current events in university politics. Her idea is to launch the magazine in September and publish new issues monthly.
“We hope to put out information about what’s going on,” Fowler said. “Hardly anyone knows what’s going on.”
Fowler, who grew up with her single mother and older sister in San Diego, said she didn’t become active in politics until she moved to the Bay Area four years ago. She felt strongly about social issues when she was in high school, but activism didn’t seem to have the impact in southern California as it does here. Also, the transformation of moving out and living independently helped her to develop her passion for community involvement.
“I really like it up here,” Fowler said. “Organizing in San Diego is not very effective.”
Fowler said she doesn’t have much free time, between balancing her two jobs in student government with her full load of classes, but when she does have time for leisure she enjoys a variety of activities.
“I’m a jack of all trades and a master of none,” she said. “I like painting, sketching, sometimes I write poetry. I dance, acted in a couple plays.”
When she has some time away from university activities, Fowler works with off-campus groups, as well. She used to work for Young Workers United, as a Spanish-speaking interpreter helping workers file claims, and she recently volunteered at a middle school. She discussed women’s liberation with the students, then helped them to create a 3-block mural. Fowler’s section of the mural, titled “Colors of Resistance,” can be seen at 22nd Street and Bartlett.
Fowler said it’s difficult to find personal time with her busy schedule. Her family is important to her, but finding time to spend with her mother in San Diego and her sister in New Mexico can be a challenge. She also would like to have more time to spend with her boyfriend. After she was finished campaigning for the recent election, Fowler took a couple of days off to rest.
“It’s hard,” she said. “It’s very challenging. After the elections, I gave myself a break.”
Chris Jackson, the current ASI president, said he has confidence in Fowler’s ability to meet the demands of her new office. Jackson said Fowler’s three years of experience in ASI along with tangible accomplishments by members of her party gave her the advantage in the recent election.
“She’s a great advocate,” Jackson said. “She deserves this. I’m really proud of her.”
Jackson met Fowler when he was the sophomore representative, and she ran with him on his slate during his presidential campaign. Jackson said Fowler’s enthusiasm and public speaking ability enable her to deal with the challenges she will face as president.
“People feed off passion,” he said. “She has very positive energy.”
Jackson said he feels the most difficult aspect of being a newly elected ASI president is learning how to function in the new position, and he believes Fowler will be up to the task.
“Unless you’re reelected, you don’t know what it’s like to be president,” he said. “I’m fully confident she’s going to learn.”
Isidro Armenta, 20-year-old design and industry major and current ASI Representative at Large, said Fowler’s experience working as a student advocate makes her well equipped to act on students’ behalf, citing that Fowler has been a student spokesperson to the California Faculty Association.
“I definitely know that she’s going to be a good representative for students,” Armenta said.
Armenta said the university administration might not always be sympathetic to Fowler’s straightforward approach.
“She’s really adamant and feels strongly about her purposes,” Armenta said. “Administration might not be so receptive to that.”
Fowler agrees that her blunt assertiveness can be both her strength and her shortcoming, and recognizes that diplomacy and tact will also be essential skills in her new position, since she will be working with administrators.
“I feel that my whole responsibility is a pro-student agenda. The administration and the state have their own agendas, we students need to have (one),” she said.
Fowler wants to get more students in representative positions to implement student ideas, and sees her newly acquired office as the way to accomplish this goal.
“Many people view politics like a machine that runs with or without someone running it,” she said. “I view politics as a tool that you can use for a specific purpose.”
Gloria Lyon looked like any other woman in her late 70s, except for one thing. On her left forearm was a blurry blue tattoo with the branding A-6374, which referred to her being a slave laborer in a Nazi concentration camp during the Holocaust.
On March 23, Lyon and her husband Karl spoke to a class - Film and the Holocaust - of about 70 students, on this experience after showing a documentary entitled, "When I Was 14: A Survivor Remembers." The documentary was directed by the class instructor, cinema professor Jameson Goldner, and released in 1996.
The class, which illustrates the use of film to document the Holocaust, takes place in the August Coppola Theater in the Fine Arts building, Room 101, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Lyon has visited the class ever since it was offered in spring 1996. She has been sharing her story ever since 1977, and speaks frequently at Bay Area schools.
“I feel it is so important to perpetuate the message of the Holocaust for a time when I am no longer,” Lyon said, as she stood with the help of a cane. “The Holocaust is not just a Jewish story, it is a human story, and people must learn these things can happen at anytime to anyone.”
During World War II, the Nazis deported 437,000 Hungarian Jews to death camps, and Lyon was one of the 20,000 survivors. For seven and a half months, she served as a slave laborer at Auschwitz/ Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1944.
The film features Lyon, who now lives in San Francisco, speaking to several high school and middle school audiences about her horrific story of surviving seven concentration camps.
“There was never any rancor or bitterness when Gloria spoke,” Goldner said.
In the film, Lyon's voice becomes shaky only when speaking about her mother, whom she never saw again after leaving Auschwitz.
Goldner and Lyon's husband Karl also filmed an emotional trip back to Europe to places where she had been a prisoner. Also filmed was a tearful reunion with a Swedish family that took her into its home for two years after she was freed in 1945.
Due to a lack of money, Goldner’s 60-minute film took 12 years to make.
“We were trying to roll in enough cash to keep rolling the camera,” Goldner said.
Despite technical difficulties, the film has won many awards, including Best Documentary at the 2001 California Independent Film Festival. It has been screened at film festivals across the country and aired on the Sundance Channel.
Goldner met Lyon and her husband through a mutual friend and said he immediately knew she was a person who should be on film.
“The most important thing to me was the reaction of the students after Gloria spoke,” Goldner said. “She was around the same age as the students when this happened.”
Students shared their reactions toward Lyon and her documentary.
“She is the first person that I have heard speak that was actually in the Holocaust,” said Megan Pereau, a cinema senior. “When I saw her (after the film), I felt such strong emotions.”
“I saw her speak when I was 16-years-old at the Exploratorium and I just never forgot it,” said Catherine Obuhoff, a cinema junior.
Brendon Nemeth, junior, decided to take Goldner’s class in part because he is Jewish and thought it was important to understand the past.
“It was pretty powerful to hear her speak,” Nemeth said. “Even though I knew the history, it was interesting to hear her personal story.”
Amy Ng, a cinema senior, said that she had never given much thought to history and never really cared much about it.
“Seeing her speak has inspired me to find out a little about my own Chinese family and what they have gone through in the past,” Ng said.
Lyon is writing her autobiography and hopes to have it published within the year. Her tentative title is “Mommy, What’s That Number on Your Arm?” which is what her 3-year-old son asked her in reference to her Auschwitz tattoo.
As Lyon invited students to come up and look at her Auschwitz tattoo, she said it was the only thing she owned from the Holocaust, and despite an offer for free laser removal from a physician friend, she chose to keep it.
“My idea is if you have a problem, then you need to share it if you can,” Lyon said. “It can help me heal and inform others, so I decided to keep the tattoo.”
A video conference linked university students and SF residents with leaders and students in the Philippines, China, Thailand, Papa New Guinea and East Timor, at the J. Paul Leonard Library at SF State.
The student organization - Americans for Informed Democracy (AID) - held the event on March 23, from 5: 50 p.m. to 7: 30 p.m., in an effort to promote global awareness among college students, and to discuss the future of U.S.-Asian Relations.
"Due to the high degree of attention given by the media to the war on terror and the instability
in the Middle East, said Veronica Canton, an AID board member, who received her bachelor's degree in international relations. "We feel US-Asian relations is an area not receiving the time, attention and analysis it deserves.
"We feel the media fails to focus on positive, constructive areas of discourse, thus not focusing on the opportunities that collaboration, instead of dangers, can bring to the forefront," she added.
The video conferences are part of a series called, "America and The World Coming Together."
"AID hopes that this series can help revive American's sense of common purpose and can ensure principled U.S. leadership in the world," said Seth Green, founder and chair of the organization.
The conference addressed the key security, economic and development issues for U.S.-Asian relations in the 21st century, and the best opportunities for the United States to work with countries in the region to ensure a better, safer world. Some of the key issues included the assistance and cooperation in the maintenance of stability in the Middle East, trade and finance, and technological advancement.
"I believe one of the areas where the United States could assist to ensure a better, safer world, are educational programs alongside economic assistance for development of small businesses," said Canton.
Although U.S. relations with Asian countries promises to be some of the most dynamic in the 21st century, only one SF State student attended the conference.
"It's interesting to hear their concerns and perceptions about what's going on in the world firsthand," said Richard Silva, 34, international relationsmajor
Ted Andersen, AID research assistant and campus organizer for the San Francisco Chapter, didn't mind the low attendance.
"The turnout in SF was very small," said Andersen. "But it didn't seem to matter when you looked at the video screen and saw so many people you could directly talk and listen to."
"By coming to these video conferences and panel discussions, students can learn things about world perspectives on issues that may not be talked about much in the mainstream media," said Andersen. "It's a chance to make an immediate difference in the dialogue between this country's citizens and those of others."
Canton echoed Anderson's sentiment.
"As students living in the United States, we have the privilege and duty to be informed and involved in social change, not only in our countries, but also throughout the world," Canton said. "We, as future young leaders, cannot underestimate what we can do, and the changes we can bring about."
Students from other American universities, such as Penn State and Virginia Tech, were also featured in the video conference.
AID was established on the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, and it has held other video conferences, most recently, "Imagining Ourselves: Women's Emergent Roles in a Changing World." On April 18, the organization will be holding a panel discussion to discuss the politics of energy and natural resources.
Drawings of a wired hanger with a red slash across it described the signs at a rally which opposed the abortion ban in South Dakota.
“Women are going to get abortions whether it’s legal or not, so we have to do what we can to keep them safe,” said Molly Siegel, 22, a political science junior, and member of the student organization, Voices 4 Sexual Freedom (VOX).
VOX organized the rally, which brought about 30 students to the Malcolm X Plaza from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. on March 23.
The anti-abortion law - signed into legislation by Gov. Mike Rounds (R) on March 6 - makes it illegal for anyone to perform an abortion, except to save the life of a pregnant woman. An abortion performed under any other circumstances – even in cases of rape or incest – is considered a felony that is punishable by up to five years in prison. The law will go into effect on July 1, 2006.
According to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, 18 states are currently considering a range of abortion bans that will deny women’s right to decisions about health care, and 10 of these states are considering bills similar to South Dakota’s ban.
“The day that all of us thought would never come has," announced Laura Hahn of National Abortion and Reproduction Rights Action League ( NARAL) Pro-choice California, in reference to the South Dakota law.
According to Women’s Studies professor Deborah Cohler, even without the ban, South Dakota only has one abortion clinic that is staffed by doctors who drive or fly in once a week.
“This is not an issue about morality or ethics, this is about power and control,” said Cohler to the crowd. “Women are being seen as children, who are not capable of making their own decision.”
One point that the speakers repeatedly emphasized was the fact that most people in the United States were pro-choice. According to Hahn, 63 percent of Americans supported the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision of Roe v. Wade in which women were guaranteed the right to an abortion, and 71 percent believed in a woman’s right to choose.
California is one of the most pro-choice states in the union, yet 41 percent of counties in the state do not have an abortion provider, Hahn said. “If Gov. Schwarzenegger says that he supports choice, then I challenge him to put his money where his mouth is,” she added.
While most of the rally attendees were pro-choice, there were some who "praised" the anti-abortion law.
“Abortion is a form of premeditated murder,” said John Powell, 24, a business senior. "They happen as a result of irresponsible behavior and I praise South Dakota’s ban.”
While Brandon Bravo, 24, a graduate student studying cell and molecular biology, claims to be for women’s rights in all other regards, he sides with the abortion ban due to his Roman Catholic beliefs and biological perspective on the uniqueness of living beings.
“I just think there’s an inconsistent ethics on life,” he said, referring to pro-lifers, who denounce abortion by equating it with murder while still supporting the war and/or the death penalty.
However, others were determined to fight for a woman's right to choose.
“I’m shocked because even with Bush, and his regressive policies, I’d think the majority would stand up and say this isn’t right,” said VOX member Katrina Radojevic, 22, a graduate student studying history. "This is an ongoing struggle because our rights are never set in stone, and we’ve got to fight for them.”
She also said that in order to prevent a ban like this to spread, there should be more public discourse about the issue. The point of the rally, she added, was to plant a seed and raise awareness.
The rally also featured musical performances by the Oakland-based group, Da Hawnay Troof, as well as two bands in which SF State students were members - Betsy and the Teen Takeover, and The Starfish.
Here are the (unofficial) election voting results for Associated Students Inc. (ASI) as of March 22:
Maire Fowler 659
Mike Silberg 431
Vice President of Internal Affairs
Isidro Armento 731
Nkeiruka Oruce 209
Vice President of Finance
Zora Aziz 460
John Bergman 171
Brandon Landry 434
Representative at Large
Kimberly Castillo 486
Luis Cortes 384
Claudia Mercado 407
Kimberly Gomoll 2
Asella Donovan Blood 34
Ramsey EL-Quare 216
Saran Indigo Goodson 126
Chasen Marshall 54
Sagar Parekh 39
College of Science and Engineering Representative
Zohra Saiyed 127
College of Behavioral and Social Sciences Representative
Michelle Montoya 174
Paula Richter 66
College of Business Representative
Kevin Mikami 71
Aaron Morrison 11
College of Creative Arts Representative
Christopher Oropeza 63
Abtin Forghani 3
College of Education Representative
College of Ethnic Studies Representative
Joicy Serrano 14
College of Health and Human Services Representative
Rebeka Oakley 19
Macauley Kasim 2
College of Humanities Representative
Faith Cushenberry 97
A diverse group of about 300 students and faculty from the College of Ethnic Studies stood in solemn solidarity outside the Ethnic Studies- Psychology building in support of Africana studies professor Antwi Akom, a week after criminal charges were dropped.
The walkout took place at noon on March 22.
Akom was arrested on Oct. 25 for battering a police officer and resisting arrest.
“I feel really good that so many people came to support Dr. Akom,” said Asian American studies major Allan Cheung, 21. “And it’s not only African Americans, it’s Asian Americans, it’s Latinos, Chicanos and American Indians.”
On March 13, a university-sanctioned commission found that no racial profiling occurred and that Akom was the aggressor in the highly publicized incident last year. The commission was led by former City Attorney Louise Renne and former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown.
“The timing of that report was meant to hurt Dr. Akom,” said Akom’s attorney Matt Gonzalez at the protest.
He added that the SF State administration wanted to influence District Attorney Kamala Harris’ decision of dropping the charges.
Lillian Taiz, vice president of the CSU California Faculty Association (CFA), said SF State President Robert Corrigan needed to acknowledge that racial profiling did occur on campus.
“He needs to let (Akom) get on with his job," she said. "As a leader, he needs to look into the problem that exploded on this campus and he needs to face up to the problem and address it systemically." She added that the administration was protecting itself from liability.
The Africana Studies department issued a statement demanding that the university apologize to Akom and enact transparent guidelines to prevent racial profiling from occurring on campus. The department also wanted complaints against the Department of Public Safety investigated.
Students and faculty were silent, and Akom nodded in acknowledgment as representatives from the different ethnic studies departments read their statements of support.
”Tell the truth, tell the truth,” Akom said.
Raza studies major Sonia Mays said that she was happy to see the massive support for the Africana studies professor.
“It’s our responsibility as students of color to be here,” she said. “This could happen to anyone of us.”
But not everyone said that they believed that Akom is innocent.
Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) advisor Bobby Farlice said that the commission did a commendable job in examining the case.
“This is just an isolated behavior, a bizarre behavior being blown into a campus-wide issue,” Farlice said, adding that the SF State community should be rational in examining the case.
Sgt. Reginald Parsons, an officer who was involved in the incident, could not have targeted Akom because of his race, Farlice said.
“He’s black, how can he racially profile another brother?” said Farlice, who knew Parsons through EOP.
In an e-mail to faculty and staff, SF State President Robert Corrigan said that Harris wanted the administration to handle the case.
“She believes that the interests of justice can be best served not in the criminal courts, but within the university community, relying upon our extensive procedures for responding to incidents involving faculty,” Corrigan said.
He also said (in the email) that university administrators would determine whether disciplinary action, based on the Collective Bargaining Agreement, is warranted.
Akom could face dismissal, demotion, or suspension without pay, based on the CFA Collective Bargaining Agreement.
The commission report suggested that the university communicate its after-hours policy - which includes a requirement that people show identification to the Department of Public Safety officers and private security guards on campus - with faculty, staff and students.
The report also recommended that SF State adopt a consistent procedure to investigate racial profiling allegations.
Corrigan said that he will discuss the commission’s recommendations at the Academic Senate meeting
For most of us the war is nothing more than images we see on our television sets and stories we read in our local newspapers. We become upset when an idea expressed by another person is in disagreement with our view.
However, for a select few the war means much more than trivial disagreements bewteen opposing sides. For them their daily lives are affected by each moment the war progresses. Here we are, on the third anniversary of the war in Iraq, with no feasible end in sight and no end in sight for them.
For this issue of the [X]press we have tried to shed some light on how the war affects students at SF State and those who live in our surrounding community. A cover story is about a student whose boyfriend is a soldier in Iraq and how this created a new dimension in her life. In the centerfold you will read about teenagers who chose military duty over going to college, and how the war has created new political art.
We hope that these articles, along with others throughout this issue, will bring a broader scope to the conversation surrounding the war.
[X]press Managing Editor
FROM HEALTH AND SCIENCE
San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris has dropped criminal charges against Africana studies professor Antwi Akom, who was arrested Oct. 25 for battering a university police officer and resisting arrest.
The decision was announced on March 17, just days after the release of an SF State-commissioned investigative report, which concluded that no racial profiling occurred in the scuffle between Akom and campus police.
On March 20, many students were unaware that charges against Akom have been dropped, as the university did not issue a public statement.
Environmental studies major Indi Goodson, who just heard about Harris’s decision, said she was elated and that justice has been served.
“The dude’s a free man, celebration,” said Goodson, 20, who is also Akom's student.
Akom’s defense attorney, John Keker, said that he was happy with the district attorney’s decision and added that the university has a lot to learn in terms of dealing with the case.
“The criminal case is over and that’s what matters,” he said.
Africana Studies Chair Dorothy Tsuruta said that the College of Ethnic Studies faculty is relieved, based on the e-mails she received over the weekend.
