November 2010 Archives
Professor Christopher Carrington isn't afraid to raise a little controversy.
From AIDS awareness to sexual positions, his class covers it. No topic is off limits, not even his take on gay marriage.
The openly gay human sexuality professor is passionate about fighting society's homophobic sentiments, but he doesn't believe in same-sex marriage.
"Marriage as a legal concept is problematic from my point of view. My main concern has to do with inequality between people who are married and those who are not," Carrington said. "For example, hospital visitation. The right to visit someone when they're sick, each person should have the right to determine who would see them. It should never be based on if you are married or not."
Carrington's views on same-sex marriage haven't always been well received by his students. This semester, after sharing his perspective with his class, he received more than 50 emails from students calling him calling him a "communist" and "traitor" to his own community.
"I was just in shock because I assume that if you're part of a community, then you're for that. I thought he would be for gay marriage just because he's gay," said Alina Thomas, a 23-year-old criminal justice major who is currently taking Carrington's human sexuality class. "But when he explained it in more detail, I had more respect for him."
Although Carrington has been in a relationship with his partner for 22 years, he said past experiences have made him oppose marriage as a social institution.
In his early twenties, Carrington worked with HIV and AIDS patients at Colorado General Hospital where he served as a chaplain for two years. During that time, he organized memorial services and provided spiritual support to patients, staff and family members.
Carrington said frequent contact with dying patients led him to the conclusion that marriage disadvantaged the gay and lesbian community.
"In the hospital setting, you would have a gay man at the end of his life and his intimate friends who'd been there for the last 20 years. Then came some relatives, the next of kin, who were suddenly empowered to make all the heath care decisions, make all the decisions about his belongings, make the decisions about what will happen with his body," Carrington said. "All of those decisions were ripped out of hands of people who should've been making them."
He knew that he wanted to change people's perspective on marriage, but was unable to create the impact he hoped for in his years at the hospital.
"In that same period in 1989, I also lost my first partner to HIV so I decided that I wanted a different life course where I can have more impact on people's lives," he said.
Carrington enrolled in graduate school at the University of Colorado at Boulder where he pursued a degree in sociology. He knew he wanted to be a teacher.
He began his career at SF State teaching sociology. When a position opened up in the department of human sexuality in 2002, Carrington's background in human sexuality, the focus of his master's thesis, made him an ideal candidate for the job.
"He's really educated and knows what's going on," said Andrew Cesarz, a 24-year-old graduate student and one of Carrington's teaching assistants this semester. "He's passionate and knows the history of the material that he teaches really well."
Carrington said he still sees himself teaching in five years and that he is driven to make a difference in his students' lives. He sees that as the most rewarding part of his job.
"I'll be teaching this course I hope for quite a long time cause I love doing it and I think I'm pretty good at it," Carrington said. "I can't say it for sure but I know I'll be teaching."
For many college-age members of the Army, the promise of education after tours overseas is a quintessential light at the end of the tunnel. This semester, student veterans at SF State finally have a center to help ensure that they reach their goals in the classroom and beyond.
SF State opened its Veterans Services Center on Nov. 10 as part of California's Troops to College mandate with the intent of providing a space on campus where veterans can seek counsel and start or transfer their educational benefits.
"A lot of new enlistees are going into the military for the educational benefits," said the center's Veteran's Association Certifying Official Rogelio Manaois. "Now, veterans are going to schools they never could have afforded before because of the G.I. Bill. We're making sure that this population that has a unique background is getting all of the services available to them."
The center, located in room 206 of the Student Services Building, offers a wide variety of resources including pre-admission counseling, health services, and educational benefits guidance.
Twenty-four-year-old SF State international relations major Caleb Pearson served a year in Iraq in the Army from 2004-2005. He is graduating this semester and with no other financial support, his education has been the direct result of educational benefits following his time overseas.
"I wanted to serve my country, travel, and get the experience, (but) I joined the military ultimately to pay for college," Pearson said. "So, my educational benefits were a top priority."
Like many student veterans, Pearson relies on the new Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, which went into effect Jan. 1, 2009 and provides coverage of tuition, housing and additional educational expenses for servicemen and women returning to school after at least 90 days of active duty after 2001.
Additionally, California's Troops to College initiative was enacted in 2006 to make the UC, CSU and community colleges more accessible to veterans and the Veterans Center is a product of that mandate.
This semester, about 400 SF State student veterans and more than 400 of their dependents received G.I. benefits and that number continues to grow.
Beyond that, there are more than 100 students on campus who are veterans but do not receive benefits, although they can access the services at the Veterans Center.
President of the SF State Veterans Club Young Nguyen, 24, said the center is a long time coming and is particularly essential for veterans who often are unable to relate to others on campus.
"It's important for student veterans to have their own place because we are such a small population," said Nguyen, a former Marine. "The general student population don't understand veteran issues and they can't relate. (The center) is important because it provides camaraderie and a social support structure to ensure student vets' success in school."
According to SF State Veterans Services Coordinator Ernest Scosseria, nearly 100 percent of student veterans on campus are transfer students, and the Bay Area is particularly attractive to men and women returning from active duty.
"We only have about one or two true (veteran) freshmen and one of the things that attracts veterans is our zip code," Scosseria said.
With the steep property values in the Bay Area, veterans and their dependents receive a much higher basic housing allowance than most other areas, according to Scosseria. Under the bill, the BAH is allotted to student veterans as if they were active duty members based on the zip code of the school they attend.
Like most student veterans, Pearson attended different community colleges before transferring to SF State. He said that while most community colleges offer a military veteran counselor or liaison, counselors were often inadequate and insensitive to veterans' unique backgrounds and needs, specifically when dealing with G.I. benefits.
"It was as if working with veterans was an extra duty that (counselors) didn't want to do," Pearson said. "In the military, I was taught to be a jarhead, and then you get out of the military and right into the classroom (which) can be hard for a lot of people."
The Veterans Center is the realization of a statewide push to ease the transition from military life to the classroom. There is still work to be done, however.
The SF State Veterans Club currently uses the new center but is still looking for a dedicated space for its roughly 30-member club, according to Nguyen.
In addition, Manaois said veterans are often unable to immediately access their benefit funds when making the initial change from the battlefield to college classrooms.
"There's a bit of a lag time between students receiving money and being able to live day-to-day," Manaois said. "There needs to be some kind of funding to bridge the gap."
The Veterans Center will host "Every Day is Veterans Day" in Jack Adams Hall Jan. 13 for student veterans enrolling in fall 2011.
College students are anything but "Loko" for the recent ban of the popular alcoholic energy drink Four Loko that was recently pulled from the shelves due to potential health risks.
"I'm so upset they have been banned," said SF State sophomore Tiffany James, 19. "When I went up north for break, a 7-Eleven was still handing them out but warned us that we could die from drinking them. I've never seen the danger in dying from the delicious drink. They are so good."
The FDA is set to pull all flavors of the beverage, which was labeled a "public health concern" Dec. 13. Warning letters were sent to four beverage makers saying the addition of caffeine to alcoholic beverages is not approved by the agency and is an "unsafe food additive."
"I get college kids in here every weekend since the ban asking if we still have them," said Mark Azu, a 7-Eleven employee in Pacifica. "They were in high demand for the young kids, probably because they were so cheap."
Four Lokos cost roughly $3 and contain the equivalent of three bottles of beer and three cups of coffee in each 23.5-ounce can.
"It scares me to think young kids could get them so easily. I have had them and thought they were great, but I know how to drink in moderation," SF State senior Wesley Balbi, 26. "College kids on a mission to get drunk shouldn't be allowed to have them. The drink is way out of control for them."
Phusion Projects, the label that makes Four Loko, announced it would eliminate caffeine, as well as guarana and taurine, from their drinks so they can put them back on the shelves.
In Phusion's statement to CNN, it compared Four Loko to popular drinks like rum and coke or Irish coffee that also mix caffeine and alcohol.
James Wallen, 32, a bartender at Chug Pub and The Little Shamrock in San Francisco, said he serves caffeinated alcoholic drinks every weekend.
"They aren't dangerous. The main reason they are banning them is the energy combined with alcohol," Wallen said. "It would be like banning Red Bull and vodka.
"Anything is too dangerous if you drink enough of it," Wallen said. You could die if you drink too many Red Bull and vodkas or too many Coors Lights."
The FDA has issued a yearlong review, which will give the companies 15 days to either reformulate their products.
If the companies do not comply, they face possible seizure under federal law.
According to Phusion, the FDA has never had a clear policy on caffeinated alcohol.
"The only reason this particular drink has received so much attention than any other drink we prepare at a bar is because of the demographic they're marketing," Wallen said. "Young drinkers are their target.
"The cans are cheap, fruit- flavored and brightly colored. It grabs the young drinker's attention."
Caffeine can mask the effects of alcohol, leaving drinkers unaware of how intoxicated they are.
And that is what happened to the nine underage students at Central Washington University.
They were hospitalized after allegedly drinking Four Loko and mixing them with other drinks.
"I think it is absolutely ridiculous that we have to pay the price for some kids that couldn't drink responsibly. I mean who drinks a Four Loko with other alcohol? It is just kids asking for trouble," SF State freshman Tara Walker, 18, said.
San Francisco EMT Joseph Spoul believes that for the time being, the FDA has made the right decision by banning the "blackout in a can."
"They are extremely dangerous. College kids get wrapped up with the binge drinking and having something this powerful in a can they gulp down like soda is very unhealthy for your body," Spoul said. "Most young college students I see in danger for binge drinking just don't know when to stop."
After much debate and weeks of waiting, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved a new process to select a temporary mayor once Gavin Newsom leaves office to serve as lieutenant governor in January.
The new process will open the floor to public comment and allow each board member to nominate one person. Supervisors cannot nominate themselves. Once all nominations are in, the board as a Committee of the Whole will determine by a six-vote majority who should become mayor.
San Francisco resident Stephanie Demos said the most important thing the board can do is appoint someone "without delay" and ensure the nominee is suitable for the job.
"We don't need a career politician," Demos said. "We need someone who is knowledgeable."
If the current board is unable to reach a decision within the next few weeks, board president David Chiu will serve as temporary mayor. Appointing an interim mayor would then fall upon the new board when the new supervisors are sworn in Jan 8. City voters will elect a new mayor in Nov. 2011.
Supervisor Chris Daly said that the next important step is to determine the desired qualities in the new mayor.
"We owe it to ourselves and the city to have a conversation and discussion before what could be some pretty wild deliberations," Daly said.
Disagreements over the nomination process consumed most of the Nov. 23 meeting. Clerk of the Board Angela Calvillo presented a proposal draft outlining the process for filling the mayor's position to which Supervisor Daly disagreed with several points. He then presented his own amended version of the Clerk's proposal, for which the board held a 30-minute recess to write up a new draft in order to reach a compromise and accommodate Daly's requests.
Several supervisors and members of the public voiced concerns about how convoluted the debate had become in regard to the process of creating these new rules.
"We've got to step back from the politics and look at what is best for San Francisco," said Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier. "We need to start moving on, and these parliamentary tricks and games aren't going to get us anywhere."
The bulk of the debate came from supervisors trying to hammer out a draft in what Supervisor Sophie Maxwell called a "string cheese" method that consisted of picking and choosing what parts of the original Clerk's proposal to keep while discarding others.
Supervisor Sean Elsbernd said he was becoming uncomfortable with the process and said he thought the proceedings were "getting really absurd."
Currently, the San Francisco City Charter determines how the board should appoint a new mayor and allows for a supervisor to fill the vacant position.
