September 2007 Archives

Journalism vets forecast changes in media conditions

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Pessimism around the current state of media affairs, mixed with hope and excitement about the future of journalism on the Web permeated the atmosphere at the Commonwealth Club of California last Thursday evening.

A panel of distinguished print and broadcast journalism professionals spoke with an audience of students, other journalists and concerned citizens at the club's State of Journalism meeting in San Francisco.

Major points of discussion include losses caused by the Internet and lackluster coverage in today's traditional news organizations leading to a loss of credibility.

"Journalists, in a sense, are being eliminated," said Robert Rosenthal, a former managing editor of the San Francisco Chronicle.

"In the Bay Area, there are probably 400 or 500 fewer journalists right now than there were five or six years ago," said Rosenthal , who estimates a total 1000 to 1200 journalists being in the area at the start of the 2000s.

Concerned with the trend of increased amount of entertainment programming on television news, former KTVU Channel 2 anchor Leslie Griffith spoke about the problems in the television news industry.

She cited the lack of resources allocated for investigative reporting by traditional news outlets, including her former employer, as one of the fundamental problems with television news.

“We were not hiring investigative reporters or doing more investigative reports,” said Griffith, who left KTVU in 2006. “We were hiring more and more entertainment reporters, which is the trend nationwide.”

Steven Wright, vice president and editorial page editor for the San Jose Mercury News, said that as a result of losing ad money to internet advertisers the paper was forced to reduce its staff.

“It’s advertising that pays for the journalists, that is then being shifted and is migrating, in huge amounts, onto the internet,” Wright said. “Newspapers are struggling with how do deal with that, especially the impact on revenue that has been taken away from our pages.”

The majority of Internet dollars are being made by Google, Microsoft and companies other than those who gather and report news.

“In 1998 and 1999 our classified advertising… was about a 120 million dollar business for the Mercury News,” Wright said. “This past couple of years it’s been about a 14 million dollar business.”

This revenue loss resulted in the paper’s staff going from 400 in 2000 to 200 today, according to Wright.

Despite the problems the Internet has caused for news organizations, all of the panelists expressed hope in the great potential of using it as a news medium.

“I think it’s a great time to be in the media,” said Kevin Keeshan, news director at KGO television. “I love the fact that the Internet is here. It’s a great tool and I think it’s something that we could use a lot more effectively in the future.”

“It’s not like we’re going away tomorrow, but we need to figure out how to make our internet sites also profitable…It’s going to take a while for our internet revenue to…catch up and help protect our core product, the newspaper,” Wright said.

Keeshan said that while the format for news was changing, the need for professionally created news content was not diminishing.

“It’s a distribution platform for people who don’t watch TV,” he said. “People don’t watch TV but they do consume news and I still think that the journalist, as authenticator and learned authority who investigates…and verifies facts, is still the gold standard. It’s not going to be replaced by the masses…by viewer posts on blogs.”

Rosenthal addressed the concern that even though major online news aggregators attract large readership, there is a danger that as news companies keep loosing money and cutting staff, the amount and quality of online news content may suffer.

“People think Google is news, Yahoo is news. Well, they’re not,” Rosenthal said. “They get their information for the most part from newspapers still. And the people who own and run those places at some point are going to have to figure out what’s their content going to be.”

William Drumond, a professor at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, moderated the panel.

Drumond’s advice to journalism students or others who are considering journalism, as a future career was to "think about law school." But other panelists were not as pessimistic.

"There's a tremendous future in being a journalist," Rosenthal said. "We're in a revolution...It's totally unprecedented and we have no idea what it's going to do to us. Content will rule. The internet is all about words and pictures and communication; and that's what journalists do."

To stay afloat in the environment of rapidly changing technological means to deliver news to consumers, aspiring journalists will have to gain many skills which were not traditionally taught in journalism schools.

"Now, we’re training people to be web producers and teaching them multimedia skills…The downside to this is that it’s hard to get paid. Very rarely do people get jobs anymore. What they get are internships...that lead on to other things."

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Allie Schratz contributed to this story

Bay Area students rally around embattled Jena 6

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Rallies and demonstrations were held on the campus of the UC Berkeley and in downtown San Francisco last Thursday in support of six black students in Jena, Louisiana charged in the beating of a white classmate, which many believe was prompted by several previous racially-charged incidences. Thousands of people rallied across the nation in support of the six students, known as the ‘Jena 6.’

Nearly 100 demonstrators gathered at Hallidie Plaza, near Powell and Market streets in San Francisco, with members of the local socialist organization “World Can't Wait/Drive Out the Bush Regime.” Students from SF State’s Black Student Union (BSU), as well as other Bay Area college and high school students attended.

“We do care about these kids, and we do give a damn, all right,” Paul Dunbar said, through a megaphone. Dunbar is a 26-year-old student at City College of San Francisco from Hunter’s Point.

Dunbar said he has family in the south and was disappointed that he couldn’t help after Hurricane Katrina. “I’ll be damned if I let this one pass by,” he said. “I just came out here to see what the support was looking like and it’s me…and the new group I found.”

SF State students and BSU members Shavonte Keaton and Kristal Brister arrived at the demonstration as protesters left the plaza and wove through downtown streets.

“The BSU had a protest on Tuesday for the Jena 6,” Keaton said. “Some organizations came out and told us about this protest, so I decided to come down and join.”

Keaton, a 21-year-old psychology major, was invited to take the megaphone when the rally returned to the plaza.

“We need to band together, and work together and free the people that are being enslaved in this country,” Keaton said. “Not physical slavery, but the slavery that the system gives us every single day as people of color.”

Tensions began to mount in Jena, LA, when a black student asked the principal of Jena High School if he could sit under a large shady tree typically only sat under by white students. The next day, three nooses painted school colors were hung from the tree.

A series of escalating racial events would follow, most notably the arrest of Mychal Bell, Robert Bailey Jr., Carwin Jones, Bryant Purvis, Theo Shaw and Jesse Ray Beard for the beating of a white classmate, for which they were charged with second degree attempted murder.

Bell was to be sentenced last Thursday after a conviction by an all-white jury in a Louisiana state court. According to various news reports, the conviction was overturned because Bell was incorrectly tried as an adult.

Bell remains in jail, as he is the only one who has not posted bail since his arrest.

Protestors and demonstrators nationwide sought to send a message to authorities involved in the Jena 6 case, as well as bring awareness to people who know little or nothing about the case.

“Google Jena 6 people,” Dunbar said to pedestrians as the rally moved through San Francisco streets. “What’s going on here?” Dunbar asked. “Just Google Jena 6 and find out. Get involved people.”

Several police officers walked with the crowd and occasionally herded protesters back onto sidewalks.

Read more about the Jena 6 in [X]press blogs.

Devin O'Keefe and Aaron Morrison contributed to this report.

Socialist forum tackles race in America

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Passionate energy filled the Rosa Parks conference room Thursday night as the International Socialist Organization hosted a conference called "Racism and Resistance in the U.S. Today".

The ISO held the public forum in response to the Jena 6 situation, addressing racism in today’s society and public institutions. They called for an immediate release of the Jena 6.

“It’s not about a fair trial, not about justice in the courts–because we know that doesn’t happen. The demand is to free the Jena 6,” said Sid Patel, an ISO member who led the discussion.

The discussion was filled with powerful audience outcry and was not short of cursing and raised voices. The crowd of about 50 people grew emotional and shouted words of agreement and disgust.

“The atmosphere in the room was intense,” said Liset Mendoza, 18, a creative writing major.

“I wish we could make it an all day event. I want to know what we can do to change and what opportunities I have,” said Mendoza.

A picture of a black man hanging dead from a noose was passed around the room. As each person held it, they sighed and groaned their feelings.

“We have to look at the historical factors that make racism exist today,” said Nihar Bhatt, a math student at SF State.

The discussion focused on what they saw as racism within governmental institutions that only further perpetuated racist thinking.

“The government would rather open prisons than fund colleges. The criminal justice system locks up people of color so the public thinks the minorities are responsible for crime,” said Patel.

Michael Hoffman, who teaches remedial math at SF State, said a lot of his students are women of color and he notices what he views as the effects of racism.

“The biggest thing I notice is that they are constantly doubting themselves. I sit with them and they know math, they know how to do it, but they doubt themselves,” said Hoffman.

SF State student Tracey Enskip attended a high school in Oakland and saw what she feels are the problems within the institutions.

“You have to look at the (corrupt) issues like No Child Left Behind, the fact that there are no ethnic studies programs in schools, and no money to fund the education system,” said Enskip, 17, a communications major.

Patel is appreciative of the protests and outcry occurring in the town of Jena, LA.

“We should be right there shoulder to shoulder with them. I wish something like that would go on around here,” said Patel.

“We have to organize ourselves and fight for the change,” said Hoffman.

Mendoza feels she is doing her part by telling her peers when racist comments are not appropriate.

“I can teach other people more tolerance," said Mendoza.

This small interaction is what Patel feels makes the most difference.

“Those small struggles are what gives shape to something truly natural. Give them attention and push them as far as they can go,” said Patel.

Rec sports in need of fiscal fitness

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The fate of SF State’s Recreational Sports Program currently lies in the hands of the Student Fee Advisory Committee.

RSP faces a one-third cut to its services if the SFAC fails to reach a quorum and recommend a $7 fee increase to President Robert Corrigan on Oct. 3.

For two years, SF State’s Recreational Sports Program experienced frustration with its attempts to increase funding to sustain intramural sports, open gym, and Club Sports, according to Kinesiology Department Chair David Anderson.

The Kinesiology Department proposed the $9 RSP fee to alleviate the high demand for intramural sports, open gym, and Club Sports. Students currently pay a $55 instructionally related athletics activities fee every semester, and $2 goes toward funding RSP.

“If we do not receive additional funding, we will have to cut back to stay within our budget of $120,000, give or take,” said Ajani Byrd, interim Director of RSP, which is a separate entity from Athletics. “We would have to cut $39,000, so a third of our programs need to be cut to be where we should be.”

RSP funding is strictly based on student enrollment, and does not collect additional fees from students, Byrd said.

“It’s an overused but under-funded program,” Byrd said.

Though RSP does not prominently advertise its activities, they can hardly bear the weight of the 3,525 students who participate, according to a 2005 university task force report about Club Sports.

Prior to the task force report, Club Sports did not formally exist, Anderson said. The task force recommended that RSP absorb Club Sports, as well as create an infrastructure to support it. The task force was successful in adjusting the director’s part-time position to full-time, and creating a part-time coordinator. The staff members were working 60 and 40 hours respectively to meet the demand, and the 2006-2007 RSP fiscal budget had a $38,750 deficit.

RSP is currently projecting the 2007-2008 fiscal budget as a deficit. If SFAC does not reccommend the fee increase, the program is “not sustainable and we would need to make pretty drastic cuts,” Anderson said.

The task force also found that RSP was “sorely under-funded in both operations and staff.” The report also describes RSP as “one of the university’s least broadcast successes.”

RSP was founded in the early ’90s by a faculty member in the kinesiology department, and in 1997, Paula Moran became Director of RSP, but is currently on disability retirement leave, Anderson said.

“It was largely through the volunteerism and Paula Moran, who basically did the work of three people,” Anderson said. “She built [RSP] up and she was able to sustain it. She was here from 8 in the morning until midnight, and she was coming in on the weekends to repair equipment.”

Ariela Ramos, a lifeguard during open gym, recalls the energy Moran put forth to keep RSP running.

“She was on her feet a lot. She was always so busy she didn’t have time to take a breather,” Ramos said. “If we had it the way she envisioned it, she would be able to get the time off that she needed. I feel she was forced to leave. With the circumstances surrounding the situation, she had to.”

Moran could not be reached for comment.

Club Sports compete in tournaments in a local, regional, and national intercollegiate level and include fencing, running, sailing, swimming, tae kwon do, ultimate Frisbee, volleyball, and wushu. Currently Club Sports does not receive any money from the RSP budget, according to the proposal. Club Sports collect their own fees from members, hold fundraisers, and collect donations. If the fee increase is approved, RSP will allocate money to Club Sports.

When RSP gathers intramural sports teams, some teams are unable to participate because the schedule and facilities are impacted.

“We simply turn them away — we don’t have any other option,” Anderson said. “We turn away teams because we can’t accommodate them, and that’s even when we have competitions till midnight.”

Some students oppose the fee increase and would rather redistribute the funds to sustain RSP.

“They should consider cutting sports that aren’t popular,” said Artie Luna, a broadcasting student who was playing badminton during open gym. “Instead of increasing the fee, just cut back.”

Other students do not want cut RSP services.

“I couldn’t imagine going to a school without recreational sports and not having somewhere to go to release stress,” Ramos said.

Byrd is optimistic that SFAC will recommend the proposal.

”There’s always going to be students who do not want it, but I think a majority of students will support it,” Byrd said. “We’re the best kept secret on this campus.”

Guilty plea in computer cheat case

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A former Diablo Valley College student worker, who is the accused ringleader of a computer fraud scandal where he allegedly changed grades for several students — including one from SF State who paid more than $4,000 to have 15 grades doctored — plead guilty to 15 felony counts on Tuesday.

Julian Revilleza, who was arrested in July on his current campus California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo, was facing 23 felony counts and had his four-year state prison sentence suspended in Contra Costa County Superior Court Tuesday, District Attorney Dodie Katague said. Revilleza, 26 of Pittsburg, will serve one year in county jail. Katague said he now expects to add 21 more students to the list of the 34 that have already been charged.

“Part of the deal is that Mr. Revilleza cooperate with us,” Katague said Wednesday morning.

Thirty-one students have been arrested in the case that stemmed from grade changes in the DVC Admissions and Records Office, where Revilleza worked. Among the 31, eight have been linked to SF State and the university has put a hold on the students’ transcripts after receiving corrected transcripts from DVC officials in August.

Former SF State student Christopher MacAtulad, who plead not guilty to one felony count to conspire on Sept. 17, took out $4,000 in credit card cash advances to pay Revilleza for 15 grade changes, according to prosecutors. MacAtulad used his phony transcript to transfer to SF State after the fall 2006 semester, a complaint filed by the District Attorney Office in July stated.

Revilleza, who was held in lieu of $250,000 bail, was hired as a general office clerk in October 2004, according to board reports from the Contra Costa Community College District and worked alongside Jeremy Tato, Erick Martinez and Ron Nixon, who have also been named in the case.

According to prosecutors, Revilleza gained access at DVC to complete grade change requests from paying customers. DVC and CCCCD officials have since changed the amount of individuals who have access to grades from around 90 to 10.

McAtulad is scheduled to appear in Martinez on Oct. 3 to set a date for preliminary hearing. The Pittsburg resident waived his right to a speedy trial at his Sept. 17 arraignment.

Top cash for top CSU executives

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In the California State University system, it pays to be king—or one of the top 28 executives.

But it’s executives like Cal State Long Beach President F. King Alexander, who was hired last year at a salary of $291,208 a year —plus other perks such as retirement benefits and free housing—who aren’t making enough money, the CSU Board of Trustees explained last week at their first meeting of the school year.

“The competitiveness of the CSU’s executive compensation program is being seriously eroded,” Chancellor Charles Reed said on Sept. 18, leading the trustees to adopt a new policy that raised the salary of campus presidents, vice-chancellors and Reed himself as much as 18 percent a year.

In the 14 to 2 vote, the board also agreed to begin a five-year period during which executives will make up the “serious salary lag” that employees face. If they don’t take these measures, Board of Trustees Chair Roberta Achtenberg said the CSU won’t be able to attract and retain experienced administrators.

This school year, campus presidents will earn, on average, nearly $293,000. SF State president Robert Corrigan will earn $298,749 after the pay raises.

Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi, an ex officio member of the Board, called the moves “ill-timed and unwise” in a Sept. 17 letter to Chancellor Reed and Chairwoman Achtenberg and urged them to reconsider. He and board member Ricardo F. Icaza, Food and Commercial Workers union president, cast the only dissenting votes on the policy.

“I’m really upset,” Icaza said. “I’m always in favor of having comparable wages but I just feel that the timing for this is wrong, it’s so bad.”

With the new policy, executives also seek to attain parity; within four years, the average CSU presidential salary is expected to rise by 46 percent, reaching $378,774, the average salary of presidents at comparable schools.

After just one year on the job, Alexander received a nine percent raise and will gross $320,329 this year. That makes him the third-highest paid campus president in the system, behind the heads of California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and Cal State Los Angeles—both of whom were hired in 1979.

Not to be outdone, Cal Poly’s Warren Baker received a nine percent raise and now earns $328,209 a year while Los Angeles’ James Rosser got a 13 percent raise for a $325,000 salary.

Garamendi called it a “bad public relations” move, particularly in light of the second student fee increase the Board approved in three years.

“In actual dollars, the amount of the pay increases received by many executives is greater that the total annual pay of many other CSU employees, such as janitors, groundskeepers, and food service employees,” Garamendi said.

In order to make jobs on Cal State universities as attractive as possible, the Board of Trustees has a policy of offering competitive salaries to new hires.

Mildred Garcia, the new president of California State University at Dominguez Hill, hired in August, is earning $295,000, more than all but one campus president before the new pay raises were put into place.

“We got lucky there because it’s harder to attract an executive of that caliber when they are making 27 to 46 percent less than at other universities,” Browning said.

He added that Garcia took a pay cut of $40,000 from her previous post as president of Berkeley College of New York and New Jersey to work for the CSU system. Salary, she says, was not her main motivator.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead this exceptional institution,” Garcia said. “Salary alone does not fill my desire to work alongside a University that will be the role model for the nation on educating a diverse population for a global, democratic society.”

All CSU employees, not just executives, are being promised raises over the years to come. The California Faculty Association fought last spring to receive a new contract that guarantees a 24 percent pay raise spread out over the next four years.

Adam Keigwin, an aide in Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco/San Mateo’s office, said that planning for raises years in advance is a dangerous policy given the uncertainty of the state’s financial situation.

