November 2008 Archives
SF State’s Associated Students, Inc. has begun funding for a school-specific social networking Web site expected to launch in March 2009. The network, Campus Remix, was created to enhance the student group interaction both online and on campus.
It will link the many branches of the university that normally wouldn’t cross paths. Features will include having student groups, forums, school event information and a way to know and interact with students in the same classes.
“It can be utilized by any group of students organizing for any reason,” senior class representative Sean Horan said.
“People will be able to come and see what groups are meeting before their classes. This way they can plan their day with activities on campus, especially if they are commuting from somewhere like the East Bay,” senior BECA student Alex Kessinger said.
Horan carried out a proposal for ASI to begin the Campus Remix site and it was introduced to the board for voting on Oct. 29. ASI approved the first phase of the project in the amount of $2,000. The project doesn’t come cheap. There are six phases total, with a proposed cost of $12,000 to $14,000, according to the proposal submitted to ASI.
“The ASI board has been very supportive,” Horan said. “The fact that they’ve actually allocated money means they believe in its success.”
Kessinger and Horan have played a major role in starting the social network. They worked together along with assistant BECA professor and advisor Marie Drennan on SEISMIC, a faculty-initiated social network developing connections for classes and community outreach.
“SEISMIC was sort of an inspiration for [Campus Remix],” Horan said. “It was a big help in connecting the people who started it.”
Kessinger explained that while iLearn is supposed to create an online classroom, the discussion forums only work if the teacher activates them. If they don’t, students aren’t able to interact within the virtual classrooms. The social network will allow student interaction without teacher activation.
While Campus Remix could easily link the campus together, issues of student confidentiality are a major issue. Penny Safford, vice president of student affairs and dean of students, asked about student confidentiality throughout all phases of the site in the Oct. 29 ASI meeting and was assured confidentiality would be kept.
“We know security is a hot button issue,” Horan said. “In order for this to be a useful tool there will have to be high confidentiality.”
The first outside consultants working on Campus Remix had software security programs that didn’t meet Horan’s standards, so he’s “gone back to the drawing board” to find one that will meet the security requirements.
In his proposal to ASI, Horan explained phase one as “designed to establish the bare-bones structure of the site, upload onto the server and test it.”
The initial set-up of phase one is completed and could be launched, however Horan opted not to because the site is still very plain and not what Horan wants Campus Remix to become. Once it is completed he hopes to promote Campus Remix by word of mouth, posters, pamphlets and e-mails to students.
Administration of SF State’s recreational sports program switched hands from the kinesiology department to Student Affairs last month, causing confusion and disappointment within the kinesiology department.
The kinesiology department chair, David Anderson, said the decision was made “behind closed doors” and without of consulting his department.
“Why the secrecy?” Anderson asked.
The recreational sports program offers SF State students various competitive and free play activities such as indoor soccer and basketball.
“Rec. sports is strongly connected with kinesiology because it was born here, and now it’s being ripped out,” he said. “It is going to create a lot of issues.”
Anderson said he found out about the switch, made official on Nov. 1, from President of University Affairs Penny Saffold, but has yet to receive an official statement from President Robert A. Corrigan.
“The decision was made by the cabinet after much study and discussion,” Corrigan stated in an e-mail. “It is part of a larger plan to respond to the changes in student demographics.”
The number of first-time freshmen on the SF State campus has increased annually and the residential community on and around campus has grown as well.
In response to this change in demographics, Student Affairs has become more focused on campus life and school spirit – something this shift in recreational sports is supposed to encourage, Saffold said.
The takeover by Student Affairs is the first step of a new campus program called Recreation-Wellness Center.
Associated Students, Inc. has been making plans for the recreation and wellness center that would be financed and operated by students.
The ASI proposal includen an arena, multi-court gym and swimming pool and would house athletic events along with training, academic space and recreation. A student vote to approve the plan is set for March.
Currently, campus recreation consists of three programs: club sports, intramural sports and open recreation. The programs “provide opportunities for students to participate in sport activities in a structured and competitive setting and on an informal, free play drop-in basis,” according to the official Campus Recreation Department Web site.
The differences between the three are that club sports allows SF State students, faculty and staff to “represent the school on local regional and national intercollegiate level,” whereas intramural sports is a program designed to give its participants “the opportunity to meet new people, to develop leadership skills and keep fit in a fun environment” while competing in intramural leagues and tournaments.
Open recreation is a drop-in program that allows students, faculty and staff to use the gym and the pool individually during open hours.
Reorganization of the three will require some planning due to the fact that Campus Recreation shares the building, rooms and equipment with the kinesiology department.
In addition, Anderson said he feels kinesiology is the department most qualified to house campus recreation due to “expertise in the area.”
Although students organize the programs and are also responsible for generating funds by fundraising and donations, they were “administered by the kinesiology department through the recreation sports program,” Anderson said.
This means that the kinesiology department was responsible for hiring staff.
Saffold, however, disagrees with Anderson, and believes that Student Affairs will be a great home for campus recreation.
“Student Affairs provides services for students 24 hours a day,” she said. “They are focusing on student development, whereas academic programs focus mainly on instruction.”
The project is earning support from some students.
“Even though I probably won’t be here anymore, I think it will be a great addition to the campus,” said Eli Longman, 25, who participates in the intramural program. “But I do think that the plans should be made more public because this is the first time I’ve heard about all this.”
As of now, construction of the Recreation and Wellness Center is planned for the site of the library annexes, said campus planner Wendy Bloom.
However, final decisions will be made in spring after results of a student survey coming out early next semester are in, Saffold said.
Students hoping for more time to study SF State's Spring 2009 class schedule before paying tuition got an early holiday surprise today.
The university unveiled the schedule, which had been delayed a month to work out more anticipated budget cuts, "more than a week earlier than promised," President Robert A. Corrigan said in an e-mail. The deadline to pay fees for Spring 2009 is 5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 4 and early priority registration will begin Monday, Dec. 8.
SF State cut 150 classes from its list of about 3500 offerings, but Corrigan said "careful budgeting and creative planning" allowed the university to mitigate losses. The university originally expected to cut 300-400 classes this spring to weather a $4 million reduction in funding.
This announcement comes six days after the California State University declared system-wide impaction, requiring universities to give admission priority to local applicants and to deny other eligible students for the first time in the system's history.
Though SF State will likely need to deny some eligible freshman from outside Marin, San Francisco and San Mateo counties, Corrigan said local applicants and current students will not likely be affected. "We will continue to admit qualified students from those counties just as we have in the past, if they apply by the December 10 deadline. For students from other parts of California or from outside California, impaction will mean that they may have to meet higher academic standards," he said.
Spring tuition costs will not rise, but "given the state's budget situation, I consider it likely that there will be a student fee increase for 2009-10," Corrigan said.
The SF State “Visioning” Web site—a new student-driven project where everyone can participate in SF State versions of social networking sites, “tweet” on Twitter or fly around in a virtual world on Second Life—will launch on Friday.
The Web site was a collaboration of students, teachers and members of Academic Technology and the Division of Information Technology.
“It engages the larger SF State community in how we teach and learn and how technology enhances that,” Jan Millsapps, cinema professor, said.
In addition, students who visit the site can add their own photos to the site’s Flickr stream, upload their own video to the site’s YouTube channel and join the Visioning group on Facebook.
“We’re bringing students Web 2.0,” said Kevin O’Brien, a participant in the project and Web programmer in the DoIT.
“Every time someone participates, we add to the story,” Millsapps said. “It invites participation from everyone in multiple ways, as an ongoing, episodic and cumulative way of constructing the story of how we use technology now and into the future,” she stated in an e-mail.
Maggie Beers, the director of Academic Technology, proposed the Visioning idea six months ago and in the spring of 2008 asked Millsapps to join in on the effort. Since then they began recruiting students from the creative arts department.
“This project was originally going to be a series of videos created by students,” Beers said. “But it has become so much more than that—we’ve created this whole Visioning engine.”
Millsapps said that the site is taking the university to where members of online communities already are, instead of creating a site and inviting students to visit.
“Teaching and learning don’t stop at the campus boundary,” Beers said. “We’re blending the boundaries between life and school and work.”
In addition to the different networking sites, students in the Visioning class created individual stories using technology.
Allegra Mitchell, a senior music composition major created a “soundscape” that incorporates different real world sounds.
“I wanted to have it be a journey,” Mitchell said. “An oral feast of technology sounds such as a keyboard typing or a printer printing,”
Mitchell said she used concrete sounds “created to be in the world of someone who is dependent only on sound.”
Mitchell was in charge of the accessibility of the whole site, allowing it to be navigated by someone who is visually and/or hearing impaired.
“You want everyone to be on the same level and have the same experience,” she said.
All materials on the site will be accessible to those with hearing or visual impairments. “All the visuals on the site will have ‘alt’ tags or text descriptions, all videos will be text-captioned, and ‘speakable’ text applications on computers can read any text aloud,” Millsapps said.
Douglas Liang, a music major created his own virtual world in Second Life.
Liang says that in Second Life “you can fly around and interact with people from different countries.”
Cinema majors Charlie Vaughn, Chelsey D’Arrigo and Taylor Whitehouse put their creative minds together to create a humorous video about the use of technology on campus.
Vaughn, who wrote the script, said that the video showed how technology could enhance a student’s college experience.
“It was refreshing to tell faculty what we wanted to do instead of the other way around,” Vaughn said.
The Visioning team encourages everyone to participate. The site can be accessed at http://www.sfsu.edu/visioning.
For many, American citizenship is just something they were born into. But to become a U.S. citizen, one must go through interviews, pass a civics exam and survive the English language tests. And many students at SF State are helping older immigrants through what can be an overwhelming process to achieve citizenship.
Project Students Helping in the Naturalization of Elders has been at SF State and City College of San Francisco for 10 years, coordinating volunteers at English language and citizenship classes throughout the city.
Students from SHINE have been volunteering as coaches to help teachers at community-based classes in several districts of San Francisco. The coaches conduct mock interviews, help immigrants learn material and improve their English skills for the citizenship test, according to Gail Weinstein, an English professor at SF State and co-director for Project SHINE.
Student coaches receive credit through community-service learning “project options” in their classes, Weinstein said.
This semester there are about 32 coaches from SF State and 160 coaches from CCSF going into about 100 noncredit ESL, literacy and citizenship classes in six different CCSF campuses all over the city, said Project SHINE coordinator Estefany Giehm, an SF State student.
Giehm knew she wanted to be part of Project SHINE when she met some immigrants in New Orleans while she was working for AmeriCorps to help after Hurricane Katrina. “It feels really great to get to know the people in the community,” Giehm said.
This is Giehm’s sixth semester coaching for SHINE and working as coordinator. Her job is to recruit volunteers and place them in classes that need the most help. She is also getting her master's degree in English at SF State, with a concentration in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.
SHINE is a national learning program that was established in response to the needs of elder immigrants after the 1996 Welfare Reform Act, which jeopardized access to benefits for non-citizens, according to the program's national Web site.
Weinstein helped establish SHINE at SF State a decade ago. “The goal was to bring together young and old people in positive ways, always based around English language tutoring as the vehicle,” Weinstein said.
Weinstein said the San Francisco SHINE has, in recent years, extended its services to include other age groups besides elders. It is also collaborating with other programs like Refugee Transitions, Canal Alliance, CBET family literacy programs and the Asian International Women’s Association to meet other needs beyond citizenship, such as health and family literacy.
Owen Xie, 22, from CCSF is a coach in the Chinatown district and has been volunteering twice a week to help older immigrants gain their citizenship. “The students deserve this program,” Xie said.
Xie has been coaching at one of the Chinatown locations for three semesters and says he got inspiration from his mother, who taught English there. “I like working one-on-one with the students,” Xie said. “It makes me happy to see them happy and learning at the same time.”
So Wan Mui, a 58-year-old student in Chinatown, came from Hong Kong to become a U.S. citizen. “There is more freedom here,” Mui said.
In a neighborhood where there is not much pressure to learn English, Mui still studies hard to constantly improve her language skills. “I want to connect, not only with Chinese, but with other cultures,” Mui said.
Last year, according to Weinstein’s records, 300 students from SF State and City College assisted more than 6,000 older immigrants in the Bay Area.
“We have had Raza studies students working in the Mission district, students of Chinese language helping in classes in Chinatown and political science majors having a chance to observe how the citizenship process works,” Weinstein said.
For more information about Project SHINE, visit: http://userwww.sfsu.edu/~shinesf/
Teachers at SF State are using the nation’s current financial crisis as a teaching tool, helping students understand the different aspects of the state of the economy.
Joel Kassiola, dean of behavioral and social sciences, said faculty are referring to the financial crisis and discussing it in classes within his department.
“It is incumbent on us in BSS to try and educate the community on what is going on,” he said.
Professor Bruce Paton said he was able to coordinate his seminar on his environment of business class perfectly with the crisis.
He said he asked his students to read a group of articles concerning the “financial system in crisis” on a Thursday and by the time the class met on the following Tuesday, “there had been three more crises and Congress had started to talk seriously about a bailout,” he said.
Paton said that teachers, like students, are trying as best as they can to make sense of the crisis.
“My job is to choreograph learning situations and help my students figure out ways of thinking about messy problems,” he said.
Kassiola, who teaches classes in philosophy and political science, said it would be beneficial if the university could hold a gathering every Friday between teachers and students where they can exchange ideas about current affairs.
“It would be a good thing for this campus,” he said. “A lot of dramatic things are happening and it takes a keen eye and intellect to be able to explain what is going on.”
“The average person is confused and fearful,” Kassiola added. “I think it is dumbfounding for experts as well. There were a lot of surprises even for so-called experts.”
Kassiola cited a recent report released by the National Intelligence Council predicting that there will be a new world order by 2025. According to the NIC, the new world order or “the whole international system—as constructed following WWII—will be revolutionized.”
“We may be seeing a change in a world dominated by the U.S. and, instead, by India, Brazil and China,” Kassiola said.
Dr. Brenda Fellows, an industrial/organizational psychologist, teaches a human resource management class at SF State.
She tells students that you don’t have to appear desperate to get a job just because of the poor economy.
“You have to go in with your own agenda, because you will be interviewing them just as they are interviewing you,” she added.
Fellows advises her students to make strategic alliances with people two to three levels above them. “We go through mock interviews and role play and it helps them to prepare,” she said.
Dr. Humaira Mahi says she incorporates the current crisis into her international business class discussions about the global foreign exchange market and the international monetary system.
The crisis allowed her to explain “its global repercussions and how the interdependence among countries now connects and affects very diverse entities in various countries.”
Mahi discussed the impact the Irish and German banks had on the Wisconsin school system and how Iceland’s financial policies impacted Britain.
“We are all so inter-dependent,” she said. “When a crisis like this hits, you are more vulnerable as a country.”
Graeme Boushey, an assistant professor of political science has incorporated the current crisis into a couple of classes for his California politics and research methods class.
Boushey said that he has a series of discussions with his class concerning what the government is doing, how we [as a country] arrived here, why people are so scared and how to relate the current financial crisis to the state and local crisis.
“It is so challenging for government to overcome this problem,” Boushey said.
“I spend 10 minutes of every class and try to relate the current crisis to what we are learning,” said Sudip Chattopadhyay, economics chair and microeconomics instructor at SF State.
“Because of the U.S. economy, the international economy is collapsing,” he said. “The faculty, university, the whole country and the world is affected,” he said.
Chattopadhyay said it started with the housing market when prices started falling, then the meltdown with investment companies such as Merrill Lynch.
Then other investment companies started to fall one after another and the government had to bail them out, he said.
“It affected the economy in a big way,” he said. “People will get poorer and not be able to buy stock, cars, houses or other big-ticket items or go on vacation.”
SF State students said the current financial situation is a popular topic in their various classes.
Carlos Del Gaddillo, a history and Spanish major said his teachers talk about the budget cuts and how there are fewer classes available for undergraduates.
“My teachers ask us how we feel about the crisis and the bailout. We have just accepted that it’s happening,” said Thi Tran, a sociology major.
Stephanie Harris, a recreation tourism graduate student says that the crisis is “going to really affect tourism as a whole because people have less and less money to go on trips.”
Kathleen Merrell a graduating communications major said that her teacher, Dr. Larry Medcalf, keeps his speech class up to date with the economy.
“A lot of our discussions are about current issues and he incorporates that into our class,” Merrell said.
“My history teacher tells us we’re screwed,” Jessica Ahmadia said. “He incorporates the current crisis in a lot of what we’re learning and how economic crises have already happened in history but the current one is more extreme.”
LONG BEACH—For the first time ever, the CSU system will be turning away eligible freshman applicants, as system-wide impaction was declared at the Board of Trustees meeting on Wednesday.
With $215 million already lacking from the university system’s operational costs and the state asking for another $66 million in mid-semester cuts, the CSU Academic Senate passed a resolution for impaction last week as a response to the state Legislature’s inability to provide the resources necessary to fund the 2009-2010 enrollment demand, senate members said.
“It’s unprecedented in CSU history,” SF State President Robert Corrigan said. “Never before have we been forced to deny admission to qualified students.”
According to the senate resolution, the university’s current enrollment is approximately 10,000 students above the level for which it receives state support.
Additionally, there are 21 percent more freshman applications for the 2009-2010 academic year than the current year, Vice Chancellor Allison Jones said. Jones explained that impaction occurs when the number of applications from fully qualified applicants exceeds the available academic resources.
Chancellor Charles Reed approved of the proposed impaction, which will take effect in fall 2009. The decision was officially announced by Reed and the Committee on Educational Policy at the trustees’ meeting.
“This is one of the most difficult decisions I’ve made over the last 11 years,” Reed said. “It’s not fair for students, faculty and those who serve them.”
The impaction means that the CSU will not only curtail freshman admissions to all programs on all campuses, but will also add admission criteria to the existing requirements.
Also, each campus will now give priority admission to applicants from their area. For instance, San Francisco County residents will get priority for SF State while others will go on a waiting list. Priority will also be granted to military veterans and transfers from California community colleges.
Campuses are also expected to limit admission to lower division transfers and unclassified post-baccalaureate students, require enrollment deposits and implement a mandatory orientation process for new students.
