November 2006 Archives

Gators Chime in on Comedian's Racial Slurs

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On Nov. 17, Michael Richards, "Kramer" of Seinfeld fame, lashed out at audience members, using profanity and racial slurs during his comedy skit. SF State students react to Richards' remarks at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles.

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SF State Speaks Out on Speaker of the House

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With Democratic victory in this year's midterm election, Nancy Pelosi is set to be the first woman to stand second in succession to the presidency as Speaker of the House of Representatives. SF State students voice their opinions on Pelosi.

ASI Passes Resolution Against Flag Stomping

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Preceding an ongoing investigation into SF State College Republican behavior, the Associated Students board unanimously adopted a resolution condemning the student group for purposely stomping on flags containing the Arabic symbol for God.

“Associated Students, Inc. deems the College Republicans’ actions as contrary to university values and feel they should be held accountable by the university for their actions,” the resolution says.

The Nov. 15 resolution comes on the heels of several student and student organization complaints at board meetings and the Office of Student Programs and Leadership Development, or OSPLD, which has also sparked a separate investigation and assembly of a special panel to decide if the College Republicans did indeed violate the university’s conduct rules.

The resolution cited a rule outlined in the university’s Strategic Plan saying, “SFSU facilitates teaching, learning and work experiences among students, faculty and staff that promote equity and social justice within a respectful and safe environment.”

Moreover, the resolution sets the stage for the College Republicans possibly losing official student group status and or ASi funding.

Amid heavy campus police presence at an Oct. 17 anti-terrorism rally in Malcolm X Plaza, some members of the crowd turned angry when the College Republicans stepped on homemade Hezbollah and Hamas flags, though the student group claims they were not initially aware the flags contained the Arabic symbol for God.

After that, the College Republican-organized rally dissolved into a heated shouting match between the group and a mix of students, including some Muslim students, eventually resulting in formal complaints to student representatives.

‘They were voicing their concerns that this event was even allowed. They were offended,” said Kimberly Castillo, board member and chair of University Affairs, the committee that drafted the resolution. “We felt it our duty to respond.”

Administrators have been criticized for even allowing the rally to take place.

“The actions on the part of the College Republicans amount to no more than hateful religious intolerance, and constitutes an attempt to defy policies outlined and defined by San Francisco State University’s values,” the resolution says. “Members… pre-mediated the stomping of the flags knowing it would offend some people and possibly incite violence.”

ASi board members Joicy Serrano and Faith Cushenberry have been appointed to the Student Organization Hearing Panel, which will convene when the OSPLD investigation concludes.

Joey Greenwell, director of the OSPLD, declined to comment and did not give a time frame when it might be finished, saying all matters of the investigation are confidential.

The College Republicans said they will take legal action against the university if sanctions are imposed upon them, citing their First Amendment right to freedom of speech.

Though ASi has taken a public stance denouncing the group before the investigation is over, Castillo said so far the resolution is the “facts speaking for themselves” not necessarily a license to take action against the College Republicans.

“We still want to wait for due process,” Castillo said.

Even so, the resolution says if the SOHP finds the College Republicans did violate University policies and purposely engaged in hateful speech they “will suspend any further funding of this organization’s programming.”

CFA Negotiations Drag On

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The latest contract negotiation meeting between the California State University and the California Faculty Association ended as the CFA requested more time to review the CSU’s written proposal.

The 20-month negotiation process has gone to a mediator and the CFA General Assembly passed a resolution in October to allow the CFA Board of Directors to initiate job actions – strikes, walkouts – if a contract has not been successfully negotiated.

The mediator suggested holding a meeting on Dec. 15 for the two groups to discuss things further, according to a bargaining status report Assistant Vice Chancellor Sam Strafaci released last week.

“If the contract was fair, it would be done tomorrow and we’d be happy with that,” said Brian Ferguson, a communication specialist for the CFA, who said the CFA contract expired Sept. 30 and they were operating on monthly “good faith” deals.

But Paul Browning, media relations specialist for the CSU, said the offer has been fair from the start.

“The chancellor's office has offered the faculty a 25 percent salary raise over the next four years, which we think is a pretty good offer,” he said. “In fact, after just three years on that offer full-time faculty would be making over six figures. Of course, they're all contingent on the budget.”

Emotions run high, and this was evident at a Nov. 15 California State University Board of Trustees meeting in Long Beach, where more than 1,200 CSU faculty and students confronted policy makers about their various grievances.

Organized by the CFA, the boisterous chants and cheers made it nearly impossible to hear the board members.

The hubbub did not seem to bother Corrigan, as he was the only board member who stayed until the protesters were finished in the meeting room.

“It's basically part of the democratic process,” he said. “There was a lot of concern on salaries, a lot of concern about some of the perk issues, so it's not a surprise.”

After coming back from recess, the members tried to start the meeting again, but the chants from the protestors drowned out the board’s attempt to call roll and members began to leave.

“It's time for us to have a voice at the table, to be treated with respect, to be treated as equals and to be treated as people who understand what is happening to the California State University,” said John Travis, CFA president, as he and other CFA members sat in vacated board member seats.

According to Browning, the board adjourned the final meeting, but it was too loud to hear the announcement. Browning also expressed concerns that the protest would be counterproductive to negotiations.

Contract negotiations were a big issue for many of the protesters, and it was the main complaint for Cal Poly Pomona professor John Mallinckrodt. The physics professors, like many other in the crowd, had negative feelings towards Chancellor Charles Reed.

“There's been too much dishonest bargaining by the chancellor,” Mallinckrodt said. “The chancellor came into office promising to eliminate a salary gap that had existed for some time. In the past five years that gap has only gotten worse.”

Maire Fowler, a member of SF State's ASI and a CFA intern, played a role in the meeting's first major interruption by opening the back door, which allowed at least 15 protesters stalled the meeting with their chanting. She told security she opened the door because she had to go to her car.

California State Senator Gloria Romero spurred the second interruption. After four hours of meetings, and no acknowledgment of the protesters by the board, Romero stepped to the public comment microphone during a brief recess, during which many of the board members stayed in the room.

“I am proud of this system, I am proud that I graduated from this system,” she said. “And most importantly, I am proud that even as trustees in this room sat here pretending not to hear, there were over 1,000 students and faculty outside calling upon the chancellor and this board of trustees to do three things to make sure California's master plan works for them the way if worked for me.”

Those things, Romero said, were to roll back student fees, get rid of executive perks, and negotiate a fair contract with the faculty.

Many students chanted, “Don't raise fees,” but Browning said that chant didn't make much sense at this meeting because fees didn't go up this year at all

“There was no proposal at this meeting to raise fees. That was a misconception that many students at the meeting seemed to have,” Browning said.

Adriana Garcia, an intern for CFA, used to attend San Jose State University but currently doesn’t attend school because she said she can't afford it.

“It's not fair,” she said. “These board members are getting paid to get new cars while students have to get two jobs and take out loans to afford school.”

Students Embrace Displays of Affection

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SF State students walking to or from classes in the last few weeks might have seen microbiology major Robert Schmidt carrying a large sign that reads “FREE HUGS” high above his head.

“People have definitely looked at me strange,” Schmidt said. “Who wouldn't?”

“Most people are bewildered at first but I give them a hug and they walk away,” he said. “I didn't really know what to feel or expect on the first day. I guess I was expecting the worst and hoping for the best.”

Schmidt is a member of the Free Hugs Campaign, a recently popular international campaign aimed at the random act of kindness that is a free hug.

The campaign was started in 2004 by an Australian man under the alias of Juan Mann. According to the Free Hugs Campaign Web page, Juan Mann returned home from London after his world was turned “upside down.”

Sad that no one was at the airport to greet him, he went into the streets of his home Sydney with a large sign reading “FREE HUGS.”

The campaign proceeded with little international attention until Juan Mann’s hug footage was teamed with music from the band Sick Puppies and posted on YouTube. The video, posted Sept. 22, was viewed more than a million times in its first week and more than 7 million times total, elevating it to the 14th most viewed video in YouTube history.

Since then, Free Hugs Campaigns have begun in Japan, China, Slovenia, Latin American countries and the United States.

In late October, “FREE HUGS” signs could be found outside Busch Stadium in St. Louis before Game 5 of the World Series and three days later when Juan Mann made a guest appearance on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”

Schmidt heard about the campaign on MySpace in November and took up the “FREE HUGS” sign the following week, carrying it above his head to and from classes and in his free time.

Meredith Fenseca is in Schmidt’s biology class and received one of his free hugs.

“It was a real hug, not one of those half hugs people give you like fake handshakes,” Fenseca said.

“You don’t meet people like that on campus every day. Half the people don’t look you in the eye or even smile. It really put a smile on my face.”

Schmidt’s most successful day was a Wednesday afternoon spent with his friend Liz Zunino. While standing in front of the Cesar Chavez Student Center, three other people joined in and together the group gave out more than 50 hugs in two and a half hours.

“Most people who know me would think it was out of character for me to go marching around holding a ‘FREE HUGS’ sign,” Zunino said. “But it was a fun and rewarding experience.”

Schmidt hugs more women than men, but does not use the random act of kindness as a dating service.

“A few girls have asked for my name,” he said. “But I've always replied, ‘No names, no numbers, no nothing. Just hugs.’”

“This is really not for me, it’s for people,” Schmidt said.

Although it’s all about humanity, there have been a few out of the ordinary hugs. One man thought he was trying to steal his wallet and while out in the rain last Friday he experienced one of the strangest hugs of the week.

“This guy sees me and comes racing at me,” he said. “Not even 5 feet from me, he slips. We're both ready for the hug, so we grab each other, but he continues to slip and fall backward and I land right on top of him. I'm sure it was not a pretty picture”

To join Schmidt or other members of the Free Hugs Campaign you can join the SF State MySpace forum. To view more video of Free Hugs Campaigns around the world visit the Free Hugs Campaign video blog.

SF Protest over Philippines Rape Case

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A rape trial involving four U.S. Marines in the Philippines prompted a protest in San Francisco’s Civic Center late Monday afternoon.

Nearly three-dozen Filipino and women’s rights activists gathered in front of the Phillip Burton Federal Building to call attention to the situation in the Philippines, where the servicemen are charged with the gang-rape of a Filipina woman in the back of a van while on leave from joint-military exercises last year.

Charm Consolacion, Vice-Chair of the League of Filipino Students at SF State said that she and others in the Filipino-American community are anxious to hear about what is really happening in their homeland.

“We as Filipino Americans need to be more aware of these things,” Consolacion said, “especially with the military presence in the country.”

The four month trial has been plagued with allegations by the 23 year-old accuser, known by the pseudonym Nicole, of incompetence on the part of prosecutors. A verdict in the case, expected shortly before the march, was postponed for another week.

“This is a really messed up, fucked up case,” said Lolan Sevilla, Mass Campaigns Director for babea, a Filipina-feminist organization.

The protestors expressed their support for the alleged victim and disgust for what they viewed as preferential treatment for the Marines by the Filipino government under President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

“We’re outraged with the way its been handled,” said Marisa Mariano, Secretary General of babea. “The Filipino government isn’t in support of justice for Nicole. They are making deals in support of the Marines.”

The demonstrators chanted “Justice for Nicole!” and called on the Filipino government to end to the Visiting Forces Agreement, which allows US troops to join Filipino troops in joint exercises on a temporary basis and prevents the Philippines from taking custody of any U.S. service member accused of a crime on Philippine soil (the four Marines are currently in the custody of the U.S. Embassy).

Mariano said that crimes against women have increased in the Philippines since U.S. forces entered the country.

“Numerous cases have been brought to the forefront, even if they were never brought to trial,” Mariano said.

Students: Grade My Picture

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A new photo feature on a student-rated Web site for evaluating professors now allows its users to upload pictures of listed teachers to accompany their profiles.

Taken in the classroom unknowingly via camera cell phones, or uploaded by the teacher’s themselves, users of Ratemyprofessor.com can now put a face with a name, along with their "hot" or "not" rating.

As an SF State history lecturer with mostly positive reviews and one of the few with a photo on the site, Mark Sigmon, 47, said he thinks “the whole thing is kind of funny.”

Sigmon said he frequents the site embarrassingly often, and the mostly-positive reviews sometimes serve as an ego boost. Laughing as he said that he accidentally uploaded his own department photo to the site, Sigmon said he’s unsure of his feelings when it comes to the new feature.

“I think it’s interesting to be judged on your looks,” he said.

Following the leads of other “profile” Web sites, such as Myspace.com and Facebook.com, whose markets are largely student based, Ratemyprofessor.com President Patrick Nagle, 24, said the inspiration for the new feature sprang from its users.

“We had requests from students over the last year requesting such a feature," Nagle said. "We decided to implement it, give them what they were asking for.”

Seven SF State professors out of more than 1600 listed on the site now have photos displayed next to their “scorecard,” which keeps track of their teaching quality ratings and student comments.

SF State Mass Communications Law lecturer David Greene, who also works as the executive director for a nonprofit that supports First Amendment rights, said someone could make a decent argument that providing this place to upload a teacher’s photo is a misappropriation – meaning his or her image is being used for commercial purposes through a Web site making money from the advertisers it sells space to.

Since the photo feature was added nearly a month ago, Nagle said the site is experiencing its “highest level of traffic” ever.

But Greene also said, “I don’t think you have a strong expectation of privacy in the classroom.”

Sigmon agreed with Greene’s sentiment regarding privacy, but also noted some discomfort in the idea.

“I’m not used to people taking pictures of you with their telephone," he said. "I don’t think anyone does take pictures in class, but I don’t know.”

“That sounds illegal,” Evan Silver, 22, a senior journalism student said of the ability for anonymous members to post photographs of their professors. “If you’re putting a picture up there the teacher is being rated on criteria completely unrelated to their ability to teach.”

Nagle, who bought the site with a partner in 2005, said he is not concerned with the legality.

“We have some very reputable counsel," he said. "We were advised that we are a forum … We are a tool for users to say what they like.”

“I think it's wonderful that there is that forum," Greene said of Ratemyprofessor.com. “As a teacher of First Amendment rights, I encourage students to exercise (these) rights, and I would encourage professors to be thick-skinned.”

Nagle said the site will soon add another new feature allowing professors to respond to their ratings in a blog-like format.

SF State linguistic theory professor Rachelle Waksler, who declined to give her age, said of the photo someone took from her Web site and uploaded to Ratemyprofessor.com, “I think that that’s not cool without my permission…it should be approved by the person it’s of.” Waksler said that regardless of approval of appropriate material by the site’s administrators before a photo goes up, she “would be rather disgusted if they could just pick any photo.”

“The response is mixed,” Nagle said, noting that the site’s nature has always made it this way.

“I don’t particularly mind because it’s a photo I know,” Paul Mullins, 36, an assistant art professor, said of the photo on his page. “I think if it was something someone snapped with a camera phone I would feel differently about it.” All that aside, Mullins said he would hope students would not make decisions based on their potential teacher’s appearance.

Freshman Nicole Gour, 18, SF State anthropology major, said she relies on Ratemyprofessor.com to help her plan her semester – giving her accurate guidance in selecting her teachers. The new photo feature is something she said is “interesting and amusing” but “doesn’t serve me in any way.”

If anything, Gour suggested perhaps students would “feel a little more comfortable going into the classroom,” knowing who to expect as their instructor.

“When you consider what students spend on an education, they should be able to make an informative decision on who they’d like to take and who they’d like to avoid," Nagle said. “People should be able to get on it and use any tool necessary.”

Three Speakers Qualify for Nationals

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Three SF State speech team members have already qualified for the national tournament in spring after only three tournaments. Qualification requires a competitor to finish in the top three at three separate tournaments.

On Nov. 15, the team showcased a number of the performances that have made them a success in front of a packed room of peers and family.

In her dramatic interpretation of “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot,” Kimmie Sakamoto, 22, depicted a multitude of characters – from a condescending Satan to a brink-of-tears Mary Magdalene and an anguished Judas – all in under 10 minutes.

The piece is one of three Sakamoto has qualified for the national tournament. Lisa Rau, 20, has also qualified three events.

The two were recently joined by Jeremy Wesler-Buck, 19, who qualified his after-dinner speech at a Nov. 11 tournament at University of the Pacific.

Up to six events can be qualified for nationals. There are 12 categories of speech events ranging from dramatic interpretation to straightforward informative pieces to humorous after-dinner speeches.

Sakamoto is the most experienced member of team, and the only one of the three with experience at the national tournament. She qualified each of the last two years.

“The overall experience of just being in that atmosphere, that is what makes you a better performer,” Sakamoto said.

A normal tournament has between 75 and 100 competitors, said volunteer coach Collin McDonnell, 21, but the national tournament will have about 600 competitors.

“People kind of psych themselves out by thinking they need to beat 600 rather than the five they see in round,” McDonnell said. “The size of it can be intimidating.”

Rau and Wesler-Buck will experience that pressure for the first time. Both made the leap from novice to the more competitive open division for the first time this semester.

But, although qualifying for nationals is nice, it is not the most important aspect for this particular team, McDonnell said.

“It is a lot more about doing good performances for the performance’s sake,” he said.

After graduating from Bradley University in Illinois, one of the top two schools in speech, McDonnell said he returned to the Bay Area and decided to volunteer at SF State, where he helps competitors work on their delivery.

“I help people understand the power of their words,” he said. “It is almost a word-by-word process.”

The team is handicapped by a small budget, which only allows them to compete in three or four tournaments next semester, but volunteers like McDonnell and the enthusiasm of the team members have kept the program successful.

“People have postponed their graduation for the team,” Rau said. “It takes over your life, it becomes a passion.”

Educational Doctorate Offered for Professionals

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In the fall 2007 semester, SF State will become one of seven California State Universities to offer a new doctoral degree in educational leadership.

The degree, known as an Ed.D. will be offered to adults with a master’s degree, preferably in education, who are already working in the educational field as teachers or administrators. The Ed.D. is designed with the purpose of giving new leadership skills to prepare those students to effectively work in the K-12 school system as well as community colleges.

The program will focus on five different curriculum categories specifically developed by members of the Ed.D. Task Force – a group of SF State faculty members, representatives from local K-12 districts and community colleges, and university academic affairs administrators.

“The doctorate in education is a very applied doctoral degree in that it will allow graduates to hit the ground running,” said SF State gerontology professor Darlene Yee, a member of the Ed.D. Task Force who has been teaching at the university for 16 years.

According to Yee, SF State – along with six other CSUs: Long Beach, Fullerton, Fresno, Sacramento, San Bernardino and San Diego – was chosen by CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed to develop the degree, since each university is already involved with educational doctorate programs.

David Meredith, a professor of mathematics and the SF State Academic Senate chair, said the program was approved by the senate Sept. 26, and will replace the current educational doctorate that SF State jointly offers with UC Berkeley.

“It is a good opportunity for students, as well as for our faculty, to teach such a program,” Meredith said. “Like with most education, it’s a win-win situation.”

According to David Hemphill the associate dean of the College of Education as well as a member of the Ed.D. Task Force, the new degree is highly dependent on specific strengths that are available on campus in the various colleges.

Hemphill said faculty members from the Colleges of Education, Business, Behavioral and Social Sciences, Health and Human Services will all contribute to shaping the focus of the program as well as teaching various classes.

