March 2007 Archives

Everything's Free at Mission Market

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Hundreds of locals pored over clothes, books, and other knickknacks in the heart of the Mission District on Saturday afternoon. The community gathering of individuals and their goods, talents and foods was all part of a money-less exchange called the “Really Really Free Market.”

The event took place in the fifth floor of ArtSF, a community space at 110 Capp St. utilized by local artists and musicians for creative expression.

The main tenet of the Really Really Free Market (RRFM) is the idea of bringing almost anything, be it food, clothes or a skill, and sharing it with other individuals. Free of any cash or comparable bartering tokens, of course.

“Usually you look around and everybody’s selling something,” said Ray Sykes, a 27-year-old who brought some of his neighbor‘s stuff to give. “But here, everybody’s giving something. It’s kind of in opposition to today’s economic paradigm, and it’s a lot more efficient.”

The RRFM, which was started in April 2005, usually can be found on the last Saturday of each month in Dolores Park. According to an event organizer, it was brought indoors briefly because of the cooler weather.

Going up five flights of stairs did nothing to discourage young and older people alike from bringing their contributions, and walking away with something they needed.

“It’s similar to Burning Man, in that you don’t need money, it’s in that spirit,” said Rose Bay, a 48-year-old Glen Park resident. “I came looking for a laptop case for my computer, and I found one, so now I can return the one that I bought.”

Bay talked about the benefits of the RRFM for not only those who came in with goods to leave for others, but other individuals who had nothing to begin with.

“Homeless people and street people come by and are like ‘wow,’” said Bay. “I don’t think it fits into our capitalist society, and that’s what’s so charming about it.”

Kirsten Brydum, one of the organizers who does online publicity for the event, said that the idea for the free exchange flowed from opposition to the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) and other free trade moves. Brydum, who explained how she raises awareness by posting to online calendars and giving word-of-mouth invitations, made it clear that the RRFM was an event run by everyone, not just her or other organizers. Essentially, everyone who shows up is simultaneously a participant and an organizer.

“I’m most blown away by people’s desire to give,” said Brydum, a 24-year-old Mission resident. “It’s giving without expecting something in return, and not trying to find a profit, but showing that you care for the people in your community.”

Brydum spoke about the generosity of the community as a whole, citing how a local café and grocery store donated espresso and fresh produce respectively, when they were told about the exchange.

The Really Really Free Market included musical talents, juggling instructors, hula hoop girls, tarot readings and massages. A ripped dollar bill sat in a small dish beside a big Ziploc bag of pretzels, adding visual emphasis to the currency-free nature of the event.

“If you’re going to destroy the economy, you’ve got to give stuff away,” said Joe Mama, a 30-year-old ArtSF founder. “This is commerce that doesn’t support the war, the fucking government doesn’t get a cut.”

The dreadlock-sporting Mama, whose friends confirmed that he wasn’t using a bogus name, said that he performs in third-world countries all across the globe, and that in many places people don’t have the same wasteful tendencies as Americans.

“Go travel to other countries where they’re used to not having money to spend,” said Mama. “Those people would love to just have a few dirty T-shirts.”

Christian Fenderson gave away a bicycle seat, and was thrilled to be taking home a shirt and a wetsuit top from the event. He praised the sense of community and the interaction that came out of the event’s premise, pointing out a noticeable difference between those lingering around the studio and those who hustle through big chain stores.

“It brings people a little closer together, like if one of us gives something for free, then maybe we won’t need money as much,” said Fenderson, a 32-year-old from Bernal Heights. “It connects to why people work so many hours to buy junk, and hopefully now people are thinking more about the product of their labor.”

While people were milling about the fifth floor of the building, Daniel Ross set up his spread of free items outside on the corner of Capp and 16th Streets. He used his admittedly-limited command of the Spanish language to inform all passersby that everything was free for the taking, including the pasta salad and apples.

“There’s this compulsion for people to buy things that they think will bring a lot of satisfaction to their lives, and they don’t end up using them,” said Ross, a 41-year-old Sunset resident. “People buy a lot of things they don’t need, and they don’t even realize they have these things that other people need.”

Not long after that, a homeless man in tattered clothing bent down to scoop some pasta salad into his newest possession, a coffee mug he gleaned from Ross’ collection.

No God Is No Problem For Local Congressman

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What does Pete Stark, a 34-year veteran of the House of Representatives, have in common with Sigmeund Freud, Isaac Asimov and Ronald Reagan, Jr.?

A publicly held belief in atheism, as shown in a statement given by his office, in which he said, “I am a Unitarian who does not believe in a supreme being. Like our nation’s founders, I strongly support the separation of church and state.”

And by joining such a group of so-called nonbelievers, Stark has gone where no member of Congress has gone before: publicly admitting a lack of belief in a god. He is the highest ranking elected official ever to announce his atheistic belief in what many call a “Christian nation.” Stark’s unprecedented political step could be considered evolution in the separation of church and state in the country.

“It’s a sign of the times, good for him,” said Christina Hilfiker, a 27-year-old SF State senior. “Hopefully, they won’t focus on him being an atheist, but focus more on his policies. That’s what they should be focusing on.”

Stark is an 18-term Democrat that represents California’s 13th District, which envelopes a large portion of the East Bay, and he is now among a group of individuals whose beliefs are socially taboo in America.

“He’s from a safe district… we’re not talking about a born-again Christian from the South,” said David Tabb, political science professor at SF State. “I think we have an over-inflated view of the level of religiosity among voters.”

Tabb, who has taught at SF State for 35 years, called Stark a “maverick” and compared him to the late Senator Paul Wellstone from Minnesota. He said that Wellstone was “consistently more liberal than his constituency, but people trusted him as being a trustworthy politician… and I think that’s probably the case for Stark.”

A 2006 Newsweek poll found that only 37 percent of Americans would willingly vote for a presidential candidate who doesn’t believe in a higher being. This statistic fell from 49 percent in a 1999 Gallup poll, which at the time revealed that American voters would rather elect a president who is openly homosexual than one who lacks a theistic belief.

And while the House of Representatives currently has three openly homosexual members, Barney Frank, Tammy Faye and Jim Kolbe, Stark is the only figure in Congress to admit his lack of belief in a god.

“For liberals and many Democrats, it would be not particularly interesting or surprising, and politically of no great significance,” said Gerard Heather, political science professor and former chair at SF State.

“The issue as a politician is what is in the best interest of the public. This would put him at a distinct disadvantage in the South, for example, and in certain midwestern states, but not so much on either coast. I think it’s an anomaly.”

Stark, who does not face a reelection campaign until 2009, has been relatively well received in his announcement, according to his office. Much praise for his pioneering act has come from constituents and advocates alike, who are hoping that his announcement will pave a more tolerant path for nontheists in America.

“I hope that it helps people to rethink their prejudices about voting for someone who doesn’t share their religious belief,” said Lori Lipman Brown, director of the Secular Coalition for America, a nontheist advocacy organization. “I think there’s a tremendous misconception about those who don’t hold a god-belief.”

Brown analyzed Stark’s announcement by the numbers, saying that one out of 535 Congressional members does not represent what she estimated to be about 10 percent of Americans who hold a nontheistic belief.

“Being an atheist is what being a Catholic was when John F. Kennedy was first starting out in politics,” said Megan Caluza, a special education graduate student. “Basically you just have to prove that that’s not going to color everything that you’re doing in regard to your constituents.”

Brown also cited a University of Minnesota study that concluded that individuals that do not believe in a god are the “most distrusted minority,” and noted that religion in politics is affecting civil laws, marriage contracts and leading to abuses of faith-based initiatives.

“If [religion] became irrelevant in voting, that would be great,” said Brown.

While some underscore the importance of Stark’s belief at different levels than others, it is clear that Stark’s action is not one without recognition and effect.

“A politician has to use his conscience, and if his conscience tells him to go to religion, then he should. On the other hand, a politician has to live in the real world, as long as he has the best interests of the people he represents in mind,” said Jacob Needleman, who has been a professor of philosophy at SF State for 45 years. “I’m sure it affects people’s opinion of him, when someone says he’s one thing or another. To come out and say he’s an atheist is going to have an effect.”

Brown elevated the issue of qualifications and goals of a politician above implications that a candidate’s personal religious beliefs might have.

“My question of any candidate isn’t ‘what do you believe in?’ It’s ‘how will you represent me?’”

Report Breaks CSU, CFA Barriers

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Related coverage:

  • Deal Averts CFA Strike (April 3)

  • CSU, Union Talk Possible Settlement (March 28)

  • Reports Say CSU Has $1.2 Billion in Reserves (March 21)

  • Faculty to Strike-webtalk (March 21)

  • Faculty Reacts to the CFA Strike-webtalk (March 21)

  • CSU Faculty Union Authorizes Strike (March 21)

  • SF State Faculty Votes on Strike (March 16)

  • Faculty to Vote on Strike (February 23)

  • Two-Day Strikes to Limit Harm to Students (February 13)

  • CFA Rally Foreshadows Possible Strike (February 5)

  •  

    After one of California’s largest college faculty unions upped the stakes by declaring a massive and imminent strike last week, their negotiations with the Cal State administration may have found a way back on track with a new report released Sunday.

    When mediated talks between California Faculty Association and CSU negotiators broke down in December, the fact finding report became the last, legally-mandated step before the union could begin a strike.

    The report is the result of about a month of research by a panel composed of one delegate each from the CFA and the CSU, and a neutral third party. That mediator was Sylvia Skratek, a former Washington state senator with a Ph.D. in labor relations and conflict resolution.

    Both parties expressed willingness to use the report as a framework for settlement, but the pressure is still on: the union stands by its resolution to begin statewide rolling strikes as early as April 9 if an agreement is not reached by then, according to CFA spokesperson Alice Sunshine.

    CFA President John Travis wrote a one-page endorsement of the report, praising Skratek for her acumen and insights, and complimenting CSU Vice Chancellor Jackie McClain, who represented the university administration in the fact finding panel, for her “vigor and good spirit.”

    Travis’ response indicated disappointment with how the report handled conditional salary increases and maternity leave issues, but Sunshine said the union is ready to accept a settlement based on the report’s recommendations.

    McClain, however, wrote a six page dissent, indicating the university would be willing to settle with the union per the report’s suggestions except for disputes with six specific articles.

    The major sticking point remains salary proposals.

    There are two main kinds of pay raises under discussion. General Salary Increases (or GSI) give faculty members regularly scheduled raises, and Service Salary Increases (SSI) are given at the university’s discretion based on teacher performance. Skratek’s report criticized the structure for SSIs, “revisions have taken place over the years leading to salary schedules that defy logical explanation.”

    McClain fired back in her dissent, writing, “[T]he neutral’s recommendation for a salary package goes beyond the fiscal priority set by the Trustees.” She also wrote, “We have no idea whether the recommendations can be funded [in 2009-2010] within the money available in that fiscal year.”

    Sunshine called the response emblematic of the CSU’s unwillingness to set faculty salary increases among their top priorities.

    Noting that neither party had brought “hard budget numbers or calculations for the Panel to review,” Skratek wrote that the university had confirmed to her that it was not pleading an inability to pay, observing that the dispute is at this point “philosophical in nature.”

    SSI pay raises are a “no cost” budget item for the administration, argued George Diehr, chairman of the union’s bargaining committee, because the funding for those increases comes from money saved when professors retire.

    The administration, the report describes, argued those cost savings don’t necessarily go straight back into the salary budget.

    All three parties agreed that more funding should come from the state legislature, especially for hiring more permanent, or tenure-track, faculty. The CSU and CFA agreed on that in 2003, and sent a joint letter to Virginia Strom-Martin at the state assembly, but Skratek’s report indicates, “As of today, no funding has been appropriated by the state for the implementation of [that] resolution.”

    With just days to go before the looming strikes might begin, Diehr expressed cautious optimism towards a possible resolution.

    “They have agreed to structure the contract after [the fact finder’s proposal],” he said of CSU administrators, “and if we can believe them, then yes, it’s less likely that there’ll be a strike. They have made a last, best and final offer, and it’s closer to being acceptable.”

    Students Paying More for Birth Control

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    Financially strapped college students, who use their school’s health services for their primary care needs, may have to ditch the pill and opt for other pregnancy preventative measures.

    SF State students have experienced a gradual rise in the cost of birth control pills due to proposed changes in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, pertaining to prescription drugs under the Medicaid program. The plans also include changes to be made to established Medicaid rebate policies.

    “[The proposed provisions] are a way to rein in drug pricing,” said Madlyn Kruh, contact for nominal price issues for the Health and Human Services Agency. “The deficit reduction declared that only certain entities could receive nominal prices; it is a way of tightening who [drug manufacturers] can offer discounted prices to.”

    The provisions now exclude college campuses, nationwide, from receiving discounted prices on oral contraceptives. Students who paid $10 for a 28-day supply of the pill, a few months ago, now dole out three times that amount to refill their prescriptions.

    And brand-name birth controls pills such as Ortho Tri-Cyclen, Yasmin and Yaz cost $49, per month, at SF State.

    Touting a 92-99.7 percent rate of effectiveness, the pill is also credited with regulating the menstrual cycle, promoting a clear complexion and reducing the risk of ovarian cancer. Since it was approved by the FDA in 1960, millions of women have, increasingly, made popping the pill a part of their daily routine. College students are no exception.

    According to the American College Health Association, among those surveyed, 39.8 percent of female college students reported that they used birth control pills the last time they had sexual intercourse.

    Many SF State students don’t believe the added cost will impact the number of those who use the drug.

    “People are going to continue to use the pill,” said Amber Sandhu, 23, journalism major and part-time nurse. “Sex is part of life, and most college students don’t want to get pregnant.”

    SF State Heath Educator Kamal Harb, MPH, corroborated student suspicions.

    “Students did not stop taking the pill,” said Harb. “They just switched to a cheaper brand.”

    But generic brand pills such as Ortho Tri-Cyclen and Nordette will still cost students $29 per month.

    For students looking to save some cash, the SF State Health Center has a limited supply of Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo and Desogen 28 available for $10 for a pack of 28.

    Students burdened by the elevated cost may also find solace in the Family PACT program that was established at SF State in August 2006.

    Family PACT provides extensive free coverage, including the cost of oral contraceptives, HIV screening and annual exams with Pap smear.

    Anyone making $1,634 per month, or less, is eligible for enrollment. Signing up is fairly simple. Applicants need only fill out an application. Proof of salary or tax forms are not required, and the entire enrollment process takes about 20 minutes.

    Roughly 3,900 SF State students have signed up with the program since its inception.

    “The [oral contraceptive] price hike coincided with the implementation of Family PACT,” said Harb. “So many students did not have to bear the increased costs.”

    Therapist Fights "Sex War"

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    Roughly 20 people gathered at the National Sexuality Resource Center on Mission and 16th streets Thursday evening to hear Dr. Marty Klein talk about the issues in his book "America’s War on Sex: The Attack on Law, Lust and Liberty."

    “It’s really nice to be in a place like San Francisco where people are willing to take a look at sex,” said Klein to his audience of mostly human sexuality students from SF State.

    Klein, a licensed marriage and family therapist and sex therapist for over 25 years, warned them about what he described as a "war on sex."

    “I don’t like to say that what’s going on is a conspiracy because that’s another word for screwball,” Klein said, chuckling.

    But he says that’s it’s much worse, it’s a full out war.

    He introduced the idea of a "Sexual Disaster Industry." This industry includes the government at all levels (federal, state, local), morality groups, therapists, and the religious right, among many others.

    Klein claims that this Sexual Disaster Industry, or "SDI," is overstating the amount of sexual violence and sexual danger in America and as a result, society has entered a sex panic.

    According to the FBI, crimes have gone down over the recent years, said Klein. Yet the public doesn’t realize this because they continue to see more and more violence and perversion on television.

    “My wife sees more sexual perversion in a full hour of 'CSI' than I do in a day's work,” said Klein. “And I’m a sex therapist.”

    Klein stated the true product of SDI is to install fear. And one of the key weapons in the war on sex is the shaping and dominating of America’s narratives about sex.

    “The right has done an amazing job of seizing the narrative,” said Klein, “and all we got stuck with is unisex bathrooms.”

    The small crowd chuckled as Klein compared humorous contradictions within the religious right.

    “They’re for the death penalty but they're pro-life, amazing,” he said.

    According to Klein, people are now demanding solutions to their sense of danger, and the SDI believes that sexual repressive legislation can reduce that anxiety.

    He goes on to say that winning the war on sex isn’t the SDI’s main goal. The main goal is the need to get back to Judeo-Christianity and a time where religious values can again drive policies, and the war on sex is just one step closer to that goal, said Klein.

    Liz Shafer, 27, who is part of the master's program for human sexuality, thought that what was said was all equally important but she feels that she’s a little more optimistic about sex in today’s society than Klein seemed to be.

    “I’m from North Carolina,” said Shafer, “and even there people have become more and more open to sexuality.”

    Mark Rose, the only baby boomer in the audience, strongly agreed with what Klein had to say, but did have one minor concern.

    “Dr. Klein was very entertaining and is dealing critically with very important issues, but he’s just preaching to the choir here,” he said.

    So for those who don’t sing in this particular choir, Klein offered a few special words.

    “Every generation takes for granted privileges that previous generations fought for,” he said. “In 2007 that included not only birth control and abortion, but also the right to read an article about sexuality.”

    “So I urge all students to look at websites of organizations devoted to restricting their rights to express sexuality,” said Klein.

    For more information about Dr. Marty Klein and his research go to www.sexualintelligence.wordpress.com or www.sexed.org

    Thousands Protest Anniversary of Iraq War

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    Roughly 3,000 protesters turned out Sunday in downtown San Francisco to march and call for the end to American occupation of Iraq in an event staged to mark the fourth anniversary of the start of America’s invasion of Iraq.

    Although the protest was organized by Act Now to Stop the War and End Racism (A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition), which has an extremely large member population, SF State’s slightly smaller student organization, still made it their responsibility to participate in the march.

    The student organization, Students Against War, (SAW) is a chapter of the Campus Antiwar network.

    “ANSWER Coalition does the main marches,” said Michael Hoffman, 26-year-old math major at SF State, “But SAW still participates.”

    Hoffman, who is one of the many officers in SAW and helps to organize protests and rallies, said several schools would be participating in the march to the Civic Center.

    While the march was set to go from the Embarcadero to the Civic Center downtown, the students of SAW made sure they stayed a unit and had different meeting places, according to Hoffman.

    One student, Emily Cooper, 20, was there with her mother, Jennifer Cooper.

    “I’ve been through the big time protests in the 70s,” said Jennifer Cooper, who came from Redwood City to support her daughter and participate in the anti-war rally.

    Jennifer Cooper noted the strong differences between today’s protests and those of the Vietnam War era.

    “Back then we relied completely on word of mouth,” she said. “We had no cell phones or internet.”

