December 2008 Archives

Volunteers tend to feral cats on campus

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The SF State Campus Cat Committee coordinates a number of volunteers to feed and keep about a dozen feral cats safe, healthy and fixed on campus seven days a week.

The committee is headed by Sheila McClure, who has been feeding cats on campus for many years. In addition to volunteering individually, the committee meets once a year in the Vista Room on campus to exchange pictures, stories and future plans.

About seven years ago, the committee shifted from having two members to multiple members joining after McClure posted an invitation on the Campus Memo.

“Some volunteers feed on weekdays, some on weekends, some provide financial support and some are just generally helpful,” said Brigid Duffy, a pivotal member of the committee.

The Cat Committee also works with the San Francisco Society For the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Mary Ann Buxton, who works as the feral cat program coordinator.

Buxton makes nightly runs around the Richmond District, close to her home, and feeds a number of cats, constantly keeping an eye out for any newcomers that may need to be spayed or neutered and released back onto the streets.

“It’s a lot of work to capture these cats, feed them, fix them and nurse them back to health, but its worth it and important to the San Francisco community,” Buxton said, “I start to see the cats filling out and becoming healthier and happier.”

The committee on campus brings the cats on campus into the SPCA and the cats are usually fixed by the end of the day. “The SPCA even covers the cost of surgery,” Duffy said, “In addition to that, Pet Food Express gives us a discount on all of our cat supplies.”

There are two main locations where cats are fed on campus, on the Cox Stadium side of the gym and near the parking structure at the central plant. The cats at these locations are admired by many of the committee’s volunteers and have earned names such as Momcat, Redwing, Curly Joe, Moe and Stratford. The occasional raccoon sometimes comes along as well.

Jeanie Scott, another volunteer, lives near campus and has three cats of her own. She feeds the gym cats one Saturday morning a month. “I enjoy being able to just pick up the food, walk over there and help out the feral cats on campus. I am a cat lover, so this was perfect for me,” she said.

The Cat Committee is not funded by the University, but the “groundskeeper, campus support staff and Campus Police are very supportive,” according to Duffy. “They always alert us when a new cat appears on campus, telling us when a cat has been up to something and keeping tabs on all the wildlife.”

Sustainability Committee to meet next week

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SF State’s new sustainability committee will meet for the first time next week to begin planning the university’s green agenda for 2009, despite criticism over the selection process for the committee's student representative.

The committee will meet at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 17 in Room 460 of the Administration building. Anyone from SF State can attend.

“It will be a general thing, just to convene us and bring us together,” said Leroy Morishita, the committee’s co-chair and vice president of finance and administration.

Future agenda items will include drafting SF State’s sustainability vision statement and a climate action plan, according to a committee document stating its charge. The latter fulfills a requirement of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, to which President Robert A. Corrigan signed for SF State in September 2007. Forming the committee itself also satisfied a requirement.

Along with co-chairs Morishita and Provost John Gemello, the committee’s 14 members include several faculty and staff deeply involved with SF State’s environmental efforts. Faculty representatives include Carlos Davidson, director of environmental studies, while staff representatives include Recycling Coordinator Caitlin Steele, Vice President of Facilities Robert Hutson and Jim Bolinger, associate director of residential property management for University Housing.

Drew Foster, one of two student representatives, said he is looking forward to working with committee members “who’ve worked on this campus for up to 20 years and really know if something is feasible.” The graduate student and Recycling Center employee said he will bring “a fresh student perspective. We pay the money to go here, and it’s really important that we have a voice. At the same time, it’s really important to have the wisdom and knowledge of those who’ve been here for several years.”

Drafting a climate action plan “is a really big next step” for SF State, Foster said. Findings from last spring’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report, drafted by committee members Davidson and Steele, will help inform the plan, according to the committee’s charge. “It has useful information, but it’s only useful if you do something about it,” Foster said.

Another project Foster said he wants the committee to tackle would be a sustainable purchasing policy for the university. An effective policy would cover everything from Energy Star electronics to paper products made from post-consumer recycled content, he said.

Though “nobody’s kidding themselves” over the enormity of “overarching goals like carbon neutrality or ‘zero waste,’” Foster said he believes the committee will help SF State take “a lot of small, reasonable actions…to help us reach that final goal, and you can’t get there without taking these first steps. You gotta shoot for the stars to get to the moon, at least.”

Selecting the other student representative, however, created controversy between Associated Students, Inc. and several student environmental activists.

The ASI Board of Directors voted 10-5 Wednesday, Nov. 19 to select fellow member Franklin Griffen in a last-minute addition to its meeting agenda. Board President Natalie Franklin said during the meeting that she did not initially intend to select someone that day, but Morishita and Peter Koo, ASI executive director, urged her to choose quickly. Both also recommended selecting a board member, while Koo specifically recommended Griffen, she said.

The decision confused and frustrated students who applied for the seat and board member Marc Ong, who accepted their applications. Ong, vice president of ASI’s University Affairs committee, said during the meeting that “[University Affairs was] going to recommend a procedure and an appointment.”

Bryan Ting, a member of ECO Students and one of the four public attendees at the meeting, said “it’s extremely disappointing” that Franklin did not review letters of intent before selecting the ASI representative.

Ting and other members of ECO Students told fellow members and environmental studies majors about the opportunity to apply before the meeting. “We saw many people who would love to apply for it, as it was very under-publicized. I’m sure people other than environmental studies majors would have been interested as well,” he said.

Some ECO Students members sent e-mails to board members expressing concern over the decision and urging them to respond “as to why students were excluded from being considered in this process.” While the Student Center Governing Board “outreached to the Environmental Studies department and the ECO-Students” with its representative selection, “ASI was late in outreaching to the student body” and did not take into consideration “the requests of students in opening up the Sustainability position,” according to one e-mail.

Ong responded to the e-mails with one of his own. “I applaud you all for having an interest in the shared governance of San Francisco State University,” he wrote, but Ong did not indicate the selection would change. He instead urged interested parties to work with Griffen for now and hinted that future selections would invite student applications.

“It sounded like the decision is final,” Ting said. Though he did not agree with ASI’s selection process, Ting said he was “totally not opposed” to Griffen personally and looked to cooperate with him in the future.

Besides, the SCGB selected Foster, an ECO Students member, to hold the sustainability committee’s other student seat. “Drew’s on the committee, so we’ll make sure that we express our opinion through Drew, and that we keep up with ASI,” said Ting, who added “we’re trying to encourage members of our own” to run for ASI offices.

