Sex Toys R Us is A No Go
Many students were devastated last week when administrators pulled the plug on a “Sex Toys ‘R’ Us” event that was scheduled to happen on Wednesday, February 11th.
The event, which was supposed to promote sex positivity and create awareness about safe and inclusive sex education through the use of sex toys, was deemed inappropriate after a mother of an 18-year-old Cal State L.A. student complained to CBS News.
Once word about the nature of the event got to administrators by the CBS Los Angeles local news station, they were quick to respond and eliminated the student-organized event completely.
In an official statement, Robert Lopez, the Director of Communications at the Office of Communications and Public Affairs, stated, “When made fully aware of the details about how the event was to be run, however, the university determined it was not appropriate and immediately cancelled it.”
Along with the event being ‘inappropriate’, it would have also been an area of conflict because there are minors that attend Cal State L.A. He adds, “Students are part of a global community that includes minors. We have a responsibility to ensure that these minors do not have access to events or information designed for adults.”
The “Sex Toys ‘R’ Us” event was created by the Cross Cultural Centers’ (CCC) Gender and Sexuality Resource Center (GSRC), a space on campus that dedicates itself to challenging societal norms and constructing a safe environment for students to learn about topics such as sex and gender.
Students have expressed mixed feelings about a sex toy workshop on campus but a large number of students found it to be important.
Former GSRC Program Coordinator Lysander Valenzuela, who is familiar with events created by the CCC, explained that the “Sex Toys ‘R’ Us” event fulfilled several learning objectives that the Centers have to abide by when it comes to planning them. Some of their learning objectives include “acquiring language that will help with their relationships with friends, family, and significant others,” and “identifying or acquiring a skill that will help with their Cal State L.A. experience or life after Cal State L.A.”
Valenzuela defended that the February 11th event abided by those learning objectives and described, “There always has to be a reason for the event. How is this going to affect students? How is this going to promote their education?”
Two years ago, when Valenzeula was the GSRC’s Program Coordinator, he held a BDSM 101 introductory event similar to what the “Sex Toys ‘R’ Us” event was supposed to be like.
Even though people found the topic to be taboo to talk about with this year’s event, he mentions that there was (and still is) a desire to learn about practicing sex through the use of toys at his event two years ago. He says, “The event was packed, and I ended up having to turn people away.”
Former Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance (FMLA) Fundraising Chair, Bree Lacey, who spends most of her time at the GSRC found that the cancellation of the event was an attack on campus’ tight-knit LGBTQ community of students and activists.
She responded to the CBS report by saying, “The political implications set in with us and we were like wait, this is actually sexually repressive. It’s oppressive, and it’s breeding this culture of shame surrounding sexuality that has no place at a college campus.” Lacey went on by asserting that the cancellation of the event “perpetuates a prohibition on female women sexuality.”
While students found the cancellation of the event as a sign of eliminating talk about sex on campus, another main concern included the administration’s action against the freedom of speech.
When Hayden Barnes, a lawyer from Baltimore, Maryland heard the media reports surrounding this sex education event, he expressed his concerns in an e-mail that he addressed to President Covino, which was also forwarded to the University Times. He states, “This action is a blatant unconstitutional violation of the free speech rights of the organizers and potential attendees, constituting viewpoint-based speech discrimination.”
Barnes went on by mentioning that the act of falling into pressure from parents “shows a lack of commitment to free speech and a lack of fortitude” by administration at Cal State L.A.
Since administrators had no idea of the details of the event until news reports surfaced, it brings a question about the communication on campus. Should administration be more involved in the kinds of events that occur on campus? Should there be a stricter system placed on the events that are created by clubs or organizations on campus?
Roberto Herrera, who is minoring in Women Gender and Sexuality Studies noted, “The university had no power to unilaterally decide that we cannot have this event. The university just decided for everyone, there was no interest in the students.”
With the news reports of the cancelled event being just the tip of the iceberg, students are coming together on Wednesday, February 11th for a rally in the Free Speech Zone located in front of the bookstore.
Similarly, in response to the frustration among students, the Office of Communications and Public Affairs welcomes discussion about the topic, and encourages students to reschedule the event with specific consideration for minors on campus and the nature of the event’s appropriateness, in mind.
'Hair' Comes to CSULA Theater
It’s 8pm on a Wednesday night, and a tribe of vivacious hippies help transport an empty theater and a soon-to-be audience to 1960’s America in the search for peace, love, and harmony through music and channeling a past that struggled to seek the truth.
A voice calls “Cut!” from the mostly empty audience and instructs the tribe to start at the beginning of the number and to exit the scene slower. Another voice rehearses the gradual harmony and decrescendo of “Aquarius” before proceeding onto the next scene.
After a few moments of minor fixes, Director Stephen Rothman, or as the tribe corrected, “The Dude,” called action again, and noticing the progress exclaimed, “YES! These people take notes! They’re really amazing!”
But the small mishap from the “Aquarius” number wasn’t one of the bigger challenges of directing a group of undergrads and graduate students in the production of HAIR the musical. At first a group of strangers, the biggest challenge was trust. Actors Hana Michelle Kipnis and Daniel Glenn shared collectively, “The biggest challenge was trusting each other and stepping out of our comfort zones.”
For the past couple weeks, the buzz around campus seemed to be all about the nudity in HAIR, which, for the most part, is the first thing that comes to people’s minds when they think of the musical. The nudity scene, which is a major part of the play, seemed to pose some concerns for the actors, but it was explained that,“Rothman portrayed the nudity scene in such a unique and professional way that will overall protect the actors” on the night of the show. In a way, the nudity scene brought the whole cast together and allowed them to create that sense of trust that was needed in order to achieve the uniqueness of the musical’s story.
Famously, the first rock musical focuses on the central togetherness and unity of the tribe interacting and responding to the issues of the time, and for the 24 students cast in the ensemble, developing their own togetherness was one of the main challenges.
Auditions, which took place in Winter Quarter, and their first rehearsal on April 2ndonly allowed a little over a month of being acquainted with each other and a short period of rehearsal time during which a lot of sacrifices had to be made.
But through those sacrifices, members of the cast grew to create a bond with each other that was strong and unbreakable, which translated into the solid relationship that essentially defines the tribe. When the campus-wide bomb threat occurred earlier this quarter, Miraia Romo said, “We still had rehearsal that day, and we were able to channel the emotions of that day into the musical. It helped us realize that we really are a tribe.”
Along with being thrown into a project working with former strangers, learning the lingo and mannerisms of America’s Vietnam War era also posed a great challenge. Erika Steele, explained, “The most difficult part was the different vocabulary which was part of the hippie culture.”
A real hippie himself, Professor Rothman took the time to educate his crew about the historical Vietnam War Era and stated, “It was a ‘Head Drip’ to talk about.”
Playing the role of both the Director and the Professor throughout the whole process left lasting impressions on the cast and is reflected in his students’ performance. Graduating senior, Romeiro Davis, who has been a part of many theater productions in the past stated, “I appreciate the professionalism that Professor Rothman had with the whole process.” He hopes to take what he’s gained from Rothman’s directing style and the whole experience into the professional world.
Christopher Sorensen added, “Rothman allowed everyone to express themselves and was very open to suggestions which gave room for movement and interaction with everyone.”
The central themes of Anti-War and Hippies have struck a chord with many audiences throughout the nation, and many have identified with the famous musical on many levels. When asked what they wanted audiences to know about their rendition of the ensemble, Ruben Flores, who portrays Neil Woof, said he has achieved the mindset of knocking down the walls that everyone carries and that he hopes the musical provides “an escape from reality through liberation.”
Similarly, Elizabeth Cron, who plays the role of Crissy, added, “I’d like people to come into the play and drop everything. A lot of people have speculated about the play, and I’d like them to experience the essence of that time period with an empty mind. I’d like them to come in and be free.”
As for Professor Rothman, who has found the experience an astonishing one, stated, “What has been so gratifying was getting a group of kids that have given their all.”
Of the many things he’d like people to get out of the play, he’d like people to “walk out with the message of HAIR that is so real and relevant, to stop war, and to find peace and love for each other.”
CSULA Hosts Mayoral Debate
The race for mayor of Los Angeles continued last Monday, February 18th, at our very own University Student Union Theatre with the second debate of the 2013 mayoral election.
Hosted by the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs, the debate consisted of three rounds in which the five candidates (Councilman Eric Garcetti, City Controller Wendy Greuel, Former Assistant US Attorney Kevin James, Councilwoman Jan Perry, and Spokeo Chief Strategy Officer Emmanuel Pleitez) battled to discuss their stance on a wide variety of issues that are faced by Angelinos everyday.
The issues that were addressed during Monday’s evening debate included LA’s sales tax, water conservation, the conditions of LA’s streets, and racial biases in the city. The more heated topics of discussion centered around medical marijuana, unjust actions of the city council, and employee pension plans such as health benefits.
Councilman Eric Garcetti and City Controller Wendy Greuel, the top two candidates in the running of this year’s election, went head to head when it came to discussing the motives of city hall in prior years.
When the issue of sales tax came about, both opposed the increasing sales tax in the city but addressed the problem differently. Greuel opposed the sales tax by blaming city council for their constant fraud and abuse that resulted in $160 million in wasted city money. She continued by stating that the only way to fix the issue was if more jobs were created.
Garcetti refuted by attacking Greuel’s campaign platform, stating that her founded numbers were “simply not there.” Garcetti addressed the problem by stating that freezing raises of city workers will solve budget deficits.
Despite much debate, all five candidates appeared to fall on the same side of being in favor of the use of medical marijuana.
Greuel began by stating that we need to “provide safe access to medical marijuana so that we can protect safe neighborhoods at the same time.”
In a similar manner, Los Angeles native and Spokeo Chief Strategy Officer Emmanuel Pleitez declared that we “must do what we can to disrupt accessible marijuana so those who need it can access it.” Pleitez, who was born and raised in the East LA area, revealed that he knew what it was like living in areas where marijuana was easily accessed and connected those experiences to his stance on the issue.
Garcetti, who is currently in the lead of this race, wrapped up debate of medical marijuana by expressing that “we need guidance for the use of medical marijuana, and make sure that those who need it will be able to get it.”
The discussions then shifted to the recent tragic events of the Christopher Dorner murders and pursuing manhunt. The panel addressed problems regarding racial biases and how each candidate would fix them.
Garcetti referred to the Christopher Dorner incident and vowed to create a better and stronger Los Angeles Police Department. Councilwoman Jan Perry pledged to do the same by revising protocols if elected and updating practices which will hopefully “lead to positive reforms.”
Former Assistant US Attorney Kevin James, however, adamantly attacked the LAPD and asserted, if elected, he would make sure that the police would spend more of their time in the community than behind their desks, which would help make the LA police force stronger and help solve the problem of corruption in the city by “cleaning it up from the inside.”
CSULA student and Political Science Major Angel Salda?±a asked the candidates how they would make the city government work for the youth. All appealed to the younger crowd in the audience by posing similar responses about working together to engage voter turnout, thus enabling the younger generations’ voices to be heard.
As a college student, Salda?±a urged fellow peers to “be more encouraged to vote.” By attending the debate, she felt “more informed about the election and learned a lot about the issues.” We at the UT encourage you to follow Salda?±a’s lead, get informed, and vote! The election is on March 5th.
Rosser's Informal Address
At an Academic Senate meeting on Tuesday, January 29th, President Rosserpresented an “informal update” about a few key issues facing our school. He began by expressing his concern over the growing number of students who are not able to add classes when registration days arrive and explained that part of the issue has to do with students who have priority registration.
Since 1976, the advantage that priority registration has granted some students has also posed a threat to the timely graduation and financial aid of students who do not receive the benefit of an early registration process.
President Rosser described the magnitude of the situation with the example of 2,000 students needing Comm 150 this spring, and most of those students are not freshmen. Because of situations like these, the Board of Trustees revisited their policies in order to distribute needed classes to more students. The Board hopes to make more opportunities available for students, specifically freshmen. They expect more students will be able to enroll in the classes they need, which will ultimately help them accomplish a timely graduation.
In regards to a timely graduation, financial aid also becomes a major factor. The majority of students at the university receive the Pell Grant, which only covers six years. With a limited amount of years for financial aid, President Rosser explains that, “the pressure is building for students for a timely graduation.”
On the same day as the meeting, an e-mail was sent to all undergraduate students stating that students who have Phase I or priority registration will not be able to add more than 13 units on the February 4th add date. They will only be able to add more units after the registration of Phase II students on February 12th.
Those who have priority registration have expressed frustration toward the situation. However, this is only an experimental policy being implemented so that more students are able to get the classes they need and meet a more timely graduation.
Unfortunately, CSULA can’t predict the success rate of this experiment until after Spring Quarter. The reality is, as President Rosser expressed, “freshmen are going to be big in the enrollment picture.”
In addition to managing enrollment, President Rosser emphasized the importance of using technology in classrooms. He suggested that professors not implementing technology in their classrooms are sending the wrong message to students. He urged professors and faculty to continue utilizing technology as a major tool for helping students graduate in a timely manner.
David Ono brings Napalm Girl Documentary to CSULA
Almost 41 years after the photograph of the “Napalm Girl” was taken, David Ono of ABC 7 revisited the iconic photograph in honor of CSULA’s Memorial Day events commemorating our veterans.
The picture, worth more than a thousand words, struck a chord with many when it was taken on June 8th, 1972 during the Vietnam War by photographer Nick Ut of the Associated Press.
But the real mystery that Ono solves in his 2012 award winning documentary is about the “Napalm Girl” in the picture: Who was she? What happened to her? And above all, what kind of impact does the photograph have now?
Ono visited CSULA on Wednesday evening, May 22nd, to share his short documentary (which aired last summer) about the famous photograph and to speak about his journey with photographer Nick Ut and videographer Christopher Wain to Trang Bang, Vietnam where the event of the photograph took place.
The photo, which was taken almost 41 years ago, captured the atrocities of war when Ut took the photograph of a young girl running down Highway One with smoke engulfing the background after Southern Vietnamese forces dropped canisters of napalm from an aircraft carrier.
After Ut saw that the girls’ clothing had been burned from the napalm and saw that her skin had been severely burned from the attack, he immediately stopped taking pictures and began helping her when she cried for water. Ut then drove her to the nearest hospital.
A few days after the picture reached headlines all over the world and sparked outrage over the war, Nick Ut, relieved to know that the young girl had survived, learned that the young girl was nine-year-old Kim Phuc.
Ono, who traveled to Vietnam with Ut and Wain (who filmed the event) revealed that with the help of Wain, Phuc (who almost died) was transported from the hospital where Ut left her to an American hospital where she received further care and medication.
Even when the burns healed, Phuc never lived a normal life after that. The only known person to survive from napalm burns, the scars of that fateful day still remain, and after 17 operations, her skin became a permanent reminder of the violence of war. And her image in the photograph became a great burden through much of her young adult life. It wasn’t until she married her husband that she truly felt free from the chains that kept her from pursuing a normal life.
Years later, Ono, who wanted to revisit the event of June 8th and tell the story of Kim Phuc and her experience years ago, had the chance to speak with the girl in the photograph, as seen in his documentary.
Phuc, who at first wished that the picture was never taken, now uses her fame as a goodwill ambassador who speaks on behalf of innocent victims of war and raises money for a school in Africa that she built.
When describing what she is like, David Ono, who is now a good friend of Kim Phuc’s, said that she is “almost like a monk or saint” on account of her living such a courageous life, and how she lives in a modest fashion without much money.
During the question and answer portion, many people in the audience had questions about the photograph and questioned the notion of war and the role of the media.
In his documentary, Ono followed a group of students who traveled to Trang Bang with Nick Ut and Christopher Wain. Upon reflecting about the photograph, a question posed by a high school student had the audience asking the same question: “Did the photo capture the war or change the direction of war?”
Ono explained, “The photo accelerated this… and it truly changed the direction of the war” because it was on every newspaper, and many around the world at the time were angry that these violent actions were taking place.
Wednesday’s event, which was in honor of Memorial Day, saw some veterans who are now CSULA students stop by the USU theater for a chance to watch the documentary and meet the journalist.
One student in the audience shared that he was a veteran of the war in the Middle East and expressed that among the casualties of war are those due to suicide. He stated, “18 people commit suicide every day due to the issues of war.” Studies show that other casualties include mental trauma such as PTSD that does not go away even after soldiers have come back home from war.
He continued by sharing that “it’s red tape like those that the media does not share about the war which causes a lot of problems” and that he wouldn’t want anyone else to experience the events of war that he went through.
Connecting the events of the Vietnam War to the current war in the Middle East, Ono stated, “Overseas, our soldiers are fighting the same kind of war… it’s hard fighting a war where we don’t truly know who or what the enemies are.”
What David Ono really wanted students to grasp was the importance of the photograph, how that simple photograph was able to capture the atrocity of war, and how the image of a young girl was able to change the direction of war.
First Ever Active Shooter Training Takes Place on Campus
An Active Shooter Training event was held at the Physical Science Building on Tuesday, September 17 around 7 AM for Police Officers and Fire Fighters of Alhambra, San Gabriel, and Los Angeles to utilize a new tactic in which both work together in a similar situation.
The event, which was organized with the help of Lizette Juarez, the administration manager for Cal State L.A’s University Police, began with a briefing consisting of a safety talk with all the participants (which included the LA Police and Sheriff departments, LA Fire Department, and role players), and the actual training which was comprised of two scenarios for participants to respond to (both being with an active shooter involved).
Sergeant Wade of the Los Angeles Police Department said, “the methods involved are standard across the nation.”
The first scenario that took place started at 8 AM and was prompted by a “fake” sniper on the roof of the physical science building who began firing several rounds of shots. Members of the police department then strategically proceeded onto the area in front of the building to assemble before going inside.
From outside, screams were heard of volunteers trapped inside the building-making the scenario seem very realistic. In fact, the scenario seemed so realistic that the dispatchers contacting police officers from their radios were also responding to the situation in a similar fashion.
After a half hour or so, fire fighters began returning to the lot in front of Parking Structure A where the base of the operation was set up with the role playing victims that were supposed to be gravely injured.