    Cooper noted that even with those advances, the numbers in the streets don’t seem to match up to what they were in the 70s.

    “We’re not as vocal as we could be,” she said, “We need to be more vocal. We need more people power.”

    The SAW students, who gathered at 10a.m. at the corner of 19th and Holloway, grew in numbers close to thirty, before hopping the M-line downtown.

    The students were armed with signs that displayed messages such as, “I pledge allegiance to the earth,” “Peace in the Middle East,” and “Money for jobs and education not war or occupation.”

    They then gathered on the Muni platform as it pulled in to the station and began to chant, “Four years of occupation, not one day of liberation,” and boarded the train to head downtown and join the rest of the masses marching for a united purpose of ending the War in Iraq.

    Throughout the march, protesters chanted “money for jobs and education, not for war and occupation!”

    Various community and ethnic organizations joined the ANSWER and SAW groups in the rally.

    About 30 members from the Gabriela Network, a U.S Filipino women's solidarity organization, marched protesting against the injustice that women and children suffer in war, said Amanda Martin, media spokesperson for the Gabriela Network in SF Bay Area.

    “We are here today organizing the women’s contingent for the march, and to represent women’s voices in the United States,” Martin said.

    “Our kids, our family members, our brothers and sisters are sent to war, to an unfair war, and we must say that's enough to the aggressions to other countries,” said Jose Carlos, coalition coordinator for Coalition Primero de Mayo, a non-profit organization representing immigrants rights that also participated in the march.

    Students, teachers and activists blamed for the war for the failure of the educational system in the United States.

    “The war is taking funds away from education here at home," said Davis Russitano, 27, educator at Gloria R. Davis School in the Bayview District. "My school, for example, is closing this year, and it is because they would rather spend money on bombs and guns instead of on education.”

    “When the budget is being completely absorbed in war, it’s taking away from education, specially public education which never receives enough money,” said Isa Northcott-Lemon, 20, a sophomore Spanish/public health student at City College.


    *View the multimedia and voices from the protest.*

    Jewish Event Promotes Social Justice

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    “As a Jewish organization on campus, we are looked down on,” said Samuel Shapiro, a 21-year-old English and political sciences major and president of Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEΠ) at SF State. He, along with AEΠ want to not only help out in their community but to also help improve their image on campus. They feel that they, along with other Jewish groups on campus, are seen in a negative light.

    AEΠ and San Francisco Hillel served as lead sponsors of the Social Justice Fair held in Malcolm X Plaza Monday afternoon. Volunteers were on hand to give information to passing students about all the opportunities available to them to help out in their community.

    In attendance at the event were Shalom-bayit (a Jewish group against domestic violence), Jewish family and child services, the Peace Corps, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Jimena (Jewish Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa), the Jewish Coalition for Literacy, SF Food Bank, AIDS Walk, College Republicans and the College Democrats.

    “We wanted to create a fair of non-profit organizations to give students options,” said Alon Shaler, the Executive Director of San Francisco Hillel, an international Jewish organization.

    “We want to promote social awareness in San Francisco,” said Steven Soloman, a 20-year-old hospitality management major and member of AEΠ, “We really just want to help out our community,” he said.

    According to Shapiro, every semester AEΠ, which is a national organization, has an obligation to do at least one “philanthropy” event. They used this opportunity to get other students involved and tackle the image problem they feel they have on campus.

    “People have a negative stigma about us,” Shapiro said, “They think we are blatantly racist,” for supporting Israel. “There are left-leaning, socially-conscious Jews.”

    They feel the attention given to them about the Palestinian mural controversy has cast them in a negative light.

    They are not however, using the event solely to improve their image. Rather, this event is about helping out their community and getting other people involved.

    “The Jewish community cares about helping others,” said Brendon Nemeth, a 21-year-old cinema major and member of the fraternity.

    “[AEΠ] is a place for Jewish college students to evolve in a group organization as people,” said Phil Haggardy, an 18-year-old philosophy and religion major.

    “[The goal of the event] was to expose social justice programs that are accessible to the community,” said Hillarie Tuman, a volunteer from Hillel.

    Due to rain, some tables at the event closed down early. More information is available, however by contacting SF Hillel at (415) 333-4922, or by contacting AEΠ at their website aepisf.com.

    CSU, Union Talk Possible Settlement

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    Related coverage:

  • Deal Averts CFA Strike (April 3)

  • Report Breaks CSU, CFA Barriers (March 30)

  • Reports Say CSU Has $1.2 Billion in Reserves (March 21)

  • Faculty to Strike-webtalk (March 21)

  • Faculty Reacts to the CFA Strike-webtalk (March 21)

  • CSU Faculty Union Authorizes Strike (March 21)

  • SF State Faculty Votes on Strike (March 16)

  • Faculty to Vote on Strike (February 23)

  • Two-Day Strikes to Limit Harm to Students (February 13)

  • CFA Rally Foreshadows Possible Strike (February 5)

  •  

    The contract between Cal State University and the union representing 23,000 faculty members has been extended through April 6, as both sides return to the bargaining table in an effort to prevent a possible strike, according to seperate statements released by CSU and the California Faculty Association.

    During the 10-day period, at least, there will be no work stoppages in the 23 campus CSU system.

    The two sides agreed to use a report by an independent fact finder as a "framework" for settling the 22-month long contract dispute, and averting what would be the largest strike by higher-education employees in U.S. history.

    Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued a statement praising the developments.

    "I am pleased both sides worked together in good faith to reach a framework for an agreement that prevents a faculty strike and puts the students' needs first," Schwarzenegger said.

    Safe Sex in Drag

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    Tess Tosterone, Mr. Rex McSex, Alexis Extravaganza and Ms. Mask, lip synced the small crowd of mostly freshmen into laughing oblivion in the Cantina at Mary Ward Monday night.

    The Resident Assistants by day dressed up in women’s show costumes and performed entertaining musical numbers, making light of the topic that could be quite uncomfortable, sex.

    The annual Sexhibition “is a sexual education program veiled in a drag show,” Kaija Tircuit-Peitso, 19-year-old RA in Mary Parker Hall, said. “The motto is sex drag and rock and roll.”

    Dorm residents cheered as their dragged-out RA’s shimmied their sock breasts, batted their glittery eyes, danced like nobody was watching, and made honorable fools of themselves on stage. In between Tess Tosterone’s flawless performance of Barbara Streisand’s, "Don’t Rain on My Parade", and Alexis Extravaganza’s sensational take on "You’re Gonna Love Me", from the hit movie "Dreamgirls", two EROS representatives took the stage to educate the crowd a little.

    The Educational Referral Organization on Sexuality reps offered snippets of information about sex, myths, and truths to their audience.

    The reps offered a laid back open-forum, where students could feel comfortable to speak freely about personal sexual experiences. “Don’t ever get your clit pierced, it will desensitize it,” EROS representative Erica Model said.

    The reps confirmed that the myth that sperm die in water is untrue, and that if one should choose to have sex in water, he should use water-based lube as an aid. EROS also provides information on venues in the city where “you can get your kink on,” according to Nicole Isakson, EROS representative.

    EROS, located in M109 in the Caesar Chavez student center, “provides prophylactics of all kinds,” Isakson said. From free condoms, to finger cots and rentable porn, sexual resources are available daily, no questions asked and no I.D. needed.

    EROS also provides confidential peer counseling to talk about sexual problems, and to answer any questions one might have about issues with sexuality, according to Isakson.

    EROS encourages students to get Family Pact, a program offered in the health center on campus.

    “Family Pact provides free condoms and free STD testing,” according to the EROS reps.

    Alexis Extravaganza brought the show home in her sparkled navy thong bikini and white patent-leather platform boots. She riled up the crowd with her sexy performance of Britney Spears’s "Toxic", earning her a standing ovation and a room full of sexually educated students.

    Students Stage AIDS Awareness Rally

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    Demonstrators sitting on their knees with tape on their mouths staged a protest Tuesday afternoon in Malcom X Plaza to raise awareness about the victims of AIDS.

    The Intervarsity Christian Fellowship at SF State staged the protest also selling bright orange T-shirts that say “orphan” to raise awareness about the orphans of AIDS and to raise money for World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to fighting the causes of poverty and injustice.

    Kyle Dickinson, a staff member of the ICF, said the demonstration has a dual purpose.

    “To arouse something in the viewer about the demonstration," said Dickinson. "The second purpose is it gives the demonstrator the experience of being voiceless.”

    Words such as “ignorance” and “invisible” taped on mouths of the demonstrators signify people’s reactions to AIDS victims, Dickinson said.

    The ICF is an evangelical campus mission that has over 560 chapters nationwide and is partnered with Hillel House, Asian American Christian Fellowship and Health Education AIDS Liaison (H.E.A.L.) to raise AIDS awareness.

    Stacie Boswell, 18, biology major, said one in 20 children worldwide and one in four children in Africa are AIDS orphans.

    “We formed a social justice team and we feel that is a huge issue,” Boswell said, adding that AIDS issues aren’t getting the attention they deserve.

    “A whole generation of people in sub Saharan Africa have been wiped out," said Boswell.

    Hubert Lim, 26, started to do AIDS awareness projects this semester. Lim, a senior in microbiology, believes as a Christian he must be involved with causes like AIDS awareness.

    “It's not just a cause, it's an emergency," said Lim. "We’re trying to put a face to the numbers.”

    The IFC will be selling T-shirts on campus to raise AIDS awareness on Thursday, March 29 for $5.

    Unofficial ASI Election Results

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    Related coverage:

  • Flag-Stomping Rabble Rousers Found Not Guilty (March 21)

  • Majority of Students Skip ASI Election Ballot Boxes (March 21)

  • ASI Supports Campus Childcare (March 13)

  • ASI Controls $3.4 million in Student Fees (March 6)

  • ASI a Mystery to Student Body (February 5)

  •  

    The unofficial results for this year’s ASI elections are as follows. The (*) denotes write-in candidates who have not yet accepted their position.

    President:
    Isidro Armenta-568
    Hector Cardenas-545

    VP of Internal Affairs:
    Claudia Mercado-566
    Oscar Edwards-534

    VP of External Affairs:
    Abtin Forghani-816

    VP of Finance:
    John Bergman-487
    Kevin Mikami-422

    Freshman class representative:
    *Krupa Kutnari-6

    Sophomore class representative:
    Kenneth Ma-138

    Junior class representative:
    Natalie Franklin-156
    Sharef Al Najjar-133
    Dona Standel-32

    Senior class representative:
    Zohra Saiyed-301

    Graduate representative:
    *Jeremy Nicoloff-9

    Behavioral and Social Sciences representative:
    Jesse Bevan-108
    Mandana Alaudini-90
    Brian Gallagher-64

    Business representative:

    Souvanna Sophabmixay-127

    Creative Arts representative:

    Dianna Silva-127

    Ethnic Studies representative:

    Joicy Serrano-2

    Humanities representative:
    Faith Cushenberry-102

    Health and Human Services representative:
    *Christy Chiang

    Science and Engineering representative:
    Zora Aziz-78
    Roland Enriquez-44
    Vi Le-36
    Diana Park-18

    Representative at Large:
    Christo Oropeza-715
    Kristen Para-534
    Florentina Dobrin-447

    Education representative:
    *Lauren Moret-2

    Official results will come out on Wednesday, March 28.

    GOP "Troops" Rally Brings Insults, Shouting

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    Just days after they were absolved of possible sanctions, the SF State College Republicans called for support of U.S. soldiers in Iraq at Malcom X Plaza Thursday amid heckles and protests from the majority of the crowd.

    The event began with BECA major and president of the College Republicans Leigh Wolf, 20, giving what he initially called a “non-political” speech about the need to support the troops stationed in Iraq.

    “The media is twisting what’s happening [in the war],” said Wolf. “We need to support those who are fighting for a volunteer army.”

    The event, was held before a roving crowd of about 100 students, police, and administration. It came on the heels of the decision by the Student Organization Hearing Panel on March 16, that unanimously ruled that there were no grounds to punish the club for allegedly breaking the student code of conduct when they stomped on homemade flags of Hezbollah and Hamas last October.

    Both Hezbollah and Hamas are categorized as terrorist organizations by the United States. Both flags contained the Arabic symbol for "Allah" or God. Student complaints and an ASI resolution condemning the GOPs hinged on claims of religious intolerance of the GOPs at their "anti-terrorism" rally.

    The Thursday stage, decorated with American flags and signs reading "support our troops", was juxtaposed by a demonstration by the Students Against War (SAW), where they set up 201 cardboard headstones in the quad, one of which was colored with stars and stripes, representing the 200-to-1 ratio of the estimated 655,000 Iraqi and 3,300 American deaths from the war.

    Before the rally started, ASI presidential write-in candidate and SF State GOP Outreach John Ashford, 26, commented on the display.

    “[The headstones] look like a Halloween graveyard, they’re not in straight lines, it looks like they were drunk when they were lining it up,” said Ashford, who later took stage during the rally to stress the importance for U.S. soldiers to fight with "strength and integrity."

    In addition to SAW protestors, who stormed the plaza during the rally with signs saying “occupation is colonization,” other students had organized to counter the College Republicans.

    “So many have died and we need to put a stop to it. We pay taxes to a government that is killing people,” said freshman Sam Anderson, 18, who is double majoring in Philosophy and international relations.

    The event was heavily secured, as policemen were stationed on the top of the Cesar Chavez Student Center, surrounding the quad and sides of the stage.

    According to Ellen Griffin, SF State Director of Public Affairs, officers were stationed based on police department discretion to maintain order, not the university’s.

    Joey D. Greenwell, director of the Office of Student Programs and Leadership Development and Penny Saffold, vice president of student affairs tried to move the counterprotestors who were breaching OSPLD policy that states “counter demonstrations must not interfere with scheduled events."

    Although Greenwell explained the policy to the protesting groups, he didn’t enforce it.

    Both Greenwell and Saffold declined comment.

    After about 20 minutes of speeches, the College Republicans took down the signs and flags and Wolf took stage again.

    After noting that supporting the troops should not be politicized and clearly stating the "support our troops" signs were removed, Wolf warned the crowd, he was going to get political.

    He goaded the crowd with a litany of grievances he had with the SF State social/political climate, the counter-protesters and the SF State administration.

    “This is supposed to be a campus of free speech. That’s bullshit!” said Wolf. “You’ve spent six months trying to throw us [College Republicans] out, to make sure we don’t have a voice. Well, we are here to stay.”

    He later attacked the counter demonstrators. “Do you guys even go to college? Or are you just high school students visiting?”

    Toward the end of his speech, he called out members of SAW, Associated Students, and later condemning the administration, namely President Robert Corrigan, whom he said should be fired for abridging his free speech rights.

    Navy Vietnam War veteran and junior park and recreation major Margie Talavera said Wolf had planned for things to get out of hand, eagerly telling people, “There’s gonna be trouble, there’s always trouble.”

    “He thinks he knows about war—he doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about!” said Talavera, 52.

    One angered student approached Wolf at the steps of the stage in a fury.

    “You’re talking but you’re not saying anything!” said Brittany McGregor, 21, senior theatre arts and humanities major. “If you are going to use the stage then make sure your statements are worthwhile! It’s all rhetoric! No solutions!”

    “She’s not gonna be able to sleep tonight,” laughed Wolf in a response.

    Some members of SAW asked Wolf to take the stage in a response, but Wolf answered “Do you let me take the stage at your rallies? No.”

    Instead, the SAW group formed a shoulder-to-shoulder line, in a unified chant saying, “He’s racist, he’s sexist, and he’s really stupid! The war on terror is a lie, we ain’t got no alibi.”

    USF senior political science major Jakub Glodek immediately grabbed an American flag and started waving it to combat the message of the protesters.

    “I appreciate any organization that supports our troops,” said Glodek, 23.

    College Republican Vice President Trent Dowres stayed out of the fight, frustrated by the event.

    “It’s the same thing every time. It’s almost getting boring,” said Dowres. “Nobody listens to you no matter what you say.”

    Xpress Exclusive: Obama Visits Oakland

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    Thousands of Bay Area citizens gathered Saturday in Frank Ogawa Plaza at Oakland's city hall to see and hear presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) during his first Bay Area public appearance.

    Greeted by the cheers and a sea of blue campaign signs, Obama took the stage and spoke about his vision for the country; naming the war in Iraq, global warming, inadequate healthcare and an under-performing education system as the nation's most pressing issues.

    [X]press takes an in-depth look at Obama's visit to the Bay Area, with speech highlights, a photo gallery, voices from the audience, and a user forum to send us your thoughts and comments.

    IDO Helps Students Wear Their Creativity

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    Bayardo Silva sits in front of a desktop computer in room 309 at Thurgood Marshall High School, quietly deciding what exactly he wants his T-shirt to say. He is under the watchful eye of Clarissa Soong, an SF State student, who is there to help him and his classmates find their inner design artist. He sketches out a picture of a car and tries to portray motion in the drawing by adding contours of wind that flow around it. The word he has to illustrate is “movement,” and he’s making sure it looks precisely the way he wants, since he’ll be wearing it soon.

    “It would be nice to walk around and have someone say, ’that’s a nice shirt’ and be able to say ‘I made it,’” said Silva, a 17-year-old junior at Marshall.

    SF State students from the Industrial Design Outreach (IDO) program are bringing art to public high schools, at a time when many art classes are disappearing. IDO is a group of 10 students from the department of design and industry who share their knowledge of the art of industrial design with high school students.

    Currently, they are partnered with a class of just fewer than 20 students at Marshall, which is located in Bayview and offers no comparable classes.

    The students’ current project involves designing individual T-shirts for themselves that represent one word relating to the concept of a highway. One child had “traffic” to illustrate, while another had to portray the word “path” on his shirt. The challenge was in finding what picture fit what word, as students perused numerous search engines, hunting for their ideal images.

    “It kind of opens up their horizon of what they can create or be one day,” said Tera Freedman, teacher of the computer class at Marshall. “They’re really excited about the T-shirts, it’s not just a piece of paper.”

    Founder Martin Linder said that IDO was started in the fall of 2003, with an aim to sharing the field of design with young students who are not normally exposed to it. The student-run group is funded by private donations solicited by Linder, including the Threat Resolution Optimization Institute and the Miranda Lux Foundation.

    According to Linder, the group also wanted to introduce high school students to experiential learning, as some find it the easiest way to grasp new concepts.

    “In high school nobody really knew what to do with me. Today we‘re teaching a lost group of high schoolers,” said Linder, a design and industry professor in his sixth year at SF State. “I just want them to get excited about it and feel like they’re personally interested in the process… to feel good about it, and to inspire them.”

    Linder attributed a widespread lack of interest in high school learning to modern distractions and a parochial focus on teaching for test taking. By substituting experiential learning for more traditional textbook-driven learning, Linder’s hope is that local high school kids will find their artistic groove.

