Golden Gate Xpress San Francisco State News, Sports, Lifestyle & Culture, Opinion, Multimedia Tue, 20 Jun 2017 06:24:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Golden Gate Xpress 32 32 58030623 From Prison to College Wed, 24 May 2017 22:50:54 +0000 Multimedia package on the the experience of adjusting to college after prison

Finals disrupted following bomb threat Wed, 24 May 2017 21:50:56 +0000 ** Ian Williams contributed to this article.

The HSS building was shut down earlier today due to police activity in the wake of a bomb threat, according to Mary Kenny, director of news and new media.

Kenny said in an email that the University had received a bomb threat and the HSS building had been evacuated.

“We take this threat very seriously and the safety of the University community and surrounding community is our top concern,” Kenny said in a statement.

Soon after, Kenny confirmed that the San Francisco Police Department’s K-9 units had completed their sweep of the building and the results were negative.

“Based on this finding, as well as the visual sweep conducted by SF State University Police Department of all core buildings, and in consultation with SFPD, both are calling this incident to a close,” Kenny said in an email.

Students gathered outside the building to wait for more instructions after faculty and staff told them to leave the building.

“Campus police came immediately and told us to evacuate the building,” said Alex Weiglin, web and digital media specialist at the College of Health and Social Sciences.

Today is the last day of finals week and students were unsure whether they were going to be able to take their last final.

“I’m just waiting right now; I don’t really know,” said Chakrit Suktaweekul, an exchange student from the Netherlands waiting to take his international relations final. “I need to take this exam because if not I will fail this subject.”

Brixton Pizzuti, a second-year student, said students who prepared for their final just wanted “to take it and get out of (there)”.

John Elia, associate dean of the College of Health and Social Sciences, had not yet started on the logistics of accommodating the students who were unable to take their final exam at the time of the evacuation. He wanted to ensure their safety first, according to Weiglin.

“I heard he’s just trying to get everyone out and make sure everybody is safe before he even thinks of that,” Weiglin said.

Thousands gathered at Hippie Hill 2.0 Mon, 22 May 2017 03:31:23 +0000 Every April 20, cannabis lovers have converged on the grassy knolls of Hippie Hill in Golden Gate Park to smoke marijuana and celebrate the “stoner’s holiday.”

This year, San Francisco took matters into its own hands and decided that with the recent passing of Proposition 64, which made recreational marijuana consumption legal in the state of California, it would permit the mass gathering of pot smokers, allowing for better waste management, fencing around the event and a larger police presence to keep the celebration under control.

This video takes a look at what it takes to put on a new, city-permitted 420 event of this magnitude.

SF State athletics to remain under Division II competition Sat, 20 May 2017 05:20:32 +0000 Almost two decades of Division II. 

Students at SF State have been questioning why the university’s sports teams don’t compete under Division I. 

The Gators have been a part of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II for 19 years.

With the men’s basketball team being ranked as high as 13 in the NABC Coaches Poll last season, and making it into the NCAA Division II West Regionals the previous season, students are beginning to ask questions about testing Division I schools.  

“I’ve been to almost every men’s basketball home game this season and seen division one teams play on tv,” said SF State biology major, Natalie Avila. “I truly believe our team can keep up and beat some of these division one schools.”

“We’ve always participated at the NCAA Division II level and members of the Northern Athletic/Far West Conference,” said Charles Guthrie, SF State director of athletics. “We joined our current league (CCAA) in 1998.”

A long and complicated five-year process needs to take place if SF State wants to join the NCAA Division I, according to the NCAA handbook. California State University, Bakersfield completed the reclassification process, which began in 2005 and was completed in 2011. 

To begin the process, the university itself would have to vote on whether or not to raise the athletic department classification to Division I standings.

“As of today, there (are) no plans to reclassify for NCAA division one,” Guthrie said. 

If the university did decide to declare a reclassification to Division I , the next step would be for the athletic program to sponsor seven sports for men and women or six for men and eight for women, according to the NCAA rules .

The SF State athletics department currently sponsors five men’s sports and six women’s sports. The department could add many other sports to become Division I eligible. Each season must also be represented by both male and female sports.

Moving divisions is not just about adding sports, but also having the proper facilities to be able to host fans and reach Division I standards, according to the NCAA Handbook. Division I schools must play all of the minimum number of games against Division I schools. 

For men’s and women’s basketball, they must play all but two games against Division I universities. That is why University of San Francisco, a Division I program, is able to play SF State once each season. Men’s basketball teams must play 30 percent of their games at home due to the large revenue brought in by the men’s basketball team. 

Schools in Division I also have a scholarship ceiling and floor which range between athletic departments and sports.

If the university has a football team, they can either be part of the Football Bowl Subdivision or Football Championship Subdivision. Bowl Subdivision is where the most money is made, paid, and distributed in the form of scholarships. They also require a minimum amount of attendance for each home game which is 15,000 attendees – Division II universities do not need to meet any attendance requirements.

“Obviously, cost depends on which sports you add,” Guthrie said. “Adding men and women Golf would be an estimated $150k annually. Adding football, we estimate, would cost $2 million per year. ”

Money will allow universities to have the proper facilities to hold large amounts of people as well as allowing for athletic departments to grant scholarships to athletes and cover each sport’s expenses.

“90 percent comes from the IRA mandatory student athletic fee,” Guthrie said. “Additional funding comes from fundraising, for example, annual fundraisers, golf tournaments, camps and clinics.” 

Until SF State has the budget to add more sports, the school will have to continue being part of the NCAA Division II.

“We’re a long way from having that conversation,” Guthrie said. “Our focus is to continue building a national power at the Division II level.”

Defendant pleads not guilty in slaying of SF State student Fri, 19 May 2017 04:51:30 +0000 The suspect in the killing of an SF State student pleaded not guilty to all counts this morning at the San Mateo County Superior Court in Redwood City.

Frederick Tran is on trial for the slaying of Ariana Hatami, his girlfriend, on the night of Dec. 17, 2016. Tran had just been released from jail after a probation violation when he asked Hatami if he could stay at her apartment for a single night.

While Hatami was asleep, Tran allegedly got out of the bed they were sharing, picked up a bottle and struck her in the head repeatedly with it, according to the on-call detective Brandon Scholes. Two other residents of the apartment restrained Tran and called the police. Hatami died of her wounds in San Francisco General Hospital soon after.

During the brief arraignment, Tran’s attorney, Alex Bernstein requested “that a reasonable bail be set.”

Joseph Goethals, for the San Mateo County District Attorney’s office, however, asked for bail to be set at $25 million on the grounds that “the defendant committed this horrible, heinous act less than 24 hours after being released from jail.” Judge Donald J. Ayoob set bail at $5 million.

Ayoob, before declaring the date of the next hearing, asked Tran, “do you wish to give (the right to a speedy trial) up to give your attorney additional time to prepare a defense?”

“I do,” Tran replied — his only words during the arraignment.

The People of the State of California v. Frederick Tran will continue on July 6, at 8:45 a.m. at the San Mateo County Superior Court in Redwood City.



URM science students face disparity despite higher graduation rate Fri, 19 May 2017 02:41:17 +0000 SF State students continue to face a lack of diversity in science departments despite a recent increase in graduation rates for underrepresented minority students.

Tate Drucker/Xpress

Rama Kased poses for a portrait at SF State on Monday, May 15, 2017. (Tate Drucker/Xpress)


As the percentage of underrepresented minorities (URM) students graduating within six years in the College of Science and Engineering (CoSE) at SF State has increased, the gap in graduation rates between URM students and non-URM students has dropped, according to Darryl Dieter, the director of institutional research at SF State.

Recently, participants in San Francisco’s March for Science protested the current president and the budget cut in science research, according to Robin Lopez, the march organizer.

However, the voices that advocated for diversity in science were almost unnoticed, according to Maria Contreras, a biology major.

“I think people want to take a stand because (administration is) making budget cuts,” Contreras said. “But when do you see (these marchers) advocating for more representation of people of color?”

There has been an increase in graduation rates of Latino students in CoSE, who outnumbered white students in CoSE at SF State in Fall 2016, according to CSU data.

“I would actually expect the opposite, that more white people are enrolled in those classes,” said Sofia Kakaizada, a junior biology major.

While the graduation rates for URM students increase in number, the gap continues to exist and URM students in science still face struggles to compete with non-URM students in the classroom, according to Tremore Fucles, a psychology major who will be the first from his family to graduate college.

“There’s pressure for you to prove yourself to others,” Fucles said. “It’s a new territory so you are alone in it. So, it’s hard to go out there and find someone who you can talk to.”

Though the groups of students who are graduating from science departments are beginning to become more diverse, there is still a gap in representation of URM students and faculty members in CoSE, according to Dieter.

Latino and black students comprised of 31 percent of enrollment in SF State’s CoSE in Fall 2016, according to CSU data. Only nine percent of teaching faculty in the CoSE were Latino or black, according to Deiter.

Lee thinks that instructors from diverse backgrounds understand URM students and their needs. Lee’s URM professor suggested she join SF BUILD– Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity– to promote diversity in the scientific field of study and workforce at SF State and UCSF.

SF BUILD is a program funded by the National Institute of Health led by SF State in partnership with UCSF, according to its website.

Metro Academies College Success Program is another program provided by SF State that supports students’ first two years of college in different fields of study, including science, by providing tutoring and advising, according to its website.

“I remember my freshman year, I was very stuck and confused,” said Kakaizada, who has taken advantage of SF BUILD and metro program.

Rama Ali Kased, the director of the metro program, said the program has been successful and she plans to diversify the fields of study it includes as well as provide upper-division student support by updating important information through emails and phone advising.

Kased said that even though SF State helps fund those programs to support URM students in need, she does not think that SF State provides enough support in terms of providing career guidance.

“I would define student success in multiple ways,” Kased said. “It’s being able to graduate, it’s being able to get a good living-wage job that’s a healthy job and being a leader in the world and the community to make the world better place.”

Patricia Castruita, a biology major at SF State, said she feels responsible for serving the community and making a path for the next generation to follow.

“We have a higher responsibility to our community to fix those challenges that we’ve seen,” said Castruita. “I’m trying to be not only the first to graduate but also not the last one.”

Bay Area students work together to study Oakland lead levels Fri, 19 May 2017 02:24:08 +0000 SF State biology students are teaming up with high school students in East Oakland to test the amounts of lead in their community using samples of dust, paint, water and hair.

In a recent Reuters report, nearly 3,000 communities’ nationwide lead samples were double those of Flint, Michigan. Just last year, Flint was highly discussed in the news for high lead levels in its drinking water as a result of old pipes.

5 percent of children screened in Flint had high levels of lead in their blood. In East Oakland, the percentage is around 7 percent of children, according to the Reuters report.

Following the report, SF State Professor Pete Palmer decided he wanted to direct his Environmental Analysis class to focus on the lead levels in East Oakland by working with an AP Environmental Studies class from Life Academy High School.

Typically, the class focuses on individual projects. This semester, the students have teamed up to work on this project by splitting up into groups either testing water, dust, paint or hair samples that high school students collected around their community.

“Are we a certified lab? No,” Palmer said. “But we are doing the same sorts of things certified labs do.”

According to Palmer, some results have already indicated that residents in East Oakland are being exposed to lead levels above the EPA limit.

