April 2009 Archives

Twitter creator comes to SF State

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The creator of Twitter was welcomed Thursday by a class of SF State public relations students. The free-flowing discussion revolved around the changing face of business and the evolution of communication.

Jack Dorsey founded Twitter about three years ago and has been working to create a new way to dialogue with people all over the world that is easier to use and fold in with the current forms of communication like e-mail and SMS. Dorsey also has an answer for all the critics that claim Twitter is merely a fad.

"It may be a fad in the way people are using it today but how will they use it tomorrow?" Dorsey said.

He joked that while 99 percent of the people that find a Twitter page won't care what a person had for breakfast, one percent may really care - but they are probably that person's mother or roommate.

This small internet social space got its biggest jump in popularity when Dorsey and others closely tied to the venture went to SXSW in 2007 and spent the $10,000 they allotted for marketing on LCD screens that would display the comments of the conference attendees.

"We just became the buzz of the conference," Dorsey said.

Last month, Neilson came out with a review of Twitter that revealed that the company only had about 40 percent retention of the people that join and most leave the site within a month. Dorsey believes that many don't know what to make of this new creation and while some leave after testing it out, others return later when they see the possibilities that they hadn't known the first time around.

When one of professor Shari Weiss' students, John Paul Bobay, first tweeted Dorsey to come to the Marketing 432: Public Relations class, some thought it would be next to impossible fort them to land such a guest speaker.

"I mean who would think that he would reply to his @replies from a couple of college students. So John Paul and I synchronized our forces and would just tweet him," said James Armfield, a 24-year-old Marketing student.

One of Armfield's first tweets to Dorsey's @jack address was on April 10 and @jack replied three days later writing "I think I can do this. What day? Last week of April best."

The importance of getting Dorsey was tied to Weiss' enthusiastic focus on how Web 2.0 is changing the way PR works and encouraged students to consider joining these new communication venues.
"When I first joined Twitter, I didn't really know what to do with it. I used it like I did my status update on my Facebook account. Just kinda what I was doing or going to do. However I was able to do it via text message," said Armfield who joined in March.
"But soon I realized that I could really use it for finding news on social media, tech, just about anything I wanted. I now use for a mix of both networking and keeping in touch with friends."

Some of the students posed questions about how Twitter and other online businesses change the face of advertising and creating profits and Dorsey addressed those questions with an "only-time will tell mentality."

Twitter currently spends no money marketing or advertising their services and is creating a way to make a profit by validating the Twitter pages of politicians, companies, celebrities and others that the users would like to be verified as "genuine."

One student who heard about the appearance of Dorsey, Jane Klein, was excited to hear about what the creator thinks about the ways people use this relatively new website.

"I thought it was enlightening to hear his perspective on Twitter and how it is used in really unconventional ways," said the 19-year old undeclared undergrad. "I mean people are using it to link to their photos and find out about traffic and where to grab a drink. Who would have thought about this?"

One of the other trends that Dorsey mentioned was that Twitter has been a tool for independent businesses to draw their customers' base to where their mobile companies are going to be. Some taking advantages of these tools are farmers' markets vendors, street food vendors and even car washes.

"The most engaging aspect of the system is when you take it mobily and step away from the keyboard," said Dorsey. "I think it is a really important editorial of how the future of business will be as we get more mobile."

Dorsey personally thinks that one of the greatest things about Twitter is that "my mom loves it because she knows what I am doing and tells me what she is up to."

UPDATE - First case of swine flu in SF

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The San Francisco Health Department announced today that a San Francisco resident has the swine flu.

The resident is a child who recently came back from Mexico, but is not in school.

In a press release, Dr. Mitch Katz, the director of health at the San Francisco Department of Public Heath, asks residents to use common sense to protect themselves for the flu.

"All of us working together can help protect ourselves, our families and the community by practicing good hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes and staying home if you are sick," Katz said in his statement.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom said he would ask the Board of Supervisors to declare a state of emergency to request federal funding, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle.

SF State President Robert A. Corrigan has sent out a message to students, faculty and staff on the flu. He said there have been no reported cases yet on the campus and the university is monitoring the situation.

"In the event of serious flu risks in San Francisco we are prepared to take appropriate actions," he said in a statement.

Corrigan also said that there are 12 SF State students currently studying in Mexico and are doing fine. The CSU has contacted them and there no plans for them to return home.

For news updates on the flu go to http://www.sfcdcp.org/swineflu.html or visit SF State's Student Health Center Web site at http://www.sfsu.edu/~shs/.

Jessie's fights eviction

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If students have a craving for a Po' Boy sandwich with a side of macaroni and cheese next week, they may not be able to get their fix on campus. Last Wednesday, Jessie's Hot House, the on-campus soul food restaurant, broke the news to its patrons, if they don't pay their rent, they could close.

The Student Center Governing Board served the owners of the restaurant with a three-day eviction notice last Wednesday, according to restaurant owner Robert Darden.

Robert and Julissa Darden, whose rent is more than $6,000 a month, opened the restaurant in March 2008 after a 10-year effort of the students to get a soul food restaurant on campus.

Robert, who has been a chef for many years, heard about the opportunity to open a restaurant on campus and jumped at the chance.

Jessie's Hot House, named in honor of Robert's grandmother, had long lines when the restaurant first opened.

"When we did the grand opening the lines were long and people came out," Julissa said. "It gave us this feeling that we were going to be successful and more importantly the students like the food."

"Its hard to know what happened, the lines started getting smaller," she said.

They haven't been able to pay their rent since September, Robert said. They asked for a rent review in November when it became clear they would be unable to continue to pay rent.

"The business isn't bringing in the rent to pay at the costs," said Julissa. "We couldn't afford the rent when we paid it."

The current rent for the space, located in the west plaza of the Cesar Chavez Student Center, costs 50 percent of the revenue that the restaurant brings in.

SF State students have been rallying behind the restaurant, participating in a letter writing campaign organized by the Dardens.

Though the notice was given more then 3 days ago, Jessie's Hot House is still open. They have entered into a new round of negotiations with the Student Center Governing Board.

Members of the Governing Board chose not to comment on the story, saying it is a legal matter they do not wish to discuss.

Guy Dalpe, managing director of the student center, chose to speak to the [X]press, confirming that the student center is in negotiations with Robert and Julissa.

"We've been negotiating with them for quite a while in regards to paying rent and what it is going to be in the future," Dalpe said. "The student center has been making a good faith effort to reach an agreement that is acceptable to all parties."

The Darden family disagrees. According to the flier passed out by Jessie's Hot House, "Student Center management- Guy Dalpe/ Neha Shah- has met with Jessie's Hot House and refuses to create a sustainable rent solution,"

"Jessie's needs a rent that is sustainable to what the business is producing," Robert said.

Neha Shah declined to comment.

Students and faculty began hearing the news on Wednesday when fliers were passed out detailing the restaurants current situation and detailing what action the students could take.

"Because of the importance of soul food on our campus and the campus community, we felt it would be disrespectful to not further inquire about the issue and support Jessie's Hot House in staying on campus," wrote Kristal Brister, a BSU Coordinator, in an e-mail. "Jessie's Hot House is our family and we are going to support our family."

People targeted in the letter writing campaign include Vice President of Student Affairs Penny Saffold, SCGB President John Saadeh and members of the vendor services committee Raul Amaya and Will Flowers.

Amaya and Flowers said they would not comment on the matter. Saffold had not responded by the time this story went to press.

Ellen Griffen, the university spokeswoman, said that Saffold had received 15- 20 emails concerning Jessie's Hot House, but said she is unable to verify these were all students.

"(Students) are the reason Jessie's Hot House is here," Robert said. "We are asking the students rally to save Jessie's from being lost."

Ex TA trial date set for '08 JEPET test scam

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Correction: Rickey Rickerson was not a lecturer at SF State. He was a teaching assistant at the university.[X]press regrets the error.

A former SF State teaching assistant charged with 20 counts of petty theft was brought to court Wednesday, where a pre-trial was set for June 10.

[X]press reported last semester that Rickey Rickerson, 43, 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. Although the test scores were falsified, the university honored the scores.

On April 14, 20 students testified in front of Judge Quidichay, according to Erica Derryck, spokeswoman for the district attorney's office. [X]press has attempted several times to contact the students, but they declined to comment.

Rickerson is still in custody, according to the San Francisco Sherriff's Department.

Rickerson was a teaching assistant for Professor Ernest Brown who taught the composition class. Brown is no longer employed with SF State, according to University spokeswoman Ellen Griffin.

Brown was not charged with the scam, according to the district attorney's office. He was not present during the alleged fraudulent testing, students previously said.

Staff writer Krystal Peak contributed to this report.

SF State dips finger into earmark pie

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SF State's Early Child Care and Childhood Education program may receive up to $750,000 next fall from federal earmarks, according to an appropriations request for 2010.

Of the 59 proposals for projects in the 12th Congressional District, U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier submitted only 9 requests to the House Committee on Appropriations for 2010 budget legislation, according to Lisbet Sunshine, SF State's director of government relations.

"We are really grateful to Congresswoman Speier for recognizing SF State's important role in developing future generations and really having enough confidence in us to select us as the institution she chose to support," said Sunshine.

If the federal earmarks are approved by the House Committee on Appropriations, the funds will go to both student internships and technology.

"The fact that she's only pushing for 8 means that she'll have more of her personal time to work on these 8," said Lee Blitch, vice president of university advancement.

Funding will be allocated to "video cameras, training time for 36 teaching staff, audio equipment, in the observations rooms, technology equipment, textbooks, and other learning materials" for the Children's Campus, according to Sunshine.

The Children's Campus, a $4 million addition to SF State's campus, serves primarily as a child care service but is also used for research by students in the child and adolescent development department.

In the interest of transparency, Speier explained on her Web site the impacts each earmark will have on the communities within the district.

Concerning SF State's request, Speier's Web site posted, "By having the capacity to have all early care and education students receive their internships at SFSU, in a high quality environment, with expert mentor teachers, we can assure that the workforce for both San Francisco and San Mateo will meet the highest standards for families and children."

Speier's appropriation request seeks more than $12 million total from the federal government.

The nine projects seeking federal funding in the 12th District include a University Center Consortium at San Mateo County Community College District, improvements for Caltrain's signal and communication system, tidal flooding prevention in San Mateo County, and a full-size mobile command vehicle for the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office.

"It doesn't take place of state money -- by any means," said Sunshine. "But it's a nice supplement for things that the state doesn't fund."

Bike riders to face fines at SF State

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Justin Collasco leaves his apartment on 45th Avenue and Vicente Street and rides his bike to campus every day, securing the bike to the rails in front of the ATMs outside the Cesar Chavez Student Center.

But beginning in May, he will no longer be able to do so, as the University Police Department has started issuing written warnings stating that those who park on the rails will be fined $55.

"I understand why they are [ticketing], but it's not going to stop me from doing that," Collasco said in response to the warnings.

According to University Police Chief Kirk Gaston, the UPD has begun issuing warnings because they fear the weather will cause a spike in these kinds of violations.

"The warnings were an attempt to gain voluntary compliance," Gaston said. "We are trying to prevent a rash of violations through education rather than enforcement."

Safety was another concern, said Gaston.

"Bikes on railings are a safety issue and an access issue, and that is why we've been stepping up enforcement," he wrote in an e-mail.

Disability Access Compliance Analyst Bill Grubaugh considers it a civil rights issue.

"Who do you want not to be able to get into that building?" Grubaugh said. "It's a civil rights law for people with disabilities to have the same access as others.

UPD began issuing warnings only after the bicycle advocacy group on campus advised them to warn students rather than issue citations -- the equivalent of a parking ticket.

Another concern is students riding their bikes on campus rather than walking them, Gaston said.

According to Melissa Gordon of the bicycle advocacy group, informing students is more effective.

"There are no warnings or postings that warn you are not allowed to ride or park your bike on campus," Gordon said.

Jacob Schultz has been at SF State for four years and did not know he couldn't ride his bike on campus or park by the rails until he got a warning last week.

"I've never actually [seen] someone actually get hit or cause an accident," said Schultz, after being warned by campus police to walk his bike. "I believe if you are a responsible rider and don't ride in a crowded situation it's okay."

Schultz added that for most cyclists, it is just common sense not to ride in a crowded area.

This is something some pedestrians agreed with.

"I don't think it's dangerous, really, as long as they are paying attention, because they are not really going that fast," said business major Laura Zanze. "I think the warnings are good for safety, but I don't think it's really that big of a deal."

The money collected from fees will go to the parking and transportation program on campus.

"I like the idea of students riding their bikes to school, but it does scare me when the bike riders come at a fast pace and close to people," said Yvette Wakefield, a 63-year-old returning student.

Gordon defended students who ride their bikes and park where they see fit. "They are using bikes for what they are made for - to be more convenient."

Students celebrate Israeli Independence

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The SF Hillel Israeli Coalition celebrated the 61st birthday of Israeli independence on Malcolm X Plaza on Wednesday afternoon.

