October 2008 Archives
The 40th anniversary of the 1968 strike is not only about equality and social justice, but also extreme force and violence which was discussed at “The Strike, the Arrests, the Defense and the Lessons for Today” event on Thursday.
Panelists Laila Al-Arian, Terrence Hallinan, Hank Jones, Margaret Leahy, Roy Harrison and Tony Serra discussed and shared their stories about how the use of police affected the struggle of the strike. In addition, Al-Arian and Jones also talked about the growing repression today.
Leahy, who worked for the Legal Defense Department, called the strike “a powerful struggle that has continuity and was for democratic rights.”
Yet, critics of the strike say that the violence was not justified.
A video sponsored by the Ethnic Studies Department called “SF State ’68 Strike – Arrest & Court” gave the audience a glimpse of what took place over the time span of five months. A collection of black and white clips showed students protesting and colliding with the SFPD, who used horses, sticks and pepper fog for their defense.
Moreover, the SFPD introduced a new unit at the time, called Tactical Squad, who “seemed to enjoy what they were doing,” Hallinan, a retired lawyer and former district attorney of San Francisco, remembers the beating of multiple students.
“Everything the SFPD did was a tactic to quell the rebellion,” Leahy added.
Leahy was one of the key figures during the strike, bailing many people out of jail, which she calls “a part of the [strike] that is often times forgotten.”
With the help of faculty members putting up their houses in order to collect money, the Legal Defense Department was able to bail out as many protesters as 457 in three days.
Bail during the time was set between $125 and up to $15,000 depending on the crime protesters were arrested for.
“Everyone knew the Barry's Bail Bonds number during this time,” Leahy said while some audience members nodding and laughing.
The legal defense was primarily seen as a work that no one wanted to do, Harrison stated. “But it was crucial to the long distance running of the strike.”
Harrison was a self-proclaimed loner at SF State and “politically very ignorant and naïve.” Yet, after he was bailed out following his arrest he joined the Legal Defense Committee and “found much needed support and friends” in the fight for justice and equality.
All panelists agreed that the arrests during the time were “chilling.”
The SFPD was stationed all over the campus, with many sitting on top of buildings with binoculars always looking for students violating any kind of law, Hallinan recollects.
“One of their techniques was to push, surrounded and trap people and then arrest them,” he adds. “We first thought that they can’t arrest all of us, but we were wrong!”
Al-Arian, who came in lieu of her father Dr. Sami Al-Arian, who has been convicted in the United States of conspiracy to help Palestinian Islamic Jihad, said that even though we have made progress, much repression and inequality still remains today.
“We continue to have to fight democratic rights till this day,” she said relating it to her father’s continues struggle for his freedom and justice for being falsely charged of supporting terrorism because of his political activism.
However, the panel shared the notion that in the forty years since the strike of ’68 “seeds have sprouted and continue to influence others.”
For more information go to: http://www.sfsu.edu/~ethnicst/fortieth.html
At this year’s annual Haunted Health Fair, staff said more than 500 students braved the health center turned haunted house and participated in activities such as "Pumpkin Bowling" and "Sexually Transmitted Infection Jeopardy."
“We want students to come in and see what we have to offer" said Albert Angelo, the health educator at Student Health Services. "It's a great outreach event."
Students got to choose from a variety of health services including blood pressure checks, flu shots, nutrition assessments, women services education, sex health education and information about Family PACT--a service that offers free and low-cost family planning services to students.
Participants were directed into the haunted house, a dark maze which went through the conference room and through the hallways of the Health Center.
Halfway through the Haunted House in a room labeled “Crone’s Corner” students could get a tarot card reading by Barbara Salge, the crone or “wise-woman” herself.
“I read your fortune," Salge said. " It could be good, it could be bad,” she told a group of students who stopped by.
Salge who played "Madame Sphincter" in previous years said “a lot of kids don’t know we [the health center] even exist. It’s a way to bring people to the health center.”
Many students stopped by in between classes to come check out the haunted house.
Tahir Anjum, a sophomore majoring in advanced math, said he came into the health center for a doctor’s appointment.
“I have class at 1:00," he said. "Why not go through?”
Anjum got his fortune read and also said he unintentionally scared someone in a skeleton costume who was scaring students in the haunted house.
Janella Valdez, a child and adolescent development major, said she came to the Haunted Health Fair to support friends in the P.E.A.C.H. program. She said that someone grabbed her ankle while she went through the Haunted House.
Courtney Hernandez, a communications major, said she got extra credit for her human sexuality class by going around to all the different tables. “It teaches you what they have at the health center,” she said. “I haven’t really been in here before."
At the table for Counseling and Psychological Services students filled out a survey about how many times they used mental health services on campus and what workshops they would like to see more of.
Peter Ewald, educated students about Hepatitis B virus (HBV), the most common serious infection of the liver. According to the Asian Liver Center at Stanford University, one in 10 Asian and Pacific Islanders is living with chronic hepatitis B.
“This is a major issue on our campus because there is a larger population of Asian students,” he said.
Jessica Elauria, a sexual health P.E.A.C.H. dressed as Snow White, stood in front of the “The Little Box of Horrors” a group of black boxes and gold curtains. Behind the gold curtains were pictures of sexually transmitted diseases and students were told to identify the different types.
At “Condom Mate,” students had to match up the condoms with the brand and could also get information about different types of lubrication at “Lucy Lube.”
Forty years after the 1968 student strike that led to the creation of the College of Ethnic Studies, SF State remains the only university in the world with a college devoted entirely to exploring the lives and experiences of people of color from their own perspectives.
Starting Wednesday of this week, the College of Ethnic Studies is hosting the 40th Anniversary Commemoration of the 1968 Student-led Strike. The commemoration will run through Saturday and includes academic presentations, teach-ins and panel discussions that feature many prominent figures, including yesterday’s appearance of SF State Alumnus and strike participant, Danny Glover.
Laureen Chew, associate dean in the College of Ethnic Studies, was an SF State student in ’68. Chew went on strike, and was arrested and jailed for 20 days.
“We were a product of our time,” Chew said. “Many things were changing, and as students we were convinced we could change the world.”
The strike began four years after the Civil Rights Act passed in 1964, outlawing racial segregation in schools, public places and employment, which ultimately allowed for more students of color to be admitted into SF State. Chew cited this as having “tremendous impact” on the student strikers’ angered protests against racial discrimination during a time when the school was predominantly white. The strike lasted several months and became the longest campus strike in the nation’s history.
The students involved in the strike pressed for campus reform by organizing picket lines, sit-ins and break-ins into the Administration building. Protestors even cut electrical cords to typewriters and telephones.
Chew said the idea for the strike’s 40th anniversary commemoration came about two years ago, while the planning committee — made up of veteran strikers, faculty and staff — has held weekly meetings over the past year.
“[The planning commitee has] been trying to plan the program and archive [all information, including media coverage on the strike],” Chew said. “We’ve also tried to reach as many as possible strikers to come back for the event.”
While more than 60 events are taking place over the course of four days, Chew pointed out some of the highlights that she strongly encourages students to attend.
“The Straight Story” on Thursday will host panelists sharing their experiences and memories of the Third World Liberation Front, a coalition of the Black Students Union, the Latin American Students Organization, the Filipino-American Students Organization and El Renacimiento, a Mexican-American student organization. When the strike began in November 1968, the CSU ordered SF State President Robert Smith to suspend controversial teaching assistant George Murray, a grad student in English and a Black Panther minister of education.
In protest, the Third World Liberation Front presented its set of 15 non-negotiable demands, which included the expansion of SF State’s new black studies department and increased admissions of minority students.
For Friday, Chew recommends going to a workshop, “The Role of Higher Education in the Social and Economic Development of our Communities.” For Satuday, she encourages students not to miss the panel discussion, “The Strike, the War In Vietnam and the Present War in Iraq/Afghanistan,” during which anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan will participate.
For students who attend, Chew’s hope is that they will “go and listen, share their perspective and come out a little more transformed.”
Sanzida Baksh, a sociology major, volunteers through the Ethnic Studies Resource Center and has taken several classes in the department. She’s kept busy preparing for the commemoration by creating posters to hang around campus and making announcements in classes. Baksh’s said she is excited about this week’s events and is most eager to see veteran strikers recount their stories during the panel discussions.
“It’s one thing to read about it, but another to hear them speak about it first-hand,” Baksh said, adding that the commemoration will serve as a “standing memorial” to the strikers. “We should really respect the students who fought for and gave us what we have.”
American Indian studies minor, Destinee Cooper, is also very grateful to the students who went on strike. “You’re not going to have this anywhere else,” Cooper said. “Students here can take pride in knowing that our education here didn’t come from nothing. It makes you realize how much of an impact you can have.”
Wednesday’s events kicked off with an opening ceremony held at Malcolm X Plaza. Beginning at 8:30 a.m., students were entertained with Native drumming and Hoop Dancing of the Native American Yaqui tribe. Hoop Dancer Eddie Madril said that the dance is hundreds of years old. “It recognizes the circle of life and how all things were created,” Madril said.
Also out in Malcolm X Plaza early Wednesday, several students helped stage a strike reenactment. Among them were cinema major Joel Hernandez who held a picket sign and said it’s important to celebrate that students can cause change. “It’s a really big deal,” Hernandez said. “It affects how we look at future change.”
For a complete agenda and to register for events taking place during the 40th Anniversary Commemoration of the 1968 Student-led Strike, visit the College of Ethnic Studies Web site at http://www.sfsu.edu/~ethnicst/fortieth.html. The celebration runs through Nov. 1. Registration is free.
After much confusion over where the Oct. 30 ASI meeting would take place due to the 40th Anniversary of the 1968 Student Strikes, the meeting finally began 14 minutes late at the Delmy Rodriguez Conference Room in the Cesar Chavez Student Center.
Senior Representative Sean Timon Horan’s Phase 1 of his SF State Social Network can begin underway after the board passed $2,000 to go toward its completion.
“This will be an online community built for students on a local level,” Horan said.
Horan has spent the last eight months researching for the social network. After the completion of Phase 1, Horan will have a solid idea of how long and how much it will cost to create and keep up this social network. Phase 1 will include employing a technical advising consultant, a server assessment, various analysis meetings, and initial site set-up.
Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Dr. J.E. Safford’s main concern is keeping all student information confidential throughout all phases. She was asked to sit in on meetings taking place for Phase 1 to ensure student confidentiality is honored and later commented that other university personnel will take part to ensure this as well.
During Public Comment at the beginning of the meeting a transfer student from Skyline Community College expressed interest in becoming the Behavioral and Social Science Representative. Graduate Representative Laura Alarcon supported her, however because President Natalie Franklin had already nominated history graduate student Frankie Griffin, the woman could not be added in to the vote.
In a vote of six to three, Frankie Griffin was voted onto the board. Omar Flores, a junior double major in education and business, was voted in as the Education Representative unanimously.
In addition, the following motions were approved by the board:
• $300 to the Ceramics Guild for the “Esther Shimazu Artist Presentation” taking place Nov. 4 in Fine Arts room 194.
• $258 to the Graduate Students Association’s “Prospective Graduate Student Workshop” taking place Nov. 12 in the Richard Oakes Room of Cesar Chavez Student Center
• $300 towards the Indian Graduate Association’s “Utkarsh,” on Nov. 1 in the Richard Oakes Room in Cesar Chavez. This motion was finally passed after clarifying that it was an event to promote diversity and in no way a religious event.
• $300 was approved for the Zeta Phi Beta Inc.’s “Blue and White Week” to educate people on issues such as domestic violence and healthy relationships Nov. 17-21.
• $809 to Student Kouncil of Intertribal Nations (SKINS) for the event honoring the memory of Richard Oakes in Jack Adams Hall Nov. 12-16.
• $300 to the Students For Integrative Health event for “Alternative Approaches to Health” to be held in the Holistic Health Center on Nov. 13.
• $300 to the Zeta Phi Beta Inc.’s “Finer Womanhood Week,” a week dedicated to empowering women in March 2009.
SF State was recently informed that it will have its 2008-2009 budget cut by $1.9 million and was told to expect more dramatic cuts that could be in the vicinity of $8 million – forcing university administrators to delay priority registration.
While university officials were prepared and somewhat expecting the first round of cuts, SF State President Robert A. Corrigan decided it would be unfair for students to register for classes that the university might not be able to offer.
If SF State’s funding is cut by another $8 million it would significantly alter the spring schedule and the availability of classes, said Leroy Morishita, vice president and chief financial officer for SF State.
“We’ve been told by the state to expect another 3 to 7 percent cut,” Morishita said. “That translates into a $5 - $9 million cut on top of the $1.9 million cut that we already have.”
SF State is not certain of the monetary amount of the impending cuts and university officials are trying to buy some time to see what happens, Morishita said.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger called a special legislature meeting for Nov. 5 to address the state budget, and Morishita said he thinks the assembly will determine how drastic the cuts will be – thus determining what SF State will have to do to accommodate the fiscal downsizing.
“Our biggest priority right now is to ensure the class schedule that will be offered in the spring,” Corrigan said. “Everybody on campus is committed to doing whatever it takes to meet the needs of students.”
Because budget cuts can signal faculty layoffs, Ramon Castellblanch, president of the SF State chapter of the California Faculty Association, said they plan to step up their efforts to ensure job stability for all professors at SF State.
“We are mobilizing to advocate in the best interests of professors,” Castellblanch, whose union represents all teachers in the CSU system, said. “We are in the process of talking to Chancellor Reed so we can defend the budget.”
The California treasury is currently $1 billion below expectations – resulting in a $31.3 million cut to the California State University system, according to e-mail sent to all CSU employees by Chancellor Charles B. Reed.
While every CSU school is forced to deal with these harsh budget cuts, SF State President Robert Corrigan is cautiously optimistic that university life will not be significantly affected at SF State.
“This campus expects to be able to cover our reduction without making dramatic cuts,” Corrigan said in a follow-up e-mail. “After the passage of the state budget, we recognized that something of this sort might occur, and with both foresight and caution, held some funds in reserve.”
CSU campuses are encouraged to delay filling vacant positions, postpone purchasing and reduce additional spending to weather the current budget crisis, Reed said.
To help stabilize the budget deficit, SF State is looking into options that will cut back on spending but not drastically impact student life.
“We are being prudent and deferring non-critical expenditures, but we will go into spring 2009 with nearly as many classes as we offered last spring and are going forward with critical faculty and staff searches.” Corrigan said.
“At this point, we are not considering additional cuts to academic or administrative units.”
Students in Jade Van Hasselt’s Professional Roles and Careers in Child and Adolescent Development class received a surprise visit from Marian Wright Edelman—a leading civil rights pioneer and president and founder of the Children’s Defense Fund—during their class meeting this morning.
The surprise was for the show “Stand In”—an Emmy-nominated series that’s part of MTV’s college network channel, mtvU. According to a press release the show “engages college students by surprising them with a guest lecturer who is a cultural icon and role model.” Past “Stand In” lecturers have included Sting, Madonna and Tom Wolfe.
Students who arrived to class early said they had no idea they would be participating in the show. As students arrived, they were told that the film crew was for an admissions video.
"I was shocked,” said child and adolescent development student, Melvin Lane. “We were just talking about [Edelman] and her policy. Her policy differs from the policy of No Child Left Behind. She was the founder the department."
During the class, Edelman promoted her new book, "The Sea is So Wide and My Boat is So Small: Charting a Course for the Next Generation." Edelman said she is also providing a springboard or, in her terms, "a down payment" for educators in securing a place for underprivileged children.
"We do not have a constitutional right to education," Edelman said to the class. "So we created the demand for it."
Edelman also mentioned a "cradle to the prison" pipeline that has more children of color end up in prison at an earlier age. Edelman asked that we shift the paradigm from punishment to prevention since spending for prison is four times as high as higher education.
"Education reform takes an average of five years to change,” Hasselt said. “Advocacy isn't just picketing, a lot of it can be done within the issues.”
Edelman said she is looking for fair social policy.
"We need quality after-school programs along with quality education,” she said.
Through the Children’s Defense program, Edelman has started Freedom Schools all across the country. These schools train college students in educating underprivileged and at-risk youth.
As the much-awaited Nov. 4 election draws closer, the SF State community is voicing strong opinions on whether gay couples should be allowed to marry.
The initiative measure on the California general election ballot titled “Eliminates Rights of Same-Sex Couples to Marry” has generated a good deal of controversy within the liberal San Francisco community and the campus.
If passed, Proposition 8 would change the California Constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry in California and a new section would be added saying that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in the state, according to the 2008 Elections Official Voter Guide.
Faculty and students believe that the campus is predominantly opposed to Proposition 8.
“I think the campus is overwhelmingly against [Proposition] 8,” said James Martel, chair of the political science department. “We are a leftist, liberal school.”
Gary, a member of the Queer Alliance who declined to give his last name, believes that there are a good number of people opposing the proposition on campus. Many have come into their office over the past few weeks requesting for “No on 8” campaign fliers and bumper stickers, he said.
“Many people who are in support of Proposition 8 have arguments that are geared more towards the question, ‘What are we going to tell the children?’” Gary said. “But there are also many homosexual families, and their kids live great lives, so what’s the big deal?”
Bearing dark blue “No on Prop 8” buttons on their shirts and backpacks, a crowd of SF State students gathered in Malcolm X Plaza Monday to hear Christine Chavez, daughter of civil rights activist Cesar Chavez, rally students to vote against Proposition 8.
The rally was part of the “Get Up, Vote Down 4 and 8” statewide college campus campaign led by Chavez and a few other opponents of the two propositions.
“Proposition 8 is about denying rights to people,” Chavez said. “I don’t want to live in a California that does that. I know many people don’t want to live in a California that can do that.”
Alyson Kennedy, vice president of the Social Workers Campaign, was also present at the rally. “People choose who they want to marry and the state should stay out of it,” she said.
Proposition 8 is not the first ballot initiative that seeks to ban gay marriage. In 2000, voters passed Proposition 22 with 61 percent of the vote, which formally changed the definition of marriage in the California Family Code as being between a man and a woman.
In 2005 and again in 2007, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act. This act marked the first time approved a bill authorizing same-sex marriage without a court order.
But in May 2008, the California Supreme Court ruled that Proposition 22 and other similar legislation violated the equal protection clause of the state constitution, granting same-sex couples the right to marry.
Student Eric Soracco, like many others on campus, is opposed to the proposition. “That’s not America,” he said. “All people are created equal and taking away certain rights to certain people is not very American.”
But Martel also believes that there are some on campus that support Proposition 8. “I’m sure there are pro-8 people too, but they are not very visible.”
Alexander Anin, an SF State alumnus who works closely with SF State students through a local nonprofit, is one of those people.