A few members from the Criminal Justice Club who participated and were shooting victims said that they were instructed to “act like victims and try to make the cops feel bad for them so that they will help.”
Once everything from the first scenario was cleared, the second scenario took place around 10 AM with the same prompt of gunfire from a sniper on the roof like the first situation.
So why did this event take place now instead of an active quarter during the school year?
Members in charge of the training were cautious of startling students on campus during a regular quarter, and solely focused on one building during Tuesday’s event. Marcela Espinoza, a fellow Golden Eagle who was working in the Library’s Palmer Wing wasn’t even aware of the gunshots being fired that day.
But the training proved very beneficial for the department officials involved and even the students who experienced a taste of what it would be like to be caught in a similar situation.
During the first part of the briefing after the training session, a student role player commented that the experience was “awesome, and that even though it was intense, it was good practice.”
Another said that they “felt that the officers did the best to keep victims involved safe.”
With the recent events of shootings across the nation from Sandy Hook Elementary to the Navy Yard Rampage in Washington D.C. on Monday morning, it seemed appropriate and important to hold a training session for LA officials to take part in.
LA County Sheriff Grady whose met with a victim of Sandy Hook Elementary in the past shared from that experience that “the first time you hear that chaos it’s a lot to take in” if you’re ever involved in a similar situation.
Although in a given situation, the actions are of terrorism, it’s important to realize that not all suspects are terrorists. With that being, it’s important to be aware and stay vigilant wherever you may be.
Before dismissing the role players that day, Sheriff Grady gave tips on what to do in a time of crisis involving an active shooter:
1. Make yourself a small target – Meaning, stay calm and don’t do anything to make yourself an obvious target for the shooter.
2. A hard solid object like solid, heavy desks or file cabinets can help stop bullets.
3. Concealment! – If you’re stuck, HIDE.
4. Get the hell out of hallways! – You have to stay alive in the first 3-8 minutes of a shooting and staying out of hallways will greatly help your chances of being safe.
5. Know the area your in – Especially if you’re in a building. Know your exit routes!
6. If you have a thought about playing dead, and think it will help you stay safe, do it!
7. Move from hard cover to hard cover until you’re safely out of the area.
8. Don’t let them control your destiny! – if you have a chance to fight back and you know you’ll be safely okay doing so, DO IT.
Dr. Zelman introduces the Health Insurance Education Project
In January 2014, the nationwide mandate of the Affordable Care Act or“Obamacare” will come into effect and will require all Americans to have health insurance.
What many people are unaware of, you can actually begin enrolling for insurance starting in October and can purchase affordable insurance plans. This greatly affects college students because many are uninsured and unaware of the Affordable Care Act.
Recently, a grant from Covered California, the new exchange or new marketplace to“Obamacare”, was given to educate CSU students and faculty about their options about the Affordable Care Act. There are options for people to purchase healthcare at reasonable rates, in which students are eligible for.
Spearheaded by CSULA’s very own Dr. Zelman of the Public Health Department, student coordinators from each Cal State will work together in the Health Insurance Education Project to educate students about the new law and how to purchase health insurance.
Dr. Zelman, who is very passionate about this new mandate, is very knowledgeable about how the current system is causing strain on Americans who cannot afford health insurance, and how an act like “Obamacare” will benefit.
His concern for the problem goes back to the early ’90s when Dr. Zelman worked for President Clinton. During that time, they tried to implement affordable healthcare for everybody at the national level.
When a survey in the past was facilitated to students and was found that over 40 percent of students in the age range being between 18 and 24 were uninsured, Zelman’s concern for the uninsured student population grew, and knew he had to take immediate action once the Affordable Care Act was being implemented by establishing the Health Insurance Education Project.
The Health Insurance Education Project will aim to focus on three groups that consist of students, families, and faculty.
Through those main focuses, coordinators will assist Dr. Zelman into educating CSU students through several strategies including the use of social media tactics, short classroom presentation visits, and campus forums to bring students and faculty together. If one specific strategy works on a Cal State campus, coordinators of the project will immediately get the word out to the other campuses to let them know about different ways to reach out to these groups.
Fellow Golden Eagle, Natasha, the campus coordinator for the LA Campus stated, “It’s really important for students especially of the population at the CSULA campus to be aware of this because most people are young, unhealthy and uninsured. It’s important under the new law starting January 1st that is required for people to have health insurance and with the group, students will know that they’ll qualify for some of the assistance rom government and medical for some of the changes happening.”
What makes the Health Insurance Education Project so unique is students are running the system, which will help students relate to the issue at hand and become aware of the new law.
Dr. Zelman said, “The glue of the whole system are students involved.”
Wendy Le, a regional coordinator of the Project commented, “A new opportunity for younger people to get insurance is available and has been out of reach before.”
In addition, it is also found surprising how supportive people have been to the project. Wendy Le added, “The most memorable thing about the experience so far is how enthusiastic everyone, including the Chancellor, has been willing they are to collaborate.”
However, not many have found the new Act to be all so positive. When asked about his response to Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s recent filibuster against “Obamacare”, saying how “Obamacare is the biggest job killer in the country” and how he wants to defund it, Dr. Zelman simply replied, “My job is to educate… This is the law. Whatever else one thinks about ‘Obamacare’, the program has opportunities for our students who have great needs in this area and it will fulfill all the needs. As long as that’s the case, that’s why I’m doing it because it’s good for our students in this category.”
Special forums regarding the new Affordable Care Act will begin from October 22th-24th 2013.
CSULA Greek System Revives Panhellenic Council
A change in the Greek Sorority System is happening this year with the newPanhellenic Council.
If unfamiliar with the Panhellenic Council and the sororities involved, the Panhellenic includes the type of sororities anyone could relate to, across the country.
After being absent for ten years, the Panhellenic Council is being reinstalled atCSULA and a formal recruitment will take place for women. If you are interested, be sure to meet the council at the recruitment dates and contact the Center for Student Involvement beforehand for questions regarding each sorority or fees. And once there at the Info night, you will be able to get to know the sororities better.
Vice President Diana Covarrubias, recruitment for the Panhellenic Council explained that along with a new formal recruitment that will take place this year, computer systems are involved in the 3-part enrollment process. Enrollment, orientation, and recruitment are the three parts that will be tracked of who would like to be involved in the sororities. CSULA only has two Panhellenic sororities: Delta Zeta and Alpha Sigma Tau.
Sorority Recruitment Counselors will be given to interested students who want to join the Greek System, so they know what to expect in the recruitment process and won’t feel lost.
Although members of the council like Diana are members of sororities, the members of the Panhellenic Council have disaffiliated themselves with their sororities until the bidding process to help those who are interested in joining find a sorority.
So why should you join the Greek System?
Diana Covarrubias shared that “joining the Greek System will be a big benefit if joined because you make lifetime friendships and connections, do community service, take part in leadership roles, and be part of a rewarding experience.”
Similarly, Alicia Canzano of Alpha Sigma Tau said that being part of a sorority “makes her have a life in college and it gives you a better experience. Everyone has an idea of a college experience from what you see on TV and those who are interested in joining the Greek System kind of want that.”
Fellow Alpha Sigma Tau member, Lydia Wong added, “After I joined, I’ve done a lot of new things on campus, I participate more, and I have more people to talk to now.”
With CSULA being a largely commuter campus, it can greatly discourage students from even joining sororities, fraternities, or even other organizations on campus. Also, with the many new freshmen on campus, it may be very difficult or discouraging to automatically step out of their comfort zone and join these organizations.
Delta Zeta Hannah Kipnis, who joined as a freshman two years ago, said that she does not regret the decision of joining a sorority at all. “College has been 150 percent better,” she expressed, “Delta Zeta has become my home, and group of friends. Without Delta Zeta in my life, I’d be a lot less social.”
For freshmen that would like to join, Diana Covarrubias of the Pan-Hellenic Council advised to check out all the sororities on campus because they’re all different. She said, “Maybe you don’t click with one, but another sorority might speak to you. You need to look for your home away from home and you need to make sure the sorority that you choose is a sorority you like.”
For those who are not freshmen looking into joining a sorority, it’s never too late. Diana explained, “it’s great to join if you’re looking for interaction with others outside of class and if you want to be part of leadership roles.”
With that being, when choosing a sorority, it’s always important to ask what means more to you. For example, if you identify with philanthropy, find a sorority that shares the same philanthropic ideas with you. If you’re into academics, talk to sororities that have anything that can help you out during your college career.
Diana added, “It’s all about asking yourself what’s important to you and finding a sorority that values the same morals that you have.”
Despite the many good things that can benefit from joining a sorority, many are still apprehensive about joining due to the controversy circulating the recruitment process with hazing and amount of information they don’t know about the Greek System.
In the past, hazing has been popularized in films and TV Shows such as Sydney White, GR??K, or even Disney’s, Monster University,and has appeared in news all over the country sometimes unfortunately leading to various injuries or even deaths of many students involved, eager to please.
For those who are interested in rushing for a sorority but are unsure because of the idea of hazing, CSULA does not have hazing. Vice President, Diana Covarrubiasassured, “The national Pan-Hellenic Council has a no-tolerance policy on hazing and chapters would not want to put years of sisterhood down the drain for something like it.”
At CSULA, many students will probably find it disappointing that there is no Greek Row, or neighborhood community where each sorority or frat house are located. Although they hope that a Greek Row will be accessible in the future, many of the bonds that are built from being part of sororities allow members to have relationships that are very sister-like, and often many sorority members will tend to live together because of those bonds.
The friendships that are created from joining sororities are unexplainable. Panhellenic Council members expressed that, “It’s a really strong friendship and it comes easily because sisters share the same things like goals and values. And coming across members of your sorority across the country is an automatic instant connection.”
As you can see, there are many positive factors to joining a sorority on campus. It’s very important that students join a sorority or any organization on campus so that they’ll make the most of their college experience as well as create memories that will last a lifetime.
Greek Info Night is Tuesday, October 8th, in front of the Student Union building at 6 PM.
Communications Professor Produces #HealthcareSwag
What do you get when you combine important information regarding the new Healthcare Act, pop culture elements, and a catchy song?
The answer is “#HealthcareSwag,” a music video on YouTube produced by Cal State LA’s very own, Professor Yamamoto.
Yamamoto, a Communications professor was given the opportunity to work with YouTube stars, Andrew and David Fung, also known as the Fung Brothers. Yamamoto also paired up with KCAL Insurance Agency to create a video that would inform the college demographic about the Affordable Care Act in a very cool way.
Why focus on college students?
Professor Yamamoto explained, “This demographic could potentially be the most ill informed or the most uninformed because of the way they get their information is not through the traditional news outlets but through social media.”
With that issue in mind, the vision for the video was based on Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop” music video, with the lyrics substituted with original lyrics written by the Fung Brothers.
The formula for combining the controversial Miley Cyrus music video with information about the Affordable Care Act, which is already controversial, was simple. Many knew about the music video and it was a no brainer to make a parody of the song so that the message would resonate with college students.
In other words, Professor Yamamoto explained, “We wanted to educate, but also entertain at the same time.”
When asked about her interest in the law coming into effect from a professor’s point of view, she replied, “I’m a teacher first, and when I seen an opportunity where there’s maybe a gap and I have the resources and means to fill the gap to provide a teaching moment, that’s where my passion comes from. There’s a demographic that needs to learn something important about that law and as a teacher, I feel responsible to teach them and help them understand what the law’s all about in a simplified way.”
In the past couple days alone, the video has received thousands of views. There was feedback from being on the news in Hawaiian and Chinese Newspapers, even the Pasadena Star News.
Despite the controversy behind the act and regardless if people agree or disagree, Professor Yamamoto explained, “Share your knowledge and information and share what you know. We’re not taking a political stance, but we’re sharing facts. The fact is everybody needs health insurance. And my hope is that students don’t get fined and they’ll share the message, follow the law, and not have a penalty from it.”
Professor Yamamoto hopes to go on campus tours with the Fung Brothers to spread the word and share the message.
Be sure to watch #Healthcareswag on YouTube!
The Smithsonian Brings The American Sabor Exhibit to CSULA
The American Sabor exhibit kicked off its stay in Los Angeles on Wednesday, November 13 with a reception outside the Fine Arts Building.
At the evening reception, many were able to experience the essence of Latin American flavor with delicious food, music, and of course, the exhibit as the main attraction.
The exhibit, which is part of a national tour for the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), features Latin Music Influences in Popular Culture from the 1940s to the present, and is expected to travel to 12 cities through 2015.
President William Covino who attended the reception and helped welcome the exhibit stated, “We could not be prouder that American Sabor chose to call Cal State L.A. its home and it feels like a natural partnership because much like this exhibition, this university is an institution that incorporates everyday, everyway, art, music, and community.”
What many people were most thrilled about was the exhibit’s connection to the Los Angeles community because of how the exhibit showcased the many Latin music influences throughout the years across the country-most specifically in Los Angeles.
Co-founder, Quetzal Flores of the Grammy Award-Winning Band, Quetzal, who for their recent album, Imaginaries (which won a Grammy for the Latin Alternative Award) said when asked about Cal State L.A.’s new exhibit, “This (exhibit) is where it belongs because it has to do with the Heart of East L.A.” Flores continued on by saying that the real music with Latin Influences began in neighborhoods and on the streets of Los Angeles.
Among the many guests at the reception was Joe Vex, the Executive Founder of The Vex, a small-but unique-venue from the ’80s for bands to perform from the East Los Angeles Punk Rock Scene.
The exhibit featured a section about Joe’s contribution to the community by bringing East and West Los Angeles together through music by giving bands such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Black Flag, Los Lobos and Circle Jerks (just to name a few), exposure through live music.
Joe’s close friend, Morganne, who is the Executive Director and Curator of the Vex Arts, explained that there was “no representation of East Los Angeles (at the time)” and with the Vex starting off as a magazine (first began by Joe) “Joe was able to show off each band’s art which helped create a bridge between East and West Los Angeles.”
Morganne, who is also an international singer whose career kicked off in her teens and has captivated audiences all over the world from Paris to L.A.’s Walt Disney Concert Hall, continued to explain that to create that bridge between East and West Los Angeles, “Joe offered each band to show art and highlight the talent of East L.A. through shows in West L.A.”
Walking around the exhibit that evening, many felt a strong connection to the history presented throughout the years regarding Latin American influences in Popular Culture.
Martha Gonzalez, a lead vocalist of the Grammy Award Winning band, Quetzal, commented, “The exhibit points to the ways Latin American Sound has formed popular music and how Latinos influenced American Music.”
Gonzalez, who connected with the exhibit, mentioned how sometimes that Latin sound is silenced by not being talked about and “why it’s important to recognize the influence of Latinos in these popular sounds.”
Along with the photos and testaments about the importance and influence of Latin Music on display, the exhibit is unique because it encourages guests to be involved with buttons to press for audio descriptions, a small dance floor toward the back of the exhibit, and a small make-shift movie theater to watch an 11-minute film about New York’s notoriously mythic dance hall, the Palladium Ballroom. The film mentioned how the club’s performers, Tito Puente and Tito Rodriguez, began the mambo craze.
With the exhibit being on Golden Eagle soil, fellow Cal State L.A. staff and students who were at the event were amazed with the success of the exhibit’s first day being on campus.
Dean Peter McAllister of CSULA’s Arts and Letters College was pleased with the reception saying there was a “phenomenal turnout” and this exhibit “will connect with the community.”
McAllister, who has a Ph.D. in Music Education from Kent State University said the exhibit is “a celebration of music on campus” and found it heartwarming to see how the music on display was the music that influenced his studies in school. He added that the exhibit serves as a proof that “Music is a language that travels all over the world and celebrates life.”
Moreover, the exhibit is helping bring exposure to the Fine Arts Gallery on campus. A.S.I. Arts and Letters Co-Representative Marina Vilhena, who works also at the gallery said, “many people had no idea about the gallery (before the exhibit)… The exhibit is something unusual (for a Fine Arts Gallery) but it’s great, and it’s good exposure.”
A.S.I. Arts and Letters Co-Representative, Emmanuel Solis added, “this exhibit creates visibility for our college and it’s a really good exhibit!” In regards to what he’d like students to know about the American Sabor exhibit, Emmanuel replied saying “It’s free, so students should definitely check it out.”
The American Sabor exhibit will be on display until February 9th, 2014. While on display, the gallery will be hosting events that correspond with the theme of American Sabor.
Golden Eagles Talk About Revamping Library
When first impressions of the library come to mind, opinions usually sound like this. The library is old, it does not have enough space for students to work, and it does not have enough of the right books as resources.
Agreeably, the John F. Kennedy Mamorial Library is one of the most visited buildings on campus. Because of this, many students have had their fair share of complaints of our campus library.
On Monday, December 2nd, a meeting with members of A.S.I., students, and Southern Oregon University’s Library Dean Paul Adalian was held in the Administration Building to discuss the kind of library students would like to have atCSULA.
Adalian, who became Southern Oregon University’s Library Dean in 2009, has helped create a student-centered environment at Southern Oregon University’s library by developing 24-hour study periods during finals week, art exhibits, and concerts during lunchtime (just to name a few).
Because of his phenomenal work at Southern Oregon University and knowledge in Library Science (which he earned a Masters Degree in from Syracuse University),Adalian was asked by the provost on our campus to take a look at the library and get an opinion on what to do with it after word got out that President Covino wanted to revitalize the library.
Although plans of any sort to renovate the library is a long way away, Adalianwanted to meet with students and learn about what they’d like in a library.
Some of the long-term goals that were posed by students included the physical structure of the building. A.S.I.’s Vice President for Finance, Alixx Alcazar said that there isn’t enough space and questioned how we could “restructure the library to create more space.”
After walking around our library and making specific observations about the many rooms our library has, Adalian’s solution to the limited amount of space in the library was to “turn small rooms into study rooms… There’s no place in the building where there is a lot of space.” In addition, he’d like to make it easier for students in the future to be able to reserve study rooms.
Haley Flores, a fellow Golden Eagle student, had a bigger vision in terms of the structure of the library. Flores, who visited other college campuses like UC San Diego and said that she’d like our library to look similar. Specifically, she “appreciates their (UCSD’s) kind of windows.”
