March 2009 Archives

First SF Snuggie bar crawl is a success

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Polk Street buzzed with the energy surrounding the Snuggie Pub Crawl on March 20th. Creative Snuggie costumes followed each other from bar to bar, relishing in the common interest of Snuggie appreciation.

"I am really excited about tonight," said Keith Charles, with a "300" themed warrior Snuggie and organizer of Snuggie Bar Crawl. "This all started with Yelp and all of the Yelpers are so excited to be here. It was definitely a Web 2.0 inspired meet-up."

The Snuggie Bar Crawl idea originated in Cincinnati, according to Charles, with ten guys who went out to a bar wearing their Snuggies. The first mass Snuggie pub crawl occurred in Chicago, but the date had to be continually pushed back to allow time to purchase Snuggies.

The Snuggie Pub Crawl started at 8 p.m. at Shanghai Kelly's, then went to Vertigo Bar and McTeague's Saloon before settling into the R Bar.

"One of my friends emailed me the idea saying it was the dumbest idea ever and my response was that it was actually the best idea ever and that we had to do it in San Francisco," said Charles.

In addition to showing up in a Snuggie, many attendees decided to create costumes out of Snuggies for entertainment and also to participate in a Snuggie costume contest. The four categories included best female, best male, best group and the sluttiest.

Charles and a few of his friends constructed the handmade awards from home. "They were made with love," he said.

The best female award went to an anonymous attendee dressed up as the pop singer, Lady GaGa. The best male went to Luke, who wore a gay pride themed snuggie. Best group went to the "bunny girls," and sluttiest went to Jenny in a Pocahontas Snuggie.
The Snuggie Bar Crawl started at 8 p.m. at Shanghai Kelly's, then went to Vertigo Bar, McTeague's Saloon and R Bar.

"I bought my Snuggie this morning when I heard about the party," said Matt, dressed up as a king with a Snuggie robe, "it was a very good excuse for all of us to have a fun time."

According to Charles, over 300 people confirmed their attendance for the San Francisco Snuggie Bar Crawl on Yelp and Facebook.

Ryan and Brenda came as a couple, creating a costume that fused two Snuggies together with a large zipper. "Snuggies are all about snuggling, right?," said Brenda. "So we figured we would do Siamese. It's sort of like "Amazing Race," you either work together or you don't."

They were among many creative costumes that adorned Polk Street, causing crowd reactions and reporters from local news organizations and blogs to come out and cover the first time event in San Francisco.

"I would say this is a perfect example of a viral type of thing," said Matt. "I've seen the Snuggie commercials before, I thought they were the most ridiculous things, but now I see the genius. I have to give props to whoever makes Snuggies."

The event took about a month to plan and organize, according to Charles. "I am ecstatic with the turnout this evening, people are behaving themselves and just having a good time."

4.3 earthquake hits Morgan Hill

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At around 10:40 a.m., an earthquake of a magnitude of 4.3 hit 11 miles away from Morgan Hill, 16 miles away from the city of San Jose, according to the USGS.

The earthquake could be felt as far as San Francisco. Morgan Hill police said no citizens have not reported any damage yet.

Click here to the link of the USGS Web site.

Ethnic Studies class presents midterm at Malcolm X Plaza

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Forget the Zeus forms, #2 pencils and blue books. Taking a midterm has just been taken to a whole new level.

Asian American Culture students of Ethnic Studies 210-03 created Cultural InvASIAN, a presentation about breaking stereotypes against Asian Americans, said Jessica Barbadillo, a 19-year-old Liberal Studies student and student of the class. They presented at Malcolm X Plaza in place for their midterm.

"We wanted to bring our message out of the classroom," said Barbadillo.

Taking place during its class hour, the event separated into segments of video, song, dance and spoken word while marching from the Ethnic Studies building through the Cesar Chavez Student Center.

This semester, the class learned of Asian American stereotypes on a historical, social and political level about Asian Americans today, according to Irene Duller, lecturer of the class.

"Instead of just learning about it in class, we're doing an output and sending a message in cultural means," said Duller. "Their task is to be cultural guerrillas."

Duller said the class felt strongly about what they learned and wanted to express it through a public forum.

"It was a great experience," said Julian Garingan, a 19-year-old Pre Nursing student. "We came together as a class and represented unity. Our enthusiasm showed how much we care about our culture."

The objective of the event was to "create a presence on campus on behalf of the Asian American community" and address stereotypes perpetuated by the media said Duller. Such issues are emasculating Asian males and creating an exotic image of Asian women, she said.

"We're responsible in broadcasting to the public and our student peers," said Duller. "We are agents in history."

Overheated motor causes evacuation of Thornton Hall

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San Francisco firefighters responded to a fire alarm set off by a overheated motor on the 8th floor of Thornton Hall Thursday.

Smoke from mechanical room 800T set off the alarm at 11:52 a.m. on the 7th and 8th floors, said University Spokeswoman Ellen Griffin.

"There was no fire, a motor just overheated," said San Francisco firefighter Evart.

Evart explained that protective insulation around the vacuum pump motor caused the smoke to release.

Smoke from the overheated motor prompted 20 San Francisco firefighters to evacuate the building for 15 minutes, said Evart. "Once we learned that it was contained to the 8th floor, we let people back in to the building," he said.

Upon witnessing the smoke, an engineer shut the engine to the smoking motor off, said Evart.

Firefighters used C2O gas to cool the motor, said Evart, noting that the gas would not harm the motor.

Despite the information provided from the fire department, an engineer is currently examining what may have caused the alarms to go off, added Griffin.

Students celebrate life of Cesar Chavez

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The atmosphere was vivo as music, cake and a piñata kicked off Wednesday's 15th annual Cesar Chavez celebration.

"We are here to respect the honor of the Chicano and farm-worker activists as well as all the farm workers," said Karina Magana, a Liberal and La Raza studies major, as she patched together the final parts of a large paper soccer ball filled with candy.

Salsa and Rock en Espanol songs booming from the speakers and the flags of Latin America gave the Malcolm X Plaza a fiesta atomosphere.

The noon event was a put on by the Movemiento Estudiantil Chicanos de Aztlan, La Raza Organization and League of Filipino Students. The student groups gathered to celebrate the life of Cesar Chavez as well as the mural and student center dedicated to him.

The highlight of the event was the piñata. Students were blindfolded, spun and successfully confused and only after nearly ten different attempts did candy fall to the ground. The crowd went wild when two young girls tried to bust the ball.

"Exciting!" was 7-year-old Olivia Martinez's only reaction. She was aggressive and energized with hard, angry swings. Her three-year-old counterpart cried and covered her eyes with one hand while still trying to connect with the piñata.

After a mad rush for the fallen candy, the audience was treated to more sweets as two Tres Leches cakes were cut. Students quickly lined up for the traditional Latin dessert that read "que viva la lucha," which translated "to maintain the struggle". The loud socializing was momentarily halted as people ate the wet, spongy cake.

"People sometimes think after the 60's things were alright," said Salvador Sanchez, Ethnic Studies graduate student. "It's important to remind each other that we are still struggling."

The music stopped for announcements promoting Latino community events and organizations as well as an impromptu musical performance. Rebbe Jerome St. Laurence, a retired schoolteacher and SF State alumni, sang his poem "Hot Fire" accapela in between his wild harmonica rants.

"Hot Fire is violence and I'm saying don't commit violent acts," said Laurence, who is currently taking religious courses to gather information for a book he is writing.

The festivities came on the brink of Cesar Chavez Day. Because SF State is closed that day and spring break is next week, the event was scheduled almost two weeks before the statewide holiday, which is on March 31.

The celebration kicked off a day of lectures and community forums with Raza, farm worker and union activists. It will conclude with dinner and a live band whose members are all day laborers.

"Everyone's having fun so it is a good opening," said Rick De La Tovre, a sophmore art student and one of the event's main hosts.

ASI: vote online, not at the Cesar Chavez Center

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There will no longer be an in-person booth for voting in the Student Center, as there has been in the past.

Brooke "Wojo" Wojdynski, a candidate for Sophomore Representative, is upset about the move. "Even if that's one vote casted, that's somebody's voice and it should be heard," she said, adding that the ASI's election timeline included a polling booth.

Morgan Lam, ASI's election commissioner, said that the entry in the timeline was an oversight, explaining that the elimination of the booth was the decision of the Associated Student's Board.

She encouraged the new board to review the decision and revise it if they feel it's necessary.

Frankie Griffen, a Graduate Representative candidate, felt that the online-only elections should have been advertised more, but that "every computer lab on campus is kind of like a voting booth."

He noted that many groups also had tables in the quad offering laptops for voting and free food. Horace Montgomery, Leadership Development Coordinator for ASI, spoke of the reason for the change. "Last year I had a booth from nine to five for three days," and 50 people showed up.

"50 of the 800 that cast their vote," he said. "In my opinion, that's not an appropriate allocation of funds."

ASI sent an e-mail encouraging students to vote from now to March 20, linking to the voting Web site .

Girl Scouts make bank at SF State

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If the whole of SF State seems to be on a perpetual sugar high, it may be because students are buying Girl Scout Cookies like they are going out of style.