A motion to create the new process for selecting an interim mayor was introduced at the board's Nov. 16 meeting in order to make the steps more transparent and minimize conflicts of interest among supervisors. While nominations for the mayor's successor were to be chosen at the Nov. 23 meeting, the board voted to hold off on hearing nominations until Dec. 7.
"Most of us feel exhausted," said Supervisor David Campos of the last few meetings. "It doesn't make sense to go down the road of taking nominations."
Craft beer has had roots in San Francisco far longer than the recent nationwide explosion, but for people who scrape together just for mass produced domestics, the small-batch local bottles may be out of reach.
Mainstream consciousness of artisan beers is hitting a high point, even spawning a show on Discovery called Brew Masters that follows maestros in search of the perfect ingredients. According to the Brewers Association, craft brewing generated $6.98 billion in retail profits during 2009 and grew by 12 percent in retail income for the first half of 2010.
Small-batch and locally produced beers are becoming popular with the idea that superior quality is created and better ingredients are added when made by people with a passion for their product.
But with quality comes a heightened price tag for the consumer.
"In my own shoes, 20 years ago, I was one of those people who bought cheap domestic lager," he said. "In the larger model of craft foods, the unfortunate thing is that they cost more. We're not trying to be elitist, it does cost us more to buy really good barley and really good hops."
Marjorie Lammon, 24-year-old marketing major at SF State, has tried local beers at restaurants such as Monk's Kettle in the Mission District which is geared toward getting diners to pair dinner with beer.
"It's a good time, and the beer really does taste completely different than what I'm used to and pairs well with food, but when it comes down to it I can't afford the luxury of fine beer like I can't afford a lot of other fine things."
For reasons of economics or leisure, people have begun taking it upon themselves to create specialized brews from home, bypassing the retail markup while controlling the quality of ingredients.
Recent SF State alum Henri Gruen began his homebrew operation in his Sunset apartment when he was 20. At first experimenting in creating an elixir he couldn't lawfully purchase, it grew to a steady hobby among him and his friends.
"The first batch was bad, but it was alcohol and that's all that mattered," said Gruen, now 24. "I didn't consider myself anything like a beer snob, but over the years you learn an appreciation for the work that goes into it and the differences you're able to manipulate."
McLean agrees, citing his own experience brewing in his 20s as a marriage of science and cooking. "Brewing for economy is probably the least fun," he said. "It's fun in the curious scientific aspect of deconstruction and learning about something you like and making something tailor made to your likes."
For people on a budget who uninterested in taking the leap to home brew, a number of spots in the city provide a bridge from Pabst to more refined varieties. At City Beer Store in SOMA, more than 300 beers can be purchased in mixed six packs for a 10 percent discount or consumed in store for a dollar corkage fee. Not far from SF State, Beach Chalet offers on site brewing with seven beers on tap and seasonal additions. And the Mission isn't the only place elevating beer's status within restaurants; Social Kitchen and Brewery on 9th Avenue offers on-site brews with foodie delights.
Mating beer and food is nothing new, but beer's ascension into culinary ranks to the prominence of wine is something people aren't quite used to.
"There are common threads, specifically the carmelization of sugar in barley, that create a natural affinity with something like a roasted meat, because of the similarity in the cooking," said McLean.
Gruen is also expanding his small brewing horizons, creating beers to pair with friends' cooking at dinner parties.
"It's really cool to bring something and say that you made it, from start to finish, and it's actually good," he said. "So in a way me and my friends can create on some small and cheap scale the ideas that more expensive restaurants are doing."
San Francisco Brewcraft, a homebrew supply store that's been operating for 14 years on Clement Street, caters to the needs of local homebrewers, offering free classes taught by the owners on Monday nights.
"We've made every mistake, and that's the only way to learn," said employee and brewer Mike Daddona. "The aesthetic of wanting to make something yourself versus paying someone to make it for you are very different."
For those worried about time and money, Daddona assures that with some simple instructions anyone can make good beer for an initial $120 investment in equipment and $30 per five gallons thereafter.
"If a bunch of guys can get together and make it work, that should prove that it's pretty much foolproof," he said. "If you can let go of your ego and give it a try you can probably make a really good beer."
McLean suggests that people with a finite amount of money approach craft beer differently than they might think about mass produced beers.
"It might require a willingness to drink less and go for more character and uniqueness," he said. "Re-assessing what your beer experience is, by thinking this is special because it's made down the street from me by people following their dream, it's almost a different animal altogether."
According to Daddona, though, it's important to retain a sense of humor.
"We try not to take it too seriously. It is just alcohol, after all."
As the week ends and we begin that glorious time known as Thanksgiving break, I thought it'd be appropriate to send everyone off this week with tips to how to have a sustainable Thanksgiving! Most Thanksgivings consist of turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy and a pie. I'm sure there's a routine we all go through to purchase these items but why not switch it up this year? Here are my tips:
1. Shop organic
While organic has become a catch all term for healthier food (and often times more expensive), it makes much more sense when it comes to meat. Organic meat tends to mean that the animal was raised more ethically (e.g., grass-fed, free range, etc.), rather than just pesticide or hormone free (though that's true too). If you can afford an organic turkey do it! The turkey will thank you for it.
2. Shop local
Farmers' markets are amazing for several reasons, one of which is the produce is from your area (or state) and they have (sometimes) cheaper prices. Buy all your produce from a farmers' market to have fresher ingredients for Thursday's meal. Go check out the Stonestown Farmer's Market this Sunday if you're around campus or check out Only in San Francisco's list of farmers' markets in the city.
When I finish my Thanksgiving meal and turkey-induced (food coma) sleepiness begins, I soon think about the leftovers and what I'll be eating for the weeks to come. Save what you can, but the scraps can go into the compost bin. This cuts down on useless waste and, if you live in a city like San Francisco, will soon be used to plant something beautiful to either look at or grow (eat?).
4. Try something new (and vegetarian).
As a recent convert to vegetarianism, I've wonder what food options await me come Thanksgiving. The answer: sides. However, if you are cooking your own meal, why not switch it up this year? The New York Times recently released an interactive vegetarian Thanksgiving recipe guide. You'll be enticed by items like the, endive and radicchio salad with pear or the carrot-parsnip soup with parsnip chips. While you might not ditch the turkey any time soon, it may be worth it to add a new side dish to your meal. Plus it's healthy!
There are many other ways to go sustainable for Turkey Day like asking your family to bring their own dishes and not using paper plates or plastic forks. While it is a bit more work, it's small steps like these that lead to a healthier planet and (I think) a healthier you! Enjoy your Thanksgiving everyone!
A chemical reaction caused the SF State Police Station to be evacuated Thursday evening after University police used a testing kit to identify a substance they obtained on a call, according to University spokeswoman Ellen Griffin.
The initial reaction occurred at 4:45 p.m., prompting about five fire trucks to arrive at the scene and officials marked off the area directly in front of the police station.
"When the substances combined, it caused an unexpected reaction," Griffin said.
Neither Griffin nor Deputy Police Chief Reggie Parson could confirm the substance but an industrial hygienist will perform preliminary testing on the materials.
Paramedics arrived on the scene and examined five people but there were no injuries. One was sent to a hospital for further evaluation, three were determined fine and one is still pending in triage.
Officials asked all people not exposed to the unknown substance to keep away from the affected area. However, the situation is now contained.
The Library Annex and adjacent buildings were not evacuated and are still open to students.
Administration halted a dancer in the middle of her performance yesterday when SF State's Culturefest 2010 went past 2 p.m., breaking the University's restriction on playing music in the quad in the afternoon.
"I'm appalled," said Mitra Ara, who professor of foreign languages and literature. "I cannot justify this. They're just going to cut off a performer's music in the middle of her dance?"
Four international campus organizations put on the event in honor of International Education Week: Office of International Programs; Leadership, Engagement, Action, Development; International Education Exchange Council; and International House.
Culturefest received no money from administration and garnered support from local donations, Ara said.
The abrupt ending of the event also forced an SF State, Filipino student organization to cancel its performance, even though the students had practiced for weeks.
According to members of I-House, and organization dedicated to promoting linguistic, cultural and artistic activities, the 30-minute performance was put at then end of the schedule and administration promised the event could go until 2:30 p.m.
"It doesn't seem like the administration is looking out for the student's best interest," said senior E.T. Taylor, who is a member of the Filipino act that was supposed to perform. "They're hella strict on time which is understandable but it's not our fault."
Ara fears that sponsors of the event will not only be unsupportive for next year's Culturefest but will also ask for their money back for this year's event.
However, the event was still a relative success.
"The turnout was pretty good," said I-House representative and sophomore Kathleen Cervantes. "A lot of people came out and asked a lot questions and wanted to get more information."
The purpose of Culturefest is to draw students into learning more about various ethnic cultures by displaying an array of exhibits and performances.
Still, the sudden interruption put a damper on the event as a whole.
Ara vowed to speak with Corrigan and the rest of the administration about their reason for stopping the performances, so the situation does not occur again.
"We have to resolve this," Ara said. "I will talk to Corrigan or whoever I have to, to see that this doesn't happen again. This is not a good look for the University."
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors began grappling with the task of appointing a replacement for Mayor Gavin Newsom last night before he is inaugurated as lieutenant governor in January.
But as the meeting drew to a close, the board opted not to move forward until further notice.
"We at the board of supervisors are entrusted with a very serious responsibility with regards to this (decision)," said board President David Chiu at Tuesday's meeting.
The San Francisco City Charter dictates that the Board of Supervisors chooses an interim mayor if the current mayor is unable to perform his duties.
Also, due to time and regulations, the Board of Supervisors will work with the Clerk of the Board to put together a process of appointing an interim mayor.
"The charter basically governs what happens in the event of a vacancy," said Judson True, legislative aide to Chiu.
"This is probably the most extraordinary decision we're going to make as the Board of Supervisors," said Supervisor John Avalos. He continued to say that public input is essential for this decision to go forward.
Stressing the importance of having transparency when it comes to making this decision, Avalos sponsored a motion for a public hearing to consider the appointment of Newsom's successor.
The supervisors are allowed to choose a successor to Newsom and at least six members of the board must make the decision. Yet, there is fluidity in the way the board moves forward.
"There is considerable flexibility in the board's rule of how the board will structure the process," Calvillo said.
However, even though Newsom will be sworn in as lieutenant governor in about two months, his successor cannot rise to the mayor's seat until Newsom officially steps down.
And even then, Newsom's replacement would only stay in office as a place holder until the next mayor is chosen during November 2011 election.
Nevertheless, Avalos' decision allows the board to prepare for the eventual vacancy.
"Due to the importance of appointing a successor mayor, a committee as a whole may be more advantageous to the board as it allows the item to be commented on by the public and to be heard by the full board," Calvillo said.
Typically, a three-member rules committee hears the possible appointments before the full board considers them. Still, the significance of the decision may place more emphasis on the board.
"The reality is that when we begin this process, my hope is that the focus is not on individuals, the focus on the process," Campos said in support of the motion. "I think the process will ultimately determine the ability of a person for the job."
The California Supreme Court handed down a glimmer of hope to undocumented students in California's public higher education system on Monday with its decision to allow them to continue paying the in-state tuition rates granted by the passing of Assembly Bill 540 in 2001.
The decision came in light of a 2005 lawsuit brought by 42 non-resident students who believed undocumented AB 540 students were given an unfair advantage by only having to pay in-state fees, regardless of their citizenship status.
According to the plaintiffs, this violates Federal immigration laws that dictate illegal immigrants can be given no advantage over legal citizens when it comes to public higher education.
"We made the argument that this requirement did not involve residency," said Erik Fallis, spokesman with the Chancellor's office. "Therefore, it did not violate Federal immigration laws."
Under AB 540, a student is only required to attend a California high school for three years and receive a diploma or its equivalent to attend a public college or university for the in-state rate.