“We’d love to get somebody in there. It would certainly send a message to ASI, that if we’re not represented, if you choose to ignore our democratic voice, we will run for your seats,” Ting said.

Committee members said that ASI had the authority to make its selection the way it wished.

“We made it so that one representative is selected by Associated Students…and how they proceed is up to them. That’s their prerogative,“ Morishita said.

“[ASI’s selection process] was kind of discouraging. However, that’s the way politics works. It’s not like they were violating any laws or anything,” Foster said. “I’m glad that the committee has formed and we’re going to be meeting, moving forward and promoting sustainability issues on campus. That’s what’s more important for the future, not student politics.”

Trader Joe's opens near SF State

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Students, family, and community members all came to support the grand opening of Trader Joe’s at the Stonestown mall today. As the doors to the store opened, Traders Joe’s staff politely welcomed shoppers to the store and directed them to the escalators leading down to the store.

“I'm very happy that Trader Joe's is close to where I live now. I used to have to go to the one in Daly City, or Rainbow in the SOMA. They are both co-ops and I like to support them. Now Trader Joe’s is so close, it's only a bus ride away,” said Sade Ronco, Parkmerced resident.

The store was supposed to open in October, but had a delay because there are only two state elevator inspectors. It took them a while to come out, and when they did they were in process of training new inspectors, according to Robert Barnhill, store manager.

There are escalators, elevators, stairs, and a verma port at this location. The verma port is a device with which customers put their grocery carts on and it moves it smoothly to the street level.

“The escalators stopped working earlier today, but they are up and running now,” said Barnhill, as he was thanking customers and helping load the verma port.

It took roughly six months for construction to finish. Before Trader Joe’s, the location used to be a sporting goods store, and was vacant after it closed for about two years. The reason why it took a while for Trader Joe’s to open was lease negotiations, according to Barnhill.

“This is great to have Trader Joe’s so close to campus now. I’m going to stop by a lot before class and get something healthy. I usually get something to eat on campus but it’s not always the healthiest thing,” said Courtney Schledervitz, art major and SF State student.

Trader Joe’s is expecting a lot of foot traffic because it is located so close to campus, and Barnhill said that about a third of the customers today have been students.

“We are always trying to cater to the neighborhood, so we understand that there are a lot of students. We are not concerned about being close to campus; we just want to find our sales trends. We want to know if students want more energy bars, frozen foods or juices and just be able to cater to their needs,” said Barnhill.

As well as student shoppers, some of the employees are SF State students.

“This is so convenient, I can walk to school from work. Compared to the other Trader Joe’s, this one really does cater more to the students. This store understands that students will be coming in and out of here, because the majority of people living close by are students,” said Blanca Bawden, Trader Joe’s employee and SF State junior.

T.A. strike halted

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A potentially contentious strike by the union representing some 6,000 CSU employees was averted after a last-minute intervention by State Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, who called on union members and CSU administrators to head back to the bargaining table.

The strike was scheduled to begin Wednesday morning, Dec. 10, simultaneously across 21 campuses at 7 a.m. in response to recent failures between the United Auto Workers and CSU representatives to reach an agreement on a new contract for academic student employees.

At issue for the union are fee waivers for student employees, who have taken a 7 percent wage cut this year as fees increased.

But CSU administrators have said that such waivers would add an additional cost of $8 to 11 million a year during an unprecedented economic crisis facing the state, which in turn has proposed deep, statewide budget cuts.

A lone campus police officer was parked in a cruiser at 7 a.m. on Tuesday in an empty Malcolm X Plaza to inform anyone who may not have gotten the news: the scheduled UAW strike had been canceled.

One week before finals, teaching associates, graduate assistants, tutors and other instructional student assistants were expected to join the strike. But after Steinberg, D-Sacramento, urged both sides to “sit down ... and reach an agreement,” the UAW said it was open to renegotiating with the CSU.

“The bargaining team has agreed to postpone the strike…pending these meetings with the university and Senate President pro Tem Steinberg,” the UAW said in a statement to its members. “We believe that Steinberg will be a helpful influence on negotiations, and will…help us reach agreement on a fee waiver.”

The UAW is also the Union of Academic Student Employees, which represents various assistants throughout the CSU system. The union’s bargaining team voted Monday to strike, accusing the CSU of unfair labor practices in recent negotiations.

“The CSU’s unlawful bargaining includes not providing information critical to the bargaining process, not having the authority to bargain at the table, and conditioning resolution of one critical issue — a fee waiver for academic student employee.” the UAW said in a statement announcing to strike.

Representatives for CSU countered with their own statement Tuesday, defending the integrity of the negotiations while stating the parties “have reached agreement on all issues but fee waivers.”

“While the UAW claims that it has the right to strike because of alleged unfair labor practices by the CSU, the CSU’s position is that it has bargained in good-faith and that a strike at this time is unlawful,” the statement said.

ASI discusses plans for Rec Center

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Associated Students, Inc. members are working closely with a consulting firm to build a new student Recreation & Wellness Center, and a student survey with questions regarding the center has been answered by more than 1900 students.

“People are certainly responding well,” said a representative of the consulting team Brailsford & Dunleavy, a company working a report on the Wellness Center. “And with that kind of start we can count on a solid project.”

According to his presentation, there are two possible concepts for the project. One is a 120 thousand square feet comprehensive wellness center with activity rooms, a lounging area, gym and more. This project should cost around $86 million, he estimated, with student fees ranging from $150-160 per semester.

The other option is a focused recreation center–-about 84 thousand square feet, with costs around $56 million, and student fees of $85-$95 per semester.

The ASI board members also discussed a research project that’s goal is to find a proper sound level to be used by students in the Malcolm X Plaza during next semester. Since music was once again allowed in the quad, the decibel level of sound has been lowered from 95 to 85 decibels. They are now setting it to 65

According to Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Penny Saffold, since the sound level has lowered there has only been one complaint about student noise. Saffold added that the student center is looking to purchase a new and more appropriate sound system.

Academic Senate in need of senators

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Although the recent CSU budget cuts have caused an uprising in student activism, SF State’s own Academic Senate, the university’s largest decision-making body, has only been able to fill two of the 21 student positions on its committees.

“It’s been a constant problem, not only this year but year in and year out,” said Academic Senate President Shawn Whalen on the lack of student involvement.

As of Dec. 8, online committee rosters show that 19 out of 21 seats are vacant for Associated Students, Inc. representatives on committees that span issues from enrollment to graduation requirements, according to the Academic Senate’s Web site.