“You have no idea whether that would be the best decision,” Keigwin said. “It’s so short-sighted to have this blanket policy for the next four years.”

City heads ponder thousands of ex-cons in SF

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The Second Annual Reentry Summit of the Safe Communities Reentry Council was held on September 19 at SF State. The day long event was a discussion forum of activists, organizers, and local officials to explore strategies for aiding parolees in the transitional period after being released from prison.

The SCRC summit was keynoted by activist and author Luis Rodriguez, and Mayor Gavin Newsom provided introductory remarks. All panelists spoke on the need for reform in California prison systems.

“California has one of the highest recidivism rates in the nation,” said journalist JoAnn Mar, who moderated the day’s panel discussions. “And reentry programs may be one of the keys to solving that problem.”

The panels were made up of representatives from dozens of San Francisco reintegration programs, the California Department of Corrections and several state and local officials including Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, Sheriff Michael Hennessey, District Attorney Kamala Harris and Public Defender Jeff Adachi.

Harris named one program, Back on Track, as an example of effective work done by community organizations, saying it had reduced the recidivism rate of participating 18 to 24 year olds in San Francisco from 50 percent to 10 percent.

The SCRC was formed in 2005 by Mirkarimi and Adachi. The reentry summit, which is sponsored by the California Endowment and the San Francisco State Institute for Civic and Community Engagement, was created as a forum for community dialogue.

Of the 120,000 inmates released each year in California, 65 to 70 percent of them violate the terms of their parole conditions or commit a new crime, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

According to Mirkarimi, a daily average of 1,500 to 2,000 parolees are released into San Francisco.

“Our district attorney, Kamala Harris, is exhibit A in showing this city where to go,” Mirkarimi said.

California has a prison population of nearly 173,000, according to the CDCR. In 2006, more than 68,000 parolees were put back in prison for violating parole conditions.

“It’s no wonder that people who arrive at our institutions leave in worse shape than when they arrived,” said Marisela Montes, chief deputy secretary of adult programs at CDCR, in reference to the overcrowding of the state’s prisons.

Some of the programs highlighted were the No Violence Alliance (NoVA), spearheaded by the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department, which seeks to rehabilitate violent offenders by showing them the impact of their crimes and teaching anger management, and Project WHAT! (“We’re Here and Talking”), a youth-based organization for children and teens with incarcerated parents.

Although the majority of speakers said California may be shifting its approach to corrections toward a model that emphasizes reintegrating former prisoners into the population, most noted the difficulty in securing funds for transitional assistance programs.

“We’re really struggling for money right now,” said Heather Weigand, a former convict who graduated from SF State with honors in May 2007 and is now director of client services for Life After Exoneration, an aid and advocacy group for the wrongly convicted.

“Donors start wondering why the state and federal governments aren’t picking up the tab for those lives they’ve shattered.”

“About five percent of our budget goes into the programming and treatment of offenders,” said Marisela Montes, chief deputy secretary of adult programs at CDCR. “And that is abysmal.”

On a local level, however, most panelists agreed that correction programs were beginning to move in the right direction.

Jason Bell, director of SF State prisoner aid organization Project Rebound, and a former convict himself, praised government representatives for supporting the shift toward reintegration—”Even the D.A.!” he said, to laughter from District Attorney Kamala Harris.
Mirkarimi said San Francisco should centralize city management services and hold city managers responsible.

Harris announced that her office was the first district attorney’s office in the country to create a reentry unit, and emphasized the importance of being able to communicate to people not engaged in parolee issues.

“There are a lot of people out there who don’t necessarily care about the people we care about,” she said. “But they do care about safe streets.”

Dan Macallair, executive director of the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, and a lecturer on criminal justice at SF State, was blunt when he spoke as a panelist.
Characterizing the state prisons as “a system designed to fail,” Macallair cited entrenched interests, especially within the CDCR.

Of the approximately 56,000 CDCR employees, only 3,000 of them work in the area of parole, he said. Macallair stressed that a lack of a proper supportive parole system is a primary fault of California’s prison system, and said current reform legislation misplaces the focus.

AB 900, a “prison reform” bill that includes $7 billion in bonds for construction of new facilities, emerged as a point of contention among some participants.

“If AB 900 gets implemented, there’ll be no money left for all the wonderful programs we’re talking about here today,” Macallair said.

Montes disagreed, saying she supported AB900.

“I know some will say it doesn’t go far enough,” she said. “It includes the authority to create 1,600 reentry beds, and that is the promise of reform to me.”

Macallair cautioned, however, that California’s status quo would need to be altered for serious progress to be made.

“I think what we have to be aware of is political reality,” said Macallair.
“Change is going to have to occur in Sacramento. Local communities cannot be expected to bear the burden of a state-created disaster.”

Fast raises money for Darfur victims

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Nearly 300 students broke their day-long fast and celebrated Ramadan at the fifth annual Fast-A-Thon Wednesday evening.

Over 200 non-Muslims pledged to fast for one day, said Zohra Saiyed, Muslim Student Association (MSA) Outreach Coordinator. Some sponsoring businesses made flat donations, and others donated money for each pledge.

The MSA and Muslim Women Student Association collected over $3,000 to provide emergency aid to victims in Darfur, Sudan, through Islamic Relief.

“We ask non-Muslims to fast so someone won’t go hungry,” said Majabeen Samadi, an MSA member. “Some businesses agreed to donate $1 for every non-Muslim who fasts. It’s just an experience to have no food and to be hungry, and that relates to the people in Sudan.”

The money was also gathered from miscellaneous donations, as well as candy and baklava sales, Saiyed said.

Ramadan falls on the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar and celebrates the revelation of the Qur’an to the Prophet Muhammad. In North America, Ramadan began Sept. 13, and lasts for 30 days until Oct. 12, according to the Figh Council of North America. Muslims forgo food, water, and sexual activity from dawn to sunset during Ramadan.

“[The fast] hasn’t been hard - maybe going a full day would be harder,” said Paul Sherfey, who heard about the event in his Cultural Expressions of Islam class. “It’s something I would try again. I tried it a couple of days ago, and I found out how much I appreciate food. I actually felt bad for eating.”

At 7:06 p.m., Fast-A-Thon participants broke their fast with dates and water, which was followed by a call to prayer by MSA and MWSA members. The MSA and MWSA then served iftars, a meal to break the day’s fast.

“It was worth fasting for all that,” said Becky Blau, who participated in the Fast-A-Thon after hearing about it from a friend in MSA.

Former MSA president and SF State alumnus Abdul Rahman was the impromptu guest speaker. Imam Suhaib Webb, an American Muslim who was raised in a Christian family, was unable to speak at the event because his daughter fell ill, Rahman said.

“The main mission is to inform and educate people about Islam,” Rahmam said of the event. “We also want to participate in charitable causes.”

A representative from Islamic Relief also spoke briefly about Darfur.

“These people only get to eat once a day, and they eat only lentils,” the representative said. “What we can do is help provide emergency rations. The story of Darfur doesn’t end with Angelina [Jolie] and George [Clooney]. It’s still happening regardless of what CNN is or isn’t reporting.”

MSA president Sam Hadwan was very pleased with the Fast-A-Thon.

“We worked really hard and the event was successful,” Hadwan said. “We’ve been doing this for five years, and every year we raise $3,000 to $6,000. Every dollar counts.”

Committee responds to student health needs

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Student Health Center services — if you’re a student, you’re paying for them but you don’t know about it or how it can help you. But there is a volunteer student organization at SF State, part of a national network, aching to tell you about it.

Raising awareness and policy-making are the main duties of the Student Health Advisory Committee (SHAC), according to president Graham Litchman, 26. Students often gloss over the fact that they are paying more than one hundred dollars in fees for health services they don’t use or don’t know enough about, he said.

“We really act as the student voice here for health concerns,” Litchman, a biology major, said. “What they’re paying for is the ability to go in there.”

The student-run committee, a growing body of 15 members, sponsor and publicize health-related events ‑- including blood drives, open houses, the African-American Health Fair in April and a CPR class coming this fall. They also make decisions and vote on services offered at SF State’s health center.

Litchman said one of his goals as a SHAC leader is to inform students about the center’s existence—which could be as simple as setting an information table on the campus and literally pointing out the health center’s location.

Every student already pays, in their school fees, a Student Health Services fee of $108 and another facility fee of $3. The charge has gone up by $3 from last semester and could rise by the same amount in the spring, according to Student Health Service Medical Director Alastair Smith.

But the fees—which Smith calls “a tiny amount of inflation given the real world inflation costs”—are one of the biggest issues SHAC students have had to deal with. The director says a balance is required in deciding which services to offer even if a small piece of the campus population will ever take advantage of it.

“Where do you balance increasing services and where do you balance decreasing services or not extending services and keeping the prices down?” Smith said.

SHAC, a nationally-recognized program that meets once a week, has set up shop on campuses across the United States. In the CSU system, colleges are actually required to organize the committee as part of their health services.

“It’s important that we provide the services that the chancellor requires,” Smith said. “Every student registered on campus, who has paid the health fee, is entitled to a free consultation with a doctor and health education.”

Defining health education can be difficult, Smith said, and so it is up to the health center and SHAC to decide how they want to go about their education.

Smith said the SHAC members play an instrumental role in getting some important programs off the ground. For example, the health center’s Family PACT, a program that connects low-income Californians with family planning and reproductive health services, was first offered in August 2006 after, Smith said, SHAC members strongly encouraged the health center to provide the program. The committee also had a hand in the hiring of the campus’ own psychiatrist, Lois Parkison, who joined the health services staff a few years ago.

A networking effort to bring together SHAC with the other student health organizations on campus such as Peer Educators Advocating Campus Health (PEACH) is on the table for this semester, Litchman said.

“I think there’s nothing more powerful than people coming together with a common goal,” he said.

Albert Angelo, recently named the group’s adviser, has been working in the health center for the past 13 years.

“They are a great group of students,” he said. “I’m really impressed with the maturity and the interest that they have in health and health advisory.”

Although SF State students do not receive college credit for their volunteer work, they have several different motivations to join SHAC.

Long-term SHAC member Jason Epstein, 33, a post-baccalaureate student in molecular cell biology, said that his work with the group enabled him to learn more about the business and logistical aspects needed in his future career as a physician, something he said his classes lacked.

“A cell biology class doesn’t talk about appointment structures in the medical clinic,” Epstein said.

Briza York, 19, is a member of both SHAC and PEACH. As a nutrition major, York says she hopes to work in the health field and said she sees SHAC as a way to demonstrate newly acquired skills.

“In class you learn information, but I think in clubs you get to apply the information to outreach,” York said.

Although the staff is primarily made up of students majoring in health related fields, any SF State student can join SHAC at anytime during the semester.

Bush signs financial aid legislation

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President Bush signed a bill Thursday that would increase financial aid for low and middle-income college students.

Under the legislation, the maximum Pell Grant awarded to poorer college students will increase from the current $4,310 a year to $5,400 by the year 2012. The bill would also cut interest rates for federal student loans in half over the next four years.

Funding for the measure, estimated at $20 billion, will come from cuts in government subsidies to banks.

The bill overwhelmingly passed in both houses of Congress, by a 292-97 vote in the House and a veto-proof margin of 79-12 in the Senate.

At a glance: news briefs

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Free class on free money

The Foundation Center is offering two free, one-hour classes for graduate and undergraduate students, on obtaining scholarships and other financial support for education. The Center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering philanthropy and connecting people with nonprofit funding.

Classes are free but, due to limited space, registration is required. Attendees can register by phone at 415.397.0902 or online by clicking here.

The next class will be held on Sept. 27 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Richmond Public Library’s Madeline Whittlesey Community Room at 325 Civic Center Plaza in Richmond. On October 31, from 1:30 to 2:45 p.m., another class will be held at the Foundation Center’s San Francisco location, 312 Sutter Street, Number 606.

Honors society have first monthly party

Survivor Party! The history student's honor society, Phi Alpha Theta, is hosting the first of monthly survivor parties September 28 from 2:30-4:30 in Science 270. “They’re called survivor parties because you [the student] have made it through another month of school,” said president and Senior History major Sloane Berman.

All SF State students who are interested in history or are enticed by free food are welcomed to attend. The parties are Phi Alpha Theta’s way to inform students about free events the society will host in the following month. “The first meeting, however, will cover the events of the whole school year,” said Berman, 20.

Senate declares Iran's elite corps "terrorist"

On Tuesday, the US Senate passed an amendment designating Iran’s Revolutionary Guards as a foreign terrorist organization.

The amendment sponsored by Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and co-sponsored by Joe Lieberman (I-CT) to the National Defense Authorization Act is to express the opinion of the Senate regarding Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, but has no legal binding.

“This is not intended to be an authorization of military force against Iran.” Said Kyl to Fox News. “Were strictly talking about stopping them from acting in Iraq against our forces and also as a terrorist organization around the world.”

However, in opposition before the vote, Senator Webb (D-VA) called the proposal “Counterproductive” and recommended that the amendment be withdrawn.

“At best, it’s a deliberate attempt to divert attention from a failed diplomatic policy,” said Webb on the floor of The Senate. “At worst, it could be read as a backdoor method of gaining Congressional validation for military action.

The amendment passes 76-22.

The President of Iran, in New York, was not available for comment.

Security guards demand contract

Marching two by two along California Street and chanting, “If we don’t get no contract, you don’t get no peace,” over 80 security workers gathered Monday in the Financial District to protest their contract dispute with several private security firms.

Organized by the Service Employees International Union, the workers started the rally banging drums, cymbals and blowing whistles outside the building at One Front St.

The workers have been without a contract since June 30. The workers want a higher salary and increased benefits, including health coverage. The rallies and protests will continue until a contract agreement in reached.

Trans meeting slows shuttle bus route

SF State students missed class time and tests waiting an hour for the SF State shuttle service today. The drivers were attending a meeting about an upcoming faster route.

“We’re trying to get to the last few minutes of class,” said Mae Sabit, a senior who was the first in line for the shuttle when it arrived at 11:55 a.m.

Around five students sped across the Daly City BART station to catch the MUNI 28 bus, but most of them stared off into space, muttered to themselves about the tests and assignments they were missing, or read.

Tonya Pischke, the driver of one held-up vehicle, said she was late because of a meeting to discuss the new route for the shuttle. No meetings are planned for the future, according to Pischke.

Drivers will only make three stops when the new route begins: the Daly City BART station, 19th Ave, and University Park North Apartments/Stonestown Shopping Center. Students will only have to wait 10 to 15 minutes beginning October 1st, according to SFSU Parking and Transportation’s website.

Read more by clicking here.

Striking security guards rally downtown

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Marching two by two along California Street and chanting, “If we don’t get no contract, you don’t get no peace,” over 80 security workers gathered in the Financial District to protest their contract dispute with several private security firms.

Organized by the Service Employees International Union, the workers started the rally banging drums, cymbals and blowing whistles outside the building at One Front St, waving signs that read “Security, No Servitude” and “Justice Is Worth Fighting For.”

The strike was the first of its kind among private security companies in the history of San Francisco, according to the Service Employees International Union.

The workers have been without a contract since June 30. The workers are contracted by private security firms like ABC Security, AlliedBarton, Cypress Security, OSP Security, ProTech and Securitas. The workers want a higher salary and increased benefits, including health coverage.

Many of the workers have no health coverage at all.

After the rally, in which both San Francisco Supervisor Tom Ammiano and State Assemblyman Sandre Swanson promised their support, the workers started a march through the downtown streets.

When the march turned onto Mission St from Beale St, police officers forced the workers onto the sidewalk and out of the traffic.

“There’s so much wrong with the job and it would take so little to improve,” said Regina Roberts, a security worker for Securitas.

Roberts has worked for Securitas for two months and makes $12 per hour. She lives in Richmond and is thankful that her children are grown up.

“I could not raise children on my salary,” she said.

Many of the workers receive one day of training for their jobs, said Irene Florez, part of the communications staff at the Service Employees International Union.

Roberts said she was lucky to have a week of training but not in the building at One Front St, where she works.

“If something were to happen, I would not know what to do,” she said.

Since the contract expired, the few workers who had health care coverage have been working without it. Randy Smith, a supervisor for ProTech Security who works at the Israeli consulate, was fortunate to have medical care from Kaiser.

“We’re probably the only ones,” said Smith.

He has worked for ProTech for 18 months and makes $14.25 per hour as a supervisor.

The strike attracted lots of spectators including Joey Bronk, a culinary arts major at San Francisco City College. Bronk came to witness the rally as part of his Labor Studies class.

“I think it’s great,” he said of the strike. “This needs to be done. These are the first responders in these buildings to the scene.”

The rallies and protests will continue until a contract agreement in reached.

“We’d like to be heard,” said Roberts. “We want to be treated as people.”

Castro residents meet to question Halloween plans

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Partygoers who planned on attending another Halloween in the Castro will have to do so unofficially this year. Saturday’s public forum at the Eureka Valley Recreational Center in the Castro left a lot of questions unanswered while showing a deep dissatisfaction by residents and activists about this year’s non-event.

“In 2003, all the way to 2005, Halloween was successful,” said Donna Sachet, a co-founder of Citizens For Halloween, an organization dedicated to bringing Halloween back to the Castro. “Then in 2006, we got news that we were going to get hemmed in.”

Last year’s Halloween night shooting, in which nine people were injured, prompted city officials to cancel the event in the Castro district and issue a task force to find a new solution. A major plan to move it to the city’s waterfront subsequently fell through.

“There was no open process,” said Gary Virgina, another Citizens For Halloween founder. He said he had applied for the task force, but the committee never materialized. “It never involved the community,” he said.

Three key players were missing from the meeting: Mayor Gavin Newsom, District 8 supervisor Bevan Dufty, whose district includes the Castro, and the San Francisco Police Department, leaving some residents who had shown up specifically to question those officials frustrated and angry.


Alix Rosenthal, who unsuccessfully ran against Dufty in last year's election and is another founder of Citizens For Halloween, said she had tried to contact several department heads, including the SFPD, the transportation department, and the public health department, but most were unable to respond in time.