According to Fallis, if an undocumented student fulfills these requirements, he or she deserves a spot on a CSU campus.
Despite the victory, Kris Kobach, attorney for the plaintiffs and co-author of Arizona's controversial Senate Bill 1070, said he intends to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case.
Because undocumented students aren't able to receive public scholarships, grants or student loans, they are forced to seek out private scholarships or work to fund their education.
If AB 540 was overturned, the subsequent fee increase of nearly $400 per unit could block access to the roughly 3,600 students who qualify for AB 540 statewide.
Raul Barrera, 19, is one of these students.
After graduating from John O'Connell high school in San Francisco, he moved down south to continue his education at Cal Poly Pomona.
Following the budget cuts and tuition increases of the last few semesters, Barrera was forced to leave his CSU and transfer to a community college. If the Federal Supreme Court were to reverse Monday's ruling, even a CC education may be out of his reach.
"If AB 540 was overturned and I had to pay out-of-state fees I would probably go to some other country that accepts my intellect," Barrera said. "It is depressing to hear other states declare not to help the undocumented population by not supporting laws such as AB 540."
But undocumented students aren't the only ones affected by the ruling. Students who moved out of state after completing three years in a California high school are also eligible to pay in-state fees under the umbrella of AB 540.
"I'm very happy that AB 540 was upheld," said Arandelly Mendoza Arias, vice president of IDEAS at SF State, a group dedicated to encouraging and educating AB 540 students.
"It's already difficult to pay for in-state tuition. Had it been revoked it would've been very difficult for the majority of undocumented students to continue their education."
To help lighten the burden, SF State's Associated Students Incorporated offers 29 scholarships, all of which are open to AB 540 students. They also offer the Delmy Rodriguez Memorial Scholarship, which is directly aimed at undocumented students.
Many agreed forcing students to pay out-of-state fees could potentially help the CSU with its current financial slump. However, because undocumented students constitute less than one percent of the CSU population, it's unlikely making them pay more would do anything other than shut them out.
"It wouldn't benefit the CSU," said Emily Switzer, vice president of finance for ASI. "It would just open up more spaces for other students at the expense of something we've traditionally valued, which is acceptance, cultural diversity and helping students get through this school no matter their background."
Jo Volket, associate vice president of enrollment planning and management at SF State wasn't able to put an exact number on AB 540 students on campus, although she recognized its impact.
"I think AB 540 has been a wonderful opportunity for a lot of students to be able to go to college," Volkert said. "I personally would hate to see it go away if it went to the (Federal) Supreme Court."
As an uncertain state budget looms, the University is looking to save $1-1.5 million annually amid an $18 million budget shortfall through massive restructuring of its colleges while cutting six administrative positions next year.
The University Planning Advisory Council will submit its initial recommendations to reformat SF State's eight current colleges into six to President Robert Corrigan early this December. Although UPAC will not recommend cutting programs, departments or faculty, cuts may still be in the University's future pending next year's state funding.
"What your situation is that it's not the taxpayers that are subsidizing your education, it's faculty and staff on the campus that are subsidizing your education," Corrigan said. "You can't do that for very long and maintain a high quality faculty."
The proposal will be some variation of one of the four proposals currently before UPAC that would merge the current eight colleges on campus into six. The projected $1-1.5 million in savings, which is equivalent to 10-15 full time tenured faculty or about 200-300 class sections, will come exclusively from cutting the positions of two deans, two associate deans and two college development officers.
Corrigan would not identify which positions would be the ones to go, but with the amount of CSU funding in next year's budget unclear and the University at risk for a midyear budget cut, faculty are concerned UPAC's proposal will be a precursor to more sweeping changes in public higher education.
"Going from six to eight colleges is just the tip of the iceberg," said SF State President of the California Faculty Association Ramon Castellblanch. "We could see much broader changes than that. There's a distinct possibility that we could see discontinuation of programs, which could change the very nature of the University and higher education altogether."
The 12-member committee of administrators and faculty has generated significant unrest on campus this semester and both teachers and students have questioned the representativeness and transparency of the council, which operates in closed meetings and, since May, did not have a voting student member.
"This process is not as open or deliberative as necessary," Castellblanch said. "That's not what we need in a situation like this because of how high the stakes are."
UPAC and Academic Senate Chair Shawn Whalen said proposed savings will not come from cutting departments or firing any teachers, which may come as a relief to some. Still, it is unclear how hard state schools will be hit by next year's budget and programs and faculty may still be at risk in 2011.
"The six-college structure is something we need to do first before we consider things that are more challenging," Whalen said.
Council under fire
Castellblanch sat on the committee in the spring as a non-voting member. He objected to the closed meetings and lack of faculty involvement in the process and subsequently withdrew his membership.
"The CFA decided we didn't want to participate in a way that would add legitimacy in the process," Castellblanch said. "We were admonished not to share the discussion in the room (and) we were concerned about the closed nature in which the committee was operating. Given the magnitude of the issues before UPAC, the faculty really needs to be part of the deliberation."
UPAC provided opportunities for public contribution by offering ways to make suggestions on its website and through email and hosted two open town hall meetings this fall. Whalen said the decision to hold closed weekly meetings was made to prevent members from being scrutinized over everything they said.
"We didn't want to be broadcasting ideas people were just tossing out there because we didn't want to get people upset needlessly," Whalen said. "On the other hand, we didn't want to have spotlight on (the committee members) because we wanted them to be able to participate and feel like they weren't risking their reputations with every contribution they made to the committee."
Still, the nature of the meetings did not help public perception of UPAC and there has been confusion over what college restructuring will mean for staff and students as the issue progresses.
"We are concerned as students and deserve to have a say in the concepts (UPAC is) working on," said ASI VP of University Affairs Flora Nguyen, 21. "Getting information to students and faculty (from UPAC) is very difficult when they're in closed session and there is no representative to report back."
Council members were chosen by Corrigan from a list compiled by the Academic Senate. Students have wanted a voice in UPAC after its only student member graduated in May and ASI's request for the appointment of a student member was granted.
"After the second town hall meeting, a lot of the board members were very concerned about the lack of representation," said ASI President Cynthia Ashton. "No matter what, there must be a student representative on that board."
Corrigan said he did not want to bring in a new student representative in the middle of the initial round of reviews but that a student will be brought on for the next phase.
ASI's appointee, Amanda Chamsi, will sit on the committee in its sessions going forward after the initial December recommendations are made.
Cuts still loom
Although UPAC does not have the authority to address cutting departments and faculty, the notion that the six-college structure is likely a predecessor for bigger changes is something most parties involved agree on.
"There is a massive restructuring of public higher education altogether in California," Castellblanch said. "Given what the stakes may well be, we need a strategy that recognizes the broader issue and takes advantages of resources both on campus and in the legislature."
Whichever way UPAC proposes to set up the six colleges, it will be the first of many steps in the process of streamlining the University in response to a crippling reduction in state funding.
"The University is changing dramatically and a lot of people don't recognize that need for change," Ashton said.
The degree of change will ultimately depend on the state legislature's decisions and its prioritization of higher education.
"It's going to get a lot worse before it gets better," Whalen said. "We haven't had any conversations about establishing a hierarchy of academic programs that we would recommend keeping or recommend discontinuing, but I suspect at some point we'll have to be doing that kind of work. Until you know what the limitations of the budget are, nobody wants to have that conversation."
Over the past five years, the University lost $62 million in state funding and this was the first year in which the school did not hire new faculty, according to Corrigan. Even after UPAC's proposed savings, SF State would still face a $16-17 million shortfall and is at risk for a mid-year state budget cut.
After the council's initial recommendations this winter, the Academic Senate would likely have to consider bigger changes to make up for the remaining deficit.
"Next year, regardless of what the government does and the legislature, we've still got an $18 million problem," Corrigan said. "We're still addressing significant shortfalls and every million dollars is significant savings. We've also got to look at areas where perhaps there's not as much of a priority there for a program as there is for something else."
Over the past summer, 15 students traveled to El Salvador to film a promotional video over the course of 23 days, all as a part of the BECA 580 Media in Community Service course, taught by Betsy Blosser.
During their stay, the production crew traveled throughout the Central American country with over $10,000 worth of equipment conducting interviews and filming. Their final video promotes the work of Manos de Esperanza (translates to Hands of Hope), a non-profit organization engaged with humanitarian work in the country, such as providing impoverished schools with supplies and scholarships to students in economic need.
The screening will be held on Thursday Nov. 18, in Creative Arts Room 116 at 11:30 a.m.
While CSU fees are scheduled to increase in the spring of 2011, federal student loan limits will remain the same, according to SF State's Associate Director of Financial Aid Jimmie Wilder.
"We don't have any updates as to when the loan limit will increase," said Sara Gast, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Education.
Wilder said the last time the federal loan aggregate limit increased was in July of 2008 and is unaware when it will be raised next time.
"Although no one likes to see fees increase for students and their families, the CSU has been forced to increase fees to cover the state budget reductions that have been imposed since 2007-08," said Jo Volkert, associate vice president of enrollment management at SF State.
According to Volkert, raising fees puts a financial burden predominantly on students who are not eligible for financial AID, as well as the 39 percent of the student population receiving loans for enrollment.
Students who already use loans might have to apply for more if the money they receive does not cover the 5 percent fee increase scheduled for the spring of 2011 and the projected 10 percent fee increase for the 2011-2012 academic year, said Wilder.
Despite the impending increase, Volkert said the CSU estimates that 45 percent of all students in the system will receive enough money through State University and Cal grants from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid to cover the additional cost.
"I'm so sick of the politics of paying for school, I just want to graduate," said Katrina Estrella, a communications major at SF State who receives loans to pay for housing and tuition.
Because she lived with her parents in the East Bay during her freshman and sophmore years, Estrella, 20, said this semester was the first time she applied for and received a federal loan.
Students like Estrella apply for federal loans when grants from federal student aid do not equal the University's cost of attendance, which includes registration fees, books, supplies, housing and transportation, according to FAFSA's website.
The cost of attending SF State for a full-time undergraduate student who lives on or off campus is $23,476 and $15,454 for a student who lives at home during the 2010-2011 school year, according to the University's website.
Estrella received $17,000 in federal loans for the 2010-2011 school year and said she will have to apply again during her senior year.
"I'll probably be paying $40,000 after graduation," said Estrella, who lives in an apartment at Lakeshore to avoid the two-hour commute from the East Bay.
When grants and federal loans aren't enough, Wilder said students can choose to apply for an alternative loan to pay for remaining fees.
"A student can apply for an alternative loan through a private lender or bank who participates in the alternative loan industry," Wilder said.
After the student submits an application to his or her potential lender, SF State financial aid officials verify the information to certify the loan online, said Wilder.
Citibank Student Loan Corporation, Fifth Third Bank and the Star One Credit Union are some of the alternative lenders listed on SF State's website, although the University says it does not intend to endorse or promote a specific private lender.
College is a time of life that usually consists of all-nighters, top ramen and mass amounts of alcohol.
Luckily, pulling all-nighters and eating top ramen costs you almost nothing. Alcohol, however, is another story. It's cheap to drink at home, but who wants to stay home and drink all the time? I don't know about you, but on a Saturday night, I'm going out! The problem is, it's expensive to go out in the city. Drinks at most bars are notoriously watered down and overpriced. Pre-partying (drinking at home before going out) or bringing a flask along with you can only get you so far.
One of the best places I've found to get your buzz on and kick it around the city for cheap is Trad'r Sam in Outer Richmond. It's a tiki-style bar with a juke box and booths decorated in an island theme. They have a full bar and offer anything you can muster, but what I recommend are their specialty drinks.