“Anyone who has complained about the way things are run here at SF State should consider joining one of the Academic Senate committees,” said Marc William Ong, vice president of university affairs for the ASI, in an email. “Due to shared governance, students have a power in voicing their opinions to the faculty and staff, whether they exercise that right or not,” he said.

James Sheldon, a graduate student studying education, is one of two student representatives that attend the weekly Academic Senate meetings on campus. Sheldon also sits on the Academic Policy Committee, which is responsible for studying and recommending educational policy. The ACP, according to its Web site, must approve essentially every change in curriculum. But although the ACP makes important decisions that affect every student studying at SF State, Sheldon is the only student on the committee, leaving three empty seats on that committee alone.

“You really learn about how the campus works, how decisions are made,” said Sheldon of his experience. Sheldon is a graduate student and puts his senate experience on his resume. Whalen said that Sheldon has made “a number of significant contributions” though his involvement. In addition to the resume boost, the experience also gives him a chance to network with professors.

“You get a chance to know faculty in different ways that you ordinarily would,” he said. “Normally you’re in a class and they’re the teacher and you’re the student … You get to see them in a different capacity, I found that really valuable.”

“Students should be involved in the senate because the policies passed in the senate have a direct effect on their education,” said Professor Wei Ming Dariotis in an e-mail. Dariotis, who chairs the Academic Policies Committee, said that Sheldon has often “swayed” decisions through his authority as a student senator.

Sheldon recalls when the recent class retake policy was being created—a policy that made it impossible to retake a class if you got a “C” or better—and how he was able to put in his two cents during the meetings.
“It helps you have a sense that students are being heard when it comes to these kinds of decisions,” he said.

Instead of an election process, students join the Academic Senate or its respective committees by meeting with the ASI and becoming appointed, Sheldon said. The most important characteristic, according to Sheldon, is enthusiasm.

Although students can join the Academic Senate alone—there are three seats on the senate for students, two of which are filled—Sheldon recommends joining committees as well. In the committees, ideas are discussed and then presented during the AS meetings.

“We need to get students [in there] right when an idea is being discussed and not just at the very end of the process,” he said.

“Unfortunately, most students on campus do not know or realize the significance of their student voice,” said Ong.

Below is a step by step process of how a student can get appointed to the Academic Senate or Academic Senate Committee through Associated Students:
1. Contact the VP of University Affairs or one of the University Affairs (UA) Committee members.
2. Research a committee that you would be interested in committing to. The UA committee can help with that.
3. The UA committee would nominate you to the ASI Board of Directors for appointment to the committee as well as contact the commitee with your interest.
4. The ASI Board of Directors would then vote whether or not to accept your nomination to the committee.
5. From there, ASI would expect the student to attend meetings and keep us posted on important issues the committee discusses.

Administrators: no layoffs in response to state budget crisis

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SF State Vice President Leroy Morishita and Provost John Gemello said that the university would not lay off permanent employees or junior faculty in response to the current budget deficit at the Academic Senate’s town hall meeting on Tuesday.

“There is no plan for any permanent employee to be laid off this year,” said university vice president and chief financial officer Morishita.

Gemello reassured other staff members while responding to questions.

“Junior faculty jobs are not on the table and will not be on the table,” he said.

The meeting was intended to address questions from faculty and staff and hear ideas on how to cut costs while preserving the university’s course offerings.

A number of suggestions were made during the meeting, some more radical than others.

The more drastic measures included restricting student class loads to 16 units a semester and no longer paying fees to the various accreditation bodies.

This loss of accreditation would save the school hundreds of thousands of dollars, but would possibly make students’ degrees less valuable after graduation.

Morishita, Gemello and Shawn Whalen, the Senate chair, assured the audience that while there has been talk of closing some CSU campuses, this is very unlikely, as state government officials do not want to shrink the CSU.

SF State has lost nearly $6 million in state funding since summer and has been forced to cut about 150 classes from the fall 2009 schedule of classes.

Gemello said the current cuts are a more short-term solution because there was not enough time to make “careful reductions.”

Department heads now have to consider where further cuts will be made most efficiently because “nibbling a little bit away from everybody” won’t work over the long term, Gemello said.

“The most important thing we wanted to protect were the class schedules,” Gemello said of cuts made both this semester and in past years.

The most popular idea was lobbying state senators in Sacramento to focus less on cuts to the budget and more on a balance between cuts and raising taxes.

However, Derek Aitken, the associate director of government relations explained that this and similar efforts are consistently blocked by several state senators and therefore hopes of solving the financial issues at the highest level looks bleak.

Other measures proposed included cutting funding for the library, moving more areas of study into the College of Extended Learning, which would make them more self-funded, and petitioning the federal government for a bailout of the education system similar to the recent bailouts of the banking industry.

Some professors asked what could be done to pressure legislators in Sacramento about the issue, but no new or unusual ideas were forthcoming at the meeting.

Morishita summarized his feelings on what is needed most.

The most important thing, he said, is that “the state of California needs to re-commit to higher education.”

Students strayed from double majors

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In a nod to recent budget cuts slowing effect on graduation rates, academic advisers at SF State discouraged students from taking on double-majors at a Dec. 5 transfer student orientation on campus.

“This is obviously something we’ve had to do differently than before because of budget cuts,” said SF State peer adviser Cheriena Call. “We’ve had to mention that adding another major or minor is something you might want to rethink because it’s going to take a lot of extra time and money.”

The most recent financial shortfall at SF State resulted in about 150 sections being dumped from the spring schedule of classes.

Eric Contreras, an incoming junior from City College of San Francisco who attended Friday night’s orientation, knew of the class cuts but was determined to attend SF State.

“It’s close to my house, and I have to get my Bachelor of Science degree,” said Contreras. “You can’t get that at City College.”

About 250 new juniors and seniors attended Friday evening’s orientation event hosted by Karen Kingsbury, director of new student programs.

“We will give the same service as always to the new students,” she said. “For fall 2009, we may see fewer freshmen than we have seen before because of the enrollment limits, but we will try to take care of whoever comes.”

Staff: cutbacks threaten our jobs

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Students and faculty aren’t the only people worried about the CSU budget—campus workers are too, and many are concerned that the lack of funding could adversely affect their jobs.

“It’s a budget issue,” SF State building control specialist Jon Skiles said, adding that the CSU thinks it is saving money by cutting costs on materials and employee benefits. “It will definitely get worse as the budget gets worse.”

Skiles was one of several CSU employees who expressed grievances at the Nov. 19 Board of Trustees meeting, addressing issues such as the long-time deferment of maintenance work and the hiring of independent contractors.

