September 2008 Archives
Presidential candidate Ralph Nader brought his campaign to SF State on Tuesday, challenging voters to look for alternatives in the current race and accusing the two major parties of turning the U.S. into country led by corporations.
The independent candidate and his running mate, former San Francisco Board of Supervisors President Matt Gonzalez, joined activist Cindy Sheehan and spoke to a cheering crowd in the McKenna Theater about the importance of including a third party in the country's presidential race.
Nader blamed both Republicans and Democrats of keeping him out of the debates because of his different approach of working with “a frame of history and facts” and being the only candidate who actually “says what he means, and means what he says.”
During his two-hour long speech Nader focused mainly on Barack Obama and John McCain’s similar views on major issue throughout their campaigns and also in the first debate last Friday.
“Someone asked me whom I believed won the first round,” he said, adding that all he could answer was “no one except for big business, the military, nuclear power and state terrorism.”
Nader, who is on the ballot in 45 states, said in order for this to change alternative voices need to be heard.
Most politicians always try to pull tricks in order to win the election, he said.
"Obama is all about hope, change, hope, or change, hope, change," he said to the laughing crowd. "Is he starting to hypnotize you?"
However, Nader also criticized the media for ignoring him despite receiving up to 7 percent support at the national polls.
“One of the only national platforms I have left now are comedy shows,” he said referencing his recent television appearances on Bill Maher and Jon Stewart.
Nader also touched on the subject of lack of interest in politics, especially among younger citizens.
“We all want change,” he said, “but most of you are too busy updating your profile on Facebook instead of taking action.” Adding, “when people don’t turn to politics, politics turn on them.”
Eighty-six year old Bill Herbert was one the few non-student rally attendees, who is neither a Nader supporter nor opponent, but simply came to hear what Nader has to contribute to this country.
“As you get older you think more practical,” the Lake Merced resident said about trying to figure out who to vote for.
This rally was part of Nader’s effort to visit all 50 states before Election Day. SF State was his last stop after having visited UC San Diego, UC Santa Barbara, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and Monterey Peninsula College in the past week.
To help raise money for the campaign, Nader supporters encouraged people to donate and handed out special campaign memorabilia to those who did.
The House of Representatives rejected a $700 billion bailout plan Monday as the Dow Jones dropped 777 points, marking the latest in the nation’s economic crisis.
In the midst of the worst single-day stock market close in history, the majority of House members turned down a rescue plan for the U.S. financial system, the Associated Press reported. Republicans and Democrats alike turned down the legislation, despite pleas from the Bush administration, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.
“Our Federal Reserve must be the lender of last resort,” SF State economics Professor Betty Blecha said of reaching a financial solution. “Any approach that does not isolate or quarantine the suspect securities causing the problem is going to be of limited success in calming markets.”
This recent plunge in the New York Stock Exchange began to take shape on Sept. 15 after investment banks Lehman Brothers and Merril Lynch collapsed. Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy, while Bank of America bought Merril Lynch in a $50 billion deal.
Blecha said that the original cause of the crash was “transparency in the market value of securities related to mortgages,” referring to troubles with big mortgage companies such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
“Financial institutions made loans that they shouldn’t have,” said Economics Professor Don Mar. “And in the end, investment banks found themselves short of money.”
The bailout that the Bush administration proposed would have allowed the government to take bad mortgages from failing banks. The idea was that taking those debts away would encourage those banks to lend money and help lift the economy.
Bush told the Associated Press on Tuesday that the $700 billion bailout proposal was “huge, but was dwarfed by the $1 trillion in lost wealth that resulted from Monday’s stock market plunge.”
Blecha believes that “the real concern is the credit markets,” which are refusing to lend money, or are frozen all together. “If credit doesn’t loosen very soon, we are looking at the worst recession since the early 1980s,” she said.
The stock market’s 777-point drop is the largest in the country’s history. The previous record low was 684 points from when the first day that the NYSE reopened after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11.
“When things aren’t good in the world, people don’t invest in stocks,” Mar said. “They want their money to be in the safest, most secure places possible.”
Markets all over the world are affected by the NYSE crash since “financial markets are inter-related,” Mar said. Malaysian shares, for example, were set to fall Tuesday morning after the 777-point loss in the U.S. market.
All sides agree, however, that legislation for boosting the plummeting economy will not be abandoned. The Associated Press reported that Democratic leaders said they would be reconvening Thursday, Oct. 2, leaving hope that another bailout plan could be put back together.
Mar said that there will have to be a bailout. “The truth is, whether you are Conservative or Left Wing, everyone loses if there’s no bailout.”
EXPERT OPINIONS by Justin Gillett
Connie Marie Gaglio
Associate Professor, Management
It’s a serious time and quite turbulent. I don’t expect things to turn around till June of next year. Generally it takes time for things to resolve and I don’t plan on seeing improvements for at least six to eight months.
Associate Professor, Marketing
I think we are in deep trouble. We will probably be in a recession for 12 to 18 months. This bailout may only partly solve the problem. To really survive in the long run Americans will need to change their lifestyle.
In the long term the US economy is still good, we have a strong market system. Even though there is turmoil on Wall Street we’re still better off than some other countries. There is a problem currently because there is weakness in the corporate world.
It’s going to be very bad for a while. A lot of people on Wall Street have been irresponsible. This will effect the economy more than the dot-com bust. Nobody knows the consequences if the market is left to itself. Action is required and the government should intervene.
I think that if credit markets don’t loosen we are headed into the worst recession since the early ‘80s.
James B Klein
The US government caused this problem now they must fix it. They are going to pass the bail out bill eventually. The recent events of the stock market has reduced the wealth of the nation by 100’s of billions of dollars. We will probably be in a recession for the next two years. The world is now cascading into hell.
SF State and the City College of San Francisco started a joint program this semester that would help City College students successfully transfer into SF State, and to ensure that SF State health majors get all the classes they need to graduate on time.
Called the Metropolitan Health Academies, the program guarantees students from either school who meet the requirements in the two-year program, such as the minimum GPA and number of transfer units, a place as a junior in SF State’s College of Health and Human Services.
It also helps them meet these requirements by providing students with advising and guaranteed spots in required classes.
The program is the brainchild of Vicki Legion, Executive Director of SF State Community Health Works. The idea came out of a meeting last spring with CCSF and SF State faculty, who all shared frustrations over students not being prepared enough to transfer to university.
“We said we needed something to make sure that students weren’t just going through an anonymous series of classes and would be able to make it into upper division classes,” she said.
Before the academic year started at SF State, incoming freshmen were sent e-mails containing information on the program. About 20 students applied and were accepted as MHA students.
They are currently taking the same two classes: a core health class that is exclusive to students in the program, and an English class that allotted places for the MHA students but is also open to everyone else.
Health education professor Savita Malik said that being in the same classes encourages the group to act as a “learning community” for each other.
“It’s like a homeroom,” she said. “We want students to feel they have a base, that they have more support.”
The program is funded by two grants: a private grant from the James Irvine Foundation, which is a California nonprofit, and a federal grant from Funds for the Improvement of Post Secondary Education. At CCSF, MHA students are given priority for transfer-level classes.
“It’s basically the creation of a smooth pathway from a two-year institution to a four-year institution,” said Dean Linda Grohe of CCSF. “It ensures that students are not wasting time taking units that won’t be credited.”
There are currently 16 MHA students at CCSF, but Beth Freedman, the MHA Coordinator at the college, said that they are planning to recruit up to 60 students for the coming semester.
The MHA is also designed to make health majors well-rounded, linking health classes together with main general education subjects like English and Math. “We know how important skills like writing and critical thinking are for health majors, and we want to focus on those,” Freedman said.
And although students in the program get priority in enrolling for certain classes, it doesn’t edge out other CCSF students, Freedman said, especially because additional sections were opened.
At SF State, the health department checked with the enrollment office on campus to make sure that reserving slots for MHA students in English classes wouldn’t edge out other students. The department is also doubling the number of students in upper division classes next semester, Malik said. However, health education majors at SF State are divided in their opinions of the program.
“They should have implemented the MHA for all students in the program,” said Cristina Cabansagan. So many of us have already been pushed back from graduating because we can’t get into the classes we need.”
But Edcel Suarez, another health education major, thinks that the program is great.
“I believe the pilot program is a phenomenal idea,” he said. “I wish I could’ve had the chance to participate in a similar program. If a student could be given that option to graduate and on time and avoid staying excess semesters, then it should be granted.”
Sadists and masochists came together to celebrate at San Francisco’s annual Folsom Street Fair on Sunday, September 28th.
The fair began in 1984 primarily as a leather event for San Francisco’s gay community, but has since grown to become one of the world’s largest fetish events. This past Sunday, the fair celebrated its 25th anniversary, attracting crowds of sparsely clothed men and women, as well as those decked out in lascivious costumes of leather, latex, corsets, and rope.
A whole new acronym, the WAC/WID, is in the works to replace the much-dreaded JEPET, a graduation requirement of all SF State students.
Instead of the one-shot essay, a “writing-intensive” course in each department will be required for graduation. The classes will focus on developing higher writing skills but the content will focus material from that major, administrators involved said.
The move to replace the JEPET is linked to several problems with the test.
“I think it’s fair to say this ... we as a university have developed a reputation of graduating students who can’t write.” said Professor Betsy Blosser, who has been working on the WAC/WID project since the beginning. “That’s bad news for... students graduating with an SFSU degree because [they]’ll have less of a chance of getting a job if people think that if you graduated from here, then you can’t write.”
Both Blosser and Professor Mary Soliday, the director or the new Writing Across the Curriculum/Writing in the Disciplines program said that another goal of the change is to get rid of a “high-stakes exam.”
This goal arose back in 2004, when SF State had three professors from out-of-state universities examine the JEPET as visiting consultants and write-up a report on what measures should be implemented to deal with the poor reputation SF State had found itself developing.
These consultant professors cited recent research that indicated from one-time testing, attempts to measure undergraduate students’ writing proficiency is no substitute for a comprehensive class to ensure proficiency.
SF State then formed a Writing Task Force; a group of professors and faculty from all departments of the university, to evaluate the situation and decide where to go next.
“The finding was that high-stakes tests did not really serve the function of improving students’ writing,” said Deborah VanDommelen of the tutoring center at SF State and a member of the task force.
It was this group which settled on the current decision and sent it to the Committee on Written English Proficiency, which is headed by Blosser, and set the project in motion.
“The JEPET will go, and in place of [it], students will take a writing-intensive course in their departments that’s designated to fill that requirement within the majors,” said Soliday, who was hired last semester for the specific purpose of coordinating this project.
“What we’ve decided and the academic senate has approved as a policy is to setup courses, one per department, that are GWAR courses,” Blosser said.
Each course will fulfill the CSU Academic Senate’s Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement.
“That will, eventually (we hope by the fall of 2010), substitute for the JEPET,” Blosser said.
There are a number of reasons the JEPET is now being replaced.
“There’s a high failure rate [for the JEPET],” Blosser said.
“And we’ve had a problem up until recently of students waiting until their last semester [before graduation] to take the JEPET and then needing to do their 414 before they can graduate. Which defeats the whole purpose because the idea is, by the time you reach your content courses in your major, you need a certain writing ability to get the most out of the content of those courses.”
The new courses will be taken “at the beginning of the junior year, ideally,” in order to prevent this problem, according to Blosser and Soliday.
Five departments will be having the pilot programs next semester, including English, psychology, and liberal studies.
“Incoming freshmen for this year are the first class that will be affected by it. This is because by their junior year they will be taking a GWAR course instead of the JEPET,” Blosser said.
“We’re trying as much as possible to alter existing courses. For one thing, it takes less effort and it costs less money,” Soliday, the WAC/WID coordinator, said.
Students seem to largely be in favor of the planned changes.
“I just don’t want to take a test,” said biochemistry major Emily Yip, 19, a sophomore, expressing much of the same unease with high-stakes testing that the consultant professors noted in the 2004 report.
“Its not fair because a lot of us take [English] 214 your freshman year and by junior year you don’t remember it all,” Yip continued.
“Some people don’t do well under testing,” said Rachel Lagan, a 19-year-old business major.
“A class would be better if it were easier for us to pass,” said Selena Tompkins, 19, a sophomore majoring in business.
Many seem to like the idea of a writing-intensive course within one’s major.
“It’s the major you like, so you pay more attention and care about it more then just [taking] an English class or [the] JEPET exam,” said Ryan Comlon, 19, an undeclared sophomore.
Even those who have already taken the exam and had no trouble appear to favor the change and offer their own thoughts on what the university should do now.
“I took the JEPET and passed,” said Kelly Johnston, 22, a senior majoring in theater. “I didn’t think it was hard so, from my take, it’s not a big deal but the whole idea is ridiculous. If you take English 114 and English 214 Composition, then that’s the school saying you’re OK to move on in the world with your writing. Why would you pass and not pass the JEPET? If you can pass those classes that should be enough and you shouldn’t have to take an exit exam of any sort.”
“As a transfer student I can see how it could be useful. As a transfer, I didn’t take 214, I had another class, so I can see why they would want to test us,” said Riley Marmesh, 22, who is a business major.
“I would think the best option would be to have a class for that [GWAR requirement] but [still] have the option to test out of that class. And maybe those requirements could be set by the departments and not by the university,” said Damon Burgett, 29, a grad student studying geography at SF State and who did his undergraduate work here as well.
The planned change to the writing assessments at SF State looks promising, and juniors next semester will begin seeing these changes firsthand.
The permit behind the glass in the elevators across campus say they expired in June of this year, but don’t be fooled because these elevators, despite being slow, never stopped being safe.
“The elevator permit inspections were completed in July '08,” said Gary Iocco with the California department of Industrial relations. “The permits have not been released yet because there was no budget to pay the fees.”
So this week things should be getting back on track and students can again ride the elevators on campus without any more worry, as the expired permits will be soon replaced with new proofs of inspection.
The J. Paul Leonard Library Rapid Copy Center closed Monday afternoon for ongoing renovations to the building, and replacement reproduction services opened in the Student Center building Wednesday morning.
The services offered by the Rapid Copy Center will be unavailable while copy machines and digital hardware are transferred from the library to Room M110, on the Mezzanine Level of the Cesar Chavez Student Center.
Rob Strong, SF State Bookstore general manager, said his office will be operating the new center and the move is taking place on schedule. Strong and University Librarian Deborah Masters have conducted several meetings to assure a smooth transition.
“We will open on time Wednesday,” Strong said. “Everything will be running, but we plan to start very carefully to avoid problems.”
Strong said the new copy center will be staffed by the same experienced operators currently stationed in the library, so problems should be kept to a minimum.
Holden Leung, an employee at the copy center, said that during the interval between Monday and Wednesday, students and faculty will be able to make copies at self-service copiers in the library and located around campus.
“Most people don’t seem to know we will be closed, or even that we are moving,” Leung said.
During the beginning and end of the semester, the center has more than 60 customers a day scrambling to get projects done on short timelines, Leung said. This time of year, an average of 20 students request services every day, Leung said.
There are no fax services available anywhere on campus during the transition period, Leung said, so the library has offered handouts listing nearby businesses offering fax machine use. The closest fax services offered are Kinko’s, Copy Edge and CopyCircle.
Karl Langner, a student who was sending out faxes Monday, was surprised to learn he just made it in under the wire. “I have a car,” Langner said, “so I guess I would have gone off-campus to find someplace with a fax.”
Leaving the campus would have been complicated with his schedule and the limited parking available to students, Langer said.
“Large format printing and single personal copies will be unavailable at our new location,” Strong said.
Oversized printing will still be offered through the library, Strong said, and anyone who wants individual copies will be directed to self-serve machines located on campus.
A woman received minor injuries on SF State’s quad early this morning when two unknown men tried to grab her purse, according to the police report.
According to a statement put out by the campus police, the incident occurred at around 1:45 a.m. on the path between the Student Health Center and Burk Hall. The woman tried to hold on to her purse but was dragged on the ground. The men took the woman’s wallet, but dropped the purse. The woman ran screaming toward the residential halls, students came to her aid and she was taken to a hospital.
Ellen Griffin, university spokesperson, said this incident should remind students to always walk in pairs at night and to take advantage of safety meetings offered in the residential halls.
“When there’s a bad economy, crime goes up,” Griffin said. “Especially in the city.”
For long-time employees weathering the library renovation, change is a force of nature.