The junior-ranked scouts that you see at the top of campus make an average $800 a day selling 200 boxes, said Troop leader Lannie Nguyen-Tang, an SF State employee whose daughter is a member of Troop 30227.

Nguyen-Tang has a lot of experience with sugar-happy students. She has been at the top of campus every day for three hours since the cookies went on sale. She has seen the girls through many sugar-highs.

She tells the volunteers that come with her to "blame it on the cookie."

The troop, which is supported by St. Anne's Church in the Sunset District, has 16 members.

"I want my troop to be diverse," says Nguyen-Tang, who said she has made an effort to get girls from many schools in San Francisco, both public and private.

"The best part of being a Girl Scout is meeting new people," said Lydia Tang, Nguyen-Tang's daughter. "I like getting to work with my troopmates."

The girls are selling the cookies to raise money for a charity of their choice and finance the trip to Hawaii they will take when they turn 16, said Madeline Quach.

Quach, 10, is trying to sell 1000 boxes of cookies to earn a Nintendo DS system. If a Girl Scout sells 1200 boxes, the prize is a Nintendo Wii system.

Tang has already sold 1200 boxes and is now working on selling another thousand to earn the Nintendo DS system as well.

Half of the members are attempting to sell 1000 boxes, so far five have reached the goal, according to Nguyen-Tang.

The girls and their parent volunteers join Nguyen-Tang at the corner of 19th and Holloway avenues.

They don't get there any earlier than 3 p.m. because of their school schedule.

"You can't take them out of school for cookie-child labor," said Nguyen-Tang.

This is 10-year-old Jacqueline Lee's third time selling cookies at SF State. She has been a Girl Scout for 2 years. Lee's favorite part of being a Girl Scout is seeing her friends but she also loves the projects they do.

"I liked the heritage family," she said. "I got to make my family tree." The heritage was a good opportunity for Lee to learn about her fellow students. Lee learned that some of her fellow scouts were adopted.

"I felt bad for them because they didn't know their [biological] parents," she said.

While it is true that the cookies are flying off the table, not everyone on campus is buying them.

Felicia Vasquez, an art photography major, hasn't purchased any, though she said she would like to.

"I gave up sweets for Lent because I'm Catholic," she said.

"I was okay with it until my friend pulled out a package of Thin Mints," said Vasquez, 22. "Then my heart broke because those are my favorite cookie."

Joel Balao, 22, has nothing holding him back from buying Dulce de Leche cookies, though Samoa cookies are his favorite.

"I buy them whenever they are available," said Balao, a pre-nursing major.

"Even though they are really bad for you, they are really, really good," he said.

Library construction begins... again

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The sound of equipment and workers can be heard again as construction for the J. Leonard Paul library has resumed after 50 days of silence.

Chancellor Charles B. Reed had previously stopped all projects on every CSU campus due to the uncertainty of the state budget on Jan. 9. Since the signing of the budget by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger Feb. 20, the CSU was able to seek bond funding again, but only selective projects were given the green light to continue.

"The CSU has resumed those projects that are well into construction, where further delay would mean additional costs and disruption to campus operations," said Simon Lam, associate vice president of the university's planning department.

The delay indeed caused some additional costs for the library, which include bringing back equipment and workers to the site, according to Lam. Workers officially went back to the site on March 2.

Eric Stenman, president of Barnhart, Inc., said it was "too early to tell" what exactly those additional one-time costs would be. Barnhart, Inc. is the contractor for the library renovations. Lam is in negotiations with the contractor to minimize the costs.

"It's just great to be back... because the students need a library," said Stenman.

The monthly cost of $1.75 million to the contractor will remain the same.

The two-month delay will also affect the opening of the new library equivalent to the time of the suspension. The library is now expected to be completed in the late fall of 2011, according to Lam.

Other projects affected by the freeze included the Technology Infrastructure System. The project involved the installation of wiring and other technologies to several buildings on campus. Additional costs to the project are uncertain, but costs will be related to bringing back materials and workers.

Deborah Masters, university librarian, wants to reassure students that the library is still fully operational, "just in different ways and locations."

Stacey Hughes, 22, a business management major finds the prolonged delay an inconvenience. "It's confusing because everything is spread out. And a lot of people don't know where things are located."

Carlos Luna, a 26-year-old student library assistant, was pleased to hear that construction had started again.

"I think it's awesome, but it's lame that they stopped in the first place. It's annoying to us [employees of the library] because people get angry at us because they assume we're responsible for problems with the construction," said the psychology major.

Library Annex 1, located on North State Drive near the corner of Winston Drive and Lake Merced Boulevard and the HSS library are open 24 hours, except for breaks and holidays.

For more information about the library project, visit the library project Web site.

Medical examiner seeks public help to ID body

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San Francisco police are investigating a dead body found in Lake Merced late Sunday afternoon.

The body was found by a person kayaking in the lake around 4 p.m., according to Sgt. Lyn Tomioka of SFPD. The medical examiner has not been able to ID the body, but described it as a white male, 5-foot-7 and 167 pounds with dark brown hair and a scar on his left shoulder.

The unidentified man was wearing green boxer shorts and a dark colored shirt.

There were no obvious signs of trauma, according to Tomioka. Police are treating the case as a suspicious death.

Two dragon boating instructors assisted police and firefighters to help retrieve the body out of the lake using a dragon boat.

An autopsy was scheduled for March 15, but could take days to about a week to find the cause of death.

If anyone has information, call the medical examiner's office (415) 553-1694.

Thousands of dollars worth of electronics stolen

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Thieves ransacked a changing room used by male members of a Filipino cultural performance group on Sunday, leaving with thousands of dollars worth of electronics and forcing the group to adopt stricter guidelines for practices, cast members said.

"We're really still trying to keep our spirits positive," said Jeremy Villaluz, 23-year-old head coordinator for the performance's parent group, the Pilipino American Collegiate Endeavor.

A member of PACE discovered the disheveled scene after a five-minute gap in which the room, Burk Hall 252, was left unoccupied, said 20-year-old participant Tonichi Lorenzana.

It was the first costumed gathering of the 120-person cast, and the day was devoted to taking photos outside and in the room above the men's changing area.

"My friend came up and said, 'Someone stole all of our stuff!" said the two-year veteran of the performance.

About ten cast members fanned out across the campus, asking everyone they could find if they had seen anything suspicious, said Ryan Roa, this year's producer for the annual Pilipino Cultural Night performance. Nobody questioned gave them any helpful information.

"It was upsetting, because I was the one producing the show," said Roa, 21.

A laptop, camcorder, wallet, mp3 player and multiple cell phones were missing after the incident, said University Spokeswoman Ellen Griffin on behalf of the University Police Department.

"It seemed like the people who took the stuff knew exactly where to go," said Villaluz, who has been in PACE since 2006.

Some in the cast said they were suspicious of a group of three to five dark-skinned individuals walking through the building wearing brightly-colored clothing.

"Someone opened the door whom I've never seen before," said Lorenzana, who, as the last one in the dressing room, recalled a tall black man with red streaks in his hair, a brightly-colored jacket and gray acid-washed jeans briefly entering and leaving after seeing him.

"I trust a lot of the cast members," said Kristopher Cruz, another second-year participant who lost his wallet in the event, "I don't think they would do it."

University police, who are still investigating the incident, have noted the presence of "suspicious" people but have not released a description of any suspects, Griffin said. Six people lost property in the theft.

The new policies announced at Monday's PCN meeting included barring non-performers from attending the practices and dividing the practices for different elements of the show. Organizers said they regretted the change, but it was necessary to restore a feeling of security for the cast.

"We're really, really trying to make sure we don't lose that mission," Villaluz said, later adding that members of PCN should be able to attend practice "without feeling like, 'Oh, I gotta watch out, this cat's gonna steal my stuff,' or 'This cat's gonna hurt me.'"

This will be the 37th year for the event, Pilipino Cultural Night, produced by the 41-year-old Pilipino American Collegiate Endeavor, according to the group's MySpace page. The production features an original script, songs and a combination of both modern and cultural dancing that celebrate and showcase Filipino culture.

Anyone with information about the thefts can call the university police tip line at (415) 338-3030.

Asian org holds fundraiser for Lupus foundation

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After experiencing kidney failure three times, fighting cancer of the nervous system and dealing with life threatening infections caused by Lupus disease, Evanne Grate could have slowed down. Instead, she has continued to skateboard, mountain bike, snowboard and play softball while working as a web designer.

She told her story at a fundraiser last Monday at Jack Adams Hall. The fundraiser was hosted by the Asian Student Union to celebrate Women's History Month.

"If it weren't for the overwhelming support of friends, family, medical staff and the big guy in the sky I wouldn't be here today," Grate said.

Roughly $800 was raised at the event, and it will go to the Lupus Foundation of Northern California.

Lupus is an autoimmune disease. The disease confuses the patients' immune system, which attacks their organs because they recognize it as foreign to their body. There is no cure for this disease that affects mostly women of color.

Her story highlighted a lineup made entirely of female Asian-American performers.

