February 2009 Archives
Students, faculty, call for plan of action
Protection for the university, new student organizations call to arms, walk-outs, bus rides and protests and a message from the president of SF State could all be heard at Thursday's budget teach-in, along with a healthy dose of the blame game.
The event was hosted by the CSU Alliance called "Teach-in: Reclaiming Public Education Amidst an Economic Crisis," held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Jack Adams Hall, filled with as many as 300 students, faculty, staff and concerned citizens, sought to unite the people that call SF State home.
CSU Employees Union Chapter President, and one of the events organizers, Russell Kilday-Hicks said, "There is at least one silver lining, the economic crisis has brought this campus together."
Kilday-Hicks said that "all of us are, in a sense, trustees of this great public entity," adding that it is everyone's responsibility to do what they can to keep it alive.
Members of Student Unity and Power, a month-old student-run group that meets weekly to develop political strategies that will give students, teachers, and workers more power, were at the Teach-in handing out fliers and talking to students interested in their efforts.
SUP is a coalition of students trying to organize a united front against governments and administrations that have continually gutted our education," said Francis Mead, 23, a student and member of SUP. "This isn't just an education issue," she added, "social services are also being cut."
Mead and fellow SUP members were at the teach-in to increase awareness of the new student group, inform students about SUP's weekly meetings, and spread the word about its efforts, in conjunction with City College of San Francisco students, to form a walk-out on March 12, and march to the steps of City Hall.
Shawna Eiermann and Inez Viera, both 20, came to the sit-in to learn more about becoming involved in activism events such as the walk-out. The theatre majors were inspired by their Ethnic Studies 100: Introduction to Ethnic Studies class.
Eiermann said the class has taught them "there's a fear of doing these little things," such as attending events like the teach-in. "Coming makes it more real," she added, but the women's newly found ability for activism makes them "not want to be so afraid anymore."
The teach-in's Emcee, California Faculty Association Chapter President Ramón Castellblanch spoke of the recently passes California state budget in his introduction speech, something he implied was defiantly worth being afraid of.
He talked of how $213 million dollars being cut from the CSU system is in direct violation of the Higher Education Compact, an agreement with the CSU and Gov, Arnold Schwarzengger to increase the general funding for the CSU for the next several years.
He also noted the proposed new spending cap, which would take state revenue and "put 3 percent away in a rainy-day fund, which is fine, unless it's a rainy day."
SF State President Robert A. Corrigan also attended the event, asking students of the university, which he called "the campus that believes the most in social justice and equality," to start a letter-writing campaign.
"I want you so send to whatever chair or department head you have an e-mail about the courses or services you didn't get. I want you to copy that to me." He added for students to please keep e-mails short, succinct and as precise as possible.
"Don't send me a three page e-mail," he said, but "I want to know, the chairs want to know, and the deans want to know."
Student representative Jerald Reodica believed none of Corrigan's words were heartfelt or useful. He said he did not think Corrigan could identify with a student's personal struggles or "the immense pressure on faculty and staff."
He added that Corrigan and the SF State administration is part of the problem, and that "merely sending a fax to the governor claiming your allegiance to the CSU Alliance, or an email to President Corrigan and the deans, has yet to produce an empowered campus community."
Instead, Reodica believes calling for protests, sit-ins, walk-outs, and an effort to "build a movement that demands accountability and transparency from our administration," is what needs to be done.
SF State community outrage with CSU cuts
Student speakers brought heartfelt proclamations about the CSU budget situation Thursday in a budget teach-in at Jack Adams Hall.
The teach-in, organized by the CSU Alliance, discussed the newly signed state budget, the CSU budget situation, the affects on SF State and a call to action.
Last week, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger cut $66.3 million to the CSU for 2009-10 and included an additional $50 million cut, depending on the size of the federal stimulus package.
"I'm pissed!" shouted a passionate Jasmine Leblanc, an Africana studies major. "They're trying to take the one thing we have? Our education? You all need to be pissed!"
Seven students expressed their outrage at the budget cuts and its effects on SF State and all of California.
"Every year the situation gets worse," said Jackie Mendez, an Ethnic Studies graduate student. "It's eating at us and weakening us. We are all affected by this - teachers, faculties, students and administration. We have to understand that we are all interconnected in this crisis."
Between 2007-2008, the CSU lost over 450 lecturers according to the California Faulty Association. SF State lost 108 lecturers.
Alberto Luna, a history major, urged SF State to build a community alliance.
"We must start to create a trust here," said Luna in regards to the lack of community on campus. "As students, we have to reach out to them and unite for a common cause."
The student speakers advocated all to pursue a common goal - get involved and do something.
Francis Mead, a member of Student Unity and Power, called upon students to engage in direct action suggesting the "need for radical movement against these cuts."
SUP, a radically minded organization of students dedicated to building a militant movement for liberating education, is organizing a walk out March 12 as a "stepping off point" to build against the struggle, said Mead.
Lenny Goldberg, executive director of the California Tax Reform Association, urged students to take their anger to the ballots for the special election May 19, in which Schwarzenegger asks to permanently cap state spending, among other measures. The spending cap is "like a stray jacket to California's future," he said.
Leblanc insists on action.
"They're taking power from us," she said. "Start getting mad. Wake the hell up SFSU and let's get involved."
As SF State students switch from the JEPET to the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement-approved courses, a longer transition time and fear of tutoring resource limits may shake things up a bit.
In 2007, the Academic Senate voted to replace the often criticized JEPET with a writing-intensive course within a student's major. This semester marks the beginning of that switch with GWAR courses underway, covering a range of classes from philosophy and health education to broadcasting and math.
So far, according to Mary Soliday, program coordinator for Writing Across the Curriculum and Writing in the Disciplines, things are running smoothly, if not quite according to plan.
Soliday said the current semester has four GWAR courses and one pilot course. Next semester will bring three more. As WAC/WID coordinator, Soliday is helping SF State transition into a WAC frame of mind.
This means recognizing that writing promotes student learning in acute ways, and that practicing within one's discipline (WID) furthers a deeper understanding of what is being taught.
SF State's new criteria include a variety of writing assignments totaling 15 pages with multiple opportunities offered to students to revise their writing.
"This is really a national movement," said Soliday of the university's remodeling. She is currently working on a Web site that will help faculty and staff modify or create new courses satisfying the new GWAR requirements.
"This is just the tip of the iceberg," she said of SF State and other universities like George Mason University, University of Richmond and Louisiana State University, all of which have modified their courses in ways similar to what SF State is doing.
Soliday felt it was obviously going to take much longer that the original two-year time frame to implement the new writing requirements, "It takes 10 years to start a healthy WAC program, and this is so much more than that," she said.
The Academic Senate has realized this as well. At their Executive Committee meeting on Feb. 10, they discussed the financial implications of the transition taking up to five years to implement. The issue has been sent to committee.
But Soliday isn't too worried about straining the university's already overtaxed resources. "We have to be careful and we have to be deliberate," she said, adding that most of the GWAR courses will be modified existing courses therefore the financial impact will be minimal.
Eric Hayashi is one of two professors currently teaching the pilot math course, Math 301: Exploration and Proof. "It's essentially the same course," he said. "Students still have to read and write in a serious way using words and logic." The only major change he could think of was a new term paper at the end of the class.
Hayashi believes that revision, a GWAR requirement, is a key part of a writing-intensive math course. "It's the only way students can cope with this more focused use of language," he added.
Hayashi's main concern is the class's already high failure rate. "Traditionally," he said, "60 percent of those students [the ones that remained after the census date] pass. 20 percent received Ws and 20 percent failed the course. This is where many students meet their limit."
It is early in the semester, but students in Professor David Meredith's Math 301 class didn't seem too worried about the slight changes to the syllabus. Most were just anxious to learn what they recognized as a new language.
"The JEPET is just an essay," said Alison Maine, a 20-year-old math major. "When you're writing a math paper it's fact, fact, fact, fact, fact. It's completely different."
Maine took and passed the JEPET. Now she is taking Math 301 as a required course.
Damon Robles, 31, also a math major, has not taken the JEPET and if he passes the 301 class, he will not have to. When Robles heard that a required course in his major was going to fulfill his GWAR requirements, he was grateful for the change in the university's policy.
"I was ecstatic," he said. "I'm killing two birds with one stone."
The campus Learning Assistance Center (LAC) and the Campus Academic Resource Programs have augmented tutoring for Math 301, but Professor Hayashi is concerned that it may not be enough.
"This is one to two hours a week for five to 10 risky students, and it's in a group format," he said, adding that the tutoring centers will need more resources to cover the kinds of things the new GWAR criteria expects them to cover.
Deborah VanDommelen, Director of the LAC, wrote in an email that the new shift will allow the center to develop their WID approach using new models that pair tutors with entire classes, use focused group tutoring, and have peer review and small individualized group sessions.
She said the center has "received the funding necessary to meet the demand, but with the current budget situation we can't say what the future may hold."
She added that "the longer transition time will give us more time to develop programs that respond effectively to GWAR classes and students with different needs."
Justin Tiwald, an associate professor in the philosophy department, worked to modify Philosophy 320: Philosophical Analysis into a GWAR approved course; the class will be taught as one beginning next semester.
Tiwald said there wasn't much change involved in modifying the course. "We piled on a lot of workshops," he said of the course's seven writing workshops, three of which are in the first three weeks. "But it's pretty similar. It's roughly the same."
Tiwald agrees that the new writing criteria are part of a national movement to improve writing skills. A fairly new professor, he remembers some of his teacher's assistant jobs in graduate school that were solely on teaching students how to write a paper. Tiwald is excited about the university's switch. "I just have a natural interest in teaching this way," he said.
Despite a rising demand for health care practitioners, becoming one at SF State is not a leisurely stroll in the park.
In fact, it's more like a triathlon.
SF State's own nursing program accepts 80 students in the fall and 40 in the spring out of the nearly 800 who actually apply, according to SF State school of nursing director Shirley Girouard.
Jaleel Arnado, a 5th year pre-med student, emphasizes the amount of preparation it takes just to get into medical school, which she is currently applying for.
"On top of having the prerequisites and good grades, you still need to volunteer, work at hospitals and take the MCAT," said Arnado. "For me, it has been really difficult because along with all these science classes, I do volunteer work, and it gets really hard."
The MCAT is the nation's medical college admissions test required for admission to many medical schools.
Every year, about 45,000 students apply to health-related departments nationally and about 22,000 make it in, according to Barry S. Rothman, an SF State health professions advisor. Even more than that are actually good applicants, but there isn't enough space for them, he said.
According to Rothman, health care became extremely privatized about 30 years ago, which drove up costs.
"The more it costs, the harder it is to train more people," Rothman said. "And now, with the beginning of geriatric problems and budget cuts, it will only get worse."
The baby boomers, those born from 1946 to 1964, will begin reaching the retiring age of 65 by 2011 and assistance to these people will be in great demand by 2015, according to John Minnett, president of SF State's Nursing Student Association.
There are 64 million people living in the 6,033 areas of the U.S. with a shortage of primary care professionals, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It would take 16,336 professionals to meet this population's need for primary care providers - that is 2,000 people to one practitioner, it said.
Health care staff shortages hit the nursing industry hardest.
"There is a great shortage of nursing faculty, nursing class room space, clinical sites and preceptors - people that work in hospitals with students one-on-one," said Minnett. "Until financial resources [are] allocated to address these needs, the supply of nurses will remain minimal as compared to the need."
Today there are approximately 150,000 unfilled Registered Nurse positions nationally and will grow to 350,000-750,000 by 2020 based on recent projections, according to Minnett.