Members wore blue and white shirts as they danced and sang to a live band performing on stage. Some draped Israeli flags on their shoulders while others waved theirs the similar flags in the air and enjoyed Israeli food and bright blue colored cupcakes.

"It's a celebration, and we're out here to have fun... that what it's all about," said 23-year-old Jewish studies major, Jordan Hopstone.

As the band, YaRock, finished their set, students in the coalition came together in a circle, linking arms and sang "Peace, Peace, There Will Be Peace" in Arabic and English.

"It's a lot bigger than last year," said Allie Berger, a student at SF State. "There's great food and it's just nice to spend time with friends."

Outside of the circle was a collection of students who stood peacefully, with Palestinian flags and signs, to protest the event.

"We're just letting them know that they can celebrate their independence, but they are also celebrating the genocide of Palestinian people," said 19-year-old child adolescent development major, Bernadette Mohammed.

The protesters were a group of student organization, including the General Union of Palestine Students. Their goal was to make their voices heard in a non-confrontational manner, chanting "Free, Free Palestine."

"What we've done [in the past] is always seen as violent," Mohammed said. "We're just coming in solidarity."

Aaron Ackerman, 20, associated with the coalition, said, "We have our political stances, but we don't wish to demonize the other side," as he commented on the protestors.

"It's very interesting to see the two groups together," said Johan Erchoff, a 23-year-old information systems major, as he observed from the sides. "But it's nice that everyone is peaceful."

The event lasted two hours.

Homeless displaced after Tent City shut down

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- 1.4 miles away from the California state capitol building lived another city of people.

On April 16, 2009, men and women who lived in fields along the American River and its levee were forced to move into shelters or other areas of Sacramento -- leaving many displaced.

"How in the hell are we supposed to call this a neighborhood," said Joseph T. Taylor a homeowner on Dreher Street. "It's not that we don't have compassion for the homeless, its the fact that a very few of them make it bad for everyone."

The Sacramento Police Department helped facilitate the moving of men and women to nearby Cal Expo until June.

"I can't put a tent on your front lawn and say that I'm going to stay there," said Sgt. Norm Leong. "We are the enforcement arm, and this is private property--everyone's been given notice they have to leave."

Some people are still living along the American River less than a mile away.

"I can't find a place to live with my dog," said Kathleen Walker, who moved to tent city after leaving her husband. "Until someone let's me move into an apartment with my pitbull, I'm going to stay out here."

For the full story, pickup a copy of [X]press Magazine that hits newsstands on Thursday, May 14th.

Panel discussion on Obama's 100 days

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The timing was perfect for European studies faculty, as President Obama approaches his 100-day in office.

SF State's history director Sarah Curtis hosted a panel discussion about the European-U.S. relations in the Obama era Tuesday afternoon.

"Maybe it was a blessing in disguise because he made that important trip to Europe and that gave us more to talk about," Curtis said. "In fact I think the 100 days have been very useful because we can assess how much he's changed since the 100 days."

The two panelists were political science professor Andrei Tsygankov, who focused on Russia, while international relations professor Angelika Von Wahl, focused on Germany and the European Union.

Von Wahl was the first to speak to a group of around 20 students in the History Lounge in the Science building. She focused her lecture on Obama's pre-election and post-election.

She began by describing the euphoric atmosphere in Berlin when Obama visited and subsequently when he was elected.

"I had Germans who called me crying," Von Wahl said. "There was a sense of relief."

Van Wahl went on to explain that a possible reason why Obama is widely popular among the German population and politicians is because "he has something for everyone."

Obama, she said, is very different from former president George W. Bush. Obama is perusing more unilateral policies that appeal to moderate, liberals and even environmentalists in Germany.

"Obama makes it harder to reject the more difficult task," Van Wahl said when she referred to Obama's shift from Iraq to Afghanistan, which for Germany it means sending more troops there.

Tsygankov then began speaking about the cautious stance Russians felt towards the Obama administration.

He began by giving historical context about the Russian-U.S. relations and tried to pinpoint the reason for the strained relationship.

"Russia and U.S. have to overcome extremely difficult legacies," Tsygankov said.

The focused then shifted towards energy.

Russian economy is based largely on energy, and the interest of the U.S. has shown in tapping middle Asia resources as a threat to Russia, Tsygankov said.

At the end of the panel discussion, students asked questions concerning issues in Ukraine, Iran and China among others.

"I think there were more questions asked about Russia as opposed to more of the European Union," said Tori Draeger, a History major and a member of the College Republicans. "I think we all know more about the EU, than we knew about the Russian relationships."

Alan Pereza, a marketing student, expressed his motivation for being at the event.

"As Americans we are more focused on our policies we think its important to get well informed perspectives of what is going on around the world," Pereza said.

Curtis said she felt that the panel was very successful because of how engaged the students were. She added that this would hopefully create an awareness of the faculty's capabilities.

"It was a nice treat to be in front of these panel who are from those nations and are very professional and well informed of the policies of those nations," Draeger said.

Stonestown parent company goes bankrupt

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The company that owns Stonestown Galleria has filed for bankruptcy, but employees will not be losing their jobs any time soon, the company said in a recent statement.

General Growth Properties, a company that owns and manages shopping malls, filed for bankruptcy on April 16 due to an inability to pay its $27 billion debt.

"GGP's retail centers, office properties and master planned communities will be open for business as usual as the company restructures our debt," said GGP in a recent statement. "Our properties will continue to operate, our employees will continue to come to work and get paid, and shoppers will continue to shop."

The GGP is the second largest owner of shopping malls in the country and according to their Web site, they own shopping malls in 44 states.

Stonestown Galleria is one of the malls in the Bay Area that is owned by GGP. The other malls include Southland Mall in Hayward, Eastridge in San Jose and NewPark Mall in Newark.

Ken Leonard, a shopping mall expert who advises on leading shopping center development and management firms, said that GGP "will be forced to sell" and if malls are going to sell their properties, it's going to be for a lot cheaper than before the recession.

Jeffrey Wang, a psychology and German major, works at the Starbucks in Stonestown. He didn't even know about the bankruptcy until he was asked for his reaction.

"I'm really shocked," said Wang, who also lives in Parkmerced. "I thought they were building a lot of new stores."

Andrea Maylor, 22, an art history major, said that though she doesn't shop at Stonestown, she is not surprised of the bankruptcy.

"Obviously with the economic crisis going on, people are more concerned with paying for their housing, groceries and other things," Maylor said.

Leonard said that this bankruptcy will mean "absolutely nothing," to other shopping mall owners.

"This whole thing has nothing to do with [GGP] not doing a good job of selling their products, but (it's) because they over financed," Leonard said.

GGP began going into debt when they started merging and buying companies, according to Malachy Kavanagh, staff vice president communications and external relations of the International Council of Shopping Center, the global trade association of the shopping center industry.

In 2004, the company bought Rouse, another shopping malls owner, for $14 billion, all financed through debt, said Kavanagh.

"The credit markets are frozen because of the recession and all the bad debt that banks and financial institutions are holdings," wrote Kavanagh in an e-mail. "So any shopping center owner that has debt coming due this year will have a hard time refinancing their loans."

Leonard said the reason why so many malls are closing is because a lot of them are marginal shopping centers, which shouldn't have been built in the first place.

He also added that Wall Street has put a lot of pressure for companies to further expand their business.

"Wall Street believes that if companies don't increase their sales every year, then they are not a good company," Leonard said.

ASI election troubles continue

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Associated Students, Inc. is close to spending next semester in court if student allegations over shady election results continue to go unresolved.

The board voted on Wednesday to invalidate the election results after students voiced complaints, however ASI will continue to use the newly elected officials until litigation is filed.

Peter Koo, the executive director of ASI said the organization voiced concerns to the ASI legal council and is waiting for a response on what to do next.

This is the first time since 1995 that ASI has faced legal woes over election results, and the second time Koo has dealt with possible litigation since 1980 when he began working for the organization.

All students are members of the ASI by virtue of a mandatory $42 fee paid during registration. The governing board is responsible for various programs on campus and handle around a $3 million budget.

A group of students have alleged the recent online elections broke several laws under the official California Code of Regulations, which states elections must be held on campus, polls must be open from 8 a.m. 4 p.m. and no signs can be placed within 100 feet of any polling place.

Students also accused the board of participating in voter fraud, claiming there was suspicious activity during the online voting process including a series of votes cast in succession to indicate student ID numbers were used incorrectly.

Students involved in the issue, such as Brooke Wojo, a candidate for Sophomore Representative, asked Morgan Lamb, the current election commissioner, to set up a special election by stating ASI bylaws give an order to do so by no later than April 29.

During the ASI meeting on Wednesday, eligible board members decided to invalidate the results in a two to three vote. Around six or seven other members of the board were unable to vote because they re-ran for election.

Laura Alarcon, the Graduate Representative for ASI, said she voted no because she wanted to investigate the issue further due to student concerns.

Many students voiced concerns over the election and are not content with the overall structure of ASI, which they believe is unresponsive to student needs.

Wesley Vasquez, 21, a Rasa Studies major, said that the current ASI is unorganized and puts up barriers internally to pass personal agendas.

"I have general discontent about the way things are run. We need to investigate what happened [with the elections] and follow up in a transparent way," he said.

The Board of Directors must setup a structure for re-election if the results are invalidated, according to the Spring ASI Election Packet. However, as of Wednesday board members are choosing to wait until legal action is taken to stop the results.

"You can't just overhall an entire election because a handful of students file a complaint," said Frankie Griffen, the BSS Representative.

This is the second time ASI elections were held online. Online voting allows students to vote from home and at any time of day during the election week.

Koo said ASI will look into the online election practices, but said he didn't feel the online voting broke any laws.

SF State receives blood donation award

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There is no substitution for blood.

Blood is used inhospitals for surgeries, transplants and sick patients. Without it, how would anyone survive?

On Friday at noon, SF State received an award from the Blood Centers of the Pacific for "its outstanding commitment to the cause of blood donation." Dean Don Taylor of the College of Health & Human Services accepted the award on the college's behalf on Malcolm X Plaza.

"As a representative of the University, how proud we are that San Francisco State students lead all of the other student groups in the campuses around the Bay Area [in giving blood]," said Taylor.

SF State students, faculty and staff have donated more than 561 units this year, according to Lisa Bloch, spokeswoman for BCP. The amount is well above other neighboring universities.

"Blood is going to be used for three different components to save lives, said Bloch. Red blood cells, platelets and plasma, help various sick patients in hospitals. Combined, the SF State community has saved over 1,600 lives, according to Bloch.

"We need more people to come out and donate," said Bloch. She said about 20 percent of blood actually comes from other states including Arizona and New Mexico.

She also said it would be great if more ethnic groups donated blood as well.

Jesse Addams, 20, said, "It feels good to give back [to the community]." The world cultures major said it was important to give blood and simple to do.

Although this was the last week of the BCP drive at SF State, students, faculty and staff can still donate blood at their centers in San Francisco.

For more information about requirements for donating and where to donate blood, visit http://www.bloodcenters.org.

BCP provides blood for 40 Bay Area hospitals including all San Francisco hospitals.

New composting bins debut at SF State

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Omar Flores finishes his lunch at Malcolm X Plaza and makes his way towards one of the many new sets of composting bins that are spread throughout the Cesar Chavez Student Center. He contemplates about what goes in where and if he places his food scraps in the correct bin, he wins a prize.

ECO Students, in collaboration with the Student Center, celebrated the culmination of composting initiatives with brand new waste bins April 23. To bring awareness to the new bins, they held a "roll out" event that taught others how to compost and rewarded them for doing it correctly with prizes.

"It gives me a positive feeling to see that our campus is becoming healthier and more green," said Flores, a 20-year-old business student. "San Francisco [State University] should be one of the prominent leaders in sustainability among the Cal States."

For nearly four years, ECO Students and the Student Center have been redesigning waste strategies in an attempt to obtain zero waste by 2020, according to Emily Naud, the student center's sustainable initiatives coordinator.

In 2006, ECO Students proposed a three-part strategy to compost with food vendors, utilize compostable foodware and collect compostable items in areas where students eat.

As the final part of the proposal, the new trash receptacles will bring the Student Center closer to that goal, said Naud.

The new receptacles are a huge deal, according to Suzanne McNulty, founder of ECO Students.

"Those who already know about the benefits of composting have a place to put their waste," McNulty said. "The next step is sharing with the rest of those who don't know how important separating your waste is."

McNulty explains that composting is key in reducing waste.

"The biggest part is changing people's behavior and attitude," said John Doctor, assistant director of facilities and maintenance at the Student Center. "This (the new waste bins) is just a part of going green, but this is a big step for the Student Center."

Mei Jardstrom, a 22-year-old environmental studies major agrees.

"I hope it reaches all of the students so that a compost bin won't be just another trash bin."

But participants seem to know what they're doing, according to Albert Kochaphum, an environmental studies major.

"The participants try," said Kochaphum. "They don't come up totally clueless. They have a pretty good awareness. It just takes some time for them to get used to this."