“Same sex couples in domestic partnerships already have the same rights and benefits as married couples,” he said. “Why does something like marriage, which is an institution, be redefined as something other than what it has been throughout history? This imposes the beliefs of one community on other communities, and it isn’t just.”
Anin said that being a supporter of the proposition on a campus like SF State is difficult because most people are opposed to it. “We immediately get shot down,” he said, adding that he and some students who had posted “Yes on 8” signs on their lawns and houses in the city had the signs either stolen or vandalized.
Gerald Flores, a student, agreed to this and said that most of his friends at school are opposed to the proposition—but he himself supports it.
“I’m not against gay people being together,” he said. “I have a lot of friends who are gay. But personally, I just believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman.”
The third annual Business Ethics Week's central event took place at the SF State main campus yesterday with a focus on the global workforce and ethical challenges that the business world is currently facing and will continue to encounter in the future.
Deanna Robinson, GAP Inc.’s Vice President Corporate Social Responsibility, and Julia Williams, Starbucks’ CSR Program Manager Business Practice and Policy, led the discussion and explained many issues companies are facing on a multi-national level.
The common themes of both presentations were being socially responsible, making a difference, and influencing others.
“Companies have made our role a global village,” Robinson explained to a crowded room of mainly business students. “We need to embrace this role for people and the planet.”
Robinson went on to describe GAP Inc.’s effort to be socially responsible through an audit report that comes out every few years in addition to checking up on their 1,879 factories worldwide to make sure they meet standards of working conditions, freedom of association, environment and discrimination.
Starbucks has a similar endeavor called the Global Responsibility Team, which primarily focuses on ethical sourcing, environmental impact and community investment efforts.
Robinson as well as Williams also equally talked about their respective companys' commitment to “being a change agent and trying to influence others.”
Starbucks was the first company in America to provide comprehensive healthcare to all of its employees, including part-timers, Williams said
Meanwhile the GAP has had much success with its Product Red line, which has raised about $25 million since 2006 for the Global Fund fighting AIDS and HIV, Robinson said.
And with the current worldwide focus on the environment the two corporations have also become more committed to “reducing the environmental footprint,” Williams said, by making products out of recyclable materials as well as conserving energy and water.
“It’s all about assessing a situation and coming up with sustainable solutions,” Robinson said concluding the presentation.
Business Ethics Week was brought to life by the College of Business three years ago to “create a shared focus among faculty and students on the importance of business ethics, cooperate social responsibility and sustainable business,” according to their official Web site.
Once a year during this time period of five days, faculty members in the Business Division are encouraged to integrate material and speakers connecting to ethical dilemmas. Some professors even offer extra credit to their students for attending one or both events, Business Major Melanie Zoller, 28, said.
Cesar Chavez's activism work lived on in his namesake plaza on Monday when one of his 32 grandchildren, Christine Chavez, came to speak out against Propositions 4 and 8.
Chavez visited SF State in order to bring attention to the propositions that she said her grandfather would have opposed had he been alive today.
"It was students at the campuses that really took the charge on issues like the Vietnam War and the Great Boycott, so we see that they will take the lead on these issues of social justice as well," Chavez said.
Both propositions aim to make new amendments to the California Constitution. Proposition 4 would require parental notification for minors seeking abortions. Proposition 8 would define marriage as only between a man and a woman.
Stuart Gaffney and John Lewis also spoke at the rally. Active supporters of equal gay rights, the couple was one of the first 10 gay couples to be married in California.
"Just like any other loving couple in the state of California that chooses to get married, we now have to freedom to marry," Gaffney said. "This right is fundamental, and this right is precious to us."
"It was truly the first time in our lives that we felt we were equal human beings as gay people in this country," said Lewis about their wedding. "Now, literally what they are trying to do is rip this marriage certificate out of our hands."
The couple likened those opposing gay marriage to those who opposed interracial marriages over 50 years ago.
The rally was organized by the campus group Feminism In Action. "Both [Proposition] 4 and 8 are issues affecting women and gender equity," said Allison Mingus, president of FIA and the campaign manager for Vote Down 4 and 8 at SF State. "They both limit access to certain demographics--which is never okay."
During his campaign, presidential candidate and Arizona Senator John McCain has pursued the same education policies he embraced during the last seven years of his office, even though educational groups in Arizona endorse Barack Obama and point to problems with education in his home state of Arizona.
McCain is a strong supporter of the No Child Left Behind Act, encourages the school voucher and charter school systems and has said he believes privatization of student loan programs for higher education will streamline financial aid for college students. Educators claim McCain’s education policies, and those of his Education Advisor and former Arizona Superintendant of Public Instruction, Lisa Graham Keegan, perpetuate the same policies implemented by the Bush administration and will ultimately damage public education in the United States.
The official McCain-Palin campaign Web site, www.johnmccain.com, said McCain believes schools “can and should” compete with each other to provide the best education to students. This philosophy embraces one of the original precepts of No Child Left Behind, wherein schools with higher achievement scores are rewarded with more money, and schools where students fail to meet a minimum standard will lose funding for specific services. Adopting a traditional principle of capitalism for education, supporters of the law like McCain have said the competition for funds will improve efficiency and curriculum in public schools. Schools testing at less than adequate levels will be punished and forced to develop better programs to maintain funds from the federal government.
McCain’s campaign staff could not be reached for comment.
John Hartsell, the director of public relations for the Arizona Education Association, said educators in the state McCain represents in the Senate take issue with his policies. So much so, Hartsell said, the AEA has publicly endorsed McCain’s competitor.
“The way No Child Left Behind stands now,” Hartsell said, “funding is reduced for schools that are already struggling.” There was no evidence McCain’s and Keegan’s ideas were working, Hartsell said, because Arizona schools were suffering despite having a powerful representative in the Senate.
“Arizona schools rank No. 49 in the nation when it comes to pupil funding,” Hartsell said. “And Arizona schools will not benefit at all from McCain, even if he is president, because he supports vouchers and that takes money directly away from schools.”
The school voucher system McCain supports provides parents with credit to any school for their children. Private schools compete to enroll students and receive the voucher payment from the government. Hartsell said schools enroll students with better grades and performance for public funds to raise the average performance rating of the school. But students with lower grades have a narrowed selection of schools with the same government money.
“We hear this is an incentive for schools to meet the goal,” Hartsell said. “But McCain’s real goal is to demonstrate privatization as a solution to our education woes in this country.”
Jerry Spreitzer, executive director of the Arizona Federation of Teachers Unions, said his organization endorsed Obama for president and was actively encouraging its members and the parents of students to vote and motivate others to vote.
“Arizona is not a battleground state, and the teachers here are focusing more on state legislature because most people involved in education have little interest in electing McCain,” Spreitzer said.
Faculty and staff of SF State expressed concerns about the school, their jobs, and higher education in California if McCain is elected president in the coming election.
Ramon Castellblanch, assistant professor of health education and president of the San Francisco California Faculty Association Chapter, used simple terms for education under McCain.
“McCain is a radical market fundamentalist who believes there is no need for regulation, and his whole philosophy is to support that ideal,” Castellblanch said.
McCain wants student loans administered by private banks, Castellblanch said. “If McCain wins, it reduces the chances for any adequate funding or CSU. That means more overworked teachers working even more, new and higher fees for students, and impacted admissions students will be even harder to get in.”
Castellblanch paused and sighed.
“CSU would be greatly eroded if he won,” Castellblanch said.
After a $1.9 million cut from SF State’s budget last week, and a special session of the California Legislature expected to cut spending even more, Castellblanch said SF State is going to need a president who will make financing for higher education a priority. He said students might face a mid-year fee increase this winter to help make up the difference.
“California is going into serious financial deterioration,” Castellblanch said. “And McCain doesn’t have students’ interests at heart.”
Four “study pods” have been installed in the Humanities building to make more quiet space available for students looking to get away from the library construction project.
The study pods are closed off by windows on each floor with a view of Cafe Rosso and the Fine Arts building.
The glass enclosure keeps out most of the noise from the lobby area and hallways to maintain a quiet study space for those who need it.
The alcoves are now furnished and have about 20 seats per pod, according to the Department of Campus Asset and Space Administration.
“We will be moving existing furniture from the library, including couches,” said Zelinda Zingaro, director of Campus Asset and Space Administration.
Other features include electrical outlets for computers and wireless internet access.
The four pods are located on the second through fifth floors of the Humanities building and are open to all students.
Since the 1990s, it has been the university’s intent to install the Humanities building study pods, said Zingaro. The motivation came when construction on the library began and a demand for more study areas was high.
“I am delighted they are finally being finished,” Zingaro said.
Even before the furniture was installed this week, students were using the pods to sit or lie on the floor and study.
Kim Ryan, 25, says she used the empty rooms because they are close to her classes. “But I would come a lot more if there was furniture,” Ryan said.
Ryan Buenning, 36, prefers the pods without seating, in fear that it might attract too much socializing. “If they had couches, people would come in here and talk,” Beunning said.
“There are no quiet places here,” Buenning said. “There are only big communal tables in the library with lots of people and noise.”
The Office of Capital Planning, Design & Construction commissioned the study alcoves in the Humanities building in addition to more study spaces throughout campus that have been created to accommodate the library construction.
Humanities is the only building at SF State that was designed for the study pods, but Zingaro is asking students to make any suggestions for space on campus that can be utilized for studying.
“The library’s Web site will be posting classroom schedules,” Zingaro said. “[This will allow] students to access classrooms while they are not being used for lectures.”
The Department of Campus Asset and Space Administration has also made study space and computer access available in Library Annex I, a new temporary building near the Lot 20 parking garage.
In addition, Zingaro said Rigoburta Menchu in the Cesar Chavez Student Center is getting wireless Internet access installed to attract more students with laptops.
For more information on places to study at SF State, go to the services page of the library Web site at http://www.library.sfsu.edu/services/index.html#study.
Having witnessed the impact of the rising cost of education “in very real forms,” Graeme Boushey, assistant professor of political science at SF State, said students are withdrawing from his courses because of high tuition and a lack of financial aid.
On top of a failing economy and a long-winded war that has cost the country billions, Barack Obama will face the daunting task of making college affordable if he is elected in November.
According to Obama’s Web site, the Democratic presidential candidate wants to eliminate federal subsidized private loans and instate a $4,000 student tax credit to make college more affordable to students.
Under the current administration’s financial aid program, there are two different delivery systems for Federal loans. With the Federal Direct Loan program, students receive a loan directly from the government. The other delivery system is called the Family Education Loan, where students take out a federally subsidized loan from a third party bank, such as Wells Fargo. Under Obama’s plan, the Family Education Loan would be eliminated, leaving the Federal government as the sole provider of financial aid loans.
Ramón Castellblanch, president of SF State’s chapter of the California Faculty Association, agrees with Obama’s plan. He said allowing banks to remain in the financial aid process is irresponsible because of the recent credit meltdown.
“[The Family Education Loan] would be another way of rewarding them despite the fact they have mismanaged the nation’s financial system, leading our country into a major recession,” Castellblanch said. “I’m harsh on these people, but that’s my analysis. That’s what I think is really going on,”
On the other hand, Barbara Hubler, SF State’s financial aid director, said if you take the banks out of the picture, then you take the competition out as well. The two delivery systems compete for student business, and students reap the benefits through enhanced service and performance, an effect that would be disabled under Obama’s plan.
Obama’s other solution to the college affordability issue is a $4,000 tax credit. The fully refundable credit would be available to students who complete 100 hours of community service. Castellblanch sees the tax credit as Obama picking up the students’ tab. But Kevin Carey, a policy director for Washington D.C.-based think tank Education Sector, said he’d rather see the money come in the form of a grant.
Carey said the problem with Obama’s tax credit is that the money won’t be available when tuition is due. Carey’s observation raises the question: Will students be forced to swallow tuition costs while they wait for their tax refund?
“That’s a good six months later,” Carey said.
Despite these concerns, Obama’s plan, along with his promise to reform the much-ailed No Child Left Behind Act, has earned the support of many teacher unions, including the SF State’s chapter of the California Faculty Association, as well as the Illinois Federation of Teachers, located in the state Obama serves as senator.
President George Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act into law in 2002. It expanded federal oversight of public education by hinging correctional action or monetary awards on the results of an annual examination. Dave Comerford, a spokesperson for the Illinois Federation of Teachers, said while the law is good in theory, it lacks adequate funding to meet standards required by the act.
“We think that Obama gets that and will restructure [the No Child Left Behind Act] in a way that is meaningful,” Comerford said.
Comerford remembered meeting with Obama multiple times during the presidential candidate’s time in the Illinois Senate. Comerford said during his eight-year term, Obama was a strong proponent for early childhood education, and that he’s confident in his policies.
“We think he’s the real deal,” Comerford said. “He’s a good guy.”
Red Bull rolled into San Francisco this weekend with an entourage of hand-crafted, human-powered cars resembling a frying pan, a baseball, a toaster, a rocket, and perhaps the biggest craft-a giant Rubik’s Cube.
SF State cinema major Chris Foley, 22, is the brain behind the giant cube, which he promised would solve itself on the way down Dolores Street at the Red Bull Soapbox Race on Oct. 18.
“It all started with a group invite on Facebook to a Red Bull Soapbox thing,” Foley said. “I researched it and found out they were still taking applications.”
Foley said he was interested in being part of the race, and commissioned his old roommate, Brian Rasmusen, 21, for help.
“I drew up a rudimentary design," Rasmussen said. “I started with a cube, drew on all the squares, and then added wheels coming out of the bottom. After that we came up with dimensions for it and began putting it together.”
Team Rubik’s Cube was one of approximately 35 teams chosen out of more than 200 applicants to compete in the San Francisco derby.
The boys needed one more person to join the team and build the puzzle cube. So they asked business and hospitality management major Brett First, 21, to be “the muscle.”
“I guess I’m sort of considered the muscle of the team,” First said. “I’m not the best with math, but I’m the builder. I painted the whole cube, and did three coats of primer on more than 50 pieces of wood and 38 cubes. I helped with the steering mechanism, which we picked up off of a little girl’s bicycle. It’s called ‘Glamour Girl.’”
The team spent more than 130 hours building the cube in Sacramento, and focused more on style and creativity than they did on speed.
“I don’t want to whiz down this course hella fast,” Foley said. “I want to take my time so that people can see me. I want to go slow so that people can notice my Rubik’s Cube and watch it solve.”
Foley can actually solve a real Rubik’s Cube in less than 60 seconds. He began playing with them in high school after receiving one as a gift from his mother.
“To solve a Rubik’s Cube there are certain algorithms and mathematical equations or sequences and turns that you do to move the pieces into certain places,” he said. “I never knew any of that and it took me three months to solve it by myself. Now I can do it in about 35-40 seconds on a good day. I take it with me everywhere I go.”
Although the team didn’t focus on speed, they still had a shot at winning. More than anything, the team wanted to win the People’s Choice Award, which the crowd votes on through text-messaging. According to Scott Houston, the regional communications manager for Red Bull, judging is based on three criteria.
“The judging is based on showmanship, creativity, and their race time,” Houston, 32, said. “Creativity is based by the judges who will look at the overall build of the craft, the theme, and the design. Showmanship will be based on the 30-second skit and run of the course—if anything fun or interesting happens along the course.”
The course was run along Dolores Street in San Francisco’s Mission District, beginning at 21st Street and ending at 18th.
“it’s basically a straight course with some slight slalom to it,” Houston said. “There is one area where they have the choice to go over a jump, and for those that aren’t as brave, they can around what we call ‘Sally Alley,’ and corner out from that.”
Initially Team Rubik’s Cube had decided to not go for the jump because the craft was too big. But while waiting in the starting line at 1:54 p.m. on Saturday, they changed their mind.
“We really cannot be the only ones to not go over the jump,” First said. “We’re going to go ahead and give the crowd what they want and more.”
Foley, the cube’s driver, went for the jump, and they made it successfully.
“We knew the cube would break but we got up and everybody went off the jump, so we had to go off the jump,” Foley said. “So we just jumped, leaned back, and sure enough the wheels just came all the way up on the inside and the whole front bar started scraping all the way down and we just hit a bump around that last turn.”
The entire front of the cube was sitting on the asphalt, forcing the boys to finish the course on foot.
Despite finishing the race on foot, Team Rubik’s Cube won the People’s Choice Award.
“That’s all we wanted to do in this race,” Rasmusen said. “That was our goal from the very beginning. We won by six votes.”
“We didn’t even make it down the hill,” First said. “We went off the jump even though we said we weren’t going to. But no matter what, we were here for the People’s Choice, and we got the People’s Choice. We just wanted everyone to love us.”
The SF State Office of Emergency Preparedness conducted an earthquake drill on Tuesday as part of Bay Area-wide Disaster Preparedness Week.
The University Police Department and members of the SF State Housing Department created a simulated disaster scenario that afternoon in the Administration building. Resident assistants and housing staff acted as earthquake victims and safety officers, working with UPD to demonstrate what could occur in an actual emergency involving severe injuries and casualties. The RAs were made up with fake wounds and lay on the floor as if they had been injured in a major earthquake.
The university also tested its emergency disaster notification system, which sends 90,000 phone and e-mail messages in 30 minutes, reaching roughly 30,000 students and 4,000 faculty and staff during an emergency. The notification system will be operational this spring, according to Gayle Orr-Smith, emergency preparedness coordinator for UPD.
“The main goal is to raise awareness,” Orr-Smith said.
Orr-Smith, who led San Francisco’s emergency efforts during the Loma Prieta earthquake as director of emergency services, is heading SF State’s first Office of Emergency Preparedness. “I was really pleased,” she said after the drill was completed, calling the exercise “plausible” and an “eye-opener.”
“It is interactive publicity,” Residential Life Associate Director David Rourke said of the mock scenario. “It has a shock value to it.”
Campus housing conducts four or five emergency training sessions a year, Rourke said. Building coordinators also meet quarterly to plan and train in case of a natural disaster. Now, SF State is trying to branch out into different departments and bring disaster awareness to all areas of campus.
People walking through the Administration building during the drill were handed leaflets with basic instructions for how “the non-trained responder is to deal with large numbers of casualties during area-wide disasters.” Many people stopped to see if the made-up RAs needed help.
“I don’t know if they thought it was a protest,” Orr-Smith said with a smile. “But I was glad that they were asking questions.”
RA Jersey Clark, 19, said some people seemed to be taking the drill very seriously.
“One woman came up and asked me if I needed help,” said Clark, who was lying on the concrete outside the building doors with fake blood on his face and shirt. “I think I almost gave her a heart attack.”