Teaming up with high school students in the community helped provide the student researchers a broader scope of samples that only locals would know where to find, such as old buildings and old playgrounds.

The standard EPA limit for lead in drinking water is 15 parts per billion. Some of the lead levels found in water in East Oakland exceed the EPA limits. For example, a water sample collected at a Kaiser Hospital was tested at over 200 parts per billion.

Niko Yeun, 24, graduating with a degree in biochemistry with a focus in environmental analysis, tested the water samples from Kaiser. In Yeun’s research, 12 out of the 28 samples had elevated lead levels that were higher than the EPA limit.

“It’s hard to say what is causing the (contamination) but the important part is knowing that it is above the (EPA) limit so that action can be taken,” Yeun said. “This data is alarming.”

To test all of the different scenarios, the high school students were told to collect hot and cold water from the same pipes, as well as to collect what is called “the first draw,” which is the first water drawn for the day. Cold and hot water react differently to lead, where hot water absorbs lead from the pipes easier. The first draw is used to see if the water absorbs lead by sitting over periods of time in pipes.

Lead poisoning is especially dangerous for unborn babies and young children because their developing bodies can absorb and retain lead easily. Symptoms of lead poisoning include headaches, stomach pain, anemia, and behavioral problems, and can affect the development of the brain. Most of the time symptoms go unnoticed or never show.

In East Oakland, paint samples show lead levels in paint may be more dangerous than high lead levels in water. The East Bay Express reported after the initial Reuter’s report that most of the buildings in Oakland were built before 1978, when lead paint was banned. Lead paint is the most difficult to clean up and when it chips or flakes it can contaminate the soil and eventually breakdown and potentially contaminate water or become airborne as dust.

The research from the environmental analysis class is still being processed. Whether or not the outcomes will be presented will be determined once all the findings are completed.


The Masters of Fine Art 2017 Thu, 18 May 2017 00:08:08 +0000  

After working vigorously hard on not just creating art pieces, but creating a thesis through their metamorphosing art pieces, for the past three years, SF State’s 2017 Masters of Fine Art opened their final art exhibit in the Fine Arts Gallery. The opening reception held a bittersweet beginning of the end for each master, who will miss their colleagues and professors, but are thrilled to begin their new journey in art. Mark Johnson, head curator and art professor, said he enjoys watching the entire art department’s growth, but to him this exhibit is always a special one.

“I’ve seen then develop and grow from their first semester,” Johnson said. “I’m really proud to see it all come together.”

Sharon Bliss, also curator of the gallery, said watching the master’s growth throughout the years was an incredible experience.

“They’re amazing artists, and to watch that growth and change in their practice is an incredible gift to us,” said Biss. “And now this launches them as professionals.”

Crossways pose threat to SF State students Wed, 17 May 2017 17:28:12 +0000 Traffic accidents killed three people in San Francisco between April 28 and May 1. One victim, Meda Hacopian, 77, was killed while crossing Lake Merced Boulevard at Font Boulevard, the same intersection slated for SF State’s Mashouf Wellness Center.

This junction is at the end of one of the city’s high-injury corridors — the 12 percent of roads responsible for 68 percent of pedestrian injuries and deaths, according to Vision Zero, San Francisco’s traffic safety project.

“I remember thinking, ‘OK, I’m almost there, they see me, I’m going to catch the bus,’ and suddenly I’m hit out of nowhere,” said SF State alumna Olivia Parrish. “I broke my collarbone, I had road rash and my clothes were all torn up from the asphalt.”

On May 8, 2014, she was struck by a vehicle at Sunset Boulevard and Yorba Street, the northern part of the same corridor that ends at Lake Merced and Font Boulevards. According to Parrish, she was the third person hit at the intersection within the year.

The city, which has since built a traffic signal at the location, received complaints that the flashing pedestrian signal lights were not working on Nov. 3, 2012, more than a year and a half before Parrish’s accident. The complaint was not marked “closed” until April 3, 2015, city records show.

“It shouldn’t have to come to the third person being hit to put in a stop light,” said Parrish.

The Mashouf Wellness Center will increase the foot traffic in the area, placing more students and residents close to one of the city’s most accident-prone streets.

The center’s construction will include added crosswalks at “Font and Arballo and mid-block, just west of the traffic circle,” said Director of Campus Planning Wendy Bloom. “We will be exploring ways to increase pedestrian safety as part of the campus master plan update.”

“The increased level of activity generated by the Mashouf Wellness Center — more people on the street, which no longer will be an easy cut-through — will change the character of the street and serve to calm traffic,” Bloom said.  

SF State sits between two high-injury corridors: Lake Merced Boulevard and 19th Avenue. The latter has claimed four lives since 2005, according to the CHP’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Reporting System.

Kaitlin Nuñez, a junior, was hit at the corner of 19th and Holloway avenues. She suffered a sprained ankle and bruising along the side of her body.

“(The driver) stopped, so I stopped,” said Nuñez. “It looked like she was going to stay there so I started crossing, but she pulled forward and hit me with her car. (The signal) wasn’t counting down; it wasn’t even a close call. She just wasn’t paying any attention, I guess.”

After the accident, Nuñez went to the Student Health Center for an examination.

“When I got there they said I was not the first and it was happening more and more often,” Nuñez said. “People were getting hit (at) crosswalks. I thought they were going to be shocked, but they weren’t.”

The University’s master plan aims to reduce factors that contribute to creating dangerous intersections, according to Megan Gee, senior planner for Arup, a design and engineering firm contracted for the Mobility and Wayfinding portion of the plan.

“The master plan is an opportunity for us to set a good example for high-quality design that can permeate the character of surrounding streets, through a number of strategies including reducing average vehicle speed, increasing pedestrian visibility at intersections, narrowing unnecessarily wide streets …,” said Gee. “We want to make the pedestrian experience more pleasant, easier and safer getting to and around the campus.”

With the master plan still developing, pedestrians must remain proactive with traffic safety.

“I generally advise pedestrians and cyclists that as they walk and ride, assume that drivers can’t see them and to constantly be aware of their surroundings,” said University Police Deputy Chief Reginald Parson. “With regards to pedestrians, we always recommend that they cross the street at designated crossing areas or at a minimum we recommend crossing at a controlled intersection.”

While UPD recommends that pedestrians remain vigilant, they are still at risk for being hit by unobservant drivers.

“I looked both ways, I pressed the button, I did everything right that time,” Parrish said.

Police examine “speeds, visibility, road conditions and traffic conditions,” among other factors when investigating traffic accidents, according to Parson.

]]> 1 77796
San Francisco housing costs deter graduates from staying local Wed, 17 May 2017 17:13:07 +0000 With the school year coming to an end, graduating students have a lot more on their plate than just finals and assignments.

Housing and the rising cost of living in the Bay Area are affecting students’ decisions about staying in San Francisco.

Robert J. Nava, vice president of University Advancement, which is responsible for raising awareness and support of SF State’s research, academic and public service missions, said there are over 8,000 students graduating this year, and many still need to decide if they will continue to live in the city after graduation.

Preya Randhawa, a graduating business administration student, is one of many faced with this decision. She plans on traveling abroad to either Greece or Spain with her mom after graduation but is unsure whether she will return to San Francisco to find work.

“I might stay here for a year or two, but by then I’ll definitely be ready to go back to the suburban lifestyle,” Randhawa said. “The city has been great but I can’t see myself living here for long term. I’m a small-town girl at heart.”

Originally from Yuba City, California, Randhawa believes that the high cost of housing is a major reason why many students leave San Francisco shortly after finishing school.  

“I think a lot of people will leave here after graduation if they don’t have a job lined up already,” Randhawa said. “I can barely afford rent let alone save up enough money to relocate here permanently.”

The median home price in April in the Bay Area was $784,500, according to the California Association of Realtors. With this number rising, Lamar Pi, an industrial design student, said his only hope to stay in San Francisco is to find a job as soon as possible.

“I’m quite nervous about (my) future housing situation simply because I’m unsure what my next steps are,” Pi said. “I’d imagine many who graduate relocate, as it’s very challenging to find affordable housing in SF.”

Regardless of where students are living after leaving SF State, Nava said he believes students have the ability to go on to pursue their dream career with the skills they have acquired at SF State.

“We are so very proud of our 8,000 graduates,” Nava said. “San Francisco State has over 200,000 alumni and this year’s graduating class is going to be just another great group of graduates that are just going to go out and change the world for the better.”

]]> 1 77794
Future campus life: predictions from the graduates of 2017 Wed, 17 May 2017 17:04:23 +0000 With the new Mashouf Wellness Center nearing completion and proposed construction plans ahead, future graduates reflect on their time at SF State while predicting how campus life may differ for future students.

Student life is anticipated to shift if the new construction projects presented to the CSU Board of Trustees are approved. Specifically, there are plans for a new Creative Arts Building and more student housing.

James Reichert, a graduating BECA major, believes that student life will change with the new amenities.

“SF State is definitely moving towards a residential campus rather than a commuter campus,” Reichert said. “Underclassmen will probably be more involved with campus life as well.”

The graduates of 2017 will miss the opening of the Mashouf Wellness Center. The class includes Charles B. Volk, who anticipates healthier lifestyle choices because of the center, but is also wary about the center not providing everything that was promised.

“I believe health and fitness will certainly be upgraded on campus given our new gym unless it falls short like many of the resources on our campus,” said Volk.

Gabe Smallson, who will be a first-year BECA major in the fall, is excited for the wellness center because he has heard the first year of college is usually the toughest to stay healthy in.

Annie Gonzalez poses with friends, Dominic Solis and Kimberly Sanchez, during her orientation at SF State. (Courtesy of Annie Gonzalez)

I think now, having this resource, it’s going to be great to be healthy and live healthy on campus,” said Smallson.

While considering the new plans for SF State, Reichert also reflected on his time here and urged new students to take time in choosing a major.

“I didn’t declare my major or my minor until my third year of school, so I had plenty of time finishing all my classes within the four-year time period,” said Reichert. “Don’t worry if you are undeclared or have not entered a specific field of study. However, if you have any interest in something, run with it.”

Volk also suggested improvements such as ASI involvement, a better platform for students to find jobs on campus and for the administration to work for all students in regards to boosting morale.

“I certainly hope our campus life changes,” said Volk.

Annie Gonzalez, a business in hospitality and tourism management graduate, said future improvements to campus will enhance student relationships, but noted developments may increase rent for on-campus housing.

“The new changes will bring more people together, and better create new friendships and networks,” said Gonzalez. “Although what I’m concerned about is the cost of living here.”

Although Volk is skeptical of campus improvements, he has credited SF State with teaching him a major lesson in taking mistakes and turning them into advantages.

“I learned this through many of the projects I spearheaded, realizing that the only way to progress was to not get hung up on the hiccups,” said the cinema major.

Smallson, who will reside in the Towers at Centennial Square next semester, said campus life will be more exciting if more students lived on campus because it would be easier for students to attend on-campus activities.

If there’s something I don’t know if I want to go to or not on campus, living on campus it’s like a 5-minute walk away, whereas if I’m like a schlep I wouldn’t want to do that,” said Smallson.

President Leslie Wong said in an interview with Xpress staff in February that administration is working to keep housing rates affordable.