Skiles, who has worked at SF State for 23 years now, said that the CSU has been contracting out more and more maintenance work without notifying the campuses’ trade workers and their unions. Instead of giving the work to hired workers, the school continues to hire independent contractors to perform tasks ranging from changing light bulbs to painting buildings.

Russell Kilday-Hicks, graphics coordinator of capital planning, design and construction, agreed, saying that the campus hires independent contractors because the CSU would only need to hire and pay them when they are needed.

“The corporate mindset has come to the CSU,” Kilday-Hicks said.

Chief steward Mario Diaz said that the campus workers had filed several grievances throughout the years, but the university continues to hire contractors.

“The morale among the workers is really low right now,” Diaz said.

Now with the governor asking for an additional $66 million in cuts, Skiles and other workers fear that they will not only be given less work to do, but that their jobs themselves are in jeopardy.

“We’ve already taken a cut this year,” Skiles said. “The CSU will cut from all campuses, facilities including.”

The previous cut resulted in a whole staff of part-time custodians losing their jobs in the middle of the summer, Skiles added. This was on top of several other positions lost over the past two decades.
Twenty years ago the school had 45 skilled trades workers, Skiles said. “Now the number is down to 34,
but the student population is almost double.”

Kilday-Hicks said that there are provisions in the contracts between the CSU and the trade workers that protect against outsourcing work, but Skiles added that SFSU chooses to ignore this.

A Job Order Contract program was drafted in 1995, which allows a campus to bundle maintenance projects onto a contract and present them for contractors to bid.

“Technically, the university has the right to not replace workers when they leave or retire,” Kilday-Hicks said. “They can just outsource the work.”

He cited one specific instance when the university hired an entire staff of janitorial workers when it purchased University Park North and the Village at Centennial Square.

Additionally, hiring contractors does not save money, but instead costs more, campus workers said.
Skiles said that his salary as a stationary engineer, including benefits, amounts to $35 an hour. Should a contractor hire a stationary engineer from outside the campus, he said, that worker must be paid at least $55 an hour. Ultimately, if Skiles were to do the job with that pay rate and an additional $500 in materials, the CSU would pay him $856, but the work of an outside contractor would cost the school approximately $1,850.

“I don’t think anyone could make the case that it’s cheaper,” Skiles said. “If they let us do the work on our overtime and hire the work in-house, we can save the university and the state a lot of money.”

Another issue is the lack of accountability with the contractors, Kilday-Hicks added. When contractors are unable to complete a task or do not do the work well, campus works end up completing or repeating the work anyway.

CSU workers’ unions have urged the Board of Trustees to invest its money on well-trained and well-paid staff instead of on the work of outside contractors.

“We are entering severe economic times and need to use all resources of the CSU to get the maximum value for the buck,” said Patrick Hallahan, chief consultant to the State Employees’ Trades Council at the recent trustees’ meeting. “We’ve wasted $77 million by outsourcing jobs.”

CFA holds meeting to plan long-term budget fight

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About 30 of SF State's student, faculty and staff united in a California Faculty Association meeting today that may serve as a prelude for a large-scale action to protest the budget.

The two-hour meeting, held in the Cesar Chavez Student Center, allowed students, faculty and staff to voice concerns, opinions and facts regarding the budget crisis in the educational world. Shwan Zandi, a senior anthropology major, spoke on behalf of the students at the event.

"It's a really grim situation," said Zandi, who not only goes to school full time, but works 32 hours per week in order to support himself.

Students, faculty and staff from all over the state are organizing a march to Sacramento on March 16 along with the community colleges of the state to bring awareness of the severity of the budget cuts. Tens of thousands are hoped to rally for the event.

"We can't keep our heads in the sand, we need to face it," CFA President Ramon Castlelblanch said about the budget cuts to the CSU system.

He suggested that it costs so much to get to Sacramento with travel expenses, so in a time of budget crisis they should protest locally.

"The students feel we need to focus on the Bay Area," Zandi said. "We need to come up from the bottom."

Zandi said that all of the higher education institutes from the Bay Area gather at the San Francisco Civic Center to bring the awareness.

"When Barack Obama is inaugurated we can [protest at Civic Center] and say, 'where's our bailout?'," Zandi said.

Suggestions brought forth by staff and faculty members to fix the budget crisis included raising state revenue, lowering the state prison budget and using the funds for higher education and getting a federal bailout.

The CFA is currently trying to carry out the resolution of the "New Deal for the New Millennium for Higher Education." This proposal to the federal government from CFA asks for a $70 billion bailout that would greatly reduce the strain on higher education across the country.

For more information visit

Students report illness due to mold in dorms

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Four documented cases of mold growth have been spotted this semester within university housing and at least two SF State residents say it’s making them sick.

“I would wake up with shortness of breath and swollen eyes and lips,” said Ashlee Workman, a freshman living in the Towers at Centennial Square.

Philippe Cumia, associate director of University Housing, said there was one report of mold growth in the Towers, one in Mary Park Hall and two in Mary Ward Hall.

“We take these incidents very seriously,” Cumia said in an e-mail. “To date, all four concerns brought to our attention have yielded findings of common household mold only and were remediated immediately.”

Because on-campus housing lies close to the Pacific Ocean, Cumia said mold is a common problem at SF State and in the Bay Area in general. San Francisco’s temperate climate and foggy surrounding serve as a breeding ground for mold and the high pollen and particulate counts affect a lot of students who are from outside the Bay Area.

“We recommend students suffering allergies see their primary care physicians or SF State Student Health Services to obtain appropriate treatment to ease their symptoms,” he said.

Workman said she went to the campus health center, but the allergy medication she was given didn’t stop her symptoms.

“I really need to move out of the towers,” Workman said. “I constantly feel sick and tired—I know it’s because of the mold.”

Workman said she received a note from the health center allowing her to move out of the Towers, but said campus housing hasn’t complied yet.

“If students are having different allergic reactions to mold they need to come in and be seen,” said Brenda Hyde, clinic manager for SF State’s health center. “If necessary we could send them to an outside referral so their symptoms can be better assessed.”

While Hyde said the health center has not received significant complaints about mold-related illness, concerned students should do all in their power to combat the mold.

“If there are complaints, they should be submitted to the San Francisco Public Health Department,” Hyde said. “This could potentially be an environmental health hazard.”

Candlelight for Mumbai

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After the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India late last month, many students and faculty at SF State said they were angry, sad and concerned about the change in terrorist tactics and how targets were selected in the conflict.