Tuesday, Oct. 21 marked the 140th anniversary of the last major earthquake that occurred along the Hayward fault line. Experts at the United States Geological Survey believe that the next major earthquake in this region could be caused by the Hayward fault. Bay Area counties, including the county of San Francisco, are coordinating with local emergency response agencies to promote earthquake safety in schools.
“It’s nice because it’s semi-realistic, where people can see real injuries,” housing employee Boswell Huang said. “Hands-on is what sticks out in people’s minds the most.”
SF State began offering emergency preparedness courses this fall. First Aid, CPR and defibrillator training is now being offered to faculty and staff members. Another disaster awareness service being offered is NERT—Neighborhood Emergency Response Team—which the San Francisco Fire Department runs to teach disaster survival. Survival training includes safety preparations in people’s homes and how to treat disaster-related injuries.
Orr-Smith said that there will be more drills in the future, and that “it’s good to do drills one building at a time to avoid chaos on campus.”
[X]press staff writer, Brittany Owens, contributed to this report.
A maximum capacity limit is now being enforced on the SF State free shuttle that runs between campus, University Park North and the Daly City BART station, according to university police.
The shuttles are to hold 33 passengers, 28 sitting and five standing, per shuttle trip, according to the chief of police’s office. The limit to the number of passengers on the shuttle is meant to comply with the “weight capacity of the shuttles to maintain public safety.”
“That’s about how many people can fit comfortably on the shuttle anyways,” shuttle rider Melanie Kemp, a senior from Daly City, said.
Chief Kirk Gaston of the University Police Department said via e-mail that the maximum capacity was imposed on Wednesday “to decrease the wear and tear of the shuttles and to decrease the breakdowns of the suspension, tires and brakes.”
“It could be a little harder because we have to wait longer,” freshman Russell Rivera said as he waited in line for the shuttle at the top of campus. “But, it comes every five minutes or so, so it’s okay.”
Students that ride the SF State shuttle also have the option of riding the SF Muni via the 28 bus, to and from the Daly City BART station.
“I usually will only take the bus if it comes first,” Kemp said.
The SF State free shuttle runs every 10 to 15 minutes Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., and on Fridays, 7 a.m. to 7:15 p.m.
It came down to history versus budgets during the Wednesday afternoon ASI meeting, and the budgets won.
Next week marks the 40th anniversary of the 1968 SF State student strikes, which resulted in the nation’s only College of Ethnic Studies being organized.
The CES initially asked for $2,000 to fund honoraria and travel expenses for those participating in the historic event, taking place Wed., Oct. 29 through Sat., Nov. 1. After further review and some miscommunication, CES submitted a proposal for $3315 from the CES dean’s office five minutes before the meeting’s start.
Christina Harris, college relations officer of CES, and 1968 Black Students Union representative Robert Bentley attended the meeting to defend the increased monetary proposal.
Graduate Representative Laura Alarcon made the point that the event is historic and doesn’t happen every year, unlike others motioned.
“It’s building onto history that began 40 years ago,” Alarcon said.
The motion to send the proposal back to the finance committee was denied. The board then voted on whether to approve the initial $2000 or the new proposal of $3315. In a vote of 10 to three, the board voted to approve the amount of $2,000. Reasoning included vagueness of what the money is being spent on and the perception that it took too long to get the proposal. The board noted that the Academic Senate has given $4,000 to the event already.
“This is a historic event,” Alarcon said. “I am very disappointed that my fellow board members did not go for that.”
All other motions for monetary needs from various student organizations were approved in the full amount.
Students getting their baccalaureate degree may have new general education criteria to meet before graduation, according to items discussed in this week’s Academic Senate meeting.
Susan Shimanoff, chair of the graduation requirements task force, gave the committee’s third update on their four-year-long study,which concerns making changes for the first time in 25 years to the upper division general education requirements. One part of the curriculum changes would be how the university deals with Segment III courses.
Required general education courses could fall into three structural options: integrated study, study aboard and topical perspectives. These changes would meet the six educational goals that the committee designated for those graduating from SF State with a baccalaureate degree. Once the upper division general education requirements change, the committee plans to focus on lower-division general education requirements. She said that the committee is rethinking the entire program from the ground up so “all would achieve the same learning objectives.”
Summer 2009 might have a new session, R4, which would last 10 weeks. Ray Trautman, secretary of the Academic Senate, raised the idea of SF State offering a 10-week-long summer. A new academic calendar, not including the possible new R4 session was recommended by Wei Ming Dariotis before the proposal of a R4 session.
Three changes to the Retention, Tenure and Promotion Policy were discussed. One proposed change is to increase the members of the University Tenure & Promotions Committee from five to seven members. Some senators raised concerns that having more members would cause those in the UTPC to be biased towards tenuring and promoting faculty from their own department. The second change was to add previous reports and rebuttals to the faculty member’s personal file for review by the UTPC. The third change was to include the faculty member’s own department criteria to their file.
Obama and McCain signs waved in the air as the College Democrats and College Republicans rallied on 19th Ave. on Wednesday, Oct. 15.
“Basically we’re out here today to show support for Obama," communications director of the College Democrats, Esther Labrado, said. "We knew that the McCain supporters were going to show support for their candidate, which we absolutely agree with, but at the same time we want to show people driving by on busy 19th that there are Obama supporters, and that we are active, and we do care.”
Passing cars honked their horns but it wasn’t clear who they were supporting since both parties were on the same side of the street.
Some words were exchanged between the two groups but for the most part they maintained a level of respect.
“We told [the College Democrats] that we were having a McCain/Palin rally today. We actually have a very good working relationship with the College Democrats. We did not know that they would show up counter rallying, it’s kinda funny, but we’re friends with them, and we don’t have any animosity toward the College Dems,” said James Kincaid, Vice President of External Affairs for the College Republicans.
Even though the College Democrats and College Republicans were getting along, students made some sarcastic comments toward the College Republicans.
Shawn McBride, an industrial design major, biked past the republicans, yelling, “Shocking dude! Shocking! Sarah Palin is fucking insane.”
Students getting their Baccalaureate degree may have new general education criteria to meet before graduation, according to items discussed in this week's Academic Senate meeting.
Susan Shimanoff, Chair of from the Graduation Requirements Task Force, gave the committee’s third update on their four-year long study concerning making changes for the first time in 25 years to the upper-division general education requirements. One part of the curriculum changes would be to change how the university deals with segment three courses.
Required general education courses could fall into three structural options: Integrated Study, study aboard and topical perspectives. These changes would meet the six educational goals that the committee designated for those graduating form SF State with a Baccalaureate degree. Once the upper-division general education requirements change, the committee plans on focusing on lower-division general education requirements. She said that the committee is rethinking the entire program from the ground up so “all would achieve the same learning objectives.”
Summer 2009 might have a new session: R4, which would last ten weeks. Ray Trautman, secretary of the Academic Senate, raised the idea of SF State offering a 10-week-long summer. A new academic calendar not including the possible new R4 session was recommended by Wei Ming Dariotis before the proposal of a R4 session.
Three changes to the Retention, Tenure and Promotion Policy were discussed. One proposed change is to increase the members of the University Tenure & Promotions Committee from five to seven members. Some senators raised concerns that having more members would cause those in the UTPC to be biased towards tenuring and promoting faculty from their own department. The second change was to add previous reports and rebuttals to the faculty’s personal file for review by the UTPC. The third change was to include the faculty member’s own department criteria to their file.
The search is under way for a new provost to fill John Gemello’s shoes after his retirement this June.
SF State has set up an official provost search Web site and posted advertisements detailing the position description and application information in the Chronicle of Higher Education last week. President Robert Corrigan officially announced the search to SF State faculty and staff via e-mail last Thursday.
“Filling Provost Gemello’s shoes is a formidable task,” Corrigan said in the e-mail. “I urge you to call our search to the attention of colleagues across the nation and urge them to nominate outstanding candidates.”
A 17-member search committee was established to evaluate nominations and eventually select the best candidate. Once chosen, the new provost will officially take the position in August 2009, in time for the beginning of the fall semester.
The committee, which met for the first time on Oct. 10, consists of professors, deans and chairpersons from the different university departments, administrative staff members, and the president of the Associated Students, Inc.
Search committee chairman Joel Kassiola said that faculty members in the committee were chosen by the Academic Senate through an administrative search committee process. About 250 faculty members nominated themselves and gathered votes from fellow faculty members. The final committee members were chosen by Corrigan, Gemello and the Academic Senate.
ASI President Natalie Franklin was chosen so that students can have a voice in the selection process, Kassiola said.
“She can articulate the concerns and interests of student groups,” the committee chair said. “I am a big fan of participation and will maximize the involvement of the many segments of this campus.”
Committee members said that they will be sending periodic progress reports to the campus community to ensure everyone is updated on developments of the search.
The committee is also enlisting the help of executive search firm principal Maria Perez of Perez-Arton Consultants, Inc. The firm has done six high-level position searches for SF State, including the 1998 provost search that brought Gemello’s predecessor, Thomas La Belle, to the school.
“[The firm] is really well-connected with administrators in other schools who might not see our ads or may not think of SF State,” Kassiola said. “They will play a role in generating as many good candidates for the job as possible.”
Kassiola stressed the importance of finding the right person for the position.
“The provost makes the most important academic decisions on campus,” Kassiola said. “The job description is immense.”
The new provost will have “administrative, programmatic and fiscal responsibility over all academic programs” and acts as the university’s second-in-command to the president, according to the position description posted on the Web site. SF State’s nine college deans and university librarian will report directly to the provost.
Candidates are required to have earned a doctorate degree or its equivalent, a record of achievement as a university instructor, and the necessary qualifications for a tenured professor in an academic department. They also need to demonstrate success as a higher education administrator and and the ability to effectively work with diverse communities, among others.
Search committee member and public administration professor Sheldon Gen said that additionally, he is looking for “a person who can take SF State to its next period in history.”
“I think financial skills will be vital,” Gen said. “Not only in being able to judiciously budget limited funds among all the services the university provides, but also in being able to creatively raise funds from public and private sources. These skills are becoming increasingly vital to this university.”
Key moments of the search will include the compilation of a list of 10 semifinalists in mid-December, and the narrowing down to four or five final candidates by January. These finalists will be visiting the campus in February or March 2009 to meet and interact with students, faculty and staff, according to the committee’s first progress report.
The stated deadline for nominations will be Dec. 1, but the Web site also said that applications will be accepted until the position is filled. More information can be found at http://www.sfsu.edu/provostsearch/.
Environmentally conscious students will throw a party this Friday at SF State celebrating all things green, and students from all over California are invited.
The California Student Sustainability Coalition, a group representing students from 12 state universities including SF State, will host its fall convergence on campus from Oct. 24-26. It is free and open to the public.
This convergence will be the first to take place at a CSU since the group’s inception in 2003. Organizers said they predict it will be the largest yet, drawing hundreds of students active in environmental issues from around the state.
“It’s such an amazing event for people from all majors. You don’t have to be a student in environmental studies to want to come to this,” said Suzanne McNulty, member of the CSSC and ECO Students, SF State’s student group for the environmentally conscious. “It’s an amazing opportunity to meet a variety of people. Social time at these things is pretty kick-ass.”
“The whole idea is to come together, learn together with other people in the state under the umbrella of sustainability,” said Keir Johnson, a member of ECO Students Housing helping to organize the event. For three days, students will participate in interactive workshops and discussions on topics ranging from “War, Environment and Social Justice” to “Greening Capitalism.”
“If you’re interested in business, politics, health, social justice, the environment, film, psychology…somebody there will speak specifically to that major. There’s just a little bit of something for everyone,” McNulty said.
Sharing experiences and information on these topics will allow students to contribute to “a beautiful well of knowledge brought to the events” and “bring home what they learned,” Johnson said. And while local attendees will learn about green programs at other universities, some presentations will “highlight SF State’s sustainability efforts on a statewide level. A lot of eyes will be on SF State.”
Activities planned for Friday include guided tours of Lake Merced and urban gardens within San Francisco, such as the new rooftop garden at Glide Memorial Church and the Civic Center’s victory garden, Johnson said.
An Environmental Film Festival will screen topical documentaries and other videos in HSS 154 on all three days. So if students want an educational break during the festivities, “you could just chill and watch some movies,” McNulty said.
Saturday morning will feature keynote speaker Lt. Gov. John Garamendi and a Power Vote Rally. In Jack Adams Hall at 9:45 a.m., Garamendi will address students about the importance of using political action to promote sustainability.
The 10 a.m. rally in the Quad will focus on passing San Francisco’s Measure H “to let our community and supervisors know that a lot of students want clean energy and they want it now,” McNulty said.
Sunday’s main activity will be a group project: planting native drought-resistant plants around SF State’s community garden by University Housing. The project will let attendees “leave their mark [on SF State] in a positive way,” Johnson said.
For the latest schedule of events on each day of the Convergence, visit http://sustainabilitycoalition.org/index.php?page=convergence-schedule.
When the Drunk Nerds convene for Thanksgiving, sex is a hot dinner topic, grace is a time to give thanks for drugs, and the guests may want to beware of how that turkey was basted.
This fictional family is where SF State’s new Sketch Comedy Club got its start. The satirical group of five have their first live performance Saturday after a string of YouTube.com videos with such titles as “OCD Rap” and “Penis PSA.”
However, one member assures that this performance will be PG-13.
The club, whose brethren hail from SF State’s BECA department, formed this semester as an offshoot of the Drunk Nerds, a comedic troupe that started outside of SF State over two years ago. The Nerds’ founders, Evan Hoovler, 30, and Tulley Rafferty, a 32-year-old “mild-mannered programmer by day,” chose the name Drunk Nerds because it “had that poetic majesty to it. You think of great things when you think of drunk nerds,” said Rafferty. Hoovler, who is in the BECA graduate program, met Kyle Nelson, 24, Annie Gaus, 25, and Lindsey Adams, 24, the latter two also BECA graduate students.
The show is meant to attract potential new members to the project, Hoovler said.
Members should have some acting experience, but really, it doesn’t matter, he said. If they like it, they should join, he said. If they don’t like it, “they can join the club to make funny stuff that doesn’t suck like they saw,” he said. “It's a win-win situation."
Rafferty, Hoovler, Nelson and Erik Braa, 37, a professional voice-over actor, will be performing Saturday as Gaus and Adams act as hostesses with their own act popping up in the mix.
On Saturday, five brand spanking new–and there very well could be spanking–skits will be unleashed, as well as a new video clip. “We have a sketch where this guy has a phone that talks to dead people. George Washington doesn’t have a lot to do in the afterlife,” Rafferty said.
Although the Drunk Nerds are not drunk when making their skits, their minds may still be in the gutter. The Thanksgiving sketch features the Drunk Nerds jousting at each other’s sex lives. In OCD Rap, obsessive-compulsive gangster Rafferty wants to “slap your booty exactly five times.” In “Wii Dong” ... players demonstrate how to use their Wii as, well ... some things are better left unsaid.
This sort of humor comes straight from the pen of Hoovler, who wrote for National Lampoon and even had a book published that’s in SF State’s very own bookstore–“Pimp it Yourself.”
“Evan writes the skits, once it gets going we’ll fine-tune it and make suggestions, but he’s the writer,” said Nelson.
Therefore, their humor runs in the same vein as Kids in the Hall in the '90s or the Whitest Kids You Know, a college sketch comedy troupe that recently gained attention, something the Drunk Nerds are striving for with their routines.
"We weren’t getting anywhere,” said Nelson, calling the performance a “new avenue to gain experience."
“It’s going to be hilarious,” Rafferty said. “We will not be ejecting anyone for drunken or unruly behavior. In fact we encourage it.”
The Sketch Comedy Club will be performing Oct. 25 in Burk Hall.
A traffic accident near SF State resulted in the death of a motorcyclist during morning rush hours on Oct. 16 at the corner of 19th and Holloway Avenues.
The motorcycle rider, 41-year-old Mark Buck, was traveling east on Holloway Avenue and was thrown from his bike after he struck the right side of a Honda Accord headed north on 19th Avenue, San Francisco Police Sgt. Lyn Tomioka said.
Paramedics rushed Buck to San Francisco General Hospital where he was pronounced dead shortly after 9 a.m., Tomioka said.
The accident occurred at a time of day when large numbers of students arrive on campus and many SF State students either witnessed the accident or passed the scene of blood and glass-strewn pavement.
The site of the fatal trauma was within yards of a parking area where dozens of students line their motorcycles up along 19th Avenue.
“What happened was terrible,” said SF State biology major and motorcyclist Ray Fayad. “It could happen to anyone. Whenever someone rides a motorcycle they should know that it is extremely dangerous.”
Chad Bayless, a hospitality management senior at SF State said he knows he’s taking a risk every time he gets on his bike, but said cost and convenience outweigh the danger.
“Riding a motorcycle is so much cheaper than driving,” he said. “It’s a lot easier to get to and from class and there is more parking for motorcycles than cars around campus.”
Fuel economy, more parking options and being able to use carpool lanes are some of the reasons motorcycles are gaining popularity, said Ian Walsh, sales associate at Golden Gate Cycles Ltd.
“I’ve seen a large influx of new riders over the past few years,” Walsh said. “A lot of these riders have little to no riding experience.”
According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, the number of motorcycles registered in San Francisco has increased from 14,316 in 1997 to 19,417 in 2007.
California vehicle code requires motorcycle safety courses only for individuals under the age of 21, said Jan Mendoza, an information officer at the DMV.
But Dean Thompson, spokesman for the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, said all riders need to educate themselves about proper motorcycle handling and road safety.
Thompson’s organization conducts motorcycle training classes that teach new and experienced riders strategies to prevent accidents.
The series of classes, held in three five-hour installments, are taught by certified instructors who teach students how to minimize risk by riding safer and within the limits of their abilities.
Riders Fayad and Bayless agree on the importance of the training.
“I would definitely suggest taking the classes,” said Fayad, who has taken the course. “People are doing themselves a disservice if they don’t take the classes.”
While Bayless said he thinks anyone who rides a motorcycle should be required to take the training classes, he admits, “I didn’t take the classes and I feel bad about it.”
Hillary Bryant, a junior majoring in geography at SF State said she has had “scary moments” on the motorcycle.
“People can get overconfident and take risks without realizing that they’ll be seriously injured if there’s an accident,” Bryant said.
“The longer you ride, the more you forget how truly exposed you are.”
For food served at SF State, it’s a long and winding road from the farm to the plate. On the subject of where the food we eat comes from, SF State students range from ambivalent to actively concerned.
Grant Willison, a 23-year-old environmental studies major, dines at City Eats twice a week and says he thinks about where the food he eats comes from constantly.