“It’s kind of like you’re watching this tidal wave come on top of you,” said Librarian LaVonne Jacobsen of the $121 million, three-year renovation project.
“The way to survive it,” explained the 35-year library veteran, “is to surf over it.”
Jacobsen said she hopes the SF State community understands the library’s need to renovate. “There are going to be inconveniences that are beyond our control,” Jacobsen said.
Part of that need to renovate stems from a more literal force of nature – earthquakes.
Completion of the project is meant to bring the 1950s-era building into compliance with current seismic building codes. The library’s history might argue the importance of those codes.
SF State’s first library opened in 1901 on Powell Street, only to be reduced to charred rubble five years later in the massive fire sparked by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.
At its current location off of 19th Avenue, two major earthquakes shook the J. Paul Leonard Library. Most notable was the Loma Prieta quake of 1989, which destroyed much of the building’s shelving, said Meredith Eliassen, a reference specialist at the library.
But Eliassen sees the renovation in terms of a different natural process.
“Right now we are in a little cocoon, and we’re bursting out,” said Eliassen, who started working at the library as a student in 1986. “We’re a butterfly, we need to transform and come out of our cocoon. Right now were stymied by this 50-year-old building.”
Darlene Tong, who has worked at the library since 1976, said the construction project has been a long time coming.
Planning for the renovation started back in 2000, but setbacks such as the rise in cost of construction materials prolonged the project. The renovation didn’t begin until 2008, said Tong, who is head of the library’s information, research and instructional services.
“Things got placed on hold, and we tried to get more money in various ways. We did succeed in getting a $21 million augmentation around 2006, but we lost a lot of time,” Tong said.
The library building will close to students at the end of October. Books and media will be available for order online and pickup in the HSS building. Computer access and study space will find temporary housing at Library Annex I on North State Drive near the Lot 20 parking garage.
The renovation will provide more computers, extra study space, and more storage for a stunted book collection that needs room to grow, Eliassen said.
“I’m daunted by the changes that will take place in the next few months,” she said.
“But I’m also excited that finally we will have a library that is worthy of the university, because this is an infrastructure we’ve been just holding together with Band-Aids.”
The annual SF State fall career fair attracted many students looking for employment, and although protesters rallied in opposition to some of the recruiters in attendance, they did not dampen the otherwise festive occasion, said Jack Brewer, career center director.
At the job fair, held on Friday between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., students were able to talk to potential employers comfortably even though several protesters were upset that the Marines, the FBI and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security were able to set up booths.
Some campus organizations showed up to voice their disapproval of the military recruiting, including Students Against War and Student Worker Action Network.
“This war they are recruiting for is immoral and illegal,” said Michael Regan, an organizer with Student Worker Action Network.
“Marines have no place on university campuses, let alone in San Francisco, where there is a strong anti-war movement,” he said.
While many in opposition of military recruiters gathered outside with banners and picket signs, inside the atmosphere was productive. Even though there were several strong messages of opposition, there were no arrests or serious conflicts with campus authorities, SF State University Police Chief Kirk Gaston said.
“This career fair has been a success,” Brewer said. “The protesters didn’t seem to bother the employers, many didn’t even know there were students protesting.”
Among the non-governmental recruiters were Verizon Wireless, Shift Communications, Gap Inc. and Kraft Foods Inc.
“We haven’t noticed a protest,” said John LeGulauche, regional vice president for Kraft. “There’s been a good group of students coming through that have been meeting our expectations.”
The police did step in and move protestors when they tried to march into a fire exit. Gaston said the police interjection was warranted because protestors were blocking the exits, putting all in attendance of the career fair in danger.
“The protesters were respectful and did not cause a serious disruption,” Gaston said. “They have a message that they want to get across and as long as they don’t break any laws or compromise anyone’s safety, they’re as welcome as anyone else.”
“They have a right to protest and can do what they do,” he added.
Some students were upset that SF State was able to give military recruiters a booth at the job fair.
“This school is about equality and justice,” said Katie Colver, a fourth year psychology student. “To bring in groups that support war and oppression is horrendous.”
Gaston said he was glad there was no major incident at the job fair and didn’t mind that students were able to exercise their right to protest.
“There are students here that want to voice their opinion and that’s fine,” Gaston said. “Recruiters know when they come here there will be protests. It’s to be expected.”
Discreet videotaping of campus events by the SF State Police Department has raised concerns among campus groups, many of whom say the monitoring will inhibit their ability to freely express themselves.
During events and rallies on campus, SF State police can be found perched behind a locked door on the terrace level of the Cesar Chavez Student Center with a video camera pointed at Malcolm X Plaza, capturing footage of students and speakers.
The footage is shot with the intention of protecting event attendees, speakers and police by providing hard evidence if someone is accused of a crime. The video recording can help prove or disprove the accusation and show if a police reaction was warranted, said SF State Police Chief Kirk Gaston.
Yet while Gaston said the footage is used for legal protection, the police presence is mounting concern among student groups and legal experts. Many said they are afraid the collection and storage of this footage will inhibit free speech and distance the public’s relationship with campus police.
“It’s an invasive feeling we get, knowing the police are watching,” said Evelan Gomez, a member of La Raza Student Organization. “It gives us a sense of un-trust because it feels like they are spying on us.”
While Gaston said he understands that the video recording can make some uncomfortable, he said there is a need for university officials to monitor and record campus events.
“I don’t want students, police officers and campus faculty to be faced with any allegation without having the ability to show how the event actually happened in its truest form,” Gaston said.
University police have shot footage of scheduled campus events for several years, and while there is constant monitoring, the recordings are not reviewed unless something illegal happens, Gaston said.
Because the student center is on public property, it is legal for police to videotape campus gatherings, said David Greene, an attorney and lecturer at SF State.
“At any public event there are no restrictions to videotaping,” Greene said. “Although it begs the question: is the accumulation of these videotapes for an improper purpose?”
Gaston said campus police keep the footage for about a week in case there is an allegation concerning something that happened at the event. The footage is then destroyed.
“If something comes into question, we use the footage,” Gaston said. “If there is no issue, the footage is not even reviewed.”
The videotaping has not led to any arrests, according to Gaston, although a district attorney used the footage to clarify an allegation of hate speech.
Regardless of the purposes of these tapes, legal experts say when police monitor and store footage of campus events it can have a chilling effect and can limit free speech.
“Any time the police are videotaping a group of people it raises concerns under the First Amendment,” said Michael Risher, a staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California.
Risher said the free flow of ideas and speech is crucial to our constitution and police monitoring can directly lead to people feeling unsafe to properly express themselves.
“Courts have held that government surveillance of speeches is intimidating,” Risher said. “People will be less likely to speak out and say something that may be controversial if they are being watched. People will also be afraid to attend the events.
“The California Supreme Court has held that police cannot collect and store unnecessary information about us, particularly when that information relates to free speech or First Amendment rights. There is a problem if campus police are retaining videotape of events where nothing illegal occurred.”
Gaston said that campus police are not compiling information.
“I don’t have a secret library of footage,” Gaston said. “I don’t have the capacity or the need for something like that.”
Different student groups have mixed opinions about the videotaping, but generally agree that the surveillance has drawbacks.
Hassan Aburish, Media Coordinator for the General Union of Palestinian Students, supports the police videotaping, but doesn’t necessarily agree with the method.
“It seems like they are trying to catch someone in the act, not prevent crime,” said Hassan Aburish. “I think it’s kind of shady that they are behind windows and all.”
The Pilipino American Collegiate Endeavor feels the police surveillance is altering the way student groups conduct their gatherings.
“I feel like having police videotape and having the event under heavy surveillance may unnecessarily make the participants feel criminalized,” said Jeremy Villaluz, Head Coordinator for PACE. “It also alters the atmosphere of our celebration.”
While student organizations are feeling the effects of the police monitoring, Brian Gallager, a student actively involved in several campus organizations, said he is concerned with what sort of implications the video recording will have on the SF State community.
“The environment that has been created on campus is starting to breed suspicion and has been increasing tensions between police and students,” Gallager said. “There needs to be mutual respect and honesty between students and the police.”
SF State officials said they have mixed feeling regarding Tuesday’s state budget passing. On the one hand, it’s a relief to finally have a spending plan, but the nearly $3 billion slotted for the CSU system will not be enough to prevent setbacks such as closed sections.
Leroy Morishita, vice president and chief financial officer of administration and finance at SF State said the current spending plan, revised last May, is more generous than the January one, but the schools in the CSU system “didn’t get the funds we need for enrollment, compensation and other mandatory costs.”
“We’re going to have to make cuts,” Morishita said. “In terms of services [we’ll have to] hold back on hiring staff.”
“It’s unfortunate that there are several cuts to higher education,” said Adam Keigwin, communications director in the capitol office for Senator Leland Yee. “This is by far the worst budget situation we’ve ever had.”
The budget passing is good news for Cal Grant B recipients, however.
“I’m glad,” Barbara Hubler, director of financial aid at SF State said in regard to the budget’s passing. “I’m very, very happy about it.”
The [X]press reported last week that if the budget hadn’t passed by the end of this month $71 million would be withheld from the students for the month of September. Now that the budget passed, Hubler said the accounting office is in the process of getting the grants together this week.
“By next week all Cal Grant students should have their money,” she said.
Keigwin said the only way to get around cutting programs in the future is to raise taxes, something, he said, the Republicans don’t want to do. Keigwin believes this will create spending problems for the future.
“We’re already facing a significant hole going forward,” he said, adding that the last thing that they would want to have happen is to raise student fees again.
When visitors stroll through the light-filled halls of the freshly constructed Academy of Sciences this weekend, not all will be speechless.
“Normally the first thing people say when they walk in here is ‘Wow,’” said John Hafernik, president of the academy and professor at SF State.
The building, a monument to scientific research and education, is ready to open its doors to the public on Sept. 27. And with several diverse attractions, the academy is sure to impress many.
The site includes a four-story living rain forest exhibit, the 38,000-specimen Steinhart Aquarium, the world’s largest all-digital planetarium and a classic attraction brought over from the old academy — the alligator swamp.
The academy hopes to reforge people’s opinions of what a museum is, Hafernik said. And while many residents and visitors of San Francisco enjoy state-of-the-art attractions, SF State students will be given the opportunity to receive valuable experience using the innovative facilities for research.
Together, the academy and SF State’s biology department offer a degree program that helps students learn more about the natural world by utilizing the $488 million building, Hafernik said.
“Students involved in the program take classes at SF State and do research at academy.” Hafernik said.
“It’s a great opportunity for students and they get invaluable hands-on experience.”
Hafernik’s favorite area of the academy is the living roof where densely covered native California plant species have been arranged on 2.5 acres of architecturally created sloping knolls, built to simulate the rolling hills of San Francisco.
Even before the imminent opening, students have started a year-long study on the colorful living roof, tracking migration patters of insects living in Golden Gate Park.
Jessica Van Den Berg, a biology graduate student at SF State, is among some of the first students to work with the academy, conducting on-site scientific experiments.
“SF State has a close connection to the academy,” Van Den Berg said. “When there is a need for research assistance, they outsource to SF State students.”
“College students really have a place here,” said Don Heyneman, a guide at the academy. “I think there is going to be a great deal of interaction between SF State and the academy.”
Hafernik said biology students interested in the joint degree program are encouraged to inquire about further details with their academic department advisors.
“We [the academy] are a valuable resource used by scientists around the world.” Hafernik said. “SF State students really should take advantage and get involved.”
The on-time completion of the largest cultural project in California history is a monument to how driven and dedicated all involved with the building’s construction have been, Hafernik said.
“How often are things finished on time in San Francisco?” He added with a slight grin. “It just goes to show how dedicated everyone here at the academy truly is.”
Hafernik, who has been teaching at SF State since 1977, has been on the academy oversight committee since the mid ’80s and was elected president by the board of trustees on July 1, 2008.
“I couldn’t be more pleased to be president,” Hafernik said. “It’s great to be at the forefront of an institution that has really great exhibits and attractions but also has strong educational and research programs.”
With his expertise in entomology — the study of insects — Hafernik has been able to help shape insect friendly exhibits and guide students with on-site research, like the living roof.
At the academy, there are 16 million different specimens that track the history of life on the planet, Hafernik said.
With rich biodiversity and visually stunning facilities the opening of the Academy of Sciences hopes to garner and educate residents along with visitors of San Francisco for decades to come.
“Now that the building’s done and the public is ready, we are ready to show everyone what we’ve got ,” Hafernik said. “This is the stage and now we’re putting the play on.”
In the 20 years that President Robert A. Corrigan has served at SF State, the university has grown in both size and diversity.
“He’s just a visionary in terms of seeing what the university needed in order to continue to serve the students that needed a place to live near campus,” Associate Vice President Jo Volkert said.
In terms of the change in demographics: “It’s always been part of his commitment and compassion to serve students from under represented groups,” she said.
Starting in 1998 the university began an ambitious six-year expansion that increased the campus size from 94 to 142 acres.
“We had this opportunity to begin buying these properties and that is part of [Corrigan’s] legacy in terms of these properties and the expansion of campus,” vice president of administration and finance, Leroy Morishita said.
SF State purchased four properties with bonds, one with money on hand and one was given to the university by the state.
In addition to more real estate, the university now houses about 2,300 students, including University Park North and South, according to associate director of university housing Philippe Cumia. In 1988, the campus housed 1,400 students in three residence halls.
Not only has the campus changed under Corrigan’s watch, but the look of the student and faculty on campus has changed also.
“Social justice and equality has been a theme of my administration here,” Corrigan said. “One example of that is the 20 years I’ve been president, 73 percent of all new tenure track hires have been women and people of color.”
In 2007, 46 percent of tenured and tenure track faculty are women and 38 percent of the faculty are not white according to San Francisco State Facts 2007/2008.
The “Chicano, Mexican American” group has seen the biggest jump in the last 20 years, in 1988 they made up 2.9 percent (668 students) and in 2007 there are 9.6 percent (2,432 students) according to records from Volkert.
The two largest drops in percentage came from “white” students and “African American” students according to records from Volkert. White students were 54 percent (12,464 students) of the student population in 1988 and are now 36.8 percent (9,356 students). African American students made up 7.2 (1,663 students) percent of the students and in 2007 made up 6.5 percent (1,662 students).
“There’s several things [effecting the change in demographics],” Volkert said. “One I think is that California is changing. California is becoming more diverse…the good thing is that our campus reflects that diversity and we’re proud of it.”
Enrollment since 1988 has increased by 2,000 students to total 30,200. The university graduated students from 119 different countries last spring and the 2007 freshman class is the largest in the university’s history numbering 3,466, according to university officials.
“It will be a dramatic change for the campus and one that is not pleasant,” Morishita said of Corrigan’s eventual retirement. “ I’m going to miss him, I think the university is going to miss him.”
As part of an effort to lower textbook costs for SF State students, SFSU Bookstore manager Rob Strong reinforced the importance of turning in book orders on time.
Though it may seem like a small action, Strong said getting book orders in early allows the bookstore to snag more used textbooks.
SF State’s record for getting orders in on time is “not impressive,” Strong said. Last semester only 30 percent of the textbook orders were in by deadline, he said.
Strong reminded Senate members that getting orders in on time is not optional. It is part of a 2004 California Assembly bill that requires schools to find ways to reduce cost.
Other cost cutting options discussed: using past editions of textbooks as well as a Web-based student book swap slated for the spring semester.
Undergraduates who receive a C this semester will just have to live with it, as the Academic Senate officially passed a change to course repeat policy. Students must now receive a C- or below to retake a course, effective this semester.
Another notable change is cap has on the number of units that can be retaken: no more than 24 units can be repeated.
This policy does not apply to graduate students.
Students will be notified of the change by e-mail as well as changes to the online bulletin.
Whether they are working 40 hours per week or living off of a trust fund, maintaining a school schedule is stressful. Papers are due, exams are scheduled and the shadow of graduating on time rest on the backs of all students.
“This year there are a lot more stressful students,” said Taghi Amjadi, Ph.D, a counselor at the SF State Counseling and Psychological Services Center. The CPSC has had about a 30 to 40 percent increase in student stress cases this school year, he said.
“Students are stressed for all kinds of reasons,” SF State clinical counselor Mary Cavagnaro said. “There are more people on campus; more competition and concerns to get into classes.”
Cavagnaro agrees that there has been a raise in students utilizing the CPSC, although they haven’t conducted a study yet to find the age group or reasons.
“There has been an increase in depression and anxiety cases, which are stress responses,” Cavagnaro said.