Similarly, A.S.I. Vice President for Academic Governance, Luis Antezana said that he “wants our library to be a pocket of nature” and “wants the library to be a more pleasant place to study.”
While changing the windows of the library can’t be done immediately, and considered Flores’ wants of a new physical structure for our library, Adaliansuggested something smaller in terms of bringing more light into the library to respond to both comments about the structure of our library.
He stressed, “Since it’s pretty dark in the library, tables should be moved closer to windows.”
When asked about what students would like inside the library, A.S.I. President, Hector Jacinto posed several requests regarding a visual element of student culture inside the library, a bigger break room, and an extension of library hours.
With his past experience of revitalizing Southern Oregon University’s library by developing art exhibits, Adalian agreed with Jacinto by saying, “There is nothing that says CSULA,” and suggested that student culture assemble in the library, like “student work projected around the library from different majors to visually display.”
In regards to library hours, Jacinto suggested extending library hours because of late night class schedules students take. He states, “Some students end class late and there are no places to study on campus after.”
At Southern Oregon University, Adalian helped develop 24-hour study periods during finals week for students. He responded to Jacinto’s comments by suggesting that CSULA’s library do the same during finals week, which could possibly be in development currently.
On a much smaller scale, students I’Jazz Brooks and Ozzy Rodriguez stated that more books are needed.
Ozzy Rodriguez, who is studying Law, brought up the fact that there aren’t enough books on Law, and if there are, most are out dated.
Adalian suggested that our campus use “ebrary,” an online database that could probably help ease the trouble students have when it comes to research projects that need current content and plenty of content to choose from.
Moreover, Adalian’s main comment based on his observations was that the “basic needs are met, but aesthetically, that’s where the needs must be met.”
Although our library is on a 5-year cycle of trying to be renovated, it’s important to take into consideration the needs of students and what they would like in their library building. Adalian’s visit was just the first of many steps to take before a complete renovation of the library will be made.
Student Rally Forces Senators to Listen
Due to recent events concerning the debate to make Ethnic Studies a General Education Requirement, students organized in a rally on Tuesday, February 4th to advocate for Ethnic Studies to be a requirement in the General Education Curriculum.
Over the course of the past few weeks with the Community Day Demonstration and the disagreements involved in the decision to make Ethnic Studies a mandatory requirement for undergraduates to take, many students felt dissatisfied with how members of the Academic Senate have been responding to them and their proposals.
Prior to the rally, an Academic Senate meeting held on January 28th, which resulted in a motion that out-voted the proposal through the use of clickers, left many students frustrated about how members of the Senate weren’t allowing students to speak during the meeting and felt their voices were not being heard.
The group of undergraduate, graduate, and alumni students who gathered on Tuesday made sure their voices would be heard by stopping the weekly Academic Senate Meeting from happening on Tuesday.
Around 12PM that day, students began assembling in front of the University Bookstore and then proceeded to march into King Hall for a walk out chanting, “What do we want? Ethnic Studies! When do we want it? Now!”
After marching through King Hall, students walked up to the third floor of the Golden Eagle linking arms together in front of the doors to the Golden Eagle Ballroom where the meeting was supposed to be held.
When members of the senate arrived, students began booing and stomping their feet yelling, “Don’t talk to any of these people!” and “Don’t let nobody in!” when the members tried entering the ballroom.
A repulsed uproar ensued when Dr. Kevin Baaske, the chair of the Academic Senate walked in along with other members of the Senate.
After negotiating with the students to give them time to speak for half an hour,Baaske was turned down.
For an entire 100 minutes (equivalent to the amount of time allotted for an Academic Senate meeting), students used megaphones to voice their opinions about the motions that were outvoted.
The two motions that failed prior to the rally included one that was proposed by the Chair of the Pan-African Studies Department, Professor Melina Abdullah which stated that “at least one of the two required diversity courses must be taken in one of the four ethnic/area studies departments/programs: Asian/Asian American Studies, Chicano Studies, Latin American Studies, or Pan-African studies”; and the second, labeled as the “Talcott motion” which stated, “at least one of these courses must represent historically underrepresented racial/ethnic groups.”
The students who spoke addressed the Senate to listen as well as for other students to understand the magnitude of the situation.
Similar to many students’ remarks, English Major, Julie Guerrero stated, “It’s important because we’re trying to fight for our history, we’re trying to keep our history alive, and if we don’t fight for this then we’re gonna end up forgetting about it.”
A.S.I. President, Hector Jacinto said, “I’m here today to make a statement that I am in support to making ethnic studies a requirement for the GE…This is only the beginning of other meetings for the rest of the remaining year that we’re gonna stand here until we get what we demand.”
Although many students voiced their thoughts, a handful who attended the event were unsure of what was going on but still continued to speak.
After a student spoke, misinterpreting what was being advocated for and called to keep the Ethnic Studies department from shutting down, another member of the crowd immediately addressed the comment and corrected those remarks saying, “They are not taking Ethnic Studies away.”
Another student who wasn’t aware of who the members of the senate were even addressed Dean McAllister as President William Covino.
With all the remarks at the rally regarding the way Dr. Baaske regulated the previous week’s Academic Senate meeting, Baaske addressed in an interview Thursday, “This senate does not have a public comment portion. Many city councils do, and board of trustees, we do not. But any senator can yield their speaking time to a guest. What I explained to the students that were there-‘guests’-was that the rules require that I as senate chair, call on senators who raise their hand.”
The meetings in which students are welcomed to voice their comments are at the open forums. Dr. Baaske mentioned, “In December, we had an entire senate meeting devoted to a discussion. There was no motion on the floor on diversity. It was an open forum. Anybody could have come to talk about it, and no students came.”
Baaske also cleared up that he does not get to decide on who raises their hand, and during that particular meeting on January 28th, the senators kept raising their hand.
In regards to the clickers involved that students were frustrated about from the January 29th meeting, Baaske said, “Some junior faculty assistant to the associate professors were concerned that they were going to be asked to vote on controversial issues when their senior faculty member in the same department who would vote on whether or not they will be given tenure, or promotion to a “full” [position] might be sitting next to them and voting the other way… so they were concerned that they would not be able to vote their conscience if administrators were there or their senior faculty members were there and so the clickers protect that.”
In other words, the officers of the senate shared in a letter received by the Executive committee that the clickers are used for accuracy, integrity- because they “assure secrecy and protect those who are voting from the possibility of retaliation,” honesty-because “when voice votes are conducted, it is difficult to ascertain who is voting” and innovation.
Although the decision to use clickers was made in December, the first unsuccessful attempt to use clickers was done on January 14th. By January 28th, new clickers were ordered, and that day was the first time clickers were successful. Officers of the Senate have stated that clickers will be used for the rest of the year.
In addition, Baaske also explained, “Parliamentary procedure says that if a senator makes a motion to close the debate, whether I agree or not, I have to ask if there is a second to that motion. That day, there was.”
During the rally, many attacked Dr. Baaske. One student approached him during his speech and stood directly in front of him saying, “Everybody needs to understand the position that this man holds. He chairs these meetings. The academic senate meeting goes through him. All you guys can find that man in the music building, and I’m sure he’d love to speak to us. So everybody make sure you go to his office and make sure he’s working in favor of us the students the ones that struggle.”
Baaske reiterated in the interview on Thursday that he does not get to vote as chair.
Based on what has happened so far, the response is mixed. Due to what students are advocating for, many others have followed and expressed that they are for Ethnic Studies to be a requirement to the GE curriculum. Others on social media sites have expressed that there could probably have been other ways to approach the issue (in regards to the student organized rally).
An open forum on Monday, February 10th and will be held for students to place any further comments.
Senate Motion Divides Ethnic Studies
A third attempt to suggest an Ethnic Studies course as a requirement to the new G.E. curriculum was proposed on Tuesday, February 11th, 2013 at the Academic Senate Meeting.
The motion, which was brought forth by Senator Aaron Sonnenschein, proposed, “At least one of the two required diversity courses must be taken in one of the four ethnic/area studies departments/programs: Asian/Asian American Studies, Chicano Studies, Latin American Studies, or Pan-African Studies or be a course cross-listed with courses with the aforementioned departments/programs.”
After much heated debate by some senators, and emotional testimonies from some students who attended, no decision was reached leaving both sides even more unsettled and frustrated.
Since a decision was not made on this third motion for Ethnic Studies, one can’t help but wonder what exactly is keeping senate members from reaching a decision. Perhaps what needs to be addressed first is where each department/program from Ethnic Studies stands.
At the gathering in front of the bookstore on Tuesday before the Senate meeting, Dr. Melina Abdullah, the chair of Pan African Studies and Dr. Beth Baker-Cristales, the chair of Latin American Studies, both expressed the urgency to make Ethnic Studies a required course. The chair of the Asian and Asian American Studies Program, Dr. Ping Yao and the chair of Chicana/o Studies, Dr. Bianca Guzman, were not present at this gathering.
While Dr. Abdullah, over the course of the past couple weeks, has passionately shown how a required Ethnic Studies GE course would benefit students, and while Dr. Baker-Cristales has shown the same support for the requirement, by even publicly addressing her position at the student rally on February 4th on the proposed motion, the presence of the Chicano Studies Department chair and Asian and Asian American Studies chair almost appear to be nonexistent.
What has not been acknowledged is that both the Chicano Studies (CHS) Department and the Asian and Asian American Studies (AAAS) Program do not agree with the proposal to make Ethnic Studies a requirement. Both released similar statements that they do not support the motion that will require students to take one Ethnic Studies Course as one of their required diversity courses.
The statement released by the Asian and Asian American Studies Program explained how their program took into consideration CSULA’s General Education curriculum as a whole. With the revision to the General Education requirements, the statement said, “We envision that a strengthened AAAS will play an indispensable role in the GE program. For these reasons, we cannot support the motion proposed on February 11th, 2014.”
Similarly, the Chicana/o Studies Department released in an official statement, “The Department of Chicana/o Studies at California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA) does not support the Senate motion proposed on February 11th, 2014.” Just like the statement released by AAAS, the CHS department also addressed the benefits of the new GE Program explained, “The Departments of Chicana/o Studies and Pan African Studies, and the Asian/Asian American Studies and Latin American Studies programs were never excluded from the GE program, and more importantly, each department/program has the opportunity to insert and develop core courses within the major that meet the new diversity requirement.”
So if AAAS and CHS see a benefit to the program, why is it seen that LAS and PAS do not see the benefit?
Since January 21st‘s Academic Senate meeting in which the first motion to have a required Ethnic Studies course in the curriculum was introduced (and ultimately failed), the talk of the matter has been that Ethnic Studies will be weakened in many ways if the motion does not pass. One of those ways suggests a loss in Ethnic Studies majors.
In 2011, an article from Cal State Northridge reveals the struggle that Cal State L.A. faced regarding the Asian and Asian American Studies Program. The 2011 article titled, “CSUN community reacts to CSULA’s Ethnic Studies Dipute” shows how the administration decided to suspend the AAAS Program at the time because it was struggling as a program. Regardless if the article does not answer all the questions about the movement now, we can take a look into data. By looking, it can help determine how Ethnic Studies can be weakened and why the push to make Ethnic Studies a requirement is seen as imperative to some.
From the Office of Institutional Research, research shows there has been a gradual decline in majors since the Winter Quarter of 2008. In the past six years, the number of students who decided to major in Ethnic Studies dropped significantly from a combined total of 136 Ethnic Studies majors in the Winter Quarter of 2008 to a total of 99 Ethnic Studies majors today.
If dissected even further, the data shows that each of the departments/programs under Ethnic Studies have dropped in the amount of students who are pursuing each of those majors.
Compared to majors like Liberal Studies, Criminal Justice, or Psychology, which each had over 500 majors in the Winter Quarter of 2008 and reached an impacted status in the span of three years (which shows the growth of the departments), Ethnic Studies has shown a major decrease in the amount of students who want to pursue their majors.
The significant decrease in the amount of majors has been important because if there are no majors, then the less likely it would be that students are enrolled in classes involving that major. If there aren’t any students taking a particular course from a department and no demand for that class, then that department will not receive funds for that given class due to a lack of students enrolled. The funds that a class receives is determined by FTES, or Full Time Equivalent Student, which helps keep track of how many students are in a particular class being taught.
So if we take for example AAAS, and take a look at what is provided in the public data from the Office of Institutional Research, the number of majors in that program for Fall 2013 was a total of 12 students. Because only twelve students were majoring in AAAS, the FTES that the AAAS program received was a total value of 44.33. The FTES amount can also be distributed among GE courses as well. For example, if we take a look at the PAS department, there were only 13 undergraduate majors and because there was probably a demand for PAS in Upper and Lower Division GE courses, the FTES for the PAS department in the Fall was a total of 207.73.
Compared to the Psychology department, which had a total of 782 undergraduate majors alone in the Fall of 2013, the FTES that their department received for their classes in the Lower Division GE curriculum, Upper Division GE, and their major was a total value of 819.40, given that the Psychology Department only has one GE course present in Block D of Lower Division, and about two courses present in the Upper Division Theme.
In short, based on the extensive data, Ethnic Studies courses rely heavily on General Education Courses unlike other departments such as Psychology or many other majors on campus. The information provided shows that Ethnic Studies majors need General Education Courses to survive.
Based on the statements that both the Chicano/a Studies Department and Asian and Asian American Studies Programs released, it’s easy to see how making Ethnic Studies a requirement is not as simple as it sounds. Since the AAAS Program is still establishing themselves as a major, a required Ethnic Studies GE course (taught by only Ethnic Studies professors) to graduate would mean a greater focus on General Education for a program like AAAS or Chicano Studies, which is also trying to gain majors. Since through that emphasis on General Education, resources will be reallocated in trying to accommodate GE courses rather than the emphasized major.
Moreover, the new GE curriculum, which has redefined the meaning of diversity and has changed the requirement of what a diversity course is supposed to have students achieve, would not give Ethnic Studies an opportunity to rely on GE courses in the same way they currently rely on GE courses with the new revision to the GE curriculum.
Overall, a change in the new GE package that was passed could potentially mean Ethnic Studies could lose students if the motion to have Ethnic Studies as a requirement does not pass.
Happiness and Technology in a Rapidly Changing World
Former Google Glass Team Member and eccentric YouTube Host, Nicki Sun, stopped by CSULA. She visited Communications Professor Mylen Yamamoto’sComm 478 Class on Tuesday, March 5th for a small group conference titled, “Let’s Talk About It.”
Sun spoke about her experiences as a college student pursuing an unconventional path, gave advice on being a self-starter and never giving up, and how she found happiness to be her north star in everything in life.
As a former member of the Google Glass Team, Sun talked about how she left Google because it didn’t give her a sense of fulfillment or happiness. Although she was able to learn about the corporate world and a sense of security, she felt that it wasn’t worth sacrificing her main love. Her love consists of entertainment and her passion for other people’s stories.
Sun first discovered her love for entertainment as a student at UC Davis while she worked with the campus news outlet. Her work has been featured on CNN and she reported about a student sit-in during the rise of student fees. When Sun was featured on CNN, it helped her realize pursuing a media-related career was something she could potentially see herself doing. So Sun embarked on an unconventional path of developing a career as a host.
In the past, Sun’s interviewed recording artists like Far East Movement, YouTube stars such as the members of Wong Fu Productions and Michelle Phan, several athletes such as Kristi Yamaguchi and Jeremy Lin.
Sun is currently pursuing a main career in entertainment as an actress and continuing being a self-made host. Sun compared her experiences and what she’s learned to everyone’s own journeys in the conference.
The first set of advice Sun gave was about not regretting anything you’ve done or failed to do in the past ten years down the road. Sun explained, “Now’s the time to make mistakes. So ask yourself, what makes you happy.” Even though quitting Google meant losing a stable job, it meant she’d be able to find her happiness despite the risk. Even though everyone’s journeys are all different, Sun encourages everyone to take those risks.
The second set of advice Sun told the Communications class was to be indispensable. As a firm believer of being multi-faceted in the media field, Sun said, “No one else is going to do it but yourself.” She urged students to do things on their own and learn how to do a variety of things. Sun explained that sticking to knowing only one thing could hinder you from being great.
The conference included a simulated press conference where Communications Students were able to practice skills learned in class and led discussions generated by students’ questions.
The discussion centered on the benefits of social media, whether or not social media is affecting society positively or negatively. The consensus the student panelists came up with is how people utilize social media, and to educate people to use social media positively.
Although social media can be seen as a good thing for Communications students, some believe that Social media is seen negatively. Panel member and Communications student, Lauren Rome, emphasizing in Interpersonal Communications said, “It’s (social media) changing the way we communicate and it’s putting a distance between people. “However, Rome said that if used correctly, social media could be a good thing.
Nicki Sun, who has relied on social media to build her hosting career commented that social media is “definitely a great source of communication. With social media, it gives you the chance to meet people from all over the world… and that’s what I love most about social media.”
The main “take-away” from the conference would be in a world that is rapidly growing with technology, many adapt to the time and utilize these devices and programs in order to survive in society. The panelists explained that those who do not use social media “are at a disadvantage and are not progressing forward.”
Film Students Get Advice from Rene Russo
Television and Film students of Film Professor, Robert Vianello’sEntertainment Industry Class were able to catch a glimpse of what the industry is like on Tuesday, March 11th. GJEchternkamp, the director and writer of the new upcoming Indie Documentary,Frank and Cindy, and Actress, Ren?© Russo (Outbreak, Freejack), who starred in the documentary as Cindy, stopped by for a small panel event with a question and answer portion.
Moderated by Professor Vianello, questions regarded Echternkamp’sexperience working in the film industry and his documentary were asked. The students asked other questions like what number of projects done before working on Frank and Cindy, the process of developing a film, and how to run a set.
Echternkamp revealed that he worked on a number of projects before Frank and Cindy, and even submitted a film to the Sundance film festival titled, Virtually Heroes, starring Robert Baker (True Blood, The Lone Ranger). Echternkamp shared his challenges of obtaining the funds for Frank and Cindy where Professor Vianello added, “These things don’t happen overnight.”
In regards to the final product, he mentioned how many changes a film goes through and those decisions might not be what you want in the end. Specifically, the misconceptions how films are created and who gets credit working on the film are recognized.