About sixty people attended the meeting, and while the forum hovered over several topics, city residents seemed most concerned with the issue of public safety.

“Halloween itself has become an invasion of our neighborhood,” said George Stoll, who has lived in the Castro for over 36 years. “Last year my lover got called ‘faggot’ on the way back from parking his car.”

“I went for the first time last year and it was like a big festival at night,” said Nena Manivong, 22, a psychology major at SF State. “It makes me sad. If they can ensure that it will be safe, they should bring it back.”

Although no representatives for the SFPD were present, Captain Richard Dyer from the Sheriff’s Department, and Pete Howes, Chief of Medical Services for the San Francisco Fire Department stepped in to help answer some questions about public safety.

“I can’t represent the police department,” said Dyer. “But we’re still going to be there as if there will be an event.”

Howes, who has been involved with the event for 25 years, said his own department will have numerous ambulances, an operations chief, and two command officers on hand in case there is a problem.

The city has taken a large number of steps to discourage revelers from celebrating Halloween in the Castro, including asking 130 businesses in the district to voluntarily close as early as 6 p.m. on Oct. 31.

“The mayor’s treated this as a neighborhood issue. It hasn’t been treated as a city-wide issue. Bevan Dufty’s taken the fall for it,” said Ted Strawster, another founding member of Citizens for Halloween. “If Mayor Newsom were the mayor of New Orleans, there would be no Mardi Gras.”

SF State students missed class time and tests waiting an hour for the SF State shuttle service today. The drivers were attending a meeting about an upcoming faster route.

“We’re trying to get to the last few minutes of class,” said Mae Sabit, a senior who was the first in line for the shuttle when it arrived at 11:55 a.m.

“I think we had a couple quiz questions today,” said Chaz Chan, who, like Sabit, was missing his Variations of Human Sexuality class that started at 11:10 a.m.

Around five students sped across the Daly City BART station to catch the MUNI 28 bus, but most of them stared off into space, muttered to themselves about the tests and assignments they were missing, or read.

“I’m not a bus person,” said Sabit. “It’s a shuttle because it’s free, rather than a bus where you have to pay.”

Tonya Pischke, the driver of one held-up vehicle, said she was late because of a meeting.

“This was a special driver’s meeting about the new route,” said Pischke, who has been driving the shuttle for three years.

“We’re not going to have four or five meetings with the drivers,” she added, explaining why all of the drivers needed to be there.

No meetings are planned for the future, according to Pischke.

“There was no need to notify; it was only a 15 minute interruption,” said Patricia Tovar from SFSU Parking and Transportation. She said the meeting was the only cause for the delay. Tovar supervises the drivers, according to Pishke.

Delays would continue throughout the day.

Shortly after 3:30 p.m., 15 students waited at the shuttle stop outside of the Humanities building. Spenser Nottage, a cinema major, was first in line and said he, too, had been waiting for nearly an hour.

Normally a shuttle arrives at the Daly City BART station every 15 to 20 minutes, and makes 3 stops on campus. The 28 bus line also stops at the BART station and goes to SFSU, but costs $1.50 for adults.

Drivers will only make three stops when the new route begins: the Daly City BART station, 19th Ave, and University Park North Apartments/Stonestown Shopping Center. Students will only have to wait 10 to 15 minutes beginning October 1st, according to SFSU Parking and Transportation’s website.

“The shuttle service is a courtesy service,” said Pishke.

Protestors rally to support the Jena 6

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Rallies and demonstrations were held on the campus of the UC Berkeley and in downtown San Francisco last Thursday in support of six black students in Jena, Louisiana charged in the beating of a white classmate, which many believe was prompted by several previous racially-charged incidences. Thousands of people rallied across the nation in support of the six students, known as the ‘Jena 6.’

Nearly 100 demonstrators gathered at Hallidie Plaza, near Powell and Market streets in San Francisco, with members of the local socialist organization “World Can't Wait/Drive Out the Bush Regime.” Students from SF State’s Black Student Union (BSU), as well as other Bay Area college and high school students attended.

Click the link on the right to view the multimedia.

“We do care about these kids, and we do give a damn, all right,” Paul Dunbar said, through a megaphone. Dunbar is a 26-year-old student at City College of San Francisco from Hunter’s Point.

Dunbar said he has family in the south and was disappointed that he couldn’t help after Hurricane Katrina. “I’ll be damned if I let this one pass by,” he said. “I just came out here to see what the support was looking like and it’s me…and the new group I found.”

SF State students and BSU members Shavonte Keaton and Kristal Brister arrived at the demonstration as protesters left the plaza and wove through downtown streets.

“The BSU had a protest on Tuesday for the Jena 6,” Keaton said. “Some organizations came out and told us about this protest, so I decided to come down and join.”

Keaton, a 21-year-old psychology major, was invited to take the megaphone when the rally returned to the plaza.

“We need to band together, and work together and free the people that are being enslaved in this country,” Keaton said. “Not physical slavery, but the slavery that the system gives us every single day as people of color.”

Tensions began to mount in Jena, LA, when a black student asked the principal of Jena High School if he could sit under a large shady tree typically only sat under by white students. The next day, three nooses painted school colors were hung from the tree.

A series of escalating racial events would follow, most notably the arrest of Mychal Bell, Robert Bailey Jr., Carwin Jones, Bryant Purvis, Theo Shaw and Jesse Ray Beard for the beating of a white classmate, for which they were charged with second degree attempted murder.

Bell was to be sentenced last Thursday after a conviction by an all-white jury in a Louisiana state court. According to various news reports, the conviction was overturned because Bell was incorrectly tried as an adult.

Bell remains in jail, as he is the only one who has not posted bail since his arrest.

Protestors and demonstrators nationwide sought to send a message to authorities involved in the Jena 6 case, as well as bring awareness to people who know little or nothing about the case.

“Google Jena 6 people,” Dunbar said to pedestrians as the rally moved through San Francisco streets. “What’s going on here?” Dunbar asked. “Just Google Jena 6 and find out. Get involved people.”

Several police officers walked with the crowd and occasionally herded protesters back onto sidewalks.

For more on the Jena 6 case, see the [X]Press Blog.

Devin O'Keefe and Aaron Morrison contributed to this report.

Promises: College not campaigning

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San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom announced Monday a proposal that would allocate unused public campaign financing funds to a program targeted at helping elementary school kids start preparation for college.

The proposed program, S.F. Promise, partners Newsom with SF State President Robert Corrigan, California State University Chair of the Board of Trustees Roberta Achtenberg and the San Francisco Unified School District Superintendent Carlos Garcia.

Newsom would spend left over money from the Mayoral Election Campaign Fund—about $6 million according to a press release—to help students beginning sixth grade to start to plan for college.

“The concept is great,” said Jo Volkert, associate vice president of enrollment planning and management at SF State. “We can inform kids at the 6th grade level what it takes to get into college, make it an early goal, as opposed to something they don’t really think about until later.”

Volkert said the program aims to get students seriously preparing for college at an earlier age.

“Often, by the time kids are in high school, a lot of them haven’t done the prep,” said Volkert. “Rather than scrambling at 10th or 11th grade, students will have a better idea of what to expect and plan for starting in middle school.”

According to Heidi Andersons, public relations coordinator for San Francisco Unified School District, the program would start with 350 sixth graders (20 percent of the nearly 1,750 eligible students) beginning in fall 2008.

Anderson said the program would target students who score basic or below basic by California Standardized Test Score scale.

Since the program has not been formally adopted, the partnering committees have not specified which schools within the district would be the first participants.

“Right now, we are dealing with the San Francisco School District as a whole,” said Volkert.

“We’ll probably start with a particular list of schools, then gradually expand to include all schools in the district.”

The program will require between $800 and $2,300 per student, per year, according to a press release from Newsom’s office. Newsom estimates that the first year will cost a total of $525,000.

The program would not restrict students to apply to only SF State, said Volkert. SF State will serve as the model university to inform students on preparation, testing, applications and college life.

Volkert said planned visitation days to SF State would help to “show students what college looks like.”

Contrary to what has been reported in other media outlets, students who complete the program will not be guaranteed an acceptance letter to SF State for completing the program.

Students who participate will still be required to submit an application and will be accepted based on the same eligibility requirements as those who are not part of the program, according to Volkert.

“People who complete [the program] and meet the qualifications for admission are definitely guaranteed,” said Jo Volkert, associate vice president of enrollment planning and management at SF State.

The plan has the potential to attract more students from SFUSD, said Volkert. She said the program aims to bring more students to SF State from the City who, “didn’t necessarily grow up with the automatic assumption that they are going to college,” which is more common with students from the city’s private high schools.

In the Fall 2006 semester there were 366 students from San Francisco public high schools out of 3,258 first time freshman enrolled at SF State, according to the University and Budget Planning office.

The goal of the plan is to create a “college culture,” according to Lee Blitch, vice president of university advancement, who was on the deciding committee.

The program has no official start date, but Volkert and Anderson said the partnering groups aim to get it started by fall 2008. Volkert said the details would be worked out once the program is officially approved.

According to a press release from Newsom’s office, two pieces of legislation will be submitted this week. One will form a special fund for SF Promise. The second will amend the Mayoral Election Campaign Fund ordinance, which will allocate the unspent public funding for the current Mayoral election.

Since the money would come from public funding, both the Board of Supervisors and the Ethics Commission have to approve the proposal.

PODCAST: Forum focuses on prisoners re-entering society

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An assortment of politicians, police officers, and prisoner-turned-activists gathered in Jack Adams Hall to discuss an effective approach to incorporating former prisoners back into San Franciscan society Wednesday.

During the first panel, San Francisco Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi expressed frustration with the current rate of recidivism (people repeatedly returning to jail or prison). He urged the city’s policy makers not to wait for the federal or state government to address this problem.

“Why can’t we do better and where the hell is this money going?” asked Mirkarimi, after stating only 1 out of 10 parolees gets the services needed for rehabilitation.

“It’s time we start a re-entry council,” he concluded.

District Attorney Kamala Harris emphasized the importance of preventing crime and working with prisoners as soon as possible, instead of just enforcing more drastic punishments.

“This is simply the smart way to create safe streets,” said Harris.

Public Defender Jeff Adachi highlighted a successful city program, the Clean Slate Program. According to Adachi, the program was established in 1998 and it was underused because convicts had to track down their district attorneys to finish the needed paperwork. Since a drop-in version of Clean Slate was opened last year, the number of people who cleared their records increased by 24 times the number in 1998.

“If we are truly serious about making change, we are the ones who, at least, have to lead that movement,” said Adachi.

Deputy Patrick Boyd stated the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations needed more probation services, and all the departments needed to show even more collaboration.

“(Incarcerated people) come out with high hopes and high expectations,” said Boyd.

Senior Deputy Ronald Terry and former prisoner Billy Booker explained the importance of programs like No Violence Alliance (NoVA). NoVA uses the efforts of both law enforcement officers and community activists to provide services that rehabilitate violent offenders.

Booker, who has completed NoVA, said that listening to people who were traumatized by violent crimes made him realize how robbing people affected them.

Another idea that was only briefly mentioned, was the abolition of the prison system. Eddy Zheng, who just completed a 21-year sentence, said reentry services were a start, but were only working within the system.

Jason Bell, an SF State grad student and the director Project Rebound, touched on the importance of education for formerly incarcerated people. Project Rebound, a program funded by Associated Students, assesses inmates for college readiness upon their release. Bell said that prisoners from all over California and even the country send in applications in hopes of attending college.

“Being in an institution, you’re pretty much stagnated,” said Bell, explaining the hunger to learn and progress.

Luis J. Rodriguez, an author, mentor to prisoners, and former gang member, spoke passionately about reaching out to youth committing crimes. He shared his experience with teaching poetry to prisoners.

“If you got the right people, you can change those kids’ lives,” said Rodriguez, who had to pause countless times during his speech as the audience exploded into cheers.

“A word can save someone’s life,” he said.

He also spoke about a recent plan for peace on Los Angeles streets he helped author. While law enforcement plays an important role in helping reduce gangs, Rodriguez said the effort must be lead by the community and come from everyone in the community. He declared even gang members could contribute to making the streets peaceful.

“When you squeeze communities, you don’t get to the root of the problem,” said Rodriguez.

Alleged cheater pleads not guilty to conspiracy count

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MARTINEZ—A former SF State student, who stands accused of conspiring to falsify his transcript, plead not guilty to one felony to conspire count on Monday.

Christopher MacAtulad, 24, was barred from SF State in August and his transcripts have been put on hold after university officials were notified that the Diablo Valley College transfer had been allegedly involved in a cash-for-grades plot in the Admissions and Records Department at the Pleasant Hill campus. MacAtulad, prosecutors said, took out more than $4,000 in credit card advances while at DVC to pay to have 15 of his grades changed.

MacAtulad, who is out on bail, waived his right to a speedy trial. He is scheduled to appear in court on Oct.3, when a preliminary hearing date will be set. The Pittsburg resident refused to comment outside the Contra Costa County Superior Courthouse Monday.

SF State Executive Director of Admissions Jo Volkert received corrected transcripts from DVC officials and sent certified letters to the eight SF State students who were named in the case. Five of them, with only MacAtulad identified, were active students, two, who were applicants for the fall 2007 semester, had their acceptance rescinded and another one was a former student who took classes at SF State prior to transferring to DVC.

The plot was uncovered in February 2006, according to the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office, when a professor became suspicious after student Erick Martinez reappeared on his class roster after withdrawing from the class. The professor alerted DVC officials after he sent two corrected forms to the Admissions Office after Martinez kept appearing on the class roster with a grade of an A. Prosecutors have named Martinez, who worked in the Admissions Office at DVC, as one of the ringleaders of the plot.

In all, 34 students have been charged in a case that prosecutors said involved more than 400 grade changes.

Prosecutors said after the fall 2006 semester, MacAtulad used his falsified transcript to gain acceptance at SF State, after allegedly changing 15 grades—more than any other student involved—including eight Fs to Bs and Cs and four Ws to As and Bs.

According to a court complaint filed by the District Attorney’s Office in July, MacAtulad met with Francis Antonio and gave him a list of grades to change and his student ID number. Antonio forwarded the information to Julian Revilleza, the alleged ringleader, who worked in the Admissions Office and made the changes. Revilleza is facing 23 felony counts and could serve a maximum of 70 years in prison if convicted.

According to a press release put out by the District Attorney’s Office in July, several DVC students used falsified transcripts to transfer to four-year universities like UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC Davis, San Diego State University, California Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo and San Jose State.

HPV vaccine now available to women through Health Services

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Female students can now protect themselves from Human papillomavirus (HPV) by getting a three-shot series of vaccinations at Student Health Services.

The HPV vaccine, Gardasil, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in June of 2006 and is now available at SF State. Women between the ages of nine and 26 take the vaccine over the course of six months. Student Health Services charges $145 for each shot, for a total of $435.

“It’s a prophylactic measure,” said Associate Professor of Biology, Chris Moffatt. “The majority of causes of cervical cancer are associated with HPV. With younger girls, if you vaccinate them before they have sexual intercourse, the chances are much lower.”

HPV is contracted by women from men through sexual intercourse. The vaccine protects against four of the estimated 100 HPV strains, which, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can cause 70 percent of cervical cancer and 90 percent of genital warts. There is no cure for HPV, but it can be treated.

According to the CDC, 20 million men and women are infected with HPV, with 6.2 million additional cases annually.

The CDC recommends that women undergo regular HPV and Pap tests to detect HPV DNA or abnormalities that may lead to cervical cancer. There is no HPV test for men.
While the vaccine has positive preventative benefits, Moffatt said the vaccine should not be mandatory for women.

“It’s certainly a public health risk, but there’s a behavioral control,” Moffatt said. “It’s certainly communicable, but not as readily communicable as the flu and measles.”

After seeing Gardasil advertised on television and in magazines, English major Antoinette Tran, 20, scheduled an appointment to get the vaccine while still on her father’s health insurance. She will be getting the third dose of the vaccine in December.

“I know my medical insurance is going to end soon, and I feel like a chip has been taken off of my shoulder,” Tran said. “I’m at least prevented from getting those four strains of HPV.”

While some insurance providers cover the HPV vaccine, women without health insurance may find it difficult to protect themselves. Planned Parenthood offers the vaccine for $190 per shot, and with additional visit fees, the total cost of the vaccine can vary from $663 to $867.

“As long as it’s not mandatory, the prices will stay high,” said Human Sexuality Professor Ann Auleb.

Researchers are developing and testing the HPV vaccine for men, according to the CDC. HPV is usually latent in men, and can cause penile and anal cancer, Auleb said.

According to the CDC, a potential HPV vaccine for men may indirectly benefit women.

“Whether the question men should receive it is more complicated because the benefit of men receiving that vaccine would be accrued by women,” Moffatt said. “The frequency of anal and penile cancer is relatively low compared to cervical cancer.”

Though men are less prone to anal and penile cancer, they should still consider getting the vaccine when it is available, said SF State student Kelly Ryan.

“If [men] are having sex, it should be their concern,” said Ryan, 28. “They can carry it without even knowing it. If it benefits women, it benefits them. It’s already a heavy burden that society puts on women. It’s not a female issue — it’s a people issue.”

If the HPV vaccine were available for men, Psychology student Brendan Geraghty, 20, would be concerned about the cost of the vaccine and would need to give it some more thought.

“If I were really promiscuous, I would consider getting the vaccine,” Geraghty said. “But you can never be too sure.”

Child and Adolescent Development student Michael Henry, 20, also questions the availability of the vaccine across income lines.

“Everyone wants to be healthy and secure, but will it be available to everyone or just people that can afford it?” Henry said. “Is it going to be costly for people to be safe?”

Memorial honored slain SF State BECA major

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About two weeks after 22-year-old SF State senior John Schirra was found dead in an empty lot near his Ingleside home, his family and friends attended his memorial service in Walnut, Calif. The service was held on Saturday.