They have killer scorpion bowls for $14.00. This drink can (and should) be shared. It's a mystical mix of many different liquors and it packs a punch. The bar lists the scorpion bowl as a four-person drink, but I say split it between two people, and you're set.
Another specialty drink they offer is the Volcano. It's $16.00 and is sweeter, and slightly less potent than the scorpion bowl. Topped with whipped cream, this is a delicious treat and really does take you to a tropical island in your head.
Screw paying $10.00 for a splash of liquor and a lot of ice. Grab a slice of island life and hit up Trad'r Sam.
Until next time...
Do you know of any other bars that are worth your lucky penny? Let Lindsey know on Twitter.
Looking for something fun and exciting to do on campus? Interested in international education? Look no further!
Next week, SF State will host the International Education Week, with the theme "Striving for a Sustainable Future." According to the University website, IEW began in 2000 thanks to then U.S. President Bill Clinton, and works to encourage international education here and abroad.
For those not aware, international education refers to studying abroad and what not.
Take time this week to try new foods, learn about other cultures and even how to design green buildings?
Yes green buildings! I took a chance to look over the events and this event stuck out:
Open Classroom: Global Green Building Methods and Design Solutions
Monday, Nov. 15,11:10 a.m. to 12:10 p.m. in Burk Hall 336
Description: "The class will discuss international building methods and materials advancing sustainable design and construction. Instructor and students will present research of other countries for global design solutions addressing energy efficiency, conservation of resources, and recycling."
While I have no idea how to draft anything, it's definitely great to have a space to learn about new ways to build sustainably.
Is there one event in particular you're looking forward too? Let me know in the comments!
Steve Li, 20-year-old City College of San Francisco student and Peruvian citizen, will be deported back to his home country by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Nov. 15.
There was no formal announcement made regarding the decision and instead, Sin Yen Ling, Li's attorney, found out about the arrangement the night of Nov. 11 through a credible source in the system who wanted to remain anonymous.
"We're lucky to even find out about this," Ling said.
Ling quickly notified Li's supporters about moving the date for a rally to get Sen. Barbara Boxer's attention forward. It was originally set to be Nov. 17 where they would light candles and deliver petitions to Boxer's office.
A teach-in and press conference are scheduled for Nov. 13 in front the senator's office. Supporters are pressing for Boxer to pass a private bill that would allow Li to remain in the country.
Ling said Li did not know about ICE's deportation plan to Peru until the two spoke on Thursday night.
According to Ling, Li sounded fine but it was probably due to the fact that he was still "in shock" and still needed some time to take all of the information in.
"My hopes are diminishing," Ling said. "This time around we may not have a successful story. But the reality, we're going to push for reaching out to Boxer tomorrow but it's looking dim."
Li Ma, Li's mother, was in tears when she appeared at the meeting to discuss Friday's protest.
"Every time I think about it, it makes me sad," Li said. "I'm still waiting for a miracle to happen."
On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to declare a statement that Li's deportation was wrong. The same day, the San Francisco School Board passed a similar resolution condemning ICE for deporting Li.
Ling said she called some people that may help to shelter Li in Peru if he is in fact deported.
"He has some Chinese-Peruvian friends here so we ask them to call their moms and dads to pick him up in the airport," she said.
Li, himself, does not know anyone back in Peru.
"In the last week and a half, he's been feeling good because he knew there's so much happening on the outside," Ling said. "But I think this new information tonight would give him a room for pause."
Members of the SF State women's soccer team have packed their bags and flown to Hawaii.
As the first-ever California Collegiate Athletic Association champions in the University's history, they have secured a bid in the NCAA Division II National Soccer Championships on Nov. 11 in the Aloha State.
The Gators earned their spot by defeating the Cal State L.A. Golden Eagles 3-2 in penalty kicks on Nov. 7 at Cal State Stanislaus.
The following day, the Gators screamed with excitement when they heard they would be going to Hawaii to face the University of California San Diego Tritons.
"I feel so confident that we are going to win," said senior midfielder Carly Bliss. "I'm over the moon."
If the Gators beat UCSD, they will play Brigham Young University Hawaii on Saturday, Nov. 13.
NCAA games are traditionally played on Fridays and Sundays, but because BYU Hawaii is a Mormon school, their team doesn't play on Sundays.
Of the 24 players making the trip, Bliss, Myriah Johnson, Sarah Whelan, Annicia Jones and Michelle Spinner received All-CCAA honors, which recognize some of the best players in the league.
Coming off an emotional 4-3 penalty shootout win on Friday against the Tritons, the Gators looked to use that momentum in the final game of the CCAA championships against the 25th-ranked Golden Eagles on Sunday.
SF State took an early lead in the 14th minute of the first half when sophomore midfielder Spinner scored her sixth goal of the season off a pass from Bliss and senior forward Johnson.
As a result, Bliss was named the Most Valuable Offensive Player of the CCAA tournament.
"She is good on and off the field," said Jones, the Gators' goalkeeper. "When I first got here, I connected the most with her of all the seniors."
Three minutes later, the Golden Eagles' Liz Franco tied the game after receiving a pass from her teammates Stacey Rodwell and Ann Marie Tangora.
For the rest of the game, the Gators relied on their gritty defense. Jones withstood 21 shots from the Golden Eagles and recorded eight saves. She was also named the tournament's Most Valuable Defensive Player.
"Annicia played out of her head," said assistant coach Mary Trigg. "She keeps getting better and the thing about her is that she has a quick reaction."
However, the biggest save came courtesy of defender Nicole Smith who blocked senior forward Alex Conley's shot attempt with 13 seconds left in the second half.
In the overtime periods, the Gators were outshot 5-0 but did not give up a goal; for the second game in a row, they would go to a penalty shootout.
In the opening round, both teams missed their first attempt. Each team scored in the next two rounds resulting in a 3-3 tie. Freshman defender Mari Mendizabal scored the game-winning goal when the next two kicks by the Golden Eagles were missed giving SF State a 3-2 victory and their first CCAA title.
The women's soccer team has come a long way from the club sport it was in the early 80s with no money, no budget and no strong players and head coach Jack Hyde has been there through it all.
"It's fitting for Jack," Trigg said. "He was the first women's coach and I'm glad it happened under him."
After Hyde's 29 years coaching, he's glad to see the team progress.
"Over the years, we try to raise the bar," Hyde said. "We keep on getting better as more players come in and when players carry over their experience onto upcoming seasons."
As the coach of the first ever CCAA champions at State, Hyde is glad his efforts have paid off.
"It's absolutely exhilarating to win the CCAA soccer championships," he said. "It was especially for the players, for Mary and I and for the athletic trainer."
Trigg, who came on as coach in 2008, experienced in the NCAA playoffs when the women's soccer team played against Cal State Dominguez Hills and lost 2-1 in the West Regional Game.
"Winning breeds more winning," Trigg said. "That senior class got it going and the current team, a lot of them sophomores at the time, liked that feeling of the NCAA."
The CSU Board of Trustees Finance Committee agreed to increase student fees by 15 percent over the next year Nov. 9, despite numerous objections from audience members.
The entire board will vote on the increase today.
"I am now forced to drop out from my last semester at Cal State Fullerton because I no longer am able to afford it. I will leave Cal State Fullerton with an unfinished career opportunity and a debt to work on," said Michelle Santizo, a board member for CSU Fullerton's Associated Students, Inc. "You have already taken my dream and you will continue to take many other's dreams when you keep increasing fees."
The fee increase, approved in two motions, will raise fees by 5 percent for the spring 2011 semester and 10 percent for the 2011-2012 academic year.
"It's rather frightening to see higher education attacked by irrational decisions such as raising fees," said Priscilla Martinez, a student at CSU Dominguez Hills. "These decisions are directly affecting California State University students and holding us back from graduation."
However, even with the increase, the CSU system will be 39 percent lower than 15 other public universities across the country that the California Postsecondary Education Commission grouped for comparison with the CSUs, according to Herbert Carter, chair of the CSU Board of Trustees.
"By Comparison with the rest of the country, the CSU system has been and will remain a relatively affordable institution," he said.
The finance committee also voted to recommend to CSU Chancellor Charles Reed to change the terminology from "fees" to "tuition."
"We want to be honest in the terms we use and we're planning to start using the term 'tuition' to refer to some of the fees our students currently pay," said Benjamin Quillian, chief financial officer for the board. "This is only a change in terminology."
Still, there are implications in terms of public policy and California's approach toward higher education.
The change in terminology would change the state's mindset and allow for further increases to the CSU system said board member Melinda Guzman.
"This board, I don't believe, should be making a public policy decision that significantly alters legislative intent of creating our system," she said. "That is what I have a problem with."
In an effort to battle the growing trend of childhood obesity, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted Nov. 9 to charge 25 cents for toys offered with kid's meals at fast-food chains until they improve the nutritional value of their menu.
In an 8-3 final vote, the Healthy Kids Meal Incentive Ordinance made San Francisco the first city in the country to implement such a regulation that will take effect December 2011.
The goal of the ordinance is to promote healthier food choices and confront childhood obesity among San Francisco's low-income communities and "food deserts," which are neighborhoods that lack access to healthy and fresh food choices, supervisor Eric Mar said.
Rules and regulations for the ordinance will be worked out by the Department of Public Health. Although Mayor Gavin Newsom is expected to veto the ordinance, the supervisors are expecting to overturn the Mayor's decision, said Linshao Chin, legislative aide to Supervisor Mar.
"The mayor feels it's bad policy because it attacks the right of parent's choice in what they can feed their kids," said Chief Deputy Communications Director for the mayor, Francis Tsang.
Supervisor Bevan Dufty, whose swing vote pushed the ordinance through Nov. 2, said he was surprised at the mayor's objection to the ban because he has always advocated for slow-cooked food sources and community gardens in the city.
"My first reaction was it isn't the city's role to regulate toy giveaways," said Dufty. "But the more I looked at the impact (of fast-food) on child obesity, the more the ordinance makes sense."
According to a report released in 2009 by the Trust for America's Health, 30.5 percent of California children are overweight or obese. Nationally, $1.2 billion is spent on Happy Meals for children under 12 and $360 million on toy production, according to Dufty.
He said the ban intends to "dislink" toy rewards from foods loaded with saturated fat, sodium and sugars to help parents steer their kids away from unhealthy choices.
According to the 2010 McDonald's Nutrition Facts chart, a Happy Meal with a cheeseburger, fries and soda contains more than 600 calories and more than 900 mg of sodium.
The ordinance is an incentive for fast-food chains to succumb to basic nutritional standards such as serving kid's meals with less than 600 calories, 640 mg of sodium and 35 percent of fat calories and offering at least a half-cup of fruits and vegetables. If the restaurants fail to meet these standards, toys will no longer be free.
Danya Proud, spokeswoman for McDonald's USA, said in an email that based on research, most children rarely eat meals as proposed by the ordinance.
"We are extremely disappointed with the decision. It's not something our customers want, nor something they asked for," Proud said. "Getting a toy as part of a kid's meal is part of the fun, family experience at McDonald's."
McDonald's offers healthier alternatives for kids such as milk instead of soda and apple slices with caramel instead of fries, but Dufty said these items send mixed messages.
"They have apples but they provide sugar to dip it in," he said. "Why not support apples and peanut butter like they promote Shrek dolls?"
Corey Rosen occasionally takes his daughter, Noli, 2, and son, Henry, 4, to McDonald's because they enjoy the food, not the toys. Although Rosen agrees with the legislation, he still buys his son fries because he dislikes the apples.
"Any incentive for big companies like McDonald's to make food less fatty and bad for you and more incentives for healthy options is positive," said Rosen while finishing a meal with his children at the Potrero Hill restaurant. "But my wife doesn't like anyone telling her what to feed her children."