    “These are kids with a lot of energy, and this is something that they should be getting since preschool,” said Linder. “Many seem to be uninspired … [The current system] has squelched their individuality and their originality.”

    Linder is not the only one who advocates experiential learning in art instruction. Clarissa Soong, an industrial design major that works with kids through IDO, found it to be the way to many young and eager minds, many of whom she can sympathize with.

    “I myself value experiential learning. It sort of helps kids learn that were essentially me, but years ago,” said Soong, a 22-year-old senior. “It was the art that kept me focused and out of trouble.”

    Though certainly not all Marshall students enrolled in Computer Art II are finding trouble, even less are finding a pathway to futures in industrial design, that is, until IDO started the multi-week T-shirt project in their classroom and exposed them to a creative outlet and possible career path.

    “A lot of these kids do aspire to go to college,” said Soong. “The access just isn’t always there.”

    Schools selected for IDO’s involvement lack their own design instruction, largely due to recent cutbacks in funding for arts and music programs. Marshall, which Freedman described as “a sort of dumping ground” for students that get booted from other city high schools, gladly embraced IDO’s participation.

    “It’s more fun than other stuff we were doing before,” said 15-year-old freshman Vincent Chew. “It’s not really work if you enjoy it.”

    “This class is more relaxed and you get to be more creative,” Silva chimed in.

    The works of IDO are community-directed, and are only possible through the time and effort donated by SF State students. Balancing IDO with classes, jobs and a few hours of sleep each night is no small task for the patient volunteers.

    “You wish that you could give so much more, and it takes flexibility,” said Michelle Steed, student director of IDO. “We have to sort of give our own class time. But it’s inspiring, we’re just trying to be mentors.”

    The students at Thurgood Marshall High School have recognized the opportunity to unleash their creativity and take home something tangible from their experience with IDO.

    When asked about what he plans to do with his T-shirt when it’s finished, Chew responded quickly and excitedly.

    “Wear it until it doesn’t fit me anymore!”

    Reports Say CSU Has $1.2 Billion in Reserves

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    Related coverage:

  • Deal Averts CFA Strike (April 3)

  • Report Breaks CSU, CFA Barriers (March 30)

  • CSU, Union Talk Possible Settlement (March 28)

  • Faculty to Strike-webtalk (March 21)

  • Faculty Reacts to the CFA Strike-webtalk (March 21)

  • CSU Faculty Union Authorizes Strike (March 21)

  • SF State Faculty Votes on Strike (March 16)

  • Faculty to Vote on Strike (February 23)

  • Two-Day Strikes to Limit Harm to Students (February 13)

  • CFA Rally Foreshadows Possible Strike (February 5)

  •  

    The California Faculty Association argued Monday that a recent financial assessment shows top California State University officials have tucked away over $1.2 billion. They said the CSU is in a strong enough financial position to increase faculty salaries and settle on a contract.

    “The report is a serious financial analysis of the California State University’s management practices,” CFA president John Travis stated in a press release. “It reveals some of the half-truths and evasion used by the CSU administration as it manipulates its public pronouncements on its financial status.”

    But the CSU budget director warned that the numbers are deceiving to the CFA, and that most of the money is already set aside for such obligations as financial aid or sick leave.

    In a press release, CSU maintained that the CFA’s assertion is “inaccurate and misleading,” and that the funds in question cannot be used for salary purposes. Spokesperson Paul Browning said that a lot of the funds are already accounted for.

    “Basically, the money cannot be used to support a faculty salary increase because the funds are already obligated to serve specific purposes,” said Browning. “I have no idea why either of the financial analysts would make that assertion.”

    The CFA and its financial analyst say that the CSU’s cash flow has been consistent for the past five years, allowing the funds that are not earmarked for specific uses to grow considerably. Based on the fact that the system’s average operating margin has improved each year, they expect the reserve base to continue to grow.

    CFA sought the help of independent financial analyst Randy Barber after a report from Moody’s Investor Services revealed that the CSU’s bond rating had been raised to “excellent” based on the university’s unrestricted access accounts. The accounts increased 45 percent during the past five years to about $1.2 billion.

    “CSU needs to recognize that it’s not just us, the CFA, saying they have money,” said CFA spokesperson Alice Sunshine. “We were prompted to have someone analyze the cash flow of the university after we learned Moody’s snapshot report of their assets.”

    Sunshine said they were concerned when the report revealed that CSU was in good financial shape because of a large reserve and a “steady stream of student fees that could be used to pay back interest on bonds.”

    Both Moody’s Investor Service and Barber's analysis reports concluded that the magnitude of the positive cash flows provide CSU management with “sufficient financial flexibility to fund the salary increases that the CFA has proposed.” Barber's report highlighted the fact that the cash flows are not captured in any public budget document.

    Moody's report also stated that the CSU could spend more on instruction of students than it does now.

    CFA president Travis said that the CSU clearly has the money to return to bargaining.

    "The administration's statement that they do not have the funds is dispicable," said Travis. "We are convinced there are sufficient resources to afford to raise our salaries and not raise student fees."

    Sunshine said the CSU needs to operate in the interests of the university rather than the administration.

    “I think it’s a question of priorities and will,” Sunshine said. “They (CSU) want to use the money for other things. When they have things they want, they always find the money. “

    Barber’s report was released just one day before the CFA voted overwhelmingly in support of a first-time ever strike.

    “We need to return to negotiations,” said State Senator Gloria Romero (D-Los Angeles), who is also a CFA member, at the conference announcing the vote. “We asked, how do we explain the greed and the gluttony of the Chancellor and the Board of Trustees? Until we revealed the truth and showed the world that they were sitting on $1.2 billion, they were able to say they couldn’t afford it.”

    Faculty to Strike

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    Related coverage:

  • Faculty Reacts to the CFA Strike-webtalk (March 21)

  • CSU Faculty Union Authorizes Strike (March 21)

  •  

    The California Faculty Association has passed authorization for the board to declare a strike. Once decided, the strike will be a roll out across the CSU campuses, each striking for a 2-day period.

    [X]press gathers student reactions to the news of the strike.

    Faculty Reacts to the CFA Strike

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    Related coverage:

  • Faculty to Strike-webtalk (March 21)

  • CSU Faculty Union Authorizes Strike (March 21)

  •  

    "I Don't Want to Strike But I Will" is the slogan for the California Faculty Association (CFA), who voted yesterday in favor of authorizing a strike. Announced this morning, an unprecedented number of votes were cast in favor of a two-day, roll-out strike that will take place at the end of April or the beginning of May.

    [X]press Online takes a deeper look by speaking with those at the heart of the matter --the faculty.

    CSU Faculty Union Authorizes Strike

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    Related coverage:

  • Deal Averts CFA Strike (April 3)

  • Report Breaks CSU, CFA Barriers (March 30)

  • CSU, Union Talk Possible Settlement (March 28)

  • Reports Say CSU Has $1.2 Billion in Reserves (March 21)

  • Faculty to Strike-webtalk (March 21)

  • Faculty Reacts to the CFA Strike-webtalk (March 21)

  • SF State Faculty Votes on Strike (March 16)

  • Faculty to Vote on Strike (February 23)

  • Two-Day Strikes to Limit Harm to Students (February 13)

  • CFA Rally Foreshadows Possible Strike (February 5)

  •  

    Faculty of the nation's largest higher education system voted overwhelmingly in favor of authorizing a strike unprecedented in American history, union officials announced Wednesday.

    Contract negotiations have collapsed after two years of talks between the California Faculty Association, which represents over 23,000 state educators, and the California State University administration, and a strike has become necessary, CFA officials said.

    "We've done as much as we can in bargaining for a fair contract," CFA President John Travis said. "We took the final step unions have, which is to withhold our labor."

    Of the 8,129 faculty votes tallied, 94 percent of them voted to authorize the union's board of directors to organize work actions. While the union represents all CSU faculty, only its 12,000 members were authorized to vote.

    The strikes will roll through all Cal State campuses in two-day pickets, most likely in the end of April and beginning of May, over several weeks. Most campus chapter offices have been organizing the specifics of the strike actions since last week in anticipation of a "yes" vote.

    "At San Francisco, we are planning something faculty will be able to look back on with some pride, " said Jan Gregory, a faculty member working to organize the SF State strike.

    The Los Angeles chapter of the League of Women Voters counted the votes and certified the results.

    The union is championing the large majority by which the vote passed and the 1,300 new members the union said it has signed up since the strike talks began. At SF State, 60 teachers signed on to the union for the right to cast a vote.

    "The magnitude of the votes sends a clear message to the Board of Trustees that enough is enough," CFA Vice President Lillian Taiz said.

    In a statement released yesterday, Chancellor Charles Reed said the CSU is prepared to deal with a statewide strike and "ensure that our campus communities are fully informed and the safety and security of our students, employees, vendors and visitors is protected."

    But the chancellor's concerns are misplaced, according to Gregory.

    "I expect a spirited and orderly strike and if the chancellor was so worried about the security and safety of students he could have arranged it so that they have adequate classes at a reasonable tuition and faculty with high morales," she said.

    The strike vote has drawn strong feelings, both positive and negative, from teachers statewide, according to Taiz.

    She characterized it as "a growing sense of indignation and frustration and in a strange kind of way a kind of empowerment when they went to the ballot and cast their vote to strike."

    Teachers have received shows of support from many unions, including the powerful AFL-CIO, the California Teachers Association and from State Senators Leland Yee and Gloria Romero. The latter, a CFA member who last taught at CSU Los Angeles in 1997, spoke at the press conference.

    "I am proud to stand with my brothers and sisters of the California Faculty Association," Romero said. "As a professor, I am a builder of dreams ... faculty are the guardians of higher education."

    As a legislator, she commended the faculty's 81 percent showing at the polls in "a state where we are lucky to get a 50 percent voter turnout."

    The SF Labor council, which represents over 100,000 workers in the Bay Area, has endorsed the CFA's action and is prepared to ask its member to honor the faculty's picket line. The show of support was unanimously approved this week by its executive board, according to Tim Paulson, executive director of the SF Labor Council.

    "(We) have given a strike sanction which means that the other 150 unions in the council will give them whatever support they need to give them a good contract," Paulson said.

    As the fact-finding report is unveiled to the public on March 25, the faculty's current contract will expire, putting even more pressure on both sides to get something done. In the meantime, teachers will be covered by the state's Title V employee terms.

    The primary issue that has been preventing a contract resolution is a salary increase.

    "We don't think we are very far apart," Travis said, "We think it's pushing in the neighborhood of 5 or 6 percent over several years."

    The salary increase of 25.7 percent would bring the union only 50 percent closer to closing the salary gap between CSU faculty and teachers at comparable institutions, or account for increasing cost of living expenses.

    Travis called it "despicable" that the CSU would try to say increased student fees are being used to fund faculty raises.

    "We reject the notion that employee salaries are tied at all to student fee increases," Travis said.

    As evidence, Sue Pak, the communications director for the CFA’s SF chapter, pointed out that while faculty salaries have not gone up over four years, student fees have increased for five of the past year.

    Flag-Stomping Rabble Rousers Found Not Guilty

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    Related coverage:

  • Unofficial ASI Election Results (March 25)

  • Majority of Students Skip ASI Election Ballot Boxes (March 21)

  • ASI Supports Campus Childcare (March 13)

  • ASI Controls $3.4 million in Student Fees (March 6)

  • ASI a Mystery to Student Body (February 5)

  •  

    The SF State College Republicans will not face sanctions for allegedly breaking the student code of conduct when they stepped on homemade flags with the Arabic symbol for Allah.

    The Student Organization Hearing Panel, or SOHP, unanimously ruled Friday that there were no grounds to punish the club for "inciting violence and of actions of incivility" for its members' actions during an anti-terrorism rally Oct. 17, 2006.

    Also, Associated Students Inc. abrubtly rescinded their Nov. 15, 2006 resolution condemming the College GOPs by unanimous vote last Wednesday. Though ASI President Maire' Fowler was originally a strong proponent of condemning the GOPs, she was not present for the vote.

    The College GOPs have not ruled out suing the university for defamation and violating their civil rights, according to College GOP President Leigh Wolf.

    The decisions are seen as a triumph of free expression on college campuses by the college GOPs, as well as free-speech advocacy groups.

    "We stuck to our guns, we fought back, and we won because we knew we were right," said Leigh Wolf, the president of the College Republicans at SF State. "I think this is the formation of a snowball to protect the free speech of conservative students on campuses all over the state."

    Wolf said he was glad the SOHP came to its decision. He said the club would have eventually won in court, but the possible sanctions could have severely damaged the College Republicans. The sanctions ranged from a forced apology to removal of the club from campus.

    The decision came after months of investigation. The ASI passed a resolution condemning the club Nov. 15 after receiving complaints about the flag-stomping incident. The resolution, which was rescinded March 14, led to an investigation by the Office of Student Programs and Leadership Development, or OSPLD, and then passed to the SOHP to determine if the club would be punished.

    Throughout the process, the College Republicans cited the constitutional right of free expression and sought the aid of groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, FIRE. Both organizations wrote letters to SF State President Robert Corrigan defending the College Republicans.

    In a Jan. 23 letter to Corrigan, FIRE said the university "has a duty to uphold the First Amendment rights of all of its students, even if their expressive activity offends the religious sensibilities of some. The First Amendment not only protects students’ right to free expression, but prevents SFSU from forcing its students to abide by the decrees of any faith."

    "Just as SFSU could not punish students for taking Jesus’ name in vain or for driving a car on the Jewish Sabbath, it cannot punish students for stepping on a makeshift flag bearing the word 'Allah,'" the letter said.

    Samantha Harris, the director of legal and public advocacy for FIRE, said it should have never come to this.

    "This is a cut-and-dry case of constitutionally-protected speech," she said. "It's outrageous that the College Republicans had to be dragged through the investigations and hearings."

    Interview requests to the university’s president and OSPLD Director Joey Greenwell were referred to Ellen Griffin, the university's spokeswoman.

    "I think all along that SOHP exists to look at the merits of student complaints and uphold the value and principles of the campus," said Griffin. "The president has expressed an interest to look at the SOHP policy, particularly the time that lapsed between the complaint and the hearings."

    While the College Republicans said they would take legal actions if the group were sanctioned, Wolf said the club would not dismiss the possibility of a lawsuit.

    "All options are on the table in correcting this unconstitutional persecution," he said. "We got ourselves in a position to make change, and now we'll do it."

    Majority of Students Skip ASI Election Ballot Boxes

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    Related coverage:

  • Unofficial ASI Election Results (March 25)

  • Flag-Stomping Rabble Rousers Found Not Guilty (March 21)

  • ASI Supports Campus Childcare (March 13)

  • ASI Controls $3.4 million in Student Fees (March 6)

  • ASI a Mystery to Student Body (February 5)

  •  

    Halfway through the third day of the 2007 ASI elections the polling tents were still empty, foreshadowing a possible, historically-low voter turnout.

    This year's voting process, which began on Monday March 19 and ended Wednesday, March 21 at 9:00 pm, witnessed a low turnout according to ASI officials.

    VP of Internal Affairs candidate Oscar Edwards said of the approximate 30,000 students at SF State, 660 voted on Monday and Tuesday while he was busy campaigning in front of the student center.

    ASI leadership development coordinator Horace Montgomery has been working on ASI elections for ten years. He believed the number of votes are directly related to campaigning.

    “Voter turnout always has to do with the energy the candidates put out,” he said while standing in front of his seemingly abandoned workstation in front of the Humanities building. “The ASI staff has done more to publicize this campaign than any other, but it’s all about who’s campaigning and where they’re campaigning.”

    Lacy MacAuley, the ASI Election Commissioner, agreed that the staff has done a tremendous job promoting elections this year. She did say, however, that she felt that ASI isn’t recognized for its importance.

    “Student government is an important issue,” she said between occasional voters at the student center. “But I feel it’s a little bit under-utilized.”

    Oscar Edwards, while handing out flyers in front of a homemade sign in the afternoon, said he hadn’t seen very many other candidates but said he had been there all morning.

    “It’s good to show how committed you are,” he said. “If you can’t campaign for three days, how are you going to be in office for nine months?”

    Edwards also hinted that, because of low voter turnout, next year's election may utilize the internet to make voting more accessible.

    Tabulation of this years vote will take place on March 22 and 23.


    Anarchist Book Fair Attracts Hundreds

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    Hundreds of anarchists, socialists, and activists gathered at the SF County Fair Building in Golden Gate Park this weekend for the 12th annual Anarchist Book Fair.

    Attendees, mostly in all black attire and some sporting blue mohawks, began pouring into the park at 10 a.m. on Saturday, where thousands of books were available for purchase. Titles included everything from the uncensored version of "The Jungle" to "Chomsky on Anarchism".

    The fairground’s cafeteria also housed a medley of free controversial literature. Entire books were photocopied and touched on topics such as homemade guns and ammunition, driving techniques for escape and evasion and setting fires with electrical timers.

    “I bought some cheap Dostoevsky, but I’m here more for the free stuff,” said Neil Smith, 24, a first time attendee of the anarchist event. “But I avoided the free bootleg books on how to make home explosives.”

    Bookstores, college outreach programs and other volunteer groups sold books at the fair, for a profit or to raise money for a positive cause.

    Students from Sonoma State University manned a booth and sold literature on issues they deemed underreported on in the media.

    “The genocide in the Congo is neglected by journalists,” said Andy Roth, professor of Sociology at Sonoma State University. “Serious business interests are protected by suppressing this issue.”

    Keith McHenry passed out free pamphlets to promote his all-volunteer organization, Food Not Bombs, which provides food and supplies to survivors of terrorist attacks and natural disasters.

    “We were the people who fed Katrina,” said McHenry. “We had a kitchen set up in New Orleans two days after the hurricane.”

    The event, which spanned both Saturday and Sunday, doubled as a forum for panelist discussions.

    Author Josh MacPhee held a discussion on his book, "Realizing the Impossible: Art Against Authority", in the cafeteria, which served as the auditorium for the event. MacPhee views his book as an instrumental conceptual tool, and hopes it will incite discussion on anarchist art.

    “There are very few people involved in the dialogue,” said MacPhee. “And I think that needs to broaden and change.”

    Despite the events' name, not all in attendance considered themselves anarchists.

    “I definitely hold some anarchist beliefs,” said Kevin Stolle, 22, communications major at Sonoma State University. “But I don’t know if I fit the anarchist definition.”

    Anarchism was widely viewed, at the event, as the absence of an oppressive government. Attendees sought to dispel the common conception that anarchy definitively equates to lawlessness.

    “[Anarchism] is not necessarily about chaos,” said MacPhee. “It’s largely about organization. The society we live in now is actually more chaotic.”


    Garden Balances Remembrance With Relative Anonymity

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    Students and faculty alike pass through it on a daily basis, most unaware of what the space around them represents. It is an unpretentious area of quiet reflection, a welcome break from the bustle of an urban university. It is a shadowy, green meadow, with rocks seemingly scattered at random and a couple of pathways concluding at a rock-laden waterfall.