Some, like Adlyn South, a 20-year-old theater arts student, appreciate the help ECO Students and the Student Center offer with the new bins.

"Before, I wasn't specific about it. I used to put everything in one container - my food with recyclable materials into the recycling bin," said South. "It makes it easier for people to help me through and now I have a better understanding. It's been very effective," she said of the composting event.

The alums that spearheaded composting initiatives at SF State, Charlotte Ely and Yvette Michaud, were there to witness the completion of what they began in 2006.

"I'm very happy and proud," said Ely. "It's exciting to see the project evolve into this."

Michaud added, "We had this vision and it's exciting to see it blossom. Students from all over come to study at State - so it's not only San Francisco learning."

Now it's up to the rest of the SF State community, said McNulty.

"We gave them the tools and now we need to give them the information."

Students get down for Earth Day event

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The center of campus was filled with bikes and hippie fashions as students enjoyed music, films, food, and workshops to celebrate Earth Day Wednesday.

Sunshine and clear skies blessed the quad, Malcom X Plaza, and Cesar Chavez Center and helped produce a big turnout for the event to promote environmentally responsible lifestyles. Student organization ECO Students hosted the event, which was connected to Bike-to-School Day and the San Francisco Bike Coalition.

"There are a lot of people here," said freshman Journalism major Liza Sternik. "This event shows that anything can be made out of anything."

Sternik was on her way to change out of a dress made of kitchen drawer lining, garbage bags, and paper. She was a model featured in a fashion show displaying women's outfits designed with everything from Chinese food take-out boxes to blank CDs. The models circled Malcom X Plaza a few times before meeting in the middle for a hula-hoop and dance party.

This energy was present in all the day's events. A rowdy crowd cheered for a bike competition in which riders pushed and collided into each other in hopes of eliminating opponents by knocking them over. Later Oakland rap group Trunk Boiz moved around the stage singing about "Scraper" bikes, a style of decorative bike known to the Bay's Hyphy movement.

Senior Geography student Melissa Gordon introduced the band and was an emphatic host for much of the afternoon, shouting at students to "holla" at the day's different happenings.

"This place has been full since 9 a.m.," said she about the bike parking lot while bouncing up and down to the music.

Any student who rode a bike to school was offered free breakfast and lunch as well as "valet" parking in the middle of the quad. Participants also received a ticket for a raffle giving away a free bike, helmets, jackets, and bike shop gift certificates.

Besides entertainment there was also a lot of education going on at the event. An environmental film festival was held on to the top floor of the student center showing films on conservation, community, and nature appreciation. The Ecology Center of San Francisco, which was helped started by SF State students, was displaying the building possibilities of ecological materials such as adobe bricks and a toilet with a wood frame.

David Wentworth-Thrasher, a Civil Engineering junior and founding member of the Ecology Center, spent much of the day handing out cookies baked in a solar oven.

"We came here to teach young people about ecological building techniques, some of which are the most popular in the rest of the world," he said.

An environmental celebration on a notoriously progressive campus made the day perfect for many campaigners. A range of political groups, from a human rights organization to a 9/11 Truth Movement group, was tabling.

" The amount of young, like minded people here make this perfect to push our message," said Dave Schwerim, a Staff Director at Clean Water Action, a non-profit currently trying to get Styrofoam banned state-wide.

The day ended in a classic San Francisco celebration: a drum circle. Students danced, many in bare feet and many in hula-hoops, on the quad grass to shouts and the banging of large drums. The final jamboree barely beat out the clouds that would cover the sun by evening.

For event coordinator Marcielle Earwood, a senior International Relations major, the event was a huge success.

"It went really, really well and everyone here is so excited!" she said.

University responds to claims that library is unsafe

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California's work safety watchdog sent a letter to SF State last week requiring the university to investigate a complaint over conditions in the J. Paul Leonard library, according to a copy of the letter.

The letter from the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration asked the university to investigate claims that the library, which is closed for renovations, is unsafe for the 22 workers who retrieve the books still stored within.

CLICK HERE to see the Cal/OSHA Letter

The letter carried no immediate penalty but required that SF State conduct a prompt investigation and notify Cal/OSHA of its findings.

Yet despite SF State's in-house Office of Safety and Risk Management's finding of only minor problems with the work site, many employees said that the environment was not up to their personal standards and that they had no clue how to respond to an emergency while in the building.

CLICK HERE to see the University's Response.

"The library is basically a death trap," said Joseph Jelincic, an SF State Service Employees International Union representative for two of the 22 employees, "from our initial walk through, we could only find one way in and one way out."

A Pandora's Box

Touring the library to investigate an employee's concern over air quality, Jelincic, who has received training to identify workplace hazards, said he was shocked by what he saw. Stairways and hallways were poorly lit, and the bathrooms had no running water.

Cal/OSHA requires all workplaces have at least two exits, part of a larger group of standards in the California Code of Regulations.

Jelincic said he reported the problems to SF State earlier this month but received an unsatisfactory level of response from risk management and chose to notify OSHA.

"When there's a complaint like this, there shouldn't be any hesitation in looking into it," he said.

Closed since November of 2008, the 1950s-era library is undertaking "a major expansion, seismic strengthening and renovation," according to the project's Web site, including the addition of a robotized system for storing and retrieving books.

Until the expected completion of the project in 2011, workers respond to requests online and retrieve the books stored in the library within 24 hours.

Twenty of the workers who retrieve books in the library are non-unionized students, according to Jelincic. The remaining two are unionized library staff, whose ranks are divided between the main building and the other locations set up to provide library services.

Risk management completed its investigation by the five-day deadline set by Cal/OSHA and began installing additional lighting even before the study was available for viewing, according to library employees.

"Minor findings"

The 99-page reply to OSHA from risk management contained several documents, including a summarized response to the initial complaint and the specific measurement of asbestos levels throughout the building.

"I'm pleased to say that there were only minor findings that are easily corrected," wrote Michael Martin, executive director of risk management, in an email to the [X]press.

The report described the opening of another exit, adding lighting to some areas, conducting a fire drill and assigning workers to an Administration building bathroom.

The reply also included signed forms from each library employee stating they understand the "Basic Safety Rules for Construction" handbook and that any concerns should be brought to a supervisor.

Yet when asked where the nearest first-aid kit was, two-year library employee and student Serena Maris said she didn't know.

"I'd probably go in my purse for a Band-Aid," she said.

Gayle Orr-Smith, emergency preparedness coordinator, said advanced knowledge of what to do in an emergency can save lives.

"It's absolutely important," she said, "Once you have this information, it's amazing how it can affect your behavior."

No better option

While keeping the university's books within an active construction zone complicates their retrieval, the head of SF State's library, Deborah Masters, said it was the best option.

"There wasn't any other place to put them," she said.

Since a strongly-fortified building is needed to handle the heavy books, the only other option would be to store them in a remote warehouse that would further delay the time between request and delivery, she said.

In consideration of the additional dangers of active construction, Masters, OSHA, risk management and others held a meeting before book retrieval began last year to determine the best way to protect the staff within the library. In addition to other rules, workers must wear a hardhat and safety vest while passing through the actual construction zone.

Yet despite the early planning, Jelincic said the administration of the library environment has become lax.

"I think the university had some good intentions, but I think they fell apart," he said, "Having a plan on paper is different then having a safe practice."

Workers said they didn't feel like they were in any immediate danger while in the library, but the environment could be uncomfortable.

"In certain areas, the lights are off," said Nguyen, who added that the natural light was not enough to see easily, "We just have to make due with what we have."

With the surrounding construction, including welding, Jelincic said the risk of fire or building damage is substantially higher. In a panic, a seemingly obvious route to safety can be complicated by things like poor lighting and debris.

"Library materials are flammable--it's old paper," he said.

While risk management has addressed the complaints, Cal/OSHA wrote in their letter that every fifth satisfactory response they receive "is subject to verification by an inspection."

ASI farmer's market struggles to succeed

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Just over a year after his first time setting up a fruit stand in front of the Humanities building, Jimmy Egoian is determined to keep his spot.

"It's just a lot of good people," he said. "The bottom line is, though, [the stand] is not very successful."

Egoian is good friends with and works for owners of the Twin Girls Farm, located outside of Fresno. The farm wanted to participate in the on-campus market every Thursday to show students what good produce looks like and provide them with a local, organic choice.

Though the location brings him to one of the best communities he's seen, it also brings the least number of people. Each week Twin Girls makes at most $500 at SF State, the lowest amount of 20 markets it participates in. The cost of growing, handling, loading, and driving produce to the market costs around $550. The SF State location is one of only two in which the farm doesn't break even.

Egoian blames this on the lack of consistent buyers and student's tendency to not have excess money.

"On top of all this the media has hurt confidence during the recession," he added.

Alex Fleshman confirms Egoian's belief. The sophomore Cinema student loves to browse through the fruits, vegetables, and bread available each Thursday at the market but only occasionally has enough cash to purchase items.

"I love to buy things at school and wish I could today," he said upon grabbing an orange slice sample and walking away.

In addition to the fruits of Twin Girls Farm there is a bakery and vegetable stand that come every week. The market was started and funded a year ago by the Associated Students, Inc. after a graduate student had the idea as a way to promote healthy living. Each semester ASI pays $1,500 to license and register the market.

"As far connecting with students, it's been successful," said Horace Montgomery, Leadership Development Coordinator for ASI.

Julio Catalan, who works for his family's vegetable farm, agrees. So far he has experienced friendly relations at SF State. He loves to show students vegetables, such as chard and kale, which many have never tasted or even seen.

Unfortunately he also shares his fruit stand counterpoint's results: low earnings. He said at the campus's market he makes around half the amount he makes at the other seven markets Catalan Family Farm sells at.

Senior Geneive Jaramilla is one of Catalan's biggest fans and buys from him almost every week. She lives in the Park Merced Villas next to school and loves his variety compared to near-by Trader Joe's. Her next dish, compliments of the stand, will be a stew she can pick at the entire weekend.

After buying celery, onions, broccoli and cabbage she leaned over the table of celery and told Catalan "you're awesome".

"I need some comfort food," she said. "It's cold and gray, you know."

Edith's Gourmet Baking Company seems to be the only stand with moderate success. Employee Joel Gonzalez says for their products the SF State customer is actually an advantage. Though their sales on bread loafs and whole cakes are lower on campus, the demand for small pastries such as cookies and granola bars from students on break from class is especially high.

"They like coming here because our stuff is not from another state and doesn't have a bunch of chemicals, he said.

That is the SF State farmer's market vender's biggest asset and advantage over corporate stores; all the food is organic and local.

But for Egoian and Twin Girls Farm, even that is becoming less of a specialty due to large corporations jumping on the organic trend and lowering prices.

"The big guys keep pushing things farther down," he said. "At least many students understand the importance of meeting who your food comes from."

And with that idea in mind Egoian will stay at SF State as long as possible. Unlike many he has worked with, he still has the passion for farming and operating a small business with his wife "like a family from the old days". Reaching out to the student population is especially rewarding to him.

"We're going to stay here as long as we can but also have to make enough to sustain ourselves," he said. "But we are having the time of our life here."

More budget cuts, fewer classes next fall

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Correction: In the print version of [X]press on April 23, there were two errors in the "More budget cuts, fewer classes next fall" story.

In the story it states "The university has cut 3,422 sections for the fall 2009 semester." It should read "The university will be offering 3,422 sections for the fall 2009 semester."

Also, the story states "The university budget is 1.3 million for the next fiscal year. "It should read "The university budget is about $131 million for the next fiscal year..."

[X]press regrets the errors.

SF State's decreased budget has prompted the school to offer fewer classes and increase fees for the fall, causing students to worry about being unable to pay tuition or graduate on time.

The university will be offering 3,422 sections for the fall 2009 semester, an estimated 81 sections fewer than fall 2008, according to John Kim, associated vice president of academic resources at SF State.

"This reduction is largely due to the fact that the mid-year reduction we faced this year due to the budget shortfall in the State of California did not affect fall 2008," Kim wrote in an e-mail.

Reduction is happening now because the news of the budget shortfall was announced after the fall 2008 schedule was set.

The university budget is about $131 million for the next fiscal year, almost $3 million less than the 2008-09 year, according to the university's office of Academic Affairs.

With the low budget, the CSU Board of Trustees may vote for a 10 percent increase in tuition on May 12 and 13.

Francis Mead -- a member of Student Unity and Power -- feels students are being cheated by downsizing of classes and professors..

"We are paying more for less," the 23-year-old said. "The CSU system once stood for an education that was open to everyone and that reflected our communities."

Freshman Jon Cho, a business major, said he worries about how this is going to affect his parents, who also have to pay for his younger brother's college tuition next year.

"I'm working right now and most of the money is going to my education to help out my parents," Cho said.

Students also say they are worried about whether or not they will get into the classes they need to graduate.

"I wasn't able to get a math class and I almost couldn't get it this semester," said freshman Chris Gonzalez. "It might push back my graduation, which can lead to paying even more [fees]."