With that, Gonzalez also offered lower classmen and incoming students some advice in tackling their college years.

“Accept and love,” said Gonzalez. “Students, faculty, staff, etc, come from different backgrounds, yet we are very similar. The diversity of this school has made my college experience wonderful because of all the people I met and those memories  will last forever.”

Freshman finishes first year with Chicago performance Wed, 17 May 2017 17:02:23 +0000 As he swung his hips around, dressed in a dazzling, sparkling outfit, drama major Nick Christman sent the audience spiraling into laughter.

The 19-year-old freshman performed the role of the court clerk in SF State’s production of “Chicago,” holding a Bible aloft as a fellow actor – playing a witness – placed his hand on the Book.

“Blah blah blah, blah blah blah, blah blah,” Christman mused, mimicking the typical court clerk truth-telling speech.“Chicago” focuses on the fast lives of people in the 1920s; the explosive with acting and singing focuses onsex and murder is supported by a creative team including set designer Heather Kenyon, costume designer Jackquelin Pedota and lighting designer Ray Oppenheimer.

The musical was performed at SF State May 4 to 14.

“It was the first professional production I’ve been in excluding high school and it was just amazing,” said Christman.

The young actor said that he started appearing in theatre in his sophomore year in high school and estimates that he has performed in over 20 productions since he started.

“Ever since I had a love for it, “Christman said. “I never stopped,” he said.

Christman said he was drawn to theater because he liked “being somebody else without being judged.”

Christman’s family came from Los Angeles to watch him perform on Saturday.

Christman said that although his family showed up to support him in high school, Chicago was his first chance to show his family his commitment to theater.

Christman plans to continue to audition for shows every semester – or at least for every spring musical.

“Next semester, the School of Theatre and Dance, they’re doing a production of Hair and I’m thinking of auditioning for that,” Christman said. Christman said he aims to be a professional actor in the future.

“It’s one thing I know I’m good at and I can do for the rest of my life.”

Question and answer with interim provost addresses the Graduation Initiative 2025 Wed, 17 May 2017 16:48:07 +0000 In an interview with Xpress, San Francisco State University Interim Provost Jennifer Summit sat down to discuss the CSU Graduation 2025 Initiative. The initiative aims to “raise attention rates, strengthen student learning and improve student experience at all levels,” according to the “Student Success and Graduation Initiative” website. The goal also includes getting 33 percent of freshmen who start at the University to graduate within four years and getting 49 percent of transfer students to graduate within two years, according to initiative metrics.

Xpress: Do you think it is fair that we’re putting more pressure on students in this high cost of living area, knowing that most students have to work in order to be able to come to school here? And do you think it’s fair that we’re helping to fund it through the tuition increase?

Summit: Most of our students who graduate actually graduate in a little over five years and what’s wrong with that? Nothing. But if you’re not taking 15 units a semester it is very hard to finish within four years. So is it fair to ask students to graduate sooner? I’m saying that’s a “red herring.” Our issue is not that students are taking too long to graduate, it’s that our students are not getting to the finish line. 35 percent of students who start here as freshmen leave before their junior year, 35 percent of our students who come in as freshmen do not make it to their junior year. 24 percent do not enroll as sophomores, that is our problem. So let’s create a campus culture and learning environment that supports our lower division students so that they can thrive and succeed as upper division students and we will have addressed our problem. This isn’t about making students graduate faster, it is about helping them to the finish line.

In regards to how the University would help students get to the finish line successfully, and on how to get the most of their money for their education, Summit offered the following comments:

Summit: On average our students who are graduating are taking 135 units, so they are paying for an extra semester. So how can we help our students?… We don’t want to speed them through, but it would be good to remove some barriers that we create for them, and some of those barriers are taking classes that they don’t need. For example, we ask our students, ‘why do you take classes that you don’t need?’ And one of the top responses that we get is that the courses that they did need in order to graduate were all filled up, so they take other classes in order to keep financial aid. Another thing is that they are taking classes that they think are going satisfy requirements, that it turns out don’t. So those are two examples of barriers… and those to me are artificial barriers in that those are imposed by us. And these are two barriers that we can address that make things a lot easier for students.

Xpress: I’m not saying you should encourage students to stay forever, but there was an old-school mentality about being able to go to university and being able to explore. But now it seems so defined and difficult to for anybody to explore any other interest. So is there a barrier into the overall college and learning experience?

Summit: I think the CSUs force students to choose a major far too early. When knowledge is changing so quickly, and as a university we have to be on top of those changes, how could you be expected as a senior in high school to know what you’re going to major in when chances are, the job that you get after graduating doesn’t exist yet? The first year of college needs to be a time not only for coming to understand the full array, and that is what the idea of the university means, it’s to have a goal of universality. So it comes back to redesigning the first year of college. And if you are forced to choose something at 18 before you come to college, you are not necessarily going to be making the right choice for yourself. So students who come in undeclared actually retain and graduate and have better rates of graduation and retention than students who come in and stick with one major and the same for students who change their major up until junior year. But I don’t necessarily recommend that.

Xpress: So are you making changes for that first year of college to counterbalance that Grad 2025 initiative?

Summit: We have to address this. I want to understand a little bit more the nature of the resistance to the initiative so that I can tell you more about my understanding of what is important about it and how we can build it in the student experience.

Xpress: For students, it is not what they think it is. It is not pushing us faster, it is kind of revamping the whole program instead. I think it gets lost in translation.

Summit: We do want to make it possible for students to graduate faster. It is expensive to stay here longer than you intend to, I get that. And we get this question from faculty, which is, ‘our students have complicated lives, why push them out faster?’ But it is important to weigh that if you are going to stay longer than four years, do it consciously. If they are staying longer than four years, I want it to be for a choice that they are making and not a mistake that we’ve made… and barriers that we have put up.    

Why my parents will not be attending my graduation Wed, 17 May 2017 16:32:35 +0000 My parents and I have always had a strained relationship.

My mother met my father, who was considerably older than she was, and began to experiment with drugs. He was her way of rebelling against my grandmother after they emigrated from Mexico.

From a mix of confusion, fear and drugs I was born to my mother, 14-year-old Laura. Because of how I came to be and because of his age, my father was then labelled a sex offender and was not allowed to see me or my family.

Once I turned 18, I attempted to contact my father. He was excited that I had reached out, and he wanted nothing more than to have a relationship with his estranged daughter.

But I realized I would never have a relationship with him.

We were much too different – we clashed on everything, especially politics. I also learned of things he did to my mother toward the end of their torrid love affair that I could never possibly forgive.

From then on I distanced myself  and ceased all communication with my father. I thought, “who needs him anyway? I’ve lived this long without a father, and I have my mother to take care of me and love me, right?”

Except, my mother and I also clashed. As difficult as it is to admit, I never truly saw her as my mother, I saw her more as an older sister that pestered me relentlessly. We never saw eye to eye and the older we got, the worse the fights became.

I would often run away to my grandmother’s where I would vent to her about my mother and stay the night to avoid the confrontation.

Karina Bueno

Photo courtesy of Karina Bueno.

In the middle of my freshman year of high school, after months of slowly taking my clothes from my mother’s house to my grandma’s, I moved out.

My mother and grandmother fought for months because my grandma encouraged me to move out. I felt guilty for causing such turmoil in my family, but living with my grandma allowed me to grow and finally feel free.

Eventually the fighting stopped, between both my grandma and my mother as well as between my mother and I. It wasn’t the best system and we still didn’t have the best relationship, but it worked. I was able to have real conversations with her like mothers and daughters should be able to have. I felt comfortable enough to hug her and say ‘I love you’ again.

Later, I decided to leave home and attend a four-year college right out of high school.

I was nervous, excited and had no idea what I was getting myself into. Thanks to my amazing and supportive grandmother, I made it through my first couple of weeks without wanting to crawl back home.

The peace didn’t last long. Two months into my first year away from home, I learned of an ugly truth my family kept from me. My mother became a methamphetamine addict and had recently been caught with it by my siblings and grandmother.

During my freshman year of college, I struggled to focus on my education because all I could think about was the fact that the moment I left Sacramento, my family life and dynamic had imploded.

Because of my mother’s drug problem, which she kept from us for months, my brothers and sisters were removed from the home by Child Protective Services. Luckily, they were able to live with my grandmother and did not have to be separated by the foster care system.

It’s been four years since we all found out about my mother’s drug problem. Since then she has had the kids removed, given back, removed again, checked into mental health facilities and has gone in and out of sobriety. My family has crumbled– we are not what we used to be.

Karina Bueno

Photo courtesy of Karina Bueno.

People often encourage me to forgive and forget because family is forever. They think family will always stand by you no matter what and will always be there for you. However, what most people don’t understand is that family can be a difficult source of pain for some, like me.

Maybe I am being immature in saying I cannot and will not forgive my mother for all that she has done. I’m told that I should always forgive my mother because she is my mother. But I also don’t thoroughly understand why I should have to forgive someone who has hurt me consistently for years.

There’s also the guilt that I often feel from people who have lost their mothers early or who lost their mothers to disease, cancer, accidents and so forth. Because I know they would give anything to see their mothers again.

Karina Bueno

Photo courtesy of Karina Bueno.

But I’ve never seen her as my mother. She wasn’t there for the plays, the band recitals or the award ceremonies. She didn’t teach me how to do my hair or what makeup I should wear for my age. She wasn’t really there for the boyfriends and the breakups. She wasn’t there for me to cry on her shoulder whenever I lost a friend or when boys picked on me at school.

My parents will not be attending my college graduation. And that may be the case for many of us graduating in just a matter of days.

I understand the feeling of guilt and obligation to invite toxic family members, but know that you shouldn’t have to feel that way. It is your day. It is your time. Understand that although you may have had an amazing support system, you did this all by yourself. You got yourself through school. You worked hard to get to this day. You can choose who gets to witness that.

The friends and family I have knitted together who have supported and loved me through my deepest and darkest times will be witnessing my graduation.

The person I am truly thankful for, the one who has pushed me all these years, is my grandmother.

She is the light in this time of darkness and the true and only mother I needed. My parents will not be attending my graduation but the people who matter will be.

]]> 1 77762
Advising attempts to alleviate student graduation roadblocks Wed, 17 May 2017 16:29:02 +0000 After hitting multiple roadblocks when trying to meet graduation requirements, BECA student Tim Blair was finally able to graduate in Winter 2016 – two years after his original expected graduation date.

“I always had issues with classes,” Blair said, noting the time blocks of classes was also a problem as many necessary classes seemed to overlap with each other.

Though Blair has graduated, he said he has yet to receive a degree from SF State.

“I don’t have any word on it,” Blair said. “People who I have talked to haven’t had any real answers.”

SF State students like Blair have experienced similar roadblocks when it comes to completing graduation requirements.

This spring, SF State’s Undergraduate Advising Center implemented new strategies in order to diminish roadblocks to graduation and success for students like Blair.

Kim Altura, associate dean of undergraduate education, said the center commonly sees an issue of students failing to meet the 120-unit graduation requirement.

“At times we also see students missing other general education and University requirements, such as US History or upper division GE,” Altura said.

The center’s goal was to strategically outreach to students with 90 units or more in order to create clear paths to graduation, according to a UAC webpage.

“This goal was chosen specifically because we recognized the need to support high-unit students in planning for their degree completion,” Altura said.