Schirra’s childhood friend Tim Sandburg said many friends and family members knew him by the name Daniel. When Daniel and Tim were in junior-high, they would go to Schirra’s home to play computer games after school.

“He would always beat me,” said Sandburg.

“I’ve been playing video games since I was about two years old,” Schirra wrote in an autobiography project for a class in the spring of 2007.

Sandburg recalled Schirra as often wearing a smirk, as if on the verge of laughter: “This ‘What are you gonna do?’ look on his face.”

He was a stubbornly opinionated speaker, but also an inexhaustibly respectful listener, Sandburg said. He loved the San Francisco nightlife, and enjoyed slam-dancing to experimental rock music, and plucking chords on his classical guitar.

Schirra leaves behind his parents, Robin and John Schirra, of Walnut, Calif. and his older sister Rachel. In his autobiography, Schirra wrote that his parents did a good job of making things seem normal when money was tight.

“My dad’s (engineering) business is now doing very well, and my mom teaches kindergarten,” he wrote.

Daniel’s mother Robin Schirra said that he was the easiest baby ever. “He was an adventurous little guy, never afraid to go somewhere new,” Robin said.

As a teenager, “he was a little kid-magnet,” said Robin, who remembers Daniel being liked by babies, toddlers and cats alike. He valued honesty and cared about people, but had little patience for hypocrisy, according to Robin.

Schirra was born on July 24, 1985, in Fullerton, California, and raised in the small suburb town of Walnut. For lack of anything better to do, Daniel played soccer and softball, though “he hated organized sports, according to his friend Tim Sandburg.
“The result was that I spent a retrospectively absurd amount of time playing video games,” Schirra wrote.

Schirra wrote that after reading Miyamoto Musashi’s “The Book Of Five Rings,” he took a sharp interest in sword fighting. In his early teens he joined a kendo dojo to practice Japanese fencing.

He graduated high school and was accepted into UC Irvine, where he majored in Japanese. “After my second year at Irvine, a complete lack of direction and goals, combined with an utter hatred of the city, compelled me to take a semester off to rethink my college career,” he wrote.

In 2005, Schirra moved to San Francisco, joining Sandburg and other good friends, to study audio production at SF State’s school of Broadcast and Electronic Creative Arts.
Schirra wrote, “My ideal job after college is to open a studio to record bands that I like.” He wrote that he hoped to start various music projects to make money on the side, while his greater goal grew to fruition.

Sandburg said the SFPD told him Schirra was the seventh homicide this year in the Ingleside neighborhood.

“Ingleside is right there, and I think it would be respectful to the SF State community to warn the (college) kids how dangerous the Oceanview-Ingleside area is,” said Sandburg. “You just don’t dream about something like this happening.”

Schirra was found on the morning of September 3 in a lot on the 2600 block of San Jose Avenue, a short drive from the SF State campus. Three SFPD homicide detail inspectors have been assigned to the investigation, but no suspects have yet been identified.

The SFPD medical examiner has still not determined the cause of death in the killing, according to Dewayne Tully of the SFPD Public Affairs Office.

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact SFPD homicide inspector Kevin Jones at (415) 553-1145. Anonymous information may be given at (415) 575-4444.

Grand opening for new food stands

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With free sausage samples and mariachi tunes, SF State celebrated Thusday the grand opening of West Plaza, a new addition to Cesar Chavez Student Center. After eight months of construction, from November 2006 to June 2007, two of the three units in the structure on the west side of the student center are now open for business.

The two eateries, Carmelina La Petite and Bark N’ Bun, celebrated their new permanent locations by offering free samples to passing students.

“I’m very happy,” said Carmelina Narciso, the owner of Carmelina La Petite, which has been on campus since 1988. “I’m trying to do the best for the students and the staff,” she said while serving samples of portabello mushroom wrap and rice and Japanese bean salad.

“I think the smoked Tofu is amazing, “ said Kurt Neilsen, a Broadcast and Electronic Communications Arts major, after tasting another of Carmelina’s salads. “I used to get coffee when it was over there,” he said, pointing to the south side of the student center.

Both businesses used to be housed in temporary wooden shacks in South Plaza.
“They worked really well for the campus populations,” said Edina Bajraktarevic, the retail and commercial services manager for Cesar Chavez Student Center. “So, the students committed to making them permanent, but it took almost ten years.”

A soul food spot is planned for the middle unit, scheduled to open at the beginning of the spring 2008 semester.

Sustainable business a new option for downtown MBAs

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This semester marks SF State’s official launch of a new graduate-level sustainable business program that professors say is a first for the California State University system.

For years, an informal group of SF State business teachers discussed the need for environmental and social responsibility in the private sector. This fall, students are learning how to change the way business is done through the new sustainable business emphasis of the Master of Business Administration (MBA) graduate degree program.

“Some schools have had the ‘green MBA’ for years but without a dedicated faculty. We have five dedicated people [advising] that’s unheard of in any business department,” said Denise Kleinrichert, an assistant professor and the newest addition to the “sustainability group.”

“I believe that … in three to five years, 20 percent of our MBAs will want to take this emphasis,” said Professor Murray Silverman of the management department. Silverman estimated 25 to 30 students in the program currently.

“We’re really the first Cal State University to have a sustainable business emphasis,” Silverman said.

Silverman said the program was brought together by combining faculty interest, a growing interest in environmentalism, and concerned faculty.

The emphasis is on a group of four elective courses that MBA students can choose as a specialty, said Kleinrichert.

Students in the SF State MBA program must complete a core of foundation courses, followed by a set of more advanced classes. In addition, every graduate student must choose an emphasis such as accounting, management, or sustainable business.

The emphasis’ reference to sustainability implies more than just environmental concerns. The program teaches students to think in terms of a “triple bottom line.”

“The triple bottom line looks at the health of the organization not only fiscally, but also socially and environmentally,” Kleinrichert said. “We think we have distinction in that we don’t just talk about the greening of business.”

This involves examining all aspects of a business’s activities, from its labor relations to its ecological footprint, Kleinrichert explained. Corporate accountability and transparency are also discussed in the graduate classes, which make extensive use of real-world case studies.

“What we’re trying to do is equip people to transform mainstream business,” said Assistant Professor of Management Bruce Paton, another member of the sustainability group.

“Policies aren’t being made so much in the bowels of the Environmental Protection Agency or in the legislature,” Paton said. “They’re being talked about by interested parties, and then somebody crafts legislation.”

Kleinrichert, who previously taught courses on business ethics and corporate responsibility at the University of South Florida, said the business program has seen increasing student interest in the new emphasis.

Andrew Wilkinson, 26, is in his first year of the MBA program at SF State, with a double emphasis in Sustainable and International Business. He said he wouldn’t necessarily consider himself an environmentalist, but does value the outdoors.

“I have always had an interest in contributing something new and innovative to the world that improves quality of life,” Wilkinson said. He said he learned about SF State’s sustainable business emphasis while working at UC Irvine earlier this year.

“I found an overwhelming value in our culture for unbridled consumption that was largely used as a measurement of success and social status, to which I could not relate,” Wilkinson said, which he realized after getting his bachelor’s degree. “I could not understand why we exploit other people, cultures, communities, environments, or resources, because they are us, and we are them.”

Wilkinson’s observations share a tone with Silverman, who is credited as the prime mover behind the sustainable business emphasis.

Silverman said that after earning his MBA from Stanford University, he struggled with the direction of business in general. He left teaching for eight years and didn’t return until he saw the environmentalist movement begin to push issues of social responsibility and the greening of business into the public sphere.

When Silverman noticed business classes that address these concerns becoming available, he began talking to his colleagues about a new direction for business instruction. He offered his house as a meeting place, and the informal sustainability group began moving toward the creation of a new field of study for SF State students.
“I was probably a misfit in the business world,” Silverman said. “I was the person in the business school with the ponytail.”

CSU report: campus drinking in decline

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A California State University systemwide alcohol prevention program has successfully reduced the amount of drinking on campuses, according to a July report released by the board of trustees.

The report was jointly presented by CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed and Fresno State University President John D. Welty, who chairs the Alcohol Policy and Prevention Programs Committee. The report documented a general trend toward a reduction in the number of reported instances of drinking and driving, binge consumption, and student alcohol-related misconduct.

“The CSU’s alcohol policy is visionary and ambitious,” Reed said. “It has been called one of the most comprehensive in the country.”

The report also showed a decline in the number of underage students who consume alcohol and an increased number of students who used medical assistance to aid intoxicated friends.

CSU trustees created the committee in 2001 to provide a consolidated guideline of recommendations for all 23 CSU campuses. Each campus then worked within those guidelines to implement enforcement policies and programs in education, drinking assessment, intervention, and treatment.

One program at Chico State University requires students to take an online alcohol course that teaches them about the dangers and consequences associated with drinking. The course takes students four to six weeks to complete.

According to Ray Murillo, Associate Director of Student Programs at the Chancellor’s Office, the Chico State course serves as a drinking assessment tool, but also provides students with extensive education on responsible alcohol consumption.

“Most student behavior has changed,” Murillo said. “Students have been definitely drinking less.”

Within the CSU prevention program, every campus is encouraged to apply for additional grants provided by state agencies and departments. Since the committee’s inception, the Office of Traffic Safety has dispersed $2.23 million in grants aimed at reducing student-related drinking and driving incidents.

SF State freshman Samantha Patton said that “we always have a designated driver” when she and her friends drink. While she admits to underage drinking, she added that “I don’t drink that much and my friends are pretty responsible.”

On the SF State campus, Michael Ritter is the director of an alcohol awareness program called Creating Empowerment through Alcohol and Substance Abuse Education. His state-funded organization offers on-campus Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and peer education programs. C.E.A.S.E. also provides two CSU-backed online alcohol and drug self-assessment surveys called e-Chug and e-Toke.

Ritter said that the online self-assessments are an effective first step in alcohol abuse prevention.

“Students may not be ready to see a counselor or go to A.A.,” Ritter said, “but [after the assessment] they may say ‘maybe I need to take a look at my drinking.’”

Ritter also chairs SF State’s Alcohol Advisory Committee, which in 2003 adopted CSU recommendations for eliminating hard-liquor sales on campus and drink specials such as 2-for-1 and super-sized drinks.

On-campus alcohol vendors such as The Pub in the Caesar Chavez Student Center say they had no problem complying.

“My customers are very responsible,” said Ferras Jweinat, The Pub’s co-owner and manager, “I’ve never had a single incident in my seven years being here.”

Jweinat added that his business works closely with the campus authorities to ensure student safety and provide a peaceful place for students to relax away from class.

“We’re all adults here,” he said, “We know how to handle our drinks and are entitled to this leisure.”

Students outside The Pub agreed that they didn’t see alcohol abuse as a major problem plaguing SF State.

Prentiss Jackson, a 28-year-old urban studies major, said alcohol abuse is a problem facing all of society, not just students.

“In my neighborhood, we have liquor stores on every corner,” said Jackson, “Here on campus, we like to have our fun, but overwhelming school comes first.”

Library offers answers via instant message

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SF State’s library has signed on to one of the latest trends in communication by adding an instant messaging feature to their website--giving students nearly instantaneous answers to their research questions.

The opportunity for students to instant message a librarian is a feature added to the library’s website in July, but one that really only kicked off at the semester’s start, librarians said.

SF State is the second California State University school to adapt the instant message feature, after Cal State East Bay, and also one of a few campus libraries in California to instant message, including UC Berkeley, and City College of San Francisco.

Jeff Rosen, references and services coordinator at SF State, said student use of the instant messaging feature has been picking up steadily after a slow start. Rosen said librarians are now getting several instant messages a day.

“We really think it’s important that we’re there when students need us,” Rosen said of the new instant message feature, “Not when it’s just convenient for us.”

Rosen said part of the reason they decided to add this feature was because the library staff has been noticing a decrease in the amount of students approaching the reference desk with questions and decided it might be time to make the process as convenient as possible for students.

“Some students perceive the library as complex and crowded,” Rosen said. “(This is) a way for them to not have to come into the building.”

Darlene Tong, head of information, research, and instructional services at SF State, said the program has been promising and said she hopes students will feel comfortable instant messaging a librarian.

“We’re just trying to reach people with the technology they’re already using,” Tong said.

Tong acknowledged that if the instant messaging program gets to be too much for a librarian to juggle, along with their phone and in-person requests for information, they may move the instant messaging to a separate office or they may hire more staff members to work at the reference desk during one shift.

Reference librarian, Laura Moody, said that since she’s started typing instant messages at the beginning of the semester, it seems to take the place of some of the phone calls.

“We still get phone calls,” she said. “But now that we have IM it seems the phone calls have dropped off.”

Moody said that because the system is so new they don’t have much data on exactly how many instant messages they receive but she says it seems like they get about one or two an hour and during 4 to 7 p.m. the reference desk’s peak hours, they could get several.

Marie Blackard, a librarian from University of San Francisco (USF), said she likes using instant messaging.

“It’s very convenient and fast,” Blackard said. “Except in the case of very long and involved questions.”

USF has offered their instant message service since the spring of 2006, Locke Morrisey, head of collections, reference and research services at USF’s library, said that they usually receive about three to five instant messages a day. The fewer count, compared to SF State, can be attributed to the fact that SF State has approximately four times as many students as USF. And Morrisey added that the semester is young, once the paper assignments start coming in, they should be seeing more instant messages.

Morrisey also moonlights at SF State’s library two days a week. While Morrisey doesn’t take credit for collaborating with SF State on implementing the instant message feature, he does say that he demonstrated the program here at SF State.

Different libraries are using different methods for instant messaging. USF provides students with different choices from AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) to gTalk, ICQ, Jabber, MSN and Yahoo, Cal State East Bay provides chat options in AIM, MSN, and Yahoo.

SF State offers Meebo, a web-based chat widget that, librarians argue, is much more customer friendly than other chat services, especially for people who are not used to using the technology. Students don’t need to make any downloads or get an account to instant message a librarian at SF State, and although Morrisey admits they’ve had a couple little glitches in getting the technology to work from time to time, the system is pretty user-friendly.

Several students spending time at SF State’s library on a couple of recent afternoons said they were not aware, or only slightly aware, of the new program. Some students said they might look into using the instant message feature while others expressed little interest.

“I think it’s more personable if you go up and talk to the (librarian),” SF State Student Tehani Thompson, 22, said. “But I can see how it could be convenient for some students.”

Fellow student Shrouq Hasan, 20, said she might try instant messaging a librarian sometime. “I think it could be useful,” she said adding that students could benefit from the convenience of asking librarians questions while they are sitting at their desks working on their projects.

Students can access the instant messaging services—on or off campus—by going on to the library’s homepage at www.library.sfsu.edu, clicking on the instant messaging icon on the top right portion of the screen and typing their questions directly into the instant message box. Except for a few hours on Sundays, librarians are available to answer student’s instant messages during all of the library’s usual open hours.

International students flock to SF State

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Rene Deichgraeber, 24, was sitting in his classroom in Aarhus, Denmark earlier this year when his teacher spoke of an opportunity to study in San Francisco. Deichgraeber, who had visited the city twice before and loved it, convinced his girlfriend to apply with him and flew over 6,000 miles to study at SF State this fall.

“Everything that influences Danish policy seems to come from America,” he said. "And this city is perfect. There are a lot of things that fit for me. It seems so safe, and has a nice climate.”

Deichgraeber is one of a growing number of foreign students who flock to SF State every year from over 100 countries ranging from Japan to Argentina.

According to My Yarabinec, Coordinator of SF State's Study Abroad and International Exchange Programs, SF State ranks no. 1 among California State University (CSU) campuses in the number of foreign students it receives.

This semester, there are approximately 2,000 International students and about 180 foreign exchange students at SF State, almost twice the amount at other CSU campuses.

International students spend up to four years studying at the university to earn a degree, in comparison to foreign exchange students, who typically spend one to two semesters taking the place of American students who went abroad.

Foreign students may sometimes have to plan up to a year in advance because of the demand and popularity of SF State, said Yarabinec. The process can take several steps. First the students compete with other students at their university to participate in the program.

For Deichgraeber, that meant submitting an essay along with his application. Then, if the students apply under the CSU program, they also have to "compete at another level, for San Francisco instead of Chico or Dominguez Hills,” said Yarabinec. “They can’t send everybody to SF State.”

Nanna Dahl Pedersen, 26, a psychology student from Denmark who applied under the CSU program, had to wait several months to see if she and her boyfriend were accepted to SF State.

“My boyfriend is studying anthropology while I am studying psychology,” she said. “We needed to find a university that had both our subjects.”

However, some students think applying is the easy part.

“The hard part was getting a visa, an international driver’s license, and making travel appointments," said Deichgraeber.

The Student and Exchange Visitor visas, also known as the F-1 and J-1 visas, require documents showing that the visitor intends to stay in the country only temporarily and “has evidence of compelling social and economic ties abroad.” Getting a visa can take up to six weeks and cost 100 dollars.

Once they arrive at SF State, there are many opportunities for foreign students to immerse in American culture, such as the International Education Exchange Council, an organization that boasts over 400 foreign and American students.

The IEEC brings together Foreign and American students in an effort to “promote cooperation and educational exchange,” said Noah Kuchins, an International Exchange Advisor. They participate in activities and social events such as going bowling, visiting Yosemite, doing the Bridge Walk, and many intramural sports. These programs can turn out lifelong friendships and sometimes even more.

“We’ve had a lot couples come out of the program,” said Kuchins.

Although the SF State's programs aim to minimize culture shock, some foreign students do experience the drawbacks of the city.

“The living costs here are much more expensive,” said Marcel Krapf, 24, a broadcasting student from Germany. “The food and electronics here are cheaper, but I pay four times the amount for rent as I did over there.”

However, said Krapf, the good outweighs the bad. “I like the city. There are so many new things,” he said.

Kyra Scheenen, 20, a media studies student from Amsterdam, said she likes how she is treated at SF State. “All the professors here want to listen to us, like we’re special,” she said.