“The DA’s statement of dropping the charges should be the final word,” said Tsuruta, adding that it should be a closure to the highly publicized incident.
District attorney Harris was unavailable for comment.
In an e-mail to faculty and staff, SF State President Robert Corrigan said Harris wanted the administration to handle the case.
“She believes that the interests of justice can be best served not in the criminal courts, but within the university community, relying upon our extensive procedures for responding to incidents involving faculty,” Corrigan said.
He also said that university administrators will determine whether disciplinary action, based on the Collective Bargaining Agreement, is warranted.
Akom could face dismissal, demotion, or suspension without pay, based on the California Faculty Association Collective Bargaining Agreement.
“That spells trouble,” said American Indian Studies Professor Joanne Barker.
She added that the College of Ethnic Studies will release a formal statement about the case and the independent commission’s report on Wednesday.
In addition to concluding that racial profiling did not occur, the commission also found Akom to be the aggressor. The commission was led by former City Attorney Louise Renne and former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown.
The report, which was released March 13, suggested that the university communicate its after-hours policy - which includes a requirement that people show identification to the Department of Public Safety officers and private security guards on campus - with faculty, staff and students.
The report also recommended that SF State adopt a consistent procedure to investigate racial profiling allegations.
Corrigan said that he will discuss the commission’s recommendations at the Academic Senate meeting on March 28.
A concealed individual draped in a black headed mask and black linen robe stood in stillness over a wooden box wearing a price tag constituting the cost of war on his/her wrist. The price read $9.8 billion per month.
The masked demonstrator was just one of 25,000 people at the protest entitled, “Money for Jobs and Education, Not War and Occupation," at the Civic Center on March 18, at 11 a.m. The masses filled the Tenderloin district, 4th, Market, and Mission streets, voicing their concerns against the U.S. presence and war in Iraq with anti-war songs and signs, flags and caricatures, while marching to the sounds of drums in the background. The protest was locally organized by the ANSWER Coalition (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism).
"We believe the U.S. must get out of Iraq," said Nathalie Hrizi, 25, a liberal arts major at SF State, and student organizer for the coalition. "Billions of dollars are being spent, it is up to $300 million a day, just for the occupation in Iraq."
"So, we are really calling an end to this (the war) because it is an illegal and brutal occupation that deprives Iraq their right to determine their destinies. At the same time, it is sucking resources from our communities," she added.
During the march, protesters chanted and yelled, “What do we want? Peace. When do we want it? Now.” On Larkin Street, the Raging Grannies, a group of elder women and a man, sang “War is not the way," on the side of a street curb.
Nearly 20 police officers, with protective helmets on hand, lined themselves across the 600 block of Eddy Street. Other officers sectioned off traffic, stalling cars at the traffic lights as the march moved through the streets of San Francisco.
Ishaub Enjoube, a warehouser employee, waived a large Palestinian Flag through the air.
“I am here today because I don’t agree with what the U.S. is doing for many years now," Enjoube said. "You don’t attack people because you want what they have or bully them with armies. People are less than property,” she added in reference to the Iraqi war.
March 19 marked the third anniversary of the war in Iraq. In September 2002, the Bush Administration urged the United Nations to take a stance against an Iraq’s possession of weapons. In November 2002, the United Nations embarked on weapons inspection in Iraq and awaited Iraq’s agreement to the search. By March 17, the United States declared war if Saddam Hussein did not leave Iraq in three days. On March 19, 2003, the United States launched missiles in Baghdad, as UK and U.S. troops entered Iraq by land.
Within the three-year span, the Iraqi war listed over 2,000 U.S. troops dead, over 17,000 U.S. troops wounded, and an estimated 30,000 plus Iraqi civilians killed, according to the Brookings Institution. There are currently 136,000 U.S. troops in Iraq.
Melanie Manuel, 31, a teacher and volunteer for the ANSWER Coalition, passed out protesting signs since 9 a.m. She said that she attended for her 26-year-old sister, who is in the Army and was deployed to Afghanistan last weekend. Manuel added that she will send her sister photos of the protest.
“I want her out (of Afghanistan), but she still has to give until January 2007,” Manuel said.
In addition to the U.S. policy in Iraq, protesters also marched against international policies with Philippines and Haiti, as well as local issues, such as, hotel employee contracts. On O’Farrell Street, hotel workers stood behind their banner urging people to boycott the Hilton hotel.
After about two hours, the protesters filtered back into Civic Center and dispersed near the main stage.
For more information on the ANSWER Coalition, visit www.answercoalition.org.
A carnival in San Francisco did away with games like popping balloons with darts or target-shooting with water-guns. Instead, people could pin a Molotov cocktail to a cop car, or bean a bureaucrat.
The mini-carnival was one of the few attractions of the 11th Annual San Francisco Anarchist Book Fair, which attracted around 1,500 people on March 18, at the Golden Gate Park, near the entrance of 9th Avenue and Lincoln. Inside the County Fair Building were at least 60 publishers, publications, organizations and bookstores that rented tables to display their merchandise at 10 a.m.
“I talk to people who thought anarchists were all punk rockers,” said Breezy (refused to give last name), a contributing writer for Anarchy magazine. “But I told them that they can be families, old people, young people, working, not working and from different classes.”
The Fair was sponsored by Bound Together Bookstore, which is located in the Upper Haight in San Francisco. This event marked the Bookstore's 36th anniversary, according to Tom Brooker, one of the event coordinators.
“The response (to the Book Fair) was so popular that it continued,” said Brooker, who said he noticed an increase in the event’s growth every year. The table rental fees and the annual raffle drawing produced enough revenue to host the fair every year, he added.
SF State student, Garin Hay, attended the Book Fair for the first time. He said that he heard about it through friends. Although Hay doesn’t consider himself an anarchist, he said he's been exposed to the culture.
Hay was attracted to the various patches and ‘zines held by vendors, but was mostly surprised at the large amount of people who took their children to the fair.
“All the kids here are really cool,” said Hay, a 20-year-old english literature major.
Although the Book Fair had always attracted many political radicals, Brooker said the fair was not meant to be an anarchist convention, but a successful outlet for small publications, publishers and bookstores to sell their products.
“For me, [anarchy] is a form of economics,” said Brooker. “It’s anti-authority and stresses the individual.”
The publisher and owner of REsearch publications said anarchy referred to the power of the individual.
“Anarchy is based on subversive principles…it (is) about doing it your self,” said Vale, who publishes books dealing mostly with punk rock music, and other counter cultures.
The publisher said he was a loyal attendant to the Fair because it allowed him to connect with people on a personal level, which was important for his company’s success.
John Sulak, co-author of "Modern Pagans," a book published by REsearch. Sulak’s book investigated practices of modern paganism, a religion Sulak referred to as “anarchist spirituality” because paganism doesn’t have a pope to tell worshipers what to do.
Sulak had participated in the Fair as long as Vale and noticed that this year’s fair had more free merchandise than previous fairs.
Mark Weiman, owner of Regent Press, and author of "The San Francisco Oracle" - a chronicle of the psychedelic culture of Haight and Ashbury - gave out wooden yo-yos in the shape of bagels.
Weiman rummaged through his apartments’ garbage and found hundreds of the bagel yo-yos, which were a failed venture of his neighbor. Weiman, like many other vendors at the book fair, offered complimentary thrown-away treasures, a practiced known as "dumpster diving."
Dumpster diving, according to Sulak and Weiman, is an anarchist practice because it subverts from commercialism.
“Anarchy is non-hierarchical…no one is going to tell me what to do…even if you pay me,” said Weiman.
Besides getting free stuff, many of the people attended because the Fair was the only time when they saw friends from different areas.
Publisher of See Sharp Press, Charles Bufe, drove from Tucson, Ariz., for the past 13 years. Bufe used the fair to sell his book, pins and bumper stickers, but also to feel a sense of community with others who share his political, social and economic beliefs.
“I don’t feel so god damned isolated,” said Bufe.
For more information, call Bound Together Bookstore at (415) 431-8355.
Bringing out an array of activists, a crowd of 25,000 gathered for a march to oppose the Iraq War. The demonstration began with a rally at Civic Center and proceeded along the Tenderloin, South of Market and back to Civic Center, on March 18, 2006. The event was one of many, throughout U.S. cities and the world, symbolizing the third anniversary of the Iraq war.
O’Reilly’s Irish Pub is packed and screaming males wearing green are gulping Guinness for as far as the eye can see. The faint smell of sweat and booze linger through the average-sized bar. Not your kind of party you say? It would be if you won $50,000 dollars and your dream job.
One of SF State’s own radio and television majors Jamie Legasa was crowned Bone Rock Girl in a quaint, drunken celebration on the morning of St. Patrick’s Day. She is handed a Publishers Clearing House-style, enormous check worth $50,000 dollars and a job at radio station 107.7, The Bone, all for just flashing her pearly whites around town.
Perks to Legasa’s newfound royalty include partying like a rock star, kicking it VIP status at all the hottest spots, free drinks, and gifts.
“She’s going to be doing a lot of things as an employee of The Bone. She’s working all our promotional client parties, concerts, on the air (with Lamont and Tonelli) and this and that,” says The Weedman, also known as Steven Seaweed of The Bone.
The Bone launched their Bone Rock Girl contest a few months ago with casting calls at malls all around the Bay Area. There are over 300 applicants, but only 64 are called back to compete for the title. From there, finalists are put up against each other in a NCAA tournament style bracket and their fans vote online.
“They did some on-air stuff, some bar nights and various competitions. Along the way it was aired online and posted on our website,” says Joe Rock, also known as Joe Barham, The Bone.
Every round knocks half of the competitors out. After seven rounds a winner is crowned.
“Lucky Jaime is now our Bone Rock Girl. She’s going to be the face of the station for one full year. It means that hopefully we will get a younger audience and attract people to come to events to come see her and support the station,” says Baby Huey, also known as Daniel Delmore, The Bone.
“I’m in disbelief. I mean it’s amazing. I’ll be graduating in May, so this job is the perfect job to start off with to get my experience in broadcasting.” Legasa says.
Whatever you do, don’t call her a dumb blonde. This blonde gets straight A’s and is on her way to a career in her major before she graduates. Who says you can’t have it all?
The independent investigation into the arrest of SF State professor Antwi Akom has concluded that it was the behavior of the professor and not his race that led to the ensuing conflict between the three officers involved in the incident.
The independent report, submitted by former City Attorney Louise Renne and former San Francisco Mayor Willie L. Brown, was released on March 13. The report was commissioned by SF State President Robert Corrigan pertaining to the events surrounding Akom’s arrest on Oct. 25, 2005.
“Based on the available evidence, the security guard and the three officers involved in the incident did not engage in racial profiling,” the report stated.
The security guard, hired by CH2Hill, an engineering and construction firm contracted by the SF State, told investigators that he asked Akom if he “worked here.” He said that Akom said yes without stopping and when asked for identification, Akom walked toward him and started yelling in his face in an irate manner. Fearing that Akom would strike him, the security guard left the building and called his superior.
The report states that the information conveyed from the security guard to his superior, was “race-neutral” since the security guard did not communicate Akom’s race. The superior proceeded to call the Department of Public Safety and when the dispatcher relayed the information to the officers in the field, Akom’s race still went unmentioned.
According to the report, Officer Brandon Rogers arrived at the scene and briefly spoke to the security guard before he climbed the stairs to the second floor. Rogers told investigators that Akom placed himself two inches from his face and started screaming. Rogers then states that Akom shoved him in the chest before he was able to ask him for his identification.
Four out of seven eyewitnesses interviewed by the police said that they too saw Akom push Rogers unprovoked before the two men started to “wrestle.”
Akom has held that it was Rogers who was the aggressor, stating the night of his arrest that Rogers “charged” him as he tried to explain who he was to the officer.
The report states that in November 2005, an interview with Akom was requested. Akom declined three separate requests for an interview made through his criminal defense attorneys, Michael Hinckely and John Keker, between November 2005 and March 2006.
“I am extremely disappointed that the investigators failed to acknowledge what ex-Mayor Brown said to me: That Dr. Akom could not talk to investigators while the criminal case is pending,” said Keker.
“We made it plain to ex-Mayor Brown and ex-City Attorney Renee that Dr. Akom would cooperate as soon as the criminal case was resolved,” Keker said. “They should have said so.”
Renee denied comment stating, “I believe the report speaks for itself.” Brown could not be reached for comment.
“It was expected from the African America community, the student community and the leadership on campus,” said Chris Jackson, president of Associated Students Inc., in response to the 102-page report.
Jackson added that the university is sheltering itself from liability and putting the blame on the victim.
Corrigan asked that the report not just address the issue of racial profiling but also recommend policy changes for the university to consider.
“The university’s policy regarding after-hours access to buildings must be more clearly communicated to faculty, students, and staff,” the report stated. “Faculty, students, and staff must understand the rules governing building security and the requirement to possess and show ID upon request by campus police.”
SF State policy is that all buildings except the library will be secured at 11 p.m. on weekdays and 5:30 p.m. on weekends. The policy also states that identification is required to remain in the buildings after hours during weekends and holidays.
The report relates that “campus police and security guards must be sure to implement all identification policies in an even-handed manner. ”
In a special letter to faculty and staff Corrigan said, “While we have a report that makes clear that no racial profiling took place, we cannot simply put the matter behind us.”
Several attempts were made to contact Akom but he was unavailable for comment.
*Parts of this story were corrected and clarified
SF State students weighed in on the investigative report that pertained to a professor's claim that he was racially profiled by campus police.
The 102-page report - released on March 13 - found that the security guards did not racially profile SF State professor Antwi Akom as he tried to retrieve a book in his office after campus hours. The independent report was commissioned by SF State President Robert Corrigan on Oct. 28, 2005 following the arrest of Akom for alleged battery and resisting arrest on Oct. 25, 2005.
While students’ familiarity with the circumstances varied, many had strong reactions to the case.
“It seems like one word against the other,” said Ryan Dickson, 24, classics major. “We weren’t there.”
Page 87 of the report noted that it was not feasible to reconstruct the night with 100 percent accuracy. While the investigation managed to access many documents relating to the case, only three of the seven eyewitnesses participated in interviews, and Akom declined interviews because his criminal case was still pending.
The report also stated that Akom left his two children locked in his car while he dashed to the Ethnic Studies/Psychology building. Akom had previously visited his office after campus hours on November 2004 and Sept. 2, 2005 – both without incident.
“I find it hard to believe that (the professor) would be confrontational with the police when he has his children waiting for him in his car in the parking lot,” said Chris LaFlesh, a fine arts senior.
“(Akom is) a teacher, he’s always on campus, and (the campus police) still asked for his ID,” said Desiree St. Louis, 22, liberal studies senior.
At night, both the Ethnic Studies/Psychology and Humanities buildings were undergoing construction for the Technology Infrastructure Services, a public works project that continues today.
The construction company, CH2M Hill, hired private security guards per their contracts with the university, and the Wackenhut Corporation’s services were engaged “to observe and report activity to duly authorized law enforcement agencies,” according to the report.
Akom initially interacted with a private security guard, not campus security or police. The report also stated that these security officers had no more authority to arrest or detain people than average citizens.
“It’s clear from the report that if the door was closed, none of this would have happened,” said John Fanous, 34, a member of the SF State InterVarsity Christian Fellowship staff.
Page 39 quoted “Special Sections” of the SF State – CH2M Hill contract, which is the following: During these times, entrance is permitted only to authorized personnel, including the contractor’s workforce, as approved by the university’s project manager. In no case shall the contractor be allowed to prop open exterior building doors or leave open doors unattended when the building is normally closed to the public.
According to the report, the guard regularly propped the door opened – it was through this door that Akom entered the building.
“Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere,” said Justin Lawrence, 21, business major. “If this is going on at this campus, just think about how many other campuses, it’s going on at.”
The report can be downloaded on the SF State Web site at www.sfsu.edu
The status of Asian women, Hurricane Katrina and breast cancer were the topics discussed by a diverse panel of campus professor, a hurricane survivor and a community organizer.
Around 22 people attended the meeting in the HSS building in room 362 to hear the thoughts of Assistant Professor of Economics Anoshua Chaudhuri, C.C. Campbell-Rock, the editor of SF Bay View National Black Newspaper, and Pauli Ojea, a member of Breast Cancer Action (BCA). The event, which started at 10 a.m., served as the third installment of the 7th Annual Public Lecture Series in honor of Women’s History Month.
“Each of these women gave a sense of community and connection,” said Melanni Bomersback, 22, international relations senior.
Chaudhuri led the panel discussion, focusing on the plight of Asian women.
According to Chaudhuri, the area of social sciences have been disturbed for the last decade that 60 million women are missing from China, India, and other Asian countries, meaning there are less than 100 million women in the world than there should be. Factors, such as abortion, female genocide, post-natal neglect, discrimination, and production patterns may serve as an explanation for the predicament of Asian women, she added, including an in-depth look at the sex ratios within these countries.
She also signified a woman's role as compared to a man's in Asia.
“Boys in these countries are needed to work the fields while girls aren’t needed for that,” Chaudhuri said. “Boys come back, bringing home resources whereas girls get married and leave the household, not bringing anything in.”
She said that female worth can be improved by economic status and through paid employment.
Campbell-Rock, a Katrina survivor, addressed the reconstruction of New Orleans by the Bring New Orleans Back Commission (BNOBC). She acknowledged their efforts, questioned their possible, greedy intentions.
“I went to one of their meetings and was disturbed,” Campbell-Rock said. “I saw people like bankers, political operatives, a former graduate-activist who sold out and out of nowhere, worked under a health clinic, and Halliburton.”
According to Campbell-Rock, the BNOBC are fixing areas with little or no flood damage concentrating on downtown and commercial areas. They want to create more “green space” or public-use open spaces that could also hold water after heavy flooding, she said.
“But what about the people who have houses there and want to go home?” asked Campbell-Rock.
She also mentioned the Bayview-Hunters Point Redevelopment and how their planning is similar to New Orleans. She advised the audience to get proactive and organize press conferences to inform how people should take precaution during natural disasters in San Francisco.
Ojea closed out the night, reminding women the severity of breast cancer and its connection to the environment. She is associated with the BCA, which is a national grassroots education and advocacy organization located in San Francisco.
Students found the meeting as a whole to be relevant to women's issues.
“Each one’s (speaker) facts were effective," said Yolanda Deleon, 33, anthropology major.
Moderator, Kathryn Johnson, revealed the purpose of such lectures.