Performances ranged from spoken word to rock music. They included De La Femme, MissCarolinexoxo, Song of the Siren, Rhapsodistas, Vinci, and former ASU member and science teacher Viet-Thi Ta.

Nina Chan, the marketing coordinator and co-chair of ASU, has been organizing the event since December of last year.

"I always wanted to do an event strictly for Asian-American women," the graphic design major said.

For Chan, the event was more than just another performance on campus. She came up with the idea, secured the venue, found the Lupus foundation, convinced most of the performers to do it free and even designed the flyer. "I thought it would be very good to highlight Asian women in a very positive light, because in the media they are portrayed as submissive," Chen said. "As an Asian-American female myself, I wanted to show leadership and empowerment."

Cindy Chan was the other speaker at the event. The SF State graduate was diagnosed in 1992 as she was teaching her first year at the university.

I had to give up my dream of teaching," Chan said. She had to stop teaching because it was too demanding for her condition, she said.

"Even though I have Lupus I haven't stopped living, I am still an activist. I still want women going forward in their lives." Chan said. "My identity is not Lupus, I am just a person who has Lupus."

People like MJ Suba know this all too well. Suba, the fundraiser organizer for the foundation, is affected by the disease and began working with the foundation to help others like her.

"You get a real sense of accomplishment. It's pretty scary situation, but being able to direct [people] to the resources helps ease the anxiety and fear, specially when the patient knows that I am affected by it," said Suba, a San Jose native.

"My motivation, which is actually my purpose, is to spread awareness about Lupus," Grate said, explaining her motivation for speaking at the event. If the reaction by attendees to her speech is an indicator, Grate achieved her purpose.

"It was really empowering and raising awareness about Lupus was definitively a plus," said Katie Yang, an Asian-American studies major.

"Them telling their story affected me," said Lisa Voong, who is majoring in international business and Chinese. "It was sad and empowering because they were really affected by Lupus, but they are all so strong about it."

Candidates clamor for ASI seats

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The student government, which funds numerous programs on campus and pockets $42 dollars of student tuition fees, started its annual election on Monday and will continue until Friday.

The ballot this semester includes 35 potential candidates and two opposing slates. Both slates have emphasized student unity, but the hot button issue is a proposal for a new Recreation and Wellness Center on campus.

The Recreation and Wellness Center is the number one priority to the current ASI board. The proposed center could become an enormous facility for recreational sports and activities on campus.

While some candidates feel it is a positive addition, others believe the center is too ambitious during the difficult economic climate.

"We support the recreation center as an idea, but not at the current time," said Cory Wong, a member of the Student Organizations and Action slate and a current board member re-running for office.

The S.O.A. will focus on the budget cuts as its number one concern, according to Wong.

"ASI doesn't have to be just about student organizations, it can also be a political force," he said.

Brooke "Wojo" Wojdynski, another member of the S.O.A., is running for Sophomore Representative and hopes to reallocate funding to make the university more efficient.

The S.O.A had made diversity a large part of its campaign. "There is such a breadth of people on the slate. We have students from foster care, gay students and all sorts of different ethnicities [on the slate]," she said.

The other group, titled "The Slate," can be seen walking around campus with bright red t-shirts. Frankie Griffen, the slates campaign manager and an incumbent board member, said "The Slate" will work together to support student wishes.

"We really want to work to put the student voice out there," he said.

Griffen said "The Slate's" motto is 'university united' and will focus on getting student feedback and advice on the proposed Recreation and Wellness Center.

Candidates have spent a lot of energy campaigning on Facebook and other resources like YouTube to make videos and fliers.

"I've never seen online campaigning for ASI on this level, said Horace Montgomery, the leadership development coordinator for ASI.

The election will be online for its second year. Students can vote by logging on to the eBallot link at http://asi.sfsu.edu.

Montgomery said online voting in the past has produced less than satisfactory results. However, he hopes it will gain energy.

Morgan Lamb, the elections commissioner, said she would ideal like to see five percent of the student body vote.

"With 100 percent of the voting online, it is really easy and quick to get your vote out there," she said.

Students running independently may have a more difficult time getting elected. Geraldo Benito Chang, a candidate for

Representative at Large, said a lack of communication from the election commissioner left him "stonewalled."

He hopes his statement on the ballot will enable students to vote for him.

"It they care for it, I will work for them, but if they're voting just for the slate thing I don't stand a chance," he said.

SF State crime log week of March 8

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During Saint Patrick's Day weekend there were five reported incidents of substance possessions and disorderly conduct, the campus police crime log shows.

March 12

The first incident occurred at Mary Park Hall right before midnight A minor was cited with a misdemeanor for possession of alcohol, according to Captain Reggie Parson.

Parson said the individual was not part of the university community. The minor was release to SFPD for a follow up investigation on related cases.

March 13

Another minor was detained for possession of alcohol.

The individual was not part of the university community was detained in the Muni platform on 19th Avenue, Parson said.

3:00 a.m. - A person was arrested for disorderly conduct at around in the morning near the Library Annex 1.

According to Parson the person was stumbling and falling while drunk.

"The Officer took the person into protective custody for the person's safety," Parson said.

11:14 p.m - On a separate incident, several juveniles, who were suspected of theft at the Stonestown mall, were charged with obstructing a public at around .

11:17 p.m. - An individual was arrested in the Centennial Village on campus. He was cited for possession of marijuana.

March 14

1:15 a.m. - An individual was arrested off campus for disorderly conduct in public at around.

Parson said that the person arrested was drunk. He was stumbling and holding on to a wall to keep from falling as he was urinating in public. The individual was taken into protective custody.

The suspects fled from the mall and were later arrested on Junipero Serra Boulevard, parson said.

12:00 a.m. - Police arrested a man and charged him with obstructing an officer.

The officer saw a man involved in a physical altercation with a woman. When the officer approached them the man did not stop after the officer asked him to and took a "combative stance against the officer," Parson said.

Information provided by the SF State crime log.

ASI candidates debate on the issues

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Raising student awareness of services, appropriate club funding and the proposed recreational and health center were the hot button issues of the ASI nomination debate Monday, March 16 at the Malcolm X Plaza.

The nominees that spoke on the panel represented the two parties running: "The Slate: Diversity United" and the "Student Organization in Action", more often referred to as S.O.A. Both groups received their opportunity to explain their platform and answer questions to the people gathered at the plaza, though the audio team was very precise when cutting their mics at the exact moment their time limit expired.

"I am hoping the students re-elect me so I can continue my hard work," said incumbent ASI President, Natalie Franklin running with Diversity United.

Presidential hopeful with S.O.A., Cobe Obiesie, expressed his hopes to get the current ASI board out of office to allow new people in office to create greater transparency.

"ASI needs to be held accountable and students need to be aware of where their money is being allocated. I don't see that happening," said Obiesie.

The debate was set up so that the emcee poses questions to each of the people running for the top four offices and then allows each of the candidates pose a question to their opponent, with time left for rebuttals.

Obiesie asked Franklin about whether she would be able to look out for the best interest of students despite her support for the recreational center that may raise student fees by $200.

After critiquing the way Obiesie framed his question, Franklin responded, "I am in support of the students having a choice for a rec center, and they will be able to vote in April whether they support it."

The discussion turned to the money allocated to the survey on how students felt about the idea of adding a recreational center.

"The survey was biased," said Obiesie. He went on to say that the people who conducted the survey where the same that were asked to design the center.

Both candidates for president agreed, however, that the ASI needs to be more present and raise awareness of the services and opportunities that are on campus and funded by student dollars.

The crowd added to the heated discussion between the candidates by cheering and heckling in the clearly segregated crowd - nearly half where carrying signs for SOA or Diversity United publicity.

The next big roar, from the fluctuating crowd of more than 100, came when the V.P. of Finance nominees spoke about club funding. Ruben Uribe from SOA demanded more funding and efforts to stop unused money from going into the reserve account.

"The board currently doesn't ask the questions that need to be asked," said Uribe. "The current V.P. has been cutting funding for clubs."

The incumbent V.P. of Finance, Darlington Nwaokoro, replied that the funding for clubs couldn't remain the same as they have in the past because of the state of the ASI bank account.

As the panel debate rapped up, the mic was opened up to the audience to ask questions of the ASI hopefuls.

One student asked why the money used to put forth the recreation center survey couldn't go toward the library that they need, to which Franklin said that the students were misinformed and didn't understand how funding worked.

"ASI isn't really listening to us when we ask for money to be used where we want," said 19-year-old Sharim Hannegan, a La Raza Studies student. "I understand that the state froze the money for the library but I think that the ASI is using emergency funds for things that aren't emergencies."

Other students were surprised that they were able to ask improptu questions of people that will control nearly $3.5 million dollars of their student fees.

"It was interesting that they opened up for questions. I thought some students had great questions for the current ASI members," said Lindsy Mennet, 20, a political science major.

Obiesie and Franklin both commented on how they felt the debate went but had different takes on the event.

"I think that the we needed it to be longer to give our full responses," said Obiesie. "There should be one of these every month. Maybe there will be if we are elected."