Altura said that the center has emailed and called thousands of students this semester in order to encourage adviser meetings for general education.

“We meet one-on-one and in groups to assist high unit students and those close to graduating in mapping out a pathway to completing all necessary requirements,” Altura said. “We also refer to major advisors so that students can be sure that all areas of their degree are complete.”

Blair said that though he had success with his advisers for his major, when it came to general education advising, he thought that advisers could give more tips to students– such as when certain classes would be offered– and help students produce long-term plans “instead of just saying ‘looks good to me’.”

“My experience as a whole wasn’t bad,” Blair said. “But help with planning, more class sections and fewer prerequisite classes would have made the whole experience a lot better.”

In regards to advisers overlooking graduation documents, students should be looking toward their Degree Progress Report (DPR) on their student center in order to monitor the progress of their academic career, according to Altura.

“The Graduation Application outlines resources for students,” Altura said. “And (it) suggests that they check their DPR and meet with an advisor in the Undergraduate Advising Center to be sure that they are done with all their requirements – major, GE and University – before applying.”

Hugo Enriquez-Vasquez, a senior Latinx studies major, said he will be walking for graduation this spring despite having to take a GWAR class in the fall in order to complete his degree since the class was not offered over the summer.

“Now I have to wait, and I don’t exactly have the money to be just taking one class,” Enriquez-Vasquez said.

In regards to the lack of classes, Altura said over 200 additional sections of courses were added this spring in order to meet demand from students. The University is also observing how quickly classes for the fall fill up and will work to add more sections if needed, according to Altura.

“We want to be able to offer the courses students need to progress and graduate in a timely manner,” Altura said.

Graduation rates at SF State have improved over the last several years. The 6-year graduation rate for the 2005 freshman class was 46.5 percent while the 6-year rate for the freshman class of 2009 was 51.2 percent, according to Altura.

“It appears that the number of students who applied for graduation is up from last year,” Altura said. “However, it is far more likely that our work will show an impact if it is sustained beyond this semester.”

Altura said that the University plans to increase the graduation rate to 69 percent by 2025.

“Strengthening campus advising and hiring additional advisors is one part of our long-term campus plan to support student success and graduation,” Altura said. “A strong advising system is shown to have a positive impact.”


SF State graduate student identified as Treasure Island homicide victim Wed, 17 May 2017 04:36:09 +0000 The victim of a homicide on Treasure Island Wednesday has been identified as an SF State graduate student.

He was identified by the medical examiner Friday, weeks before accepting his master’s degree, SFGate reported.

Although initially identified as Guo Yuchuan, his professors knew him as Yuchuan Guo, according to the same report.

Treasure Island Development Authority Director Robert Beck wrote via a Nextdoor post that he had limited information on the investigation but the San Francisco Police Department had told him the crime occurred in the victim’s home between 8 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.

“I’ve directed Admiral Security to add an additional person around the clock and conduct additional patrols in the residential neighborhood,” wrote Beck. “SFPD, of course, has additional personnel on site in conjunction with the investigation.”

Guo, who moved from China, has been studying international relations at SF State for the past two years and was newly married, Amy Skonieczny, international relations associate professor, told SFGate.

This is San Francisco’s 22 homicide this year according to a story by KTVU.

No arrests have been made and this is an ongoing investigation. If anyone has any information regarding the case SFPD encourages people to contact the tip line at (415) 575-4444 or send a text to TIP411 with “SFPD” in the message.

SF State administration has yet to release a statement as of the time of this publication.

CSU loses out on $325 million in funding; tuition increase inevitable Fri, 12 May 2017 02:47:35 +0000 Hundreds of thousands of students, faculty and staff will be put at a disadvantage after Gov. Jerry Brown’s May revision of the state budget for this upcoming year falls short of the California State University system’s request for an additional $325 million in funding.

“We are dismayed that the May Revise proposes to reduce $4 million from state funding to the CSU as a consequence of the Trustees ill-advised decision to raise tuition,” said the California Faculty Association in a statement sent by mass email.

In March, the CSU Board of Trustees voted for a 5 percent tuition increase across the system in anticipation of Brown’s refusal of the proposed funding for the upcoming fiscal school year.

CSU Chancellor Timothy White proposed the tuition increase last fall, stating “we must keep all options open” in a letter to the California State Students Association.

The tuition increase will be in full effect for the  2017/2018 school year, which will be solidified by the new budget plan.

The CSU system will not only lose the requested $325 million additional funding, but also $4 million in funding will be reduced from the budget. Typically, the CSU budget gets a 4 percent yearly increase. The new budget plan cuts it down to a 3 percent yearly increase.

Gov. Brown’s plan will be detrimental to students, says the CFA. The CSU system needs more resources to provide for its students and faculty- more resources than they have.

“Perhaps California forgets that we have a great public higher education system that we badly need to preserve,” the CFA said in its email. “ We underfund state investment to public higher education at our peril.”

Student debuts award-winning interactive film on YouTube Thu, 11 May 2017 21:53:02 +0000 One award-winning SF State student is making waves in the film industry with the use of interactive technology.

Broadcasting and electronic communication art major Shane Murphy debuted his innovative short film, “Sirens,” on YouTube this week. The story of two brothers trying to survive the “hood” in San Francisco’s Ingleside District uses the TimePlay app to bring interactive qualities to the piece, something often seen in video games but not yet in films, according to Murphy.

Murphy, the film’s director, editor and producer, said at first glance the storyline seems to focus on police brutality but its core explores the relationship between two brothers.

“I wanted to show the humanity of political subjects through something that is really easy to understand,” Murphy said.

Christianna Fjelstad

BECA student Shane Murphy stands on the corner of Randolph Street and 19th Avenue, where he filmed his interactive movie, “Sirens,” in San Francisco Calif. on May 2, 2017.

The viewers are given a series of three separate choices throughout the film that direct the protagonist’s path, each presenting two different options such as “take the gun” or “don’t take the gun”. Murphy said the film offers eight different possible endings.

Murphy learned of TimePlay through a networking event for students in Los Angeles in October. It was there The Society of Motion Pictures and Television Engineers advertised $5,000 grants to students who created films with TimePlay.

Murphy submitted a proposal in November and was notified in December that he was one of three finalists awarded the grant. He began filming for the project at the end of January.

The three final films were shown at CinemaCon in Las Vegas in March, where Murphy took home first place and an additional $5,000 in prize money.

Murphy said he would like to take the prize money to work on other “new media” projects and expand the market, but most of the prize money will likely go toward paying his cast of around 25 people.

“I can’t thank them enough because they really did put in a lot of work,” Murphy said. “It seemed like every hour of every day.”

Murphy said the film took about two months of full-time work to complete from concept to execution.

“I don’t think this is his last award; he has more coming,” said Dawayne Jordan, 24, one of the film’s main characters. “I can see the intelligence in this guy.”

Director of photography and BECA student Alden Tatum also praised Murphy for his film work.

“Shane is the man,” Tatum said. “This could have been a lot smaller, but he is a very ambitious guy and was able to pull everyone together.”

Tatum said he has always wanted to see movies incorporate an interactive component similar to that of “Sirens.”

“Getting the audience involved is a whole different experience,” Tatum added.

Cinema student Cameron Cabral said the interactive component of the film is something he would like to see more of.

“It really got my attention and made me pay closer attention to the story,” Cabral said.

The full film can currently only be viewed on a desktop computer, but Murphy and his team are working on updates that will make the film accessible to phone viewers.

Murphy explained that one of the challenges they are running into is the lack of hosting sites tailored for this type of media.

“Interactive media is the direction content is heading,” Murphy said. “Filmmakers like myself need a way to host and distribute that content without losing (viewers) because of the interface.”


Annual Happy Concert offers stress relief before finals Thu, 11 May 2017 21:40:55 +0000 Students looking for a relaxing outlet before finals can find musical respite inside the Creative Arts Building’s Knuth Hall.

Victoria Neve, classical piano professor and Inara Morgenstern, accompanist and lecturer, have been relieving students’ stress with the Annual Happy Concert for more than 20 years.

The free concert on May 15 from 1-2 p.m., is aimed to create an environment where students can take a moment to breathe and not worry about the rough week of finals ahead.

“We do it because we want the students to relax a little bit and enjoy something,” Neve said. “Just to make everybody take a deep breath and relax a little bit before their finals.”

Songs selected for the Annual Happy Concert change every year, but consistently lean toward scores that showcase the uplifting, lighter side of classical music. This year’s compositions include “The Carnival of the Animals” by Camille Saint-Saëns, “Circus Polka: For a Young Elephant,” by Igor Stravinsky and “The Musical Story of Babar the Elephant,” by Francis Poulenc.

Anna Marie Cunningham, music department office assistant, said it’s one of the most well attended concerts of the semester because of the legacy it has created.

“It happens every semester around the same time,” Cunningham said. “It’s always a way for people to distress — it is the ‘happy concert.’”

Cunningham also mentioned that the faculty members make it an enjoyable show through the entertaining way they perform.

“Doctor Neve and Doctor Morgenstern, they’re always really fun to be around and they have a great stage presence,” Cunningham said. “Everybody loves them.”

Maya Keces, one of Morgenstern’s students, has attended the concert in the past and admired the professors’ performance.

“It’s great to see the professors in the music department get to perform and it left me in awe,” Keces said. “The concert is a great way to destress and listen to amazing live music with positive energy filling the room.”

She plans to attend again this year and looks forward to the calming environment the concert provides to help take her mind off the stress that comes with the end of the semester.

The concert is set to take place two days before finals week and Neve urges students to take this last opportunity to think about something other than final exams.

“Its free,” Neve said. “Come and have a good time.”

“Life After Life” documentary shows brighter side of success after prison Thu, 11 May 2017 21:35:23 +0000 SF State’s Project Rebound program and Documentary Film Institute are set to host a screening and panel for “Life After Life,” a documentary that aims to enforce the importance of education and foster a better understanding of those formerly incarcerated.

The screening takes place 6 p.m. Wednesday in SF State’s McKenna Theatre with a following discussion paneled by director and producer Tamara Perkins and six other local social activists.

The documentary is centered around the stories of three men who return home after being incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison for many years, and the struggles they face in trying to aim for success. According to Perkins, the film focuses on the trauma the men and their families endure, as well as their journey to overcome, succeed and be active leaders in their community.

“I started the film because the men asked me to tell their story,” Perkins said. “I’ve been teaching yoga in San Quentin and about a year after I started teaching yoga with a group called TRUST … they found out that I was also a filmmaker and they asked me to tell their story.”

Sarahbeth Maney

Photo collage in the Project Rebound office in Cesar Chavez T-161 at SF State on Monday, May 8, 2017 (Sarahbeth Maney/Xpress).

Interim director of Project Rebound, Curtis Penn, hopes this event will help people understand how important education is and how it can transform people’s lives, just as it did for one of the men in the film, Harrison Seuga.

According to Penn, Seuga is an SF State and Project Rebound alumni who graduated in 2013 with a degree in sociology and currently works as a re-entry director at Asian Prisoners Support Committee, a non-profit organization in Oakland.

Project Rebound, a program supported by Associated Students, Inc. and other campus departments, aims to assist formerly incarcerated men and women who want a higher education. Professor John Irwin founded Project Rebound at SF State in 1967 as a way to help incarcerated men and women to get in the CSU system, according to Penn.

