May 2007 Archives
After spending spring break in New Orleans last April, SF State student and social justice worker Hattie Dague was alarmed to witness the level of devastation caused by the storm. Like many students who felt compelled to help, Dague took the fall semester off from school to go back to New Orleans to do relief work.
She joins [X]press online to share her experience on the rebuilding of New Orleans, racism, and why everyone should go down there.
According to the Department of Education, the graduation rate in California dropped to a 10 year low, from 71 percent in 2005 to 67 percent in 2006. Some blame the high school exit exam, accusing it of being biased against kids from underprivileged backgrounds. Other feel the students need more motivation to study.
SF State students express their views on the why the drop off occurred, and what can be done to turn it around.
SF State's commencement for the class of 2007 will be held on Sat. May
26 at Cox Stadium starting at 12:00 p.m.
Graduating SF State students share their plans for the future.
The hate crime bill, H.R. 1592, which calls for a person's sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability is seeking to be vetoed by the White House. In addition, the bill, if passed by the House, would extend the prison terms and raise the punishment for crimes if it falls under the category of a hate crime.
SF State students express their concern over the future of the hate crime bill.
A shooting took place at an off-campus apartment building at Fresno State University this morning, leaving one dead and two wounded.
Police announced they captured the suspect, Jonquel Brooks, 19, a Fresno State student from Hayward, who gave himself up to police.
Brooks is suspected of killing Brant Daniels, who is not a student, and wounding Fresno State students Roderick Buycks, 19, and Drew Pfeiff, 22.
“Based on the ongoing information we received from Fresno Police, we felt confident that the campus was not threatened,” said Fresno State President John D. Welty through a press release.
This shooting comes only a few weeks after the Virginia Tech University tragedy. Recently, there have been many similar situations happening at campuses all over the country, including one at City College of San Francisco.
Following the tragedy, SF State President Robert Corrigan sent students an e-mail addressing safety concerns.
“This historically has been a very safe campus and I want you to know that a great many people continue to work together to keep it so. We cannot provide absolute protection against disaster, either natural or man-made, but we can promise you your safety will remain our highest priority,” said Corrigan.
In the e-mail Corrigan also addressed communications concerns during an emergency, such as alarm systems and voice announcement systems, in addition to Web page and e-mail communication. Corrigan also promised that each building on campus would have a safety coordinator trained to assist evacuation during an emergency.
Corrigan also advised those who are feeling anxious or distressed from the Virginia Tech tragedy to seek on-campus counseling. He also advised those that feel like they may be a threat to others, or know someone who may be, to seek help as well.
Ashley Williams, 21, of Los Angeles said she thought Corrigan’s e-mail about campus safety was late.
“The only times I’ve encountered or seen campus security is when something goes wrong,” said Williams, a child adolescent development major.
“I choose to walk on the open parts of campus,” said Williams about being safe on school grounds.
Chris Fernandez, 22, of San Francisco, said he feels safety is underrated on campus and said he wishes there was more than just an e-mail concerning safety.
“I don’t think this place puts enough emphasis on safety,” said Fernandez, an engineering junior.
Fernandez also said that students don’t pay attention to e-mails and may not click on it.
“It’s just an e-mail, it’s not important,” said Fernandez.
Melissa Ledesma, 24, of Hayward said she used to take classes at night and was scared that someone would attack her while she was going to the restroom. Ledesma also feels OK about safety on campus.
“You know every once in a while you see a weird person and you wonder what they can do, are they planning something? Are they going to this school?” said Ledesma, a senior in criminal justice studies.
Members of the California Faculty Association voted overwhelmingly to accept a tentative contract agreement with the California State University system, the CFA announced Monday.
The contract was approved after three days of voting last week by union members on all 23 CSU campuses, with 97 percent of CFA members supporting it.
"Through intense negotiations, faculty activism and finally strike preparations, the CSU faculty have won a contract that provides fair salaries, retirement security, proper grievance procedures and much more," outgoing CFA President John Travis said in a written statement on Monday.
The CSU Board of Trustees must vote to ratify the agreement before the new contract goes into effect.
The decision will come at the May 15th regular Board meeting but CSU Chancellor Charles Reed's April 3 statement called it, "one step closer (to giving faculty members) their deserved salary increases."
Reed went on to talk about the increases the CSU fears will have an impact on schools, saying they will work with the state legislature "to secure additional funding to minimize campus impacts."
George Diehr, a union official who has been on the bargaining team for eight years, said he fears the CSU is preparing for a public relations battle and plans to blame teachers for budget shortfalls and is hiring an independent firm to look into the numbers.
"The administration is now making what I think are exaggerated or bogus claims," Diehr said. "They are trying to raise specters that they will have to shift funds, maybe cut classes. I think it's unfortunate that they negotiated something and now they are starting to whine again."
Gov. Arnold Schwarzennegger may yet decide to cover the additional $40 million the CSU said the 2007/08 budget will need for salary increases.