"The department is not trying to be picky," said Minnett of the nursing department. "The reality is that there just is not enough faculty and classroom space to accommodate more students."
To relieve the shortage, Minnett emphasizes the need for greater funding.
"If we don't increase our capacity to educate and train new nurses, the nursing shortage crisis that has yet to hit in full force will be much worse," he said. "That will translate into poor patient outcomes with a much greater incidence of patient illness and suffering in the next couple of decades to come."
Katie Loggins, a 2nd year graduate nursing student, applied for the nursing program at her city college, only to find out she was number 452 on the list, trying to get into a program that accepts 30 students per semester. A year and a half later, she found herself only in the low 300s of the list, when she decided to apply to SF State's program.
"I applied with the experience I already had," Loggins said in an email. "My background is in holistic health. I am certified in therapeutic massage, Reiki, Thai massage, studied East African herbalism in Kenya and Tao Shiatsu in Japan."
Though her knowledge in Western medicine was minimal, Loggins' holistic background was appreciated and she was accepted into the program.
Herissa Magadia, a 2nd- year nursing student, attributes her good planning in getting into the nursing program.
"I planned ahead of time what classes to take," she said. "I took several of the required classes in community colleges during summer instead of waiting for a spot at one college campus [and] I did not try to cram all the pre-requisite courses at once."
It's a very stressful process, Magadia says.
For those who do not get into the nursing program, some work on a minor or a different major while continuing to apply, or others pursue a different career altogether,
according to Minnett.
Donald Pon, a nursing student, applied the first time with just grades, but not enough extracurricular activities. The second time, Pon had the grades and experience by volunteering and doing community service.
"All these items may seem like they are easy to obtain and seem like minor items but they really do make a difference," wrote Pon in an email. "These extracurricular [activities] really help in molding the type of person you want to be when you become a nurse."
But until then, Minnett urges applicants to prepare to work hard to see results in an extremely competitive field.
"[Applicants and students] need to really make themselves stand out in order to get into the nursing program and to get a foot in the door to that first job," he said.
Advanced Life Support and Emergency Medical Technician certifications, working in hospitals as nursing assistants or other unlicensed positions and joining student organizations such as the NSA are a few surefire ways to help, he said.
"In addition to not having the financial support from the state for employing more instructors, the number of students accepted into schools is strongly affected by the number of clinical spaces available," said Loggins. "The economy needs to improve before any changes can be made."
Next week a sanctuary will be formed. The room will be filled with nothing but candlelight and ambient music. The ground will be covered with tapestries to lie or sit on. This peaceful place is not located in a garden, temple, or monastery; but in the HSS building.
Starting on Monday, the Holistic Health Network will be hosting weekly meditation meetings. The group will turn a classroom into a quiet, sacred space where students and faculty can "sit and ground themselves", according to the network's president, Carlee Ann Brown.
"It is beneficial for all to listen to their body and have a moment of silence," said the 4th year biology student.
For 18 years, the Holistic Health Network has served as a community for students interested not only in health alternatives but also in ecological, social, and political issues. The group's library, located in the HSS building, is a place filled with resources including books, DVDs, CDs, and art.
But it's the non-tangible offerings that make the center so special. Guests are always greeted with a smile, a sincere "hello" and are encouraged to grab a free cup of tea to enjoy on one of their two soft, old couches.
Vita Tihen graduated last spring but continues to frequent the campus for the sole purpose of volunteering at the Holistic Health Library.
"Our place is a living and working experiment with the community," she said. "Over the years it has become a family for me."
The network hopes to gain recognition from the biweekly mediation. It has also hosted heath care conferences, political meetings and free massages. The center reports that it has doubled its daily visitor average since last semester, when they first started keeping record.
"People show up and like the people they meet," said Kenn Burrows, the library's founder and faculty adviser to the network. "Like anything good, it seeds itself."
No matter how many come, the Holistic Health Network will offer a method of healing they feel many know little about.
Anne Salsbury, a 60-year-old volunteer, came up with idea of regular meditation.
She talks with a gentle tone and bright smile fitting for the calm, positive atmosphere of her event.
"The tension in your body, and the disquiet in your spirit get a chance to be calm," she said about meditation." In and of itself, this is healing in both the short and long run."
Students and community members participated in song, prayer and ritual as they celebrated Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, inside Cesar Chavez Student Center.
Bishop William Justice of St. Thomas More Parish, led the hour- long mass for over 130 people.
"I was impressed with their seriousness," said Justice after the service in reaction towards the many people that came. "I love doing this. This reanimates me more than other daily things I do."
Verbum Dei Missionary Fraternity and the Newman Club, the Catholic student organization, hosted the Mass and have been doing so for the past five years.
"This is a part of the student faith and having it is to make it accessible in the middle of the activities," said Sister Karla Felix, a member of the fraternity.
Yadira Zendejas, a pre-nursing student, was part of the service and was very thankful that she had the opportunity to attend.
"I think it's a blessing to have them here and I'm just thankful for the Newman club," Zendejas said.
Natalie Franklin, the president of the Associated Students, Inc., stopped by the Mass for a quick blessing and was pleased with how respectful students were of the service in comparison to the conflict surrounding the anti-Hamas demonstration two weeks ago.
"I think its good to show an openness of other religions," Franklin said.
Barbara Quigley, a student leader of the Newman Club, was part of the service and at one point, placed an ash marking of the cross on participants' foreheads.
"It represents a time of rebirth," Quigley said.
Quigley explains that the main point of the ash marking is to serve the reminder that we are humans.
"We are humans and we are going to die and so this is the time to do good," Quigley said.
The San Francisco Chronicle will continue to distribute papers, despite the recent announcement that the newspaper may shutdown.
The Chronicle is having initial discussions with the union, but will continue the business as long as possible, said marketing director Michael Keith from The Chronicle.
The Hearst Corporation, owner of the newspaper, announced Tuesday that the newspaper will be going "critical cost-saving measures" in order to keep the newspaper afloat, despite it being read by more than 1.6 million people weekly.
Currently The Chronicle is the Bay Area's largest and oldest newspaper and its Web site, SFGate, is among the nation's 10 largest Web sites.
Steve Rubenstein, a reporter for The Chronicle and a former journalism lecturer at SF State, believes that the newspaper will stay around for "a long, long time."
"I can't imagine SF being without The Chronicle, and The Chronicle without SF," Rubenstein said.
Rubenstein was in the meeting yesterday that announced the situation, and says that it was "not an unexpected announcement" being that the fact that they have done cut backs and layoff for years.
According to The Chronicle, they lost more than $50 million last year.
"Given the losses the Chronicle continues to sustain, the time to implement these changes cannot be long," said Frank A. Bennack, Jr., vice chairman and chief executive office of the Hearst Corporation.
"These changes are designed to give the Chronicle the best possible chance to survive and continue to serve the people of the Bay Area with distinction, as it has since 1865," said Bennack.
In its continued mission to raise money for the Tatiana Grant Trust Fund, the Black Student Union held a benefit concert. Tatiana is the daughter of Oscar Grant, the 22- year old man who was fatally wounded by BART police officer Johannes Mehserle.
At the concert, students came together to hear the musical styling of a jazz band, the spoken word of Freeflowin' from the Readnex poetry squad and two other students, and get a glimpse of a photo documentary by journalism student, Alex Welsh.
"Hopefully those who come will come out of this event with some knowledge and can inform someone else," said Erin Haywood, a liberal studies major. Haywood, a coordinator for the BSU sees the shooting of Oscar Grant as a call to action against police brutality.
"Young brothers and sisters are dying on the streets," she said, "how are we going to deal with this now that its not hidden and its been recorded?"
The event had about fifty students present, all scattered at round tables in Jack Adams Hall. The lights were house lights and stage lights were low as the jazz band, accompanied by Dee Spencer, professor of Music. Hayes described the atmosphere as "loungey. "
The event raised $558.36.
"I wish more people would have come," said Eric Moore, a 3rd year accounting major. "This was a good idea."
Moore went on to say he came to the event to "show support and get information about other situations like [Grant's]."
"I watched the video several times and I didn't see the point," he said. "Its very unjust."
As Freeflowin' took the stage she created asked those in attendance to abandon their tables and pull their chairs up to the front of the stage.
Freeflowin' recited poetry that she wrote about her father, who is a police officer in New York City. Her poem spoke of her hopes that her father would never take part in police brutality and her conflicting feelings of lover for him and hatred for police officers.
Sitting in the back, at a table set up for Copwatch, was Jack Bryson, whose sons were on the Fruitvale platform with Oscar Grant on New Years Eve.
Since New Year 's Eve, Bryson has been fighting against police brutality. He met a BSU event coordinator at the a town hall meeting at Olivet Institutional Missionary Baptist Church, who asked him to attend this event.
Grant had been a close friend to the Bryson brothers since the eldest was 10 years old.
"Oscar was a damn good dude," Bryson said about Grant with a smile. Bryson said he and Grant often spoke of fatherhood following Tatiana's birth.
Bryson spoke breifely, encouraging students to join him in a march to Hayward City Hall from the Hayward BART station on Grant's birthday, February 27th.
On Monday, state Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) proposed a bill to prohibit top educational executives from receiving raises during a time when student fees have reached an all-time high.
According to Yee, fees for students have increased over 94 percent since 2002 for all California State University schools, while executives have received 23 percent in pay raises.
"As a graduate of both the UC and CSU, I want our higher education systems to succeed and be as accessible for California students," said Yee, from his office press release.
The bill, SB217, if passed, will affect all CSU, UC and community college schools. It will make it impossible for executives to receive any pay increases while student fees are on the rise.
"[Yee's] frustrated as a tax payer, knowing that [executives] are receiving pay hikes," said Adam Keigwin, chief of staff Yee, as he explained why the senator chose to propose the bill.
"[Yee] believes it's never appropriate to raise pay [for executives] when student fees are going up."
Yee also did not agree with the new California state budget signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger this past weekend. The budget took $8.4 billion away from public education funds, leaving K-12 and higher education schools with less money than before.
"[Yee] did not support the budget cuts," said Keigwin, as he talked about why the senator wishes that colleges were seen as more of a priority
"It's disappointing for [Yee] to see the CSU resources taken away."
Passionate chants calling for a bike-friendly campus filled SF State's Malcolm X Plaza Monday in a rally stressing the need for better bike rack locations.
ECO Students and the Bicycle Advocacy Group organized the event in an effort to promote the Bike Safety Campaign and to tell the university to stop bike ticketing and instead, provide better locations to park bicycles.
The Bike Safety Campaign is a large outreach effort to educate bikers about campus policies and bike safety, while making bike parking accessible for all students, according to Suzanne McNulty, founder of ECO Students and co-founder of Bicycle Advocacy Group. It will leave rails unobstructed and create a bicycle-pedestrian friendly atmosphere, she said.
"We should be getting more racks, not tickets," shouted Christine Osorio, an environmental studies major. "More racks will make it easier for us to bike, and seeing more bikes will make it appealing for others to start cycling."
Last fall, SF State added bike racks enabling 200 more bicycles to park on campus.
"It's great that they added these 200 extra rack spaces," said Osorio. "But they aren't suitable for cyclists because they're inaccessible. They need to be in better locations."
Marc Caswell, program manager for the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, stressed the need to make sure bike racks are in front of buildings and near students so that they can be seen and not hidden on the outskirts of campus.
"Why aren't we putting our racks where we are being ticketed at?" he asked the crowd who had gathered despite drizzle and an ominous sky. "If this is where you lock us, this is where we need racks."
Nikki Bengal, a graduate nursing student, had her bike booted and ticketed for $55 without any warning.