"I think it went really well," said Franklin. "But the other slate took the fun out of it. They had SOA members ask questions that were biased."

Elections are scheduled to run from March 16 to March 20.

For more information about the people running you can check out their respective Facebook accounts.

Students can vote at the ASI Web site.

Senator pushes college reform

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Transparency is the word from the state's capital to SF State as several bills aimed at reforming higher education, introduced by Sen. Leland Yee, make their way through the state senate.

If passed, the three bills - known as the Higher Education Reform Bills - will have numerous effects on CSU, UC and community college systems, ranging from salary caps to changing California's Public Records Act and extending whistle-blower protection to UC employees. As of March 9 the bills had moved to the committee of education.

One bill, SB 217, would place salary caps on all university executives the years when student tuition or fees are increased.

The caps are to discourage using fee hikes as an easy fix during hard economic times, said Yee, who received his master's at SF State and his bachelor's from the University of California at Berkeley.

"With the tuition and fee hikes, I worry if we are pushing out people who can't afford it," Yee said.

Yee is concerned about the compensation that executives receive, citing that the "perks" are going "a little overboard."

"Executive compensation has been out of control in both salary and benefit," he said.

This idea is shared by other officials.

"This is exactly the type of legislation we felt was needed," said Lillian Taiz, California Faculty Association president, "especially in times like these."

The CFA is a co-sponsor of the bill.

There has been praise for the legislation, but some feel there is more to be done to help California's school budget issues.

"Senator Yee's reform bill is really just a small Band-Aid on the large problems around our educational system here in California," said Francis Mead, an organizer for Student Unity and Power, the group that coordinated the walkout on March 12.

"Although I am happy to hear that this bill will not continue to raise the salary of the college ecutives and administration while students fee's go up," she said, "it is still not enough, and I see it as too little too late."

Another aspect of the proposed legislation that greatly affects the CSU system is an amendment to the California's Public Record Act, SB 218. CPRA allows the public the right to certain information such as meeting records and filings both paper and electronic that have anything to do with public funding or that performs government functions.

"I think it's important that we make colleges and universities affordable," said Yee, the senator for San Francisco and San Mateo counties. "Part of doing that is to provide greater oversight and transparency."

If Yee has his way, the CPRA will also include "auxiliary organizations" on campus that receive government funding or perform what can be considered a government function, such as the bookstore or university foundations.

"We believe everything would be affected by the ability to understand what resources are available to the university," said Taiz, a history professor at Cal State LA. "It's appropriate for the times and for students."

Though the CFA is enthusiastic about the reforms that Yee is pushing for, he is not so optimistic concerning the response of the CSU Board of Trustees or the UC Board of Regents.

"I do expect that UC and CSU will in fact be opposing our bill. They have opposed similar bills in the past," he said.

At this time, the CSU system has issued no statement concerning their views toward the bills put forth, stating that they have not fully looked into the effects the bill will have on the university.

CSU spokesperson Erik Fallis did state that it was important to note that in response to the governor's December budget proposal, the CSU immediately placed a salary freeze for vice presidents', presidents', vice chancellors' and the chancellor's salaries for the 2009-10 budget year.

Yee however, stated that he would prefer that such a decision be made by the senate so the power to undo the decision requires a vote of the legislature and the signature of the governor.

The final bill, SB 219, gives the same whistleblower protection that the CSU and community colleges have to UC employees.

Crowd enjoys beer, Irish dancing at St. Patty's festival

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A sea of green lined Market Street on Saturday as the 158th annual San Francisco St. Patrick's Day parade began with the jubilant wailing of bagpipes and Irish step dancing amid a high spirited audience.

The crowd enjoyed a piece by The Archbishop Riordan high school band with their tight cadence and synchronous ensemble. Children jeered and ran along the sidewalks to keep up with the green colored floats.

Alex Sanders, 13, ran along the parade route to keep up with his sister, a member of the Keenan School of Irish Dance from Sonoma County.

"She's been practicing for this for a long time," said Sanders, as he curled over and placed his hands on his knees." I told her I'd be cheering for her the whole time; it's hard to keep up with all these people in the way."

Mayor Gavin Newsom strolled alongside floats tossing green beaded necklaces to a myriad of extended hands. Board of supervisor President David Chiu and Assemblywoman Fiona Ma joined Newsom with the festivities riding in convertibles.

As the parade rounded off in front of Civic Center Plaza, hordes of people were corralled into fenced-off drinking areas, while others joined the folk-dancing, beer-wielding crowd in front of the stage.

The Mad Maggies, a corky group of Bay Area musicians, played into several genre's, but hit it home with their "power polka" leaving the audience begging for an encore.

Food vendors boasted Italian sausages, Chinese teriyaki chicken, even traditional Vietnamese cuisine leaving many Irish enthusiasts looking elsewhere for their corned beef and cabbage.

A pack of giant Irish wolfhounds meandered through the plaza, creating a following of curious attendees which earned them the nickname as "the parades biggest party animals."

"These are only pups, we expect them to get much bigger," said Tina Rousseger, owner of the ten-month-old, 140 pound pooch. The dogs can weigh up to 175 pounds and reach heights of nearly 4 feet, according to Rousseger .

At the San Francisco Police Department tent, a box with confiscated drinking paraphernalia stood, testament to SFPD efforts to thwart uncontrolled drinking.

The St. Patty's day event was well managed, according to event coordinators. The controlled environment was attributed to the designated drinking areas and a police presence felt unanimously by rowdy parade-goers.

"This is nothing like I expected," said Tyler Morrison, a student at UC Santa Cruz. "I came here to drunk and dance to Irish music, but the police are everywhere...I thought this would be more wild like Lovefest."

SF State crime log week of March 1

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March 4

Several electronic items were stole from inside a Nissan parked overnight on space 650, according to university police.

This is the second incident of auto burglary, and the fifth vehicle related theft incident since the semester began.

"Auto burglary, as it all theft, remains one of the main crimes that occurs on and around university property so this unfortunately is not a rare occurrence," said Captain Reggie Parson in an email statement.

The victim, who is not part of the SF State community called university police after noticing the theft.
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March 5

A university staff member reported to campus police that he saw smoke coming out of a trash can in the Centennial Village, Parson said.

University police showed up soon after. No Damage was caused to university property. The incident has been closed with no lead and classified as "negligent burning."
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March 6

In a similar incident, a student´s license plate was stole from the third level of parking lot 20.

The victim reported the incident on the same day, according to university police crime log. The case has been closed, as there are no leads.


Crime log provided by SF State university police.

Zombie mob attacks SF State

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Zombies began to wander the campus around noon on Friday causing mayhem and laughter.

The zombie mob, estimated at 15 students from Improv Nation, swarmed around unsuspecting students all over the campus. On several occasions they passed by students sitting near Cafe Rosso, infecting them and handing out fliers to the club's comedy show.

The main purpose of the zombie "attack" was to celebrate Friday the 13th, to promote the club and invite students to the show, said Andy Huynh, a cinema major who was a member of the mob.

"It was funny and cute," said Sormeh Kafi, a 21-year-old child development major. "It was a good way to hand out their fliers."

She and a friend, Jazzy Miller, were seated across from the cafe when the mob ambled through for the first time.

"It was entertaining," said Miller, an urban studies major. "They were into it."

The comedy show is held on Friday at 7:00 p.m. in HSS 130. Admission is $1, unless you have a valid MUNI transfer showing you paid more than that, then the show is free.

Walkout unites two campuses

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SF State students walkout at noon

Hundreds of outraged SF State students marched to City College of San Francisco Thursday in an effort to unite the two campuses and fight for their threatened education.

At noon, roughly 200 students gathered at Malcolm X Plaza for the walkout, organized by the Student Unity Power group, to protest the recent CSU budget cuts.

Click the link on the right to view the multimedia.

The energized protesters shut down 19th Avenue as they marched from Holloway Avenue to Ocean Avenue to reach City College. Along the way, police attempted to redirect the route along Eucalyptus Street, but students marched right through the police.

Student Unity and Power, a month-old student group, organized the walkout as a militant movement for liberating education.

"We've got to do more than just tell them what we think if we want to speak over the sound of the donors pockets" said Ryan Sturges, 23, an organizer of the walkout and a bio chemistry major.

"A squeaky wheel gets the oil, but the broken wheel gets fixed," Sturges added of SUP's plans to shut down SF State similar to the shut down in 1968. "We need to do something that makes it impossible to run, to build a movement that will enable us to get our demands met."

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger cut $97.6 million to the CSU for 2008-09 and announced an additional $66.3 million Feb. 20 for 2009-10. The reduction places the CSU approximately 10 percent below its operational needs, according to CSU officials.

University spokeswoman Ellen Griffin said "The university's agreement is that education is the key to California's future."

She declined to comment about the walkout.

Students react to cuts

"This is the first step in building a movement to challenge the budget cuts," said Alex Mejia, a 24-year-old La Raza Studies major and walkout organizer. "This is a statewide situation that needs statewide support."

"Any society that doesn't value people or education and spends more money on war and occupation and finding new ways to kill people - there's fundamentally a problem with it," said Drew Vanzee, sociology major and a member of Students for Social Change.