Cavagnaro and Amjadi agree that most of the student’s problems root from stress.
SF State offers several services to help combat stress, including Amjadi teaching a free meditation class every Tuesday in the Student Health Service Building’s conference room from noon to 1 p.m. All students are welcomed into the class, yet many students attend because some health and psychology classes are required to go.
“I thought I could benefit from this class,” Alyssa Viloria, a junior nursing major said. “My life is very stressful.”
Viloria took Dr. Amjadi’s Intro to Mediation class Sept. 16 to fulfill a requirement for her Consumer Health class. She said that between her boyfriend, family, friends, school and work her life was very stressful.
Dr. Amjadi’s class takes place behind a locked door with the lights dimmed to create the most serene environment.
After the class Viloria felt better about the stress in her life.
“I am going to try to use mediation,” she said. “I feel so relaxed right now.”
Dr. Amjadi said that by simply taking some deep breaths, holding them in, and then slowly breathing out for a few moments a day can reduce a lot of stress.
Cavagnaro agreed, saying meditation is an excellent way to reduce stress, but it also depends on the person.
“Some people have to have contact and get it out verbally; to share and unload their stress and then ask ‘What should I do now?’,” Cavagnaro said.
CPSC is hosting National Mental Health Screening Day in front of the Student Services Building on Oct. 7. Students will be able to gather information about different ways to prevent stress, fill out a depression screening form and speak with counselors on the spot.
For more information on student stress or what the CSPC offers visit the office in Student Services Building room 208 or call 415-338-2208.
International students come to SF State from all over the world, many to improve their English skills and try to make their dreams of advancing in their careers a reality. However, foreign students have to face a few obstacles that most SF State students don't.
Twenty-year-old Wendy Chen moved here from China and, like all international students, pays $399 per credit unit apart from university fees – 177 percent more than state residents have to pay. She has to attend school full time so she doesn't lose her F-1 visa and she is not allowed to work outside campus without a work permit.
Chen's parents pay for her studies and even though she would like to help her family pay for her expenses, she hasn't been able to get a job on campus.
"I would like to work at school," Chen said. "But [the SF State employers] said they didn't get my application and they never called me back."
Chen's friend, 25-year-old Amy Wu, also from China, said that she went through a similar situation. Chen tried to get a job at the campus library and bookstore, but said that it is too difficult to get a job on campus. She said she wasn't able to get a job on campus even though she is now working on her second bachelor's degree.
Patrice Mulholland, assistant director at the Office of International Programs, explained that international students are allowed to work on campus 20 hours a week and that once they graduate, they can apply for a practical training job in their specific field for the period of one year.
According to Mulholland, one of the obstacles for international students trying to get an on-campus job is the long process to get a work permit. She explained that students first have to find a job, then talk to the OIP office, which will then issue the student a letter so he or she can apply for a social security card. This process can take weeks and often times the employer can't wait that long for the students' documentation.
She also said that the OIP office frequently hires International students and that she hasn't heard any complaints about students not being able to get a job on campus.
Mulholland said that the OIP office also directs students to the Career Center to learn job search skills and how to improve their resume.
Wu said proper accreditation was another issue she faced with the evaluation of the classes she transferred from a University in Taiwan.
According to Wu each one of the classes she took in Taiwan were three unit classes, but the accreditation department gave her only one credit per class. She also said that she tried to get an explanation of how the accreditation system at SF State works, but she was unable to find a professional who could explain the accreditation system to her.
Mulholland said that most Universities have an articulation agreement with SF State, which makes it so students can know before enrolling at the university what credits they will be able to transfer or not.
Mulholland added that most students are surprised to see how many general education classes they have to take. In many foreign countries, Mulholland said, general education classes are taking during high school and are not a university component.
"It happens at least 4 to 5 times a semester, when [students] will say 'but I took this course in high school,'" Mulholland said.
Edward Carrigan, assistant director of the undergraduate admissions department at SF State explained that the office of undergraduate admissions is aware that students sometimes have complaints about the accreditation process, but says the office is available to help students with any questions they may have.
He also added that students can come to the One Stop Center for assistance and that there is an international admissions line they can call. Students can contact their evaluators to make an appointment, he says, but unfortunately evaluators do not see students on a walk–in basis.
Carrigan emphasized that the accreditation process is long and difficult to explain.
Wu said that she also tried to meet with a general adviser, but that she was told that the evaluation process takes too long to be revised and that it is too difficult to go over transcripts that have already been evaluated.
"Sometimes I think that the advisers do not seem to have much patience with international students," Wu said.
Still both Wu and Chen say they are very happy to attend to SF State and they both look forward to getting a job in the United States once they graduate.
This year the school had a total of 1403 enrolled international students with an F-1 visa. According to Mulholland, international students bring a lot of money to SF State, which can be used to open more sessions.
Dressed in a charcoal suit, SF State President Robert Corrigan smiled at the group waiting for him in the fifth-floor conference room of the Administration building.
He mentioned that his flight had been delayed coming in from a CSU meeting in Long Beach and that he was supposed to hop another plane to Chicago for a diversity conference the next day.
“My biggest job is to keep the place going,” he said.
Corrigan, the 12th president of SF State, celebrated his 20th year of administration this month.
“When I first came, most of the people working here looked like me: white, male and having English as their first language,” he said. “Now, 73 percent of all tenure track hires have been women and people of color. We’ve changed the face of the campus to make it more reflective of the student population.”
Corrigan was in his ninth year as provost at University of Maryland when he was nominated to become president of SF State. The nomination came as a surprise, he said. “I hadn’t intended to go into another university. I wanted to go back into full-time teaching and research.”
SF State was a big change of scenery from University of Maryland. “I went from a major research university to a very urban institute,” he said. “But I got very excited about SF State’s mission and what it did in the 60s and 70s,” referring to the founding of the college of ethnic studies as well as other diversity efforts made by the students and faculty.
Out of about 100 nominees, he was selected for the presidential position by a search committee made up of faculty, staff, students and trustees in 1988.
Augustus White, a personal friend of Corrigan who has known the president since their freshman year at
Brown University in Rhode Island, said that Corrigan graduated at the top of his class in high school and was “recognized as a leader” during their college years.
During school, Corrigan was not considering work in the educational field. “I never really planned much about my own life,” he said. “I certainly did not think about being an administrator.”
Like many in his generation, he wanted to serve his country when the Korean War broke out in the early 1950s. But when the draft got cut back only months after he received his notice, he changed his plans and sent applications to graduate schools.
After his appointment to SF State, Corrigan immediately began making improvements to the school, beginning with the beautification of the campus. “It was pretty disheveled when I first came,” he said. “The buildings were shoddy inside and outside. And we were the smallest CSU campus back then.”
The Fine Arts and Humanities buildings are among several structures added since Corrigan’s arrival.
“We’ve tried to create an oasis that shows we respect the students,” the president said.
He also worked on making SF State known to the Bay Area community. “One of the challenges was that they called SF State the city’s university, but city leaders didn’t think so,” he said. “Most of them had no sense of what SFSU was.”
He achieved recognition for the school by serving on committees in the city, such as the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, and by working with people from local groups and organizations.
David Fischer, SF State’s current diplomat in residence, was one of the people Corrigan worked with in the community in the early 1990s.
“He did an excellent job promoting the school and making it better-known in many places,” said Fischer.
Corrigan also made changes to the school’s hiring process, making more efforts to diversify the faculty by doing national searches that solicit women and minorities to apply as faculty and staff.
“I am particularly impressed by his programs in diversity development,” his friend White said. “Robert is very forward-looking and assertive with his principles.”
Corrigan helped found one of the country’s first black studies programs while he was on the faculty at the University of Iowa.
He is known for his efforts to encourage both students and faculty to get involved in the community through volunteer work and political involvement.
The best part of his job, Corrigan said, is bringing faculty together. “I think of the university as large family, sometimes dysfunctional, but a family nonetheless.”
What he least likes about his job, he said with a chuckle, is having to worry about the budget.
Corrigan lives with his wife Joyce and has four children – three of whom live out-of-state – and four grandchildren. He calls himself a “great movie buff” and a fan of jazz music, which helps him to relax when he’s stressed.
Although he won’t be retiring for a couple more years, he’s thinking about life after SF State, particularly about a couple of books he’d like to write – a book on American poet Ezra Pound, who Corrigan deeply admires, and another about SF State and how it has changed since the strike in the 1960s.
“There’s been a big difference, and I think the president provides the spark for that,” he said. “In many ways, it is a better place and I feel really good about that.”
“If [you’ve spent] as many years as I have as president, you’ve got to believe you’ve made a difference, that the place is better than when I first found it,” he said.
When President Robert Corrigan took the reins at SF State in 1988, Ronald Reagan was still president of the United States, George Michael’s “Faith” was No.1 on the music charts, and "Just Say No" was plastered across San Francisco.
Over the next 20 years, the music changed, the slogans were replaced, and Corrigan became one of the longest-serving university presidents in the education system of the United States. Under his direction, SF State developed into a respected institution with the highest ranking in the nation for the number of international students at a comprehensive university.
Corrigan began his term after a string of presidents in the preceding years. Professor Eric Solomon, who has worn many hats at SF State, was acting provost when Corrigan was hired. Solomon began working at the university in 1964, and said that Corrigan was the fifth university president he had worked with at the school.
“This is a very, very difficult campus to govern,” Solomon said of SF State. “I stayed on as acting provost for one more year, and he has proved very able at more than holding his own.”
Solomon described Corrigan as being particularly good at balancing the business of SF State with the academics and other programs. He said Corrigan acts on his experience as a teacher to be a skilled president, and this combination has developed SF State from a quality college for undergraduates to “a first rate university. A place where the staff and faculty are attuned to the realities of a complete academic system."
“As a president, he has shown a good deal of teaching and interest in curriculum, like very few presidents can,” Solomon said. “He is a good listener for teachers, and he is good at making you feel you are not being judged.”
Assistant professor Ramon Castellblanch, who is the president of the faculty association and is often at odds with CSU administration, said he appreciated working with Corrigan because he is reliable.
“He has no difficulty getting the job done,” Castellblanch said. “There are some toothless administrators out there. If Corrigan tells you he will do something, it gets done.” Castellblanch paused and laughed, then said, “Sometimes he will get up in the middle of a meeting and get someone on it right then.”
Castellblanch said he thought Corrigan had a background working in the same factory as his father when he was younger. “He knows the mindset of the unionist. When he says he will do something, you can pretty much take it to the bank,” Castellblanch said.
Russell Kilday-Hicks, president of the CSU Employee Union, voiced a similar sentiment. Kilday-Hicks wrote in an e-mail that he had seen Corrigan from a number of perspectives for approximately 14 years. Kilday-Hicks said in his roles at SF State as a student, a teacher, and a union worker, Corrigan was a mythical figure that everyone on campus had heard of but rarely saw.
“I heard rumors that the university did have a president,” Kilday-Hicks wrote, “and a friend in journalism used to joke about doing a headline in the Golden Gator announcing a ‘Corrigan Sighting’ on campus.”
In recent months, however, since the Alliance for CSU has formed and begun lobbying state officials in attempts to appropriate funding for SF State, Kilday-Hicks said he has had more contact with Corrigan than the previous years combined. The close work has engendered an appreciation of Corrigan’s public appearances, according to Kilday-Hicks.
“His last two convocation speeches were very moving,” Kilday-Hicks said. “He spoke personally and passionately about his own experiences in academia and how the Civil Rights Movement shaped his life.”
But Kilday-Hicks said he noticed that most of the listeners were new faculty and administrators. “The rest of the campus has no idea who he is and what makes him tick.”
Corrigan himself said he hopes people will look at his time at SF State and see the basic, fundamental changes that have taken place at the school under his presidency. “Social justice and equity,” Corrigan said several times at a recent meeting. “I hope people see what a great university this is and see what an international and culturally diverse experience we provide.”
When my editor told me about the Muslim Student Association’s (MSA) annual Fast-a-Thon, the soul-searching geek in me jumped at the prospect. After a course on the life of Gandhi in the spring of 2008, and rifling through many tattered Buddhist books, I’d learned about fasting, yet never attempted it myself. The event invited non-Muslims to fast from sunrise to sunset, one day out of Ramadan’s 30 day stretch. Considering Muslims fast from September 1st to the 30th, one day seemed attainable in comparison.
I spoke with Carel Bertram, a Sf State authority on Middle-East and Islamic studies who explained much of Ramadan’s practice and history. Fasting forbids in-take. That means no eating, drinking, smoking, or sexual coitus for 13 hours and 31 minutes. Ramadan falls on the 9th month of the Islamic calendar, and begins about 11 days earlier each year. Bertram said Ramadan could fall in the blistering summer or the dead of winter. This phenomenon interested me considering most Christian holidays occur the same calendar day annually; what if Christmas occurred in different seasons? Bertram is not a Muslim, but she fasts to feel a sense of unity with those who are: “For me it is a very special spiritual experience,” she said. “Some thing magical always happens to me.”
For me, it was more difficult than magical.
On Thursday, September 20, fasting began exactly at 5:42 AM, and would last till 7:13 PM, according to Agnes Chong from the Council on American-Islamic relations. My cell-phone alarm beeped my eyes open at 5:00 AM, giving me just 42 minutes to eat and drink myself sick, which I achieved in spades. I made what my roommate described as a, "Whatever's in the fridge sandwich," stuffed with foods I'd only eat on an empty-stomach kind of day: salami, egg, cheddar cheese in between an olive-oil fried bagel. I also slammed three cups of water. I felt like a bloated, beached whale as I left my apartment for work, the sun beginning to peak through the dawn and outer-sunset fog.
I work at a grocery store. As you might imagine, a grocery store is a horrible job to have while fasting. My difficulties began with the floating scent of free mandarin chicken, cooking in the back of the store for anyone but me to try. I thought lunch would prove easier, but even such basic institutions were challenged by the fast. Time previously used for eating became time to kill. All I could do was sit and think about was how thirsty I was. Then came the sharp pains, which rose and fell in my head from dehydration or caffeine withdrawals (probably a little of both).
The worst part was I couldn’t look past my immediate desires. The thirst and hunger kept my focus from the internal, and exploring the metaphysical was why I fasted in the first place. I wasn’t expecting to topple an empire with my fast like Gandhi did, or suddenly comprehend life’s meaning. I did, however, expect to look past my cravings and have some kind of eye-opening experience.
I felt defeated. After work, I went to campus and lay on the grass, watching and waiting as the sun moved across the sky.
My experience sounds bad. At the time, I thought it was.
Then I spoke with Lucia Volk, the advisor for the MSA, and my woes seemed more like trials than unfruitful irritations. She asked how the experiment went, and I admitted it was difficult. As I explained my pains, and how I really wanted to eat that free mandarin chicken, the sought-after realization came: it took feeling that uncomfortable and hungry to glimpse what impoverished people globally experience daily. While I chose to try just one day of fasting, the hunger I felt was nothing in comparison. I felt ashamed. Lucia reminded me that such insights are part of the beauty and revelation of Ramadan: to "Get yourself in a mindset that you can do with less," Lucia explained. I thanked her, and broke my fast with delicious, free food from the MSA. I gobbled vast quantities of chicken and baklava, and left the experience with more than just a full stomach.
Last week, SF State gave bicyclists 200 more reasons to ride to school.
The university added new racks that can hold up to 200 more bicycles all over campus, the first in a series of planned steps toward making the campus more accessible to bicyclists.
Partial funding for the racks came from a $12,000 grant awarded to SF State’s Bicycle Working Group, a coalition of students, staff, faculty and administrators that seek to improve bicycling to campus.
Jason Porth, chair of the BWG and an administrator with government relations, said SF State encourages bicycling and public transportation to mitigate both its carbon emissions and a growing student body’s contribution to traffic congestion.
These racks expand upon SF State’s current bicycle parking and will complement upcoming projects, such as the bike path from University Park North to Thornton Hall, Porth said.
They also address a growing need for safe, legal bicycle parking close to classrooms, said Phil Evans, director of campus grounds.
“Within minutes after we put them in place, people were chaining their bikes to them. We’re hoping to order more,” he said.
Hundreds of people bike to school each day, and more are doing so now than ever before, Evans said.
“Last year’s counts were looking at 200 bicycles [coming to SF State per day] as a comfortable maximum,” with about 150 closer to a daily average, “but this year there are a lot more bikes. It’s just been a real influx,” he said.