The legislation "cuts through the industry's thick PR" and billion-dollar marketing campaign that promotes movie-related toys alongside junk food, feeding the country's child health crisis, said Deborah Capidus, senior organizer of the Corporate Accountability International, a national organization that challenges corporate abuse. Capidus said there are only 48 fast-food chains in the city, while 85 percent of restaurants are local businesses.
"I think (the legislation) levels the playing field because local businesses don't have a multi-billion dollar market," Capidus said.
Supervisor Dufty holds corporations accountable for preying on a child's love of toys to sell high-calorie food.
"A little pressure on their job is a good thing," Dufty said.
The CSU Board of Trustees approved a 5 percent midyear fee increase today, as well as a 10 percent increase for the 2011-2012 academic year.
The spring increase would raise fees by more than $105; tuition for the fall semester will go up by $222.
"This motion will entitle 30,000 more students to have access to a college education," said Jack O'Connell, state superintendent of public instruction. "It will mean more classes at convenient times and 'four-year degree' means four years and the net result will be cost-savings to our students who won't have to go on a six or seven-year plan."
The board voted on the 5 percent midyear and the 2011-2012 10 percent increases in two separate votes. This came a day after the finance committee approved sending the motions to the entire board.
The 10 percent hike in fees for the 2011-2012 academic year is embedded in the 2011-2012 support budget, according to finance committee Chairman William Hauck.
Four CSU presidents made the trip to Long Beach, where the board meets, to present their views on the fee increases - including SF State President Robert A. Corrigan.
"It's in our best interest," Corrigan said. "And unfortunately, I have to say to the students, it's in your best interest right now that as long as the financial aid is there, that we support that we can get through fees."
However, Corrigan also insisted that the trustees and the other 22 CSU presidents urge Sacramento to buy out the fee increase.
Back in June, when the initial 5 percent increase went into effect, the state legislature promised to match the other 5 percent required to balance the budget, according to board member Peter Mehas.
However, the legislature fell through on its assurance, forcing the board's hand, Mehas said.
"I'm not mad at the board of trustees. I don't agree with them but I understand," said Travis Northup, Associated Students Inc., vice president of external affairs. "The students should not blame them either, blame Sacramento."
Another factor in the board's decision is that the money from the federal stimulus package has run out, according to O'Connell.
Also, the Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor will release it's forecast for the 2011-2012 budget, which is expected to predict a deficit between $12-20 million, Hauck said.
"I understand the 5 percent increase but the 10 percent seems excessive," Northup said. "The board of trustees is trying to predict what is going to happen."
Steve Li, a 20-year-old nursing student, was in the bathroom getting ready on the morning of Sept. 15. He was headed to City College of San Francisco when he heard a knock on the door and found several Immigration and Customs Enforcement Officers standing outside his Ingleside home.
Li's mother, 50-year-old Li Maria Ma, thought they were members of the San Francisco Police Department and quickly allowed them inside.
"She thought they were there to investigate. She allowed them in, hoping to cooperate in whatever investigation," said Sin Yen Ling, Li's attorney from the Asian Law Caucus. "Neither she nor Steve knew they had a final order of deportation."
Li and his mother were separated and taken away by the officers in different cars.
Li, who loves chicken wings and treasures his Giants baseball cap, was preparing to transfer to SF State as a nursing major.
He was well on track until he was detained for not being born in the U.S, marking the beginning of a long battle.
"I thought it was a mistake. I didn't know why they were (in my house)," said Li, who was unaware of his illegal status. "I was so shocked when they told me that I was going to be deported to Peru."
Li's supporters argue that he should be able to stay if the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act is passed.
The DREAM Act requires minors to immigrate to the U.S. before the age of 15 and be registered as a student in a U.S. college, requirements Li fulfills.
The bill did not gather enough votes in the Senate last September.
"What does it say on the Statue of Liberty? Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. What happened to Steve Li, we had made a mockery of those words," said Lawrence Wong, president of the Board of Trustees at CCSF, in a press conference held Nov. 5. "I know there will be a black mark in the history of this country if it's not passed."
Supervisor Eric Mar also came in support of Li at a press conference held at CCSF on Nov 5. He stood next to friends and teachers who all knew Li.
"This shines a light that it's not just a Middle Eastern or Arab issue. It's not just a Latino and Chicano issue. It's an Asian American issue as well when we fight for immigration justice," Mar said. "The solution after we free Steve Li is not just about one case but it's about fighting for comprehensive humane immigration reform."
Mar, along with Supervisors Chiu, Avalos, Campos, Mirkarimi and Dufty, sponsored a resolution denouncing Li's deportation and urging Congress to pass the DREAM Act.
It was passed by a unanimous vote Nov. 9.
"I feel great. It gives more motivation to do more because it actually confirms that no matter what, we tried. It just raises our chance of bringing Steve back," said Marilyn Luu, Li's close friend, after the board of supervisors passed the resolution.
Li's parents moved to Peru, where Li was born, to escape China's One Child Policy and government oppression.
If he were to be deported, he would be sent to Peru alone.
According to Li, life in Peru was rough. One bloody incident left his mother permanently injured while the family lived in terror.
As a child, Li had constant nightmares.
"I immigrated to the United States to protect my child and provide a safe environment for him to live and learn," she said in a statement, read by Michelle Yeung of Chinese for Affirmative Action, at the press conference.
Li's friends and teachers organized the event on the 50th day of his detention.
The family moved to the U.S. using tourist visas when Li was 11. They applied for applied for asylum status soon after arriving, but were rejected in 2004.
"Due to his young age, we never tried to explain to Steve about the immigration process and our difficulties in gaining asylum status," Ma said.
Li's close friend, Christian Hip, 20, said Li did not know about his immigration status.
According to Hip, a physical therapy major at CCSF, Li was constantly told by his mother to study hard and not worry about his immigration status.
"Steve is going to be homeless.," Hip said. "He has nobody in Peru."
While Li remains in detention, his parents were released in Sacramento Oct. 4 with electronic ankle bracelets to track their movements and prevent them from leaving the country.
"China does not repatriate people who applied for political asylums," Ling said. "ICE wants to deport them, China won't take them back."
Peru, on the other hand, agreed to take Li.
Approximately two weeks after his arrest, he was transported to a detention center in Florence, Arizona.
"Steve's case is definitely unique because he doesn't have any time left. He has been incarcerated for 50 days," said Sang Chi, Li's former professor in Asian American studies at CCSF.
Those who knew Li said he is a good student and would be a valuable asset to the community.
"It's not like his intention is to take advantage of the system. He wants to get a degree. He wants to serve the society as a nurse," said Albert Robelo, 27, a SF State Summer Science Institute head tutor. "That's his goal. That's his dream, and now, he could be denied."
According to Hip, his friend was active in the community and volunteered at his church and SF General Hospital.
Lilia Sanchez, Li's personal mentor at SSI, said Li has a great prospect in the health care field.
"I see so much potential in this kid," Sanchez said. "He would've done a lot for the community."
According to SF State's website, SSI is a yearlong science program established to help "economically and/or educationally disadvantaged undergraduates" to achieve success in the health care field.
Sanchez said Li went through an interview and was one of only 20 applicants accepted in the program.
Currently, Li's friends, family and attorney are working to push Senator Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein to pass a private bill that would allow Li to stay in the country until the DREAM Act is passed.
"The community support means a lot to me," Li said in a phone interview. "Just having so many people behind my back makes me really hopeful that I will be able to go out of here. I am really thankful."
Li's case became an online sensation when a Facebook page called "Help bring Steve Li back home!!!" garnered more than 7,000 subscribers.
"Our goal is 10,000 petitions," said Marilyn Nguyen Luu, Li's close friend and the creator of the Facebook page.
Now when Li awakes, he goes to work in the Florence Correctional Facility's kitchen for $1 per hour, just enough to buy stamps to send letters to family and friends.
"One day I was in my home doing homework. Right now, here, I work 24 hour a day, just waiting to get out or even be deported," Li said. "That's a big change for me."
Dozens of students and faculty crammed the Kurt Liedtke graduate reading room in the humanities building to speak to Romain Serman, consul general for the Consulate General of France in San Francisco.
The department of foreign languages and literatures, along with assistant professor Marie-Paule Laden, helped organize the Nov. 9 event.
Laden wanted to educate her students about the consulate's endeavors in San Francisco and field questions regarding relations between France and the U.S.
"Now we are in the context of the international week and my class is a culture class," Laden said. "I thought it would be very interesting for them to be exposed to what a consulate does."
Serman, previously the foreign affairs advisor to the Consulate, was appointed to the position in June and replaced Pierre-François Mourier.
"The relationship with the U.S. is really excellent at the moment," said Serman, 38. "The two presidents have done a lot of things to get that relationship to be really good."
According to the French Embassy's website, the CGFSF is one of 10 throughout the U.S. The purpose of different consulates is to complement the French Embassy in Washington D.C. by appointing consular officials who are responsible for protecting the interests of French nationals abroad.
"We try to do our best to support the French policy in the Northwest states in America, " said Jaques de Noray, deputy consul and public information officer for the consulate. "Most of the time it's more just to support the French citizens living here in the U.S."
According to Javier Palacios, a 22-year-old junior comparative literature major, Serman did a good job relating to students and getting them to open up.
"He's really funny," Palacios said. "He is really witty and kind of nonchalant. He's very French and very diplomatic."
Some feel that San Francisco is the right city to house the consulate.
"This used to be the biggest city on the west coast," said Anna Van Saint, a 28-year-old senior studying international relations and history. "And this where they signed the foundation treaty for the U.N, so it's very diverse. There's also a huge Francophone community here."
The term "francophone" was coined to refer to those who fully appreciate and endorse French culture. According to a 2010 Gallup poll, 63 percent of Americans view France favorably, up from 34 percent in 2003.
In March of this year, French President Nicolas Sarkozy praised the U.S. and the current relationship between the two countries during a press conference with President Barack Obama.
"Seldom in the history of our two countries have the shared values between the United States of America and France been so aligned," Sarkozy said.
Serman said he wants students to know that like the U.S., there will always be a place for international students in French schools.
"All American students are always welcome in France," Serman said. "Just like we feel comfortable being here."
As drivers scour San Francisco's streets in search of parking, one of the biggest challenges they face is avoiding a ticket.
SF Park, the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency's new parking experiment, is designed to make it easier to find parking in the city and, according to city transit officials, could also help reduce the chances of getting a ticket.
The pilot program began this summer as 200 of the city's 24,601 meters were installed with sensors that adjust meter prices based on parking demand in different neighborhoods. The new meters also give drivers the option to pay with credit cards.
"We hope that the amount of citations will go down," SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose said.
He said in the future, some of the new meters will have longer times or even allow unlimited parking which should "have a big effect" on reducing tickets. He said currently most downtown meters expire after one or two hours.
SF Park manager Jay Primus said 6,000 city meters will be upgraded with these new features during the two year test phase in the Fisherman's Wharf, Fillmore, Hayes Valley, Marina, Civic Center, SOMA, and Mission neighborhoods with 1,000 due to arrive this November.
Primus said when the program's trial period ends in 2012, "we're definitely planning on replacing all meters in the city."
As for helping driver's avoid fines, Rose said the SFMTA hopes to create an application for phones to update drivers as to when their meters would expire.
Of nine cities featured in a report by the city's Budget and Legislative Analysis Office last month, San Francisco has the highest downtown parking meter violation fine at $65. San Diego, Los Angeles, San Jose, Oakland, Sacramento, Portland, Seattle and Boston were the other cities surveyed, where the median fine was $34.