    It is also the unique vision of an individual that has been labeled as “San Francisco’s best-loved artist.”

    Ruth Asawa’s Garden of Remembrance is a subtle, natural tribute to 19 SF State students who were forced to withdraw from the university during the Japanese American internment of World War II.

    Asawa, whose additional art is featured on the SF State campus, was the primary creative force behind what is arguably the most overlooked public gem on the school grounds. And despite its placement near the geographic center, and one of the most-traveled spots, its significance remains unknown by most who pass by.

    “It’s nice, I was lying down and reading my book here,” said Kevin Ninkovich, a 21-year-old English major who was previously unaware of the garden‘s meaning. “It’s very nice and very tranquil.”

    While it is a meticulously manicured grassy area wedged between Burk Hall and the Fine Arts building, it is simultaneously an inauspicious center of commemoration for one of most painful American experiences of the 20th century.

    The garden features 10 strategically placed boulders that represent permanent internment camps as they were located across the U.S. continent. When one stands at the western end of the garden, that which lies farthest from the waterfall, the nearest two rocks represent the War Relocation Authority’s camps at Tule Lake and Manzanar in California.

    “Ruth Asawa said that every stone has a place,” said Carole Hayashino, who played a vital role in the garden’s creation. “They were placed in a way that were friendly to students, so that they could sit on them.”

    Hayashino was the associate vice president for development at SF State when she discovered a memo documenting the withdrawal of the 19 students, and helped garner the financial support needed for the memorial. The largest grant was given by the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program, which was initiated to spread education of the internment experience. The garden was dedicated on April 19, 2002, with the mayor of Osaka and university president, Robert Corrigan, among those that attended the ceremony.

    Asawa, who lives in San Francisco and received an honorary degree from SF State in 1998, is renowned for her artistic wire sculptures and fountains. Together with Isao Ogura and Shigeru Namba from the Professional Gardeners Association of Northern California, she helped turn an ordinary campus thoroughfare into a Zen-like green retreat from demanding student life.

    “She wanted to tell the story without hitting people on the head with it,” said Hayashino. “People have to ask questions about it, it’s very subtle.”

    Just past the eastern edge of the grass is a sandy clearing in front of a seven-foot bronze plaque, the lone marker explaining the garden’s meaning. It was also designed by Asawa, and contains inscribed copies of original documents critical to the understanding of the memorial, including the memo with the students’ names. It is largely unread, as students zip through with headphones blaring or cell phones hanging on their ear, not privy to the garden’s purpose.

    “You just walk right by it,” said Cesar Granados, a 23-year-old accounting major who was also passing through. “The plaque is way over there, but it’s interesting to know about.”

    When asked about the subtlety of the garden, Granados cited the use of rocks to commemorate the camps instead of the students.

    “It’s bizarre with the 10 rocks for the internment camps,” said Granados. “It seems like there should be 19 rocks for the students.”

    While many students and faculty have yet to take notice of the garden’s special meaning, one man who appreciates its quiet aura is Fine Arts Gallery Director Mark Johnson.

    “The bronze scroll is very subtle…in general, people just don’t take the time to stop and look at it,” said Johnson, who worked with Asawa during the garden‘s creation. “That it is so subtle, it is just what she intended, and it ended up just sort of perfect.”

    Johnson said that Asawa was very specific in all aspects of the garden’s formation, from the specific placement of the rocks in the grass to the cherry blossoms surrounding the waterfall. The symbolism flows from the desolation of the camps, as represented by the rocks, to the refreshing renewal of the waterfall.

    “The whole thing, it creates a sense of ‘here‘ on our campus, and I always take visitors. It is a world-class spot on our campus,” said Johnson. “Ruth Asawa’s vision was that we are all connected, we are all human beings.”

    Experts Gather to Discuss Iraq War

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    As the war in Iraq enters its fifth year, a panel featuring two combat veterans spoke Monday afternoon at Rosa Parks Hall against the motives behind war and today’s violence in Iraq.

    The panel included Joe Wheeler, a veteran who served from 2001 to 2004 and was stationed in Iraq in 2003 as a surgical assistant but left the military after only a year of being stationed there because of what he described as “situation depression” or post-traumatic stress. He is a member of Iraq Vets Against the War.

    Wheeler compared war to a business. It’s a way of generating better economy for the U.S., he said.

    “We need to wake up and complain,” Wheeler told the audience of about 50 in attendance. “We need to ask, why is this about money? And why is this about oil?”

    Also present on the panel was Sgt. Ruben Vasquez, who has been a medic in the Air Force since 1990. Vasquez repeatedly encouraged young people to take a side on the issue of war rather than continuing as an apathetic society.

    “Until you put your money where your mouth is and vote, I’ll keep getting deployed year after year,” said Vasquez.

    Dr. April Hurley, one of the two women on the panel, was not a war vet but rather part of the Iraq Peace Team in Baghdad in 2003 where she said she witnessed numerous war crimes against Iraqi civilians.

    She compared U.S. actions to terrorism and stated that the Iraqi death tolls have reached the millions.

    “We’re talking genocide,” said Hurley. “And if we don’t cut military budget we’ll be in war for a long time.”

    Elizabeth Stinson, Director of the Peace & Justice Center of Sonoma County, talked about her contacts with active soldiers who contact her regularly.

    “They were put in harms way by lies,” said Stinson. “And they want us to do all that we can to protect them.”

    Each speaker advised that the U.S. pull out of Iraq as soon as possible.

    “We need to withdraw from there,” Stinson said. “It’s the most conscientious thing we can do.”

    However, Vasquez reminded both the audience and the rest of the panel that an appropriate withdrawal is easier said than done.

    “Until there’s a personal impact on each and every person,” said Vasquez. “It’ll continue to be just a T.V. war.”

    The event was sponsored by The Holistic Health Learning Center, The Holistic Health Network, and the Orangeband Initiative, whose website encourages "respectful conversation about issues that we feel are important to talk about."

    It was also part of the 10th Annual Gandhi-King Season of Nonviolence, which seeks to understand and change causes of violence in the world, according to a promotional flyer.

    Benjamin Wiklund, 23, of Oakland came to hear the panel with his mother Pamela Coggins, who is studying humanities. He enjoyed each speaker’s views and found it to be very compelling.

    “There was lots of experience on the panel and good ideas,” said Wiklund. “The students here will definitely benefit from what was said today.”

    Dr. Hurley left the audience with a bit of advice for those concerned with the standing of their nation.

    “Be outspoken and be for truth-telling and things that are just,” she said.

    House Members Propose Simplifying FAFSA

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    More students may find it easier to get financial aid as lawmakers and higher education advocates are trying to push a new legislation through Congress to simplify the Free Application for Federal Aid (FAFSA).

    Called the “College Aid Made EZ Act,” Representatives Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) and George Miller (D-CA) introduced new plans to shorten and simplify the FAFSA form that students and their parents fill out when applying for aid, where income will be determined through the IRS directly and not through the parents and students themselves.

    “Financial aid can make or break a students decision over whether they can afford going to college,” said Miller.

    Emanuel feels that the current form is so difficult to understand that students and their families may feel defeated by the process.

    “For kids going to college, parents have to fill out 100 questions for just $2300 for a kid to go to school,” said Emanuel, himself a father of three. “At that rate, you might as well go to graduate school.”

    According to Lauren Asher, associate director of the Institute for College Access and Success, the new FAFSA form would be reduced from approximately 100 questions, including those regarding families’ net worth and tax information, to 50 straightforward and easy to understand questions. They also plan to create early applications for juniors in high school so that future college students can get a head start in applying for aid.

    The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will also play a critical role in the new application. Instead of students and their families determining their own total net worth, their income would be determined directly through the IRS.

    We aren’t talking about reinventing the wheel, the wheel is already there,” said Asher.

    Though representatives of SF State’s own Financial Aid Department knew little of this new legislation, Director of Financial Aid Barbara Hubler found that plans similar to the “College Aid Made EZ Act” introduced in the past five years have been difficult to pass.

    “It is IRS regulations that is the sticky point,” said Hubler. “It’s not going to pass.”

    SF State students who are dependent on aid, like Gus Ingargiola, 30, a junior in the Political Science Department, feel that even though the applications would be easier on students, the process is still painful and deterring.

    “No matter how you look at it, it is still a bunch of bureaucracy, all this work just to get into school,” said Ingargiola.

    But students like Yenni Harper, 32, a Criminal Justice major, is supportive of the Act’s attempt at making it easier for students and their families who may get confused with FAFSA’s long version.

    “I’m all for it,” Harper said. “I have a 401k, a lot of credit card payments and they ask me, what is your net worth? It is stupid to look through files and guess,” she added.

    By making FAFSA applications easier, both Miller and Emanuel hope that more students, who were once deterred from filing for financial aid because of its confusing process, will take advantage of federal student aid.

    “[We are trying] to make it far less confusing as it is today,” said Miller. “[The old form] is trying to do something good, but something good has run amuck.”

    Obama Comes to Oakland

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    Thousands jammed the plaza at Oakland City Hall Saturday afternoon to see and hear 2008 Democratic Presidential hopeful Barack Obama in his first public campaign appearance in the Bay Area.

    Approximately 10,000 people requested free tickets for the rally through Obama's website. However, many more swarmed the Civic Center area to catch a glimpse of the Illinois senator, with reports estimating 12,000 people were in attendance.

    Some climbed atop streetlamps, bus shelters, portable toilets, and television news trucks to watch Obama as he strode across a small stage discussing his goals for America.

    “We are here today, because the country calls us,” Obama said as the crowd cheered supportively. “We are here today because history beckons us. We’re here today because we face a series of challenges as significant and daunting as any series of challenges that any generation faced.”

    For many of those who came to the Oakland event, Obama's appeal lies in a message of hope and optimism.

    "He speaks for us," said Shantrice Williams, a nursing student at UCSF. "It's nice to have a politician say we must have hope."

    Williams' husband, Tel Sadler of Denver, came with a copy of Obama's best-selling book "The Audacity of Hope" in hopes of getting the senator to sign it. Though Sadler didn't get the autograph, he was still pleased with Obama's presence.

    "He's a progressive," Sadler said. "More than a liberal, he's a progressive."

    Margaret Rebecchi of Hollister came with her daughter Vanessa to volunteer with the Obama campaign. The Rebecchis both have had previous experiences helping out on presidential campaigns; Margaret with Robert Kennedy in 1968 and Vanessa with John Kerry in 2004.

    “Obama reminds me of Robert Kennedy,” said Margaret. “He’s very sincere.”

    “I can see why Kerry lost,” said Vanessa. “I can see the charisma that Obama has.”

    Among the eight Democrats who have announced their intention to run, Obama is regarded by many as being in the top tier of the party's presidential candidates, alongside Senator Hillary Clinton of New York and 2004 Vice-Presidential nominee John Edwards, even though he has only held a Senate seat for two years.

    Monica Lee, who came from Fremont with friends Meagan Roy and Jennifer Manegold, said she didn't care about Obama’s limited national experience.

    “I think he can bring something new to the White House,” Lee said. “He’s not bitter about Washington, yet.”

    “He may say the same things as other politicians,” Roy said, “but he has more depth to it.”

    Sitting on the stage after Obama and most of the crowd had left, a group of five students from San Ramon Valley High School in Danville said they would be voting in their first presidential race in 2008 and were excited to see the senator in person.

    “His opinions are refreshing,” said Hilary McGraw, 17. “By not attacking the other side, and calling for bipartisanship, that’s the way we’re going to get things done.”

    McGraw’s friend Hillary Struthers, 17, was also pleased with Obama’s appearance.

    “Listening to him today, it makes you so proud to be an American,” said Struthers. “He loves his country.”

    Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums kicked off the event, which also attracted other local political luminaries such as Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) and San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris.

    “In welcoming Senator Obama,” Dellums said, “I want to welcome him to a city that has the audacity to welcome the diversity of the world. We’re all here, Senator.”

    The crowd that came to see Obama was a mix of young and old, and people of almost every race to hear the only current African-American member of the Senate.

    Some in attendance dismissed the impact of Obama’s race as a campaign issue.

    “These people who do have a problem with race, maybe it’s time to switch things up,” said San Ramon Valley High student Nick Pittarides, 17.

    In his speech, Obama declared his intention to offer Americans universal health coverage by the end of his first term. He drew loud cheers by reiterating his opposition to the Iraq war from the beginning, and denounced the lackluster conditions wounded soldiers faced at Walter Reed Medical Center.

    “When they come home, they don’t have mold on the wall and rats stirring under their bed,” he said to loud cheers and applause, “when they come home, that we’re giving them the counseling and the treatment that they need to make the transition back to civilian life.”

    “How can you stand there and say you believe in supporting the troops when you forget them when they come home?” Obama said, angrily.

    Obama ended his speech on a positive note by calling for the crowd’s support.

    “This campaign is a vehicle for your hopes and dreams,” he said. “I want to work for you.”

    Oakland resident Darnell Busrey, wearing an "Obama Disciple" baseball cap, came away happy with what he heard from Obama.

    “Obama seems like a world leader that can bring back the respect that America needs,” said Busrey. “The whole event felt like a sea of love.”

    Listen to Obama's entire speech courtesy of [X]press Online.

    Protesters Voice Discontent

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    On March 18, thousands of protesters swarmed the streets of San Francisco to mark the fourth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. [X]press was there to hear the voices of those who participated.

    Check back for more updates and voices from this protest.

    Politics and Partying at St. Pat's Parade

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    Thousands of spectators’ green hats, shamrocks and cameras surrounded a traditional march down Market Street Saturday in the oldest and largest Saint Patrick’s Day parade west of the Mississippi.

    Amidst the camera flashes and “Kiss me, I’m Irish” t-shirts, a subtext of protest and political disharmony wove through the event, revealing a more comprehensive presence of Irish culture and history.

    The event began at 11:30 in the morning, with three horse-mounted policemen leading a slow charge from Market and Second streets with about 30 members of the Irish Pipers Band right behind, playing tunes like “The Wearing of the Green,” a traditional Irish protest song, on bagpipes and drums.

    The parade continued all the way down to City Hall, and behind the band followed a long series of dancers, local government and union representatives, and flag wavers. The crowds took pictures while people on the floats tossed out candy. Mayor Gavin Newsom stood with several of the marchers for about 10 minutes, shaking hands and posing for photographs.

    But at about the half-way mark, a more aggressive and iconoclastic kind of Irish culture marched.

    “Britain kills Democracy in Ireland,” read a banner held by members of the Pearse and Connolly Fife and Drum Band, which named itself after the leaders of the Easter Rising of 1916 in Ireland.

    “The British have reneged on their part of The Good Friday Agreement,” said Walter Finnerty, who marched with the band.

    Passed by an overwhelming majority in 1998, the Good Friday Agreement was seen as a huge step forward in the Northern Ireland peace process and in establishing self-rule in Ireland. But the government it established was suspended in October 2002, when unionists, often seen as sympathetic and loyal to the British crown, alleged that the Irish Republican Army was engaged in spying, in violation of the agreement.

    Northern Ireland has remained under direct British rule since.

    “The IRA dis[armed],” per the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, Finnerty said. “And if the British keep reneging on their commitment to leave Ireland alone, you can put this down: there will be another IRA. Every generation of Ireland took up arms, and it will happen again.”

    Further down the parade, The Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform marched with banners reading “legalizetheirish.org” and chanting the rights of Irish immigrants.

    Their presence at the march came on the heels of a huge protest in Washington D.C. on March 7, when the ILIR brought 3,500 volunteers to the nation’s capital, pushing through a snowstorm to lobby Congress for immigration reform.

    “We don’t want amnesty. We want a path to citizenship for the 50,000 Irish immigrants in this country, 4,000 of them right in this community,” said Jack Fitzpatrick of the Irish Immigration Pastoral Center. “They’re all paying taxes, and they deserve the rewards for what they bring to this country.”

    Even the green hats and shamrocks spectators wore to the San Francisco parade had their place in Ireland’s historical struggles. In the late 1700’s, wearing a shamrock in one’s hat was a sign of rebellion against the government, and green was the official color of a republican revolutionary organization.

    “It’s a sign of protest, the wearing of the green,” said Finnerty. “It used to be you could be hanged for it. You could be arrested just for possession of an Irish flag. So the IRA started putting them up on flagpoles with pipe bombs. The British army would try to take the flag down, and: boom! Of course, after a few soldiers were killed, they just started knocking over the poles.”

    The parade ended about 2:00, and many attendees left the Civic Center area for another gathering on Townsend Street, which had been blocked off between 2nd and 3rd streets. Aside from a ten-minute performance from the Irish Pipers Band, the Townsend gathering had no entertainment and no music playing.

    CSU Trustees Approve Fee Hike

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    The 417,000 students attending Cal State universities were hit with a 10 percent tuition increase for the 2007-08 school year, the fifth hike in the last six years.

    The CSU Board of Trustees voted 15-1 on Thursday to increase the undergraduate yearly student fees by $252, making annual fees $3,451 for undergraduates and $3,414 for graduate students in 2007-08.

    Student fees increased each of the past six years, though the 8 percent hike was rescinded last year when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger provided additional funding. There is a possibility that the same thing could happen this year, according to Cal State spokesperson Paul Browning.

    In setting up the terms of the increase, the trustees acknowledged that low-income students should be spared for the brunt of the fee hikes. About $38 million, or about a third of the money raised, is earmarked for financial aid so that "students with the greatest economic needs will not be affected," Browning said.

    The additional fees are expected to raise $97 million next year for the CSU system, much of which will go towards paying for the additional cost of educating the increasing number of students, as well as pay increases for faculty, staff and administrators.

    Though undergraduate student fees have risen 92 percent since the 2001-02 school year, CSU contends that its fees are still just over half what comparable U.S. universities are charging on average, which is $6665 per school year.

    "We've always tried to provide a quality education at a low price in California," Browning said.

    The price tag quickly became a source of stress for Tanaya Taylor, freshman physiology student, who wrote in an e-mail that she was tired of hearing about how "cheap" the university is and she is weary of having to come up with new ways to stretch the dollar.

    "When you think about it, that's about half the cost of textbooks," she wrote. "There are better ways that the $25(2) could be used but that doesn't seem to matter to the people that make the decisions and continue to increase the cost of higher education."

    The CSU is run on a $4 billion budget that comes primarily from the state's General Fund and from student fees.

    When the governor released this fiscal year's budget in January, it showed that the CSU would again be underfunded and suggested a fee increase to make up the difference. The trustees agreed.

    "Student fees are part of the overall revenue mix that is needed to sustain our outstanding university system," said CSU Board of Trustees chair Roberta Achtenberg in a press release.

    Eco-Friendly Apartment Opens to Public

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    SF State marked its latest foray into the environmental movement in a cermeony Friday, when the Green Apartment was unveiled before about 70 students, staff and faculty.