Though officials at SF State have not yet investigated why more people are bicycling this fall, gasoline’s rapid rise in price undoubtedly plays a role, said William Rutledge, an environmental studies major and member of ECO Students’ new Bicycle Advocacy Group. “Four dollars, 69 cents a gallon, compared to a 20-minute bike ride, has put a lot of people on two wheels,” he said.
The racks could increase the number of bicycle parking spots outside the Bike Barn to about 280, though part of the idea behind the new racks was to replace “dilapidated and non-functional racks from previous generations” with a standardized model, Evans said. The double-loop new racks “allow you to conveniently lock [your bicycle] in two places,” he said.
The Bike Barn, SF State’s bicycle parking structure behind the gymnasium, can hold up to 350 bicycles. Before the new racks came, “the intent for a long time was to have bikes parked in the Bike Barn,” said Evans, who still recommends that people do so.
Many bicyclists have told [X]press for years, however, that they do not park in the Bike Barn because it is not close to their classes. As recently as last week, dozens of bicycles could be found chained to hand rails and trees all over campus, violating university rules.
The new racks “complement the Bike Barn significantly,” Porth said. “For those who want to enter from 19th Avenue and have classes at Hensill Hall, [the racks] would benefit them,” he said.
“It’s really important for people not to lock their bikes onto the hand rails,” which disabled and visually impaired students need unencumbered to help them navigate the campus, Evans said. “We’re trying to make sure we have enough racks.”
After a three-year search for a home, construction has begun on SF State’s new childcare facility and learning lab for faculty and student research.
The 8,000 square-foot Children’s Campus will be located on North State Drive next to temporary structures being built for the library and is set to open in January.
The campus will provide child care and education for about 85 kids from six months to preschool age with admission priority given to the children of SF State faculty and staff.
It resembles the Child Study Center, a child care center that closed last year, which allowed SF State students doing research on early childhood education to observe children and get hands-on training as teachers.
“A great deal of research came out of that,” said Janet Igiziano, the committee chair on Children’s Campus. It was “a piece that we wanted to maintain.”
The Lake View Center, an old diagnostic center, was demolished over the summer in preparation for the new Children’s Campus.
Charlotte Ferretti, key committee member for the new campus, said the project would cost $3.8 million. Those funds went into the beginning stages of construction and into funding the architect, Louis Torelli, who helped design classrooms.
“[Children’s Campus] will have six classrooms, a big community room and a curriculum prep room,” Ferretti said. Faculty and staff job descriptions for Children’s Campus are now being posted.
The fees for Children’s Campus are broken down according to age group and how many hours a week the child will be in care.
According to the Children’s Campus Web site, fees for preschool children ages three to five years are $6.90 per hour. For a semester of five half days it costs $3,278 and $6,555 a semester for five full days.
For infants and toddlers ages six months to 36 months, it is $8.31 per hour and costs $3,952 for five half days and $7,904 a semester for five full days.
“Our fees are almost the same as the Associated Students Center except for our preschoolers, which is 64 cents more [per hour],” Ferretti said.
The Associated Students, Inc. Early Childhood Education Center is subsidized by student fees so that it is much cheaper for students.
Another difference between the ASI center and Children’s Campus is that early childhood education students can use the campus and get hands-on experience observing a child.
“The research opportunities will also be very rich and a great opportunity for faculty projects,” said Julie Law, who helped set up the student teacher training program.
As far as fees, Ferretti said that the Children’s Campus has to be self sustaining to help pay for staff salaries and help cover operating charges.
The enrollment period for Children’s Campus ended on Sept. 12.
Kathleen Chug, a committee member and administrative coordinator for Gateway to Quality, put her son Nicholas on the waitlist for the new Children’s Campus.
Chug said that it is very convenient for her because in case of an emergency she can pick up her son and not have to worry about things like traffic.
While she can afford the fees with her and her husband’s combined income, she hopes the price will go down because she said it “is more on the high end.”
Community service at SF State got an eyeful this past Saturday when the first expedition of Beach Babes, a new bathing suit-clad beach cleanup group, trekked to Ocean Beach.
“I decided to call it ‘Beach Babes’ not because we would sun bathing in a bikini on the beach or anything,” said Sam Desurra, a Resident Assistant at Mary Park Hall. Helping the environment is important and by making the environment look good, you’re making yourself look good.”
Desurra got the idea as a freshman, when her friends volunteered to clean up Bay Area beaches after last November’s Cosco Busan oil spill.
“It wasn’t until this year that I figured I should use it as a program for the community,” said Desurra.
RAs at SF State are required to devise two programs per month for their student residents, and are encouraged to take residents out into the city for many of their activities.
“Lots of students are very interested in environmental issues right now,” said Kevin Kinney, the Assistant Director for Residential Life on campus.
Kinney points to other previously successful beach cleanup groups, work at environmental gardens and street fairs, and ECO Students, a growing student organization dedicated to environmental issues on and off campus as among the most popular student programs.
Echoing Kinney, Desurra is tapping into what gets student residents ticking.
“Even though it’s my job to plan programs for residents, it holds much more meaning, especially if students are getting something out of it,” said Desurra.
While the name of the event is eye-catching, not everyone on campus will be jumping into their swimsuits.
“I support the work they're doing, but I question their methods,” said Allison Mingus, president and co-founder of Feminists In Action, an on-campus organization. “I would blame larger society for making us feel like we have to do things that way.”
Although open to men and women, Desurra aimed to put a creative spin on her program.
“If I were looking at my program, I could definitely see how people would think it would be a bunch of women in bikinis going to clean the beach,” said Desurra. “I just thought the title was clever. I spoke to an environmental awareness club on campus, and many of the people in the club seemed to be interested, both men and women, so I’m hoping for a good outcome.”
Getting the word out through fliers, posters, public announcements and Facebook, Desurra is hoping to spark widespread interest.
“I’ve only been receiving positive feedback, but I’m open to opinions and suggestions,” she said. “If this program doesn’t go over well, and say I get only two people, it’ll be a learning experience.”
A former Diablo Valley College student and employee who had been accused of changing grades for money was dropped of all charges on Sept. 5, while three others were found guilty.
The Contra Costa Country Superior Court in Martinez had decided that due to major flaws in the DVC student service security system, it was impossible to prove Benicia resident Erick Martinez’s, 35, involvement in the scam.
Yet Julian Revilleza, Jeremy Tato (both 26-year-old Pittsburg residents) and Liberato Servo of Vallejo, 27, who pleaded guilty were convicted as the ringleaders in the scam to a year in jail each.
The former DVC students had worked in the admissions office and participated in 346 grade changes that involved payments of thousands of dollars, authorities said.
A total of 54 students took part in the scheme and had either changed grades or had paid to have theirs altered.
Eight of the 54 students were accepted and enrolled to San Francisco State.
As previously reported by [X]press, SF State had expelled those identified students in August 2007.
Christopher MacAtulad, 25, was the only student openly identified. He had paid about $4,000 to have 15 grades changed, according to prosecutors.
Jo Volkert, associate vice president of enrollment management at SF State, would not reveal any other identities.
DVC discovered “the breach in security in February 2006 by a tip from a student about grades being exchanged for money,” DVC President Judy E. Walters said.
About 100 people had access to student records at the time, many of them being students. In addition, computers were often times left unsecured, according to Prosecutor Dodie Katague.
Since the incident has been discovered the number of student employees as well as staff with access to grades have been immensely reduced.
“To limit the possibility of future problems, DVC now has just three senior Admissions and Records employees with access to make authorized grade changes,” Walters said.
But even though DVC is working on fixing loopholes, it has failed to do so with its student record computer software, according to the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges.
The ACCJC has recently issued a warning on the basis of a special report citing multiple deficiencies that have not been met. If the school fails to correct these matters, it will loose its accreditation.
Yet, Walters believes that the college will be able to resolve these issues to the satisfaction of the Accreditation Commission “by working together with the District staff where indicated.”
According to Volkert, unauthorized grade changes has not been an issue at SF State due to the fact that the university uses secure software and there are only a very few Student Service members who have access to grade alterations.
SF State faculty, staff and students may collectively sigh in relief since Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a $103.4 billion spending plan today, ending the longest budget delay in California's history.
Leroy Morishita, vice president and chief financial officer of administration and finance at SF State said prior to the budget's passing that the university officials would be pleased if the budget, which had been on hold for 84 days today, passed
“We definitely need a state budget,” he said. “We need to get the financial aid to students and cover the cost that it takes to run the university.”
Morishita added that the money allotted to the CSUs in the current plan comes from the governer’s “maybe box” which constitutes a more generous allotment than previous proposals.
However, Morishita expressed concern over unresolved issues that may negatively affect future budgets.
Optimism and excitement filled the air today at Malcolm X Plaza as Mayor Gavin Newsom rallied SF State students together against bans on same-sex marriage and teens’ right to a private abortion.
“You guys get out of class for this?” Newsom asked the cheering crowd of students and sign wavers who came to voice their support for Newsom’s campaign to keep same-sex marriage in California legal.
Newsom spoke at SF State against two initiatives on the November ballot. Proposition 8 aims to ban same-sex marriage, an issue Newsom has been fighting since his first days as mayor of San Francisco. Along with Proposition 4, which mandates parental notification before performing abortions on teens, the two issues form a controversial core in California’s November elections.
“All the gay and lesbian community is asking for is to be treated the same,” Newsom said. “It is nothing more remarkable than that. But they will not be treated the same if Proposition 8 passes, and that’s where you come in.”
On-campus organizations Feminists In Action and College Democrats have been responsible for publicizing the campaign on campus and were instrumental in bringing Newsom to speak at SF State.
“It had a really positive energy, no one booed,” said Allison Mingus, the president and co-founder of Feminists In Action. “A lot of people don’t agree with some of the things he stands for, but this is something people can come together on. Overall, I think it produced a lot of interest.”
Andrea Fraser, a member of SF State’s Queer Alliance, also felt the rally was a success.
“I was excited to be at the rally,” Fraser said. “It’s important for us to have the right to marry. I do wish there was a bigger newscast there because there was only KRON 4, which cuts out a lot of exposure to people.”
The past four years have been tumultuous for same-sex marriage in California. From February to March 2004, Mayor Newsom issued approximately 4,000 marriage licenses to same-sex couples. In August 2004, the California Supreme Court ruled that the marriages were void citing Proposition 22, a then-four-year-old ballot initiative preventing the legality of same-sex marriage in California.
Attempts by the state legislature to legalize same-sex marriage were vetoed twice by Gov. Schwarzenegger in both September 2005 and October 2007. After the City & County of San Francisco and several individuals sued the State of California to overturn Prop. 22, the Supreme Court began its review of the cases, which had been coordinated and termed the now-famous In re Marriage Cases. On May 15, 2008, the Supreme Court struck down the state’s existing ban on same-sex marriage, amending the state constitution to legalize gay marriage.
“In 2004, no gay person knew the freedom of marriage, and now they do,” said Newsom. “We are now talking about stripping away rights that have already been afforded to them. Before, we were talking about opening up a door that had always been closed, but now we’re talking about closing a door that has been opened.”
Students at the rally overwhelmingly shared Newsom’s sentiments.
“I volunteered at Equality for All in Fresno,” said Audrey Arthur, a recent transfer to SF State. “People are way against it because it’s very conservative there. I think this will definitely stimulate voting for college-age people. If someone big in politics shows up, people will listen.”
Trent Downes, the president of College Republicans, also felt Newsom’s appearance was valuable, stating that he would be voting against Proposition 8.
“Proposition 8 will be defeated only if a generation of younger people turn out to the polls,” said Newsom, stressing the issue as a generational one. Polling has showed that those thirty and younger are overwhelmingly in support of marriage equality, while people over thirty are split on the issue.
Emphasizing the role California plays as a cutting-edge state, Newsom spoke of the need to form a united front.
“It’s about what kind of state we want to be,” said Newsom. “What do we want to represent to the rest of the nation, what does California believe? Are we no different than those states that don’t believe in marriage equality?”
Newsom, who got “a sense of optimism” from today’s turnout at SF State, is headed to seven or eight more college campuses over the next few weeks.
“It’s really a credit to the university that it’s politically active,” he said. “I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that millions of people are counting on us. If we are unsuccessful, we won’t have another chance for another decade.”
The Towers at Centennial Square were evacuated Tuesday afternoon when a fire broke out on the second floor.
Battalion Chief Tony Smerdel of Battalion No. 9 on Ocean Avenue said that a plastic pot that a resident had left on a burning stove had caused the fire.
“They were probably too busy studying,” Chief Smerdel said with a smile after the fire had been contained.
Residents crowded outside the front of the building while four fire trucks parked in front of the Towers and raised their ladders up towards the roof.
Some residents expressed fear and confusion. “I thought I might have been hallucinating. But I smelled smoke and grabbed my purse and ran,” resident Bree Taylor said. Taylor, a freshman, also lives on the second floor.
Third floor resident Tim Rottenberg said that the smoke “kind of smelled like the grilled cheese I burned last night.”
Other residents weren’t aware right away that there had been a fire in the building. First floor resident Ben Baker said that he had been home and didn’t know that there had been a fire until the Towers alarm went off.
Battalion Chief Smerdel said that they received word of the fire at 11 minutes after 2. Upon arrival, Battalion No. 9 met up with UPD and went to the second floor room where the fire took place. Smerdel said that there was “ a lot of smoke on the floor.” After tracking down which room the fire was coming from, the team removed the burning pot from the stove and ventilated the room.
Because of the severe lack of readily available, untimed, free parking around SF State’s campus, student auto commuters have three major parking options when they arrive at SF State: illegal parking at nearby mall Stonestown Galleria, time-monitored street parking around campus and $5 day parking at SF State-sponsored lots.
If students don’t pay close attention to curbside rules they can find themselves with a hefty parking ticket or, even worse – a towed car.
“Because parking is so scarce around San Francisco State, it behooves drivers to pay attention to the parking rules,” said Judson True, spokesperson for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.
As MTA parking tickets were raised $10 this summer, students who leave their cars around campus are looking at $50 tickets if they don’t comply with the mandated parking rules, True said.
While school-monitored parking lots have not increased their ticket prices, campus parking authorities said they still write a fair amount of tickets and as a result are collecting funds in excess of $400,000 a year, said Patricia Tolar, transportation coordinator for SF State.
On average, about 100 citations are written on campus parking lots each day, Tolar said.
The money collected from the tickets goes toward alternative modes of transportation programs like the Bike Barn and shuttle buses, Tolar said.
While school-sponsored parking choices are limited, all options force patrons to pay for their parked car.
“The only places on campus a student can park at are Lot 20 (the parking garage) and Lot 25, for $1 an hour or $5 a day,” Tolar said.
Additionally, she said students living on campus can buy a semester permit for $225.
“I park my car here everyday,” said Michael Melcher, an SF State senior, referring to Lot 20. “It’s a little expensive… but what are you gonna do?”
If SF State students would rather abstain from paying for campus-regulated parking, they have the option of illegally parking at Stonestown. Students who do so, however, run the risk of having their car towed and being forced to pay a $360 retrieval fee, said Simone Philipie, customer service manager at Stonestown.
“Students constantly park in our parking lots, and it creates a problem with our mall,” Philipie said. “We try and tell students that this is private property and if you park your car here it will get towed.”
“On average, one car is towed a day,” she said, although that number increases during the winter holiday season when parking is at a premium.
Students who leave their cars at Stonestown may be unaware, but security guards are watching them leave their parked car and walk to campus, Philipie said.
“We give them [students] time to walk off our property, then we tow the car at their own expense,” Philipie said.
Xylina Xiong, a Stonestown security guard responsible for the frequent towing of student cars, said she can sympathize with students’ need to find parking, but remains strict on enforcing policy.
“I understand how bad parking can be around campus,” she said. “But, students have to understand that this is private property, and if you leave your car here it will get towed.”
Numerous signs around the shopping mall inform drivers that if they are not patrons of the mall, their car will be towed immediately.
Philipie and Xiong said there is not much they can do to prevent students from parking in the Stonestown lots, apart from the posted warnings and telling people who look like students that they can’t park their car on Stonestown property.
“I’ll never park my car at Stonestown,” said Yong Lin, an economics senior at SF State. “I’m too afraid it’ll get towed.”
Student drivers opting not to park at Stonestown, instead choosing to stash their cars in Park Merced, are causing frustration among non-scholastic residents of the area, said Karen Brown, front desk agent at Park Merced.