Regardless of the challenges, Echternkamp is proud his first Documentary and got positive feedback from the star of his film, Ren?© Russo. Russo stated, “You’re an amazing director, GJ,” and told the class how as a director, Echternkamp gave good criticism and notes when it came to directing the actors on set.
Russo, as Professor Vianello described as one of the most “prolific actors in this town who chooses to do roles in a wide range,” has worked with an extensive list of A-list actors like Robert DiNero, Anthony Hopkins, and Dustin Hoffman. She shared quirky stories from being on set of past films, experiences as an actress, and extended her thoughts with some advice to students, saying overall, “You have to be willing to fail in this business.”
Along with her experiences as an actress, Russo also addressed issues what women face in the film industry and the kind of work ethic one should have in the industry.
Some students watched the documentary the previous week and exchanged suggestions and feedback to Echternkamp and Russo about the film. The feedback that students said included comments on editing, characters, and story development, which tell the story about Echternkamp’s parents.
Echternkamp and Russo were pleased to hear how students were able to connect with the film and what the message of the film was truly about. Russo in particular wanted to make sure the audience understood what the film was about and where Echternkamp was coming from. Echternkamp expressed his gratitude about the experience working on Frank and Cindy saying, “Seeing these people play your family is pretty touching and I was amazed at how everyone wanted to be there [on set].”
From a student’s perspective, Telecommunications major, Andy Her, expressed his appreciation for Vianello’s class. As a student, he shared his apprehension going forth in the Entertainment Industry saying, “For me, I always question whether or not if this is the field for me and what I want to do in life because this [field] is really difficult.” However, it’s classes like Vianello’s where he’s positive that he’s making the right decision mentioning, “But at the end of the day, if you really love it, then this won’t become a ‘job’ in life.”
The event ended with Professor Vianello asking Russo what her ultimate goal was. Russo, after a long pause connected with the students by sharing, “I pray for wisdom. Getting old is a scary thing… you gotta be able to accept that not everything’s easy. You just gotta hope that you can navigate it with wisdom.”
Hermanos Unidos Hosts "Men Can Stop Rape" Workshop
In honor of Sexual Awareness Month, CSULA’s organization, Hermanos Unidos is hosting a workshop titled, “Men Can Stop Rape” to educate the public about Sexual Assault, and how it can be prevented.
Organized by Luis Dominguez, the workshop is designed to address that the responsibility doesn’t pertain only in the hands of females, but males as well. Dominguez, who began working on the project during the Summer of 2013, mentioned that he started to think about making the community aware of the issue after an act of assault affected someone close to him.
He said, “It turned my world upside down,” and after that began doing research about what he could do to raise awareness. Through his research, Dominguez noticed that many of the services and programs being offered were directed toward female protection, which heavily placed a responsibility on females to prevent sexual assault.
With over 90 percent of sexual assault cases males are the perpetrator; Dominguez found it baffling how there weren’t many programs that were being geared toward addressing how men are also responsible for failing to prevent sexual assault.
Among the research he conducted, Dominguez came across a non-profit organization titled, “Men Can Stop Rape.” He contacted the Washington D.C. based group, shared his vision and goals to raise awareness of the responsibility that men have in regards to preventing sexual assault.
Because the workshop will be presented at Cal State L.A., the organization has tailored the workshop to tackle how rape can be prevented in a hook up culture. Dominguez mentioned, “Many college students are all about hooking up, we wanted to address alcohol as well.”
Once an official “OK” was sent by the non-profit and administrators, Dominguez and the rest of the Hermanos Unidos organization fundraised and began reaching out. They reached to different programs on campus, departments, and event the surrounding community such as government officials for support.
In January, Dominguez became in contact with Fred Smith, the director of the Cross Cultural Center, and began collaborating how the workshop could be benefit Sexual Awareness Month.
With Smith’s help, the workshop will now coincide with the Cross Cultural Centers’ “Take Back the Night” event and will raise awareness about sexual assault and how individuals could potentially “take back the night.” This regards to society not being able to freely walk around at night due to the worrisome idea that harm can occur.
Dominguez who was touched by Smith’s involvement, helping make his vision come to life and stated, “Fred helped out tremendously. His level of support and involvement was more than expected.”
In addition to the support from the Cross Cultural Centers, other programs and departments on board with the event include Public Safety, the Health Center, and more.
In regards to the main purpose of the workshop, Dominguez stated, “I want to say this is a devastating crime. It’s not always obvious, but it’s there. I want people to be exposed to information, take initiative, and make a difference.”
The workshop will occur after the “Take Back the Night Event” on April 10th, at 7PM at the University Student Union in the Los Angeles Room.
The B&E College Introduces "Fast Pitch"
The College of Business and Economics is hosting the third “Fast Pitch Competition” at CSULA on April 23rd, from 4 to 6PM in La Kretz Hall.
The Dean of the College, James Goodrich, and visiting Professor and Director of the Entrepreneurship Center, Rob Carpenter, both presented and introduced the Fast Pitch Competition. This is a contest for all students at Cal State L.A. to participate and pitch one idea with the hopes of winning prize money to help launch their product or business.
What the Fast Pitch Competition will provide students to do is to pitch their idea for two minutes in front of a panel of judges that consist of local investors and small business owners.
Other universities have similar competitions but what makes Cal State L.A.’s Competition unique is how quick the pitch is. For example, other competitions allow students to have powerpoint presentations along with their pitch, but Fast Pitch is about how well a pitch can be expressed in a short amount of time. Carpenter explained, “This is based on the articulation of vision. Can you make your audience see it (the product), feel it, taste it, touch it… all in the span of two minutes?”
The stakes are high and prior to competition night, students will be able to work on their pitch ideas. The students work to present their single ideas to judges with a series of workshops that are available before the competition. Workshop speakers will include individuals who do have a business or product out, and past students.
With this competition, Goodrich hopes it will “create a generation of entrepreneurial thinkers, not just businesses or small business owners.” Also in regards to the purpose of the competition, Goodrich also mentioned, “Innovation and entrepreneurship is really a part of our society, but in our case, it’s an important part of our education,” and that entrepreneurship hopes to be relevant for all students to utilize across the university.
The misconception that Goodrich and Carpenter focused on breaking away from was how the idea of technology has always been heavily attached to the entrepreneurship term. Carpenter and Goodrich explained that entrepreneurship isn’t just about technology; it’s only a small part of it. The Dean added, “Good ideas can come from anywhere which is why we’re encouraging students from everywhere [to join].”
By placing an emphasis on how entrepreneurship is relevant and important for everyone to be aware of, the Business and Economics Dean also explained that as a department, they would also like to provide and connect students to educational offers and help their pitch become successful.
Going off of what Goodrich explained to be entrepreneurship as universal among all career disciplines, Carpenter added that because entrepreneurship “really teaches communication, critical thinking, creative thinking, problem solving, and collaboration,” they hope to expand their college’s offerings as well based on student interest and how entrepreneurship can be applied to other disciplines besides Business and Economics.
Last year, the college had about sixty entrants who competed for a chance at first prize, and this year and expect to have more. This year, first prize is set at $1000, and second and third prizewinners will receive $500.
If you have an idea for a product or business pitch or interested in joining the competition, the College of Business and Economics encourages you to sign up before the deadline, April 15th at www.eventbrite.com/csulafastpitch2014.
State Controller, John Chiang, Speaks at CSULA
California State Controller, John Chiang, paid a visit to campus on Thursday, April 10th for the Inaugural Civic Leadership Speaker Series to speak about financial leadership and ways to become money conscious as college students.
Sponsored by the Asian and Asian American Studies Program, College of Arts and Letters, College of Business and Economics, College of Natural and Social Sciences, Communication Studies, and the Association of Asian American Studies, Chiang was welcomed by brief introductions from Dr. Ping Yao, the Director of the Program of Asian and Asian American Studies, President William Covino, and Professor Daniel Atwater, a Cal State L.A. Alumnus.
President Covino provided background on what Chiang has accomplished during his term as California State Controller. He spoke about his success with tracking the money from Proposition 30 is being used and also his successes in effectively managing money during “the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression,” California’s Recession in 2007.
While those who welcomed Chiang stood at the stage’s podium, Chiang took to the floor for his time as the keynote speaker and made his discussion interactive among the students who attended.
His keynote address went beyond complicated issues regarding finance in California and instead incorporated several personal experiences. Chiang drew out five important fundamental pieces of advice, like when it comes to taking control of your life and living a financially stable lifestyle.
The first piece of advice Chiang gave was to save. He said, “Small acts have powerful consequences.” He spoke about how his mother as a kid encouraged saving and took that message seriously when he noticed how large his brother’s savings grew from one dollar saved each day to a thousand dollars over time. Chiang directed the habit to students in the audience by simply reminding them about the value of a dollar and how good habits now would benefit later.
Secondly, he mentioned how it’s very easy for your mind to wander and to become distracted. Chiang advised, “You want to be present.” By being present in everything you do whether it is financial matters or a classroom, Chiang said, “Isolate and identify why you’re here right now and what you want to accomplish with whatever it is you are doing at that moment.”
With the next bit of advice, Chiang drew attention to learning. As a kid, he remembers that he didn’t have fun learning as his siblings did and for the students that attended his keynote address. Chiang urged them to take full advantage of whatever their university offered because one day those lessons could help in the future.
For the fourth lesson, he shared his mother’s greatest lesson, which was to “pick great friends because they will have an impact on you, and they will help you have a prosperous life.” Although this seems like a very common life lesson, he emphasized how important it is to surround yourself with good people so they could help carry you towards the direction to succeed in life.
The fifth and final lesson Chiang gave was to constantly talk to professors to develop a relationship with them. He said, “The world operates in cycles and tends to repeat itself.” By speaking with professors, new ideas can elicit from those relationships and society can overall progress in becoming greater than what it is now.
The event wrapped up with closing remarks from the Dean of Natural and Social Sciences, Scott Bowman, the Dean of the College of Arts and Letters, Peter McAllister and Undergraduate Student of Asian and Asian American Studies, Meagan Ortiz, who thanked Chiang for serving as a model for leadership and highlighting how civic leadership can elicit change.
Bowman found Chiang’s words inspirational and became engaged in his efforts in involving the younger crowd by stating, “Involvement among young people is necessary.”
Grad Student, Frank Cornelio, attended the event and found Chiang’s advice enlightening in financial literacy. Cornelio said, “It’s very important to get the word out and improve the financial literacy in our communities.” As a student who is participating in the College of Business and Economics’ Fast Pitch Competition, Cornelio hopes to raise awareness about financial literacy by helping educate others through his Fast Pitch idea and will involve Chiang’s words of advice form that afternoon.
While this was only the first of the Civic Leadership Speaker Series, administrators hope to have more keynote speakers in the future.
President Covino Welcomes Wednesday's Child
A unique Fox 11 Wednesday’s Child Segment was filmed at Cal State L.A. on Thursday, April 10th, placing a spotlight on a thirteen-year old foster child named Luis who has big dreams of going to college and pursuing a PhD in English Literature or Law.
Famously known for helping more older foster children find a family, the segment aims at showcasing the interests of a child and what they’re like through dream days which include activities that a foster child are interested in, so a possible match for a family can be found.
For this particular segment, Wednesday’s Child came together with Cal State L.A. through the assistance of Professor Will Wong of Cal State L.A.’s School of Social Work to help find a family to adopt Luis. Wong, a social worker with the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services works closely with Fox 11 News Anchorwoman, Christine Devine, the host of Wednesday’s Child. It caught the attention of President Covino and was able to join forces with the university to bring awareness to the challenges of adoption and help find a family for Luis.
Because of Luis’ strong passion for learning and motivation for pursuing a college degree, Luis’ dream day consisted of touring Cal State L.A. with President Covino and attending Professor Michael Calabrese’s English 200A, Classical and Medieval Tradition Class.
President Covino earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from UCLA was able to relate to Luis’ interests in Literature and share his excitement when discussing his favorite things to read from short stories such as Edgar Allan Poe’s “Anabel Lee” and “The Cask of Amontillado” to Walt Whitman’s poems.
Professor Wong, who has worked on many cases of Wednesday’s Child found Luis’ situation distinct because of the interests Luis has at his age mentioning, “Every once in a while you find someone who has very unique interests. This is the first time I’ve ever come across this in the eleven years coordinating this program. I’ve never had a kid who wanted to pursue his PhD and become an English Professor.”
Christine Devine, who led the afternoon’s activities, commented, “I was so impressed by Luis. He was more dynamic than I ever imagined. I think he’s ready to go to college, he fit right in.”
In regards to the topic of foster care, Devine who became a strong driving force behind engaging the community with these topics, shed light on the matter. Devine mentioned, “I think Cal State L.A. students will be surprised to know that there are kids from foster care amongst them attending class, and they might not even know it.”
With similar cases like Luis’, Professor Wong drew attention to the obligation that society has in providing a helping hand when it comes to older kids in foster care. He expressed, “When we have an obligation to preserve a sense of family for them (children), we want to help them restore it and develop a positive self-concept that involves self-esteem because that’s what will get them through the difficult times in life.”
Moreover, with the campus representing a center of diversity and posing as a model of community engagement, it meant a lot for Professor Wong to choose Cal State L.A. as the backdrop for Luis’ story and to have the support of President Covino on board with the segment being filmed on campus fit into the overall principles of Wednesday’s Child.
To learn more about Luis and adoption, please call the Wednesday’s Child hotline at 866-921-ADOPT (2367).
Sophomore Links Underground Art Scene to CSULA
A Fashion and Music Exhibition will take place on Wednesday, April 23rd, from 12PM to 3PM in the University Student Union Plaza.
Organized by Marketing Major Jelani Khalfani, this event will focus on linking the Underground Artist Community to the Cal State LA community. This culture of music and fashion at CSULA will bring students a unique artistic experience.
After noticing as a Freshman how difficult it was to illicit student interest on campus, Khalfani decided to do something about it by creating an event that involved the things he both loved-fashion and music- by using smart marketing and organizational tactics.
Khalfani, who is passionate about art and music intertwining mentioned, “I feel there’s an unspoken relationship between the world of fashion and the world of music. They go hand in hand very well, and right now the L.A. community is booming with so much creativity through fashion and music that everyday there’s a new sound or new design that people are wearing.” This CSULA Sophomore frequently lingers around the L.A. Art Scene and noticed how the underground music and art scene is only known in concentrated parts of Los Angeles, but not present on college campuses so Khalfani wanted to bring those entities to CSULA.
With his participation in the Marketing Club and Golden Eagle Radio, Khalfani added that his main motivation was to bring an exciting event to Cal State L.A.
The event will include underground music artists such as Stereo Scenario, DJ Malay Dre, Slim Ballin, CC Martian, and DJ Pages who will provide a musical backdrop for students to network with other students and organizations involved such as Golden Eagle Radio, the Marketing Club-including Marketing Club Members, Andrew Buckman and Sarah Sweatmon, Golden Eagle T.V., and A.S.I.
Sarah Sweatmon, the former philanthropist of the Marketing Club helped Khalfaniwith many elements regarding the event and commented, “We wanted to create an event that would enable the club to use our marketing skills for promoting local talent.”
Sweatmon, who is passionate about marketing and even went the extra mile by booking the local band, Stereo Scenario, said, “If we could help them [Stereo Scenario] with exposure and introduce them to a new demographic of potential fans, we are doing our jobs as marketers.”
The fashion involved will also include all underground clothing lines Khalfani has kept in contact with. They include Xtra Mile, Strapped Los Angeles, and Acrylick, where all three owners of each clothing line are young entrepreneurs.
So far, the response from the campus community about the event occurring has been nothing but bubbled with excitement. Although only a sophomore, Khalfani’s event demonstrates for current and future students that anything is possible if you set your mind to it. Khalfani was surprised by the amount of support and mentioned, “The people involved actually have been asking me weekly where the progress is because they have been looking forward to getting their name out there.”
A&L Reps Preview La Finesse
This quarter A.S.I.’s, 6th Annual La Finesse Event will have a new set up and new exhibitions, thanks to Arts and Letters Representatives Marina Vilhena and Emmanuel Solis.
La Finesse, which means “The Style” was created six years ago to highlight the artists of the department. This time around however, Vilhena and Solis worked together to find artists in each of the disciplines that exemplified hard work and passion through their art pieces.
Over the course of five months, Vilhena and Solis have been working tirelessly to create an evening event showcasing the work of Arts and Letters Students in a different way than previous years.
Solis explained, “In the beginning, we said it has to be something different, more creative, and an environment that would attract students.” Since November, the two representatives kept that vision of creating a different La Finesse atmosphere in their minds by even forming a committee consisting of two other individuals representing other disciplines of the Arts and Letters Department to demonstrate the range of talent. To emphasize fashion students, the two Arts and Letters Reps appointed Roxana Hernandez, the president of FADS (the fashion club at CSULA). For representation of the discipline of Communications, Alex Johnson was appointed.
With Vilhena as a Fine Arts Major and Solis as a Television and Film Major, this year’s La Finesse event will include more visual and performance art with an outdoor art gallery and on-stage performances such as a Folklorico group, musical performances, and a fashion show. In addition to the performances and art gallery, the A&L representatives focused on getting students to attend with a new set up that will transform the U-SU plaza into a more intimate setting that will provide as a canvas for the artists that evening.
Some of the challenges that came with developing such a new event for La Finesse in all aspects included getting people to be involved. As part of A.S.I., Vilhena and Solis have noticed the lack of student involvement on campus, so getting people involved from the get-go was a bit of a struggle. Vilhena mentioned, “Sometimes you have a vision, and when you present it at first, some people don’t understand.”
However, both representatives were able to work together as a team to overcome the challenges and learn from the struggles that were presented in developing one of the quarter’s favorite events. Vilhena added, “it was a multi-tasking job, but it was a great experience to learn how to better manage my time. Working on this and in A.S.I. has showed me another side of academics that I was never aware of, and it was an important experience.”
Moreover, with the hard work and time invested in creating a different La Finesse event this quarter, Vilhena and Solis are hopeful and excited for the outcome of the event and are encouraging students of all majors to attend an exciting evening of art under the stars.