Many students were chanting along the way "Walk out SF State, shut it down like '68," was heard often, along with "Education should be free, bail out the students not the bourgeois."

Alberto Luna, a history major and co-chair of the College of Behavior and Social Science Students of Color, spoke of a lack of unison for SF State at the budget teach-in on Feb. 26.

"I thought that there was a lack of community," said Luna. "But right now it's united and that's really good. We must work on this and I hope this can be a wake up call to the rest of the students."

Margaret Decuir attended the walkout to unite with students who were just as angry as her. "I'm pissed off about so many things," she said.

"My education has been really good from SF State, but I'm sick of all the pointless classes, and the stupid JEPET. There are 40 graduating seniors in every class, sitting on the floor, trying to crash so they can graduate," Decuir said.

Decuir's solution echoed many others, "I want free education. We need socialization."

University officials were also there to oversee the event.

Students organize at CCSF

At City College, organizers rallied the students in front of Smith Hall for a mass strategy session for planning action on May 1, International Day of Worker Solidarity and Immigrant Rights.

The crowd then broke into smaller groups and discussed specifics plans of action.

Sturgis led one group asking, "How do we shut it down, I don't mean burn it down, I mean shut it down."

A.B. Burns-Tucker, a 20-year-old political science and criminal justice major, was grateful for the strategy session. "Everyone knows '68," she said, "but they knew what they wanted, they figured out how to get it, they had a plan."

"You march like this to get people together to hear your voice," she added, "then you come at them with facts and information and knowledge."

Sergeant Jim Miller of the San Francisco Police Department said that aside from the walkout itself, there were no incidences. "It's been pretty good, a peaceful expression of students concerns."

SF State walkout news round-up

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Follow us also on the [X]press Twitter.

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5:00 p.m.

KTVU is reporting that students from K-12 and college students are rallying at Civic Center Plaza near City Hall. [X]press would like to clarify that the Student Unity Power organization had not planned to go to City Hall, but had encouraged SF State students to head down there.

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3:51 p.m.

The protest has died down. Students were to meet San Francisco Unified School District employees, but since Mayor Gavin Newsom approved the release of the rainy day fund for the school district, a protest at City Hall may not happen.

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2:09 p.m.

City College of San Francisco students and SF State students are broken into groups at City College to brainstorm solutions to the budget problem.

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2:01 p.m.

Students are outside of Smith Hall at City College of San Francisco. SUP members are talking right now

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1:45 p.m.

Students are approaching City College of San Francisco where they will join other students to City Hall.

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1:07 p.m.

Police officers tried to redirect the students off 19th Avenue, but they would not listen chanting "Walk right through."

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1:01 p.m.

Students near the Stonestown mall heading to City College of San Francisco

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12:45 p.m.

Students make their way down 19th Avenue shutting it down as police redirect traffic.

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12:35 p.m.

Administration building shut down as protesters pass by. No one was available to enter according to the SF State police chief.

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12:15 p.m.

Protesters enter the cafeteria asking students to join the walkout. Police are present at Malcolm X Plaza and 19th Avenue.

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12:00 p.m.

Students began rallying at Malcolm X Plaza.

To read a preview of the walkout click on the following link Students plan walkout to protest CSU budget.

Students plan walkout to protest CSU budget

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Students skip school for many reasons: being sick, faking illness to write a paper or just blowing off class. But some students, like Tanya Kinigstein, are missing school March 12 to better their education.

The crippling CSU budget prolongs Kinigstein's education for another semester. With fewer classes and packed classrooms, outrage over her threatened education is prompting her to join a class walkout on March 12.

The walkout is the first step to resistance against the attacks on education, according to Student Unity and Power, the student group organizing the event.

"To have them take our education away from us like this is especially heartbreaking," said Kinigstein. "If they get away with this, who knows what is next," she says of the state legislature in Sacramento, which cut $63.3 million from the CSU for 2009-10.

SUP is a month-old radically-minded student organization dedicated to building a militant movement for liberating education, according to 23-year-old Francis Mead, a women studies major and walkout organizer.

The group was formed to continue the tradition of student organizing at SF State that resulted in the May 2008 walkout, the Fall 2008 occupation of the Quad and various other actions led by students.

"At first glance, it does seem hypocritical that students who want a better education are stepping out of the classrooms," stated 19-year-old Ernesto Martinez, an ethnic studies major who helped organize the walkout. "I don't think being passive and staying in class each and every day without voicing opposition to the budget cuts will do anything."

At noon, students will leave class to meet at Malcolm X Plaza and march to the City College of San Francisco in order to build unity across CSU and city college campuses, according to SUP.

Once the two schools unite, there will be a mass strategy session for planning action on May 1, International Day of Worker Solidarity and Immigrant Rights.

"We are connecting it with our struggle as students, because the budget cuts that affect our education also affect the working class at large," said Mead.

"This country, state, and city need to reexamine its priorities and commitments to its young people," said Sheila Tully, vice president of the SF State California Faculty Association chapter lecturer and supporter of the walkout, in an email.

Tully, an Anthropology lecturer at SF State, noticed faculty support for the student actions and encouraged students to walk out.

"Students are the future of this state and people need to start valuing human capital as much as economic capital," she said.

Martinez wishes students could strike now.

"We are not at that level yet, so a walkout is a necessary baby step in that direction," he said. "When people at State -- students, faculty, staff, workers -- realize the power of unity and solidarity, then a real movement can begin."

One man's trash, another's treasure

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Students living on campus will not need to stress about how to dispose of unwanted possessions once the school year is over, thanks to a campus recycling program.

SF State's Sustainable Move Out program invites the university's resident community to donate unwanted items and to recycle properly when they move out at the end of the academic year.

Last year, in a joint effort, SF State's University Housing, Facilities and Service Enterprises and the Office of Government Relations donated over 30,000 pounds of reusable items to Goodwill from students moving out of core on-campus housing at Mary Park, Mary Ward, Science and Technology Theme Community, Towers At Centennial Square and Village At Centennial Square, according to Jason Porth, associate director of community relations.

This year, the office is extending the program to reach out to residents of University Park North, University Park South and Park Merced, Porth said.

"We hope to train students to be more sustainable with their items and support reuse," said Michael Bongiorni, Goodwill's manager of material donations. "Nothing will help better than donating to Goodwill because it really helps your community, especially in this economy."

"It sounds like a good idea," said Dillon Collopy, a 19-year-old psychology student residing in the Towers. "Why not donate the stuff you don't need? Now that I know about it, I'm going to try and look around for it."

Organizers plan to place five large bins in convenient locations on campus and around University Park South and Park Merced by March 16, said Porth.

Goodwill will pick up the collections at the end of May, which will be the "real push" of the program, Porth also said.

"[Students] tend to buy way too much and literally abandon them," said Jim Bolinger, associate director of residential property management. "We'll have the Goodwill trucks at finals week and encourage students to recycle properly."

The program urges reuse and taking responsibility for personal items.

"It's smart because at the end of the year, I personally have a lot of stuff that I don't need," said Michelle Heartsock, a 21-year-old criminal justice student who lives in the Village. "It's helpful, for me and to others, to be able to donate."

Goodwill's trucks will pick up collections May 23 at the core campus housing, May 24 at University Park South and The Villas Parkmerced and May 27 at University Park North.

Bolinger does not want students to forget the principles that motivate the program.

"We want students to take this and bring it with them in their lives, long after they're gone from here," he said.

SF State nursing program awarded grant

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The School of Nursing recently received a grant for almost half a million dollars for its masters cohort program, allowing the competitive nursing department to accept double the number of students this fall.

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation funded $450,486 to study the possibility of expanding the department's graduate program to other Bay Area hospitals. The fund will also help increase the number of graduate students preparing for the field.

The School of Nursing's masters cohort program prepares clinical nurse specialists. The program puts students in two work environments--clinical studies at a hospital and course work at the SF State campus.

Students currently practice at Stanford Hospital and the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital. With the new grant, the school may expand the program to other Bay Area hospitals.

"We expect the feasibility study will indicate the need to expand our cohort program to more hospitals, initially in the South Bay and on the Peninsula," said Amy Nichols, associate professor of nursing and coordinator of the program at Stanford/Packard, in a press release. "We want to start a class of students every year instead of every other year as is the case now."

The Stanford/Packard cohort program accepts 17 to 40 students every other year, according to Shirley Girouard, the School of Nursing director. With the new grant, the program will be able to allow 40 students every year, she said.

Girouard said the School applied for the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation grant and worked closely with the organization to decipher the school's needs.

"The foundation is interested in the nursing services and education and other kinds of issues such as safety and quality of care," Girouard said. "We are going in a very positive direction and it will provide an opportunity to be able to expand our program."

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation is dedicated to advancing environmental conservation and cutting-edge scientific research around the world, as well as helping to improve quality of life in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The foundation was founded by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore and his wife Betty.

"Any funding is going to reduce the burden of the school," said Stacy Serber, assistant professor of adult medical/surgical nursing. "Funding increases autonomy. The ability to support yourself as a school can reduce burden on your school as a whole."