If he doesn't, cuts will have to come from "already strained campus budgets," CSU spokesperson Paul Browning said.
CFA President-Elect Lillian Taiz said in a statement that she hoped the new contract would be "the first step" toward improving conditions for CSU faculty members.
"We still must work to build the power and influence of the faculty for even greater improvements in working and learning conditions throughout the CSU," Taiz said.
Many faculty and union members are pleased with the new contract.
"The contract reflected a lot of the hard work and gave the instructors what they deserved," English lecturer Kati Kilpatrick said,
Sue Pak, a staffmember of the local CFA chapter called it, "one of the best contracts in Higher Education labor," but added that it was the strike campaign pressure that forced the CSU to agree it.
The length of the contract is four years but the extended negotiations have cut into its duration. The contract will expire July 2010.
By then, the faculty salary gap with comparable university system will have closed by half -- this contract's chief victory for the union -- and new issues will have to be tackled, Diehr said.
"I would hope that we would be able to move on, not have to fight some of these old battles," Diehr said. "What we still need to do in the next contract is work on our overall salary system which is still in shambles."
An underground cable problem resulted in a blackout that affected the entire SF State campus late Monday afternoon.
The power outage, which took place around 3:30 p.m. on the hottest day of the year so far, left classrooms dark and stranded at least three elevator riders for almost two hours before firefighters could free them.
According to Pacific Gas and Electric spokesperson Melissa Mooney, the cause of the outage was an "underground termination failure". An "elbow" device connecting underground power cables malfunctioned, resulting in the power failure.
The outage affected other parts of San Francisco and Daly City, though traffic signals continued to operate and the Stonestown Galleria mall near SF State was not affected.
Power was restored to the campus around 4:50 p.m. By 5:25 p.m., power to the rest of the area was completely restored, said Mooney.
Two SF State faculty members and a student were travelling up an elevator in the Humanities building when the power went out, stopping the elevator between the second and third floors.
A San Francisco Fire Department crew was dispatched to the scene to free the three passengers. However, the firefighters had problems prying the third floor elevator door open. After about an hour, they broke down the door and worked to move the elevator down to the second floor.
Once the car moved down, firefighters and elevator techs worked to loosen the second floor door. At approximately 5:15 p.m., the door opened.
English lecturer Patty Baldwin, Volker Langbehn, associate professor of Foreign Languages and Literature, and an unidentified female student were freed from the stalled elevator. The three were not injured, and quickly left the scene .
Besides the Humanities building, there were no other known instances of stranded elevator passengers in any of the buildings at SF State. According to staff members for the Dean of the College of Humanities, people were designated to go around and knock on all elevator doors to see if there were any persons trapped inside.
All buildings were shut down, but running on backup power to provide some light to hallways, said Thomas Guynes, Information Technology Consultant in the College of Humanities.
The blackout came at an inopportune time for some students.
“I was so surprised when the power went out,” said senior international business major Uyen Thai, 24, who was in the middle of an online test. “So many strange things have happened today.”
“I was in dance class, in the middle of a back flip when the lights went out,” said freshman international relations major Matt McEwan, 19. “It was so scary, I had to adjust and luckily landed on my feet.”
“It was nice not having to worry about things. You don’t notice how noisy and distracting technology is until you lose it,” said McEwan.
Café Rosso’s power went out, but they continued business, serving warm and room-temperature food-items and beverages.
Janitors in humanities and gym buildings stopped what they were doing, leaving their supplies in the corridors.
A few students were not affected by the blackout.
A group of students who were practicing for a skit for their Japanese Way of Living class asked what had happened. Told about the outage, they replied, “pssh…big deal!”
Additional reporting by Sheri Broussard, Courtney Nicole Durso, and Monica Olivera
Free food, live music, condoms and vibrators helped kick off the summer at SF State.
About 100 students, faculty, and guests gathered at Malcolm X Plaza Monday afternoon to observe the "Summer Kick-Off," an annual event aimed towards educating students on safe sex and substance abuse.
The 4-hour event was sponsored by the university's Prevention Education Program, boasting free information tables and a variety of activities from the Educational & Referral Organization for Sexuality (EROS), Creating Empowerment through Alcohol and Substance Abuse Education (CEASE) the Sexual Abuse Free Environment (SAFE) Place, and the AIDS Coordinating Committee (ACC).
"It's all about distributing information on how to have a good, fun—but safe—summer," said Bita Shooshani, coordinator for the Prevention Education Program.
For the past three years, the student-run organizations have banded together, in what Shooshani calls "connected efforts," to construct pre-summer awareness about sex, alcohol, drugs, and other pertinent, student-related activities.
“It’s tough being a college student, especially without knowing what kinds of resources are available,” said Shooshani. “It’s important that we bring that awareness."
The event started out slow, with many unaware of the purpose behind the event. But as soon as the hot dogs hit the grill, inquiring bodies came forward.