“It’s useful in life to know how you’re sustained,” said Willison. “It’s immoral not to. It’s improper for me to stand as a citizen and not think about it.”
For students looking for organic or sustainable origins in their food, a mixed bag is served up at State.
Sysco SF, the Bay Area branch of the national corporation, buys food from farms around the country to then sell to its local clients.
Scott Lesner, vice president of merchandising at Sysco SF, described his company’s food as “99 percent non-organic and one percent organic”. He also said Sysco SF has a policy against labelling foods as “sustainable” or “all-natural”, because they simply aren’t finite terms.
“Sysco wants to say some of our meat is sustainable or all-natural, but everyone has a different definition of what sustainable is,” he said. “Sysco is working on a finite definition of ‘sustainable’, and within the next year we’ll be able to prove it.”
City Eats, the campus dining hall situated between Mary Ward Hall and the Towers, is one of Sysco SF’s biggest clients on campus.
“We try as a company to go as local as possible,” said Edward Vicedo, Director of Dining Services and a representative of Chartwell’s, which works in conjunction with Sysco City Eats. “We are lucky to be in northern California where we get local produce. We get our chicken in Petaluma, our beef in Sonoma, and our milk from Berkeley Farms. However, there are many things we cannot get, like coffee and a variety of cheeses.”
Chartwell’s standards also stipulate that the seafood they serve is on the sustainability list from the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and that all eggs are cage-free.
Students like Lindsay Aymar don’t want to know what factors go in to the process of obtaining ingredients.
“I absolutely do not think about it,” said the 18-year-old biology major. “I don’t want to know. It makes it easier to eat here, because I’m afraid of where the food might actually come from.”
However, on-campus vendors say they strive to take that food, whether obtained by order form or an early-morning trip to the market, and make it a memorable dining experience for hungry students.
“My mother, Carmelina, goes to the produce market in South San Francisco every day,” said Marco Ballesteros, owner of Cesar Chavez Student Center’s Taqueria Gîrasol, Carmelina La Petite and Pizza & Pasta. “I eat here too and so do my kids, so I try to make it as healthy as I can.”
With a similar devotion to quality, Robert Darden, owner of Jessie’s Hot House, one of the Student Center’s newest additions, said he believes that fresh comes first.
“I’d say 90 percent of my food is fresh,” said Darden. “We get it from smaller wholesalers that we work with. A lot of our chicken is local, our vegetables are locally grown, and our dry goods are local, like the flour and cornmeal.”
At Taqueria Girasol, all of the salsa, guacamole, hot sauces, grilled vegetables and salads are fresh, and both restaurants have menus dominated by made-to-order fare.
Both restaurants also order from Sysco, a corporate food supplier. At the taqueria, Sysco provides much of the beef, chicken, canned goods, rice and beans that are served to students. Jessie’s Hot House orders its paper products from Sysco.
When it comes to food distributors, the owners look for several things.
“The number one thing I look for is competitive pricing, don’t let anyone tell you differently,” said Ballesteros. “Then it’s quality, the company itself and its reliability.”
Hundreds pedaled to SF State for the university’s third Bike to School Day on Wednesday as the campus continues to become more bicycle friendly.
But while the university installed bike racks and announced plans for a new pathway since the last Bike to School Day during the spring 2008 semester, more work remains to be done, organizers said.
“San Francisco State is not nearly as bike friendly as it could be,” said Randall Orr, founder of the Bicycle Advocacy Group. The graduate student started BAG this fall after working with San Francisco’s Bicycle Coalition to encourage bicycling as healthy and sustainable transportation.
“[Bike to School Day] brings visibility to cyclists,” Orr said. “Many people don’t consider biking as a viable means of transportation. This display helps to advocate cycling. It gives cyclists a voice.”
“SF State is on its way to becoming a more bike-friendly campus. Today is a way to visually promote biking to campus,” said Suzanne McNulty, founder of the student organization Eco Students and co-founder of Bike to School Day. The event aims to connect the bicycling community and encourages others to pedal to campus, she said.
Bicyclists arrived as early as 7:30 a.m. for free bagels, fruit and coffee. Many completed surveys about their campus bicycling experiences and signed a petition supporting more bike paths, parking and a campus bike repair shop.
Those who parked in the quad’s special gated area received raffle tickets for prizes like Timbuktu bags, tune-up kits and helmets.
San Francisco bicycle shop Ocean Cyclery provided the top prize: a single speed SE Draft bike. Other events included a bike part swap, free repairs and a contest for the ugliest and sexiest bikes.
According to BAG member Brian Rebold, SF State still does not have enough bicycle parking. Students who need to park their bikes on railings because the racks are full often receive warnings for impound fines up to $55, he said.
The Bike Barn, a campus parking facility for bikes located in Lot 6 under the gym, is also an option, Orr said. But students have complained about the parking complex, its location and management.
According to Jason Porth, who works in SF State’s office of Government Relations, a bike path is already in the works and will be constructed this spring.
The path will run from Stonestown to Thornton Hall and will be a safer way to get to campus than 19th Avenue, he said.
SF State received funding to make this path from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and San Francisco County Transportation Authority. A $360,000 grant will help the university afford this $500,000 project, Porth said.
Some students also say that adequate bike paths would be beneficial for the campus.
“The campus needs separate paths for bikes,” said Nydia Brunner, who rides her bike to school on occasion. “I don’t feel safe weaving in and out of students.”
In a mansion overlooking San Francisco, SF State’s Feminism In Action club held its first major event Friday night with an evening of music, art and mingling as a fundraiser for this election’s No on Prop. 4 and 8 campaigns.
With many members and nonmembers mingling over sangria and artwork lining the walls from floor to ceiling, the event aimed to promote women artists of SF State as well as give guests the chance to enjoy acoustic musical sets and unite against Propositions 4 and 8.
“It’s almost like preaching to the choir, but the point is to get people excited enough to tell other people,” said Vanessa Bachik, the vice president of FIA and hostess of the party. “It’s like putting wood on a fire.”
Proposition 4, which aims to limit a teen’s right to privacy over an abortion, has seen two previous appearances on California ballots, while Proposition 8 aims to ban gay marriage.
Feminism In Action, a transnational feminist group, has been on the frontline at SF State in the effort to raise student awareness against both campaigns, and acted as one of the catalysts in bringing Mayor Gavin Newsom to rally against the propositions on September 18.
One of the most commanding pieces of art was a nude jumpsuit adorned with hand sewn fabric models of sushi, worn by its creator, FIA Secretary Kaye Chew.
“It was inspired by restaurants that serve sushi on naked women,” said Chew, a women studies major. “People always say Japanese people only eat sushi, so I’m trying to assume a stereotype in order to explode it, and to start conversations about gender and food. It’s also my Halloween costume!”
In the low-lit living room, an intimate crowd gathered to listen to Maggie Morris, an art history major at SF State and member of FIA.
“A lot of girls, and even guys can relate to my music,” she said after her set. “It’s about being awkward and shy. A lot of female musicians in the past were looked down upon at first, so it’s empowering as a female to play people my songs.”
Although an fundraiser with a feminist twist, there was a strong male presence.
“I’m in support of feminism because I definitely feel women should have equal rights,” said Keith Montanez, a 21-year-old BECA major.
Montanez is also a strong proponent of the No on Prop. 8 campaign.
“I tell anyone I talk politics with about the campaign, and I’m also a DJ at KSFS,” he said, when asked how he spreads the campaign’s message.
He said he looks forward to getting a campaign poster to put up in his window where his neighbors, who are against gay marriage, will read it everyday.
The fundraiser collected about $300, which F.I.A.plans to use for events during Women's History Month in March 2009.
More than 65 million people in the United States are currently living with an incurable sexually transmitted disease. In addition, an estimated 19 million new infections occur each year—almost half of them ages 15 to 24, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Ingrid Ochoa, educator at Student Health Services specializing in sexual health, said that students often do not think to come to the health center unless they have visible symptoms, and by that time they’ve had an sexually transmitted disease for a while.
“Know what’s available for you and don’t assume everything is fine even if you don’t have any symptoms,” she said, addressing the student population.
A common misconception students have is they think all STDs are curable, Ochoa added.
According to the National Prevention Education Network, sexually transmitted diseases including chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis can be treated by antibiotics. STDs caused by viruses are incurable including AIDS, genital herpes and HPV (human papillomavirus),
The NPEN stated: “Human papillomavirus is one of the most common causes of sexually transmitted disease in the world. Experts estimate that as many as 24 million Americans are infected with HPV, and the frequency of infection and disease appears to be increasing.”
Ochoa said that not all STDs are transmitted sexually—some that are transmitted by skin-to-skin contact such as herpes and genital warts.
Before starting a new relationship, Ochoa said one should “be proactive in your sexuality” and get tested. Don’t put it off, she said.
Ochoa cited the college environment as a breeding ground for sexually transmitted diseases—with the use of alcohol, parties, sexual experimentation and a taste of freedom from being away from their parents.
“Know yourself and where you are in the spectrum of risk and know your partner,” Ochoa said.
On Thursdays from 1-4 p.m. the health center offers confidential HIV counseling and testing conducted by certified student peer HIV educators.
If a student wants to get HIV testing they can just walk in, meet with a counselor for 20 minutes and have an oral swab test. The test is sent to a lab and the results are sent back in two weeks.
According to Ochoa, 184 students came in for HIV testing last spring. So far this fall semester there have been 128 students.
“We see about 25 students every Thursday. So we might be looking at another 150 [this semester]," she said.
Ochoa attributes the rise in number of people getting tested to the more visible sign placed outside the health center advertising testing. In past years, testing was less successful because it was held in the morning and there were fewer counselors.
A student health group called PEACHES (peer educator advocating campus health) does a lot of outreach tabling on the quad or do workshops in classrooms about sexual health.
“We want to make sex less taboo by talking about it through workshops. Safer sex shouldn’t be an awkward or uncomfortable topic for students,” Jenni Shiperly, a sexual health PEACH said.
In addition to getting free HIV testing, students can sign up for Family PACT, a form of health insurance for reproductive services. “It is confidential and most students qualify,” Ochoa said.
Students who sign up can get a "goody" bag with lubricant, a female dental dam (a condom for the female) and various condoms. The $111 student health fee paid by all SF State students covers these services.
Family PACT provides free birth control methods, emergency contraception, urine pregnancy test, STD testing and treatment, and annual exams.
Many students said they felt SF State students weren't aware of the services offered at the health center.
“I don’t think a lot of students know about the resources at the health center. Half the people I know don’t know about it and it’s free,” said Juan Sabino, a senior in marketing.
John James Batara, a third-year business major, said that there should be more fairs and more information about sexual health in the quad.
Arj Santos, a freshman, echoed his friend and said people would be more interested if there were more signs and fairs because the quad is where more people "chill at."
“It’s presumed you should know safe sex practices especially with all the incoming students,” SF State student Shareen Singh said.
Singh said there’s only so much the university can do but added that the school does a lot to promote safe sex practices. “It’s the responsibility of the individual to get tested. It’s by choice—the biggest risk is not knowing,” Singh said.
In response to all the sexual health services at the health center, Megan Lauzon, a freshman, said: “It’s beneficial because people will realize that sleeping around is not the best bet.” Lauzon added that "people need to take initiative and be more aware."
EROS—Educational and Referral Organization for Sexuality—located in the Cesar Chavez Student Center, offers counseling and referrals as well as books and DVDs promoting safe sex and even porn.
The organization also “provides campus/students various information about sexuality and safer sex products like condoms, lubricant and also provides latex workshops,” Nataly Gomez, assistant at EROS, said.
EROS hosted a safer sex carnival last week at Jack Adams Hall with food, a live disc jockey, games, raffle prizes and a dildo ring tossing.
The organization also co-sponsored the student created Latex Exhibition last week in which students used condoms to create posters promoting safe sex that were displayed in front of Student Services.
“The main objective was for the students to be comfortable asking for and buying contraceptives,” Pardis Esmaeili, the assistant director of EROS said.
Students can come in to EROS and get three free condoms a day just by signing up. “A majority of students come in for free condoms/lube,” Gomez said.
Gomez said that EROS helps “create awareness about sexuality, safer sex practices and be sex-positive.”
She defined sex-positive as “getting tested, knowing your contraceptives, contraceptives best for you and your partner, communications with them about contraceptives, reducing possibility of getting an STD and pregnancy, respect for each other’s bodies.”
There are two dead bodies in the Humanities building, and everyone is invited to see.
Two mummies, part of SF State’s permanent archeological collection, will be on display in the Humanities building, along with other artifacts from the Sutro Egyptian Collection. The exhibit is from Nov. 3 through Dec. 12, and admission is free.
Staffers estimate that the two mummies are around 3,500 years old. In past exhibits, students from schools such as Lakeshore Elementary would gather around the mummies in excitement. Christine Fogarty, the program administrator for museum studies, said the amazed children would smell the mummies through small holes in the glass casings.
Heather Graybehl, a curatorial associate for museum studies, said the mummies sparked the children’s imaginations and many would invent theories as to how the preserved corpses died long ago.
“I always got questions like ‘Is the mummy cursed?’ and ‘How did the mummy die?’” Graybehl said.
This year, at least 10 classes from schools around the Bay Area will visit the SF State museum on a field trip, Fogarty said.
The mummies’ actual cause of death is less spectacular than many of the kids’ eccentric speculations. According to CT scans, the mummy named Nes-Per-N-Nub died of natural causes. However, not much is known about the death of the other mummy, whose name is not written in hieroglyphics on her coffin. The department knows that it is a female, and gave her the nickname “the Yellow Mummy” after her yellow sarcophagus.
What happened after the Yellow Mummy’s death is even more mysterious. Inside her linen wrappings lie the bones of multiple bodies, according to X-ray scans of the mummy.
Fogarty said the bones could be evidence of a grave robbery that happened more than a thousand years ago. Fogarty theorized that somebody unwrapped the Yellow Mummy while looting her sarcophagus in search of valuable jewels and trinkets. Fogarty guessed that the looters reassembled the Yellow Mummy poorly, placing bones from different bodies inside of her wrappings.
Nes-Per-N-Nub, whose name was as common in ancient Egypt as Joe is in America today, has an equally interesting background. Fogarty said he believes the mummy was once a priest of great importance because of his extremely rare triple nesting sarcophagus.
Much like a Russian nesting doll, the mummy was buried with three sarcophaguses that fit together as one.
Including the one at SF State, there are only three triple nesting sarcophaguses in the United States. All three parts of Nes-Per-N-Nub’s sarcophagus will be available for viewing.
The pair are part of a new exhibit titled “Agatha Christie’s Egypt – Life on the Nile in the 1930s,” which will be open 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday in the Museum of Ancient Civilizations. The museum, located in Room 510, is open twice a year and put on by SF State’s museum studies program.
The exhibit is named after Agatha Christie, a famous 20th century mystery novelist whose husband studied in Egypt as an archeologist. Christie’s murder mystery, “Death on the Nile” was inspired by her husband’s work in Egypt.
“A museum is like a time machine,” said Linda Ellis, the director of the museum studies department. “It gives [visitors] an idea of what it looked like in the 1930s. The exhibit’s not really about Agatha Christie, but she popularized ancient Egypt in fiction.”
The exhibit is being constructed by museum studies students, who have worked on everything from designing the floor plan to choosing which artifacts to display. Last spring, Fogarty estimated that 1,500 students visited the museum, and students are working vigorously to have the exhibit ready by Nov. 3.
“It definitely takes like two months of nonstop work to put it on,” Graybehl said. “It’s a big production.”
In the spirit of Halloween, the exhibit will be open for a special preview on Oct. 31, from 2 to 6 p.m.
While many creative writing students may worry about about the future of the publishing business, some students at SF State have gathered in groups to publish their creative work and create room for the work of new writers.
Small Desk Press, Digital Artifact and Instant City are a few alternative outlets created by recent graduate and current students–-from SF State and other universities–-who say they dream of giving space to up-and-coming writers and not letting main stream publishers control their form of expression.
According to Jacob Evans, editor of Small Desk Press, most publishing companies only want to buy work from writers who have already been published at least a few times. The situation undesirable for writers with much to say, but nowhere to publish their work.
Small Desk Press was founded two years ago when Evans and two friends, also recent graduates, decided to start up a nonprofit that would help writers. As a non-profit publisher they work under the umbrella of a larger non-profit organization called Counterpulse.
“Our business model relies on fundraising,” Evans said. “We are not doing this business [for profit], our focus is on publishing and promoting emerging authors.”
Along those same lines, Digital Artifact, a web-magazine focused in fiction and prose related to the digital culture, was also founded two years ago. Amanda Davidson, an SF State graduate student and one of the editors for the magazine talked about the possibilities the Internet can bring to a writer. She said numerous alternative outlets, beyond blogging, can publish writers' works.
“I hope a lot more people start publishing their own work," Davidson said. "Publishing online is a great way to do it,”
Davidson spoke fondly of her experience as a creative writing major at SF State. The creative writing department, she says, provides her with an artistic outlet and way to network with other writers.
Maxine Chernoff, chair of the creative writing department said the publishing outlets formed by students have been great teaching and networking tools to the department. Chernoff said they are a great way for students to have their work published and to view the work of other students.
Don Menn, journalism teacher and MFA student in creative writing at SF State said most universities tend to focus on classic literature. Menn said it is interesting to see what young writers are talking about.
“I like seeing what sort of new voices there are out there and perhaps the way young people write,” Menn said. “I think one way most programs fail is showing what is really, really new.”
SF State's creative writing department has recently taught from a couple of books published by Small Desk Press. Ali Lawrence, an SF State graduate who earned both a bachelor's degree and MFA in the department, has had his book, Anantomic, studied in some classes. And Dustin Heron, a current SF State student had the honor of reading from his book Paradise Stories to one of the department's classes.
Lawrence said having her book published helped reassure herself that she should be a writer and a sign that the program at SF State helped her build the relationships needed to get her first book published.
“The program has a lot of resources but it is up to the student to really tap in to it,” Lawrence said.
Even though SF State students must have a publishable thesis to graduate with an MFA, the department doesn’t publish nor guarantees the publishing of their work. This leaves it up to the student to find an agent and a publisher. Smaller outlets, especially those formed by students or recent graduate can be a start to emerging writers.
Both Digital Artifact and Small Desk Press promote readings and release events in which both writers and readers get together to celebrate literature. This month they will release one more book titled Viva Loss, written by SF State graduate student Sarah Fran Wisby.
“It is really exciting to have events with a group of people who are celebrating a book,” Evan said about their promotional events.
Despite movement from Black Student Union members to unite the black population through weekly “Black Tuesday” events at SF State, Tuesdays on campus don’t seem to be living up to the initial expectations because of a lack of organization within the BSU, organization members said.