“I got a chance to work with him a bit while I was teaching yoga and also when I was making the film,” Perkins said. “Unfortunately he passed away. He was someone who has been incarcerated in the 50s. He found education and went all the way with it and he was a professor — he wrote, I think, eight books at least.”

According to the documentary’s viewing guide, approximately 7 million people in the U.S. have faced some form of criminal justice supervision since 2012 and incarceration has failed to reduce certain kinds of crimes such as drug-related offenses.

Informational handouts for Project Rebound in Cesar Chavez T-161 at SF State on Monday, May 8, 2017 (Sarahbeth Maney/Xpress).

Jason Bell, Project Rebound regional director, was a Rebound student himself and through the program he received his masters in counseling at SF State in 2011. He thinks it is sad that mainstream media circulates negative messages about people formerly incarcerated and tend to overlook success stories like those who have graduated with scholarships.

“I came through Project Rebound; I was a Rebound student,” said Jared Walker, Project Rebound data specialist. “I know that struggle of having been incarcerated and wanting to get back and have some success in life … if you can turn that negative into a positive and achieve something big like getting a degree, that means a lot to folks – that means a lot to me to be able to help them do it.”

Ayala-Hil looks to improve upon first season at SF State Thu, 11 May 2017 21:09:34 +0000 The SF State men’s soccer team is back to practice in preparation for their upcoming fall season after completing their 2016 regular season with a 9-6-2 overall record, only four points from a playoff berth.

Head coach Javier Ayala-Hil was added to the Gator family last fall, two weeks prior to the first match. Ayala-Hil’s first season gave him the opportunity to test the waters in the swamp and will have had a complete year to prepare come this August.

“I think last season went well overall considering the time,” Ayala-Hil said. “All the credit goes to the players, they came in focused and we had a game plan of what we wanted to do with the team and they adapted pretty quickly.”

Ayala-Hil and his assistant coach Evan Sassano come from the University of California, Berkeley, a nationally ranked team, in which both were part of the men’s soccer coaching staff. They were able to help the men’s soccer program advance all the way to the third round of the Division I Men’s College Cup.

“The style of play that they are trying to bring into this program of keeping possession is going to work,” returning forward Richard Leon said. “I believe in what they are trying to make us do and feel that if we all as a team adapt to the way that they want us to play we will win our conference.”

The summer is where players have the most time to get in top physical shape and improve their soccer skills.

Leon explained that soccer demands a lot of athleticism on and off the field.. Not only is physical training required but consuming the right food for the body to run well.

“This summer I’m going to try and stay in shape, I’m going to get a gym membership so that I can come back a little bit stronger for the fall,” said Leon. “I’m also going to try to get on a diet plan because I usually don’t eat that healthy.”

Returning midfielder, Aydan Bowers added on what improvements he will try to accomplish this summer.

“I’m looking to get better in everything not only with my physical features but also just getting soccer smart and working on the little things.”

As for the Gators on-field objectives, Ayala-Hil commented that he has high expectations for his team and expects his players to be in top physical and mental shape to be able to perform the possessive and speed dominant style of play.

“We want to win by playing our style of soccer…our first goal is to make playoffs, something our school hasn’t done before,”  said Jesse Rodriguez who is returning for his last season. “From there we want to take it game by game and go as far as we can.”

As a captain, Rodriguez didn’t hesitate to double down on his team’s ability to be a top squad in the conference.

“My goal as a captain is going to be to motivate and push the team to a higher level than we are used to,” Rodriguez said. “I want to make sure everyone is competing both in practice and games.”

The Gators will begin their season in Oregon to face off against Saint Martin’s University on Aug. 31.

“We are all putting in a lot of hours on and off the field trying to remain fit and adapt to our coach’s style of play in preparation for the upcoming season,” Rodriguez said. “We still have a long way to go, but I think we are on the right path.”

Technology changes the game for student escorts Thu, 11 May 2017 16:39:56 +0000 As dating apps like Tinder and OKCupid and gadgets such as virtual reality headsets and Wi-Fi-connected sex toys change the way college students meet, date and have sex, the gray area between human interaction and technology becomes wider by the minute.

“The internet obviously opened most doors for me financially, and at least presented the opportunity to make money this way,” said Andrea Zamora, a transfer student at SF State who describes herself as an escort. “Without technology, there wouldn’t be a way that I could even get a hold of the opportunity.”

Despite the newfound potential to make money as an escort, the communication major still has her doubts about the positive impact technology has on her line of work.

“It also hindered me a lot,” Zamora added. “On the internet, any old person can create an ad or a post and claim whatever it is they want. I can’t confirm or identify people. It’s those doubts, those fears … it’s a risky game.”

Zamora said she most often meets clients on Craigslist, who offer her a stipend to go on private dates, pose as a long-term girlfriend at family or work events or even be introduced as a friend or coworker.

Outside of an occasional kiss, Zamora does not offer sexual physical contact for pay.

Escorting is not the only aspect of the business that has been irrevocably changed by technological advancements.

“Typically, in the beginning it was a person behind the camera, doing things for the person on the other side,” said Jordan Emery, owner and contributor. “But at this point, the possibilities are endless.”

His blog offers guides, tips and tricks for people making money as webcam models.

Emery, a search engine optimization specialist who has never worked as a webcam model, requested to be identified only by his pen name, to protect his day job at a marketing firm in Wisconsin. offers a myriad of information about some of the newest technology available to the pornography industry. The site’s most popular piece is “How Teledildonics Evolved, Making Camming More Fun Today,” which explains “teledildonics” as an umbrella term for the use of “interactive” sex toys controlled remotely via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.

The gadgets were intentionally explored with long-distance couples in mind, but have been widely adopted for pornography actors that perform live via webcam and allow viewers to control their devices.

“It’s evolved in such a way that you’re really able to garner more regulars if you use this technology, and there aren’t really a lot of people doing it yet, so there are plenty of viewers who are willing to pay more so they can, you know, fullfill their fantasies,” Emery said, who hopes that the site will empower readers to make money in nontraditional ways.

The website generates revenue through native advertising and commission when a user signs up for a camming service via’s recommendation.

The sex industry has once again proved its profitability through online marketplaces, some more creative than others. PantyDeal, an online “haven” for self-proclaimed pantysniffers, offers women — specifically “amateur,” college-age women, a place to make “extra cash with your unique intimate fragrance,” according to the site’s home page. Information on the site touts an impressive 25,000 registered buyers.

“Our students are using technology in a lot of different ways, but I think they especially are using tech to find community,” said Reyna Aguilar, director of SF State’s Educational and Referral Organization for Sexuality (EROS). “For example, let’s say a student wants to explore a very specific fetish or a kink and they can’t find anyone that they share that with. They can go to different sites, join different groups, find different people in the Bay Area, which is great.”

EROS hosted a public forum on campus about sex work last year and is currently planning to host informational events about sexting, webcam modeling and making money as a sugar baby.

Aguilar said SF State students have shown interest in new sex technology to an extent, but many remain cautious because of a desire to maintain privacy in their online communities and a concern about losing the intimacy and “naturalness” of sexual interaction.

Aguilar stressed the importance of consent and sex worker rights, and mentioned that EROS offers “tons” of resources for SF State students involved in the industry, including a library of books and a wide network of mentors, professionals and confidantes.

When asked to conceive of an online tool that she would benefit from while working as an escort, Zamora said, “I would want an inconceivably detailed client background check device. I want to know criminal background, family life, credit reports … I would love something that could get more clarification and solidification as to who a client really is before I subject myself to their company.”

As far as hardware goes, Zamora added, “I would also like some sort of tool that could make me feel a lot safer when I’m alone with a person, so I don’t have to inconvenience or pay off my friends to come with me and make sure I don’t die. I know that’s kind of a messed up joke but I’m also kind of serious. Sometimes you can’t avoid seclusion.”

Remembering Chinese exclusion leads to call for American inclusion Wed, 10 May 2017 21:06:03 +0000 The Chinese for Affirmative Action organization housed a rally at Portsmouth Square Saturday to commemorate the 135th anniversary of the Chinese Exclusion Act and to protest the recent travel ban and anti-immigrant policies.

Approximately 800 people attended the “The Rally for Inclusion,” according to event organizers. The event featured guest speakers and performances by Chinatown and non-Chinatown residents.

The Chinese Exclusion Act was signed by President Chester A. Arthur in 1882, marking the first time a federal law was used to prevent an ethnic working group from entering the country.

Chinese immigrants who were already living in the country had to acquire a certification to return to the U.S. if they left. Additionally, the exclusion act forbade Chinese immigrants from obtaining full citizenship.

The law was repealed in 1943 as part of the Magnuson Act.

“My dad had to go through Angel Island in 1919,” said Reverend Norman Fong, speaking to the crowd during the rally. “He never wanted me to talk about it. He was so ashamed like most people in Chinatown, but today we are here to remember and get energy from that experience.”

Fong is an ordained Presbyterian minister and is also the executive director of the Chinatown Community Development Center.

“What’s happening today in D.C. is symbolic of what happened to us, Chinese, way back,” continued Fong. “In the old days, my father couldn’t go into any hospitals to get any medical care. I am with the Presbyterian church here in Chinatown and we started the first medical clinic that was open to the Chinese.”

Helen Zia, former executive editor of “Ms. Magazine” and author of “Asian American Dreams: The Emergence of an American People,” took the stage shortly after Fong.

“California today is a majority of people of color,” said Zia. “Soon this will be true for all (of) America. On this 135th anniversary, we stand up for an America that is about inclusion and fairness to all people. We ask all people to stand up with us and insist: Trump tear down your wall, stop the detentions, stop the deportations and stop the exclusionary laws.”

Chants from the audience of “Inclusion yes, exclusion no” and “never again, never again” were heard throughout the event, guided by Mabel Teng, Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco executive director and rally co-emcee.

Sameena Usman, the government relations coordinator for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, San Francisco Bay Area Chapter, echoed the same united sentiment spoken by Zia in her speech.

“We need to make America great again, but not through division, not through intolerance, not through restricting people’s access to health care and other rights. We need to make America great again by making America whole again,” Usman said as the crowd cheered.

In addition to Usman, other non-Chinese speakers took the stage including Dr. Satsuki Ina, who spoke about Japanese internment camps; Filipino-American Jean Teodoro, who recited a poem about being bilingual; and Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, one of the first 10 women in history to become a Jewish rabbi.

One key topic the 135th anniversary event sought to emphasize was multicultural cooperation.

“We decided to focus on the 135th anniversary of the Chinese Exclusion Act as a way of building solidarity with other groups,” Fong said. “That’s why there were speakers and people from the Arab community, Muslim community, Jewish community, Latino community and youth community … We need to build real, long-term relationships with the Chinese community and other communities.”

Charlie Chin, historian and artist-in-residence at the Chinese Historical Society, spoke about the importance of remembering the Chinese Exclusion Act and seeing its relevance today.

“All the minorities in this country have suffered various forms of oppression and continue to do so,”Chin said. “It’s very important for people to speak up and say what they think.”

Chin also asserted the importance of safeguarding the constitutional rights of free speech and emphasized the privilege of living in a country where you can speak up without the fear of reprisal.