Among the five curriculum categories designed in the colleges, some include leadership skills, equity, diversity and research activities.

“Drawing on the strengths of the faculty at SF State will make it a really strong program with a much greater depth of focus,” Hemphill said.

Yee said the educational doctorate is designed for working adults and will focus on meeting the needs of those students. The program is designed to last three years, including summer semesters. Classes will be offered at night and on the weekends to accommodate the 18 to 22 students that the Task Force is expecting to have in its first year.

Alongside the classes, which include three classes per semester for the first two years, students will also be required to work outside SF State classrooms with various K-12 schools and community colleges in the area.

“The students will be required to do hands-on field work with community administrators,” Yee said. “A type of professional networking.”

Lisa White, the associate dean of graduate studies and the chair of the Task Force, explained that the program will make itself available to the greater Bay Area as well as being affordable when compared to other Ed.D. programs at private and independent universities.

The cost of an Ed.D. will be about the same as a master’s degree, which at SF State costs full-time students $3,710 per semester. There are also financial aid opportunities available for those who qualify, White said.

The application process for admission into the program will begin in January, with an application deadline set for sometime in April 2007. For more information call the graduate studies department at (415) 338-2234.

SF State Realizes E-Waste Predicament

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As the high-tech industry continues to provide abundant amounts of electronics for consumers, legislatures face the question of how to deal with the economical and environmental costs of disposing the mounting amount of expired products.

Recent legislation throughout the nation has brought into focus the demand for proper disposal of electronic waste (e-waste), and according to SF State staff members, the campus is practicing responsible discarding of its e-waste.

Below the surface of Burk Hall is the “The SWAP Shop,” where electronic waste from throughout the campus is stored, analyzed and prepared for recycling or reuse. Property clerk Bill Henry runs the SWAP shop, an acronym for surplus with a purpose.

“It is not required to bring old electronics here,” Henry said. “But everyone here is pretty environmentally aware. The important part is this stuff is not getting shipped to China for some kid to smash up.”

Henry receives e-waste and other surplus, such as furniture, from all departments and figures out what can be reused throughout campus. The remaining unsalvageable equipment is picked up at no cost by JK Recycling, an East Bay recycling company. Henry said JK Recycling practices responsible dismantling and recycling of electronics.

More than 3,000 tons of electronics are discarded daily in the United States, and 50 million computers become obsolete every year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“There is becoming more electronics in the world,” said Robert Shearer, director of the environmental health and occupational safety office on campus. “Circuit boards, computer screens, etcetera, all have a small amount of mercury, which is among the chemicals we don’t put back into the environment. We make sure campus is doing what is required by law.”

SF State Procurement Director Steven Smith said before the SWAP Shop was made available to campus about seven years ago, the university did what everyone else was doing at the time, throwing its e-waste in the trash because it was considered just garbage.

“But as pictures came back from Asia with kids dismantling the computers and coming in contact with toxins, thoughts changed,” Smith said.

Today, 50 to 80 percent of the e-waste collected for recycling is still being exported to Asian countries that have no infrastructure to accommodate the hazardous properties of e-waste and no laws preventing its import, according to the Computer Take Back Campaign (CTBC), a national group of e-waste disposal advocates.

Delegates from 120 nations are scheduled to meet for five days, from Nov. 27 to Dec. 1, in Kenya to discuss the global e-waste situation and attempt to assign legislation on the growing predicament.

“Who pays for this is a big issue,” Sachiko Kuwabara Yamamoto, head of the Basel Convention which monitors hazardous waste, told a news conference Nov. 25.

This week’s meetings will decide on proposals to make manufacturers take more responsibility for their products, from the design phase through the supply chain to the ultimate disposal.

There is no national policy for safe recycling of e-waste. Any recycling is voluntary or state mandated.

California, Washington, Maine and Maryland are the only states that have passed e-waste recycling laws.

In September 2003, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law the Electronic Waste Recycling Act, the first legislation in the nation that requires producer responsibility and take-back of disregarded electronics from their customers. Other states are beginning to follow suit.

Illinois, Louisiana, and New Mexico have all passed legislation in this year requiring studies of the e-waste problem and recommendations for solutions, according to the CTBC.

Some say if manufacturers had to pay recycling costs, they would create less toxic and longer living products.

“Companies need to handle the products they make at the end of its lifecycle,” said SF State environmental studies major Bear Kaufmann. “This provides an incentive to design the product to be easier to recycle and reduce toxicity due to the cost of handling toxic waste.”

Fellow environmental studies major Mark Abraham, 21, agrees with Kaufmann that companies should design their products with the environment in mind.

“We should be demanding longer life spans for our machines in conjunction with better recycling methods,” Abraham said. “The rate of recycling in this country really needs to be taken a good look at, but at the same time we should remember that the recycle is only one of three R’s, so lets fight for more recycling and better ‘gas mileage’ for new e-machines.”

Nonprofit Rocks Out With Bay Area Voters

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Café Du Nord hosted a packed benefit concert featuring Bay Area based, emo-prog- rockers, Division Day and dredg. The event benefited Music for America, MFA, a nonprofit organization that encourages young people to vote and get involved in politics.

This once-grass roots organization now boasts about 60,000 members and tours the nation at music events, setting up tables offering information for young people on how to register to vote. Music is used as a tool for the organization to get the message out that having an interest in political issues and having a voice within politics is important to everyone, especially young people.

MFA’s mission is to provide the cultural capital and political savvy for a generation to reinvent progressive politics, according to its Web site.

Don Menn, who has been active with MFA since 2003 and a SF State journalism professor, said that MFA is mostly a liberal organization, although its work is essentially non-partisan.

“We are doubling our efforts by not only trying to involve young people to register to vote but by encouraging participatory culture,” said Menn.

He added that young people are heavily pegged towards music, and therefore it is used as a “cultural springboard” from which to encourage political activism.

Jennifer Otter, who is currently studying her master’s thesis in the humanities department at SF State, is the Music Director for MFA and said that they are very excited to have both bands involved with their organization.

“Division Day and dredg represent the future of music,” she said. “They’re both politically active and they represent San Francisco in terms of their diversity. They really show where the industry is doing things independently and getting involved within the community.”

Drew Roulette, bassist for dredg, said that he felt it was important for them as a band to get involved with the organization and to help raise money for the cause.

“I think it is important for young people to be involved in their community as well as in politics of life. Young voters brought the Democrats in to the Senate so that was important to us as well,” Roulette said.

According to the organization, 4.6 million new voters registered in 2004. Four million of those voters signed on through youth outreach groups such as MFA. Rock the Vote, a similar youth-based political organization, which went bankrupt in 2004, similarly targeted young voters by setting up shop at larger venues and youth-driven musical events. Menn said MFA is a more alternative, progressive organization that has targeted smaller clubs and music venues.

MFA cites the multi-platinum, Grammy-winning punk band Green Day as heavy supporters, as well as musicians such as Death Cab for Cutie, Nelly Furtado, Michael Stipe of R.E.M and record label, Interscope Records.

The organization was started by three young guys, Andy Rappaport, Dan Droller and Josh Kumid, who were just out of college and had an idea of how to change politics. They found that many bands wanted to get their political message to their fans. The three created MFA as a host for bands to send their message and encouraged them to help spread that message.

According to their Web site, MFA is not only a political organization, but a cultural one.

The organization stands behind an idea called participatory culture, which is the idea that if you participate in your culture, you are essentially being political.

SF State music major, James Scragg, 31, interns for the organization and jokingly said his job is to entertain people in the office. He said he is involved with MFA because it is a youth-driven organization.

“This is the world we’re talking about here, the current state of this country is a disgrace,” said Scragg, who plays the drums and keyboard and has just put out an album with his band, Riff, titled “Play something we know.”

SF State Students share Japanese tradition

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More than 30 SF State students took part in an authentic Japanese tea ceremony – a 400-year-old Japanese tradition – in HUM 117 Nov. 17. The tea ceremony was one of the last events held in celebration of the sixth annual International Education Week.

Two master of arts students, who are studying to become professors of Japanese, organized the tea ceremony. One of which was Yafuko Kurioka, 36, who said international education week is the perfect opportunity to share Japanese culture with as many SF State students as possible.

Kurioka also said that when she came to study in the United States, she “sort of” lost her cultural identity. For her, the tea ceremony is a time for reflection and an opportunity to get together with friends.

“The tea ceremony is about sharing,” Kurioka said. “It is a time to talk about Japanese culture with my friends and classmates, and it is very important to us.”

The tea ceremony was divided into three 50-minute sessions, with each session performed in one of three traditions: Omote-senke, Yabunouchi and Ura-senke. Some students, who paid $5, were seated in a traditional Japanese style teahouse, while others were seated in Western style seating for $3.

Japanese macha tea is a powdered green tea blended with water. It was served along with Japanese sweets and a short video on the history of the Japanese tea ceremony.

Bhavesh Patel, 33, a philosophy major at SF State, said he decided to come to the tea ceremony because he wanted to experience something new, without having to travel abroad. He also said international education week is important because, although there is a lot of diversity at SF State, there is still prejudice and intolerance.

“Education about other societies and cultures is critical,” Patel said. “Students should come out to experience a culture other than their own. The great thing about the tea ceremony is that it’s just a couple steps away from a classroom or dorm room, and it is really not that expensive.”

The tea ceremony is a spiritual and aesthetic discipline that has had a huge impact on Japanese culture. There are many different schools of tea ceremony, and most have a common theme. Chado ideals, for example, are expressed in four words – harmony, tranquility, purity and respect.

Tomoko Takigawa, 30, one of the hosts in Friday’s tea ceremony and a graduate student studying to become a teacher of Japanese, said she practiced tea ceremony for three years in Japan.

“This college has many international students and it is very diverse,” Takigawa said. “It is great to have the opportunity to share our culture with the campus community.”

Japanese Student Association President Ramon Mislang, 26, an international relations major who is interested in Japanese culture and language, said he is familiar with Japanese culture and knows a little bit about the tea ceremony, although it was the first time he had actually participated in one.

“SF State is an international campus and there are a lot of people from many different places, so it is important to share the culture and experience all of it,” Mislang said. “This aspect of Japanese culture is probably dying for young people to get involved.”

Exhibit Helps the ‘Creative Growth’ Process

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SF State’s Art Gallery opened a new exhibit on Thursday, featuring brightly colored images created by artists involved with an Oakland, Calif., organization called Creative Growth Art Center.

The organization provides people with physical or mental disabilities the opportunity to create and display art. It is the first and largest independent art center for adults with disabilities and serves over 140 adults. The exhibit, “Who is an Outsider?” asks the public to see people outside of their handicaps.

“These people have amazing perspectives that not everyone has. They have a lot to bring to society and I feel it’s important for them to have a voice,” said Jaime Schwartz, manager of the Art Gallery. She said the exhibit is important because it gives those people who aren’t normally able to express themselves a way to be heard and valued by others.

“It’s enormously satisfying to have our artists cross over into the realm of contemporary art by collaboration with three of California’s premiere artists,” said Tom di Maria, director of Creative Growth Art Center in a press release.

Gerone Spruill, one of the four artists featured, created an entire city of imagination. His “Chocolate City” is one that is full of rap music and street smarts with a comic book narrative. From the woman getting a bright red pedicure, to the rock star, to the kissing couple, he created a story that is full of color and life.

“The pictures I created make me feel great. I feel Happy [sic]. Without it, I wouldn’t be able to work hard, to get where I am today,” Spruill wrote in his own cursive handwriting in a book from Creative Growth entitled “One is Adam One is Superman.”

Assistant director of the Art Gallery Sophie Johnson, feels that it’s a tool for release for most of these artists.

“I think it really raises the awareness of who is an artist and what is really art,” said Johnson. “Now they have people to listen to what they have to say.”

Originally the artwork was displayed on BART stations and trains to allow the project to reach a more diverse audience in the Bay Area. These images were viewed about 8 million times since last June. The campaign is meant to help raise awareness while allowing the artists to be appreciated.

“It’s really interesting and different,” said Jamie Lundy, 18, an English major at SF State. “It seems like a really creative way to let others see what they are capable of.”

The exhibition will be displayed at SF State’s Art Gallery in the Cesar Chavez Student Center until Dec. 13.

Addiction Confessions Educates Students

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A panel of three recovering substance and alcohol abusers who attend SF State spoke to a crowd of students in Rigoberta Minchu Hall at an event called “Blurred Lines” on Monday.

Barbara, Hank and Collin, whose last names were not given, answered questions about addiction and gave students advice on how to help themselves and their friends through addiction.

“Unfortunately some of us have to fall really hard before we can get back up,” said Collin. “That’s part of the reason that I volunteered to do this, so people can maybe hear about the realities of this and hopefully they don’t have to fall as hard as I did.” Collin used and sold Ecstasy and said that he was busted by police before he decided to get help.

Students from the audience asked if there were ways to get their friends help before they hit rock bottom.

“There’s not much you can say until they are ready to deal with whatever,” answered Hank. He added that interventions couldn’t hurt because it lets the abuser know what is at stake if they don’t get help. Hank was confronted by co-workers when it became obvious to them that his drinking was out of hand. His drinking problem had him living from pay check to pay check with a $3 balance in his checking account.

“It was how I maintained,” he explained. “It was getting harder and harder to make it, like I wasn’t holding it together anymore.” After two-and-a-half years of staying clean, Hank describes himself as a totally different person and is fortunate to be studying at SF State.

The panel members agreed that their drug abuse had been holding them back from achieving their true potential.

“I’m starting school at 32 and finishing at 41, that’s my whole plan,” said Barbara, who began abusing alcohol when she was 12 years old. She used an Eskimo analogy to explain her rescue from addiction.

“Picture yourself on an ice float and there’s no one there to help you and it’s foggy wet, it’s wet, it’s freezing cold and there’s a hand that comes out and you know Eskimos they kind of hang out around that area,” Barbara said laughing. “It’s the hand that reaches out.”

The panelists described their social lives and gave students tips on what is appropriate if they have a friend who is recovering.

“You can’t not have the party because you think so and so is gonna drink,” said Hank. “You know the liquor is not going to come down my throat and force me to drink.” He suggested having other drinks besides liquor at a party like soda and coffee. Other alcohol-free activities suggested were 30-person twister, movie night, and an ice cream social.

Students appreciated the advice and contrast between the topics of alcoholism and drug abuse in the panel.

“When you think of blurred lines you do really think of alcohol, you don’t think of Ecstasy and I think that was really nice, we did have someone from a different stand point,” said Jacqueline Siebers, a zoology major and Phi Sigma Sigma Sorority Sister. Siebers planned to spread the message to her sisters about drug and alcohol awareness.

The event was put on by on the Counseling and Psychological Services Prevention Education Program, C.E.A.S.E., in conjunction with students from peer counseling classes and many other sponsors including Sushi Groove South, Segafredo, Yellow Cab Company, JE Model, Albertsons, Cafe Rosso, SFSU Bookstore, Hieros, and one3snapshot.com.

“It makes me really happy that people actually care about something like this,” said Megan Weber, a 20-year-old psychology major in her senior year, who helped put on the event. Weber, who has had previous experience with her own drug and alcohol problems, added that it is important for incoming freshman and even transferring juniors to be know their limits and be informed.

In the current news media, peace between the Jews and the Arabs can seem like a far-fetched fantasy to some, but on Nov. 16, Dr. Sigal Chirug, an Israeli-born pediatrician and a resident of Ma’alot, a mixed Jewish-Arab town in the Western Galilee, had another message.

Coordinated by the San Francisco Hillel and the Jewish Community Relations Council, JCRC, Dr. Chirug spoke to a small group of SF State students about co-existence, not only as a possibility, but as a reality.

“We’re making co-existence a reality not a dream,” Dr. Chirug said about her experiences working as a pediatrician for Me’uhedet Medical Services, a national healthcare provider in Ma’alot, and in a clinic in the Arab village of Fasuta.

When the Israel-Lebanon conflict broke out in July 2006, Dr. Chirug and her husband stayed in Western Galilee.

“It was very sudden, unpleasant and surprising,” Dr. Chirug said.

Everything closed and people were encouraged to leave the area. Each day, hundreds of bombs fell like rain over Galilee, damaging or destroying buildings, houses and roads, she said. Dr. Chirug found herself working in Ma’alot under emergency conditions for five weeks.

Without orders and despite the danger, she continued to travel to, and work in Fasuta two times a week. There she found that, unlike the residents in Ma’alot, most of the Arabs did not leave their homes. They wanted the family to stick together, or they may have felt it was safer to stay.

In Fasuta, she met families with children and she was able to continue her work as a pediatrician.

Most the people who stayed behind in Ma’alot were elderly patients, and despite the Jewish-Arab tensions elsewhere, Dr. Chirug said she didn’t look for conflict.

“There are so many conflicts between the Jews themselves,” Dr. Chirug said.

And while working with Arab families, she said she felt a lot of appreciation and respect for them and from them.

“We don’t have to share opinions, but we can talk about it and still be friends,” Dr. Chirug said.

Dona Standel, 19, an SF Hillel Koret Intern, and sophomore public relations major, organized the event. Standel said she was very happy with the turnout and was especially pleased when two representatives from the General Union of Palestine Students (GUPS) showed up.

“It’s important for everyone to get both sides,” Standel said.

Sheyla Aucar, 26, a senior biology major, said it was interesting to hear actual first hand accounts of people’s experiences in Israel.

“You don’t hear that everyday,” Aucar said. “There’s not just fighting, there’s peace.”

And as Dr. Chirug attributed the peaceful relationships between the Arabs and the Jews in Western Galilee to the people, Standel echoed Dr. Chirug’s message.

“It’s important for everyone to remember that co-existence is possible,” she said.

PS3 and Nintendo Wii Launch Kicks Off Holiday Season

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This weekend, both the Sony Playstation 3 and Nintendo Wii will launch, giving consumers two new choices in the game console market for the holidays.

About 750 people lined up outside the Metreon’s Sony Playstation Store, for the chance to be among the first in the country to buy a PS3 at midnight Thursday night.

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SF State junior Preston Lee was the first to line up, with a group of friends at 8 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Lee, 20, an SF State business student, missed two classes on Wednesday to stand in line for the almost $600 console.

“It was on a whim that we came down here,” said Lee, who checked out the place, with his friends, at 4 a.m. Wednesday. When they saw no one in line, they bought a tent and stocked up on supplies before camping out in front of the building.

The PS3 console comes with Internet capabilities and a Blu-ray Disc drive. It will also have an online store, accessible from the console, which will allow users to download free demos, as well as buy new games.

Sony is launching the console in two versions with two prices. The 20 GB version will cost $499, and the 60 GB, which comes with WiFi and extra slots for photo memory cards, will sell for $599.

Lee and his friends said they intended to buy the 60 GB hard drive version of the console because they want to get their “money’s worth.”

While the console comes loaded with extras, and plenty of horsepower, experts expect that it will not outsell the Nintendo Wii because of the limited number of units being launched.

“I’m not confident they’ll have enough out to be number one,” said Kevin Pereira, host of G4’s “Attack of the Show,” who predicted the Xbox 360 to be number one, followed by the Wii and then the PS3. “I’m going to do the Wii/360 combo everyone’s talking about.”