The BSU borrowed the idea for the weekly events from the University of California at Berkeley’s “Black Wednesday.” At SF State the BSU has taken to the area around the Cesar Chavez Center every Tuesday from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.
The first Black Tuesday, held on Sept. 31, seemed to meet with success.
"This is the most black people I've seen in the quad all year in one location," said SF State senior and open forum coordinator, Coby Obiesi, at the first Black Tuesday. Obiesi said he sees this as a way for black students to come together and socialize.
"We are just trying to reach the black students here at SF State and unite them," he said.
Black Tuesday was started by the BSU, however, all black organizations are expected to contribute. According to the Office of Student Programs and Leadership Development Division of Student Affairs, 14 black organizations reside on this campus.
Event coordinator for the BSU, Cherish Bell, emphasized this need for black representation on campus.
"It's for all students," Bell said of the events. "But we are targeting the black community to show that there are more of us on campus," Bell said.
A lure used to attract more students to Black Tuesdays is the promise of meeting a recording artist. So far the BSU has delivered new Bad Boy artist Janelle Monáe and hip-hop artist Murs on campus. Q-Tip from a Tribe Called Quest was a special guest at their Hip-Hop and Politics event held on a recent Thursday. A visit from E-40 was scheduled for last Tuesday but failed to materialize.
Event coordinator for the BSU, Melanie Eke, 20, interns for Warner Music Group. Elke said she tries to bring artists on campus to match them with their target audience.
Members of the BSU say that some days there is structure to the events and other days they are just "chillin" like the last couple weeks.
Theophile Obenga, professor and chair of black studies said he thinks the BSU's Black Tuesdays is a good idea.
"Black students spend most of their time here," he said. "They should be out here making a presence."
Adviser and program coordinator for the OSPLD, Monolito "Lee" Twyman agrees.
"Black Tuesdays are about black students coming together at one particular point," he said. "It's not that [black students] are hiding, it's that they are scattered."
BSU members said the reason they hadn't started Black Tuesdays on the first Tuesday of fall instruction is because they weren't coordinated. The BSU hadn't started organizing themselves until after the ban on amplified events was lifted.
BSU members acknowledged that the black Tuesdays aren't very well organized but said they are still happy they put the events together.
"I think this is successful." said BSU member Omowale Tumaini. "I think we're doing a good job. It's nice when we have performers, but we aren't just about that. We are about the students."
Because of this lack of organization the BSU has failed to secure the quad on Tuesday afternoons. They have relocated to the shaded corner in front of Jessie's Hot House where they will continue to host Black Tuesday from now on.
"We don't see ourselves as being in the corner, we are supporting Jessie's," Tumaini said.
"I've seen black students at SF State that I've never seen before at these last couple of Tuesdays," he added. "Look at our numbers on campus. We represent less than five percent of the campus. I would like us to promote diversity amongst the student population, but right now we have to worry about ourselves."
A panel of SF State International Relations professors joined with students in Jack Adams Hall last Wednesday evening after the final presidential debate to discuss the candidates, their challenges and make a few predictions about Election Day.
“It’s an opportunity for the students to see the faculty and degree of expertise,” said co-facilitator Kathryn Johnson, Coordinator for Special Projects with the college of Behavioral and Social Science. “It’s part of our public service mission.”
The panel was planned to coincide with the initial topic scheduled for the final debate: U.S. Foreign Policy, however the debate topic was switched over to U.S. economic issues; nevertheless the panel made due.
“This is raw expert analysis…You have the best in San Francisco,” said Political Science Grad Student Nick Occhipinti, 28. “Getting that perspective is more important to me… than the way it’s focused on in the news by pundits…or spin-doctors.”
A member of the panel and diplomat in residence for the department of international relations, David Fischer, focused his talk on the personalities of the candidate’s potential cabinets and some of their notable histories and how that may influence new challenges in U.S. foreign policy.
He brought up some challenges that the candidates will be facing, according to his expertise, including the possibility that “the United States may not take the leadership role.”
But what was perhaps most notable was his bold prediction for Election night, “I think it will be a short sweet evening.” He predicts over 300 electoral votes for Obama by 5:30 PST.
The evening’s panel also included Professor of International Relations Sanjoy Banerjee, who discussed his view on how national identity has guided U.S. foreign policy and how a three-part formula of contemporary American heritage, destiny and vanguard may also continue to influence the policies of the next administration.
A McCain administration, he noted, that harbors a neo-conservative cabinet with notable names such as Karl Rove and Dick Cheney as his side, would probably be a better indicator of tactic than the noticeable winding down of hard-line talk in the evenings debate. As for an Obama administration, “a much more domestically centered” focus is predicted.
Assistant Professor of International Relations Amy Skonieczny discussed the narratives used by the candidates in forming their public identities and how the narratives can indicate what they want to project and how they think about their audience as they assemble their storylines.
“She made a good point on each candidate trying to sell their story to the American people,” said International Relations student Maya Fallaha, 23. “She clarified points on what we should look at.”
Many showed up early to watch the debate, but the seats filled fastest when crowds entered as the candidates finished their final questions and closing statements and the forum was about to begin.
“The debate justifies why we need a course like this,” said Dean of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Co-facilitator, Joel Kassiola. “I thought the questions were far more incisive…pointed…hard hitting. But I think the answers were standard stump speeches.”
The event is part of a 14-week series of free public lectures being offered as a course by the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, analyzing the 2008 presidential election and its top issues.
A motorcyclist was killed after a crash occurred Thursday morning between 8:11 a.m. and 8:19 a.m. at the intersection of 19th and Holloway Avenues. The motorcyclist collided with a moving vehicle and suffered fatal head injuries, police authorities said.
Mark Buck, 41, a San Jose resident, was pronounced dead at San Francisco General Hospital at 8:55 a.m., said San Francisco Medical Examiner investigator, Tom McDonald.
A silver Honda Accord allegedly ran a red light going west on Holloway Avenue. The motorcycle skidded and collided with the car's rear passenger side, said witness, Peter Ramos.
Ramos, a street operator inspector who oversees the bus system said he was at his post on the west side of 19th Avenue in his truck and saw the accident. Ramos said he saw the motorcyclist skid to avoid collision with the vehicle coming from his left.
He lost control and hit the back passenger side door, went into shock and was immediately rushed to San Francisco General Hospital, said Jun Takahashi, SFPD officer.
"There was a lot of blood," said Ramos, "The women in the car screamed and ran up the block when they saw what had happened."
The driver of the Honda Accord was a woman in her 30s and had her young daughter as a passenger said police spokesperson, Sgt. Wilfred Williams.
The young girl suffered minor scrapes and bruises, said authorities, and that the car's rear passenger window was shattered and the entire right rear side was damaged.
Ramos said he recognized the biker because he use to drive by at the same time every day.
"I knew it was him when I saw the bike," he said." I liked his bike."
The SF State Police Department was the first on the scene, followed by the SFPD and the Fire Department.
Traffic was diverted from west Holloway Avenue and the two right lanes of of 19th Avenue were closed, said officials.
Audience members played a significant role at a meeting held by the Associated Students, Inc. board of directors on Oct. 15. The goals of the meeting were to make decisions about funding for events and student organizations, and to discuss the board’s goals as a representative body at SF State.
Drew Foster and Bryan Ting, two members of Eco Students, the Environmental Studies student group, attended the meeting to remind the ASI board of its ability to present a nominee for the Sustainability Committee. The committee is comprised of administrators, staff, and two students, Foster said. Ting and Foster said they attended the meeting specifically because the board is allowed to nominate one of the student members of the Sustainability Committee, and wanted to know if students could participate in the selection process.
Eco Students has an interest in the member selection, Ting said. “Sometimes it’s useful [to attend the meetings] because; one: to know what is going on. And two: to be involved in the process of government,” Ting said.
Near the end of the meeting, Ronald Bentley, a graduate of SF State and member of the Black Student Union in 1968, spoke to the board as a representative of the BSU. Bentley asked the board for a realistic plan to provide funds to the BSU to bring three graduates of SF State back to the campus for the 40th anniversary of the SF State student strike. Bentley said the three alumni were students during the protests and would participate in three workshops presented by the BSU for the anniversary celebration.
“They played a part in what happened here,” Bentley said. “And it will be great to have them here to talk to students.”
The board finished the meeting by discussing their goals for the 2008-2009 school year. Members tried to work out pragmatic procedures to implement the original goals the board set at the beginning of the semester. Facilitating copy service for groups, and systems for groups to request funding from the board were discussed until members could plan for smooth operation the remainder of the year.
A maximum capacity limit will now be enforced on the SF State free shuttle that runs between campus, University Park North and the Daly City BART station, according to university police.
The shuttles are to hold 33 passengers, 28 sitting and 5 standing, per shuttle trip, according to the Chief of Police’s Office. The limit to the number of passengers on the shuttle is meant to comply with the “weight capacity of the shuttles to maintain public safety.”
“That’s about how many people can fit comfortably on the shuttle anyways,” shuttle rider Melanie Kemp, a senior from Daly City, said. “Most of the time if the shuttle is too full, people use their common sense and wait for the next one.”
Chief Kirk Gaston of the University Police Department said via email that the maximum capacity was imposed this Wednesday “to decrease the wear and tear of the shuttles and to decrease the breakdowns of the suspension, tires and brakes.”
“It could be a little harder because we have to wait longer,” freshman Russell Rivera said as he waited in line for the shuttle at the top of campus at 19th Avenue. “But, it comes every five minutes or so, so it’s okay.”
Rivera takes the shuttle to and from Daly City BART as part of his daily commute from Vallejo.
Students that ride the shuttle also have the option of riding the 28 bus to and from campus, which is free with a voucher that passengers can get at the Daly City BART station. The voucher is good for one ride to and from BART.
“I usually will only take the bus if it comes first,” Kemp said. “I like to stand in line for the shuttle because there are usually fewer people.”
The SF State free shuttle runs every 10 to 15 minutes Monday through Thursday, 7 A.M. to 10:30 P.M., and on Fridays, 7 A.M. to 7:15 P.M.
At the meeting of the Academic Policy Committee today, members discussed topics including revisions to the 2009 summer school schedule.
The committee, an integral part of decisions regarding university academics, talked about the possibility of extending the summer 2009 school calendar. While several members of the Academic Senate recommended that a ten week session be implemented at last Tuesday’s meeting—citing that five and eight weeks aren’t enough for many courses—the committee expressed concern as to whether or not enough information is readily available to make that change.
Concerns surround whether or not there are enough resources to sustain the longer summer term. Among the top issues are financial aid and whether or not the school has enough personnel to upkeep the university’s computer system.
Maziar Behrooz, an associate professor in the college of behavioral and social sciences, introduced the idea of waiting until 2010 to hold a ten-week class session. “Two years is more realistic,” Maziar said, citing that the extra time would be enough to work out the kinks.
A motion was made and passed to approve the 2009 summer calendar without a ten-week session providing that the 2010 summer schedule include this revision.
Another item heavily discussed was amending the faculty constitution to add two more staff representatives—for a total of three—to the Academic Senate. Staff would elect the two new representatives in campus-wide vote.
Committee member Nathan Avani, professor and chair of the Department of Secondary Education, questioned the need for two more staff reps instead of just one. “Academics is academic,” Avani said, citing that staff members don't have much to do with academia.
Committee chair Wei Ming presented a different opinion. “Sometimes it’s very useful to have them on the senate floor,” Ming said. “It would be helpful to have a broader perspective.”
A motion to accept the changes passed, with only Avani voting “nay.”
One of the last items discussed, the graduate writing policy, is an ongoing topic. Again, members had different thoughts as to what type of proficiency exam should be set in place.
“I don’t support it at a department level, but across the school,” Avani said, adding that when he received his Master’s, the university he attended had a school-wide test.
Some members felt that for students to pass a proficiency exam, professors need to work with them to improve their writing and provide much-needed support.
“I think there has to be consistency,” Lynette Landry, assistant professor in the school of nursing, said. “We’re expecting students to do this without the resources.”
“Different departments have different abilities, they’re not equal to each other,” Behrooz said.
Another point made was that the number of English as a second language learners and foreign students should also be taken into consideration. Though, the point was also made that simply because someone has an accent doesn't mean they don't write well.
“There’s lots of passion around this issue,” Ming said. “It’s an ongoing thing.”
The next Academic Policy Committee will be held in two weeks on Oct. 28.
As more students inhabit the near-to-campus Parkmerced neighborhood, different lifestyles create divisions between older and younger residents, officials at the District 7 supervisor’s office and older residents said.
Six-year Parkmerced resident, Bella Sloutsky, said student noise keeps her up some nights.
“[SF State students] are polite, but at nighttime they are too noisy. Sometimes it’s impossible to sleep,” the 74 year-old said. “They have to know that old people need to rest...To party on Friday is okay, but not until 2 a.m.”
Richard Luu, an SF State student and one-year Parkmerced resident, said after 9 p.m., his next door neighbors sometimes complain about his music being too loud.
“I haven’t seen them complain to Parkmerced [offices],” he said.
Olivia Scanlon, from the office of Supervisor Sean Elsbernd, said she has received phone calls from Parkmerced residents complaining about SF State students. However, she says the office doesn’t see the complaints as a serious problem nor an issue the office needs to address.
Daniel Phillips, president of the Parkmerced Residents Organization, said he doesn’t believe SF State students are responsible for vandalism in the neighborhood.
“If there is a problem, students are blamed without proof,” Phillips said. “Many times a lot of disgusting things happen and it is obvious that it had nothing to do with them.”
Phillips said the lack of parking in the Parkmerced area can be one reason residents complain about SF State students. Phillips said he thinks residents may get frustrated with the significant decrease in parking spots when school is in session.
“Those are issues that we, as a community, need to address,” Phillips said.
SF State President Robert Corrigan and Philippe Cumia, associate director of university housing at SF State, said more first-time students are coming from Southern California and the university is becoming a school that caters even more to young adults and students coming straight out of high school.
Phillips said students coming straight out of high school might have an impact on the Parkmerced community because of their maturity level, which may or may not increase residents’ complaints. He also said that one way to address any possible future problems caused by students is to encourage them to become more involved with the residential community.
Phillips suggested that one easy way to help change the mentality of senior residents toward freshman students might be to simply have them interact more with their neighbors and to create a friendly and community-oriented relationship.
Despite complaints in the form of blog entries and calls to the district supervisor, some of the older residents say they enjoy sharing space with the students.
Benita Siegel said she has lived in Parkmerced for 38 years. The 84-year-old likes to have SF State students as neighbors because, she said, she has reached an age in which she doesn’t normally have a lot of young people around.
Campus health center officials are gearing up for flu season by urging students to get vaccinated. However, past flu vaccinations have met with varying levels of success, campus health officials said, and several students express skepticism over the vaccine’s effectiveness.
SF State freshman and theater arts major Jazmin Pena said she doesn’t plan on getting the shot because she is “iffy” about vaccinations. Pena said she doesn’t worry about getting hit with the flu.
“I normally don’t get sick,” she said. “The most I get is a sore throat.”
E-mail notifications regarding the vaccinations were sent out to all high-risk students at the beginning of October, Director of Student Health Services Alastair Smith said. High-risk students, who receive the vaccine for free, include those with chronic health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease or lung disease.
According to Smith, the campus health center started out with around 300 doses of the flu vaccine for this flu season.
The shots will be available at the health center for all students in a couple of weeks, Smith said, with priority going to all SHS staff and faculty members.
“Whatever doses are left are given to students,” said Carol Brewer, SHS administrative assistant.
Brewer said that this year’s vaccine is $20. The vaccine is currently available during immunization clinic hours on Wednesdays from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and on Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 11:15 p.m.
“[Last year] around 120 students came here [to the health center] to get vaccinated in fall ‘07 and around 48 students came in that were considered high risk and received free vaccinations,” said Ingrid Ochoa, SHS health educator.
Smith said that many more shots go out to staff and faculty and that there is “very little interest from the students.”
“I have a really strong immune system so I rarely get sick,” said Michelle Sea, a biology major at SF State.
Smith acknowledged that a lot of students are skeptical.
Many students got the flu vaccine and think they still got the flu, he said, but they actually are getting the common cold. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention,“it takes up to two weeks for protection to develop after the shot.”
However, Smith admitted that in some of the past years people do get the flu even after they got the shot.
“Last year’s [flu vaccine] was not a great vaccine,” he said.
Smith said the problem stems from the fact that they grow the vaccine virus in eggs. This process is very old and takes several months to produce, so there is no time to change the vaccine once it is made, Smith said.
Because the vaccine is grown in eggs, the CDC advises people with an egg allergy to not to get the vaccine.
“The flu morphs all the time,” Smith said. The influenza virus which is made of two main types, Types A and B, changes as a result of antigenic “drift” or small changes in the virus and antigenic “shift,” or abrupt changes in influenza A Virus.
According to the CDC, “the flu vaccine is designed to protect against the three main flu strains that research indicates will cause the most illness during the flu season.”
In addition, the CDC notes, “the effectiveness of the vaccine can vary and depends in part on the match between the viruses in the vaccine and flu viruses that are circulating in the community.
“They make this cocktail,” Ochoa said. “It’s not 100 percent effective. It really depends on how well it matches.”
The director said the most important step to fight the flu is to get a flu vaccine and secondly to wash your hands with soap and water or Purell hand sanitizer.
The CDC recommends getting the vaccine in October or November. The peak time for influenza is in January or February.
Ochoa said she highly recommends getting vaccinated this flu season to decrease the possibility of getting sick. “It’s your choice,” she said. “But if you get vaccinated you will be protected. I would rather be protected 50-60 percent than 0 percent.”
Smith says the flu is transmitted by air, being in another’s cough zone or by shaking hands with someone.
Smith said that at a college, people from all over are confined in one space. “Colleges are an ideal place to transmit disease,” he said.
If one student goes out and gets sick and comes back to the dorms — where everyone is in a crowded area — the flu will be easily transmitted, he said.
“If 90 percent of people are vaccinated it’s difficult for disease to spread,” Smith said.
Despite a move to decrease the amount of additional funding provided to student groups, Associated Students, Inc. predicts that it will still go over its alloted budget, according to financial officials in the organization.
With nine additional student organizations vying for student government funding this year, ASI board members are giving up to $300 for each organization’s special event—a $50 increase from last year.
ASI’s vice president of finance, Sharef Al Najjar, said it was one of the board’s goals to “create additional support for student organization funding” this year. Earlier this semester, ASI members were awarding $400 for student organizations’ special events.
However, after the $400 was given toward five different events and board members learned of the new organizations, they realized they had to reduce allotments for special events.