"If cars are able to get citations before getting booted, why not bikes?" she asked. "This bike booting is purely punitive."
According to SF State's Budget Administration and Operations, parking fines money can be used only for the development, enhancement, and operation of alternative modes of transportation and for the administration of the fines and forfeitures program.
"If this is true, then where are all the improvements?" asked Jesse Marie Di Carlo-Wagner, liberal studies major. "Where is this revenue from tickets truly going? Just to give out more tickets?"
Di Carlo-Wagner was ticketed for parking on the side railings by the HSS building.
"[There needs] to be a solution, compromise, or at least a better system for everyone who rides to and from campus," she said. "The locks are still out there. I am in the four to six week process of protesting my ticket and it sucks!"
University officials were also there to listen to the students.
"The university is doing things to improve the situation," said Gene Chelberg, associate vice president for student affairs. "We are committed to putting the racks in safe, well-lit locations."
The university will be adding new bike racks in six to eight weeks, though it is not confirmed as to where the racks will be, according to Chelberg.
"All we want is for them to give our campaign a trial and relocate the bike racks," said McNulty. "Part of being a bike friendly campus is to see a bike friendly campus."
Family, friends, and supporters against police brutality gathered on the corner of Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, and Ashby Avenue in Berkeley on Friday night, to commemorate the one year anniversary of Anita Gay.
The Berkeley police shot Gay in the back, but the reason behind the shooting is still unclear. According to the police, Gay had a knife and the officer, Rashawn Cummings, pulled the trigger to prevent Gay from harming her daughters. Gay's family says that she was old and did not have a knife, nor did they feel that police needed to shoot because Gay was complying with the officer's requests.
The vigil was not only to remember Gay, but the many others who lost their lives to police brutality. Supporters held up signs to commemorate the death of Oscar Grant who was shot and killed by BART police at the Fruitvale station on New Years day, as well as the names of other victims.
"This cause is important to me because it affects my community," said Rachel Reynolds from Act Now to Stop War and End Racism, (ANSWER), "I think the police if in theory they are supposed to protect and serve, then they really should not have killed nearly as many people as they did in the last year."
Supporters say that police brutality affects the community as a whole, and needs to end. Gay's family said that the shooting took a toll on them.
"My family, we were devastated," Patricia Johnson, Anita Gay's sister said, "They didn't have the courtesy to call my mother, they still haven't called my mother and it's been a year. They really need to be accountable for their actions, just like me and you."
The crowd cheered and shouted, "No Justice, No Peace," as people honked their car horns or watched the protest from stoplights. At 6:00 p.m., supporters lit candles and took a moment to reflect.
Gay's sister and granddaughter thanked the supporters for attending the vigil. Even though the event was postponed on Monday due to rain, the family says that they will be out every year to remember those who died from police brutality.
Over 100 days have gone by as California leaders finally came to a budget compromise this week for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to sign Friday afternoon.
The signing of the budget closes the $42 billion deficit in California, but this was not a time to celebrate as cuts were made across the board including the California State University system.
CSU officials said that the budget reduces the current fiscal year, 2008-2009, by $97.6 million and calls for an additional $66.3 million cut for 2009-2010.
The governor said that federal funding will replace the $255 million cuts in the CSU budget.
"While we recognize the severity of the state's fiscal crisis, the budget does not provide the resources the system needs to meet the needs of our students and fund our operations," said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed.
Reed stresses that the cuts will affect the quality of services for the 450,000 students enrolled in the CSU.
Measures to save costs have already been initiated. They include a reduction in admissions, a hiring and pay freeze this year and the shut down of several campus projects including SF State's construction of the J. Paul Leonard Library.
Applications are being accepted for students who would like to be a student representative on the CSU Board of Trustees.
The California State Student Association is accepting applications for students who want to be on the board and represent the 23 campuses.
"The best part about being a student trustee is that you are given the opportunity to be the voice of hundred of thousands of students at Board of Trustees meetings," said student trustee Curtis Grima in an e-mail.
Grima, from Sacramento State University, votes on the board while Russel Statham of Fresno State University and is the non-voting student trustee, according to Sarah Vagts, director of university affairs at CSSA.
Both students, however, sit on the board and are allowed to have input on topics discussed.
"Legally, there is no difference between Curtis and I," Statham said. "We both receive the same information, except he gets to vote."
Statham continues on to say that there is "never a dull moment" and it's great feeling to be able to have an "impact on the education for the world."
"I really want to encourage students to apply," said Steve Dixon, vice-chair of external affair for the CSSA. "My goal is to have a strong diverse application pool."
Natalie Franklin, president of the Associate Students, Inc. said she believes that it's important to have students on the board instead of "decisions being made solely by the suites."
"By having a student serve on the CSU Board of Trustees the student's voice has a chance to be heard and influence the board," Franklin said.
While on the board, Grima has come to admire "the trustees and other CSU leaders who have dedicated a large portion of their lives to see the CSU succeed."
The student will interact with other officials such as the governor's office and the chancellor of the CSU and be paid a $100 every day they are required to attend meetings. All transportations including flying and hotels are reimbursed when necessary.
No experience is required, but a background in student government would be good, and the "ability to work with others," Dixon said.
Students must be a junior standing by July 2009 and must be a student at a CSU through 2011.
The application deadline is April 1.
For information on how to apply, visit the website at http://www.csustudents.org/university_affairs/trustee/index.asp
Keep a look out for the campaign trail next week. ASI held its first mandatory election meeting on Thursday, which included 35 potential candidates running for 20 open positions.
The campaigning will officially begin on February 26.
"I am tired of hearing college kids b------g, not knowing things can be done," Gerardo Benito Chang, a candidate, said on why he decided to run.
The meeting went over the logistics of the campaign, including dos and don'ts and procedure guidelines. One student asked election commissioner Morgan Lamb if he could attach a huge banner on the library to grab student's attention.
Lamb said the election process is running smoothly and should work out well. Like-minded candidates running for separate offices are already joining together to form a slate appropriately titled "the slate."
Frankie Griffen is one of a handful of current ASI members trying to hold on to their positions for another semester. Griffen said he would like to focus on keeping SF State green.
For those unaware with the ASI, they are SF State's student government. Student organizations may obtain funding through ASI. The board is also responsible for programs such as The Legal Resource Center and Project Connect.
Randy Good, 19, is running for Freshman Representation. He hopes the experience can get him more involved on campus.
"I want to make sure the voice of freshman are heard," he said.
The campaigning will last around four weeks. A debate is scheduled for next month.
Engrossed in the masqueraded dead bodies in front of Malcolm X Plaza, students witnessed a silent demonstration to remember those who died during the Gaza conflict that began last December.
Several representatives of the General Union of Palestinian Students and other student organizations lay on the concrete draped in white shirts smeared with fake blood. Plastic bloody baby dolls blanketed the floor.
"This is strictly just a reminder that 1,300 people died in Gaza and 5,000 have been injured - many in critical condition," said Chris Kazaleh, a Palestinian-American student who helped organize the demonstration. "This is injustice."
The conflict began on December 27, 2008 and lasted 22 days. A reported 1,300 people were killed, many of which were Palestinian.
The peaceful demonstration was spearheaded by GUPS but also had other non-Palestinian students present.
"It's a crime against humanity," Kazaleh. "The Afrikaners - the Dutch - were calling Nelson Mandela a terrorist. They're doing the same thing to Palestinians. They're calling us terrorists."
"It's a peaceful demonstration on both sides," said Aaron Ackerman, cultural chair of the Israel Coalition. "I think it highlights that death is horrible, casualties are horrible."
Ackerman said that his goal in showing up to the event was to "talk to people from the other side to show Israel's empathy."
"I say there is a tension, but it comes from a lack of dialogue between the two groups," he continued. "There might be pro-Israel people on this campus that are racist. There might be people who only see the side that Israel is telling them. But there are also tons of Jews and pro-Israel people on this campus that don't see that."
International student Faris Viab shared his sentiments on life back in Palestine. "The thing about over there, it's way different than here," he said. "If you want to go from here to downtown San Francisco, you would have to go through three of four checkpoints. A half-hour trip takes you three-four hours."
"I think it's a positive thing that there is a student group on campus that is revealing the truth about what is going on in the world," said Nestor Castillo, a Raza Studies major who observed the event.
But amid the signs and flags, one young woman in the crowd wore a shirt reading "Whites, Blacks...Christians, Muslims...Just kick it."
"Her shirt," Ackerman pointed. "We should all just kick it."
To many, the sight and sound of a bee is enough cause to run for the hills. Gretchen LeBuhn thinks of bees more fondly. Her life's work has been getting people to attract these insects, not run from them.
"It's bees that pollinate the good stuff," said the SF State biology professor. "I like to show students a picture of a field of grain and ask if they would like to eat only things made of this."
At the end of the month, LeBuhn will be sending out sunflower seeds to all willing growers for The Great Sunflower Project -- a study she created last spring.
Participants are sent sunflower seeds to plant in hopes of attracting bees. The researchers hope to monitor the status of the little known urban pollinators. The knowledge gained will tell scientists and conservationists what to do to help this essential part of city wildlife.
The Great Sunflower Project relies on "citizen science," when work is done outside the lab by ordinary people to allow a much greater quantity of results.
"People who participate [get] to see they are part of something much bigger and part of science," said Karen Purcell, an ornithology professor at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.
Purcell has developed a program similar to LeBuhn's, in which sunflowers are used to monitor urban bird activity. The two have worked together several times.
Anyone can go on the project's Web site and order a free packet of seeds. Once the plant has developed, growers monitor twice a month the amount of time it takes for five bees to be attracted to the flower. The information is posted on the project's Web page where LeBuhn can process it.
The project has had unexpected levels of participation. At first intended to be a local study, it soon became national when in the first week, the Web site shut down due to high traffic.
This year, LeBuhn is expecting double the amount of last year's 25,000 participants and hopes to expand to Canada and Europe.
These impressive numbers have helped the Great Sunflower Project become a community, says LeBuhn.
In her office hangs a sloppy crayon drawing from a grower, showing a radiant yellow bumblebee flying next to an equally bright sunflower. Pieces of art and pictures have become common in LeBuhn's e-mail box.
Shannon Messerly worked as a student assistant for the project until she graduated last spring. It was not her professor's scientific skills that impressed her the most.
"In all things bees, she's got her stuff down," Messerly said. "But it's her people skills which [are] something you don't find much in science labs."
Though she has made few comments in class about her project, LeBuhn would like for more students at SF State to understand the importance of pollination. She says her lab will have free seeds for any willing student and that she has also thought about passing them out on campus.
"It'd be great coverage to get the students at this school from all over the bay."
LeBuhn has received a reaction as warm as the weather needed for her gardening. Her ultimate goal is to have planting sunflowers become an institution that reaches out to garden groups, elementary schools and families.
For now, LeBuhn loves doing a pollination study that allows her to work with people that raise excitement on a subject she is so passionate about.
"Everyone is having a good time," LeBuhn said. "Plus, people are also learning a lot about pollination."
Buying tickets to spend three days in the desert while listening to a rock festival can make someone happier than buying the new smart phone, according to a new study led by SF State Assistant Professor Ryan Howell.
Howell, alongside SF State alumnus Graham Hill, conducted a study that concluded buying life experiences would give consumers more happiness as opposed to possessions, because it gives them a sense of being alive. Unlike life experiences, possessions might be forgotten over time, Howell said.
The study began 16 months ago and was finished last summer. It will be published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, although the time of publication is still pending.
The study was a surprise to Howell. His initial thoughts were that people wanted to buy life experiences for social needs, such as spending time with friends and family. However, the study suggests that people are happier with experiences because it gives them a sense of being alive.