But students are not the only ones with worries. Class cuts mean some lecturers will be losing their jobs too.

Ramon Castellblanch, president of the SF State chapter of the California Faculty Association and associated professor of health education, said that there were around 100 fewer lecturers in the fall 2008 compared to fall 2007.

"That's a lot of people to lose their job," Castellblanch said adding that lecturers are in a "tough position" because they could lose their health insurance or their homes.

The College of Science and Engineering will be offering 46 fewer classes than last fall.

"These cuts are a sad consequence of the reduction in budget that SF State has received from the state," said Sheldon Axler, the dean of the college

But according to Dean of the College of Humanities Paul Sherwin, the differences between the cuts for fall 2009 and those made to fall 2008 are not that drastic.

"The scary thing is not this fall," Sherwin said of the many classes that were cut for next semester. "The scary thing is what's going to happen in the spring."

While the school has a budget, it won't be finalized until late May or early June when the special election is over. After the election, more cuts will be made in classes and staff.

While the Academic Affairs department is trying to find ways to save money, the budget reductions throughout this decade make it difficult to find large savings, and the office is working under the assumption the budget will be reduced in 2009-10 Kim said.

"The problem is that there is very little budget flexibility due to the fact that the vast majority of expenditures is in permanent faculty and staff salaries," Kim said.

But even so, the university, along with the rest of the CSU system, limited its enrollment for next year in order to maintain the academic quality of the universities, said Teresa Ruiz, CSU's public affairs communication specialist.

"While we recognize the severity of the state's fiscal crisis, the budget does not provide the resources the system needs to meet the needs of our students and fund our operations," said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed, in a recent press release. "This will impact our ability to maintain quality and services for our 450,000 current students."

Turning 18 can be more terrifying than liberating for most kids living in foster care. Aging out of the system means entering the adult world with little direction and little leverage for success.

For many, college quickly becomes an inconceivable option.

But at SF State, Guardian Scholars is now one of several support programs throughout CSU campuses that helps foster youth transition into college by supplying the same educational opportunities provided to students from intact families, according to a recent report by the CSU.

The program helps students with housing, financial aid and mentorship. Before the program began in 2005, only 33 percent of former foster care students made it past the first year of college. Now, more than 90 percent are continuing their education or have graduated, according to the report.

"It is a wonderful program because it really helps me feel that I still have someone, even after my emancipation from the system," said Randy Good, a freshman and guardian scholar at SF State.

"Guardian Scholars is less of a program and more of a family because no matter what, we have people that will support us and guide us to do the right thing," he said.

Around 100 former foster youth applied to SF State in the fall of 2008. Good was one of 10 students to be accepted into the program, according to Xochiti Sanchez-Zarama, the program director for Guardian Scholars.

"We have become very strategic in building the sustainability of our program," Good said.

Guardian Scholars, along with other similar programs at CSU, receives funding through various foundations, such as the Stuart Foundation. The funding is then allocated to the programs for student services.

The program at SF State acts as a scholarship program by giving a handful of ambitious students valuable resources like on-campus housing, making it more inclusive.

Other colleges may offer fewer resources but make it available to all former foster youth, according to Jenny Vinopal, the assistant director of foster youth programs for CSU.

Guardian Scholars is part of California College Pathways, a CSU department that acts as a heart of college foster care programs throughout the state.

The program incorporates technical assistance, Web seminars and collaborative meetings around CSU campuses. Before the department's inception, foster children remained a largely invisible community.

Vinopal said the programs help former foster youth gain a sense of empowerment.

"This is not a program built because these students have a sad story," she said.

When children age out of the foster care system the state and their foster families are no longer required to give them assistance.

According to the Pathways annual report 4,000 age out of the foster care system each year, a 44 percent increase since 1998. Of those 20 percent will enter higher education and fewer than 5 percent will attain a degree.

"They have worked very hard. No one is giving them a handout," Vinopal said.

The number of former foster youth participating in campus support programs in California went from 42 in 1998 to 826 in 2008, according to the report.

"I didn't think it was possible for foster youth to be able to go to college because of a lack of support," said Sokhom Mao, 22, a criminal justice major and a member of the Guardian Scholars.

Mao was involved in other foster care community services as a high school student. When he heard about Guardian Scholars, he decided to get involved and is now a spokesman for the program.

Guardian Scholars is a part of the Education Opportunity Program on campus. EOP specializes in providing assistance to low-income and educationally disadvantaged undergraduates.

To apply to the Guardian Scholars, foster youth students must first be accepted into EOP. Students are then required to write an essay explaining why they want to join the program and then go through an interview process.

Mao said it is hard to maneuver through the system without the support and guidance offered with the Guardian Scholar program. Many former foster youth drop out after the first year because they have little access and understanding of student services.

"There is one reason and one reason only why I am here and its because of this program," he said.

Students bike to school

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Instead of "ghost riding the whip," SF State students were encouraged to "ghost ride the bike" at SF State's Bike to School day on Wednesday.

The Bicycle Advocacy Group on campus organized the event to raise bike safety awareness and to help make SF State a more bike friendly community.

Riders began their journey to campus at 6 a.m. Some rode straight from home and others met at various locations around the city, such as the Balboa Park BART station and Mojo Bicycle Café on Divisadero Street, which offered a free cup of coffee to any SF State student with a bike helmet.

"This event has been going on for about four semesters now," Coordinator Melissa Gordon, 23, said. "We are expecting a couple hundred people."

Yellow caution tape around the lawns by the Cesar Chavez Student Center created a parking area for the bikes. Volunteers helped with valet, handing out surveys, information, water and free snacks.

"We tried doing some fundraising, but we only raised $150 dollars," said Bicycle Advocacy Group member Christy Osorio, 25, a member of the Bike Advocacy group.

"Everything else was donated including a free bike from Ocean Cyclery," she said.

In order to win the shiny new bike that was on display next to the parked bikes, students needed to turn in a two page essay on how a bike could change their life.

The bike give away was not the only fun part of the day. Gordon hosted a few bike games in Malcolm X Plaza including a bike beauty contest and a game where bikers tried to knock off other riders as they rode in a circle whoever was left standing was the winner.

Bay Area hip hop group Trunk Boiz performed, whose hits include "Scraper Bikes," and "Cupcake No Fillin."

The event ended at 5 p.m. Gordon said that they had about 250 students park their bikes on campus and that they had reached capacity during the afternoon.

"It's exciting to see more people riding bikes in the city," Julia DeFranco said. "My bike ride from home to SF State would take about 45 minutes. Promoting sustainability is important for students and this event shows what we can do to help."

It's official: Newsom running for Governor

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San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday morning that he is officially running for Governor in the 2010 California election.

He announced it not by holding a press conference, but through social networking Web sites such as Facebook and Twiitter:.

On his Twitter, it reads "It's official- running for Gov of CA. Wanted you to be the first to know. Need your help."

Newsom might need help as other candidates considering a run include Attorney General Jerry Brown and Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

Lt. Governor John Garamendi has dropped out of the governor race as of Wednesday and will instead try his hand at the U.S. House during the California special election.

On the Republican side, eBay's former CEO Meg Whitman is still in the exploratory stages as well as state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner.

Newsom premiered his announcement video on his Web site, which is also on YouTube as well.

The video can be seen by clicking the link: www.gavinnewsom.com.

SF State crime log week of April 5

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Someone tried to forge a "record," in the Creative Arts building. university police will not disclose the type of document or the nature of the crime as it is still under investigation.

According to Captain Reggie Parson, the record could be anything such as "checks, bonds, contracts for money or property--among other items." The forged documents were not the University's, he said. The victim notified university police the same day at around 7:49 p.m.

Parson added that the suspect was not part of the SF State community and that these kinds of incidents are uncommon.

Dangerous turns in Parking Lot 20

An individual hit his BMW on the cement curb in the University's parking lot 20.

This is the second reported incident in this parking lot this week, according to the campus police crime log.

The other incident in this parking garage happened a day later. The cause for both incidents was unsafe turning, according to parson.

According to Parson the high volume of cars in the 2,278-parking garage creates circumstances that would cause accidents when making turns inside the garage.


$400 Bike Stolen

A bicycle worth over $400 was stolen from the Humanities building at around 1:00 p.m.

The student reported the incident to university police. There is no information about the suspect.

Possession of alcohol

A 19-year-old male student was arrested at the University Courtyard for possession of a bottle of rum.

The individual was arrested at around 11:52 after University Police were called to assist SFPD in what person described as a "loud party."

Sexual Assault

A student reported being sexually battered last semester around the HSS building.

According to Parson, the victim was walking and talking to the suspect when he assaulted her.

Parson added that the victim did not report the incident until recently because she did not know what to do.

Drunk at Stonestown

A drunken individual got his car stuck on a curb at the Stonestown mall at around 10:49. The individual was taken to county jail.

Information provided by the SF State police crime log.

MUNI prices set to go up, may rise again

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The price of MUNI monthly passes will increase later this year in an effort by the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency to bridge last year's $80 million budget gap.

Adult monthly passes will increase on July 1 from $45 to $55 a month and discounted passes for youth, seniors and the disabled will increase from $10 to $15 monthly, according to officials from SFMTA.

The agency's governing board will vote later this month to decide additional fare increases. If passed, adult fares will increase from $1.50 to $2, discounted fares will increase to 75 cents and Fast Passes, both adult and discounted, will increase an additional $5.

"Our Board of Directors will have to face a very difficult decision this month because of the size of our deficit," said SFMTA spokesman Judson True.

At the end of this past fiscal year, SFMTA found itself with an $80 million deficit, according to True. As a matter of saving cost, the agency will be increasing the cost of MUNI fares and passes, as well as fee increases for traffic permits. The next fiscal year, which begins on July 1, is projected to have a deficit of nearly $129 million.

SFMTA has no choice but to introduce these cost saving measures, True said. A lot of revenue was lost due to the recession, as both state and federal governments had to decide where to cut costs, he said.

"The state of California abandoned its commitment to public transportation," he said.

SF State students said they are not pleased with the new increases in public transit costs.

"It's f-----g ridiculous is what that is," said SF State student Yael Tygiel, who doesn't own a monthly pass. "Weren't they just talking about making it free?"

Indeed, a few years ago Gavin Newsom spoke briefly about making MUNI free, arguing that the cost of counting the fares actually equaled the money they added to MUNI's funds.

Tygiel, 22, doesn't have to take public transit to school because she lives in the Villas Parkmerced, but she does--when feeling particularly lazy--take the 17 to the other side of the residential area to her parents' house.

"I won't be taking the 17 any more. I used to just scrounge around for the change, now I actually have to have $2," said Tygiel, a communications major.

Though still concerned about the cost, SF State student Sheena Miraftabi, 19, is also concerned about the environment.

"I'm positive there will be a decline in people taking public transit and that's sad," she said.
"My biggest concern is how that will affect the masses of people in SF who depend on MUNI," Miraftabi said. "Not everyone will be able to afford it."

Fare increases will not generate new revenue for the transit company, but merely go towards making up for last year's $80 million short fall, said True.

Monthly pass increases will generate an estimated $15.2 million annually for last year's deficit and, if approved, the additional fare increases will also add an estimated $14 million.

SFMTA is sensitive to the displeasure expressed by MUNI riders.

"No one is happy about the need and potential need to increase fares," True said. "We hope people will still be able to ride transit."

Diversity is new Provost's focus

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Dr. Sue Rosser, SF State's new provost beginning this fall, will take the reigns from current provost John Gemello and work to create as diverse a campus as possible.

The position of provost, second only to the president, will give Rosser control over all things academic at the university. She plans to use that power to increase gender parity within fields and expand SF State's research projects.

"After the president, the provost sets the tone for the entire university," Rosser said in a phone interview from her current location as Dean of Ivan Allen College at Georgia Tech University. "I have been working hard to attract a diverse pool of students into science and engineering."

Rosser mentioned that she plans to extend that work to all of the colleges at SF State.

"The provost hires the deans, who hire the chairs, who hire the faculty, who have immediate and important daily interactions with the students," said Rosser. "I want to learn from the faculty about new and exciting programs and continue SF State on the positive trajectory set by the current provost."

Provost Gemello has no doubt that Rosser will be able to seamlessly step into his position and work toward building the best academic institution possible.

He plans to help Rosser the best way he knows how: by handing over an excellent a staff. "There is not a weak link in there," said Gemello of his faculty and administrative staff.

The deans of SF State's nine colleges answer directly to the provost, along with administrators such as the vice presidents of research and sponsored programs and academic program development. Rosser plans to work closely with her staff to maintain and improve SF State's mission to increase diversity and social responsibility.

"Diverse people and teams make the best collaborators, because when people have had different backgrounds and experiences, they are going to know different things. They are going to see the world in different ways and therefore that's the most creative way to solve problems," Rosser said.

That's a value that Rosser believes in, and "a value at SF State which is pretty important."

She said this is one of the reasons she sought the position.