“I love the students here,” said Alberto Aescoli, 26, a philosophy student from England. He said American students love to talk to him when they learn he is an exchange student. “It’s like they lay out the red carpet for us,” he said.

For more information on SF State’s study abroad programs, visit www.sfsu.edu/studyabr. For more information on the International program, visit www.sfsu.edu/~oip.


Campus program couples cultures

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Conversation Partner, an SF State program designed to connect students from different cultural backgrounds, is kicking off its fall session this October.

The semester-long program is run by SF State’s American Language Institute and pairs up American and International students for weekly sessions to share each other’s cultures.

“The program helps raise cultural awareness for all students involved and fosters cross-cultural communication,” said Angelika Rappe, coordinator of Conversation Partner.

After the participants are matched based on their languages and interests in the first week of October, they meet one another at a small ice-breaker event arranged by Rappe. Any meeting after that is decided on and arranged solely by the partners.

Although the program enables students to share each other’s cultures and experiences, the emphasis is on language skills.

“All of our [international] students speak English, but may not have had the opportunity to use it in conversational contexts,” said Rappe. “So they naturally want to practice this part of their English learning as well as learn about American culture.”

Some ambitious students have spent half of their hour together speaking in one language and the other half hour in another language, said Rappe. However, American students are not required to know a language besides English to participate.

Conversation Partner has already received some early attention from students who are curious about the program.

Audrey Tilson, 24, said it could offer her a chance to help international students learn English and improve their language skills while at the same time she could learn about their culture.

“Just the exchange of language is what attracted me,” said Tilson, a senior Italian and business major.

“It sounds great,” said Melanie Mendl, 30, an international student from Germany. “You can share each other’s culture and language. It might engage people to think about international policies.”

Interested students can sign up for the program in HUM 101 or send an email to conversationpartner@gmail.com. International students must be in high-intermediate or advanced classes at the ALI to participate. The deadline is Sept. 27.

Funding woes continue to hinder students, staff

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State funding problems, increased student enrollment and declining graduation rates contribute to budget woes that create a strained educational environment for students and faculty, according to university budget committee members.

The budget committee convened for the first time this semester on Sept. 12 to discuss the major fiscal challenges facing SF State, in addition to the $8.4 million budget deficit.

“There’s no magic answer,” said Leroy Morishita, vice president and chief financial officer of the SF State Administration & Finance Department. “This would require negotiations with the Legislature and governor.”

The bulk of the deficit stems from a budget decision at the California State University level that went awry four years ago, costing SF State $5 million, according to the committee’s agenda.

In addition, the agenda indicated that in 2003, university officials raised fees by $339 for non-resident students and relied on future earnings from that fee increase to cover budget shortfalls. The projected revenue never materialized due to Sept. 11, according to the document, when international student enrollment dropped sharply due to difficulty obtaining visas.

“By far, we had the largest international enrollment (in the CSU system),” said Morishita. “So we were hurt the most.”

Morishita said another problem in the budget is the state’s process for allocating money to public universities. He said the state distributes money to schools based on the number of full-time, California-residents in attendance.

“There’s a target (number of resident students) we have to hit to earn money,” Morishita said. “And we are exceeding that target.”

School President Robert A. Corrigan attended the meeting. He said that the university has been hit hard by the enrollment factor.

“We play the enrollment game like anyone else,” Corrigan said. "Because that’s the only way we can get the funding.”

However, the CSU Board of Trustees met this week to discuss a proposal for $94.5 Million in additional state funding—a 3.5% increase over last year.

Morishita said SF State is adding more students to take care of the budget deficit, and he said the school has added more housing. However, he said SF State officials are not interested in “exorbitant growth.”

“We’re not actively recruiting,” President Corrigan added.

Other factors straining the budget this fiscal year include: low graduation rates, utility costs, faculty unemployment insurance, and contract negotiations not funded by the state, university officials said.

“Our graduation rate is embarrassing,” President Corrigan said. “We are using up seats for folks that should be graduated.”

Lucio Medina, 35, an SF State student and creative writing major, said the high cost of living in San Francisco weighs on his education.

“The cost of BART is killing me,” Medina said. “In New York it’s less expensive to take public transportation than it is here.”

Medina transferred from Berkeley City College. He said he expects to graduate on time over the next two years by taking 18 to 19 credits a semester, in addition to summer school.

He said the only thing that would prevent him from graduating on time is an inability to get classes he needs. So far, he said he hasn’t had many problems getting into classes, but he said he has noticed a “buzz” on campus, regarding students infuriated with the new scheduling system.

Another SF State student, Mostafa Shafaq, 21, said he works two jobs to support himself, while taking classes.

Shafaq spent 2.5 years at De Anza College before transferring to SF State, and he said he is aiming to complete his Design & Industry degree within the next two years.
“People are on six or seven year plans,” Shafaq said. “They drop out, because they don’t get classes or have time.”

Final exam schedule dips into weekend

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SF State’s Academic Senate approved the Academic Calendar Policy last spring, mandating changes that affect this fall’s final exam schedule.

For the first time, fall semester final exams will begin on a Saturday and end on a Saturday.

Students and faculty spend the last days of the semester with exams, but some will be sitting in classrooms punching away formulas and bubbling Scantrons until the very last moment on Saturday, Dec. 22.

Saturday is traditionally the first day of finals, but the schedule will be interrupted on Monday, which will be observed as the last day of instruction. Final exams begin on Saturday, Dec. 15, and resume on Tuesday until Saturday.

“It’s lame,” said Allison Carroll, a nursing student who has two finals on Dec. 22. “[Classes] should be done on Friday.”

When SF State’s Academic Senate approved the full week of fall recess during the week of Thanksgiving, the university needed to recover lost days of instruction. California State University policy mandates a minimum of 14 weeks of instruction. The university policy also states that classes begin on the fourth week of August and end by Dec. 22.

“Under those constraints, we didn’t have any other options,” said Senate Vice Chair Shawn Whalen. Whalen was the chair of the Academic Policies Committee, which constructs and reviews the academic calendar last term.

SF State needed to use Monday as an instructional day during finals week because the university needed to balance the schedule after losing Mondays to observe Labor Day, Veteran’s Day, and the fall recess, Whalen said.

“California Education Code specifies that we have to observe Veteran’s Day,” Whalen said. “So whenever it lands on Monday or lands on Sunday, we face the problem of not having 14 Mondays between the fourth week of August and Dec 22.”

Comparatively, San Jose State University starts instruction on Thursday, Aug. 23, does not have fall recess, and finishes final exams on Wednesday, Dec. 18.

Some students and faculty are upset about the Saturday finals. Biology Professor Laura Burrus said the amended finals schedule was not favorable. When Burrus went over the course syllabus and noted the time of the final exam, students were less than thrilled.

“I think it makes any travel plans for students and faculty very difficult,” Burrus said. “With such a large lecture room it’s impossible, and people are going to have finals at other times.”

David Meredith, former Chair of the Academic Senate, is not surprised by the faculty reaction.

“If it’s a concern, it hasn’t gone back to me,” Meredith said. “The faculty is upset, but certainly it’s what their representatives voted for last year. Faculty is often not aware of this until they construct their schedule for the year.”

Members of Associated Students Inc. usually sit on committees at Senate meetings to reflect the interests of students, but their attendance fluctuates, said Senate Staff Representative Bridget McCracken.

“We have people from ASI who sit on the committees, but unfortunately we struggled with their level of commitment in the past to attend Senate meetings,” McCracken said. “We are working with ASI to get stronger student commitment, and as far as student voice is concerned, that is the best access to actual students and what their opinions are. Their committee membership is so crucial.”

Current ASI President Isidro Armenta is in the process of appointing ASI members to the Academic Senate and is trying to improve student representation on university committees.

“There’s very little I could say for last year, but this year we’re striving for more shared governance for student input in all discussions related to this university,” Armenta said. “This is a call for all students to get involved. We’re only a board of 19 representatives, and there are countless university committees. We still need input from those interested, and the doors are with open to hear from those voices.”

While some professors use the last day of instruction for final exams, classes need to meet during the mandated final exam times even if an exam is not given, according to the SF State Faculty Manual.

In April 2007, the Academic Senate adopted an Academic Calendar policy that would fix the calendars five years in advance. Amendments to the calendar must be approved by the Academic Senate.

The Academic Policies Committee based the policy on responses from a survey of 250 of the nearly 35,000 students, staff, and faculty. The policy mirrors the current calendar.

“I think the calendar policy we place have in place reflects the majority will of the campus at this point,” Whalen said. “When we have a five-week holiday there’s no difference between Friday and Saturday.”

IN BLOGS: Jena 6 and the Modern Day Civil Rights Movement

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Today may be the culmination of mounting wills and tension in a racially charged Louisiana town. For a story that was dormant in the mainstream press until recently, today’s events in Jena, LA may cause national controversy and could influence the destiny of a certain presidential candidate.

In solidarity with students from USF, the SF State Black Student Union wore all-black, taped their mouths shut and wrote letters to authorities involved in the unusually harsh prosecution of six black high school students in Jena. Protests will be held at the University of California in Berkeley, in downtown San Francisco and across the nation today as well.

Busloads across the country descended upon Jena, a town of 3,000, in support of the “Jena 6”, a group of six black teenagers accused of attempted second-degree murder and conspiracy after beating up their classmate.

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Anti-war protesters target Pelosi

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A cold wind chill didn’t deter SF State’s Students Against War from heading down to meet up with passionate protesters from UC Berkeley and City College of San Francisco as well as a colorfully dressed group of singing grandmothers dawning frying pans to stage a protest and rally outside of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office at the Federal Building in Downtown San Francisco Wednesday afternoon.

The groups' mission was to send a clear message to Pelosi that they don’t approve of the war and of her funding of it. Students Against War gathered in Malcolm X Plaza carrying signs reading “Hey Pelosi! Students Say: Troops Out Now” and mobilizing to head downtown.

Karen Knoller, a 20-year-old Students Against War member, felt that the people elected Nancy Pelosi to end the Iraq war, but she’s only paid lip service to that promise. “People are fast losing confidence in her because of her lack of action,” she said.

“In the end it won’t be politicians who end war, it will be a movement of students, US soldiers and the Iraqi resistance,” Knoller said. “We want immediate withdrawal of all troops, and to funnel money to infrastructure.”

The group expected that police would escort the group away from the offices but their objective is to get Pelosi to hold a town hall meeting with them.

The City College of San Francisco Students Against War had about four attendees but was expecting a lot more. Kitty Lui, 20, a former CCSF student, said that their purpose is to build a broad nationwide campus network, to meet and network with people who are just as angered as they are and want to organize with them.

“She (Pelosi) is the third most powerful person in office right now. We want to pressure her to end war funding, and because she’s the Speaker of the House the SF movement is in more of a strategic position to end the war,” Mary Wilson, 25, said. Wilson is a student at CCSF, and she is angered that the Democrats were elected and haven’t taken any action to end the war.

“If Pelosi and the Democrats don’t do anything to end the war, why vote for the Democrats anyway?” she said.

Speakers took to a megaphone on a concrete bench and yelled their thoughts on war and policy. John Gibson, 18-year-old Peace and Conflict Studies major from UC Berkeley’s Stop the War Coalition, spoke of the monies going into war funding.

“Over one third of the nation’s bridges are structurally deficient, maybe we can save people in Minnesota from falling into the river if we spend a little more money building the bridges in this country and a little less money killing people in other parts of the world,” Gibson said.

Unusually low turnout for Spoken Word

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With a turn out well below normal, Spoken Word, an open mike night hosted by Project Rebound was dominated by SF State Civil Engineering majors.

“It’s never been like this before,” said C. Jason Bell, director of Project Rebound, as he stood in The Depot, surrounded by mostly empty tables.

“Last time we had this place full of people, rapping, singing and performing,” said Bell,
as the 5 p.m. start time for the third bi-annual Spoken Word event approached.

Project Rebound is an on campus student service that “essentially is a program to get those who need assistance from getting from the criminal system into college,” said Bell, 34.

“This can include help with admissions and financial assistance,” said Bell, who was incarcerated for much of his 20s before earning a degree in Sociology from SF State.

Among those who did perform was Senior Amir Ali Ghazi-Moradi. “She is beyond my nature, what she does to me is destructive.” Standing at the mike, the Civil Engineering major continued, “what some say she does to me is constructive.”

“I just wrote it about what I was feeling,” said Ghazi-Moradi, 23, who wrote the poem about someone in his life.

“Everyone has something to say,” said Oliver Nery, 29, another Civil Engineering major. “Everyone has something inside that should be heard.”

Walking around the lower conference level of the Cesar Chavez Student Center with a clipboard, Bell tried to find those who wanted to be heard and get involved in the event.

“This place has been packed before, with students and others from off campus speaking their minds,” said Bell. “Where are the students?”

“I want to provide this platform for all students for all organizations to speak their minds,” said Bell, after he sat back down with a clipboard with only three additional names, so that the event had five speakers in all.

As Spoken Word continued towards the 7 p.m. end time, Bell took to the mike to state that he was sorry that students did not come out to the Project Rebound event, and said that “I hope to host another Spoken Word event at the end of the semester so that maybe more of you [students] will turn out for it.”

Suspect sought in Libary sex assault

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Campus police are on the lookout for a man who sexually assaulted a female student inside the J. Paul Leonard Library last Tuesday.

According to an information bulletin released by Kirk Gaston, SF State Chief of Police, the suspect started a conversation with the female, then followed her to the first floor study room.

The suspect then proceeded to ask sexually explicit questions, and began to fondle her. The female student quickly exited the room and called campus police.

The suspect has been described as a Hispanic male approximately 25-years-old, around six feet tall, with black, wavy shoulder length hair and brown eyes.

He was last seen wearing a blue nylon jacket with two white stripes down the sleeves, black jeans, white tennis shoes and was said to be carrying a satchel pack.

Campus police would not comment on the case beyond what was stated in the bulletin.

"I feel safe on this campus, but wow, I can't believe that happened," said Jordan Kurland, 21-year-old International Business major. "But I feel like some women won't (feel safe) once they hear that, since it happened so blatantly in the middle of the day."

Kurland doesn't know what people could really do on campus besides being aware of their surroundings and of suspicious people.

The campus police have requested that if anyone knows any information on this case to call the San Francisco State University Police Department (415) 338-3069, or the anonymous tip line at (415) 338-3030.

Master Plan angering Park Merced residents

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Park Merced residents are up in arms over SF State’s Master Plan to redevelop outlying areas of the campus. The plan goes before the CSU Board of Trustees for approval on Nov 13 and 14.

Residents claim the plan will encroach on Park Merced property, damaging its reputation. In addition to revamping campus property the plan also calls to increase enrollment to 25,000 students by 2020. The plan is now in the final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) stage.

“The EIR completely washes over Park Merced,” said Aaron Goodman, Vice President of the Park Merced Residents Organization, a community board of residents in the Park Merced property. “They’re not paying attention to the historical resources of the site. They’re on the wrong track.”

Goodman says that Park Merced property is a gem and the Master Plan is not "positive urban planning."

“The plan is in the footprint” of SF State, said Jason Porth, the associate director of community relations in the government relations office at SF State. “This development is not in Park Merced. It’s in University Park North and University Park South."

SF State bought University Park North, former Stonestown apartments in 2005. The school bought the University Park South from Park Merced in different parcels from 2000-2005, according to Ellen Griffin, the SF State spokesperson.

The plan involves adding new buildings including a new Creative Art complex, a new gym and a university conference center. “It’s a redevelopment plan in many ways,” said Porth.

To pay for the project, funding would come through the California State Legislature, bonds, donations and income through rents. This revenue would pay for the bonds.

The only part of the Master Plan that falls outside of the property that SF State owns is the former School of the Arts site at 700 Font Blvd. The property is currently owned by the San Francisco Unified School District. The property is up for sale for $13.75 million but SF State bid below that amount.

“We’re still interested. We’ll still pursue it,” said Griffin. “We are the best buyer.”

Goodman said that the Master Plan will hurt the Park Merced neighborhood.

“A lot of stuff is going on without proper review from the neighborhood,” he said. “There were meetings held on campus during work hours. There was no communication to include all the communities.”

Porth disagrees and said that an outreach campaign started in early 2006 to make sure residents were aware of SF State’s plans.

“We had eight meetings with the community, with one in Park Merced,” said Porth. “We sent a letter to over 13,000 addresses to come to a meeting in Dec. 2006. There has been an opportunity to get people to attend.”

Porth said that residential response influenced change to the plan. “The entire University Park South was for development, retail on the first floor and residential living the rest of the floors,” said Porth.

Residents voiced their opinions and that part of the plan was “dramatically reduced,” according to Porth. Now only one block of University Park South is being redeveloped.

Goodman said that SF State simply is not paying attention to concerns being voiced.

“It doesn’t look like they look at the community at large,” he said. “If SF State is not paying attention, legal recourse is our only action.”

To view the SF State Master Plan, go to www.sfsumasterplan.org

News brief: ASI raffling off textbook money

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The Associated Students' Project Connect program plans to coax students into campus involvement with a raffle including 500 dollar and 300 dollar prizes in textbook loans Wednesday.

As part of welcome back week, a smorgasbord of campus programs will be tabling from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Malcolm X Plaza. To enter ASI’s “Connect 4” drawing, students must talk to two university programs and two student organizations.

“The raffle is an effort to have students approach these tables and make the best use of their times,” said Mario Flores, director of ASI Project Connect. Frequently, clubs will set up tables and no students will talk to them, he added.

Cassandra Cheng, who found out about the drawing while walking by, won the grand prize last year.

“It was a coincidence,” said the 19-year-old health education major. She was so shocked when Flores called her that she thought he was kidding, she added.

The grand prize was donated by the bookstore.

“As a bookstore, our main purpose is to help the campus,” said Husam Ericyes, the campus bookstore’s director of marketing.

The textbook scholarships are good for either fall or spring semester this year. Winners will be able to buy up to their prize’s amount in textbooks from the bookstore, but will have to return the books at the end of the semester, said Flores.