Hill, who met Howell in his senior year, was also surprised at the role reflection played in happiness.
"People tend to adapt to material objects very quickly, whereas experiences seem to stick with people longer, and make them happier when they think back on them," Howell said.
The study was conducted through a survey created by Howell and Hill, using students from a study pool at SF State.
Howell said he was intrigued by the link between happiness and income after he and his wife interviewed poor Malaysian farmers about their wealth and life satisfaction.
"I conjectured that when individuals live in affluence, they would need to spend their income on purchases which would satisfy their psychological needs in order to be happier," Howell said.
Given the current economic situation and the decrease in discretionary income, Howell said that depending on the person, people would be more inclined to buy experiences if they were looking for escapism.
"If you haven't had your basic needs met, then you should be spending your money on food and shelter," he said. "If you['ve] got your needs met and you purchase an iPod, you still are not going to be happy because that's not going to fulfill your basic needs."
Even students who are short on cash can buy happiness, said Hill.
"It didn't matter how much money people spent on the experience, they still received the same increase in happiness," Hill said.
"So for students, who usually don't have a lot of extra money, something as simple as going to a coffee house with friends, or going out to a movie, can contribute more to their happiness than spending a lot of money on something like a pair of jeans or sunglasses that might get tired of in a few weeks," he said.
SF State President Robert A. Corrigan and a faculty committee will select the new provost, who will single-handedly control the school budget.
"The provost will have a huge responsibility," said Joel Kassiola, dean of the behavioral and social sciences department and member of the provost search committee.
"It is the second most important administrator [position] on campus, next to the president," Kassiola added.
During this past week, candidates met with students, staff and faculty to discuss their plans on fulfilling the new position.
There were also open meetings in the Seven Hills Conference Center this week that allowed faculty and students to ask questions to the candidates.
"A provost is a leader, but never forget that you can't lead without other people behind you," said Dr. Donna Kuizenga, a candidate for the position, as she spoke on Monday.
Kuizenga has 20 years of administrative work under her belt and is currently the dean for the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Massachusetts Boston.
"I don't believe in across-the-board budget cuts... I'll try to use the most rational plan I can," she said, while discussing how school programs and departments should be critiqued thoroughly before cuts can be made.
Violeta Seuga, an SF State alumnae currently staffed on campus, attended the meeting, saying, "budget cuts are inevitable... I just hope that [the provost] will at least address the issues to the campus instead of keeping it from us."
"If programs get cut, then there still should be a way for students to graduate on time," Seuga said.
"I want them to know what it's like to be a student today," said kinesiology major Robbie Smiley, 27, when voicing his expectations for the new provost. "Budget cuts have been affecting everyone."
Dr. Anny Morrobel-Sosa, dean of the College of Science at the University of Texas of El Paso and provost candidate, said, "It's important for students to graduate and move on, while [the administration] become advocates of the continuum process."
Morrobel-Sosa worked as a teacher for 14 years before becoming a special assistant to the provost and eventually vice provost for academic affairs at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. She became a dean at the University of Texas shortly after.
"The essence of the institution is for the advancement and success of the student," she said, explaining how she views students as a top priority in the operation of a university.
The third candidate meeting will be on Feb. 20 at 3:45 p.m. in Knuth Hall of the Creative Arts building.
All students, staff and faculty are encouraged to attend.
For students curious about erotic books, DVDs, lollipop condoms, finger cots and safe- sex Barbies, the Educational & Referral Organization for Sexuality may be a nice place to visit.
Named after the Greek god of love, EROS has been promoting responsible and tolerant attitudes toward sexuality among the campus community for almost 37 years.
Founded in 1972, EROS is one place on campus where students can go to get up to three free condoms a day. They also have a variety of free safe-sex material and a lending library with books ranging from sex education to fetishism, as well as informational and entertainment sex videos.
Additionally, they run a peer counseling program and sponsor various events throughout the semester.
Pardis Esmaeili, a 22-year-old psychology major, is the director of the student-run branch of Associated Students, Inc.
"Every student pays $46 to student government, and the government body allocates some of that money to us," she said of EROS' funding. Students should use that money, she said, to take advantage of all EROS has to offer.
"Everything is safe-sex positive and promotes safe sex," Esmaeili added. "Most of our services are not offered anywhere else on campus."
Morrie Pauline, a 22-year-old BECA major, has been taking advantage of those services for years. His favorite thing to do at EROS is to sit on the couch and read books from their library. He loves the book about intimacy with men.
"It's really crazy," he said, "It's a men's studies book, like women's studies for men."
EROS' atmosphere drew Pauline to the organization and kept him coming back. He recalled a condom-ordering debate.
"They couldn't decide on lollipop condoms or condoms in a special plastic case," Pauline said.
The discussion wavered on novelty versus practicality.
"That's the kind of thing that goes on there," he said.
While most students stop by EROS for the free condoms, many others come simply for a safe place to discuss sexual issues, said Nataly Gomez, EROS' assistant director.
Just being present can influence a student without them knowing it, said Gomez of the plethora of informational material littering the office.
"We have as much [informational] material as we can [place] near the condoms for them to just see," she said, and it often pays off.
"People come in here just to say thank you."
That welcoming ambiance is why SF State student Jermaine Wilkinson chose it for his peer counseling skills class.
"I want to focus on wellness and human health," said the 38-year-old economics major and counseling minor. "EROS was more interesting to me because of the liberty to spread awareness."
Wilkinson also picked EROS because of his belief that it can help increase the spread of awareness. National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day was celebrated on Feb. 7, and Wilkinson cited its lack of attention on campus as one of the reasons he is getting involved.
Two of SF State's counseling classes, Counseling 650 and 606, were developed by Michael Ritter and Ann Auleb, professors at SF State.
"We wanted to develop a curriculum that really could train people to do peer-counseling and peer-education," Ritter said, and since the classes' inception, EROS has been involved with training the students in peer counseling.
"I think that one of the very powerful things about working with EROS is that the students sponsor this group," Ritter added. "[Safe sex] is such a huge issue, especially for college students."
Stage two of the 2009 Amgen Tour of California brought out the best in local rider Levi Leipheimer of Santa Rosa as he took second place for the stage and the overall lead, Monday.
Conditions proved challenging to riders and spectators alike, with weather continually shifting from gentle drizzles to torrential downpours.
This didn't faze Leipheimer, though, who "had it in his head" that he was going to try to win today. "I looked around and saw that people were at their limit, but I felt really strong and inspired at that moment, so I went for it," Leipheimer said.
Other riders were not so lucky, with at least one crash victimizing 15 riders, including Lance Armstrong. All of the riders, except for Andy Jacques-Maynes (USA) of the BISSELL Pro Cycling Team, were able to recover from the debacle.
A large portion of Monday's race was dedicated to repair, maintenance and rider comfort. Multiple stops by many different riders, including a flat tire for Leipheimer, required the teams' mechanical crews to stand vigilant and follow closely.
Leipheimer summed up the conditions of the day perfectly. "Turn your shower on as cold as it is and stand there for like, you know, four hours. That's what it's like."
The clock hit 5:55p.m., while a sea of people raise pillows with simultaneous roars of excitement that echo around the Embarcadero. At 6:00p.m., the Ferry Building clock rings and pillows start flying and feathers consume the air. The annual pillow fight has begun.
Jenny Lin, 18, biology physiology major, said, "It's really fun because everyone is fighting, in a nice way and we're just having a good time," as she described her first time participating in the fight.
Justin Herman Plaza was filled with what can be projected as a couple thousand people. Anyone with a pillow was considered fair game when it came to swinging and hitting.
According to pillowfightinfo.com, the site that created the event four years ago, there are specific rules that everyone must follow in order to have a safe and pain free experience.
The rules are:
1. Tell everyone you know about the pillow fight
2. Tell everyone you know about the pillow fight
3. Wait for the ferry building clock to strike 6:00p.m.
4. Don't hit anyone without a pillow (unless they want it)
5. Don't hit anyone with a camera
6. Have fun!!!
Jennifer Brothers,18,interior design major, described her first time at the "fight" as a, "mosh pit with pillows," and liked how there was a limited area where people could partake in the action or stand by to take a breather.
The middle of the crowd was where all the "fighting" took place. Many hit others from the top down and from the sides. Others went for the sneak attack of running up behind someone, hitting them and then fleeing from the scene.
When it came to swinging techniques, Liz Baker, 18, undeclared, said, "You have to double attack with a huge team to get someone good." Baker also advised getting behind someone's shoulders and swinging together to create a stronger "pillow throwing force".
While some remained inside the crowd for the majority of the time, others chose to eat at the food court of the Embarcadero Shopping Center, as a way to refuel.
"I'm probably going to take a break and get sandwich and then jump back in," said Tim Clark, 19, recreational and leisure studies major, as he discussed his break plans during the event.
"That's just how you have to do it."
The huge pillow fight lasted over three hours.
The heavy rain ensures that only the most enthusiastic cycling fans will be on hand at the Golden Gate Bridge to witness the second stage of the AMGEN Tour of California and to see Lance Armstrong mount his comeback after a three year retirement.
Rain ponchos and umbrellas offer only partial reprieve from the rains onslaught. Large gaudy cameras are wrapped in clear plastic bags to save them from getting wet. It is all to no avail - everything gets wet.
The Tour of California is considered by many to be the premier cycling event in the country and can draw spectators from thousands of miles away.
"We actually drove all the way down from Seattle to watch the Tour of California," Guy Baltzelle says.
There are those that would argue that cycling isn't much of a spectator sport. This is not true. Rather, it is a sport that requires an appreciation for the demands of touring.
"Cycling is at times the most dangerous and certainly the most endurance oriented sports and in conditions like this it makes it even more difficult," photographer and fellow cyclist Gary Hromada says.
Like Hromada, many of the people in the crowd are cyclists themselves. Perhaps it is the high level of endurance and tenacity required for the sport that allows them to wait stoically for the riders.
At last, when the police's motorcycles chase away the last of the traffic and the street is empty, the anticipation begins to climb. The peloton (the main group of riders) will be coming soon.
The increasing volume of cheers and cowbells trumpets the impending arrival of the riders. Another motorcade of police vehicles passes and then, the cyclists themselves - some of them, the sports finest.
They are densely packed and wearing grey rain gear. Some people shout Lance's name, the rest just scream 'Woo.' The pack of cyclists is followed by a pack of chase cars: SUVs with multiple bikes on the roof that function as bike dispensers should a rider's bike experience a mechanical problem.
As quickly as the riders came, they are gone and the crowd collectively exhales and begins to file off of the bridge.
From the bridge the riders will follow a route that takes them through San Francisco to Daly City and eventually to Santa Cruz. In all, the rout covers 115.9 miles and is estimated to take about four and a half hours.
As for Lance, the star of today's event, he is 37 and there are doubts about his ability to maintain his legendary level of performance.
"Honestly, I think that Lance is going to be a good support cyclist and good for publicity for the tour - keeping it viable and getting some of the crowds out, but as a racer, I don't expect him to win," cyclist Dan Patton says
Time will tell; the last stage of the tour finishes in Escondido California on Feb. 22.
SF State's Vice President Leroy Morishita urges congregation to prepare youth for college
At the Third Baptist Church, Pastor Amos C. Brown stressed learning as a precious commodity to the lively congregation during the fourth annual CSU Super Sunday event.
In an effort to promote a "college-going culture" among African-American students, the CSU started Super Sunday as a new way to connect with and inform students and their families on what it takes to get into college.