“Parking is an astronomically huge problem at Park Merced,” Brown said. “Residents complain constantly about the lack of parking.”
Since most of the parking around the area is timed, it is common for individuals, mainly students, who park their cars on Park Merced property to receive tickets for disobeying street laws, Brown said.
Like Lin, some students opt out of leaving their cars around Park Merced because when, and if, they find a parking spot it can end up being a far distance from campus.
“When I get out of my car I don’t feel like walking a mile or so just to get to school,” Lin said. “That kind of defeats the point of driving in the first place.”
Every decade had its signature drug – the ‘70s had its acid wave, the ‘80s its cocaine addiction and the ‘90s were all about Ecstasy.
Now, the trend that may come to define the early millennium has moved the drug supply off the streets and into the medicine cabinet.
“I took Vicodin and really liked it. Now when I can get my hands on it, I do,” said Michael LeRoy, a senior business major at SF State.
On the street, a prescription drug such as Vicodin can be sold for between $5 and $10 per pill at 500 – 1000 milligrams. OxyContin, a brand name for oxycodone, is known on the street as "Hillbilly Heroin" and is sold at a much steeper price of $60 per 80 milligram pill.
However, because doctors are so generous when prescribing painkillers it’s easy to obtain them from someone, whether it is a friend or family member.
LeRoy obtained both Vicodin and oxycodone recently from one friend who got them after having his wisdom teeth pulled and other who had broken his arm.
"They were prescribed more than enough, no one needs 30 oxycodone when they get their wisdom teeth pulled," LeRoy said.
Recreational use of prescription drugs seems to fall into a gray category of social acceptance. They aren’t exactly frowned upon because so many people obtain them legally, and it’s been just recently that people have taken notice of the fact they hold a problem among users.
It wasn’t until April 2007 that the Office of National Drug Control Policy officially recognized the fact that there was a prescription drug abuse problem in America.
“While destructive street drugs like meth and crack produce gruesome news images and headlines, prescription drug abuse has quietly become a major part of our Nation’s addiction problem,” John Walters, Director of National Drug Control Policy said in the April 2007 press release from the ONDCO.
Since the beginning of the decade there has been a decline in problems with illicit drug use and a large rise in the prescription drug use.
In the last six years prescription drug abuse has been the only addiction on the rise. The ONDCP reported in a press release in March 2008 that in 2007 there was a 25 percent decrease in teen marijuana use, over 50 percent decrease in Ecstasy abuse; and 64 percent decrease in methamphetamine use.
The prescription drug Adderall is a popular drug among high school and college students. Those who take the drug and do not need it are left with a feeling similar, but not as strong, as a high from cocaine. It allows them to stay focused and awake, which is why it’s often used for cramming before an exam.
“Adderall is very bad for someone who doesn’t need it,” said Brenda Hyde the clinic manager at SF State’s Student Health Services. “This drug has many serious side-effects.”
Some of the effects include fainting, light-headedness, increased blood pressure, hallucinations, and muscle twitches and can happen from mixing something such as cold medicine.
Kate Jeffers, a senior biology major at SF State, has been prescribed the drug Adderall since she was 12. She had multiple signs of attention deficit disorder and a mild learning disability with reading.
“I really need my medication. My friends would ask me to give them some or to buy them, especially during finals, but I can’t. I only get enough for the month and if I don’t have them then I can’t do what I need to do in my life,” Jeffers said.
Prescription drugs such as Vicodin, Soma and Valium are a few of the popular relaxation drugs as well as percocet and oxycodone.
LeRoy first came in contact with Vicodin when he was prescribed it after his wisdom teeth were pulled as a teen.
While some people snort Vicodin and other pain killers or muscle-relaxers to get an immediate and intense reaction, LeRoy prefers to swallow the pills for a longer high.
“It’s a feeling of being relaxed and euphoric,” LeRoy said. “Kind of like Ecstasy but without the wanting to be touched.”
Other ways people get prescription drugs is through Internet pharmacies. In March 2008 President Bush outlined a plan of how to regulate online pharmacies because of the rising problem. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to regulate any Internet business and often times these drugs come from overseas, making it even more difficult.
If someone is addicted to prescription pills they may be lethargic, often become nauseated, or experience weight loss. They may also experience nervousness, anxiety, inability to concentrate, anger or weepiness.
“It is often the roommate of students who realize the addiction,” Hyde said. “Most of the students have roommates and it is them who will notice the change.”
For more information on prescription drug abuse and how to find help contact the Student Health Center on campus or call (415) 338-1251.
Kyler Raden used to park his bike behind the Student Services building.
That was before someone stole it.
On that day, Raden, who works at Student Services, started work at 8:30 a.m. and came out to check on his bike at 10 a.m. In less than two hours, someone had evidently clipped the chain.
“I felt violated,” he said.
Raden’s experience is not an isolated one. University Police issued a bulletin Tuesday warning students about the recent rash of bicycle thefts.
Raden now uses a 6-pound lock that has a $3500 guaranteed insurance policy. And, as an added safe guard, he also takes advantage of the Bike Barn on campus, which stores bikes for free.
Both the SF State police and students agree that while the campus is predominantly safe, theft is a problem.
“The biggest issue on campus is theft of unattended property,” SF State Police Department Chief Kirk Gaston said.
Students have a “false sense of security just for a moment and leave items unattended. You have to pay attention to your stuff,” he said.
The chief suggested not having parties with people you don’t know or leaving things in your car in plain view.
There were also a number of vehicle thefts on campus. According to the 2007 Campus Security Report the number of campus vehicle thefts increased from 15 incidents in 2004 to 24 incidents in 2006. However, there was a decrease in the number of incidents on public property from 54 incidents in 2005 to seven incidents in 2006.
SF State senior, Bryan Schnaidt said someone broke into his girlfriend’s Chevrolet Cobalt. The rubber lining surrounding the window was fine but the window cost $400 to replace.
“There are break-ins by the Park Merced side,” Schnaidt said. “You’re gonna see broken windows.”
Personal safety, on the other hand, is something SF State student’s say they don’t generally worry about.
“I feel pretty safe all the time on campus,” Zoe Jardine, a freshman, said. “At night I always see so many police.”
SF State student Angelica Olivares agrees.
“I’ve been here all five years and really didn’t have a moment where I didn’t feel safe,” she said.
If Olivares had one criticism however, she said it would be that the campus shuttles should have more stops “especially when it gets darker.”
Marcus Payne, a fifth-year student at SF State said he has been told by female friends that they get “hardcore aggressive guys” bothering them at night.
“There’s not that (general) presence on campus at night so it’s scary for some women,” Payne said. “Dudes are hollering at the girls anywhere you go.”
Payne suggested putting up more flyers about the escort service. “All girls would appreciate that,” he said.
Students can call for an escort through the Campus Alliance for a Risk Free Environment or C.A.R.E., a student security team that provides available escorts from midnight to sunset seven days a week.
To contact C.A.R.E. call (415) 338-7200.
Lisbet Sunshine, director of government relations will hold a Voter Rally on Oct. 22 to motivate new voters to register for the upcoming election. The date is set specifically to make an impact just before the election. It will be held at Malcolm X plaza. Celebrities, musicians and political speakers from both Obama and McCain’s camp are expected to attend.
A vote will be held next Wednesday for the T-shirt promoting the event.
Adam Calmenson of the Institute for Civic and Community Engagement introduced a program that helps people register to vote.
They are hoping to issue a team to go to the local Farmer’s Market and motivate new voters to register.
The ASI is planning a barbecue to encourage voter registration. There is no set date or location for the barbecue.
The Green Committee moved to meet once a month.
Student Organization Special Event Funding financial plans have been tabled at this time.
Graduate student Laura J. Alarcón won the seat for Graduate Representative over grad student Frankie Griffen.
In response to recent school shootings around the country, some campuses and state legislatures now allow students, faculty and staff to carry guns for protection.
The University of Utah as well as Harrold Independence High School in Texas are at the center of this controversy in allowing concealed weapons for those who qualify.
Coralie Alder, the Utah spokeswoman stresses that even though the focus is solely on the university, it is actually a statewide matter.
“During the 2007 legislative session, a bill was passed which allows concealed weapons permit holders to carry their guns on college and university campuses,” she said. “It required the university to change its policy of almost 30 years that did not allow faculty, staff or students to bring guns to campus.”
In order to get a concealed weapon permit in the University of Utah, the applicant must be at least 21 years old, have no prior criminal record of violent or substance-related crime, and he or she must be mentally competent, according to the American CCW, an organization that offers courses and permits for concealed weapons and firearms in Utah and Florida.
“The 2007 bill does allow one exception.” Alder said. “Students residing in on-campus housing can ask to be moved if their roommate has a permit and brings his/her gun to campus,” Alder said, however, that no student has asked to be moved.
Despite much support for this growing development, most school authorities feel that it is unnecessary, and that it could cause more harm than good.
“Weapons have no place on a campus except in the hands of sworn police officers,” SF State President Robert A. Corrigan said. “Allowing guns on campus does not make schools safer, but more volatile and more dangerous.”
However, officials of Harrold Independent High School seem to think otherwise, having recently made headlines for being the first high school in the nation to change its laws regarding guns on campus around the same time Utah did.
The 2007 school board decision permits teachers and staff to carry guns, which was approved by Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
Harrold School District Superintendent David Thweatt said that the purpose of this law is “to arm the good guys in order to deter the bad.”
Each high school employee who wants to carry a weapon must first take a personality test and training course in crisis management, according to Thweatt. In addition, those who qualify are only able to use special ammunition to minimize the risk of ricocheting, where a bullet hits the surface and bounces away in a different direction.
This relatively new movement has found many supporters, and even fashioned an Internet based community called Students for Concealed Carry on Campus (SCCC).
The SCCC is “a national organization comprised of more than 30,000 members, who support the right of concealed handgun license holders to carry concealed handguns on college campuses,” the group's Web site said.
W. Scott Lewis, board member and spokesman for the SCCC, believes that states allowing concealed weapons on campus have the safest schools in the nation.
SF State students have so far not expressed any interest in having a branch of the SCCC registered on campus, according to Student Services.
Over 2,000 SF State students will not get their Cal Grant B financial aid until the record-breaking budget impasse ends with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s signing the legislature’s proposed budget. Until then, it’ll be “Top Ramen and rice” for students like international business major Jon Haas.
Haas is spending his first semester at SF State digging into his savings to supplement the $6,100 he said he was supposed to get during the first week of school for his tuition and living expenses.
“I’m a full-time student so I can’t do full-time work,” said Haas, 24, who is taking 14 units and currently jobless. He estimates that he has spent $2,500 for tuition and school expenses so far.
CSU students like Haas aren’t alone. Students from UCs, community colleges, occupational and training schools receive Cal Grants. If the budget does not pass by the end of September, a total of $71 million in Cal Grant money will be withheld from students for this month alone, said Garin Casaleggio from the state controller’s office. That doesn’t include the Cal Grant money withheld in the last two months since the new fiscal year was supposed to begin on July 1.
Those millions of dollars allow hundreds of thousands of college students to attend school. Last year, 266,000 students received Cal Grants, said Yvonne Stewart-Buchen from California Student Aid Commission.
Unlike most government financial aid, Cal Grants are funded by the state, so the state controller’s office may not issue checks until the budget passes. Until then, schools are trying to pay the students out of their pocket, but not all schools can finance all students while waiting on a budget that has been in flux for over two months.
“It all depends on schools reserves or their ability to borrow,” Casaleggio said.
Fortunately for some Cal Grant recipients, SF State was able to pay their tuition and fees for the fall semester. But students who are receiving money under Cal Grant B, which not only pays for tuition and fees but living expenses as well, are not being fronted the money from SF State, said Larry Ware from the school’s fiscal affairs office.
Instead, short-term loans as well as fee deferments are offered to the 2,200 students relying on Cal Grant B, said Barbara Hubler, the director of financial aid for SF State. The state’s financial aid office is also trying to do damage control as the budget drags on.
“[We’re] keeping them to date, preparing everything ... [we] sent letters to some of the students, letting them know they have a potential Cal Grant,” said Stewart-Buchen. “[We’re] doing everything possible to ... minimize the effect.”
Haas has not taken advantage of the loans and deferments, instead choosing to wait it out. “ [I have] ... maybe a little bit over a month in the clear,” he said. California’s budget is currently delayed by two months and broke the record for lateness Sept. 1. Therefore, another month of delays and the back and forth between the Democrats and the Republicans in the California State Legislature is feasible to Haas.
Even those in Sacramento can’t give an estimate of when the budget may pass.
“Can’t speculate … [It’s] really up to the legislature leadership,” Casaleggio said.
Adjacent to roaring, car-laden 19th Avenue lies a chance for students to save some money on books.
Hidden away in the HSS building, the Friends of the Library’s Booksale Room provides a stark contrast to the noisy street nearby. Students can browse hundreds of books with only the white noise of pages flipping and fluorescent lights buzzing, amid the cheerful presence of volunteer Maurice Bassan, who addresses each customer personally.
The books are also wallet friendly – one dollar per paperback, two for hardbacks – and are better priced than most book stores, said staffers.
On this particular day, a man places a novel by Saul Bellow and a book on philosophy by Thomas Hobbes on a desk-sized table. Maurice Bassan charges the man for the books and places the money in a humble wooden cashbox.
“To copy that at Borders, it would be like $20,” said Bassan.
Students headed toward 19th Avenue may have noticed the Friends of the Library Booksale Room’s only advertising: a lone sign that stands in front of the entrance.
Considering the store’s modest room size and subtle advertising, the amount of money the store has raised for SF State’s library might be surprising. According to Suzanne Taylor, the office coordinator for Friends of the Library, the Booksale Room has raised over $300,000 since its founding in 1980.
The Friends of the J. Paul Leonard Library is the non-profit organization that owns the Booksale Room. Through donations and membership fees, the organization has pledged to provide the library with $250,000 for redevelopment. They are close to this goal partially because of sales at the store, Taylor said.
According to Patricia Werthimer, a volunteer at the Booksale Room, the library’s needs are paramount. In the past Werthimer was the chair of the store, and during her tenure the library’s necessities directed the Booksale Room’s donations. As of now, the library’s reconstruction constitutes the core of its needs, and in turn is where most of the store’s profits go, said Bassan.
While the Booksale Room provides SF State monetary support, it also gives the store’s customers and volunteers a sense of community.
Taylor said the store is more like a browsing stop than a traditional bookstore, and that customers have to hunt through carts and shelves of books to find something they like.
“We don’t have everything you want,” said Taylor. “But you will find that we have a lot of amazing things.”
The Booksale Room’s laid-back feel gives customers and volunteers a chance to chat about everything from books to politics. It is the store’s communal atmosphere that keeps many of the volunteers coming back to work day after day.
“[Customers] stop and talk and it makes you feel younger,” said Werthimer. “It’s just a very rewarding job for me.”
“Retirement means getting busy and really doing something with your life, and that’s something I’m doing,” said Bassan, a retired English teacher. “It’s my store when I’m in it. What English teacher doesn’t dream of having a book store of his own?”
The store’s books come from donations, which flood in at such a high volume that volunteers struggle to get them on the shelves. Bassan estimates that there are 50 boxes of books in his basement waiting to hit the shelves. Michael Hull, the current chair of the Booksale Room, said they’ve received up to 400 books in one donation.
“We are deeply appreciative of the donations we receive from the university community,” said Hull. Hull sometimes spends his Saturdays searching through garage sales for books to add to the store’s shelves.
After nearly 30 years without a real spot of its own, the Booksale Room will have a home in the library it has long supported.
The store will have a room in the redeveloped library, which is scheduled for completion in 2011, Taylor said.
The disparity between the increasing number of students and the decreasing number of faculty at SF State is straining academic departments across campus, university faculty said.
Sheldon Axler, dean of the College of Science and Engineering, was forced to reduce the number of lecturers in his college due to budget cuts.
“This semester we have 3.8 percent less faculty than we did the previous semester,” Axler said. “While that is not a significant number, we are accommodating too many students with an insufficient number of staff.”
In some instances, overcrowding has forced students to sit on the floor or to stand, prompting the university to change the classrooms of certain courses to accommodate larger class sizes, said Joel Kassiola, dean of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences.
“One of the things that the BSS has done is switch smaller classes to larger classrooms so we can expand the maximum enrollment of classes and utilize all the possible desks in the room,” Kassiola said.