CSUs that are still in the growth process, such as Cal State East Bay, are encouraged to seek the chancellor’s permission to draw from outside their immediate geographic area.
Reed said that the impaction will only be reversed if the state Legislature boosts funding to the CSU system, which is the largest university system in the nation.
“Economists say it will pretty much be 2010 when we are able to rise back up,” he told the board.
Corrigan remarked that it reflects on the general economic situation of the state. “It’s a terrible statement about the lack of finances in California,” he said.
“Obviously, the state and national budgets are really bad,” said Darlene Yee, member of the CSU Academic Senate and gerontology professor at SF State. “The senate had no other recourse than to declare impaction.”
Reed and the senate said they decided on impaction out of their desire to preserve the CSU system’s ability to provide “authentic access…to high quality facilities and academic programs to which [students] are entitled.”
“The campus can’t afford to serve students excellence and quality education, so we have to be careful in how many students we take,” Yee said. “It’s doing them a disservice if we admit them and they can’t graduate or get into classes.”
Reed said that the CSU will conduct outreaches to all high schools in California to ensure that graduating seniors who want to get into a CSU understand the impaction and make sure they turn in their application before the Nov. 30 deadline.
Members of the board expressed different concerns over possible consequences of the impaction. Faculty trustee Craig Smith said he was worried that the impaction would affect diversity in CSU campuses.
“It is very important that impaction does not disrupt our goal of diverse representation,” Smith said. He suggested that campuses put together an advisory board to ensure admission to a diverse pool of students.
Meanwhile, trustee Lou Monville was concerned about passing the burden of admission onto community colleges. “They now have the obligation to take everyone, and they also don’t have the resources,” he said.
He added that the CSU will also reach out to community colleges so that counselors there can help students meet the new, stricter transfer requirements.
Corrigan said that at SF State, efforts will be made to help students meet their academic goals in spite of the impaction and the budget cuts.
“We will make every effort to take care of graduating seniors, encourage students to graduate earlier and get their degrees in an expeditious manner,” he said.
Both students and faculty across the board are unhappy about the impaction and said they will continue to fight against it.
“We want to make sure that the new legislature understands that [budget] cuts have consequences,” said California Faculty Association President Lillian Taiz. “The fight goes on.”
“We’re not going to put up with this,” said SF State anthropology major Shwan Zandi. “There will be more rallies and protests to come.”
Atheists, agnostics, and other questioning minds now have a place for discussion and action in SF State’s newest club, AASK: the Association for the Advancement of Secular Knowledge.
“I really wanted to start an organization where people feel comfortable saying ‘I’m an atheist, secularist or pantheist' and feel legitimate,” stated Karl Kohler, an anthropology major and vice president of AASK, at it’s inaugural meeting this past Wednesday. “You can be anything as long as you ascribe to the fact that we need to have a more secular society.”
Still on fresh legs as SF State’s first-ever secularist club, the meeting was more of an initial dialogue between members to establish the club’s presence and intent, and was “unstructured by design.” Kohler, a self-described “very extreme agnostic,” was inspired to start the club after seeing British ethologist and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins speak in Berkeley.
“It was not the lecture itself that inspired me to start the club, but the atmosphere surrounding it,” he said.
“Here I was, sitting in an auditorium that easily had a few hundred other people and they all, presumably, shared my philosophical outlook. People from every race, sex, gender, political persuasion, economic and social class all came together under the auspices of seeing someone lecture on a topic that until recently was, if not simply taboo, outright reviled in the public discourse.”
Wednesday’s spirited discussion touched on topics spanning from religious holidays, whether atheism and faith are comp atible, if atheism is anti-God or anti-religion, the beginning of the universe, how atheists deal with the acceptance of death, and personal turning points in members’ path to secularism.
“I would call myself a born-again atheist,” said Ally, a philosophy and psychology major. “I went through a Christian phase in high school, but the more I started to learn about it, the more I started to question it.”
In telling his own story, Kyan, a Chinese major in attendance to simply learn more about secularism, referred to the struggle to reconcile his past exposure to Christianity with his own sexuality.
“I knew early on something was up with my sexuality,” he explained. “I kept thinking it was wrong to come out, and at the beginning of high school, I was a depressed kid. God and Christ are supposed to make everyone happy. If it wasn’t for Christianity, I would’ve been fine.”
Alys Demercurio, a 21-year-old political science major, likes to study religion from a scientific standpoint.
“Most of us support doubt and skepticism,” she said. “People can believe what they want, I just don’t want other peoples’ views affecting my life.”
Michael Sudduth, a professor of philosophy at SF State, said he recognizes that today’s scientifically sophisticated society presents many challenges to the religious world.
“It is often said that one of the challenges theism [belief in God] faces is to keep itself relevant in a world of increasing scientific and technological sophistication,” said Sudduth. “Won't we just eventually outgrow this ‘infantile’ belief in God? Theism seems to be meeting this challenge. Perhaps the question is: how do atheism and agnoticism make themselves relevant in a world in which the vast majority of people continue to believe in the existence of a Supreme being of some sort, despite our scientific and technological advancements? That's a challenge I think, a significant one.”
One of the answers may be the preservation of the separation of church and state, which AASK intends to tackle head-on.
“We believe in a clear separation of chuch and state, and are concerned about legislation motivated by faith-based interests,” said Mann. “This includes the teaching of Intelligent Design in public schools, discouraging stem cell research, and eroding reproductve rights.”
The club’s members are rife with ideas for events that include debates on topics such as Creationism versus Evolution, lectures by guest speakers and philosphy professors, and viewing films such as Bill Maher’s "Religulous," "Jesus Camp," "Monty Python’s Life of Brian," and other relevant films.
Concerned with the stigma attached to words like “atheist,” one of the club’s biggest challenges is to erase that discrimination in a university setting and beyond by aiming to be inclusive, not exclusive.
“In parts of America, identifying as an atheist can close a lot of doors,” said Christopher Mann, a physics major and co-founder. “Somewhere along the way it became taboo to run for public office as a secularist. We think that stigma is misguided, and want to improve public debate by demystifying what it means to be a secularist, and to reestablish our right to exist alongside those of faith.”
Members of AASK, who have been tabling on the campus quad Mondays and Wednesdays, say that students have been receptive to their message.
“About 85 percent of them are friendly and interested,” said Demercurio. “We don’t want friction with the public. We’ve taken a pacifist role and if they don’t agree, the group isn’t for them.”
Indeed, secularist clubs at schools are growing in numbers. According to the Secular Student Alliance website, www.secularstudents.org, there are 16 secular student clubs in California alone, including ones at Stanford University, UC Berkeley, and California Lutheran University. At SF State alone, there are 12 religious clubs.
Andrew Scott, a computer science major and philosophy buff, thinks such clubs’ most noble role is to get people thinking.
“For some, talking about atheism may be their first introduction to thinking philosophically about the world, which I think is good,” he said. “Many people may be atheists and not even know it.”
Kohler’s ultimate goal for the club remains one of putting secularism and its followers out on the market of ideas.
“Richard Dawkins has pointed out that an approach much like the homosexual ‘out of the closet’ movement, atheists and agnostics need to make themselves visible to their families and friends, and even strangers, in order to demonstrate that we are not simply a few kooks who live outside the mainstream,” he said. “We are a sizeable portion of the population of this country and world from every walk of life, and that we have just as much legitimacy as anyone else.”
AASK meets every Wednesday in HUM 286 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Any questions can be e-mailed to email@example.com.
Protestors gathered under a gray sky on Wednesday at Malcolm X Plaza in opposition of mid-year budget cuts proposed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The cuts amount to $66.3 million, according to a flier handed out by the Alliance for the CSU.
Campus police officers watching the protest said that 150 people were in attendance.
After the demonstration, students and faculty marched around campus chanting, “Rise up SF State, shut it down like ‘68.”
The event is a symbolic parallel to protests at Cal State head quarters in Long Beach according to Honora Keller, a student intern for the California Faculty Association. Keller said the campus demonstrations give a voice to students who cannot afford to travel to Long Beach to protest.
“We’re students,” Keller said. “We don’t have the means to go 400 miles.”
Students and faculty cheered passionately throughout the event, and held colorful signs that read “Don’t Cut My Class,” and “CSU Key to CA – Don’t cut!”
Jeff Rosen, chapter vice president of the California Faculty Administration, said the Governor is using the current economic crisis as a reason to cut funds for public colleges. However, cutting the budget of higher education will only make economic problems worse, according to Rosen.
“We are part of the engine of this economy,” Rosen said. “We keep things going, we don’t bring things down. You don’t help the economy by stopping the engine.”
Larry Salomon, a lecturer for SF State’s ethnic studies department told onlookers that in the ethnic studies program alone, SF State might lose from 40-50 class sections due to budget cuts.
“Are you going to fight?” Salomon asked the protestors. Demonstrators yelled back, “Yes!”
The ASI Board of Directors yesterday selected member Franklin Griffen to represent students in SF State’s new all-university sustainability committee.
The board voted 10-5 to approve Griffen, whom President Natalie Franklin said she nominated after university officials urged the board to quickly make its selection. Members added the vote to the day’s agenda and held a contentious discussion amongst themselves and public attendees who expected to apply for the committee seat.
“It’s extremely disappointing” that the board selected a fellow member without considering several students who sent letters of intent to run, said Bryan Ting, a member of student environmental group ECO Students.
Dissenting voter Sharef Al Najjar, vice president of finance for ASI, said “I’d love to read [Ting’s] letter of intent, as well as those of others.”
The Student Center Governing Board elections are over and unofficial results are in.
Three students will join the board next semester to fulfill their two-year terms after the current board members officially ratify the results on their December 4th meeting.
Jacqueline Mendez pulled in the most support with 841 votes, Tyler Cornfield took the second seat with 700 votes, Paloma Dudum-Maya won the third seat, and a closely contested race, by 31 votes.
“It’s the largest voter turnout we’ve had in years,” said Lori Hostetter, secretary of the SCGB “Last year we got about seven or eight hundred votes… really low; almost equivalent to what the first place got this time.”
The Student Center Governing Board is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Cesar Chavez Student Center including its facilities, services and programs such as negotiating vendor leases.
The board consists of 15 members: eight students, five that are elected and three that are appointed by ASI. Members of the faculty, administration and alumni fill the other seven seats.
Also running were Felipe Rivera, Philip Fabian, and Eyal Chistik. Fifty-five write-in candidates took in a total 66 votes.
The Graduation Requirement Task Force held public discussions this past week to quell faculty fears and address questions over new upper division general education curriculum changes that are afoot for future SF State students.
Concerns about recent budget cuts affecting SF State’s course count were foremost on faculty members’ minds. They raised questions about students having trouble getting into desired classes and whether course substitutions could be made to fulfill missing units.
Susan Shimanoff, chair of the task force, said the discussions were meant to address faculty worries over course changes and department shake-ups.
“When you’re new to [the changes] and have had no time to digest them, people seem to feel fearful,” she said. “If you feel passionately about [a course], you don’t want it to disappear, but I don’t think that’s true. The educational goals driving this were faculty generated. This is an opportunity to think about exciting new things.”
The two-day symposium, held on Wednesday and Thursday, saw about 20 inquisitive faculty and task force members from many campus departments attend, all with specific questions about the task force’s online survey which proposes changes that would come into effect in Fall 2012.
The current curriculum’s learning objectives, which have not been revised since 1981, will get a facelift emphasizing focus on three domains of knowledge spanning from physical & life sciences, arts & humanities, and social sciences. Although there are no specifics yet, students are expected to understand and analyze the evolution of each area as well as be able to parlay that knowledge into real world experiences.
Suggestions from Shimanoff and Shawn Whalen, chair of the Academic Senate, ensured that problems could be fixed on a case-by-case basis, urging that “students must know what they’re getting into up front” so that they can graduate on time.
The three proposed options for completing nine units of upper division general education requirements, Integrated Studies, Topical Perspectives and a slightly-altered Study Abroad program, aim to be a more fulfilling educational experience for SF State Students.
“Right now, students look at general education as just a check box on their DARS reports,” said Whalen. “Because of this work, students won’t see it that way anymore.”
Integrated Studies offers a series of tailored courses where faculty work as tight teams to touch upon each of the three domains of knowledge. It will give professors a chance to pursue areas of scholarly passion and research they would not normally get to.
“Not only would there be benefits for students, but for faculty as well,” said director of the Technical and Professional Writing program Lu Rehling, who was excited for the freedom of the new Integrated Studies option. “It encourages faculty to meet with others they might not normally to teach courses not in a fixed discipline. If faculty could design these cool courses in a way every student would think its worthwhile, that would be great. I see it as just a big game.”
Topical Perspectives, similar to the current Segment III clusters, offers a wide selection of courses in eight pre-determined topics such as Human Diversity and Life in the San Francisco Bay Area and/or California. Specific classes have yet to be fashioned, but they have the potential to come from any interdisciplinary department of college on campus and offer a less binding student commitment than the tight-knit Integrated Studies option.
Above all, the task force and attendant faculty members stressed the need to make these classes “cut-proof” in the face of state education’s rocky road ahead.
“We must make sure there are interested faculty so that it doesn’t morph into something that’s a great idea into something that’s a meaningless course,” said Nancy Gerber, associate professor in the Chemistry department, of any problems that may befall the faculty, their courses and students during the budget cut whirlwind.
“This represents a lot of work by the task force,” said Whalen, who has been helping devise the new curriculum since Fall 2005. “It is very flexible at this moment, and will not be set in stone until it is approved by the Academic Senate and signed by the president. This is the time to have input.”
Although the public discussions were open and advertised to students via mass email, none attended.
“The more student input, the better,” said Whalen. “But since its unlikely any current student would be heavily impacted, it’s not surprising that not a lot of students are present or concerned.”
For students who will be affected by the changing curriculum in 2012, a transition phase will take place for them to complete courses begun under the old general education requirements.
The task force will begin devising new curriculum plans for lower division general education next week, and the Academic Senate will tentatively vote on the final proposals in May 2009. The opportunity for input on the task force’s online survey is available at http://dus.sfsu.edu/grtf/
With the election over, and President-elect Barack Obama preparing to take command, students and staff at SF State are eager for action from the new administration and nervous about whether he can implement real change in the coming year.
The priority issues students and teachers said they hoped the president-elect would address first centered primarily on the economy, health care and recovery of the United States’ international prominence as an example of human rights and foreign diplomacy.
Mabin Mark, a 23-year-old international relations major at SF State, said the economy was the first thing a new president needed to correct to have the stability for improvement of all other aspects of government.
“He really needs to re-regulate the banking industry,” Mark said. “The industry has to be stopped from playing fast and loose with the economic system.” Mark said the lines of division between banks, securities and industry need to be redefined by Obama so the failure in one venue does not spell the collapse of the entire system.
Mark said the U.S. war on terrorism had reduced credibility with other nations during the Bush administration and that Obama needs to improve the nation’s standing in the international community for its own security.
“A war on terror is like a war on the Great Depression,” Mark said. “We have exacerbated the terrorist threat to our country in the last eight years.”
Mark was dubious Obama could make dramatic changes to government but said there was hope. “His very novelty might give him, and us, the advantage needed with the rest of the world.”
David Lee, a political science instructor at SF State in addition to commissioner of San Francisco Recreation and Parks and executive director of the Chinese American Voters Education Committee, was more optimistic Obama could tackle the three most important issues facing the United States.
“Economy. Economy. And third, economy,” Lee said. “The crisis of the American economy is touching you, touching us, and it is touching everyone.” Lee said the new president had to focus on the failing auto industry, the banking industry, and the U.S. and international credit system. “He has to make the economy his top priority, otherwise he is not going to get a second term to make all the changes everyone is hoping for.”
With international crises brewing in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and possibly North Korea, Lee said, the U.S. needs to establish itself as a cooperative part of the international community. Lee said the announcement by Obama aides that prisoners from Guantanamo Bay would be tried in U.S. courts was an indication the president-elect was going to establish a new era of human rights under his administration, and win back the trust and respect of many nations around the world.
The Bush administration held to the Guantanamo Bay policy despite protests both domestic and international, Lee said, and an early move to change the policy would indicate to the world a real change in leadership. “It tells the world, this is a new day,” he said.
Obama will have the power to direct the national government effectively in the first year, according to Lee. “Obama enters the presidency with unprecedented party control of both upper and lower Houses of congress, including possibly the most powerful speaker of the house, with Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat has ever had,” Lee said. He said the last time a Democrat had complete control of Congress was so long ago he could not remember it.
“He is poised to make significant policy changes,” Lee said. “The country wants change. The country is behind Obama.”
Katherine Younginkim, 25, is completing her master’s degree in international relations after earning her bachelor’s in journalism and international relations from Korea University in her home of South Korea. After three years in the U.S., Younginkim said she hoped Obama would change policy so democracy was restored to the nation.
“I want people in the U.S. to behave like civilized people to the world,” Younginkim said. “I don’t think Iraqi people want to change the way the U.S. intends and it seems better to bring the troops home as safely as we can by asking Iraqis what they want and need to develop peace.”
Younginkim said she hoped Obama could help the United States. to “save face” with other nations and gain back some respect in the world.
It’s after Halloween and we’re still talking witches.
As part of International Education Week, Professor Laura Lisy-Wagner opened her Nov. 19 History 336 class to the public to discuss the witch trials in Europe in the 1480's to the 1660's, when 40,000 to 100,000 people were executed – more people than the size of SF State’s student body and an even larger number considering the population at the time.
Due to inconsistent record keeping, fires and other events long past, the numbers are not concrete. One feminist historian, Lisy-Wagner said, has said that the number is as high as 6 million.
Regardless, historians agree that those executed did not fit into the fabric of the community and largely were single or widowed women.
“My interests are not only the time period [that it happened] but gender and sexuality,” said Professor Lisy-Wagner, who teaches early modern history. “The witch hunts are one of the topics that bring all of my interests together.”
As SF State's representative for Academic Council on International Programs, Lisy-Wagner wanted to be involved with the event, which is a "celebration of both international education and intercultural understanding. Its primary focus has been the importance of increasing knowledge and awareness of the world's cultures among students and the wider SFSU community," according to SF State's Web site.
Kayla Allen, 18, is a broadcasting major that came to the event because she has a “huge interest in historical fiction novels.”