“I guess the key (motive of each speaker) is the desire to both compliment the problems and present solutions,” said Johnson, a coordinator for Special Projects, college of Behavioral and Social Sciences.
There will be two more panels, "Women Resisting Militarism and Violence," on March 22 in room 362 of the HSS building, and "Women, Power and Representation," on March 29 in room 133 of the Humanities building.
More information on the BCA at www.bcaction.org/
For more information on the BNOBC, visit www.bringneworleansback.org/
Essie Mae Washington-Williams came to SF State on March 14 to discuss her book, “Dear Senator,” which revealed the truth about her relationship with former Sen. Strom Thurmond.
In her book, Washington-Williams uncovered the fact that she is the daughter of the late senator, who was the leader of the Dixiecrat Party, which was composed of conservative Democrats who opposed racial integration during the civil rights movement. He served in the South Carolina Senate from 1933 to 1938, and was the state’s governor from 1947 to 1951. His record stands as the longest serving and oldest senator in U.S. history with 48 years at age 100, according to his biography.
Presented by the Associated Students of Performing Arts and Lectures (ASPA), Washington-Williams signed copies of the new soft-cover edition of the book, which was provided by the campus bookstore. SF State was one of the many stops in a yearlong tour around the country since the release of her controversial book on Feb. 1, 2005. Since its release, the hardcover edition of the book has sold more than 70,000 copies, according to Washington-Williams.
“Any time we have a figure that has historical relevance, and who can offer a close glimpse into government and political affairs is an enjoyable experience,” said Marcos Gama, 32, the central productions coordinator for ASPA. “It makes you think, ‘wow!’ This person has had such a profound impact on people.”
The assistant director for financial aid at SF State Lori Johnson was among the 14 people who attended the book signing in Jack Adams Hall at 2 p.m. Johnson, who read the book, said she was compelled to come and hear the author speak in person.
“It was written with no bitterness even though her father did some things that black people wouldn’t agree with,” added Johnson, 46. “You can tell that she is a teacher and a lover of history. Washington-Williams worked as a teacher for the Los Angeles School District for 27 years. “I mainly came to see her in person and to verify what I got from the book.”
The author’s mother was an African American woman named Carrie Butler, who worked as a maid for the Thurmond family and who also shared an intimate relationship with the then 23-year-old Strom Thurmond. Washington-Williams had never revealed her father’s identity to the public until the book’s release, and more than two years after her father’s death in 2003.
Washington-Williams briefly discussed the shock of meeting her father for the first time in 1938 and realizing he was white, a discrepancy her mother had failed to disclose to her prior to their introduction. Her parents loved each other but it was a relationship that could not come about because in the South it was law that the races “could not mix,” said Williams.
“Whenever anyone asked me what my relationship was to him, I would just say he was a family friend,” said Washington-Williams, 80. “I never admitted that he was my father, because it was no advantage to me. If a person is doing all he can to help you and others, you don’t do anything to hurt them or their career.”
“During the time that I met my father I was 16 and I saw him every year after that, so we had been in constant touch with each other. He was a wonderful person in spite of the fact that he was a segregationist.”
Washington-Williams is the mother of four children, and 13 grandchildren. She currently resides in Los Angeles.
A group of environmental studies students are trying to teach some food vendors on campus the power of leftovers.
The group, called Eco-students, are trying to persuade the vendors of the Cesar Chavez Student Center to send their food scraps to the compost pile instead of the landfill and implement a new system which would turn SF State into an “eco star".
“It would make SF State one of the most progressive universities,” said Charlotte Ely, the environmental studies major who heads up what she calls “the compost crew.”
While other universities, like Humbolt State and UC Berkeley, already have compost systems, Ely said the SF State program would place itself ahead of the rest.
The new system would divert the food scraps into green compost bins instead of black trash ones. Norcal Waste Systems, which has introduced this program to 2,000 food-related businesses in San Francisco, charges 25 percent less to haul away compostables. Trash heading to the landfill does not receive the discount.
Last year the crew did a garbage audit to see what SF State was sending off to the landfill. They waded through the university’s garbage in the early hours of the morning and divided the materials into piles of different organics, recyclables, and trash that actually needed to go to the landfill.
Ely and her peers found that 75 percent of what was in the trash didn’t really belong there because it was organic material that could have been composted, Ely said. Another seven percent were recyclables.
In order to improve these numbers, the group is in discussion with student center vendors to change the current garbage disposal system. According to Ely, the vendors have been very receptive so far.
“We’re very, very excited to work with them,” said Edina Bajraktarevic, retail commercial services manager for the student center. She has been helping Ely’s group and the ten restaurants in the student center to communicate.
The group is also proposing putting green bins outside for students to dispose their leftovers in. One of the obstacles will be getting students to actually use them.
Surveys show that of all the people who are on campus everyday, more than 95 percent will walk into the student center at least once, said Bajraktarevic. That means encouraging more than 30,000 students, staff and faculty to throw away their food leftovers separately.
“I don’t see any problem with it,” said David Lay, 21, a sophomore majoring in Music. “And if it’s cheaper for school, maybe that’ll help with the budget cuts,” he said half-joking.
Senior Tony Le, 22, agrees that it’s not too big of a change.
“That’s kind of like throwing the bottles into the recycling,” the entrepreneurial major said. “It’ll only take a second.”
If the student center vendors decide to make the transition, Norcal would provide training for the staff. Robert Reed, Norcal’s communication director, said it takes a lot of coordination for businesses to change a system they’ve been familiar with for years.
“It’s just different from the way people have been dealing with their garbage historically,” said Reed. “Some people hesitate to do it. They’re convinced there is going to be an odor or ick factor.”
Eco-students will also attempt to persuade vendors to replace their petroleum-based utensils with compostable ones. This includes forks, spoons, knives and containers made of corn or potato-based material, and paper products made from sugar cane fibers. But to many of the business owners, money talks.
“If it’s about putting out green bins then I’m all for it, but not the utensils,” said Jack Mizirawi, owner of Café 101 and Natural Sensations. Mizirawi has been in business at the student center for five years and recently looked into switching to compostables. He estimates that a box of plastic forks may cost about $10 verses about $45 for the eco-friendly ones.
“If it was a small percentage increase I would do it,” he said. “Maybe if we gave only one per customer, but we have to leave ours out in the open. People tend to replace their home supply and I can’t sit there and watch them.”
But Ely said saving a little money is not worth the environmental toll.
“There’s the cost of maintaining a landfill, or the cost of global warming,” she said. “All these factors do trickle down.”
Ely’s interest in a compost program was sparked when she took the Geography of Garbage, a class about the alternative waste management systems in San Francisco. Her and her classmates were so impressed by all the things people were doing to reduce landfill trash, they decided to make their own efforts.
“It’s weird to get inspired by trash,” she said. “But we did.”
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To many students, the words "Physics Club" don't exactly bring to mind a fun, social organization that does humanitarian projects. The students of SF State's Physics and Astronomy Club are out to bust some myths and stereotypes.
Some club members are helping expand science education in South Africa. A project called Free High School Science Texts based at the University of Cape Town tapped five PAC members to co-write a textbook chapter on light and optics. Over 150 young scientists involved in the project are working to provide free high school science textbooks to all South Africans and the collaborators hope other organizations will use their work to provide free text books anywhere in the world they are needed.
M. Vivian White, president of PAC, said that the difficult problem was translating standard optics examples, such as light refracting through a clear glass of water, to examples that anyone in the world, regardless of technology or poverty level, would relate to.
“They don’t have glasses, they might have buckets of water,” she said.
The text book, which is in the process of being accredited, is not the only project White is working on. She also volunteers for Project ASTRO created by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, based in San Francisco. White and two other SF State Astronomy students visit elementary and middle schools in the city to help teach astronomy. They take kids outside to look at the stars and planets through a telescope and do other hands-on activities.
Membership in the PAC is free to all declared physics or astronomy majors, and physics grad students. But to most PAC Members the club is a place to hang out and meet up, in their study room in the basement of Thornton Hall room 115. Small but well organized, the club house can fit a dozen students easily, and can squeeze in even more for events like Pi day, where on 3/14 at 1:59 PM they celebrate the ratio of a circle's diameter to its circumference by eating chocolate and pumpkin pies, and sharing pizza with mathematics students, who have their own study room but no club house to hang out in.
White, who is graduating this semester, used homemade pie to recruit new PAC officers to run the club next fall.
“It’s like a family,” she told them.
The study room itself is what Adam Windham said drew him into PAC. A physics graduate student who previously studied at UC Berkeley, he said that the clubby atmosphere students have here makes them much more willing to work together.
“At Cal the study room was four or five times the size of this room, but there was no interaction,” he said.
Seeing his classmates party together or crashing on the sofa in the lab actually has helped him get assignments done.
“The fact is you see people at their worst,” said Windham, “and it makes them willing to work as a team.”
PAC events coordinator Michelle Wen said that she finds it hard to study. Many PAC members go into the department's computer lab just down the hall for some peace and quiet.
White said she really appreciated the observatory in Thornton Hall where on clear nights, PAC students gather to watch the stars.
“You can see Saturn (in the evening) now, it’s really beautiful,” she said.
The PAC raises operating funds by printing and selling lab manuals for science classes. They raise enough to pay for their own events and outings, as well as offering SF State physics and astronomy students an introductory membership to the national Society of Physics Students. They will pay up to $60 to send any member to up to two science conferences each year.
Monday nights the PAC also play in the SF State Indoor Soccer B League. The team, Maxwell’s Demons, is named after an imaginary creature which James Clerk Maxwell thought up as a contradiction of the laws of thermodynamics.
This week, the club is measuring light pollution for another collaborative international project GLOBE (Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment) at Night. By observing which stars are visible from the observatory at SF State, they will help scientists measure how air quality varies all over the world.
Their clunky magnetic tapes have been replaced with digitla video, but after 60 years the Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts department remains focused on preparing students for the real world.
“I think it’s prepared me well,” said Tim Livingston, a 21 year-old graduating senior focusing in radio and television production. “There are so many things you can get out of this department.”
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the BECA department. Associate professor Marty Gonzalez, who teaches News for Electronic Media, said a significant change he has seen in the department in his ten years as a faculty member is that the department has “gone digital.”
“Things used to be analog, more traditional video and audio tape,” Gonzalez said. “Now things are tapeless.”
The BECA buzz has increased noticably, Gonzalez said. It is not surprising, since many graduates of the SF State BECA program have moved on to rewarding careers. The broadcast journalism program keeps a map in its newsroom marked with the places where BECA alumni have obtained jobs in broadcasting.
“We have a pretty good success rate,” said Gonzalez.
The BECA department produces three television broadcasts per week: the news show “State of Events,” the variety show “Studio 1,” and “College Sports Review.” The broadcasts are produced “live to tape,” meaning they are recorded prior to broadcast, but there are no edits or second takes.
Students working on the programs learn to fill every role, from operating the TelePrompTer to sitting behind the anchor desk. BECA students also do a live radio broadcast on KSFS. The TV programs can be viewed weekends on Comcast cable channel 27 at 11 a.m. The radio shows can be heard online at ksfs.sfsu.edu.
Gonzalez said the productions are part of the department’s objective to help students develop practical skills while building a portfolio.
Senior Wendy Poon, 22, was accepted to UC Santa Barbara to study broadcast journalism but advisors there recommended SF State, citing the BECA department’s reputation. Poon admits she was reluctant to choose a CSU over a UC, but now she’s confident she made the right decision.
“This program is amazing,” she said. “Everything here is hands-on.”
Poon said BECA’s practical approach is what sets it aside from broadcasting programs at UCs.
“Here, you do the job in school that you’re going to be doing when you graduate,” said Karli Bulnes, a 25 year-old BECA graduate student with a history degree from UCLA.
Bulnes said she is pursuing her master's in broadcast journalism because she heard so many good things about the BECA department. She said its strength lies with knowledgeable professors and the vast training students receive.
“Everyone can do everything,” she said.
Phil Kipper, the BECA department chair, said the BECA program aims to equip its students with a diverse education that combines theory with technical training.
“A good part of every student’s curriculum should be a combination of theory and practice,” Kipper said, adding that students learn all aspects of the field before choosing which avenue to pursue.
While students in the BECA program are impressed with their professors and the department’s approach to teaching, many feel the equipment in the department could use an overhaul.
“I definitely think the school could put more money into the department,” said Jennifer Solis, a 21 year-old senior BECA major, specifically audio production.
Solis said a surge protector in one of the radio studios recently “blew up,” rendering the whole studio powerless. She said the last time she checked, the overloaded plug had not yet been replaced.
“Definitely the equipment is pretty old,” said 21 year-old senior Anne Arcelo. “It needs upgrading.”
Kipper acknowledges that age and heavy use has taken its toll on much of the equipment in the department, and said they plan to replace some of the older, worn-out items. Still, he said, the BECA department at SF State has excellent equipment for an educational institution, even exceeding that of some professional studios.
“Students don’t realize that we have the same equipment as a top 50 broadcast station,” said technical supervisor Adam Schmidt. “Maybe not a top five station, but a top 50.”
Schmidt, who oversees the technical production for all BECA broadcasts, feels that students should be less concerned with the equipment and more concerned with producing quality work with the tools provided.
“I’d love to see more creative work come out of this department,” Schmidt said. “I prefer students to concentrate on what we have.”
But according th Schmidt, dealing with technical difficulties in school will help students better prepare for their future careers in the real world.
“Great problem solving skills are key to being a good BECA student,” Schmidt said.
Kipper said the department strives to teach students the importance ethics and using their skills to help their communities, citing a joint project this semester between BECA students and Mayor Gavin Newsom's office to produce public service announcements about Project Homeless Connect. Kipper said BECA students also travelled to Brazil and Peru to produce documentaries about impoverished people in the region.
“The main thing is to understand that mass communication is incredibly powerful,” Kipper said. “We want our students to think about ethical conduct and the responsibility to serve the public.”
The University of California (UC) filed a notice of appeal after a San Francisco Superior Court ruled the system must refund $33.8 million in student fees improperly collected from UC Berkeley professional school students.
UC announced the notice of appeal on March 16 after losing a case filed by Mo Kashmiri, a UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law alumnus, and seven other UC students. The students filed the suit on accusations that UC raised and collected student fees after promising the fees would remain stable for the length of time a student was enrolled in professional school.
If the March 6 ruling by San Francisco Superior Court Judge James L. Warren is upheld by the Court of Appeals, about 9,500 students that attended UC Berkeley’s pharmacy, dental, law, veterinary and other professional schools will receive some reimbursement for fees they paid. About 1,100 of these students are still currently enrolled in the school, according to Ricardo Vazquez, UC Office of the President spokesman.
Judge Warren ruled, “A reasonable person would be entitled to rely on the university’s representation that the professional-degree fee would remain the same throughout his or her enrollment.”
In addition to professional-school students, 47,000 UC students will also be awarded funds for alleged improper raises in educational fees. These students were sent a bill for one amount, and later were sent another bill saying they owed a higher amount.
“It is like buying something at the store for one price and then receiving a bill in the mail saying you owe $50 more,” Jonathan Weissglass, a San Francisco attorney representing the students, said.
The plaintiffs claimed university catalogues and brochures explicitly said that fee hikes would only apply to new students. Weissglass said that in addition to UC publications, it was also stated on the Office of the President’s website as well as mentioned in an official budget for the UC that fees would not increase. Fees were then raised for professional schools system-wide.
UC claims they printed in numerous student publications that fees could go up at any time and that students were given adequate notice of fee increases, according to Vazquez.
“The state budget crises at the time justified the fee increases,” Vazquez said. “Over the past four years the budget crisis has forced UC to make difficult budget cuts over a short period of time.”
According to Weissglass, some students could receive up to five-figure reimbursements. During the past four years the UC Board of Regents has raised the tuition by about double. Boalt Hall School of Law has raised fees by $9,200 from what it was during the 2002-2003 school year.
Weissglass, who will continue to represent the students in the Court of Appeals, said it will be very unusual if the case is settled in less than a year. If the Court of Appeals rules in favor of UC, the case could conceivably go on to California Supreme Court before resolution is achieved.
According to Ravi Poorsina, UC spokesperson, current and future professional school students might carry the burden of replacing the money needed to repay students if the case is upheld. The university will have to either raise student fees or cut funding within the program to cover the millions of dollars lost to repayment.
Vasquez said UC was not surprised by the verdict. However, no fees will be refunded to students until the case wins in a Court of Appeals.
“The University is looking forward to having the Court of Appeals take a fresh look at the case,” Vasquez said.
Associated Students Inc. president Chris Jackson is proposing to provide an alternative to SF State’s short-term loan program, which should be available for the 2006 fall semester.
Compared to the short-term loans offered by the university, ASI emergency loans will feature key differences that put students’ typically tight pockets into consideration.
“[ASI] loans will be more student friendly than the university’s,” said Jackson.
The university currently offers loans in increments of $50 up to $500 with certain terms, according to SF State’s short-term loan Web site. There is a five dollar processing fee that is added to the amount of the loan, and the first payment is due about 30 days from the loan date. On late payments, there is a $10 penalty and a 6 percent annual percentage rate interest will begin to accrue the day after the first missed payment.
On the other hand, ASI loans will start at about $400 maximum and have several key differences from university short-term loans. For one, there is no processing fee. On late payments, there is only a one-time late fee and will still remain interest fee.
Fiscal Services Supervisor Diana Chow, said that another loan program for students is a great idea and would help with San Francisco’s high cost of living.
“We’re all for it,” said Chow. “That’s more money to give out to students which is great.”
Chow said the short-term loan program is a very busy program, lending money to an average of 1,600 students every year.
According to Jackson, the most important feature of ASI’s loan program is the ability for students to volunteer time in exchange for up to 25 percent of the loan. Student will have the entire semester to volunteer in any of the programs offered by ASI, such as doing office work or helping setting up events.
Giving students the option to have part of their loans forgiven by volunteering is a way to motivate them to get involved with ASI programs, according to Jackson.
Jackson said ASI emergency loans, like the SF State’s short-term loans, can be used for a variety of situations when an unforeseen cost arises in a student’s life. Loans can be used for book money, help repair a broken vehicle, lab fees, and many other emergency costs.
The loans are designed to help students deal with the increasingly higher cost of going to college.
ASI board members said Jackson has until Apr. 30 to present the complete proposal to ASI board of directors. After that, the newly elected 2006-2007 student government will take over on May 1st. Jackson hopes the next ASI board will carry the program on.