Starting with a grassroots approach, the CSU's target the churches in order to get into the communities and create partnerships, according to Leroy Morishita, SF State's vice president of administration and finance
In San Francisco, CSU officials visited five churches.
"It's important for our children to be educated so they can come back to the communities and educate us," said Morishita. "We want to commit to provide access to them," he says of the CSU.
In 2005, the first year of the Super Sunday event, a total of 19,842 African-Americans were enrolled as undergraduates in the CSU's. Between 2005 and 2007 African-American enrollment increased by 2,237 according to the official CSU Web site. 2008 enrollment figures have yet to be released.
SF State's overall African- American undergraduate enrollment remains stagnant at six percent, according to the university enrollment data.
Morishita urged the congregation to press the youth to prepare themselves.
"Tell them they have the opportunity," he said. "You should not expect anything less of yourselves and your children to have an opportunity."
Morishita also explained the S.F. Promise program, which guarantees youth a slot at SF State if they work hard during their academic career and invited the congregation to bring their youth and attend SF State's "sneak preview" on April 4. The more exposure they have, the more they feel they will belong there, he said.
SF State's Associated Students Inc. Project Connect was also there to lend a helping hand.
"[We're] here to aid the administration to promote higher education," said Annalyn Arboleda, a business management major. "We want to let others know that there are resources here to aid them."
ASI Project Connect had students at each of the five churches in San Francisco.
Kevan Peabody, a SF State alumnus, believes the program is a great and encouraging one.
"It's a win-win situation for the community," he said. "For their families, for themselves and for the achievement of higher education."
CSU Chancellor asks community to create better opportunities for children
OAKLAND- Standing behind a large choir dressed in pink gowns and a flat screen TV that read 'Black History Month,' CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed encouraged members of the Center of Hope Community Church to create better opportunities for their children through a college education.
Noting health, economic and child rearing advantages to a loud, "Amen."
Chancellor Reed was among several CSU executives and faculty members visiting churches across California for the fourth annual Super Sunday, an event that will reach over 100,000 African-American families in over 100 churches in the next two weeks.
Super Sunday appears to be working as the amount of African American students attending CSU has increase significantly since its inception.
Last September CSU accepted 3,650 African-American students throughout the state, according to Chancellor Reed. African-American students attending a CSU is the highest number it has ever been at over 30,000 students.
"We are getting double digit increases of students each year and it's because of you," Chancellor Reed said to the congregation.
Super Sunday is the first in a number of steps the CSU fallows to gain access to underprivileged students. In four years, they gained over 70 partnerships with African-American churches around the state.
"This is not just us coming here on a Sunday saying, 'come on down to Cal State,' it's a yearlong engagement," Jorge Haynes, senior director of external affairs for SF State said.
Before the partnerships began, the CSU was looking for a way to change the dynamic of African-American students not attending college, or not qualifying for college because they could not reach requirements, according to Hayes.
"We don't know the magic of how to appeal to all these under represented communities, so we rely on folks from those communities to advise us," he said.
According to Hayes, the partnership involves a number of activities and members.
Chancellor Reed invites church partners to breakfast once a year to exchange ideas. Members of the congregations are also encouraged to talk with CSU mentors, who work as advisers to high school students, and attend campus events to explain what it takes to get into college.
A pamphlet was given to perspective students during Super Sunday showcasing step-by-step instructions on what classes to take.
One problem the CSU faces are high schools around the state failing to offer students the necessary college preparatory classes to get into the system.
"What if they don't offer these elective classes? My daughter goes to the Oakland School of Arts and she just turned around to me and said, 'they don't offer any of these classes," one mother asked Cal State East Bay representative Greg Smith.
Smith encouraged students to speak with counselors. CSU campuses, like California State East Bay, also are offering an Algebra workshop this summer.
The CSU continues to find every option to aid disadvantaged youth. Even with tuition increases and state budget shortfalls, CSU campuses have a third or greater of its students receive financial aid.
"When tuition fees are raised a third of those go right back into financial aid," said Garrett Ashley, vice chancellor for SF State relations and advancement.
"So it is very important for us to have access, to have underprivileged communities be our number one priority," he said.
Amira Bell, 11, was just one of many youth who attended the Super Sunday event and found it useful.
"If you don't think about these things now, you can fail when you get older," she said.
When Bianca Solorzano was talking to her mother on the phone outside her residence at The Towers, she was not expecting a classmate to inappropriately touch her nose piercing or for him to put his hand on her lap.
The latest campus police statistics show there is an increase in reported sexual assaults and Solorzano, a freshmen living in the dorms, is part the demographic that is most vulnerable to these types of assaults.
"I thought he was on a drug so I walked away," The Los Angeles native said. "I know who he is but he is not threatening when he is not on drugs."
The situation is not at all uncommon, as a large number of assaults occur when there is alcohol or drugs involved said Karla Castillo, an prevention education specialist at The SAFE place. The SAFE place specializes in helping students with sexual assault, harassment and domestic violence. The groups that are most vulnerable are freshmen who live in the dorms and international students, she added.
The freshmen class of 2008-09 is the largest in SF State history with about 1,944 of the new students living in the dorms.
According to the latest campus police crime statistics that date from 2004 through 2007, sexual battery on campus and on the residence community have increased from zero reported incidents to seven and four respectively.
The 2008 statistics will not come out until October of this year, campus police said.
Rape has decreased from two reported incidents on campus and the residential community in 2005 to one in 2007 on both. However, rape has gone up on non-campus property from zero reported incidents in 2004 to six in 2007.
Non-campus property is within the boundaries of Eucalyptus, Lake Merced, Font and Junipero Serra the report cites.
The report also sites the acquisition of additional property, including University Park North, by the university in 2005 as a reason for the increase in reported crimes.
Castillo also said she has seen a small increase in sexual assaults overall, although she said it is difficult to measure because of the patterns in which students seek help.
DJ Morales, The director of residential life, said she has not seen any increases in sexual assault in the dorms and questioned the statistics.
"Last year, university police investigated several alleged cases of sexual assault which were reported from students who lived in the residential halls- after intense investigation, most of the claims were found to be unsubstantiated," she said in an email statement.
Castillo believes differently. She said that according to studies there is a large amount of cases that go unreported and there are some students who don't believe they are victims of sexual assault when in fact they are.
Chief Deputy Pat Wasley said that campus police at schools with larger resident populations have to show a "commanding presence" to protect students from assault.
Ryuichi Bayani, an international student who has lived in The Village for two years said he does not feel particularly vulnerable.
"There is more security here than in Japan," he said.
Solorzano said she is now taking more precautions. "I walk without my iPod on now and I carry pepper spray," she said.
Wasley, the deputy, agrees with the precautions Solorzano is taking and adds that students should walk in groups, be aware of their surroundings, look assertive, and to take a self defense class, among other things.
Taking a self defense class is a precaution that Heather Watrous, a freshmen living in the dorms, has already taken. She explains that the atmosphere on campus and in the city are different.
"We are sort of in a bubble here (on campus). When I go into the city it probably makes me a little bit vulnerable coming back because I wont be expecting much here as I would in the city."
The SAFE place is located at the Student Services building room 205, their telephone is 415-338-2819.
A substantial tuition increase for a new recreation and wellness center at SF State will appear on the upcoming spring election ballot.
The center requires a $160 increase in student fees per student each semester. Students are the deciding force on the issue but some members involved in the planning of the center appear anxious over the issue.
"I don't want to stop the recreation center from ever happening but we should reconsider before we approve this very expensive project," Tyler Cornfield, a member of the Student Center Governing Board said.
Cornfield compared the center to a "pipe dream" and said the project is happening too hastily. He felt low voter turnout could leave some students in a predicament.
"It's unfair to force a $160 fee upon students who won't have a desire for [the center]," he said.
Tuition for a full time undergraduate student increased almost $300 in the past three years. Tuition could exceed $2,000 per semester if the increase is approved, according to the Bursar's office.
"I hope students can see beyond the dollars," said Peter Koo, executive director of the Associate Students, Inc, the student government.
"You can get the value back from this facility," Koo said. "You can see it; you can feel it."
The center will include an indoor swimming pool, personal training center and boulder wall, which is similar to rock climbing.
The massive project may become SF State's newest attraction spanning over 100,000 square feet.
Students will have free access to the center. The goal is to have the center stay open 24 hours a day, but will likely start from 6 a.m. to midnight.
It will be located where the temporary library annex currently is. Though construction was scheduled to begin in 2011, the project could begin in 2012 or later due to the construction freeze caused by budget issues.
Currently the center is midway into the "feasibility study" portion of the project. This study involves the financial and design components of the project. So far there are three different models for the center. Each model varies in size and cost, according to Wendy Bloom, a campus planner at SF State.
On February 5, ASI and the student center governing board met to discuss financing the center. At the meeting, both parties decided to jointly take on the responsibility to build the center, with the board committed to floating an $80 million bond to cover the costs.
The bond works like a mortgage with a promise to pay back the bond in about 30 years through the increase of student fees.
Alex Mattingly, a kinesiology major, felt the project is unnecessary.
"People paying for this are never going to see it," Mattingly said. "We don't even have a library and they're going to build this thing."
Other students believe the current facilities for sports and recreation are underutilized and the new recreation center will better campus activities.
"I think students are discouraged to use [the current] facilities because they are so small," said Caesar Trejos, a BECA major and avid swimmer. "It's what a lot of people need."
In anticipation of Valentine's Day, SF State students chose creative ways to express love, heartbreak and positivity.
The student-run organization Feminism In Action (FIA) held an open-mic night on Thursday in the Casablanca room in Creative Arts building. Students were encouraged to share what love means to them through poetry, music, and spoken word. About 40 students attended the event.
"We wanted a positive start to the year. Instead of fighting, we can celebrate each other," said FIA president Allison Mingus.
The event started at 6:30p.m. The FIA provided free pizza, punch, plenty of red rice crispy treats and Reese's peanut butter hearts.
"We want to create a feminist presence on campus. We value others experiences, and promote equality based on each individuals needs," said FIA member Stephanie Waits.
Waits added that the event was intended to be "an outlet to play and see what Valentine's Day means to people, instead of just [seeing it as] a Hallmark holiday, which is traditionally for the heterosexual couple. Feminism has a negative connotation to it, but we are always trying to focus on the positive. Open-mic is fun," she said.
FIA began promoting this event the first week of school, according to Mingus.
One of the performers was Renee Dranndell. She wrote a series of poems after she broke up with her boyfriend.
"What is the point of writing if you cant share it with people? It's part of the healing process," said Dranndell, who shared two poems with the group.
The band AB & The Sea, composed of SF State students, performed two original songs, and also encouraged students to sing along to the popular Beatles song, "With A Little Help From My Friends."
Federico Villalobos performed an improvisational speech inspired by the "Love Is" cartoons. He shared details from his relationship and started them each line of his narration with "Love Is."
He started by telling people who aren't in long-distance relationships that they are smart.
"My past relationships have been so mind-boggling that I don't even know what love is," Villalobos said.
SF State student Shavonte Keaton decided to take action in changing what she saw wrong with the United States government after the Hurricane Katrina aftermath.
She expressed these thoughts to the other 15 students and one faculty member that gathered at Malcolm X Plaza in a candle light vigil in remembrance of Hurricane Katrina victims Thursday night.
"We came here tonight to commemorate the people that lost their lives in Hurricane Katrina, It hasn't gone away, we think about these people in our daily lives," Keaton said.
The hour long vigil was the second one organized by the Black Student Union on campus, since the hurricane devastated New Orleans in 2005.
Throughout the cold night the participants went around in a circle talking about their initial reaction to Katrina followed by their thoughts four years later on the incident.