"Grants are so competitive, especially in this economy," said Serber. "It's very prestigious that we were awarded with this."

John Minnett, president of the Nursing Student Association, stressed the need for this funding.

"This is wonderful news. The need to expand the program's capacity cannot be overstated," Minnett, a second-year nursing student, said in an email. "The present shortage of nurses in California, as well as nationally, is just a trickle in comparison to the projected shortage that will arrive in full force by 2015 when the faucet is turned fully on as the baby boomer generation retires."

Currently, there are approximately 150,000 unfilled Registered Nurse positions nationally, and the number may increase up to 750,000 by 2020 based on recent projections, according to Minnett.

"I whole-heartedly support funding that would ease the competition to get into nursing which has recently posed such a challenge for so many eager, promising students who would no doubt be highly successful if only they could get the opportunity to enroll," said Amy Dagdigian, a fist-year nursing student.

Dagdigian is a single woman who made a career change mid-life, and funding and scholarships have been vital to her ability to participate in SF State's nursing program.

"It's clear the long term need for nurses is out there," she said, "so the more we can support and promote education in the field, the more our local communities will benefit."

Tattoo enthusiasts inked by legends

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The Body Art Expo is touted as the world's largest tattoo and body art convention. And it did not disappoint.

With over 200 world famous artists involved throughout the three-day event from March 6th thru the 8th at San Francisco's Cow Palace, thousands of ink-heads flocked from across the Bay Area to catch a glimpse and even get tatted themselves.

"It's my world, I've been in the culture since my first tattoo at the age of 10, when I was in a gang and I still love the culture, and you will too in coming to events like these," said Body Art Expo 2009 MC, "CrayZman".

It's a modern day spectacle and for those involved, they love every minute of it.

"We come up here twice a year (San Francisco) and we love it up here," said expo sponsor and tattoo artist BABA from Vintage Tattoo in Los Angeles.

San Francisco is headquarters to the event twice a year because of the immense talent in the area.

"We do this expo all around the country and San Francisco is one of my favorite places...I don't give a shit about that Northern California and Southern California rivalry thing because if you got talent then we want you."

BABA hand picks every tattoo shop represented in the show, which can top-out the capacity of the South Hall at the Cow Palace, where the show is held, at over 150 booths per day.

Some features of the expo included art show-off contests of various events, piercing booths, and live bands.

Former drug users share stories

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Young people are often drawn to the dangerous and illicit. But many of those same people don't know of a place where they can openly discuss their concerns regarding the social and medical risks they are thrusting upon themselves. This void in communication is where CEASE is chipping away at the stigma and aims to create an environment where every question is important.

The Creating Empowerment through Alcohol and Substance Abuse Education program, better known as CEASE, held their 8th annual Blurred Lines discussion, an informational panel talk on Monday, March 9 in the Richard Oakes Community Center in the Caesar Chavez Center.

Approximately 50 people attended the taboo-driven discussion. Bita Shooshani, a director in the CEASE program, opened the event by introducing the five panelists and discussing the focus of the gathering.

Attendees participated an interactive game labeled Drug Jeopardy. Questions ranged from drug facts and classification to campus rules. Groups worked together to answer the question and the teamwork paid off -- most of the responses from the teams were correct.

One such question posed to the audience was whether medical marijuana is allowed on SF State's campus. The answer is no -- even medicinal cannabis is not permitted on property.

Each of the panelists, all of which were current SF State students, openly discussed the arc of their struggle with drugs and anecdotes on the effects drugs had on their lives.

Paul Sladek was among several people that shared their drug history. Sladek spoke about his experience with Oxycontin and how he went through several types of rehabilitation to finally achieve sobriety today.

"I think it's most important to note how people who have overcome don't use it anymore and how they deal with, that's something that needs to be educated to people. How to live sober," Sladek said.

The panelists went on to discuss how their peers' actions affected them and their addiction. Taryn Cook's was greatly affected by the death of her parents who were killed by a drunk driver. Another panelist who wished to keep his last name out of publication, Steve, was misled into using ecstasy by a long-time partner.

"What I learned was, don't believe what you're told, you know, find out for yourself. I mean how do you know what you know?" said Steve.

"I think in this group especially, I was moved by people sharing their personal experiences," Shooshani said, "I liked to see the room full and people standing. It makes me feel really good to know that there is interest."

Daylight saving time

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[X]press would like to remind students and faculty that daylight saving time is on Sunday. It's time to spring forward at 2 a.m.

In 2007, daylight saving time was moved earlier in order to save energy consumption. The theory was there would be more sunlight during the month, but according to the California Energy Commission, the move "had little or no effect on energy consumption."

RecycleMania asks bottle-swilling students to weigh in

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Forget March Madness - Colleges and universities from across the country and beyond are battling for the top spot in the largest federally-sponsored recycle event in the country.

SF State is participating in RecycleMania, a nation-wide race to reduce, reuse, and recycle as much waste as possible before March 28.

"Although our overall recycling rate is lower than last year, we are actually generating less waste," said Caitlin Steele, SF State sustainability coordinator. "On average, we are recycling and throwing away about four pounds less per person per week. To me that is a great success."

This year, SF State has seen a seven-percent increase in recycling from on-campus housing communities, while the overall waste collected is about two-thirds of
what it was last year.

"We still have four weeks to go, so if everyone helps out by recycling all plastics, paper, bottles and cans in the recycle bins, we will have a shot," Steele said.

Going into the seventh week, SF State is holding down 12th place in the Grand Champion division, a bracket which measures both waste reduction and recycling. In the Gorilla Prize competition, a race to gather the highest gross tonnage of recyclables, SF State ranks 19th with approximately 246,780 pounds of waste recycled.

CSU San Marcos has a commanding lead in the Grand Champion division with a cumulative recycling rate of 82.53 percent. In the Gorilla Prize division, Rutgers University is comfortable on top with more than one million pounds of waste recycled, which more than doubles the closest runners-up, Harvard University.

Some students are concerned that the competition favors "party schools." That is, schools with strong Greek systems or other school-related drinking communities can recycle large amounts of bottles and cans.

"Clearly the schools with drinking problems have the edge," said Rebecah
Barraza, an apparel design major at SF State. "I think we're at a disadvantage."

This year, 510 colleges and universities from every state are participating in the 10-week competition. But for the first time in RecycleMania history, six international institutions have joined the melee; five Canadian universities and one school from India, the Rajarambapu Institute of Technology.

The competition is broken up into divisions, each concentrating on a different aspects of sustainability such as waste reduction and recycling. For example, in the Gorilla division, some schools target specific waste materials like corrugated cardboard and glass bottles.

The winner of RecycleMania receives no awards or profound recognition. Cash prizes and fancy trophies are beside the point, according to Ashley Malyszka, recycling education coordinator.

"It's more about the prestige of winning," said Malyszka, an environment sciences major at SF State. "It's supposed to be a friendly contest."

As good-natured as it may be, some schools are privately offering rewards for housing communities and departments who post the highest numbers each week, from incandescent light bulbs at Meredith College in North Carolina to a $200 cash prize at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

SF State awarded Zhen Tan and Rebecca Eichten last week with sustainability packages worth more than $600 combined for winning first place in a poster design competition.

Prizes aside, RecycleMania is a competition designed to encourage schools around the world to apply environmentally sustainable practices centered around reducing waste.

"Sustainability is centered around the idea of reduction: waste reduction, energy reduction, resource reduction," said Steele. "The SF State community is doing a lot of work in this area and the RecycleMania results reflect that."

Public awaits ruling on Prop. 8

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The California State Supreme Court met Thursday to hear both sides of the controversial Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriages in California last year. Before California voters voted yes on the proposition in November, the Supreme Court in May of last year lifted a ban on same-sex marriage. in 4-3 vote.

Thousands opposed and for Prop. 8 showed up outside the court in San Francisco on Thursday. The judges have 90 days to make a decision whether to uphold the ban on same-sex marriages or reverse it once again.

Segwaying into San Francisco

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Like a row of ducklings, the Segway PT tour weaves its way through the San Francisco waterfront. The scene elicits reactions from everybody: some laugh, some take pictures, and some angrily suggest that they get bicycles.

This is one of the few guided tours of San Francisco that is itself a tourist attraction.
What's the spectacle? Perhaps it's the novelty of the Segway's design, a motorized pedestal that seems to defy prior notions of balance.

Perhaps it's the recent release of the film Paul Blart: Mall Cop, which features Kevin James as a security guard who patrols a New Jersey mall on a Segway.

If the tour group are the ducklings, then the mama duck for today is Kristian Ruggierl. Using a well-honed routine, she provides informative and humorous insights into various San Francisco attractions like Coit Tower, redwoods at the base of the Trans America Building, and buried ships in the Embarcadero.

"I think Canada should adopt the Segway way of touring. It was a good opportunity to see most of San Francisco and I would recommend it to anybody," says Jacqui Sarni, a tourist from Victoria Canada.

Tourists and self-important yuppies aren't the only ones who use the Segway. Some police forces and bomb squads have adopted the Segway to enhance the capabilities of their officers.