Students and guests alike lined up for a series of activities in hopes to receive free hot dogs, grilled chicken, potato salad, and coleslaw, donated by Nob Hill's Le Beau deli.
"There's so much food! Come get some!" said EROS intern and event organizer Alexis Levine, 22, who helped serve the food.
Some of the activities included a "touchy feely" game, where people were able to feel the difference between various types of condoms, and a small obstacle course, where participants were asked to wear “beer goggles" to simulate impaired vision during a highly intoxicated state.
"It's so blurry. It really feels like I'm seeing double," said junior art major Chris Oropeza, 23.
Amidst the crowd, local middle school students engaged in the activities and watched in awe, drinking capri-suns, eating hot dogs, and speaking with organization leaders like EROS director and senior Human Sexualities major Erica Model, 22.
"Don't carry a condom in your pocket or it might get a hole in it," said Model to a group of eighth graders. "And make sure you don't use your teeth to open it!"
"It must be pretty cool to be in college," said 14-year-old Cesar Alvarez in response to his experience.
While the eight-graders gathered under the shade, musician Magdalen Hsu-Li, delivered live music as an ambient backdrop, combining piano and drums to perform daring songs, including one entitled “Fuck Bush.”
Towards the end of the event, raffle winners received Playstation video games, restaurant gift certificates, vibrators, or other fun "sex stuff."
In addition to the raffle and other activities, tables were set up displaying information regarding safe sex, substance abuse, drug prevention, rape crisis, and other resources that are available to students.
"Any type of education is good—especially sex education," said senior liberal studies major Chris Kazaleh, 23.
Advanced peer counselor and senior psychology major Christine Randolph, 22, was stationed at the CEASE table, ready to distribute information about the university’s new, counseling service on campus.
Through trainings received in counseling courses 605, 606, and 607, undergraduates like Randolph have been certified and trained to provide student's advising and referrals to resources on campus.
"We aren’t professionals with PhD’s, but have practice and training and want to help and listen to your problems. We can identify with students' needs because we go through similar issues," said Randolph.
"If you need someone to listen, we are here for you," she said.
For those interested in becoming peer counselors please contact 415-338-1203.
For professional assistance, students can make appointments by calling 415-338-2208 or visiting the The Counseling and Psychological Services offices, located in the Student Services Building, Room 208.
There’s no doubt about it, the oceans’ fragile ecosystems are in jeopardy. Over-fishing and pollution leave some scientists fearful that the myriad aquatic life abound in the seven seas will soon be nothing but seaweed and jellyfish.
When the California Fish and Game Commission voted on April 13 to expand 200 square miles of marine reserves along California’s central coastline, it set a precedent for the rest of the country.
The unanimous decision signified the first statewide effort in the nation to attempt the preservation of such an expansive region. The 29 scattered reserves set to be incorporated into marine protected areas span from Santa Barbara County to Half Moon Bay. The plans aim to replenish waning fish populations and restore the upset of ecosystems caused by over-fishing.
While the initiatives will not tackle the detrimental impact of pollution and ocean acidification, some say that imposing fishing restrictions and bans is a step in the right direction.
Professor Sarah Cohen, who teaches classes on molecular conservation and marine ecology at SF State’s Tiburon campus, said that regardless of pollution, if over-fishing continues there will not be much left to catch.
“As the population decreases the fishermen actually try harder and put more effort into getting the fish,” she said. “If they’re putting more effort and getting fewer fish, then you know there’s really fewer fish.”
But the fact that the plans do not attack the injurious issues on all fronts leaves people in the fishing industry feeling cause for concern.
“If we are going to protect our oceans, we can’t ignore everything else,” said Zeke Grader, executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fisherman’s Associations. “I’m a little bit afraid that some conservation groups are looking for easy answers. [The plan] isn’t any good unless we address the other issues.”
Additionally, the plans may have repercussions for the fishermen whose livelihood depends on the catch-of-the-day.
“For some fisheries the impact will be negligible,” said Grader. “But for others it can be the whole of their fisheries.”
According to Ocean Conservancy, the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA), passed in 1999, served as the impetus for the recent move toward expansion. Shortly after the introduction of the MLPA, its plans to implement marine reserves along California’s entire coast were put on hold because of budget and staff deficiencies. The goal was not revived until 2004.
The current plans for the new reserves include an absolute fishing ban in 8 percent of the protected waters. Limited commercial and recreational fishing will be permitted in the remaining portion of the preserves. The specific rules will vary at each reserve site.
The restrictions, which will include bottom-trawling fishing, are set to go into effect in August.
“I think that the Fish and Game Commission made this decision because it was the necessary one to make,” said SF State professor Jonathon Stillman, who teaches animal physiology. “Scientific research has shown that we have declining coastal marine populations and that marine reserves have been effective in reversing those declines in other parts of the world.”