“I guess growing up I was always interested in the Salem witch trials,” she said.
Manuals for witch-hunting, like “The Malleus Maleficarum,” which was written by monks in 1486, told readers in a scientific manner about witches dirty deeds. One passage, which a student read aloud in class, spoke of witches who “collected male organs in great numbers ... and put them in a bird’s nest or shut them up in a box, where they move themselves like living members, and eat oats and corn.”
“It was hilarious, but at the same time it’s kind of sad,” said history major Andrew Ward, 22.
These crazy accusations, which are funny now, were serious then. Such allegations could begin with a disgruntled neighbor going into a church and accusing his neighbor of muttering at his cow and causing it to stop producing milk. Then, the accused would stand trial, and be asked questions not only about “Malefefica,” or bad deeds, but about diabolical deeds, such as participating in forest gatherings called “sabbats,” where witched allegedly engaged in activities like having sex with the devil and“producing half-human and half-diabolical children," said Lisy-Wagner.
Or, as “The Malleus Maleficarum” dictated, stealing male organs and perching them in trees.
For the first time ever, the California State University system will be turning away eligible freshman applicants, as system-wide impaction was declared at the Board of Trustees meeting in Long Beach on Wednesday.
With $215 million already lacking from the university system's operational costs and the state asking for another $66 million in mid-semester cuts, the CSU Academic Senate passed a resolution for impaction last week as a response to the state legislature's inability to provide the resources necessary to fund the 2009-2010 enrollment demand, senate members said.
"It's unprecedented in CSU history," said SF State president Robert Corrigan. "Never before have we been forced to deny admission to qualified students."
According to the senate resolution, the university's current enrollment is approximately 10,000 students above the level for which it receives state support.
Chancellor Charles Reed approved of the proposed impaction, which will take effect in fall 2009. The decision was officially announced by the Committee on Educational Policy at the trustees' meeting.
The impaction means that the CSU will not only curtail freshman admission to all programs on all campuses, but will also add admission criteria to the existing requirements.
Also, each campus will now give priority admission to applicants from their area; for instance, San Francisco county residents will get priority for SF State while others will go on a waiting list. Priority will also be granted to military veterans and transfers from California community colleges.
Campuses that are still in the growth process, such as Cal State East Bay, are encouraged to seek the chancellor's permission to draw from outside their immediate geographic area.
Reed said that the impaction will only be reversed if the state legislature boosts funding to the CSU system, which is the largest university system in the nation.
Corrigan remarked that it reflects on the general economic situation of the state. "It's a terrible statement about the lack of finances in California," he said.
"Obviously, the state and national budgets are really bad," said Darlene Yee, member of the CSU Academic Senate and gerontology professor at SF State. "The senate had no other recourse than to declare impaction."
Reed and the senate said they decided on impaction out of their desire to preserve the CSU system's ability to provide "authentic access…to high quality facilities and academic programs to which [students] are entitled."
"The campus can't afford to serve students excellence and quality education, so we have to be careful in how many students we take," Yee said. "It's doing them a disservice if we admit them and they can't graduate or get into classes."
Corrigan says that at SF State, efforts will be made to help students meet their academic goals in spite of the impaction and the budget cuts.
"We will make every effort to take care of graduating seniors, encourage students to graduate earlier and get their degrees in an expeditious manner," he said.
Students are unhappy about the impaction and said they will continue to fight against it.
"We're not going to put up with this," said anthropology major Shwan Zandi. "There will be more rallies and protests to come."
It’s the issue on many CSU students’ minds and will affect their lives in immediate and substantial ways. But it’s not new drama. The funding debate has been going on for more than a year and SF State students have been active at every stage.
Last spring, a student movement emerged on campus to protest $97 million in cuts to the CSU system from the state’s budget. Several groups were instrumental in lobbying to restore funds, according to the California Faculty Association and CSU administration.
“Five busses of students from this school [went] to Sacramento to protest the budget cuts with postcards that people had for the governor,” said Brian DeGross, who was not involved in the coalition last year, but is organizing for the protests this year.
Last year’s group of protesting student groups have formed a single, unified group. It’s purpose is to deal with proposed cuts that will eliminate the money saved by last year’s efforts, said Alex Mejia, a student who was active in last year’s movement.
Neither group has taken a formal name in order to emphasize that they represent all CSU students and, loosely, all California public school students who would be affected by these cuts, said Brian DeGross, a student active in this year’s movement.
Both last year’s coalition and this year’s movement have been aided by the CFA, which has the slogan seen around campus: “The CSU is the Solution.”
“There is some frustration among the students...because we’re all worn-out,” DeGross said of the work with the CFA. Students would prefer to take immediate action instead of being mired in the logistics of planning and organizing, he said.
“We went out there and talked to people and put up flyers, did chalk and got people to show up,” he said. “And that’s fine, but if we keep doing that we’re just going to end up with only a few people at a time and not get closer to our ultimate goals and ideals.”
“Because the CFA has the contacts and resources we need, it’s going to be in everyone’s best interest that we work together and make things happen,” DeGross continued. “They have years behind them of doing this sort of thing. They know what works. They know how to do it. They know what pressure points to hit.”
The student organization this year has only been working with the CFA for a week thus far, but has already benefited from the relationship. It was the CFA which helped organize the campus and CSU-wide activities which took place, Nov. 19, where students set up booths, speeches, signs and other measures of protest, DeGross said.
It was a similar story with the coalition movement of last year, when the student movement came to the CFA’s attention after organizing the May 1 walkout, according to Alex Mejia.
Though they are similar in many ways, last year’s coalition did not change directly into this year’s movement and was not officially connected, though some individuals involved in the coalition then are active with the student group now, said Ryan Sturges, a 23-year-old biochemistry major who was active in the coalition of last year.
One of those students who moved from last year’s coalition to this year’s student movement is Melanie Strahm, 19, a biochemistry major.
“To me, the most apparent similarity is the passion that is manifested when members of SFSU come together to defend education,” she said.
“Students can obviously relate to the burden of education being cut. We are unsure about when we will be able to graduate, astounded by the fee increases and worried about the quality of our education. Students also recognize how important education is to our world. This creates a need to work with other struggles to demand education.”
It is uncertain what this movement and others like it in the CSU system will bring, but Strahm had this thought to add:
“It is apparent that professors and students have been willing to work together. It’s nice to see how activism is benefiting from that bond this semester.”
More campus police patrol the events of the General Union of Palestine Students than those of any other organization, according to members of GUPS and other student groups.
“When you see cops outside, it must be a GUPS event,” said Chris Kazaleh, a three-year GUPS member.
At the first annual Palestinian cultural mural celebration held by GUPS members earlier this month, there were at least seven visible university police officers, including Police Chief Kirk Gaston, at the event.
There were three officers standing by the stage. “There [were] also more undercover,” said John Saadeh, international business major and GUPS member.
According to Hassan Aburish, GUPS media coordinator, there are often as many as 10 police officers at a GUPS event.
“I have no problem with police being at an event—10 is a little excessive,” Kazaleh said. “It’s not fair to us.”
Sharef Al Najjar, a GUPS member and vice president of finance for Associated Students, Inc., said that depending on the organization involved, the Office of Student Programs and Leadership Development rates student events at low, moderate or high alert.
Al Najjar said that all or most of GUPS events, including the mural celebration, were considered high alert.
Staff at the OSPLD said, however, that a rating system is not currently used by its staff.
“No student organizations are considered high alert—there is no rating scale,” said Joey Greenwell, director of OSPLD.
Greenwell said while OSPLD doesn’t grade student events on a grading scale anymore, this rating is on all the student event forms and OSPLD staff, a couple members of the student organizations and the police do discuss the level of safety needed depending on the event.
“We look at each [student] event on a case-by-case basis,” Greenwell said.
According to an SF State press release, there has been some history of controversy at GUPS events. In May 2002, at a “We Stand with Israel: Now and Forever” rally sponsored by Hillel, a campus Jewish group, and a counter-rally by GUPS, the groups argued, exchanging offensive words.
Charlie El-Qare, SF State alumnus and a former member of GUPS who was present at the pro-Israel campus rally, said both GUPS members and other Palestinian supporters were shouting for Hillel to take down the Israeli flag above the main entrance to the Cesar Chavez Student Center because it was against the Student Center banner policy.
El-Qare echoed the same press release which stated that as a result of the incident, GUPS was put on probation for a year, lost its funding and Web site while El-Qare said Hillel students “only got a slap on the wrist” in the form of a warning letter.
“It was really unfair, probation was overboard,” El-Qare said.
“Police felt there was a history and propensity that something might happen at this Palestinian event,” said Brian Gallagher, a former ASI member, when referring to the Al-Awda Convention in the summer of 2006.
New GUPS members said they noticed the increased video surveillance and police presence at their events as well.
“There is ‘Islamophobia’ going around,” freshman Maha Hararah, GUPS member and business major, said. “People are afraid of what’s going on.”
Fellow member John Saadeh said that the police never give them a clear reason for their presence. “We feel discriminated against.”
Gaston said there is no more police presence at GUPS events than any other groups’ events.
“I would be more than willing to speak to GUPS members and have a great dialogue,” he said.
According to University Police, there is a constant police presence on the campus at all hours year-round.
“There are no preplanned or predetermined levels of police staffing for any event or for that matter for any particular group,” Gaston wrote in an e-mail. “Our response to a conflict would depend on its level of severity and whether or not it is a criminal violation or disruption of university operations.”
“In the event of an emergency we want to have adequate staffing to assist,” Deputy Chief of Police Pat Wasley said. “If someone crosses the line, their actions determine our actions.”
Members of the Muslim Student Association said that they generally have one to two police officers, if any, present at their events.
There are usually two police officers for any outside student organization event, said Rukayah Abdolcader, a member of MSA. “If we co-sponsor with GUPS, there is more.”
Mayra Maldonado, a coordinator for La Raza Student Organization said that there is usually no more than one police officer at La Raza events. “I have definitely seen more cops at GUPS events,” she said.
Kristine Asercion, a coordinator for the Asian Student Association, said there are no police at their events but that security comes by.
Alon Shalev, the executive director for San Francisco Hillel—the Jewish Student Center that serves all San Francisco campuses—said that there are usually one or two police officers at Hillel events.
“I suspect that there is more police presence at GUPS and Hillel events, since there have been encounters at our university and others that have necessitated intervention between the two groups and other parties participating in their respective rallies,” Shalev wrote in an e-mail.
“Whenever we are concerned about safety at Hillel events, we do request a police presence, as happened leading up to the Israel 60 celebrations this last April,” Shalev wrote in an e-mail. “In reality, I am more afraid of the potential threat of outsiders, who may come onto campus with the intent of stirring controversy.”
Six SF State students were among the protesters who rallied outside the CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed's office to express their objection to the nearly $100 million in proposed system-wide budget cuts on Tuesday.
Board members at the Academic Senate meeting, which runs through Wednesday, have indicated that enrollment across the CSU system will be restricted to address its current financial crisis.
About 100 students, faculty and staff from all 23 CSU campuses gathered outside the Office of the Chancellor in Long Beach, bearing bold signs that read, "Stop the budget cuts" during the CSU Board of Trustees' meeting Tuesday, and will continue Wednesday, as the controversial cuts and system-wide impaction continue to be the hottest topics of discussion.
"SF State students, faculty and staff are fed up with having to deal with this educational budget crisis every semester," said Shwan Zandi, an SF State anthropology major who spoke on behalf of his campus at the protest in Long Beach. "It shouldn't even be a debate whether education should be funded or not."
The six SF State students flew into Long Beach early Tuesday morning and stayed until mid-afternoon. Their travel was funded by the California Faculty Association, one of the organizations supporting many of the protests around the different campuses since Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced additional budget cuts last week.
"The budget is not going to be sufficient to provide all the courses that students need," SF State President Robert Corrigan said.
Students and faculty are upset that these mid-semester budget cuts will mean fee hikes, fewer course offerings, smaller classes and less work opportunities for lecturers.
"Lecturers are the most affected right now," said Kim Geron, vice president of the CFA and political science professor at Cal State East Bay. "They make up the majority of the faculty in our system."
Geron said that the purpose of the protest was to "highlight the consequences of the budget cuts."
"Our education is actually in jeopardy," said Madeline Payton, another SF State student present at the rally. "These fee hikes and cuts to classes need to stop now."
Another major fear that students have is the possibility of system-wide impaction, which would mean that CSU campuses would limit the number of freshmen applicants to be admitted into the university beginning fall 2009.
"It's really sad that we live in a society where the only people who can make it through college now are those who can pay to be in private schools," Zandi said.
California Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, Chancellor Charles Reed and several trustees emerged from the meeting and addressed the crowd, encouraging them to not give up the fight for their education in spite of the budget cuts.
Claudia Keith, media relations representative from the chancellor's office, said it was clear that the protests were directed at the governor and the legislature, not at the trustees.
"[The CSU trustees] and the protesters are all on the same page," Keith said. "We've made the point that we need more revenue from the state."
Many of the protesters expressed their desire to continue fighting against the budget cuts, with the SF State students expected to stage another protest Wednesday, this time with phone and fax machines available so that students can directly contact the governor's office.
"We're calling on the Board of Trustees to come out to the CSU campuses and talk to students to listen to us on our turf," Zandi said.
Zandi, a member of SF State's newly formed "United Against Cuts" group, along with the CFA and the State Employees Trade Commission, encouraged the entire CSU community to "not put up with the cuts."
"What happened today was very important," Corrigan said. "Everyone should come together like this because we have to make as strong a statement as we possibly can. We've got to carry the message to Sacramento."
Despite the low attendance, Peace Corps representatives gave audience members a close look at what it means to volunteer, at a panel discussion today called “The Toughest Job You’ll Ever Love.”
The panel, consisting of Nick Bosustow, Jayma Brown and Delilah Raybee, was part of SF State’s annual International Week program on Tuesday.
All three panelists had personally participated in the Peace Corps program, and were available to answer questions and discuss first-hand experiences.
The program sends volunteers to more than 70 countries with the length of service being 27 months, Bosustow said.
After fulfilling the basic requirements — being 18 years of age or older, in good health, a U.S. citizen and passing the application process — volunteers are placed where their skills match the needs of the country.
The service can range from teaching or contracting work to working in health education or business development.
The Peace Corps was established in 1960, when John F. Kennedy “challenged students at the University of Michigan to serve their country in the cause of peace by living and working in developing countries,” according to the official Peace Corps catalog.
Even though the mission has stayed the same, many changes have been made to the program.
“Safety and security is our number one concern,” Bosustow said. “We upgraded our system tremendously since the 60s when we simply used to drop our volunteers off and told them that we’ll be back in two years.”
Currently, the Peace Corps has officers on hand in all volunteer areas, who stay in constant contact with each individual and also keep up with the country’s politics and stay connected to the local police.
In addition, the Peace Corps program provides a 24-hour a day full health care plan to its members while they are abroad.
“I dislocated my knee in the Philippines, and the care I received there was the best I’ve ever had,” an audience member who volunteered in the 1960s stated from the back of the room.
Though the panelists said the experience of being a volunteer abroad has many positive aspects, such as discovering a different culture, exploring a new country and learning a new language, all three panelists said that it also has some negative aspects.
“It was very difficult for me to see all the excess and waste when I came to the U.S.,” Brown said. “But I still try to live the Peace Corps existence.”
The three-day Closing Service Conference really helped Raybee transition back into her own life, she said, in addition to keeping contact with other former volunteers.
As of now, the Peace Corps provides its volunteers with $6000 to help them adjust to their life back home.
But they are also currently working on a re-entry pilot program in six cities, according to Bosustow.
“Transitions are really tough,” Bosustow said. “They can take up to two years.”
After having volunteered abroad multiple times, Bosustow currently works as a Peace Corps recruiter in Northern California and is on SF State's campus twice a month.
For more information on International Week go to: www.sfsu.edu/~oip/iewhome.htm
With the California State University facing about $100 million in expected budget cuts, its Board of Trustees will today discuss limiting enrollment at all of its 23 campuses for Spring 2009.
The unprecedented decision may be necessary to maintain quality education standards for those enrolled in a system already serving more students than its budget can adequately handle, CSU Chancellor Charles Reed said in an e-mail to faculty. And while the system must shave another $97.6 million from its programs, student applications for Fall 2009 increased by 20 percent from last year.
According to the agenda for today's meeting, declaring system-wide impaction would close all CSU campuses to admission applications after Nov. 30. Each university would then manage its enrollment with the following criteria, should its number of applications exceed its enrollment target:
*Admission priority would go to veterans of U.S. military service, local first-time freshmen and local upper-division transfer students. "This will ensure continued access to students who do not have the resources to relocate, who have family obligations, or who have family commitments. Many of these students are underserved, first-generation students," according to the agenda.
*Non-local first-time freshmen and non-local upper-division transfer students will be put on wait lists, which may be sorted by criteria such as eligibility index scores (SAT and/or ACT) for first-time freshmen and grade point average for transfer students.
*Lower-division transfer students will not be admitted, except maybe nursing or engineering students if campus programs are not full.
*Unclassified postbaccalaureate students will also not be admitted, and students seeking a second baccalaureate will not likely be admitted unless they seek degrees in science, engineering, math or nursing.
Associate Vice President of Enrollment Jo Volkert was not immediately available for comment.
At the official opening of International Week at SF State on Monday, students were welcomed at the Vista Room in Burk Hall to celebrate international students who came here to study here from all over the world.
According to the International Education Week official Web site, this event is an opportunity for people to look at the benefits of international education and cultural exchange. The initiative is a partnership between the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education in order to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global life and gives citizens from other countries an incentive to study, learn and exchange experiences in America.
“This is about people to people diplomacy, especially at this time in the world, it is important to foster diplomacy,” said Dr. Marilyn Jackson, assistant director of the Office of International Programs.
Jackson explained that this is the ninth year that SF State is promoting the event and that it is her second year in charge of the organizations for the week-long activities. Jackson expressed her excitement over the many options students will have all over campus this week and added that as much as the event still needs to be better advertised, they did send out e-mails to all students inviting them to participate.
Eli Zaturanski, an international student from Israel, mentioned that he decided to come to the ceremony because of the announcement that was made by the OIP office through e-mail. Zaturanski still wasn’t sure of what the event was about.