Sony shipped 400,000 units nationwide for its launch day and there have been stories of some stores, such as Best Buy, only getting 25 units each, Pereira said.

Conversely, Nintendo plans on shipping 1.2 to 1.4 million units, priced at $250, for its launch day, Nov.19. The Wii will also come bundled with “Wii Sports,” marking the first time a Nintendo console has been bundled since the Super Nintendo was launched in 1991.

“While they’re fun, cute games, they show the potential of the games coming down the pipe,” Pereira said about “Wii Sports.” “I’m excited for the inventive stuff like ‘Trauma Center’ where you get to do open heart surgery.”

The Wii will not have as many multimedia features as the PS3 or the Microsoft Xbox 360. Instead, Nintendo is focusing on game play and innovation, introducing a motion-sensor controller that will allow the player to feel more involved in the game.

Competition from Nintendo is not fazing Sony though, according to Sheila Bryson, public relations manager for Sony Computer Entertainment.

“Competition is a good thing,” she said. “With the Wii, it’s a different type of gamer. I think generally people who buy the Wii are a little less hardcore.”

Bryson also noted that the line for the PS3 this morning was at 900 people, which they had to cut to about 750.

“Obviously people care about it,” she said. “They’re committing a whole bunch of their time, so we want to see they’re taken care of.”

To show their appreciation for the fan’s commitment, Bryson said Sony provided people in line with Starbucks Coffee, burritos for lunch, food from Mel’s Diner for dinner and they planned to give out Red Bull around 10:30 p.m. to keep customers awake for the midnight sale.

The launch party also featured a free performance by Angels and Airwaves, but the band’s name was kept under wraps until they took the stage.

Carmen Ramirez, a freshman sociology major at SF State, was number 163 in line and holding the spot for her boyfriend, who left to take a test. She’d been in line since 6 p.m. Wednesday.

“It’s insane,” she said. “So many people. It’s cool how so many people cooperate.”

She is not a gamer herself, but decided to wait in line anyway.

“I wanted to come for the experience,” she said, adding that she was worried her boyfriend would not be able to get a system because there were so many people in line.

“Everyone will go home happy,” Bryson said, though she wouldn’t say how many units the store had available to sell at midnight.

Indulging in Japanese Kimonos

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Some SF State students had the opportunity to wear an authentic Japanese kimono and have their picture taken as part of the sixth annual international education week. “Kimono Day,” was sponsored by the Japanese Student Association.

The Japanese Student Association (JSA) has recently embarked on its fifth year at SF State. Its mission is to bring more Japanese culture to SF State and bridge the gap between the more than 400 Japanese students on campus, who lack a strong social network, and people who are interested in Japanese culture.

According to JSA President Ramon Mislang, JSA has 40-50 active members with 200 to 300 on its e-mail list. Mislang said “Kimono Day,” is a great opportunity for SF State students to experience a taste of Japanese culture.

“Kimonos are really expensive to buy, and even if you are economically fortunate to buy one there is a special way to wear it,” said Mislang, 26. “So most people never have the chance to wear a Kimono in their lifetime.”

The Kimono has been a part of Japanese tradition for hundreds of years. Their hand-woven silks with subtle silhouettes and vibrant colors make them not only stunning, but also expensive. A woman's kimono may easily exceed $10,000 and a complete kimono outfit, with kimono, undergarments, obi, ties, socks, sandals and accessories, can exceed $20,000, Mislang said.

Wei Xiao, 22, an international business major at SF State, said she has never tried on a Kimono and wanted to take advantage of the opportunity. Xiao said she has always been interested in Japanese culture.

“I think international awareness is important within the context of globalization,” Xiao said. “This was definitely a good idea because students can experience another culture without actually going there.”

The Kimonos worn Thursday were donated by Nobiru-kai, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing services that help Japanese newcomers adjust to American society.

Manami Tanaka, 42, executive director at Nobiru-kai, said Japanese fashion has become increasingly influenced by Western culture, but the Kimono continues to be a part of Japanese tradition. Nobiru-kai is located in Japan Town, and was founded in 1974. It provides services such as translation and interpretation lessons, cooking classes, and a dressing kimono workshop.

“This is a very good way to introduce Japanese culture to SF State students, which is why we wanted to be involved in ‘Kimono Day,’” Tanaka said. “Since our association is known for Japanese newcomer services, we want Japanese students studying at SF State who may need help to come to our office at any time.”

Erin Broemmelsiek, 19, an SF State student double-majoring in creative writing and international relations, said she has been studying Japanese culture for the past five years, and heard about Kimono Day in her Japanese II class. She brought her roommate along with her to try on Kimonos.

“I just love studying the language and different aspects of the culture,” Broemmelsiek said. “I get really excited about these sorts of things. It’s just a really fun experience, and you get to try something completely different.”

Atsushi Hongo, 22, JSA treasurer and cultural exchange program coordinator, said he came up with the idea for “Kimono day” after some involvement with Nobiru-kai. Hongo said Japanese students are underrepresented in the SF State community, which is why he decided to join JSA.

“International education week is important because it raises cultural awareness among students at SF State,” said Hongo, an international relations major at SF State. “SF State is a very diverse campus. Everyday when you walk around campus you see all sorts of people from all over the world, so it’s important that we embrace one another.”

Smokeout Encourages 'Culture of Consideration'

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SF State smokers were encouraged by student and faculty volunteers to snuff out their cigarettes and give up their addiction for the entire 24 hours of Nov.16, as part of the Great American Smokeout, a national event aimed at helping smokers start to quit.

Student Health Services and the Smoking Policy Task Force coordinated the campus Smokeout, in an effort promote good health and compliance with SF State’s no smoking policy.

The event was supposed to consist of a tent in the quad and tables around the entire campus with volunteers giving students information about quitting. But rain confined the Smokeout to the tent in front of Malcolm X Plaza, where students stopped between classes to spin a wheel for prizes and enter in a random drawing for $100 gift certificates to the bookstore.

Ann Pattison, 22, a health education major and president of the Health Education Student Association, shouted out from under the tent to passing students, offering raffle tickets for a $50 gift certificate to Stonestown Galleria, in exchange for their cigarettes.

“If I can help people quit for at least one day, it’s nice,” she said

Under the blue and white tent, volunteers from the Student Health Center, Colleges Against Cancer, the Health Education Student Association and Smoking Policy Task Force, offered raffle tickets and cold turkey sandwiches to smokers who would give up their cigarettes for a day. In addition, they gave students free t-shirts as part of a visibility campaign to promote the campus no-smoking policy.

Across the shirts, a graphic was screened to remind students that they are not allowed to smoke on campus, except in certain spots. They read: “If you can read this, you’re not in a designated smoking area.”

Kai Feder traded in one of his last cigarettes for a raffle ticket and lunch. Fader, 18, a political science major has been smoking for a year, and said the mounting stress of school is making him smoke more.

“I’ve never really tried to seriously to quit,” he said, while munching on a turkey sandwich. “I always feel guilty when I light up another cigarette.”

Sheila McClear, who heads the informal task force, said the key to making the policy work lies in students being aware of it, and in smokers having the good will to smoke in the designated areas scattered around the perimeter of the campus.

“We’re trying to build a campus culture of consideration,” she said, noting that some smokers are polite enough to confine their habit to the designated areas, while others are not.

Albert Angelo, a health educator in the preventive medicine department of Student Health Services and one of the main organizers of the campus Smokeout, does one-on-one addiction counseling for students.

“The biggest hurdle for anyone trying to quit is not having a good enough personal reason,” he said, adding that for many, the overwhelming initial pain of trying to quit is enough to keep them in their addiction.

That struggle is the key to the success or failure of smokers trying to quit, he said, but those that are successful realize the harm they cause themselves through their addiction.

“That’s why people quit. They say, ‘I can’t give up my life anymore.’”

The California chapter of the American Cancer Society held the first Smokeout event in 1976, to encourage California smokers to quit for a day. After its initial success, the society took the Smokeout nationwide in 1977, making the third Thursday of November a national effort to help smokers quit. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Great American Smokeout.

According to Karaliese Brown, the American Cancer Society’s youth program director for the Bay Area, tobacco companies heavily target 18-24-year-olds.

She said that in the Bay Area, smoking rates in this age group are going up, and that social smoking is a major cause of rising addiction rates. She added that the Smokeout and the society’s 1-800-No Butts hotline help smokers start to quit.

“We set them in motion on the cessation road,” she said.

CSU Meeting Interrupted By Protestors’ Chants

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The blazing Southern California sun was not the only thing heating up the Nov. 15 California State University Board of Trustees meeting in Long Beach. Over 1,200 CSU faculty and students raised hell to confront policy makers about their various grievances.

“You take our dollars, but not our voice,” one chant went.

“More classes, lower fees, help our students get degrees,” went another.

Organized by the California Faculty Association, the protest began as a march outside the chancellor's building, and eventually made its way in the middle of the final board meeting. With the boisterous chants and cheers making it nearly impossible to hear the board members, it seemed like all the members, except SF State President Robert Corrigan, walked away without finishing their last meeting.

“It's time for us to have a voice at the table, to be treated with respect, to be treated as equals and to be treated as people who understand what is happening to the California State University. This is what this is about,” said John Travis, CFA president as he and other CFA members sat in vacated board member seats.

“The second message...is that we're not going to do business as usual. This is a different time. It's time for us to assert our own responsibility for the greatest higher education system in the world,” Travis said to cheers.

According to Paul Browning, media relations specialist for CSU, the board adjourned the final meeting, but it was too loud to hear the announcement. Browning also expressed concerns that the protest would be counterproductive to negotiations.

“The chancellor's office has offered the faculty a 25 percent salary raise over the next four years, which we think is a pretty good offer,” he said. “In fact, after just three years on that offer full time faculty would be making over six figures. Of course, they're all contingent on the budget and how much we can get.”

Contract negotiations were a big issue for many of the protesters, and it was the main complaint for Cal Poly Pomona Professor John Mallinckrodt. The physics professors, like many other in the crowd, had negative feelings towards Chancellor Charles Reed.

“There's been too much dishonest bargaining by the chancellor,” Mallinckrodt said. “The chancellor came into office promising to eliminate a salary gap that had existed for some time. In the past five years that gap has only gotten worse.”

Maire Fowler, a member of SF State's ASI and a CFA intern, woke up at 3 a.m. to make the flight down to Long Beach in time for the board's meetings. Clad in a bright red shirt that read “This is what an activist looks like,” Fowler said the morning started off very frustrating because of some unforeseen hurdles.

Fowler said her taxi could not drop her off near the Chancellor's building because the roads were closed down, and after arriving at the meeting hall she found out that only those with passes were allowed in.

“I'm just disgusted that they're trying to not listen to the people who pay their salaries,” she said.

Fowler played a role in the meeting's first major interruption by opening the back door, which allowed at least 15 protesters stalled the meeting with their chanting. She told security she opened the door because she had to go to her car.

California State Senator Gloria Romero spurred the second interruption. After four hours of meetings, and no acknowledgment of the protesters by the board, Romero stepped to the public comment microphone during a brief recess, during which many of the board members stayed in the room.

“The CSU is our nation's largest public education system,” she said. “I am proud of this system, I am proud that I graduated from this system and most importantly, I am proud that even as trustees in this room sat here pretending not to hear, there were over 1,000 students and faculty outside calling upon the chancellor and this board of trustees to do three things to make sure California's master plan works for them the way if worked for me.”

Those three things, Romero said, were to roll back student fees, get rid of executive perks, and negotiate a fair contract with the faculty.

Almost immediately after Romero finished speaking, a group of CFA members marched to the center of the meeting room and implored the board members to sign a pledge agreeing to those three things. No one signed.

Many students chanted “don't raise fees,” but Browning said that chant didn't make much sense at this meeting because fees didn't go up this year at all

“There was no proposal at this meeting to raise fees. That was a misconception that many students at the meeting seemed to have,” said Browning, who suggested students might have been misled.

Adriana Garcia, an intern for CFA, used to attend San Jose State University but currently doesn’t attend school because she can't afford it.

“It's not fair,” she said. “These board members are getting paid to get new cars while students have to get two jobs and take out loans to afford school.”

After coming back from recess, the members tried to start the meeting again, but the chants from the protestors drowned out the board’s attempt to call roll and members began to leave.

All of the hubbub did not seem to bother Corrigan, as he was the only board member who stayed until the protesters were done in the meeting room.

“It's basically part of the democratic process,” he said. “There was a lot of concern on salaries, a lot of concern about some of the perk issues, so it's not a surprise.”

SF State Top University for International Students

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For the second consecutive year, SF State ranks first in number of international students, according to a report based on 2005-2006 enrollment numbers released by the Institute of International Education Monday.

Last fall 1,719 undergrad and graduate level international students attended SF State from 94 different countries.

“When you add to their numbers those of our many students who were born elsewhere, our international reach is even greater,” wrote SF State President Robert Corrigan in an email to the faculty.

Students from Asian countries make up 74 percent of the international student body, led by Japan with 425 students followed by Taiwan, 169, South Korea, 134, and China, 117.

“In the long run, these students will be leaders in government, commerce, law, and education. They will return to do business with us and look to us for collaboration,” wrote Yenbo Wu, SF State director of international programs.

San Francisco has a reputation as an international city and SF State is more affordable than other nearby four-year universities, which has helped make it a popular destination for international students, said Jennifer Wissink, SF State senior international adviser.

“Our international students add greatly to the richness of the SF State experience,” Corrigan wrote.

Dodging Traffic Tickets

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The Legal Resource Center held a workshop titled “How to Get Out of a Traffic Ticket” Tuesday. The handful of students that attended were able to hear court experiences and ask legal questions of an attorney.

Sherry Gendelman, an attorney in South San Francisco, spent two hours answering legal questions from students. Some of these questions involved minor offenses like parking in a handicapped zone. others were about more serious offenses such as what to do if you are facing a DUI.

“She answered plenty,” said Hannah Wagner, 19, a sophomore who is studying criminal justice. “I could still ask a billion more things, but I’m slightly less clueless.”

Gendelman emphasized during the workshop that after a traffic ticket has been issued the driver shouldn’t pay it through the mail. By going to court the fine will be reduced, especially in San Francisco.

“It always pays to see the judge,” said Gendelman.

She also answered questions about Project 20, which allows offenders to pay their fines by volunteering at designated nonprofit organizations. For every hour spent volunteering they earn $10. To participate in Project 20, one must ask the judge if they can do community service to pay the fine and get a list of designated nonprofit organizations from the clerk.

Gendelman said the best thing to do once stopped by an officer is to be polite, but quiet. Don’t give excuses or do anything that will make the officer remember giving the ticket because the officer writes everything down on back of ticket.

“If you have to kiss ass do it,” said Gendelman.

Her suggestion for getting out of a ticket for parking in a handicap zone was to show the space wasn’t clearly marked. This can be done by taking a picture of the parking space and presenting it to the judge.

To fight a DUI, Gendelman urged students to first get a lawyer and talk to someone from the Legal Resource Center because a lawyer might be able to get the charges reduced.

Although The Legal Resource Center also held a similar workshop last semester, they haven’t been as consistent in holding the workshop as they would like.

Jamie Gillaspie, assistant director of the Legal Resource Center, who also helped organize this semester’s workshop, said the Legal Resource Center is hoping to hold at least one per semester in the future.

Gillaspie invited Gendelman to speak to students and people being trained to work in the Legal Resource Center after she heard her speak at an event downtown San Francisco a month ago.

Students who attended were pleased with the advice given and enjoyed listening to some of her experiences.

“You could ask her any question,” said Lisette Aparicio, 26, a senior who is studying business administration.

Addiction Confessions Educates Students

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A panel of three recovering substance and alcohol abusers who attend SF State spoke to a crowd of students in Rigoberta Minchu Hall at an event called “Blurred Lines” on Monday.

Barbara, Hank and Collin, whose last names were not given, answered questions about addiction and gave students advice on how to help themselves and their friends through addiction.

“Unfortunately some of us have to fall really hard before we can get back up,” said Collin. “That’s part of the reason that I volunteered to do this, so people can maybe hear about the realities of this and hopefully they don’t have to fall as hard as I did.” Collin used and sold Ecstasy and said that he was busted by police before he decided to get help.

Students from the audience asked if there were ways to get their friends help before they hit rock bottom.

“There’s not much you can say until they are ready to deal with whatever,” answered Hank. He added that interventions couldn’t hurt because it lets the abuser know what is at stake if they don’t get help. Hank was confronted by co-workers when it became obvious to them that his drinking was out of hand. His drinking problem had him living from pay check to pay check with a $3 balance in his checking account.

“It was how I maintained,” he explained. “It was getting harder and harder to make it, like I wasn’t holding it together anymore.” After two-and-a-half years of staying clean, Hank describes himself as a totally different person and is fortunate to be studying at SF State.

The panel members agreed that their drug abuse had been holding them back from achieving their true potential.

“I’m starting school at 32 and finishing at 41, that’s my whole plan,” said Barbara, who began abusing alcohol when she was 12 years old. She used an Eskimo analogy to explain her rescue from addiction.

“Picture yourself on an ice float and there’s no one there to help you and it’s foggy wet, it’s wet, it’s freezing cold and there’s a hand that comes out and you know Eskimos they kind of hang out around that area,” Barbara said laughing. “It’s the hand that reaches out.”

The panelists described their social lives and gave students tips on what is appropriate if they have a friend who is recovering.

“You can’t not have the party because you think so and so is gonna drink,” said Hank. “You know the liquor is not going to come down my throat and force me to drink.” He suggested having other drinks besides liquor at a party like soda and coffee. Other alcohol-free activities suggested were 30-person twister, movie night, and an ice cream social.

Students appreciated the advice and contrast between the topics of alcoholism and drug abuse in the panel.

“When you think of blurred lines you do really think of alcohol, you don’t think of Ecstasy and I think that was really nice, we did have someone from a different stand point,” said Jacqueline Siebers, a zoology major and Phi Sigma Sigma Sorority Sister. Siebers planned to spread the message to her sisters about drug and alcohol awareness.

The event was put on by on the Counseling and Psychological Services Prevention Education Program, C.E.A.S.E., in conjunction with students from peer counseling classes and many other sponsors including Sushi Groove South, Segafredo, Yellow Cab Company, JE Model, Albertsons, Cafe Rosso, SFSU Bookstore, Hieros, and one3snapshot.com.

“It makes me really happy that people actually care about something like this,” said Megan Weber, a 20-year-old psychology major in her senior year, who helped put on the event. Weber, who has had previous experience with her own drug and alcohol problems, added that it is important for incoming freshman and even transferring juniors to be know their limits and be informed.

Documentary Stirs Up Emotions

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Several students were present Monday night, to witness the SF State screening of an explosive film, which documents the lives of children who are in a constant battle for survival and in fear of death.

“I think it is really important for students who want to be leaders and want to make a difference to see this film,” said Theresa Navarro, 22, a child and adolescent development major at SF State. “We have a social responsibility as human beings to help one another.”

The film entitled “Invisible Children,” depicts the plight of Northern Ugandan children as they flee their homes, walking for miles through the night in what is called the “night commute,” in order to seek shelter in internally displaced person camps (IDP). These camps are located in larger towns where children are less likely to be abducted by rebels from the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and forced to become child soldiers or sex slaves.