La Finesse will occur on Tuesday, April 22nd from 5-7 PM at the U-SU Plaza, so don’t miss out!
Official Statement of Jacinto's and Urrutia's Resignation
On April 15th, 2014, an official statement by A.S.I.’s Executive Director,Intef Weser, was released stating that A.S.I.’s, Hector Jacinto resigned from his position as A.S.I. President as well as Steven Urrutia who was formerly A.S.I.’s Vice President of Administration. Jacinto has been the A.S.I president since July 2013. From the official report it states that Jacinto and Urrutia both resigned from their positions as of April 14th, 2014.
At A.S.I.’s Board of Directors Meeting on Thursday April 17th, Jacinto announced his resignation prior to official business began and shared, “I have to step down because I was told to step down.” He acknowledged A.S.I.’s support over the past year and thanked everyone for their constant support saying, “I just want to thank everyone who supported me and I wanna say A.S.I. has pointed me toward the right direction.”
An interview was scheduled with Jacinto on Friday, April 18th regarding his resignation but he did not comply. During the schedule interview time, Jacinto refused to be recorded and discontinued the interview.
Bylaws of A.S.I., Article V, Section 1, Clause 3 attest, “Should the office of the President be vacated, and should the office of the Vice President for Administration be vacated or should the Vice President for Administration be unable to serve as President, the Vice President of Academic Governance shall become President.” Currently, Luis Antezana, former Vice President for Academic Governance has taken position as A.S.I. President for the remainder of the 2013-2014 term.
At the Board of Director’s Meeting, Antezana commended Jacinto on all the work he contributed to A.S.I. during his term including Board of Directors Meetings saying, “Hector definitely brought energy at these meetings.”
So far, there is no official word yet on the reasons regarding Jacinto’s and Urrutia’s abrupt resignations.
CSU Health Policy Conference Inspires Students
This year marked the third annual CSU Health Policy conference for students majoring in public health-related fields on April 22nd and 23rd. For two days, students from twelve different Cal State Universities met at our state’s capital to observe how Health Policies are made, learn about how public health officials arrived at their positions in government, and network with students from other CSUs.
Organized by the Chair of the Public Health Department three years ago, Dr. WalterZelman created the Health Policy Conference to have students see how policies are directly made. He explained, “I wanted students who are in healthcare or in public health, health science, and especially those who are in public policy to get a sense of what actually works and see the policy making process first hand and talk to people who are engaged in it.”
At first having the conference only available to fifty Cal State L.A. Students, other Public Health Departments at other CSUs came in contact with Zelman and twelveCSUs followed in the succeeding years including CSU-Sacramento, San Bernardino, Northridge, Dominguez Hills, Long Beach, Fullerton, Fresno, San Jose, San Diego, San Francisco, and Chico.
The Sacramento Conference spanned over two days, and prior to the conference, some were unsure about what to gain from the experience because public health is such a broad topic. Others however, hoped to get a better understanding of how health policies are developed.
Jessica Faust, a Health Administration Major from CSU-Northridge said, “From this experience, I hope to see more of how policies are developed and what goes into the backhand of it rather than just seeing the outcomes of it. I wanna see the people who are in charge of making the policies and see if we as a community are well represented.”
Similarly, Alan Moreno, a Health Service and Administration Student from San Jose State University hoped to gain an “understanding of policy and government” because their Spartan campus is more gauged toward community health and healthcare with no main focus on policy and government.
With a related agenda of expectations among many students for the two-day trip, many were surprised to discover more than just learning about the processes of policy making and government and found themselves considering a possible government-related career after graduation with their degree in public health.
Errolbuada Junior, an Asian and Asian American Studies Major who attended the 2-day conference from San Francisco State mentioned how he never considered to pursue a Public Health Path with his major and found inspiration in the passion of the words that government officials like Senate President Pro Tem, Darrel Steinberg and Assembly Member Jimmy Gomez provided saying, “Seeing how many people are really passionate about it (Public Health) kinda brought the passion back out in me, and meeting all the legislatures really kinda just helped me find what I wanted to do.”
On day one of the conference, students received some inspirational words of advice from Senator Kevin DeLeon, who represents Senate District 22, which includes most parts of Los Angeles including South Pasadena, Alhambra, and San Marino (just to name a few). DeLeon painted a picture of the roots of his childhood and what kind of life he had prior to becoming a Senator which ultimately had him interested in public health policy issues because of the poor conditions in the area that he grew up in.
Although kicked out of school, DeLeon managed to stay curious and motivated and kept moving on which was something many students were able to relate to. JosephCocoba, a grad student of public health at San Diego State University who related toDeLeon’s story shared, “Everyone has their ideal plan or pathway that they want to go to, but sometimes life interferes.”
Alongside Cocoba’s comment, Nicole Mendez, a Community Health Education Major from Cal State Long Beach learned from the conference’s experience saying, “I’ve seen the possibilities moving up even when you have some sort of circumstances that don’t put you in that direction or don’t give you the chances to move up, but it’s possible to make the chances.”
With DeLeon’s story, many students were able to recognize the similarities among each of their campus’ Public Health Deparments and find how diverse each of their schools are. Krystle Gupilan, a CSULA Public Health Major who was influenced by Senator DeLeon’s story brought to light, “I’ve learned about the diversity of all the schools… to get to his (DeLeon’s) point where he is now, being this powerful man, and being able to give back to his community, that’s something I’m taking away from this experience. “
Students were able to introduce each of their universities in brief presentations in those two days which allowed many to learn about the different programs available on each campus and ways in which each campus is building on behalf of student’s efforts.
For example, at CSU Chico, student, Zachary McDonugh mentioned, “We just won second place at college bowl. We’re an undergrad program and we beat out three other grad programs. We’re also starting a mentorship program through our American College of Healthcare Executives Program where we bring in people who are looking into the major and helping them succeed in it.”
Parallel to CSU Chico, Gena Altizer and Sitoya Mansell, students from CSU San Bernardino are utilizing the experiences that they’ve gained over the years as Health Science Majors to educate students living in the dorms to eat healthier. Mansellexplained, “We’re actually starting a nutrition wellness program called the residential nutrition wellness program.” Altizer and Mansell elaborated that it will be part of the Choose My Plate campaign and will have nutrition counseling for students.
With CSU Fullerton being the first smoke free campus, Health Science Major, Kevin Tai took pride in his campus’ progress and updated, “I myself as a student don’t see anymore cigarette buds on the floor, I don’t see smokers walking around, the air’s a lot cleaner. It also promotes this sense for people to be more aware and cautious of the environment the live in.”
In addition, students were able to learn about San Diego State’s unique grad program at their campus, which is close to many military bases that they work closely with and CSU Dominguez Hills’ Health Science Student Alliance where volunteers help students build resumes and give back to the community.
CSU Dominguez Hills Community Health Major added, “Dominguez Hills is really diverse and it’s really representative of the community around. It’s really small class sizes but we get a whole range of different people and it makes it a lot easier for the future ahead of us.”
From an government official’s perspective, Joe Parra, a policy consultant with the Senate Republican Policy Office who spoke at one of the panel events on Day Two of the conference was so impressed by the interest and motivation that the students who attended had and advised, “Keep an open mind and make sure you get different points of views because it’s very important.” As someone who works at the capitol, Parra also revealed the pros and cons of working in government, “Although it’s a really great place to be, it’s not rally reality and so it’s always nice to get out to be able to interact with a group of people and particularly students.”
At the end of the experience, many students were able to take away more than what they expected to gain from the conference. CSU Sacramento Public Health Student, Calpurnia Moua stated, “It’s been very educational especially being a graduating senior looking out at future career possibilities so it’s been very educational that way.”
For students that weren’t able to make it on this trip to Sacramento, CSULA Public Health Student, Patricia Beilke urged students that, “If they have an interest in anything, take advantage of every opportunity that is thrown their way whether they’re interested or not, those will be a valuable learning experience and it will open your eyes and change your perspective about whatever’s out there.”
Natasha Buransombati, a recent CSULA Public Health Graduate and the coordinator who assited Dr. Zelman in developing this year’s conference for a second time stated, “I think all majors should do this for their students. It really opens up the eyes of what they’re doing and what they’re working for is really important and what other avenues it takes to get there. It’s inspirational and it brings to light how important it is to work hard.”
Dr. Zelman wrapped up the two-day event with thirteen pieces of advice gathered from the conference for students to keep in mind which included to “Be and think bold…work hard and people will notice…always stay curious.” He hopes to continue with more Health Policy Conferences in the coming years and hopes that students gained an appreciation of how government works, how policies are made, and hopes that students now have a more positive feeling about government.
Students Assemble on May Day
Last Thursday on May 1st, students from several Cal State LA organizations arranged for students to assemble in front of the Bookstore in honor of May Day, or International Workers Day to advocate for seven demands like making Ethnic Studies a requirement, establish a Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) Major and Department, establish a Dream Center for Undocumented Students, repeal the student success fee, save Dolcini, end the Criminalization of Students and Student Protests, and to democratize education.
Organizations that were involved included the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance, Students For Quality Education, the California Student Union, and Surge. At 3:15PM, students involved began marching in a circle around the Golden Eagle Statue located in front of the bookstore and chanted, “Don’t just watch us, come and join us!” to those who chose not to join. Among those who participated in the rally included Ex-A.S.I. President, Hector Jacinto and Ex-Vice President of Administration, Steven Urrutia who helped get the students energized.
In the midst of ASI elections, several individuals who are running for positions also joined in the rally. Shane Vera who is running for ASI President, Dean Truong, who is a candidate running for the position of Vice President of Administration, andAlina Carmona who is a candidate for the College of Natural and Social Science Representative position.
The first destination the protestors marched to was the University Student Union. They targeted the Board of Directors meeting held on the third floor but had been turned away as the door closed on them. The crowd then exited the USU through the side of the building and made their way across the bridge connecting the USUand Golden Eagle Building to the area in front of the Ballroom to assemble. Then they made their way into the Auxiliary Services Office where they caught the attention of the employees in efforts to keep Dolcini’s on campus.
The Dolcini caf?©, whose contract ends on May 31st, has become a favorite place to eat among students since opening 17 years ago. At the Auxiliary Services Office, Steven Urrutia said, “As students, we’re making a public statement as of today that we’re not in support of the contract expiring in Dolcini’s without our approval.”
A student who was using a megaphone was almost arrested when the crowd made their way through the walkway between the bookstore and food court, but hid among the crowd who chanted, “Stop criminalizing students!” when Officers approached him. The situation was resolved when the Professor of Latin American Studies, Beth Baker Cristales, was able to speak with campus police who said that the students took a defensive stand when the police asked who was in charge of the rally.
The crowd then trailed to Dolcini’s where former student employers made testimonies about how the caf?© greatly left an impact on their college experience, and how there was no good explanation as to why Dolcini’s was closing. Dolcini’sclosed for an hour that afternoon just for the event of the rally.
The final endpoints of the march were the Financial Aid Office and PresidentCovino’s office. Once at the Financial Aid Office, the crowd filled the small space of the office and chanted, “Si se puede!” in the efforts of establishing a dream center and repealing student success fees. Students coerced the Director of the Financial Aid Office, Tammy Nguyen, to come out of her office and address their demands. In a conversation that Urrutia moderated, he explained to Nguyen, “Tammy, we mobilize for a reason, we came as a group and use our voices for a reason. We knew that if we came to you individually, you’d shut us down the way you always do.” Before Nguyen could respond to Urrutia’s remarks, the crowd began to disassemble out of the office and made their way to the eighth floor of the Admin building-President Covino’s Office.
When they discovered that Covino was not there, they began hanging fliers with blue tape of the day’s event on his door and posters on the walls surrounding his office. Nancy Aragon, a member of FMLA spoke once the posters were taped and said, “Students do have a voice, and we are noticing all the injustices on this campus.” She continued on by addressing the demands, “One demand shouldn’t mean that we’re segregated, but it means that we should come together more and be a bigger unity, intersect, because racism, classism, ableism, sexism, all these things intersect our lives.”
When asked what they hoped was accomplished that afternoon, Aragon responded, “Kind of just the stir of peoples lives, hopefully. Students come here everyday and don’t really think about the social injustices on campus.”
After the rally, members encouraged others to go downtown and participate more in the May Day events taking place. Once the small space of the eighth floor of the Admin Building was cleared, Vice President of Student Affairs, Dr. Anthony Ross, took down posters that were hung in blue tape because he explained that they were posted illegally. Although CSULA Police and CSULA’s Eagle Patrol showed up, no arrests were made. Students hope that they moved forward with the efforts of the rally to have their demands heard.
The Academic Senate Welcomes Maria Elena Durazo
The Academic Senate welcomed the Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL – CIO, Maria Elena Durazo, on Tuesday, May 6, as the first and inaugural Academic Senate Distinguished Lecturer on Engagement, Service, and the Public Good.
Durazo ended day two of Investiture Week by speaking about Engagement, Service and the Public Good with a lecture about the many struggles she faced growing up, and her activism activities when she was older to help strengthen the quality of the environment workers labored in.
As the daughter of farmworkers growing up in the fifties and sixties, Durazo first told the story about the harsh working conditions as she helped her parents work in the fields and explained how difficult it was as a child when she and her siblings had to make school a second priority. When she spoke about the day she left for St. Mary’s College in Northern California on a scholarship, she held back tears when she mentioned how her father felt incompetent because he was not paying for her college education.
She related the beginnings of her story to the similar humble beginnings of many students at Cal State L.A. who face related situations and commented about Cal State L.A.’s unique quality of offering opportunities for students to strive.
Durazo commented, “I don’t know how many students on this campus come from different backgrounds similar closer to mine, but I certainly hope and am confident that this university will continue offering young people who enjoy few opportunities and privileges in life the same chance that my college gave me.”
In her early days of activism, she had kept in mind the many lessons Durazolearned growing up even when she joined the hotel and restaurant worker industry.
With influences of the farmworkers’ movement from individuals such as Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, and the teachings of the Catholic Church that guided her from an early stage in life, Durazo is still fighting and mentioned her current activism in the community for individuals who work in tough conditions such as trash facilities, and spoke about how minimum wage is affecting many.
The solution to many of the issues she presented all lead back to one main idea; Education, or a personal desire to learn and have the power to affect change in the world.
When asked about one piece of advice she had for students who are in the process of overcoming struggles in life, she replied, “You have to be tenacious. I know a lot of obstacles are put up our way and we just have to be adamant.”
Furthermore, in regards to the theme of Investiture week as Engagement, Service, and the Public Good, a piece of advice Durazo gave for students was to be more engaged in the community. She also said to simply start at home and care about your parents. She explained, “Ask questions, and care about what your mom and dad do. Maybe you can help them deal with problems at work… don’t just let them deal with it. Care about your older brothers and sisters, and really become aware of what is out there, what is wrong, and how we need to change it.”
Cal State L.A will award the Honorary Degree Doctorate of Humane Letters of 2014 to Durazo during the one of the commencement ceremonies in June.
EV Charging Stations Bring Sustainable Solutions on Campus
New Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Stations are now available on campus! With initially only two ports available on campus, there are now fifteen ports available that drivers have the option of using, which are located at different areas on campus.
The project to bring EV Charging Stations began in 2010, and after recently receiving a grant from the Department of Energy to fund more stations on campus, Engineering Professor, Dr. David Blekhman, and Director of Parking and Transportation Services, Carmen Gachupin, collaborated to make the vision of more charging stations on campus a reality.
Following the push for sustainability on campus, the EV charging stations have been expected to influence the way students see their future by exposing new eco-friendly technologies. Dr. Blehman recognized the fact that not many students have Electric Vehicles and uses the EV stations as a teaching tool in his classes. He said, “Staff and Faculty who have these vehicles are pioneers because they adopt this technology for people in the future to use.”
Staff member, Sarab Singh, uses the EV stations on campus frequently for his Toyota Prius also explained, “Students get the opportunity to learn about this technology. So if they don’t have an Electric Vehicle, they’ll at least be exposed to it.”
In addition to exposing students to this new type of technology, they also hope that these stations will help students understand the benefits of Electric Vehicles in the future. Singh mentioned, “There are federal and state rebates for students to explore on all these new technologies including electric and hydrogen.”
By using the app called, ChargePoint, one can locate an EV charging station on campus and charge their vehicle for a couple hours at no cost. The system, which is cohesive with other EV stations at other locations, will operate the same way by using a ChargePoint card to unlock the station. Gachupin explained, “We wanted to stay with ChargePoint so that the users will just have one app and will be able to see all the stations.”
Another incentive for EV drivers along with these CSULA ChargePoint Stations being free of charge is that they have the option of parking their vehicle at a station all day to fully charge. CSULA EV Charging Stations are not limited to faculty and students to use, but are open for the public to use.
Since these new stations have just been recently installed, those who have used them over the summer have had nothing but positive remarks to say compared to the old charging stations first present on campus.
Singh mentioned, “Before two weeks ago, we only had four charging stations, and sometimes, I would have to wait, and it would take me until the end of the day before I could park my car and charge it. Since we have enough now, I don’t have to run around for a vacant spot.”
CSULA Tech Consultant, Glenn Rehl, is a fan and dedicated user of Electric Vehicles, says that the charging stations have been very convenient and affordable for him. Rehl said, “The mileage doesn’t affect me too much, so I can charge on campus for free, get home, and it doesn’t affect me in terms of needing to get gas or anything.” Rehl explained that power is instantaneous with an electric car, and has learned to be a conscientious driver over the years of driving electric vehicles.
With these new pieces of technology on campus, it has sparked inspiration to keep moving forward toward eco-friendly solutions and ideas on campus. After much discussion of ways to improve the EV charging stations, solar canopies and DC Fast Charging Stations were other possible ideas. On a positive note, Dr. Blekhman mentioned, “In the nation, Electric Vehicle Charging Stations are something that is developing… This is the most progressive campus in the state, and we’re already halfway there.”
Covino Soars into the Future
Cal State LA’s University Convocation brought much excitement for many who attended on Monday, September 22nd. The morning event celebrated alumni and accomplishments, also highlighting the completion of President Covino’s first year at Cal State LA.