President Robert Corrigan, who hired Rosser, said that part of his decision was because of that match in values. "We talk all this time of social justice and equality," Corrigan said adding that he wanted to hire someone with past experience and action, not just talk.

"The president and the provost need to have a leadership that the faculty can respond to, a vision of what the university should be like, and a plan about what the future of the university will be," Corrigan said.

Rosser has not only that leadership and vision, but can "balance idealism with a sense of responsibility" needed in tough economic times, said Corrigan.

SF State covered in rubber

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The "Giving Tree" stands at ten inches tall. The trunk is made up of cardboard and the branches are green colored condoms. The tree was one of many projects created to entice students to have safe sex.

Alyah Schneider and her partner, Adriana Riezato, were one of the many groups working on their latex projects in Jack Adams Hall on Tuesday. The projects were displayed on the Quad during Multicultural AIDS Awareness Day.

"Just to talk and feel and be around [condoms] is enough to get the elephant out of the room," Schneider said, referring to safe sex.

The Educational and Referral Organization for Sexuality provided Jack Adams Hall and the necessary materials for the project's success.

Nataly Gomez, a health educator for EROS, said that the importance of the project is what motivates them to keep providing the room and the materials every semester.

Gomez added that even though the project is intended to be light-hearted, there are serious messages students can take away from it as well.

"It opens the door in talking about sex with their partners and classmates they are working with," Gomez said.

Students assigned to making the projects are also challenged merely by having to ask for the much needed and controversial paraphernalia.

"The importance is to get students into the habit of asking for condoms," Gomez said. "Just to have some sense as what that feels like."

Jordan Hodgson now knows the feeling quite well. His first time asking for condoms was for this project.

"It was a big step, I didn't want to make eye contact with the person in there," Hodgson said.

This is exactly what Gomez envisioned happening.

"We have students who come very shyly and quickly ask for condoms. They come in and rush out," she said. "This is the experience we want to see, the shyest person actually asking for a condom."

But Noelle Willson's challenge wasn't in the asking. It was finding the perfect condoms for her project that was hard.

Her project consisted of wrapping various fruit in the appropriately colored condom.

To find colored condoms, Willson searched unsuccessfully at three different sex shops in the East Bay. Finally, she found them at a peep show.

"It made me step out of my boundaries if only because they had some hardcore porn," Willson said.

Lena Gallaghr and Eli Chavez' group played it safe instead. Their project consist of Obama's iconic "hope" image covered in condoms.

Chavez said that the purpose of their project was to motivate students to "hope for better sex."

Other projects in the room focused more on irony.

Stephanie Britten and Meredith Lada tried to recreate the Trojan horse battle scene using Trojan condoms.

Though the assignment isn't a contest, Britten was quite confident of their projects' success.

"First place!" Britten said of her project.

SF State social work program places first in the nation

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SF State masters of social work program was ranked best in the country by the Council on Social Work Education.

An article in the winter issue of the Journal of Social Work Education, ranked 128 schools nation-wide based on more than a decade of student admissions records.

"We value each applicant for who they are, and of course there are requirements like GPA and stuff like that which that can sometimes affect who gets in," said Liz Knox, assistant professor of social work at SF State. "But the selectivity really speaks to the fact that we embrace diversity."

In its first semester, the program accepted 41 students out of 180 applicants. Today, the school educates roughly 130 graduate masters of social work (MSW) students and 58 undergraduate students.

"We place a lot of emphasis on social action, justice, and really recognizing advocacy for those populations who are oppressed and marginalized," Knox said, alluding to the programs mission statement. "We make sure that we are always inclusive, not exclusive."

The authors of the article based the survey around "the extent to which social work graduate programs are selective in admitting full-time students and then compares ranking by selectivity with existing rankings that rely on different criteria."

SF State admissions office reported only 17.4 percent of students applying to MSW programs were admitted. Of the students lucky enough to get past admissions, 87 percent received MSW degrees.

"I think they see whether you're really interested or not, they can tell if you're serious," said Walter Rich, a junior in the social work program at SF State. Rich plans to apply to the MSW program after finishing his undergraduate coursework.

Students applying to SF State's MSW program should have a minimum GPA of 3.0 accumulated in their last 60 units completed and extensive work experience in the field, according to Knox.

"In this [economic] climate, it is important to have social workers," said Rich. "Some people will be out of work for 2-3 years and we need to expand on social programs like welfare and unemployment."

More then forty years after its inception at SF State in 1966, the fully accredited masters of social work program has increased selectivity, raising standards for prospective students to the most stringent of expectations.

The authors conclude that SF States "pickiness" for MSW students is a product of student body size restrictions, resources, and competition from other schools. "Berkeley had a comparatively small program, and San Jose State university is some 40 miles distant," wrote the authors.

UC Berkeley and Brigham Young University maintained their academic excellent in social work, posting numbers impressive enough to earn them second and third place honors. SF State was the only CSU to rank within the top 10 graduate social work programs.

"Being able to admit only a few of the most highly ranked certainly indicates the high quality of our students, which is an important part of graduate education," said Lemmon, the newly appointed administrator for SF State's College of Extended Learning (CEL) MSW program.

The addition of the CEL program downtown was to increase accessibility of the SF State community. The program is part-time, meaning it is held to nights and weekends to allow students to maintain full-time employment concurrently.

"The CEL MSW offers a 50% increase in the number of students who can earn their social work graduates degree at SFSU," Lemmon boasted.

MSW Administrators think the new part-time formatted program will encourage students under the commitments of work or family to enroll and further their education.

MSW classes at SF State's downtown campus are expected to start this summer.

Senate powers through full agenda

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In an attempt to complete as much work as possible before the end of semester, this week's Academic Senate meeting included a flurry of revisions, resolutions, and talking heads.

The senate asked for more action and less talk about rising textbook prices, introduced a new Web page for students with complaints, and revised its policy for repeating courses.

More action, less talk

The senate debated a resolution denouncing rising textbook costs. The resolution stated, "textbook costs have risen at rates higher that both median household income and student fees."

The document would have the senate vow to encourage faculty to consider prices, exclude supplementary materials and submit their textbook requests on time so the bookstore can shop for the best bargains.

Many senators felt lip service wasn't enough and asked for legislation on the matter.

"I'm interested in action with more teeth," senator Chris McCarthy said, such as identifying publishers that put out new editions with little relevant changes and not buying from them.

Senate Chair Shawn Whalen added, "there is nothing we can do to save the bookstore and students more money than adopting books early and by the deadline."

The deadline, which gives the bookstore time to shop for bargains, has expired for the fall 2009 semester.

A place for upset students

The senate also voted to increase the number of units a student can use to repeat courses from 24 to 28, bringing SF State in-line with CSU policy. The revisions stipulate that those units apply only to courses taken in matriculated, or state supported, status.

This means that a student in regular enrollment may only use 28 units for repeat courses. Students wishing to repeat a course through self support, such as through the College of Extended Learning, may do so as many times as they choose, according to senator Ray Trautman who drafted the revisions.

Senators Bridget McCracken and Gene Chelberg introduced a new Web page on the SF State Web site designed to help students resolve complaints or concerns with the university.

"This is designed to encourage students to face their issues head-on before we have to get into the very formal complaint process," Chelberg said.

The new Web page, at www.sfsu.edu/~vpsa/complaints/ , helps students define their issues and points them in the right direction toward solving their problems, according to McCracken.

Writing requirements, again

The senate discussed revisions to students' upper division writing requirements and courses, with the hopes of having them fully implemented by 2010.

"I am in great support of moving this forward," said senator Connie Ulasewicz who can't wait to teach smaller writing classes, whether they be limited to 20 or 25 students.

"Nothing has changed since last year" said Senator Lu Rehling, speaking against the limit increase. "Twenty five is too high. We will not have the outcome we want for improving student writing."

"We're talking about having students get the kind of writing instruction they deserve," said of the long debated issue, which was eventually sent back to committee

Sticking with students until graduation

Also revised was the university's enrollment management policy. The policy now calls for student retention and graduation to be considered part of enrollment management. Before, the policy only covered students until they were enrolled.

The revisions also increased the number of administrators on the enrollment management committee by two.

Rehling, a dissenting voter, spoke against the revisions, saying that the rational for more administrators was lacking.

One less minor, master

The senate is also considering discontinuing the university's minor program in family and consumer sciences and a master's in social science with a concentration in interdisciplinary studies.

At the request of the departments, the Senate discussed the issue and sent it back to committee.

Amid the usual Wednesday bustle of the Malcolm X Plaza, a group of students gathered to discuss responsible and effective civil disobedience.

Led by long-time political activist David Solnit, the Non-Violent Direct Action workshop discussed the procedures of political protest and what activists should expect when practicing non-violent activism.

"This country is in crisis on a bunch of different levels so we desperately need students and everybody to start figuring out how to organize effectively, build movements that sustain themselves, and win," said Solnit, author of "Globalize Liberation: How to Uproot the System and Build a Better World."

Non-Violent Direct Action is just one of 10 different workshops during Spring into Action on April 15, a full-day event intended to hone student's organizing skills for political action.

Solnit employs role-playing in his workshops to demonstrate the complications activists might encounter while on duty. Participants practiced pain compliance holds, pressure points, simulated arrest, and active resistance.

The workshops are a product of Campus Organizing Roundtable on Empowerment, a student-run organization aimed to mobilize students against budget cuts.

Honora Keller, a 21-year-old health education student, says the role-playing is an effective means to educate students on proper political activism.

"It's one thing to just think about it on your head, but when you actually have to do it hands-on with the people you are organizing with it makes you so much more prepared for what you're going to encounter," said Keller, a member of Campus Organizing Roundtable on Empowerment.

Other activism workshops touched on topics including the SF State's 1968 student strike, Marxism, community and campus organizing, and labor and human rights; each one pertaining to actions necessary to thwart further cuts to California education.

"We are just connected by the sheer fact that we are against the budget cuts," said Keller.
"Everybody is welcome."

Tax day brews protests

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Concerned citizens took part in a 'tea party' in front of San Francisco's City Hall Wednesday, but instead of crumpets and pleasantries, bullhorns and passionate tirades against tax hikes and the stimulus bill filled the air.

The Tax Day Tea Party occurred nationwide in a grassroots effort to protest out of control government spending. The event was organized by various coalitions and organizations in San Francisco.

In San Francisco, more than 400 people showed up to rally against the economic stimulus plan, which designated $789 billion of government spending to revive the economy in recession.

"The government has gotten so big and it no longer protects individual rights," said Deborah Eudaley, a concerned citizen at the rally. "It has come down to excessive taxation, irresponsible spending and burdening future generations with massive debt."

The rally shifted from City Hall to Polk Street to the Phillip Burton Federal Building and United States Court House, where Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi holds a seat.

Speaker Pelosi's great influence on the economic stimulus plan gathered the protestors in front of the courthouse, according to Heath Hoff, an attendee at the 'tea party.'

"She is an elitist and doesn't listen to her constituents and voters," said Hoff. "They have their own agenda - taxing and spending us into bankruptcy," he said of the government.

While marching along Polk Street, Normita Fenn, a San Ramon resident, voiced her opposition against tax increases.

"They should be more responsible," Fenn said. "Why should I, as a taxpayer, be bailing [the banks] out? It is for us to realize that they are making a fool of the American people."

Jun Dam of Concord, with the Campaign for Liberty, believes that it's up to the individual to take the next step.

"We're born free and we can't rely on the government," he said. "What's happening now is out of control and we'll end up losing our freedom."

On a regular Monday night Thanh Dang would be home on Youtube or doing psychology homework. Instead she joined one of the roughly 200 people for a four hour show at Jack Adams Hall.

The Show: Asian Pacific Islander Supporting Art Soul Heritage was hosted by the Asian Student Union and the Manalo Movement and showcased a variety of acts and artists ranging from plethora folk to a dance crew featured on American's Best Dance Crew.

"The showcase was really good for the Asian community," Dang said. "Especially the music and the art which we kind of lack. We just need to step up because I feel like we are always in the shadow of other people.

Part of the proceeds will go to the non-profit 4C the Power and to the Asian American studies graduation committee.

4C the Power is an organization that provides professional artist-run workshops in high schools.

The Executive Director and founder of the organization, Diann Kitamura explains how important art is for students.

"In the 25 years as an educator one of the things that I have found is that one of the things that students feel connected and engaged in school is through the arts, music and dance."

SMASH was hosted to celebrate Asian Pacific Islander Month, which is actually in May. ASU's External Public Relations Coordinator, Jimmy Ma said they celebrate it in April because during May most students have finals and difficulty reserving Jack Adams Hall.

The Vice President of the Manalo Movement Aileen Pagtakhan said they felt it was a success because of the high turnout.

She emphasized the importance to showcase Asian talent.

"We want people of color recognized because for so long we are the background, the back-up singers, we work backstage, this is an event to help exercise how we do art,"

Ma concurred, "We are a forced to be reckoned with."