Joe Snowdown, co-chair of International Education Exchange Council, and Sa-Lei Loi, a South Africa international student representative both gave a warm welcome to their fellow international students as the reception went on.
“We worry about not having friends … but positive attitude is the key,” Loi continued by adding that international students should take advantage of their professors' friendships and willingness to help them adapt to the American culture.
After their speeches, the winners of the Diana Chung Memorial Scholarships–the only SF State scholarship solely for international students–was handed to Jikyung Hwang from South Korea and Shirin Usmani from India.
Earlier in the day, a number of activities had already been offered to those who were willing to participate in some of fun and cultural events. Among those events, Assistant Professor Weimin Zhang showed her documentary "The House of Spirits," and French historian, Andre Burgiere, spoke about what Parisian students were doing during the strike of 1968.
According to Jackson, the OPI encourages the participation of all students. And one more way to facilitate attendance was to ask professors who would be teaching lectures relevant to the international week to have an open-door class this week.
Charlotte Welch, an apparel design and merchandise student at SF State, and her friend Ashley DiRuggiero, a political science student also at SF State, both went to school abroad in Italy and have been participating in the many events offered this week. The two recommended that students who are interested in studying abroad take a look at the World at a Glance: Country Culture Series.
International week will go on until Friday, Nov. 21, while numerous events will continue to be offered to students all over campus. From meditation sessions, African dance lessons, a Japanese tea ceremony to a Bollywood movie night, the selection is so broad there is room to learn at least a little bit about on specific culture.
SF State’s Recycling Center hopes to increase recycling on campus by giving students a creative opportunity to promote it themselves.
All students can enter the RecycleMania Poster Challenge by designing a poster promoting green themes such as recycling, waste reduction or sustainability by Dec. 12.
The recycling center will use the winning design in its advertising campaign for RecycleMania, a nationwide recycling competition next spring, said Caitlin Steele, recycling coordinator.
The chosen designer will also receive a package of “miscellaneous items that promote sustainable living” worth up to $200, Steele said. The runner-up will receive a similar package worth $100, and each contestant will take home an “SF Station” reusable travel mug.
Most students probably do not look at current recycling labels on campus, but they might look at creative student work, said Catrin Grutzmann, a student employee at the recycling center involved with the contest.
Promoting recycling on campus this way “targets those who want to recycle but don’t know how,” Grutzmann said. It may also increase recycling overall by reminding people who might otherwise forget. “If I told you every day to do it, you would do it, right?” she said.
RecycleMania is a nationwide competition, sponsored by Coca-Cola, in which colleges and universities recycle as much campus waste as possible in a 10-week period. The participating schools are then ranked by measures such as tonnage recycled, pounds recycled per capita and percentage of waste recycled.
SF State applied late for RecycleMania 2008 and participated with little advertising or fanfare. “We unofficially were a part of it and we unofficially took second place” in tonnage recycled, Steele said. The university recycled 150,000 pounds of discards—roughly five pounds per student—each week, on average, during the competition.
Though SF State already recycles a high percentage of its discards—about 63 percent, not counting composting and other types of waste diversion—it could improve enough to win RecycleMania 2009 without even changing its recycling program, Steele said. A recent audit of the university’s trash revealed that up to 90 percent of it could have been recycled, composted or otherwise diverted from the landfill, she said.
The poster contest and subsequent advertising campaign seek to dramatically increase recycling just by “getting more students involved in the process. It’s real easy, and we’re trying to make it easier,” Steele said.
SF State’s new sustainability Web site (http://sustainability.sfsu.edu), which lists several online green resources including a guide to recycling on campus, will announce the contest winner and runner-up Feb. 2, 2009. A jury and public poll will determine the two winning designs, according to a flier for the contest. The Web site will display the winning designs and may feature more submissions, Steele said. Contestants must submit a digital copy to Steele at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Afterward, the recycling center will produce promotional posters using the winner’s design and post them on campus. “We’re asking all faculty and staff, as well as [University] Housing, to support it” by offering to display the posters, Steele said.
Thousands of demonstrators met together in front of City Hall Saturday morning to participate in the nationwide protest against the Nov. 4 passing of Proposition 8.
“I am angry and I’m angry at injustice,” said Rev. Dr. Penny Nixon, former senior minister at the Metropolitan Community Church in San Francisco. “And that can propel us forward, but anger is also because we are hurt; because the wounds go deep.”
Across the country tens of thousands of people showed up to rally in such cities as New York, Boston, Chicago, and Philadelphia. Organizers involved with the Seattle-based Internet blog “Join the Impact,” put together many of the protests.
Cat Kim, a "Join the Impact" organizer based in San Francisco, predicted only a few hundred people would join the rally in San Francisco. However, the 500 estimated bloomed to over 5,000 as warm and sunny weather accompanied he Bay Area’s biggest protest since the passing of Proposition 8.
The demonstrators held up “No on Prop. 8” campaign posters and homemade signs while guest speakers encouraged a peaceful protest. Speakers included Rev. Amos Brown, Assemblyman Mark Leno, and Supervisor Tom Ammiano.
“It’s not about sex, boys and girls, it’s about love,” Ammiano announced. “Homophobia, racism, and sexism, they all serve the same master and it's now time to bitch-slap that master.”
Many SF State students attended the protest, including the president of the campus group Feminism in Action, Allison Mingus, who also organized the “Vote down Propositions 4 & 8” campaign on campus before the elections.
“I think it’s atrocious that California passed it,” said Mingus, a senior majoring in women studies. “It’s very emotional to me because I have gay family members and gay friends. I was fighting this for them.”
The rally at City Hall continued along Market Street toward the Castro, where hundreds of protesters paraded alongside the busy traffic. The march continued along Church Street until police turned the marchers back toward Union Square.
Asia currently houses one-third of the world’s population, and it’s getting a few more from SF State.
The Office of International Programs reported a 19 percent increase in the total number of students who studied in China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan this year–-representing about 14 percent of all SF State students who chose to study abroad.
According to My Yarabinec, associate director of the OIP, this trend can be attributed to a few factors including new international studies programs, a substantial percentage of students who are of Asian heritage—representing about 20 percent of the campus—and a greater student awareness toward study abroad programs in general.
“Today there is a greater awareness of the possibility of studying abroad,” Yarabinec said.
Maria Flores, coordinator of study abroad programs, said Asia programs have been offered over the past few years. In the past couple of years, however, some universities in Asian countries also started to offer classes in English, which Flores says makes Asia a more appealing destination to the often non-native speaking students.
Yusseff Milburn, an SF State environmental studies student, said he decided to go to Asia mainly because he was able to find an English based education, yet still able to spend time in a place that was entirely different from the U.S. While in Asia, Milburn said he came to learn about China’s approach to the environment and a few cultural differences that led him to learn more about himself as an American and a citizen of the world.
“In an increasingly globalized world, I think having international exposure and contacts will always be beneficial to personal growth and professional opportunities,” Milburn said by e-mail. “In my case, China and its approach to the environment is often discussed and criticized in the West, so it was interesting to find what seemed like accepted Western thinking regarding China was not a shared perspective by most of the local students in my classes.”
Yarabinec said when students come to the OIP, the first thing coordinators look at is the student’s major, then they look for a program that best fit their studies and career plans. Yarabinec emphasized that Hong Kong has a great business program, one more fact that adds to Asia being a great location to study abroad.
Adam Douglas, a Japanese major at SF State who is now studying in Oita, Japan said that along with his Japanese classes he takes classes about the country’s history and cultural background–-all in English. Still, his main reason to study abroad, he said, was to learn the language so he can work as a subtitles translator for Japanese movies.
“The hardest part was that I thought my Japanese was pretty good,” Douglas said, who had already visited the country twice.
According to Flores, students have less of a cultural shock when they go to Asia than most people would think they would.
“Not until I came back to the U.S. did I experience any cultural shock,” said Luciana Huang in an e-mail. Huang was an interior design major, but after her experience in Beijing she switched her major to Asian American Studies. “Adapting to the Chinese environment is relatively easy, but it is very fast-paced.”
Huang said she chose to study in China to be near the excitement of the preparations for the 2008 Olympics. Huang said she could already speak French and wanted to improve her Chinese. Along with 20 hours of Chinese language classes, she said students could also take classes on culture, calligraphy, flower painting, erhu (Chinese fiddle) and martial arts.
“I have a better sense of the world and what my personal and career goals are now,” Huang said by e-mail. “I am far more determined than I’ve ever been and I’ve also developed valued friendships and I know that I have someone to call up in any state or country I may some day decide to visit.”
Douglas said that studying abroad was part of his plans since he applied to SF State. He added that one of the main reasons he chose SF State was because he knew about the low-cost study abroad programs offered here.
Yarabinec explained that they have a number of scholarships available to students, and that SF State is well known for helping lower-income students to study abroad.
“I have a student in Japan who is making money,” Yarabinec said.
According to David Wick, coordinator of Study Abroad Services, there is a lot of funding available for students who choose to go to Asia. Due to the lower demand in comparison to other programs, those fundings are obtained easier.
He also added that every student who went to Taiwan this year had a scholarship-- all due to the lower demand in comparison to other scholarships. And that SF State has ranked second in the nation in receiving the most Benjamin A. Gilman scholarships. The Gilman scholarship is available for undergraduates with high financial needs.
“The campus would like to see all students study abroad early in their education,” Wick said.
Psychology students could gain more courses in their major, and lose some outside it, if the Academic Senate approves changes to the curriculum.
These changes, proposed by the Psychology Department Curriculum Committee, are meant to address department concerns that the major should focus more on a variety of psychology offerings, as well as help control the number of students who can major in the field.
“I don’t feel like we’re eliminating anything,” Psychology Chair Sacha Bunge told the Senate after a string of questions concerning the elective change.
Non-major courses in anthropology, biology, philosophy or sociology, would no longer be required, though many students double count their Segment III classes in place of taking those classes anyway, Bunge said.
These new requirements will prevent students from specializing their major early on, said Dr. Kate Hellenga, chair of the Psychology Department Curriculum Committee. Right now, students can take classes that give them a concentration in one area, such as child psychology. For instance, a student could take the three core classes, then take child psychology classes as well as child development electives. This specialization “doesn’t fit with the breadth of an undergraduate degree,” Hellenga said, and can inhibit students when they are out in the field or go to graduate school.
“[Students] wouldn’t be as well-versed in all areas, such as neuro-psychology, social psychology, clinical psychology and industrial organization,” Hellenga said. “They would have missed out completely on these other big domains of the science.”
If it passes, beginning next fall students will have to take classes in four broad areas of study, as well as statistics and special projects classes, Hellenga said. According to the revisions proposed to the Academic Senate, the four categories will be cognitive and physiological processes; human development and individual differences; social and cultural dynamics; and organizations, institutions, and communities.
With the new curriculum, students will gain a “broad exposure across those six categories,” said Hellenga, who stressed that the new major curriculum won’t increase the number of required units for psychology majors.
“With the continued elimination of courses and the reduction of sections in our course offerings over the past five years, the structure of our current major is not able to ensure that all of our students will receive a well-balanced education in the field of psychology,” said the proposed revision that was handed to the Academic Senate on Nov. 4.
With the new major, “You get exposed to the entire field and then you specialize later in graduate school. We felt we were doing people a disservice by allowing them to specialize early,” Hellenga said.
“In psychology, we’re looking at changing the structure of our major that is geared towards giving students a broader overview of the field of psychology than they did currently,” said Dr. Chris White, who sits on the committee with Hellenga.
However, the curriculum has not yet been approved and may be altered to accommodate concerns brought up at the meeting.
“People wanted to know about how we’re going to meet the writing requirements within the major,” Hellenga said. “I think the main other concern was about eliminating outside electives. Having access to other disciplines is important.”
The major hasn’t been changed for over 10 years and the process is a heady one, planners say. The current proposal is still sitting on the agenda for the Academic Senate, but if it’s passed by this spring it can make it into the next academic year’s bulletin, the “last hurdle,” Hellenga said.
“[I’m] really excited about having the major and giving people access to all different topics in psychology,” Hellenga said. “It’s a booming field and we have the capacity to show people all that stuff.”
The proposed revamped structure would also help with needed “enrollment management,” Bunge said during the Academic Senate’s first review of the proposed changes.
The psychology department has 1,553 declared majors, Bunge said. It is the third-largest enrollment for a major after biology, with 1,588 majors, and business, which has over 5,000 according to university reports.
Enrollment played a factor for the changes to the journalism program, which was recently approved for modification. Both the psychology department and the journalism department modified entrance requirements to their programs, raising the minimum grade in prerequisites to a C or better.
Journalism students next fall will have new curriculum that will require them to learn multimedia skills as well as provide a one-unit class that teaches grammar and Associated Press style.
“We just don’t have enough people to meet the demand of all those students, so the other thing we’re trying to do is figure a way to manage our enrollment,” journalism chair Venise Wagner said. “So what we’ve done is create a pre-major.”
Students will also have to pass three pre-major courses before they can declare journalism as their major. These classes include the grammar course, news writing and the “social impact of journalism.”
“What the department and faculty wanted to do is respond to what is happening to the industry, and the industry is going online,” Wagner said. “They need to leave here with some exposure to online journalism.”
For some members of the SF State community, love is the best way to counter hate.
Paper hearts of every color bearing messages of affection and statements opposing Proposition 8 lined the lamp posts and the stage area in Malcolm X Plaza on Wednesday as campus organizations like The Safe Place, and Creating Empowerment through Alcohol and Substance abuse Education (CEASE) put together a rally for the campus community to express their feelings on the recently passed gay marriage ban.
"I was getting feedback from students, staff and faculty on how hurt they were about [Proposition 8]," said Karla Castillo, a prevention education specialist who planned and coordinated the event with different organizations on campus. "It really touched me, and I realized we needed a space for dealing with these feelings."
Castillo then connected with The Safe Place and CEASE, as well as LGBT-oriented organizations on campus such as the Queer Alliance, the Asians and Queers United for Awareness (AQUA), and the Educational and Referral Organization for Sexuality (EROS), to organize the event within a week after the elections.
Students, faculty and staff all took part in writing on and posting up hearts with messages like "Yes on equality, no on hate," and "No kind of love should be discriminated against." Others posted photos of themselves with their same-sex partners; a marriage certificate was taped to one of the posts at one point.
A handmade poster bearing a message from the Queer Alliance lined one wall, thanking the entire campus for "love, kindness and support in our struggle for equality. We are grateful for having a community that allows us to live and love out loud."
Later on in the day, an "open mic" event was held in the plaza, with students and faculty going up onstage and expressing their feelings through speeches and poetry.
"This is a wonderful opportunity to express some love after all the hate," said Michael Ritter from faculty counseling and psychological services, who posted up a heart containing pictures of him and his partner. "I hope the outcome of this will cause people to accept all forms of love and bring down barriers of prejudice."
Renee Stephens, an admissions counselor and Raza studies instructor, posted up a picture of herself and her wife when they were children. "We met in elementary school, and we've been married for seven years," she said. "The good news now is that we have a lot of support from people who initially were unaware of the severity of this issue."
This method of protesting the passing of Proposition 8 came as a sharp contrast to the angry backlash of rallies, marches and strikes occurring all over the city since the election on Nov. 4. Three lawsuits and complaints against churches and other religious organizations have been filed in the past week in an effort to overturn the gay marriage ban.
"We really want to spread awareness of what the issue is," said student Vincent Lam from Students for a Safe Campus. "This is a continuous struggle, and we want to keep the momentum going."
Universities in the CSU system have been asked to make an additional $66 million in mid-semester cuts to their programs, and at least one department at SF State is saying “no way.”
The Department of Anthropology has refused to make the proposed cuts called for by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s latest budget revision, using class time to discuss the reductions that could catastrophically limit class availability and tarnish the program’s credibility in the academic community, said department chair Doug Bailey.
“We have to draw the line,” said Bailey. Students, faculty and staff from all branches of education must “push back against the system” to keep these cuts from happening, he said.
And many students decided to push back in a big way. Nearly 400 students gathered in the quad shortly after noon Wednesday to protest proposed cuts after anthropology majors hatched the idea of a sit-in last week.
Coupled with the $31 million expected to be given back to the state by CSU administration, cuts to the country’s largest four-year university system could grow beyond $400 million, according to a CSU press release and public affairs communication specialist at the CSU, Teresa Ruiz.
The proposed $97 million cut would eliminate the money shielded from budget cuts last semester and put the university system $310 million below its operating costs, according to the California Faculty Association, student activists and university instructional staff.
“The colleges have had to make cuts continuously for a number of years. We kept classes for the last area to be cut. It is important for you to know that most of the colleges have no other area left to cut,” said Joel Kassiola, dean of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences who supports students’ efforts to fight back.
There is another casualty in the struggle over funding, says anthropology chair Bailey: lecturers.
“Lecturers are getting the worst part of the deal,” Bailey said, explaining that aside from students, they are the most vulnerable in a time of cutbacks and likely to lose their jobs before contracted faculty.
Many students are concerned about the quality of their education as well as the loss of favorite teachers.
“It’s not me. It’s not anthropology. We think it’s ridiculous. It’s going to affect everyone’s access to higher education,” said senior Shwan Zandi, an anthropology major who emerged as an organizer for the sit-in.
At their monthly meeting last week, teachers in the anthropology department decided to table their original agenda to spend their time discussing the impending cuts. There, the faculty and lecturers realized the “people not being consulted about this [were] the students,” and decided to bring the subject into the classroom, Bailey said.
Once students found out about the proposed cuts, plans for a sit-in quickly followed.
About 22 students initially showed up, a near even mix of anthropology and other majors, in Room 270 of the Science building to discuss the budget situation.
“If this room goes over its capacity, we’ll have to go outside,” prefaced anthropology Chair Bailey, as people continued to trickle in. Soon, participation surpassed the 70-person limit of the room.
The group soon swelled to close to 300 people in Cesar Chavez Plaza, said SF State Chief of Police Kirk Gaston.
Kinesiology is only offered at CSUs, said newly transferred junior Gary Stockdale. “I have no other choice but to go to a CSU for my education. For the past five years I’ve been going to junior college, working three jobs to get here. And who is going to tell me that I have to work more, that I have to work harder,” he paused a moment as his voice broke, “for something that I deserve? Who has the right to do that to me?”