There will be three prizes in addition to the book scholarships that include coupons to on-campus eateries, shirts, glasses, and other goodies. The food coupons will expire around October 1st and can only be used once, said Flores.

Flores also said he wants to promote Project Connect’s book loan service by announcing that people who did not win can sign up for the book loan program.

BECA reopens digital video editing lab

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The Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts (BECA) department celebrated the re-opening of the Digital Video Editing Lab Thursday afternoon. All of the chairs in the Art and Creative Arts Departments gathered around the entrance to the editing lab to witness the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The BECA Department Chair, Scott Patterson and Interim Dean of College, Ronald Compesi, cut the purple and gold ribbon to open the new lab.

“I wanted this ceremony to recognize all of the hard work put in by the CATS to make our editing lab the most state of the art facility within the CSU system,” said Compesi.

According to Patterson, the editing lab was closed over the summer to allow the Creative Arts of Technical Service Team to re-install new computers and technology. The new equipment will make editing for the students in the department easier without the inconvenience of old equipment not working.

“We used to have old and new computers in here, but now we have all new computers which will put responsibilities fully on the student,” said John Hewitt, a professor for Documentary Production and Advanced Video Production. “The students won’t be allowed to blame the old equipment for their work being incomplete or not up to par, they’ll have to walk the walk and talk the talk.”

According to Patterson, students who were enrolled to take editing classes over the summer were able to keep their curriculum by using the SF State downtown campus’ college lab. 175 Apple computers with 24-inch flat screen monitors were provided for SF State's electronic and media programs.

The Creative Arts department received 71 new computers, the Cinema department received 73 and the College of Creative Arts at the downtown campus received 20-25 computers. All computers come with the Final Cut Pro Studios program installed on them and will allow students to blow up projects into High Definition. The old computers will be distributed throughout the campus.

“The re-installment of computers were a part of the Entertainment Industry Initiative, which will foster future collaboration between the CSU schools and entertainment industries,” said Patterson.

Students react to Guatemalan elections

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Nobel Peace prize winner and Mayan activist Rigoberta Menchu ran and lost in the recent presidential elections in Guatemala that left more than 50 candidates, activists, and their relatives dead.

According to New York Time reports, Menchu placed sixth out of 14 candidates and is the first woman to run for president in Guatemalan history.

Menchu has visited SF State three times in the last 10 years and has a room on the top floor of the Cesar Chavez Student Center named in her honor.

“The fact that she is a woman may be one reason for explaining why
Menchu scored so low in the polls," said Josue Revolorio, Guatemalan native and member on the board of the Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala. The former college student activist claims he received death threats from his country’s military officials while watching many of his friends turn up dead.

"There is a lot of racism and sexism within the government," Revolorio said, although he thinks Menchu would have made a better president than either of the remaining candidates. Since winning the Nobel Prize in 1992 "she has been distant from grass-roots organizing, distant from Guatemala." Revolorio moved to the U.S. six years ago to live with his family.

Although there are many speculations for why Mechu did not fair well in the election, reasons for why the murders occurred remain unknown. Since the country endured brutal civil war from 1960 to 1996, gangs, or "maras," and drug lords hold power in many areas of Guatemala including government and military. The murders are most likely the acts of powerful criminals, in an attempt to push their choice for president to the frontlines, Revolorio said.

"During election campaigns, violence increases."

Alvaro Colom and Otto Perez Molina were selected as Guatemala's final presidential candidates. Because neither candidate won more than 50 percent of the vote, a runoff election will be held on Nov. 4 to determine the presidency.

To hear views from SF State students and staff, click the podcast to the right side of the page.

9/11 rally turns ugly

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Around 350 people who attended a Sept. 11 memorial event witnessed passionate exchanges between campus organizations and a trio of protesters at Malcolm X Plaza.

SF State student Nathaniel Jones, 52, shouted "If HUAC (House of Un-American Activities Committee) existed I'd damn sure report you," to the three protesters, who were members of "World Can't Wait: Drive Out the Bush Regime," during the event.

The World Can't Wait members kneeled in the quad, clad in orange jump suits, Abu Ghraib prison uniforms, and black head-wraps, while stomping and wiping their shoes on the American flag during a reading of the Pledge of Allegiance.

The event was held by The Political Science Student Association, the College Democrats and the College Republicans. It was dedicated to the victims and families of Sept. 11.

"We were trying to raise awareness and not start a shouting match, but the people in orange (World Can't Wait) staged an aggressive event, and it all descended into madness," said Sam Johnson, 18, of the unofficially named Temporary 9/11 Coalition.

The stage area was adorned with three American flags, two banners and 47 pages with the names of victims lost in the terrorist attacks. In the middle of the quad the three members of "World Can't Wait: Drive Out the Bush Regime" kneeled on top of an American flag with a black swastika painted on, clearly visible between their bodies.

"I am from New York, and [9/11] hit me directly because I am from the city," said Hillary Edelson, an 18-year-old education major, who was wearing an "I Love New York" T-shirt. "This affected our nation, as Pearl Harbor did, and its an event that we should remember."

The event opened with the playing of "The Star Spangled Banner" and the reading of the Pledge of Allegiance by the vice president of the SF State College Democrats, Ian King. A moment of silence was disrupted by the three protesters when they called out the questions, "What is 9/11 really about? Is it about Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay?"

"A quality of the American spirit was revealed during the aftermath of 9/11, but we remained united, and we were determined to rebuild," King said during his moment at the podium.

Six speakers went on to express their personal reflections on 9/11. One speaker, John Ashford, is a member of the SF State College Republicans.

"I am sorry that there were other victims, but I am an American and I lost friends and colleagues [in the attacks]," Ashford said about victims outside of the U.S.

In addition to the disruptions of the memorial, the protesters deterred the Temporary 9/11 Coalition from doing their planned "die-in" on the grass, where members had planned to lie down and represent the innocent victims of war.

The rally has received a mass of media attention, including an interview with the College Republicans and Democrats on "The O'Reilly Factor."

Forum tackles Iraq war

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On the afternoon of the sixth anniversary of September 11, over 100 students poured into a small, cramped room in the SF State science building, sitting on floors and window ledges, even standing in the doorway to listen to a panel of professors and visiting colleagues discuss politics and policy at the annual forum entitled “The Post 9/11 World: An International and Interdisciplinary View.”

On the panel were Uri Bar-Joseph, a visiting professor from Israel in Jewish and Political Science studies, Sanjoy Banerjee, a professor in International Relations. Maziar Behrooz, Chris Chekuri and Tony D’ Agustino, professors in the History department, Joel Kassiola, Dean of the Behavioral and Social Sciences department, and Amy Skonieczny, a professor in International Relations.

“This panel is here to discuss what the war looks like in terms of post 9/11 events and developments,” Behrooz said in his opening statements.

Dean Kassiola opened with discussion of a society that wants to do away with individual freedoms and have an endless war, an idea introduced in the novel “1984” by George Orwell. He spoke on the existence of Guantanamo Bay and the right of habeas corpus.

“Actions like holding people’s heads underwater proved invaluable in getting information from prisoners,” Kassiola said. “This war is used as a platform and a catalyst for intrusion on civil liberties—these are violations of our own constitution and therefore impeachable.”

Uri Bar-Joseph spoke on a day last month when New York City went on high alert due to a possible “dirty bomb,” and roads were blocked off, bridges closed for a number of hours. “Around 40 billion dollars are given to intelligence communities, yet there are no good sources about what is going on in the Middle East,” he said.

“Success or failure depends on the quality of the intelligence,” Bar-Joseph said. “The U.S. has no chance—you don’t need tanks, you don’t need soldiers, you don’t need sophisticated outlines.”

Amy Skonieczny noted that 9/11 and Iraq became an inseparable mess.

“There was an international movement concerned with global issues that was shut down by the linkage of 9/11 and Iraq,” Skonieczny said.

Tony D’Agustino hit on issues surrounding Russia and that Russians see themselves as economically opposed to the U.S. and NATO.

“In its heart of hearts, Russia would really like to be friendly with the US, its just waiting for that smile,” D’Agustino said. “But it won’t get one from Bush, and not if his successor is Hillary Clinton.”

The panel opened up for questions, some students accusatory of language used in discussion as well as a student upset that only one side of the war was covered, those opposing the US occupation of Iraq.

Cesar Chavez Student Center fountains offer free fill-up

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Students now have their choice of distilled or filtered water in the Cesar Chavez Student Center.

Beginning this semester, SF State’s Governing Board made it possible for students and faculty to fill up their water bottles while also getting a better quality of water by installing three filtered water stations.

According to Maria Liliana Cortez, chair of the governance board, the decision was made by SF State’s Master Plan Committee. The committee, which decides on physical changes to the Cesar Chavez Student Center building, informed the governance board about their intent to provide students with filtered water last year. The board agreed and the student center set up free filtered water stations with an extra spout for water bottles, next to the distilled water fountains. The three filtered water fountains cost the student center $9,000.

“Our goal is to provide services for students at little or no cost,” Cortez said “And in my experience, filtered water is cleaner than regular fountain water.”

The filtered water fountains have an extra spout for students to fill up any size water bottle as well as the usual fountain for students who want a quick drink before class. Cortez said the student center has received positive feedback on the filtered water fountains.

“I’d drink out of a hose if it was available,” said Nathan Greene, a transfer student from Auburn, California. “The school I transferred from didn’t have filtered water and the spout makes it easier for me to fill up my water bottle.”

For students like Greene, who say they have no preference in whether their water is distilled or filtered, the spout is the only reason why they choose to use the filtered water stations. However, there are other students who use the stations to receive a better quality of water.

SF State student Mike Weber says he uses them frequently because he is concerned about water quality.

“I use (the filtered water stations) because filtered water is cleaner (than distilled) and because the sign says that it’s filtered and I believe that it is,” said Weber.

There are three filtered water fountains located on campus. The one on the terrace level of the student center located outside of the men and women’s restrooms and the fountain next to the Gold Coast Grill on the plaza level are the two most trafficked stations according to Cortez.

The SF State Bookstore hosts the third filtered water station, which according to the Governing Board is rarely used because it is located in the corner of the bookstore and is hard for students to see.

It is up to SF State’s Office of Capital Planning, Design & Construction (CPDC) to decide whether or not the university will follow the student center’s lead and set up filtered water stations around the campus. While SF State’s Campus Master Plan mentions a better quality of water, there is no mention of adding filtered water stations.

Book loans help student turn a page

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SF State students can get their textbooks on loan free of cost - and no, it’s not a dream.
Mario Flores, director of the Associated Students Inc.’s Project Connect, is offering low-income students who receive financial aid or qualify for AB 540 status, two books per semester in many departments.

“Project Connect presents students an opportunity to connect with each other, and with faculty and staff to give them a sense of belonging,” Flores said.

The ASI Project Connect Book Loan Service is little known, which Flores said is unfortunate, because SF State serves over 50 percent of students on some kind of financial aid. The program is first come, first served and, according to Flores, there are over 660 textbooks available that are currently being used this semester in the colleges of BSS, HHS, Creative Arts, Humanities, Sciences, Business, Education and Ethnic Studies.

Flores was thrilled to see 225 students take advantage of the service this semester. Last spring 85 students made use of the service, but on a campus this size, even more could benefit said Flores.

“Word is getting out, when students return books, they donate books, which to me, is the true success of the book loan service,” Flores said.

At the end of each semester, Project Connect holds a book drive where students can donate books. Half of the books are not useful, and buyers come from other universities to purchase books from the program, bringing in over $1000 last year. The program takes that money, as well as money earned from book sales and SF State Bookstore donations, $2000 so far this year, to buy the early applicants the specific two books they need, on loan; an incentive to get applications in early.

Thomas Mar, 23-year-old Asian American Studies major, fell just under the cut off to qualify for financial aid this year.

“I pay for my own schooling,” Mar said. “They should start a book exchange for students not on financial aid.”

History major Russell Graham, 22, said he had heard about the book loan service, and attributes not applying to laziness, however he said he may take advantage of the program next semester.

“Everything’s been raised, lower prices so I can have my education easier without having to work all the time,” said Graham.

To apply, visit the Project Connect office in T-139 on the terrace level of the Cesar Chavez Student Center. To complete an application, a student must submit their class schedule and verification of number of enrolled units, a copy of a financial aid award letter as well as a copy of their current SF State or government ID card.

Danielle Stanley, 21, received a smaller amount of financial aid this semester.
“If this program was better advertised, I would have been on applying for sure, because (the idea of) getting free books is amazing,” Stanley said.

It was a similar situation for music and anthropology major Alejandra Contreras, 23.
“I don’t have any grants anymore, most of my financial aid is coming from loans,” Contreras said. “I pay for books from a scholarship through the music department, my parents just can’t afford it.”

On Wednesday, September 18, Project Connect will be holding its 2nd annual ASPC University Festival from 11 am to 2 pm, an event where over 125 student and campus organizations are expected to turn out.

During this event, Flores and his crew will be holding a “Connect 4 Drawing,” where students can enter if they network with four organizations tabling.

For more information on the book loan service or the University Festival, check out Project Connect’s website at http://www.asisfsu.org/projectconnect.

PODCAST: Free speech event offers uncensored opinions

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Mandeep Sethi, an 18-year-old Broadcasting and Electronic Communication Arts major, walked onto the outdoor stage of Malcolm X plaza, grabbed the open microphone, introduced himself to an audience of hundreds of students and proceeded to freestyle for a few minutes about topics ranging from Miles Davis and jazz to traveling to politics and war.

“I saw Free Speech Day, so I was like, ‘Oh, I’m about to get on stage,’” Sethi said. “Certain beliefs will unite us and I’m down with free speech; I don’t care who you are.”

His rap was the premiere speech at SF State’s first organized Free Speech Day on September 6. The event, hosted by the College Republicans, offered the microphone to anyone who wanted to speak out on any topic. Only two rules governed the session, no reading and a limit of two minutes if others are waiting to speak.

The idea to have a day dedicated to First Amendment rights stemmed from the controversial flag stomping incident last year when the College Republicans stepped on homemade Hezbollah and Hama’s flags, upon which the Arabic symbol for Allah was written, said Melanie Christensen, publicity officer for the College Republicans. When the University took action against them, the College Republicans felt their rights had been violated, said Leigh Wolf, President of the SF State chapter.

“Everybody has a right to say what they want,” said Christensen. “And the school shouldn’t be allowed to limit that or punish anybody for something they want to say because it’s uncivil.” The College Republicans have no official stance on hate speech, said Christensen.

Students spoke about a variety of topics including fee hikes, child raising, Ron Paul, and, of course, the First Amendment. Some students took the opportunity to share poems and perform spoken word pieces.

“I think it’s cool to get people out sharing,” said Scott Rhodes, who shared a poem titled ‘Wait to Bear’. “I wish a lot more of this went on. I think it’s a shame that we have something called ‘Free Speech Day, you know.”

Micheal Hoffman, a member of the International Socialist Organization, voiced his suspicions of the College Republicans’ motives behind the event.

“You can have a free speech rally, trying to make yourself look good,” said Hoffman, 26, “but in the end, when you advocate policies that have a disastrous effect on the ability of people to speak out, you’re a hypocrite.”

SF State was prepared with several police officers and Police Captain Patrick Wasley was present as well as a video camera recording each speech from an upper level window in the student center. Although, speakers often didn’t agree with one another, no controversy broke out, campus police said.

“There’s such a range of students out here,” said Ellen Griffin, Director of Public Affairs and Publications for SF State, “One speaker follows the other and they’re on the exact opposite sides of a position or issue and there’s just a lot of civility and respect out here.”

Gay studies program grows in student numbers

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National Coming Out Day may still be a couple weeks away, but here at SF State Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) classes are more popular than ever.
SF State offered its first LGBT class in 1972 and ever since, the program has greatly expanded. Since 1992, the university has grown again to include its own gay studies minor.

The school is not alone in offering an LGBT degree; other U.S. colleges offering similar programs include Ivy League schools Yale and Cornell University as well as Chicago’s DePaul University—a Roman Catholic Institution.

Sociology and Human Sexuality lecturer Jen Reck has taught Queer Cultures and Society at SF State since the class was created four semesters ago. Although it has always proved to be popular, Reck said, she has seen an increased level of interest in her class with every semester.

“Each semester I see more and more students coming into the class and wanting to take it,” Reck said.

Reck added that students in the the class come from a wide variety of different majors, disciplines and sexual orientations—though many of the students belong to the LGBT community, several are heterosexual students, Reck said.

Emo Loredo, 24, came to SF State from Cal State Stanislaus last semester. Loredo, who is treasurer of the SF State’s Queer Alliance and a student in Reck’s Queer Cultures in Society class, said SF State has more options for LGBT students than his former campus did.

“I feel very fortunate to have come to SF State and to have come across this program,” he said.

Fellow student Chantal Buck, 20, agrees. Buck grew up in Berkeley where she says she was always exposed to a very accepting culture. Now in the class, Buck said she is enjoying the engaging discussions and learning environment which she hopes will prevent others from discriminating against people in the LGBT community.

“Through education and experience (discriminators should) lose the fear of the unknown and learn that (LGBT people are) just people,” Buck said.

Some students would like to see more offered in LGBT studies.

Former Queer Alliance President Bradley Zeledon, 21, said he did some research on fulfilling his Segment III graduation requirement with LGBT coursework, but was discouraged when he discovered that not all the classes seemed to be offered every semester. Zeledon said he thinks it’s sad.

“It seems like we’re still underrepresented,” he said.

Lecturer Gary Mallare, teach es a course called Homophobia and Coming Out, and had a surplus of interested students this semester. The popularity of the course forced him to over-enroll his section by a few students and turn away others.

Mallare refers to the course as “experiential,” and said he uses his background in psychology to direct his class through a thinking process that’s not about finding right or wrong answers. Discussions cover queer rights history, stereotypes and prejudice, as well as more personal topics like strategies for coming out.