“This is a scary time, particularly if you’re an undocumented individual or family – it’s a scary time if you’re an American citizen,” said Aaron Peskin, District 3 supervisor. “But San Francisco is a sanctuary city and we are not going to change that … So in this town there is every reason not to be fearful and everyone should feel absolutely free to engage in the government process.”

Congresswoman Judy Chu, chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, said in a statement that “the Chinese Exclusion Act was one of the most discriminatory laws ever passed in our nation’s history and it left permanent scars on the Chinese American community.”

“It split families apart, created a second-class citizenry and disenfranchised an entire ethnic community … The Chinese Exclusion Act was one of the darkest periods in our nation’s history, and we cannot allow history to repeat itself.”

Hundreds give feedback to shape University development Wed, 10 May 2017 19:25:32 +0000 SF State’s Ideas Week drew hundreds of students, faculty and staff who gave their input as to what they want to see in the University’s future developments.

In an effort to create a community-based master plan for the revitalization of its facilities, the University held events over four days last week, which included focus groups, a design workshop and an open studio.

Students were also given the opportunity to share their opinions through a survey conducted by the University and Crowdbrite, an online crowdsourcing and collaboration platform, which had more than 900 participants by Friday.

“The University is sort of taking a leadership role in doing a community-based master plan effort,” said Crowdbrite Chief Executive Officer Darin Dinsmore. “And (the University) wants input from everybody.”

Melissa Lee, broadcast and electronic communication arts major, considered the survey to be an effective tool and said the questions asked prompted her to think about the campus and how the community feels.

To Lee, the most important component of the survey were the various response options. “There was even an ‘other’ option, where if students didn’t see what they wanted done, they could say what they wanted done,” Lee said.

Much of the community’s input focused on the need for more transit options, housing choices, safety and security, environmental stewardship and community gathering spaces, according to recorded survey results.

“If someone who is here every day doesn’t feel safe, it’s important to hear how they don’t feel safe and what they think the school can do to improve,” Lee said.

Ibrahim Saleh, a first-year civil engineering major, said one of his main concerns for the campus was the lack of outdoor seating and student gathering spaces.

“We have beautiful spaces, but sometimes we need chairs and tables to sit under the sun and do some homework,” Saleh said.

Dinsmore said the different platforms of interaction throughout the week allowed more students and faculty to participate.

“Everybody engages in a different way,” Dinsmore said. “The whole idea is that there are multiple opportunities to provide input in the future of the campus.”

Focus groups took place May 1 and May 2 at J. Paul Leonard Library, where community members asked questions and wrote their suggestions on boards in the event room.

“I was actually surprised with the great turnout we had,” said Omar Romero, Physical Planning and Development analyst. “There were a lot of people that were coming in and out of (Library 121) to engage with the architects, engineers and consultants that were (there) to hear their feedback.”

Dan Affleck, landscape designer at SWA Group, said his firm was hired by the University to update the 2007 Campus Master Plan.

“It’s been 10 years and we want to update it to address the current needs of the student body, faculty and staff that work on campus,” Affleck said.

The design studio set up in the Cesar Chavez Student Center included a 3-D map of the campus and Lego building blocks for students to build on the map with. The six different colors of Legos represented certain campus building features.

Pictures of scenery from different universities were displayed on a table and students placed stickers to indicate what scenery they would like to see more of.

Carmen Liu, a first-year child development major, placed stickers on the pictures of indoor spaces and said she’d like to see more spaces in the library.

“I feel like when the floors are a little too packed with people studying, people would go behind the book cases and study,” Liu said. “Maybe using (places) like the stairs could also incorporate some study space.”

Affleck said the goal of the design studio was to get a sense of the community’s perceptions and an understanding of campus needs.

“(We were) sending an open invitation to everybody to get a sense of what they want,” Affleck said. “Nothing’s been designed and we want to understand the real nitty gritty of what people want to see on campus and how it can actually be physically manifested on the site itself.”

Another open studio took place Friday where students watched designers, planners and consultants draft blueprints of campus based on student feedback.

“It’s a plan for SF State by the SF State community,” said Jill Anthes, Planning and Design executive director.

 Planners will be reporting the results of community input during a final event at Seven Hills Conference Center from 1-3 p.m. Wednesday.

Environmental studies major Tim Manquis did not feel one week of student input was adequate time to gather information for future plans.

“It should be ongoing,” Manquis said. “The average Joe doesn’t know about this and I doubt most people know what’s going on here.”

When Trump supporters and tequila mix Wed, 10 May 2017 18:28:37 +0000 This past weekend was Cinco de Mayo and contrary to what so many ignorant people believe, it is not in fact Mexican Independence day, which is actually September 16 if anyone actually cares.

Cinco de Mayo marks the Battle of Puebla where the Mexican Army defeated the French Army attempting to occupy the land. The day that isn’t necessarily seen as a holiday, but instead is mostly celebrated in the state of Puebla.

So, all of you who had sombreros and piñatas—which you probably didn’t even bother to get from a Mexican-owned market—and went all out for Cinco de Mayo were really celebrating the death of white people. Have fun with that thought.

Of course none of what I’m saying is brand new information. For years people have taken a day in Mexican history and turned it into a racist and stereotypical holiday without understanding the history.

But this year is the first year that Cinco de Mayo has rolled around under the reign of our racist, homophobic, and xenophobic President Trump.

In past years, it angered me to see people who were ignorant about Mexican culture and its history celebrating Cinco de Mayo. There is no reason you can’t take part in a celebration as long as you understand its importance and do not trivialize the culture it is attached to.

I’m still angry for the same old reasons, except now it’s paired with people who also voted for the man who wants to see my people deported and has instigated countless acts of violence and xenophobia on the Mexican people.

The more extreme Trump supporters have expressed their hatred for immigrants and have targeted Mexicans as if they are the only people who are immigrating to the United States.

It’s this blatant discrimination against the Mexican people that makes celebrating Cinco de Mayo this year even more problematic.

In response to this current political energy and ignorance, the hashtag #reclaimcinco was passed around Twitter this past weekend. A graphic associated with the hashtag offered alternative ways to celebrate and support Cinco de Mayo that I feel are extremely important to note in my own way.

Educating yourself is key! Know what you’re celebrating and understand it’s significance to the culture.

Don’t be stupid with all of the stereotypical things like piñatas, sombreros and serapes. You look stupid and it is extremely insensitive.

Donate to organizations that help support immigrant rights and actively participate in conversations with friends and family about such matters.

And support local, Mexican-owned businesses!

Lastly, understand the political energy right now. Understand that families like mine are afraid. They are afraid for their lives, their children and the lives that they have been able to create here.

Understand that a lot of the same people who want to see my people suffering and deported are the same people who trivialize Mexican culture and drink margaritas with their besties and eat tacos on Tuesday’s for funsies.

Be smart. Educate yourself. Actively participate in the conversation. Cause it’s gonna be a hell of a long four years.

]]> 2 77658
Jewish community lays blame on Wong Wed, 10 May 2017 06:59:58 +0000 Additional reporting by Ian Sumner

Tensions are rising between pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian supporters on campus, as both groups speak out against the unsettling climate they feel the University administration has created.

President Leslie E. Wong’s rocky history with the local Jewish community, including the two attempts to have Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat speak on campus, were highlighted in a series of articles published last week by J. The Jewish News of Northern California.

“If speakers are shouted down and people don’t feel safe expressing their ideas, from this side or that side of an issue, what kind of a university is that?” Fred Astren, Jewish studies department chair, asked rhetorically. “We need our campus leader to tell us: what kind of university is San Francisco State?”

Jewish studies professors and students claim that the University’s lack of support has a history that goes back decades. Though SF State is unique for offering a Jewish studies major program, an opinion piece by Astren and Jewish studies professor Marc Dollinger allege it was under threat in 2014.

Astren and Dollinger wrote in the article: “In 2014, three of the most powerful University administrators called together every member of the Jewish studies faculty and threatened to revoke our status as a University department.”

“Never in my time here, from the first minute to this very moment, have I ever said that,” Wong said when asked about the claim. “I’ve met with the department often; we’ve talked about building for the future.”

But Astern offers a conflicting narrative.

“The administrators suggested that we were not pulling our weight,” Astren told Xpress. “We came away from that meeting feeling pretty low.

“We were told that some of our numbers were inadequate and there could be threats coming to us from the CSU.”

Wong replied, saying “there was never a threat.”

“These metrics put significant pressure on all departments within the university,” Wong said. “I also reiterated that with Dr. Astren and Dr. Dollinger at a subsequent meeting.”

In a recent development, the David Horowitz Freedom Center distributed posters on campus on May 4 that criticized Palestinian activists and their supporters, alleging they are linked to terrorism.

Following the incident, Wong sent out a campus-wide email that condemned both anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, particularly in cases where they cause students to feel unsafe or compromise the University’s learning environment.

“Tensions, for me, help me get better,” Wong said. “I always worry when tensions get us off target. And I don’t think this got us off target as much as it said: pay attention. And that’s what we’re trying to do.”

Some students and faculty still say the University president has not done enough to support the Jewish community on campus.

“I appreciate the email and it’s reassuring at a very small level, but I think there are many actions that need to be taken that haven’t been thus far,” said Vanessa Better, Jewish studies major and San Francisco Hillel Social Media and Promotional Intern. “Condemning anti-Semitism and Islamophobia is just common sense.”

J. The Jewish News of Northern California editorial board’s opinion piece called the campus climate “disturbing” and something that “cannot be minimized,” while another article claimed that SF State “excommunicates Jewish students and pro-Israel speakers.”

The paper reported a recent incident on campus where SF State Jewish studies professors and SF Hillel claim the organization was purposely excluded from an informational human rights fair called “Know Your Rights” by the event organizers through a last-minute change of the cut-off date for registration.

The University is currently investigating the incident and on April 12, Hillel expressed in an email that they had not received any comment from Wong regarding the fair. Wong, however, announced in his campus-wide email that Vice President Luoluo Hong will provide weekly briefings on the status of the investigation.

“Sometimes a lot of it is students not understanding that, for example, investigations take time,” Wong said. “We’re trying to figure out where we can be more prompt and speed things up.”

Wong’s email also announced he will appoint a cross-University and community task force to “develop a set of clear goals and an action plan.” He encouraged students to fill out an online form to advise the task force on improving the campus climate.

The General Union of Palestinian Students, one of the “Know Your Rights” event sponsors, has also expressed concern for the University’s silence during past on-campus incidents. Last October, another set of posters was distributed on campus alleging that the Arab and Muslim ethnicities and diasporas studies professor Dr. Rabab Abdulhadi was collaborating with terrorists.

GUPS and faculty in AMED studies have boycotted Xpress and declined to comment for this article, but statements from GUPS’s online Medium account are quoted directly.

“It is the refusal of SFSU to come out publicly in support of the academic freedoms and freedom of speech for all its faculty, students and staff including Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims, and the ambiguity with which it handled multiple racist, Islamophobic and violent attacks in the past that result in emboldening the violent and racist attacks that we witness today,” GUPS wrote in an online statement after the posters were distributed last October.

The University’s struggle to balance free speech, the right to protest and student safety climaxed in April 2016 when members of GUPS and other student organizations drowned out Barkat’s speech to SF State students, ultimately causing a disruption he could not speak over.