Students gathered in the Malcolm X Plaza on Monday evening to hold a candlelight vigil. They shared thoughts and feelings about victims of the attack, expressed apprehension about how terrorism was reshaping the world and how students at SF State relate to it.

More than 170 were killed in the attack, and reports indicate the terrorists operated as a professionally-trained militia specifically targeting Israelis and U.S. citizens in addition to Indians. The tightly orchestrated attacks focused on upscale sections of the city like the famous Taj Majal Hotel and the Gateway of India.

“The Gateway of India is to Indians what the Statue of Liberty is to the United States,” said Ramesh Bollapragada, associate professor of the decision sciences department of the SF State College of Business. Bollapragada was born in India and lived there for 21 years, and said he hoped those in the United States could understand the importance of an Indian landmark as a site of terrorist activity.

The Indian Students Association responded to the attacks with Monday night’s vigil and by implementing the Mumbai Relief Fund, a collection of money to benefit those most affected by the violence.

Rasika Chaudhary, president of the SF State ISA, said the association sold Indian food on campus Monday afternoon and raised $300 for the fund. She invited anyone interested in contributing to contact the association at

“I was really shocked by the attack,” Chaudhary said. The biggest threat now, she said was the level of anger in the Indian people and the fear of what the new form of terrorism could do next.

Bollapragada said the violence escalated because Indian security was ineffective at containing the attack.

“The secretary for home defense was not able to defend the people,” Bollapragada said. The Indian government was facing serious changes as a result of voters’ anger, he said. “Financing for defense is limited in India, whereas the U.S. can afford to fund almost any defense, but now that may finally be changed to solve the problem,” Bollapragada said.

New policies may be essential for India to defend against the tactics implemented by fresh community of terrorists, according to Sanjoy Banerjee, professor of International Relations at SF State. Banerjee said terrorism in India was usually executed with bombs in public areas until recently. The network of terrorists using bombs in India was recently disrupted by investigators and military, he said, so India was unprepared for a new style of attack.

“Up until now when there was a terrorist incident, the killing has been done by bombing,” Banerjee said.

“What distinguishes this event is the nature of the attack. From the perspective of a person killing with a bomb, they are watching and the killing is almost random,” Banerjee said.

“The psychology of the killer has to be more intense,” Banerjee said. “This attack evokes a new kind of fear in people and requires a different kind of defense.”

The terrorists’ choice of victims during the attacks indicates a new direction for India, as well, according to Banerjee and several defense officials. Israel’s Foreign Minister Tzipi Livini told newspapers that Israelis were specifically targeted and reports in the U.S. said Americans were also deliberately selected as hostages.

Nili Yosha, an exchange student from Tel Aviv, said she thought the attacks might encourage individuals in the U.S. and Israel to contemplate what actions and policies are taken in the name of diplomacy and alliance.

“Just reacting with force is never going to solve the problem,” Yosha said. “One side suffering because of the other is not an answer. We need to listen to people to solve the causes of the terrorists’ pain.”

“People with family in India have been worried and scared of more attacks,” Chaudhary, president of the ISA, said. “When is the next one and will they now bomb somewhere else, even here?”

In a nod to recent budget cuts slowing effect on graduation rates, academic advisors at SF State discouraged students from taking on double-majors at a Dec. 5 transfer student orientation on campus.

“This is obviously something we’ve had to do differently than before because of budget cuts,” said SF State peer adviser Cheriena Call. “We’ve had to mention that adding another major or minor is something you might want to rethink because it’s going to take a lot of extra time and money.”

The most recent financial shortfall at SF state forced weeks long delay to the beginning of course registration and resulted in about 150 sections being dumped from the spring schedule of classes.

Eric Contreras, an incoming junior from City College of San Francisco who attended Friday night’s orientation, knew of the class cuts but was determined to attend SF State.

“It’s close to my house, and I have to get my Bachelor of Science degree,” said Contreras. “You can’t get that at City College.”

However, not all incoming students were aware of the reductions in course offerings and what those reductions might mean for their graduation date.

“I had no idea about the cuts [to] classes. This is the first time I’ve heard about it,” said Taren Arnold, a business management transfer from Georgia State University . “So I guess the budget cuts didn’t influence my decision to come here, but I got in to two other [CSU] schools, so I have other options.”

Amber Whitman, an art major transferring from CSU Monterey Bay, said she chose SF State because the university offers more classes than she’s used to but finds the registration process irksome.

“It’s frustrating because the classes that you want are overlapping the other classes you want because there’re not as many available,” she said.

About 250 new juniors and seniors attended Friday evening’s orientation event hosted by Karen Kingsbury, director of new student programs, in Jack Adams Hall.

The program included a workshop explaining graduation requirements, advising sessions based on major, a campus tour and dinner.

Campus representatives from admissions, financial aid, the bursar’s office, One Card and advising were on site to help new students navigate any potential red tape.

The workshop, entitled “What It Takes to Graduate,” outlined Degree Audit Report System reports, different types of majors, the JEPET exam, and general education requirements.

As a reward for spending their Friday night, and $35, at school, students received eight units of early priority registration – an especially valuable asset in a time when more students are competing for fewer class seats.

Kingsbury referred to the eight units as a “gift” from the school, and stated that this year's number of incoming transfers is not different from previous ones.

Kingsbury said budget cuts would not negatively affect the orientation process and said student’s advising needs will be accommodated no matter what.

“We will give the same service as always to the new students,” she said. “For fall 2009, we may see fewer freshmen than we have seen before because of the enrollment limits, but we will try to take care of whoever comes.”

To honor victims of the three-day siege by terrorists in Mumbai last month, the SF State Indian Students Association scheduled a memorial vigil for 5 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 8.

Rasika Chaudhary, president of the ISA, invited students, staff, and administrators to join her association at the Malcom X Plaza Monday evening to share in the grief and loss of more than 170 lives.

“Most Indian students I have talked to have been able to check on loved ones in India,” Chaudhary said. Many victims of the attacks were citizens of the United States and Israel, she said, and a unified response by members of many ethnicities would undermine the presumed goals of terrorists.

“I think we were all shocked,” Chaudhary said of the attack. “I would like anyone who is scared or sad about the attacks to come and join in the vigil.”

Study abroad grows amid budget uncertainty

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While many academic programs face cuts to their schedule next semester, one SF State department is seeing an increase in its offerings—study abroad.

According to My Yarabinec, associate director of the Office of International Programs, five new OIP programs have been added in 2009—all of which will offer students a full load of transferable classes.