Guests that day included presidential medallion recipients Univision Reporter, Norma Roque, who shared that Cal State LA was an important part of her journey; 1965 alum and 41st District Attorney of LA county, Steve Cooley, who mentioned that Cal State LA activities were key proponents to his success; and Retired LA Sherriff, Lee Baca, who commented that the “medallion reflects the ethos of CSULA.”
After being welcomed to the stage with a short video of a golden eagle soaring to with the Steve Miller Band’s, “Fly Like An Eagle,” President Covino took the stage and began to underscore many of the past year’s achievements, and what will be in store for the new school year.
With “Fly Like An Eagle” as his mantra, along with Engagement, Service, and the Public Good as his vision, President Covino carried both hand in hand with each task that he’s completed so far such as something complex like hiring new tenured faculty, to something simple like shaking the hands of students at commencement.
Leaving not one subject out of discussion, Covino honored all faculty and staff, and students; addressed the quarter to semester system that will come into effect in 2016; spoke about new programs and new centers on campus; and even left the floor open for audience members who had questions for him at the end.
In addition to the new quarter to semester system that will take place in 2016, President Covino mentioned a new GE requirement of community service that students will be expected to complete. The new center for Engagement, Service, and the Public Good will be of use for this new requirement in the future by providing students with community service programs.
In addition, the center for Engagement, Service, and the Public Good will be working closely with students in a new youth program called, “Go East LA,” which will help prepare students for a college curriculum. The educational system will be redefined when the campaign, “#iServeLA,” in regards to the initiatives of Engagement, Service, and the Public Good.
Of President Covino’s many priorities, his main goal is to help students feel more engaged in the university. With new programs in the process of launching, including a Dream Resource Center, a campaign called “Mind Matters” (introduced by his wife, Debbie Covino), and even the launch of a possible record label called “Artie Records,” President Covino hopes to influence the way students think about their university and wants to help them become engaged.
While many in the audience had questions for President Covino, faculty members’ concerns leaned toward his hiring of new tenured faculty. Students’ concerns spanned across several topics including a request from former ASI College of Business and Economics Rep, Brian Wu, about the development of a CSULA football team, and a question from former ASI President, Luis Antezana, about how administration can help student organizations and clubs on campus.
One question in particular that sparked the attention of many was from ASI Vice President, Nick Carillo, about the efforts to demilitarize the campus police force. President Covino replied by saying that he has great confidence in campus public safety and police, and they are dedicated to the creating a safe setting on campus.
President Covino has shown a sense of progress and promise for the year ahead By taking into consideration the concerns of students and faculty, and initiating action to create specific programs on campus for students. In his words that he mentioned in his speech that day, the President painted his concept of Cal State LA by saying, “Together, we aren’t just slippin’ into the future, we’re soarin’.”
Student Success Fees Draw Concern on CSU Campuses
An open forum for students and faculty was held on Tuesday, September 30th, to speak about their concerns regarding the Student Success Fee.
The open forum was one of many CSU-campus meetings to reach out to students and faculty members about what has or has not been working regarding the Success Fee. Among those conducting the forum included CSU-Chancellor, Timothy P. White, and the rest of the CSU Board of Trustees Workgroup.
At Tuesday’s Open Forum in the Golden Eagle Ballroom, many students attended including those from Cal State Fullerton and Northridge who showed no opposition to the student success fees. Students from both campuses represented many different departments and programs at their universities that have impacted them in many ways. All claimed that those specific programs would not have been possible without the help of Student Success Fees.
The Student Success Fee was first implemented in 2011, charged students at Cal State LA with an additional $80. Over the years that amount has increased, with students paying up to $244 in Student Success Fees for the 2013-2014 school year.
While these fees were supposed to provide further support for graduates and undergraduates such as new programs, new technology, or learning tools on campus, they have stirred controversy over the years and leave many students and faculty skeptical about where the fees actually go.
A student from Cal State Fullerton highlighted their Athletic Program, and how the fees helped provide equipment for the Titan Track and Field Team, while another Cal State Fullerton Broadcast Journalism Student spoke about how the fees provided more counselor representation on their campus for their Communications Department.
From Cal State LA, faculty members took the floor and also explained how the fees were important. Director of the University Writing Center, Lise Buranen, described how the fees helped provide workshops for university and high school students. Another faculty member shed some light on how the fees were important, but questioned whether or not they were in support of students, and asked how the money was actually being used.
Every CSU is different, and it was mentioned that not all campuses utilize fees in the same way. In fact, not all campuses share records publicly about where the money specifically goes. This posed a problem to some students who don’t receive financial aid, and have to pay increasing student success fees out of pocket. While other CSUs like Cal State Northridge explicitly share what their student success fees are used for, CSUs like Cal State LA do not.
In a small discussion after the Open Forum with some members of the CSU Board of Trustees Workgroup, ASI President, Shane Vera, and Golden Eagle Television member, Sasha Perez, the success fees were examined more closely, and the fees were seen as more of an issue than a benefit at Cal State LA because no one knows where the fees were particularly going.
Vera, who started at Cal State LA when the fees were first implemented, expressed distress and said that not everyone on campus are in favor of the success fees and claimed that they’ve elicited tension in the past. The fees eventually became such a high stress that Vera had to pay his success fee literally in pennies. Town Hall sessions that were formerly conducted in the past on campus about the success fees found that many opposed the fees, but the fees were implemented anyway.
With the issue addressed, Vera suggested that a sense of transparency should be present and students should have the right to know where the fees are going. He questioned, “If you don’t take the students’ opinion into account, what’s the point?”
Tuesday’s open forum was the last opportunity for the CSU Board of Trustees Workgroup to get together and gather student and faculty feedback about the student success fees. A decision to keep or discard the fees must be made by February 1st of 2015.
Aerospace STEAM Fair Inspires Students
Last week, an AEROSPACE STE[A]M fair took place on campus to promote research and studies in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) field.
Presented by the Charter College of Education, ASI, and the College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology, the STE[A]M Fair provided a hands-on exposition for students with engineering machines that were built by Sage Cheshire Aerospace Tooling, and camera equipment from Flightline Films that capture aircraft launches.
Jon Wells, Capsule Crew Chief of Sage Cheshire Aerospace Tooling explained that Sage Cheshire builds capsules and science service to encourage people to look into the engineering field, and Flightline Films document those research expeditions.
In October 2012, Sage Cheshire provided the capsule that carried Austrian Skydiver, Felix Baumgartner, to space in the controversial Red Bull Stratos Jump. Flightline Films was able to capture the world record jump and since then, Sage Cheshire has pioneered new and innovative ways of aerospace and the private space industry.
At the STE[A]M Fair, a similar capsule used by Baumgarter in the Red Bull Stratos Jump was present, as well as similar high tech vehicles that captured the jump and students could sit inside to see how the technology worked.
With the amount of experience that Sage Cheshire has built over the years, him and Wells, slong with team members have travelled around the country to get students interested in STEM-related subjects. Wells explained, “We go school to school, museums, airshows, and different events to speak.” In addition, Wells shared that he and his team flew a 45-foot paper airplane to inspire kids about Aerospace last year.
Mechanical Engineering major, Joshua Lopez-Alvalos, who was there to gather information about possible careers in the field and examine the machines, said the fair got him really interested in Aerospace. Alvalos said that he would love to be a hands-on engineer, and the Aerospace fair only encouraged him to pursue his dreams. In regards to STEM subjects Avalos replied, “They [Sage Cheshire] are doing important work by reaching out to students to show them how awesome aerospace is.”
The Return of the Brotherhood
We all believe in second chances; few things are as appealing as a ‘rise from the ashes’ story. Well, Cal State LA may just be about to witness the same. After being suspended for two years due to hazing in the past, Cal State LA’s Sigma Nu Fraternity is re-launching on campus, and this time around, they are making sure to lead and become a positive example in the university Greek system by advocating for a zero- tolerance on hazing policy.
Sigma Nu’s former president and recent graduate, German Arteaga, explained, “There’s a big movement in the Greek system where if you get caught hazing, you face criminal charges.” When asked about how did the university know there was hazing involved in the first place, Artega replied, “We really don’t know what happened and how it was caught. But rumors suggested that when one of our candidates got dropped because he didn’t meet the requirements of headquarters, he went to the University and spilled the beans, where we got dinged for more University Policy violations.”
Arteaga, who has been helping Sigma Nu re-build their chapter even after graduating last spring, shared that he too, was one of the new pledges of Sigma Nu that got hazed in 2012, along with current Sigma Nu President, Michael Lopez. After investigations took place in 2012, the Sigma Nu chapter at Cal State LA was convicted for depriving new pledge members of sleep.
While this incident may hint the actual face of hazing, this term can be much broader and could involve anything from wearing a specific color to tasks that may prove physically or mentally endangering. Arteaga described the memory of being hazed as a new pledge member in late 2011 saying, “They would make all the pledges or the candidates at Sigma Nu stay up all night, get tested on questions about Sigma Nu history, and throw stuff at them when things weren’t going right.” Although no one got hurt, Arteaga explained that the university saw them going against their fraternity’s values of life, honor, and truth.
Even though they weren’t being recognized by the Cal State LA community for the last two years, the fraternity has been able to re-evaluate what being a part of Sigma Nu really is about, and how to promote qualities of excellent leadership on campus. Michael Lopez, the present Sigma Nu President, said that to promote qualities of leadership on campus, the chapter is focusing on many philanthropic activities to leave a legacy behind, which hasn’t been the easiest task to do. Lopez explained, “The hardest thing during the two years was staying away from campus and keeping a lowprofile during the suspension phase. We weren’t allowed to recruit during the period.” Arteaga added to Lopez’s statement saying, “The main difficulty was thinking abouthow to get new members to participate in aspects of “I think we’re not trying to chapter operations without offering the opportunity to do stuff on campus.”
Over the course of the week of October 27th, 2014, Sigma Nu was able to finally recruit on campus, and has received an overwhelming amount of interest from students on campus. Many in the community on and off campus have been acknowledging their persistence to re-build their chapter and start up again. Arteaga says, “We’re getting support from those that stayed around to engage our members in the organization, and who have also helped spread the word that Sigma Nu is back on campus.”
Sigma Nu member, Vince Ibarra, who took part in hazing new pledges two years ago explained how the past two years has changed his outlook on hazing and has focused moreonthefoundationofwhy he wanted to be in a fraternity in the first place. He says, “A reason why I joined Sigma Nu in the first place is brotherhood and networking.”
Since their re-launch, Sigma Nu members have been very open about their chapter’s past indiscretions, and are only doing so to shed light on an issue that has affected college campuses around the country. Arteaga expressed,
hide our past because we all know it happens in the Greek community… And now we’re trying to better the Greek community here at Cal State LA by eliminating hazing in any way we can.”
With ‘zero-tolerance on hazing new recruits’ as a definitive policy, the fraternity is assuring that they will not use the same practices in the past, but instead will reestablish on the foundation of brotherhood. As the organization gets ready to test the waters again, only time will tell how smooth will they sail!
LA2015 is Coming to Town
It’s no question that 2014 garnered much attention around the world for the sporting events that took place. From the pomp and circumstance of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia to the roaring crowds that flew to Brazil for the World Cup Games over the summer… there’s a special something about sports that brings people together.
With a new year around the corner, Los Angeles will serve as a new grand stage for sports and host the 2015 Special Olympics World Games. Also known as LA2015, the host towns for the games are in Cal State LA’s backyard. The city of Alhambra and Monterey Park will join over 100 communities as part of the Host Town program to house athletes and coaches coming from 177 countries worldwide. The two cities will help collaborate in the upcoming months to make LA2015 a memorable one.
On Friday, November 7th, a special announcement was made outside Cal State LA’s Housing Commons as a tribute to the 1984 Olympic games in which the campus housed athletes when Los Angeles served as the stage for the Olympic games back in the day. In addition to the announcement of the Special Olympic games taking place in Los Angeles next summer from July 25th to August 2nd, it was also revealed that Cal State LA would also hold a special role in the games as well.
Recognizing President Covino’s vision of Engagement, Service, and the Public Good, the Cal State LA community has embraced the LA Special Olympics World Games, and will be offering the Housing area to athletes and their coaches during the duration of the games. A key from each host city was given to the games in declaration of the event to take place next year.
Despite the amount of attention the games are getting, it wouldn’t exist without the athletes themselves. For 50 years, the Special Olympics World Games have been supporting those with intellectual disabilities and have been inspiring them to achieve their goals in sports while helping them find their voice.
Marco Martinez, a Special Olympics World Games Athlete, is now a global ambassador for the organization spoke at Friday’s press conference and highlighted how the games have helped him over the years. Drawing the crowd’s attention, Martinez shared that his journey with Special Olympics began with the creation of a mosaic art piece. After people took note of his talents, someone suggested he participate in Special Olympics. Martinez shared, “Special Olympics has been there for me, and was a miracle for me that I ended up becoming a Special Olympics athlete.”
He went on by saying how grateful he is for the Olympics and how the games aren’t about winning. Martinez’s attitude toward the games was reflected in the LA2015 flag that was presented to the cities of Alhambra and Monterey Park.
It featured a logo with an individual with their hands up. Special Olympics Senior Manager, Joanne Maldonado, described, “Whether an athlete comes in first, or whether an athlete comes in last, they have what we call the ‘celebratory pose.’ With the vision of Engagement, Service, and the Public Good in mind, the Golden Eagle Community is encouraging students to participate and volunteer their time next year to the summer games. Currently, ideas are in the works to figure out more ways in which Cal State LA can be involved.
Students Combine Literature and Their Family Histories
Among the many ways that students at Cal State L.A. are coming together is through the power of literature. Specifically, with the novel, On Gold Mountain, by Lisa See.
As an Honors English 101 assignment for Freshmen Students, lecturer and faculty coordinator of the First Year Experience Program, Jennifer Hicks, teamed up with the library’s “One Campus, One Book” committee and the Autry National Center to transform a regular assignment into a project exploring the family histories of students. The Autry, which is a museum that focuses on investigating and exploring stories of people of the American West, allowed Hicks and her class to use their resources and enhance their investigation of their own families.
Over the span of fall quarter, students used resources like Autry and ancestry.comto discover how their families began and how they migrated to the American West. In addition, students read Lisa See’s, On Gold Mountain, which is a story of the author’s own detailed family history, to supplement their discoveries in their final essays.
But then, Hicks took it up a notch and for the first time, teamed up with the Autry to have students exhibit their family histories in a pop up gallery in the museum for a day. Hicks explained, “The idea is that the students need to be able to talk about explaining what they’re trying to do, and in terms of teaching writing, learning how to modify something to serve the same purpose in a different way is hard.”
Hicks, who also participated with her class to find out her own family history, found the project to be an inspirational one and encourages students to take advantage of resources like the Autry if they have a desire to tell stories or learn about their own. Hicks said that many of her students didn’t know they could educate people about their own stories in that way. She shared, “They’re tied to these incredible, historical stories. Stories of the Iranian revolution, stories of Armenia… so they all have these stories to tell, and I told them that this is their chance to educate people about that.”
The exhibit took place at the Autry on Saturday, December 6th. For information about the Autry, please visit theautry.org. To find out more about the Honors College and the First Year Experience Program, visitweb.calstatela.edu/academic/honorscollege/ andwww.calstatela.edu/firstyearexperiences
Examining the Advisement Center
When it comes to academic advising on campus, students typically have mixed responses. Some find it difficult to make an appointment with advisors; others don’t even know who their academic advisors are. A UT article last fall quarter placed academic advisors in a negative light and in turn motivated general undergraduate advisor from the University Academic Advisement Center, Edgar Padilla, to clarify and explain in detail the services that advising has to offer.
In the article that was written, a student complained about not knowing where their academic advisement center is. A part of this problem of students not knowing where their advisement center is are those who send students to the advisement center without specifying which advisement center to go to.
Padilla explained that there are seven advisement centers on campus for each college (Arts and Letters, Business and Economics, Charter College of Education, Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology, Health and Human Services, Natural and Social Sciences, and the University Academic Advisement Center for students that are undeclared). For departments like the college of Health and Human Services, and the College of Engineering, there are multiple advisors for each major since the majors in those departments could be a bit complicated. Padilla says, “I think, the people who are sending them think the students understand that they should go to their specific advisement center. I think students only hear ‘advisement center’ and just come here.”
The advisement center that Padilla works for assists students on upper division GE courses, and university requirements. He describes that those who have already declared a major should directly see an advisor in their specific department. He distinguishes the differences between the Academic Advisement Center, and Advisement centers for each major. If students don’t know where to go, it can cause confusion and frustration on both advisors and students.
Sharon Chun, a senior at Cal State LA majoring in Rehabilitation Services who struggled advising in the past points out that it’s all about finding the right advisor. Chun says, “I thought advisors weren’t that helpful until I found the right advisor who cares so much for her students. It wasn’t for academic advisory, I would be completely lost.” Now that Chun is a senior, she’s very grateful for the help that advisors have given her over the years.
Another point that was addressed in the article is that it is almost always impossible to see an advisor due to long wait times or advisors being overbooked in appointments. While it is very important to talk to an advisor often, some students aren’t aware of making a habit of seeing an advisor early on while in college and often wait until the last minute when it is too late. Padilla’s solution to this issue is for students to plan on seeing an advisor early as an undergrad, and booking appointments with an advisor ahead of time.
As for long lines, Padilla finds that statement false because staff at the advisement center make it a point to produce exemplary customer service. He adds, “With us, our customer service is great here because we don’t let students wait.”
Similarly, Gabriel Reyes, a Criminal Justice advisor for the College of Health and Human Services pointed out that if there are long lines, there are other ways to see an advisor. One would be to e-mail an advisor ahead of time, or call them to ensure a guaranteed meeting.
So, if seeing an advisor shouldn’t be a problem even if students know who to speak to, what exactly is the issue? Speaking to Padilla about the amount of advisors in each department, there aren’t many. With a growing population at Cal State LA of almost 20,000 students, it can seem daunting for advisors to accommodate every student on campus. However, Padilla assures that every advisor on campus is doing the best they can despite the limited amount of advisors.