The LRA has been engaged in an armed rebellion against the Ugandan government for 17 years. According to the documentary, more than 30,000 children, ages seven to seventeen have been abducted from their homes and villages and forced to become child soldiers. As a result, the majority of LRA fighters are children – both the victims and perpetrators of horrendous crimes.

The film screening was sponsored by an organization called United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (Unicef) at SF state, which is new to the campus this semester. Unicef at SF State, is the campus initiative for the international relief group. According to Navarro, who is the SF State group’s president, the mission of Unicef is to spread awareness about issues affecting children globally, to promote advocacy for children’s rights, and fundraising for outreach programs.

Navarro said the organization has managed to attract at least twenty members so far. Unicef just recently wrapped up a Halloween fundraiser where they raised over a hundred dollars in proceeds.

Unicef vice president, Karen Ariola, 23, said that she travels often and has witnessed the plight of children in underdeveloped countries, which is why she decided to join Unicef.

“People in San Francisco like to think they are aware,” said Ariola, a biology major at SF State. “But if you ask them what is going on abroad, they have absolutely no idea. The conditions of the children in this film are absolutely shocking.”

Megan Ferreira, an international relations major at SF State, said that she was disappointed that more students had not come out to see the film. She said that she was not aware of the situation in Uganda.

“It was a really powerful film, and hopefully people take what they have seen here and tell more people,” said Ferreira. “In our society everyone has become so comfortable, and it is so easy to be naive and to think there is nothing we can do about things. The beautiful thing about human nature is that everyone truly does want to make a difference, and they do want to help, but they just need to be given the opportunity and be shown the way.”

Kailey Chen, 18, an international business major at SF State, said that she started crying in the middle of the film.

“The film made me feel horrible and terrible,” said Chen. “Before this I had no idea about what was going on in Uganda. I think people need to pay more attention to the kids of Asia and Africa.”

Professor plans documentary workshop at 2008 Olympics

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A select group of SF State students may have the rare opportunity of documenting the 2008 Olympics in Beijing if a new professor to SF State’s cinema department has her way.

Weimin Zhang, an assistant professor who started this semester, has already begun an Olympic documentary project unassociated with SF State, but the opportunity to film the world-watched and historic athletic event is something she said would be of “great advantage” to her cinema students.

“Working at the Olympics will be an exciting experience,” Zhang said.

Although Zhang said she has done three features and a TV drama series, her faculty outline boasts nearly a dozen awards and more than half a dozen films and multi-media projects.

Currently teaching two courses, Cinematography and Lighting, and Intro to Digital Filmmaking, 39-year-old Zhang is sharing her extensive knowledge of the film industry in both the United States and China to create a unique experience for her students.

As a new member of SF State’s cinema faculty and with two years of preparation to do before the summer event takes place, Zhang is in the preliminary stages of planning what she calls an “intensive documentary workshop.”

Drawn to San Francisco as a tourist, Zhang said she was interested in SF State for its well-known film program and because she thinks the multi-cultural aspects of San Francisco are ideal.

Likewise, Zhang said her proposed class could have much to offer in the way of cultural exchange.

“I think it will be a great experience to work with people from another background,” she said.

Zhang said the class would take place in Beijing at one of a few local universities she has began speaking to about the possible project, one of which is her alma mater, Beijing Film Academy. As the capital, Beijing serves not only as the host city to the Olympics, but as the center of political and cultural arts in China, Zhang said.

Saying the nontraditional exchange will be beneficial for both countries’ students, Zhang would like to pair up the half-a-dozen or so American students with English-speaking Chinese students, who would act as hosts.

“There are going to be so many visual aspects to deal with and a lot of countries involved that bring their cultures and traditions with them,” said senior cinema major Miles Kittredge, 23, who will already have graduated by the time the project is under way. "I think it sounds like an awesome project. If I had an opportunity like that I’d jump all over it.”

Preproduction for the project would mean students devoting all day everyday for a couple of weeks before the games begin to become familiar with the city and its people while preparing for shooting. Students would then film currently undetermined aspects of the event, start to finish, returning to the United States with hours of film and what Zhang hopes will be six units of cinema credit.

“She’s very ambitious in the projects she wants to do,” one of Zhang’s students, Andrea Hale, 21, said. Hale said the film department sometimes lacks real-world experience and that “any chance to work on an actual film would be great.”

Zhang said she will try her best to eliminate costs for students by applying for grants through the Documentary Institute. She’s hoping to cover costs like airfare, and set up free accommodations by arranging for students to stay at the host university's dorms.

Zhang worked in the film industry in China for seven years and then attended Ohio University on a scholarship to receive her master of fine arts in film and a master of arts in multimedia design. Working in film for a few years in both Chicago and Los Angeles, Zhang eventually moved back to China to teach at Hong Kong Baptist University before returning to the United States to begin teaching at SF State.

Film permitting in China and security issues at the Olympics make getting official permission to document the event a difficult task, and although Zhang is already through the preliminary stages of getting permission for her own project she has more work ahead of her in making arrangements for her students.

“We would be thrilled for our department to participate in the documentary filming of the Beijing Olympics," Cinema Department Chair Steve Ujlaki said in an e-mail. "I strongly support Weimin’s efforts to bring this about.”

SF State To Begin Graduate Genetics Program

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Even though the Bay Area is home to a number of prestigious medical schools, there hasn’t been a primary training ground for genetic counselors in the region since the program at UC Berkeley closed in 2002.

That void is about to be filled, as SF State collaborates with three other area universities and several local hospitals on a new graduate program in genetic counseling.

The new program, currently in the planning stages, is expected to begin in Fall 2007 with a class of 10 students. Plans call for a two-year track of classes and internships.

Besides SF State, the program will operate in conjunction with Cal State Stanislaus, San Jose State, and UCSF. Although the degree will come from CSU Stanislaus, most of the classes will be held on the San Francisco area campuses.

According to Dr. Michael Goldman, chair of the biology department at SF State, the school will house part-time office space for interested students to get information about the program. SF State will also provide at least one class in human genetics as part of the degree program.

Dr. Janey Youngblom, professor of biological sciences at CSU Stanislaus and a co-director of the program, said the sequence will be composed of clinical science, medical genetics and psychosocial courses.

“We hope to develop a stronger partnership with San Francisco State,” Youngblom said. “We want to try to get more faculty involved with it.”

“It seems we have very energetic, very interested, very dedicated people in this profession who want this to work,” Youngblom said.

Along with the course work, students will also have an opportunity to do apprentice work in genetic counseling at Kaiser Permanente and other local hospitals.

Kaiser gave an $80,000 grant for the first year of the new program, and will continue to fund the program at the same level over the next two years if there is satisfactory progress, Youngblom said.

The closure of UC Berkeley’s genetic counseling program was a result of “financial and political reasons,” said Dr. Laurie Nemzer, genetic counselor at Kaiser Hospital in Oakland and another co-director of the new program.

“It was a very small student number, just eight students,” Nemzer said. “It was nationally acclaimed, but I think it just wasn’t high priority enough for their School of Public Health.”

Genetic counselors offer assistance to patients and families who may be at risk of birth defects or other inherited conditions. They help patients with testing, analyze and interpret the results of genetic tests, and provide guidance and support for patients and their families throughout the entire process.

Those associated with the new program say that the interest in genetics has surged with efforts such as the Human Genome Project, which sought to identify all of the roughly 20,000 to 25,000 genes in human DNA among other things.

“The field of genetics is exploding,” Nemzer said. “There’s more and more of a need for people to understand it.”

The many decisions and dilemmas associated with diagnosing genetic disorders, such as offering patients support and assistance following the diagnosis, are things that genetic counselors are qualified to handle, Goldman said.

When it comes to genetics, Goldman said, “The average physician’s knowledge is not that great. They don’t have the time it takes to explain things to people.”

Nemzer said there is currently a shortage of qualified genetic counselors, but there will be a greater need for them as illnesses such as heart disease become attributed to genetics.

“It’s becoming more and more into primary care,” Nemzer said. “We think there’s going to be more and more positions.”

Learning by the Sword

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Give Karin Skoog a sword and she’ll be happy.

The 18-year-old is working hard to make thrusting, parrying and intricate footwork a part of life at SF State by recently starting the Fencing Club.

“I always liked the medieval feel – swords, suits of armor, that sort of thing – and my parents wouldn’t buy me real weapons,” she said with a laugh. “So I learned fencing, and I love it because it’s a sport based more on thought than force.”

She picked up fencing while attending high school in Connecticut and Skoog said she thought many SF State students would be interested in practicing and learning about the intricate sport of swordsmanship.

There are three main weapons in fencing and each has different rules in competition, said Skoog, a freshman majoring in Chinese and minoring in business.

The foil is typically the first weapon learned in fencing. It’s a flexible and light sword. In competition, points are scored by striking the opponent’s torso.

“It’s modern times and there are lots of laws, so it’s not like it’s a real weapon,” she said, pointing to the rubber tip on her foil.

The sabre is a larger sword with a triangular blade, and the target area is anything from the waist up, Skoog said.

The epee has a V-shaped blade and the entire body is a valid target while using it in competition.

While passing through the gym one day, 21-year-old Nick Martinez saw a yellow flier about this club. He had gotten into fencing at a community college, and said half the fun was the social aspect of it.

“It’s a great way to make friends because most of the practicing is one on one, and you’re bound to spark up a conversation with them,” said Martinez, a cinema major.

He also liked how it’s not based on strength or stamina like other sports, and instead is based on meticulous thought.

Martinez is now a member of the club and looks forward to eventually competing for the school. He has only known Skoog for a few weeks but said he is impressed with her enthusiasm.

“She’s just so energetic and passionate,” he said. “I would have never got something like this off the ground, it seems like it’s a lot of work.”

Starting the club was a piece of cake for Skoog, who has earned the Gold Award, the Girl Scouts’ highest honor. She spent about $30 on construction paper and flier supplies to attract attention for the club’s first meeting.

“The only difficult thing at first was getting organized, but once I had my binder and hole puncher I was set,” she said.

Money will be an issue for the young club, as a foil starter kit costs at least $130. Skoog said many in the club expressed interest in buying or renting their own equipment, but she hopes to eventually have equipment at the school.

The money won’t be coming from the school any time soon, according to the coordinator of club sports, Ajani Byrd. No club sports receive funding, but they can have access to the school’s facilities and compete under the school’s name.

“We just don’t have any money right now,” Byrd said at the club’s first informational meeting. “That looks like it might change in fall of 2007, but I’m sorry to say we can’t help you right now.”

Byrd has been working closely with Skoog, and they are hashing out a time to free up some gym space for a weekly practice.

But Skoog doesn’t seem to have a problem facing adversity. When her high school didn’t have a fencing team, she joined a team that was one town over.

Skoog is hoping to use the experience with starting a club towards her ultimate goal: starting a nationwide chain of medieval stores. She wants to sell replica weapons, suits of armor, medieval clothing, and dragon statues.

“When I was younger I read ‘Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher’ and I’ve loved dragons ever since,” said Skoog, who has a purple dragon holding a woman tattooed on her right shoulder. “I still listen to it on tape, and have a ratty copy around here somewhere.”

She is also taking an archery class at SF State, and loves the skill and practice it takes. Skoog said some find her pastimes a bit odd, but the response on campus for the fencing club has been strong.

“When I tell people about my hobbies, most say ‘Whoa you fence? That’s cool’,” she said.

SF State Recognized As Green Campus

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The largest and most diverse university system in the country may now pride itself on another feat: being commended as one of the greenest.

The California State University campuses are being recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency for their voluntary purchase of more than 75 million kilowatt-hours (kwh) of green power, preventing the emission of millions of pounds of toxins into the atmosphere each year.

Last month the EPA ranked the CSU system second among its Top 10 College and University Green Power Partners, and ranked it 19th among its overall top 25 partners.

“CSU is recognized as a very green university system,” said media relations specialist Paul Browning from the CSU Office of the Chancellor. “CSU is known as an innovator in education when it comes to adopting new technologies to save energy and money, protect the environment, and to use as teaching projects in a variety of curriculums.”

"Green power" is defined as electricity that is partially or entirely generated from environmentally friendly resources, such as solar and wind. These renewable energy sources are cleaner than conventional sources of electricity that produce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions – a greenhouse gas linked to global climate change.

Browning said the CSU system and the chancellor are fully committed to ensure the adopting of green programs and projects is a system-wide effort.

SF State is the only CSU campus generating part of its own energy, saving the university thousands of dollars. The co-generating plant saves SF State roughly $52,000 per day in energy costs, according to Daniel Hernandez, one of the plant’s engineers.

“With neighbors so close, we can’t have fumes bothering them,” said Rodrigo Castolo, the co-generating plant’s service engineer. “Here in California, and the United States, the EPA is very strict on emission levels, so we keep them low. Our boiler that heats the university’s water actually uses recycled heat, saving us lots of money.”

The CSU system purchases a 13 percent green energy power mix of wind, solar, biogas and geothermal, according to Len Pettis, the chief of Plant, Energy and Utilities for the CSU system. SF State is above the average of green purchasers.

“SF State purchases about 83 percent of their electricity and generates 17 percent, and uses the waste heat to heat the buildings more efficiently,” said Aaron Klemm, the energy program manager of the CSU system. “Of the 83 percent that is purchased, 17 percent of that is green renewable electricity.”

Lighting retrofit projects on the campus have already saved more than 2 million kwh of electricity with another in the works expected to save 678,000 kwh. The campus is also planning several more projects with lighting, heating and controls in the near future pending funding availability, according to Klemm.

California has 23 CSU campuses, which is the largest, most diverse and one of the most affordable university systems in the country, according to its Web site. The system is also quickly implementing one of the most environmentally progressive agendas in the nation.

According to the EPA, CSU San Bernardino, Long Beach and Fresno State will install solar power systems in 2007, while other energy saving projects are being planned for all CSU campuses for the next 10 years.

Using national average utility emissions rates, the EPA estimates that CSU’s green energy purchases are equivalent to avoiding the escape of more than 105 million pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere, which is the same as avoiding the emissions of more than 10,000 passenger cars annually.

CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed sent a memorandum last August to all CSU presidents to announce the university system’s new goal to reduce energy consumption by 15 percent by the end of 2010. SF State President Robert Corrigan made no comment on how SF State plans to support meeting these goals.

However, Carlos Davidson, director of the environmental studies department, said the campus should be doing more to promote the sustainability of future generations through green energy, design and execution.

He said SF State should focus on more efficient uses of electricity, especially dealing with the power computers consume, and concern itself with proficient paper-recycling methods.

“While the CSU system is doing a lot of stuff, there has not been a lot on this front here on this campus,” Davidson said.

Students Looking For 'Second Life'

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In the real world, Edward Hall is a 29-year-old student studying for his electrician certification.

But in the world of Second Life, he is LoneWolf Mackenzie, an avant garde clothing designer with multiple stores.

Since its launch by San Francisco-based Linden Labs in 2003, Second Life, an online social game boasting more than 1 million users, has spawned its own community and economy, and has caught the eye of major corporations and educational institutions.

Hall, who lives in Louisiana, was drawn to Second Life two years ago because of the potential.

“When I came here, I was shocked to find how much I could do, it was a virtual world like no other,” he said. “Basically, you can bring anything in your imagination here.”

After downloading the free software from secondlife.com, users customize their on-screen avatar to traverse the virtual, 3-D world. It is not uncommon to mingle with robots and elves, catch a Duran Duran concert, or purchase virtual genitalia.

Although the game is free to play, if users want to own virtual land, buy the latest clothing, or purchase a cyber-prostitute, they have to purchase Linden dollars.

The Second Life currency is based on real money, with a fluctuating exchange rate of about 280 Linden dollars for every $1. Linden Labs makes money by renting virtual land, and charging a percentage to convert Linden dollars to real money.

Business is booming in this virtual community, with more than $500,000 USD being spent in the last 24 hours, according to Linden Labs. Industry estimates said users will spend more than $130 million this year inside of Second Life.

There is no scorekeeping in Second Life. Residents of the digital world play to meet new people, build virtual communities and structures, and maybe make a few bucks.

A virtual clothing store has become the only source of income in real life for 26-year-old Katt Shaw. Under the handle of DigiKatt Shaw, she sells virtual clothing for the gothic crowd. She described her business as “fair,” making almost enough to completely support her.

“Second Life appealed to me because it let me meet new people from all over the world, and the fact that I can, and have started my own business in here,” the Seattle resident said.

Companies like Adidas and American Apparel are trying to cash in. They rent virtual land from Linden Labs for a monthly fee, and have set up shop to sell their virtual wares.

For Sanjit Sengupta, a marketing professor at SF State, it’s no surprise that companies are using this virtual world to find new customers and sell products.

“I think the value they’re delivering is based on enhancing fantasy,” he said. “People play Second Life for vicarious pleasure. If these companies can help that pleasure, then it’s a smart move.”

Sengupta expects more companies to jump on the bandwagon because residents of Second Life are a desirable demographic – they tend to be younger, and they are actively involved with the medium.

“It’s a good opportunity to build brand-awareness,” he said. “Young people tend to be brand agnostic with a lot of things, but they’re very brand conscious with things they’re interested in, like music, clothing, and electronics.”

The 83 square miles, and growing, of virtual land in Second Life also offers educational opportunities. Author Kurt Vonnegut had an “in world” lecture, Reuters recently embedded a reporter, and colleges have used Second Life as a teaching tool.

At SF State, professor Jane Veeder used Second Life for portions of her “Design of the Virtual Worlds” class.

“It gave students a great opportunity to learn about Web 3-D design from a user’s-eye view,” she said. “It’s also consciousness-raising on how design can facilitate or get in the way of what you want to do.”

Students were assigned to research the virtual environment, and design and build in-game structures. Veeder liked Second Life because students weren’t allowed to import 3-D images. Instead, every item in the game, from clothing to virtual genitals to re-creations of landmarks, is made in the game by shaping cubes, known as primitives.

Adam Ashworth, an SF State alumnus, was in Veeder’s design class in 2004 and said he doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about.

“I used it only as long as I had to for the class,” he said. “It didn’t draw me in. You just stand around and talk. Why would people spend money on that? I found it boring.”

This semester, Veeder has switched to the online game ToonTown because she felt students would appreciate the variety.

“For designers, Second Life tends to get boring after a while,” she said. “They’re often not cocktail people who like to stand around and chat.”

McKenna Theatre Goes Global

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The World Cultures Concert went off without a hitch Saturday night, at SF State. Featuring dance styles from around the world, the concert’s offerings ranged from hip-hop and tap, to Afro-Haitian, and various styles of Mexican dance.

Twelve pieces were performed by dancers of the Bay Area, some of whom were SF State dance majors. The director, Dr. Jerry Duke, said he is happy to provide the opportunity to perform for those who are not exposed to it on a regular basis.

“They are so excited to be up there on stage,” said Duke, who has taught in the dance department at SF State for 28 years. “For some, it’s their first time to be up there.”

One of the biggest crowd pleasers in the first half of the show was a traditional Polynesian dance featuring 22 women and five men dancers, along with a ten piece live Tahitian band.