If the cheers that met Stockdale’s speech are any indication, he is not alone in his struggle. Another speaker, 19-year old sophomore Alexandra Martin, asked everyone in the crowd to raise their hand if they had to take out a loan to come to SF State. Over half raised their hands. Even more raised their hands when she asked how many would have to take out loans if the fees are increased.
Protest organizers had letters of support available to be signed and then sent to Gov. Schwarzenegger’s office. Students could also sign up for their e-mail list. Interested students can also participate through the Facebook group “United Against CSU Budget Cuts!”
With no official title, the group of activists that have formed around the recent budget drama echo the kind of anti-cut activism seen throughout the CSU last semester, several participants said.
“SF State by far was the most organized campus [last semester]. If that didn’t happen, we wouldn’t have that 97 million,” said Larry Salomon, a current lecturer in ethnic studies who loosely advised one of the activist groups, the New Front Coalition, but “we never really got out of this crisis.”
Last semester’s events included a 300 strong, university and CSU-funded trip to rally in Sacramento and a walk-out to City Hall, involving groups such as Alliance for the CSU, the NFC, Fight the Fees and others who converged to express opposition to the budget reduction expected to pass through the state legislature.
Yet without the visible presence of the coalition that emerged over the budget issue this semester, many were left wondering who would remain to address the continuing budget crisis. Both the California Faculty Association and CSU administration have called for the same kind of activism that they said influenced the state budget last semester. Both credit that activism as instrumental in winning back the $97 million now likely to be reclaimed by the state.
“Student activism, by nature, is difficult,” Salomon said, citing the busy lives of students that make coordination a challenge.
All of the money is still allocated to the CSU but has been set aside pending a special session of the state legislature that will decide its fate, said public affairs communication specialist at the CSU, Teresa Ruiz.
In the meantime, the new group, beginning as a product of concerned anthropology students and attracting hundreds of others to its Wednesday rally, is still organizing but intends to continue its efforts to protest the budget, according to participant and group organizer, Madeline Peyton, 23.
“I’m glad that people are taking what we did last semester and running with it,” said Alex Mejia, 24-year-old former activist in the Fight the Fees group and participant in many of the rallies held last semester.
This isn’t the first time SF State and the CSU have faced a major budget crisis, and it may not be the last said SF State CFA chapter president, Ramon Castellblanch.
The California legislature will vote on the revised state budget in January, and the embattled state economy indicates that it may be even less favorable to the CSU, Castellblanch said.
“I don’t think anybody was prepared for this crisis,” he said. “It was quite a shock.”
In Wednesday’s University Budget Committee meeting, President Robert A. Corrigan echoed concerns that this current budget crisis was growing and required immediate action.
“The longer [the state legislature] delays in taking action, the bigger this problem will become,” he said.
Representatives from Brailsford and Dunleavy, Capitol Planning and Cannon Designs were present to discuss what students want in the new recreation center at Wednesday’s ASI meeting.
All of the companies have experience in planning and developing university centers, as well as taking part in the San Jose State and Cal Poly rec centers, ASI members said.
The main concerns of the discussion are what students want from the rec center and what kinds of activities and features should be present.
Whenever representatives brought up the issue of money, ASI President Natalie Franklin was quick to say, “Money is no object” regarding the rec center.
Representatives from the companies will be on campus throughout the week to survey students on what they may want in the rec center.
The meeting continued to pass the following actions:
$1,000 to the Nursing Student Association’s “Pinning and Hooding Ceremony (Graduation)” taking place on Dec. 19 and $300 to the Political Science Student Association’s “Charity Pool Event.”
Newly appointed BSS Representative Frankie Griffen was approved to the External Committee, Green Committee and Rules Committee.
And finally, travel expenses for two more members of ASI were approved to attend the California State Student Association event this weekend in Northridge.
The SF State Registrar’s Office announced last week that students working on a second bachelor’s degree won’t be allowed to register for classes until after all undergraduates have picked first.
Second bachelor's degree students previously had relatively high registration priority in the slot immediately after graduate students and before undergraduate students.
The change was “due to growing budget uncertainty and fewer resources,” according to e-mail sent to students from the registrar’s office. “The University's primary mandate is to students working towards their first baccalaureate degree,” the e-mail continued.
Figures from the Office of Enrollment Management show 646 students with second baccalaureate status (also known as a second bachelor’s degree) currently enrolled at SF State.
Students with second bachelor's degree status pay more for their classes than undergraduate students. At this semester’s rate, graduate and second bachelor’s degree students taking more than six units paid $354 more in university fees.
“Most second baccalaureate students are doing work in pre-med or pre-dental and won’t complete their second degree here,” said Jo Volkert, associate vice president of enrollment planning and management.
University officials delayed the start of priority registration for spring 2009 by several weeks. News of a deepening state financial crisis, including less funding for the CSU system forced SF State to reevaluate what classes it will be able to offer next semester. Priority registration is now scheduled to begin Dec. 8.
President Robert A. Corrigan and SF State officials met Wednesday to address another estimated $4 million in budget cuts beyond those established in September.
Though the impact on spring 2009 curriculum is currently unclear, students on academic probation and those seeking a second bachelor’s degree may not be able to enroll in classes.
The University Budget Committee held a meeting Wednesday to discuss new budget cuts and how they will impact SF State faculty and students.
The state received dramatically less revenue than expected for the first quarter of the fiscal year. This deficit will require SF State to make more cuts than September’s budget mandated initially, according to the California State University Office of the Chancellor.
Leroy Morishita, vice president and chief financial officer, said SF State might need to cut $5.9 million from its 2009 budget, significantly more than the $1.9 million anticipated previously.
“I’m not one to frighten anyone in this regard,” Corrigan said to the committee during Wednesday’s meeting. “But we’re anticipating a more severe problem than we’ve dealt with in the past.”
Academic Affairs will reveal the revised spring semester curriculum by the end of November at the latest, said Ellen Griffin, university spokesperson.
The impact of the budget cuts has already impacted enrollment for spring 2009, said Jo Volkert, associate vice president of enrollment planning and management.
Undergraduate students who have been on academic probation for at least the last four semesters will not be allowed to enroll for the spring 2009 semester, Volkert said.
Corrigan said these students must be turned away to make room for incoming eligible students.
“[Students on academic probation] are not making the appropriate progress for their degree,” Corrigan said. “They are taking the position of someone who deserves and needs a higher education.”
Volkert said e-mail notifications were sent Wednesday to the approximately 300 students who will be affected.
Volkert said those students could regain their eligibility by taking classes at the College of Extended Learning or a community college.
Students seeking a second bachelor’s degree will also be affected, said Volkert, in that they will receive the lowest priority registration.
Anticipated faculty positions will also be postponed because of budget cuts, said Corrigan.
Students, faculty, staff and administrators will chair a committee together this semester that aims to reduce SF State’s greenhouse gas emissions and achieve environmental sustainability.
Provost John Gemello and Leroy Morishita, vice president and chief financial officer, will co-chair the 14-person committee.
University authorities get to appoint 11 of the other members. Associated Students and the Student Center Governing Board will each select a student representative. The Academic Senate will select four faculty members, while President Robert A. Corrigan will appoint two staff and three others, according to a document listing the committee’s charge. Not all members have been selected at this point, and the committee’s first meeting date has not yet been determined. However, those involved said it will meet this semester.
Forming such a committee appears to satisfy the first requirement of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, to which Corrigan signed SF State in September 2007. A document outlining the commitment to minimize greenhouse gas emissions requires signatories to “create institutional structures to guide development and implementation” within two months of signing.
Though SF State did not meet this requirement on time, officials did complete the following requirement, a greenhouse gas emissions inventory, by last September.
“The sooner we get going, the better,” said Carlos Davidson, director and associate professor of environmental studies. The Academic Senate appointed Davidson to the committee Tuesday, Nov. 4. It will be better to meet at least once this semester and ponder future plans over the winter break than to wait until January to begin, he said.
Creating an all-university sustainability committee is important progress toward solving environmental issues at SF State, Davidson said. Many other environmentally progressive universities have similar committees with top administrators actively participating, he said.
With “the No. 2 and 3 people on campus (Morishita and Gemello)” serving as co-chairs, “this committee sends a message: the campus is taking a strong commitment to sustainability,” Davidson said. “When people at the top say this is a priority, it helps all [members] below them get involved in sustainability issues.”
While SF State’s students, faculty and staff have worked recently on several successful environmental projects without a committee—the university hosted a climate change teach-in, a statewide student sustainability conference, two ‘Bike to School Days’ and other events this year—having one will increase coordination and representation, Davidson said.
“There’s a lot of sustainability stuff happening, but nobody really knows what other people are doing,” Davidson said. A committee that includes students, faculty, staff and administrators will allow interested parties to set priorities and avoid redundant efforts, he said.
It also empowers SF State’s environmentally conscious to accomplish projects too large or onerous for individuals or small groups. One of the committee’s first goals will be to conduct a “comprehensive environmental audit to see where we are on a whole range of sustainability issues,” Davidson said. Another goal will be to complete a climate action plan, the Climate Commitment’s next requirement, based on the audit and findings from the greenhouse gas inventory, he said.
“It’s very creative what the possibilities are,” said Connie Ulasewicz, an assistant professor with consumer and family studies and another Academic Senate appointee. Ulasewicz teaches a product development class at SF State in which students will seek environmentally sustainable production. She contributed to the Student Fashion Association’s sustainable fashion show last year and co-authored a book entitled “Sustainable Fashion: Why Now?”
Ulasewicz said, “Our reason for being here is educating the next generation. I’d like to have the university be clear on what their charge is for all of us here,” which is why she applied to sit on the committee. Striving for environmental sustainability at SF State means “updating and changing how we view ourselves and our interaction with the planet. It’s thinking about waste, and we haven’t had to do that before. And I think it will bring us all closer together,” she said.
The search for the new dean of SF State’s College of Education has officially begun.
A committee was formed last month to find a worthy candidate to fill the shoes of former education dean Jacob Perea, who held the position for almost 14 years. The position was left vacant when Perea was named the first dean of social justice initiatives in October.
Provost John Gemello said that the search for the new dean was a very important process. “Every dean is the academic leader of the college,” Gemello said. “He plays a key role in choosing faculty and personnel and carries the budget responsibility for the college.”
The 10-member committee, composed of eight elected faculty members, one staffer and one appointed student, met for the first time last Thursday. The group is headed by College of Science and Engineering Dean Sheldon Axler.
Among its members are education professors like Jamal Cooks, Debra Luna, Philip Prinz and Beverly Voloshin, said Stephanie Schwartz, Executive Assistant to the Office of the Provost and Academic Affairs.
Linnea Beckett, a master’s student in equity and social justice, was also chosen to sit on the committee.
The position description, which was posted on the SF State Web site and on the Chronicle For Higher Education, said that the new dean must be “a person of vision with proven leadership skills” and “should be able to effectively communicate.”
Gemello added that they are looking for someone who is “comfortable working with pressures from different directions, is very flexible, and has good judgment,” especially because he or she will be working with the many different aspects and departments of the college of education.
But college faculty, including Gemello himself, believe that filling Perea’s shoes will be a challenging task.
“Someone who’s going to be dean of [the college of education] will be successful if he has the qualities and shares the passions that made Jake Perea successful, “ Gemello said.
These include Perea’s commitment to diversity and social justice.
“Dean Perea has consistently demonstrated a deep commitment to serving the diverse cultural and linguistic communities beyond our campus,” said Josie Arce of the Department of Elementary Education. “He is highly respected by bilingual educators in SF Unified School District and the Latino Mission District.”
Perea said in an earlier interview that he “really cares about the thought of social justice.” When he was first named dean of social justice, he expressed hopes that his successor in the college of education would “be able to incorporate social justice as a part of what they do every day.”
The search is open to educators around the country. The committee will be accepting applications until the end of the year, reviewing them in January and narrowing the search down to four or five people in February. The candidates will then visit the campus to be interviewed by the committee and to meet faculty, staff and students.
Once chosen, the new dean will assume office in August or September 2009.
On Nov. 7, 2008, to protest the passing of Proposition 8, thousands of people marched through the streets of San Francisco. The demonstration began in downtown San Francisco, where the people gathered then marched through the Castro to Dolores Park. Once at the park, the protestors marched back down Market Street to Civic Center. The passing of Proposition 8, which has put a ban of same-sex marriages, has sparked numerous statewide protests.
As the statewide deficit grows larger, the SF State Asian American Studies department has suffered some major cuts over the current and upcoming semesters, College of Ethnic Studies Dean Kenneth Monteiro said.
Monteiro announced last semester that due to vacant lines—where the department has not yet hired permanent faculty—the AAS department will suffer “a gigantic 52 percent cut of classes,” Associated Students Ethnic Studies representative and Concerned Students in Action group member, Cory Wong said.
Currently, the 52 percent has been reduced to 21 percent, due to funds provided by Provost John Gemello and Monteiro. These fixes, however, will likely be temporary, AAS department staff said.
“When we receive state cuts they must come from the vacant lines,” Monteiro said. “And the cuts made to the college were absorbed where we had them.”
Though the College of Ethnic Studies continues to grow each year, AAS has the highest number of vacant lines in the department. Therefore, it has the most searches open for new faculty and as a result, shoulder a greater burden than other departments, Monteiro said.
While some say there was also the option of cutting filled lines, Monteiro stated, “When the state cuts are faculty monies, firing tenure track or tenured faculty is not contractually possible.”
Yet members of the Concerned Students in Action group beg to differ.
“Those ‘vacant’ professor teaching spots are not vacant,” Wong said. “[They are filled] by replacement lecturers or part-time teachers.”
The group, made up of about 50 students, has come together since the announcement regarding the cuts was made in late September. The group’s goal is in fighting the cuts and they have been meeting weekly with AAS faculty. Their purpose is “directed toward bringing self-determination, shared governance, and transparency back to Ethnic Studies,” according to the AAS’ Faculty/Staff’s official Self-Determination and Shared Governance position paper.
Moreover, the Concerned Students group believes that “the burden of budget cuts should be shared equally across campus.”
The cuts will be equivalent to “up to 900 displaced seats for students, overly impacted classrooms, loss of valued part-time faculty and faculty teaching classes they’ve never taught before,” according to AAS staff.
At a meeting on Oct. 10, faculty, students and Concerned Students members met with Monteiro to resolve conflicts over the AAS’ right to self-determination and shared governance, which was mainly focused on decision-making.
“He said he will do a better job keeping the communication lines open between departments and himself,” said Aileen E. Pagtakhan, AAS studies major and Manalo Movement activist.
Monteiro stated that from now on, all the ethnic studies departments will be involved in some important decision-making, including the budget.
The dean also explained that his earlier “decisions were based on orders from the provost and other higher administration,” according to Pagtakhan.
Laureen Chew, associate dean of ethnic studies, stated her concern with the current situation by calling the cuts the largest she has seen in her 28 years at SF State.
Chew will be teaching for AAS next semester as part of the temporary fixes.
In order to promote awareness of the current situation, the Concerned Students in Action has also come up with “Save Our AAS” T-shirts and red bands.
“We do need to remember that SF State has the only Ethnic Studies College,” Pagtakhan said. “It’s a real treasure that sits in our backyard.”
For more information go to: http://asi.sfsu.edu.
SF State’s cycling activists said they believe their latest contest winner will follow through on his commitment to not use a car for a year and report his experiences in a Web blog.
Luis Silva, an English major, won a black Fuji bicycle from SF State’s Bicycle Advocacy Group and local bike shop Ocean Cyclery. The student group, dedicated to promoting bicycling as a mode of everyday transportation, selected Silva out of more than 200 contestants.
Student bicycle enthusiasts entered the contest Oct. 15 during this semester’s Bike to School Day, which saw more than 300 students park their bicycles in the quad for a day. “We got an enthusiastic response by passersby. A lot of people wished that we could do it every day,” said Randall Orr, member of BAG.
Orr and other BAG members pared the submissions—short essays describing why entrants wanted the bicycle and to live car-free for a year—to eight finalists and picked Silva’s randomly from those. The group awarded him the bicycle, donated by Ocean Cyclery, shortly before Thanksgiving break, Orr said.
Though this is the third time a student has won a bicycle from a Bike to School Day event, it is only the second time the winner had to promise not to use a car for a year. This semester’s contest was the first to ask entrants for a written piece, and it specifically asked the winner to write about the experience at least twice monthly on a Web blog.
“We wanted to make sure we got someone who was really dedicated to blogging. [Silva] seems enthusiastic about biking and about blogging.” Orr said.
Conversely, the output from previous winner Sarah Wang—three posts since April—was “a little disappointing because Ocean Cyclery was very generous in donating the bike…and the goals for the contest were not met,” Orr said.
The store and students involved in the contest wanted to read the ups and downs of Wang’s experience with bicycle travel and use it to promote “biking and other forms of sustainable transport,” Orr said. Without regular feedback, though, “we don’t know if she’s riding or not. I hope she’s getting a lot of use out of it,” he said.
By contrast, Silva has already posted twice on his We blog at http://prettysmartbiker.blogspot.com/, entitled “Too Pretty to Walk, Too Smart to Drive.” He said he will continue posting at least twice a month, but “it should be more frequent than that. I enjoy riding and I enjoy writing about my riding.”
Silva said he wrote his short essay on “the oppression that suburbia has due to cars.” In his home city of San Jose, “larger than SF in population but with no centralized area, it was very oppressive without a car,” he said, whereas “a bike is just a natural extension of independence. You can just hop on and go where you need to go.”
So far, bicycling from his current home in the Lower Haight neighborhood is “definitely a little bit trying to ride, since it’s a single-speed and there are crazy hills in San Francisco,” Silva said. Overall, though, “it’s been pretty amazing. I feel better because I’m getting more physical exercise. It’s pretty good to know I can get from place to place. It sounds pretty simplistic, but it’s a pretty good feeling.”
Silva said he still sometimes takes his bicycle onto MUNI for part of his school trip, but “my goal is to use only my bicycle as my mode of transportation. It’s definitely on my checklist of things to do.”