    "As stewards of our environment, we should make sure we're doing things to provide an environmentally friendly experience at this university," said Robert Hutson, associate vice president of facilities and enterprises on campus. "We're setting the footprint for where we will be in the future."

    The Green Apartment features a variety of tools for an eco-friendly lifestyle, from carpet and paint to electronics and household products. Funded by a grant from the Lisa and Douglas Goldman Foundation, it was the joint project of SF State's housing department and the non-profit organization, Strategic Energy Innovations (SEI).

    Leroy Morishita, vice president of administration and finance and Jan Andreasen, executive director of housing and residential services cut the (green) ribbon to the apartment, opening the way for guests to tour the unit.

    "We want to be a leading campus for sustainability. We have a long way to go, but we're committed to doing that," Morishita told the audience. "It is important for the future of generations to come."

    Dre Dominguez, the apartment's inhabitant, felt slightly nervous about having so many people in her personal living space, but is supportive of the project.

    "It's a little weird. I'm normally so introverted," she said. "But in the end, it's a good thing."

    Students touring the apartment thought the demonstration was impressive, but hoped they would see it implemented in the rest of the on-campus housing.

    "It's so awesome, such a progressive idea," said art major Elisa Wallin, 22. "But without a doubt, as soon as possible - like tomorrow - it should be extended to all of housing."

    "It's definitely a step in the right direction," agreed Evan Spurrell, 20, a biology major.

    Caitlin Fager, project coordinator for SEI, was pleased to see the comprehensiveness of the Green Apartment. SEI has worked with three other campuses on similar green housing projects, but none as inclusive as SF State. Even eco-friendly clothing was donated and put on display at the last minute. The clothes, made from organic cotton, were donated by Wildlife Works, which also put out 10 percent discount coupons for online purchases.

    "With each project, there are so many new developments," said Fager. "You never know what's going to come out of it. The clothing only arrived today, and that's something we've never done before."

    The apartment featured signs next to every item, explaining its environmental impact. Jim Bolinger, associate director of facilities, who coordinated the project for SF State's housing department, eagerly pointed out to viewers just how much of an impact they could have in their own lives if they switched to some of the products in the apartment.

    "We are bombarded by toxins in our cars, our homes, our lives," he said. "We are taking a proactive lead to reduce those toxins, and it just seems to be the right thing to do."

    Allam Elqadah, owner of many of the cafes on campus, came to the opening to show his support for more things green on campus. He incorporated eco-friendly plastic products into his cafes recently.

    "It's so great to see the campus doing something positive and leading the way. With sustainability, we all need to not just say we'll do it, but really support it," he said. "This is just one apartment. Imagine if every part of campus did this."

    For the full story of the Green Apartment, go to http://xpress.sfsu.edu/archives/news/008123.html.

    Individuals and classes may take tours of the Green Apartment. For information on times or to set up an appointment for a tour, contact Alicia Lewis at aclewis@sfsu.edu.

    SF State Faculty Votes on Strike

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    Related coverage:

  • Deal Averts CFA Strike (April 3)

  • Report Breaks CSU, CFA Barriers (March 30)

  • CSU, Union Talk Possible Settlement (March 28)

  • Reports Say CSU Has $1.2 Billion in Reserves (March 21)

  • Faculty to Strike-webtalk (March 21)

  • Faculty Reacts to the CFA Strike-webtalk (March 21)

  • CSU Faculty Union Authorizes Strike (March 21)

  • Faculty to Vote on Strike (February 23)

  • Two-Day Strikes to Limit Harm to Students (February 13)

  • CFA Rally Foreshadows Possible Strike (February 5)

  •  

    Faculty members at SF State cast their final ballots Thursday to authorize the first-ever faculty strike in the Cal State system, the largest four-year public university system in the country.

    If bargaining differences between the faculty union and the administration are not resolved soon, CSU instructors and lecturers are prepared to go on a two-day campus-by-campus work stoppage, most likely near the end of April.

    Faculty in 16 of the CSU's 23 campuses voted last week but returns won't be released until March 20.

    The tally coming out of SF State will be particularly significant because the school boasts the largest group of unionized faculty in any CSU campus with 900.

    A poll previously taken by the California Faculty Association, the union representing Cal State faculty, indicated that a majority of members will vote yes for the strike, according to Linda Ellis, president of the SF State chapter of the union.

    The task of counting the votes is being left to the League of Women Voters, not the union, in order to avoid any potential conflict of interests.

    Only union members, which accounts for about half of the CSU’s 23,000 faculty are allowed to vote. However, same-day voter registration was permitted for all faculty and lecturers who wanted to join the union.

    Voting has been done online and at a booth in the Cesar Chavez Student Center since Monday. A table was also set up specifically to inform students about the issues that led up to the strike vote.

    Geno Genasci, a graduate Biology student, stopped by and said, "I wouldn't say I'd condone the strike but I do support this decision if (the faculty) feels it's necessary."

    The campus administration is hopeful that, with the fact-finding process still ongoing, that a resolution can be achieved, said SF State Public Affairs Director Ellen Griffin.

    "We are eager for faculty to receive the monies that they are due and to begin to close the salary gap," she said.

    Author Recalls Life as Vietnamese Refugee

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    Writing is a therapeutic experience for Andrew Lam.

    In fact, the reason he began to write was to get over a painful break-up. It helped him to focus on what he was feeling and to move on.

    "When I fell out of love, it was so painful I couldn't see the future," said Lam. "Then I took a creative writing class, and the words just started pouring out."

    Since then, Lam hasn't stopped writing. Now an editor for New America Media, he also writes short stories and travels the world giving talks about his experiences in journalism and in life.

    Invited by the English, journalism and Asian-American studies departments, the journalist spoke to students and faculty on campus Friday about his recently published book, "Perfume Dreams." The book is a collection of Lam's essays detailing his experiences of growing up a Vietnamese refugee in America. For some students who attended, "Perfume Dreams" reflected events in their own lives.

    Hoa Hoang, a 19-year-old Vietnamese-American studies major felt a connection between Lam's words and his own past.

    "I read the book, and it's really insightful," he said. "I could relate, being a Vietnamese-American, and I could get a sense of what it has been like for him."

    The son of a South Vietnamese general, Lam and his family fled Vietnam on the eve of the Fall of Saigon in 1975. Upon arriving in America, Lam tried to assimilate to his new culture, to the point that his mother disparagingly referred to him as a "cowboy."

    Lam spoke to the audience about the struggles of being a Viet Kieu, a Vietnamese national living abroad. He addressed the difficulties of finding one's personal identity amid two cultures, something he said anyone living in a society they weren't born into can relate to.

    “What I find is that it is most healthy when you don’t discard your past but don’t let it rule you,” he said. “The art of writing is one way to appropriate your past.”

    Lam explained the complexity involved in finding his own Vietnamese-American identity, and how describing himself as those two nationalities didn’t come close to portraying the intricacy of his individuality. Through his writing he was able to come to terms with both his Vietnamese and his American identities.

    “I cannot be fully American without fully acknowledging my Vietnamese past,” he said.

    Some students in the audience were struck by his ability to describe his emotions through his writing. Stephanie Conrad, 19, an American studies major, said she related to the way Lam illustrated emotions that most people feel.

    “I really liked the way he compared losing love to losing your country,” she said.

    Conrad came to the presentation because she was required to for her English class, but she ended up enjoying it so much that she purchased Lam’s book. Later, she asked him to sign her book for her.

    For Lam, it seems, writing is almost essential.

    “It painful to write, because you spend so much time in solitude,” he said. “But it has to be cathartic, or else I wouldn’t be doing it.”

    SF State's Old Home in Jeopardy

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    After almost four years of public opposition, neighborhood groups and community activists will voice their grievances to the University of California’s planned privatization of SF State’s early campus at a public hearing scheduled for March 15.

    The 5.8 acre area, which is located at the intersection of Laguna, Haight,
    Buchanan and Hermann streets in Hayes Valley, now belongs to the UC Berkeley Regents, which signed a 75-year lease with developers A.F. Evans and the nonprofit organization Mercy Housing California to re-zone the area and construct 450 to 500 housing units, retail space and other urban developments.

    "Nowhere in the history of San Francisco has there been something of this magnitude," said Warren Dewar, attorney and board member of the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association, a neighborhood improvement group. "[The site] might be worth over a billion dollars of open land."

    Redefining two full blocks in the heart of the developed city has presented both a unique opportunity and a challenge in the community, since completion of the project requires a permit from San Francisco’s Public Commission to change zoning control from public to private.

    The hearing will start at 1:30 p.m. in City Hall Room 400 and will be the only public hearing regarding the re-zoning of the campus, giving concerned members of the community a chance to comment on the partial demolition, major alteration and loss of public use zoning on the site.

    The proposal is currently under review by the SF Planning Department and if City Hall does not approve the zoning changes, the UC will be unable to proceed with the development.

    At a public screening of the documentary "Uncommon Knowledge: Closing the Books at UC Berkeley Extension," a film focusing on the closure of the site, former Laguna campus employee and director Eliza Hemenway expressed her resistance to the project.

    "Why is San Francisco even considering re-zoning it? What does [the city] have to gain from the redevelopment?" said Hemenway at the screening, held at San Francisco’s Public Library on Feb. 24.

    "We want to honor [the property's] mission as a land grant university and retain public use on it," she said. "The public hearing is the time to make that known."

    In addition to Hemenway, there were about 60 neighbors, activists, and preservationists who expressed resistance to the plans, urging that the campus remain public and standing.

    "Only through the direct strength of communities have we been able to communicate and have direct recourse," said community activist Richard Johnson.

    The land was originally the site of a Protestant Orphanage, built in 1851, but was taken over by SF State Normal School, a high-caliber training center for teachers, and in the 1920s it eventually changed its name to San Francisco State University.

    The land was later given to the UC Berkeley Extension after it expressed desperate need to expand its services and in 2003, after almost 50 years of use, UC closed the campus due to decreased enrollment and increased maintenance. It has been sitting empty since then.

    "They put resources into cosmetics but neglected the real nuts and bolts," said Hemenway.

    A petition to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors requiring the assemblage of a citizen's advisory committee and evaluation of the re-zoning was drafted through the Save the UC Berkeley Laguna Street Campus, a group working to preserve the historic and public resource, which has collected nearly 300 signatures.

    "I have not yet seen anyone [on the Board of Supervisors] taking charge of this issue," said Mark Paez, urban planner and co-chair of the Friends of 1800. "And it really has to come from the highest form of government to make it happen."

    The meeting will be available online March 16 at http://www.sfgov.org/site/sfgtv_index.asp

    California Seeks Early Presidential Primaries

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    Election Day is almost a year away, and almost eighteen presidential candidates have already more or less declared their candidacies.

    Until recently, choosing presidential nominees was a lengthy, prolonged process that began in January and lasted until the following spring. But with California and other states planning to shift their primaries to February, the election schedule is becoming circumcised, condensed and front-loaded.

    As many as 20 states, including California, have moved up or are considering shifting their presidential primaries to February 5, 2008, promptly after New Hampshire, Nevada, Iowa and South Carolina kick off their own primaries and caucuses in January.

    According to Thomas Gangale, former SF State graduate student and founder of the California Plan to Reform the Presidential Nomination Process, the move follows a trend to get more clout in the White House race that began in 1988 with the creation of “Super Tuesday,” a mishmash of several primaries on the same day.

    “What was then a trickle, has now become a flood,” said Gangale.

    In 2004, California was among ten states that held primary elections on March 12.

    Previously, California and several other states traditionally concluded primaries in early June, extending the political season and making it difficult for unknowns to emerge.

    “In times when we had more relaxed primary schedules, unknowns with underfunded campaigns had a chance to get their messages out by campaigning door-to-door in a few small venues, then slowly build momentum,” said Gangale, describing Jimmy Carter’s successful run for the Democratic nomination in 1976.

    “Now it's all about who is the best known and has the most money,” he said in reference to candidates Sens. Hillary Clinton (D-NY), John McCain (R-AZ) and 2004 Democratic Vice-Presidential nominee John Edwards.

    Gangale directly blames this financially demanding system for what happened in the previous elections.

    “The current front-loaded schedule enabled George W. Bush to cruise to renomination without opposition despite an unpopular war and a sputtering economy because no one even seriously considered raising the $100 million plus, that would have been required to mount a credible challenge.”

    According to SF State political science professor Erin Scholnick, the shortened process now requires candidates to address the issues of voters in many parts of the nation, although some issues may only pertain to one part of the country, “which will be a tiring, time consuming, and an expensive undertaking.”

    “It was disturbing to read in last week's news that Hillary is trying to break Bush's campaign spending in the primary season alone. It seems to me that we could save some money by offering the candidates free air time and a dedicated candidate day, but that is not the way things are done in the United States.”

    Gangale and Scholnick agreed that the process is obstructive to good government.

    “Our goal should be to make electoral office more accessible to the American public,” said Scholnick. “The candidates should not have to worry about telling us what we want to hear in three sentences or less or have to worry about the money. This really does corrupt the system.”

    Veterans Against War Speak Out

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    Students were able to hear first hand the opinion of two veterans fighting to end the war in Iraq on Wednesday.

    The panel included Sgt. Mike Ergo and Staff Sgt. Christie Hubbard from the Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW). The two members spoke in favor of the anti-war movement and answered the questions of many curious students.

    “I’m a patriot,” Ergo said in response to one student's question. “I love this country and I say get the hell out of (Iraq).”

    The IVAW was founded in July 2004 by Iraq war veterans at the annual convention of Veterans for Peace in Boston. The organization was established to “give a voice to the large number of active duty service people and veterans who are against this war, but are under various pressures to remain silent.”

    There are now currently members of the IVAW in 41 states and Washington D.C. Canada and many bases overseas, including some in Iraq, are also homes to many of the members.

    Hubbard has been with the IVAW for a little more than a year, which for her was a way to teach people about the emotional trauma troops experience and also a way to cleanse herself.

    “We saw things people shouldn’t see,” said Hubbard. “I don’t think anyone should really have to see them, especially young people.”

    Ergo, who spent two years in Iraq serving for the U.S. Marine Corps Alpha Company, has also been speaking with the organization for sometime now.

    “I remember getting really upset when I saw protests. I didn’t think they had our best interest in mind,” said Ergo. “Then I realized they were supporting. They were trying to bring the troops home.”

    Alex Dempsey also spoke during the rally, educating students about his group Students Against War, which eventually became a speech on the groups feeling towards the war.

    “If we’re going to make this thing work then when are we going to do it,” Dempsey said. “There’s a lot of people who have a lot of power who want this war and it’s not going to stop unless we force them too.”

    During the discussion students were not only allowed to ask questions, but in addition they could give their opinion about the war.

    “I’m glad that the anti-war movement has extended a warm welcome to troops coming back from Iraq,” said Sid Patel, a student who spoke at the tail end of the discussion. “These kind of discussions and events are critical forces to bringing our troops home.”


    ASI Supports Campus Childcare

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    Related coverage:

  • Unofficial ASI Election Results (March 25)

  • Flag-Stomping Rabble Rousers Found Not Guilty (March 21)

  • Majority of Students Skip ASI Election Ballot Boxes (March 21)

  • ASI Controls $3.4 million in Student Fees (March 6)

  • ASI a Mystery to Student Body (February 5)

  •  

    When walking by the red, yellow and blue walls of the Early Childhood Education Center, it is common to hear shrieks of children's laughter.

    The center's goal is to provide low-income parents at SF State a safe, happy and nurturing childcare program located on campus. Owned and operated by Associated Students Inc. since 1984, the ECEC uses art, music, playtime and reading in its curriculum for children ages six months to five years old.

    Each student at the university puts in $42 a semester into ASI, and the center receives 40 percent of the ASI’s budget, totaling about $1.4 million dollars. While most students complain about student registration fees, few said they mind paying part of their fee to run this program on campus.

    "I think it's a necessary service, how do you expect people to better themselves and be integrated in the economy?" said Lauren DeArman, 23.

    According to the preschool program director, Carol Rector, fees for the center are based on income needs. First priority is given to low-income undergraduate student-parents first, then all other student-parents, the graduate student-parents, then faculty and staff parents, and finally, community parents.

    The $1.4 million the center receives from ASI only accounts for about a quarter of the ECEC's funding, as parents pay about 50 percent of the costs, and around 25 percent comes from grants and donations.

    The pricing structure varies depending on income and the number of hours per week a family uses the services, but low-income student childcare fees are less than half the average cost of childcare in San Francisco, according to the annual Regional Market Rate Survey. Low-income student childcare fees are less than half the average cost of childcare in San Francisco, according to the California Department of Education.

    Jenny Dickow, 24, said she is grateful that ASI is pitching in to help student-parents like her. Without the center, life with her 19-month-son would be much different.

    “I wouldn’t be in school, no way,” she said.

    But at least one student didn’t think it was fair that students were subsidizing roughly 120 families at the ECEC.

    “I think it shouldn’t apply to people who aren’t parents,” said Jon Montelermoso, 21, of the student fees that go toward the center. “We’re practically giving away money that’s not used for us.”

    But Rector said the center needs those fees in order to provide high-quality childcare for parents while they go to class, a task that’s difficult, particularly for low-income students.

    The center is also one of 22 childcare facilities in San Francisco accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. This accreditation, Rector said, is a voluntary and has much stricter standards than both national and state accreditation.

    Chris Oropeza, ASI's creative arts representative, said the center is something that the university should be proud of.

    “It’s one of ASI’s jewels,” said Oropeza.

    The Newman Club president, Flor Alvarez, 29, said the convenience of having the ECEC on campus was good.

    “If I had children I would bring them there,” she said.

    “If you want to continue studying it is helpful because you can rely on them," said Alvarez. "Your child is near and you don’t have to take him to another side of the city.”

    Evangelical Youth Rally Fires Up City

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    An evangelical rally aimed at teenage Americans swept into San Francisco on Friday, drawing flocks of protestors and onlookers as they shouted from the steps of City Hall.

    “Our voice needs to be heard in San Francisco,” said Jodi Williams, who came with a youth church group from Hillsboro, Ore. “God will prevail in San Francisco, we’re praying for them.”

    With a following of hundreds, comprised largely of children and their parents or church groups, Battle Cry arrived in energetic, outspoken fashion. The gathering on the front steps of City Hall was the first part of a two-day event intended to excite youth about Christianity, with concerts and speeches taking place late Friday and all-day Saturday at AT&T Park.

    Banners flapped in the breeze as the crowd cheered Ron Luce, the leader of Battle Cry and loudly proclaimed “we have a voice!”

    “We’re not trying to aggravate, and we’re not condemning,” said Aaron White, a youth pastor from Southside Christian Center in Oregon. “It’s a reverse-rebellion to energize the youth and grow closer to God.”

    Battle Cry’s purpose in holding the event at City Hall was “to show America in a very visible way that there are young people that love God,” according to an informational pamphlet available on the group’s website.