Titled “Mokorea, a Tahitian Legend,” the performance told a story of love between a Mokorean woman and an otherworldly fisherman. The combination of chanting, dancing and beating drums held the audience’s attention throughout the compelling dance.

The biggest change between this year and other years, according to Duke, was the level of interest in hip-hop dance. Three of the 12 pieces performed were hip-hop, more than Duke has ever seen in the 40 years that cultural dance has been performed at SF State.

“The demographics of the University have been changing, and that is evident in what is being performed here. There are three of those pieces here tonight, and that’s three more than usual,” he said. “It’s been amazing to see this kind of dance emerge. I would look in on them every once in a while, and they are really hot stuff, they really work hard.”

The performers contacted Duke throughout the fall semester, with interest in performing at the concert. He would watch their work by video or by a live audition, and then handpick the performances. Some had little time to prepare their work.

Linda Landeros, who choreographed “Celebrando El Norte,” a traditional Mexican dance that paid homage to Mexican big bands, said her group, a mix of SF State students and others from around the Bay Area, rehearsed intensely for a month before the show. It all paid off, she said, when she felt the energy of the audience.

“I was really pumped up by the audience,” said the 21-year-old dance major. “It went so well, and we all enjoyed it.”

Another performer, Vanessa Sanchez, a Child and Family Studies major and dance minor, choreographed a tap piece that she performed solo. The dancer said her inspiration for choreography comes from somewhere inside that she can’t explain.

“Sometimes I’ll just do something and I’ll be like, what did I just do?” said Sanchez, 22. “It just comes out, and when I perform it, it’s so much fun.”

The concert drew roughly 250 people, a usual turnout for this event, according to Duke. One of the best parts for him is seeing dance channeled through different cultures and techniques.

“It’s so amazing to see some of these dancers who have had no formal training,” he said. “You can see they have such an amazing center of gravity. Though the focus of the dancing has changed, this event has continued to draw in a diverse range of groups, and they’re all good.”

Gators Sound Off on Rumsfeld's Resignation

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SF State students react to the resignation of former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld who stepped down from office on Wednesday.

Design and Industry Turns Golden

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The Design and Industry Department, DAI, kicked off the first of three events celebrating their 50th anniversary yesterday with their annual portfolio night. A three-hour event, portfolio night is an opportunity for DAI Alumni to share their professional portfolios – showing current students the possible success that comes with a DAI degree.

“Get inspired tonight,” president of Industry and Design Society of America’s San Francisco chapter, Kristrun Hjartar, said enthusiastically during the event’s introduction.

And DAI students seemed to do just that.

“It’s inspiring on a level, you get to see what people are doing and where you can go,” Phillip La, 22 said of the two-part panel that included both current graduate student projects and alumni portfolios.

Student attendance to portfolio night, held in Jack Adams Hall was larger than usual this year, at about 150 people, 15-year DAI chair Ricardo Gomes said. Although some students were there because they were getting extra credit to attend, some stayed until after the 9 pm end of the event to converse one-on-one with the panelists.

Joshua Mercado, a senior double majoring in Industrial Technology and Product Design said he attended the event because he “was looking to get insight into how to get into the field I’ve been in for 5 years.”

From advice on paying particular attention to the business and marketing aspects of DAI courses to encouraging networking and internships, the alumni told students to do what many career counselors might advise. Only they knew precisely what current SFSU students are going through.

“The speakers were able to articulate their own experiences and relate them to the students,” Mercado said of the event’s effectiveness. It was particularly inspiring to see someone he knew on stage, Mercado said of North Face employee Brett Krasniewicz, who graduated in the spring of last year. “Its nice to see one of my classmates turn professional.”

Krasniewicz was one of 5 people on the alumni side of the panel who showcased portfolios. From self-described “elder” Louise Phillip’s, extensive work in designing Safeway packaging to Rob Antonio’s work in designing and inventing children’s toys, the panelists had graduated between the years of 1980 and 2005. They showed a variety of ways a DAI degree could be turned into a career.

“What did I want two years ago? How to get a job,” Krasniewicz asked rhetorically going on to give students his experience of how he searched for a job, from Craigslist.org to recruiting. He said it all basically boils down to timing, being in the right place at the right time, and knowing the right people

The graduate students' side of the panel showcased their work in research and design projects within the DAI program. Gomes pointed out that the panelist's projects were all involved in the "everyday," designing machines used at the airport and products found at the grocery store. The work was done by four graduate students, whom Gomes deemed “absolutely outstanding,” and ranged from furniture design to airport security screening machines.

“I want to be at that level, doing quality work, enough so to be acknowledged,” La said. The senior and first year DAI student is majoring in Cinema and only minoring in DAI. He admitting that DAI would have been his first choice except he didn’t think there was any money to be made in it. La said last night’s event gave him some perspective.

“They were where I am now…and they made it,” La said. “It gives hope.”

Humanities Building Evacuated By Small Fire

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A small fire prompted the evacuation of the Humanities building late Thursday morning.

According to Lt. Ed Ghilardi of the San Francisco Fire Department, the incident occurred as a result of someone setting a pile of paper on fire on the second floor, in the vicinity of room 217.

He did not disclose whether or not SFFD knew the identity of the person who lit the pile on fire.

Outside, there were rumors among the gathered crowd that the fire was started by students in a speech performance class held on the second floor, but SFFD have said, as far as they knew, the act had nothing to do with the students.

Alarms sounded around 10:45 a.m. and the entire building was evacuated until the all clear was given approximately 15 minutes later.

Four fire engines arrived behind the building on Tapia Drive. One firefighter checked the top of the roof as several others entered the building.

Mark Spinrad, an English composition teacher, was in the middle of class on the fifth floor when the alarm sounded. He said he could smell “burning paper.”

“As I walked down the north stairs, the smell became stronger,” nearing the second floor, Spinrad said.

SFFD Temp. Lt. David Chavez said that there were initial reports of “heavy smoke” emanating from the second floor, but that those reports were wrong.

Gators React to the Two-Terminator

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SF State students and faculty react to Arnold Schwarzenegger's second victory as California governor after defeating State Treasurer Phil Angelides in the election polls on Tuesday. Please click on the yellow banner on the right to enjoy webtalk.

Governor Celebrates Landslide Victory

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BEVERLY HILLS – Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s victory was one of the few bright spots for Republicans, who lost control of the House of Representatives to the Democrats as well as several Senate seats Wednesday morning.

Though the crowd at the Beverly Hilton Hotel was ecstatic over Schwarzenegger’s victory, they also sounded dejected over the Republican losses across the country. Many booed when television monitors showed House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, celebrating her party’s clinching of the House, and possibly the Senate.

Rodney Leong, president of the San Francisco Young Republicans, said his friends teased him about his congresswoman, Pelosi, possibly becoming Speaker of the House.

He said the Republican movement in traditionally liberal San Francisco was “starting to bubble.”

“Even my Democrat friends tell me that there’s a need for balance in San Francisco,” Leong said. “Hopefully that will happen.”

Before the polls closed, Schwarzenegger campaign strategist Matthew Dowd said he hoped the governor’s re-election would provide lessons to Republicans and Democrats alike.

“If we win, and win significantly, people will realize that what people in this country want is bipartisanship,” Dowd said. “And they want a sense of giving people a community that
disregards labels.”

Many of Schwarzenegger’s supporters seemed to echo that sentiment.

“Schwarzenegger represents a different kind of Republican,” said Andrew Dick of the Log Cabin Republicans, which represents gay and lesbian party members. “In a state like California, you have to, if you want to have any kind of Republican leadership. You cannot have, what is believed to be, and I’m not saying this is true, the stereotypical conservative politician.”

Steve Share of Toluca Lake, Calif., said he has personally known Schwarzenegger for 27 years. He said he admires the Austrian-born governor’s passion for the state.

“For somebody who wasn’t born and raised here, he was the closest to caring the most about the state,” Share said. “I’m normally a Democrat, and he made me a Republican.”

At the table next to Share’s, Brentwood, Calif. business owner Sharyl Bloom said the issues she wants the governor to tackle during his next term include education and health care.

“He wants to see everyone in California covered by health care, and I like that idea,” Bloom said.

Family, friends and supporters joined Schwarzenegger as he celebrated his re-election.
With news agencies projecting victory shortly after the polls closed at 8 p.m., the crowd at the Beverly

Hilton Hotel could only wait for the Republican governor to join them in the festivities.

There were hugs and high-fives among many on the floor as the monitors showed Schwarzenegger with an immense lead over his Democratic challenger, state Treasurer Phil Angelides.

“I guess it’s official, there will be no ‘True Lies 2,’” actor Tom Arnold jokingly told the audience in reference to the 1994 movie in which he appeared with Schwarzenegger.

Prior to the governor’s arrival on stage, a video showing Schwarzenegger’s legislative victories and defeats played. The crowd laughed at footage of CNN commentator Jack Cafferty calling the governor a “dumbbell” after his slate of “reform” initiatives failed during last year’s election, and suggesting that he could play “Conan the Geriatric” after “he’s voted out of office.”

Schwarzenegger then arrived on stage amid a barrage of green, orange, and white confetti as the crowd waved signs.

“I love doing sequels,” Schwarzenegger told the crowd. “This, without a doubt, is my favorite sequel.”

After thanking his family and supporters, Schwarzenegger addressed Angelides’ supporters.

“I’m going to work hard to win your support in the next four years,” he said. “Your hopes and dreams are my hopes and dreams.”

Other Republicans running for statewide office and people campaigning for ballot initiatives also appeared at the event.

State Senator Tom McClintock, running for lieutenant governor, was in a closely contested race with Democrat John Garamendi. Hours before the results came in, with Garamendi winning by a small margin, McClintock talked about the importance of the job he sought.

“That often is the second bulliest pulpit in California,” McClintock said. “And that can have a large impact on the public policy debate.”

Child-safety advocate Mark Lunsford campaigned for Prop. 83, which places tighter guidelines on where sex offenders can take up residence and requires them to be monitored with GPS devices. The proposition was dubbed the “Jessica’s Law Initiative,” named for Lunsford’s 5-year-old daughter, who was kidnapped from her Florida home, raped and murdered in 2005.

He had a message for those who felt Prop. 83 was too strict when it comes to monitoring offenders.
“Let them come live with you,” he said. “Let them come live across the street from you. What we’ve been doing is not strict enough. That’s why they keep committing these crimes.”

Women More Likely To Lend Helping Hand

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While many college students filled their Sunday with shopping or football, seven female members of SF State’s Newman Club, a Catholic campus ministry, spent a recent Sunday feeding the hungry at an old firehouse.

Working with the Sisters of Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity, the students passed out more than 150 Styrofoam plates full of spaghetti, bread, salad and cake.

About 20 people from different schools and churches came to help. Among them, only one was male.

A recent study by the Corporation for National & Community Service, a federal agency, said female college students volunteer more than males, at a rate of 33 percent to about 27 percent. But many at SF State and around the Bay Area said the gender difference in volunteering is much higher.

“My uneducated guess is that volunteer roles are traditionally more feminine activities, like teaching and nursing,” said Jay Cable, executive service coordinator for SF State’s Community Involvement Center. “Men might not be aware of the opportunities in their field.”

He said about 70 percent of the volunteers were female, even though the CIC offers volunteer opportunities for just about “everything under the sun.”

Vivian Xi, a 21-year-old hospitality management major, is a member of the Newman Club, and said she agreed with Cable that social perceptions might play a role in men volunteering.

“Men are taught that they have to be strong and dominant,” Xi said. “Most don't know how to show people love through giving, or they don't feel comfortable with it.”

“Helping other people can help yourself,” Xi said. “At the end of the day, I always look back and see if I've done something meaningful. If I have, I just feel more self-confidant.”

Mark Cunanan, 19, community coordinator for the Pilipino American Collegiate Endeavor, PACE, a club on campus, said volunteering can be scary. There’s no pay, it’s not glamorous work, and many students feel they don’t have the time to do it.

“As college students, we’re privileged,” Cunanan said. “We can get an education, and we don’t have to worry about where our next meal’s coming from. But what more men and women need to realize is that with that privilege comes responsibility.”

PACE helps with an immigrant food bank every Thursday at the Veterans Equity Center.

“Some of the shifts will just be cleaning up,” Cunanan said. “It’s not fun, and you really have to humble yourself.”

He said many men’s pride won’t let them humble themselves, and it’s a shame.

“You’re either down or you’re not,” he said. “I hear many talking about how down they are and how much they’re going to help, but more often than not, it’s the women that come through.”

At the Suicide Prevention and Counseling of Marin, Volunteer Manager Janet Taylor said about half of their volunteers are students from colleges around the Bay Area. These students are also overwhelmingly female, she said.

“You could talk about the stereotypes about women being more giving, but, in the end, it doesn't matter what sex you are,” Taylor said. “All that matters is that people want to help those less fortunate, and in this case it can be the difference between life and death.”

Rumsfeld Drops the Ball

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The growing disapproval over the Iraq war and the country’s state of defense can be compared to a baseball game. The pitcher? Donald Rumsfeld, who quit as U.S. Secretary of Defense on Wednesday.

“Rumsfeld has been throwing balls, and he’s been failing. Putting Rumsfeld into the game has been a failure,” said Leigh Wolf, public relations officer for the College Republicans.

It's time the 74-year-old war manager, who was also a defense secretary under President Gerald Ford, be replaced with someone who might develop new strategies to end the conflict in Iraq, Wolf said.

The 20-year-old broadcast major is enthusiastic about Rumsfeld’s replacement, Robert Gates, who was director of the Central Intelligence Agency in the early 1990’s and has had other national security positions.

“We need to hope that Robert Gates will be the pitcher to win the game,” Wolf said.

But some students are skeptical about whether the new defense secretary will bring change.

“Rumsfeld is totally out of step with this country, but I don’t know whether his replacement will be any better,” said Michelle Montoya, vice president for the California College Democrats.

The general sentiment on campus, according to students, is one of surprise and relief. However, not everyone is happy to see Rumsfeld go.

“It seemed he knew what he was doing. Now we have to start over with someone new,” said Cory Conderen, 24, a criminal justice senior. “He has been in office for a while so it just felt comfortable.”

The Democratic control of the Senate and the House of Representatives, rather than Rumsfeld’s resignation, will have a more direct effect on current defense policies, said Angelika von Wahl, a political science and international relations assistant professor.

She was thrilled to learn about Rumsfeld’s resignation in her German politics class Wednesday morning.

“It was long overdue, not only for the issue of human rights, but for President Bush and the Republican party,” von Wahl said, citing Rumsfeld’s unpopular defense policies. “It’s sort of bad for them, having him for so long.”

Author Discusses Arabs in America Stereotypes

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Filling most of Jack Adams Hall, students came out on Wednesday to hear Dr. Jack Shaheen speak about images of Arabs in America.

Shaheen, who wrote a book entitled, “Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People,” which delves into cinematic history citing the many films that depict gun-wielding and bomb exploding Arabs, said that the only way the for the portrayals and vilification of Arabs to stop is to understand them and realize that they are human too.

“Arabs are stereotyped in such a way that when you say the word, it makes many Americans think of a terrorist or Muslim,” Shaheen said.

Ramsey El-Qare, 25, a political science student, who introduced Shaheen, along with Jacqueline Husary, 26, an international relations student, said that today, in a post 9/11 world, Arabs are still vilified and misunderstood.

“This event was put on to educate and enlighten people at SF State about the mural,” El-Qare, said. “President Corrigan has denied the mural stating in his letters that it doesn’t follow the core values of SF State.”

El-Qare also said that Corrigan states in his letter that the mural portrays a hatred towards Jews.

“I find this ironic since one of the artists of the mural is a Jewish-American named Susan Greene,” he said.

Shaheen focused his presentation more upon the stereotypes of Arabs in America.

He kept the atmosphere of the event informal, nixing his introduction speech and simply starting of by saying, “we’ll just talk,” as he casually took off his jacket.

He stated that Hollywood has perpetuated an image of Arabs in cinema for over a hundred years that taught children at a young age to hate and despise Arabs.

“Politics and media are interlinked,” Shaheen said. “Media follows policy and always has.”

Shaheen said he believes that media and entertainment have created a stereotype of Arabs, as well as what he called “cultural others.” He listed a few ways in which one may identify a “cultural other” based on how they are portrayed in entertainment.

“They look different, they have different facial features – usually dark skin – they have an accent and have different clothes,” he said. “They are inept in the bedroom and on the battlefield, they are unattached to family, and they worship a different deity.”

He said that the reason “cultural others” are portrayed in such a way is because of a lack of understanding.

“Dr. Shaheen gives Arabs a voice that needs to be heard,” Husary said. “Arabs are victimized by media influence and need to be portrayed accurately.”

Shaheen brought a short film called “Planet of the Arabs,” which, he said, was made by Jacqueline Salloum, who was inspired to make the film after reading “Reel Bad Arabs.”

The film was short and showed clips of numerous American movies that portrayed Arabs in a negative way. Each film had Arabs holding, or shooting a gun, they all had dark skin with facial hair, in a desert and spoke with an accent

Even movies that have nothing to do with the Middle East have Arab stereotypes,” Shaheen said, citing “Back to the Future,” as one such film.

“Planet of the Arabs” ended Shaheen’s presentation, but not before he asked the audience to do to things to help de-myth Arab stereotypes and help end their vilification in American.

“Buy my book, but nor for my profit, but because it is a valuable tool in contesting discrimination, and become movers and shakers. Count yourselves as part of a goodwill club and do not let media images speak for you and compromise your personal integrity.”

GPS Not The Answer Against Sexual Predators

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For the more than 30 convicted sex offenders living within a 2-mile radius of SF State, and the estimated 85,000 living in the state of California, the passage of proposition 83 would have meant further restrictions and harsher penalties.

But they won’t have to worry about it this time.

The proposition was voted down in Tuesday’s election and SF State students seem to be in agreement with the outcome.

Saira Hussain, 32, said that the new law is unrealistic, and voted against prop 83. Hussain said that the 2000-foot stipulation in the law would essentially ban sex offenders from major metropolitan areas, thus transporting them to rural regions.

"It seems to me that if people are going to get help they need to be closer to city centers, and if you gerrymander them out to the farthest reaches of the state they are not going to get help," said Hussain, anthropology major at SF State. "Additionally, you’re going to create pockets where there are sex offenders sort of concentrated in one area which seems much less safe for the people living in those areas."

Proposition 83, also called Jessica’s Law, is derived from Jessica Lunsford, a 9-year-old Florida girl who was abducted and murdered in 2005.

The proposed law would have restricted convicted sex offenders from living within 2000 feet of school’s and parks, and will also require registered offenders to wear a GPS tracking device for the rest of their lives.

It would have costed a couple hundred million dollars annually, with several tens of millions of dollars for the GPS devices and "supervision staff,” who would track offenders, according to the Official Voter Information Guide.

According to the Megan’s Law website there are 648 registered sex offenders living in San Francisco. Some SF State students were divided on whether the new law will prove effective in reducing sex crimes.

"I ended up voting yes on 83 mainly because I am concerned about the availability that sex offenders have to school age children in elementary and junior high,” said Danielle Russell, 25, a history major at SF State, who pointed out that hours after the release of John Carr, he was seen at a middle school. "I don't think the law is perfect, and I don't expect them to catch everybody. But, I do feel it is necessary."