While there have been no major instances of SF State tenured professors being fired, many lecturers, some of whom normally teach on a semester-to-semester basis, have felt effects of the state budget cuts, said James Martel, chair of the political science department.
“There have been several instances of lecturers not being asked to return, but tenured professors have a good amount of security with their jobs,” Martel said.
Apart from larger class sizes, Martel said many tenured professors have to fill the shoes of part-time faculty members.
“A lot of tenured professors are having to teach classes that lecturers normally teach,” Martel said. “Everyone is starting to get overworked.”
“Regardless of a budget crisis, many lecturers at SF State have multiple jobs at different universities and it’s not uncommon for them to switch from one school to another,” Martel said. “Many of the lecturers that have left could presumably return next semester.”
Despite budget cuts facing California public universities, over the past six years there has not been a significant reduction of professors or lecturers at CSU schools, according to a CSU-led profile of university employees.
However, the rise in student population has outpaced current staff, stretching university faculty and resources thin, said Beverly Voloshin, chair of the English department.
“Many around campus think there are ‘fabled myths’ of professors getting laid off,” Voloshin said. “We honestly haven’t lost a lot of faculty – although that doesn’t mean that we aren’t being affected by the budget cuts.”
Because of the inconsistent availability of lecturers and the short supply of tenured professors, the English department is having a difficult time dealing with the heavy load of students, Voloshin said.
“While the English department hasn’t lost any professors due to budget cuts, we have lost classes – and that means that current classes are a lot (more full),” Voloshin said.
“Fewer [faculty] are doing more work with less resources.” Voloshin said. “After years of this, it puts a strain on a lot of people.”
Students, parents and concerned community members gathered at City Hall today to honor those killed in the recent violence in the Mission and to demand steps to prevent future violence.
The peace rally, promoted by the June Jordan School for Equity, brought together a diverse group with concerns about violence in San Francisco’s neighborhoods.
The school took students on a field trip to the peace rally in response to the deaths of Josh Cameron, a JJSE senior killed Friday Aug. 5, and Jorge Hurtado, who graduated from JJSE last spring and was killed two days before he was scheduled to begin classes at SF State.
Fole Savea, a senior at JJSE, said she was happy with the turnout at the peace rally. “We think there are roughly 280 people here,” Savea said. “We need to show we care and do something to show how important our safety is.” Savea said she was friends with Cameron, and had talked to him soon before he was killed.
“He told me he knew exactly what he wanted to do with his life,” Savea said. “He wanted to become a firefighter,” Savea shook her head and covered her face. “Now?"
Parents stood back at the periphery of the event. Kiowa Smith said she was a parent so she felt she had to come.
“I’ve lost a lot of friends,” Smith said. “I am a parent and something needs to happen to make things safer,” Smith said.
The sentiments of students and parents reinforced the stated motivations of the San Francisco Unified School District.
“We expect the students to behave at the rally how anyone deals with loss,” said Gentle Blythe, communications director for the school district. “Some deal with a fist-shaking spirit and some with loss and tears,” said Blythe.
“Students organized the event,” Blythe said. “They were upset about the second killing of one of their peers.” Blythe said the students wanted to see a change in city policy, and hoped to emphasize the importance of official response to violence and murder that directly affected the schools.
“Students decided to tell elected officials to make this a priority,” Blythe said.
Mitzi Mock, with the Public Outreach and Communications department said the event was designed to express students’ feelings, not to incite hostility against the city’s government.
“This is a peace rally,” Mock said, “not a protest. The school district considers it a field trip for students to participate with government and express the importance of issues for schools.”
Loud hip-hop music greeted SF State students crossing Malcolm X Plaza for the first time since the beginning of the semester.
After the lifting of the noise moratorium Monday, the Black Student Union (BSU) and the Associated Students Inc. (ASI) had a disc jockey blasting amplified music at the plaza as part of their Hurricane Katrina Memorial.
“It’s been a very long and hard process trying to be able to hold events in the plaza,” BSU coordinator Melanie Eke said. “I’m very excited to have music back in the quad and plaza…it’s central to student life.”
All outdoor events using amplified sound had been on hold since the end of the spring semester while a special committee reviewed the school’s event policy over the summer to determine how to minimize the disruption of classes.
“I’m really excited and happy to have events happening in the plaza again,” said Joey Greenwell, director of the office of student programs and leadership development (OSPLD). “It adds a lot to the university environment.”
He sent out e-mails informing the campus community of the change as soon as the Office of Student Affairs lifted the moratorium Monday morning.
Greenwell said Tuesday was the first day that student organizations could make reservations for historical events (events that have been held repeatedly for at least five years now) that use amplified sound at Malcolm X Plaza, with the exception of three historical, time-specific events that will be staged immediately, one being the Hurricane Katrina Memorial.
The College Republicans will be staging a Sept. 11 memorial event today, and La Raza hosted an event yesterday.
Friday will be the first day to register for all other outdoor events.
But organizations planning the events still need to adhere to certain rules - the OSPLD said that any amplified outdoor sound should not exceed 85 decibels – a change from the previous limit of 95 decibels - and that only the official student center sound system can be used for amplification.
Christine Gordon, executive assistant at the Office of Student Affairs, said that the lifting of the moratorium resulted from the work of the task force, which recommended changes to the 20-year-old Time, Place and Manner Policy (Executive Directive 89-13) that governs the use of campus buildings and grounds.
“Their work was instrumental in moving the restrictions,” she said.
Raul Amaya, vice president of internal affairs for the ASI, was a member of the task force, along with seven other students and eight members of the school administration.
“It was stressful working with both administration and students trying to get the plaza open for amplified sound,” Amaya said. “But it was good that the students’ voices were heard. I’m glad they lifted the moratorium.”
Greenwell added that while changes “have not been put into effect completely, work is still being done by the university” to review and improve the policy.
One of the things being done by the Office of Student Affairs as part of the review is to conduct professional sound testing to determine how sound much sound carries on campus grounds, Greenwell said.
ASSOCIATED STUDENTS INC. for 9/10/08:
Since the library will soon be closing, board members expressed concern over needing an alternative service for Rapid Copy in order to print fliers for group activities.
Associated Students Inc. approved funding, roughly $400.00 each, for various events from associations such as Muslim Student Association, Muslim Women Student Association and Indian Student Association.
The board of directors discussed updated the amount allotted to student organizations as 15 percent; roughly $4,000 was left unused from last semester.
ASI President Natalie Franklin said they hope to work with Chartwells officials to hold events for on-campus residents--particularly to accommodate the growing number of freshmen-- in the City Eats Dining Center and Seven Hills Conference Center.
ACADEMIC SENATE for 9/9/08:
To bring SF State in line with current CSU requirements, now students can only repeat a course if they receive less than a C grade. The previous policy required that students receive a B or less to repeat the class. The course repeat policy is intended to include Fall 2008 and beyond, but it is unclear how the administration plans to approach its application.
SF State is currently in stage one of a three-stage process on the road to re-accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. The senate approved the WASC Institutional Proposal that highlights 3 “themes” for focus outside of the review board’s usual criteria. Those themes will encompass SF State’s core of social justice and civic engagement, the changing staff and student demographics, as well as student success, said Dr. Linda Buckley, Associate Vice President of Academic Planning and Educational Effectiveness.
A move to temporarily suspend changes to general education curriculum revisions was tabled until the senates next meeting Sept. 23. With the school is in the midst of changing its graduation requirements, a suspension will keep faculty from “wasting time” on changes that could prove moot, said Senator Wei Ming Dariotis, who spoke on behalf of the Academic Policies Committee.
The senate heard nominations for and approved a new Academic Senate Elections Committee. The committee will consist of three members:
Mary Ann van Dam
The three were elected unanimously.
A project to turn some University Park South houses into a green living co-operative this fall was shelved because there was not enough time to implement it and not enough eligible students applied, organizers said.
[X]press reported last May that Housing and Residential Services accepted a student’s proposal to set aside four adjacent town houses in University Park South—601 Font Blvd., 100 Tapia Drive, 2 Pinto Ave. and 4 Pinto Ave.—for a joint living project called Eco-Digs.
Eco-Digs was to house up to 15 students passionate about effecting environmental and social change. The co-op’s planned projects included updating the houses to improve energy and water efficiency and transforming the grass lawns into organic food gardens. Housing began accepting applications for Eco-Digs last spring.
But over the summer, “we realized that to try to have it all together this fall was unrealistic,” said Keir Johnson, the student who proposed Eco-Digs to Housing in March 2008. “It’s just on hold. Nothing is in vain.”
Instead, for the fall, “we’re focused on beefing up existing programs in Housing,” said Johnson, who now works for SF State under Jim Bolinger, associate director of residential property management.
Currently, SF State is home to Towers Residents’ Environmental Organization (TREO)—Housing’s environmentally themed dorm floor for freshmen, which Johnson said would receive additional attention in lieu of Eco-Digs.
“There’s not a lot to say about Eco-Digs. It needs to be planned much more in advance and there needs to be an interest in it,” said Bolinger, who worked on Eco-Digs with Johnson.
“Keir came up with the concept, and everybody embraced it. We really liked it, but there was not enough time to put it together in the license agreement cycle that university housing follows,” Bolinger said. “It just needed to be developed much more in advance.”
But even if Eco-Digs had been ready to go, not many eligible students showed an interest in actually living there, Bolinger said.
Though Johnson said those involved with Eco-Digs did not have enough time to adequately inform potential residents, the dearth of applicants may have had more to do with age restrictions for University Park South than a lack of interest. Students had to be between the ages of 22 and 25 to live in the off-campus co-op.
While several students who spent last spring living in TREO would have made good candidates for Eco-Digs, virtually none of the students who lived there were old enough to apply, Bolinger said.
With Eco-Digs “on the back burner” this fall, Bolinger said Housing’s energies will focus on “continuing TREO, continuing the progress that we made last year in addition to developing something for second-year students.”
One avenue for TREO “graduates” will be to join ECO Students, the group of environmentally conscious students that announced earlier this semester that it would expand to include Housing’s Eco-Friendly Residents’ Organization (HERO).
Johnson, a member of the new ECO Students, said he is glad the two student groups have pooled together because Housing is still a largely untapped resource. Resident students have fueled nearly all movements on campus because they live closest and have the freedom to do so; therefore, “we have so much potential to work in community building and consciousness raising down here,” he said.
“There’s a lot of growth potential in the existing structures. There’s a lot of amazing potential and possibilities” said Johnson, who described Housing’s new fall focus as “a crawl-before-you-can-walk scenario.”
A project like Eco-Digs could still happen next semester or later, and Housing officials will meet to decide on that later in the fall, Bolinger said.
“People still like it,” he said. “We definitely are keenly interested in pushing our sustainability efforts forward, both within our operations and as programming for our students to take with them for a lifetime.”
Johnson said that, while projects like Eco-Digs are “definitely the direction we’re going to be going, the main concern is making sure there’s a legacy left from what we’re doing here...not trying to grow too fast.”
“If we can affect people to look at their lifestyles on campus, it’s so many times more likely that they’ll continue to work within the systems that were revealed to them,” he said.
In the rough sea of global economics America is floundering while China sails right by. SF State's business department is taking note.
China’s gross domestic product growth rate was 9 percent last year, while America’s GDP was just 1.5 percent, according to Dr. Jean-Marc F. Blanchard, associate professor of International Relations at SF State.
“China is a headline country in terms of economic growth,” Blanchard said. “We’re having trouble as much as they’re doing things right.”
The Office of International Programs is expanding its opportunities in China. The organization will be adding one - or possibly two - Chinese universities to the study abroad roster: one is assured, and the other is highly probable.
As of spring 2009, SF State will send students to study at Hong Kong Polytechnic University for the first time. There is also a proposal for a student exchange with Fudan University in Shanghai, a hugely populated city which sits centrally on the east coast of China.
The exchange between Fudan University and SF State will be pitched later this month to the All University Committee for International Programs.
"I feel fully confident that it will move forward," said My Yarabinec, associate director of the Office of International Programs. "I don't anticipate any problems."
While study abroad programs previously existed between SF State and China, the subjects students could take was limited. While classes focused mostly on language and culture before, these additions will offer education for business and hospitality students.
This expansion comes at time of globalization in the business world. Blanchard said studying hospitality in China will help students compete.
“The Marriott’s, Sheraton’s, and Hilton’s of the world want people who can handle different kinds of clients and work forces,” Blanchard said. “Being in China is one of the ways to get these skills.”
Before these additions, non-Chinese speaking students who wanted to study in China had few options.
Previously, the program required at least two semesters of Mandarin before studying at most universities in China. But both add-ons will be accessible to those who cannot speak Chinese: there are no language requirements, and most classes will be taught in English, according to David Wick, coordinator of Study Abroad Services.
Wick said if the program in Fudan is a success, then the curriculum will branch out from hospitality into other aspects of Business.
“We expect that we will send our first students in the spring,” Wick said.
Both inclusions will be apart of SF State’s bilateral exchange program. As opposed to the California State University international program, which applies to all students within the CSU system, a bilateral exchange is open only to those attending SF State.
“Fudan University sought us out through the strength of our hospitality program,” said Nancy Hayes, the dean of business at SF State. Hayes said the program will give students a view as to how business is done elsewhere in the world.
"Fudan is very prestigious," Blanchard said. "It's the most famous university in Shanghai by far."
Due to the global nature of commerce today, finding a business oriented job in general could be easier for students who have studied abroad, according to Blanchard. Students that haven’t ventured out of the States will be at a disadvantage.
“All they can say is I know how to sell Europe or the West,” Blanchard said. “That’s just not enough anymore.”
Dr. Jean-Marc F. Blanchard
Associate Professor of International Relations
(415) 405-2481 Phone
Associate Director of the Office of International Programs
Dean of College of Business
Coordinator of Study Abroad Services
An estimated 3,614 freshmen have enrolled at SF State for the 2008-2009 academic year, making them “the largest freshmen class in SF State history,” said Jo Volkert, associate vice president of enrollment management.
Despite the rise in fees – the cost of enrollment at SF State went up from $1,728 to $1,881 a semester – SF State had received more than 41,000 fall semester applications last year.
But the increase in housing for freshmen and transfer students made many choose SF State over other college campuses, many students said.
SF State now offers the Residence Halls, the Science and Technology Theme Community, the Towers At Centennial Square, the Village At Centennial Square or the University Park South Bedspace to incoming students, according to housing officials.
In addition to the student housing, which offers quick access to the campus, the appeal of a campus in an urban location with all its benefits is a top draw for the class of 2012.
“SFSU is close to the city, which is very different from home, and I really wanted a change,” said Brennan Georgianni, 18, a first-year student and criminal justice major from Orange County.
SF State extended its social capacity by allowing freshmen to find roommates through networking sites before classes even started, made many feel more comfortable and prepared than past freshmen to start life on campus.
“In the past, students would go to Facebook and MySpace and decide, without even talking to their assigned roommate, that this was not a person they wanted to room with,” said Associate Director of Residential Administrative Services Philippe Cumia in an interview last year. “So we decided, now that everybody has these social spaces online, why don’t we just let them choose?”
Since fall 2007 the Housing and Residential Services has offered this new roommate selection process. Incoming freshmen provide their MySpace or Facebook links, and the housing officials then create a list that students are able to access online to check out potential roommates for the dorms.
About 1,944 of the new students chose to live in the dorms with most others living nearby, Volkert said, adding that this group of freshmen is much more diverse than in recent years, with a significantly larger number of Latinos, Volkert said.
This year there are also 120 new international students from countries like Japan, Indonesia and France.
Although the enrollment management does not have the specifics yet, Volkert said she expects the break-down to be the same as last year’s, with about 51 percent of the mostly 18-year-old freshmen coming from other areas in California, including out-of-state and international students, and 49 percent coming from six Bay Area counties (San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Marin).
At the time of application most first-year students were planning on attending school full-time, which has been another growing trend among the recent years, according to the enrollment management.
The majors selected by the highest numbers of freshmen were “undeclared” followed by pre-nursing and marketing.
From MySpace to Facebook, online social networks are still expanding, but social mapping seems to be the new gadget everyone is talking about.
The Web application allows users the ability to see the locations of their friends who also use the application and, for some, raises questions on whether the technology is a cool social feature or a creepy stalking device.
The application, which can be downloaded to cell phones, hand held devices and computers, allows users to connect with friends and keep track of their whereabouts, find places and get directions all through Global Positioning Systems.