“Providing a platform for Barkat on our campus erases the violent and brutal realities faced by Palestinians,” wrote GUPS in an online statement following the incident. “The Israeli technological sector underpins and makes possible the Israeli military occupation, the structures of apartheid in Palestine and denying the right to return for Palestinian refugees.”

GUPS emphasized in a follow-up statement that their group did not target anyone based on race, ethnicity or religious identity, but rather focused on protesting Barkat for his policies.

Wong faced backlash from members of the Jewish community on campus for allowing the incident to take place, and SF Hillel filed an official complaint with the University.

“It was frustrating because I felt my presence was seen as a support for Mayor Barkat and what his policies are, but I wasn’t able to truly question what was going on at this political level because other students deemed that it was more important to shout him down and to shout other students out as well,” Vanessa Better said.

Though no protester faced disciplinary action, Wong ordered an investigation into the incident and later implemented new protocol for future protests on campus.

“There needs to be a clear message to everybody on campus so that we understand what the leadership of this institution wants, and how the leadership understands what a public university is here in the United States of America,” Astren said. “Is it a place where it’s okay to shout down a speaker?”

Nearly a year after the first incident, Wong personally invited Barkat back to speak.

“We had disrupted his first speech and I felt our honor is, you know what? ‘We can do this,’” Wong said. “I think we go down a slippery slope if we start saying we need to vet speakers and visitors broadly.”

Barkat decided to cancel the speech one day before its scheduled date, writing in an open letter that the University “… did not offer the lecture that would provide the kind of healing needed after the assault on free speech last year. By failing to provide the necessary public forum and properly publicize my lecture, the University has contributed to the continuing marginalization and demonization of the Jewish state.”

Wong said he was “really disappointed” when Barkat declined to speak as scheduled in April. “I told him, we’ve set it up, I’ve got over a hundred plus people coming,” Wong said. “I would love to engage you in this and I never got that chance.”

Wong said he will continue to train employees and incoming students on safety and awareness protocol for future events that may take place. Time will tell if Wong’s plans make an impact on the polarized campus climate.

“My position is not about the Israel-Palestine debate or about going after any student group on this campus,” Astren said. “It’s about the nature of the public space on our campus. If we can have protests, and we can have free speech, and we can have critical learning in our classrooms, then we will get close to what the University should be.”

]]> 3 77649
NFL draft picks perpetuate negative treatment of women Wed, 10 May 2017 05:43:24 +0000 The NFL has proven itself to be a hard-hitting sport both on and off the field. Just as viewers have become accustomed to the innate aggression of the game, they have also become all-too complacent with the frequency of sexual assault and domestic violence allegations brought against the league’s players.

In 2014, the relative NFL arrest rate for domestic violence was 55.4 percent while sexual offenses were 38.2 percent. Between 2000 and 2015 93 players were accused of domestic violence and 10 were accused of sexual assault.

The recent NFL draft saw a continuation of this unfortunate trend as the Oakland Raiders and the Cincinnati Bengals both took a chance on players with a history of assault against women.

The Raider’s first-round pick, Gareon Conley, was recently accused of sexual assault just days before the start of the draft. Though charges have not yet been filed and the investigation is still pending, NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy revealed Tuesday that Conley will not face any discipline from the NFL because the incident in question happened prior to the actual draft.

Essentially, the NFL did what it does best and washed its hands of any responsibility, viewing their post-draft world through rose-colored glasses.

“If they don’t see it impacting their bottom line, they’re a very conservative organization and they’re going to move on these issues kind of slowly,” said SF State race, sports and society lecturer Larry Salomon. ”But they’ll make it look like they’re doing something, which is the NFL’s expertise.”

The fact that the Raiders would even consider picking up Conley with no definite answers regarding his alleged assault is deplorable, irresponsible and frankly not surprising. After all, it is the NFL.

The Bengal’s second-round pick, Joe Mixon, has a documented incident of violence. Last year a video of Mixon punching a female who shoved him emerged. Though Mixon had been accused of this in 2014, the video gave undeniable evidence and caused the incident to resurface.

Lucky for Mixon, the NFL is extremely forgiving to those they consider a stud running back with a mean stiff arm. Mixon gave a public apology in February for what he called a “mistake” and now, three months later, he is an official NFL player.

Although the recent draft of both Conley and Mixon may seem like just a drop in the bucket of horrible choices made by the NFL and it’s players, it is also the perfect timing to shine a light on the fact that this billion-dollar industry is unconsciously normalizing violence and abuse against women.

In January the U.S. inaugurated a president accused of various accounts of sexual assault and who has publicly made sexist and degrading comments toward women. Now, nearly halfway through the year, the NFL is following suit by publicly accepting men accused of the same crimes.

Children look up to these athletes as role models, as players and people they aspire to be. What message is being sent as they grow older and learn that some of their childhood heroes have committed violent crimes against women with little to no consequences because they are professional athletes?

I am in no way saying that all NFL players should bear the burden of crimes committed by some players, but the league does hold the responsibility to make decisions based not only on skill, but on character.

This pattern of turning a blind eye or making excuses for these violent crimes against women can no longer be chalked up to the NFL simply being clueless. The statistics are clear and the media attention is real, but the solution is less obvious.

Salomon said one of the problems lies in the NFL’s hesitancy to change their policies regarding these crimes.

“If there is another scandal and if Joe Mixon does something again, they’ll trot out their PR team rather than change any policies,” Salomon said.

Curbing how these players are treated and what they are allowed to get away with at a collegiate level may be the solution to paving the way for change at the professional level.

In February, the Big 12 Conference imposed a multi-million dollar sanction on Baylor University, withholding a quarter of the college’s revenue after more fuel was added to the flames of its football team’s ongoing sexual assault scandal.

This action from the board of directors marked a step in the right direction from the conference and the NCAA to hold universities accountable for behavior of their athletes.

“A lot of universities for years did what Baylor did, try to get rid of the problem from an image point of view, sweep it under the rug, pay people off,” Salomon said. “But what are they really doing to implement policies?”

Shortly after this decision, Indiana University announced their athletic department’s decision to implement a new policy, banning any prospective athletes with a history of domestic violence or sexual abuse from entering their program. Hopefully this move will inspire other colleges, especially those with strong athletic departments, to follow suit.

Until then, the Raiders seem confident that the pending charges against Conley won’t hold true. But where there’s smoke, there’s fire. I am a firm believer in the presumption of innocence, but in a league where this type of behavior is as common as the Patriots appearing in the Super Bowl, something’s got to give.

“I think the NFL does sometimes feel like they’re untouchable,” Salomon said. “They do take these PR hits, but they survive it.”

Those left struggling to survive are the victims of these crimes, those that don’t have the fame and fortune of the NFL to support them, those who suffer the shame and mental impact of the crime committed against them.

There has to be a moment where an organization as powerful as the NFL makes a moral decision to invest even half the amount of care they put into recruiting skilled players into recruiting good people. It may cost a player years of blood, sweat and tears to be good enough to play for the NFL, but it costs absolutely nothing to be a good person.


Record-breaking Gators look to take on Nationals Wed, 10 May 2017 03:29:46 +0000 SF State’s track and field team will send a record nine athletes to compete at the NCAA Division II National Outdoor Championships beginning May 25 in Bradenton, Florida.

This accomplishment comes on the heels of the Gators’ record-breaking season, which continued this past weekend at the CCAA Championships where the Gator women finished second with a school record of 153 points.

This year’s group of women will be the largest number of athletes the program has sent to the year-end championships since current head coach Kendra Reimer took over in 2014.

“Before I took over, I think we only had about two girls going a year, (but) this year is the highest we have ever been ranked nationally so I think this is a unique opport

unity for us,” Reimer said. “We have both relays, one girl in the 100, two in the 200, one in the 400 plus shot put and discus. We have a very diverse group and I think that says a lot about our program as a whole.”

Along with the team’s collective win, the 12 Gator women earned All CCAA Honors and Reimer was named CCAA Coach of the Year, feats she hopes will fuel the fire for nationals.

“We had a great meet this weekend,” Reimer said. “Our women did really well under pressure and we hit a lot of personal bests this past weekend — they’ve been using these meets to really prepare themselves (for nationals).”

Athletes such as sophomore Devanique Brown contributed to the Gators’ success, finishing eighth in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 15.01 earning points that put SF State over the top this weekend. Although she isn’t traveling to nationals this season, Brown says her teammates have worked hard all season long to showcase their talents and break more records.

Kin Lee

SF State Gators’ sophomore Courtney Massengale practices at Cox Stadium on Tuesday, May 9, 2017. Massengale takes second place in discus and third place in shot put during the CCAA championship, which takes place on May 4-6, in Chico, Calif. (Kin Lee/ Xpress)

“Nationals is a time to leave everything on empty, to have our girls go to nationals is just icing on the cake for the team as a whole,” Brown said. “I have full confidence in my teammates that are going, each meet they are breaking school records, personal records and sometimes even meet records and they aren’t done just yet.”

Sophomore Courtney Massengale was one of the athletes named for CCAA All-Conference this past weekend and will be competing in discus at nationals this season. Massengale took second place at the CCAA Championships in discus with a distance of 50.65 and third place in shot put with a distance of 13.52, as well as seventh place in pin hammer and fourth in javelin.

“The beginning of the season was rough because I had surgery on my foot, and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to throw this year so I was a little surprised that I was able to do this well,” Massengale said. “None of the team went to nationals last year and the fact that there are quite a few of us going this year just means that all of the hard (work) that has been put in by our coaches and us has paid off.”

Senior sprinter Atiya Harvey automatically qualified for nationals, the only athlete from the team to do so this season, after recording a first place time of 23.56 in the 200-meter dash, an SF State school record. Harvey also took first in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.64.

“When I crossed the line and realized I made it, it did not register at first,” Harvey said. “But once I looked at my time on the board it hit me that I did it — all the hard work has brought me here and it can only continue to bring me forward in future endeavors which I am already thankful for.”

Before traveling to nationals, the athletes will have one final meet for the 2017 season at the University of San Francisco on Saturday.

“This is another opportunity to keep them fresh but I feel like we are ready to go,” Reimer said. “This weekend is more about recovering from conference and getting ready for nationals.”

Students face long lines to pick up new Gator Pass Tue, 09 May 2017 20:28:06 +0000 A line overflowed outside the Cesar Chavez Student Center as students waited to pick up their Gator Pass made available for the first time Monday afternoon.

The pass, which becomes effective in the fall, doubles as a Clipper card and student ID, gives students unlimited free MUNI rides (excluding cable cars) and a 25 percent discount on all BART rides to and from Daly City Station. Passes can be picked up through Friday between the hours of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. at the Cesar Chavez Student Center.

Students were eager for the arrival of the pass but some students were frustrated by the pickup process.

“I think the school messed up,” said Kaitlyn Kennedy, third-year communications major. “I have been waiting in line for an hour. I am not a happy camper.”

Although Kennedy was frustrated with the long wait time, she is grateful the pass is being offered to students.

“They should have offered this since the beginning of time,” said Kennedy. “I would have wanted to transfer sooner.”

Creative writing major Sean Smith believes the pass is a necessity because of the campus location. He said many students don’t have cars or access to alternative transportation.

“San Francisco is the definition of municipal,” said Smith. “I use public transportation every day, sometimes even multiple times a day.”