All advisors on campus make it a habit to connect with each other at council meetings every month. In addition, they also try to make it to senate meetings to know what’s happening around campus, especially for the 2016 Quarter to Semester Conversion.
In the meantime, Padilla encourages students to rely on people like professors as advisors when it comes to planning an academic plan. While they may not be able to officially sign off on a desired plan, they can certainly help guide a student on what specific classes to take. Padilla mentions, “We suggest to go to faculty advisors, so that’s another kind of thing we tell them to do because someone is bound to help them there. It could be the Dean, a professor, or the Chair… they should know more information.”
Overall, a portion of the problem is funding. The Student Success Fee, which is often seen as controversial to the CSU-system, funds the salaries of advisors. If not the whole portion of their salaries, a portion of the Success Fee goes toward advisors on campus. With the Success Fee going toward a number of things on campus, it makes it difficult to supply Cal State LA with more advisors.
Spotlight on the Fine Arts Gallery
A reception was held on Thursday, January 15th for the annual undergraduate art exhibition in the gallery of the fine arts building. Tucked away on the first floor of the Fine Arts building, students and faculty were able to view pieces from 2014 in the gallery for a late afternoon gathering.
Pieces that were on display included projects that students in art classes worked on over the course of the past year such as oil paintings, sculptures of familiar and unusual designs, fashion, and more.
Prior to the exhibition, some professors took a modern approach to the projects that were on display than traditional avenues of creating sculptures and paintings. Cal State LA painting professor Tim Ebner, found a new method in the past year that went hand in hand with oil painting. By bringing technology into the classroom, students are able to bring their laptops in and work from images on a computer screen to imitate a specific color needed in a painting. Ebner explained, “I started to paint right from the laptop, which is really great because you can go in and get details and make compositions and whatnot, which is really helping my painting out.”
Since then, Ebner has brought wooden platforms into the classroom for students to rest their computers on. He added, “it works out really nice because the quality of the paintings have gone up and the images that students are working from are 50 million times better.”
With the many pieces on display, the exhibition ultimately served as a way to bring attention to the gallery. Since the gallery is hidden within the Fine Arts building, many don’t know that it exists. Senior, Francisco Becerra says, “When we tell people there’s an art gallery here, they’re surprised and don’t know that it’s here.”
Similarly, Graphic Design Professor Michael Henderson mentioned, “I want more of the campus community coming to these events.” Henderson, who has been a professor for about 21 years now at Cal State LA has seen an interest in students trying to take art classes and clarified that art classes aren’t limited to only art majors. The growth in students trying to take classes can be seen from the expansion of painting classrooms used for the classes that professors like Ebner teaches.
Moreover, Henderson explained, anyone can take an art class and if chosen, can have their art featured in an exhibition just like the annual show. Just like Henderson, Becerra, who is graduating this year described the importance of the fine arts gallery and explained how it has allowed him to grow from the creative works of others. Becerra says, “I think it’s helpful seeing what everyone’s talents are and seeing how we can feed off of each other’s vibes and creativity.”
The art pieces of the annual undergraduate exhibition will be on display until January 31st in the gallery of the fine arts building.
The Hydrogen Station is Open for Business
It’s official! The Governor’s office recently gave Cal State L.A. the green light to sell hydrogen fuel to the public. Located near the Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology building, the on-campus hydrogen station, will now be the first site to sell hydrogen fuel in California.
Until recently, a proper meter system was unavailable which allowed owners of hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles to dispense hydrogen for free at any location where a hydrogen station exists. The hydrogen station on campus was originally used as a site to dispense hydrogen for presentation purposes and was only available to those who had a code—as was seen last November when a team of people were fueling an Audi and Volkswagen for the L.A. Auto Show and the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association Conference in the same month.
Now, with a working meter system and the ability to produce hydrogen onsite at Cal State L.A., the university joins in on the commercialization of making hydrogen fuel a common asset in today’s automotive world. Owners of these hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles that want to use the station just need a credit card to make a purchase.
For those that need a review of what hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles are, they are cars that power on an electric motor. These vehicles generate electricity through the use of oxygen and air to power the motor. So, in more or less fancier words, a fuel cell vehicle is essentially a type of electric car that is both eco-friendly and the key to the future of the automotive industry. However, don’t mistake the use of the hydrogen station with the smaller electric vehicle charging stations that are located around campus and were installed over the summer.
Today, almost every car company produces electric vehicles. Green Car Reports say on average, an electric car can cost up to $40,000 from brands like Ford, Chevrolet, and Honda; and up to almost $95,000 from high-end companies like Tesla. For fuel-cell vehicles, a Los Angeles Times article by reporter, Charles Fleming, states that a Tesla Model can range from $72,000 – $100,000. Just recently, Toyota hopped on the bandwagon and launched their own line of fuel-cell vehicles that will not run cheap (roughly $68,000).
Pricey, right? So why invest in such an expensive vehicle when gas prices fluctuate on the daily, there are limited hydrogen stations around a city like Los Angeles (the other prominent location being at the Shell Gas Station on Santa Monica Boulevard), and re-fueling an electric vehicle can take up long hours?
Perhaps the answer is all in the idea of how these vehicles can help transform the way we think of the future, and how we imagine cars of the future to be like. Maybe less in the idea of cars flying, and maybe more so in quality of the vehicle for now. Electric vehicles are quiet, are high in efficiency–so, easy to maintain, and provide benefits of improving the environment’s air quality. Now, who wouldn’t want that? Although these vehicles are expensive, the idea of some carmakers giving hydrogen fuel away for free does sound enticing. That is, until more meters appear at those locations.
In the meantime however, until cars do fly, Golden Eagles can say we’re attending a university concerned with the development of future vehicles. While that’s all good, investing in such a project is risky. With the hydrogen station being the first of it’s kind to charge people for its usage, the on-campus site will be open to the public, which means that anyone with a fuel-cell vehicle can use the station. Which, depending on how many people own a fuel-cell vehicle, can impact the amount of traffic coming through campus.
If many will own a fuel-cell vehicle in the future and the station will continue to be open, the cars can pose a major problem because it will still cause traffic on campus, and a plethora of other things like parking, safety, and more. Nevertheless, despite the problems the station entails now, the public will still be able to purchase hydrogen to fuel their fuel-cell vehicles starting this month by the kilogram.
A New Agenda for the CSU
A press conference with CSU Chancellor Timothy White was held on a digital platform to address new graduation initiatives and new financial matters regarding the CSU system. On the morning of February 13th, student reporters from all CSUs were invited to log in to the meeting and pose questions after his address for a brief Q & A discussion.
In terms of graduation, White announced a new goal for the CSU system under the name, “CSU Graduation Initiative.” The initiative, originally launched in 2009 to increase graduation rates, was reiterated as a top priority for White on his quest to improve certain aspects about the CSU system. He pointed out that he’d like CSUs to educate 100,000 more students with Bachelors degrees by 2025.
In an official statement from the Cal State university blog, some of the goals for advancing the number of bachelor’s degrees include, “Increasing the six-year graduation rate for first-time freshmen to 60 percent. . . Increasing the two-year graduation rate for transfer students to 35 percent,” and “Closing the achievement gap for low-income students to five percent.” White made it imperative that all members of society should succeed, and that it isn’t possible unless an education with these initiatives is implemented.
Some of the benefits of the 2025 graduation initiative include keeping high paying jobs from relocating away from California and a larger success rate in students graduating from a California State University.
With the topic of finance, White spoke about the amount of funds being allocated from the state of California such as 25 million dollars worth of money for universities in the CSU system to improve buildings and programs. His mission to attain more funds for the CSU is another top priority on his agenda for the year but also encourages students to take control of what they want done in regards to funds by being a voice at our state’s capitol.
As for tuition and Student Success Fees? White said, “I’m not going to raise tuition next year… I would rather see it going up in small increments.” Student Success Fees, which have been a tough subject to talk about over the years, was described by White as something that is slowly being improved upon. By having universities take note of how many students utilize resources on campus, he has found it helpful to regulate where the fees are going and how they’re helping, but providing a stricter system of transparency as to where the fees exactly go on each campus isn’t a top priority on his agenda at the moment.
You can read more about the 2025 graduation initiative and learn more about the online press conference by visiting www.calstate.edu for more information.
Ten Years at the Bottom
Faculty members on campus are racing to find answers in the CSU system’s failure to provide salary raises. According to the California Faculty Association (CFA), evidence from the past ten years shows the California State University (CSU) system has failed to increase salaries of faculty members on all CSU campuses. In response to the lack of a salary increase on all CSU campuses, CSU faculty members have decided to unite and release a four-part series titled, “Race to the Bottom,” to show the magnitude of the situation.
In the first paper of the series, released on March 3, 2015, CFA revealed how the CSU system is the only university system that has shown stagnant progress in terms of increased salary wages for faculty members. Compared to University of California (UC) campuses, which have consistently increased salary wages, CSUs have actually experienced a loss on all 23 campuses. Similarly, CSU faculty members earn less than many other occupations including car sale reps, K-12 teachers, and truck drivers.
The top motive behind the problem is the CSU’s inability to keep up with the cost-of-living. For faculty members who have invested many years in higher education to obtain their teaching degrees, current salaries can’t support families, or fund housing and other costs that are often increasing in the state today. Most CSU faculty members are forced to take on multiple jobs to make ends meet, but it isn’t enough.
In a media conference over the phone that happened last Tuesday, struggling to make ends meet on a CSU faculty salary with years worth of experience is a situation many faculty members know all too well. Cal State L.A. CFA Chapter President, Molly Talcott, shared in the conference, “I have not received anything like the kinds of increases needed in the several years I’ve now been serving at Cal State L.A… My friends in the UC system literally gasp in disbelief when they hear how much I am paid.”
According to the first paper of the “Race to the Bottom” series, the average salary of CSU faculty is $45,000 per year. In 2013, the average salary of tenured/tenure track faculty members in UC universities was $130,031—nearly over 85,000 dollars more than what CSU faculty members earn.
Moreover, faculty members are holding CSU administrators accountable for their failed attempt to recognize the need to increase salaries. Along with faculty members taking on multiple jobs to make ends meet, there is no denying the fact that CSU faculty members are doing as much as they can in terms of engaging their students in their coursework.
In the new CSU campaign, “Class of 3 Million,” many students paid tribute to past professors who helped pave their paths to success. Although CSU administration appreciates the fact that faculty members help guide students, they’ve neglected to do anything about it.
There is no word yet about a resolution to the problem. More information about CFA’s work about “Race to the Bottom” and the full document of the first part of the series can be found on www.calfac.org/race-to-the-bottom.
Journalism 101 with Melanie Sill
Some say the journalism industry is a dying one. For any aspiring journalist who dreams of becoming successful in journalism someday, it’s a statement they know all too well. However, for 89.3 KPCC’s Vice President of Content, Melanie Sill, the current state of journalism is nothing close to death.
“There is a narrative out there that journalism is dying,” Sill says in her KPCC office, overlooking some of Pasadena’s winding railroad tracks. To the right of her is another clear wall overlooking a bustling but relaxed newsroom. She continues, “There is another narrative out there that there aren’t any jobs, which isn’t true. And there’s another narrative out there that journalism is dead, which has never been true.” Although the environment that she works in can be hectic than what it presently is, she stays calm and collected when talking about journalism, which can be anything but serene.
Sill, a journalist at heart, has gained quality experience over the years and has accomplished a lot in the field of journalism, including overcoming her biggest challenge as a shy person, talking to people and interviewing new people regularly. Sill shares her experience dealing with her shyness when she first started out as a student reporter for the Daily Tarheel at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “When I had to interview people over the phone, I would hold the phone so tightly because I was so nervous,” she admitted.
She’s been with KPCC, a Southern California Public Radio Station owned by the American Public Media Group, since 2012 as an Executive Editor, but this July will mark her one-year anniversary as the Vice President of Content. From working at the Sacramento Bee, to publishing “The Case for Open Journalism Now,” a discussion paper written while doing research at University of Southern California Annenberg in 2011, it’s clear that she takes journalism very seriously.
Over the years, many have questioned the future of journalism. Today, with advances in technology, almost anyone who owns a smartphone can instantly become a journalist. For any aspiring journalist out there that’s invested time by majoring in Journalism, it can be a terrifying thought. But discussing this trend with Sill, who sees the advancement of technology as a positive one for journalism, is motivating. Though optimistic about the future of journalism, she isn’t afraid to point out the realities of it either. She comments, “There aren’t the kind of pathways that used to be there going into the business, and people have to be much more cognizant of their own career management… this isn’t unique to journalism, because if you look at other professions, it’s the same thing.”
According to the PEW Research Center, the major advancement in the world of journalism lies in digital reporting. A year ago, the research center did a study on the growth of digital journalism, which revealed the shifting landscape of traditional journalism to online platforms. Online outlets likeBuzzfeed, VICE, and even the Huffington Post have proven the growth of digital journalism as a successful one.
At KPCC, reporters demonstrate how the shifting landscape is working toward their benefit by constantly checking social media and other online news platforms for updates. In the middle of the newsroom are three large flat-screen T.V.s on major news channels like CNN. In the recording studio, while on air during one of KPCC’s shows, a team of reporters work behind the scenes in the control room to confirm information for hosts on air by the second. The fast-paced environment of fact checking and confirming from social media sites and other news outlets looks foreign, but are all in a days work for reporters at KPCC.
It’s clear that the different platforms blending together in this digital age, as seen in her newsroom, has given her the confidence to say that journalism isn’t dying. At the Associated Collegiate Press Conference in February, Sill, who spoke as a keynote speaker, explained the current state of journalism as “The Golden Age” and said that even though it’s hard to break into it, there are many ways to do journalism.
Even though Sill looks forward to the future of journalism, she still encourages aspiring journalists to have a strong foundation in the fundamentals of journalism. “You can’t get around the strong fundamentals. So being a good writer, and being able to meet deadlines, is very important,” she explained as she pointed to the many clocks around the newsroom. Sill continued, “Whether or not you do journalism or not, if you’re able to meet deadlines, go above and beyond your assigned duties, or turn in polished copy, those skills are very valued in different fields.”
Among her many accomplishments of working in print and radio, and being a pioneer for all journalists out there, when asked about her greatest achievement, she describes her greatest success as working with many creative people. She noted, “As a former shy person, it’s been really fun to work with a lot of smart, talented people and I feel really lucky.” With Melanie Sill’s words of advice, and plenty of positive advancements in journalism with technology, it’s very clear that journalism is here to stay.
Cal State L.A. Welcomes New Sorority
Watch out, current Cal State L.A. sororities, because a new sorority has joined the campus’ Greek life! As of March 7th, 2015, Kappa Delta Chi has officially been recognized on campus as a new sorority.
Founded in summer 2014 by Alicia Soto, Isabel Vasquez, Jessica Estrada, Marissa Jimenez, Sandra Hernandez, and Tania Garcia, these fellow Golden Eagle ladies have been working tirelessly to gain recognition and fulfill all the requirements at the sorority’s university and national level. As a Cal State L.A. chapter, they are recognized as the “Too Hot Too Cute Crew.”
For those that aren’t too familiar with Kappa Delta Chi, the sorority was founded at Texas Tech University on April 6th, 1987. Today, Cal State L.A. is the third CSU to have a chapter of Kappa Delta Chi, and there are over 50 chapters on the sorority nationwide. Kappa Delta Chi bases their values on Unity, Honesty, Integrity, and Leadership.
Former President of the Cal State L.A. Kappa Delta Chi interest group, Alicia Soto, commented on the success of the sorority’s growth and said, “We worked extremely hard for several months in fulfilling requirements for the University while also working on national requirements. We didn’t give up and that’s the best thing we could have probably done because Kappa Delta Chi is an organization that was needed in this University.” As a current sorority sister of Kappa Delta Chi, she is honored to be part of this organization on campus.
In addition to working hard to becoming recognized on campus, Kappa Delta Chi has already worked together to help the community. This past February, the sorority organized “The Burrito Project,” helped feed those living on the streets of Skid Row. Kappa Delta Chi sisters were able to organize over 80 volunteers from Cal State L.A. and the surrounding Cal State L.A. community to help out with the project, and over 300 burritos were handed out. In addition, the sorority was able to distribute donated water and clothing to those in need.
Like her fellow Kappa Delta Chi sorority sisters, Soto is overjoyed to work more closely and start recruiting this quarter. She says, “We are beyond excited to start recruiting very soon and join the rest of the Greeks on campus.”
If interested in joining Kappa Delta Chi, you can catch Alicia and the rest of the Kappa Delta Chi sisters during rush week starting this quarter!
While many golden eagles were spending their last few days of Spring Break enjoying their time off, a group of Golden Eagle students majoring in Social Work enjoyed their Spring Break in a different way.They were lending a helping hand at a quincenera for six girls at the Plaza de Cultura y Artes in Downtown Los Angeles on March 28th.
Spearheaded by Professor William Wong of the department of Social Work at Cal State L.A., the quincenera was held for six girls in foster care to remind them of their culture. Wong, who has been a strong mentor for students in the field of social work, has taken part in many projects involving foster children in the past including FOX 11’s, “Wednesday’s Child,” a mission to provide homes for children in the foster care system. For Wong, having events like the quincenera is important to have. He explained, “It’s a milestone, a right of passage, and it definitely plays a part in their cultural identity.”
Traditionally, a quincenera is an event that celebrates a girl’s fifteenth birthday. While some quinceneras aren’t always presented in a grand scale, the one that took place at the Plaza de Cultura y Artes was a great event that celebrated the milestones of six foster girls. The six girls involved in the grand event were filled with so many mixed emotions as they were getting their hair and makeup done professionally for the first time in their lives. For some of them, being catered to and experiencing a lot of attention was unusual, but each took it in stride.
Wong explained, “When you’re in foster care, you get your basic needs… I like to think that (this quincenera) it’s helping them repair some of the trauma that is present in our system.”
The response that the quincenera received from the public was tremendous. The event was sponsored by first district supervisor, Hilda Solis, and many celebrities like FOX 11 news anchor Christine Devine, and Nickelodeon actress Rosa Blasi took part in helping out with the event. Blasi helped out by doing the girls’ makeup that morning and said, “It’s great to be doing something for these girls. It’s important to them, and it helps bring a sense of reality to this world.”