“I think that, in a positive sense, while they are talking about cutting courses here, students may be better off going abroad,” Yarabinec said.

David Wick, coordinator of Study Abroad Services, said 80 percent of those programs are bilateral, meaning the number of students sent to study abroad from SF State is equivalent to the number of incoming international students.

“It is not like we are giving up seats to non-resident students, we send the same exact number [of students] out,” explained John Van Savage, director of the College of Business, who helped create some of the new study abroad programs being offered by the OIP.

Among some of the new programs are a hospitality program in China and Hong Kong, a business program in Germany, Rotterdam and an economics program in Prague.

As Wick and Van Savage both separately explained, the process of adding new programs involves a specific educational department that is looking into having students study abroad and a long process of strengthening relationships and negotiating specific requirements that will benefit students.

According to Van Savage, another benefit of those connections is the high level of education students will receive. He said that most of those universities offer top programs in each specific area.

“We are in a position where we can be picky to where we send our students because of our location,” Van Savage said.

Rommel Cruz is a 22-year-old hospitality major who, according to his own words is one of the "guinea pigs" for the new hospitality program in Hong Kong. Apart from the university's budget cuts, he originally decided to apply to the program because he said it will be good to his education.

“It has been pretty much a long process,” Cruz said. “I was excited to see what kind of classes they offered, I looked for classes that were equivalent to the classes here and it was really hard to find classes that are equivalent to ours here.”

The OIP usually has two students study abroad through a new program instead of the regular five to 10. Dec. 15 is the priority deadline application for the fall of 2009, and Feb. 1-March 1 is the final deadline for fall 2009 applications.

New Web passwords to enhance security for students

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After Jan. 1, SF State passwords will be replacing personal access codes to add more identity verification, says a member of the Division of Information Technology.

“PACs are a weak authentication mechanism,” said Mig Hofmann, DoIT information security officer. Hofmann said there have been a couple incidents where someone successfully guessed a student’s PAC and gained unauthorized access.

As a result of a 2007 audit findings within the CSU, “we agreed to migrate away from use of the PAC to stronger mechanisms,” Hofmann said.

Hofmann added that the four-digit PAC was considered too short and subject to brute force attacks which could be determined “by doing exhaustive searches and guessing,” she said.

“If a password is under seven characters, it is theoretically breakable given computing power today,” Hofmann said. “Passwords of at least seven characters have been the industry standard.”

The Red Flag Rule, issued by the Federal Trade Commission applicable to many colleges and universities, also required greater effort to verify individual identity and prevent identity theft.

Frequently asked questions about the new passwords will be posted to the school’s Web site.

According to the FAQ, “although other enhanced authentication methods exist in the industry, they usually involve tokens [key fobs, smartcards, etc.] which were deemed too expensive to deploy given the current budget crisis.”

Instead, self-service reset questions were created to help verify identity Hofmann said. Reset questions are not going to be a student’s new password.

Instead, the questions will be used as a response to help verify identity and that the actual password will be eight characters long.

A campus committee chose questions that they thought would be suitable for the student and faculty population. The recent set of questions was modified again recently to be questions that don’t change or decay as rapidly, Hofmann said.

According to Hofmann, favorites are predominantly used in reset questions because they are highly memorable, like preferences.

However, some questions had a high change rate, increasing the probability that a user would forget the answer.

One example was the favorite movie question. People who watch a lot of movies will likely have a fluctuating answer, she said.

“You want questions that are very stable over a person’s lifetime,” she said.

Hofmann said that a lot of the questions are based on favorites centering around one’s childhood because that is when preferences are strongly formed.

The SF State Web site’s FAQ suggests picking questions that students have a unique response for and won’t post on Facebook or Myspace for example.

Students have mixed reactions toward the shift.

“I’d rather just use what I always use,” said SF State junior, Janet Perez. Perez said she was sent a new PAC when she forgot her original one. “It’s worked fine for two years now.”

“It seems like a pretty easy fix,” said fellow student Drew Valentine. “I would hate it if someone dropped one of my classes for me.”

BSS lecture considers court, cabinet & costs

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Students attended a Behavioral and Social Sciences lecture last night, with a discussion on what the future will bring for President-elect Barack Obama.

Held in Jack Adams Hall, the lecture began with an introduction by BSS Dean Joel Kassiola, who commented on the nomination of Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton.

“Who would have expected Senator Hillary Clinton becoming Secretary of State?" he said. "There have been a myriad of surprises all the way back to the beginning of the campaign."

The first speaker, assistant professor of political science Martin Carcieri, discussed who would have the most influence in the future of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Like former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, current Justice Anthony Kennedy is neither liberal nor conservative, and therefore the pivotal swing justice on the court, he said.

“The world belongs to Anthony Kennedy, and you and I just live in it,” Carcieri said.

The three issues most particular to the students are abortion, affirmative action and gay marriage, he said.

Carcieri said that the court could have overruled Roe v. Wade, the landmark abortion rights case, but Kennedy has supported that ruling in the past. “If John McCain won the election, Roe v. Wade would have been toast,” he said.

He said affirmative action has historically split the court in two and the court has yet to weigh in on gay marriage. “Kennedy will be right in the middle,” he said.

Assistant professor of public administration, Eric Zeemering, also spoke at the lecture about Obama’s management agenda.

He said that the president is the top public administrator or the head bureaucrat, and that citizens generally don’t trust the federal bureaucrats. However, citizens are often satisfied with their individual interactions with bureaucracy, he said.

Zeemering’s presentation included a slide on the American National Elections Survey, which asked citizens to rate the level government wastes tax money.

When Zeemering asked the audience if the government wastes a lot of tax money, nearly everyone at the presentation raised their hands.

In a sense, “the president is the chief person in charge of wasting our money,” he said jokingly.

Zeemering also said there is skepticism that, because of the diversity amongst Obama’s cabinet and their range of diverse opinions, they will become rivals “too busy bickering with one another,” he said.

At the end of the lecture, students asked questions about the environment as well as the bailout and financial crisis.

Students were interested in seeing what the next four years will bring.

Danielle Flint, a freshman psychology major, said that, especially as a young voter, it was interesting to see “what is coming out of my ability to affect the electoral process and hear a prediction of where this administration is heading with their policies over the next four years—and hopefully eight.”

The lecturers “put complex theories and terms into words we can understand,” Flint said. She said she thought it was funny when Zeemering said the president is the key person in charge of wasting tax money.

“They helped explain difficult concepts,” she said.

“I liked the emphasis on the importance of the constitution—I have a new sense of hope,” said Al Aparicio, a junior biology major.