“My primary goal for this class is a lot of self-awareness,” he said. “A lot of self-growth.”

Andrew Daulton, 27, said he’s taking Mallare’s class to help fulfill part of his Segment III requirement but the openly gay student also said it’s important for students to take this class as way, in addition to finding support on social networking sites such Facebook or MySpace.

“I was out my senior year, but before that--forget it-- there was no support,” he said.
Daulton credited the course with a definite therapeutic edge.

“Now you have support and it’s actually in the flesh,” Daulton said of the class. “It’s emotional because you see it and it affects you and other people.”

The LGBT minor is still in its early stages, Mallare said. He compared the area of studies to ethnic studies, which started out very broadly but has since separated into Asian-American studies, Black studies and several more fields.

Student found stabbed to death

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SF State student John Schirra was found dead in an empty lot on September 3. Schirra, a Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts major known to many as Daniel, was pronounced dead at the scene with multiple stab wounds at 3:42 am, according to Dewayne Tully, of the SFPD Public Affairs Office.

Tully said that Schirra’s body was found nude and stabbed to death on the 2600 block of San Jose Avenue, and “his clothes were found in front of a house on Capitol Avenue.”Both locations are within a five minute drive of the SF State campus.

“No arrests have been made, the investigation continues (and) the motive is unknown,” Tully said Tuesday. He added that three SFPD homicide inspectors have been assigned to the investigation.

The SFPD spokesperson was not able to release the names of any persons of interest, but “there very well may be at this point,” said Tully.

“We are deeply saddened,” said BECA department chairman Scott Patterson. “It is a loss for the department.”

Schirra was a Dean’s List student who was “very committed, clearly succeeding and an asset to our department,” Patterson said.

At a glance: news briefs

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Moneyball gets rolling

SF State’s pool hall, The Rack and Cue, kicked off their annual billiard tournament series "Moneyball" on September 7.

Mary Rakin, a San Francisco City College student, won the Nine-Ball pool tournament and around $70 in cash prize by beating SF State student Alvin Ho in the final round. There were eighteen competitors in all, men and women of various ages.

Moneyball is a weekly competition beginning at 3 p.m. on Fridays. There is a $10 entry fee for SF State students and a $15 fee for others. Sixty percent of the money collected goes to the winner, with second place taking the remainder.

Student contact info requested for emergencies

The SF State Registrar's Office is asking students to update their emergency contact information. The request was triggered by April's Virginia Tech slaying, in which student Seung-Hui Cho shot and killed 32 students and faculty before taking his own life.

“What we really did after Virginia Tech was look at what our systems for communications were with students in case of an emergency, building closure, or in an earthquake,” said Jo Volkert, Associate Vice President of Enrollment Planning and Management. “The university decided that we wanted other ways to communicate with student besides email, which is currently our primary form of contact.”

New blog launched for campus magazine

SF State Magazine Editor, Adrianne Bee, launched a blog, “Gator Buzz” last month. In the magazine Bee publishes information on the lives and status of SF State Alumni, but because the magazine is only published twice a year Bee said she wanted a place to put all the bits of news she couldn’t get in the magazine.

Bee’s blog covers current SF State events as well as interesting news about Alumni.

“It seemed like a natural way to spread the good news and also attract more good news,” Bee said about the recent launch of her blog.

“Gator Buzz: The inside scoop on all things San Francisco State” can be read online at sfstategatorbuzz.wordpress.com.

White-water rafting available to SF State students

SF State’s Office of International Program’s is offering international students and their friends the opportunity to go white water rafting on the American River. The day trip, happening on September 22nd, includes transportation, a picnic lunch on the river, all equipment and a five to six hours of guided rafting.

According to the Office of International Programs, or OIP, the trip through Gold Rush Country is the “perfect introduction to rafting for first-timers and beginners.”

Space is limited to 30 people. To make a reservation contact OIP at 415-338-1293 or in their office at Admin. 450. The cost of the trip is $89.00 per person.

Student leaders get new semester orientation

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The Office of Student Programs & Leadership Development (OSPLD) held their annual student leader orientation on September 10th to provide student leaders with necessary information that will help lead to the success of their organization.

The student leaders consisted of presidents and financial officers from fraternities and sororities, sport organizations, academic organizations, and any other organization which was started by students.

“The orientation was very useful,” said Erica Contreras, Sigma Pi Alpha's vice president and pledge director, “it brought awareness to all the different organizations on campus.”

At the beginning of the orientation, all of the student leaders introduced themselves and the organization that they were representing. Joey Greenwell, the director of OSPLD, discussed the benefits and responsibilities of being a student organization as well as the requirements needed to become or remain a successful organization.

Greenwell said that all student organizations which are continuing, re-activating, and starting for the first time must register every fall semester by September 30th.

“We will be taking organizations who have not registered on time off of the website on October 10th,” said Greenwell.

According to OSPLD, to be a student organization, there needs to be a president and financial officer in the organization with at least a 2.0 grade point average. Both officers must either be a graduate or undergraduate at SF State. The organization must also have a faculty adviser who attends the meetings.

Benefits of being a student organization include a general use of facilities at little to no cost, financial subsidy from the Associated Students Inc., the right to use the university as its mailing address, the use of an SF State website and e-mail account, and a bank account with Cal State 9 Credit Union.

“The social aspect of the orientation was good,” said Vered Weiss, president of the Comparative and World Literature Association. “But most of the information (he gave us today) we can go online and read for ourselves.”

For organizations that were being organized for the first time this year, the orientation illustrated and gave plenty information on what an officer must go through every year to become and remain a student organization on campus.

“I liked how broad it (the orientation) was,” said Ryan McGuire, president of the new Rugby Appreciation Society, “it helped me get an idea of what it is to be a student leader and it was well organized.”

Obama seeks women's vote in SF

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Presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) spoke to a wildly responsive crowd of hundreds at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium Friday afternoon.

The well-dressed crowd gave their first round of applause before anyone came onstage. They clapped and cheered when a video about Obama’s work flashed the line “Alone among the major candidates he opposed the war.”

Over 40 women sat on bleachers behind Obama’s podium. They ranged from the owner of a hat store in Pacific Heights to the Los Angeles City Controller. Five of the women spoke on Obama’s behalf before he took the stage.

“He’s here to transform the country and fundamentally change politics,” said Stephanie Chan, the 20-year-old who founded Students for Obama.

Kim Mack, an Obama campaigner, spoke with a quavering voice about her son who is serving as a medic in Iraq.

“He will never send our children into an unjust war,” said Mack of Obama.

Obama bounded onto the stage and hugged each of the supporters sitting in the front row of the bleachers before beginning his speech with a joke about living with three Women for Obama who don’t always applaud him: his wife and two young daughters.

“Sometimes I do get applause when I remember to rinse out the dishes and put them in the dishwasher,” said Obama.

The senator expressed a desire to change the influence of lobbyists on politicians. He explained that he was doing his campaign without taking any money from lobbyists, and that he intended to work across party lines.

Obama also touched on each big topic: energy use, ending the war in Iraq, making health care universal, and improving America’s image abroad.

“I will not be a perfect president, but I will always tell the truth,” said Obama, “and I will ask you to be involved in your own democracy again.”

Obama received two standing ovations in the middle of his speech. The crowd chanted his name, and many audience members described him as genuine.

“I decided on the spot, spontaneously, to endorse him,” said Los Angeles City Controller Laura Chick.

“I’ve been riding the fence, and I think he got me today,” said Rehba Haynes, who compared Obama to the late civil rights leader Malcolm X.

“He said a few things that reminded me of Malcolm,” she added.

After his speech Obama descended from the stage and waded through the crowd to shake hands with audience members. A wall of camera phones and digital cameras snapped at him.

About 50 volunteers worked the event according to Sherry Cassedy, the volunteer coordinator. Women for Obama planned the event while coordinating with Obama’s staff, and began making arrangements about four months ago.

“It was a great event, and leave it to women to do it right,” said Obama afterwards.

CSU launches doctoral program

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Seven California State University campuses, including SF State, are leading the way in a historic offering of doctorate of education programs this fall.

Prohibited from offering such programs since 1961, a bill authored by Senator Jack Scott (D-Pasadena) that passed in 2005 allows the CSU to present full-time working students with night and weekend classes that would allow them to receive a degree in three years. Four additional CSU campuses are planned to begin offering the programs next year, and five more the following year.

These programs are unique because they focus not only on the needs of individual educational institutions, but on the needs of each specific region. Doctoral candidates will work closely with local K-12 and community college educators in an attempt to improve the education of students in California’s public school system. The programs will combine theory, research, and practice, and all candidates will be required to take a qualifying exam and defend a research-based doctoral dissertation.

The SF State doctorate program focuses on leadership in diverse urban schools and brings together the colleges of Education, Behavioral and Social Sciences, Business, Creative Arts, Ethnic Studies, Health and Human Services, and Humanities. It also takes note from the existing joint doctorate in Special Education with UC Berkeley and the joint doctorate in Educational Leadership with CSU East Bay, San Jose State, and UC Berkeley. Candidates will be working with K-12 schools and community colleges in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Santa Clara, San Francisco, and San Mateo counties.

“There is a great need for doctoral training in higher education leadership, particularly in Northern California,” said Dr. Philip R. Day, Jr., chancellor of the City College of San Francisco. “I strongly support this program as designed. It will provide tremendous opportunities for the development of articulation and ‘road maps’ from K-12 to community colleges to universities or the world of work.”

In an attempt to reform and overcome challenges facing the region’s urban schools, SF State’s program curriculum will focus on five major categories: Leadership and Systemic Reform; Learning, Curriculum, and Assessment; Equity, Diversity, and Structural Inequality; Educational Program Administration; and Research Activities. According to the CSU report, the research performed by those involved in the program will, among other advances, “[investigate] approaches for reducing gaps in learning and achievement [and will equalize] access to lifelong learning.”

An employee in the College of Education said associate dean David Hemphill held orientation two weeks ago for 15 to 17 students in the first cohort of the new program.

In a conference call Thursday morning, Scott said that he noticed that California educators and administrators were lacking opportunities due to expense and minimal availability of doctorate programs. He felt that the 23 CSU campuses throughout the state with qualified professors would be a “perfect fit” for those who desire an Ed. D. degree.

After Scott wrote Senate Bill 724, he said he did face some initial opposition when he proposed the bill to the legislature. But he said once he displayed how efficiently the CSU could meet the needs of California’s public education system it was “easy to sell.” Scott worked closely with CSU Chancellor Charles Reed and CSU presidents throughout the process, calling Reed “essential”. All programs underwent a rigorous reviewing process and were accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), on whose board Scott once served as a chair. The programs will be reviewed in 2011, when a progress report will be sent to the legislature that indicate how the programs have improved education in the public school system. “I entered the legislation for just such a purpose,” said the senator, “to initiate bills to improve education.”

Scott said the CSU is able to “absorb” the cost of the programs into the existing budget, and that CSU students will be paying a fee equivalent to that UC charges for doctorate programs, approximately $11,000 for two semesters and one summer of classes. Although this is a higher fee than CSU has charged in the past, it will cover the cost of the program and is still less expensive than the private institutions that were once the only ones to offer doctorate programs, where students are charged $30,000 to $40,000. He said that some increase in staff was needed, with some universities hiring one or two new faculty members with experience in doctorate programs and directing dissertations. Students in the programs will also be mentored by educators from local successful schools.

Of the 326 candidates who applied to the programs at CSU Fresno, CSU Fullerton, CSU Long Beach, CSU Sacramento, CSU San Bernardino, San Diego State University, and San Francisco State University, 148 have been accepted and enrolled. Of these candidates, approximately 43% are Caucasian, 22% are Latino, 16% are African-American, 17% are Asian, and 2% are Filipino. There are more female candidates than male, with the women making up 60% of the accepted students.

“I am proud of the excellent doctoral candidates and I am pleased with the ethnic and gender diversity of the candidates,” said Scott.

Legislature reigns in secrecy at CSU admin

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California's Assembly unaminously ordered Cal State University executives Tuesday to go public with their executive payrolls.

The Higher Education Governance Accountability Act — dubbed a "sunshine" bill — was introduced last year after the San Francisco Chronicle reported that as much as $4 million in special perks and extra compensation had been paid to departing CSU officials in the last ten years, among other revelations.

As a result, Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) authored what is officially titled Senate Bill 190 which received unanimous, bi-partisan approval (69-0) by the State Assembly in a vote this week.

"Today's vote sends a very clear message to the UC and CSU: end the culture of secrecy," said Yee in a press release. "SB 190 will [...] provide members of the media the democratic access they deserve, and help restore the public trust."

In an adjoining bid, lawmakers will also be voting on AB 1413 this week, a measure that will give the right to ex officio CSU Trustees such the governor, lieutenant governor, and Assembly speaker to send delegates when they are too busy to attend meetings personally.

"We're trying to increase involvement so government and higher-ranking members actually have a say in what happens at the CSU," California Faculty Association spokesperson Brian Ferguson said.

The CSU Chancellor's Office has not taken a position on the Sunshine Bill, maintaining that it is not necessary because "we already take all of our executive compensation meetings in public," said Claudia Keith, assistant vice chancellor of CSU Public Affairs.

SB 190 is now heading back to the Senate for a consideration of amendments and then to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who will have one month to sign the bill into law. Although it slated to go into effect January 1, 2008, Senator Yee's office will be pressuring the CSU and UC Trustees to enact it immediately, according to Adam Keigwin, the legislator's communications director.

New class registration evokes mixed feelings

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Accounting junior Alex Cutlip didn’t expect that her first week at SF State would be spent trying to crash courses as an effect of the new two-tier registration method.

“I can get two classes I need, but the school is forcing me to have to fight,” said Cutlip, a 28-year-old transfer student from City College of San Francisco. “I put enormous amounts of energy into it.”

According to Emily Luu, a worker in the Registrar’s Office, the two-tier registration program was created to give all SF State students an even opportunity to register for classes. Giving them two registration periods, students were able to register up to eight units between May 14 through May 24 while their second registration period during summer break allows them to register for the rest of their classes.

“It’s fair across the board,” said Luu. “We let them have two classes without paying tuition. It serves students to their advantage."

When students were allowed one registration period to add classes during the summer, sophomores had the last priority registration periods giving them little to no opportunity to add classes that they needed.

The Facilitating Task Force were appointed in 2006 to find new solutions for students to graduate faster at SF State. By creating the 8 unit early registration date as well as recommendations for graduation roadmaps and graduation planners, the Facilitating Task Force stated in their 2006 report that "by bringing up some of these obstacles to the attention of faculty, staff, and administrators, and to support their efforts to assist undergraduate students in achieving the goal of a baccalaureate degree."

According to a student survey published by the Facilitating Task Force, 29 percent of students were held back from graduating due to missing required courses in the General Education Segment II and 23 percent due to Segment III.

Physics lab instructor Anthony Aikens, 23, who recently graduated from Duke University, believes that what the students need isn’t a new registration method, but more classes and an open enrollment for everyone.

“It’s a situation where if you have this many students, you need more classes,” said Aikens.

Registrar's Office Specialist Jim Fitzpatrick said he felt that the two-tier program was helping freshmen and sophomores who “weren’t getting classes that they needed."

Freshman Nicole Blas, 18, said she feels the program benefits undergraduates and was a fair chance at graduating on time.

“It’s two three-unit classes and a lab course,” Blas said. “You’re at least getting some of your classes.”

“It was easy,” agreed Courtney Haile, 29, a graduate student in Ethnic Studies. “You get three classes you have to take before worrying about everything else.”

As a new student, Cutlip feels that the changes to registering for classes are adding more stress to students like her.

“I’m probably going to have to delay another semester,” said Cutlip. “It’s scary.”

Other students, like Summer Gephart, 20, a recreation and leisure studies student, agrees to the added stress.

“I thought it was annoying that I had to think about it during midsummer,” said Summer Gephart, 20, a recreation and leisure studies student. “I like to [just] get through it.”

Though students are getting the opportunity to add at least two courses that they need, many juniors and seniors are finding problems with the new method.

Senior Thomas Devine, 45, watched fellow graduating students suffer.

“Two of my classmates couldn’t add classes,” said Devine. “We seniors are focusing on our core classes, we need to graduate.”

Chris Miranda, 30, an instructional technologies graduate student, said that the two-tier registration program is detrimental to juniors and seniors.

“I don’t think it helps,” he said. “You still need to crash classes and change your courses. I’d totally be pissed.”


Devine, an Anthropology student, believes that registration should be based on who is graduating first.

“Priority is good, but, it should be based on graduation requirements,” Devine said. “Graduating seniors should get their courses first.”

Cutlip feels that the solution shouldn’t end at changing registration or increasing classes to fit the needs of student population.

“It’s a whole CSU problem,” Cutlip said. “It may not be so bad if they changed things like requirements or prerequisites.”

iLearn erases campus Blackboard

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SF State has eliminated the use of Blackboard and moved on to iLearn, a program that will make online learning easier for students and teachers for future semesters.

The decision to move to iLearn was made in December after two years of exploring different Learning Management Systems (LMS) for SF State. Educational Technology Advisory Committee (ETAC), a faculty focus group, made the decision to solely use iLearn. After almost ten years of being with Blackboard, the contract that SF State had with the company expired in June 30, 2007, which gave them an opportunity to move in a different direction.

iLearn is free, based on open source code called Moodle that is modified for campus use whereas Blackboard is a commercial product licensed and hosted off campus for a cost.

Kevin Kelly, coordinator of Online Teaching and Learning Community, said that many people had issues with different aspects of Blackboard.

“The benefits of iLearn has to do with teaching, learning, and technology management," said Kelly. "Teachers are able to set up courses in a third of the time that they used to with Blackboard.”

SF State's Academic Technology unit also ran a two-and-a-half year study where they ran the programs concurrently to determine which would have better results. In that period, almost 20,000 students were using iLearn. Blackboard received more negative responses than iLearn. The program also helped people who had disabilities due to its simpler production.