He went on to say that this years event was one of the most attended and most diverse. "This year we have a very large and eclectic lineup, bands, magicians, graffiti artist painters, designers,"

The line-up included; Far East Movement, Supreme Soul, Reynard Silva, Stevie Nadar, Dahrio Wonder, Dan San Pedro, Angel Villon, Song of the Siren, Mandeep Sethi featuring disc jockey Delrockz and was hosted by comedy duo Marc Abrigo and James Lontayao of Lexations.

One of the standout performers for the audience was Stevie Nadar.

"Oh my god, when he was singing I felt like I was in a dream trance suspended in air," said Alumni Terry Alabata.

Another standout performer was emcee Mandepeep Sethi and disc jockey Delrockz who brought with him dance crew Academy of Villains.

Throughout his performance he encouraged audience participation. "When I say hip you say hop, Hip," the crowd yells hop. "Don't," the crowd, yells stop.
"I am Asian too you know," he told the audience referring to his Indian heritage.

"There is a lack of southeast Asian representation in the Asian community especially in the arts so I thought it was cool that they asked me to participate," he said after the show.

His thoughts were echoed by Dang who liked his performance.

"I would never image him coming to perform, because when I think of Asian I think of chinky eyes, yellow, and he comes in and I was speechless."

Among the artist featured was clothing brand Fish Eggs and Milk or F'EM which emphasizes simplicity in their designs. Some of their designs take the entire t-shirt and with a wide use of colors and photographs while others are simple geometrical shapes.

"We are trying to get people to see that there is a different way of thinking in clothing," said Robinson Nguyen of F'EM.

The last two acts of the night Far East Movement and Supreme Soul got most of the attention from the audience.

The Far East Movement's music has been featured in the film The Fast and the Furious, CSI and Entourage, had the crowd standing and dancing.

Supreme Soul had the audience saying wow with their routines.

Despite repeated warnings by the organizers to disperse the Student Center area both acts were surrounded by fans waiting to get a signed posters and pose for photographs at the end of the show.

In 1969, the longest campus strike in United States history birthed the first and only College of Ethnic studies and Asian American Studies department in the nation at SF State.

After 40 years since the strike, the Asian American studies department premiered their book titled "At 40: Asian American Studies @ San Francisco State," illustrating the experiences of those who founded the program, as well as from the faculty and students who followed in their footsteps.

At the book launch on Friday, authors, faculty and students mingled and heard excerpts from the debuted anthology.

"This is our first major chance to tell our history," said Lorraine Dong, the Asian American studies department chair. "We have been silenced too long."

Asian American studies are one of the four ethnic components of the college along with American Indian studies, Africana studies and La Raza studies.

The student-led strike began on Nov. 6, 1968 and protested against racial discrimination, the Vietnam War, the draft and "irrelevant" curriculum, gaining national attention. After the strike ended in March of 1969, the department offered its first courses in September 1969.

"This college is so important," said Andrea Low, a 20-year-old business-marketing student. "We're so diverse at SF State. It's nice to have a class that allows you to learn about your own family history."

Edwardo Duarte, a 23-year-old Asian American studies student, agreed saying, "As a child I was always interested in Japanese culture and it's great that I can learn about it in-depth here."

Irene Dea Collier, a middle school teacher and participant of the strike, believes the book is something that the current generation can have to look back on.

"These people [in the book] did so much and we forget about it," said Dea Collier, who also contributed to the book. "People were great activists in the old days, but now we take it so casually.

The event brought a variety of people, those from the department's first days to its more modern days. James A. Hirabayashi, the first dean of the college, was also there to speak.

"It is up to you look at the context because the whole society is changing," he said of the virtues in the book to everyone in the room. "It's up to you to hold this alive."

Anyone interested in purchasing the book can do so at the Asian American studies department in the Ethnic Studies and Pyschology building, room 103, or online at Asian American studies Web site. All proceeds will benefit the Asian American studies programs at SF State.

Protesters around the U.S. fed up with banks

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In front of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank, a group of protesters gathered Saturday to voice anger towards the banks, believing their rampant greed destroyed the economy.

San Francisco and 46 other cities in the United States and Canada took part in mass protests to break up the power of the banks that caused the current financial crisis. The mass protests were organized by a group called A New Way Forward.

About a hundred people came to the Federal Reserve Bank to protest the collapse of the economy.

"The same people who got us into this mess are also in charge of getting us out," said Bob Niederman, protester outside the bank. "It's going to lead us into a depression. They should let the banks go bankrupt and start all over."

The campaign is focused on demanding structural change to the financial industry, advocating for a "nationalize-reorganize-decentralize" economic exit strategy and a call to "break up the banks," according to the press release by A New Way Forward group.

The economic exit strategy calls for no more taxpayer handouts, the removal of current CEO's and board members and the need for current banks to break up and new banks to be managed by new people.

"I'm fed up with taxes going to CEO bonuses instead of health care and education and help for people becoming homeless," said one organizer, Phoebe Sorgen. "What deregulation has meant is a nation of desperation," she said.

Students from SF State and City College of San Francisco also came to support opposition towards the banks.

"We see a connection between the crisis in our education and the national economic crisis," said Lacei Amodei, a history major at SF State. "We're angry at the way Sacramento and D.C. has chosen how to handle it."

Amodei believes the two capitals are handling the situation in a very undemocratic way.

"They are just taking money directly out of the hands of working people and students and giving it to the banks," said the 22-year-old.

In the midst of yet another Salmonella outbreak, weary SF State food vendors are taking the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of students and faculty.

The Food and Drug Administration and the California Department of Public Safety began investigated a recall of roasted pistachios in March, but since then the investigation has widened to include raw pistachios and all other roasted nuts produced in 2008.

"The pistachio is a big recall, it's all over the country," said Edward Vicedo, senior director of dining services of Chartwells at SF State. "It is my company's belief that if we give out 100 percent of the information, it is our responsibility as directors to see what's appropriate and act in a responsible, very responsible way."

Since the investigation of nuts began in late March, tainted pistachios have been linked to Setton Farms of Terra Bella, Calif. On Wednesday, FDA investigators located the contaminated equipment at Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella.

Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella, Inc., has recalled more than 2 million pounds of pistachio's. The Kern County-based company is the nations second-largest pistachio producer.

The recall was extended on Monday by the FDA to include pistachio products from companies such as: Power Candy and Nut Co., Werner Gourmet Meat Snacks Inc, and the Harry and David of Medford, Ore. Many companies are voluntarily recalling pistachio products regardless of their association with Setton Pistachio, according to the FDA website.

Compass Group, the parent company of campus food vendors such as Chartwells and Canteen, issues warnings of possible food contamination daily.

"We get things that are not even in the news...this week we have seven," said Vicedo about the number of food safety warnings received from his parent company. "In the past three months I've probably had a total of 15, this seems to be a heavy week."

Canteen provides food for all campus vending machines while Chartwells offers full meal services at Cafe in the Park and City Eats, the on-campus housing cafeteria frequented daily by most freshman.

Tim Meeks, a dorm-dwelling freshman at SF State, thinks the best way to thwart the deadly bacteria is to avoid the dining commons. "Usually I'll just get pizza or a sandwich from the Village Market and Cup-O-Noodles, lots of ramen."

The Village Market has removed all packed pistachios from their shelves, according to Allam El Qudah, the owner of campus eateries such as Café Rosso and Sushi Go.
Qudah says the Village Market is the only vendor that carried recalled pistachios.

Even though the campus eateries provide clean food, Meeks says they can use some work. "Just because it's safe, doesn't mean it tastes good."

Corrigan announces new Provost

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President Robert A. Corrigan announced Friday afternoon that Sue V. Rosser will be the successor of Provost John Gemello.

"Dr. Rosser was the top choice of every group with whom she met formally during her campus visit, a judgment I heartily share," said Corrigan in a press release.

"Above all, she offers the personal qualities that make her the right choice for us. Pragmatic yet visionary, seasoned yet open to new ideas, she will provide strong, harmonious leadership at a time of exceptional challenge," he said.

Rosser will take office on August 15, 2009 and receive an annual salary of $258,000.

She will be second in command at SF State, in charge of all areas of curriculum and academic programs, according to a press release by the University Spokeswoman Ellen Griffin.

"I am deeply honored to be asked to join the SF State community, which is uniquely positioned to forward the state and local research agenda and teach the leaders of the next generation of Californians," said Rosser in a press release.

Since 1999, Rosser has been the dean of the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

"I look forward to working with my colleagues to take full advantage of SF State's remarkable strengths," she said.

Students cry foul on ASI

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Several student groups are claiming that the recent election put on by Associated Students, Inc was subject to voter fraud.

Wednesday's ASI meeting was inundated with protesters who felt the online voting was mishandled or tampered with to sway votes.

"You need to have these issues covered properly or you are walking the legal line," an unknown student called-out during the meeting.

"This is not child's play, if you are part of something I urge you to speak now," he said.

Both the current ASI board and the election commission are looking into the election results but admit they lack the authority or information to push the issue forward until students have written proof of fraud, the election results will remain untouched.

"There's really no proof," said Frankie Griffen, the current BSS representative and a re-elected board member.

"I don't know who [the protesters] are going to get to investigate or what they plan on doing."

Certain students said they were unable to log on during the election period and received little to no feedback from the election commission. Others wondered why there were no voting booths.

"ASI is willing to spend $300,000 on [a consulting firm] but not willing to pay for a voting center. This undermines the credibility of ASI and students ability to participate [in the election]," Samuel Brown, an environmental studies major, said.

The meeting was filled with students from various organizations who said ASI was not keeping the students' interest in mind.

The majority of student's came to support the SOA slate. The SOA was the only opponent of The Slate during the March elections.

The Slate won over 17 of the 19 positions on the ballot.

Peter Koo said it is not uncommon for students to file grievances after an election.

The student body voted on the election results to a 2/2 vote. The majority of the current board was unable to participate in a vote because they ran for re-election. Laura Alarcon and Abdul Awad disapproved the election results, whereas Chris Knox-Davies and Sean Horan voted approved the election results.

Another vote will be held next week.

The board is looking over by-laws to understand the situation at hand and expect to find a resolution by next week.

Morgan Lamb, the election commissioner, said she is doing everything in her power to assure that the results are correct and not tampered with. She said the University is currently looking over the results.

Lamb said she looked over every vote during the election but will support the protestors claim if it in the student interest.

Member of the SOA voiced concern about the credibility of ASI.

Brooke Wojo said she was willing to wash her hands of the election after she lost but still felt there was something wrong with the results. When she spoke to other students about having the administration look into the matter they thought she was joking.

"Everyone in the room laughed. This isn't about me loosing this is about gaining the credibility or sustaining what credibility we have left for ASI," she said.

False alarm at Stonestown Galleria mall

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A false alarm at the Stonestown Galleria mall on Wednesday was briefly misinterpreted as a bomb threat by shoppers.

At approximately 1:25 p.m. fire alarms went off in the 19th Avenue mall. According to Lt. Sarah Ramos, lead supervisor of mall security, routine maintenance set off the security triggers within the mall.

A false alarm announcement was immediately made over the mall PA system, but the acoustics of the building combined with the music being played made the message unclear to shoppers.

"I couldn't hear what he was saying," said Janine McClellan, a shopper, "it sounded like he said bomb."

Nobody was evacuated and a second, clearer announcement was made about 10 minutes later by Ramos to clarify the false alarm.

According to mall officials, the false alarm had nothing to do with a bomb, fire or a prank. It was a routine official test that set off one of the backup sensors.

Stonestown has multiple backup security triggers and not all of them had been shut off before the test was conducted.

"When working in the mall, any type of work is going to mess with the mall security system," Ramos said. "As of right now we're working with engineers. It was a case of miscommunication."

Moulitsas speaks about the future of journalism

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In his presentation at SF State on Monday, April 6, 2009 Markos Moulitsas founder of Daily Kos spoke to students about the future of journalism and where it might be heading.

Moulitsas believes that in order to be successful journalist we need to allow people to help tell stories because they have valuable information to contribute. Once journalists can recognize that people really understand their own communities then they become part of this collaborative media world.

"We're seeing right now as media operations are starting to go online that we are providing information for people but we also want to give people a say in this information. We want to allow them to participate in that media and not presume to be the experts or to know it all but to recognize that there are people out there that really understand the world around them," Moulitsas said.

While working at a web development company in 2002, Moulitsas started a blog called Daily Kos "by accident" as a means to vent about politics and the media. What started out as a simple blog eventually evolved into a site where people not only discussed the issues at hand but put some issues on the table.

Through the site Moulitsas found that there is a high demand for people to be engaged in topics that not only affected their communities but issues in the world. He found that people didn't just want get information they also wanted to participate in gathering information and educating others.

"Out of laziness I kept the function that allowed the community to create their own blogs within the Daily Kos. But I found that people wanted to be engaged at a higher level it wasn't just a question of responding or agreeing or debating with me specifically but they had their own issues they wanted to talk about," Moulitsas said.

SF State crime log week of March 29

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March 26

Laptop theft

A laptop and several DVD's were stolen from an apartment on Buckingham Way on.