“If we had continued at $400…it would go over the budgeted amount a lot quicker than assumed,” Najjar said.
Out of ASI’s approximately $3.5 million annual budget, which is made up of the $42 student body association fee each student pays with their registration fees, $80,000 has been set aside for student organizations.
But each year since 2005, Najjar said, spending on student organizations has gone more over budget. Bolstered by money from the board of directors operating allowance, ASI spent nearly $90,000 on student organizations last year. Najjar said they don’t expect to stay within the budget this year either.
“It’s going to go over,” he said. “It has been for [at least] the last five years.”
This year, 82 student organizations compete for the $80,000. If the nine additional groups hold three events – ASI’s maximum permitted per student organization per year – that’s an extra $8,000 for each group, not including operational funding, Najjar explained.
Despite the board’s effort to supply more funding for student organizations, several organization members say they feel ASI isn’t giving them enough.
Members from the campus fraternity, Phi Beta Sigma, petitioned to increase funding for events held on Monday and Tuesday--to help cover the costs of their speaker and the room. Jeffrey Aigbekaen, vice president and treasurer for the fraternity said he doesn’t feel like it should be up to the ASI board’s judgment whether or not they get the funding.
At the board meeting, ASI chose with minimal disagreement to allot an additional $425 for the Phi Beta Sigma’s Monday event, “A Bay Bay.”
“I think we went through the process professionally,” Aigbekaen said. “It was only right that we got [the additional funding].”
Alex Tran, Korean Student Association treasurer, said his organization applied for $500 in operational funding – for office supplies and advertising – but only received $100.
“I’m afraid they may not give us enough,” Tran said of ASI. “We may have to fundraise and pay out of our own pockets.”
Cory Wong, who serves on both the ASI board and finance committee, said each new group was given $100 for operational fees this semester. Older groups were awarded different amounts – between $100 and $500 – depending on their history with ASI, money needs and how many events they plan to throw for the year.
Ayana Walker, Queer Alliance treasurer, said she can’t recall a time when they had problems getting funding from ASI as long as the paperwork was filled out properly.
However, if an event can be classified as “historical,” meaning the event has taken place annually for the past ten years, the organization can request more funding, something Queer Alliance is well aware of.
“Apparently you get more funding if you have proof that your event is a historical event,” Walker said. “So we’re working on that now.”
Historical events can receive up to $5,000. There are currently nine student organizations’ events that qualify as historical and board members say they are worried about more events becoming eligible.
Funding all the current historical events would cost $45,000 – more than half the entire budget for student organizations.
In fact, just a few years ago, ASI raised the year requirement from five to 10 years to address this problem, Wong said.
“The historical [events] will continue to grow,” Wong said. “It’s going to be unpayable after awhile.”
At a recent ASI board meeting, members discussed encouraging organizations to hold new events each year.
ASI student president Natalie Franklin said the influx of new student groups will make it “a little harder in terms of funding,” yet the effects aren’t being felt immediately because not all these groups will ask for funding.
“It depends on the organization and their history,” Franklin said. “We have a policy that helps us stay within the budget.”
“Sometimes student organizations ask for more, hoping they can get the most they can get.” Franklin said. If an organization asks for less, the board wouldn’t give them more than they asked for.
On the other hand, Franklin explained, if the organization feels they weren’t given enough the first time around there is a process they can go through in order to ask for more.
“They come to ask for outrageous amounts of money,” said ASI board member Graham Litchman and co-president of the Student Health Advisory Committee. “There has to be some kind of order.”
Wong said many student organizations ask for two or three times more money than ASI can give them, but disagrees with Litchman and Franklin. For the most part, Wong said, students are asking for the money they need.
Wong acknowledged that money for student organizations is tight and encourages student groups to raise some of their own money through fundraising projects such as food sales.
The Pub, SF State's on-campus bar, looks like a real city bar, its walls adorned with neon beer logos and its aura dark and divey; it is in fact the last of a dying breed, as one of the last remaining venues in the CSU system with permission to sell alcohol to students.
“The Pub is a place with some sense of luxury,” said Ferras Jweinat, a co-owner of the student center venue. “People make assumptions that people come here and just get drunk. It’s a place of friendship and socializing where students can come together and unite, like a safe haven.”
The Pub was opened at the student center in 1995 by Allam El Qadah, who currently owns Café Rosso and Sushigo. The Pub was then taken over by Jweinat’s family nine years ago and the coveted liquor license was transferred to their name. The Pub now serves about 200 students a day.
Although it only pours beer and wine, the Pub’s drink menu has swelled over the years to include 18 beers on draft, several bottled beers and a variety of wine.
“There are so many I can’t even tell you what’s on draft,” said Jweinat, a tall, solid man who is an SF State alumni. “A lot of students want us to serve hard alcohol but it’s never gonna happen. We’re in an educational environment and on state and government property. Beer and wine is just enough in my opinion.”
Because of Jweinat’s caution, the Pub has never had any incidents involving inebriated students that has required discplinary action.
“We have actually been very successful in maintaining an operation where the owner is committed to not serving minors and checking IDs,” said Edina Bajraktarevic, the associate director of business and finance. ”I don't want to jinx us. We have Alcoholic Beverage Control checks done all the time where undercover officers attempt to buy without any ID. [Jweinat has] always done very well. We remain one of the very, very few universities in the CSU system that operates a pub on campus.”
According to Ellen Griffin, University Spokeswoman, the University Police has had six calls regarding students disturbing the peace at the Pub since 2003, but that they have been proactive in adhering to licensing requirements.
Like SF State, Sonoma State University also operates an on-campus Pub, although it is more of a sandwich shop than a bar, according to Neil Markley, the Director of Entrepreneurial Activities at Sonoma State.
“Up here in Sonoma, we are in wine country,” said Markley. “It’s part of our culture to serve wine and beer.”
Although occasionally the Sonoma State pub has to deal with an unruly student or two, Markley emphasizes that incidents happen infrequently.
“We have an incident from time to time, but typically there are other factors involved,” said Markley.
At SF State, Jweinat trains his employees, who are often students themselves, to enforce a zero-tolerance policy.
“If you come in and we see that you’ve had two beers and you’re tipsy, I have the right to cut you off,” said Jweinat.
Jweinat, who describes himself as a very social individual, loves having one-on-one conversations with students.
“I meet a lot of bright people,” he said.”Being here, you gain a lot of friendship and know you’re giving back to the community.”
Nick Christensen, a political science major, and Colin Nelson, a biology major, visit the Pub up to twice a week for its atmosphere and convenience.
"It's a good place to come if you have a three-hour break," said Nelson. "I even study here."
Echoing his friend over cold Anchor Steams, Christensen often comes to the Pub for its open mic nights on Tuesdays.
"I like to grab a beer and laugh my ass off," he said.
The Depot, the entertainment venue operated by the student center, is the Pub’s neighbor, and often provides music for the Pub’s patrons to groove to.
“We rely on it for foot traffic,” said Jweinat. “It definitely draws a crowd.”
As for the Pub’s future, Jweinat envisions it filled with multiple plasma screen TVs featuring ESPN from open till close, acknowledging that beer and sports often go hand in hand.
“We get a lot of sports fans,” he said.
A forensics team may conjure images of police analyzing blood stains at murder scenes, but SF State’s forensic team is interested in finding something much more difficult: the truth.
“The term ‘forensics’ means ‘to search for the truth,’ and we do that through argumentation and speech,” said Vince Alvarez, a 23-year-old graduate student in communication studies. The forensics team is broken up into two separate groups: the debate team, which Alvarez volunteers for as an assistant coach, and the speech team, also known as the Individual Event Squad.
Both teams—which make and present arguments against schools like Harvard and Dartmouth—will be participating in two tournaments next weekend. One will be at Pepperdine University and the other at Azusa Pacific.
The debate team is more adversarial than the speech team, who do not argue directly with an opponent. Competitions are a lot like the recent presidential and vice presidential debates, except students have a partner, as well as only one debate topic that gets recycled throughout the year.
“When we go into a debate, we know exactly who our opponent is, and hopefully what they’re going to say, and how we’re going to respond,” Alvarez said.
The speech team chooses from 11 different events. One event called “After Dinner Speaking,” is a speech that doesn’t literally involve food, but borrows a casual post-meal tone using humor to explain, inform, or inspire a topic of the speaker’s choosing. There is also “Limited Preparation Speaking,” where students are given a topic just two minutes before speech time. There are also “Interpretation” events—which assistant coach Brandi Lawless compared to acting— where competitors perform poetry or prose in front of a judge without the use of props.
“Some people might be competing in drama or prose, which calls for them to have a character that is pulling at heart strings and making people cry,” Lawless said. “At the very next moment, they’ll go to an after-dinner speaking round, trying to make people laugh as much as they can. Those are two totally different emotions and characters. Often times, it’s difficult to switch between those two, but that’s part of being a good speaker.”
Becoming a good speaker, as Lawless describes, is a massive time commitment. Alvarez said top SF State team members spend 20-30 hours a week researching and rehearsing for upcoming competitions.
“A top level competitor will do as much research in a debate season as a graduate student on a thesis,” Alvarez said.
The debate and speech tournaments fall on weekends, creating schedule difficulties for competitors with jobs. Stephanie Eisenberg, a senior member of the debate team, said the constant weekend traveling makes money tight for her and her competition partner, Jessica Whittle. One time, Eisenberg and Whittle had to leave a competition early because Whittle couldn’t get her shift covered at the 21st Amendment, a brewery and restaurant in San Francisco.
“You can’t cook at home, and you can’t work all weekend,” said Eisenberg. She said while travel-fare is provided by the university, food isn’t always covered. Eisenberg’s meals range from packages of trail mix and ginger candies, to a fully-catered barbecue, depending on the amount of money the hosting campus can spend.
The debate team has tournaments scheduled almost every weekend this semester, though not every member can attend due to travel costs.
Besides working 20-30 hours a week at the brewery, Whittle is taking 16 units at SF State, and participating in the Urban Debate League, an after school program that teaches kids in poor areas about argumentation. Whittle, who sleeps only six hours a night on average, has no idea how she gets it all done.
“I don’t know—coffee,” Whittle said. “Lots and lots of coffee.”
Both teams require a lot of time, but the rewards far outweigh the detriments, Lawless said.
Lawless also noted that forensics gives students an edge in a highly competitive job market and that graduate programs and law schools see forensics experience as evidence of dedication and hard work.
“There is no greater skill than knowing how to be a passionate advocate of something,” Alvarez said, “which is what I think debate teaches you.”
Catching up to New York, Boston and 21st century public transit, BART is in the testing stages of implementing new tickets with stronger magnetic strips to reduce to a common woe—a dead ticket.
The BART board approved a contract in February for a five-year supply of fare tickets with higher grade magnetic strips to reduce cases of demagnetization. High-coercivity magnetic strips—the kind used on most credit cards—will be less prone to being erased as the low-coercivity tickets currently in use.
BART has since been working on converting the old ticket readers at the stations to work with the new tickets, and now it says it is ahead of schedule.
“We’re in the testing phase right now,” BART Chief Spokesperson Linton Johnson said. “We already have at least one fare gate in each station that accepts high-coercivity (high-c) tickets and we have staff and others testing them.”
Twenty-one percent of SF State students rely on the BART and the free shuttle offered to and from the Daly City station, according to the latest SF State transportation study.
“I’m careful to keep it away from my cell phone now,” said nursing major Emily Hallam, 20, who said she learned that her phone could demagnetize her ticket after only one incident. But others are not always so lucky.
“They will give me another one to get me through the day, but then I have to go downtown to get it replaced,” said SF State biology major Nyada Batieste, 20, who purchases the bulk-rate discounted fare tickets and deals with this about once a month. “It is kind of frustrating that you have to go talk to an agent. It wastes a lot of time.”
BART receives an average of 250 complaints a day about demagnetized tickets, according to Johnson. Daly City BART sees an average of 20 erased tickets in just two hours of the morning rush between 7 and 9 a.m. according to ticket agents.
“We’re hoping to have all our fare gates ready to accept high-c tickets sometime between November and January,” said Johnson. “Once testing is complete, we’ll be ready to put the high-c tickets in our ticket machines for our customers.”
This change is expected to gradually cut down the number of complaints and rider headaches over time.
“As for what the average will be when we convert, that’s difficult to say because there will be the mix of old tickets and the new high-c tickets out in the world for many more years to come,” Johnson said.
“Remember, you can keep a BART ticket forever and whatever money you have on it is good until you use it again. So the average will decrease as more and more of the high-c tickets get used.”
“Our customers will not be able to notice the difference in feel between the low-c and high-c tickets.” Johnson said. “However, we may have a modest design change so customers know whether they have the high-c ticket.”
An unidentified man was struck by a car tonight while crossing Font Boulevard just off the roundabout with Holloway Avenue, according to Sgt. Wong of the San Francisco Police Department.
The possible hit-and-run occurred at approximately 7p.m. and the driver immediately fled the scene, according to Wong.
Sgt. Wong said there were two differing stories given by witnesses.
Both stories agree that the car was a four-door Volvo. The color, however, was given as either being either silver or light gold and witnesses could not agree if the driver was a man or woman.
The victim hit the hood of the car and then staggered to the median where he collapsed and was soon rushed to the hospital by an ambulance, officers said. His condition is currently unknown.
An average trip through the Stonestown Galleria mall on a late afternoon will reveal one indisputable certainty: the impact of America’s slumping economy on stores in Stonestown is hit-and-miss, based mostly on customer popularity.
Stores like the Apple Store and H&M Clothing have benefited from the customer popularity of their products, resulting in a high volume of foot traffic in and around their locations.
With the arrival of popular health food grocery chain Trader Joe’s moving into the empty location in the western structure, formerly inhabited by Copeland Sports next to McDonalds and Borders Books and Music, many store managers are hopeful that the opening will revitalize the area with a new stream of customers.
Kenneth Alpen, the General Manager of Borders in Stonestown, believes that the introduction of new stores would help in remolding the mall’s image. However, one of his major concerns about the influx of new customers is the issue of parking and traffic that the area is infamous for.
“I guess the primary concern is the limitation on parking, as to how that’s going to be addressed and how the community is going to respond to a little more crowded parking,” said Alpen. “Obviously, we have some competition with the University for parking as well.”
According to the San Francisco Business Times, Stonestown owner General Growth Properties is considering renovating the Stonestown area, specifically the two –screen movie theatre and replacing it with an eight-screen cinema. Also, the company has been considering adding new high-end restaurants.
But the possible increase of customer traffic brought by Trader’s Joes may be too late for some Stonestown stores that have decided to end their leasing agreement with General Growth Properties, due to the rising cost to lease space.
Peter Vaganes, owner of the Sunshine Health Foods store, which has been apart of Stonestown for twenty years, has decided to terminate his lease due to the rising cost to lease his space.
Vaganes has noticed the drop in mall attendance and estimates the traffic to have dropped about five to six perfect from previous years.
“If you put that together you can see the influx of businesses, why some business are coming in to see if they can make it, and some other companies -- they figure it out, there’s no way they can’t make it, so they exit.”
The arrival of Trader’s Joe may breathe some life into the teetering popularity of Stonestown, but Vaganes doubts that the staying ability of shopping malls in general. With the rise of popularity among online shopping, Vaganes suspects the mall era may be coming to an end.
“With the invention of the Internet and all that stuff, a lot of people shop online these days. So, the way I see malls in general -- they will be archaic, basically, they’ll be obsolete... eventually.”
The U.S. Navy Blue Angels made their annual rounds over the San Francisco Bay this past weekend, delighting onlookers.
The elite flying team performed for an hour on Saturday and Sunday, performing aerial stunts near famous landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz.
At around 7:30 a.m. a trackside electrical fire was reported on Bart near the West Oakland Station according to a release from BART.
The tunnel was returned to service at 8:45 a.m.
It is advised that anybody traveling through San Francisco leave their house a little earlier, there will be some short delays.
On the Pittsburgh/Bay Point there was a short delay of about 15 minutes and on the Richmond line it was no more then ten minutes.
Socialist Workers United States Presidential candidate Róger Calero spoke at SF State Thursday, Oct. 9, to students and staff about his party’s campaign platform and principles which make his party an essential choice for voters given the economic and social issues the United States is currently facing.
Calero gave his speech in the College of Behavioral Social Sciences Student Resource Center to an audience of 15 students and SF State staff. His speech focused on the consequences the working class of the United States has historically faced when the nation was at war and experiencing economic problems.
“Everyone acts like the financial crisis is something just started in the last seven or eight years,” Calero said. “Our party has been watching the situation build since the first problems under Reagan in 1987.” The economic issues dominating news today are part of an institutional problem with capitalism and the policies of the United States, Calero said.
“The central problem is the wages system,” Calero said. “Capitalism is gambling on risk. They gambled and lost, and we workers will pay the cost.”
Politicians operate under the assumption they can regulate themselves out of the current crisis, Calero said. As long as the system remains the same, he said, there will be a similar crisis in the future because capitalism forces business to pursue profit without anticipating the consequences.
When a student asked about Calero’s thoughts about the debate between Senators McCain and Obama, which was broadcast the evening before, Calero’s answer was succinct:
“Nothing new,” he said. “Even the media was very disappointed that there was nothing new,” Calero said.
Calero went on to say both candidates have said some programs would need to be delayed. He said this was particularly disconcerting since at least 21 states have already passed legislation that cut benefits for people in need.
“Regardless of which candidate gets elected, those services will be cut anyway,” Calero said.
Until fundamental changes are made to the policies of the United States, Calero said, there would be a need for his party to motivate working class voters to work together to influence policies to protect themselves.
“I just came from Bayview, this morning, where workers forced their company into new safety standards,” Calero said. “The company deliberately separated Latinos and African Americans, and lied to them, but the workers talked to each other and worked together to get things changed.”
Calero acknowledged he is not likely to win the election in November, but said it was actions like the Bayview incident that made his campaign necessary. Calero said he believed what he was doing was more important than ever, and any good he could do was all the motivation he needed.
Calero and his running mate Alyson Kennedy have Qualified Write In status on the California state ballot. The Socialist Workers ticket is on voting ballots in 14 states and Calero said he expects the Qualified Write In status in many states before the election.
The election is important, but just one of many events Calero is scheduled to take on in the next year. “No matter what, we will be back here next spring to stand up for undocumented workers in the state,” Calero said. “Things will get worse in the coming months, and we will be here to help everyone work together to get what workers have earned and deserve.”
Senior Jacob Flick usually avoids re-registering to vote so he can get out of jury duty. But for this particular election, he’s making an exception.
“I was extremely compelled,” said Flick, 25, looking off in the distance as he tried to sum up the importance of this election. “I want to vote for Obama. I feel the Republican Party is extremely wrong.”