The report also found San Francisco charges the third-highest downtown meter rate, $3.50 an hour, coming in behind Los Angeles and Chicago.
Rose said under the new meter system, $6 is the most someone would have to pay for a spot when demand is highest. Hourly rates would be adjusted by 50 cents once or twice a month, based on data collected by sensors showing how often a space is used.
For many people, however, every dollar counts in this economy, and a few minutes on an expired meter can bring a fee that breaks their budget.
Alex Gallaviz, a senior art major at SF State, said he was fined twice last semester on Tapia Street where metered parking limits range from 30 minutes to two hours.
After the fines set him back more than $100, Gallaviz said he avoids driving to school. If he does have to drive, he prefers to pay $5 for all-day parking in a campus garage because his wallet can't endure another fine.
"I'm already paying tuition and books," Gallaviz said.
Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier requested a hearing on Oct. 26 by the Budget and Finance Committee on last month's meter report comparing the cities. The goal of the hearing is to see whether the SFMTA would consider capping or reducing its meter prices and fines "to help out working San Franciscans."
Rose said the SFMTA has not yet been notified of the hearing, but is willing to listen to concerns.
According to Bill Barnes, Alioto-Pier's legislative aide, the hearing is expected to take place by Nov 17.
However, Rose said the point of SF Park is not to cap parking fees, but to help clear up the streets.
"Twenty to 30 percent of city congestion is people circling trying to find parking," he said. "The premise behind SF Park is to make parking easier in the city."
A motorist was taken away in an ambulance after a motorcycle collided with a Mercedes following a two-car collision that occurred at the intersection of Arellano and Holloway avenues around noon today.
According to Lauren Puliatch, 20, and Alyssa Vargas, 19, who both witnessed the accident while walking to school, a champagne-colored Mercedes was turning onto Arellano from Holloway when it collided with a black Escalade. The motorcycle then crashed into the Mercedes.
Police officials could not comment on the status of the person transported from the scene, who witnesses identified as female.
"They need stop signs," said 19-year-old Devyn Miller. "It's ridiculous. (The crash) could have been completely avoided."
Miller said she overheard police saying the woman would be fine.
"The people that drive here seem to be fairly cautious of pedestrians," said Steven Gonzales, 44, a resident adviser for the houses along Holloway. "As a resident, it would make sense (to put a stop sign)."
Gonzales said he was aware of only one other major accident in the area since May.
It's hard to escape a date or day off without spending some cash. The city has some amazing things to offer but, let's face it, a lot of it is pretty pricey. The best thing you can do is plan ahead. If your friends show up from out of town and you spent your last twenty bucks on AMF's at the bar the night before, what do you do?
There is a wide variety of museums in San Francisco and almost all of them are economically friendly. It never hurts to pack a little culture into your day. Below are a list of FREE museums to hit around the city.
CABLE CAR MUSEUM
1201 Mason Street
San Francisco, CA 94108
Tel: (415) 474-1887
CHINESE CULTURAL CENTER GALLERY
750 Kearny Street, 3rd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94108
Tel: (415) 986-1822
SAN FRANCISCO FIRE DEPARTMENT MUSEUM
655 Presidio Ave (at Pine)
San Francisco, CA 94115
Tel: (415) 563-4630
VISITOR CENTER AND HYDE PIER AT SAN FRANCISCO MARITIME NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK
499 Jefferson St (at Hyde)
San Francisco, CA 94109
Tel: (415) 447-5000
WELLS FARGO HISTORY MUSEUM
420 Montgomery St (between California & Sacramento)
San Francisco, CA 94163
Tel: (415) 396-2619
MUSEUM OF CRAFT AND FOLK ART ASIAN MUSEUM (Free every Tuesday)
51 Yerba Buena Lane
San Francisco, CA 94103
Tel: (415) 227-4888
ASIAN ART MUSEUM
200 Larkin Street (between Fulton and McAllister)
In the Civic Center district, across from City Hall
San Francisco, CA 94102
$5.00 after 5 p.m. on Thursdays and the first Sunday of every month
Tel: (415) 581-3500
151 Third Street (between Mission and Howard)
San Francisco, CA 94103
Free on the first Tuesday of the month and half price admission between 6 and 9 p.m.
Tel: (415) 357-4000
CARTOON ART MUSEUM
655 Mission Street (between 2nd & 3rd)
San Francisco, CA 94105
First Tuesday of each month is "Pay What You Wish" Day
Tel: (415) 581-3500
DE YOUNG MUSEUM (Free on the first Tuesday of each month)
Golden Gate Park
50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive
San Francisco, CA 94118
Tel: (415) 863-3330
LEGION OF HONOR (Free on the first Tuesday of each month)
34th Avenue & Clement Street
San Francisco, CA 94121
Tel: (415) 863-3330
YERBA BUENA CENTER GALLERIES (Free on the first Tuesday of each month)
701 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
Tel: (415) 978-2700
EXPLORATORIUM (Free on the first Wednesday of each month)
at the Palace of Fine Arts
3601 Lyon Street
San Francisco, CA 94123
Tel: (415) 561-0399
Keep these up your sleeve and you'll never be left empty-handed.
Until next time...
Follow Lindsey on Twitter: @LindseyLeake
Demonstrators took to the streets of Oakland, Calif. tonight following the sentencing of former transit officer Johannes Mehserle, who received two years with credit for time served - the minimum sentence possible - for shooting Oscar Grant III in the back on a crowded BART platform Jan. 1, 2009.
More than 100 people were arrested when police blocked a march after a peaceful rally held at City Hall erupted into sporadic incidents of violence, police said.
The protesters, who police said have been charged with various crimes from unlawful assembly, vandalism, destruction of property and assault with a deadly weapon, were transported to the North County and Santa Rita Jails.
"This city has been torn up too many times," Police Chief Anthony Batts said during a press conference.
Angry protesters smashed windows, damaged vehicles, vandalized businesses and at least two police officers were injured in separate incidents, police said.
"It started going wrong when the rally ended," said Jeff Thomason, a spokesman with the police dept.
One officer was injured when he was struck in the chest with a brick and a car hit another officer, Thomason said.
"There were rocks being thrown at police officers," Thomason said.
In another incident, he said, a protester grabbed hold of a police officer's firearm. Police said the weapon was quickly recovered.
The march began after a rally held at City Hall ended at 6 p.m. Protesters were relatively peaceful throughout, though anger toward the judge's decision was evident.
"We can't just leave here like this." Julia Wallace said on the steps of City Hall, prior to the march. "This isn't sadness that I feel, this is anger I feel."
Police came out in full force and while Batts refused to tell reporters exactly how many police were deployed for the night's anticipated aftermath, it was clear that officers greatly outnumbered protesters.
Although many protesters said they hoped to reach the Fruitvale BART station where Grant's shooting occurred, police barriers forced the demonstration into smaller streets off the main thoroughfares. What began downtown quickly moved to residential neighborhoods and was ultimately stopped by police at E. 17th Street and 6th Avenue.
Hundreds of police officers in riot gear then surrounded demonstrators and declared the street a crime scene. Police allowed members of the news media to leave the blockaded section of the street just before informing the protesters they were under arrest for unlawful assembly.
"This is how they want you to act!" Renna Busby yelled as the march became aggressive. "Somebody is dead and you guys are acting like animals!"
Busby became angered by the march, which she viewed as violent, as she was walking with her young daughter downtown.
Some residents felt the heated protest was counterproductive.
"Somebody was murdered and we need to take out his name in peace!" Busby said.
Residents near Lake Merritt where police ultimately ended the demonstrations left their homes to watch as police processed those arrested.
"It sent a message to a lot of people of color." Joyce Malone said.
Malone said that while she disagreed with the verdict and Mehserle's sentence, she was reluctant to join in the demonstrations because of the violence.
"You don't prove anything with violence," she said.
Residents of the surrounding neighborhood were surprised that the protest traveled so far from downtown.
"I've never seen so many police," said Karin Jenkins. "They were marching in twos as if it was a war."
Jenkins, an Oakland resident, manages a building located feet away from the barricade.
She stood for more than an hour at the corner of East 18th St. and 7th Ave. hoping to catch a glimpse of the aftermath. She never expected the protest to reach her neighborhood, Jenkins said.
"At first we were thinking let's just hope they don't tear up Oakland," she said. "This is so important because it happened right here in our neighborhood."
Lindsay Harte and Molly Rosenthal contributed to this story
Crowds flooded into the streets surrounding the Civic Center plaza as Giants fans from everywhere came to San Francisco to witness the once-in-a-lifetime World Series parade on November 3.
Life-long fans waited in the crowd all morning as they prepared to greet the Giants baseball team from their parade set to start at 11 a.m. on a day set aside for the revelry of a generation without a World Series win.
"It's hard to say how I feel," Sidney Johnson said. "I finally know what it feels like to win the World Series and it's indescribable."
After 56 years without a World Series win, the Giants finally brought the Commissioners Trophy home to San Francisco, to the hundreds of thousands waiting along the parade route to city hall.
Patty Haarland born and raised in Portola district has been a Giants fan since the age of 10. Since 8 a.m. she and her five grandchildren staked out a spot on Market and 3rd Street to see the parade.
"I'm ecstatic! The Giants winning the World Series has been a long time coming," Haarland said, who was born 6 years after the last time the team won in 1954. "The energy here is awesome!"
As the parade drew toward Civic Center Plaza, the crowd swelled to hundreds of thousands of fans and spectators. People climbed onto light polls and stood atop the pedestrian crossing signal lights. Fans and workers made their way to balconies and roofs to photograph the crowd below.
For many in the crowd, it was a day of celebration that they never thought would happen.
"I was never actually sure this day was going to come," Pat O'Rourke said. "It was a kick in the stomach when other fans would say 'your team has never won in San Francisco.'"
O'Rourke, who flew out to San Francisco from Colorado for the parade, distinctly remembers going to the Giants hundredth game in Candlestick Park as a child and going home heartbroken after they lost.
"Going through the thick and thin is part of being a Giants fan," he said.
The mood was festive as fans imbibed alcohol and smoked marijuana. Many fans wore t-shirts saying "Let Timmy Smoke" referencing an incident where Tim Lincecum was cited for using marijuana last year.
With the players sitting atop the podium set up in front of city hall, the crowd chanted "Start the show," as the organizers scrambled to keep people in their places behind the barricades.
Applause greeted every player that was introduced as they stepped out of city hall's front doors and into living rooms through all the news cameras present.
Making it on TV was fan John Sharp. Holding up a black and orange sign that said, "My life is complete," Sharp received a call from a friend telling him he was broadcast across the nation.
"I'm married," Sharp said. "I have two children, two grandchildren, and if I die tomorrow, my life is complete."
"I'm 50 years old," Sharp said. "I've never liked anyone else."
As life-long fans gathered to reminisce about their favorite team, Veronica and Rick Maida sat down on the empty, trash-strewn lawn after the event on two portable chairs left behind by revelers, to soak in the day's event.
"Every age group was represented here, it was awesome," Veronica said of the festivities. "We've been fans since 1949 and 1950."
"That's when we were born," Rick said looking over at Veronica.
"Exactly," she replied. "Life-long fans."
Recently a white pine tree located adjacent to the Fine Arts building was chopped down. Instead of disposing of it, the tree was given to the Arts Department to use for creating new wooden carvings.
According to sculpture professor Francisco Perez, the tree had been infested with pine beetles and was cut down due to liability. Its trunk was sawed into segments, and now lies where it once stood.
Professor Perez is currently in the process of carving a piece of the trunk, and once completed plans to put it on display on campus. "The idea is to reuse, reconstitute, give them some more life," he said.
Fine Arts major Yu Nakayama is currently working on piece using wood from the chopped down tree.