The incident occurred sometime between midday and 4:00 p.m. The victim called campus police to make a burglary report, according to University Police Department Captain, Reggie Parson.

The incident has been closed, as there are no leads.

March 30

Bicycle theft

A bicycle worth over $400 dollars was stolen while it was parked overnight. The student did not report the incident until March 30. There is no suspect information and no leads, according to Parson.



Three residents of Mary Ward Hall were punched by two unidentified suspects on at around 10:50 p.m.

According to Captain Reggie Parson of the university police department, the three students had witnessed the two suspects littering and were subsequently attacked in the Mary Ward Hall area.

Parson added that the students were not injured and the investigation unit is investigating the case.

Drug possession

A student was arrested for possession of marijuana and psilocybin mushrooms at around 1:00 p.m. at Mary Ward Hall.

According to Parson, misdemeanor and felony charges have been filed against the student by SFPD. The student will go through the criminal court process as well as the campus housings' judicial professes.

Campus police found out about the suspect, "through a consensual contact with the suspect," Parson said.

April 4

Arrest warrant

Campus police arrested a suspect, who had a warrant, on Saturday before midnight.

According to Parson, the 37-year-old male was taken to San Francisco County Jail and was charged from a suspended license from a prior DUI, according to Parson. There was no alcohol found in his system at the time of the arrest.

Vacuum parts stolen

An unidentified person stole a vacuum cleaner and tools from the storage area of an apartment on 225 Buckingham Way.

The incident occurred sometime between 2:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m., according to the campus police crime log. Parson added that the victim called dispatch to make a report for the burglary.

The incident has been closed because of the lack of leads.

Information provided by the SF State police crime log.

Rash of car thefts hits campus

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Ben Hoedt's 1999 Chrysler Cirrus had never been broken into, until he parked on Font Street in the Parkmerced area while visiting his girlfriend.

Hoedt is another victim in a growing trend around SF State this semester. According to the University Police Dept. there has been an increase in auto burglaries.

"You just feel violated that they take your stuff," Said Hoedt who comes from the City of Marina . Hoedt visits Park Merced Resident and girlfriend Ashley Mcdonald on the the weekends twice a month.

The campus police crime log shows that in the month of March, there were seven vehicle related thefts around the campus. By comparison, in February there were four incidents and only one in January.

According to UPD Captain Reggie Parson, most of these incidents happen late in the evenings off-campus.

Auto burglary, a felony, is defined by the California Vehicle Code as "theft of property, any value, from a secured vehicle." Vehicle theft is when the vehicle is actually stolen.

According to the San Francisco Police Department crime map, there have been 17 vehicle related thefts over the last 90 days in the area surrounding SF State. Stolen vehicles accounted for 15 of the crimes, the other two were auto burglaries.

Most of these incidents occurred near the Parkmerced area which is in SFPD's jurisdiction. SFPD was not able to comment by the time of publication.

Parson said the one person arrested this semester was not part of the SF State community, which includes students and staff.

According to Parson, there are several reasons for the increase. He said that the majority of the burglaries are crimes of opportunity.

"If the suspects are 'casing' an area and discover items that may easily be sold at swap meets, Craigslist, or to a subject who buys stolen property or trades for narcotics, then a suspect will take that opportunity," he said.

When looking at the larger picture Parson hypothesizes that the current economic situation might create incentives to commit these crimes. "One will tell you that the economy has a big role. The increase in drug use, which can be a latent effect of a poor economy, can also contribute," he said.

Jeff Snipes, the Dean of the Criminal Justice Department at SF State disagrees with the conclusions reached by Parson.

"I don't buy the economic argument nor the drug use argument," Snipes said. "What I would opine is that either an individual or a group of individuals suddenly moved their auto theft operation into the area and after discovering easy pickings stuck around and continued their activities."

However, they both agree that the best way to end this surge in thefts is to create awareness.

"Once the area is saturated with police officers or awareness such as fliers, postings, etc. the suspects move on," Parson said.

Snipes added one more suggestion, "They should also send out a mass email to all SFSU employees and students providing them with the news and with tips on how to minimize risk."

Most students however said they feel safe parking their cars around campus Students like film major Juan Duncanan.

"There is a lot of cops patrolling this area," he said. He added that, he takes out all his belongings from his Acura Integra when he parks.

To avoid being a victim of these crimes, Parson said the students should take precaution by not leaving any items in open sight, as this is what attracts criminals.

These are precautions that Hoedt now takes when visiting his girlfriend, who has also had her car broken into.

In the spring of 2007 someone broke the passenger side lock of 1991 Toyota Camry to take her CD's and her most priced posession at the time; an unopened box of microwable popcorn.

The Daily Kos author to appear at SF State

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A prominent voice from the left-winged blogosphere is coming to SF State on Monday to share his insight and expertise on the form of opinionated media that has swept the Internet: blogging.

Co-sponsored by the journalism and political science departments, "Morning with The Daily Kos" will feature speaker Markos Moulitsas, founder and author of the Daily Kos blog.

"[Moulitsas] is such a prominent blogger, and I think it's really important that students understand this new form of media and that he can help," said Political Science chairman James Martel.

The Daily Kos blog, which focuses on liberal politics, was founded by Moulitsas in 2002. Moulitsas was a self-proclaimed member of the Republican Party before he joined the United States military in 1989; soon after enlisting, his political views swung drastically to the left.

Moulitsas and the other writers that make up the "Daily Kos" use the blog as an open forum for those who consider themselves to be on the liberal side of the political spectrum. Visitors to the Daily Kos website can not only read and comment on the blog, but can also create their own account and post their own "diaries."

Martel hopes that Moulitsas will inspire students to express their political viewpoints. "I hope students can feel that they can take part in the political process," Martel said. "You don't have to be as famous as Moulitsas to blog. Anyone can do it. That's the amazing thing about this new form of media."

Some members of the journalism world are weary of blogging because it has blurred the line between journalism and opinion.

"There is controversy about blogging because it is not as carefully edited, if it is edited at all, as news stories, and there are no guidelines to assure accuracy," said SF State journalism lecturer Harriet Chiang.

SF State journalism lecturer Jon Rochmis thinks that bloggers can gain credibility by keeping journalistic standards in mind. "It's important for bloggers to learn about reporting skills: researching, reporting, being fair and finding balance," Rochmis said.

Journalism chair Venise Wagner thinks journalism students can learn something valuable from attending "Morning with The Daily Kos."

"The fact that [Moulitsa's] opinion is clear and that he and many of his bloggers research and report, places [the Daily Kos] in the realm of journalism," Wagner said. "We're not saying that [journalism] students have to choose this path, but we want them to know that this path exists- this and many others."

In addition to his blog, Moulitsas is also a journalist in the traditional sense. He is a weekly columnist at The Hill, a Washington D.C. newspaper, and is a contributing columnist at Newsweek. He is also the published author of two books.

"Morning with The Daily Kos" is a free event that is open to all SF State students. The event will take place on April 6 in Jack Adams Hall at the Cesar Chavez Student Center and will begin promptly at 9:35 a.m.

SF State recieves stem cell funds

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SF State students will reap the benefits of the stem cell grant awarded to SF State, which will provide student stipends for a new masters program this fall.

The university was approved for $1.7 million from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine to study stem cell technology, and advance the field of regenerative medicine.

Eleven other CSUs were approved for the research funding, totaling $16 million from CIRM, a state agency created to distribute nearly $3 billion in bond funding approved by the passage of Proposition 71 in 2004, according to a CSU press release.

The grant would go to a new, two-year masters cohort program titled SFSU Bridges to Stem Cell Research. Beginning this fall, it will accept 10 students each year.

All students accepted into the program will receive a $30,000 scholarship for a lab research internship they will have to complete during their second year. The grant would fund the stem cell program for three years.

"Our goal is to train a diverse workforce staff to prepare for careers in stem cell research (and) reflect the diversity of the state of California in the area of stem cell technology," said Carmen Domingo, the developmental biology professor who will oversee the execution of the program.

Diversity is the key word, as the student selection committee will look for ethnic minorities underrepresented in the sciences, according to Domingo.

Domingo said she hopes that these students will use the training opportunity to pursue careers where they develop innovative treatments that best serve the health needs of all communities across the state.

"It is important for us as a society to make sure that the technologies that we develop can be accessible to all the members of our society and not just to the wealthiest members of our society," Domingo said.

Students, like Marisa Leal, a cell and molecular biology graduate student, will be able to apply mid-April for the limited slots.

Leal, who is fascinated by stem cell technology, hopes to be one of the first to take part in the program.

"I have a lot of family with diabetes and it would be amazing to one day make pancreas cells to help their insulin production," said the 25-year-old. "We could help a lot of people all over the world who suffer from various diseases."

Domingo calculated that $1.2 million of the grant would go to student scholarships. The rest would go to program administration, a new General Education course on stem cell biology and partner institutions where research internships will be conducted.

Leal works in the lab at least nine hours a day, even on weekends, and thinks it's great students will profit greatly from the grant.

"Students should get scholarships that would enable them to survive in the expensive Bay Area since they can't work because they put so much time into their research," she said.

Domingo says the program will make sure the students are trained for the stem cell workforce.

"We want to prove ourselves to the funders and hope to renew the grant for another three years," Domingo said.

Graduation strips health coverage away

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When Oswald Garcia graduates this May, his new diploma symbolizing the kick-off to adulthood will also strip him from the protection he needs most in the real world -- health coverage.

Under Garcia's parents' employee benefits, his health is covered as long as he is a full-time student and under the age of 24. Once he graduates, the coverage will stop.
Many young adults will be in a similar situation come May, joining a plethora of others without health insurance.

"It's scary because you don't know what's going to happen," said the 21-year-old.

"Anything can happen."

Young adults represent one of the largest and fastest-growing segments of the U.S. population without health insurance, according to the Commonwealth Fund, a non-profit focusing on health care.

The U.S. Census Bureau said in 2007 there were 28.1 percent of uninsured young adults ages 18-24.

There are a few reasons this youthful group is likely to be uninsured.

"A week ago, I was very sick with a cold two times within a two-week period," said Brian Lee, a 19-year-old history major. "I wanted to go to the hospital to see what was up, but I didn't want to face a huge bill from visiting the hospital."

With complications to his financial terms with his health care provider due to being considered an independent, Lee was cut off from his parents' health coverage.

Nearly 60 percent of companies offering health insurance do not include dependent children once they turn 18 or 19 unless they attend college, according to The Fund. In addition, the coverage gained through a parent's employer-based policy or a student health plan by being a full-time student is lost upon graduation.

Government plans such as Medicaid are only available to certain low-income individuals and families who fit an eligibility group recognized by federal and state law. The government believes those who are students choose to be students which hinder eligibility, said Marian Yee, an SF State health educator.

"It's unfair because it's like the youth are punished for being students," she said.
But the number one reason for this uninsured bunch is that insurance costs money, stated SF State health educator Alberto Angelo.

"It's a fact," Angelo said. "And then you just think 'Eh, I don't need it.' But it's risky."
Mohammed, a 23-year-old post-graduate biochemistry student who would like to be known by his first name only, is too old to be on his parents' insurance and recently lost his own insurance when he was let go from his job in December.

"I understand it's really bad for me to not have it, but I can't afford to have private insurance because it's several hundred dollars a month," he said.

When Mohammed does want to learn more about particular coverage, frustration overcomes him as he tries to understand the language of health insurance.

"I consider myself a pretty smart person, but it's complicated for me to understand what kind of insurance I have when they send five to six pages of mail and I have no idea what they're saying in them," Mohammed said. "For young adults coming off health insurance, there needs to be some simple way to know what to do. It should be as easy as a Facebook site."

According to Angelo, eHealthInsurance.com is one helpful site that can be used as a tool to help compare health insurance quotes for better understanding.
But Mohammed suggested a teaching course in schools.

"Instead of irrelevant freshmen classes like Greek mythology, schools should have a two-week class in getting students situated about health care," Mohammed suggested.

"Teach them how to understand health care and manage their health."

No insurance? Here's where to go when...

•You have a toothache -- The Berkeley Free Clinic provides free simple extractions, fillings and cleanings. The service takes new patients on a drop-in lottery basis only. Also, University of California, San Francisco's School of Dentistry provides patient care for roughly half the normal cost of a private dental office.

•You need drugs -- The Berkeley Free Clinic also provides a large supply of pharmaceuticals and is open for general medical services in the evenings Monday through Friday. SF State's own Student Health Center offers free basic services and has about 400 medications available. Over-the-counter drugs are as low as $3.

•You need birth control -- SF State Student Health Service's Family PACT offers free birth control, morning-after pills, urine pregnancy test, STI testing and treatment and annual exams to eligible California residents.

•You have an emergency -- SF State's SHS recommends facilities with sliding scale payment plans. With a sliding scale, those who earn less will pay less and those who earn more will pay more, according to Healthy San Francisco, a program designed to make health care services accessible and affordable. Haight Ashbury Free Clinic and San Francisco General Urgent Care Clinic have a sliding scale. Women's Community Clinic is free and accepts donations from those without insurance.