Omitting car trips has not yet posed a big challenge, thanks to public transportation, Silva said. To see his family in San Jose for Thanksgiving, he took Caltrain into the city “and I biked my way from there, which wasn’t so hard,” he said.
Say goodbye to the J. Paul Leonard Library and hello to the library annex.
The J. Paul Leonard Library will close on Sunday, Nov. 23 to undergo a three-year retrofit and renovation. The project will make the building earthquake safe, as well as expand on library services. Upon completion, the library will have more computers, increased study space, and ample storage for a book collection that needs room to grow, according to Meredith Eliassen, a reference specialist at the library.
But during the three-year period, students will not be able to use the library.
The library annex—which opens Monday, Nov. 24—will help fill the library’s shoes. Nicknamed “the bubble,” the facility will provide limited student access through Thanksgiving week. But come December, the computer lab and study area will be open to students 24 hours a day.
“We’re hoping for about 150 computers and 300 study seats,” said Darlene Tong, the head of the Library building project. Tong said the annex will not have a book browsing section, but that it will have a periodical rack with publications like Newsweek.
While the annex will provide students with plenty of study space and computer access, its location is far from the center of campus. A student walking from 19th Avenue must travel to the opposite corner of SF State’s campus; through the quad, past the gymnasium and the parking garage to its location next to the corporation yard.
Dustin Helmer, an undergraduate junior in SF State’s criminal justice department, said he probably would not use the annex because of its location. But Helmer, 20, said he understands that building space is tight on campus.
“I can understand why, because there is no other place to put it,” Helmer said. “But realistically, I wouldn’t want to go there.”
“If you look on this campus, there is not a lot of space,” said Betsy Jo Carleton, a project coordinator for the annex. “We needed to accommodate the library.”
A new campus shuttle is planned to address concerns over the annex’s remoteness. The shuttle will transport students from 19th Avenue to the library annex. It will run Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and is scheduled to pick up students every 30 minutes, according to Deborah Masters, the university librarian.
The additional route will not effect the Daly City Bart shuttle, which will continue to transport students from 19th Avenue every 10 to 15 minutes.
Masters said the annex will also staff two security guards at night, which could provide escorts for students.
The building was built by a company called Sprung Instant Structures, and is made out of aluminum according to its Web site. According to Carleton, the ceiling is 44 feet high and the structure is 225 feet long. Carleton said the company builds these kinds of structures around the U.S.
“I think it’s going to be a really good building for the university,” Carleton said
The annex was not open to reporters because construction is not yet complete. But Eliassen, who has worked for the library since 1986, said inside the annex is one big room.
The structure looks like a tent from the outside but Carleton said it is insulated like a building. The aluminum walls are padded with 12 inches of fiberglass, which will protect visiting students from the hot of summer and the cool of winter.
“It is a tent,” Eliassen said. “A very well insulated tent, but it’s still a tent.”
From work, school and home, Obama supporters lined up, rocking briefcases, backpacks, heels and sneakers as they filed into the Mezzanine in San Francisco on Nov. 4, for a viewing party of the 2008 presidential election.
Drinks and music accompanied the crowd as they peered up at three giant screens anticipating the hourly countdown as voting polls closed on the East Coast, announcing the electoral vote tallies for each state. Couples kissed, men high-fived and the women chatted excitedly as they clinked their "Obamapolitans" and "Barackatinis" as the majority of receding gray states turned blue.
Eddie, a street artist from Oakland, featured his work throughout the club with banners and posters hanging on walls and balconies. The Obama artwork was originally for the February primaries, but Eddie went on to create artwork incorporating his political beliefs with street art, like the "No on Prop 8" piece, a reproduction of an Obama face stenciled into Shepard Fairey's Andre the Giant "OBEY" logo and numerous versions of Obama designs for t-shirts, posters and buttons. Eddie's t-shirts and artworks have sold throughout the Bay Area and in Denver, for the Democratic National Convention—some patrons came wearing his clothing, supporting the edgy design and appeal to street art.
The announcement of Obama's election to the presidency ignited a deafening uproar as Mezzanine patrons wiped away tears, embraced or just stood silently, in shock, falling silent for the acceptance speech. Chaos subsided as the music started back up—the night had just begun.
There was a fire in the University Park South residential apartments at approximately 3 p.m. today.
According to Captain Takahashi of the San Francisco Police Department, there was a call made around 3 p.m. about smoke located near the intersection of Holloway Avenue and Font Boulevard. Five fire trucks and several police cars arrived at the scene minutes later.
The unidentified male SF student, who lives in the apartment with a resident who is not affiliated with the university, was not home during the fire. Officers had to force their way into the apartment by opening the front door with a crowbar, said Takahashi.
Officer J.A. Mora and Officer V. Phan of the San Francisco Police Department said that a lamp fell over onto the mattress and caught fire. There were no reported injuries, and there was minimal damage to the house, said Officers Mora and Phan.
The mattress, blanket and burnt pillow were were pulled out of the apartment and remained near the front door after the fire was extinguished. One of the residents returned home around 4 p.m.
University spokeswoman Ellen Griffin said that the exact cause of the fire has not yet been officially confirmed. Both of the residents were re-located to a temporary unit for tonight.
It was just past 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 4 and Riptide on Taraval Street and 46th Avenue was overflowing with excited individuals, smashed into the small space and exuding happiness at Barack Obama being announced as the 44th President of the United States.
The party had been going on for over an hour, led by Lloyd Dangle, a comedian and producer of the comic strip, “Trouble Town.” The party was a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the comic as well as a commemoration of the election.
“This is the last stop on my book tour,” Dangle said. “But I won’t be doing my normal routine tonight. We have much more important things to focus on.”
The crowd was a collection of people from all backgrounds and from many different parts of the city, coming together to celebrate a unique moment in history. “We are all here for the same reason,” said Alyssa Koral, a financial advisor and San Francisco resident. “I came tonight because I knew that all of these people would be here to celebrate this new step for America.”
The walls inside the bar were decorated with various political cartoons designed by Dangle over the years, along with cardboard cut-outs of presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama and a large screen on which the election results were projected.
“I am so proud of my generation today,” said Lindsey Engelhardt, a creative writing major at SF State. “We came for the drink specials and because we don’t have a TV at home. We wanted to be somewhere where everyone would be as excited as we are.”
A huge crowd formed in front of the large screen set up in the bar as the concession and acceptance speeches were given and a combination of emotion could be heard throughout the night.
“I lost my voice tonight, I was screaming so loud when Obama won,” said Mary DeLorenzo, a women’s studies major at SF State.
The general sentiment for the night was one of happiness and good company. “I feel like I have been waiting for this moment for seven years,” Koral said. “I feel so overwhelmed right now, I can’t even explain the joy I am feeling.”
The excitement did not falter as the night went on, and the bar continued to be crowded long after the speeches had been given.
“This is a step in the right direction,” said Mike Nadal, a computer specialist. “I think we have a lot to look forward to the next four years, I look up to Obama so much and hope I can meet him someday.”
Two vacant seats in the student senate and 24 in 12 of the main university committees have board members of Associated Students, Inc. concerned over a lack of interest in university government and political matters, Vice President of Student Affairs Marc Ong said.
“Students on campus forget of their right to participate and have a say in the committees,” he said.
Members of the students’ board and university committees are now working to get more students involved in order to express their voices. Ong said the committees were originally run only by faculty members and only open to students who fought for the right to participate. Today, however, the seats are being taken for granted, committee staff said.
“There are a lot of people who are only interested in their education, but there is a minimum... joining these committees,” Ong said. “Maybe they don’t even realize how powerful it can be to join one of the committees.”
According to Ong, even though students do not get a financial benefit for participating in any of the university committees, they can enroll in a three-unit leadership class, and they are also able to express their opinion about university measures and class curriculum.
Francis Neely, political science associate professor and member of the Student Affairs Committee, attributed the higher number of first-time freshmen as a possible reason for the increased disinterest. According to Neely, youth are traditionally known for being less politically involved, a fact that can also be linked to each individual’s family’s political awareness.
“Those who come from a political background are more inclined to participate,” Neely said.
Neely added that first-time freshmen might also not be as familiar with the university’s politics and adapting to the college lifestyle may distract them.
Ethnic studies representative Cory Wong expressed a concern with how well students are being represented if they are not participating. According to Wong, the student government works to represent SF State students, but can’t do a fair representation of their needs if they don’t speak up or if they don’t choose a good representative of their political views.
“If students don’t participate, we aren’t able to accurately represent them,” Wong said.
Health and humanities representative Graham Litchman said students mostly voice their opinions when something isn’t matching their expectations and that it isn’t fair to those who have been trying to work for each person enrolled at SF State.
“Students are quick to blame, but not to participate,” Litchman said.
Litchman added that this is a great opportunity for students to have their voices heard, especially in terms of their education.
“Young people usually don’t care about politics unless there is some big issue,” said Nick Occhipinti, a political science student at SF State.
Occhipinti, who got his Bachelor of Arts in social science from SF State, said that while he was an undergraduate student he tried to be involved with the ASI events as much as possible. But now he sees himself more involved in making a difference outside of school.
“I keep up as much as I can, but because I am in grad school I don’t find myself getting as involved,” Occhipinti said.
As posted in the ASI Web site, all SF State students are automatically enrolled as an ASI member and $42 is deducted from all of those who register for classes. Still, some students are not aware of ASI’s function and don’t participate in voting, Ong said.
Ong urges students to become active with students’ affairs as much as they can. Meeting schedules and agenda are frequently posted at the ASI Business Office, located on the second floor of the Student Services building, and most meetings are open to anyone who would like to join them.
“If they [SF State students] see a problem, all they have to do is come to an ASI board meeting,” Ong said. “We are very open, often a small group – come by to let us know what is going on.”
SF State’s young resident students were out in force to cast their votes for Barack Obama on Tuesday, according to an exit poll conducted by the Golden Gate [X]press.
Of the 554 respondents, more than 90 percent said they voted for Barack Obama. Almost 6 percent said they voted for John McCain and less than 1 percent for Ralph Nader.
The survey, conducted outside Mary Ward residence hall’s polling place, represented a precinct largely comprised of students who live in Mary Ward, Mary Park and The Towers.
It was the first time casting a ballot in a national presidential election for almost 87 percent of the voters polled. Ninety-five percent were between the ages of 18 and 22.
Obama’s message of hope for the future resonated with young voters throughout the campaign and more than a third of those surveyed said the promise of change had the strongest influence on their decision.
California’s Proposition 8 to ban gay marriage was noted as the most important initiative by almost 60 percent of those responding. Prop 4, an initiative that many at SF State feel is an attack on women’s reproductive rights, was also a major concern.
In a shift from previous exit poll data collected by [X]press for the same precinct, 16 percent said the economy was the biggest factor in their selection for president - compared to 6 percent during February’s state primary.
Nine months ago, the war in Iraq was the most important issue for almost 20 percent of those polled. In the current poll, less than 10 percent said the war and foreign policy was the most significant factor in casting their vote for president.
Many first-time student voters who showed up to cast their ballot at SF State’s polling center, Mary Ward Hall, were in for a jaw-dropping surprise: a two-hour wait.
The line began at Mary Ward Hall’s entrance and snaked around the building, sliding past where the dorm hall begins. Dustin Fabian, Seven Hills Conference Center events coordinator, said he saw students lined up when he arrived for work at 5:30 a.m., long before the poll center opened at 7 a.m.
“It began to get really long after noon,” Fabian said.
However, the line’s length didn’t seem to faze students as many braved the cold and patiently waited in small groups, chatting with friends or squeezing in study time, with their heads buried in textbooks.
Freshman Ethan Petznick, 18, began to near the line’s end after a 1 hour, 40 minute wait. “I just turned 18 a month ago,” Petznick said. “I felt it was important to vote because being Republican for the past eight years screwed us.”
Candace Kavanagh, freshman, is a friend of Petznick and waited in line next to him. For her, being able to vote resonates on a more personal level. “Being a gay lady, [voting against] Prop 8 is really important,” Kavanagh said. “If I wait in line, maybe [gays and lesbians can continue to] get married.”
Kavanagh also said that one of her instructors recently married her partner. “It’d be sad if tomorrow it [the marriage] was wiped out because I didn’t stand in line,” Kavanagh said. “I stand in line for stupider things like Space Mountain [at Disneyland].”
Freshman Laurel Somers spotted friends Petznick and Kavanagh in line and ducked under the tape. “I’ve looked at the line all day and kept putting it off,” Somers said. The student added that she is a Republican voting for McCain. “I think McCain is more equipped to get us out [of Iraq] more efficiently,” she said. “The war comes back to the economy, [and] it’s hurting us everyday.”
Freshman Meghan Presson and Alexa Bicos said they also found a way around the system. “We cut [in line],” Presson said. “We were looking for someone we knew and found this guy,” she said, signaling towards a friend.
However, Presson and Bicos’ short cut still landed them a 45-minute wait, though they didn’t seem to mind.
“If I didn’t vote, I feel like it would be a waste,” Bicos said. “I wouldn’t be doing anything [if I wasn’t here]. I’d just be sitting at home, watching TV.”
Presson and Bicos said that a personal tie to vote against Proposition 8 also brought them out. “We have a teacher that just got married to her partner,” Bicos said.
Bicos said that his teacher motivated her students to vote. “We want change, and we have a chance to create it,” Bicos said. “We need to stand in line to make it happen. It’s not going to come free. “
Freshman Yvonne Ma got in line around 5:30 p.m. “I’ve been at class and work all day,” Ma said. “I definitely thought [the line would] be shorter.”
Ma said that she hoped her wait wouldn’t go past 6 p.m. “I’m supposed to meet my friends to work out,” she said, adding that she also has an intramural volleyball game at 9 p.m. “But I don’t mind [waiting longer]. I’m pretty patient,” Ma said. “This election is worth waiting for.”
Poll worker Angeline Lowe said that once students made it inside, most seemed angry about having waited so long. “In the end, though, most were relieved when they finally got their ballot to vote,” Lowe said.
Leadership High School student Chase Johns, 17, also volunteered to work the polls at SF State. Johns said that he was put at the end of the line at 20 minutes after the polling place closed to block further people from forming.
“I didn’t expect it [the minimum two-hour wait] — I’m surprised,” Johns said. “It was a good turnout.”
Around 8 p.m., before Johns was placed at the end of the line, the poll worker said that he found out who won the presidency by the ecstatic shouts that pierced the campus night air. “I knew who won [the presidency] by the screaming. I didn’t see anything on TV, I just knew from the noise,” he said. “I just hope that change really does come.”
The California Faculty Association accused CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed on Wednesday of misleading the university system about the nature of the announced $31.3 million budget cut.
The CFA characterized the cut as “a voluntary give back to the governor,” and not a mandatory reduction imposed on the CSU system, according to a posting on the CFA’s Web site.
“The Chancellor misled the campus community by incorrectly reporting the CSU is among the agencies that ‘need to cut a total of $390 million from the current budget,’” the posting read.
CFA coordinators e-mailed a copy of the posting to instructors at SF State Wednesday morning, asking faculty to contact the chancellor and CSU Trustees to protest a budget cut not mandated by the state. Attached to the e-mail were links to documents, including Executive Order S-09-08 in which the governor acknowledges the CSU is not under his direct authority to control budgets.
The CFA alleged Reed understood the state’s educational system was not required to return the money but chose to do so, and he understands the loss of funds will be detrimental to the CSU system, “especially in an economic crisis,” the e-mail said. In a letter to Cabinet Secretary Victoria Bradshaw, Reed said he would choose to make the requested cuts, but warned against further reductions next year as the universities would be unable to function effectively in their basic tasks and obligations to students.
Teresa Ruiz, Public Affairs Communication Specialist at CSU, said the $31.3 million has not been returned to the state’s budget, but there is little chance the plan will be changed.
“CSU is trying to show collaboration and be part of the solution,” Ruiz said. “We are in the middle of a crisis in the state.”
Ruiz said CSU is trying to keep all the campuses aware of information so they can prepare to handle all changes as they happen.
“Everybody is entitled to their opinions of course,” Ruiz said in response to CFA’s actions, “but we help to keep everyone involved and keep them aware of how things are working out.”
The CFA Web site offered information to teachers and asked faculty to send a direct message to Chancellor Reed:
“He, first and foremost, must stand strong for policy that will help to end the financial crisis, and not give in to cuts that make things worse.”
On Nov. 4, businesses were hoping to encourage and reward voters by offering free products to anyone who participated in the election, yet they were actually violating a law.
Starbucks, Krispy Kreme, Ben & Jerry’s and many other stores announced last week that they would be handing out free food and drinks to customers with an “I Voted” sticker.
Yet the companies would have actually committed a felony, because such offers to voters could be seen as bribes, said a representative at the California Secretary of State hotline.
Such an incentive violates federal as well as state election laws, said the representative, and if stores wanted to continue with their endorsements they would have to offer freebies to anyone on election day.
Therefore, the stores quickly revised their promotions and offered freebies to anyone who mentioned the election special.
Starbucks officials released an official statement on Monday that “to ensure we are in compliance with election law, we are extending our offer to all customers who request a tall brewed coffee.”
Companies even advertised their election support on social networking sites, such as MySpace and Facebook, which allowed people to R.S.V.P. if they were attending any of the store giveaways.
Moreover, Google officials announced on their blog yesterday that next to election state information, the most popular search was actually “free stuff for voting,” which peaked at approximately 11 a.m.
SF State’s Café Rosso, Station Café, Taza Wraps and Smoothies also participated in offering a free small coffee to people presenting a valid voter receipt, stub or sticker.
“This election is critically important to the future of our country, our state and the great City of San Francisco; I want to do everything possible to encourage the SFSU community to vote. I know that offering a complimentary cup of coffee can not compel you to vote; however, if I can provide that small incentive, I am more than happy to,” said Allam El Qadah, owner and operator of the cafes, in an official press release. “San Francisco is known for its passionate activism, and we have this opportunity to let our voices and our vote be heard in this historic election.”
Edinburgh Castle opened its doors yesterday evening for people of all political leanings to await the closing of the 2008 presidential election polls.
“I figured this would be one of the best places to watch the election. I knew that I would get an excellent cross-section of San Francisco voters,” said Matt Markovich, 36, strategic communications consultant.