Tory Patterson, 19, who voted for the first time in yesterday's election, said that she the law would have been a waste of time. Patterson said that she had no idea there were more than 30 sex offenders living near SF State -- according to the Megan's Law website. Although shocked, Patterson said that sanctioning sex offenders out to different areas is not the answer.

"It concerns me," said Patterson, a finance major at SF State who voted no on proposition 83. "I think its kind of ridiculous. What areas do you move them to? What communities will be affected by this?" she said. "You can't just put them all in one area, because I remember reading somewhere that it would put a strain on law enforcement."
Although students disagree over whether the law will prove effective, all agreed that something needs to be done to combat sex crimes.

"Know one likes sex offenders. Know one likes that it happens," said Hussain. But I think the only way to really control it is to give them the help that they need," said Hussain.

SF State Reflects on No-limit Campaign Spending

In Tuesday’s election, the people of California voted against Proposition 89, which would have limited large campaign contributions.

SF State political science lecturer, Ari Laskin, said the results show how the corporate world has an affect on politics.

SF State Reflects on No-limit Campaign Spending

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In last week’s election, the people of California voted against Proposition 89, which would have limited large campaign contributions.

SF State political science lecturer Ari Laskin said the results show how the corporate world has an affect on politics.

“This just reveals the relationship between legislation and the invisible hand of capitalism,” Laskin said.

Prop. 89 was a proposal that asked Californians whether eligible candidates for state elective offices should receive public campaign funding, that is supported by new taxes on corporations and financial institutions. Also, whether contribution limits be imposed on those candidates who do not receive public campaign funding.

In a 74.4 percent to 25.6 percent vote, Prop. 89 was not passed, which means that there will be no limitation on how much a company can contribute to a campaign. In addition, the tax rate will not change for corporate and financial institution contributions to a candidate’s campaign.

Prop. 89 was a measure to help third party candidates and ensure that they receive equal contributions to their campaigns. But according to arguments against Prop. 89, made by “Californians to Stop 89,” it would have harmed businesses.

According to their rebuttal, “Californians to Stop 89” stated that the proposition was not going to level the playing field for third party candidates, but discriminate against small businesses.

In agreement with the “Californians to Stop 89” argument, Laura McClary, an SF State political science major, said that if the vote had gone in a different direction last night, it still would not have helped a third party candidate.

“It would have been nice if it had passed, but as far as it goes towards making any change, to increase the little guy’s chance, I don’t think it was going to do that,” said McClary, 20, a senior.

The campaign to pass Prop. 89, according to Laskin, was a way to disrupt the stronghold of the two-party system in California. He said the measure should have been passed because campaign contributions could have been regulated, just like it is in his native home of Canada.

“In Canada there is legislation that limits donations to campaigns, and it is effective there,” said Laskin. “To me, corporate donation to campaign funding just seems to be an overt manipulation of public policy, and I can’t believe it is still practiced here.”

Props Supported by Students Against War Voted Down

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Being a member of the political organization Students Against War means being nonpartisan and not taking sides, said Michael Hoffman, a 26-year-old graduate student at SF State. But this year’s election has been a headache.

“It’s frustrating,” Hoffman said. “It’s like third party alternatives aren’t even taken into consideration.”

Hoffman voted with hopes that Proposition 85, Proposition 86 and Proposition 87 wouldn’t pass. He believes the measures work against the people and do nothing for Californians.

As of today, results showed that all three propositions were defeated.

Prop. 85 requires parental consent for abortions, Hoffman said it is a representation of the chipping away of women’s rights.

“It’s a part of oppression and exploitation and I personally hope that the prop doesn’t pass,” Hoffman said. “It’s the initial steps that will eventually strip away women’s rights.”

Prop. 86, a cigarette tax increase was another measure that aroused strong, yet negative opinions with Hoffman and he believes the measure attacks working class consumers.

“The government spends billions of dollars for the ‘rebuilding of Iraq’ and we spend even more money to build these huge army bases,” said Hoffman. “But then again we don’t have any money to fund health care. What kind of sense does that make?”

Hoffman feels that the proposition is a disingenuous measure that will cause the working class society to pay more money when it should be the government’s responsibility.

Of the three initiatives, Prop. 87, which provides for a tax on California oil, has been the most manipulative idea brought to the ballot, according to Hoffman.

“It’s a political play that plays on people’s fears of dependency on foreign oil,” said Hoffman. “It’s a move to try and leverage the United State’s power in the Middle East and strengthen our place there.”

According to Hoffman, the measure hypes up Californians into thinking that we’re under the threat of terrorism and it’s sad that the majority isn’t aware that the Middle East isn’t our primary source of oil.

The SF State chapter of SAW was established in 2003 during the invasion of Iraq, according to Hoffman. Along with UC Santa Cruz, the organization has made quite a bit of progress. The organization promotes education over war living by the unity statement of “College Not Combat, Troops Out Now!”

Smokers Can Breathe a Sigh of Relief

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As Proposition 86 went up in smoke, reaction at SF State varied.

The rejection of the initiative, which would have raised cigarette taxes by $2.60 a pack to fund health services, was a good thing for 27-year-old Maia Youngbrandt.

“I’m from Chicago, and it’s $7 a pack there. I’m glad they’re not trying to screw me like that,” said Youngbrandt, a psychology major.

The proposition was important to her, but she wasn’t able to vote because of school and work.

“I figured if they passed it, I’d smoke less,” she said. “I had two boxes of (nicotine) patches waiting.”

Smoking a Newport cigarette outside the gym, 19-year-old Kevin Tolentino said he was glad the proposition was rejected.

“I pay too much as it is,” said Tolentino, who has yet to declare a major. “I would have had to smoke less if it passed, strictly because of financial reasons.”

Tolentino, who estimated he smokes half a pack per day, said he was too busy with school and work to vote.

Derick Lee, 26, said the proposition should have passed.

“I was a smoker for about a year and a half, and even if I still smoked I would support the tax,” said Lee, a business major. “It would suck to pay more, but it would help people quit.”

He quit cold turkey about a year ago after an argument with his mom over smoking. When she fell into a diabetic coma, Lee said he had extra motivation that most smokers never get.

Lee did not vote, and said despite the numerous ads for both sides, many people weren’t aware or didn’t care about it.

Ted Stevens did care, and voted yes on the proposition.

“Yes, it’s pretty discriminatory against smokers, but I’m totally against smoking so it doesn’t bother me,” said Stevens, 43.

Smokers have no conscience about their second-hand smoke or littering and don’t deserve sympathy if they had to pay more, said Stevens, a history major.

“Obviously, the smokers voted against it, but a lot of Libertarians and conservatives probably didn’t like it because they don’t want the government involved in their choices,” Stevens said. “But they’re idiots, if you ask me.”

Proposition 86 Goes Up in Smoke

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As Proposition 86 went up in smoke, reactions at SF State varied.

The rejection of the initiative, which would have raised cigarette taxes $2.60 a pack to fund health services, was a good thing for 27-year-old Maia Youngbrandt.

“I’m from Chicago, and it’s $7 a pack there. I’m glad they’re not trying to screw me like that,” said Youngbrandt, a psychology major.

The proposition was important to her, but she wasn’t able to vote because of school and work.

“I figured if they passed it, I’d smoke less,” she said. “I had two boxes of (nicotine) patches waiting.”

The proposition was barley defeated with 52.2 percent of votes against it, as of Wednesday morning.

Supporters of Prop. 86 said, according to a study, done by the California Department of Health Services, the proposition would have kept 700,000 kids from becoming adult smokers, prevented 300,000 smoking-related deaths and saved $16 billion in health care costs.

But those who opposed Prop. 86, said the $2.1 billion tax hike would not have helped health services, and there was no guarantee about how the money would be spent.

Smoking a Newport cigarette outside the gym, 19-year-old, Kevin Tolentino, said he was glad the proposition was rejected.

“I pay too much as it is,” said Tolentino, who has yet to declare a major. “I would have had to smoke less if it passed, strictly because of financial reasons.”

Tolentino, who estimated he smoked a half a pack per day, said he was too busy with school and work to vote.

Derick Lee, 26, said the proposition should have passed.

“I was a smoker for about a year and a half, and even if I still smoked I would support the tax,” said Lee, a business major. “It would suck to pay more, but it would help people quit.”

He quit cold turkey about a year ago, after an argument with his mom over smoking. When she fell into a diabetic coma, Lee said he had the extra motivation that most smokers never get.

Lee did not vote, and said despite the numerous ads for both sides, many people weren’t aware or didn’t care about it.

Ted Stevens did care, and voted yes on the proposition.

“Yes, it’s pretty discriminatory against smokers, but I’m totally against smoking, so it doesn’t bother me,” Stevens, 43, a history student, said.

Smokers have no conscience about their second-hand smoke, or litter and don’t deserve sympathy if they had to pay more, said Stevens.

“Obviously, the smokers voted against it, but a lot of Libertarians and conservatives probably didn’t like it because they don’t want the government involved in their choices,” Stevens said. “But they’re idiots, if you ask me.”

Former PG&E CIO Discusses Business Ethics

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Roger Gray spoke at SF State’s College of Business’s annual Business Ethics Week on Wednesday, and showed students how they can’t be taught ethics.

“Business ethics aren’t really different than moral ethics,” Gray said.

Gray, who worked for PG&E for nineteen years as their CIO, decided to call it quits after not agreeing with the moral fabric of the company. He is now COO of IP Networks in San Francisco.

President Robert Corrigan gave the opening remarks at the event, which started at 5 p.m. in the Science building, room 101.

“Most of the folks who have screwed up out there have been college educated,” said Corrigan. “Because of this we need to ask, what is the role of the University in the topic of ethics?”

After Corrigan’s introduction, Gray laid out the basis for his lecture topic, which was based on the idea that business ethics is no different than any other type of ethics.

“Should we really develop ethical standards for our business life,” said Gray, “that are separate from family life, citizen life, academic life, or religious life?”

Gray said that much of business is about the means and the ends, meaning what matters is the outcome, and how you get there. But Gray said that in modern day business the means aren’t justifying the ends.

Adam Smith’s concept of the invisible hand also played a major role in Gray’s lecture. Gray said he believes very much in the free-market and thinks that Smith was on to something, yet his philosophy has been greatly misinterpreted.

“The invisible hand by Adam Smith and self-interest were not carte-blanche to selfishness, greed and unchecked power under the guise of the free markets,” Gray said.

Gray said also thinks honesty is the best policy. After receiving a question from the audience about white lies, Gray further explained the limitations of his honesty policy.

“I think we should be honest,” said Gray. “But not brutally honest. With regards to white lies, telling the truth and not lying are two very different things. We should always be honest, but we don’t need to hurt someone doing it.”

Leaders are able to change the way that companies and their employees look at and regard ethics codes, Gary said near the end of his presentation.

“Ethics is getting worse,” he said. “It’s not just moral ethics, it’s religious scandals and political scandals. As leaders your standards will set the tone for your life and the people who work under you. It will also reflect on to your colleagues.”

Gray’s final advice to students was to save as much money as they can, so that they can be able to pick and chose an ethical company to work for without having to worry about money clouding their decision.

Bill Perttula, one of the organizers of Business Ethics week, and a professor of marketing and internet marketing, was one of about thirty people present at the lecture.

“I strongly agree with his point that there is not specialized ethics,” said Perttula. “We can’t teach our students ethics now when they’re adults. It starts with their parent’s way before they get to us. What we should do is start giving guidelines for them to be able to answer their own ethical questions.”

Bruce Paton, Professor of Management in the College of Business, was also in attendance.

“He [Gray] describes himself as cynical, but his conduct in business is otherwise,” Paton said. “He makes a good case for the possibility of being an ethical business person.”

Angelides Supporters Excited Even in Defeat

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SACRAMENTO - Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides’ fate appeared to be sealed even before his Nov.7 election night party began, but for many of his supporters the treasurer’s loss was overshadowed by the Democrats’ overwhelming victory in the Congress.

With his three daughters crying behind him, a smiling Angelides congratulated Gov. Schwarzenegger and his family on their victory.

“This has been the most energizing experience of my life,” Angelides said.

Many of Angelides’ supporters said Gov. Schwarzenegger had essentially run as a Democrat in order to defeat the treasurer.

“Ninety percent of Schwarzenegger’s agenda, I support – that is this year,” said John Raymond Garamendi, the Democratic candidate for lt. governor, referring to the governor’s recent stances on minimum wage and the environment.

“After the debacle of 2005 he took up every one of the Democratic running points,” Garamendi said. “He gave Phil Angelides very little room to work with.”

Lifelong Democrat Cindy Clearly said, although she considers the Governor “fickle,” she hopes he will continue his liberal policymaking.

“Schwarzenegger is a Democrat in disguise. If he would have just come out and admitted it, we would be fine,” Clearly said.

Education was one issue that separated Angelides from Gov. Schwarzenegger during their campaigns. Angelides had said he would repeal the public-university fee hikes that were implemented under Gov. Schwarzenegger.

Although he was defeated, Angelides’ supporters said the new Congress would mean financial relief for college students.

“I really do believe it is going to help public education,” said the state Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell.

O’Connell said a Democratic Congress will mean increased financial aid and more Pell Grants.

California Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez said the Republican Congress had “turned their backs on students,” and he expected a renewed focus on higher education.

Even though there were scattered boos when Angelides announced his concession, many Democrats are maintaining a positive outlook because of other Democratic victories.

“It is a great year to be a Democrat,” said event organizer Brian Brokaw, a UC Berkeley graduate who also worked on John Edwards’ 2004 campaign. “At the end of the day Bush is still the president, but there will no longer be a rubber stamp congress.”

State Controller Steve Westly, who lost a close primary to Angelides, used similar words to sum up the night.

“We are going to take back the house, and Nancy Pelosi will be speaker of the house. This election will be a referendum on the president,” Westly said, referring to the San Francisco congresswoman who is likely to become the next speaker of the house.

Many Angelides supporters spent the night huddled around television monitors as congressional results rolled in.

Cheers erupted from the crowd gathered at the Grand Sheraton Hotel when CNN projected that the Democrats had won a majority in Congress.

“We are going to have a Democratic speaker, and a woman at that,” Jean Scully of Redondo Beach said.

At the end of the night, the Angelides camp claimed victory even in defeat.

“Phil Angelides has raised the bar on debate in California,” said Art Pulanski, executive secretary of the California Labor Federation, to a cheering crowd of Angelides’ supporters.

SF State Class Analyzes Election Results

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On a drizzly evening that would entice most to shack up at home with a good movie or neglected coursework, more than 100 students opted to remain at SF State to eat free pizza and watch a real-time analysis of the election returns in Jack Adams Hall.

In an event sponsored by this semester’s BSS 275 lecture series, California: The Promise vs. the Reality in the 2006 Election, a panel made up of five political science professors and two students gave running commentary on the election results. The discussion revolved largely around the national Senate and House races, and audience participation was encouraged.

Despite the focus on congressional races, a diverse range of issues were addressed by the panelists, including the significance of female and minority votes, alternative voting methods and the timing of Saddam Hussein’s sentencing.

Alternating audio among the big screen TV projection of CNN’s live broadcast of the election returns, panel discussion and audience questions the evening had a casual feel.

The format was a hit with many participants.

“I like seeing this,” said Mario Flores, director of SF State’s Project Connect. “It’s nice that students have the chance to come together and watch the future leadership of the United States.”

Michelle Jorgensen, 22, an SF State political science major, agreed with Flores that the event was a good opportunity to witness the democratic process in the company of others.

“I’ve always kind of watched politics on my own,” Jorgensen said. “So it’s nice to have a gathering.”

As the evening wore on and reports broke that the Democrats had taken control of the House of Representatives and were likely to win half of the seats in Senate, many event attendees applauded.

“I’m very excited,” she said. “I don’t think it’s so huge that you’re going to wake up tomorrow and everything is different, but I think it’s a good way to send a message to the Bush administration that things are wrong with their protocol.”

Political science professor Robert Smith, who was a panelist at the event, also agreed that the Democrats might not be able to take the country in an entirely new direction, but that “the best they can do, is stop Bush from taking it in his direction.”

These doubts however, did not keep students from expressing their desires to see certain issues addressed in the coming years.

“I’ve been hoping for the Democrats to come into power since 2000,” said Robert Theis, 30, an SF State chemistry major. Aside from saying he hoped to see Congress move forward in a bi-partisan way, Theis also said, “I would like to see the mess in Iraq addressed, especially because I’m an Iraq war veteran. And I’d like to see priorities change in general.”

Other students said they hoped to see more discourse on issues such as stem cell research, immigration and student loans.

This is the second election event BSS 275 has hosted since the course began in 2003, the first being the presidential elections in 2004.

For those who took in the free politics and pizza provided by the event, Kathryn Johnson, coordinator of special projects for the college of BSS and co-facilitator of BSS 275 said, “We’re going to do this in 2008 and we want to make this a regular tradition.”

Democrats Celebrate Victories

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The Democrats won enough seats early Wednesday morning to gain control of the House for the first time in 12 years, plausibly ushering in the first female speaker for the House of Representatives.

Nancy Pelosi, San Francisco Democratic leader, won re-election, bringing her closer to possibly becoming the first woman to be speaker of the House and third in line for succession of the presidency.

"The speaker of the House is a really powerful position and it's important to have it in Democratic hands," said Sarah Keller, 30, the vice president of internal affairs for the College Democrats.

Keller said she thinks Pelosi will be pushed for issues that have not had as much momentum in the past.

"A lot more Democratic issues will be able to come to the floor now. Affordable health care minimum wage, accountability in Iraq, things we've been calling for six years and even longer," Keller said.

Keller was on campus all day Tuesday anticipating Pelosi's victory. She also attended Sen. Dianne Feinstein's election party, held at 600 Embarcadero Tuesday night.

For some members of the Democratic Party, the possibility of victory was enough cause for celebration.

"I think the time has come for the White House to listen to the American people," Feinstein said. "America is waiting for change."

When Feinstein approached the stage, the crowd cheered with U2's "A Beautiful Day" playing in the background.

SF State political science major Donald Price attended Feinstein’s party, showing his support for the Democrats.

He said Pelosi‘s victory is a major step for Democrats.

"This is the real deal. She's at the top of the political food chain," said Price, who also teaches an SF State community-service-learning class for freshman and sophomore students on campus. He said this win could mean progress for college students as well.

"If they can pass legislation, then it's going to make the student loans cheaper. It's going to produce a better understanding that war is not an answer, and that we're able to work things out so we don't go further and further in debt," said Price, who is also executive director of the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee.

But the change wouldn’t be quick and obvious, he said.

"Our lives in general are not going to change. You still have to go to school. You still have to do your assignments,” he said. “This is more of a fundamental change than anything else. At the end of the day you will see more of a Democratic voice."

Keller also commented about the speaker of the House being third in line for presidency. If anything were to happen to Bush and Cheney, Pelosi would step in.

"Pelosi is not going to push for impeachment, but in the worst possible scenario, if Cheney and Bush were washed out in another Katrina or something, we'd have another Democrat in the presidency," said Keller.

She also said Pelosi would help to enforce the 9/11 Commission Report’s laws more than the Bush administration has.