Funding for these loans will come from ASI’s budget, which is paid by the $42 enrollment fee that all SF State student pay.
ASI used to help fund the university emergency loans, but pulled out of the program five years ago to focus on other programs offered by ASI.
Applications for the short-term loans can be found in the Loans and Fiscal Services office in administrations building room 358.
Ralf Hotchkiss is scheduled to take a trip to Nicaragua where he will pass on new wheelchair technologies to a technical high school in Leon.
As the co-founder and chief engineer of Whirlwind Wheelchair International, the SF State professor’s trip to Nicaragua this week is his first of his biyearly trips to developing countries. The purpose of his travels is to share his innovations of durable, easily repairable and cost efficient wheelchairs.
“One of our strategies as an organization is to reach more people than we have in the past,” said Whirlwind designer Alida Lindsley. “One of the ways of doing that is working with shops that have more capacity. We’re doing it to get the technology out to people who need it.”
The idea for the Whirlwind Wheelchair manifested in 1980 while Hotchkiss – who was paralyzed as a result of a motorcycle accident – observed conditions in Nicaragua’s capital city.
“I was visiting down there just months after their war ended, the place was still smoldering, literally,” he said. “I found many people had to share chairs. Crossing Managua the chair would often come back broken, or not at all.”
The problem in developing countries is that wheelchairs are often throwaways from the north, Hotchkiss said. “The secondhand chairs tend to break down in weeks or months of normal use over unpaved roads.”
When they do break down, parts are generally not available, he said.
“Whirlwind is teaching people how to make stuff out of their local materials,” said Honora Hunter, an occupational therapist who has taught programs with Hotchkiss in Nicaragua, Mexico, and Uganda. “A wheelchair that works for someone with an office-building job living in a condo isn’t going to work for someone living in the country.”
Since Whirlwind wheelchairs are made of steel, they can be fixed with any standard welding torch, while other wheelchairs are often made of aluminum or titanium, which require very specific torches to repair, she said.
Another problem is that American chairs use imperial fasteners, which are largely unavailable to the rest of the metric-using world, Hotchkiss said. “We’ve built prototypes both ways depending on where they’re going.”
Some of the newer Whirlwind designs feature a wider wheelbase for stability and all-terrain tires.
Unimpressed with the skinny front wheels found on many wheelchairs, Hotchkiss developed the Zimbabwe wheel, which is wider and easier to maneuver over rough ground. Ten countries now utilize this type of wheel.
Hotchkiss was already teaching at SF State in 1987, when he co-founded the Rehabilitation Engineering Technology Training Program, a federally funded certificate program “designed to bring engineers into rehabilitation and rehabilitation professionals into engineering,” he said.
The program was met with positive response and is currently run by former student Ray Grott.
The establishment of the wheelchair design and construction course – part of SF State’s Urban Institute – came in 1989 after a proposal by SF State President Robert Corrigan, then-engineering Chair Peter Pfaelzer, and then-Dean of engineering Mamdouh Abo El Ata and others.
Even though the course is not required, it garners a lot of enthusiasm from students in the design and industry department, said Ryan Olson, a 33-year-old design and industry graduate student taking the class.
“It’s a great opportunity; there’s some amazing stuff here,” Olson said. “It would be a shame if I went through the program without coming up here.”
Hotchkiss encourages students to work in the chairs they are designing so they can experience them firsthand. During lunch break, students speed down to the student center, cutting through rough patches of grass without any problem.
Hotchkiss has received numerous accolades, including the SF State’s President’s Medal for Service and a Silicon Valley High Tech Museum ‘laureate’ honor. He is also a Distinguished Fellow at the SF State Urban Institute and a MacArthur Fellow.
Candidate lists for the upcoming California governor’s race offer ample options for student voters who are disenchanted with both the Republican and Democratic parties.
Out of 20 candidates, five are from third parties. While the presence of third-party candidates may seem like evidence that diverse voices are being represented and the electoral system is open to all, those candidates face monumental uphill battles.
Third-party candidates face issues of access, exposure and the “spoiler” image.
“A lot of people perceive us as taking votes from the Democrats,” said San Francisco Green Party representative Erika McDonald. “If it’s going to be a close election, people assume that if you vote Green, the Republicans are going to win.”
Despite this perception, the political climate in California may be primed for a popular third-party candidate.
While the percentage of registered Democrats and Republicans continues to drop, the ‘decline to state’ percentage has risen to 18.2 percent statewide, up from 8.9 percent in 1990. In San Francisco, the percentage is up to 28.5 percent.
“We view this as a good thing. It is definitely better for us than having them registered Democrat or Republican,” said McDonald from the Green Party. “But we need to do more to reach out to them.”
SF State student Chris Robison voted for the Nader/Camejo Green Party ticket in 2000 because he wants alternative parties to have enough votes to maintain ballot access.
“Everything is either Democrat or Republican,” said Robison, a 33-year-old majoring in math. “If the public were exposed to other ideas, maybe they would realize that there are other things out there.”
Aside from Republicans and Democrats, the 2006 gubernatorial race includes candidates from the Peace and Freedom Party, the American Independent Party, the Libertarian Party and the Green Party.
These parties address both broad issues like social justice, environmental stewardship and the right to privacy, and more specific issues like repealing the federal income tax, garaunteeing free public education through college and supporting same-sex marriage.
One important role that third party candidates play is helping to increase accountability.
“The way we hold people accountable is by being able to vote them out of office,” said McDonald.
A problem arises when there are only two parties vying for every seat, according to McDonald. If most of the voters in an area are liberal or conservative, the voters are left with only one choice and that party becomes entrenched.
“What do you do if you are fed up with Nancy Pelosi?” asked McDonald. “There is never going to be a Republican elected by San Francisco.”
Ryan Vance, a 21-year-old broadcast major, addresses the acountability issue by registering independent.
“We’re not buying into Democratic or Republican ideas,” said Vance. He added that he is generally displeased with how both major parties choose to operate.
Ernesto Lira has taken a different approach.
Disgusted by the 2000 presidential election Lira, a 65-year-old criminal justice major, decided to take a break form voting.
“They all sing the same tune,” said Lira, who wants more third-party and female candidates elected. “Get somebody up there with some common sense.”
Electoral system reform is one way to address these problems of accountability and disenfranchisement.
Ranked choice voting, such as is used in San Francisco’s municipal races, is one option that has been gaining momentum across the country.
“By ranking candidates, you can vote for who you want, regardless of whether you think they are going to win,” said Ryan O’Donnell, at-large representative for FairVote, which advocates for electoral reform. “Certainly it encourages turnout and makes the voters feel empowered.”
O’Donnell added that ranked-choice voting can save money by avoiding the need for costly run-off elections.
“We should be thinking about the principles that are important to our democracy and those include majority rule and accountability,” O’Donnell said.
Earlier this month, Burlington Vermont held their first-ranked choice election for mayor. After a close race and an instant run-off based on voters’ rankings, a progressive candidate, Bob Kiss, won the majority.
According to Steven Hill, political reform director for the New America Foundation, local reforms are a steppingstone toward the goal of statewide ranked-choice elections.
Not many SF State students know that they will soon have a newly elected student government.
There were no massive banners publicizing the Associated Students Inc. election, which ran from March 13 to March 15. Some students said the current student government and the two contesting parties are to blame for the low-key campaign.
“If you’re really running for something, you should let everybody know,” said junior Karla Valencia, 21, who was working at the voting station in the Cesar Chavez Student Center. “I think it’s really bad because not everyone knows about the election.”
The current ASI board is to blame for the low turnout, said Guy Halperin, a candidate for L.E.A.D., which stands for “Leadership, Empowerment, Association and Determination.”
“The present administration does not market the elections,” said Halperin, who is running for vice president of External Affairs.
On March 15, students working at the voting booths said traffic was slow, with only 20 to 40 voters every five hours.
“The success or failure of this election is truly reflected on the election commissioner and the leadership development coach,” said ASI President Christopher Jackson.
There were purple banners in the Student Center notifying the campus population about the election since late February, said ASI Leadership Development Coordinator Horace Montgomery.
He said that the contesting parties were responsible for promoting the election.
“Just having a sign and a T-shirt isn’t enough,” Montgomery said. “You have to personally engage people to vote.”
In last year’s ASI election, there were 4,257 votes – about 15 percent of the 28,950 students in the fall, according to the SF State Web site.
Compared to other universities, the 2005 campus election turnout was “one of the biggest in the state,” said Jackson, ASI president.
Student votes have fluctuated over the years.
In the 2001 election, 1,369 students voted. The number increased to 2,488 the next year, and dropped to 1,958 in 2003. And in 2004, about 1,921 students cast their ballots, according to ASI.
The unofficial ASI election tally will be released March 20, and finalized by March 22.
At the Student Center, history major Jose Cruz walked past the voting tables and headed straight to the SF State bookstore. The junior student said he will never vote in ASI elections.
Cruz added that the candidates were not interested in the campus population.
“I find that these (candidates) are trying to gain power so they can put it in their resume,” he said. “Whatever they do really has no effect on me.”
The voting trend at SF State is a reflection of citizen participation in national elections, said Penny Saffold, vice president of Student Affairs and dean of students.
“People need to take that kind of responsibility and use their votes to have a say in the life on campus,” she said.
Saffold said there was an increase in student votes since the university placed extra voting stations on campus in 2004. In addition to the Student Center, SF State students also voted in front of the Humanities and Business buildings.
Students Fighting 4 U (SF4U) presidential candidate, Maire Fowler, said students should vote and take interest in how their $42 student body association semester fee was being spent.
“People who don’t vote, don’t care where their money is going,” said Fowler, adding that ASI acts as a liaison between students and the administration.
Some students said voting does not improve their campus life.
It does not prevent tuition hikes, said clinical science major Ozelle Sigua, who voted in her freshman year.
On the first election day, the 24-year-old student said she did not intend to vote this year.
“It’s like a popularity contest,” said Sigua, adding that no student president could accomplish much in a one-year term.
This year’s election campaign is more mellow, said Office of Student Affairs staff member,
Nanette Davy, who worked at the voting table on Centennial Drive in front of the Humanities building.
Davy said that working on election day was like having a break from her job as a receptionist for the university.
Industrial art student Dionne Long-Mosley said she heard about the ASI election via an e-mail sent by the Office of Student Affairs.
Those who know about the campaign on campus had no excuse for not voting, the 25-year-old student said.
She added that ASI’s actions affect students.
“If we are not going to voice our opinion either for ourselves, or have someone do it for us by voting for them, then we can’t complain,” Long-Mosley said.
The Associated Students Inc., the student government of SF State, began elections for the 2006-07 academic year, on Monday, March 13, 2006. Candidates for the Executive Office, took part in a debate held Monday afternoon in Malcom X Plaza. Here are the candidates opening statements.
Conductor Cyrus Ginwala stood silently with his back against an almost full auditorium in the Creative Arts building’s Knuth Hall. With the raise of an eyebrow, instruments went up and the lively sounds and movements of SF State’s Symphony Orchestra took hold of its audience.
In celebration of Austrian composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s 250th birthday, the Symphony Orchestra and University Chorus performed three of Mozart’s pieces on March 6 at 1:10 p.m. to both students and off-campus guests.
Since his heyday in the second half of the 18th century, Mozart’s music has had a profound influence on classical music. Revered by many, he proves to be one of the most enduringly popular composers of his time.
Since an early age, Mozart composed and performed his compositions from memory, even before they were written down, according to Ginwala.
“His music is so subtle and yet contains a wide range of ideas and feelings,” he said.
Mozart’s birthday was actually on Jan. 27, but since the Symphony did not start practicing until the beginning of the spring semester, the tribute was postponed.
This is Ginwala’s first semester as an associate professor of music at SF State, but he conducted several concerts at SF State last fall. He used to be the music director of Kingsport, Tennessee’s Symphony of the Mountains, in which he is completing his final year.
The Symphony and University Chorus consist of music majors and non-majors, as well as students and non-students.
Accompanied by the stringed instruments from the Symphony, the beautifully harmonized voices of the chorus reverberated throughout the auditorium in the program’s first piece, “Ave Verum Corpus,” which is Latin for “Hail True Body.” Under the direction of guest conductor Zane Fiala, the chorus showed impressive range and projection.
Antoinette Lim, an 18-year-old freshman majoring in international relations particularly enjoyed the University Chorus, although she said that some parts were a little off.
As the chorus members filtered off the stage, about 40 musicians sat down for the program’s next piece, the overture to “The Marriage of Figaro.” Ginwala charismatically led the Symphony with billowy movements and strong direction.
Depending on the music being played, the Symphony can have up to 60 players, but in Mozart’s time, orchestras were much smaller, so the music in the program was arranged for about 40 players.
The subject matter in Mozart’s opera, which is based on a French play by author Beaumarchais, playfully mocks the rigidly structured social class system of the era.
Sharon Abe, 43, an ESL volunteer at the Korean center on Post and Gough who tries to make it out to all of SF State’s musical performances, described the Symphony’s rendition of “The Marriage of Figaro” as having “a lot of sparkle.” She also thought the University Chorus did a wonderful job in the first piece.
“[Their voices] were very beautiful and balanced,” she said.
The final work in the program was Mozart’s Concerto For Piano in C Minor, K. 491. Definitely the most engaging piece out of the three, the concerto’s music was sometimes mysterious and dramatic, while at other times elegant and gentle.
Guest pianist and SF State music professor William Corbett-Jones, was gladly greeted on stage with cheers and applause from the audience. In swift and graceful movements, Corbett-Jones’ fingers glided gently up and down the piano keys, in a pleasing accompaniment to the Symphony.
The 50-minute concert concluded with an amiable hug between Ginwala and Corbett-Jones as the two were given a grand applause.
A worldwide live video conference celebrating the eve of International Women’s Day took place at the J. Paul Leonard Library at SF State.
Around 15 SF State students exchanged dialogue with other students from the University of Colorado Springs, Franklin University, Marquette University, and Goshen College as well as the Philippines, Nepal, and Afghanistan on March 7 at 6 p.m. to discuss women's struggles on a cultural, political and global scale. The video conference streamed live cameras from each of the locations of the U.S. schools, as well as Afghanistan, the Philippines, and Nepal. As each group spoke, the camera displayed them to the rest of the locations, allowing them to see each other talking live.
“The communication lines were very open, and we were able to see the cultural differences we are facing," said Veronica Canton, a senior political analyst as well as a member on the board of directors of the Americans for Informed Democracy (AID). "Even though laws are established, the culture has not changed."
The video conference was sponsored by the SF State chapter of the AID and the International Museum of Women (IMOW).
The AID is a non-partisan organization that "brings the world home to the next generation of leaders" through educational seminars, leadership summits, town hall meetings, opinion pieces, and global videoconferences, according to the AID Web site. The IMOW is an establishment created in order to value women around the world through history, art, and cultural programs to further education and knowledge, according to the IMOW Web site.
Issues, such as high infant mortality rates in Afghanistan, as well as the varying cross-cultural definitions of feminism and women's freedom were brought to the forefront at the conference.
SF State students weighed in on why they attended the event.
“I just wanted to have the opportunity firsthand to hear the issues and concerns women have in different communities and to see what different organizations are doing to address these issues," said Roya Shahi, 21, an international relations senior. "It was good to be able to hear the viewpoints of different parts of the world and to hear what their lives are like."
“I am into human rights," said Robert Silva, 34, an international relations senior. "...promoting economic democracy and education throughout the world. It’s great to hear from these ladies. You learn a lot from what they say, and even more from what they did not say. The struggles do not end until we educate. We need to create awareness and protection."
The video conference lasted until 7:30 p.m. when each country and school was given the opportunity to make a closing statement.
Canton's closing pertained to the importance of education.
“We need to educate our constituents about our own rights," Canton said. "We need to invest time, and the U.S. has that opportunity. Every little bit counts, and as young people, we tend to underestimate our littlest efforts."
Only four days shy of his 20th birthday, SF State student, Drew Alexander Carder, died in a car accident on March 2. Carder, a Sacramento native, was a sophomore psychology major.
According to Ellen Griffin, the director of public affairs at SF State, and the California Highway Patrol, the accident occurred in Fresno County near the city of Coalinga.
Carder was on his way back from a road trip to Los Angeles in the backseat of the car when it swerved and rolled over. Carder was ejected from the car and suffered multiple traumas. The driver was arrested by the CHP on charges of driving under the influence of marijuana.
The unplanned trip to Southern California was Carder's idea, according to Gene Demachi, Carder's friend and roommate.
"Drew was always spontaneous in everything he did. When he was determined to do it, he was going to do it," Demachi said.
Carder's family was not available for comment.
"It's hard. It seems temporary, like he's going to come back soon," Demachi said.
Carder's burial will be held on March 10.
Not many SF State students know that they will have a newly elected student government in two days.
There were no massive banners publicizing the Associated Students Inc. (ASI) election, which began March 13 through March 15. Some students blame the current student government and the two campaigning parties for not publicizing the election.
Candidates should be more proactive in promoting their stand, said 21-year old junior Karla Valencia.
“If you’re really running for something, you should let everybody know,” said Valencia, who was setting up the voting station at the Cesar Chavez Student Center. “I think it’s really bad because not everyone knows about the election.
Guy Halperin, a candidate for Vice President of External Affairs, said the current ASI board was responsible for the lack of election publicity.
“The present (student) administration does not market the elections,” said Halperin, adding that he would not be surprised if few students voted in the next two days.
While the election was poorly publicized, it is too early to determine whether there would be a low voter turnout, said current ASI President Christopher Jackson.
He also said ASI was not to blame for the number of students heading to the voting stations.
“The success or failure of this election is truly reflected on the election commissioner and the leadership development coach,” he said.
ASI election attracts an average of 2,000 voters, Jackson said.
But last year, roughly 5,000 SF State students voted, making the 2005 campus election turnout “one of the biggest in the state” compared to other universities, Jackson said.
In fall 2005, 28,950 students attended SF State, according to the SF State Web site. There were no figures for the spring semester.
Some students are unconvinced that the election is important.
At the Student Center, SF State junior Jose Cruz walked past the voting tables and headed straight to the SF State bookstore. The history major said he will never vote in student elections.
Cruz added that the candidates were not interested in the well being of the campus population.
“I find that these (candidates) are trying to gain power so they can put it in their resume,” he said. “Whatever they do really has no effect on me.”