Political junkies enjoyed food, drinks and the big projector screen until shortly after 8 p.m., when they watched as Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama was announced the winner of the presidential election.
“I feel so optimistic after many, many years of feeling anything but that. This is an event that signals something else, a new chapter for the planet,” said Markovich. “The world has voted.”
As the majority of the crowd erupted in a loud cheer, some reflected on the historic moment they just witnessed.
“Just forty years ago, it took the National Guard to let black kids in public schools and here we have one elected to office. It’s an outstanding shift in the way we view politics,” said Adaye Worku, 25, an Academy of Art student.
“The sheer number of people who are here tonight just shows how a lot of people came together and made the same choice. It feels good to belong,” said Worku. “I plan on being here until the last person leaves."
The SF State College Republicans had been campaigning for Arizona Sen. John McCain's run for presidency, as well as local Republican candidates, for months. On election night, their hard work culminated with the attendance of a party at Club Sport in Pleasanton, sponsored by Republican San Ramon Mayor Abram Wilson, who unsuccessfully ran for a seat in the State Assembly.
The college GOP spent the last few months tabling, phone banking, and precinct walking for various candidates. They said they endured extensive negative feedback from liberal SF State students, but they also gained some support.
"There's a lot of general feeling from the far left students that we shouldn't even be here," said James Kincaid, vice president of the club. "But then everyday we also get people that come up to us and say they're happy to see us out there."
As they watched McCain concede the presidency to Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, the College Republicans were disappointed, but remained stoic in the face of a historic defeat, wherein America elected its first black president in place of their preferred candidate.
"Just because the man we've been spending the past God-knows-how-many-months fighting against got elected president, doesn't mean we're going to stop fighting," said Alan Perez, a marketing major who is active in the club.
On the eve of the 2008 presidential election, while most people were anxiously waiting in front of their televisions for poll results, the SF State College Democrats were still pushing local registered voters to get out and vote before the polling booths closed in California at 8 p.m.
Such diligence would eventually pay off as Sen. Barrack Obama, their party's candidate, would emerge as the 44th President of the United States of America later that evening. He would go on to say in his acceptance speech that it was volunteers—like the College Democrats—and their contributions to his campaign in the form of phone banking, tabling, and especially precinct walking that culminated in his victory as President-elect of the country.
Because of a lack communication, Wednesday’s Associated Students, Inc. board meeting got off to a rocky start when members were forced to make a last-minute room change.
A member from the Asian Student Union and one from Pilipino American Collegiate Endeavors came to the ASI meeting to express concern over public safety bills they received from the SF State University Police Department.
“We were never notified of this implementation,” PACE assistant head coordinator Frandel C. Lladoc said to the board.
Recently, student organizations have had to pay a $90 an hour public safety fee for police presence at their events. Lladoc said PACE was charged $405 for its recent three-and-a-half hour event. Board members said The General Union of Palestinian Students group was charged $4,000 for police presence at one of its recent events.
Sharef Al Najjar, ASI’s vice president of finance, encouraged the board members to address the issue and ASI President Natalie Franklin made plans to get the campus police and the Office of Student Programs and Leadership Development at the next ASI meeting. Ethnic studies representative Cory Wong said since ASI only awards up to $300 for each student event, a $400.00 public safety fee would be “double dipping.”
-Hiring of Brailsford & Dunlavey
ASI approved nearly $300,000 to hire consultants for the proposed Recreation and Wellness Center. These consultants will be meeting with ASI board members and will prepare a feasibility/programming/conceptual study for the proposal.
-The board approved $195 of funding for the Pacific Islanders Club film festival
-The board approved $132 of funding for a Pacific Islanders Club workshop.
At their Nov. 4 meeting, University Librarian Deborah Masters gave the Academic Senate an update on the state of the availability of the library.
The library will close its doors for the duration of the renovation beginning Nov. 23 at 6 p.m. Main library services will begin in Library Annex I, also called “The Big Bubble,” on Nov. 24. It will be open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, until it transitions to 24-hour availability on Dec. 1.
The library is closing for a seismic retrofit, but also so the building can accommodate students with a 1/3 expansion and much needed extra electrical outlets for laptops and other devices, Masters said.
Those in need of a book do not have to make the trek to the Big Bubble’s location at the north end of campus on Winston Drive. Books can be reserved online and picked up in HSS 101, 102 and 107.
The psychology department submitted a proposal for an overhaul of its bachelor’s degree program citing a need to ensure students’ timely graduation, said Dr. Sacha Bunge, department chair. The changes would also help “manage enrollment,” as the program already has 1,553 majors, Bunge said. However, after facing a slew of questions from several Senate members on the elimination of required outside electives, advising changes, required online courses, and instituting a minimum C grade for prerequisites and extraneous language, the proposed changes were set aside for some retooling before the issue could be voted on.
The journalism department also submitted a proposal to restructure its bachelors program. Department Chair Venise Wagner outlined a need for changes to keep journalism students concurrent with emphasis on online skills. The new structure changes the minimum grade to a C for prerequisite classes. This ties in to controlling enrollment, as there are already 650 declared majors, which was an issue during the re-accreditation process. The proposal was approved and the changes will be integrated over the next year and a half.
Same-sex couples in California are again not allowed to marry, as election results for Proposition 8 came in Wednesday showing that voters passed the gay marriage ban in Tuesday’s election.
With 96 percent of votes in the state counted, 52 percent of California voters backed the gay marriage ban while 48 percent opposed it.
As SF State students flocked to the polls Tuesday, a good number of them—approximately 60 percent, according to a survey conducted by the [X]press—said that they thought Proposition 8 was the most important issue on the ballot.
Now that the proposition has passed, many students that voted no are dismayed by the outcome.
“It’s sad that [Proposition 8] is going to pass,” said junior Patrick Haugen, who had voted no on the ban. “It’s ironic, given the historical milestone made with Obama winning the presidency and at the same time having a seemly archaic outcome for this proposition.”
Leah Thompson, another student and “No on 8” voter, agreed: “That sucks. I think same-sex couples should have the right to marry.”
The election results came as a surprise to voters in San Francisco County, who mostly voted no on Prop 8, having only 23.5 percent voting yes. Other Bay Area counties with the majority voting no include Santa Cruz, Marin and Sonoma.
“I wasn’t aware the vote was going in the [“yes”] direction,” Thompson said.
Many students leaving the on-campus polling center at Mary Ward Hall said that they had voted no on the proposition titled “Eliminates Rights of Same-Sex Couples to Marry.”
“Overwhelmingly, students are with us against [Proposition] 8,” said Jessie Raeder, Northern California organizer for the Feminist Majority Foundation, which is affiliated with the “No on 4 and 8” campaign.
Raeder was one of several “No on 4 and 8” campaign members who stood by the pathway leading to Mary Ward Hall, carrying signs and handing out stickers to student voters walking past.
“There’s been a vast amount of students giving thumbs-up signs,” Raeder said, adding that SF State is “mostly a pro-choice, pro-equality campus.”
Freshman Karen Ithinavong was one of those students. “Everyone should be treated equally,” she said. “No one should stop anyone from marrying who they love.”
But even in a predominantly anti-Proposition 8 campus, a few students still voted yes and afterwards celebrated the passage of the ban.
Kidman Tsoi was one of the students who supported Proposition 8. He said he was happy that it passed.
“I don’t think that human rights is about people doing whatever they want to do,” he said. “Family values are one of the most important things in my life, and those values include marriage [being] just about one man and one woman.”
Another Proposition 8 supporter, sophomore Doug Lee, said that he still voted yes even if he knows he is part of the minority on campus.
“I don’t want to deny someone their right to be with who they care about,” Lee said. “But I feel I need to stick to my principles when it comes to what God intended for a man and woman in marriage.”
In other parts of the state, many voters seemed to have shared similar sentiments. Most of Central Valley and Southern California backed the proposition, with Kern, Riverside and San Bernardino counties overwhelmingly in favor of the ban.
In the northern region of the state, the proposition also drew strong support from voters in counties like Modoc, Tehama and Shasta.
But those who opposed Proposition 8 have expressed hopes that things can still change in favor of gay marriage.
“They should still keep trying and keep working on getting rights for same-sex couples,” Thompson said.
A throng of students—many of them minorities—are gathered in the quad, covering the entire area from Malcolm X Plaza to the business building. They chant, “Power to the people!” and wave signs bearing that same phrase. Chaos abounds as police are called in to restrain the angry crowd after it decides to march on the administration building.
This was the scene that met the eye 40 years ago, when the SF State strike of 1968 shook the campus and changed its face forever, making headlines all around the world and generating a new awareness of diversity.
“The strike was one of the defining moments of American education,” SF State President Robert Corrigan said. “It allowed the community to come together, and around the country doors began to open up [for students of color].”
The strike, led by the Black Student Union and the Third World Liberation Front, a coalition of students of color, began on Nov. 6, 1968 after then-President Robert Smith suspended teaching assistant and graduate student George Mason Murray, who was a member of the Black Panthers.
A chronology created by the campus library said that the strike ended on March 20, 1969, when an agreement was signed between the BSU, TWLF and a committee created by the school to address the issues concerning inequality and lack of diversity that triggered the strike.
“The issue of access for students of color was the main driving force behind the strike,” said dean of Social Justice Initiatives Jacob Perea, who was a graduate student during the strike.
Many current faculty and alumni said that before the strike, the campus was not at all diverse.
“I was a student here in 1968,” said associate dean of Ethnic Studies Laureen Chew, whose involvement in the strike led her to be arrested and jailed for about three weeks. “I saw predominantly white faces on campus. As a Chinese-American, I was very much a minority.”
Asian American studies professor Dan Gonzalez, who came to SF State as a freshman in the middle of the strike, said that the school at the time was a “white campus.”
“There were very few people of color,” Gonzalez said. He mentioned an informal 1969 census that reflected only 75 Filipino students, which he said was a “poor show” given the considerable growth of the Filipino population in areas surrounding the school.
Both Chew and Gonzalez added that there was very little curriculum for teaching about other cultures.
“The only form of ethnic studies classes were presentations by different organizations,” Gonzalez said.
As part of the strike, students boycotted classes and picketed in and around campus, even bringing in high school students from different parts of the city to see the strike, Perea said.
Perea himself was one of the members of the TWLF who joined groups that took over different buildings in the city to use them as meeting places and venues for after-school programs that educated students of color.
Even the faculty got involved. About 350 faculty members picketed in January 1969, when the campus re-opened after being closed for over a month by acting President S.I. Hayakawa.
“The strike split departments in half,” Corrigan said. “The place turned on itself and became the most challenging institution in America.”
Nearly 2,000 people were arrested and nearly two dozen faculty members were fired during the course of the strike, according to the San Francisco Examiner.
The need for more diverse education led to the establishment of the first College of Ethnic Studies in 1969 and to the school increasing its recruitment and admission of minority students and faculty.
“The face of the campus changed,” Chew said.
The Office of Budget Planning and Enrollment released an ethnicity report at the end of fall 2007. It showed that out of a total student (graduate and undergraduate) population of 30,125, 36.8 percent were white (a 5 percent decrease in the previous 10 years), non-Latino, 22.7 percent were Asian, 17 percent were Mexican American or Latino, and 6.5 percent were African American.
“We had an extraordinary shift in the demographics of faculty and students,” Corrigan said. “We made every effort to diversify the campus.”
Within a decade of the strike, more than 400 other universities had begun their own ethnic studies programs, according to the Education Resource Information Center.
Forty years later, the College of Ethnic Studies has increased the number of its departments to 12 different programs from its original four, Chew said. Among these are American Indian studies, Raza studies, and most recently, the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diaporas Initiative.
Forty years ago, many individuals involved in SF State’s five-month campus strike risked physical harm by rallying in efforts to ensure the creation of the College of Ethnic Studies.
Student protesters were beaten, tear-gassed, knocked down and arrested by police for believing that a department, solely devoted to the study of third world academics, should be created.
Their determined efforts paid off, and now SF State is home to one of the most impressive multiethnic colleges in the country.
While the college is now regarded as a specialized academic cultural center, individuals involved in the creation of the department look back at the chaotic days 40 years ago with mixed feelings.
“SF State was basically turned into a police camp during the strike,” said Dan Gonzales, associate professor of Asian American studies and active student participant of the protests. “The police had long, heavy batons that were strictly used for crowd control. If someone got hit in the head with one, it would draw blood.”
To control the masses of student protestors, police used pepper and tear gas, Gonzales said. “It was a very scary time to be a student at SF State.”
On occasion, tactical alert squads were called in to quell the violent atmosphere on campus, said Benjamin Stewart, chairman of the Black Student Union at the time. “People were getting beat up by police constantly, even students not involved in the strikes were getting beat.”
“There was both a physical and mental struggle that students had to endure to create the College [of Ethnic Studies],” said Kenneth Monteiro, current dean of the college. “They would risk harm by putting their bodies on the line.”
Police covered virtually every building, Gonzales said. “There were plainclothes officers that would look for excuses to take advantage of their authority.
“It seemed like some police were looking for a confrontation— beating up on students must have been a substitute for not going to Vietnam.”
In many cases the excessive police brutality worked to a disadvantage for the authorities, Stewart said. It alienated a lot of people and “made students feel like it was us against them.”
The police reaction to student protestors was unabashedly excessive and relentless, Gonzales said.
Protesters had to “endure tear gas, police chasing and attack dogs,” Monteiro said. “It really is amazing what students went through.”
When university administrators met the demands of the student protestors, it signaled an end to the violence and conflicts between students and police, Stewart said.
“I look back on those days and sometimes wonder how I made it out alive,” Stewart said. “[Although when I reflect] about what we created it makes me think that the struggle was worth it.”
Before becoming a big-name Hollywood actor, Danny Glover was a student at SF State who was involved in the 1968 protests and creation of the College of Ethnic Studies.
An active member of the Black Student Union at the time, Glover said he worked fervently through adversity and intimidation to establish the first-of-its-kind Black Studies department.
Now 40 years later, lasting impressions of the strike have resulted in a life-long involvement in political activism and advocacy for multiethnic academics, said the now 62-year-old Glover.
During his time at SF State, Glover was engaged in the student-led strike that struggled for racial equality and creation of an academic department solely devoted to third world studies.
Despite the harsh tactics police employed to quell student protesters, his strongest memories of the time revolve around the BSU organizing and coming together for a united cause despite unyielding adversity, Glover said.
“For me, the signature of the protests was the strategic meetings and planning sessions that the BSU held,” Glover said. “I remember working ’round the clock with other BSU members, discussing different tactics and methods that we should undertake to ensure all our efforts were not in vain.”
Glover said in order to reach the goals outlined by the BSU, active members of the strike led rallies and demonstrations on campus with the intention of disrupting classes and university life.
“The organizing was very widespread and broad-based,” said Benjamin Stewart, chairman of the BSU during the time of the strike. “We were trying to establish demands and tell administrators that if we don’t get what we want we are shutting the school down.”
“We decided that if we wanted to succeed, we would have to organize in a fashion that would truly disrupt the university,” Glover added.
When protestors clashed with police, it often resulted in fierce and violent conflict, with several students ending up in prison or a hospital.
Because many of the memories Glover has of the turbulent times are dark and convoluted, he said he doesn’t wish to revisit those particular sections of his personal history.
Police used tear gas and heavy batons to suppress many of the students that were protesting, said Dan Gonzalez, a student involved the protests and current associate professors of Asian American studies. “It got extremely violent.”
“I was part of one of the mass student arrests,” Glover said. “But honestly, it’s been 40 years since those days, and I don’t want to think about those violent times.”
“The police did overreact, but we organized around their reaction,” Stewart said. “The campus was a stage for confrontation.”
Despite the forceful involvement of police, Glover and his fellow BSU members continued to meet—determined to see the strike and the creation of the College of Ethnic Studies through.
“Our work ethic couldn’t be questioned,” Glover said. “We established a methodology 24-7. We studied a lot and we read a lot.”
“That experience was invaluable,” he added.
Due to the intensely well rounded approach the protestors employed, five months into the strike, Stewart said SF State compromised with students and met many of the demands of the BSU.
“What we did had never been done,” Glover said. “Up until that date no one had put a freeze on a university the way we did.”
Forty years later, the legacy of the student protests and the creation of the College of Ethnic Studies still stick out in Glover’s mind as a crucial moment and turning point for SF State.
“We didn’t really know it at the time,” Glover said. “But what we were doing at the time was quite significant in historical context.”
Raised hands, cheers, a standing ovation and a circulation of text messages and phone calls contributed to the collective reaction that filled Jack Adams Hall when CNN's headline "Breaking News: Barack Obama elected President" appeared on the projection screen.
The election party in Jack Adams Hall captured the excitement and responses to the presidential election from over 300 viewers, who watched the election coverage from CNN over a large projection screen. The gathering began around 7 p.m. and also included stand-by analysis about the news reports by a panel of experts from SF State's Political Science Department.
The event's three panelists, Grame Boushey, Francis Neely and Erin Schonick, paraphrased the election's updates, made comments on the news coverage and answered questions from the audience. The panelists also discussed the historical importance of some details about the election, such as the fact that it was the first time in four years that Virginia voted for a Democrat.
Hosted by the moderator and dean of the Political Science Department, Joel Kassiola, the hall was lined in rows of nearly 400 green chairs, and a microphone was placed in the middle of the hall for questions and comments from viewers. Audience members' questions ranged from inquiries about the closing of the polls in California to comments about North Dakota being a significant state for both candidates.
Following the announcement that Obama won the election, overwhelming applause and cheers rose after statements from the television's live coverage like, "Barack Obama will become the 44th president," or to the simple mentioning of his name, which preceded chants of "Yes, we can!" There was also applause for McCain's speech after the election results.
Travis Northup, a cinema major, was sitting in the front row of the hall and said he was the first person to see the final on-screen results. He was in complete shock and happiness, calling the voters' efforts and the outcome amazing.
"It's hard to believe, but we actually did it," said Northup, 19. "I jumped up and down and started screaming and shouting! I went crazy. I just couldn't believe it."
He also said the historical election is something this generation will remember the for the next 50 or 60 years. "I think Barack Obama will change so much about this country, and I think that's what we need," said Northup.