If students like Flick want to be heard, it is imperative they make sure to register and vote in the correct place as SF State has had a problem having all its votes counted, said Charles MacNulty, voter outreach manager for the San Francisco Department of Elections.
“In the past there have been a large number of provisional votes,” MacNulty said. “A significant number couldn’t be counted,” he said, because those provisional voters must be registered in San Francisco County.
“There has been a lot of misinformation,” that perpetuates the misconception that a provisional vote will work for anyone, MacNulty said.
For those who have never registered in San Francisco, either re-register or contact your home county’s election office and fill out a form for a one-time vote by mail ballot that will be sent to your current address, MacNulty said.
If you think you’ve registered, but never received a confirmation by mail, re-register to be on the safe side, said Carol Lao, a member of the voter outreach division of the Department of Elections.
Students will have many opportunities to do just that as the registration drive steams toward the Oct. 20 deadline. Registration booths will be in the quad as well as in front of the SFSU Bookstore and Humanities building, said Adam Calmenson, program coordinator for the Institute for Civic and Community Engagement.
More than 200 students had already visited the voter registration table outside the Humanities building by the third day, said organizer David Gill, a lecturer in the English department.
“I’ve never seen a response like this,” said Gill, while handing out forms to a steady stream of students.
The booth Gill and other humanities faculty and staff run is linked to the California Faculty Association but it is also part of a larger movement campus wide to get students in the voting booth.
SF State began a push to get students registered to vote last week, with plans for different activities leading up to the election. Rallies are planned Oct. 15 and 16 in the quad along with food to entice prospective voters. For those who miss it, there will also be a rally Oct. 17 in front of the University Housing Office with food, speakers and music, Calmenson said.
Everyone from CFA to the Institute for Civic and Community Engagement to Associated Students Inc. and beyond has volunteered time and energy to registering people and promoting the importance of voting.
ASI decided to take a supporting role in getting out the vote this year said Natalie Franklin, president of the organization. Working alone in past years “wasn’t so successful” said Franklin, and the decision was made to work with others to make the most impact.
“SF State has become such a young campus,” Franklin said, “Since there is such a low turnout [for freshman-age voters] it’s important to get them to vote. Everyone has a voice.”
The last presidential election in 2004 saw the biggest jump in registration and voting for 18 – 24-year olds, but the youth vote remains the lowest in overall turnout, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Less than half of those who were eligible - 47 percent - voted. This is partly due to the lack of re-registering within the largely transitory age group, according to an analysis by the Bureau.
Voter Registration forms can also be picked up in the library, room 154 in the Administration building or from HSS 120.
Like many movements in this digital age, the voter drive has a Web site for those looking for further information: www.sfsu.edu/~govrel/vote2008.html.
In an effort to strengthen diversity and social justice among the campus community, SF State appointed the school’s first university dean for social justice initiatives on Monday.
Jacob Perea, dean of the College of Education for 12 years, was appointed to the new position by the school administration. He is expected to work closely with President Robert Corrigan, faculty and staff to plan and promote ways of ensuring equity and access on campus.
“There’s a lot of excitement in taking on this new challenge,” Perea said. “I really care about the thought of social justice.”
The position modifies the responsibilities of the former dean of human relations, which was held by current ethnic studies dean Kenneth Monteiro, and focused on maintaining diversity-oriented choices and peaceful relationships among faculty and staff, Corrigan said.
“We wanted a person with the authority and background to deal with campus tensions,” Corrigan said. “We knew [Perea] was the best person to take it on.”
In addition, the dean is responsible for ensuring that diversity and social justice are integrated into academics and teaching. The position reports directly to Corrigan. The president said this is “a very important appointment that affects the lives of faculty, staff and students.”
“Jake Perea lives his professional life with a deep dedication to social justice,” said Mark Phillips, director of school relations and educational outreach. “It is part of the core of who he is, so he is a perfect pick for the position.”
Perea has a long career as a teacher, educator and activist, which actually began when he was a graduate student at SF State during the 1968 strike. He was the school’s first joint-hire professor in two departments, ethnic studies and education.
“Many campuses are still trying to define what diversity means,” Perez said. “We’ve gone way beyond that…and there has to be a place on campus where [diversity] will receive even more support.”
The new dean worked on Apache and Navajo reservations in California. Perea’s ethnicity is a mix of Apache and Mexican backgrounds. He also spent two and a half years in the Peace Corps, working in Tanzania and Nigeria in Africa. “It was there where I really changed,” Perea said, referring to his views on equity and diversity.
He is known throughout the campus community for increasing access to education, such as through the Step To College preparatory program for high school seniors that Perea co-founded and currently helps facilitate. He is responsible for recruiting more women and people of color into the faculty of the College of Education.
“I am deeply indebted to Dean Perea for his unwavering support of training, research and development,” said Pamela Wolfberg, associate professor of the Department of Special Education. “He has created invaluable opportunities for students and faculty to engage in international exchange.”
Perea said his first step as the new dean is to sit down with faculty, staff and student and get a clear picture of how prevalent inequity and social injustice are on campus and what people’s needs are, and then tease out ideas for addressing those needs.
He expressed appreciation for the high level of diversity already existing on campus, and said that his work is not meant to change, but simply to improve current campus diversity efforts.
“We already have the fabric, and weaving is already being done,” he said.
Perea and Corrigan both said the dean’s official job description is “a work in progress” that will continually be evaluated and developed over the next several months.
David Hemphill, associate dean of education, will temporarily take over Perea’s former position.
A national search for the new dean of the College of Education will be conducted later this month.
The Associated Students, Inc. met yesterday to discuss and vote on a number of issues, including a slogan for the recreation campaign to support the new recreation center and funding for special events. They also discussed the up-and-coming voter rally, which be held on Oct. 22 to encourage registered voters to vote.
A move to approve a slogan for the new recreation center was the first item on the agenda. The recommended slogan, presented by Graham Litchman, Health and Human Services Representative, is “Ready, Set, Rec.”
“It will be the first thing people see,” said Litchman, who briefly explained the design process of the slogan. “There is a lot of backing and reasoning for this slogan.”
Though there was a heated discussion about that lack of participation from the board in the creation of a slogan, the recommended saying was approved.
The following agenda items concerned funding for special events, like next week’s Bike to School Day and up and coming fraternity events.
Some members of the Board complained about not receiving paperwork that explained the events in detail and to where exactly the funding would be going.
Chris Knox, creative arts representative, said that he could not vote yes on any action because of the lack of paperwork.
“Why should I bother showing up to these meetings?” said Knox. “No paperwork, no vote.”
Abdulrazaq Awad, science and engineering representative, responded to Knox and acknowledged that his tone was ‘snappy.’
“You should trust your board members that they will explain the necessary information,” said Awad.
Aside from Knox’s and other’s no votes, the majority of the Board voted yes and approved on all of the actions regarding funding for special events, which will support groups like the bicycle advocacy group, the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, the Graduate Students Association, and Alpha Phi Alpha Black.
Members of The Board also discussed adding that the voter rally on Oct. 22 will be a large event that will encourage registered voters to vote and will be a good place to promote and advertise the new recreation center and its new slogan, “Ready, Set, Rec.”
More than 100 students attended a mental health screening day at SF State on Tuesday afternoon to screen themselves for depression, see a counselor or receive information from other campus health services.
At the screening, Lucia Ramirez, a Sexual Abuse Free Environment (SAFE) Place volunteer, stood in front of Student Services and asked student passersby if they would take a survey on healthy relationships.
“With the information we give out — students know they can get help on campus,” Ramirez said.
Students said the screening, the first in nearly a decade, was informative even if they weren’t clinically depressed.
Sahar Maknoon said she heard about the screening day last week. She took the depression questionnaire and then met with a counselor in another room. Maknoon said the screening was helpful and pinpointed her “neurosis.”
Joanna Witkowski, a communications major, said she does not feel depressed but said the screening is beneficial for students who may be too shy to approach others about their depression but “by seeing where the room number is, they can anonymously go in and solve their problems.”
Larry, an industrial design major at SF State, agrees with Witkowski: “It exposes them to the resources that are available on campus,” he said.
Five counselors were present at the screening, along with peer leaders who conducted and administered the surveys.
Mehgan Sierra, a psychology major, recruited students for Active Minds, a new student-run organization to raise awareness of mental health disorders. Sierra said that they’re trying to “reduce the stigma” associated with mental illness. The table had informational fliers including one on “famous people with mental illness.”
John Penecerrada, the director of the campus fitness center, stopped by the screening and took a survey as well. “Students gotta know that these services are available,” he said.
If athletically-inclined students properly navigate the eastern corridors of the gymnasium, they will find a stuffy, cramped room filled with decade-old exercise equipment.
Once inside, patrons will lift weights on limited floor space, wait in lines for cardio machines and stretch out while hoping someone doesn’t step on them.
This is SF State’s campus weight room, and some affiliated with the space are concerned the gym is not able to meet the needs of SF State students looking to stay fit.
“It’s a totally inadequate facility,” said David Ian Anderson, department chair of kinesiology. “It really doesn’t meet anyone’s needs.”
Because the weight room is shared between the athletic department, recreational sports and the kinesiology department, open gym hours are scheduled around the agenda of academic programs and classes; leaving little time for students to work out, said Ajani Byrd, director of recreational sports.
Additionally, due to the small size of the room, students have to compete for space and equipment, making many feel uncomfortable, Byrd said. This combination of patchy scheduling and limited space are causing frustration among gym guests and staff.
“A school of SF State’s size really should have an impressive gym that is able to accommodate students and their athletic needs,” Anderson said. “And our current weight room doesn’t come close.”
Students looking to work out at the school facilities like Mehran Kafai, a second-year graduate student of computer sciences, are having a difficult time because of the shifty hours of operation.
“This gym is hardly ever open,” Kafai said. “And when it is open, the gym is really crowded.”
“In a perfect world, the gym would be open everyday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.” Byrd said. “Although because academics take priority, we really don’t have that much time for open gym hours.”
While there are no immediate plans to relocate the weight room, hours of operation should change soon due to the increase of instructionally-related activity fees , Byrd said.
“This past year, IRA fees increased from $2 to $7, and with that money we hope to expand the hours of operation,” Byrd said. Currently, the weight room is not open on the weekends, because of a lack of funds to pay for more staffing, although “by spring of 2009, we should be open on the weekends.”
Even with increased hours of operation, Anderson said he thinks the weight room problem won’t be solved until the facilities are moved to a different, larger location.
“The prime reason the facilities are not meeting student standards is because the room is not big enough and can only fit a certain amount of people,” Anderson said.
SF State officials are currently looking into the possibility of building a student wellness center, complete with a larger and up-to-date weight room, said J.E. “Penny” Saffold, vice president for student affairs.
University officials have been promising to tear down the gym and build a new one for the past 45 years, Anderson said. “When I hear that a new gym is going to be constructed, I don’t hold my breath.”
Even as more students have enrolled at SF State over the past decades, the university has virtually done nothing until now to accommodate students looking to exercise on campus, Saffold said.
“No one anticipated SF State to become such a large school,” Saffold said. “We have to expand our vision to accommodate the needs of our students.”
Since the proposed student recreational facility would be non-academic, the state would not be able to contribute funds to such a project—it would need to be funded entirely by students, Byrd said.
“This campus is unique because it is student driven,” he said. “If students truly want a new gym, it will happen.”
Rhythms of love permeated the streets of San Francisco, attracting thousands of electronic music lovers to downtown's Civic Center as the rain and clouds vanished for this years annual Love Fest street parade.
Joshua Smith, one of the event’s main coordinators, used attendee tallies to estimate that there were no less than 70,000 attendees.
“It’s an unstoppable train of love,” said Smith, “It’s bigger than ever here in 2008.”
Floats lined up early on Saturday morning on 2nd street, a lineup featuring “love boats” and anti-war themes. Many of the floats had self-sponsored DeeJays spinning remixed house music.
“...It’s really fun, and I think it really unites everyone,” said Sammy “Sparkles”, a dancer on one of the floats named “The Siren,” shaped as a giant pink elephant.
One float, “the love bus,” was themed after the hippie bus from “Across the Universe.”
“We are trying to spread the love to our community,” said DJ Andy of the love bus. “Through electronic music we feel like we can change the world.”
Smith said that he believed that electronic music could “break down walls” and “unite” people by bringing them together.
“This is the most amazing day of the year,” Sparkles yelled. “Love Fest overtakes every major holiday of the year, including Christmas and my birthday.”
“We are really excited with at the prospect of record-breaking crowds,” Smith said with a giant grin. “This is a testament to peoples beliefs in bringing everyone together through electronic dance music.”
With several impacted majors, and other departments applying for that status, SF State will embark on a plan to study campus-wide impaction status over the coming year; a move that could make it harder for future students to get in and help those admitted get the classes they need, school administrators said.
“Declaring impaction campus-wide is a complex decision that requires serious analysis. A campus committee is being established to study the issue,” said Jo Volkert, associate vice president of enrollment management via e-mail.
More than 1,000 students were still waitlisted for classes as the add deadline passed last month while the university is experiencing its largest freshmen class ever, according to school data. Without impaction status, SF State must admit anyone who meets the standards determined by the CSU system.
“If a student applies within a given time frame and basically meets our criteria for admission … we have to take you,” SF State President Robert Corrigan said during a recent discussion with journalism students. “We should take you. There is not an alternative to us.”
Seven other CSU universities – CSU Long Beach, CalPoly Pomona, CalPoly San Luis Obispo, CSU Bakersfield, CSU Fullerton, San Diego State University, and the California Maritime Academy – are currently impacted. As a result, they can turn away otherwise applicable students because the school itself is then “authorized to apply high[er] admissions criteria,” said CSU Long Beach Vice Provost David Dowell. For instance, transfers to CSULB with 63 or more units must have a 2.4 minimum GPA instead of the CSU-standard minimum of 2.0. In addition, CSULB closed off the spring semester to transfers and new freshman applicants.
“By virtue of the title of being impacted it allows us to create additional admissions criteria above and beyond ... [and] delimits the number of students who would eligible to apply,” Dowell said.
SF State hasn’t experienced growth as rapidly as CSULB, but as Dowell pointed out, the generation of baby boomers’ kids is turning 18-years-old, and those teens are applying for college.
The earliest SF State may enforce impaction standards if it meets the criteria would be fall 2010.
“Requests for impaction status must be submitted in April 2009 for impaction to be in effect for the fall 2010 admission cycle that begins on Oct. 1, 2009,” Volkert wrote in an e-mail.
Until then, four departments at SF State are impacted: nursing, social work, apparel design and interior design. In order to be impacted, a department has to appeal to the CSU chancellor and show that their impaction is affecting the graduation rates of its students.
As the school works on the study, individual programs are devising their own ways to deal with overcrowding. The impacted nursing department is possibly looking to raise its already heightened GPA minimum for admittance, three other departments are impacted and others, such as the journalism department, have applied for impaction but have been denied.
Some programs have raised their admissions standards. For example, the design departments require portfolios, and the nursing department, which admits only 80 students to its baccalaureate program a year, looks not only at a student’s GPA but previous work in health services, language skills and multicultural community experience, said Professor Karen Johnson-Brennan, of the nursing department.
“In recent years we have had over 1,000 applications. We always have several hundred more people who are eligible,” said Johnson-Brennan who joined the department 30 years ago when it was already deemed impacted. The nursing department held a vote recently on whether or note to raise the minimum GPA in prerequisite courses from 2.8 to 3.0, although a decision has not yet been made. But Brennan said she’s vote to raise it even higher because “in reality you need at least a 3.7, so if you’re not somewhere near there, don’t bother applying.”
“It’s almost harder now to become a nurse than a doctor because the requirements are so high,” Dowell said.
“[The CSU has] twenty-three campuses, with 460,00 students, and a birth rate, particularly in the southern part of the state, which is increasing,” Corrigan said of the growing need for available education. “So it becomes almost a moral issue to some extent. If not us, who?”
Students at SF State may have a new recreation and health center available to them in as few as two years if efforts by Associated Students Inc. and university administrators are successful in the next six months.
“We are the largest university in California without a recreation center,” said Peter Koo, executive director of ASI at SF State. Koo said the new building could offer a rock climbing wall, swimming pools, and even an indoor running track.
“But even more important,” Koo said, “it will offer a place for students to hang out and be part of the community.”
More than 700 surveys were handed out to students, asking what features they would most prefer from a center.
“First and foremost, the number one answer from students was that they wanted a recreation center,” said Horace Montgomery, leadership development coordinator for ASI. Montgomery said the most important result from the survey was that students consistently said they would definitely use a recreation center if it were available to them.
“The entire center will be paid for by students,” Koo said. “President Corrigan has approved the plan if ASI can get the money.”
Students will vote on a referendum next March to approve the plan.
The benefit, Koo said, is that the center will be maintained and operated by students, not SF State administrators. Lounges, exercise rooms and an auditorium are almost guaranteed features in the plan.
Tentative planning incorporates a three-story building with a footprint of 50,000 square feet on the site of “the bubble” where temporary study space and computer labs will be housed for the library.
“Students will be responsible for financing,” Koo said, “but they will also be able to develop a recreation center with exactly what they want in it.” Ideally, the building will be available to students 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Koo said, and entertained the possibility that alumni could use the facility, or local residents could access services for a fee.
“At all the other CSU schools our size, students enjoy their campus so much more because students before them had the foresight to build for the future,” Koo said.
Penny Saffold, vice president for student affairs and dean of students, said that more students living on campus and a capacity for 5,000 student residents leaves little choice for a quality university.
“We need to provide a program for students after 5 o’clock,” Saffold said. “There are over 40 intramural basketball teams on this campus.” Dozens of groups at SF State have independently formed to pursue sports, academics and projects, Saffold said she was surprised to learn more than 3,000 students were involved in recreation activities at SF State.
Saffold also said the wellness aspect of the center could benefit the school academically, and students financially. Health assistance, and a space for yoga, weight lifting, circuit training and more is statistically linked to improved grades and attendance, Saffold said
The project is very early in its development. Saffold, Montgomery and Koo each emphasized the theoretical status of the plan. Independent agencies will submit bids to develop a plan for ASI and SF State. They will develop proposals outlining a budget, and only then will anyone know the potential cost to students for the plan.
Costs of similar CSU facilities range from a $30 million center at Sonoma State to a $120 million project at Sacramento State.
If students approve the referendum next March, freshmen and possibly sophomores could use the new building before they graduate, according to Koo. The cohesiveness and identity of SF State’s campus needs a center, Koo said, but without student support for the project, nothing will happen.