The voting trend at SF State is a reflection of citizen participation in national elections, said Penny Saffold, Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students.
However, she said more students have voted ever since the university placed extra voting stations on campus in 2004. In addition to the Student Center, SF State students can cast their ballots in front of the Humanities building and in the Business building.
“People need to take that kind of responsibility and use their votes to have a say in the life on campus,” Saffold said.
Students Fighting 4 U (SF4U) presidential candidate, Maire Fowler, said students should vote and take interest in how their $42 student body association semester fee was being spent.
“People who don’t vote, don’t care where their money is going,” said Fowler, adding that students should be aware that ASI acts as a liaison between students and the administration.
But some students say voting does not improve their campus life especially when it comes to tuition hikes.
Clinical science major Ozelle Sigua said she voted during her first year at SF State. She does not, however, intend to vote in this election.
“It’s like a popularity contest,” said Sigua, 24, adding that no student president could accomplish much in a one-year term.
At the voting table on Centennial Drive in front of the Humanities building, Nanette Davy was helping students cast their ballots.
Office of Student Affairs staff member, Davy, said working on election day was like having a break from her job as a receptionist for the university. She does not expect a massive turnout.
Davy said this year’s election campaign was more mellow compared to the one last year.
Industrial art student Dionne Long-Mosley said she did not hear much about the election, other than via an e-mail sent by the Office of Student Affairs.
But the 25-year-old student said those who know about the election had no excuse for not voting, as ASI’s actions affected them.
“If we are not going to voice our opinion either for ourselves, or have someone do it for us by voting for them, then we can’t complain,” she said.
Election Period: March 13 - 15
Students can vote at the following locations from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
1. Student Center bookstore lobby
2. Business building
3. In front of the Humanities building
Student ID or social security number is required.
Holding signs, and chanting, the California Faculty Association (CFA) cranked up the pressure on the California State University (CSU) administration in a march for reduced workloads and a fair salary agreement.
Progress has been slow, but like many CFA members, English professor Geoffrey Green remains confident that sticking together will result in an agreement.
“Hopefully this will get [the CSU] to budge,” said Green.
Passers-by slowed to look as about 30 faculty members and CFA supporters gathered on the corner of 19th Ave. and Holloway Ave. at 12 p.m on March 8. Supporters marched back and forth between the Administration building and HSS building waving sign which some read “Reduce class sizes for better learning conditions” and “Students' learning conditions are faculty working conditions.” Supporters also sported red armbands symbolizing their efforts.
At one point, supporters brought their demonstration to the crowds of students hanging out in front of the Student Union. Marching the perimeter of the quad, supporters chanted aloud over a megaphone. Most students stared but some joined the march.
Two University police officers kept on eye on demonstrators from the entrance to the Administration building but denied to make any comments.
The CFA’s current contract has been expired for 2 years, but has been extended to Mar. 15 as negotiations for a new contract take place, according to former CFA president Mitch Turitz.
“[The CSU] is likely going to extend the contract again,” said Turitz. The contract has already been extended three times.
Debates continue to revolve mainly around faculty salaries, which the CFA members said, “lag far behind comparable faculty salaries around the nation.” The CSU faculty also lags behind community college professors, according to the CFA.
Compared to San Francisco Community College District professors’ annual salaries, CSU professors on average make 28 percent less, or $22,000. Regardless, CSU faculties are expected to handle increasing class sizes, which the CFA wants to reduce.
According to the CFA, this makes it difficult for the CSU to recruit and retain quality teachers and for faculty members to maintain a middle class lifestyle.
SF State CFA Office Manager Laurie Owen said that despite the salary gap and $1.5 billion in other unmet needs, CSU Board of Directors spent “$1.8 million on salary raises and perks for the top 27 administrators” before a contract agreement between the CSU and the CFA has been met.
“It’s a done deal,” said Owen.
In addition to reduced workloads and a fair salary agreement, the CFA wants a greater responsiveness to their grievances, which according to the CFA, the CSU simply keeps them in an already long backlog.
Under the current contract, faculty cannot strike, according to Turitz. But under contracts that have been imposed, faculty have the option to strike but without protection. The CSU can opt to hire new faculty, leaving strikers jobless.
CSU Media Relations Director Clara Potes-Fellow said the CSU is proposing to extend the contract again for the fourth time, and will discuss the issue with the CFA tomorrow.
Potes-Fellow says the CSU will not proceed in ways that will harm the students.
“We will continue to try to find mutually acceptable ways to address the complex issues which remain in dispute,” said Potes-Fellow.
The CFA picket at SF State is just one of many CFA action days that began across CSU campus on March 6, and were planned to continue until March 9.
The action days are aimed at campus presidents, who wield considerable amounts of influence on the CSU administration and statewide policy-making regarding the state university system, according to the CFA.
Candidates for the Associated Student elections gathered in Malcolm X Plaza yesterday for a debate to convince students to vote for them before elections end on March 15th. All executive positions, which include AS President, AS Vice President, AS Vice President of Finance, AS Vice President of External Affairs and AS Vice President of Internal Affairs, were required to participate in yesterday’s debate. Campaigns began on March 1st and will conclude with the last day of voting on Wednesday. Students can vote at any of the three locations found at the Business building, Caesar Chavez Center and Centennial Drive. The voting tents will be open as early as 9 a.m. and close at 9 p.m. Make sure to bring your student ID and your student number. But don’t worry, if you are unsure of your new student number computers will be set up at each of the tents so you can look up the new number.
Students Fighting For You (SF4U)
Leadership Empowerment Association and Development (L.E.A.D.)
Candidates and Party Affiliation:
Maire Fowler (SF4U)
Michael Silberg (L.E.A.D.)
Vice President of Internal Affairs:
Isidro J. Armenta (SF4U)
Nkeiruka Oruche (L.E.A.D.)
Vice President of External Affairs:
Guy Halperin (L.E.A.D.)
Hector Jimenez (SF4U)
Vice President of Finance:
Zora Aziz (L.E.A.D.)
John Bergman (independent)
Brandon Landry (SF4U)
Representative At Large (two positions):
Kimberly Castillo (SF4U)
Luis Cortes (SF4U)
Claudia Mercado (L.E.A.D.)
Asella Donovan Blood (SF4U)
Ramsey El-Qare (SF4U)
Saran Indigo Goodson (SF4U)
College of Behavior and Social Sciences:
Michelle Montoya (SF4U)
Paula Richter (L.E.A.D.)
College of Ethnic Studies:
Joicy Serrano (SF4U)
College of Health and Humanites:
Faith Cushenberry (SF4U)
Rebeka Oakley (L.E.A.D.)
College of Science and Engineering:
Zohra Saiyed (SF4U)
College of Bussiness:
Kevin Mikami (L.E.A.D.)
Aaron Morrison (SF4U)
College of Creative Arts:
Christopher Oropeza (SF4U)
College of Education:
Candidates for President:
Maire Fowler is currently is the Vice President of Internal Affairs. During her time as Vice President, AS started Project Connect, a program that focused on recruitment and retention.
Fowler was unavailable for comment, but made the following comment in her opening statement during the debate: “We are going to start taking action against the governor for the fee increases because it’s about time. Fees have gone up by 77 percent for undergraduates since 2002, 106 percent for graduate students since 2002. Please participate in the student elections, you pay $82 a year for Associated Students.”
Michael Silberg currently is the current Vice President for the Student Health Advisory Committee and over the past two years his goal with this committee is to reach out to students and to understand what their needs are. Silberg believes that there has been a lack of transparency in the ASI as it stands now.
“I’d like to see the ASI have a little more of an understanding and awareness of student health issues. Right now there is there is an insurance program that is extremely expensive and the benefits are very poor…I’d like to see better health options for students on campus.”
When asked why students should vote for him, Silberg replied, “I have proven that I have actually reached out to students across campus…there are a lot of candidates on the other slate that are in the current government that are just looking for an upgrade and I don’t think there’s a track record that they can stand up to.”
Candidates for Vice President of Internal Affairs
Isidro Javier Armenta
Armenta is heavily involved with Associated Students, serving as Representative at Large and Vice-Chair of Internal Affairs Committee. Armenta also serves on the Student Center Governing Board, as AS appointee.
“To be concise, [my goal] is to increase their involvement and to increase their return on their investment of $84 a year. People should vote for me because I have the experience. I not only sit on the Student center governing board and Associated Students. But I’ve also been to conferences. I’ve been to the national conference on Student Leadership in Florida. I’ve actually just arrived from the Leadership Institute in Chicago. I have that background. In addition, to that. I have lived on campus. I’ve worked at the resident hall. I was a resident assistant.”
Nkeiruka Oruche (write-in)
Community Public Health Education
Oruche said she belives health is the most important part of a student’s life, no matter what major they are. She wants to make sure that more money will go into the student health center.
“It’s not about what issues I believe, you know, it’s not about what I think is important to the community,” she said. “It’s about what students say and I’m just to do the hard work of it. I’m just here to do what needs to be done.”
When asked why students should vote for her, Oruche replied, “Because not only will I do what needs to be done, I will do it smiling and with a sense of humor and I have cool hair. Can you beat that? That’s so San Franciscan. We’re on San Francisco State campus. Are you serious?”
Candidates for Vice President of External Affairs
Currently in his second semester at SF State, Halperin’s slate is based on the idea of “interdisciplinary coordination.” Halperin previously started a club called Engineers Without Borders.
“Basically the bookstore is an external entity. They make a lot of money. They make about $17 million in revenue. And they only claim $14,000 in profit. Now that means a lot of money goes to other things. I don’t know if those costs they have are direct costs or indirect costs. But we’re gonna find that out. And if there’s any other extra money lying around, you bet your sweet bottom dollar we’re gonna find out and we’re gonna put that towards a book loan.”
International Relations, minor in Native American Studies
Hector Jimenez has been involved with ASI since his freshman year at SF State. Last year, Jimenez wrote a resolution in regards to the special elections that took place this past November. His resolution was to urge ASI to take a stance against Proposition 76. With his years of involvement with ASI, Jimenez feels he has a lot to offer as Vice President of External Affairs.
“I would like to see within these next couple of years is more outreach to students in what AS does. I think that this position is the perfect position to be able to do that kind of work, because this is a job that if focused into what the internal positions are doing.”
Jimenez said with this position it gives one the opportunity to not only make an impact on this campus, but also reach out to other campuses and see what they are successfully doing in their student governments.
Candidates for Vice President of Finance:
Biology major with an emphasis in physiology
Aziz was the vice president of finance for the Student Health and Advisory Committee for the past three years. As vice president of finance, Aziz wants to target the whole student body, rather than those just enrolled in health majors.
“Our focus is to integrate all of the different organizations. There are over 200 organizations at school. We want them to interact … that way we could have as many students benefit from the AS programs as possible; not just these segregated groups of people.”
Aziz also said she wants to bring affordable health insurance to students.
Prior to arriving at SF State, Bergman owned and operated a private business for seven years. Bergman currently serves on the Instructionally Related Activities Committee and is the Treasure for the Nursing Students Associations. Bergman is the only candidate running independently.
“One of the reasons I decided to run for the election is because finance needs to be reformed. With everything during last year there were several issues about graduation funds and also about clubs and organizations and how they’re funded. What I saw was there was a mad rush for funds right away. And with the coalitions center there, their organizations they used to represent are usually the ones who mostly get the funds. We generate, the students, themselves over $3 million dollars and yet a small percentage of the organizations are getting those funds”
Landry previously served on the Associated Student Board for 2005, as representative at large.
“Me, personally, one thing I take to heart really is our fee increase. Being a BECA student, our fees increase all the time. Since 2002 our fees have increased 77 percent. That’s ridiculous. When I came it was $956 a semester. Now it’s almost $1700. We’re bringing in all this money and fees, yet there’s less class sections, programs are getting dropped and there’s no resources for the students. That’s a big deal. That’s like taxation without representations.”
Representative At Large (two positions)
Castillo is currently junior representative of AS this year. As representative at large, Castillo wants to increase more communication with the student body. She also wants to bridge stronger communication between faculty and the AS.
“I feel that it’s a lot easier to know what to do when you already have a game plan,” she said. “We know how the bureaucracy works. We want to accomplish a lot of the goals that we started this year.”
Cortes wants to create more clubs geared around an active lifestyle. He has already helped to create the SFSU Cycle team which will be competing this spring. He supports the publishing of a discourse magazine to help educate students on different issues that affect them.
political science major, La Raza studies minor
Mercado has held several leadership positions withn her sorority, Beta Phi, as well as in the Fraturnity Sorority Council. She has experience in planning events and holding fundraisers. She sees clear communication as an important part of AS.
“My main goal is communication. Always to keep an open flow of communications between people and I’d really want to push for more marketing so students know what going on campus,” she said. “I think there’s a real disconnection between assoc students and the students on campus. A lot of people don’t know about the services they can have assess to.”
Asella Donovan Blood (write-in)
Labor studies major
As senior class representative, Donovan Blood said she wants to publicize the resources offered on campus to start a newsletter to tell students about events and programs offered through AS, as well as what is going on with their money.
“I would like to organize the senior class better and get to see what they want and hear their voice,” she said.
Donovan Blood said she will pass out a survey, asking students what they want.
Saran Indigo Goodson
Chasen Marshall (write-in)
(Behavior and Social Sciences)
(Health and Humanities)
Rebeka Oakley (write-in)
(Science and Engineering)
Journalism Major, Secondary Major in Marketing
Aaron Morrison is currently the Humanities representative on ASI and is using his prior experience to become the Business representative at SF State. As both a journalism major and business major, Morrison has experienced the expensive costs of textbooks, resulting in his desire to help decrease those costs, among other things.
“Basically we’re fighting for lower textbooks, making sure the legistalors are voting in favor of higher education, and make sure the CalGrant program is improved, there’s an assembly bill 2,28,13- we’re really pushing for that. I hope that I can continue fighting for that.”
Kevin Mikami (write-in)
Christopher Oropeza (write-in)
Oropeza is interested in making sure that campus facilities like the McKenna Theatre are available to students for important events such as graduation.
The large number of toxic components in everyday products like cosmetics may increase the risk of breast cancer.
Around 40 students gathered in the Creative Arts building, room 106 to hear the Executive Director of the Breast Cancer Fund (BCF) Jeanne Rizzo give a lecture on breast cancer on March 7 at 7:30 p.m. The lecture is one of a series of weekly lectures organized by the health and holistic health departments at SF State on various health topics.
“We have a vision of the world, and our vision is to live in a world without fear,” said Rizzo. “Fear of losing our breasts to breast cancer.”
According to Rizzo, there are 100,000 toxic chemicals in use today in the U.S., and less than 10 percent have been tested to find out their impact on people's health. As an unsolved epidemic, breast cancer has been known to affect women in industrialized countries primarily in North America, she added.
The BCF (an organization dedicated to finding the environmental connections to the causes of the disease) along with Breast Cancer Action (BCA) published a report entitled "State of the Evidence 2006,” which analyzed nearly 350 scientific studies on environmental links to breast cancer.
The report stated that phthalates, which are common in personal care products, were shown to significantly increase cell proliferation in human breast cancer cells. Scientists also found that certain phthalates inhibited the effectiveness of tamoxifen, one of the most widely prescribed breast cancer treatments, in killing MCF-7 breast cancer cells.
Rizzo added that although stress and genetics are factors of breast cancer, harmful chemicals in hair products, cosmetics, nail polish, and plastics are leading factors to breast cancer. She advised students to get involved in using cosmetics that do not promote toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde, which is common in nail polish and blush.
Students said they were surprised about the myriad of chemicals used in their daily products.
“To have this information will make it a lot easier for me to tell my mom and sister, and hopefully cause some real change,” said Adam Kistner, 21, undeclared major.
Breast cancer effects one in seven women, according to Sally LaMont, N.D., a doctor of natural medicine, and
"There’s this runaway train and one in seven women is standing in front of it,” said LaMont, who serves as moderator for the weekly lectures.
Professor of Holistic Health and Health Education Rick Harvey stressed the importance of early detection.
"Think of cancer as unregulated cell growth," Harvey said. "Depending on the type of cell, unregulated growth can become deadly very rapidly, or take a long time to have a health impact if untreated."
Younger women in their 20’s are less likely to find out they have breast cancer since mammograms do not detect the cancer at an early age, according to Rizzo. She added that the disease can go undetected in young women due to the density of the breast and tissue.
Other factors such as obesity, birth control pills, and radiation of many kinds including X-rays and CT scans also put young women and men at high risks of breast cancer as well, Rizzo noted.
Rizzo and LaMont offered a few words of advice that may help to reduce the risk of breast cancer.
Rizzo advised daily exercise, a healthy diet, monthly self-examinations, and daily awareness of the chemicals involved in personal products, and LaMont recommended a holistic approach to preventing breast cancer, such as eating vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and drinking two cups of green tea daily.
For more information on the BCF, visit www.breastcancerfund.org.
For more information on the campaign for safe cosmetics, visit www. safecosmetics.org.
Despite protests, negative publicity, and questions of validity swarming the Iraq war, there are still many kids fresh out of high school who feel drawn to military service.
“I have to do it,” said Jackie Oau, 18, who enlisted in the Navy. “I don’t fit in. What other kid do you know that wants to go to Iraq? Everyone just thinks I’m crazy.”
Knowing the potential danger, Oau, a senior in high school, enlisted last summer because it was something he always wanted to do. He sees serving in Iraq as a “hell of an experience.”
“Where else would you get the experience that would put you on the edge, literally,” he said. “Basically you're in a foreign country where they don't want you. All the odds are against you.”
This weekend will mark the third anniversary of the Iraq war. Some students say the issue is not just about fighting for one’s country anymore. To 17-year-old Julian, who declined to give his full name since some of his family is unaware of his enlistment, joining the Navy means travel, job training, and a free college education.
“I liked the opportunities given to me in the military,” he said. “The fact that they're going to train and trust an 18-year-old kid to handle millions of dollars of equipment seems cool. Plus it would give me a great start in pursuing certain career paths.”
Although Julian does not want to go to Iraq, he plans to be active for about a year before joining the reserves and applying for college, where he plans to study political science.
Chris Wan, 16, of Lincoln High School, wants to join the Air Force to gain the skills to be a commercial pilot. Air Force training will give him the required job experience in just a short time. He has already completed flight training as a cadet of the Air Force Auxiliary, which is the support network for the Air Force. According to Wan, the youngest cadets recruited for the Auxiliary are in the eighth grade.