Estefani Morales, an International Relations Major, also said she was completely shocked to hear the final results and called the moment surreal, amazing, pivotal and emotional. As an Obama supporter, she expressed her concern that Obama will stick to the promises he made about changes to tax cuts, foreign policy and Healthcare.
"[I hope] he'll follow through with the policies that he's been talking about," said Morales. "I feel like that's what will help us in the long run."
Although Jack Adams was mainly packed with a majority of Obama supporters who were pleased with the conclusion of the presidential election, there were a small number of McCain supporters and voters from independent parties.
Franko Alli, a Libertarian, said he was expecting Obama to win because he knows the majority of people at SF State and San Francisco are supporters of Obama. Alli also said that he has heavily researched Obama's stand on different issues, and although he does not agree with some of the solutions Obama presents, he still has respect for him.
"I'm happy to see America working together, even if I disagree," said Alli. "[But I think] this still sucks... I know I'll be hearing about it from my friends tomorrow."
Kassiola, the moderator of the Jack Adams Hall election party, explained that in 2004, there was an election party in Jack Adams Hall, but there weren't nearly as many people who attended the event. He also said there wasn't the same energy and enthusiasm four years ago.
"[At the end of the election party four years ago], there was one person who approached the microphone and said, 'There's always next year,'" said Kassiola.
Kassiola said he was very happy with the turn-out of this year's presidential election party and was especially happy to see the lively energy of the attendees. He said his original goal was to get students involved in the presidential campaigns within a group setting.
"I think it's important to watch [the election] in a social situation [as opposed] to being home alone or at a bar watching the election results," said Kassiola.
Barack Obama has won the next presidency of the United States, with the conceding of John McCain and 70 percent of the nation's electoral votes as of Wednesday morning, according to the Associated Press.
Loud screams of elation exploded from Mary Park and Mary Ward halls as CNN projected Obama's win around eight this evening, and echoes of celebratory cheers could be heard late into the night.
SF State's young resident students were out in force to cast their votes for Barack Obama on Tuesday, according to an exit poll conducted by the Golden Gate [X]press.
Of the 554 respondents, more than 90 percent said they voted for Barack Obama. Less than 6 percent said they voted for John McCain and less than 1 percent for Ralph Nader.
The survey, conducted outside Mary Ward residence hall's polling place, represented a precinct largely comprised of students who live in Mary Ward, Mary Park and The Towers.
It was the first time casting a ballot in a national presidential election for almost 87 percent of the voters polled. Ninety-five percent were between the ages of 18 and 22. More than 50 percent were 18-year-olds.
Obama's message of hope for the future resonated with young voters throughout the campaign and more than a third of those surveyed said the promise of change had the strongest influence on their decision.
California's Proposition 8 to ban gay marriage was noted as the most important initiative by almost 60 percent of those responding. Prop 4, an initiative that many at SF State feel is an attack on women's reproductive rights, was also a major concern.
In a shift from previous exit poll data collected by [X]press for the same precinct, 16 percent said the economy was the biggest factor in their selection for president - compared to 6 percent during February's state primary.
Nine months ago, the war in Iraq was the most important issue for almost 20 percent of those polled. In the current poll, less than 10 percent said the war and foreign policy was the most significant factor in casting their vote for president.
Yerba Buena Center celebrated more than the arts yesterday, when hundreds of Obama supporters flooded the building with joy and tears after America’s 44th president was announced.
Supporters from around the world were elated when Barack Obama took more than 70 percent of the nation’s electoral votes, winning the election by a landslide. They said they were hoping for a positive change.
“I’m amazed and I feel happy,” said Astrid Junesjo, 58, a social worker from Sweden. “All the reaction in the streets—it’s so nice to see it.”
“It means that a change is going to come, and it’s time,” said Magi, an artist from New Orleans. It shows the world that America still is great.”
Seven historically red states were transformed to blue in support of Obama. Among those states were Ohio, New Mexico, Iowa, Florida, Indiana, and Montana.
“It means that there is a wave of positivity and consciousness that is traveling over the nation right now,” Rana Satori, 33 said. “There is a wave of separation, and I’m hoping that we can come together under the thing that we really believe in, which is love and happiness.”
On Nov. 4, businesses were hoping to encourage and reward voters by offering free products to anyone who participated in the election, yet they were actually violating a law.
Starbucks, Krispy Kreme, Ben & Jerry’s and many other stores announced last week that they would be handing out free food and drinks to costumers with an “I Voted” sticker.
Yet, they would have actually committed a felony by only allowing voters to participate because such offers could be seen as bribes.
According to the California Secretary of State, such an insinuative violates federal as well as state election laws, and if stores wanted to continue with their endorsements they would have to offer freebies to anyone on election day.
Therefore, stores have quickly revised their promotions to offering freebies to anyone mentioning their election special.
Starbucks released an official statement on Monday that "to ensure we are in compliance with election law, we are extending our offer to all customers who request a tall brewed coffee."
Companies even advertised their election support on social networking sites, such as MySpace and Facebook, which allowed people to RSVP if they were attending any store giveaways.
Moreover, Google announced on their blog earlier today that next to election state information, their most popular search was actually “free stuff for voting,” which peaked at about 11 am.
SF State's Café Rosso, Station Café, Taza Wraps and Smoothies will be also be participating by offering a free small coffee to people presenting a valid voter receipt, stub or sticker.
“This election is critically important to the future of our country, our state and the great City of San Francisco; I want to do everything possible to encourage the SFSU community to vote. I know that offering a complimentary cup of coffee cannot compel you to vote, however, if I can provide that small incentive, I am more than happy to,” said Allam El Qadah, owner and operator of the cafes, in an official press release. “San Francisco is known for its passionate activism, and we have this opportunity to let our voices and our vote be heard in this historic election.”
Café Rosso, Station Café, Taza Wraps and Smoothies (SF State) – free cup of coffee
Starbucks - free cup of small coffee
Krispy Kreme - free star shaped doughnut
Ben & Jerry’s - free scoop of ice cream between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Rock the Vote - eight free MP3s (www.rockthevote.com/pledge)
French Connection - 15% off
UPDATED AT 5 p.m.
With an unprecedented voter turnout expected in this year's presidential election, SF State voters have lined up throughout the day to cast their ballot.
From the long lines at the polls, here are their views.
While the country continues to vote in one of its most historic elections, San Franciscans have a world of events happening at home. 11th-hour campaigning, election watching and all-out celebration abound.
Follow the [X]press photo staff as they explore the city's offerings, from the miniscule to the magnificent.
Many campaigners made SF State their last stand today, hoping to convert student voters before they reach the polls.
Student volunteers campaigned for Proposition 1A in the Quad and against Propositions 4 and 8 outside City Eats Dining Center, next to the campus polling precinct.
Proposition 1A would help create a high-speed railway between San Francisco and San Diego. Proposition 4 would require minors to notify their parents before an abortion and Proposition 8 seeks to ban gay marriage.
“Vote down Propositions 4 and 8!” shouted Allison Mingus, president of student group Feminism in Action. She said her campaign continues on election day because those two propositions are the most important.
“Propositions 4 and 8 would threaten people’s equality,” Mingus said. “Students have to remember that, even though Obama is amazing, we also have other things to worry about.”
Shahriar Ghoudsifar, a student volunteering for the Human Rights Campaign against Proposition 8, agreed.
“It’s a sad thing to see our nation so far behind in the sense that we can’t follow our ideal of separation of church and state,” he said.
Alexandra Lozanoff, volunteering for the California Public Interest Research Group, handed out informational flyers for Proposition 1A and urged voters to help pass the initiative.
“The railway is the cleanest, fastest and cheapest travel option for California,” Lozanoff said. “It’s either that or more highways and bigger airports.”
Lozanoff said the last-minute campaigning helps remind voters of the important issues while they make their way to the polls.
There has been a last-minute change in the location of the on-campus SF State polling place for today’s voting.
The previous location was in the Presidio Conference Room in the Towers at Centennial Square. The site was moved to the Cantina attached to Mary Ward Hall.
“Access” and “crowd control” were cited as reasons for the move, said Terry Levy, the inspector for the SF State polling site.
Imploring young people to fight for social justice and to believe they can help change the world, two members of the Black Student Union who were at the forefront of student strike activities at San Francisco State College in 1968 engaged in a panel discussion on Saturday, November 1 at Jack Adams Hall.
Returning to campus in order to help commemorate the 40th anniversary of those ground breaking events, Jimmy Garrett and Clarence Thomas talked about the need for the next generation to build upon the gains student activists achieved in the 1960s and to emphasize that social activism should be a lifelong commitment.
“It’s a way of life,” said Garrett, who has gone on to receive two PhD’s and a law degree. “1968 was a critical time, but it was not the critical time. We’re still making history.”
Currently working in Vietnam to help that nation build a “green” future through the use of alternative energy sources, Garrett invited young people to join him and to learn the skills needed to help better their own communities’ energy future here in the United States.
“San Francisco State was not the high point of my life; that point hasn’t been reached yet,” said Garrett. “The struggle doesn’t stop.”
Clarence Thomas most certainly concurs with that assessment. Since leaving San Francisco State, Thomas has forged a career as a union activist, currently serving on the executive board of the International Longshore & Warehouse Union, Local 10 based here in San Francisco. He hopes today’s students learn from the 1968 strike and apply those ideals to their own activism.
“I’m hoping that this commemoration will give students an idea of the kind of institution they’re attending and what’s expected of them in the future,” said Thomas. “There are still lessons to be learned from that San Francisco State strike.”
Obviously proud of his contribution to the strike that helped create the nation’s first ethnic studies department here on campus, Thomas sees a need to include information in that department’s current curriculum to help bridge the generational divide between the student activists of today and those that came of age in the 1960s.
“There needs to be more information being provided to the community that would give young people the experience” to continue the struggle, said Thomas. “We need to have conversations dealing with specifics.”
He hopes this week’s commemoration activities serve as a stepping-stone to an intergenerational sharing of tactics for committed activists and offer an opportunity to provide direction to today’s youth.
“Practice, theory, practice. That’s the way we did it in the old days,” said Thomas, “and that’s what needs to happen right now.
As the alumnus of SF State reminisce about the 1968 strike that established the first Ethnic Studies Department, the LGBT community recalls how the strike brought about a movement of their own where they fought and continue to fight for social equality.
The panel, made up of seven people including four activists, a historian, a sociologist and a graduate student, was moderated by Associate Professor in Ethnic Studies and Sexuality Studies program Amy Sueyoshi.
Although this movement demanded equality for people of color homophobia was still very much alive and present in the late 60's, therefore women and queers found themselves fighting a different fight, they were fighting for acceptance.
“Like any sort of movement for social justice we should be looking back at history and finding lessons that we need to learn. So we’ve learned now from the movements of the late 60’s and early 70’s that it’s better to have a broad base politic. I think that people don’t know gay people. I think that if they associated with gay people or had friends that were gay they wouldn’t be denying them the right to be happy” said Sueyoshi.
Sociologist Andrew Jolivette believes that the only way to end oppression is for all oppressed people to unite and educate people about the LGBT community.
“Together today you and I, we can begin the process of forever changing the landscape of the queer community by embracing the fact that our power lies in the building of critical coalitions with other oppressed people. A struggle that recognizes our full humanity our right to exist our right to love how we want to love and to always, always remember to end one form of oppression brings us all the more closer to a world of liberation, freedom and self actualization,” Jolivette said.
Famed sociologist and psychologist (social-psychologist) Prof. Philip Zimbardo spoke at San Francisco State University Friday, as part of the series of speakers and events scheduled this week celebrating the 40th anniversary of 1968 student-lead strikes. Zimbardo delivered a lecture based on his book The Lucifer Effect: Understanding Why Good People Turn Evil.
Dean of the Ethnic Studies Department, Kenneth P. Monteiro, who studied under the professor, and now considers him a mentor, welcomed Zimbardo on to the stage. "As a cognitive psychologist, I wanted to know the social context of thinking, and its implications to issues that effect social justice, so I got under the wing of Phil Zimbardo."
Zimbardo remarked on the anniversary of the strikes, recalling 1968 as "A wonderful era." Citing student takeovers, opposition to the Vietnam War, the Black Panthers, and Women's Rights as vital social movements of the era, which often arose around institutions such as San Francisco State University. "The students and the faculty got together and made it clear that, what was important was, that universities were students and faculties - not the administration."
Zimbardo is known for his 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment in which research participants, mostly male college students of varying socio-economic status were cast as either guards or captives in a fully replicated prison situation. The aim of research was to observe how participants adapted to their roles, and dramatic transformation that occurred when some participants were placed in positions of authority. The now infamous experiment showed that, even in a mock situation, typical, healthy people have a tendency to commit inhumane acts on others in situations where the participants are assured the behavior is acceptable or justified.
Sambaed compared the findings from his prison experiment to the reports of misconduct and cruelty by U.S. troops at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay prisons, citing striking similarities. In both situations, persons placed in positions of authority went beyond their prescribed roles, committing unspeakable acts of torture and humiliation against their captives. Many of the acts have been documented in video and photographs, often by the persons committing them.
"I want to talk about a journey from the psychology of evil, to the psychology of heroism." Zimbardo said. Zimbardo says he is interested in the bigger questions than what makes people do bad things, such as what makes good people do bad things, and what makes ordinary, every day people do extraordinary, heroic things. "I'm interested in the transformation of human nature. Psychologists are optimistic - we want to know that diet of curiosity, like philosophers, we want to know it because, if we understand how and why, than maybe we can prevent it." Zimbardo said.
Zimbardos' current work focuses on the more positive side of human nature. According to the professor, the same situations that can drive people to do despicable acts against others, an also inspire people to do heroic things in opposition. Most people, he says do nothing. "They do what their mother always told them, to mind their business."
Zimbardo's project, The Psychology of Heroism is a multi-faceted approach to understand the concept of heroism, and promote the ideology to persons of all ages through education, training and media.
Students, faculty and participants of the "68 student strike gathered this morning to listen to a panel discussion about how the Vietnam War protests propelled the strike's activism, and how similar issues still face American society today.
The discussion began at 10 a.m. in Jack Adams Hall, and the event was apart of the Ethnic Studies department's four-day commemoration of the 1968 student strike. The strike, led by the Third World Liberation Front and Black Student Union, was a protest that concerned discrimination and civil rights at the university. The protest led to the creation of the world's only Ethnic Studies department, and this week marks the fortieth year since the strike began.
“This [panel discussion] is an invaluable opportunity for the crisis of 1968 to be shown as relevant in today’s world,” said Steve Zeltzer, a member of the 40th anniversary organizing committee.
This morning’s panel discussion celebrated the past, but was also a clear call for action in the future. The panel featured former members of the Black Student Union and 1968 strike participants, Clarence Thomas and James Garrett. Thomas, who is now a union activist, offered his guidance from his experiences during the 1960s.
“One of the most important things I learned during that struggle was the importance of coalitions, of people working together,” Thomas said.
Garret discussed how the young people of this generation haven’t found that same sense of activism that sparked the students during the ’68 strike. This is despite the fact that this generation faces many of the same issues as the students forty years ago, such as an unpopular war and disagreements with the SF State administration. “This generation hasn’t found its own mission, its own way,” Garret said.
The panel went on to discuss the similarities between the Vietnam War and today’s war in Iraq, such as the public's high disapproval rating. When asked how the younger generation can help end the war in Iraq, Thomas replied, “The only way the war is going to stop is [to] take lessons from the movements of the past and use them.”
During the panel discussion, the audience voiced agreement with head nods and the occasional cheer.
Audience member and strike veteran Nesbit Crutchfield hopes this morning’s discussion will inspire young people. “We were in no means unique,” Nesbit said. “I think the whole point of the commemoration is to inspire young people to realize the issues we faced then are comparable to issues they face today.”
Yvette Ching, a volunteer at this morning’s event and an SF State alumna, said she felt compelled to help with the commemoration because of the benefits she received from the student strike. As a student, Ching was a member of the Educational Opportunity Program, a program that resulted from the protest. “I feel it’s my duty to acknowledge and respect the dedication during the strike, which led to programs like the EOP.”
During the discussion, Thomas expressed his belief that the lessons of the "68 student strike are still relevant today. “There are still lessons to be learned from the [student] strike,” Thomas said. “I hope this discussion will give current students some idea of the kind of institution they’re attending and what is expected of them.”
As part of this weeks series of lectures and panel discussions commemorating the 40th anniversary of 1968 student-led strike, Associated Students Performing Arts and Lectures hosted an evening of spoken word poetry Thursday night, featuring performances by students, former students and the legendary spoken word trio The Last Poets.
The Last Poets are a New York-based group, formed on Malcolm X's birthday, May 19, 1968 in Harlem's Marcus Garvey Park. The original group consisted of three poets and a drummer. By 1970, The Last Poets had grown to include seven artists. Today, the groups' three remaining members still tour internationally, spreading the same messages to audiences as they did in that Harlem park 40 years ago.
The lyrics, much like the artists, were a product of the civil rights movement. Change, revolution and equality are constant themes in their poetry. As The Last Poets grew in popularity, releasing their second album in 1971, they quickly became a sign of the times. Their work became associated with the Black Nationalist movement, and eventually the subject of controversy. The group became known for condemning the United States government and supporting the Black Panthers.
Spoken word artists, such as The Last Poets are credited with laying the groundwork for Hip-Hop music. Jalal Mansur Nuriddan, founding member of The Last Poets, is now known as "The Grandfather of Rap"
Muata Kenyatta, Director of Performing Arts and Lectures, and former SFSU student, opened the stage for the performers. "The first time I heard the last poets, I was a young guy, and they scared the hell out of me - because I never heard anything that intense. Something not Euro-centric, something that sounds like what I listen to, what I hear on the corner - how it was related to me."
The evening consisted of a mix of beat-driven spoken word poetry interweaved with discussion of discussion of the 1968 strikes and the upcoming Presidential Election. The sound from the drums remained constant throughout the evening, sometimes making it unclear where the dialogue ended and the performance began. Central to the art and form of spoken word poetry are the elements of both rhythm and philosophy.
The Last Poets closed with remarks that 1968 was a very special year. It is their 40th anniversary as well, and they were happy that they could be here to celebrate that anniversary at San Francisco State University.