Many local officials, such as Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown, Mayor Gavin Newsom, District Attorney Kamala Harris, Attorney General Bill Lockyer, and family members crowded the stage, celebrating victories and possible Democratic control.

"I look back to tradition as I look forward to working for our state," said Brown, who celebrated his victory as attorney general, just like his father 56 years ago.

"I've been a Democrat all my life, but I've never felt this good," Newsom said.

Students File Complaints Over Flag-Stomping

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Upset over the College Republican-organized rally in which makeshift flags containing the Arabic symbol for God were stomped on, Muslim and non-Muslim students filed formal complaints.

�We never did anything to them intentionally,� said Omaid Salem, 24, vice president of the Muslim Student Association, or MSA. �What they did was pretty much bad.�

Salem and other Muslim students voiced their grievances last week to the Associated Students, which oversees funding and conduct for all sanctioned SF State student organizations.

A Student Organization Hearing Panel consisting of at least two Associated Students board members has been formed to review the complaint filed with the Office of Student Programs and Leadership Development. The panel will convene �as soon as possible,� ASI President Maire Fowler said.

The Oct. 17 rally in support of the war on terror turned into a heated shouting match in Malcolm X Plaza when the College Republicans presented the flags of Hezbollah and Hamas, two Islam-based political groups in the Middle East that the United States government deems terrorists organizations, with the purpose of walking on them.

Leigh Wolf of the College Republicans said their intention was not to offend Muslims, contending he let two Muslim students alter the flags to make the action less inflammatory. Some Muslim students argue the flags still bore the Arabic symbol for God when they were trampled on.

�They didn�t have to step on the flags to prove their point,� said Atif Madyun, president of the MSA.

The rally and subsequent verbal quarrel between College Republicans and angry students was watched over by at least four campus police officers, including Interim Police Chief Kirk Gaston, though they did not physically engage in the incident.

Since then Fowler said she has personally received complaints not just from Muslims but also Christian students. After listening to the students at the ASI meeting last week, Fowler assured them the board will investigate the matter.

�We definitely take this as a concern,� she said.

For Giuliano Savinelli, 19, a San Francisco City College Muslim student who had hoped to transfer to SF State, the incident has him questioning if he even wants to attend a school he said tolerates such acts with faculty and campus police looking on.

�They�re saying God is not worth anything at SF State,� Savinelli said. �Freedom of speech � there is a line where it crosses.�

Savinelli said he doesn�t support Hezbollah or Hamas, which is a democratically elected political party in Palestine, and is more upset about the act itself.

�There is no way that this whole thing can be seen as non-offensive,� Savinellli said to the board.

At a campus debate two weeks ago in which Wolf was a participant, Wolf was unexpectedly confronted about the flag-stomping episode when the moderator called upon Madyun during the audience question portion of the debate.

Madyun said he knew of no MSA members that would alter the flags, as Wolf claims they did, just so they could be stepped on.

�Why did you do it?� Madyun asked.

�Hamas and Hezbollah are terrorist organizations,� Wolf said. �I would do it again.�

The College Republicans and MSA are just two of 140 officially recognized SF State student organizations, according to the OSPLD.

Aware of the complaint and not concerned that any punishment will come of it, Wolf said he received a letter from the school�s administration charging the College Republicans of inciting violence and incivility. Wolf called the charges �deadly misguided and inaccurate.�

Under student organization conduct rules and procedure, if the panel determines the College Republicans violated university policies, it could result in a stiff letter of warning, group suspension or its official group status being revoked.

Wolf said if any such actions were to be imposed on the College Republicans the group would immediately file a lawsuit against the university.

�It�s an infringement on freedom of speech,� Wolf said.

The ASI board discussed the incident as part of their agenda at yesterday�s meeting, which was open to the public.

�We all deserve our common rights,� Salem said. �They need to apologize.�

Israeli Author Discusses With Palestinian Students

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Susan Nathan visited SF State on Tuesday to raise questions about the relationship between Jews and Palestinians in Israel and to discuss her new book, “The Other Side of Israel: My Journey Across the Jewish/Arab Divide.”

“I am impressed with the Palestinian club at SF State for being willing to face the real issues that are facing the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza,” said Nathan.

Nathan is an Israeli Jew, who hopes that through her book, as well as her lectures, she will be able to inform all people of the misdoings of her government.

“So many words have been written about the West Bank and Gaza,” said Nathan. “So little is being written about what is going on inside the state of Israel. The Palestinians have become irrelevant to their own government.”

Growing up in South Africa during the Jewish Diaspora, Nathan was raised with Zionistic ideologies.

“I was taught that Israel was constructed as a safe haven for Jews in Europe in case things get bad for us, like they did during the Holocaust,” said Nathan.

But moving to Israel allowed Nathan to view another side to the formation of the state of Israel.

“We are not educated with the true founding of the state,” said Nathan. “During the dispossession of the Palestinians in 1948, people need to understand that in many cases where Palestinian villages were destroyed, a massacre took place.”

Nathan described the town she now lives in with the Palestinians in Israel as unkempt by the Israeli government. Nathan has the means to move out of the impoverished town, yet she will not move.

“I live amongst the Palestinians because I will not be complicit,” said Nathan. “The philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi is that we are not to be in complicity with evil. Therefore, I do not want to be in complicity with my government.”

“We are all responsible for the way our society responds,” she said. “Just as if you don't speak out against the war in Iraq, you are being complicit with your government.”

Of the 20 or so people in attendance, many were from The General Union of Palestine Students (GUPS), however there were a few audience members that were not a part of the group and who disagreed with Nathan.

“I became a citizen of Israel in 1999, but I attended university there and forty percent of the people at the university were Palestinian. We all meshed well together, I didn't feel the segregation,” said Heather Erez, 31, who is not affiliated with SF State.

Ramsey El-Qare, 25, the head organizer of the lecture and the president of GUPS, explained why it was so important to have a speaker like Nathan come to SF State.

“It is extremely important to have Nathan here because she breaks the stereotype that Arabs and Jews don't get along,” said El-Qare, a political science major. “The media portrays the conflict in the Middle East from their perspective and as Americans we should seek truth from the people themselves.”

SF State Sounds off on Saddam's Sentencing

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Saddam Hussein, the deposed president of Iraq, was sentenced to death by hanging in an Iraq courtroom after he was found guilty of crimes against humanity.

Students Predict Early Defeat for Angelides

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While the federal elections are shaping up to be very close in California, people on both sides of the aisle think Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will cruise back into office.

“The Democrats are trying to link Governor Schwarzenegger and President Bush,” said Leigh Wolf, the College Republicans spokesman. “But the governor has taken a stand against Bush’s policies.”

Both Wolf and Carl Clark, president of the College Republicans, said the Republicans will have a relatively clean sweep across the state ballot. This, they contend, has much to do with the direction both political parties have taken in their ad campaigns.

“The Democrats are also trying to link the governor with Iraq. And the voters aren’t buying it,” Wolf said.

Not only does Wolf think that the attack ads against the governor aren’t working, but neither are the promises Angelides is making, he said.

“Sure it sounds good to cut taxes for the middle classes, but can he deliver?” Wolf said. “The truth is that he won’t be able to hold up to his promises without getting the money from something else. You can’t cut taxes on everything and still keep the state running.”

Dell Brooks, president of SF State’s Political Science Students Association, agrees that Angelides is not very promising.

“Angelides hasn’t been on topic until recently,” said Brooks. “He hasn’t been able to show Californians that he would do anything beneficial for the state.”

Brooks also has many of the same ideas as Wolf and Clark, with regards to how the election will go in November.

“Arnie is going to clean house,” Brooks said. “He has been able to please both sides. He has raised funds, and focused on California, especially with environmental issues.”

Sarah Keller, vice president of Internal Affairs and unofficial spokeswoman for the College Democrats, is under the same impression about the gubernatorial race.

“Unfortunately the governor race is not turning out the way we would like to see it,” Keller said. “But, it’s only one negative for the Democrats for this election.”

With the recent controversy regarding the Republican Party on the federal level, Clark said the Democrats are trying to bring federal politics into the state elections.

“Schwarzenegger is talking about state issues, not federal issues,” Clark said. “His ad campaign focuses on looking forward, and the positive outcomes that will come from this election. This approach will work for him for the state elections, and the Republicans can look forward to gaining a few key Democratic seats.”
Besides the gubernatorial victory that the Republicans, Democrats and PSSA believe Schwarzenegger will have, they think the federal elections may swing in favor of the Democrats.

“With the Foley incident, I don’t think the federal elections will go the same way,” Clark said.

Keller is enthusiastic about the Democrats’ chances at the federal level.

“We are going to take Congress at this point,” Keller said. “We are pretty excited about that.”

Brooks, a Democrat, although his organization is nonpartisan, is pleased with what the governor has done for California so far.

“The governor is what I call a moderate Republican,” Brooks said. “He does what he can for the entire state.”

Construction begins on new west plaza vendors stalls

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After seven years of delays and complications, construction began Monday on new vendor stalls in the Cesar Chavez Student Center’s West Plaza, however other major projects still sit on the shelf.

More than $2 million worth of construction projects sit idle, according to an April 20 Master Plan committee project timeline.

The West Plaza project, which will add a new food vendor on campus, was frozen for years because of funding issues. What was originally a less than $400,000 project has turned into an $869,000 undertaking because of an unfavorable construction market, said Guy Dalpe, managing director of the student center.

“Prices continued to escalate pretty dramatically,” he said.

In 2003, the project was estimated at $650,000 before the student center was encouraged by the Americans with Disabilities Act to reduce gaps between the concrete slabs in the plaza, Dalpe said.

Eventually, the owners of Bark ‘N’ Bun and Carmelina La Petite, now located on the south side of the building, agreed to undertake financial responsibility of the project. Their rent will be adjusted accordingly as reimbursement.

The West Plaza is not the only project that is years behind schedule.

Cheers erupted from the Student Center Governing Board on Nov. 2, when Dalpe announced that, in December, bidding would begin for a soul food restaurant to be built in the lower conference level between the Depot and the Pub.

Eight years ago, a campus survey showed that students wanted a southern-style soul food restaurant, and the Student Center Governing Board made a commitment to building it, but the project has yet to see a single day of construction.

An independent analyst deemed the original exhaust system for the restaurant insufficient, Dalpe said, and a new, roughly 20-foot-tall exhaust had to be designed.

One initial project became two separate undertakings: the restaurant itself and the exhaust system, which will exit the building through what is now a grassy area on the south side of the student center.

Some student board members pin the delays on their administrative counterparts.

“Everything is approved by the board, but the urgency of our management is what is holding us back,” said Mirishae McDonald, chair of the master plan committee.

The board is a mix of students with maximum two-year terms, and administrators, some of whom have been working in the building for years, like Dalpe who has been with the student center since 1991.

A number of students on the board said that administrators and staff undermine their power.

After the board approves something, it goes back to the staff for implementation. If the staff does not approve of the project they find excuses, said Maria Liliana Cortez, chair of the Student Center Governing Board.

Cortez’s personal project – a computer lab proposed for the student center’s top level – has also made little headway.

“I call it my baby,” Cortez said. “But it has taken me two years to even get a budget approved.”

The computer lab is still in the design phase, but before anything can be done, leaks in the proposed lab must be fixed, Dalpe said.

Attempts were made to fix the leak about six years ago, but the problem has persisted.

“There is a leaking problem, but why is it taking five years to fix?” Cortez said.

Term limits lead to impatience among student board members, Dalpe said.

“For them, it’s like everything has to be done today. If it’s not done today, it’s taking too long,” he said.

Dalpe attributes the delays to the complications that come with any major campus project, including library renovations, which have waited for almost eight years.

“When you start to get to projects of that size, like design changes to the building, the university has comments and it gets the attention of the student body, and with all those players around the table it takes time,” he said.

While projects wait to begin, the allocated funds sit untouched.

The CSU Chancellor’s Office holds the funds in a conservative account until the project begins, said Student Center Budget Analyst Gurinder Singh.

“If one project is not completed on time, it does not mean it will not be completed,” Singh said. “Those funds remain dedicated to the project.”

Although a number of projects remain idle, Dalpe said that delayed projects should not overshadow the improvements that have been done to the building over the years.

“Students do not have a history of the changes to the building,” Dalpe said, pointing out that renovations have been made to all the dining areas including Café 101, the Gold Coast Grill, and the entire lower level. “Students do not realize there has been this great amount of improvement over the years.”

The Walking Dead Celebrate in the Mission

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Thursday’s “Day of the Dead” procession in the Mission District had all the elements normally expected from San Francisco street parades – children carried on shoulders, dressed up dogs, music, flowers, political signs, cross-dressing and a few half-naked people – the difference being that it was after dark and many of them were dressed like the dead.

Filling the wet streets at just before 7 p.m., participants in the processional met at the corner of 24th Street and Bryant under clouded skies. Rousing the crowd was a band of the walking dead. Musicians dressed in classic “Dia de Los Muertos” style played dozens of drums, bells and rattles.

Surrounded by onlookers, costumed and not, most with cameras ready to capture the lively event, the band stepped methodically back and forth in garb ranging from a torn suit, to all black and brightly colored dresses. Black and white paint that imitated the faces of skeletons and a plethora of traditional marigolds were worn on heads and around necks.

The procession began at 7:15 p.m. as a drizzle began and clouds of incense rose, as did the excitement of those participating in the short, circuitous walk. Many with candles in hand, the crowd cried out as they began moving forward, evoking the intention of the procession – celebrating and honoring the dead.

Zuceli Sedar, 37, her 10-year-old daughter, and a friend, watched the procession as it proceeded past 25th and Balmy streets. All three had black and white painted skeleton faces and broad smiles as they pointed to other costumed participants.

“It’s very San Franciscan,” Sedar said, describing the ritual as “very peculiar” to her native Guatemala, where she said her family’s tradition was to visit the cemetery on All Saints Day.

Sedar said that for the last 15 years she hasn’t missed the event. “As long as it’s not too cold or rainy,” she said.

Some Mission District residents, who live on the streets along the procession’s route, hung out their windows watching the spectacle. Others participated by opening their garages and gates to display altars they had built to honor loved ones, with candles, photographs and other traditional decorations.

The three-day holiday springs from the native-Mexican tradition of celebrating the dead. It begins Oct. 31 and lasts through Nov. 2, coinciding with All Saints and All Souls day, as celebrated in the Catholic tradition.

According to the Web site for the Rescue Culture Collective, the organization that lead the free public event, the Day of the Dead procession has been celebrated in San Francisco for 26 years with the help and participation of several local organizations.

Stopping periodically for a drum rally or shouts from the crowd, the procession included an eclectic marching band, dressed in all white, and led by a handful of white-clad dancers. Walking about a dozen blocks over a two-hour period, the procession started and ended later than planned.

Newcomers to the Day of the Dead celebration included SF State math graduate Roxanne Montoya, 24, who, as a five-year San Francisco resident, rallied her family in Santa Clara to drive up for the event.

Carrying red flowers she made from tissue paper, wire and a little electrical tape, Montoya said she and her family enjoyed the event.

“My grandma likes the drums and my nephew likes the costumes,” she said.

“I just like that it’s a happy celebration,” Laura Brown, 28, said of her experience, as she watched the procession pass her and her boyfriend, Nessie Vanloan, 30, who held two sugar skulls in a plastic take-out container.

Bought from one of the many vendors selling the traditional item in the Mission that night, the small sugar-made skulls were customized to have Vanloan’s deceased grandparents’ names written on their foreheads.

Saying that he sees the tradition as an alternative to the fear of death that comes with Halloween, Vanloan planned to keep the skulls at home to be put with one he bought last year for his late sister.

A banjo player alongside the procession, Sean Lee, 33, called himself a “one man banjo” and joined the procession dressed in a black suit, with a skeleton mask, bowler hat and bone gloves. He was joined with an equally costumed woman who donned a black veil and dress while playing finger cymbals.

There were more than 1,000 people in attendance, and maybe as many as 2,000, according to Rico Castillo, one of many San Francisco police officers standing near 24th Street and Van Ness, he added that the crowd might have been larger than usual despite the rain.

A somber occasion for some, a 45-year-old counselor who goes by the name “Mouse,” carried a small altar he made for his mother, who died last month. He made the altar from objects he gathered at the Goodwill store.

He laid a silky piece of fabric over a pillow, with a candle, a black skull he bought in Oaxaca, and a framed photo of his mother laid against his chest, as friends greeted him with their condolences.

Unlike the violence that erupted in the Castro District during the Halloween celebration two days earlier, no incidents occurred, according to another officer, when the procession was long over at 10 p.m., and the celebration was continued in Garfield Park.

At the stopping point for the procession, which ended after nearly two hours, several altars were built under the trees and on the grounds of the park, where the crowd gathered to simply view them or make offerings to the dead, as is traditional of the holiday.

From small cardboard boxes set on the bike racks, to elaborate multi-tiered alters under white tents, the park was filled with altars that included a mix of brightly colored imagery. From a tapestry of the Last Supper, to Tibetan prayer flags, the altars were decorated with candle-lit photos and relics in remembrance of the dead.

Flim Shows Unity, Strength Within Hungarian Community

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Fifty years after the Hungarian revolution, a film that brought a large Hungarian population together was shown in the Koret Auditorium at the San Francisco Public Library.

The film by Sally Gati, “Starting Over in America”, was shown Sunday afternoon and included a reception.

Congressman Tom Lantos, who is Hungarian, opened the event with stories from his time in Hungary.

“That students stood up against the Soviet super power is unbelievable, almost irrational,” said Lantos.

The Hungarian revolution began on Oct. 23 as a student led protest and quickly spread across the nation. After ceasing control from the Soviet backed communist forces, the Soviet Union quickly squashed the revolution and close to 200,000 Hungarians fled the country.

Lantos went on to say that the American government talked the Hungarians into rebelling against their own government, and then didn’t offer their support.

However, there is one important positive lesson that Lantos thinks all Hungarians should learn from the U.S.

“We are all created equally,” said Lantos. “This has not been an easy lesson for Hungarians to learn. Although I am pleased to note that we are making some headway.”

The film featured 14 Hungarians who fled to America from Hungary after the 1956 revolution. Their stories showed the reasons behind their leaving, and what they encountered once they arrived here.

After the film, which lasted just shy of an hour, there was a panel of three people featured in the film, Frank Gati, who is Sally’s husband, and Andy and Cecilia Rekay.

When approached with the question of going back to Hungary and how they deal with homesickness, the ‘56ers described different coping mechanisms.

“My husband said ‘I don’t go on vacation to a place where I escaped from,’” said Cecilia Rekay. “The first time we went back was in 1989, and there were still bullet holes in the sides of buildings. So, to deal with homesickness we go to Hungarian church, and eat Hungarian food.”

Frank Gati, who has gone back to Hungary with his family every two or three years since 1971, has other feelings of the country he fled.

“I never developed tremendous hatred for communism,” said Gati. “I didn’t like them, I just didn’t hate them.”

Sally Gati has been working on this film since 1997, and it has become a labor of love for her.

It wasn’t until she met her husband Frank Gati that she realized that her own great grandmother was Hungarian.

“So we had a closer connection than I thought,” said Sally. “And the revolution played a big part in our relationship because if it weren’t for that, he wouldn’t have left.”