"This is our 9/11," said BSU coordinator Coby Obiesie said. "Of course black people were affected by 9/11 too, but there is a concern that Hurricane Katrina is going to be [swept] under the rug three years from now."
Some of the issues discussed were the notion of not feeling American, the media coverage of the disaster and the need for change in the way the US deals with disasters.
"Hearings everyone's perspectives kinda of reinvigorated what went on, stimulated my thoughts on how we should move forward about it," said BSU coordinator Justin Metoger.
For Obiesie the disaster only reinforced his hunger for justice.
"I felt angry, but I have to turn this angry to a positive thing, to fight for those who lost their lives, for justice," he said.
Obiesie also added that BSU will hold the event annually, but it might take a different meaning in the future.
He believes Hurricane Katrina will not be the last disaster in the U.S.
"We may in the future have this event for Hurricane Katrina plus something else," said Obiesie. "This is not going to be the last, unfortunately."
Two people were arrested Wednesday afternoon during a confrontation between the College Republicans and Palestinian students in front of the Cesar Chavez Student Center.
Jeremy Stern, 19, of San Francisco and Muhammad Abdullah, 25, of Mira Loma were charged with battery to a police officer, resisting arrest and petty theft, according to university spokeswoman Ellen Griffin.
The demonstration started around noon when members of the College Republicans were having an anti-Hamas event and trying to get students to sign a petition in opposition to Hamas.
Soon, around 50 people surrounded the tent that the student organization had set up.
"I feel it's a terrible thing to take it out on a religion. Sad on the College Republican to do something like this and sad the university is allowing this as a freedom of speech and not a hate speech," said Tayler Mehit, a member of the Student Against War, who was present at the demonstration.
At one point, James Kincaid, president of the College Republicans, stepped on a Hamas flag.
An unidentified person grabbed the table that was in front of the tent and flipped it over and another student stepped over and grabbed Leigh Wolf, the former president of the student organization.
The campus police, who were informed of the demonstration before hand, were nearby and immediately separated both parties.
Suddenly shouts of "Free Free Palestine" broke among the crowd.
"I don't care about being respectful. It's free speech...," said Trent Downes, a member of the organization, during the event.
Many Palestinian students who were involved in this event wanted to be remain anonymous because it is frowned upon to lash out against the government if they ever wanted to return to Palestine.
Staff writer Tara Haghighi contributed to this report.
Students are welcome to attend a series of meetings for the three candidates up for the new provost position at SF State. The new provost will be responsible for the school budget, curriculum and faculty as well as fulfilling the role as vice president of academic affairs. Next to the president, the provost is one of the most important people on campus when it comes to making decisions for the school. The candidates want to hear from the students and will be taking questions concerning how they plan to fill the position.
There will also be a live broadcast of the meetings on channel 99 of the campus television and on the web at, RSTP://22.214.171.124/test.sdp.
The dates for the meeting:
Monday February 16, 2009 from 3:45p.m. to 4:30p.m. Nob Hill Room in Seven Hills Conference Center
Tuesday February 17, 2009 from 3:45p.m. to 4:30p.m. Nob Hill Room in Seven Hills Conference Center
Friday February 29, 2009 from 3:45p.m. to 4:30p.m. Knuth Hall in Creative Arts Building
SF State's Academic Senate Committees continued wading through their semester workload amid policy revision, item shuffling and fire drills.
The Executive Committee, a subset of the Academic Senate, discussed revisions to the school's add/drop policy.
Currently, students may add or drop classes, without record, through the first four weeks of class. The committee is considering limiting the drop period to two weeks.
"We've been wanting this since 1985," said Senator Ray Trautman at the roundtable discussion.
"People are crying to get into classes," he said, "but you can't add a lab four weeks in" and many students are waiting for others to drop before they can add a class they need.
Senator Barry Rothman added that some "professors over enroll out of the goodness of the heart," but many who don't end up with "two-thirds of a class by mid-semester."
Eventually the item was moved to the Student Affairs Committee.
The Executive Committee also discussed Curriculum Review and Approval Checklists, with which they are experiencing problems. Senator Vinay Shrivastava, chair of the CRAC committee, addressed what he called a "pattern of neglecting the library."
CRAC requires departments seeking curriculum revision to consult with the library concerning access to resources, and Shrivastava said that has not been happening.
"I am going to block this proposal," he said of the Latin American Studies Department's request to revise their minor curriculum.
Other senators agreed.
"Our checklist is not checked off," said committee chair Shawn Whalen, "we need to hold people accountable."
The committee had moved on to the topic of the school's transition from the Junior English Proficiency Essay Test to the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement when the fire alarm went off, prematurely ending the meeting.
The murder of a man without any explanation or justification sparks anger on the injustices of police brutality by the SF State community.
SF State's Black Student Union organized Policing the Police "I am Oscar Grant" Monday night for African History Month to discuss personal stories and steps to actions regarding injustices such as the killing of Oscar Grant by a BART police officer on New Year's Day.
"I feel this is something I could be educated on," said Loren Newman, a pre- apparel design and merchandising major. "I wanted to see what everyone had to say about it because the case of Oscar Grant is a shame."
Erin Haywood, a liberal studies major and BSU coordinator wanted to reach out to the youth communities.
"We hoped it would spread awareness," said Haywood. "We wanted to investigate police brutality, which is always happening in our community, and we wanted to let these voices be heard."
In a three-hour event held at the Rosa Parks Auditorium, seven passionate guests spoke to the full room on several topics, from police brutality to "cop watching," to injustice and oppression, or just gave their opinion on the matter, initiating discussion.
"The reality is our community and the world has been disconnected from the day in and day out," said Minister Keith Muhammad.
"So when we learn that policing began its standard by catching escaping slaves... we know right off the top there's a systematic problem here... The problem isn't the system. The problem is the people running the system."
Dereca Blackmon of the Coalition Against Police Executions brought up concerns on the Police Bill of Rights.
"As we've been investigating on how to be strategic on this issue... we need to think about putting something on the ballots to repeal this Police Bill of Rights which has given police extra protection," said Blackmon.
"We know its injustice, but it's just a shift right now on 'what is my point of power? What is it that I really can do and have a responsibility to do?"
The public's first amendment right allows citizens to watch an officer's interaction with people, according to Copwatch, an organization dedicated to monitoring police actions and asserting individual rights. The organization urges citizen's to familiarize themselves on their basic rights.
They discussed police issues and hate crimes such as the case of Gregory Johnson Jr.
His parents Gregory and Denise Johnson came on stage donning t-shirts with his face on it. The San Jose State University student died of suicide, according to the Johnson's, but they suspect otherwise and feel the police and coroner are not doing anything to justify his death.
"No, this wasn't a case of direct police brutality," said the shaky voice of Denise Johnson, but she believes the police are not doing their jobs.
"[The BSU] put on this event to let the young people know they need to get involved," said Haywood. "They need to get active in their communities and have their voices heard."
As the world moves forward in eco-consciousness, SF State is trying to do their part. Just about everywhere on campus, recycle bins beg for cans, paper, glasses and bottles allowing SF State to recycle 6,000 tons of waste.
Maeva Considine, a junior English major, believes the university is doing a good job.
"It's the little things that make a lot of difference," said Considine. "A lot of the café's use recycled products such as their cups and sleeves and use post-consumer goods. I also like how recycle bins are more likely than regular trashcans."
SF State has been recognized for its efforts to recycle.
The university has the 2nd highest recycling rate amongst universities and colleges in the country, following Kalamazoo College in Michigan, according to Recycling Coordinator Caitlin Steele.
The school diverts 76 percent of trash from the landfill, said Steele. The total yearly tonnage of what is thrown away is 8,000 tons and 6,000 tons of that gets recycled, she said.
"SF State is now taking part in Recyclemania, the national recycling competition," said Steele. "We have a good chance of winning since our campus has one of the highest recycling rates."
The SFSU Bookstore switched all plastic bags to recycled bags, according to Husamettin Erciyes, the SFSU Bookastore 's Director of Strategic Project and Marketing. The number one policy for the bookstore is to use only recycled paper whenever possible, he said.
Last semester, the SFSU Bookstore began the Wooden Nickel Program. Every time a student refused to use a plastic bag, the bookstore would donate 5 cents to a student organization of the student's choosing by dropping a wooden nickel into its respective bucket. The school organizations benefited were the Recycling Center, Bicycle Advocacy Group and Eco-Students, stated Erciyes.
The program will continue this semester starting next week, he said.
"When we started the Wooden Nickels Program, it was received very positively," said Erciyes. "From what I've seen, SF State is very eco-friendly. People are biking and there's overall consciousness about recycling. People are paying attention and the store is also trying to be eco-friendly as possible."
Cory Wong, an Asian American Studies and Cinema major, thinks SF State could use more effort in getting in touch with students about green issues.
"The school is not good at providing news from the university level to the student level," said Wong. "The university should be more in touch with the students to provide more info on green and university sustainable issues... One thing I would like to see is eco-efficient buildings."
In fact, Wong will be able to see more of this.
The newly established Sustainability Committee are working on getting two buildings LEED certified - the Student Service Building and Humanities, according to Steele.
LEED is the nations green building rating system.
"Going through the LEED process will help us see how energy efficient and environmentally friendly SSB and Hum are," Steele said. She said the Facilities Department is working together to make them energy efficient and have the least impact on the environment.
At this year's May commencement, there will be fewer SF State students walking in their cap and gown due to a new procedure that requires students to finish all of their requirements before participating in the graduation ceremony.
An e-mail was sent to all department chairs, deans and advisors telling them that the Registrar's Office will no longer accept graduation applications for undergraduate students who still have additional courses that will be completed in the fall.
The policy has always been there, but this is the first time they are enforcing it to decrease the workload for both advisors and students, and to let the students who actually will be graduating know of their approval sooner, assistant registrar Julie Vaquilar said.
"The commencement is a celebration for all those who have finished," Vaquilar said. "Not for those who still have a few courses to complete."
Those who will be participating in the commencement on May 23 are students who completed all of their courses in August 2008 or in January, May or August 2009.
The graduation application deadline for the commencement is Feb. 20. But each department may have their own specific deadline. For more information on graduation, go on their website at http://www.sfsu.edu/commencement/.
Students who wish to participate in the May commencement but still have additional courses that can only be taken in the fall, will have to file for graduation in the fall and be a part of the May 2010 commencement.
This new procedure also applies to each individual department on campus, according to administrative Monique Brumfield.
Joseph Tamayo, a health education student, only has one class left before he can graduate, but wasn't able to get into the class because he couldn't take two classes at the same time due to the way his major sequence is set up.
"It's really unfortunate," Tamayo said. "I just want to graduate and that ceremony finalizes everything."
Tamayo, 29, will probably have to take the class in the fall and participate in the May 2010 commencement.
"I don't want to come back. I'm not even going to be on campus [next] spring," Tamayo said.
In the past, graduating students were allowed to participate in the commencement if they have not finished all of their requirements.
"When students apply for graduation, it means it will be their last semester here," Vaquilar said.
But if students have exceptional circumstances that require them to participate in the May 2009 commencement, they may submit a waiver of college regulations to the Registrar's Office.
It has been a difficult year for graduating students to get into classes they need in order to graduate in May.
Jessica Chui, 21, would have been able to graduate this semester, but wasn't able to get into two of her classes.
"Its frustrating because I have to stay an extra semester," said Chui, a child and adolescent development major. "[The tuition is] not cheap."
Barbie Savage, an art major, wasn't able to get into a class she needed at the beginning of the semester. But fortunately Savage's teacher allowed her to add the class because she was a graduating senior.