“I actually hate recruiters," Wan said. "They don’t show what the military is. They tell you lies basically to lure you into the military. They also lie about the benefits and the life after.”
Jessie Tseng, 19, a Private First Class in the Army, signed up in her senior year of high school before she graduated and has been in for almost two years.
Tseng thinks people like Jackie Oau should not be so enthusiastic about going overseas until they talk to people who have been there. Though she has not been to Iraq herself, she has heard stories from otehr soliders. She recently watched a fellow solider cut into his forearm for no reason.
“This guy’s all messed up because of what he saw (in Iraq). He just walked into the room and started cutting himself,” she said, adding that she would still like to go Iraq and experience it for herself. “You don’t want to look back and say you never went there."
Tseng said she would rather be trained by someone who has been in Iraq and actually knows what they are talking about.
“It’s basically about gaining respect here,” she said. “If you become a leader you want your soldiers to look up to you for what you’ve done.”
Tseng's friend Corinna Leung, 19, says she does not support the war. She also does not want to see Tseng go, and worries about her safety.
“They should respect her for her,” said Leung. “Not because she went to Iraq.”
“She feels like the army is teaching her a lot about the outside world, but she could have learned that without the army if she really wanted to,” said Leung, a child devolvement major at SF State.
Leung also said that she wished Tseng would have gone to college and pursued a career rather than take the military path.
“I know that she was a good student and stuff, so I didn’t understand why she went to the army,” she said.
Tseng, who completed 35 units while on base in Ft. Louis, Wash., feels there is honor and nobility in serving your country, and most other Americans recognize that.
“When you get out of California, people support the military,” Tseng said. “If you go out to eat in your uniform, people will come up to you and shake your hand and even pay for your food.”
She said that nearly every Sunday, supporters stand on a bridge outside the base, rain or shine, waving American flags and holding sings that read, “We support you!” and “We’re here because you’re here.”
“Because of them, it makes me feel like I’m doing something good,” she said.
Tseng said the community feeling on base is one of the perks of being in the military.
“It’s a really good place to be,” she said. “You always have somebody watching over you and making sure you do everything you’re supposed to be doing.”
Tseng said her superiors make sure she visits the doctor when she is supposed to and gets all the shots she needs. They also check on her financial stability and keep her updated on what her schedule will be like.
“You know for a fact you’re going to get paid every two weeks … you’re guaranteed food everyday and you know you have a place to stay.”
Though Tseng feels a sense of belonging and security, her friends and family will still fear the uncertainty that awaits her in Iraq.
“There’s just more out there than the army,” Leung said.
Throughout his turbulent six years in office, many Republicans have unconditionally supported President Bush. With his approval rating hovering right around 36 percent according to this week's CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll, it is clear that not all of them feel that he represents the party’s values.
Ronnie Higgins, a 26-year-old cinema major, said that although his knowledge of military issues is limited, he feels that the real reasons for the invasion of Iraq lie in the country’s need to feed its military industry, along with interest in securing the oil supply.
“I feel for the soldiers’ lives that we are losing to keep our head above water,” he said. “If (the war) is justified, I really wish I were let on to that secret.”
Higgins, who moved to San Francisco from New Orleans in December, said he originally signed on with the GOP because he agreed with their fiscally conservative platform. Back in Louisiana, Higgins met several people whom he felt were "milking" the welfare system to get as much out of it as they could, rather than using it to lift themselves out of a financial hole. The GOP seemed to best represent his value of financial independence.
Higgins said he hopes to someday earn a good living and he disagrees with the government taking his income and giving it to those who will not work for it. While he feels it is important to help those who are less fortunate, he does not believe it is the government’s role to redistribute wealth.
“I would give my share to charity, but I never want government control over who I should give it to,” he said.
Under the Bush administration, however, Higgins feels the GOP has come to represent something completely different from traditional conservative values. In 2004, Higgins voted for Kerry, though he did not agree with much of what Kerry stood for, because he felt Kerry was the “lesser of two evils.”
“Everything that’s conservative now isn’t what was conservative when I was 18,” said Higgins. “They want to call themselves conservatives, but they’re not.”
Higgins is not a member of the College Republicans, and has no plan to join anytime soon. He said he avoids calling himself “Republican” because he does not want to bare a political label.
One significant problem that Higgins has with the Bush administration is its pandering to the religious right. Higgins, who is Catholic, said he does not feel religious beliefs should play a role in legislation. For example, while it may conflict with his religious beliefs, Higgins supports gay rights and believes they should have the legal right to marry.
“I don’t want a gay marriage in my church,” Higgins said. “But if the state wants to acknowledge them, I see the benefits.”
But Higgins feels the way the administration panders to the religious right is more of a political strategy than an expression of morality.
“I believe those people don’t even care about religion,” he said. “They just know it pulls in votes.”
Higgins lived in Chalmette, La. when Hurricane Katrina hit, and his community suffered terrible losses from the storm. Higgins does not blame Bush for the damage caused by Katrina, since the levee problems existed long before Bush was elected, but Higgins does feel that Bush should have reacted more quickly to compensate for the shortcomings of Louisiana’s state government.
“If he wanted to solidify the Republican Party’s image, that would have not only been an easy effort, but a valiant one,” Higgins said. “I don’t like the fact that our president is not a leader."
Leigh Wolf, public relations officer for the SF State College Republicans, said he thinks Bush has overall done a good job as president, but he understands the positions of conservatives who do not support Bush, especially in his fiscal policies.
“He’s spending like a drunken sailor,” Wolf said.
While Wolf, 19, does not always agree with Bush opponents, he does feel that it is important to acknowledge when politicians make mistakes, and to consider different points of view.
“We need people of all backgrounds,” Wolf said. “I support the president, but I support the people who check the president as well.”
“I genuinely understand the compassion from the left,” he added.
Wolf said he votes for politicians based on issues, not party affiliations, and voters occasionally disagree with the politicians of their party.
“The College Republicans support Bush, but that doesn’t mean we agree with everything he does,” Wolf said.
While he feels the GOP has lost sight of its core values under Bush, Higgins said he would feel confident in the party if Sen. John McCain is nominated to run for president in 2008. Higgins supported McCain when he ran against Bush in the Republican primary before the 2000 election.
“He thinks with his heart and mind,” Higgins said. “I think that man could single-handedly sew this country back together.”
Adam Jay Weissmiller, a 25 year-old double majoring in international business and Chinese, said he believes Bush is doing the best he can as president, but Bush is in a difficult situation with the war going the way it is.
“I honestly believe Bush wants our troops to come home,” Weissmiller said.
Weissmiller, a member of the College Republicans, emphasized that the decision is not just as easy as pulling the troops out.
“I believe if we were to pull our troops out, the Sunnis and the Shiites would break into civil war. There’s really not a lot of black and white, but it’s too complicated to find some gray area or middle ground.”
If San Francisco had to pay its tab for the war in Iraq right now, the cost would be $832 million, according to the National Priorities Project.
The United States is currently issuing treasury bonds to finance $247 billion of military defense and reconstruction efforts in Iraq.
But what is the localized million-dollar figure to SF State students?
The $832 million could provide 33,248 undergraduate or 28,032 graduate students with four-year scholarships at the university. The figure is also equivalent to the estimated four-year cost of housing for 14,916 students, or textbooks for 165,079 students. Tuition, textbook, and housing costs were derived from SF State’s Web site.
“Showing the tradeoffs not only helps people digest the magnitude of the numbers, but also helps us all realize that we make choices – that there are opportunity costs in spending money,” said NPP Research Director Anita Dancs.
NPP is a nonprofit organization that calculates the local costs of federal spending policies. The Web site, of the Massachusetts-based organization has a running calculator totaling the cost of the Iraq war, based on the October 2005 Congressional Research Service report.
Many SF State students are at a loss for words, and say they cannot comprehend the 12-digit figure.
International relations major Johnny Alfaro, 32, said students do not know how much a billion dollars is worth.
“If students make $30,000 a year, they think it’s a lot,” he said.
Many SF State students want the government to divert federal spending from the war into education and health care.
“They should care about us,” said product design major Jerzy Bamberger, 23, adding that education would encourage students to participate in civic life.
However, not all students agree that military and reconstruction expenses in Iraq should be channeled into classrooms.
“I would love to have 40,000 kids go to school, but we owe it to the people of Iraq to fix a problem that we started,” said College Republican Adam Weissmiller.
Carl Clark, president of the College Republicans, said it is the state’s responsibility to educate its residents and not the federal government.
Students often relate the cost of the Iraq war to the shortage of spaces in classrooms, said professor Robert Smith, who teaches a class on congress and the presidency.
However, with the budget deficit, he said there was no money to finance schools.
“If the money was not being spent on the war, it probably would not have been spent on education,” Smith said.
Compared to the Vietnam War, some faculty members say students across the United States are less likely to protest against the surging cost of armed conflict.
“People are inattentive and non-participatory,” said Dwight Simpson, an international relations professor. “They are subject to being terrorized. And once frightened, they will give free reign to the leaders.”
Students argue that they are not apathetic toward the financial and human cost of political strife.
However, many of them say it is futile to promote change through social activism.
“If you really want to affect policies that the government makes, you have to have a good company with a bunch of billions,” said SF State senior Laith Yacoub, 27. “Money talks.”
SF State will be one of the first seven campuses in the California State University (CSU) system to offer educational doctorate programs focusing on training for leadership positions in K through 12 schools and community colleges.
Beginning in 2007, the program will be the first doctorate of education (Ed.D) that CSU campuses will be able to offer without participating in a joint program with either the University of California system or a private university.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a law in September that removed restrictions on the CSU and allowed campuses to offer doctorate programs for the first time since the CSU system was created in 1961.
“This initial list of CSU campuses positions us well to begin to address the regional need for education doctorates in the state,” said CSU Chancellor Charles Reed in a statement.
In addition to SF State, Fresno, Fullerton, Long Beach, Sacramento, San Bernardino and San Diego campuses will begin the doctorate program in the fall of 2007, with six more campuses to follow the next year, according to Clara Potes-Fellow, CSU director of media relations.
“The purpose of this program is to prepare working professionals for high level administrative positions (principals, superintendents) in K-12 and community colleges,” Potes-Fellow said.
According to Potes-Fellow, there are a large number of education administrators that want to get the Ed.D in order to be eligible for higher positions. One of the benefits of offering the degree without the joint program with UC is that there will be more program offerings on CSU campuses.
SF State has offered a Joint Doctoral Program of Special Education in conjunction with UC Berkeley since 1964.
“Our Joint Doctoral Program was the first one approved by the sate of California after the state legislature passed a bill allowing CSU campuses to link with UC campuses to form Joint Doctoral Programs in areas of need,” said Nicholas Certo, professor and chair of the Department of Education.
SF State also began a Joint Doctoral Program in educational leadership with UC Berkeley two years ago, according to Certo.
According to William Morris of the SF State Office of Public Affairs and Public Relations, sinse the educational doctorate is offered almost exclusively by the more expensive private universities, many Californians may have been unable to pursue higher education due financial barriers.
The logistics of how the new program will be implemented at SF State are still very much in the beginning stages of planning, Morris said.
UC and CSU announced on Feb. 23 that an agreement had been made to grant CSU’s request with the specification that CSU doctorates would be primarily focused on K-12 education and community college administration.
The new law changes the way higher education is organized. The original plan, created by the State Board of Education and the University of California Board of Regents, was adopted by the California State Legislature and titled California’s Master Plan on Higher Education.
The system was tiered so the UC system, which charges a higher tuition fee and has stricter admissions standards, had sole responsibility over expensive academic research and was the only system able to award Master’s and Doctoral diplomas.
The second tier, the CSU, would admit the top third of California’s high school graduates and award Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. The community colleges’ responsibility would be to accept all students that applied and the opportunity to transfer to a university later.
According to the statement released by both systems, the agreement for the new plan “builds on the mutual strengths of CSU and UC campuses while remaining consistent with the basic tenets of the Master Plan for Higher Education.”
In addition to making the Ed.D more accessible to more students, campuses will be stronger at fulfilling their educational mission, Potes-Fellow said.
It was daytime in Baghdad on the first anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. The streets were virtually empty, except for Pratap Chatterjee and his driver who were waiting on the side of the road for another car to pass by. In Iraq, this is defensive driving.
After being in Iraq for a couple of weeks documenting its conditions, Chatterjee knew the streets of Baghdad. They are lined with booby traps, armed by homemade bombs, which could easily kill anyone in a vehicle that passes over it. By traveling behind other cars, he knew if they came near a trap.
Chatterjee also has to be cautious around U.S. soldiers. He is half Indian, half Sri Lankan, and lives in California but U.S. troops tend to mistake him for an Iraqi.
“Luckily I don’t seem much of a threat to them,” said Chatterjee, who usually gets by U.S. soldiers by speaking to them in fluent English.
It is a dangerous place, but Chatterjee is used to it after traveling to the Middle East seven times since Sept. 11 to do journalistic and investigative work. After going to undergraduate school in India, he moved to London to gain his degree in journalism in 1987. In the summer of 2001, he received a master’s degree in cinema at SF State. With his new skills and tools, he set off to record political videos that he hoped would grab people’s attention.
When Chatterjee first arrived in Iraq in December 2002, there were already problems. He landed in Turkey and found the northern Iraqi border heavily guarded by soldiers who were turning many people away. Saddam Hussein made it difficult for people to enter Iraq and Chatterjee had to hold off his reporting.
It did not stop him for long. The majority of his investigations into Middle East politics were done at the CorpWatch offices in Oakland, a journalistic organization that has been educating people about corporate-led globalization since 1996. Chatterjee is the executive director, but his title does not represent the work he does.
“Truth is, he writes a whole lot,” said Brooke Biggs, editor of CorpWatch.
Chatterjee was not able to enter Iraq until a year after his initial trip. With the U.S. invasion underway, military watches on the borders had retreated and anyone could drive into the country.
He continued the investigative work he started in the United States, focusing on American companies, such as Halliburton and Bechtel, which were contracted by the U.S. government to rebuild Iraq. All of this work would be the basis of his book, “Iraq, Inc. - A Profitable Occupation”.
Much of his work reveals the interconnection between these engineering-construction firms, American politicians and how they benefit from each other. For example, the swearing in of Riley Bechtel, CEO of Bechtel corp., “as a member President Bush’s Export Council to advise the government on creating markets for American companies overseas.”
Chatterjee always kept his video camera handy in Iraq and documented the conditions of the people. Some of his footage has been used in Michael Moore’s film “Fahrenheit 9-11” and was helpful when writing his book.
Chatterjee said that American companies rebuilding Iraq are not necessarily wrong, but that it is the way they have gone about it that is at fault. According to Chatterjee, the Iraqis have not benefited from this at all.
For one, both American and Iraqi taxpayers have been overcharged. Companies like Bechtel and Halliburton inflate their price tags by as much as 500 percent and put the extra profit in the top executives’ pockets.
Secondly, Chatterjee said that these companies have done a poor job. They have been contracted to rebuild most of Iraq’s facilities such as electrical systems, schools, and hospitals, but most of the time they trail far behind compared to jobs done in the United States.
“They have failed to deliver what they promised,” said Chatterjee.
SF State introduced a new conversational Arabic course this spring, marking the next step in the university's goal of broadening its focus on Middle Eastern and Islamic culture.
The university currently offers four Arabic language classes, including Arabic calligraphy and Arab media images in America. The sequence first started in fall 2004.
Students might soon be able to minor and major in Arabic.
“We are developing many new courses,” said Midori McKeon, chair of the foreign languages and literatures department. “Three years ago, the demand for Arabic courses was tremendous. Given that kind of demand, we thought that we would build a language sequence.”
At that time, the university was building an Arabic studies program across campus, she said.
“Even before 9/11, there was some movement on campus to begin to hire more faculty with interest and expertise in the Middle East and Islam,” said College of Humanities dean Paul Sherwin.
Sherwin said there were very few people on campus with expertise in the field at that at that time.
“There used to be three of four people at most, on campus, who did this kind of stuff,” Sherwin said. “Now there are 15 or 16. It’s an area of the world – with culture and religion and literature – that now we have faculty strength in across campus.”
Both Sherwin and McKeon are confident that a minor and bachelor’s program will be established in the near future.
“We’ve been gradually building it up,” Sherwin said. “I think in a year or two we might develop a minor in Arabic and maybe eventually a major.”
According to Sherwin, the first step in setting up a program of this nature is establishing a strong language sequence.
“If you’re going to do something in that area, you have got to have the language and the literature,” he said.
This was aided by last fall’s arrival of SF State’s first fulltime Arabic language professor, Mohammad Salama.
Salama said these kinds of courses are among the first steps in bringing the American and Arab cultures together.
“A lot of people get their information about the Arabic world secondhand,” he said. “I believe that after all this unrest is over, the world will want peace … and translators will be the people who will bridge these gaps.”
A student in Salama’s introductory Arabic class praised the professor for passing his passion and enthusiasm to those in class.
“Arabic is considered one of the world's hardest languages to learn,” said Diana Holder, an English graduate student. “However, Dr. Salama is able to take all the complexities of Arabic and break the language down in a way that all of us understand.”
Twenty-year-old molecular and cellular biology major Dina Elkady is taking the advanced Arabic class to reconnect with her roots.
“I’m Egyptian, so I decided to take it to better learn how to communicate with my family,” Elkady said. “Hearing about the Arabic culture is not like actually engaging yourself in it by taking a class."
International relations major Kristina Stangl, 20, said becoming more literate in Arabic is crucial for our country.
“I think Arabic is one of those languages that the West has not mastered,” she said. “It’s such a shame that it’s not offered as a minor or a major yet. I really hope the university will provide more classes this fall … they should add a Turkish language program too.”
While student demand played a part in the creation of Arabic courses, the original idea came from the administration, said Sherwin, College of Humanities dean.
“It was from the faculty and administration together,” he said. “As we have more and more faculty hired in that area … we can really develop a strong program in Middle Eastern or Islamic studies across campus, and gradually get a major that involves faculty from at least four different colleges.”
There are currently four lower-division Arabic language classes at SF State. However, plans for upper-division courses on Arabic culture and literature are in the works, said McKeon.
With the current political focus on the Middle East, Holder said students who learn Arabic may have a distinct advantage when it comes to finding jobs after graduation.
“I think that by offering an Arabic program, SF State is opening up many doors for its students," she said.