The Segway can move at speeds up to 12 miles per hour and can travel around 24 miles on an overnight charge. Its unique ability to maintain balance comes from gyroscopic sensors that detect shifts in the rider's center of balance.

Currently, there are Segway tours operating in a handful of locations: Atlanta, Chicago, Washington D.C., as well as the United Kingdom. "Our future plans include a tour that takes us on some of the hills of the city," says Pam Higley, city operations manager of City Segway.

Kids' campus now open at SF State

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A brand new campus, for 64 lucky students, has opened just a few steps past the library annex. Opened for the first time on Jan 28, the Children's Campus has currently enrolled 34 kids, ranging from infants to 5-year-olds.

The child care center is brightly colored, with furniture built to fancy a child's imagination.

"I don't know any place quite like this," said Byron Sigal, director of the facility.

"This is going to be a very exciting place," said Sigal, who earned his teaching credential and an MA at SF State years before and previously worked at UCSF.

The facility is not at full capacity yet, having chosen to slowly ramp up to its maximum capacity.

Unlike the Children's Center run by Associated Students, Inc., the Children's Campus is an unsubsidized childcare service, mostly for faculty members, which emphasizes research and development.

Both child care centers work based on a play- based curriculum for the development for the children. Play-based curriculums rely on communication during everyday events and games to develop the children mentally, physically and socially.

The teachers talk to the children about everything they are doing using adult vocabulary. So, no baby talk for these kids.

The rooms are equipped with two-way mirrors and are bugged for sound to monitor the children.

Sigal said the protocol for allowing researchers is still being developed.

"This is also a training center for the future workers of the childcare profession," Sigal said.

"It s very important that [interns] have that firsthand experience," said Nodelyn Abayan, a full-time teacher at the facility, who earned her masters in child development at SF State.

Abayan, a native Filipina, said she believes so passionately in what the Children's Campus does that she hopes to start one just like it at a university in the Philippines. She pursued a position at the facility because she enjoyed her time as an intern at the Child Studies Center, the facility that once stood where the Children's Campus is today.

The Children's Campus currently has six interns from the child and adolescent development department. They hope to have 20 total when at full capacity, said Kelly Dotson, the programs manager. Dotson also co teaches the internship class with Professor Julie Law.

Shenna Rodeo, a graduating child and adolescent development major is one of the first six interns at the Children's Campus.

Concentrating on young child and family in her schooling, Rodeo works in one of the two rooms designated for infants with an associate teacher.

Rodeo, who was randomly placed at the childcare facility via Dotson's internship class, said she appreciates the education she gets from working at the facility.

"I'm discovering my own teaching style and forming my learning philosophy," she said.

She credited this development to the patience and dedication of the teachers, many of whom have doctorate and masters degrees.

"They teach me actual skills and give explanations for everything they do."

Though the interns are new to childcare and the research done will mean that professionals will be studying the development of the children, Sigal is sure of the children's safety.

"Nothing could happen here that would harm a child," Sigal said.

Rodeo said she agreed, adding that the research and the interns are not the focus of the facility.

"The first person we value here is the child," she said.

Students unhappy with intramural spending

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The gym floor that houses the SF State intramural program glistens like a well-oiled mirror. What was once a soccer ball faded by the smashing of a million feet, now exudes fine stitching and true color. The nets that wrap the goals are free of holes at last.

Despite being cut out of the state provided General Fund Revenue in 2004, the campus recreation department has proven its resilience over the years by employing new strategies to generate funding. This requires more funding from students for expansion.

But some SF State students are critical of the programs spending, claiming the program is wasting money on management when it should be going directly to the program.

"Fee increase after fee increase, and students aren't in control of how it's being spent," said Trent Downes, a business major at SF State.

The criticism came when sport and fitness coordinators Ryan Fetzer and Marc Barrie joined the program's staff in November, within months of imposing the fee increase.

Drew Loftus, 22, has been playing intramural soccer since he moved to San Francisco in 2005. He feels the money should be spent on sports equipment and programs. "I thought I'd see a lot more for my money," said Loftus, a business major at SF State.

The campus recreation director, Ajani Byrd, says without proper staffing the campus recreation cannot grow.

"Ryan Fetzer and Marc Barrie were allowed to come on board to actually legitimize the program," Byrd said, chuckling. "And because prior to that it was just me."

In 2004, the Student Fee Advisory Committee prosed a student fee referendum which established a $1 a student per semester followed by a $2 increase through 2007/08. The referendum mandated a $7 increase in July 2008, totaling this semesters costs at $9 a student per semester.

More than 2,000 student signatures were gathered in under two weeks as a testament to the overwhelming number of students utilizing recreational programs.

"The $9 doesn't just go to intramural sports," Byrd clarified. "It goes to recreation sports: intramurals, sport clubs, fitness and wellness and aquatics and, of course, to pay the professionals and students that are working underneath the department."

Student funding goes into the program's fund which is then allocated to respective actives upon student demands, according to Byrd.

"It just depends on how the program evolves we want to accommodate as many students as possible, that is our number one goal," said the newly-appointed intramural and club coordinator, Ryan Fetzer. "We want to create that buzz around campus."

The department has recently added 10 new fitness classes ranging from yoga to weightlifting and shows no signs of halting expansion.

Due to incessant usage of the gym by kinesiology classes, academics, and the athletics department, the campus recreation has little room, and time, to work with.

"We would have more time to do additional sports or activities if we had a dedicated [recreation] center," said an excited Byrd. "And that is something that will be coming up next month."

The proposed site for a campus recreation center is located near the intersection of Winston and Lake Merced. Byrd stated student fee increases are necessary, but will be implemented gradually until the completion of the project.

As CSU faces escalating economic pressure, SF State has increasingly turned to students to foot the bill for many university services such as the Student Health Center, Career Center, and the Campus Recreation Department.

TA on trial for scam of JEPET testers

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Rickey Rickerson, 43, a former SF State teaching assistant, pleaded not guilty on Feb. 27 to 27 counts of petty theft with a prior conviction, two counts of making unauthorized changes on a computer and two counts of falsifying public records.

He was arrested three days before his arraignment. Rickerson's bail was set at $505,000 according to Erica Derryck, spokeswoman for the district attorney's office.

[X]press reported last semester that Rickerson was being investigated by university police for administering a practice JEPET in an Africana Studies composition class in the spring of 2008, promising his students that if they paid him the $40 JEPET fee, the scores would count and the students would be exempted from taking the actual test.

According to the district attorney's office, Rickerson allegedly pocketed the fees he collected from the students and made unauthorized changes in the school records, stating the students had passed JEPET using the practice test scores.

"Stealing from cash-strapped college students, taking advantage of their trust and undermining the integrity of academic records is a serious offense," said District Attorney Kamala Harris in a written statement.

If convicted, Rickerson could face three years for each petty theft count, three years for each count of computer fraud and four years for each count of falsifying records according to Harris' office.

Ellen Griffin, university spokeswoman, said, "The University acted quickly to investigate and take appropriate action, and there is nothing for students to be concerned about. One class of less than 50 students was involved--all were notified that their scores would be honored, allowing them to proceed with their academic work."

Rickerson was a teaching assistant for professor Ernest Brown who taught the composition class. Brown is no longer employed with SF State, according to Griffin. He was not mentioned in the district attorney's press release of Rickerson's arrest nor was Brown charged with anything.

CCSF student charged after SF State conflict

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One of the two men arrested by campus police was charged with two misdemeanor charges by the District Attorneys office after the Feb. 11 confrontation between the SF State College Republicans and several student groups.

Campus police arrested City College of San Francisco student Jeremy Stern on Tuesday Feb. 11 after he allegedly tried to interfere with the arrest of hip-hop artist K-real, whose legal name is Muhammad Abdullah. The two misdemeanor charges are resisting arrest and battery, though the DA's office did not specify whom the alleged battery was against.

The charges against Abdullah have since been dropped.

Campus police initially charged Stern with both misdemeanors in addition to a charge of "attempted lynching." The attempted lynching applies to the person in custody, according to University Police Chief Kirk Gaston.

The California penal code 405A defines lynching as: "the taking by means of a riot of any person from the lawfully custody of any peace officer."

Campus police said attempted lynching charges are a rare occurrence.

The DA's office chose to drop the attempted lynching charges.

Stern chose not to comment saying any comments made to the [X]Press may be incriminating to his defense. He is scheduled for a pretrial hearing on March 16.

If convicted Stern can serve a maximum sentence of one year per misdemeanor.

Regarding the riot element in the lynching charges, Gaston commented, "UPD felt there was an element of urging a riot in the suspects behavior at the time. Because Mr. Stern was attempting to remove a suspect from custody in a crowded situation UPD made the arrest," he said.

According to a statement issued by campus police, Stern was arrested on Feb.11 at Approximately 2 p.m. near the Creative Arts building. The statement adds that stern had to be physically restrained to prevent him from interfering with officers arresting Abdullah.

Campus police add that Stern was given several warnings by the officers not to interfere with Abdullah's arrest.

The Muslim Student Association, along with other groups, are in the beginning stages of a campaign to get the charges against Stern dropped and [to stop incidents of what they consider hate speech said MSA president Muhammad Almahbaahi.