Merchants, street performers call Market St. home

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Like the Champs-Elysees in Paris or Fifth Avenue in New York City, San Francisco’s Market Street serves as an axis for citizens and visitors to traverse the city. Every day thousands of people, cars and mass transit vehicles vie for access to the city’s major transportation and business artery. Lying in wait is a gauntlet of merchants, street performers and entrepreneurs hoping to cash in on this rush of humanity while dealing with the challenge of Mother Nature.

“Life on Market Street? You’ve got to make it happen,” says Kenny “Famous Wayne” Bowens, 52, the self-proclaimed Shoeshine King of the street. Toiling at his craft since leaving a job at General Motors in Detroit 25 years ago, he said he enjoys working outdoors among the financial district inhabitants that provide the bulk of his income.

A natural performer given to mixing in episodes of shadow boxing with his shines, Bowen seems at home among the pigeons and street people that gravitate toward his stand. He knows the impending winter months will put a damper on his business, but flashing a two-inch wad of cash he doesn’t appear overly concerned: “I’ll be out here, rain or shine.”

Originally laid out by Jasper O’Farrell in the mid-1800s, the vision of San Francisco’s first surveyor would propel Market Street into prominence and shape the thoroughfare’s destiny. Those looking to make money on the boulevard were not far behind. In this regard, not much has changed in the past century and a half-plus.

“We’re making money and having fun,” said Charlotte Paquin-Bechard, 17. Traveling across the continent prior to attending college back home in Montreal, she plays accordion on the streets to supplement her travel budget. “It’s a good job because we just like to play music and we don’t like to work.”

Her traveling companion and fellow musician, Julien Mondoux-Miquelon, also 17, finds a day playing his guitar on Market Street inspirational. “It’s our universal job,” he said. “It really is a dream.”

On a recent sunny Monday afternoon, other street musicians concur with the young Canadian couple. Larry Hunt is one.

Better known as “The Bucket Man,” Hunt, 50, has been a fixture on Market Street for the past 12 years. Using plastic buckets and other unconventional implements as a drum kit, he has appeared in Hollywood movies starring such luminaries as Will Smith and Ice Cube and hopes to make it big someday.

Referring to his latest self-released holiday CD, “I Want a Turkey,” Hunt is nothing if not optimistic. “I know it’s going to hit the charts as soon as it gets out there on the radio,” he said.

Drumming since he was three years old, Hunt enjoys the freedom his current gig allows. “I’m in charge,” he said. “I do my own thing, I don’t have to cater to nobody else.”

Between performances and dodging the SFPD (he received an $800 citation last year for playing his music without a permit), Hunt stays focused on what he calls his fate to play his drums on the streets of the city.
“I’m a die-hard musician,” Hunt said. “I love San Francisco. It’s my heart.”

Not all of the street’s inhabitants feel the same.

Wearing a patina of weariness accumulated during his 70 years of life, the past decade manning a newsstand on Market Street, Richard Perry said he has had enough of the city’s urban underbelly.

“I don’t like seeing the damn homeless people begging for money in front of me,” said Perry, who makes sure to emphasize that he has been working his entire life.

Even if triple-bypass heart surgery a few years ago did slow him down a bit, he still reports to work most mornings at 4 a.m. to get the newsstand he runs ready for the day. “It doesn’t pay enough, though,” he said.

As daylight starts to fade and San Francisco’s main promenade gets ready to welcome the night shift, one constant will make the transition: someone, somewhere will be attempting to make a living off the traffic of people that will always be drawn to the city’s heart, Market Street.

ASI adjourns after 10 minutes

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Wednesday’s Associated Students, Inc. meeting was adjourned after only 10 minutes because there was nothing to discuss.

The humanities representative responsible for the agenda’s one action item was not present and four informational items were not tabled.

An e-mail sent to ASI President Natalie Franklin on Nov. 26 listed four proposed agenda items and, according to the timestamp on the e-mail, were turned in before the deadline.

However, none of these items were added to the official agenda. When graduate representative Laura J. Alarcon asked for them to be added, Franklin turned down the request saying she “didn’t feel comfortable adding them.”

Brian Gallagher, assistant to Sharef Al Najjar, the vice president of finance, voiced his concern during public comment.

Gallagher followed this by citing the ASI bylaws, which state that the corporate secretary is responsible for the agenda.

“I’m a student, and you’re my student government,” Gallagher said. “If you are not following the bylaws, I hope you find that a concern and take it into consideration and deal with it an appropriate manner.”

An adjourned meeting that lasted only about 10 minutes has not happened in about 20 years, creative arts representative Christopher Knox said.

The ABCs of impaction

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Now that the dust has settled after the CSU-declared system-wide impaction last month, the details are in: applicants will need better grades, and favor will be given to those who apply to their local school.

The move, made official on Nov. 19, will allow SF State and the 22 other CSU campuses to admit fewer students next semester and help address nearly $100 million in proposed cuts to the system’s budget.

The Board of Trustees, the CSU’s highest governing body, recommended stricter admission standards for both freshmen and community college transfers. These include higher GPA, giving priority admission to local residents, and moving up the application deadline for freshmen and transfers.

Incoming freshmen will be most affected, as more priority will be given to transfers from community colleges and other universities.

“We are taking this step to ensure the academic quality of the institution,” said CSU Chancellor Charles Reed, who approved the impaction resolution proposed by the system’s academic senate.

“The system as a whole is severely overenrolled,” said CSU Executive Vice Chancellor Richard West. “Impaction provides tools to take off some of the burden that students, faculty and staff take up when schools are overenrolled.”

Darlene Yee, the SF State representative to the senate, said that they wrote the resolution in response to recently proposed midyear budget cuts and in consultation with CSU faculty, staff and administrations, who, she said, were all “very concerned.”

“Campuses can’t serve students excellence and quality education if we’re not careful with how many students we enroll,” she said.

SF State’s application deadline was moved up to Dec. 10 for first-time freshmen and to March 2 for upper-division transfers. This was announced at a time when applications were up by 21 percent the last academic year, according to the CSU Web site.

SF State will automatically grant admission to residents of San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin counties who complete all requirements by the deadline.

“We want first-time freshmen and upper-division transfer students from San Francisco, San Mateo County and Marin to know that nothing has changed in our admissions policy and they should continue to apply as normal,” Jo Volkert, associate vice president for enrollment management, said in a news release.

Students from beyond these counties will need to meet more difficult admission requirements such as higher GPA. Volkert said that the school will be announcing the specific requirements, including the specific higher GPA, sometime in early December.