Her piece will be a carving of the torso of a female figure that she plans on dressing with spikes.
Though her piece does not necessarily have a message, her inspiration comes from awkward encounters.
"When I go to a club or bar for dancing, guys come behind us and I didn't like it, so I decided to make clothes with spikes on it."
Midterm election results The election results for the major state and city races.
Brown, Newsom win election battles by Lindsay Harte and Audrey Arthur, Tuesday Nov. 2 Democrats Jerry Brown and Gavin Newsom declared victory Tuesday night in their respective races.
Students turnout despite no poll on campus by Molly Rosenthal, Tuesday Nov. 2
Despite the absence of polling places on campus, SF State voter turnout was not stifled yesterday as a line stretched out the door at Tempest Baptist Church at Stonestown Mall.
Park Merced polling station awaiting larger crowds by Chris Haire, Tuesday Nov. 2
For now, the polling station at 350 Arballo Drive is empty, but station inspectors anticipate an increased number of voters later in the day.
Lieutenant Governor race heats up by Lindsay Harte, Wednesday Oct. 27
Three races this election season have gotten some aggressive attention by the media -- state battles for governor, the U.S. Senate, and a newcomer to the media storm, the position for lieutenant governor.
Sit/lie challenges sidewalk dwellers by Molly Rosenthal, Tuesday Oct. 26
The sit/lie measure is an attempt to preserve neighborhood safety throughout the city and Haight-Ashbury serves as ground-zero for the operation.
Q&A with outgoing Supervisor Chris Daly by Kathryn Bonham, Tuesday Oct. 26
It's hard to believe that it's already been a decade since Supervisor Chris Daly first took office overlooking District 6, and with his final term coming to an end, he leaves City Hall regretting nothing.
Gubernatorial race ignores education by Audrey Arthur, Tuesday Oct. 26
Increasing tuition and fee hikes put higher education in an increasingly vulnerable position; however, both candidates running for governor have neglected to make this a key component in their campaigns.
State Legislature placed into hot seat by Chase S. Kmec, Tuesday Oct. 26
Proposition 25 will allow the state Legislature to adopt budgets by a simple majority vote of 50 percent plus one, instead of the two-thirds majority currently in place.
Hashing out the funds for cannabis tax by Tom Garica, Tuesday Oct. 26
If passed, Proposition 19 would legalize marijuana possession and use for adults over the age of 21, in many circumstances.
Gubernatorial race ignores education by Audrey Arthur, Tuesday Oct. 26
Increasing tuition and fee hikes put higher education in an increasingly vulnerable position; however, both candidates running for governor have neglected to make this a key component in their campaigns.
Independent voters could decide Senate race by Andrea Moran, Tuesday Oct. 26
Long-time Democrat Senator Barbara Boxer is leading Republican opponent and former Hewlett-Packard CEO, Carly Fiorina by five points, in what many are saying is the toughest race of Boxer's career.
Obama's fate could be decided in upcoming election by John Blomster, Tuesday Oct. 26
This year, the economy will take center stage as voters decide the fate of the Obama administration and Democrats in congressional elections Nov. 2.
Prop 20 endangers political safe seats by Juan Martinez, Monday Oct. 25
Laura Wells believes a true democracy is when all parties are represented at the table.
Republican representation lacking among student organizations by Eric Green, Monday Oct. 25
The SF State College Republicans have not re-enrolled as an official student organization for fall 2010.
Candidate campaigns for third-party voting option by Andrea Moran, Saturday Oct. 23
Laura Wells believes a true democracy is when all parties are represented at the table.
Prop G could bring funding, at driver's expense by Kaitlyn Paris, Saturday Oct. 23
For more than 40 years, the City Charter has guaranteed Muni operators at least the second highest wages of comparable metropolitan transit agencies nationwide. Proposition G would change that, requiring the transit workers union to participate in collective bargaining as other city employees do.
Drug policies ignite interest by Veronika Tafoya, Monday Oct. 18
Students for Sensible Drug Policy held its west coast regional conference at Jack Adams Hall in the Cesar Chavez Student Center Oct. 16.
Bill Clinton campaigns for Democrats at SJSU by Eric Green, Sunday Oct. 17
Around 8:15 p.m., the crowd erupted as former President Bill Clinton, lieutenant governor candidate Gavin Newsom and candidate for governor Jerry Brown all took center stage to talk to the audience about the upcoming midterm election.
Whitman, Brown spar in final gubernatorial debate by Audrey Arthur, Tuesday Oct. 12
The third and final gubernatorial debate between Republican Meg Whitman and Democrat Jerry Brown featured some politics and a lot of shots.
District 10 candidates speak to students by Al Scott, Tuesday Oct. 12
Eight candidates vying for the District 10 supervisor seat addressed the need for job creation in Asian American and African American communities when they spoke before an Asian American studies class Sept. 12 in Burk Hall.
Class covers issues of upcoming election by Christine Tjandra, Tuesday Oct. 12
BSS 275, titled California: The Promise and Now the Reality in the 2010 Governor's Election, is a class that features up to 30 professors from various departments across campus and covers a wide range of topics related to the upcoming election.
District 6 canidates take different stances on sit/lie by Kaitlyn Paris, Friday Oct. 8
The district six candidates who gathered at the UCSF Mission Bay campus Thursday night agreed on many of the community's main issues, with the exception of San Francisco's controversial sit/lie ballot measure.
City workers rally against fiscal strategy by Audrey Arthur, Tuesday Oct. 5
The controversy surrounding Proposition B has captured the attention of city employees and fiscal strategists. If passed, the proposition will require city workers to contribute 10 percent of their salaries to their pensions.
Supes protect green jobs, block initiative by Geena Stellato. Tuesday Oct. 5
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution Sept. 28 to oppose Proposition 23 in order to save the approximately 500,000 clean-energy jobs that could be lost as a result of its passage.
Ballot measure would change budget process by Tom Garcia, Tuesday Sept. 28
Proposition 25, which will appear on the November ballot, aims to end budget gridlock and jumpstart the state's sluggish economy.
Controversial campaign sparks mixed response on campus by Tom Garcia, Thursday Sept. 23
Volunteers from the Summer Shields for congress campaign came to SF State hoping to entice potential voters with a 30-foot long, 8-foot high banner that pictured President Barack Obama and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi side by side sporting matching toothbrush mustaches reminiscent of Adolf Hitler.
Californians face marijuana legalization decision in November by Tenzin Shakya, Sunday Sept. 9
On Nov. 2 California voters will decide if marijuana should be legalized for individuals over 21 years of age to possess and cultivate despite the federal government's disapproval.
|Jerry Brown (D)
|Meg Whitman (R)
|Gavin Newsom (D)
|Abel Maldonado (R)
|Kamala D. Harris (D)
|Steve Cooley (R)
|U.S. Senate||Barbara Boxer (D)
|Carly Fiorina (R)
|Prop 19 (Marijuana Legalization)||Yes
|Prop 23 (Suspends AB 32-Climate Law)||Yes 38.7
|Prop 25 (Simple majority for budget)||Yes
|Prop B (Pension reform)||Yes
|Prop G (Muni reform)||Yes
|Prop L (Sit/Lie)||Yes
|Prop M (Police foot patrols)||Yes
Results are from the California Secretary of State and City and County of San Francisco Department of Elections.
The threat of identity theft is an omnipresent fear in the digital age we live in.
For many, the thought of phishing and stolen credit card information has been enough to send the masses running to free credit reporting sites and antivirus software in the hope of protecting themselves from online threats.
However, a newly developed extension to the Firefox web browser could make the process of stealing an identity easier than ever before. The program, known as Firesheep, makes virtual identity theft a breeze by streamlining the process of session hijacking into an easy to use graphic interface.
Many agree the program has intimidating implications, however, in practice the overall belief seems to be that Firesheep will be beneficial to Internet users at large and that it is more of an intimidating thought than a true threat to Internet safety.
"Posting to discussion forums, sending email, publishing a Facebook site and web browsing are all about as secure as stapling a paper copy of your messages to a telephone pole," said SF State computer science professor Marguerite Murphy. "Telephone poles are usually a pretty secure way to communicate - not because folks can't look at your message, but because most folks will not bother to do so."
Basically it works like this: if you're on an unprotected network and you're browsing websites like Facebook, Twitter, Amazon or others recognized by Firesheep, any user on that network with the program installed can access your account with the click of a mouse.
"This is something of a big deal because this threat has been theorized and executed to a smaller extent for several years by lesser known wireless sniffers," said Mig Hoffman, SF State's information security officer. "The big difference is this developer made it super easy by developing a plug-in for a popular browser and building all the functionality in via a point and click interface and adding the sniffing of cookies."
The genesis of the program was based on what the creator saw as irresponsible flaws in the security of some of the most visited websites on the net.
"Websites have a responsibility to protect the people who depend on their services," said Firesheep co-creator Eric Butler in a blog post. "They've been ignoring this responsibility for too long, and it's time for everyone to demand a more secure web. My hope is that Firesheep will help the users win."
According to Butler, websites such as Facebook fail to adequately protect their users from the threat of an account takeover.
Because of this, he and others saw the program as necessary to force insecure websites to step up their security measures.
"Firesheep does expose security issues present in said sites and the web in general," said Teague Sterling, 24, a senior majoring in computer science at SF State. "I suspect these specific vulnerabilities will be corrected by the targeted websites soon."
Though the program is an extension of Firefox, it can work with any Internet service provider on any network, whether it be WiFi or Ethernet connected.
Although WiFi networks are more susceptible to hijacking than others, the real problem stems from the less than secure HTTP protocol used by the large majority of websites that does a poor job of keeping the log in information of users anonymous, according to Peter Eckersley, a senior staff technologist for the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
The EFF also recently released an openly downloadable program known as "HTTPS Everywhere" to help keep accounts secure. It forces browsers to use the more secure HTTPS protocol when accessing websites.
"Any website that offers accounts, hosts private data, or wishes to protect it's visitors' right to read in private, needs to use HTTPS and never use HTTP," Eckersley said.
Democrat Jerry Brown claimed victory over Republican Meg Whitman Tuesday night with only 44.8 of the precincts reporting, and celebrated what will likely be his third term as California governor to the deafening cheers of supporters who crammed the Fox Theater in Downtown Oakland.
As of midnight, Brown led Whitman 51.6 percent to 43.3 percent.
"Looks like we're going back again," Brown said as he took the stage at 11 p.m. "And as you know, I have the know-how and the experience."
For much of the campaign, Brown and Whitman were neck and neck in popularity, but Brown succeeded in a last minute boost in the preliminary polls over the former CEO of eBay.
Whitman conceded the election to Brown shortly before midnight at her campaign party headquarters in Los Angeles.
"Tonight has not turned out as we hoped, we've come up a little short," Whitman said. "I could not be any prouder of the race we have run."
Despite claiming victory 30 minutes before Whitman spoke to her followers, Brown made his supporters wait almost two hours before he appeared.
The party in the Brown campaign got underway just after 9 p.m., when the Associated Press reported that he had defeated Whitman. Although the campaign threw a raucous concert, the audience grew antsy for their governor-elect.
"Jerry, Jerry, Jerry," they shouted just before he went on.
While Brown possessed the experience, his victory is an upset in terms of financing.
Whitman spent a record $140 million of her own money to support her campaign while Brown reported receiving a little more than $25 million.
"Since we're talking about baseball now, I think everyone thought we were the Bad News Bears up against the New York Yankees," said Brown's wife Ann Gust Brown.
The site for Brown's commemoration holds special significance to him because of his vital support of the theater's rehabilitation when he served as Oakland mayor in 1999.