But Savage, 22, did express her disappointment on the fact that graduating seniors don't always have priorities in classes they need to graduate at the end of the semester.
"It's really unfortunate and we are trying to use what we learn here and [the school] won't let us leave," Savage said.
Market Street was packed Saturday night as gold-tasseled floats inched forward to usher in the Year of the Ox.
A full moon and unlikely warm winter weather encouraged tens of thousands to attend San Francisco's Chinese New Year parade, the culmination of two weeks of celebrating the Lunar New Year.
(Click on right side link to view photos from the parade.)
The masses of onlookers did just about anything they could to secure a reasonable vantage point. For some, news boxes and street signs provided stadium quality seating for those who couldn't afford the $30 bleacher tickets. Others resorted to stacking.
"We switch off every couple of minutes," said 11-year-old Seth Robles. Seth and his brother Ryan, 9, worked out a system of sitting on each others shoulders, using a stop sign for balance. "It really hurts after a while."
The parade, recently named one of the top ten parades in the world by the International Festivals and Events Association, ran about 15 blocks along Market, Geary, Post and Kearny streets. Event organizers said the parade went as smooth as they had hoped.
Taiko drums could be heard miles away as camera flashes flickered over the sea of spectators.
Homemade dragons, stretching 80 feet in length, zigzagged its way through the busy streets. Choreographed 9-year olds waved around colorful umbrellas in sync as the crowd was in shock when Golden Dragon appeared at the beginning of the parade.
On hand to start the parade were San Francisco Board of Supervisors David Chiu (president), Carmen Chu and Eric Mar. All three were dubbed the grand marshals.
This is the first time in San Francisco history, to have an Asian American serve as the board's president.
After the Golden Dragons eyes were ceremonially dotted by Chiu, the dragon was set to go. Normally at the end of the parade, the dragon slithered its way through Market Street.
The new Golden Dragon was 238 feet long made in Hong Kong and unquestionably the over sized centerpiece of the event.
Mayor Gavin Newsom made his way through the parade crowd, passing out red envelopes also known as lycee in the Chinese culture. Red envelopes are usually filled with money and passed out for good luck.
The audience swooned at the sight, earning him the warmest welcome of the parade. That is, until the Sunset Scavengers showed up.
The trash-can wielding, toe-tapping garbage guru's danced their way down Kearny Street, rolling applause and laughter down the cramped sidewalks as they passed.
"Have you ever seen a happier trash man?" asked Ian Conroy, chuckling at the sight of the dancing trash men. "These guys should be on Broadway."
The crowds cheered for family and friends, taking pictures of loved ones who have spent months practicing for the lunar celebration.
"My son has been working on his routine since September, they really put a lot into it," said Anne Spencer, a 12 year native of San Francisco.
"The graduated kids come to teach the younger ones the dance routines." The program, she says, has become a tradition at West Portal Elementary.
The teachings of their elders paid off for the young students as the crowd doted on their imaginative costumes and energetic choreography.
Global climate change was the topic of discussion during the annual "Focus the Nation" event, where students came to listen to environmentalists and fellow students speak on the dangers facing our planet and how to stop it.
"Scientists say we have only a two year window to act on preserving the planet," said Glenn Fieldmen, professor of environmental studies at SF State. "We have to make emission reductions soon."
She voiced the importance of a wealthy government, such as the U.S., needing work with other countries to solve this worldwide crisis.
"There's a divide between rich countries and poor countries," said Fieldmen. She discussed how wealth on the planet is distributed unevenly and poorer countries with fewer resources aren't able to reduce gas emissions, the leading cause for global warming.
"Focus the Nation" took place on Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Jack Adams Hall of . Concerned students striving to spread awareness on global environmental issues held workshops to show students how the can apply their new found knowledge
Drew Foster, 23, environmental studies major, encouraged students to, "make their campus and environment more sustainable."
One demonstration was on yerba mate, a traditional beverage originating from Praguay, Argentina and Brazil. The drink was made by Guayaki, a company using organic ingredients that are sustainably harvested and fair trade certified, where they urged students to purchase beverages that are free of exploitation.
Another demonstration was on how to make your own solar oven.
Davin Wentworth-Thrasher, a 28-year-old civil engineering major showed students how simple and inexpensive a home made oven could be. He used cardboard, tape, rope, foil and glass.
Solar ovens are not just a at-home science project. When made right, the temperature can exceed 300 degrees making it possible to cook anything a regular over would make.
"It takes a little bit of a lifestyle change," said Wentworth-Thrasher, describing how a solar oven can be used for everyday use. "When I wake up, I have to get my dinner ready [in the solar oven] and when I come home it's hot and sometimes boiling."
Not only did the event discus how to make our personal lives more sustainable, but it also addressed how to make the campus more earth friendly as well.
Caitlin Steele, sustainability coordinator for the campus and a member of the campus Sustainability Committee, said, "students have a lot of power," as she listed the many ways students can help make the campus and the world more sustainable and to preserve the earth through the campus.
Steele encouraged students to participate in the community garden associated with the Mary Ward dorm through the Eco Students organization.
She also mentioned how the university has already diverted 76 percent of its waste from entering landfills and wants the school to continue using the available composts and recycling bins placed throughout the campus.
The same day Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and special envoy for Middle East peace Sen. George Mitchell announced renewed hope for Palestinian and Israeli relations, and promised the creation of a Palestinian state, many SF State students discussed the idea that a single unified state is the only answer, and that the U.S. should butt out.
Students at Thursday night's Students Against War meeting believe that U.S. involvement will never solve the problems between Zionist beliefs, Palestinian heritage and the war that has plagued the Gaza strip. They spent the night discussing possible solutions.
"Mitchell will follow U.S. involvement, which is 100 percent support for Israel," said activist and guest speaker Linda Khoury. "This is what we want to tell you today," she added, "without America, Israel would not be able to commit these crimes in the Gaza Strip."
Nihar Bhatt, a member of S.A.W, spoke of some of the crimes Khoury mentioned. He talked about people being shot in the street, whole families being bombed in buildings and of white phosphorescence burning civilians.
"It's so important that we get the historical record straight," said Bhatt during his 20 minute speech. He said that "carrot of an independent Palestinian state" will lead to a solution of gunships, troops and blockades.
"The idea of a single state solution is extremely powerful," he said. "That is the strategy we should support here," along with an "end of U.S. aid to Israel and a renewed anti-war struggle."
Many many of the 50 or so people in attendance were members of S.A.W. and called on by name by the moderator during the question and answer session that followed.
Sarah Wendorf, a psychology major at SF State, saw the fliers and wanted to learn more about Palestine, but the topics and format only succeeded in confusing her. She will not return for next weeks meeting, instead deciding to research the topic herself.
Others came to make sure all sides were represented. SF State student Aaron Ackerman came to ensure having a voice of his own. As an American Jew with ties to Zionism, Ackerman said Thursday's discussion was related to who he is.
He wanted his presence to balance out and not just the "one-sidedness of the people presenting" and the people who came as well, which at most times were in agreement with guest speakers.
"What I know about Israelis is that they live in fear too," he said stating that he feels the best solution is the slow buildup of Gaza into a separate state.
He added that "after a time of peace, they will gain their right to be trusted."
In the midst of the worst economic crisis seen since the great depression, students at SF State are taking the initiative to inform others on who caused this crisis and what can be done to solve it.
On Wednesday night, students gathered in Rosa Parks for a forum titled, "Economic Crisis: Who caused it? Who can solve it?"
The event featured Todd Chretien co-author of "Independent Politics" and Deborah Goldsmith, professor of economics at City College of San Francisco. .
"More credit card debt and equity loans happened... and a housing boom went up by 50 percent," said Goldsmith, as she explained why debt played a large part in the economy's downward spiral.
The International Socialist Organization at SF State State, were participants of the forum. The event was put on by Haymarket Books, a nonprofit book distributor and publisher that focuses on economic research and social change.
"It's important to understand the roots of the crisis," said Kyle Schmaus, 23, a member of ISO, who is part of the subject teaching credential program at SF State.
"We need to understand where the blame falls...it's not on the students or the working class," he said.
Capitalism was considered to be the blame for the collapse of the financial system. The discussion came down to the fact that capitalism only helps people who own corporations while the workers below receive a small portion of the profits.
The big question of the night was "What do we replace this failed system with?"
"Nobody has any real answers," said Goldsmith when talking about the solution to the problem. She believes the governments' primary goal is to, "ensure national confidence," so the country does not go into panic.
In a time of great change, with President Barack Obama leading the country, comes a new sense of hope among millions of people. Many trust that Obama will solve the crisis with his hands tied behind his back, while some choose to look at the situation with a more realistic approach.
"Even if Obama does everything that he says he will, unemployment will still go up four to five points," said Chretien, as he explained how President Obama can only do so much to repair the damage, at such a large scale.
Jerald Reodica, 26, a political science major and a member of the ISO, expressed his frustration with the economy and the effect it has on the education system. "We've been lied to countless times."
"The cuts made on the education system are hitting brothers and sisters who are close to us all throughout the nation," he said.
Goldsmith talked about how many students have to work while in school to learn about something that is interesting to them, only to graduate, then work at a "crummy" job, that has nothing to do with their degree. "That's what capitalism does," she said.
Leaving the event, Jessica Hobbs, 28, and graduate of SF State with a degree in psychology, had a greater understanding of the reason for the recession and the debt that got the country in the situation it's in today.
"I was very motivated by the speakers and want to continue to be involved in getting the word out there about the crisis," she said.
At their second meeting of the semester, Associated Students, Inc. met to discuss plans for a new recreation center as well as the upcoming election for board members.
Plans for a new Recreation & Wellness Center at SF State may be put on hold due to budget issues involving an $80 million bond, according to the ASI members at a meeting Wednesday.
The Student Center Governing Board appears to be the only resource the ASI has to float the bond. The ASI will negotiate a kind of partnership with SCGB to build the center if it agrees to supply the funds.
A meeting is set for Thursday to determine whether they will pursue the bond.
"If they're not interested, the Recreation Center will come to a halt," Peter Koo, executive director of ASI, said.
Koo said he didn't originally think the SCGB would be a part of the project, stating he would have consulted them first if he had.
"We got a curve ball," he said. "We are trying to deal the best we can."
ASI members expressed concern over the partnership. Around $100,000 in consulting fees was paid by the ASI before the project began. Members wondered if the fee would be reimbursed.
Koo stated that SCGB would control what it does with the money.
One projected Wellness Center included a 120 thousand square foot center equipped with activity rooms, a lounging area and gym and was estimated to cost around $86 million. Students would pay a fee of $150-$160 per semester to keep the center running.
Another option was a smaller center that would cost around $56 million to build and cost students around $85-$95 dollar fee.
Natalie Franklin, president of ASI, said after the bond issue is decided from SCGB, the center will be put as a referendum on the ballot in the upcoming elections in March.
An election for Associated Students has begun its filing period for Spring 2009. Candidates interested in becoming members will attend a mandatory candidate meeting on February 19.
Students have until February 11 to file for candidacy. The elections are scheduled to take place from March 16 to March 20.
This year's elections will feature a special
Those interested in applying can receive and application at the Associated Students Incorporated Office.
Also on Wednesday, the ASI held heard from students in an attempt to fill an open position for Junior Representative.
Alan Okida was the only student to apply for the position, stating, "I realized that through communicating to students that I could affect them positively."
For the first time in California, more than 200 sixth graders from San Francisco schools were promised admission to SF State by Mayor Gavin Newsom and SF State President Robert A. Corrigan.