This process ensures that students who are unable to relocate or have family or employment commitments will be guaranteed admission to their local campus, provided they meet eligibility requirements, CSU trustees said.

According to the Office of Budget and Planning, SF State currently takes about a quarter of its undergraduates from San Francisco County, with 4,539 students living in the area. San Mateo County is the current top-third area of residence for SF State students.

Under impaction, SF State and other CSU campuses will also be ranking prospective students according to admission qualifications like GPA and SAT scores (for freshman admissions).

After the number of freshman admissions meets the school’s quota, other applicants will be placed on a wait list. Transfer students will be required to complete more than the minimum number of units.

Currently, freshman applicants need a 3.0 GPA, or at least 1300 on the SATs if their GPA is between 2.0 and 2.99, to get into a CSU. Transfer students need a 2.0 GPA and 60 semester units. The different CSU campuses’ administrations have yet to announce how much they are raising these transfer requirements under impaction.

The limit on freshman admissions comes in contrast to the fact that SF State now has its biggest freshman class ever, with 3,614 freshmen enrolled for 2008-2009 academic year, according to the Office of Budget and Planning. The quota for 2009-2010 freshman admissions is yet to be announced.

Some CSU trustees are concerned about the impact this will have on graduating high school seniors. “It worries me that not all high school students will be able to go to college,” said trustee and former high school principal Margaret Fortune.

Another trustee, Lou Monville, was concerned about the effect on community college students planning to transfer. “We need to make sure that counselors are aware of changes and help students adequately prepare for transfer to CSUs,” he said.

Senate approves new CEL animation certificate

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The College of Extended Learning is getting a little more animated next semester. Beginning this spring, students can begin working toward a digital animation certificate, which would consist of 13 classes, such as “Principles of Computer Animation.” Most of the classes will be taught in the evening. The Academic Senate approved the addition at their Dec. 2 meeting.

“We’re hoping that 18 months really does utilize and give [students] the same skills” that are taught at the Academy of Art and Expressions Colleges, said Shelley Blockhus, technology director of academic programs for the CEL who presented the proposal to the senators.

Animation courses are already offered at SF State, but the certificate will package “them together into a certificate program,” said Jim Bryan, associate dean of the CEL.

The Senate also approved changes to undergraduate psychology requirements at the Dec. 2 meeting. These changes will appear in the next bulletin, affecting incoming students this fall.

These curriculum changes will help students gain a more rounded education in psychology, leaving them better equipped when they leave for graduate school or to study in the field, Dr. Kate Hellenga, chair of the Psychology Department Curriculum Committee, said at the last meeting of the Senate in November.

Other topics at the meeting included the support of Professor Darlene Yee-Melichar’s nomination for CSU Faculty Trustee. Yee-Melichar, who teaches gerontology, said she was “very honored” by the resolution to support her nomination.

Also discussed were the possibilities of adding two more positions for university staff members to the Academic Senate, which currently houses only one seat for staff as opposed to 54 seats for faculty.

Mei Wing Dariotis of the Academic Policy Committee also discussed the committee’s proposed new policy, called “Concentrations and Emphases within Degree Programs,” which would clarify definitions and requirements for “focused curricular programs within majors” on campus for consistencies’ sake.

Terms such as concentration, emphasis, option and focus would have clear definitions to “clear up any confusion,” said Dariotis. For example, a concentration within a major would have a minimum of units.

However, decisions about the new policy changes will not be made for some time, as the next Academic Polices Committee meeting isn’t until next spring.

Spring schedule loses 150 class sections

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As students get ready to start the delayed priority registration next week, the final count has come in on what has survived the latest round of cuts.

Reactions to the loss of 150 class sections were mixed among deans, however students’ class selection is not as skimpy as once feared, administrators said.

“It’s never good news that there are reductions in classes, but it’s much better than what we were originally expecting,” said John Kim, the associate vice president for Academic Resources.

Last week SF State President Robert A. Corrigan announced that 150 course sections would be cut from the spring 2009 semester. The statement, sent to students via e-mail last Tuesday, said the school avoided cutting from 300 to 400 sections.

The cuts were made in preparation for a $66 million midyear budget cut to the CSU system, proposed by Gov. Schwarzenegger.

The reason the cuts are lower than projected is complicated.

According to Kim, the section cuts that were made depended on estimates made by the administration. Because the governor and the state Legislature have not yet made the official cuts, all state agencies, including the CSU and SF State, can only guess how much money they will lose midyear.

Fewer sections were cut than estimated because SF State reduced that estimate in light of the budget plan Schwarzenegger proposed in early November.

Faculty reactions to the section cuts are bittersweet. On one hand, many are happy that the cuts were not as bad as anticipated. But less than projected or not, the cuts have the potential to increase class sizes and delay graduation for SF State seniors.

Kenneth Monteiro, the dean of the College of Ethnic Studies, said that 23 sections were cut from ethnic studies alone. The cuts include an Asian American culture course, and a class on American Indians. One course, titled “Political Economy in Raza” used to fulfill a government and history general education requirement before it was cut.

“The student is sort of dropped in to sink or swim to a certain degree,” said Monteiro. “The more barriers you put before graduation, the less likely it is [for a student] to graduate.”

According to Monteiro, deciding which sections to cut is a tedious process. Monteiro was given a dollar amount that needed to be subtracted from the College of Ethnic Studies’ budget. Then Monteiro and the department chairs assessed the importance of each course based on major and minor requirements, as well as its effect on general education.

Sheldon Axler, dean of the College of Science of Engineering, said that 25 courses were cut from his department.

“We’re trying to cut the least essential classes and keep in the schedule the classes that students need for graduation,” Axler said. “Several of them were classes that were multi-section classes … maybe instead of offering 7 sections of the class, we offered six.”

Many agree that while the cuts are not ideal, they are much better than expected.

College of Humanities Dean Paul Sherwin originally thought the humanities department would have to cancel 97 sections. In the end, they only had to cancel 32, which saved the College of Humanities $138,000, according to Sherwin.

“At the moment we’re offering as many as we can afford,” Sherwin said.

The news follows weeks of protests from CSU students and faculty. While the cuts aren’t popular, Monteiro said that SF State’s administration is doing its best with the budget they’ve been given.

“You don’t have the alternative to not make the cut because the money isn’t going to be there,” Monteiro said.

Sherwin isn’t optimistic about next year’s budget.

“It ended up being not nearly as severe as we thought,” Sherwin said. “But next year looks really rough and if the economy doesn’t turn around it might get even worse.”

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