"We are in the planning stages of the campaign to get the charges dropped and for these things not to happen to any group," Almahbaahi said.

[X]press wins 16 CCMA awards

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The Golden Gate [X]press last weekend took home 16 awards from the California College Media Association, including six first place awards.

The awards were handed out at the Associated Collegiate Press National Newspaper Convention held in San Diego this year on Feb. 28 - March 2, which provided student journalists and advisers workshops and a look at other college newspapers around the nation.

The newspaper placed second for General Excellence in the weekly college newspaper category. Chico State's The Orion placed first and UC Irvine's New University placed third.

Campus Editor Marie Pauline Guiuan won second place for Best Breaking News story for her article on the CSU restricting enrollment (CSU faces restricted enrollment).

Designer Tom Guffey won first place for News Page Design and [X]press cartoonist Aaron Teixeira won first place for Best Cartoon.

The [X]press Web site won first place for Best Interactivity, second place for Best Breaking News Online, as well as third place for General Excellence.

UC Berkeley's The Daily Californian and CSU Northridge's The Daily Sundial, placed first and second for General Excellence for their Web site's and San Diego's The Daily Aztec placed first in the Best Breaking News Online category.

The [X]press magazine took home a third place General Excellence award. Biola University and San Jose State's magazine's placed first and second respectively.

Former [X]press photo editors Eric Lawson and John G. Hernandez took home first and second place for Best News Photo, while Chico State placed third.

The winners were chosen from 1200 entries in more than 75 categories for newspaper, magazine and online publications from 28 college publications from around the state, according to the California College Media Association Web site.

To view the full list of winners, visit the CCMA Web site.

Full List of [X]press Awards List:


  • First Place Online Multimedia

  • First Place Best News Photo - Eric Lawson

  • First Place Best Sports Photo - Miyoshi Enkoji-Busch

  • First Place Best News Page Design - Tom Guffey

  • First Place Best Cartoon - Aaron Teixeira

  • First Place Online Interactivity

  • Second Place Best Breaking News - Marie-Pauline Guiuan

  • Second Place Breaking News Online

  • Second Place General Excellence (Newspaper)

  • Second Place Best Overall Design (Newspaper)

  • Second Place Best News Photo - John G. Hernandez

  • Second Place Best Headline Portfolio - Eric Gneckow

  • Third Place Best Sports Photo - Kimihiro Hoshimo

  • Third Place General Excellence (Magazine)

  • Third Place Best Infographic (Newspaper)

  • Third Place Online General Excellence

Academic Senate talks master's program revision

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The Academic Senate discussed revisions to SF State's Latin American area studies minor and political science master's program Tuesday, eventually sending both items back to committee for further discussion.

The discussion brought guests from the College of Behavioral and Social Science's as well as from the Spanish department.

The Senate's main issue with the revision to the Latin American Studies program was its foreign language requirement. The proposed revision changes the wording of the foreign language requirement to require "only a basic competency in a language other than English."

Many on the senate floor felt that this was not enough. "That's not really a wording change, that's a change of the requirements," said Sen. Mohammad Salama, of the department of foreign languages and literatures. He said that foreign language is important and crucial, and not something extra to be tagged on.

Mike Hammer, Spanish program coordinator, was invited to speak on the issue. "If the state purpose is to invigorate the minor, then we fail to do that with the issue of language requirements," he said.

Hammer recommended a retooling of the university's placement tests and translating exams to use them as a tool to asses what attention individual students need.

The senate also discussed possible revisions to SF State's master's program in political science. James Martel, chair of the department of political science, said that there had been rumblings in the department for sometime about the inadequate training of the university's political science graduate students.

"First, we have mandated a new course, Political Science 700 to cover research design which students will have to take in their first semester," Martel said of what he expressed was the most lacking aspect of the current program.

The changes also include switching the courses units from 4 to 3, dropping some requirements, and updating the programs writing requirements.

Many senators commended Martel and his team on their hard work, adding only that a more focused plan for increasing the writing requirements be implemented into the revision.

Sen. Paul Sherwin, a SF State presidential appointee, requested that Martel speak with Mary Soliday, Director of Writing Across the Curriculum and Writing in the Discipline, for more and better alternatives to the writing requirements.

Sen. Wei Ming Dariotis, from the College of Ethnic Studies, agreed with Sherwin, adding that high stakes exams are not a good way to access student writing ability.

Both items were sent back to the Curriculum Review and Approval Committee, which meets every other Tuesday, for review.

The Senate also passed two revisions to the university's Retention, Tenure, and Promotion Policy. One allows the departments to review a candidates editing in a professional reviewed journal when considering promotion. The other clarifies that "program directors who have responsibility for RTP review" will not be allowed on the University Tenure and Promotions Committee.

Web sites for people interested in the senate and its issues:

Main senate Web site

Current senate membership and links to senate documents. This includes the two revisions discussed in the article.

Where and when committees meet, as well as what they are discussing.

SF high school team competes in science games

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While high school senior, Matt Grumbach's friends went to a party on a recent Friday, Grumbach opted to stay home and study instead. It was the night before he and his team mates from San Francisco's Lick-Wilmerding High School would face off with 13 regional high schools in an intense academic competition. The competition, the National Ocean Science Bowl (NOSB), is an annual event where high school teams show off their knowledge about the ocean sciences in a series of elimination-style show downs.

"[My friends at school] think it's great that I'm doing this, but they definitely laugh and think it's funny," said Grumbach. "But I'm not afraid of saying that I'm a little bit nerdy."

This year's NOSB regional competition, the Sea Lion Bowl, took place for the first time at San Francisco State University on Feb. 21. Sixteen teams from Northern California schools battled it out at the all-day event that lasted from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Each team, with at least four students per, were tested on eight topics ranging from chemistry to marine policy and geology.

Winning teams from the regionals take a paid trip to Washington, D.C. to compete at the nationals. According to the NOSB Web site, 300 schools and more than 2000 students participate in the competition every year. While many of this year's Northern California teams have participated before -- some even advancing to the finals -- this was Lick-Wilmerding's first year at the competition.

"This morning I was feeling pretty relaxed before the first round, but what I found is that when I got into the [competition] room, I definitely felt a little more apprehensive," Grumbach said. "In the first round, I barely even buzzed in for an answer."

The Lick-Wilmerding team, consisting of four members and one alternate, practiced up to two times a week since late November, said Grumbach. These meetings, which took place either during their lunch period or after school, lasted approximately forty minutes. According to the team's coach, Gillian Ashenfelter, they did everything from studying textbooks to watching the Discovery Channel's "Blue Planet" video on the coral seas.

Ashenfelter, who teaches biology and marine ecology at Lick-Wilmerding, said one of the challenges as a new team was trying to figure out what kind of questions would be featured at the competition. "It seems like such a broad science competition, that to prepare seems a little futile. It's like, either you know it or you don't," she said. "But at the same time, we need to prepare."

Two days before the Sea Lion Bowl, Ashenfelter sat at a desk in one of the high school's science classrooms. Around her, colorful marine decorations are tacked to the walls. She admits the team is probably not ready, but their goal is just to have fun. "We don't really expect to win, so it's all just about the experience of going and seeing what it's all about," she said.

On competition day, the Lick-Wilmerding team joined their competitors at SF State's Thornton Hall building. Each 30-minute round pinned two teams against each other. The teams rotated from classroom to classroom, facing off on timed team challenges and multiple choice toss-up questions that used Jeopardy-style buzzers.

The Lick-Wilmerding team won two rounds and lost their third, guaranteeing them a spot in the next bracket of the competition. Entering the next bracket meant the team would have two matches to lose before they were eliminated. In their fifth round of the day, the Lick-Wilmerding team lost their match to San Jose's Andrew P. Hill High School, which meant elimination.

Erin Kiskaddon, Lick-Wilmerding's team captain, said she felt the questions in each round became progressively harder.

"As the questions became really hard, I was focusing on, 'Okay, we can't let [the other team] think through the questions, because they're getting the [buzz-in's] really fast and their guesses right,'" Kiskaddon said. "So we just had to try to guess before them and hopefully get it right."

Grumbach described the matches as tense, and said he was relieved when everything was over. "I think we did well and performed well with one another," said Grumbach. "When it came to the team challenges, we were able to listen to each other and piece together things we wouldn't have known individually."

Teacher coach, Ashenfelter said it was fun to see her students motivated by an academic competition, versus being motivated by a grade. "A lot of [the students] compete athletically, but some of them don't. It's fun to recognize that academics can be rewarded, and there can be competition for those, as well."

At the evening's closing banquet at SF State's Seven Hills Conference Center, awards were handed out to the top teams. Mission San Jose High School, Team B won first place after 11 rounds of competition. The Team Spirit Award went to the School of the Arts, while the Sportsmanship Award went to Oakland High. Lick-Wilmerding was awarded with Best New Team.

For more information on the NOSB, visit their Web site at NOSB.org. For more information on results of the Sea Lion Bowl, visit rtc.sfsu.edu/SeaLionBowl.

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