“People give back to the school because they really enjoyed the time they were there,” Koo said. “They make friends for life, meet future business partners and spouses. The students need space to build a campus spirit and to build connections to the outside world.”
SF State’s latest transportation study concluded that more people are using public transit to commute here now than a few years ago.
But if the university plans to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions while still adding 5,000 full-time students, it needs to promote and accommodate public transit and bicycling even more, officials said.
More than 2,500 students and 700 faculty and staff completed an online survey last spring that asked how they commuted to and from SF State on April 30. The survey also asked whether people would buy a university-issued transit pass allowing unlimited access to MUNI and BART for a semester.
Thirty-six percent of those surveyed took MUNI for at least part of their commute to SF State, 34 percent drove alone and 21 percent used BART and the university shuttle from the station in Daly City, according to a report published last summer on the survey results. Seventy-six percent also expressed interest in buying a transit pass from the university.
The latest figures differ significantly from the last survey, taken in fall 2005, which listed driving alone and carpooling as the two most popular modes of transportation. BART and MUNI were third and fourth, respectively.
While public transit has increased ridership since the last survey, part of the discrepancy between the two data sets may come from a change in the surveying method, said Wendy Bloom, campus planner.
SF State collected the 2005 results with an intercept survey, where people stationed at major thoroughfares on campus interviewed people entering or leaving campus.
“With the intercept survey, you’re asking fewer people, you’re asking them fewer questions and you’re grabbing people on the run,” Bloom said.
This year, the Department of Information Technology (DoIT) created an online survey and e-mailed a link to all university e-mail accounts. “This recent survey is more detailed, more comprehensive, and more people took it,” Bloom said. “I think this is a more reliable baseline. It’s more accurate information.”
SF State conducted the survey because it promised the City of San Francisco it would monitor its own growth, said Jason Porth, associate director of community relations.
The university expects to increase its full-time equivalent students from 20,000 to 25,000 by 2020, nearly a five percent increase each year, and the city requires SF State to minimize the added impact to traffic, he said.
The latest results will “essentially set a baseline for us to look at as we continue to grow,” Porth said. “So, in 2011, we can ask ‘Where are we now? Did we grow the way we thought we were going to grow?’”
Changing the climate of discussion
But since President Robert A. Corrigan signed the American University and College Presidents Climate Commitment last year, “we realized we [also] needed this information to assess our greenhouse gas emissions related to commuting,” Bloom said.
The commitment requires SF State to reduce its emissions until they no longer negatively impact the environment. Half of the university’s emissions come from automobile commutes to and from the campus, according to SF State’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory published last summer.
Thus, reducing traffic and reducing emissions “are inextricably tied together,” Bloom said. “The commitment further highlights the need to reduce car trips, and to look at transportation planning in a comprehensive way,” said Bloom, who added that administrators are currently reviewing such a plan with recommendations based on the latest survey.
Though that plan is still pending, several efforts to reduce traffic and emissions have already begun.
One indirect effort is the gradual increase in campus housing. “Clearly [student residents] are not driving to campus—they’re walking,” Porth said. More than 25 percent of freshman surveyed said they walk to school, easily the highest figure among undergraduates and likely because many live on or near campus, according to the report.
MUNI and the University Transit Pass
Another way SF State can reduce traffic congestion is by increasing ridership on public transportation, particularly MUNI, which has several routes that reach the university directly.
“We can work with MUNI to improve service to campus significantly,” said Carlos Davidson, director of environmental studies. “There’s room for cooperation and changes that will benefit commuters to campus and let us take better advantage of the public transportation system in San Francisco,” he said.
Porth said SF State is “committed to doing everything we can to make MUNI viable” for as many people as possible. More people would take it if there were sufficient infrastructure and the price was right, he said. That is why a university-issued transit pass “is something we’re eager to explore.”
More than three-quarters of students, faculty and staff said they would consider buying such a pass, though maybe not for full price, according to the report. “Approximately 50 percent of respondents are only willing to pay $75 or less per semester for one. Given that Muni passes currently cost $45 a month or about $180 a semester, some subsidy from the parking fund or other funding sources may be necessary to garner the support of the student population as a whole to implement a universal transit pass program,” the report stated.
Should such an initiative require funding from student fees, as Davidson said he thought it would, “the students would have to vote on it and approve it. It would require a student movement, student input and education,” Porth said.
Thanks to some potential changes to MUNI routes near SF State, though, a pass might become even more valuable for some.
Recommendations from MUNI’s Transportation Effectiveness Project are “full of many potential improvements for service in this side of town,” including extending the J Church line to SF State and increasing the frequency of the 28 and 28L, Porth said.
Porth said he is glad that the TEP proposals, which could take effect next year, recognize SF State as “one of the biggest users of the M line and 28. There’s lots that can be done to better serve us,” he said.
SF State is also working with BART to potentially combine MUNI’s stop for the 28 line with the university’s shuttle stop across the street. “It makes a lot of sense, from a safety perspective” because commuters will no longer have to pick a line and run across the street if they picked the wrong one, Porth said. “I think that will make a big difference.”
The push to increase bicycle accessibility
While most people coming to SF State either drive or take public transportation, present and future university efforts seek to promote bicycling as well.
“More people would cycle if they felt safe doing so,” said Porth, adding that several people who took the survey expressed concerns about bicycling safety and new routes in their comments. While plans to make bicycling to SF State easier had already begun, “it bolstered our view that this was a very important thing,” he said.
Two hundred new bicycle racks arrived on campus in September and more may be on the way, providing more parking options for what appears to be a growing number of bicyclists.
“I like the work that’s being done on campus with bicycles,” Davidson said. “SF State is rapidly increasing its friendliness to bicycle commuting,” If it continues to improve accessibility, “there’s no reason why [the number of people] bicycling couldn’t double or triple.”
The next project will be to construct a bike path between University Park North and Thornton Hall. The $500,000 project, funded in part by a grant from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, “could begin this semester and could be completed by spring 2009 or summer,” Porth said.
The path would allow bicyclists an alternative route to campus safer than 19th Avenue and would be a significant piece of an upcoming full route from Holloway Avenue to Buckingham Way, he said.
Lois Lyles read passionately from a stack of poems in front of a half-full classroom, her knit-red cap bobbing above the podium like a balloon.
“You’ve got a tombstone heart and a graveyard mind, 32 years old and not afraid of dying,” she read aloud, a reference to a song written by the recently deceased rock n’ roll icon, Bo Diddley.
The allusions are subtle but her opinions are not. The plight of the gay community, Lyles said, is a struggle equal to the civil rights movement. It is a controversial opinion that comes at a pivotal time for homosexuals. Come November, voters will decide on Proposition 8, a ban on same-sex marriage within California, a point she mentioned during the Women Studies Lecture Series, held in the Humanities building on Oct. 1.
Lyles, who has been a professor since 1988, compared Proposition 8 to mid-20th century anti-miscegenation laws, which made it illegal for blacks and whites to marry.
“In both cases, the government is intruding into the private domain and trying to legislate who should marry who,” Lyles said. “I don’t believe that private freedoms should be encroached upon by laws dictated by prejudice and discrimination.”
But many in favor of a ban on same-sex marriage don’t see Proposition 8 as discriminatory. The proposition does not ban domestic partnerships or civil unions, which provide gay couples with the same legal rights as married couples, a point supporters say is not mentioned by the opposition.
“It has nothing to do with being anti-gay,” said Bill May, the chairman for the Catholics of Common Good. “It doesn’t take anything away from gay or lesbian couples, because they have all the benefits of marriage under state law.”
In looking at May’s opinion next to Lyles’, the proposition becomes all the more complex. Sixty-one percent of California’s voters banned gay marriage in 2000. Eight years later, the proposition was overturned by a 4-3 margin in the California Supreme Court, a decision that left those opposed to same-sex marriage feeling unrepresented. While Lyles said future generations will view the same-sex marriage ban as ignorant, May represents a segment of Californians who don’t think Proposition 8 is discriminatory.
Lilia Tamm, a spokesperson for the organization “No on Proposition 8,” said much of the problem is definitional. While many opponents believe Proposition 8 comes out of hatred or a desire to discriminate, Tamm said many supporters just define marriage sans homosexuals, which is where much of the disagreement stems from.
“To have a big segment of the population believe that it’s definitional issue, they think that the definition of marriage is between a man and a woman,” Tamm said. “The problem is they don’t see it as discrimination to not allow that. They actually define it differently. So it’s tough to try to get across to those voters who are undecided because for them, it may mean that they don’t want to deny rights, and they don’t want to deny freedoms and respect. They just see it as something that is defined a certain way that they don’t want to change.”
Even though Tamm does not believe Proposition 8 is rooted in abhorrence, she still agrees with Lyles’ opinion, which equates Proposition 8 to a breach of civil rights. Tamm said while same-sex couples will not lose any significant legal rights, a homosexual exclusion from the institution of marriage is discriminatory in itself.
“There is a whole lot of dignity and respect that comes with marriage that just is not afforded by things like civil unions or domestic partnerships,” Tamm said. “We’re just trying to educate people and let them know there are fundamental differences between being married and having a domestic partnership. That’s really what it comes down to.”
The Women Studies lecture series starts at 2:10 p.m. every Wednesday in Humanities 108, and is open to SF State students.
Free mental health screening returns to SF State on Tues. Oct. 7, to help spread awareness of anxiety, depression and other mental health issues affecting students.
The screening will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in front of the Student Services building. Here students can screen themselves for depression by filling out a brief questionnaire. Afterwards, the students then have the option of meeting with a counselor to see if a follow up appointment is needed, said Mary Cavagnaro, clinical counselor for Counseling and Psychological Services.
Cavagnaro encourages students to participate.
"Getting screened is the first step in resolving a problem," she said. "The earlier you get help the better."
Cavagnaro said that the screening is being brought back after about a decade and is meant to coincide with National Depression Screening Day this Friday.
According to the National Depression Screening Day website, "approximately 56,000 people attended a screening event and about 17,400 people were screened," at various community colleges, universities, and military sites throughout the country.
Cavagnaro said she’s seen a definite increase since last year in the number of students coming to use the Counseling and Psychological Services. "Depression and anxiety are the biggest reason," she said.
According to a press release issued by Counseling and Psychological Services, of the 2312 students who responded to the 2008 SF State Core Alcohol and Drug Survey "46% of the women and 41% of the men said they had "experienced depression for a period of two weeks or longer where they experienced sadness, a sense of hopelessness, loss of energy, or change in sleep or eating."
The main objective of the event, Cavagnaro said is to "tell students if there's something bothering [them] there's a place on campus that is available," she said.
Cavagnaro said any student who has a desire for counseling can make an appointment. A student may then be referred to the Student Health Services for medical attention.
If a student needs further services not offered on campus there are "free city services or low fee clinics which are $25-$30 a session," she added.
All services offered by Counseling and Psychological Services, however, are covered by the $111 Student Health Service Fee that all students pay with their tuition.
Also at the screening, will be for Student Health Services, C.E.A.S.E., a substance abuse prevention program and the SAFE Place, a sexual violence resource for students.
At the table for SHS, the P.E.A.C.H.E.S. (Peer Educators Advocating Campus Health) will be providing information on how to stay healthy.
At the C.E.A.S.E. table, computers offering online alcohol and marijuana assessment, e-chug and e-toke, will be available for students.
The e-chug assesses alcohol consumption, asking students questions such as "how many cheeseburgers did you drink last month?" to give students an idea of just how many calories they’re consuming with their alcohol.
Bita Shooshani, a counselor and Prevention Education Specialist, said the alcohol assessment will provide a personal report based on things like family history.
The report will also help a student assess whether they’re drinking in excess.
"Binge drinking has always been a problem on campus," Shooshani said.
A new organization on campus called "Active Minds" will be at the screening. Composed of students dedicated to helping other students, this group plans to help raise mental health awareness on campus.
The SAFE Place will have a screening on healthy relationships.
"There are support services to help students get out of [an unhealthy or abusive relationship] and support services to survive it," Karla Castillo, prevention education specialist, said.
Castillo said there is a lot of cross referral between SHS and Counseling and Psychological Services.
For example, if a student comes to the health center to get tested for an STD after a rape, that student can then be referred to the SAFE place for crisis counseling.
The ASI board of directors met Wednesday, Oct. 1 to decide organizational and budget issues, but were mired by confusion and lack of preparation.
At the start of the meeting, BSS Representative Michelle Montoya moved an action about the status of the Green Committee to the top of the agenda.
Immediately after, other action items were moved to the front of the list. When questions were raised about the budget documents supplied by the Finance committee, the meeting was derailed.
Creative Arts Representative Chris Knox asked that a vote about proposed budgets be tabled until the following week, so board members would have time to decipher the documents.
The board decided to vote as quickly as possible for the benefit of activities and groups waiting for funding.
After more than 12 minutes of discussion, Knox confronted fellow board members asking if they could explain what a single letter ‘i’ indicated about the subject it marked. The board members, including Vice President of Finance Sharef Al Najjar, were at a loss to explain the ubiquitous letter.
The vote was passed, regardless of Knox’s questions, but when the board returned to the meeting agenda the executive assistant documenting the meeting minutes asked which issue on the agenda the board was discussing.
There was a moment of pause as all board members got themselves on the same page.
The budgets were passed and the board moved on from that point. Board President Natalie Franklin asked that future documents containing a wealth of data be submitted to board members before meetings so it could make informed decisions.
University police are investigating a possible crime implicating a professor and a teacher's assistant, involving as many as 50 SF State students.
In spring 2008, SF State student Britney Stewart took a practice JEPET test in her Africana Studies Second Year Written Composition class. After getting her graded test back, she and her classmates were offered the opportunity to make that practice JEPET count as their real test.
Stewart paid her $40 test fee to the teacher's assistant, Rickey Rickerson-Riesen, and considered her JEPET requirement complete.
But last summer, Stewart got some bad news.
"I received a call from the San Francisco State Police saying that I was basically scammed out of the JEPET, it didn't really count at all and that they're doing an investigation to find out what was going on," Stewart said.
University spokeswoman Ellen Griffin said an "anonymous whistle-blower" reported irregularities in the testing procedures.
The Africana studies class was taught by Professor Ernest Brown with Rickerson-Riesen acting as TA. Rickerson-Riesen was also employed as an analyst for the Testing Center which administers the JEPET and other exams.
The Junior English Proficiency Essay Test must be taken by all SF State students. Students who fail the JEPET must get a passing grade in English 414 to graduate.
Students said they took the practice JEPET as a midterm exam. When Brown left on a trip to Florida before the end of the fall semester, Rickerson-Riesen offered students who passed the midterm a chance to use that test result as their official JEPET score. Rickerson-Riesen collected the $40 test fees but students were later informed by the UPD that the fees were not turned over to the university.
The University Police Department would not provide details on a pending investigation, but Sgt.. Renee Wilson confirmed that the UPD is working with the special prosecutions department of the San Francisco District Attorney's Office and as of Oct. 1, no arrests had been made.
Briauna Keller, a sophomore majoring in child and adolescent development at SF State, was at work last summer when she got a call from the UPD asking for her cooperation in the investigation.
"The officer said that I might have been a victim of a crime at SF State and I was like...whoa!" Keller said.
Keller had taken the JEPET administered by Rickerson-Riesen in fall 2007 and had paid her $40 fee to him.
"When I called the officer back he asked me a bunch of questions about the class and then he told me that the money never got to the school and that basically Rickey ran off with the money," Keller explained.
Keller received an e-mail in September from the Dean of Undergraduate Studies, Gail Evans, confirming that her JEPET score from Rickerson-Riesen's test would be honored and she has not had to repay the $40 fee. The university communications office confirmed that JEPET scores for the other students involved will also be honored.
Brown is no longer listed on this semester's schedule of classes, and rumors are circulating that he has been suspended during the investigation. University Communications Director Ellen Griffin would not confirm the employment status of Brown or Rickerson-Riesen specifically.
"We found evidence that procedures weren't followed, and have taken appropriate disciplinary and legal action with the two employees involved," Griffin wrote in an e-mail.
Rumors of Brown's suspension have upset some students.
"I thought it was crap that Dr.. Brown got suspended. He had nothing to do with it. Rickey was working alone and I don't understand why Dr. Brown got dragged into this," Keller said.
Keller stressed that Brown was not in the classroom when Rickey proposed the idea or set up the date to meet and pay him.
"We need teachers like Dr. Brown. He is one of those professors who motivates you to learn. He encourages you to step out of the box and try something different," Keller said.
"You can tell that he cares about his students."
Jeffery Aigbekaen, a political science major and Keller's classmate, also took the JEPET from Rickerson-Riesen and said he thinks the university treated Brown unfairly.
"Rickey stealing from the JEPET program was wrong and I don't condone it. But I don't see why Dr.. Brown has to pay for it," Aigbekaen said.
Aigbekaen is not ready to pass judgment on Rickerson-Riesen's motivations either.
"I see it as Rickey giving us an equal opportunity. There was no bias. Rickey graded all of our tests fairly and he offered every student that passed the opportunity to make the test count as the real JEPET," Aigbekaen said.
"I really believe that he was just trying to help us pass the JEPET."
Aigbekaen said he walked away from Dr. Brown's class motivated and gained some exceptional writing skills. He said Brown should be reinstated immediately.
"Anybody can teach," Aigbekaen said. "Dr. Brown - he was a professor."
The Black Student Union hosted the first of many events called "Black Tuesday" on Malcolm X Plaza yesterday afternoon. The events are scheduled to unite the African American population at SF State along with other organizations, members said.
Starting with yesterday's event and continuing every first and third Tuesday a scheduled recording artist from Warner Music Group will do a meet and greet hosted by the BSU.
Event coordinator for the BSU, Melanie Eke, who interns for Warner Music Group said she is able to bring artists on campus to match them with their target audience.
The BSU members displayed a table set out with dominoes and cards while other members turned a jump rope to garner a crowd around the popular school yard game of double dutch.
Oscar Edwards, a senior BECA major, played popular hip-hop and pop songs for the audience from his laptop.
Recording artist Janelle Monae came from Los Angeles for the event with her producer Nate Wonder, guitarist Calendo and drummer Young Pete. And Talia Taylor, a graduate student from SF State, performed a spoken word poem--moving the crowd from the outskirts of the grassy area to in front of the stage.
BSU members say they borrowed the idea for Black Tuesday from University of California at Berkeley who have a Black Wednesday, where black organizations get together.
When several members of the BSU approached Edwards to start playing some of Monae's music the crowd went from jumping rope to standing still waiting for the unknown.
"This is the most black people I've seen in the quad all year in one location," said senior and open forum coordinator for the BSU, Coby Obiesi.