Concert tribute for retiring Provost

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Anyone who is held with such high-esteem deserves a concert in his honor.

And that is exactly what SF State's Provost John Gemello received.

The concert for the retiring provost was held Wednesday afternoon in Knuth Hall at the College of Creative Arts building. The packed auditorium was filled with students, faculties and members of the San Francisco community.

The university's president, Robert A. Corrigan, and the Dean of the Creative Arts, Kurt Daw, were one of many attendees of the show.

"John is the best chief academic officer in the history of this campus," said Corrigan of Gemello's work for the university.

Gemello has been the provost for the past six years and will retire at the end of this semester.

At the beginning of the show, Daw described him as "somebody we love" and "a great champion of music and dance."

The chairman of the School of Music and Dance at SF State, Jassen Todorov, coordinated this special concert as a gratitude for the support that Gemello gave to the department.

"He's very supportive in attending many concerts in the pasts, especially mine," said Todorov who also played the violin during the performance.

The concert included performances by pianist, saxophonist, and other violinists.

During the show, Todorov, presented Gemello with an iPod Nano, a gift from the department, which was filled with recorded performances in the past, including today's performance.

He told Gemello that when he is sitting on a beach next year, with a margarita drink, he will be able to listen to the music and " you will remember us and love us forever."

Gemello described the performance as "fabulous" and "a tremendous honor."

"I'm delighted and quite thrilled," said Gemello who brought his wife and son. "Glad to see so many students come."

After the show, performers and attendees were treated to a light reception across the auditorium.

Although this was a special concert in tribute to Gemello, Todorov said that they have these free concerts every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Students, faculty and world-renowned musicians come to the auditorium every week to perform.

Slate wins ASI election

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The preliminary results of the Associated Students, Inc. election have The Slate winning 17 out of 19 positions.

Low voter turnout left some candidates frustrated, citing a lack of advertising from the ASI organization and no poll booths as an example.

Voting was held online.

"I can't see how students can join a walkout to City College in the hundreds but they won't vote for the school [student body]," said Frankie Griffen, who won graduate representative.

The Slate's motto is "university united" and they plan to focus attention on student input for next year. They are also involved and supportive of a proposed recreation and wellness center.

"We hope to get more done with less bickering this time around," Griffen said.
Several incumbent ASI officers were re-elected, such president Natalie Franklin and Brian Cole, who now assumes a new role College of Humanities representative.

"I know the Greek community largely participated in voting," Cole said, who is also an associate member of Pi Kappa Phi.

The ASI funds numerous programs on campus and are involved in many student organizations. Members of the board receive stipends for their work that ranges from $500 for representative positions to $800 dollars for vice president positions.

Students can visit the ASI Web site for all the results.

Green jobs may bloom for grads

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These days, jobs are dropping faster than trees in a rain forest. But one industry will rise like a rose through cement cracks: green jobs.

President Obama recently said he would like to have a "clean energy future," and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has also said he would like to create more opportunities in the green job business.

In simple terms, a green job is any occupation that will help the environment. They include environmental consultants, solar energy and wind energy engineers, nuclear engineers, as well as environmental lawyers, ecology educators and much more.

"We are on the verge of a clean energy revolution that has potential to create millions of new jobs, revive our economy, and finally free us from our dependence on foreign oil," Newsom said in a statement.

Janelle Metz, a counselor at SF State's Career Center, said that almost any position falls into the green job area. There could be certain jobs needed to make new products and there will always be business, marketing and administrative people to keep things moving, according to Metz.

"As long as it is shown to be business-smart... (and) at this point there are many companies moving forward with green jobs in mind," Metz wrote in an e-mail, of the possibility of creating more green jobs.

Obama expressed his desire to create five million new jobs by investing $150 billion in alternative and renewable energy.

"[The plan is] a good long-term investment in the future," said David Chan, a business student. "The economy will do well if it goes green."

As of February, California's unemployment rate went up to 10.1 percent, an increase of 4 percent since the beginning of last year, according to the State Employment Development Department. There is a good chance the rate will go up as more students graduate and enter the job market.

"Anything that is involved in creating things, from design to industrial, will definitely help the economy," said Kevin Molina, an engineering student.

Tim O'Connor, a climate policy analyst, says students don't need to have a degree in environmental studies in order to obtain a green job and that "opportunities exist."

"Green jobs give opportunities for all different skills," said O'Connor, who co-authored the

"Green Jobs Guidebook," which provides a resource for people interested in the green jobs marketplace in California.

Metz also mentioned that the Career Center will be able to help students find these kinds of jobs.

Students wage war on SF State campus' mess

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Four years ago, when Charlotte Ely found out that the United States produced enough garbage to wrap around the world six times and then reach halfway to the moon, she was determined to make SF State create something with its compost.

Now, a project spearheaded by the environmental studies alumnus, along with ECO Students and the Cesar Chavez Student Center, will blossom by adding new composting bins all throughout the student center starting April 23.

Once the bins are placed, volunteers will staff each station to demonstrate to students how to compost and recycle, said Emily Naud, the student center's sustainable initiatives coordinator.

"Students should be educated on composting and recycling," Naud said. "It helps students to know why they're doing it," adding that it gives them "incentive to help not only themselves out, but the planet as well."

The new bins will not be the first time that SF State started composting initiatives at the student center.

When ECO Students performed a waste audit in spring 2006, Ely said the results were striking and smelly.

"We were knee-deep in the student center's garbage, and it was mostly messy mountains of stale bagels and orange rinds, coffee grinds and paper plates, and murky stir fry, burrito innards and pizza crust mush," Ely said in an e-mail. "Why send all this organic goodness to the landfill to emit methane -- a greenhouse gas 22 times more potent than carbon dioxide -- when it could be composted into a valuable soil amendment?"

ECO Students met with the student center governing board and proposed a three-part proposal for composting with food vendors, collecting in areas where students eat and utilizing compostable foodware.

In fall 2006, food vendors began to compost, leading to composting pilot stations for students, faculty and staff in spring 2007.

Further expanding its composting program, the student center added new bins to the West Plaza in spring 2008.

As of April 23, all of the student center's compost will be collected.

"Our goal is zero waste by 2020, but hopefully before that," Naud said.

Zero waste suggests that the entire concept of waste should be eliminated and instead be thought of as a "residual product" or simply a "potential resource," according to Zero Waste Alliance, a non-profit promoting zero waste strategies.

Ultimately, there is a need to reduce the landfills because they cause pollution to local environments, Naud said.

"From soil and water contamination in the off-gassing of methane, peoples' health are being negatively impacted," she said. "Composting is a zero waste strategy aimed at protecting the environment and peoples' health."

Ely hopes the bins will convey a message.

"Landfills are the largest anthropogenic source of methane," Ely said. "By diverting organics from landfills, we are helping to fight climate change."

But the biggest challenge with having the green bins on the student center floor will be ensuring that students properly dispose of their food scraps, she said.

This is why ECO Students and volunteers will be at each bin station, according to Naud.
Anyone who would like to help monitor and educate others about the bins can e-mail Emily Naud at emilynaud@mac.com.

Students make public music for all at SF State

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Though a live jam-band was playing loudly on the Malcolm X Plaza stage, Gavin Grant was intent on making his own music.

With arms flailing and eyes locked on the ground in a trance-like stare, he spit out rhymes in a powerful voice using the band's rhythms as his backbeat. Grant's words took his captive audience on a trail of subjects from his personal troubles to love to his style of clothes.

"In my mind I'm always freestyling, so sometimes I got to let it out," said the senior design and industry major. "School's a good opportunity because of all the foot traffic."

That day's session was especially successful. It started with three friends rapping and quickly became a circle of over 10 shouting out "oh!" and "he killed it!" after a good line.
Grant is one of the many students who display their musical skills on campus. On a sunny day, people playing everything from drums to disc jockey sampler boxes hang out in the quad.

Many of these musicians receive a great amount of attention for sharing songs in public.
Andrew McCandless loves playing his acoustic guitar all over SF State. He uses breaks between classes as a chance to test out his newly-written folk tunes. Passersby will give him compliments and even make requests.

"I only know a few cover songs, so I usually just have to wing it," said the computer science senior.

McCandless enjoys a peaceful spot outside where he can be easily seen. He recently played sitting on a rock at the top of the Garden of Remembrance next to Burk Hall.

Like the rappers in a circle, he welcomes other musicians to play along with him. It's the aspect of community that makes playing at school especially appealing, he said.

"If people from class or just walking around bring a guitar randomly, we can talk about it and even play," he said.

This sort of bond between musicians makes carrying an instrument around a great way to meet people.

Arion Bly Sandoval, an undeclared freshman, has been looking to start a rock band but says he loves and can play all types of music. He walks around once a week with a small hand drum and describes it as a great way to meet students with his interests.

"It's just good energy, good people, and everyone's happy," he said about the campus' vibe. "I just walk around and jump in when someone's playing."

Many of the school's "street musicians" also have serious music endeavors.

Leon Breckenridge shouts unscripted raps at school but also writes poetry and hip-hop and DJs in his free time. The more guided side of his music keeps him focused and always improving, he said.

"It's just something I do," he said. "It is how I express myself and it builds character."

Computers widely available for computer-less students

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Students without computer access may find it difficult to succeed at SF State. Teachers communicate mostly through e-mail and research materials, as well as conducting whole classes on the Internet.

Sierra Wallsmith doesn't own a computer because of the cost and uses the HSS computer lab almost every weekday. All of her psychology classes are on iLearn, an online forum used by many SF State professors. She recently transferred from UC Santa Barbara and has been satisfied with SF State's services.

"I think it works better for me," the psychology major said. "I can always get a computer and here there are no distractions."

The campus currently has 354 computers available to all students. The machines are spread throughout the campus and are either run by the library or major departments, such as the business lab. Many departments also have their own facilities available exclusively to their program's students.

"There is pretty adequate access for all types of students," said Thereau Lovell, head of information technology on campus. "We try to accommodate those who don't have this access at home."

Lovell is in charge of the Library Annex's resources. He says the school is gradually progressing its technology, something the library construction will help significantly.

"Each major has special software needs which the school is accumulating more and more," he said. "The construction of the library will increase the number of computers with these software."

Computers are available at all hours in the Library Annex I, located by the police station at the northwest edge of campus. On a typical late night at the building, almost half of the computers are unoccupied. The location seems to be the one complaint constantly heard about the school's all-night access.

"There's always a way I can get a computer at any time," said Melanie Verchere, a junior marketing major who has been relying on school facilities since her computer broke last month.

Students also have the option of checking out laptops from HSS 127 to use for up to four hours. Only a handful of the service's 60 laptops are usually borrowed everyday.

"I have never had an issue with (the laptops)," said political science graduate student Cynthia Bautista. "I use them two or three times a week and the four hours is always enough time."

Besides schoolwork, students also use the campus' computers for entertainment. On screens in every lab there are people on social network sites, blogging, watching videos and even entire episodes of television shows.

"People do everything on these computers that is non-academic," said Jeff O'Toole, a lab coordinator in the Business building.

Whatever they use them for, SF State students can rest assured that the campus will continue to have many places with access to the vital machines that are so necessary for a university education.

Students react to sales tax increase

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San Francisco's new sales tax rate of 9.5 percent is the second highest of all counties in the state, which has the country's highest sales tax.

Mixed feelings are common amongst students who are personally suffering from America's recession, but also realize the desperate financial situation of California. Much of the money will be used to combat the recent dramatic cuts in education and health care.

"California needs more money, it shows in this school," said anthropology student Katelyn Leaird. "They better be accountable, though."

Many students feel the tax is unfair to their demographic, a group notorious for struggling to get by. The new sales tax, they feel, is unfair in that it costs the rich and poor people alike the same amount.

"It's frustrating they're taxing the people instead of going after the corporations and big businesses," said political science student Ashley DiReggiero. "I just can't buy as much these days."

New price changes are likely to force people to consume less. Car sales to book sales are even down this quarter, according General Motors and Borders. GM reported a decline of 45 percent in sales. Borders reported a decline of 11.7 percent in book sales.

For example, the new rate will make the sales tax on a $2,500 MacBook Pro laptop $25.

Many smokers on campus have already felt the stress of the new law due to an extra $1.50 implemented on all cigarette packs earlier this year. In addition to this tax, this month the federal tax on tobacco is going up almost 300%.

Forrest Stone, a junior Sociology major, says the tax has not affected his smoking yet. He sympathizes with the reasons behind the charges but is starting to notice an extra loss of money.

"I really do understand what it's for," he said. "Damn it, though, don't take my money."

Bay Area Sales Tax Rates (by county):
Alameda: 9.75%
Contra Costa: 9.25%
Marin: 9.00%
Napa: 8.75%
San Francisco:9.50%
San Mateo: 9.25%
Santa Clara: 9.25%
Solano: 8.375%
Sonoma: 9.00%

Source: California State Board of Equalization

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