Want to know if you'll need your umbrella tomorrow? You can get a daily campus weather forecast right here at SF State.
Posted in the hallways of Thornton Hall are forecasts provided by Gator Weather, a student chapter of the American Meteorological Society. A team of ten student atmospheric and oceanic science majors and a few meteorology students learn about public weather forecasting by working in a weather simulation laboratory here on campus.
To make their predictions, the students use data from weather balloons that are released twice daily by the National Weather Service. The balloons gather data about temperature, humidity, pressure, wind speed and direction. Starting with the current conditions both on the surface and in the middle and upper atmosphere, computer models are used to predict how the weather will shift every twelve hours over the next few days. The lab also receives radar and satellite images.
The group even retrieved pictures of hail around the Santa Cruz mountains during the unusually frigid Bay Area weather this past month.
Extracting a reliable five day forecast from the data and graphics is tricky, said senior Katheryn Saussy, a Gator Weather forecaster. Interpreting the models takes a holistic intuition.
“The most important thing we’ve learned is you can’t always trust them,” she said.
Predicting the weather, said Saussy, is what lead atmospheric scientist Edward Lorenz to pioneer chaos theory in mathematics. His computer models showed small rounding errors in weather data and the underlying principle became popularized as “the butterfly effect”- the idea that a tiny difference in measurement can lead to a major difference in outcome when studying complex systems.
“Anyone can run a computer model,” said John Monteverdi, professor of meteorology and advisor to the Gator Weather program. “You have to look at it as a meteorologist rather than as a technician.”
Monteverdi, a leading researcher of severe weather in California, arranged Gator Weather to mimic the operations at a weather forecast office, one possible employment option that students can pursue.
Students also learn about broadcast meteorology. The class room adjacent to the weather simulation lab is a satellite field office of the Nation Weather Service station in Monterey used to brief Bay Area broadcasters about severe weather systems heading our way. The students have access to a video camera and a green screen. Former Gator Weather forecaster, Eric Gose, is now a weather producer at TV station KPIX in San Francisco.
Monteverdi said that although Gator Weather is focused on producing a weather forecast that is usable by the campus community, by working together they form an “esprit de corps” building friendships centered on meteorology.
Austin Cross, a senior and president of Gator Weather, says it is good to get everyone together, both in the weather lab and on excursions to local TV weather stations. Later this month, Gator Weather will have a charity bowling event to raise money for rainforest preservation.
Although forecasts are only available in Thornton Hall, Gator Weather is working on restoring their Web site for daily forecast information, which Cross said has been down since winter break.
“Were starting from scratch,” Cross said.
Three years after the initial "shock and awe" campaign began in Iraq, President George W. Bush is on the road trying to rally support for the ongoing war.
Public backing for the war and Bush’s presidency has continued to dwindle, as justifications for waging war have been discredited and death tolls continue to rise. Poll numbers from the last year show that between 50 percent and 60 percent of Americans think the war was a mistake.
Throughout the fighting, and even before, questions began to surface regarding the reliability of intelligence information and assertions used to justify the war.
In a Senate Intelligence Committee report ordered in June 2003 and published in July 2004, analysts concluded that much of the information regarding Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and Saddam Hussein’s attempts to buy uranium yellowcake from Niger were, “overstated, misleading, or incorrect.”
That same intelligence report concluded that Iraq was in no way involved in the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center.
In 2003 as many as 71 percent of Americans, according to one Time Magazine/CNN poll, believed that Hussein was directly involved in the Sept. 11 attacks. Other polls made similar findings.
Further driving public frustration with the ongoing war is the fact that democratization, the current justification for the war, has proved to be more complicated than marching into Baghdad or capturing Hussein.
In May 2003, when Bush gave a speech aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln before a giant "Mission Accomplished" banner, the job of creating a stable democracy in Iraq was just beginning, and the effort thus far has produced some surprising results.
“They wanted to institute a government in Iraq that was close to the United States,” said Ann Robertson, a professor of philosophy at SF State who studies human rights. “What they got was a government that is close to Iran.”
When the final results of the Iraqi elections held on Dec. 16 were announced, the results highlighted the close connection between Iran’s majority Shiite population and Iraq’s majority Shiite population.
The United Iraqi Alliance, which includes the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq and the Dawa Party, won 128 of the 275 seats in the Council of Representatives, which will finalize the Iraqi national constitution.
The Islamic Dawa Party, which maintains its headquarters in Iran’s capital Tehran, is led by current acting Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jafri, who lived for nine years in Iran and is considered to be a close ally of the Islamist government in Tehran. The main tenant of the Dawa Party platform is to establish an Islamic state in Iraq.
“Whereas in 2003 we would have rejected a government which included strong religious based parties, we are now quite willing to accept a Prime Minister who represents precisely that,” said Ambassador David Fischer, diplomat-in-residence at the SF State international relations department, in an e-mail interview. “Our objective right now is to reduce U.S. troop presence as quickly as possible without creating conditions for an all out civil war.”
The United States’ relationship with Iran has long been strained. Recent diplomatic confrontations have revolved around Iran’s nuclear ambitions and their alleged meddling in Iraq.
“We may face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran, whose policies are directed at developing a Middle East that would be 180 degrees different than the Middle East that we would like to see develop,” said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice before the Senate Appropriations Committee last week.
Despite the increasing influence of Iran and the fear that Iraq will dissolve into civil war if the United States withdraws its troops, the Bush administration has said that troop levels will be decreased this
“Anything which allows us to further withdrawal – within reason – will look pretty damned attractive between now and the November 2006 elections in the U.S.,” said professor Fischer.
This week Britain also announced that they will withdraw 10 percent of their remaining troops by this May.
With their hands raised eagerly in the air, 170 schoolkids yelled, “I want to go to college!”
Their voices and energy flooded Jack Adams Hall earlier this week as kids from four different San Francisco schools participated in the Project Connect’s early outreach program, which aims at encouraging youth from historically underserved communities to go to college.
“When I was a kid, I didn’t know what college was,” said ASI President Chris Jackson in one of the opening speeches. “Now, some might say that college is for nerds, college is for dorks. Well then, I’m the biggest dork around.”
Jackson then proceed to interest the kids in a quiz about SF State using dollar bills as the prizes. The kids were very enthusiastic and some just kept their hands raised in between questions.
The day filled with speeches, workshops, a giant alligator, and for some students, a tour of the dorms.
“We’re very excited for this opportunity,” said Maurice Harper, the assistant principal of Willie L. Brown Academy, one of the participating schools. Harper said Project Connect is helping kids to realize that college is possible.
The day started with presentations from ASI members, and a cultural dance performance by the only second graders in the bunch, students from Glen Park elementary. Then the groups broke up and attended seven different workshops all around campus.
There were seven workshops total and the topics ranged from chemistry and sign language, to Taekwondo. Each workshop was led by student volunteers and instructors.
In the chemistry workshop, kids were able to build molecule models, experiment with acids and basics, and even make slime.
“We put in some kind of chemicals and then we stirred it for a few minutes,” said 10-year-old Marcus, who didn’t think slime-making was very hard at all.
“It’s been really cool, said volunteer Netty Nguyen, 23, a senior majoring in biochemistry. She had been having kids guess different scents.
“They’re really smart. Some of them get it right away,” Nguyen said. “And they’re cute.”
At Burk Hall students from Jose Ortega Elemtary school learned sign language while in the gym, E.R. Taylor elementary school students were getting in shape.
“It broke my toe,” said 11-year-old Angel, who was kicking around a soccer ball.
Angel and her classmates were almost speechless when they entered the gym.
“We don’t have a gym. This a big deal to them,” said their teacher Rick Castello. The school’s only large indoor space is their auditorium, which must also double as the library.
By the end of the afternoon all the schools gathered back into Jack Adams for lunch, step shows from the Sigma Gamma Rho sorority, the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, cheerleaders and one purple Gator.
This program is one of several established by Project Connect, which is organized by the Associated Students Inc.
Ten-year-old Dominique, from Willie L. Brown, was one of the lucky winners of a dollar earlier in the day and he said the whole day was fun.
And he knows why he wants to go to college one day.
“So I could get a masters and become a pediatrician,” he said, adding that he wants to help kids.
Dominique would like to go to SF State because he didn’t want to be far from his family and, “cause it’s cool. Because it’s good to have fun, but still learn.”
A mysterious explosion detected by NASA’s Swift satellite occurred on Feb. 18.
The explosion is thought to be a gamma ray burst, and possibly a supernova. It has been reported the explosion may be visible to amateur astronomers this week with the use of large telescopes.
Gamma ray bursts are typically short-lived, localized, and are intense bursts of gamma radiation that originate outside the solar system from an unknown source. This one in particular lasted for 33 minutes, which is 100 times longer and 25 times closer than usual. This is the second closest ever to be detected, located 440 million light years from Earth near the constellation Aries, yet still not close enough to pose a real threat.
The initial explosion was not visible; the visible light follows after with the birth of the supernova. A supernova is the death explosion of a massive star, resulting in a sharp increase in brightness followed by a gradual fading.
Though there may be some speculating or questioning this occurrence, many things in space are yet to be learned and explored. “They are always learning more about new types of objects,” says Jason Dorfman, an environmental safety technician with SF State's Astronomy Department.
Independently, these two occurrences are pretty common but the possibility of a connection between them is what is exciting astronomers. They will have an unprecedented view of a supernova from start to finish.
“It’s rare in terms to see this connection between the two,” says Katey Alatalo, a UC Berkeley grad student who specializes in gamma ray bursts.
The Oscars and the Castro Theatre came together like two gay cowboys.
The second annual event on March 5 entitled, Castro Loves Oscar, was produced by the Theatre in association with ABC7. There were guest appearances by the likes of Willy Wonka, an Oompa Loompa and a barn full of tassel wearing cowboys. For $20, guests watched the 78th Annual Academy Awards show while feasting on hors d’oeuvres and champagne. Some of the proceeds went to ABC's initiative, End Hunger Now.
“I hope that it’s fun,” said Bill Longen, events coordinator/producer for the Castro Theatre. “It’s an inexpensive alternative to all the other stuffy parties.”
Guests were encouraged to dress up as their favorite Oscar contender and “to cheer on those handsome Cowboys to victory!” The movie, Brokeback Mountain, appeared to be the crowd favorite as most of the people were dressed up in cowboy hats and boots. But out of the 600 plus guests in attendance, Rachael Kalicun was among those given the most attention. Her Willy Wonka costume won her an award for best costume as did the Oompa Loompa attire worn by her husband, Vlod. The couple was awarded brand new watches.
“The only time I get to dress up is on Halloween,” said Kalicun, who adorned a purple top hat and red wig to complete the ensemble.
However, most of the guests did not go fully clad in costumes, choosing to go in casual attire instead. But those who did take the time to dress up, critics might say they were suited for the red carpet in Beverly Hills.
“We thought everyone was going to dress up,” Sosa said, as she looked down at her sparkling turquoise dress and then around at the crowd of people who were clothed in jeans and sweaters. “It’s kind of lame.”
“It’s the Oscars!” said Andy Wright and Erica Sosa in unison about why they had shown up in evening gowns.
As the awards show progressed, loud cheers and hollers followed Brokeback Mountain in every category it was nominated. The crowd went crazy and swung their cowboy hats in the air when the movie won for Best Screenplay Adaptation.
However, one award that few in the audience seemed to care about was for sound mixing, which went to King Kong. Two SF State alumni, Ethan Van Der Ryn and Christopher Boyes, received an Oscar for their work on the movie.
During the commercial breaks, the sound to the awards show was put to mute, and local ABC news anchor, Frances Dinglasan, and coordinator Bill Longen held trivia contests for prizes. SF State students gave some of the answers.
“They only let me answer two of them but I knew the answers to most of them,” said Richard Heredia-Aarriaga, 19, a cinema major, who attended the event with others from the Cinema Collective, a student organization at SF State.
Spensser Nottage, 20, also a cinema major said it was the best Oscar night ever. “Usually I’m at home in front of the TV,” he said.
When the category of Best Picture was announced, the crowd went wild when Brokeback Mountain was mentioned. The crowd fell silent as actor Jack Nicholson opened the envelope to reveal who had won the most anticipated award of the night.
When Nicholson declared the movie, Crash, as the winner, audience reaction at the Theatre was mixed. Some applauded while others put their hands over their mouths while their eyes widened in shock.
“No, no!” said a viewer, and then some of the crowd started to boo.
However, not everyone’s night was ruined. SF State theater major, Natalie Christov, 20, said she had a wonderful time and added one last thought.
“One day we’re all going to be there,” Christov said, as she turned to look at her fellow peers and then up at the screen where the Oscars had just been shown. “I will be getting an award for best actress.”
If SF State students refuse to allow military recruiters on campus, it stands to lose $20 million of federal funding annually.
The Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Monday to uphold the Solomon Amendment, a law that denies federal funding to universities that do not provide equal access to military recruiters that other job recruiters get.
The plaintiffs, a coalition of law schools who formed the Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights (FAIR), made the case that the Solomon Amendment forced schools to associate with the military and therefore infringed on their rights to freedom of speech. They also argued that the law was in conflict with established non-discrimination policies on sexual orientation that most universities adhere to.
The first amendment argument failed to convince the court, which saw this as an issue of Congress’s constitutionally mandated power to “raise and support armies”.
“As a general matter, the Solomon Amendment regulates conduct, not speech,” wrote Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. in the unanimous opinion. “It affects what law schools must do—afford equal access to military recruiters—not what they may or may not say.”
David Greene, executive director and staff counsel of the First Amendment Project, said that the court did not seem to appreciate the seriousness of the law schools' commitment to fight discrimination, but that the Solomon Amendment did not restrict freedom of speech or association.
“No one is going to believe that the teachers endorse employers who recruit on campus, and if it bothered you so much you would refuse the funding,” said Greene.
International Relations major and vice president of the College Republicans Mike DeGroff, 21, thinks SF State should put their money where their mouth is.
"We are very happy that the Supreme Court unanimously upheld Solomon," said DeGroff via e-mail. "Universities are not entitled by any constitutional or God-given right to any federal dollars, and the Federal Government is within its right to set conditions regarding receipt of these funds. If SFSU is so morally opposed to the military on campus, it should simply give up its federal funds"
Anita Silvers, a professor of philosophy who teaches ethics and law at SF State said the theory that FAIR used to argue its case was ingenious, but ultimately too tenuous to challenge the law. She said that the effect of the ruling would be a setback in enforcing anti-discrimination policies.
“What’s unfortunate is that the court appears to some people to have responded by assigning the Department of Defense even greater authority to impose its values than even the Department of Defense thought it had,” said Silvers.
She said that congress is the place in which to fight the issue of military policies that discriminate based on sexual orientation.
“This is really a political issue about the fundamental fairness and respect that citizens should give to each other,” said Silvers, “Its not about freedom of speech its about freedom to be yourself.”
*This article has been amended from its original version.
This month SF State’s Alumni Association will be sending information to all alumni on a new law that allows California's public universities to sell their contact information to partner companies.
These companies would have to have an established contract with the school in order to obtain your information.
State Senate Bill 569 became law in January and allows universities to share the names, home addresses and e-mail addresses of alumni as long as they are given the option to not participate. Alumni are to be notified of this option by mail or through the Internet.
“That’s ridiculous,” said finance major Richard Parker, 27, who points out that even a name can easily reveal other information about a person.
“The option should be ‘Do you want this?', not ‘Here’s what we’re going to do unless you answer in two days,’” Parker said. “Our economy is based on information, but what happened to privacy?"
One alumnus, Vicky Tang, said she has concerns about her information being shared, but had not received any notification about the issue.
“It’s our information they have and they have no right to sell anything that doesn’t belong to them,” she wrote in an email.
According to the director of alumni relations, Nancy Gonzalez, the association has more than 220,000 valid mailing addresses and will receive royalties for every person that signs up as well as a bonus at the end of each quarter.
Any money made from sharing the information will be going to Alumni Association Scholarships, said Gonzalez. The association typically gives away about $20,000 through several scholarships.
Students who are graduating this semester are especially concerned about the new law.
“We have enough trouble already,” said Sharon Barraca, 24, a senior majoring in sociology. “We can’t keep anything private anymore.”
Barraca said she is concerned having information shared in this way will promote fraud.
“And I want to see where the money goes,” she said, adding that the simplest things on campus, such as a broken sink, may need repair yet money goes into buying new televisions. “The money should go into other things, like making parking cheaper.”
The association is waiting on Marsh Affinity Group Services, which handles the insurance discounts for SF State alumni, to see how much of the costs it can absorb.
After everything is processed, Affinity will be able to use alumni information to mail them with materials on discounts and other benefits.
“It will cost a lot of money to print the letters and for postage,” said Gonzalez. "The mailings could cost about $50,000, so the association is also looking for other partnerships to absorb some costs."
“There's a bit more research that needs to be done, so we don't have full details to share with you at this time,” said Gonzalez. She said the mailings should start later this month.
“It’s bad because it’s probably going to get [alumni] identity fraud,” said graduating senior Candy Tam, 23, a marketing major. “What if people have old addresses or the wrong information?”
Another student, junior Brian Bruemmer, 22, said he sees how students may be concerned about identity fraud, but thinks that being offered promotions could mean having more options.
“It would be kind of annoying to have your name being sold, but at least you’re getting something in return,” said the economics and accounting major. “If you receive something that you didn’t know about before, it could expand your knowledge.”
Emily Dvoskin, a recent graduate of SF State’s BECA department, didn’t think it was a big deal either.
“It doesn’t really bother me,” said Dvoskin, who was hearing about the law for the first time. “It’s just some more mail.”
Sophomore James Moghaddam said it doesn’t trouble him either.
“I usually don’t pay much attention to (junk mail),” he said the 20-year-old who is majoring in social work.
“Students today are just not concerned with identity theft issues,” said Washington Wong, a graduate student studying business at the University of San Francisco. Wong is an alumnus from San Jose State University.
San Jose State has already informed its alumni about the law, sending out notices by mail. Wong said the notices were deceptive in appearance and not marked as a time-sensitive, or even as an important piece of mail on the outside.
He said students don’t understand identity theft and privacy concerns because they think the disclosure of their information is harmless.
“It’s like a car alarm,” he said. “They go off so often that when it happens, you keep on walking—until it happens to you.”
San Franciscans who can’t afford health insurance may soon be covered, thanks to a new proposal by mayor Gavin Newsom. Planners hope to solidify the project within three months.