    While the organization’s proclaimed goals were met with roaring approval from its traveling members, it did not win everyone‘s admiration.

    “All their religious righteousness tries to make them into zombies,” said Nick Jones, who came from Oakland to hand out political information papers at the event. “They try to get them all whipped up with militaristic performances to get them into the armed forces.”

    Chris Merrigan, who moved from New Jersey to San Francisco 15 years ago, doubted the effectiveness of the group’s message in the city, and suspected a more devious reason for the youth event.

    “I don’t think that they’re going to be that effective, this is a pretty liberal town,” said Merrigan. “It seems like a little brainwashing going on. The Christian Right really scares me.”

    Kathy Smith, who traveled to the event from Tulare, Calif. with her husband Bobby, cited the media as a mostly negative influence on children today. She saw the weekend events as a way of asserting Christian influence in the lives of kids.

    “It’s an opportunity for this generation to show that we do have a voice,” said Kathy Smith. “And that we love San Francisco, and that God loves them.”

    Bobby Smith, a bus driver who said he turned to Christianity after dealing drugs for a time, challenged San Francisco’s tolerance.

    “A lot of people think that this lifestyle is okay.” Smith said. “Every one of us can be led wrong.”

    Smith did not hesitate to make a bold apocalyptic proclamation. “But the end of time is close, so get your life right with God.”

    Though the group made their presence known, even surprising a few tourists and residents alike, they were not completely embraced by everyone in attendance.

    “Supposedly they’re fighting the moral decay of society, but this is the moral decay,” said Alanna Suen, a 16-year-old resident of San Francisco. “We have the right to live the way we want and they do too. They just shouldn’t push it on us.”

    Green Apartment showcases eco-friendly campus living

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    For those who think it’s not easy being green, think again. SF State’s housing department is determined to show students that eco-friendly living is not as difficult as it may seem.

    Say hello to the Green Apartment. SF State’s new residence demonstration, located in Centennial Village, was built to show students that environmentally-friendly products are just as cheap and available as the products they’ve always used.

    “We really want to show that it’s possible to be sustainable without there being any added inconvenience,” said Jim Bolinger, project coordinator for SF State’s housing department. “These things can become a part of our everyday life.”

    The idea for an eco-friendly housing demonstration was conceived by Strategic Energy Innovations (SEI), a San Rafael-based energy consultant group, which started the project in 2004 at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. There, the attention was focused mostly on Energy Star appliances, and was funded by the Department of Energy.

    Since then, SEI has worked with California State University, Chico and University of California, Berkeley. This time around, SEI received a grant from the Goldman Fund to create green residences at two universities in San Francisco. So when Robert Hutson, associate vice president of facilities and services at SF State, approached them about the project, they jumped on it.

    SEI will be involved in the creation of the residence until its grand opening, at which point the school is expected to take over control. In addition to observing how well the products work in a real living situation, the housing department will also conduct monthly tours of the residence.

    Dre Dominguez, the student who will be living in the apartment, said she was initially reluctant to open up her personal space to the public every month. She realized, however, the effects such a project could have on the campus.

    “This has definite potential to be a very positive thing. It could influence a shift in the way that people buy,” she said. “People will see how they can be greener in their own lives, and depending how it works out, it could influence the entire university.”

    SEI’s projects have progressively become more complex, and SF State’s apartment will be one of the most extensive to date, incorporating water conservation and a wide array of sustainable household products, according to Caitlin Fager, project coordinator for SEI.

    “Each time, the dedication and commitment from the campuses has grown,” Fager said. “What’s great with SF State is that they’re actually working independently from us as well, and the result is that the project is much more comprehensive.”

    Fager hope is that the campuses will continue to develop and expand the projects once they are handed over. At Berkeley, the green dorm room initiated by SEI spawned various other green residences, such as a green apartment and a green suite, which houses 25 students.

    SF State’s Green Apartment will feature everything from environmentally-friendly carpet and paint to energy saving lamps and electronics to low-flow shower heads and a toilet. It will be outfitted with some eco-friendly furniture and will even have sustainable personal care products.

    Bolinger said almost everything in the apartment was donated by local retailers. Shaw Contract Group donated carpet made with 40 percent recycled materials and no PVC, while Kelly Moore donated paint that contains no volatile organics compounds and no polluting solvents. Lowe’s gave an energy efficient range and microwave to the project and Best Buy contributed a Sony Energy Star stereo system. The Body Shop, EO Products, Walgreens and Bed Bath & Beyond all donated items such as shampoo, conditioner, soap, cleaning products and facial cleanser. Baltix, a sustainable furniture company, donated four dining room chairs when Hutson purchased a dining room table, coffee table and two end tables from them.

    “The point is to showcase to students that these products are available and affordable, and that it’s not hard to live more green,” said Fager. “Then the other side is to work with the campus staff to change purchasing decisions. We make connections with these local retailers and then people will know that those products are already there. They just have to ask for them next time.”

    Some students granted that an exhibit that showed students how to live greenly would be useful, but they weren’t sure how effective it would be if significant lifestyle changes were expected.

    “Students are always trying to find new products to buy, and it’s good to offer the appeal of green living,” said freshman and Mary Park resident Samantha Elemento. “But a lot of students have a routine, so they might not make those adjustments if it’s not convenient.”

    Fellow dorm resident Michelle Iki agreed that students would need other incentives, such as price or ease to make them want to adopt green practices.

    “Students are really stubborn in their habits, though I’m sure there are a select few who would pursue those products,” said the 18-year-old cinema major. “But a lot of people would probably buy them as long as it’s convenient.”

    Convenience is just the message that SEI has tried to convey with their green living projects.

    Desirae Early, a student at UC Berkeley who has been involved in the various green residence exhibitions on her campus, said the whole point of the projects is to demonstrate to students that eco-friendly living is not much different from what they’re used to.

    “When we have tours through the residences, what I hear the most is students saying it’s not that big of a deal,” Early said. “But that’s the point. We want to make it known that these products are not that unusual, but they do make a big difference.”

    SEI’s partnership with SF State has demonstrated that the campus is eager to take the initiative to make that difference, Fager said.

    “This is the most inclusive project we’ve done. It’s a whole other level from what we expected,” she said. “It takes a lot of work and dedication, and it is my hope that with this project, the whole campus will be inspired.”

    The Green Apartment will be unveiled Friday, March 16 at 3:30 p.m. Visitors who tour the apartment can view all the options they have for an eco-friendly lifestyle, and products will be labeled with the name and nearest location of the retailer that donated the item. Tours will also be conducted monthly and by appointment.

    Alum Honors the Memory of AIDS Victims

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    Cleve Jones, a former SF State student and the founder of the AIDS Quilt memorial, was a guest speaker Friday at the San Francisco Columbarium for a Day of Remembrance Ceremony, honoring those who have died from the AIDS epidemic.

    “I started the Quilt in 1987 in my backyard in San Francisco,” said Jones. “The first panel was for my friend, Marvin Feldman. The quilt is a moving memorial with panels made for family members. It’s become the world’s largest community arts project. The last time it was displayed in full was in 1996 in Washington DC, where it filled the national mall.”

    Jones was an Urban Studies major in the 70’s, and interned in the office of Harvey Milk, a gay rights activist who would be elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Milk was assassinated in 1978, and Jones dropped out of SF State to become a full-time human rights lobbyist.

    Jones is at once positive and skeptical about the steps made in sexual education.

    “Clearly progress has been made,” Jones said, “but it has to be repeated, targeted in the right places, and maintained.”

    “Young people need to pay attention. People are being careless,” Jones said. "While there are more effective medications to treat the symptoms of HIV, there is still no cure."

    “There’s an increasing prevalence,” Jones said, “to multi-strain viruses that are immune to the medications.” Jones said that the virus in his body was constantly changing, and become more resistant to treatment.

    Cleve Jones published has published his memoirs, “Stitching a Revolution.” A rock opera based on his life is due later in the year.

    “All I ever wanted to do was be an activist,” Jones said.

    He is currently working for Unite Here!, a labor union for hotel and textile workers.

    For more information on Cleve Jones, visit sleepwiththerightpeople.org

    We're constantly bombarded by images of skinny women on TV, magazines and the Internet, and now we’re seeing the effects on young girls and women.

    On Feb. 19, the American Psychological Association reported that sexualized images of girls and young women in advertising and merchandising damages females’ self-image and healthy development.

    Professor Deborah L. Tolman, director of SF State’s Center for Research on Gender and Sexuality, is on the APA’s Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls.

    “In our society, the sexualization for girls is so pervasive that it can feel normal for young girls to look like older women,” said Tolman the day the report was released.

    Tolman, who also teaches in the human sexuality studies department, is a nationally recognized researcher on adolescent sexuality and mental health. She also mentions that parents should keep an open dialogue on what girls see in media.

    “Talk about how marketing techniques make girls’ and women’s bodies look unnatural and focus people’s attention on their bodies as if that is all that is valuable about them. Get kids to question what they are seeing and hearing, and how they may be feeling about their own bodies and their own abilities,” said Tolman.

    The report also stated that the sexualization of young women can affect social problems specific to women, such as violence and exploitation.

    “Pressing social problems that disproportionately affect girls both directly and indirectly, including violence against girls and women, sexual exploitation of girls, forms of pornography, and prostitution of girls, may be maintained or even increased if there is a continued and escalating sexualization of girls. Some of these consequences are explored in the following sections," said the report on the sexualization of girls and young women.

    “I just hate it when people blame the media, not that the media’s innocent, it’s not all their fault,” said Ashley Goulart, 21.

    Goulart, a cinema major, believes that if girls emulate what they see in the media it’s from low self-esteem, and that parents and teachers should help girls address these problems.

    “You can’t blame it all on a corporation... I think there is consumer responsibility,” said Goulart.

    Harumi Inoue, a senior in art, says girls feel pressure to look like a model to feel attractive.

    “If you don’t have big boobs or white teeth you can’t get a boyfriend,” said Inoue.

    “A lot of women on TV and media; they look perfect, I think they need to use more realistic models,” added Inoue.

    However Dove soap has changed the way they advertise to women, and use "real-life" women in their advertisements to women.

    According to Dove in an email to the Xpress, they started their campaign for real beauty after they conducted a report that women don't feel represented by the beauty.

    "The Dove global report revealed women do not feel represented by the beauty stereotypes currently prevailing in advertising and the media and desire a broader, more inclusive definition of beauty in popular culture. The report found that the narrow definition of beauty is having a profound affect on the self-esteem of women and only 2% of women described themselves as beautiful. This motivated Dove to create advertising campaigns and messages that debunked the stereotype that only young is beautiful and only blonde is beautiful," said Dove.

    Bruce Robertson, assistant professor of marketing at SF State, says that marketers do target women, but they aren't the only ones.

    “Yes, there are representations of a lot of things in the media that create unrealistic expectations for lots of people, not just young women, but for young men, for old men,” said Robertson. “When we measure ourselves against these media ideals we find ourselves falling short.”

    Robertson said that human beings respond to aspirational goals.

    “Beyond the negativity of this is people look for aspirational ideals, they want to improve themselves,” said Robertson. “So is it wrong to say if you are an athlete should you aspire to be like Tiger Woods, or is that creating an unrealistic expectation of you that ‘I need to be as good a golfer as Tiger Woods’ or is it OK for me to say that Tiger Woods is the ideal of a golfer and Shaquille O’Neil is an ideal of a basketball player, is that wrong?"

    Faculty and Students Enjoy New Downtown Campus

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    Ubiquitous Wi-Fi, classroom walls made entirely of expansive windows and nearly sound-proof study rooms for students are just a few of the amenities included at the new Downtown Campus.

    The SF State extension has gotten off to a smooth start, experiencing only minor hurdles in the two months since its opening.

    Situated on the fifth and sixth floors of the recently revamped Westfield San Francisco Centre, the Downtown Campus is home to the College of Business graduate programs and the College of Extended Learning. Instruction began at the start of the spring semester and, for the most part, both the faculty and students are elated by their environment.

    “I like to say we used to ride a Schwinn,” said Aaron Anderson, director of the Executive MBA Program, of the old main campus location. “Now we ride a supercharged bike.”

    “It’s truly a spectacular location,” he added. “[The former location is] basically cinder blocks and four walls.”

    The SF State College of Business graduate program in the Westfield Centre takes up half of the fifth floor of its 835 Market St. location. Level upon level of frenzied customers can be seen shopping in stores such as Bloomingdales, Lucky Brand Jeans and the Sunglass Hut from various windows located throughout the school.

    The MBA facility boasts 10 immaculate, high-tech classrooms with prime views of the downtown area and the bustling streets below. The walls on the west side of the campus are made from the original brick that survived the 1906 earthquake, which serves as a reminder of the building’s history in the highly innovative setting. Gone are small, rickety fold-up classroom desks. Students are treated to spacious tables with built-in electrical outlets, and sit comfortably in rolling chairs with lumbar support.

    Overwhelmingly, graduate students seem happy about the relocation.

    “You feel like you’re in the heart of the business environment,” said Pooja Stracey, 22, a first-year MBA student. “The ambience here is great. You really feel like you’re at the MBA level.”

    Lisa Takeuchi, 31, a third-year international business graduate student, echoed the sentiment.

    “I love the new campus,” said Takeuchi. “I like that it’s clean. The bathrooms on the main campus are filthy.”

    The downtown location also makes it easier for students who work or live in its vicinity to walk to school or take some mode of public transportation. A BART station is located directly beneath the building.

    However, driving a personal vehicle to campus is not recommended. The student discounted ticket price to park is $9 per day in the Ellis O'Farrell garage. Many of the students who attend the Downtown Campus extension do not have concurrent classes on the main campus, which eliminates the hassle of commuting between the two locations.

    Another perk: students attribute the new center with promoting intra-department networking.

    “It is way easier to meet people and connect,” said Joe Gannon, 26, a first year MBA student. “[The campus] removes barriers. When you talk to someone you know they are a graduate business student too.”

    Roughly 500 students are enrolled in the graduate business program. And while it is still too early to determine what the student body growth rate will be, faculty members have noticed that more people are interested in attending the school since it relocated.

    The business department has held four informational seminars since the downtown centers’ inception; all of which have been maxed to capacity. The College of Extended Learning (CEL) has more concrete information. A receptionist, who declined to give his name, said there has been a 30 percent growth in enrollment since CEL relocated from its 425 Market St. facility, which was located four blocks away from the new center.

    Despite the aesthetic beauty of the new facility and the amenities it boasts, it is not without its share of pitfalls. While the faculty did not supply the exact cost of construction or maintenance, Anderson did say the rent for the downtown center is significantly higher than any other previous location. And because the graduate school is a self-sustaining program, meaning it doesn’t rely on tax dollars or fund raising efforts to stay afloat, the added expenses equate to registration fee hikes for students.

    Registration fees for full-time California resident students in the regular MBA program are roughly $1,900 per semester. Beginning next semester those rates are set to increase by $1,200.

    “Although it doesn’t carry the same prestige, it’s still cheaper than Berkeley,” said Stracey of the inflated fees.

    Some of the students who receive financial aid will be compensated for the added cost.

    Registration rates for the executive MBA program are significantly higher, with students paying $670 per unit. Fees for this program are not expected to increase for at least another year.

    Another potential problem with the facility is that the mall may serve as a distraction for students.

    “When I have breaks I do [shopping] laps around the mall,” said Takeuchi.

    Second-year finance student Jing Yu, 25, relayed a similar scenario.

    “When I don’t have things to do [at school] I go shopping,” said Yu. “I spend a lot of money.”

    The price of the food in the mall’s food court, which doubles as the school cafeteria, also poses an inconvenience. Students typically pay $8 for a meal. Although students say they make up for the financial burden in other areas.

    “The price of food doesn’t really bother me,” said Takeuchi. “The little bit more I spend on food, I save on gas.”

    Bike Riding Students Share Common Concerns

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    SF State will never be confused for the bicycle hotspot that is UC Santa Barbara, but it does have its fair share of those who ditch the gas pedals for the foot pedals. On a campus filled with commuters, and in severe shortage of nearby free parking, riding a bike is a cost-effective solution that many students opt for.

    And though it has its benefits, leaving the bike behind during class is a varying, sometimes worrisome experience for students.

    “I used to park it on the other side of the gym before,” said Sepehr Zamani. “The Bike Barn is like a fortress, although if someone really wanted to, they could just walk in.”

    Although Zamani said that he has had no problems with his bicycle at SF State, that did not stop him from issuing a warning against parking in a specific part of the campus.

    “The closer it is to 19th Avenue, the sketchier it is,” said Zamani. “My friend had his bike stolen at midday near HSS.”

    While bicycle thefts are generally less talked about than automobile thefts, it is an underlying problem in urban environments. It is also something that every college campus inevitably faces, as many students find driving impractical or unaffordable.

    SF State police had 11 reports of bicycle crimes in the 2006 fall semester, and have thus far received four reports of bicycle-related crimes this semester, according to Ellen Griffin from the Office of Public Affairs. The on-campus Bike Barn, which offers free storage for up to 350 bicycles, is used frequently by students, although some do so with reservations.

    “It’s no big deal on campus, you could just cut a lock… nobody really gives a shit,” said Eric Brown. “I just started (using the Bike Barn) because both wheels were stolen from my bike when it was locked up near Hensill Hall three weeks ago.”

    Brown, a 20-year-old Industrial Technology major, was not among the four who reported their bicycle crime to the campus police this semester, as he did not see them as an effective deterrent to the criminals.

    “Bike-riding cops ride around and tell people not to ride around here on bikes,” said Brown.

    The campus police, which offer a free bicycle registration program for students, has published a pamphlet called “Preventing Bicycle Theft” that outlines tips on selecting locks and chains to decrease the chances of becoming a victim. The crime prevention handout also informs students of the benefits of acquiring a DataDot, which holds the owner’s contact information electronically.

    A common thread among students who rely on bikes was the better-than-nothing attitude toward the Bike Barn, largely due to its lack of cost and protection from the elements.

    “Last year I didn’t use to park it in Bike Barn,” said Jeremy Urone, a 20-year-old International Business major. “But it’s more secure, free and sheltered.”

    Urone, who said he had so far “been fortunate” to have not encountered any problems with leaving his bicycle around campus, also was aware of the possibility of it happening at any time. Although he did cite a specific type of bike as more lucrative to potential thieves than his current one.

    “I have heard stories about people getting their bikes stolen here,” said Urone. “But I don’t think there’s a high demand for my cruiser. Road bikes are in higher demand for parts.”

    Some students feel the extra few minutes needed to lock up their bike in the free enclosure is well worth the peace of mind.

    “I don’t want someone on campus to mess with it,” said Kayleigh Loe, a sophomore Voice major. “Somebody could come in there, but I try not to think about it.”