Frank Gati is proud of her for making the movie. He is also encouraged about the topics that it covers.

“It is an immigrant movie,” said Frank Gati. “It showed what the immigrants went through, and what the government was like once they got here.”

Marianna Csavosi, 52, a viewer of the film, was only 2 when the revolution occurred. However, it was a life changing experience even for someone as young as she.

“The film was unbelievable,” said Csavosi. “During the revolution my parents did not leave. I left Hungary in 1982 and came here in 1983. I was considered a refugee because I married an Iraqi, which was illegal at the time of Saddam Hussein. My husband could not get residency so then we came here.”

San Francisco Election Interactive Map

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San Francisco Supervisors speak on what is important to voters for the 2006 general election.

Access different districts by scrolling through our interactive map and find out more information on local and state propositions.

Student Center To Expand for New Vendor

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Construction began Monday on new vendor stalls in the West Plaza of the Cesar Chavez Student Center.

Construction is expected to last six to eight weeks, said Guy Dalpe, managing director of the student center, although poor weather conditions could be a factor.

“The biggest thing is how much rain we get,” Dalpe said. “Every day we have to delay gets added onto the finish time.”

For the first few days, foot traffic will be filtered through the Gold Coast Grill while crews reduce the size of the gaps between concrete slabs in the plaza walkway – repairs encouraged under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

After the concrete is finished, traffic should be able to move normally through the large door at the rear of the Student Center and north and south across the plaza, Dalpe said.

Carmelina La Petite and Bark N Bun will move from the South Plaza into the new location, which will include a full service kitchen for a new food vendor.

The choices for types of food have been narrowed down to Filipino, Thai and Japanese. Students will have the opportunity to vote on which food they would like to see in the plaza and afterwards vendor selection should begin in January, Dalpe said.

The new area will also include space for three potential murals.

The Student Center Governing Board began discussing plans for West Plaza construction in 1999, but funding issues have delayed construction.

Originally the project was estimated at a cost of less than $400,000, but rose significantly.

“Construction prices escalated pretty dramatically,” Dalpe said.

The estimate rose to about $650,000 in 2003, but concrete repairs have added to the cost and delayed the project. The new agreed contract amount is $869,000, Dalpe said.

Teach-in Held in Protest of Bush Administration

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A controversial law recently passed by the Bush administration was one of several topics discussed by the World Can’t Wait organization, which held a lecture at SF State Thursday night as part of the nation-wide call to drive out President Bush before 2008.

Guest speakers Carlos Mauricio and Robert Harmon expressed concerns about the Military Commission Act. The Act, which was passed in October, allows the government to put enemy combatants engaged in hostilities against the United States on trial. Harmon, a representative of the National Lawyers’ Guild Military Law Task Force, criticized the bill and said it violates citizens’ basic human rights.

“What the Bush administration has done – Bush and Rumsfeld – they can point at someone and say ‘combatant,’ and then they can be detained or questioned under duress,” said Harmon, who is also part of the American Civil Liberties Union. “The law basically leaves it up to the administration, not the courts, to try.”

The use of torture has also increased and has been accepted by the U.S. military, according to Mauricio, who is also a torture survivor. Mauricio is a part of the Stop Impunity Project, a torture survivor group.

During the 1980s, Mauricio was captured and tortured for nine days by the El Salvador government because they suspected him of being a Cuban guerilla commander.

“I was deprived of sleep, no water, food and beaten,” he said. “I had to listen to people being tortured. I could hear them being bitten, electrocuted and raped.”

Mauricio is working with his organization is to close down the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation in Georgia, which trains Latin American soldiers in interrogation tactics and counterinsurgency techniques. He said torture results only in fear.

“Engaging in torture is useless. Torture is a way of repression and brings terror to the people,” said Mauricio.

World Can’t Wait organizer and volunteer, Rafael Schiller-Laden, 25, spoke out about how important it is for the public to acknowledge what is going on in the government and the war in Iraq.

“This country is moving in a direction towards fascism. It is very controversial to say, but since 9/11, we have the Patriotism Act, the Military Commissions Act,” Schiller-Laden said.

Alex Mejia, 22, junior at SF State, is the youth organizer for the World Can’t Wait chapter at SF State. Mejia emphasized the importance of people becoming more involved with human rights and protecting the U.S. Constitution.

“This organization is for everyone, it doesn’t matter if you are a Democrat or a Republican,” said Mejia. “The main point of this organization is to unite with other groups and bring in new people to bring about change. “

Former SF State Professor Honored as Local Hero

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To recognize the contributions and culture of American Indians in San Francisco, Mayor Gavin Newsom and the Friendship House Association of American Indians sponsored the Second Annual American Indian Cultural Event at Joe Alioto Piazza on Tuesday.

Despite the rain, crowds gathered to partake in the event, which included educational and cultural exhibits, dancers, storytelling, and an awards ceremony honoring the contributions of KQED Public Broadcasting's "Local Heroes": Fount Mashburn of the American Indian Culture & Education Program, Myra L. Smith of Friendship House and former SF State ethnic studies department chair Elizabeth "Betty" Anne Parent, Ph.D.

"It is overwhelming and unexpected," Parent said. "I am happy to have this event. Even though it's raining it's still a beautiful day."

Although she has an impressive resume including being the first Native American Editorial Board Editor of the Harvard Educational Review and earning degrees from Harvard, UCLA, and Stanford, Parent said she is most proud of building and developing the academic curriculum of the American Indian studies department at SF State. Past honorees include Cristina Azocar, SF State professor and director of the Center for the Integration and Improvement of Journalism.

"It was great seeing Betty receive recognition for her work," said Azocar, who is a member of the Upper Mattaponi Tribe of the Powhatan Nation of Virginia. "She has been a great mentor to so many people, including myself."

To start off the ceremony, former SF State professor Eddie Madril of the Yaqui tribe performed a traditional hoop dance.

"This is a way to promote, enhance and showcase Native American participation and existence here in the Bay Area," Madril said.

But Madril, who teaches Native American studies to children around the Bay Area and is also on the Friendship House Board of Directors, admits that he would like to see more acknowledgment of native people.

"If we exist throughout the year, why do you want me to be a token Indian only during Thanksgiving?" Madril said.

According to Mayor Newsom, who spoke at the event, recognition of San Francisco's Native Americans is imperative.

"We hope to continue this for many years to come," Newsom said. "It is long overdue that we do justice for our Indian American community."

As part of the event, a symposium at City Hall discussed the health, substance abuse, and housing policies that impact American Indians.

"We talked about where we've been and where we're going," Newsom said. "And the challenges in providing true cultural competency in city services."

Newsom stressed a need for an increase not only in time and energy, but also in resources to formalize "an organizational structure to serve the 12,000 or so of us made up of Native American blood."

The sentiment resonated with the crowd, as Newsom was presented with a traditional Indian blanket.

"I got the feeling it was real for him," said Parent.

"You're here because you care as deeply as I do about the city and what we represent," Newsom said. "This only happens when we celebrate, not tolerate our diversity. It is important that we educate out youth, our children, and our families about our heritage, about the collective benefit in recognizing that we're all in this together."

Awards Focuses on Sexual Health

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SF State's First Annual Champions of Sexual Literacy Awards honored former U.S. Surgeon Generals, and other guest speakers, and invited them to advocate more aggressive approaches to what they called America's sexual health crisis.

“In our society, certainly in political office, you can't afford to speak too frankly about sexuality,” former Surgeon General, Dr. Jocelyn Elders, said at the The Palace Hotel in San Francisco. “Our silence has been deadly.”

Elders said the United States bears six million pregnancies a year, and of those, 33 percent of the women are unmarried, with 13 percent being born to teenagers, and almost half are unwanted. She said only five percent of schools teach comprehensive sexuality in kindergarten through 12 grade, while 81 percent of parents want their children to be taught.

Dr. Elders, and many other guest speakers, said the numbers show that it's time for something new.

“Clearly, prevention needs to be a great priority,” said Director of the HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies, Anke Heart.

Heart said that promoting abstinence doesn’t have any positive affect. Adolescents who vow celibacy usually only last months longer than those who don’t and they're less likely to use protection when they lose their virginity. Elders agreed.

“Vows of abstinence break more easily than the latex of a condom,” Elders said.

“People have to admit that there are young people having sex,” said former Surgeon General, Dr. David Satcher. “We have a responsibility to prevent unnecessary pain and suffering.”

Satcher produced 14 Surgeon General Reports during his term. Of the 14, the Treasurer funded all but one of them titled, “The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Promote Sexual Health and Responsible Sexual Behavior 2001,” which Satcher produced himself.

“People were not comfortable, and that tells volumes about our nation,” said Satcher.

“Why are we so afraid of pleasure?” asked host Dr. Deborah Tolman, director of the Center for Research on Gender and Sexuality, and a human sexuality professor. “We have to think about how to make pleasure credible.”

In lieu of Satcher's report turning five years old, and SF State's First Annual Champions of Sexual Literacy Awards, Mayor Gavin Newsom officially declared November 2, 2006 as “Sexual Literacy Day” in San Francisco, even though he could not attend the event.

Students, teachers and other professionals filled the chairs, but stood up to applaud the speakers as they approached and left the podium.

“I just never imagined to be sitting in the same room as some of these people,” said Abi Welssman, who holds a Masters degree in human sexuality. “It made me feel inspired again. It's been such a pleasure.”

“I've never seen Jocelyn Elders before. I was thrilled she was going to be here,” said Maureen McCarthy, a grad student in human sexuality.

Dr. Elders offered an ending alternative to sex: “Masturbation has never got anyone pregnant before, never caused any diseases, never caused hair to grow on your hand, and I always said, ‘You know you're having sex with someone you love.’”

Debate Team Gets Strong After Slow Start

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Without the luxury of experience and without the safety of convention, the SF State debate team is hitting its stride after strong showings at their last two tournaments.

In their third tournament of the year, first-year debate members Stephanie Eisenberg, 23, and Jessica Whittle, 21, showed remarkable progress, reaching the finals of the Oct. 20 Pepperdine University Ray Buchanan Invitational tournament - their first national tournament.

The weekend before, in only their first pairing as debate partners, they reached the semi-finals at the Santa Rosa Invitational.

Eisenberg earned the top speaker award for her division at both tournaments – an award based on personal performance - and the teammates exorcized some demons by defeating a Sacramento, Calif., team at Pepperdine that beat them three times the weekend before.

“We got so much confidence from that, it carried us through the whole tournament,” Eisenberg said. “It was great to see the look on their faces.”

It is an impressive showing for a pair that had to make up ground after beginning the season behind many of their competitors.

“We had to learn the system while everybody else was in Arizona for two weeks,” Whittle said referring to a debate camp at Arizona State University where many debate teams begin their seasons researching and preparing.

Competing in the toughest division, teammates Danae Martinez, 31, and Aaron Fritsch, 22, showed strongly without one of the pillars of debate: research.

“We had no evidence,” Martinez said.

Instead, the teammates stressed their own thoughts and personal experience over experts and facts.

“The framework that is the norm is Eurocentric – speak super-fast and back it up with experts without being credible on your own,” Martinez said. “It’s over-logical.”

The pair considers debate a microcosm of policy making, which they believe relies too much on research and numbers instead of being upfront, Fritsch said.

“If we think about debate in a different way then we can think about politics in a different way,” Fritsch said.

Their style impressed the judges and both won speaker awards. Fritsch was awarded fourth, one of the best finishes for an SF State student at a national tournament in recent years. Martinez earned 13th at her first tournament.

Their style and success are striking when compared to the research-heavy tactics of some other universities.

Many debate teams haul around huge tubs full of research files and arguments. Teams like Whitman College have 40 people researching, including graduate students, said veteran debate team member Vince Alvarez, 21.

Fritsch and Danae defeated a Whitman team on their way to a 3-3 record.

“We have to be more innovative. Even if I could work 24 hours a day, I could never do as much research as 40 people,” Alvarez said.

Alvarez and Jeff Martin, 22, showed well at Pepperdine and reached the finals of the Santa Rosa Invitational going undefeated before losing a split decision in the finals.

Their next tournament will be on Nov. 4 at Cal State Northridge.

“Hopefully people will come to these things, especially people of color, and they will see that you can devise your own framework and bring about another way of thinking,” Martinez said.

Clinton Comes to SF to Support Prop 87

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Former president Bill Clinton spoke in front of City Hall Wednesday night to build support for Prop. 87, and although the night’s list of celebrity speakers included actress Eva Longoria and singer Bonnie Raitt, the focus was clearly on the former president.

“We have turned this into a rock concert, how about that,” said San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom after a performance by Third Eye Blind vocalist Stephen Jenkins. “But we all know who the rock star is.”

At some points the crowd seemed to grow impatient with the speakers that preceded Clinton.

“We just came to see Bill Clinton,” said Academy of Art student Pakalyla Biehn, 20, whose eyes welled with tears when the former president finally appeared on stage.

Both third-year SF State student Samantha McCarthy and Biehn agreed that Clinton’s presence helps garner support for Prop. 87.

The proposition would place fees on oil extraction and use the money to fund alternative fuel research.

“It’s a good way to notify the public,” said McCarthy, a political science major.

Clinton spoke eloquently both in defense of Prop. 87 and in criticism of the oil-company-funded advertising campaign against the proposition, which he said cost $100 million.

“This debate on Proposition 87 is like so many decisions we are being asked to make across the United States,” Clinton said. “One side says stay the course and the other side says we can do better.”

The arguments against Prop.87 call the bill imperfect, he said, a point that should not deter voters.

“We can’t achieve perfection this side of heaven,” Clinton said. “We just have to be better than we are today and that is really easy.”

Clinton said that the proposition would help wean California off dependence on oil and create jobs.

For some, Clinton’s support of the proposition may be enough to gain their vote.

“I tend to respect his opinions,” said Bay Area realtor Noah Miller. “Him being for it puts a slant on my decision.”

Others remained undecided.

“I haven’t made up my mind. I smoke,” said Lolita Rivas who works at the Department of Health Department and was put off by the American Lung Association, one of the event’s supporters.

Other groups hoping to capitalize on Clinton’s popularity were also present to promote their causes.

“We are hoping to capture some of the energy and get people to come back to headquarters to volunteer,” said Clay Harrell, San Francisco organizer for the California Democratic Party.

“He is a good draw, so I hope he will help the Angelides campaign, because he’s the environmental candidate,” said Fran Larson who passed out Angelides support fliers.

Some of the crowd agreed that Clinton’s support of Prop.87 might help the Democrats in California’s gubernatorial race.

“He has got that star power,” said Judith Munoz, who works at the Department of Public Health and called the Democratic ticket for governor “lackluster.”

“If they get people fired up about the proposition, (people might think) I have to vote and while I’m here I might as well vote for Angelides.”

Students Speak Out On Castro Street Shootings

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The annual Castro Street Halloween celebration was interrupted last night when gunfire broke out injuring 10 people. Amid a rumor that the local government will cancel the event indefinitely, SF State students voiced their opinions about the events possible demise.

Political Activist Arrested at Protest

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While many San Franciscans prepared for Halloween, as many as 200 people assembled outside of the Mexican consulate to protest the deployment of Mexican federal police into the state of Oaxaca.

What began as a peaceful demonstration, complete with a candle-lit altar decorated with signs listing the names of eight people who were killed last weekend during protests in Oaxaca, lost momentum after political activist David Solnit was arrested for throwing red paint on the consulate door.

As Solnit was led to a police car on charges of malicious mischief, protesters shouted in his defense that the paint was water-based and could easily be cleaned off.

One event organizer, Miguel Roboles of the Comité Defensa del Voto, said the action was thoughtless and provocative.

“We have a different way,” Roboles said. “We want to do something peacefully.”

Roboles said such an aggressive action compromised the work protest organizers put into encouraging local support of the issue and that police intervention could frighten off factions of people who could otherwise lend a voice to strengthen the movement.

“These people don’t understand because they are from here,” Roboles said of some of the more agitated protesters. “It is very delicate.”

Other than Solnit’s arrest, Roboles was pleased with the protest’s turnout. Demonstrators spilled into the streets and, according to Roboles, as many as 22 organizations were represented.

“I think it was very diverse, many people from different places and organizations,” Roboles said.

Despite their diverse backgrounds, many of the participants agreed that they were there for the same reason. As Simon Walker, 30, described it, “I’m here to protest the government repression of peaceful protesters in Oaxaca.”

Some of the protesters in San Francisco said they had followed the situation in Oaxaca since it began, adding that this was not the first protest they had attended. In fact, last night’s demonstration was the third to take place in front of the consulate in 36 hours.

The protest began at 5 p.m., the crowd quickly swelling from 55 to nearly 200 people. “Solidarity” and “unity” were on the lips of many attendees who came with signs, candles and banners that condemned the actions of the Mexican government in Oaxaca.

Mexican President Vicente Fox sent federal police to Oaxaca to calm protests, which have racked the city since late May. Protests in Oaxaca began as a teachers’ strike and were soon after embraced as a movement to oust Oaxaca's state governor, Ulises Ruiz. Ruiz has been accused of rigging the 2004 election and violently suppressing his political opposition.

Since May, media reports have offered conflicting accounts of the number of protesters killed in Oaxaca. However, it was the recent shooting death of American journalist Brad Will that garnered mainstream media attention to the unrest in Oaxaca, serving as a platform for demonstrations in cities across the United States. Will was a contributor to the alternative news Web site Indymedia.org.

The Mexican congress joined in the call for Ruiz’s resignation, but the governor refused to concede. Despite the presence of federal police, according to the Associated Press, protests in Oaxaca persist.

Among the protesters outside of the consulate in San Francisco was Todd Chretien, a California candidate for U.S. Senate and SF State alumnus, who was also a speaker at the event.

Chretien said he participated in the protest to show solidarity with the people of Oaxaca and that the demonstration served to, “Put the Mexican government on notice that people all over the world are watching.”

Mayra Mendoza, 23, a student at Berkeley City College, hopes it is not only the Mexican government that gets the notice, but the people of Oaxaca as well.

“It’s really good to feel the support of the people here and I hope the message gets down to Oaxaca so they know that they’re not alone,” she said.

Halloween Celebration in the Castro Interrupted by Shootings

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Halloween festivities ended early for partygoers after a shooting broke out on Castro Street Tuesday night, resulting in 10 people injured.

The shooting, which occurred at 10:40 P.M., was on Market and 15th Streets.

Public Information Officer Sgt. Neville Gittens said last night that initially five people were shot, with one sustaining a life-threatening injury.

According to an SFGate.com article released Wednesday morning, the reported number of people wounded increased to 10 and may have been gang-related, with two “persons of interest” in custody.

“We believe it was all one incident,” Gittens said last night around 11:30 p.m. “We have some people detained, whether or not they are involved in the shooting is unknown at this point.”

The San Francisco Police Department said they would not be releasing any information because they were still gathering information about the incident. Phones calls made to Gittens in the morning were not returned.

SF State student Vi Lé, 19, a junior biochemistry major, who was at a party one block away from the shooting, said he heard about the incident from a person at the party.

“Somebody was running through the house screaming … people were shot. I started freaking out,” said Lé. “It’s really frightening, thinking about maybe being shot. I’d rather think of my safety first rather than traveling outside and being stupid.”

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