Kelly believes that the change will be more beneficial because it is run by SF State rather than an outside company like Blackboard. “We don’t have to wait for a company to solve the problem which was an issue with Blackboard," he said. "It’s faster to solve this way.”

For example, when a teacher told Kelly that iLearn could benefit from having spell-check, it was on there by the next day.

On the other hand, Kelly explained there was once a problem with teachers being able to check which students were logging in for Blackboard. After four years, the problem still was not solved yet.

Many students had difficulties with Blackboard because it was not as organized as they would have wanted it to be.

“Blackboard was more confusing due to the layout of the web page than iLearn is,” said sophomore Angela Garcia, 19.“ I like it better because its easier to check assignments and grades."

In addition, Garcia, an undeclared major, enjoys the system because one of her teachers in the past always posted articles and other information for the class on iLearn, making it much more accessible for the students, rather than having to search for some items.

Kelly said that iLearn is set up in a way that is more understandable than the former system.

“[iLearn] is more learning-centered than tool-centered," he said. "Blackboard had one area for quizzes or Powerpoints, but it was not connected, whereas its all right there with iLearn.”

As is the case for many new changes, there are people with complaints and compliments.

History professor Dr. Marion Gerlind had problems trying to get her students to use iLearn for mechanical reasons. “I believe that iLearn is a useful program in general, it can benefit both students and teachers in facilitating communication and sharing information,” she said.

“However," Gerlind added, "I was not able to use iLearn because [the] course was in History and cross-listed with Jewish Studies. I think iLearn could be improved to serve cross-listed courses.”

French professor Berenice Le Marchand took the faculty training course called "Getting Started" in late July. At the workshop she learned how to do the basic works and feels confident that it will be successful in the courses.

"I learned how to do so much, even though I am a little nervous," she said. "I must have not been paying attention on how to do the grades or something because that is the only thing that I have not learned to do."

According to Kelly, with any new transition comes both positive and negative responses. Fortunately, more people have expressed their happiness rather than displeasure over the new program. “It’s time saving and flexible which really excites [these] people who use iLearn.”

ISO begins semester with recruitment

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The International Socialist Organization at SF State held their first meeting of the semester to get new students involved with their cause.

The ISO — most famously known around campus for selling "The Socialist Worker," their dollar newspaper usually accompanied by a question about a hot-button political issue — is a nation wide collective of branches that organize protests and recruit like-minded people to support their struggle against capitalism.

Filled primarily with new freshman and transfers, the ISO spent the majority of the hour-long meeting entitled "Why you should be a Socialist," trying to get students involved in their cause.

"Selling newspapers and magazines worked in the 19th century," said David Dunas, 18, a literature major, speaking of his reservations on the organization. "I want to know what else to do."

The ISO is a volunteer-run group and is not an official club on campus. At the meeting, after a twenty minute speech demonizing the greedy nature of the current administration and the corporate-run society, a forty minute discussion period ensued where students were encouraged to ask questions and give comments though most participants fell into political rants with high emotions and little resolve.

Some new students did come to the rally with conviction and a passion to support. Beth Kilpatrick, 25, an electrical engineering major followed the ISO call fearing our government would take action against her for associating with anti-capitalist socialists.

"My worry is that my husband is an immigrant and I almost didn't come…because I thought something might happen like him getting deported," said Kilpatrick, "But, then I thought, now I have to go, it goes against everything this country stands for."

A large part of the organization consists of study groups where students get together to learn about Marxism and other Socalist political theorists and theories.

"This organization puts a priority on political education," said Jeffrey Boyette, 22, a graduate from the cinema department who has been with the ISO for four years.

The Bay Area Rapid Response Network is an effort being pushed by the organization. The network is a collective of names and phone numbers contacted in case of anti-immigrant raids, deportations and other happenings to bring people to protest such events when they occur.

"There are over 200 names and phone numbers in our bank and the movement just started," said ISO member Amy Burnett, 26, who a child and adolescent development major.

This Fall semester the ISO hopes to increase their group as well as rally with another political group, Students Against War, in front of United States Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, to protest the war in Iraq on Sept. 19.

Students get legal help

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SF State's Legal Resource Center offers free legal assistance to students from its office on the mezzanine level of the Cesar Chavez Student Center.

Students may not know how to handle problems with landlords or other civil or criminal offenses, said Criminal Law Attorney Joseph Morehead, and by visiting the LRC, students can learn how to handle court dates and other legal discrepancies.

“So that minor legal issues can be dealt with in a timely manor, and not turn into any sort of true legal trouble," said Morehead.

Students enrolled in Counseling 630 and 631, instructed by Morehead, volunteer in the office under the guidance of director Alonzo Jones.

These volunteers direct fellow students to the appropriate services, be it pamphlet material or specific assistance by a Bay Area agency or attorney.

“If a student [volunteer] doesn’t know where to direct someone, there are always lawyers on standby available by phone,” Morehead adds.

Legal help can only be offered to students who know about the LRC. One student who didn’t know the school offered free legal advice was senior Amanda Smith, 22.

“If I knew about these services as a freshman, I may have been there a few times by now," Smith said. "I think many students run up against their first legal problems while in college, and getting the right advice from the start seems invaluable.”

Senior Cameron Ottens has used the LRC before, and found their referral assistance helpful.

“I just saw the sign from the first floor, went up and asked a question,” he says, referring to the neon sign above the door.

“I think more students need to know about it [the LRC],” says Ottens, 22. “Everyone is going to have at least some minor legal issue at some point, and these services can help students if they know they are there.”

These minor legal issues can include skipping court dates, which can lead to a warrant. The legal system, unlike some professors, does not tolerate procrastination, says Morehead.

“A student may have been issued a citation and think that because they have class and are too busy, they can skip their court date; this is a bad idea," said Morehead.

The LRC aims to provide information to students of how the legal system will handle their specific cases and give them the confidence to resolve legal troubles in a timely and professional manor, he said.

Veronica Castellanos, a 21-year-old Political Science student, decided to enroll in the class and volunteer at the LRC after she ran into some legal troubles herself.

“It seemed like a good way to help others out and build a good resume,” said Castellanos. She will receive training on how to do intakes and work within the office before she assists other students.

The Legal Resource Center offers advice in all avenues of law, from civil to criminal cases. Attorneys also volunteer their time at the LRC at pro bono rates of $10.

“Often the legal questions students have don’t require exponential attorney rates,” says Morehead, and adds that $10 for legal advice from an attorney is the best rate that anyone will ever receive.

The LRC is located on the second floor of the Cesar Chavez Center at M-113A, and the door is open weekdays during school hours.

Women's group celebrates voter rights anniversary

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Celebrating the 87th anniversary of women's right to vote, the San Francisco-based group Radical Women celebrated with invited guests and supporters on August 30th at their downtown San Francisco headquarters.

The 10 attendees, including an SF State student, spoke in commemoration of past women's rights struggles and emergent human rights issues, beyond the traditional feminist agenda.

“We are the leaders we’ve been waiting for,” said RW organizer Nancy Kato, calling for her supporters to bring back their air of militancy and tenacity.

With the right to vote long secured in the United States, Kato said feminists are now taking a stand for women in the third world, supporting immigrant rights, as well as groups with socialist and anti-capitalist agendas.

She stressed the importance of building alliances with other groups that value national health care, ending wars, enforcement of living wages, immigration reform and decreasing unemployment rates.

Attendee Deborah Gallegos, an SF State junior, came to see what opportunities for activism RW offered.

Gallegos said she is neither a Democrat nor a Republican and she thinks neither party has made a difference in alleviating poverty and inequality throughout the nation.

In the past, other political groups refused to ally with the women’s movement. When 14th Amendment was passed, giving black men the right to vote, women were told to wait their turn, according to RW member Andrea Weever.

Shirley Lee, a longtime feminist activist and Black Panther supporter told the group of her experience being incarcerated in Santo Rita Jail. While in solitary confinement, a barren square room with a hole in the floor, Lee wrote a treaty to the black panthers, on the wall. She wrote, “If I were black, I’d join.”

M.A. Jaimes Guerrero, department chair of Women's Studies at SF State referred to herself as, "The Grandmother of the department."

Guerrero added that the women’s movement has become more inclusive in the last two decades.

The traditional women’s movement focused on equity between men and women, and left issues of race, class stratification, militant nationalism, and holier-than-thou creed unchallenged, according to Guerrero.

“This was a very narrow view for women of color, who wanted racial equity,” said Guerrero.

An alliance with the Chicano movement followed, added Guerrero.

“We are now very much concerned with class issues…and challenging the system head-on,“ said Guerrero.

The change in ideal has arrived with the globalization, and has made allies of groups like the Freedom Socialist Party, added Guerrero.

Today’s “global feminism,” according to Guerrero, seeks to change the capitalist neo-patriarchy that emerged with colonialism, and replace it with an egalitarian society where wealth is distributed more evenly.

Large multinational corporations are exploiting a new younger age of third world women; those that assemble nanotechnology and work in sweatshops, said Guerrero.

With the current increase in raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, RW is allying with immigrant groups, such as The Movement for a General Amnesty for All, to take a preventive stand when they hear of a raid.

RW organizer Kato said that the raids are “terrorizing a group of people based on their looks, not their (legal) status.”

RW hope to prevent further raids by being vocal against the mistreatment of immigrant workers.

As the feminist agenda diversifies and embraces a world of causes and promoting anti-capitalist beliefs, the new global feminism has alienated traditional constituents, such as any female presidential candidate.

“(Hillary Clinton) represents big business interests,” said Kato, who speaks for the position of RW when she denounces Clinton.

RW has an internship available to students who would like to learn how to run a socialist feminist leadership organization. Interested parties can contact Nancy Kato at 415-864-1278.

“We’ll teach you how to be a revolution leader,” says Kato.

At a glance: news briefs

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Heavy fog, accidents temporarily close stretch of Skyline Blvd.

California Highway Patrol temporarily closed a foggy stretch of Skyline Boulevard near Daly City after seven accidents occurred Tuesday morning.

Officers arrived at the scene of an accident—near where the state route intersects with Highway 1—around 8:15 a.m. to find 15 cars involved in seven separate accidents, said Officer Shawn Chase, public affairs representative for the CHP. Those involved in the accidents suffered only minor injuries; a broken wrist was the most severe injury.

Thick fog reduced visibility to the point where officers closed the highway from Westmoor Avenue to Hickey Boulevard for safety reasons. “If you can’t see 5 feet in front of you, that’s too much fog,” Chase said. It reopened later that day at 3 p.m.

Hit-and-run accidents hit SF State during first week

A creative writing student came back to her car in the SF State parking lot between classes on Tuesday to find a dreadful sight: the left side of her red Nissan SUV had been side-swiped, leaving a deep trough and streaks of white paint belonging to a car that ran away without leaving a note.

“It’s kind of annoying,” said 23-year-old Aryn Berg, “You’d think that people would have morals and values. It’s disappointing.”

According to Police Services crime records, it was the second hit-and-run in the last week. A car parked on North State Drive was also side-swiped on August 30 while a student was attending a night class.

Berg spent a half-hour filing a Police report on Tuesday for insurance purposes though she conceded that, with no surveillance cameras in the garage, it would not be possible to find the perpetrator.

The incident comes at a bad timing for the Southern California native who said she had planned to sell the vehicle because its size makes it “not suitable for the city.”

Apple announces new iPod

Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs revealed his latest iPod devices in San Francisco. The iPod Touch is the latest iPod added to the Apple family. It has the same 3.5-inch touch screen as the iPhone. It can hold up to 16GB of music, movies, and music videos. The device will play your music and movies, as well as surf the net with built in wireless Internet access.

The cost of the device will be $399 and a 8GB version will be $299. Jobs also announced a bigger screen for the iPod Nano. The iPod Nano is now capable of playing music videos. Apple has also revamped its click wheel iPod adding more storage to the device. The devices come out later this month.

Two computers stolen from Psychology lab

Two Macintosh desktop computers — estimated at $3,800 — were stolen from an Ethnic Studies and Psychology Building computer lab on Aug. 30 after suspect(s) broke two doors to gain access to the first-floor room, according to a police report.

Police believe the crime occurred sometime between the hours of 5 p.m. on Aug. 29 and 9 a.m. on Aug. 30, the hours the lab is closed and workers go home. The missing computers were discovered by the College of Ethnic Studies’ Director of IT and lab monitor So Trinh when he arrived to work on Aug. 30.

He said security had never been an issue in the lab during the three years he has worked there, and that there are plans to “beef” up surveillance.

‘We used to leave this door wide open when we would leave,” he said.

The director said the department is looking into replacing the stolen computers, but for now will have to continue without Macs in the lab.

“It will affect students. . .some students (use) Mac only and have Mac only files,” he said.

Trinh said he found the lengths the suspect(s) took, like breaking off door handles, “disturbing.”

“I’m crying digital tears,” he said of the situation.

Animal lover, journalism major killed traveling back to SF State

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Nadia Harumi Smit, 26, and her mother, Nenita Smit, joked about having a goodbye party for Nadia, before she headed back to SF State to finish her last year of college. Nadia picked out the largest white cake she could find at Costco for them to share.

“But I didn’t think this ‘goodbye party’ was really going to be goodbye,” said Nenita.

While driving back to SF State with her boyfriend, Troy Miller, Nadia, an SF State journalism major, died in a car accident in Merced County last Monday, Aug. 27.

She told her mom ‘I love you and take care of yourself’ and hopped into their red, rented Chrysler Sebring. But then she opened the door and ran to hug her parents and brother goodbye again.

“We were all joking, telling each other ‘you’re sticky and sweaty’ and we all laughed,” said Nenita. “It was one of the hottest days in San Diego and [Nadia] was still wearing her black boots with pink fluorescent tape.”

Around 4 a.m. that morning, Nadia and Miller, 19, an SF State undeclared major, were driving down I-5. Tired from a long day of errands, Miller lost control of the wheel. They veered to the right and the car flipped over four times.

“When we realized what was going on, we both looked at each other,” said Miller. “I turned to Nadia and said baby just let it happen I love you; I love you.”

Without a seatbelt, Nadia had been ejected from the vehicle.

Miller raced to her side. She was lying on the dirt side of the road 12 ft from the wreck, motionless. He checked her heart rate and gave her mouth to mouth.
He didn’t sustain any serious injuries from the accident, just bruises, scraps, and burns from his seatbelt.

“It was like something out of a horror movie. If you’re okay, you call their name and you expect them to answer. I called her name, but there was no answer,” he said.

Also known for her striking tattoos, especially the one over her left forearm that depicted an intricate drawing of an old Japanese battle scene, Nadia had a thing for 60s and 70s vintage dresses and checkered gray, fake fur coats.

For the last three years of her life, she followed Veganism religiously. She’d kick anyone out her room for carrying, wearing, or eating an animal product-- even Ritz Bits sandwiches. She deeply cared about life and humanity.

On rainy days, she’d stay home all day in her pajamas, smoking cigarettes, playing Guitar Hero and other video games with her boyfriend.

After she graduated, she wanted to travel to Amsterdam and visit family, buy a house in either San Francisco, Los Angeles, or San Diego, work at a magazine, get married, and adopt kids. She was insistent about not having her own, said Miller.

The VegNews magazine summer intern doted on and fed stray cats, dogs, and even wild raccoons while tending to five cats of her own: Dolly Mama; Mongo Jerry; Annie; Tofu, and Shippo.

The funeral service was held on September 1, at the Glen Abby Chapel in Bonita, Calif.

With make-up and hair done by her best friends, said Nenita, Nadia laid in her casket, dressed in a white half-coat coordinated with a black and white stripped shirt, a pair of low waisted skinny jeans, and skull patterned tennis shoes.

As she would have wanted, her parents placed the cremated remains of her deceased cat Mama Kitty and her Boston terrier Oreo with her when she was buried.

“If it was up to her, she would adopt every cat, dog, animal…and keep them all in our room and none of them would be put down,” Miller said.

A loaf of bread and garbanzo beans was all Miller and Nadia had left to eat one day. With $10 dollars left of their money in her pocket, Nadia purchased cat litter and cat food for her feline friend Tofu. Nadia refused to doubt her animal-tarian logic. She explained to Miller: "Tofu didn’t ask for us to take care of it. She was given to us. We asked to have the cat so we need to put her first."

Nadia leaves behind her parents Nenita and Tom Smit and her younger brother Nicolai.

Bay Bridge reopens ahead of schedule

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The Bay Bridge maintenance work that began on Friday, August 31 at 8 p.m. was completed 11 hours ahead of schedule. The bridge, slated to reopen tomorrow morning, reopened at 6 p.m. this evening instead.

The Labor Day weekend retrofit project improved bridge safety and increased the number of FasTrak lanes at the toll plaza, which is expected to steady the flow of traffic at the bridge entrance and encourage the use of electronic toll, according to project descriptions by the Bay Bridge Public Information Office.

After closing the bridge, 350-foot of roadway on the east span was demolished. New supportive tracks were installed and then new roadway was rolled into place with a computer-controlled hydraulic system, as described by the Bay Bridge Public Information Office.

People needing to drive during the closure could access the Golden Gate Bridge and San Mateo Bridge, which were the closest entry points in and out of San Francisco.

“Sunday was the busier day of the weekend,” said Golden Gate Bridge Sgt. Robert Gelardi. “Northbound was steady, but Southbound was busier and traffic backed up near Vista Point.”

CHP assisted in periodically shutting down Vista Point, for an hour-long interval, to reestablish a steady flow of traffic.

Weeks before the bridge closure, electronic signs alerted drivers statewide of the bridge closure. Bus, ferry, and BART services were extended to handle congestion. Treasure Island residents were issued passes by CalTrans, which allowed access the island via the west span of the bridge.

BART averages 210,000 riders on Saturdays and 130,000 on Sundays. With the construction, Linton Johnson, chief spokesperson for BART, expected a 20 percent rider increase during the holiday weekend. Trains ran on an hourly schedule after midnight.

Yevgeniy Sverdlik contributed to this report.

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