When adding to the social network, the customer downloads the application to their cell phone, hand held device or computer. Eventually, the user is asked if they’d really like to add the tracking application. The message pops up: “The application Loopt requests access to your GPS location information. Do you wish to grant access?”
After that, the user is able to see his or her location indicated by a circle on a map that appears on the device’s screen. Friends who have been added to the customer’s network will also appear on a map. One of the options of this web application is that users can invite friends-- who appear to close to them on the map-- to join them at a restaurant, movie or any location the user may like.
Dan Gilmartin, vice president of marketing for Buddy Beacon, one of the main companies that sells social mapping, said that Buddy Beacon allows users to download more than 70 Web applications to their devices.
The concept of social mapping as a form of networking started with Dodgeball, a company that allows its users to send text messages to a selected group of friends, and offers the opportunity for users to update their locations.
The new technology is met with mixed reactions.
“I think it is creepy that people can stalk you,” said Darrell Alfonso, who is a music major at SF State and uses Loopt. “I only have two friends. I always turn it (Loopt) off because I don’t want people to find me.”
The Web application is free for customers and according to Gilmartin, Buddy Beacon’s niche market is young adults between the ages of 17 and late 30s.
While social mapping does cause some skepticism and concern about having users whereabouts known 24 hours a day, users do have the option to change status and make themselves unavailable, which would then hide their location from friends.
The product has been in the market for about six years, and has not been regulated in a way that privacy laws could specifically protect users from possibly suffering form invasion of privacy. Also, the problems that can arise from social mapping are still unclear.
“Technology always exceeds legislation,” said Marc Sosnick, office assistant for the department of computer science at SF State.
In the meantime, Gilmartin said that privacy is definitely an issue that concerns Buddy Beacon.
“We have architected our product in a way that you are in control of your location,” Gilmartin said.
“Everytime you create new ways of collecting data, data is collected. It will happen (data collection), technology is not the problem,” said Dragutin Petkovic, chair of the computer science department at SF State. “People should request political protection.”
While some may question whether or not social mapping keeps users from privacy, others look at the social opportunity of learning about new places, connecting with friends who can be just around the corner.
“I think it is kind of weird (social mapping), because you can call the person. But if you can contact them it would be useful,” said Allysha Davis, an 18-year-old SF State student.
Some of the major Web sites that offer social mapping are Loopt, Brightkite, Whrrl and Buddy Beacon. All started in the past few years and have alleged to be only growing the number of users.
“There are two factors (that will increase the growth of social mapping) one is a consumer demand, service providers providing that service and there is not a phone these days that doesn’t have a GPS,” Gilmartin said. “I think that over time we will have a 100 percent (market opportunity).”
A galaxy of 17 public pay phones once existed on SF State’s campus. Today, to the dismay of some, that galaxy has been reduced to a lone star in a distant corner of the Cesar Chavez Student Center just outside room M100 E.
“I noticed the first day of school that the phone in the HSS building was gone,” said Yvette Wakefield, a 62-year-old Spanish major. “I had a bad feeling when I saw that.”
Wakefield searched campus to no avail. Frustrated, she complained to the Disability Programs and Resource Center and the Cesar Chavez Student Center.
“I do rely on pay phones regularly,” she said. “I do not have a cell phone and never will. I know about the dangers of cell phone use. I need to be able to call people just like everyone else.”
Phoebe Kwan, executive director of information technology, said the phones were removed without warning sometime in June, when the school’s provider, Pacific Telemanagement Services, transitioned away from business with AT&T.
“Over time they were dwindling, and we thought we had 10 or 12,” said Kwan. “But we did a walk through and found one. It was such a surprise to us that they weren’t here anymore.”
Attempts by Kwan’s department to contact the phone companies were fruitless, and requests for any notification of removal plans fell on deaf ears.
“We talked to AT&T, but there are so many different arms of the company,” said Kwan. Public pay phones on campus used to be leased to the university for free, but because of declining use in recent years, SF State has become responsible for paying for the phone service.
However, Kwan says there are plans to bring a few public payphones back to the campus.
“I’m working with my staff to identify the key locations on campus where pay phones would make sense,” she said. “We want to get four or five phones in places within reason so people on campus won’t have to walk far to get to them.”
Unfortunately for students who do not have cell phones, there is no timeline for when new phones will be installed.
Kwan points to the numerous campus courtesy phones as a temporary alternative for those in need. The phones can dial 911 and any campus extension.
Tania Howard-Gibbon noticed that pay phones are a rare sight at SF State.
“I’ve never needed to use one, but when I do see them, I think ‘Oh, a pay phone!’” she said. “It sticks out in your mind because there aren’t any.”
Others have been unaffected by the pay phones’ recent disappearance.
“I really haven’t noticed that they were gone,” said Corey Grosklos, a political science major. “I never need to use them because I always have my cell phone.”
While some freshmen are spending the first few weeks at SF State setting up with new roommates, students like Wilfredo “Will” Santillan make the choice to commute from home.
The 18-year-old is an international business major at SF State. He lives off-campus with his mother in the Westlake district of Daly City, just a couple of miles away from campus.
“I like college,” he said. “I’m meeting a lot of people, and I have at least one good friend already in each of my classes. Most of them come from different parts of the country.”
Santillan, who has no siblings, said his close relationship with his mother was one of the main reasons he chose to stay at home.
“I don’t want to leave my mom on her own, after everything she’s done for me,” said the freshman. “We talk about everything and decide on everything together.”
His father, a lawyer, lives in Peru. He visits his son every year, calls him regularly, and also sends financial help to his family.
Santillan’s uncle, Fernando Cardenas, an SF State facilities worker, attests to the value Will places on family relationships and acts as a second father to the freshman.
“He’s close to family,” Cardenas said. “We spend lots of time together.” He said that his nephew was also a “very good student” who “worked hard to get to where he is now.”
Born in Peru, Santillan came to California with his mom after finishing elementary school.
“Just like everyone, I am chasing the American dream,” he said wistfully. “But the change was difficult because I do miss my country.”
Santillan said he is most excited about the possibility of playing soccer for the Gators. But that may have to wait; the athlete injured both knees over the summer while playing soccer, and will have to undergo surgery.
“I’ll have to wait until the spring to play,” he said.
Living off-campus does not bother him. “It’s not expensive,” he said. “Living on campus is too expensive. And I can focus on doing school work more at home because I don’t have to take time to prepare food for myself or do laundry.” He added that his mom helps him with laundry and cooks “delicious Peruvian food” for him every day.
On weekends, Santillan works for two different food demonstration companies, travelling to different Latino stores all over the Bay Area to market new food products targeted toward Latino-American consumers – a job he said he enjoys.
“My whole paycheck goes to my mom,” he said. “It’s just the two of us living at home, so I get to help her make spending decisions. And I also get just enough spending money from her.”
Because off-campus living is “less expensive,” he’s able to save money for emergencies and for his own education. So far, Santillan has only spent $30 on a biweekly Samtrans pass and less than $10 on food in one week, since his class schedule allows him to eat meals at home on most days.
The most money he’s spent so far was $500 when he purchased books at the SFSU Bookstore. “The cost of books is crazy,” he said. “After seeing the receipt, I realized it would be the last time I’m buying all my books from the bookstore.”
However, he admitted that he sometimes feels he’s also missing out on the “full college experience” and on “moving out.”
“People who live on campus have all the fun ‘cause they do stuff at night,” he said. “I can’t stay [on campus] too late because of the bus schedule.”
The Samtrans schedule can be a problem, he said, as the bus only comes once every half an hour. He plans to start biking to school once his knees have fully healed.
Santillan graduated from Westmoor High School in Daly City where he played soccer for all four years, starred in school plays, took several advanced placement classes, and joined student government.
His achievements earned him a scholarship from the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, which enabled him to go to SF State right away instead of community college.
But beyond all that, he’s most remembered for being the school mascot – Santillan wore the Westmoor Ram costume at school games for two years.
“He was pretty funny as the mascot,” said Santillan’s friend John Lindstrom, who now also goes to SF State. “He’d try to copy whatever the cheerleaders did ‘til everyone was laughing at him.”
Number of Non-San Francisco residents commuting to the city: 522,229
Number of Riders boarding and exiting M line at SF State on an average day: 4,098
Price of a MUNI pass (good for riding MUNI and BART within San Francisco): $45
Price of a semester parking permit: $225
John Beigarten, 18, is one of nearly two thousand freshmen living at SF State this semester. He is a self-described disciplined guy yet, like many freshmen, is undecided on a major, lives about an hour away from his hometown and seems to enjoy mixing partying into his study time.
“The first week I went out and partied,” the new Towers at Centennial Square resident said.
Beigarten has his own car, a Volkswagen Rabbit, which he drove last weekend to Monterey to help his friend move and back home to Livermore to go to a house party with his friends.
In his free time he likes to go to Ocean Beach or spend time with Denise, his sister-in-law, who lives in the Sunset District, he said. Beigarten describes himself as self-disciplined because, “If I wanna do it, I put my mind to it and do it,” he said.
Beigarten is taking four classes including geography, astronomy, critical thinking and basic theory of guitar.
He says he finds astronomy the most interesting and took a music class because it seemed “laid back, and I don’t have tons of work to do,” he said.
When he’s not in class he goes back to his dorm where he does some homework, hangs out with friends and “prepares for the night life,” he said.
Beigarten shares his room with Brennan Georgianni, another freshman, who is originally from Orange County.
Georgianni said he thought it was funny when Beigarten said there were “hella good clubs up here.” Because in southern California, peope don’t say “hella,” Georgianni explained. Instead they say “tight, rad, gnarly and sick,” he said.
Beigarten said he goes out a lot and has yet to spend a weekend in his dorm room. He said he misses his friends from back home but does not miss his family.
“I was with them for the past 18 years.”
Cost to live at The Village at Centennial Square: $9,624 a year for a double occupancy apartment
Price to live at Mary Park and Mary Ward residence halls: $10,424 with a meal plan of 15 meals per week
Total capacity for student residents: 2,280 bed spaces for students living on-campus
While many Americans spent the last few weeks watching the Olympics from their living rooms, Camilla Teng experienced the games first hand.
Teng always wanted to see the country her parents emigrated from over 30 years ago — extending her student visa to watch Olympic soccer was an added bonus. Teng, 21, said that despite hardships like the devastating earthquakes in May, the Chinese people stood excited and proud to host the Olympic Games. Because of her Chinese lineage, she felt proud too.
In the summer of 2007, Teng, who is double majoring in Chinese and biology, left San Francisco for Beijing as part of the Cal State University system's international studies program. Including Teng, 25 CSU students studied in China during the 2007/2008 school year, 13 of which attended SF State. Teng returned from Beijing last month, one of the last CSU students to return from studying in China.
“If I wasn’t studying abroad, I don’t think I would have gone all the way to Beijing for the Olympics,” Teng said. She watched three Olympic soccer matches, including a women’s game where Japan trumped Norway 5-1.
The excitement was palpable. Teng said it was difficult to describe her exhilaration as she watched the games. She experienced a sense of global unity as westerners and Chinese participated in “the wave” together, a popular spectator activity where crowd members throw their arms up in the air in unison. She dreamed of seeing the Olympics in person since she was young, and that fantasy finally came to fruition.
Because of SF State’s study abroad program, Teng said she witnessed Beijing’s transition from a highly polluted cityscape to a cleaner, more tourist-friendly world stage.
Experiences like Teng’s help students gain international perspective in today’s shrinking global economy, according to My Yarabinec, assistant director of the Office of International Programs. The program places students at Peking University in Beijing or Jiao Tong University in Shanghai. SF State also has a special bilateral exchange with City University of Hong Kong while programs at Peking and Jiao Tong are open to anyone in the CSU system, said Yarabinec.
Classes aim to integrate American students into Chinese language and culture, and studying abroad is affordable for all SF State students, Yarabinec said.
“This isn’t just for rich kids,” Yarabinec said. “These programs are for anyone who comes to SF State.”
While events like the Olympics make studying abroad sound all fun, that’s not exactly the case. Students are challenged by an array of cultural differences during their time abroad, ranging from language difficulties to meeting the rushed pacing of China’s crowded streets. Hildy Heath, director of the Office of International Studies at SF State, said these cultural acclamations benefit students in the long run.
“We always tell students the only way you can gain maturity or personal growth is by doing something really difficult,” Heath said. “That’s the only way it happens.”
While students may look back proudly at all they’ve learned, it doesn’t make cultural differences — like a dense population — any less difficult to overcome. Charles Egan, associate professor of foreign languages and literature at SF State, visited Beijing in January and said the vast number of automobiles can be hard on walkers and bikers.
“They won’t wait for the pedestrians,” Egan said. “They expect you to jump out of the way.”
However, during Teng’s year abroad, she navigated the thick traffic of Beijing on her bike without accident. Strangely enough, the roaring, bumper-to-bumper streets seemed to make it safer for Teng on her bike.
“There are so many bikes and cars and people that everyone goes pretty slow,” Teng said.
Population density aside, another cultural difficulty Teng experienced was hygiene based: no toilet paper. While it’s culturally normal for American bathrooms to stock toilet paper, Teng said in China that’s not the case. The issue may seem insignificant compared to learning a foreign language and battling Beijing’s crowded streets, but these minute concerns made Teng appreciate things in America she previously took for granted.
“None of the restrooms have paper towels and toilet paper,” Teng said. “I take it as a blessing almost. Over there it’s kind of precious.”
While some undergraduates settle in to watch the latest fall TV premiers, other SF State students take in a whole other kind of series.
Fitting the current, politically charged climate, tonight marked the second public lecture in a series covering the presidential election.
“I wanted students to gather together for election night instead of being alone in their dorms,” said event organizer Joel Kassiola, dean of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences.
Tonight the series, which can be taken for credit as special course BSS 275, focused on coverage of the Republican National Convention.
“Politics is very important,” Kassiola said. “It can cause dramatic change.”
18-year-old Ana Brumidis is taking this course to help make a better vote in November.
“I’m not very interested in politics,” Brumidis said. “So I want to make sure I make the right choice.”
Robert Flores, 18, will also be voting this year and is interested in learning more about the two candidates. “This class will help me get informed,” Flores said
The lecture series is hosted by the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences in Jack Adams Hall and held every Wednesday night from 7:15 p.m. to 8:55 p.m. The two-unit course is open to students and community members who want to learn about issues surrounding the 2008 presidential election.
Kassiola and Kathryn Johnson, coordinator for special projects, are co-facilitators for the course this year. Kassiola led the course in 2003 to help students learn about issues behind the Iraq War.
Since then, the course has covered political issues with foreign policy and presidential campaigns. “It has been a unique opportunity for people in the community to become informed and educated about politics,” Kassiola said.
Every week students, faculty, and community members will be able to watch the election campaigns and discuss social and public policy issues for each candidate. About 48 faculty members from 20 different departments will be guest speaking each week to analyze different issues in the election.
“This is a really good chance for students to see professors they admire or want to study with,” Johnson said.
About 400 people attended the second evening of the lecture series. In the last 20 minutes, a group discussion was opened. Several students lined up behind a microphone to speak with Kassiola and Professor Francis Neely, the guest speaker brought from the political science department.
Tonight’s discussion covered Sarah Palin’s acceptance speech for the Republican vice presidential candidate nomination. Other campaign issues such as candidates' beliefs on the economy, education and U.S. foreign policy will be debated in the next 14 weeks.
On November 4, election night, those attending will participate in a state-by-state count with real-time analysis by SF State political science experts. The last presidential election, in 2004, brought 600 people to Jack Adams Hall for the live election coverage.
Effects of the current noise ban on campus were hot topics during last week’s Associated Students Inc. board of directors meeting.
In response to student complaint, board members promised to seek a compromise to allow music and performances outside the Cesar Chavez Student Center.
Two SF State students, Crystal Eboigbodin and Belem Rios, attended the board’s second meeting of the semester separately, looking for a way to end the noise moratorium on Malcolm X Plaza at the student center.
On the first day of school last year, Eboigbodin said, there were lots of people in the plaza and "the music was always playing." She said the plaza was a place to entertain and for students to come together as a group.
"There were people who wanted to do an event in remembrance of the victims of Hurricane Katrina," Eboigbodin said outside the meeting. "And nobody could perform or speak out about the importance of the event for its anniversary."