The future class of 2015, represented by Horace Mann, A.P. Gianini and Martin Luther King Middle Schools, filled the North Light Court of San Francisco City Hall on Tuesday at an introduction ceremony for SF Promise, a program that guarantees admission to SF State for all sixth grade students in San Francisco public schools who meet the university's eligibility requirements.
"At a time when the CSU system is cutting funding and admissions, San Francisco is doing its part to ensure that our city's children are guaranteed a college education," Newsom said.
The mayor added that San Francisco is the first city in California to have this kind of program, which he called a "public partnership" between the CSU system, the San Francisco Unified School District and the City and County of San Francisco. All three groups, along with private and public donations, jointly fund SF Promise.
SF Promise aims to impact the approximately 3,500 sixth grade students in the school district. According to a news release from the mayor's office, it is designed to target students who are performing below average accademically, from low income families or are first generation colege students. One of its goals is to raise the sixth graders' GPA up to 3.0 in order to meet SF State's eligibility requirement. It will also provide financial aid to those who need it.
Hydra Mendoza, Newsom's educational adviser, said that the idea for the program began with conversations among Newsom, Corrigan and SFUSD Superintendent Carlos Garcia, along with former CSU trustee Roberta Achtenberg, about "getting kids to university and bringing more families to San Francisco."
"If [families] know their kids can go to college, they'll come here," Mendoza said. "It's also about increasing graduation rates and dealing with dropout rates in the city's schools."
In his speech, Corrigan commended Newsom for "saying [students] are important" and encouraged the young audience by telling them they are "the future workforce. [They] must have the right education now."
Superintendent Garcia, while speaking on the importance of higher education, told a personal story about how his seventh grade teacher pushed him to be successful. "Who would've thought a poor kid from [Los Angeles] would someday become president of the San Francisco Unified School District?" The students, all clad in white SF State shirts and greeted with a large banner that read "Class of 2015," expressed their excitement over the guarantee of higher education.
The mayor, Corrigan, Garcia and their teachers handed "Certificates of guarantee" to the students.
"It's a great honor to accept this [guarantee] and grasp it in your hands," said Joseph Malepeai, a 6th grade student from Martin Luther King middle school, in a speech that roused a passionate response from his classmates. "It's an opportunity to get what you want."
Another student, Darius Thomas from Horace Mann, said, "I'm looking forward to going to college."
Teachers and parents, some of whom were present at the program, also expressed their excitement. "It's a great opportunity for all the kids, like a dream come true," said Derrek Bryson, 6th grade teacher at Martin Luther King.
Chris Jackson, City College of San Francisco trustee and SF State alumnus, said that he also wants to get the City College more involved in the program by getting more staff members involvedand by providing more education support services for their students who wish to transfer to four-year institutions.
"We want to make City College an important educational option," he said.
The San Francisco-based advocacy group, The Gay Straight Alliance Network, has been named in a labor lawsuit this past December for allegedly terminating an employee unlawfully.
This lawsuit and several former employees name the Executive Director of the GSA, Carolyn Laub, as the offender in the terminations of numerous individuals over the last 10 years.
In a press release emailed out to several news outlets February 3, a group of concerned people with former and current ties to the GSA, expressed deep concern surrounding the employment standards and practices of the youth-focused group.
The emailed release stated, "In the last four years, staff at the GSA Network, majority of which were people of color and/or gender variant, have either been fired or resigned due to the actions of the Executive Director, Carolyn Laub."
The release went on to claim, "The plaintiff in the lawsuit, a queer person of color who has worked in the field for over 15 years, was fired shortly after a month on the job and relocating from Texas."
Two former employees of the organization, Ruth Obel-Jorgensen and Sean Saifa M. Wall, were named in the release as primary contacts regarding the movement to make the GSA's past terminations and resignations public. Both individuals resigned from their positions at GSA in the last three years greatly because of the actions of Laub.
GSA's Development and Communications Manager , Jackie Downing declined to respond to the press release, the allegations, or the lawsuit and directed that all questions go through the organization's attorney.
The lawyer representing GSA in the current suit, Steve Werth of law firm Lox Ball & Lynch, was able to make a brief comment in response to the lawsuit filed but declined to give any specifics because it is currently in litigation.
"The decision to terminate this individual's employment, while unfortunate, was appropriate, and was not for any unlawful reason or purpose," said Werth. "[We] will vigorously defend against any allegation that the termination of this employee was unlawful."
Obel-Jorgensen and Wall released to this publication the statements they sent to the GSA's board of directors.
In Obel-Jorgensen's statement, dated January 22 of this year, she recounted that, "while on staff, I witnessed and experienced Carolyn micro-manage staff and projects, and tokenize and degrade staff and youth, especially individuals of color."
She went on to state that Laub "abused her power and was unable to cultivate leadership or build a cohesive team."
Wall's statement, dated January 19 of this year, claimed that before he started working for GSA he heard negative rumors about his future boss' work habits.
"Queer youth involved in GSA Network at the time, warned me that Carolyn was controlling and domineering," stated Wall.
The letter went on to claim that Laub had frequently eavesdropped on others conversations, that she uses is using the cause to secure grant money but has "no real concern" for the movement and that she marginalized Wall in transgender group projects despite Wall being the only transgender individual on the committee.
The group of former employees that released the statement earlier this week is still waiting to hear from the board of directors on how they will inform the public about the lawsuit and whether they have any intention of changing their employment policy. They are also curious about the future of Laub and her status in the GSA.
As of Feb. 4, there has been no public statement from the GSA regarding any of these issues.
The independent press release states that the next full GSA board meeting scheduled for March 21.
Shoes were not flying at The Depot yesterday evening, despite what the fliers scattered around the Cesar Chavez Student Center advertised.
The Goodbye Bush Party scheduled for 5 p.m. was cancelled, leaving many of The Depot's patrons a bit disappointed. The documentary film "Crawford" was still shown.
"We just happened to see the signs for the party today, and thought it would be fun to stop by and watch," Bill Schneider said.
Schneider and his wife, Mary, have been attending SF State events for the past 30 years.
"I thought the shoe-throwing contest was going to be really funny," Mary said. "Unfortunately, we arrived late and were only able to catch the last half of the film... I didn't get it."
The Depot manager, Alison Victor, said that the administration of the student center felt that the shoe-throwing contest might send the wrong message to students.
"I didn't mean for this to be disrespectful to any president. The shoe-throwing is now a pop culture reference," Victor said. "When I first pitched the idea, I got a very positive response from students. If there was something as pop culturally relevant on the Democrat side, I'd do that too."
Contestants would have thrown sand bags or crumpled paper, not actual shoes, and five winners would have received free copies of "Crawford," a film documenting the effect that George W. Bush's presidency had on his hometown of Crawford, TX.
There have been longer waits at the SF State Student Health Center due to an upgrade in the center's system.
The new system, called Electronic Health Record, will electronically file students' health records rather than use paper charts.
"It's a great system, and a great change," said Graham Litchman, president of the student health advisory committee. "It's more accessible to things and it runs more smoothly."
The center will be taking fewer cases for the next few weeks as their staff gets acquainted to the system. However, they will still be taking emergency appointments.
The center is starting the new system this semester and will lower students' wait time, according to Litchman.
All of the students' basic information will be immediately transferred to the system when registering for classes.
Students will have access to their lab results, doctor-recommended articles, and other information online via the Secure University Portal, according to Dr. Alastair Smith, director of student health services.
Students will soon be able make appointments online.
Litchman wants to ensure students that multiple security measures are being taken, through Firewall, to maintain the students' privacy.
Schools using a similar system include Harvard, Stanford, UCLA and San Jose State University.
"This campus is ever-conscious to the environment and we are falling in line," Litchman said.
The new program wouldn't cost the students or the school any extra money.
"We haven't been adding new money. We are taking the money that the students had paid [with when they registered]," Litchman added.
The program was purchased two years ago to start the FamilyPACT program, which saved SF State students millions of dollars in pharmacy and laboratory costs, according to Smith.
Dr. Kay Gamo, a family physician who works at the center, says that the program is easier for the staff because the information is legible and manageable.
"I think once we get used to it, it's going to be helpful," Gamo said.
The SF State baseball team defeated the Academy of Art University, 6-1, on Feb. 3 at Maloney Field. A solid pitching performance by Patrick Haugen, who struck out 10 batters and only gave up one run, helped the Gators win their home opener.
Check sports section for complete game summary.
The SF State Division of Information Technology sent out an alert email last week about a new spreading virus/worm [ called Conficker that continues to target the campus community with phishing attempts aimed at capturing personal and sensitive information.
"Conficker has many security experts concerned because [of] its likely connection with organized crime and because it has proliferated so quickly," wrote SF State's Information Security Officer K. Mig Hofmann in an e-mail. "The overall population of users with unpatched systems is high which means the virus/worm has great opportunity amongst a population of users."
There is an increase in student accounts with stolen or "lifted" ids and passwords, which are used to break into email accounts, but it is unknown how many students are affected, said Hofmann.
"Its full potential is not yet known," stated Hofmann. "The most common behavior is that it prevents anti-virus software from running and detecting it in the first place."
According to Hofmann, Conficker is known to install keyloggers and attempt guessing at passwords. Students need to take preventative measures given the unexplained increase in their account credentials being used by hackers, possibly due to students' passwords being the same on other online services, he said.
"The worm/virus is good at avoiding detection and moving from system to system and onto USB drives to hide," Hofmann said. "Many students mistakenly believe that Macintosh computers are immune to such attacks. Although this is another attack focused on Windows based machines, there are viruses and malware targeting the Apple platform."
For more information on protection against Conficker, visit the IT Web site.
Imagine being hoisted atop a 40-foot tree or the equivalent to standing on the head of a tyrannosaurus rex at Fort Miley Military Reservation in the Presidio. As your every nerve tightens you realize the people who got you in this predicament are a group of high school students.
The Pacific Leadership Institute at SF State will tell you this is one of their oldest and more popular teaching tools for building self-esteem and leadership skills.
"God forbid you have high school students looking after the well-being of other people," said Ben Kumli, a graduate student and member of the PLI.
"Society in general frames this as a dangerous situation, but we are breaking down those stereotypes," Kumli said.
Kumli, who has worked with the PLI since high school, decided to attend SF State because of his involvement with the program.
"I'm an example of how powerful this program can be," he said.
PLI is part of the Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism at SF State, and focuses its program on youth empowerment and leadership development.
As an umbrella organization, the PLI is involved in five different community programs and serves over 11,000 participants each year. It also trains over 100 youths to lead its programs and offers training annually to over 1,000 people working in community and youth programs.
All programs cater to the size and needs of a number of participants that can range from Google employees to juvenile hall inmates.
"We take people out of their normal environment and create an adventure learning arena; active learning," said Drew McAdams, chief of programs for PLI.
One popular program is called Adventure Challenge Course, which uses different challenges to encourage team development and leadership skills at Fort Miley and Camp Arroyo located in the Bay Area.
In an effort to teach problem solving and leadership skills, PLI will place its participants in trust activities before introducing them to a challenging ropes course. By using the skills taught in the trust activity, participants are reliant on other team members to climb up to 40 feet above ground.
About 70 percent of participants come back to the program, according to McAdams.
California State Parks, San Francisco Unified School District and Golden Gate National Recreation Area are just a few key partnerships that enable the institute to pay staff and run the program.
The 28-year-old program has grown and developed from a merger with Fort Miley Adventure Ropes Course and Training Resources for Recreation in Urban Environments (TRUE).
After a series of transitions PLI were established in 2000, the organization was recently approved as an official institute with other SFSU Research and Sponsored Organizations.
"It was a long road," said Nina Roberts, the program director of PLI. "The outcome on the youth in the community has been extraordinary."