"I like the symbolism, the symbolism of this theater because it was dark," Brown said. "Now it is transformed into this beautiful venue."
Brown's victory was a bright spot for a Democratic Party that suffered major losses to the Republicans in the House of Representatives and struggled to maintain its majority in the Senate.
However, Brown commented that such an emphasis on which party holds the majority can contribute to the deep divisions created among the two parties.
"Ninety percent of Republicans voted for Meg Whitman, 90 percent of Democrats voted for me," Brown said. "These are real divisions."
As red, white and blue confetti filled the Fox Theater, Brown's words resounded: "I understand the political part, but I also understand what it's all about: the vision. The breakdown paves the way for the breakthrough.
Newsom clinging to lead
More than 200 people attended Mayor Gavin Newsom's election night party in support of the prospective lieutenant governor after the polls had closed late Tuesday night.
Campaign workers, friends and supporters watched election results on a large projection screen at the back of Tres Agaves restaurant waiting for Mayor Gavin Newsom to arrive on stage for a speech.
"I feel very good about our chances tonight. If, or when, we get up to Sacramento, we're going to hit the ground running," Newsom said.
Still waiting for the official announcement of a winner for the lieutenant governor's seat, Newsom addressed concerns such as the doubts of California's ability to be economically sufficient and the environmental platform that led his campaign.
"I've always been a Gavin Newsom supporter," said Rosemary Picado, 40, of Daly City and a longtime Newsom supporter. "He is being a real face to progressives when a lot are running away."
Speaking over the loud cheers from the crowd that echoed off the high vaulted ceilings of the restaurant, Newsom thanked his campaign team while acknowledging that the fight isn't over yet.
Newsom's major issues during the campaign were getting green jobs and excelling California's environmental technology.
"This is the birthplace of life science and bio technology," Newsom said. "This state is a remarkable place, our natural resources are second to none."
"When he went on TV and said he was fighting against big oil buying the election I was so glad," Picado said.
Other crowd members were equally impressed with his environmental record and successful management of San Francisco.
"I was turned onto Newsom because of the work he has done for the clean tech community and his understanding of it," said Ian Johnstone, 28, who works for the startup company BlissMo, a sustainable energy project. "I appreciate the things he has been able to accomplish in the city."
With other California Democrats earning key victories, Newsom patiently shook hands and talked with members of the crowd while awaiting the lieutenant governor results.
"There is absolutely nothing wrong with California that can't be fixed by what's right about California," Newsom said, paraphrasing a Bill Clinton comment. "Do not count California out. Do not make excuses that our best days are behind us. Our best days are ahead of us."
To many students, the spring 2011 semester offered the prospect of a brighter horizon. With the budget signed, the California State University system was granted $366 million that will allow an additional 30,000 students to enter campuses statewide in the spring.
However, another potential fee increase from the CSU could raise tuition by 15 percent and put further strain on the pockets of students.
"I'm so close to dropping out, I think about it everyday," said Molly Martin, 23, a creative writing major at SF State. "I'm screwed because I've got another year-and- a-half and my loans keep getting cut in half while tuition goes up."
If approved, the 15 percent increase will come in two parts.
First, students will be faced with a 5 percent increase for the spring 2011 semester. This would amount to about $105 more for the average full-time undergraduate student per semester.
Tuition will then increase an additional 10 percent in the fall, costing students an additional $222.
If the tuition hike is passed, CSU students will pay a total of $654 more per year.
The Board of Trustees' financial committee will discuss the increase on Nov. 9 followed by a full board discussion on Nov. 10.
Like Martin, many consider the thought of paying more for an education that costs nearly double what it did only five years ago a truly terrifying idea.
Still, others see the increase as a necessary evil.
"I understand the logic behind increasing the fees again," said Travis Northup, vice president of external affairs for ASI. "The budget that the governor signed said we need a 10 percent fee increase, but it was signed so late that we weren't able to raise fees this semester."
Because of this, Northup believed the administration had no choice other than to raise tuition by more than 10 percent to backfill the amount of money lost by not increasing fees this semester.
"Fee increases suck but they're the only thing keeping our classes open," Northup said.
According to Erik Fallis, media relations specialist with the Chancellor's office, the 5 percent increase set for the Spring is more than likely going to happen.
However, the 10 percent increase may be avoided if the governor and state legislature agree to "buy out" the fee increase for $121.5 million.
"The total we're going to ask for will be higher than that amount," Fallis said. "We still need to restore where we were before the budget cuts of the last couple of years."
He said although the $365 million the state provided in its budget would help, it only brought the CSU budget to where it was in 2005.
"We were fortunate to get a partial restoration, but we have a much higher student population now than we did then," said Fallis. "We are hoping to avoid the tuition increase entirely, but two-thirds of our funding comes from the state of California. We want students to be prepared and have the information ahead of time as to what the tuition level will be if the buy out doesn't happen."
Moreover, of the $366 million provided by the state, $106 million is a one time only grant provided by federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus money.
Ellen Griffin, director of University communications, said raising fees is not the University's ideal course of action.
However, she saw it as necessary to avoid the same problems students faced last spring in terms of being able to enroll in classes or attend a CSU in general.
"We regret that fees have to increase, but had no choice because we had expected the legislature and governor to provide a permanent increase in funding," Griffin said. "We hope to enroll more students, and offer more course sections and seats that will allow students to carry a higher unit load, and progress more steadily toward graduation."
Despite the absence of polling places on campus, SF State voter turnout was not stifled yesterday as a line stretched out the door at Tempest Baptist Church at Stonestown Mall.
The campus provided two voting stations for dorm residents and other students in 2008, but this year, along with the Park Merced location on Arballo Drive, the church on 19th Avenue welcomed students to cast their votes.
According to poll workers, a rush consisting mainly of students began at 11 a.m. By 5 p.m., the ballot count at the church was 107. Poll workers in both locations had high hopes for throngs as students were released from class.
"The level of enthusiasm has been high," said Debra Benedict, who has been working as an election officer for two years. "Yesterday the Giants won and people drank a lot and at the last minute there's gonna be a shower of newly sober people coming in to vote."
According to SF State Deputy Chief of Staff Jason Porth, the San Francisco Department of Elections chooses booth locations in each precinct based on previous voter turnout.
He said the department did not contact the University for this election because the June primary garnered low participation on campus.
"It's because they do it where they'll serve the most people," Porth said. "Since our university serves low population in the summer months, not many people were here to vote in June."
Zachary Thwaits, a three-year poll worker, agreed. He said the first time the church accommodated voters was last June and just 10 people showed up.
"There was so much energy to persuade students on campus. I guess it was a conflict of interest to have booths on campus," said Marisa Soski, a biology major and poll worker for the Park Merced precinct.
According to Soski, seniors and students shared the voter turnout count at the Park Merced poll, yet the location did not receive as much student traffic as the church.
Currently, just over 450,000 San Francisco residents are registered to vote. Out of 200,000 mail-in votes issued, only 30 percent were returned as of yesterday morning.
"It's really simple to fill out a ballot, but the reality is many of them won't," said Gail Pellerin, president of the California Association of Clerk and Elected officials.
Many students said they looked for polling booths on campus, but admitted that going to the church or Park Merced wasn't a huge inconvenience.
Anthropology major Tim Meek voted on campus when he lived in the dorms in 2008 and was confused about why this wasn't an option this year.
"When we heard it was here, we asked why," Meek said. "Obviously, on campus is more logical."
Controversial ballot measures such as propositions 19 and 23 and the Governor's race compelled first-time and veteran student voters to the polls.
"Anything that has to do with taxes is important," said business major LuLu Valle. "It's our money, but we don't really think about where it goes."
First-time student voter Kelly Leslie said she observed students on campus growing disinterested upon discovering polls were held off-campus.
"It's my responsibility as a U.S. citizen (to vote) and I'm privileged to have this right," she said. "I should take advantage of it."
With some of the most controversial candidates and issues on this year's ballot, the 2010 Midterm Election Day is officially underway across the nation.
Yet, with polls opening at 7 a.m., the polling station at 350 Arballo Drive was not overcrowded with anxious voters, or even sprinkled with them - it was empty.
By 8:30 a.m., 12 people had voted at the Park Merced location, according to Marisa Soski, 20, a biology major at SF State and the station's inspector.
"I'm an early bird," said Ashley Sharma, a 21-year-old University student, who was one of the first to arrive and noted she had no other time. "I have two midterms, work later and I have to celebrate the Giants' victory."
The largest crowds, however, should arrive around 5 p.m., when the typical workday ends, the first-time inspector said, while hoping more people do come out to vote.
"I'm really passionate about the whole voting process," she said. "It's a cool opportunity."
However, not everyone shared her enthusiasm.
"I didn't register and I don't know enough about the election," said Haylee Washington, an SF State freshman, as she walked out of her "apartment complex turned voting site."
Washington, who, at 18 years old, had her first opportunity to vote this year, believes a lack of knowledge about the election is widespread among her peers.
"I have two other roommates who didn't vote for the same reason as me and a lot of other students too," Washington said.
While apathy among students is continually a concern during elections, a lack of focus on the college population is also a problem, according Sharma, a junior marketing major.
"There should be more effort with social media, like during the Obama campaign," Sharma said. "The candidates haven't done that [this year]."
PARK MERCED POLLING STATION CHANGES LOCATION
While the polling station at Park Merced - an area highly populated by SF State students - should get busier as the day goes on, one concern is that voters may have trouble finding where to go.
"I did have trouble finding it because I was surprised that it is in the back," said Stephanie Sabini, 27, a third generation San Franciscan who walked into the low-lit lobby of the Park Merced tower with her 10-year-old son Herbert around 8 a.m.
The polling location is at the back entrance of 350 Arballo Drive, with only three 8x11 inch paper signs leading the way 100 feet from the building.
An orange traffic cone with a sign attached to it marked the entrance and a larger sign of the voters' bill of rights stood adjacent to the door.
"Quite possibly, it could be a problem because it's in the back" Soski said. "If people bring it to our attention, we might post more signs."
Also, the location is usually at the Park Merced Market, which is up the street from Arballo Drive near 19th Avenue, according to Sharma, who has voted at Park Merced twice before.
"I didn't know where it was going to be," she said. "I actually had to call and ask where it was."
More than 4,000 frenzied Giants fans filled Civic Center as they cheered for their beloved team which won its first world championship since moving to San Francisco in 1958.
"I feel amazing," said 23-year-old Joey Chy. "It's like a bright shining light in this horrible economy. San Francisco is the best city in the world. Period."
As Brian Wilson came to the mound in the ninth inning to preserve a 3-1 lead against the Texas Rangers, the Civic Center crowd waited to release 54 years of frustration. When Vladimir Guerrero grounded out to World Series MVP shortstop Edgar Renteria, the fans drowned out the game's announcers with chants of "one more out, one more out!"
With Wilson recording the final out by striking out Nelson Cruz and rookie catcher Buster Posey leaping into Wilson's arms, that frustration was finally released.
"It's been a while since they've been to a world series so it's good for the city," said 25-year-old Javan Ryal, "I'm going to the bars."
During the ninth inning of the Giants' World Series clinching victory over the Rangers today, a crowd of about 100 people inside the café of Mary Ward Hall stood awaiting the final out before turning the dorms into a raucous celebration.
"I'm ecstatic," said 18-year-old freshman Allie Hannum, who celebrated outside of the dorms. "I cried when they won, teared up with all the cheering."
Besides the self-proclaimed tortured die-hards, the University celebration had its fair share of bandwagon fans.
"I just moved up here, and I'm Dodgers fan - all my life," said Kyle Robinson, 18, a freshman communications major. "It's been hard for me, but the fact I'm up here, it's exciting."