Rios said she was disappointed because part of the reason she came to SF State was for music and entertainment on campus. "Everyone said how great it was," Rios said, "seeing bands and music right here at the school. Now it turns out it's nothing."
The board said they are planning future meetings to work out a compromise allowing music and performances outside the Cesar Chavez student center, in response to Eboigbodin and Rios.
The ban on noise has even derailed some of ASI's own plans.
The traditional round of activities to ring in Welcome Back Days was canceled due to the moratorium on noise, said Vice President of Internal Affairs Raul Amaya.
In other business, the board voted to approve the Green Committee as an official ASI committee. The new committee's members were easily agreed upon by the board. SF State students, and current board members, Michelle Montoya, Daniel Covino and Greg Doty were considered and approved by the board. At the time of the vote, they were the only members of the new committee and asked attendees at the meeting to talk to potential new members.
Funding for the External Affairs Committee to travel to the California State Student Association was approved unanimously. Amaya told the board the travel was necessary to stay in contact with California associations.
The External Affairs Committee meets with student associations from all over California once a month to discuss statewide issues relevant to students, said Mayra Saldana executive assistant to ASI’s executive director explained prior to the meeting.
At the end of the meeting, Executive Director Peter Koo offered apologies to members of the board who did not receive their wages. "We don't know how those names got deleted from the list when we knew they were there, but we are looking into it and we are very sorry," Koo said.
The ASI board of directors meets every Wednesday at 2 p.m. in the Rosa Parks Conference Wing of the Cesar Chavez Student Center.
Police arrested a man in possession of narcotics Tuesday afternoon on Font Boulevard after he lost control of a stolen car and stalled on a curb, said Sgt. Bohanan of the San Francisco Police Department.
The arrest, made shortly after 5:20 p.m., blocked traffic and caused delays on Font Street as students gathered to watch the police activity.
The suspect, who was described by police as an ex-parolee with a history of illegal activities, was taken to the Taraval police station shortly after his curbside arrest.
“This guy was erratically driving a stolen car,” Bohanan said. “He was under the influence of alcohol and was carrying lots of narcotics: meth, mushrooms, Ecstasy, and plenty of smoking paraphernalia.”
The incident started when officers driving a police cruiser on Lake Merced Drive noticed a car with expired tags, Bohanan said.
After the police cruiser pulled up behind the vehicle, the driver ran a red light on the corner of Font Boulevard and Lake Merced Drive.
This prompted the police to turn on their sirens and give chase.
As the driver barreled up Font Boulevard at speeds near 60 mph, he lost control as he took a turn, spinning around and popping up on a curb, Bohanan said.
Police immediately drew guns and advanced toward the suspect, Bohanan said.
“Once the car was immobilized on the curb, I think he knew the game was up and started to submit to police,” Bohanan said.
After taking the man out of the car, handcuffing him and placing him in the back of a police cruiser, officers started searching through the stolen car - finding empty bottles of alcohol, drugs and a pistol, Bohanan said.
The car, a 1990 Nissan 300ZX, was stolen from the Portola district on Saturday evening, said Ryan Balunsat, owner of the car who arrived at the scene shortly after the arrest.
The police activity brought out onlookers who heard the sounds of the chase.
Eric Laue, a junior at SF State was playing basketball on the nearby courts with friends when he heard all the commotion.
“I heard police sirens, then skidding and a crashing sound,” Laue said. “Our game was interrupted, but it was exciting; it was a good interruption.”
Other students, who were mingling outside of the dorms, were equally captivated about the short police chase.
“You don’t see something like this every day,” Casey Friedman, a freshman standing outside the dorms, said. “I first heard it, then I walked over and saw a man getting out of a car with his hands behind his head.”
“Don’t mess with the SFPD,” she added. “They’re good.”
Two of SF State’s top administrators have recently discussed retirement plans, and the verdicts are in: President Robert A. Corrigan will serve at least two more years, and Provost John Gemello will be greatly missed when he leaves in June.
“John Gemello is a terrific provost,” said Sheldon Axler, Dean of the College of Science Engineering. “I will greatly miss him when he retires.”
Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs John Gemello, whose office’s responsibilities include the development of the university class schedule and the hiring of new faculty, announced through a university press release last month that he plans to retire at the end of the 2008-09 academic year.
“It has been a privilege to serve as provost and to work with such rich and diverse talent as we have at the university,” Gemello said in a news release.
Meanwhile, Corrigan addressed curiosities about his retirement at a recent faculty and staff orientation.
“I have promised Chancellor Reed at least two more years of service at this university,” the president said.
Gemello has served as an SF State administrator for 19 years. He was also an economics lecturer and professor at the university for 14 years before becoming the provost. His appointment to the position – the second-highest rank in the university – came after an eight-month long nationwide search in 2003.
Axler, who has been dean of science for the entire time that Gemello was provost, said that he worked closely with Gemello on several occasions.
“He [Gemello] operates with wonderful integrity and openness, while using his deep understanding of the university to obtain the best results for SF State students and faculty.”
Librarian Ann Shadwick echoed Axler’s sentiments. “Many people will be very sorry to see him go and speak highly of him.”
According to his biography on the school website, Gemello took an original approach to hiring and creating a strongly academic yet diverse faculty while at SF State. Since 2000, he has recruited half of the faculty and was able to hold true to SF State ideals, molding a unique faculty body that focused on non-traditional academics.
In addition to teaching and serving as provost, Gemello has co-authored “Workbook for Macroeconomics” and written several articles and scholarly journals on economics and school finance.
“John has one of the best minds and hearts of anyone with whom I have worked,” university president Corrigan said. “To the university, he has been a splendid academic leader, helping to shape SF State in ways that will endure for years to come. To me, he has been a valued colleague, adviser, and friend.”
Gemello’s successor will be chosen through a national search conducted by a committee appointed by Corrigan.
Corrigan’s comment about his own future plans came close to his 20-year anniversary as SF State president this month, yet he stopped short of expressing any definitive time frame.
“He clearly stated that he is not announcing retirement,” said university spokesperson Ellen Griffin.
Ramon Castellblanch, head of the SFSU faculty union, said that the president’s remarks at the orientation only showed that Corrigan “foresees his retirement,” but that the president has no definite retirement plans yet.
“He’s just starting to think about that transition, but it’s clear that he’s staying on for at least a few more years,” Castellblanch said.
A strong supporter of campus interaction with the world outside of its footprint, Corrigan motivated SF State’s academic departments to pursue civic engagement and help local communities solve problems with university expertise, according to SFSU’s website.
SF State's green community is coming together to form a bigger Eco Students and the university's green students, faculty and staff will meet on Wednesday for a mixer open to anyone interested in learning about the fall's environmental events.
The event--called Mixt Greens--will be held Wednesday, Sept. 10 at the Seven Hills Conference Center from 5-7 p.m. ECO Students, a group of environmentally conscious students, and facilities staff, coordinated to organize it.
"It's an opportunity for new students to learn about the environmental projects on campus, to meet some of the people coordinating those events, and to meet school administrators and faculty interested in sustainability," said William Rutledge, a member of ECO Students. Potential attendees include Carlos Davidson, director of environmental studies, Caitlin Fager, recycling coordinator, and Jim Bolinger, associate director of residential property management for Housing, Rutledge said.
Mixt Greens will be the first green campus event since ECO Students added Housing's Eco-friendly Residents Organization (HERO) and Towers Residents Environmental Organization (TREO) to form one unified student environmental group.
"Everybody's in cahoots and under the same organizational umbrella this year," said Keir Johnson, formerly of HERO. "In the summer and currently, we all began to really fuse and align under common causes," he added. "There's a lot of potential and possibilities, and things are really going to start cooking." Johnson added.
Yearly turnover of the student body makes it difficult to avoid re-inventing the wheels on which green movements on campus can move forward. The point of Mixt Greens is to maintain focus on past work so that students can make a difference without necessarily starting from scratch, said Suzanne McNulty, a member of ECO Students.
"This will give them a chance to plug in to what's already going on, and get new projects started as well," she said.
Next on the horizon for the group is Bike to School Day on Oct. 15, which will follow the installation of several new bicycle racks on campus, Rutledge said.
Soon after that, SF State will host this year's California Student Sustainability Coalition Convergence from Oct. 24-26. "We'll have students from UCs, CSUs, CCCs, private schools, all coming together to talk about sustainability. We anticipate 500 students will be there," said McNulty, who is also a board member for the CSSC.
"There's a wide range of needs. Some [projects] just need people to continue the work that's already in place. Some need major organization," McNulty said. "Everything's needed, from taking the lead on a project to just handing out fliers. Whatever a person's desire to connect, we can help them."
Rutledge acknowledged those students who may be too busy to join those efforts. "We're also going to promote small events that people can go to as a group," Rutledge said. ECO Students members will attend events such as the next Sunday Streets—where several San Francisco streets will be closed to car traffic for the morning—on Sept. 14 and California Coastal Cleanup Day on Sept. 20, and interested students can join them, he said.
"What we want is to give students the opportunities, and if they're excited about a project on their own, then we can help make it happen," Rutledge said. And just in case people need an extra incentive to come, "there's also free pizza. Perhaps pie, too," he added.
If you’re a Democrat, the streets of downtown Denver during the Democratic National Convention are like Disney World. The sidewalks are crowded with shops and corner vendors selling Sen. Barack Obama buttons and plush dolls, celebrities appear out of almost nowhere and protesters are in full supply.
The festivities officially started on Aug. 25 and ended the night of Obama’s speech on the Aug. 28, culminating the ceremony that formally announces the democratic presidential nominee.
Though my appearance at the DNC was made possible through YO! Magazine, I knew that my fellow students at SF State could also benefit from getting a small glimpse through my eyes into the chaos that ensued during my four days in Denver.
On the Sunday afternoon before the convention, rows of protesters took to the streets downtown. The hodgepodge ranged from anti-war to anti-Bush/McCain, a very small group of ‘NOBama’s’ and young anarchists chanting, “We will not conform.”
On the night of the Rock the Vote concert with musical guests N.E.R.D., Jakob Dylan and Fall Out Boy, Denver police blocked off a large area of the downtown streets. Police, padded down in their riot gear, created a giant human barrier for several blocks separating onlookers on the sidewalk from protestors sitting down in the street.
The police presence may have seemed overemphasized at the time, but shortly after Sen. Joe Biden’s speech at the Pepsi Center, the need for extra police force became abundantly clear. A bomb threat, only a few blocks away from a downtown media tent, forced police to section off the street and detonate whatever had been found. The brief sound of an explosion was unnerving, and in the dark of night made everything seem a little less safe.
Whether or not there was a bomb – the police seemed more concerned in keeping everyone away from the street corner and there were no major news reports of a bomb threat later that night.
There were no bomb threats within the Colorado Convention Center or the Pepsi Center, but the chaotic mob rush was a ‘road kill’ scenario – move or get your toes smashed. Reporters anwd political enthusiasts from all walks of life virtually tripped over each other to cram into any nook and crevice where the action was happening.
Those who weren’t able to be part of the action lined up in front of giant television screens in the hallway. Though some people may have not been on the floor to see former President Bill Clinton give his long awaited thumbs up to Sen. Obama, or Sen. Biden’s acceptance speech, the reality finally set in when the sound of the crowd’s applause reverberated through the walls and the floor under our feet.
Being a full time student at SF State, it is a rarity to be in the mix of the history rather than watching it via CNN from the Student Center. But the shock of being over 800 miles from home doesn’t officially sink in until you’re walking into Invesco Mile High stadium the day of Obama’s acceptance speech. Any random person who didn’t know about the convention might think U2 was in town by the amount of people already waiting in the stands.
An all-star lineup of musical artists appeared during the final night including Will-i-am, who entertained the crowd with “Yes, We Can”, followed by Sheryl Crow with “Change Will Do You Good” and Stevie Wonder, who dedicated his song “Signed, Sealed, and Delivered” to Barack and Michelle Obama. People were dancing in their seats.
The energy of the crowd was unbelievable, and it grew as the night progressed. For a good five minutes, the crowd participated in the wave before going back to flapping their hand-held American flags overhead and proudly displaying Obama signs for the cameras to see.
From our seats in the press gallery we saw CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper, Al Sharpton and a lot of other television and political celebrities that made the event even more surreal.
When former Vice President Al Gore took the stage, he addressed the youth vote and the large amount of high school and college students that came out during the primary elections to campaign and vote.
“You recognize that he (Obama) represents a clean break from the politics of partisanship and bitter division. You understand that the politics of the past are exhausted, and you’re tired of appeals based on fear,” Gore said. “You know that America is capable of better than what you have seen in recent years.”
He continued, “You are hungry for a new politics based on bipartisan respect for the ageless principles embodied in the United States Constitution.”
When Obama made his way to the stage, the crowd exploded and the camera lights rippled across the stadium. Even as an objective observer, it was hard not to get up, yell and be a part of the festivities. But the true moment of zeal was the minute Obama walked out onto the stage.
The television cannot capture the sensation that rolled across the stands as everyone slowly realized Obama was standing before them. The buildup from the last three days of the convention finally came to a head.
The crowds from the floor to the nosebleed stands rose to their feet and screamed with joy. Obama delivered his speech with the enthusiasm that made one wish he could do everything he promised if elected.
“America, we are better than these last eight years,” Obama said. “We are a better country than this.”
After the fireworks exploded and the confetti finished its freefall onto the stadium floor, the convention experience seemed to slip away like a dream, and the reality of missing the first week of school rematerialized. But no one in his or her right mind would turn down this kind of opportunity – especially if it only happens once every four years.
This year, three SF State professors will join 800 others from around the country in trading places with faculty from all over the world as part of the Fulbright Scholar Program.
SF State Professor emeritus Bill Issel, Professor Robert Cherny and Associate Professor Russell Jeung will travel to Hungary, Germany and Taiwan, respectively, to study and teach.
Cherny, a former history professor, said he plans to teach at the University of Heidelberg, located in the southwest corner of Germany. Cherny said Heidelberg is a leading university in Germany, and the oldest.
This is Cherny’s second Fulbright. His first, awarded in 1996, allowed him to teach in Russia at Moscow State University. Teaching there led him to develop and research his interest in the Communist Party.
“In the early ‘90s they opened the world’s most important archive for scholars and historians to use,” Cherny said. “This archive had the most information about the American Communist Party.”
Cherny will go on to teach in the second semester at Heidelberg because the German university’s calendar runs on a slightly different schedule — they have one semester in winter from October to February and a spring semester from March to July.
Cherny said he will be able to continue lecturing at SF State for the fall semester without his courses being interrupted.
Cherny teaches an American history class at SF State on Tuesday nights.
Stephen Loftus, 25, a history graduate student, has taken classes with Cherny twice.
“I don’t know many professors who know their subjects as well as Cherny. He is very thorough and strict.”
Other students say they are somewhat mystified by their professor’s academic achievement.
“It’s impressive,” said Brian Allen, an English literature major. “I don’t really understand the whole Fulbright thing, but it’s cool that he is teaching at SF State.”
Cherny commented on the light workload given to Fulbright Scholars.
“You don’t have a lot of responsibility like regular faculty,” said Cherny, who has been part of the SF State faculty since 1971. “As a Fulbright [scholar], you are only responsible for one lecture meeting and a discussion once a week.”
The exchange program is named after U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright, who sponsored legislation 60 years ago to encourage international exchange for graduate students and college professors. According to the Council For International Exchange of Scholars’ website, the program is designed to promote mutual understanding between different countries.
Like Cherny, Issel also said this is his second Fulbright Program. Previously, Issel was a Fulbright Professor of the American Studies Resource Center in London.
Issel, a former SF State history professor, will be studying in Hungary for a full academic year. Once there, he will hold the position as chair and will teach two seminars and a lecture class. Issel said he has been awarded the Lasizio Orszagon Distinguished Chair in American Studies, a position in the Fulbright Distinguished Chairs Program.
One of the courses he will teach is about American identities and connects personal lives and American politics, Issel said.
“It is a biography focused course,” Issel said. “The last biographies that we will look at are Richard Rodriguez and Cesar Chavez.”
Issel said he plans on dividing his time between teaching at Pécs University in Hungary and finishing his book. He said he’s looking forward to working with the students in Hungary.
“My job in life is to help people become critical thinkers and to treat other people with respect and dignity,” he said.
Jeung, an associate professor of Asian American studies, has already begun his Fulbright in Taiwan at Tamkand University. Jeung said his interests include race, religion, community organizing, second generation Asian Pacific Islanders and social movements.