As for the students that were involved in volunteering during the event, they found that taking part in the event was a humbling experience. The president of the Association of Student Social Workers, Tammy Barreras, shared, “We see how important it is to keep culture within these young girls.” She continued, “Without this, these girls probably would never get a quincenera… As future social workers, we want people to be involved and understand what’s going on with the foster care system.”
Joanne Altschuler, a Cal State L.A. professor and Bachelor Program Director of the School of Social Work attended the event and was astonished by the amount of work Professor Wong contributed to developing the quinceneras. She pointed out how the Golden Eagle volunteers involved represented President Covino’s message of engagement, service, and the public good while giving students quality hands-on experience. She said, “It reinforces their commitment to social work… it gives somebody an opportunity to see what it means to give a life of service.”
As for more quinceneras happening in the future, Professor Wong would like to see them grow to provide more milestones for young girls in the foster care system. If you would like to be involved with some of the work Professor Wong does, attend meetings with the Association of Student Social Workers. Information can be found online at www.calstatela.edu/hhs/sw.
Remembering Monique Rivera
Students and professors gathered in the free speech zone in front of the campus bookstore on Thursday, April 9th, to remember Monique Rivera, a Psychology student. Riverapassed away three days before on April 6th in her Alhambra home due to what news reports found to be fromcarbon monoxide poisoning.
Although many were devastated from the news of her death, the focus of Thursday’s vigil was to celebrate her life and the contributions she made to campus as an activist who wanted to implement change.
Many students remember Monique as smart, driven, and a student who never stopped smiling. Her friend and colleague, Danny Osoy, shared, “She was incredibly brilliant and so down to earth… she was able to see things from so many different viewpoints.” Osoy, who was in the organization, Students for Quality Education, with Rivera says he will always remember hiking with her because being in nature was where she always wanted to be.
Rivera played a significant role in the Ethnic Studies Movement that occurred a year ago at Cal State L.A. Professor Melina Abdullah of the Pan African Studies Department remembered her as a kind and warm person, and when it came to speaking up about what was right or wrong about issues that were happening, she was never afraid to express her thoughts or take part in the movement for change.
Abdullah expressed, “She was so brilliant, and she made such a contribution and she was only 25-years-old. But the legacy she’s leaving is one that’s our responsibility to continue to uplift and continue to struggle forward, but also to make sure that what she left us doesn’t just die with her.”
Monique was a Psychology student, but those who knew her in the Ethnic Studies community on campus have recognized and claimed her as part of their family. Abdullah went on to say, “That’s our daughter, that is our sister, that is our child… and we will continue to lift her up.” Rivera was the first in her family to go to college and she would have graduated this year.
The vigil ended with a traditional ceremony that included the action of pouring water after exchanging words that would help her soul travel on a safe and peaceful journey to the afterlife. In an effort to help the Rivera family alleviate some of the expenses, a fund has been created for people to donate. To donate, you can visitgofundme.com/r9uvs7f .
Golden Eagle Veteran Gives Back
This Fourth of July, a group of Cal State L.A. veterans will be giving back to the veteran community on campus in a big way with the help of a 5K run to raise funds for scholarships. The 5K run will take place in the city of Rosemead the morning of Independence Day and you can start signing up now.
Israel Estrada, a Business Administration major who left active duty while he was in the Marine Corps in 2003, is the lead organizer of this event, and explains that only a few scholarships were available to students in the past. He says, “Last year, there were only two scholarships that were awarded to veterans, so a group of us at the Veterans Resource Center thought that maybe we could do a little better this year.” After figuring out that the best way to raise more scholarship money for veterans on campus was to have a 5K run, Estrada got to work with a small team of volunteers and began working closely with the city of Rosemead.
For about five months now, Estrada has been organizing the 5K to take place before fourth of July festivities happen in the city of Rosemead, marketing for the event, and reaching out to sponsors. Organizing an event like this 5K stems from what Estrada learned from the Commandant of the Marine Corps at the time he was in active duty. Estrada mentions, “The Commandant in the Marine Corps at the time said something along the lines like, ‘Do as much as you can for as many people as you can for as long as you can.’ So every year, I try to do something.” With those words from the Commandant, the 5K has been his way to give back to the community this year
Estrada, who is no stranger to organizing marathons, has been involved with many marathons in the past, which he finds to be a great way to give back to the community. Of all the marathons he has worked on, he says that Rosemead has been the most flexible to work with. He shares, “The city of Rosemead has been fantastic, and they’re really great to work with.”
Although veterans around the country already receive benefits if they choose to pursue a college degree after their service, it still isn’t enough. With the G.I. Bill resolving some financial issues of veterans, keeping up with the cost of living has been a struggle for some. Estrada says that one of the main problems veterans face after leaving active duty or retiring is getting back on their feet. He shares, “By and large, the basic issues are figuring out where to live and where to feed yourself.” With the event of the 5K, he is certain that funds will help benefit and relieve those problems.
Estrada’s goal is to have 1,500 participants on the Fourth of July to supply at least ten students with scholarships. The 5K is open to everyone and will even include, a Kids Run and Tot Trot for younger participants. To take part in the 5K or volunteer,visit www.rosemead5K.com.
La Finesse Falls Flat
Last Tuesday, the College of Arts and Letters’ signature event, 'La Finesse de la Nuit,' took place in the renovated plaza of the University Student Union. While the event always hit its mark in the past with a variety of performances and art displays from the department, this year’s event missed the beat.
Known as the Dean of Arts and Letters’ favorite event, La Finesse is the final event of the college to showcase work that students from each department have been working on all year. In addition, the event has been recognized over the years as a large celebration of art.
Instead of showcasing artists from the college like previous years, this year’s event also featured artists from the local community, including a seven-year-old boy who performed “Hungarian Dance No. 5” on the piano.
This year, La Finesse featured a combination of performances and art in the line-up of the night’s events. Some performances included spoken word artists, like Leelah Williams, a student who performed a poem titled, “I Am a Black Woman,” and several musical performances such as the band, Concrete Sledge, who closed the show. However, the overall lineup was not as well organized as in the past.
With a bumpy term for A.S.I. Arts and Letters Representatives, Matthew Gonzalez and Nicole McCue, the pressure was on to put together a successful event like former reps Emmanuel Solis and Marina Bottini did the year before. McCue explained, “It’s really important that we do well in this event because it really counts. A lot of people really look forward to this event, so as representatives, it’s important that we do the best we can.”
After Solis and Bottini resigned from their representative positions last quarter, Gonzalez and McCue stepped up as reps for the remainder of the year. However, due to the suddenness of taking over in the middle of the year, they didn’t have the same network of contacts for student artists as Solis and Bottini did when they were in office.
Gonzalez said, “It was hard finding art students because neither of us are art students and we don’t know many artists around.” Some issues Gonzalez and McCue faced that evening were dealing with poor audio, a failed installment of a sculpture garden, and last minute no shows of performers.
Despite the issues that Gonzalez and McCue faced, students still enjoyed their time at the event with a photo booth station and cartoon artist. Yanira Chavez, a Communications major, shared, “I thought the event did a great job at bringing the college together.” Chavez hopes that La Finesse will be promoted better next year and that more students will perform.
Although Gonzalez and McCue will not be representing the College of Arts and Letters as reps next year, they stressed the importance of planning in advance. As a Philosophy major, McCue advised the new Arts and Letters reps for next year to start planning La Finesse as soon as they can. She says, “It’s important to plan early.”
Even though this was their first attempt at the college’s signature event, Gonazlez and McCue were satisfied with the outcome of the event.
Senator De Leon Opens Conversation for Higher Education
In an effort to approve Senate bills 15 and 695, California Senator Kevin de León stopped by Cal State L.A.’s Golden Eagle Radio Station last Friday, May 29th. The Senator appeared on Golden Eagle radio show, The Eagle’s Nest, with Cal State L.A. President Covino to educate the community about the components behind each bill.
The bills, which Senator De León has supported, relate to topics in education. With the emphasis of the conversation about Senate Bill 15 (SB15), the dialogue about higher education in California was opened to students.
After its amendment on March 25th, 2015, SB15’s purpose is to create more policies that support affordability, access, and completion of higher education for California students. The bill will assist by providing more funding to University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) campuses and its students.
A major component of SB15 is an incentive for students to graduate on time with an award called the Graduation Incentive Grant (GIG). If the bill is passed, GIG will repurpose some money of the Middle Class Scholarship on college campuses and instead, will grant incoming students with $1,000 if they complete 30 units by the end of their first year, $1,500 with the completion of 60 units by the end of their second year, and $2,000 for completing 90 units by the end of their third year.
Additionally, by repurposing money of the Middle Class Scholarship, the bill is said to allow the Legislature to offer students in California more benefits, further making the cost of college attendance more affordable for students.
In favor of the bill’s purpose, President Covino described SB15 as the most thoughtful piece of legislation on higher education that he has ever seen. Similarly, on the level of student government, the California State Student Association (CSSA) has supported SB15 by passing a resolution in favor of the bill.
Although there have been nothing but positive remarks about SB15 and repurposing funds from the Middle Class Scholarship, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that the California State Assembly may not be completely on board due to past matters with Governor Brown’s budget proposals that revolved more around campuses in the UC system.
Senator De León ensured that SB15 will be a large benefit for students in the CSU System. Among the other major benefits of the bill, the Senator spoke about opening more enrollment slots. If passed, the bill would provide enrollment funding for UC and CSU campuses to make greater enrollment opportunities.
In addition to the conversation about transforming higher education on college campuses in California, there was a brief discussion about Senate Bill 695 (SB695).
In terms of the purpose of the bill, Senator De León wants to change the health curriculum in high schools to educate students more about sexual assault prevention and the importance of healthy social relationships. With SB967, or “Yes Means Yes,” serving as the standard of consent in California, SB695 serves as an obligation to educate people early to prevent assault incidents in the future.
Although SB15 and SB695 have received a plethora of positive remarks, the bills have not been approved yet. In regards to SB15, officials of the UC system, CSU system, the legislature, and the governor need to have a conversation if implementing the bill will be the best way to alleviate the costs of going to school.
In the meantime, students are hoping that the conversation to approve the bills are carefully evaluated.
16-year-old EEP Student Graduates from CSULA
Among the many graduates this year at Cal State L.A. is William Hua, a fellow Golden Eagle who is on his way to earn his PhD at Johns Hopkins University. What makes Hua’s story a bit more unique is that he is the youngest among the senior class of 2015.
However, Hua liked to think otherwise. “It’s not that unique,” he confidently says about his academic achievements at Cal State L.A. The sixteen-year-old math whiz continued, “A lot of Eepster Students get their PhD. There’s a ton of Eepsters doing this, and I’m not the only one obviously… It just definitely feels like an accomplishment to me.”
Hua’s demeanor is cool and poised, despite the many accolades he has received for his accomplishments, including being accepted into four prestigious universities for his PhD. Hua responds to all the questions in the interview in a humble manner—it’s hard to believe that he’s only sixteen!
At just 13 years old, after finishing his first year in high school, Hua began his college journey at Cal State L.A. in the Early Entrance Program, also known as E.E.P., an accelerated education program designed for students who are as young as 11-years-old. Students in the program are full-time college students and able to earn their undergraduate degrees in four to five years.
As a student in EEP, Hua has accomplished a lot during his time at Cal State L.A. besides graduatingin just three years. He has been the Vice President of the Math Club and worked closely with professors in research and presentations at conferences. On Super Pi Day (that’s March 14, if you didn’t catch that), Hua was among the many presenters at the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) conference to speak about research he had done with a professor on campus.
Graduating in three years however, wasn’t always a walk in the park. Even though Hua has been set for success, he learned that the hardest part of his college experience was making the hard decisions. For Hua, deciding on a solid career path was one of the hardest parts. Hua explained, “In the first few years, I didn’t know what my career path really was. I was juggling a double major of biochemistry and math and was unsure whether I wanted to go into a PhD in math, or pre-Med, or biochemistry.”
It wasn’t until he started going to Math Club meetings that helped make his decisions. Hua explained, “The beginning of my sophomore year, I started going to meetings and found some talks interesting even though some theories went over my head.”
Although it may seem like Hua has missed out on a traditional high school experience, he has no regrets because of how the Early Entrance Program has greatly influenced him. He says, “It’s had a really positive impact on me. Not only because of the professors here at Cal State L.A., which are all really great and helpful in terms of pursuing my education, but also in terms of my peers… I’ve made a lot of great friends here.”
With his many accomplishments, Hua guarantees he’s still your typical teenager. Before getting to this particular interview at the University Times, Hua was being a normal teenager by playing basketball with friends. He shares, “I love to play basketball–My friends and I try to play basketball a lot. And I play video games… obviously.”
As for his ultimate future goal, Hua says he would love to be a professor at a top university and sees himself working in a field regarding statistics. He says, “I really enjoy teaching and doing research along with that.” With graduation around the corner and Johns Hopkins in the fall, the limit does not exist for Hua. With a focused mind-set, he has proven that anything can be achieved, regardless of age
It’s the beginning of an exciting era for journalism students on campus. In recent news, Professor Jon Beaupre, an acclaimed journalist and professor at Cal State LA, was chosen to be the new Associate Chair of Journalism. The position is a new addition to the department of Television, Film, and Media Studies (TVF), and was created by the program’s department chair, Dr. John Ramirez.
The Associate Chair of Journalism’s job will be a spokesperson for journalism, and work with other journalism faculty to strengthen the discipline. The new position will help identify journalism as a department in the long run. But, over the years, Ramirez has observed a growth in student interest toward journalism through organizations like Golden Eagle Radio and the University Times. Without a key individual representing journalism, it’s been difficult for students to access resources.
Currently, Broadcast Journalism is an option housed under the Television, Film, and Media Studies department. With the growing number of students who are majoring in Television, Film, and Media Studies, Ramirez believes that it’s important more than ever to have someone representing student journalists, and found Professor Beaupre to be most fitting for the task.
“Historically, journalism has not been given the fair shake in the program because the sexy part of the program is filmmaking and T.V.,” Ramirez said. “I’ve worked with Professor Beaupre these many years, and he was interested and very enthusiastic about helping to take on that function.”
Beaupre, who has a remarkable resume as a radio producer and reporter, is looking forward to working with student journalists on campus and fellow journalism faculty. “As faculty, we have to provide guidance and direction as best we can,” Beaupre said. Among his many plans, the first item on his agenda is to create a network for student journalists called, “Golden Eagle Journalists.” The organization will be a source of professional advancement for students to help them reach their goals.
In addition to that, Beaupre would like to take student journalists on trips around the world to places like Mexico City, Asia, and South America to meet with other journalists in television, radio, and print. He also has plans to incorporate technology into the program and have students use it more frequently, ultimately to keep up with what journalists are using out on the field. He explains, “We’ll figure out the technology fast and how to operate them and what they do… we want students to use technology.”
Furthermore, Beaupre’s vision for journalism as an Associate Chair can ultimately help determine where journalism at Cal State LA will be in five or ten years. Dr. Ramirez, who has watched journalism grow over the years, would like journalism to break away from the Television, Film, and Media Studies umbrella in the future. “I would like to see journalism be it’s own entity due to it having less resources, attention, and visibility,” Ramirez said. He believes that having Beaupre as the Associate Chair is the first step toward that vision.
To Strike or Not to Strike
In the fight for fair salaries, the California Faculty Association (CFA) is pulling out all the stops to get the raises they deserve. Last Wednesday, September 30th, a phone conference was held to discuss the upcoming strike authorization vote – a vote that will determine if CFA members will go on strike if they are unable to come to terms with the California State University (CSU) system. The voting period for strike authorization will occur from October 19th through the 28th.
The outcome of the strike vote will ultimately depend on a mediation meeting between CFA and representatives of the CSU Chancellor’s office on October 8th. Currently, the CSU and CFA are in the mediation phase of the labor negotiation process, which means that a hired mediator will work to help reach an agreement for both parties.
For years now, the California Faculty Association has demanded for fairer salaries – a task that isn’t seen as a priority in the California State University system. Over the years, salaries of faculty members in CSUs across the state have remained stagnant. During the phone conference, the main point that CFA Board of Directors members made was that faculty members are simply not being paid the salaries they deserve. CFA Secretary of the Board of Directors, Molly Talcott explains, “Our research has found that regardless of what their (the CSU’s) budget outlook looks like, they don’t prioritize faculty or staff for that matter.”
Talcott, who is also a Sociology Professor at Cal State LA, has been on the forefront of the fight for fair salary wages. “In order to cut costs, the CSU has hired temporary faculty and lectures,” she said. “We live in the wealthiest state in the wealthiest country in the world, and students are being cheated by the misplaced budget priorities of the CSU.”
Similarly, the chair of the CFA Bargaining team, Kevin Wehr said, “The CSU management is spending more and more on itself and trying to find ways to spend less and less on the people who do the work for the university – people who actually do the teaching.”
Some of the effects that have transpired from stagnant salaries over the years include damage to the education of students. With the CSU not placing a priority on faculty, hiring faculty on the tenure line hasn’t happened at Cal State LA over the last decade.
Based on comments collected from CFA chapter members, some are already in favor of voting ‘Yes’ to the Strike Vote. Douglas Domingo-Foraste of CSU Long Beach shared on the CFA website, “I am voting yes because getting and retaining good faculty is key to getting students to finish quality degrees.”
With the nonexistent efforts to raise faculty salaries, what CSU faculty members across the state are proposing for is a 5% General Salary Increase (G.S.I.) – the minimal amount that CFA has researched and decided would ultimately assist in basic things such as the daily costs of living. Presently, CSU faculty’s salary wages are not enough.
CFA members are endorsing “The Fight for Five” campaign, which has reached government attention.
Among the legislatures who have urged Chancellor White in making faculty a priority in California was Senator Pro Tem, Kevin De Leon who pleaded White to, “recognize the valuable contributions the faculty makes to students.”
Overall, if a strike does take place after the strike vote period is over, a strike can likely span a couple of days or even a week. Follow more on “The Fight for Five” at www.calfac.org.