    The Bike Barn employs an attendant during its open hours, who ensures that students sign in and out when they leave or retrieve their bike.

    “Sometimes people will forget their locks and feel concerned about their bikes,” said Nathan Baskett, a student who works in the Bike Barn. “Some of them even will come back and check on their bikes.”

    Baskett noted that the majority of those who ride their bikes to school feel safe about leaving them under his supervision during the school day. He also rides his bicycle to campus and has no fears about leaving it there during his classes.

    “I feel totally secure about leaving it here,” said Baskett. “I only leave it in Bike Barn because it’s safer.”

    Urone felt fine leaving his bike behind during the day, but for a different reason all together.

    “If someone were to steal my bike, it would be hard to throw over their shoulder because it’s so heavy.”

    Early Time Change Won't Harm Computers

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    SF State Information and Technology experts said daylight-saving time (DST), which will start three weeks earlier on Sunday, Mar. 11, will not prevent school computers from running smoothly.

    The change of when "spring forward" begins has raised the possibility of a smaller-scale repeat of Y2K problems, but Jonathan Rood, associate vice president of SF State’s Division of Information Technology, said it will not affect the way computers operate.

    “It isn’t anything like Y2K…a change in date isn’t nearly like a change in not being able to add a year in a data base. At that time, software programs weren’t programmed to deal with an out of number sequence,” said Rood. “This deals with calendar scheduling systems.”

    It doesn’t pose a serious problem, but could create a hassle, explained Rood.

    "The worst thing that could happen is that [computer times] could be put off for a three week period,” said Rood. “People might get the wrong time and be off an hour at a certain time of day…some interface with other systems, but it doesn’t mean a whole system will go down.”

    For the last two weeks, the Division of Information Technology and the Center for Computing for Life Sciences have worked on making sure that all our computers’ software has been updated, according to Jack Tse, senior director of network and operations and chief operations officer of the Division of Information Technology.

    “[Students] should follow the procedures laid out by their computer manufactures, update systems to have the newest software possible, and manually adjust clocks, calendars, and cell phones accordingly,” said Tse, who sent the mass e-mail alerting all SF State students and faculty to check for DST software settings.

    DST will also end a week later on Nov. 4. The date changes are stated in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, as an amendment designed to conserve electricity and save an estimated 300,000 barrels of oil a year, according to a conference report by the Senate Energy and Commerce Committee.

    “There are a lot of evening classes…that extra time means a little less need for outdoor lighting. It all adds up,” said Rood. “Also, more people would be [on campus] in the evening during that time, with that extra hour of light, than the number of people that would be on campus during the morning in the dark.”

    According to Mike Wong, staff research programmer for Center for Computing for Life Sciences, our computers are running the Linux operating system. One of the available services of the Linux operating system is something called the Network Time Daemon (NTD). The Linux NTD can contact other trusted computers on the Internet and ask them what time it is. When NTD finds out what time it is, NTD will reset the computer's chronometer, which keeps the computer's most accurate time.

    Each computer is programmed with knowledge of its geographic location (roughly) and time zone, and so each computer knows if its locality observes daylight-saving time, and what the difference is from Greenwich Mean Time.

    “[SF State] computers are individually programmed to know how to respond to daylight-saving Time, and they also can talk to each other (and more importantly, a trusted ‘time server’ computer with an impeccable chronometer) to figure it out,” said Wong in an e-mail. “Daylight savings time is by-and-large a solved problem for experienced system administrators.”

    To review the web page that the Division of Information Technology
has prepared, indicating the associated changes that may affect your computer and software and to ensure that dates and times are set properly, go to:
    http://www.sfsu.edu/~helpdesk/daylightsaving/daylightsaving.htm

    Ringing in 4705

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    Thousands of people looked on as illuminated dragons and radiant, multicolored lions marched the streets of Market to Kearny on March 3rd at San Francisco's Chinese New Year Parade. February 18, 2007 honored the Chinese Lunar New Year 4705. This year celebrates the twelfth zodiac in the Chinese astrology, the Pig.

    SF State student Peter Luong and his dance group, Leung's White Crane Lion and Dragon School makes his final preparations before the annual televised event.

    Top Women Headline Hospitality Job Fair

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    About half of SF State’s hospitality management students turned out Wednesday for eight hours of handshakes, career networking, and a rallying cry from high-ranking professional women to take the hotel industry by storm.

    The keynote panel for the day was titled, “Cracks in the Glass Ceiling,” and featured three women who hold top positions in hotels around the country. About 70 percent of the 400 students enrolled in the hospitality major are female, so department chair Janet Sim said she was excited to show them some successful, ambitious women.

    “When I started attending [hospitality conventions] in the early 90’s, I couldn’t even wear the name tags,” said Sim. “The meetings were all white and all men, and the tags were designed to only fit on their suits.”

    New opportunities are becoming available to women every day, Sim said, with 25 percent of general manager positions in San Francisco now taken by women.

    “People treasure the talent,” said Candice Lam, a hospitality major at SF State. “And the speakers pointed out that so many directions are possible in this industry – service, sales, hi-tech, finance… if you have passion and drive, you can make it, and as women are proving themselves more and more doors keep opening.”

    Many students said they were attending the symposium to network with the 30 major employers who set up tables to meet students and discuss internship opportunities.

    “This entire thing is like speed-dating,” said Ryan Steele, another hospitality major. “There are way more students than industry people, so we all stand in line.”

    “The thing is, I don’t think anybody here got their jobs from career fairs,” Steele said, gesturing to a row of professionals at the tables. “I think what we get here is more of a broadened idea of what avenues we can take when we get out in the real world. There’s no one way to do it.”

    Neighbors Slam Master Plan

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    Community members called for a re-evaluation of the SF State Master Plan Tuesday in Jack Adams Hall, citing future environmental impacts and rapid neighborhood change as a major concern.

    Residents of the Villas at Parkmerced, environmentalists, faculty, staff and two students raised many questions at the 3 p.m. meeting, which were documented but not answered — frustrating some in attendance who were looking for immediate answers.

    According to the review board, they were following the California law in reviewing the environmental impact report (EIR), informing attendees that the meeting was assembled to hear the public’s concerns, which would be presented and considered in the final EIR report.

    James K. Stickley, director of Wallaca Roberts and Todd, Inc. (WRT) San Francisco, a planning and design company involved in the project, said the San Francisco State EIR report is taking further steps to develop the campus through the proposed master plan, into a more “vibrant campus community.”

    The community expressed two major issues with future neighborhood changes: the availability of both housing and parking.

    “This is urban sprawl,” said Aaron Goodman, professional architect and resident of the Villas at Parkmerced. Goodman told the EIR board that some of their ideas need to be re-examined and urged them to look carefully into their plans.

    “There is nothing showing densification on campus,” Goodman said.

    Four faculty members from the Humanities department, including CFA President Linda Ellis, brought up health concerns regarding the proposed construction of a new Clinical Sciences building.

    The faculty was overwhelmingly concerned with the potential for toxic mold growth on the western side of the Humanities building, which has been a problem in the past according to Ellis.

    “This is and OSHA issue,” Ellis said.

    Placing a building in the proposed position would block the afternoon sun, which would only add to the toxic mold growth, she said.

    Through this proposed plan, Stickley said, a new campus design is projected to help the university through the projected enrollment ceiling growth of 25,000 full-time students, allowing more space for classrooms, student housing, and stronger connections to the surrounding city.

    Another sour point for many residents of the Villas at Parkmerced was how under advertised this meeting, regarding the EIR, was to the public. The SF State Master Plan board said that they informed the public through two campus memos on February 26th and March 5th.

    Despite the university’s efforts to inform the community, junior environmental studies major, Cathrina Bjazevich said, “I wouldn’t have known if the teacher hadn’t told me.”

    “New urbanism is something important to have,” Andrew Lesa, a senior environmental studies major said, commending the board on the proposed SF State plan. While the student representation at the meeting was minimal, Lesa said that students are excited to see a change integrated.

    More information about the SF State Master Plan and EIR report is available at sfsumasterplan.org.

    Journalism Center Receives Large Grant

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    The Center for Integration and Improvement of Journalism of the SF State Journalism Department has received a $550,000 grant from the Ford Foundation.

    "The Center for the Integration and Improvement of Journalism plays a vital role in the media by ensuring that the diversity of America is well-represented in news coverage and newsroom staff," Margaret Wilkerson, Ford Foundation director of media, arts and culture, said in a statement released by SF State. "The projects funded with this grant will not only benefit the center and SF State students, but also the journalism industry and media consumers nationwide."

    The funds will be administered over two years and will be used to support the CIIJ’s many programs that, since 1990, have aimed to increase the diversity of the nation’s newsrooms with fair, accurate and journalism representational of the changing demographic of society.

    “There are numerous new things we want to launch based on the” 4 R’s” of research, recruitment, retention and revitalization,” said CIIJ Director Cristina Azocar.

    Azocar coined the term to define the focus of the non-profit organization’s goals for journalism students and educators.

    This is the third consecutive grant of this size from the Ford Foundation. Funds from this year’s grant, the biggest yet, will be used to provide students and educators with workshops and conferences, continue research in the field of diversity and provide the CIIJ with capacity to strategically plan and implement its many programs by providing the hiring of necessary staff.

    Specifically, in the research field is a four-year study of journalism students that will track them in their careers from journalism school into the work field through a documentary and website.

    “Grants like these are so important because they allow for the continued change the CIIJ has to go through because the industry changes so fast,” said Azocar.

    The CIIJ will receive $250,000 in July of this year and $200,000 in August of next year. The remaining $50,000 will be matched by the Ford Foundation.

    In the Fall, the CIIJ will hold its second annual fundraiser, a dinner on campus for around 150 people. Last year’s fundraiser raised $10,000, and they hope to double that this year.

    The first two of the “4 R’s” refer to the CIIJ’s continuation of providing groundbreaking research in the fields of diversity and its recruitment activities designed to attract high school and college students, particularly those of color, to a career in Journalism.

    “Retention” and “revitalization” refer to the development of programs to provide students with career services such as coaching and training programs and the CIIJ’s overall vision of serving as a physical and virtual hub for the Journalism community.

    An example of how the previous year’s money has been put to use is the new Ethnic News Service course, in which students write for ethnic news media in the Bay Area.

    “We continue to show results and continue to serve the population, be innovative and change,” Azocar said. ”In many ways we have students that are producers of news people want to be watching and reading because they are technologically savvy, young, under 34 with diverse backgrounds and a lot of life experience.”

    ASI Controls $3.4 million in Student Fees

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    Related coverage:

  • Unofficial ASI Election Results (March 25)

  • Flag-Stomping Rabble Rousers Found Not Guilty (March 21)

  • Majority of Students Skip ASI Election Ballot Boxes (March 21)

  • ASI Supports Campus Childcare (March 13)

  • ASI a Mystery to Student Body (February 5)

  •  

    Students entrust about $3.4 million of their money each semester in fees for enhanced resources such as childcare, free tampons, condoms and legal information with a single, upcoming vote.

    Associated Students Inc., or ASI, will hold elections from March 19 through March 21 and the candidates who are elected will, among other duties, hold the responsibility of dispersing funds to seven ASI-sponsored programs.

    Funding for ASI comes from a $42 per semester allocation of student fees. According to an advertisement in The Golden Gate [X]press from ASI, the seven programs are expected to consume about 52 percent of the nearly $3.4 million ASI budget in the 2007-08 school year, with the remainder going to the ASI Board of Directors, the ASI business office, allowances for clubs and reserves. Each ASI program receives a fixed budget and must re-apply every year.

    The Early Child Education Center, which provides childcare to students, faculty and staff receives the most funding from ASI. Last year they received $1,350,109 from ASI and other funding from parent fees and other sources. The program is expected to receive $1,351,097 in funding from ASI for the 2007-08 school year.

    The second most highly funded ASI program is the Associated Students Performing Arts and Lectures, or ASPA, its budget constitutes about 6 percent of the ASI budget. The program provides students with opportunities to view plays, films and lectures in a localized and comfortable environment. In the 2005-06 school year, the program received $295,035, but the proposed budget for 2006-07 and the prospected budget for 2007-08 are both set at $207,769.

    “We've been severely cut,” said ASPA Director Muata Kenyatta, referring to the program's budget. “We lost one professional staff member and three student staff members.”

    The ASPA cuts allowed, in part, the formation of the third most highly funded ASI program, Project Connect. The program is responsible for the recruitment and retention of students and provides student resources. The three-semester-old program initially received $50,000 from other budget cuts and has since been granted a budget of $72,418 in the 2006-07 school year.

    Office coordinator Parth Patel said the program let students know what is available to them as well as to reach out to the community and promote higher education. The program also recently initiated outreach to elementary students in lower-income environments.

    “We do a lot of fliering,” said the 21-year-old biochemistry senior. He also explained that recent events like “Super Sunday,” during which SF State President Robert Corrigan addressed local African -American churches, are designed to increase awareness in the community.

    Another ASI program, Project Rebound, focuses on providing educational opportunities to those who need it. With $71,000, the fourth largest budget, the organization encourages education to incarcerated individuals.

    “It's run by multiple people who have been incarcerated,” said Manuel LaFontaine, a 28-year-old psychology junior and Project Rebound employee. “I go to juvenile hall and other correction facilities.”

    The remaining three programs, Educational Referral Organization on Sexuality, or EROS, the Women's Center and the Legal Resource Center all have budgets around $20,000.

    Matt Woods, the assistant director of EROS, a program that provides information on sex as well as free condoms, lubrication, books and brochures, explained that students seem unaware of the services that are provided to them.

    “They're pretty oblivious to the whole thing,” said the speech and communications master's student. “But people should know what's available, especially since it's their money.”

    The Women's Center is an education, resource and referral center for women. Emmy Highsmith, a Women's Center employee, said the center serves as a safe place for women to gather and also provides concrete services.

    “We supply free pads and tampons, access to our library and basic resources and pamphlets,” said the 22-year-old American studies junior.

    The Legal Resource Center provides information about where to go when in legal trouble. The program does not provide legal advice but does offer confidential counseling, information and other resources. For $10, students can also receive attorney consultations.

    ASI elections are coming up, so for more information about ASI organizations and the services they offer, go to http://www.asisfsu.org/ and look under ASI programs or ask about their locations in the Cesar Chavez Student Center.

    Crossing Guards Added to 19th and Holloway

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    Since Thursday, students crossing the nearly unavoidable intersection of 19th Ave. and Holloway may have noticed the addition of two crossing guards in bright yellow vests, holding stop signs and conducting the flow of traffic on the busy highway.

    Only the traffic lights and the crosswalks have previously maintained the delicate balance between pedestrians and drivers, but the combination of the outpouring of students from the MUNI, the fast multi-laned highway traffic and the 4-way intersection, is a dangerous combination that has had fatal consequences in the past. The crossing guards are part of an attempt to increase safety.

    One of the guards is Herbert Cotaya, who works as a crossing guard for All City Management Services (ACMS). Cotaya and co-worker Angel Velasquez will be familiar faces, as from now on they will be directing traffic Monday through Friday from 8:45 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.

    Cotaya said they encountered a few difficulties their first few days at the 19th Ave. location, as some drivers did not seem to respect the guards or the signals, and wanted to run red lights. One driver even hurled angry words out the window at him. Cotaya speaks mostly Spanish, so he was unsure of the exact words, but he brushed them off.

    As people become accustomed to them, Cotoya said he believes there will be more respect, adding that the overall response he has gotten from students and pedestrians has been positive, “Many people have stopped to say thank you, good job, glad you are here,” he said.

    ACMS is a client of the SFPD, according to Miguel Tellez, the Assistant Operations Manager of the private company. ACMS which contracts crossing guards to school districts andor police departments that request their services to help improve safety at places like 19th and Holloway, where accidents have occurred and students have been struck and killed in the past.

    “That’s a dangerous intersection, the traffic is pretty heavy, and it’s a danger to pedestrians. With the crossing guards it should be somewhat safer, because a lot of the cars don’t stop when pedestrians try and cross the road. Its not 100 percent but they are another presence besides the lights, and that’s what were shooting for, safety. We just hope motorists obey the crossing guards, because a lot of the time drivers are unpredictable,” said Tellez.

    This was echoed by other students who were glad to know the guards would be a regular addition to the crosswalk. “I think it’s a good thing, cars really zip around the intersection,” said Lana Lee, a graduate student in the Rehabilitation Counseling Department, “Any additional things you can do to protect the student are a great idea.”

    Others barely noticed the presence of the guards, or thought they had always been there, but SF State junior, Hattie Dague finds an extra advantage to the new crossing guards—“I like it because there’s someone to say hello to as soon as I get to school,” Dague said.

    Activists Protest Immigration Raids

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    A week of San Francisco immigration protests culminated Friday when a crowd of protestors marched outside the Federal Building and shouted their support to 17 demonstrators who were being arrested outside House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office.

    Local activists had been protesting since Monday against recent raids being performed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials as part of Operation Return to Sender, launched last June. New immigration legislation is expected to go before Congress next week, prompting the protests’ timing.

    About 200 people met outside the Mission & 16th Street BART station and started marching to the Federal Building around noon on Friday. Many wore green bandanas around their heads or arms to symbolize the financial contribution immigration workers make to the country.

    “Many immigrants came here as refugees, from countries where they feared the police,” said Jose Carlos, who marched with a megaphone in hand. “And now they’re being terrorized by police here,” he said.

    The protestors marched up Mission St and then Van Ness St, with a few pushing churro carts around the crowd. A pair of three year old boys walked with their mother up front, carrying signs that read, “I’m an economic refugee thanks to U.S. foreign policy.”

    When the crowd reached the Federal Building, they ran into a smaller group of about 15 men protesting U.S. support of Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. They let the smaller group speak for a few minutes, cheered, and then began shouting, “Si, se puede!” which means, “Yes, we can,” in Spanish.

    Meanwhile, 17 of the protest's organizers met with Pelosi's district director, Dan Bernal, and laid out three demands: that Pelosi take active leadership to put a stop to the ICE raids, push immigration reform through Congress, and demand that federal agents respect San Francisco's sanctuary law and stay out of the city.

    "They said they would look into it," said Renee Saucedo of La Raza Centro Legal, Inc., who attended the meeting. "So we all stood outside the office and chanted for about five minutes, and then we got arrested." She was given a citation for federal trespass and released shortly thereafter.

    Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said that the call for arrest had not come from Pelosi's office, and that other tenants share that floor. He said the speaker is concerned about the details of the ICE raids, and supports comprehensive immigration reform.

    The activists allege a variety of ICE abuses.

    "Kids are scared to go to school because they don't know if their parents will still be around when they get out," said Diana Wu of the National Network for Immigrant & Refugee Rights.

    She spoke of reports that ICE officials have gone into apartment buildings with a warrant for a single address, but checked every resident of those buildings. She also said there are reports of people walking home from work and being arrested without warrants.