“It’s universal healthcare based on access,” said Jennifer Petrucione, a deputy communications director and speechwriter for the mayor’s office.
Whether or not the program will require a vote from the board of supervisors will depend on details that are still being decided.
According to Petrucione, the program will be available to all uninsured San Francisco residents who have some income limitations. Residents who are eligible for other federal and state programs, residents who are eligible to receive benefits through their employers, and people who do not live in San Francisco will not be eligible to receive benefits under the new program.
Petrucione also said the universal healthcare proposal will not take into consideration the number of hours applicants work, making it ideal for students who cannot work lots of hours per week while attending classes.
Although details about the program’s funding have not yet been ironed out, the current idea is that it will be funded through better management of existing healthcare funds. Also, like actual health insurance, members of the program will have a co-pay, though the amount has not yet been determined.
“There are still a lot of questions to answer,” said Petrucione.
Dr. Alastair Smith, medical director of the Student Health Center at SF State, said lack of health insurance is a big problem with students, and that universal healthcare in desperately needed in San Francisco.
“It would be lovely if we could get it,” said Smith.
According to Smith, about 60 percent of SF State students do not have medical insurance. While uninsured students can use the Health Center for services such as routine checkups, students often require more expensive attention, such as lab tests, which can become cost prohibitive for the uninsured.
“Obviously, it would be much better if they could have insurance,” he said.
Smith said he feels that universal health care that is accessible to students would enhance student retention and boost the number of graduates, since students frequently drop out of school to pursue full-time employment.
San Francisco geriatric physician Dr. Michael Hartnett said the plan sounds like a good idea, as long as required paperwork is kept to a minimum.
“It will work if they can keep bureaucrats out,” Hartnett said. “Otherwise it will turn into a Medicare fiasco.”
San Francisco already has a healthcare program for young people in effect, “Healthy Kids and Young Adults,” but uninsured youth can only benefit from this program until they reach the age of 24. Under the new proposal, San Franciscans who cannot afford insurance will have access to healthcare, regardless of age.
Petrucione said the new healthcare proposal would be very different from what is already in effect. In addition to being accessible to San Franciscans of all ages, the new program will actually mimic insurance. Beneficiaries of the program will be issued a card that they will use in place of an insurance card, which will track the program participant’s medical activity, enabling participants to have a primary care provider. Under the current program, no such tracking exists.
Petrucione said many young people do not have health insurance because it is costly, and young people have relatively few health problems. Unforeseen events, such as accidents and sudden illness, can add up to long-term, substantial medical debt for the uninsured, which is what the proposal intends to address.
“A burst appendix costs around $50,000,” she said. “This plan will take care of you if you experience a catastrophic event.”
The opening of SF State’s first hands-on ethnomathematics exhibit explores various mathematical principles introduced by different cultures throughout history and challenges participants to get involved.
Sponsored by the anthropology department and Treganza Anthropology Museum, the exhibit runs through April 28 in the department of anthropology’s Hohenthal Gallery (Science Building room 388.) Activities include recreating the elaborate sona sand drawings of the Chokwe people of northeast Angola, examining the geometric body paintings of the Mebengokre people of central Brazil, or just contemplating a game of mancala.
Mariana Ferreira, assistant professor of anthropology and exhibit co-organizer, explained the term and some of the principles behind it, while standing in front of the several different exhibit stations.
“Ethnomathematics involves much more than the just mathematics of indigenous people,” Ferreira said. “It’s actually an educational program to advance access of mathematical knowledge to people of color, and also acknowledge the contributions of people of color and indigenous people to mathematics.”
Andrea Fitzpatrick, a 26-year-old anthropology and creative writing double major, co-organized the event and was knowledgeable about the different styles of abacuses featured at one station.
An early counting device, the first abacus called the suan-pan, appeared in China around 1200 A.D., and has been modified only slightly in the past 800 years.
“The suan-pan is the original, it was the first rod abacus,” Fitzpatrick said. “The Japanese modified it a couple of times and in the 1920s it got the form it has now.”
The modern Japanese abacus – or soroban - has one bead in the top section and four on the bottom, while its predecessor has two beads on top and five on the bottom. The modern design allows for faster calculations during large equations, Fitzpatrick said.
Ferreira reminds us that math is a human creation, yet she said it becomes so engrained into the cultural makeup that certain principles may be taken for granted. However, differences in cultural values can drastically impact the way we view mathematics, and the world in general.
“The entire cosmology of every society is organized in a certain way, and that is where math actually begins,” she said.
Cultures that utilize a gift exchange economy, in which goods and services are distributed on the idea of gift giving, usually have different concepts of mathematics than those who live in a capitalist system.
“When you give, you don’t use a minus necessarily in your calculation,” Ferreira said. “Rather you use a plus.”
She explained that in a gift exchange economy a traditional math problem such as ‘you catch 10 fish and give three to your brother, how many do you have?’ Is not 10 minus three equals seven, but in fact can be viewed as seven plus three or even seven plus six, since the nature of the relationship is such that your brother will pay you back twice as much.
“It’s a completely different way of thinking that reflects the kind of logic and mathematical reasoning that shows us the close association between mathematics and capitalism, in which both help support the other,” Ferreira said. “Therefore when we think of mathematics we take for granted such concepts as giving implying a minus.”
In the Far East, complex Euclidian geometry equations are sometimes used as religious offerings.
“The Japanese have a tradition where mathematicians of all ages and genders come together to learn and solve problems,” said Miko Yamamoto, Treganza Anthropology Museum director and exhibit co-organizer. “Once the problem is solved, they put it on a wooden plaque and offer it to a shrine or temple. It’s a mixture of religion and science.”
Ferreira said she is considering weekly events – possibly Wednesdays at noon – so that speakers can come and meet with students who are interested in the field.
“One of the major goals of ethnomathematics as an educational program,” Ferreira said, “is to make the learning and teaching of mathematics more accessible to every student, parent, administrator, and the public in general.”
More than 100 SF State students gathered in Jack Adams Hall for the fourth annual Hip-Hop Unity Jam, a celebration of art, music and culture.
The Jam was the last of seven events hosted by the Black Student Union (BSU) - a campus organization - in honor of Black History Month on Feb. 28 at 6 p.m. With over 20 live performances, the event was the first of four Hip Hop Unity Jams to blend rap music with spoken word, poetry and African dance.
“It is an event for some, and a movement for others,” said Samuel Carr, 30, a BSU member and the show's coordinator. “It was important tonight that we put over 20 acts together. The campus hasn’t seen anything like that since I’ve been here.”
Students participated in the latest dance craze, known as the hyphy movement, which originated in Northern California, and they were joined by an Oakland-based dance troop called, Turf Feinz. At one point, a group of about 50 students gathered in a circle to show off their moves.
Turf Feinz has been performing for almost a year, according to Tiffany Sllers, 20, the group's manager. The members are between the ages of 15 to 18.
“I’ve been dancing all my life,” said 16-year-old Tracey Enskip (aka First Lady) a Turf Feinz member. “We have fun doing what we do, that is the whole point.”
Turf Feinz is featured in the rapper E-40's music video, and will also appear in rapper Too Short’s new video for the song, “Blow This Whistle,” which they performed live at the event.
Twenty-two-year-old SF State students Naser Halteh and Christopher Kazaleh performed one of three songs entitled, “Palestine My Homeland,” which relates the struggles of Palestinians to those of blacks in America.
“I don’t forget my roots..." said Kazaleh, a social science major. “It is very important for black people to be proud of where they come from too.”
Another student performed a poem that she wrote about the negative stigma attached to dark skin in African American culture.
“I thought this would be a great opportunity to get my message and frustrations out, said Talona Hobert, 19, BSU member and journalism major. “We all need to stick together regardless of color.”
Organizers of the event explained the importance of Black History Month.
“Black history is important because this is a time when people from all over the country come to embrace African culture,” said 28-year-old Hazel Jay, an education major and BSU member.
“We will celebrate the 28 days,” said Carr. “But once tomorrow comes, we are celebrating black history in every thing we do.”
Topping the night off was a performance from San Quinn, a renowned Bay Area rapper from San Francisco. He performed hits from his latest album entitled, “The Rock: Pressure Makes Diamonds.”
“I’ve been doing this all four years,” said Quinn, 28, referring to the annual Hip Hop Unity Jams. “Everyday is important for black people.”
About 100 students gathered at Jack Adams Hall to see models strut their stuff on the runway at the third annual fashion show put on by the Black Student Union (BSU).
The fashion show was one of seven events put on by the BSU in honor of Black History Month on Feb. 27 at around 7 p.m. The show featured various outfits from the Blak Specialty Gift Store on Ocean Avenue, which specializes in jewelry, clothing, books and other items relating to African and African American culture. The outfits - mostly traditional African or African inspired - ranged from casual daywear to business wear to formal evening wear. The women’s dresses were long and nearly seamless with vivid colors and distinct patterns. The men wore loose-fitting shirts with jeans, or pants, bearing similar patterns and colors to the women’s dresses.
“We have some beautiful kings and queens on the San Francisco State campus,” said Hazel Jay, an event coordinator, in reference to the models.
Rap music filled the hall while spectators began to fill the room and find their seats. As the rap music faded, the show began with the singing of the black national anthem. Following the anthem, was a poem by Jay about the problems facing African American communities. A Latin beat induced dance number was performed, and then the fashion show got underway. A group of percussionists provided an ambience of African rhythms while the models entered and exited the stage.
The 21 models – both male and female - were either freshmen or sophomores at SF State. The audience greeted the models with occasional cheers.
“That is so beautiful,” said Jasmine Vassar, a 20-year-old human resources freshman, commenting on a flowing green and gold dress worn by a female model.
This fashion show was the first at SF State in which the Blak Specialty Gift Store provided the wardrobe.
Marchelle Phillips, who runs the store with her husband, Marshall, said they started the store as a community place where people can go for the atmosphere as well as the merchandise. Phillips said she got the idea from a similar store in her native town of Brooklyn.
Phillips enjoys getting to know the different people who visit her store, and she said she likes talking with student shoppers from SF State and San Francisco City College.
“I’m glad that the young people come in,” she said. “We get to learn more about how they think.”
The show took a serious turn when Jay, a substitute teacher at a continuation school in the East Bay, spoke of the importance of community involvement for young African Americans. She emphasized the need for African American youth to work together to help their communities rather than fight with one other.
“It’s about our people,” Jay said. “We need to go back to our African roots.”
The beating of traditional African drums lured SF State students to Jack Adams Hall to celebrate Black History Month.
Over 40 students attended the event on Feb. 28 at noon, which was co-sponsored by the Africana studies department and the Richard Oaks Multicultural Center (ROMC).
The sounds of Bantaba-an African American music group from Oakland - entertained the crowd. Bantaba is a Mandingo word, which means ‘the center where all important events take place,’ according to the group’s founder, Mosheh Milon, Sr. The group consists of seven performers and two dancers wearing traditional African garb shared their knowledge of African culture through music and dance.
“We are here basically here to honor black and African history,” said Abdi Jibril, a Bantaba performer, who played the balaphones, an African keyboard. “We have a lot of history and there is a lot in the music and the tradition in these instruments…” he said.
Many of the audience members were brought up on stage to join the performers, like
SF State student, Yaminah Legohn, who echoed Jibril’s sentiment.
“The African music, dancers and drums represent our culture and black history month,” said Legohn, a 20-year-old dance junior.
Milon Sr., who formed Bantaba in 1985, said that it was important for them to perform an event at such a diverse university like SF State.
“We understand music and art is heading in a different direction which isn’t all bad,” said Milon, Sr. He added that it is important for university students to see the diversity in music, and not just what is on MTV.
Associate Professor of Africana Studies Shawn Ginwright said that the music performed by Bantaba is a way of remembering the past.
“We always have to give respect to our ancestors and we all come from West Africa and this music is a celebration of tradition, our culture and our history beginning in West Africa,” Ginwright said.
Program Development Officer of The ROMC Aimee Zenzele Barnes said that the event was meant to thank the black community for being a major contributor to SF State. The ROMC is a support program for students or faculty who want to put on multicultural activities
“The black community has been a big part of this university, so what we were trying to do today with the culmination of (the) black history month event is to acknowledge the black community by coming out,” said Barnes.
Even though Black History Month falls on the shortest month of the year, many of the performers, such as Greg Hodge, believe that black history is not only a big part of African culture, but also American culture.
“…Black history should be celebrated 365 days a year,” said Hodge.
College and university publications across the country may be vulnerable to censorship due to the Supreme Court’s denial to hear an appeal on a case involving student journalists.
The case, Hosty v. Carter, concerned three students from the Governors State University campus newspaper, “The Innovator,” who in 2000 sued the dean of student affairs after she insisted on reviewing the paper’s content before publication. The dean made this demand after the newspaper published material critical of the Illinois university’s administration and instructed the printer not to publish any more copies of “The Innovator.”
The court decided in favor of the dean, citing a 1988 Supreme Court case, Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier, which gave elementary and secondary school authorities the power to censor school-sponsored newspapers and other publications.
This decision sets a precedent that college journalists may be treated the same way as high school journalists. The minority opinion of the ruling stated that the Hazelwood case should not apply since there are significant differences in the personal maturity of high school students and college students.
Also of concern about the court citing the Hazelwood case is the vague description used in the decision allowing administrators to censor “unprotected” speech, according to Mike Hiestand, a legal consultant for the Student Press Law Center.
Under the ruling, administration has the right to restrict not just the usual libelous and obscene speech, but can also censor writing if it is deemed “ungrammatical,” “biased or prejudiced,” “poorly written,” “inconsistent with the shared values of civilized order,” as well as anything written that associates the school with “any position other than neutrality on matters of political controversy.”
According to a statement by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a possible consequence will be any university administration that is bristled by negative news brought to light by the student paper may result in restrictions in future speech.
This ruling contradicts a 1972 Supreme Court decision stating that the college environment is a marketplace of ideas and in need of uninhibited expression.
On Feb. 21 the Supreme Court denied to even hear the appeal of the students, sending a wave of concern throughout many organizations concerned about First Amendment rights. Both the Student Press Law Center and the College Media Advisors Inc. have made statements condemning the court’s decision, citing that this will cause extreme harm to the quality of journalism produced on campuses.
Although the case only applies to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which presides over Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin, talk of the precedent the case may set has already rippled through the country and made its way to the CSU system.
David Greene, executive director of the First Amendment Project and a lecturer at SF State, said he would be surprised if the Supreme Court’s decision does not affect college journalism in areas other than the three states under jurisdiction.
“This case is disturbing for college journalists and opens the door for other courts to analyze cases using this decision,” Greene said. “It is inevitable that the reasoning in Hosty v. Carter will carry over to other court decisions.”
According to the Student Press Law Center, 10 days after the case was decided last June in favor of the dean’s right to prior review, the CSU’s general counsel, Christine Helwick, sent a memo to presidents of the CSU campuses that stated, “The case appears to signal that CSU campuses may have more latitude than previously believed to censor the content of subsidized student newspapers, provided that there is an established practice of regularized content review and approval for pedagogical purposes.”
The CSU does not have a system-wide policy regarding the amount of influence the university administration can have on a student-run publication.
“Each campus has the liberty to manage the relationship with the campus newspaper,” Clara Potes-
Fellow, director of media relations for the CSU, said.
According to journalism department Chair John Burks, SF State has a tradition of press freedom for student-run publications regardless of what the law says.
“In all my years on the faculty, no administrator has moved to stop publication or censor content,” Burks said.
Students of SF State publications have the authority to decide what to cover, which stories to assign, which photos to publish, and how to edit stories, according to Burks.
“We figure the best way for you to learn journalism and take responsibility is for you to exercise those things right here, right now, in the [X]press newsroom,” Burks said.
English major Jason Wilson had to make haste. He was late for class.
After parking his car at the garage next to the Student Services building, the 29-year-old senior walked briskly across the lot. But as he approached the car-park exit, Wilson rushed back to his vehicle.
“Crap, I gotta move my car,” he said. Wilson did not see the yellow overhead banner and purple signs that read, “Faculty and Staff Parking Only.”
Students are allowed to park in Lot 20, but not in Lot 19 (garage level 4I to 4N, and the roof).
Many SF State students are not as lucky as Wilson, who escaped receiving a ticket. After their classes, students return to their cars and find $55 citations smacked on their windshields. If not paid within 31 days, the fee increases to $70.
Last year, the Department of Parking and Transportation issued 7,587 citations and collected roughly $400,000 worth of fines, said university Director of Public Affairs Ellen Griffin.
Students say the fines are exorbitant and that there should be more placards and barricades to prevent them from parking at reserved spaces.
However, some faculty members say the current signs are already visible.
“(Students) should be able to see the banner,” said SF State employee Jenny Smith, 27, who parks at the garage.
Transportation officials are scheduled to install more signs this fall, Griffin said.
“They need something really big – a big red sign that says, ‘Do not park here,’” said psychology student Andrew McDonald, 25. He was cited two weeks ago and wants to contest his ticket.
To prevent such incidents, Franziska Jost notifies students about the parking situation. Jost, who works at the chemistry department, sympathizes with those who are ticketed.
“The charges to students are outrageous,” she said. “It’s a big cash cow for the university.”
Many students also complain about the parking fee.
At the Lot 20 garage, students and visitors have to pay $1 an hour, or $5 per day. Staff and faculty parking permits cost $81 per semester.
There are 1,541 parking spaces in the garage and 2,933 spaces on campus. Some students and faculty say there is insufficient parking on campus, but compared to other universities in the city, SF State can park more vehicles and has a lower parking fee.
There are 1,000 parking spaces at UCSF’s Parnassus campus. The university charges $2.75 an hour, and up to $22 a day. The price of parking permits range from $10 to $96 per month.
At the University of San Francisco, the transportation department charges a flat rate of $15 per day. Permits for the 700-unit parking garage range from $85 to $240 per semester.
Rather than paying for parking, student Kimberly Cassada said she prefers to park at Buckingham Avenue and Lake Merced.
Ryan Cassidy, 22, said students who drive should park at the Daly City BART station and take the SF State shuttle or MUNI bus to school. The business student said they would be saved from parking tickets.
But some students prefer campus parking, even after being fined.
Chemistry major Brian Blank, 22, who received a ticket for parking at the faculty and staff lot, said he will not repeat his mistake.
“You learn your lesson and you don’t do it again,” he said. “You start paying attention.”