    ICE spokeswoman Lori Haley said the arrests are not “raids,” and are targeted specifically to individuals who have been convicted in immigration court and ordered to leave the country. While in an apartment making an arrest, she said, an official may question other residents in that apartment, and that establishing legal residence can be done simply in conversation with the officers.

    Operation Return to Sender has resulted in over 18,000 arrests nationwide since last June. Between October and January, over 800 people were arrested in the San Francisco area, about 500 of whom were actual immigration fugitives, Haley said.

    ICE was created in 2003 by the Department of Homeland Security “to more effectively enforce our immigration and customs laws and to protect the United States against terrorist attacks. ICE does this by targeting illegal immigrants: the people, money and materials that support terrorism and other criminal activities,” according to the agency’s website.

    San Francisco has a number of protections in place for immigrants, known as the city’s “sanctuary law,” under which city funds may not be used to enforce federal immigration law.

    The San Francisco Police Department issued a press release February 13, reaffirming that “Members of the San Francisco Police Department do not enforce immigration laws and do not assist any other agency in enforcing immigration laws,” and that members of the SFPD may not stop or question individuals on the basis of their actual or perceived immigration status.

    “These raids jeopardize the public health and safety of the city by instilling fear in those who may come forward to report information about a crime or those who are in need of medical treatment,” Mayor Gavin Newsom said in a recent statement.

    Wu said that the legislation reform the protestors demand includes an end to militarization at U.S. borders, action to work through the backlog of immigration applicants, and no new guest worker programs.

    “Liberals have been pushing the guest worker plan as a ‘path to citizenship,’ but really those plans are just allowing people to work under extremely vulnerable circumstances,” said Michael Lyon, a member of San Francisco’s Gray Panthers. “Under these programs, workers can’t strike. If they try to organize, they can be deported. So [those plans are] no better than what we have now.”

    Gays Seek Equality through Tourism, Professor Says

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    “The color of diversity is green,” said professor Nan Alamilla Boyd when she spoke to SF State’s Women’s Department. Boyd’s speech, titled “. . . the Economic Implications of the Gay Marriage Movement,” argued that gay tourism can be closely linked with a city’s attitude toward gay civil rights.

    Most cities, Boyd said, advertise directly to the gay market, including Fort Lauderdale, Milwaukee, Boston, and Philadelphia (which featured an ad of Ben Franklin flying a rainbow colored kite).

    “Civil rights evolved through commercialism,” Boyd said. “Marketability demonstrates the viability of a political constituency. The contemporary gay and lesbian movement led to the production of a knowable consumer, and voter, with civil rights protection.”

    Boyd said that Canada’s recognition of gay marriage in 1999 attracted gay tourists, and their millions of dollars. Marriage, according to Boyd, is also worth a lot of money. Boyd quoted a Forbes magazine article, saying that gay marriage is potentially a 16.8 billion dollar a year industry.

    “The contemporary gay movement has huge monetary implications,” Boyd said. Money and ideologies can butt heads for only so long. Everything seems to be tolerated for the right price.

    “Contradictions coexist,” Boyd said.

    Even in a city like Rome, where homosexuality is somewhat frowned upon by the Catholic Church, gay tourists are catered to, simply because of their enormous spending abilities. “This creates a new kind of citizen,” Boyd said. “What does [the contradiction] mean for their sexual identity.”

    The history of gay tourism dates back to vaudeville Boyd said, where actors would perform in drag (often bearing their chests to emphasize the point). San Francisco’s nightclubs in the early 20th Century also featured drag acts, because, Boyd said, club owners realized it drew tourists.

    “It’s Dangerous,” Boyd said, “to think that market place activity equals civil rights. But production of a niche market has political power . . . that could go either way.

    Educator Discusses Chicana Movement

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    Dionne Espinoza gave a lecture about Chicana Studies on Friday in the Women Studies Department that doubled as an interview for a potential position on the faculty.

    Espinoza gave a power point presentation covering vast topics such as Chicana Movements, Feminism Movements and the gender roles during those movements.

    These slide shows encompassed much of what she would be teaching in the classroom here at State, according to Espinoza.

    “My favorite part of these studies is getting to uncovering these rich social histories and social changes,” said Espinoza.

    While the presentation was open to any student who wanted to come, the small room only accommodated a few and even fewer attended. A handful of students and a Hiring Committee from the department comprised the people in attendance for the presentation.

    Espinoza is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chicano Studies and Director of the Center for the Study of Genders and Sexualities at the California State University, Los Angeles. Her research and teaching focuses on Chicana/Latina activism, cultural studies, and comparative of women of color in a national and global context.

    The Hiring Committee declined comment on Espinoza or the presentation.

    One of the students who attended did so for a class assignment but found the presentation interesting and informational, she said.

    “It’s pretty much what I expected though,” said Kristen Credit, 20 and a junior at SF State. “It was somewhere between a student presentation and a teacher’s power point lecture.”

    The Liberal Studies major also felt that it’s important for students to have a say in who becomes part of the faculty.

    “It’s always better when students have a say but how much do we really have even now?” said Credit.”

    The Committee encourages student attendance to increase feedback on the potential candidate. Following the presentation all the students in attendance were handed a “response to presentation by prospective faculty” form to fill out and return. This input plays “an important role in the final hiring decision,” according to survey.

    Espinoza’s presentation focused heavily on the Chicana Movement.

    “There’s not as much on the experiences of the women in the movement,” said Espinoza. “I’m interested in the way women come together and where they go with it.”

    That is something that Espinoza expressed much interest in. It also touched upon what has been left out, or not adequately discussed, in accounts of Chicana Feminism.

    Espinoza received her B.A. in English Languages and Literature from UC Berkeley and her Ph.D. in English from Cornell University. She has taught at several UC’s and is currently teaching at CSULA.

    Cyclists Push for Bike Amenities

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    When Yussef Milburn rides his bike to SF State, he has to avoid pedestrians, car doors and irate drivers. Once he gets there, he is often admonished for locking his bike to handrails instead of one of the few places on campus where bikes are allowed. It’s no wonder a survey conducted for the school’s Master Plan found that cyclists constitute only 3 percent of campus commuters.

    For those who pedal their way to SF State, there is an overwhelming opinion that there are not enough surrounding bike routes and campus bike facilities for them.

    As a result, some student cyclists are appealing to the administration to provide more amenities for bikes on campus. Along with help from the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, students are trying to encourage bicycle commuting by obtaining more bike racks and by raising bike awareness in general. Milburn, an environmental studies major, and Adam Greenfield, a BECA grad student, are joining forces with Ecologically Concerned Students and the coalition to get more of a bike presence at SF State.

    “I believe cycling is the answer to a lot of different issues, such as environmental problems, fitness, and just being able to enjoy our city,” said Greenfield, 26. “We can’t force people to cycle, but the presence of more racks and bike services will be the biggest way to get people to think about riding a bike.”

    Currently, the Bike Barn, located behind the gym, is the only secure bicycle facility on campus and many bikers agree it is an inconvenient location. As for racks, there are only a few at SF State, which are near the Fine Arts building.

    “I’ve used the Bike Barn about once in three years of biking to State,” said Mary Brown, a grad student in geography. “It’s great for people who have classes near there, but totally pointless if you don’t. I’m not going to ride past the building where my class is, park my bike and then walk back up.”

    Brown, who also takes some classes at UC Berkeley, said SF State could use some lessons in creating a bicycle-friendly campus from its neighbor across the bay.

    “It’s like night and day, between the two campuses,” she said. “Outside of all the main buildings at Berkeley they have rows and rows of bike racks. Bikes are actually allowed and encouraged, and there’s no reason why we couldn’t have that at State.”

    The university has acknowledged the need for more bicycle facilities — at least on paper.

    According to the Master Plan, biking has a much brighter future at the school. The plan calls for strategies that will discourage single-occupancy automobile trips and proposes campus-wide improvements that will encourage commuters to travel by bike.

    Planned projects include more bike racks located near various buildings, multiple bike lockers throughout campus and a new bike station, which will replace the Bike Barn and will potentially offer retail and rental services for people on campus as well as for the surrounding community.

    To improve the commute for riders coming from the north, the plan proposes building a bridge for pedestrians and bicycles from Stonestown Galleria to campus. Paths dedicated solely to bikes and separated from cars and pedestrians are also in the works.

    According to Rachel Kraai, projects manager for the SF Bike Coalition, the plan is promising and ambitious, but the main concern of cycling advocates is whether or not those projects will actually be executed.

    “In general, the Master Plan is outlining a very positive outlook for bicycles,” Kraai said. “But many of these projects are very long term, and often things like that don’t come to fruition.”

    Brown, the coalition’s bicycle network director for seven years, agreed with Kraai that promises on paper don’t necessarily mean anything until they’re actually carried out.

    “The thing is that part of plans like this is that you don’t have to do any of it,” Brown said. “You can create this beautiful document, but no one’s forcing you to do it. There needs to be some kind of strategy.”

    The student cyclists see things the same way. That’s why they’re campaigning to inform the rest of the student population about biking and getting petitions signed to make some quick and easy changes on campus.

    Greenfield and Milburn will be out in the quad with ECO Students March 8, with a petition and survey about where bike racks should be located.

    “The long-range plans are good, but there are plenty of quick fixes that can be done now,” said Greenfield. “We need to hold the university accountable for what they’ve promised, and I think if we rally student support, that will drive the point home. We can use the power we’ve got to make sure these projects don’t fall by the wayside.”

    Milburn said that those quick fixes, like more racks, will relieve tension between cyclists and people on campus with disabilities, who don’t appreciate bikes that are locked to handrails.

    “It seems like there’s a conflict between two groups that don’t necessarily want to be in conflict,” he said. “Cyclists don’t want to lock our bikes to handrails, but we don’t have any other options.”

    Costs to the university for implementing more bike racks would be minimal –– certainly less than building a new parking garage, Kraai said.

    The Palmer Group, a company that sells bike racks, and that the coalition often refers buyers to, has a complete list of their prices on their Web site, www.bikeparking.com. A rack that would hold 17 bikes would set SF State back about $750, a cost that could be allayed by funding from various regional sources, according to Kraai. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District, for instance, often has funds allocated for bike parking.

    Greenfield believes that an increase in bicycle awareness will be beneficial for the entire SF State community, as well as its neighbors. He has been active in bicycle campaigns in other places, with promising results, even starting a critical mass movement in his home of Guernsey, a small island in the English Channel. More bikes lead to fewer cars, less congestion, cleaner air and a happier population, he said.

    “We really need to get off the sofa and do something,” he said. “I care about this a lot. Everywhere needs more cyclists, and there’s no time like the present to get involved.”

    Dow Jones Foundation Drops Racial Requirement

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    Journalism minority students took a hit last month when a summer program changed its requirements, allowing people of all ethnicities to apply.

    The Dow Jones News Foundation, a nonprofit organization, has agreed to drop its racial requirements for its summer high school journalism programs following a lawsuit that took place last month.

    The Dow Jones Foundation sponsors SF State's summer high school workshop, but will have no effect on its program.

    The change was spurred from an incident in the spring of 2006 when Emily Smith, 15, a Caucasian girl who has muscular dystrophy, was denied entrance into the Urban Journalism Program at Virginia Commonwealth University on the basis of her race.

    The Center for Individual Rights, who represented Smith, announced the settlement with Dow Jones and co-sponsors VCU and Media General Corporation on Feb. 14.

    "Virginia Commonwealth University deserves credit for taking the lead in promptly settling this case. Today's settlement saves the taxpayers significant legal expense and ensures that this summer's programs will be open to all, regardless of race," said Terence Pell, president of CIR.

    The program at VCU, along with the program at SF State, is one of many summer high school journalism programs that is sponsored by Dow Jones News Foundation, a nonprofit foundation affiliated with the Dow Jones Inc.

    Dow Jones agreed in the court settlement, after a complaint was filed last fall.

    "There will be no preferential treatment for, or discrimination against, any applicant on the basis of race or ethnicity this year or in the future,” Dow Jones stated.

    The Bay Area Media Academy, SF State’s high school summer program, is run by the Center Integration and Improvement of Journalism and is in its 17th year.

    Christina Azocar, adjunct assistant professor and director of the CIIJ, said the high school journalism program sponsored at SF State has never had a race requirement.

    “We realize that one of the goals of parity is you have to have a white population that also understands what it’s like to work in a ethnically diverse environment and also to be a champion of diversity,” said Azocar.

    The CIIJ was founded at SF State in 1990 and develops programs and conducts research to recruit and retain journalists and journalism educators.

    SF State philosophy professor Anita Silvers said that because Smith has muscular dystrophy, the Dow Jones Foundation settled.

    “This fact could block the defendants defending on the basis that the program served a crucial national interest by diversifying news rooms and thereby increasing the access of previously excluded groups to fair representation in the press. That's because there is much less representation of people with disabilities in newsrooms than of any other minority,” said Silvers.

    Silvers writes about civil rights and about ways of rectifying past discrimination, and has authored books such as “Disability, Difference, Discrimination: Perspectives on Justice in Bioethics and Public Policy.”

    “It would be especially difficult to defend if any of the advertising for the program used the expression ‘minority’ students, as the Congress has recognized people with disabilities as meeting the criteria for a group that is an oppressed minority,” said Silvers.

    Silvers said that the Dow Jones Foundation had a chance to fight but gave a huge concession, agreeing to alter its program nationwide when it could have just changed selection criteria.

    “Dow Jones also agreed to cease funding workshops unless race-neutral criteria were used for selection. But the lawsuit was based on the failure of the selection process to use narrowly tailored affirmative criteria –– so if the case had gone to trial, a strong defense by Dow Jones might have ended with permission to use race as one consideration, although not a decisive necessary condition,” said Silvers.

    Although the settlement has no effect on SF State’s program, Azocar says the industry is now affected.

    “Eventually if we get rid of all these programs that are supposed to help the under-represented we’re going to go back to how it was without any kind of affirmative action programs or any kind of programs, like this summer program are going to go towards the privileged because we know that it’s much easier to get a well-off white kid or a well-off black kid, or a well-off Asian kid, to apply for these programs than it is to get a poor kid. It’s also harder to get people of color to apply than it is white people, that’s just how it is,” said Azocar.

    Kinesiology junior Dot Fullwood says it will be good to have the minority requirement dropped.

    "We get caught up in these minority-related issues, instead of focusing in on putting forth our best effort and actually claiming what's ours," said Fullwood, 30, originally from Virginia.

    Azocar is also on the board of the Native American Journalists Association, which runs a summer program called Project Phoenix for Native American youth. Funding for Project Phoenix comes from various sources including the Dow Jones Foundation.

    “We have 235 Native Americans working in mainstream media.” Azocar said. “What is it going to hurt to throw $4,500 for a summer program to help more Native American kids get into journalism, really who is that really hurting in the end?”

    Infrequently Frequented Venue Avoids Closure

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    Despite woes of a planned closure, The Depot will survive this semester.

    According to Alison Victor, The Depot manager and events coordinator, the entertainment venue was going to be closed and used as storage space for the construction of a new soul food restaurant that will be between The Pub and The Depot.

    But last week, Guy Dalpe, the managing director at Cesar Chavez Student Center informed Victor that The Depot would remain open this semester because construction slowed down.

    “I’m glad that they decided to keep it open and it is available to use,” said Victor.

    Victor said work on the new restaurant has temporarily stopped because of escalating costs, in particular, the pricey drilling of a new ventilation system for the restaurant’s kitchen.

    “I’m glad that they decided to keep it open and it is available to use,” said Victor.

    Open since 1975 and located in the lower conference level next to The Pub, The Depot is an entertainment venue that provides live bands, movie nights and Monday Night Football events that are funded by students’ fees.

    In the past, The Depot has featured performers like a pre-“Mork and Mindy” Robin Williams, as well as popular indie bands such as The Rapture.

    Many students expressed frustration with the lack of support from students and the Student Center Governing Board (SCGB).

    Broadcast and electronic arts lecturer Alfred Kielwasser said he feels that the lack of student support is crippling The Depot.

    “This is a place to get good free entertainment,” said Kielwasser. “You need a community of support to keep it going.”

    Students who work at The Depot said they’re glad it’s open, but wary of the future.

    “They are still putting the soul food restaurant in and the construction is going to be loud and messy,” said Jennifer Solis, 22, a BECA major who works as technical support at the Student Center. “It’ll make popularity decline because it’s going to be uncomfortable for people.”

    Quality of Education Topic of Town Hall

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    A wide range of SF State faculty discussed broad strategic planning, including an end to JEPET testing and CSU students' ability to compete in a globalized society, at an Academic Senate town hall meeting Tuesday on campus.

    In what was billed as "Access to Excellence," President Robert Corrigan joined other academic executives, CSU Trustees and members of the public to discuss the future of academic programs at SF State and the CSU system around eight different themes.

    “It was all very positive,” Corrigan said after the event. “We all came together to look at what our campus stands for and what we’d like the entire CSU to stand for."

    The themes were social justice, student enrollment, the role of the arts on campus, graduate education, international education, academic literacy and campus autonomy within the CSU system. Attendees were divided into eight small groups to cover the topics, then presented their discussions to the senate, highlighting what they found to be the most important aspects of each.

    While students were encourged to participate, few were in sight. About 50 people attended.

    Presenters had a chance to voice their hopes for the future of planning at SF State during the public comment section.

    Midori McKeon, director of foreign languages and literatures, stressed the importance of high-quality international education in a globalized society.

    “International education is a vital component of baccalaureate and graduate degrees, and it must be an essential part of the strategic plan,” she said. “San Francisco State has a leading center of international education, so it should be a top priority.”

    Audience members also appealed to the senate to consider the importance of literacy and writing skills in students. When the group charged with discussing literacy at the university presented their findings to the senate, they proposed doing away with the JEPET and replacing it with a system that places responsibility for writing proficiency on individual colleges and departments. Under this system, undergraduates would learn to write in their chosen disciplines and graduate students would receive more writing training and other resources.

    Corrigan agreed with this approach.

    “A focus on writing caught on 20 or 30 years ago, but there were no resources to support departments,” he said. “Everything comes around, and the idea of putting the responsibility on the colleges and departments is a good one. We’ve looked at writing for a long time, and would like to see more attention paid to it.”

    Other issues presented included the future of general education requirements, collaboration among Bay Area CSU campuses, a focus on connecting SF State to the community and concerns over changes coming at the expense of faculty members.

    McKeon expressed her anxiety about faculty being acknowledged for their role in the university.

    “They deserve respect and appreciation,” she said. “I hope they receive it.”

    David Meredith, chair of the Academic Senate, who moderated the meeting, summed up the event with his expectations for education.

    “It’s important to get students out of the lecture rooms and away from their computers,” he said. “We need to get them out into experiences of off-campus education so they can really learn what they’re learning.”

    To make comments on CSU strategic planning and for more information: www.calstate.edu/acadaff/system_strategic_planning/

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