Megan Bograd, a third-year sociology major, thinks the school could have negotiated the terms of the pass to better serve student needs.

“Free MUNI is awesome, but the majority of our students take BART,” said Bogard in reference to SF State’s large commuter population.

Students unable to pick up their pass by Friday are advised to visit the Student Services Building to learn how to obtain it, according to information given by the One Card office.

]]> 2 77631
Inglima steps up as new head coach of Gators men’s basketball Tue, 09 May 2017 16:33:51 +0000 Assistant coach Vince Inglima was named interim head coach of the SF State men’s basketball team after Paul Trevor, head coach of seven years, announced his departure to Stanislaus State April 26.

Inglima was hired as Trevor’s lead assistant coach in 2013. During his time as Trevor’s right-hand man, Inglima has experienced the growth of the Gators, including their best season in more than two decades in 2017. With his experience of the game and connection to the players, many associated with the Gators’ basketball program believe he’s the perfect replacement for Trevor.

“Coach Inglima is the best coach I’ve ever had,” senior guard Coley Apsay said. “His knowledge of the game transcends all positions on the court.”

Inglima’s journey to coaching at SF State began in his undergraduate years playing for Sonoma State University after he transferred from Cabrillo College in 2004. In 2005 Inglima made his mark on the CCAA, averaging 16 points per game as he lead the Sonoma State Seawolves to their first ever CCAA title. He earned several honors such as All CCAA First Team, CCAA Male Athlete of the Year and Division II Bulletin All-American before continuing his basketball career professionally in Australia for several years.

Inglima’s success as a player as well as an assistant coach makes him qualified to step in where Trevor left off and continue his legacy.

“One of the things I learned from Trev (coach Trevor) is the importance of creating relationships with your players,” Inglima said. “He was a master motivator.”

Inglima said there won’t be any sweeping changes when his tenure begins. He likes the culture that Trevor built and will look to his returning senior class led by talented guard Warren Jackson to help transition into the new era of Gator basketball.

“We are going to go as far as the seniors take us,” Inglima said. “We have a strong returning class and I know they will set great examples with their play and leadership.”

“I think he’s the best man for the job,” Jackson said. “He’s smart, organized and just an all around winner. He’s a real player’s coach.”

The Gators were one game away from earning the CCAA championship title this season. Despite the departure of the mastermind behind the Gators’ success, Inglima said the goal remains the same.

“We’ve been pursuing the CCAA title for the past four years and we’ve gotten progressively closer,” Inglima said. “We haven’t hung a banner in the gym in 22 years. My main goal is to change that.”



8th annual Farm to Fork Lunch draws big crowd Sat, 06 May 2017 05:16:28 +0000 SF State’s annual Farm to Fork Lunch drew in a crowd of nearly 300 patrons hungry to eat and learn about locally-sourced and sustainable foods last week in the quad.

As part of Ideas Week for Future State,  students and staff members purchased tickets for Tuesday’s lunch in the quad. Selections a number of different vegetarian options, three kinds of organic desserts and a variety of drinks including iced tea and fresh lemonade.

The 8th Farm to Fork lunch was organized this year by Caitlin Steele, sustainability and energy director for SF State’s Office of Sustainability and Nick Kordesch, a sustainability specialist.

The pair believes the event serves an important role in teaching the campus community about where to find local homegrown food and how to make more sustainable food choices in the future.

Angela Molina, 19, saw this as an opportunity to try new things and purchased the lunch using her SF State meal plan.

“If you can believe it, I’ve never tried cauliflower; that was a first for me today,” the kinesiology major said. “I normally have lunch in the dining center so it was nice to be outside in 75 degree weather.”

Environmental studies majors Myah Rivera and Amir Sahit also enjoyed sitting outside in the quad on blankets provided by the University.

“I think (Farm to Fork) promotes that locally sourcing your food is an option,” Rivera said. “It shows that SF State can implement this across their dining centers and food venues.”

“This event shows that you can have affordable, local, organic and healthy food provided to the campus body,” Sahit said. “It is possible and I think we can promote this more.”

Both students believe that the campus does offer a variety of vegetarian and vegan options but think more can be done to provide locally sourced foods.

“We do have a lot of unhealthy options here so this event is a good way to show that healthy food doesn’t have to be expensive,” Sahit said.

According to Kordesch explained that he and others are working across the board to address the challenges in providing the whole campus with sustainable food options every day.

“SF State is trying to provide sustainable and healthy options while keeping food affordable for student budgets,” Kordesch said. “It’s an ongoing process and the people that manage the Dining Center, the Vista Room and a lot of our other vendors are trying to figure out how to do it.”

Ideas Week, which also includes focus groups, open studio sessions and campus survey kiosks, runs through Friday and gives students the opportunity to help shape the future of SF State.

“We really love this event!” Kordesch said. “It’s fun to get everyone together to socialize and meet new people from other SF State departments. It’s about raising awareness about sustainable food but also about building community.”

Women’s soccer team prepares to shine in fall season Fri, 05 May 2017 19:55:19 +0000 Walking by Cox Stadium weekdays around noon, voices of women shouting and whistles blowing can be heard from the distance. The smell of freshly cut grass permeates the cool spring air and the sound of cleats striking a soccer ball echoes on the east side of campus. The SF State women’s soccer team is training tirelessly for their upcoming season.

“I’ve been here for only two seasons and have had back-to-back winning seasons,” women’s soccer head coach Tracy Hamm said. “That’s really good, but we still have a lot of work to do to turn it into the program I want it to be.”

Since Hamm joined the SF State soccer program in fall 2015, the women’s team finished its last two seasons with a 8-7-3 overall record. Prior to Hamm, the Gators had not experienced consecutive winning seasons in more than a decade.

At the end of last season the Gator women said their goodbyes to 14 graduating seniors who were part of the 29-woman roster.

“When the new recruits come in, we are going to lay down the law and make sure they know who’s boss,” returning defender Laura Shea said.

Shea said she loves playing for SF State because of the tight family bond.

“It’s been a long time since I have had such a close connection with all the girls in my team and we can count on each other for anything,” Shea said.

Last season the Gators were two points short of a postseason run, ending in ninth place in the CCAA.

“Last season was a struggle and there were some games that we definitely shouldn’t have lost,” Shea said. “We were all just pretty mad that we didn’t end up where we wanted to.”

During the 2016 season, the Gators did not lose by more than one goal in any of their seven defeats. They completed the campaign, only allowing 16 goals and ranked sixth in goals against in conference.

“This spring we are definitely being more competitive and it just feels like we want it more,”  Vanessa Penuna said. “I also think we are much more aggressive in every play.”

With 11 returners and 18 new players joining the squad in the upcoming fall season, coach Hamm hopes to train her players into the system she will run for the next four seasons.

The Gators kick off their next season in Portland, Oregon where they will face off against Concordia University on August 31.

“We all have that one vision,” Penuna said. “We are going to come back, go hard and win.”

BECA Finalist at SF State Fri, 05 May 2017 06:46:12 +0000  

Four Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts majors from SF State were chosen as finalists for the competitive and nationwide Television Foundation’s Internship Program offered by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. The competitive program offers a variety of different categories for students to apply for based on their interests.

According to Miriam Smith, associate professor in the BECA department, students that are selected are given the opportunity to intern in the summer for top companies in the television industry such as ABC Studios, CBS, Nickelodeon and many others.

The finalists are asked to submit a video interview and winners will be chosen and notified by the end of May to mid-June, according to the Television Academy Foundation website.

More than 1,000 students apply,” said Smith, the first Television Academy Intern in Business Affairs, in an email.  “Around 50 are selected for the paid 8 week internship in one of 30 areas of work in the television industry in Los Angeles.”

The four finalists share their thoughts on being selected as finalists in the competitive internship program.


Justine Iorga – major emphasis in Video Production

Category: Unscripted Television (Development on unscripted television programs such as game and reality shows)


Ronald Epps – major emphasis in Writing

Category: Agency (A representative of people in the TV industry)


Jasmyne Foo – major emphasis in Video Production

Category: Unscripted Television (Development on unscripted television programs such as game and reality shows)


Benjamin Ng – major emphasis in Broadcast Journalism  

Category: Digital Entertainment (Creation of digital and social media)

Campus posters allege student group ties to terrorists Fri, 05 May 2017 00:14:10 +0000 The David Horowitz Freedom Center distributed posters on campus today as part of a campaign criticizing Students for Justice in Palestine of being puppets for Hamas terrorists.
The posters, also posted on Stop the Jew Hatred on Campus website run by the Freedom Center, portray the SJP as servants to Hamas.
The campaign comes as part of the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s fight against schools that provide “financial and institutional support” to student members of Students for Justice in Palestine and other capus organizations that “support the agendas of these terrorists and spread their propaganda lies,” according to the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s public statement. Both posters contain the hashtag #NoSupportForCampusTerrorists.
“Our poster campaign has a dual purpose,” said Freedom Center founder David Horowitz in a public statement. “It exposes the truth about SJP’s ties to anti-Israel terrorism and its glorification of terrorists like Rasmieh Odeh and it challenges the administration at San Francisco State to defend speech that deviates from the typical anti-Israel narrative that dominates on campus.”
The David Horowitz Freedom Center ranked SF State seventh in a “Top Ten College Administrations Most Friendly to Terrorists and Hostile to the First Amendment” list last Fall. The report accused the University of “continuing to promote SJP on their campuses while actively working to suppress speech that exposes the truth about SJP and its ties to terrorism.”
The website claims that the posters will be distributed at all 10 of the listed campuses including nearby University of California, Berkeley.

J. The Jewish News of Northern California details rocky history between Wong and Jewish campus community Thu, 04 May 2017 05:05:21 +0000  

J. The Jewish News of Northern California published a duo of damning articles this evening outlining President Wong’s rocky history with the Jewish community on campus.

The publication, which covers a range of topics that pertain to the Northern California Jewish community, published a news story alongside an op-ed focused on the campus climate concerning Jewish students.

The op-ed written by J.’s editorial board, called the campus climate “disturbing” and something that “cannot be minimized,” claiming that Jewish students have faced abuse while anti-Israeli and anti-Zionist groups have been “coddled.”

J.’s complementing news story dives into the chronology of tense incidents between the University and the Jewish community, pointing out that the problem is decades-long and increasingly growing worse.

The article cited an email to Wong from members of San Francisco Hillel, dated April 12, that stated the group can no longer defend charges of anti-semitism against the University.

The publication reported it has obtained dozens of documents that show Wong resents the amount of time Jewish concerns have taken up, but that he is still sympathetic to them.

J.’s article and Hillel’s email both shine a light on recent events that suggest Wong’s lack of action involving incidents that concern Jewish students.

In April 2016, members of the General Union of Palestinian Students and other student organizations drowned out Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat’s speech to SF State students, ultimately causing a disruption he could not speak over.

Though no protestor faced disciplinary action, Wong ordered an investigation into the incident and later implemented a new protocol for future protests on campus.

Wong then invited Barkat back to speak on campus in March, nearly a year after the first incident. Barkat decided to cancel the speech one day before its scheduled date, writing in an open letter that the University “…did not offer the lecture that would provide the kind of healing needed after the assault on free speech last year. By failing to provide the necessary public forum and properly publicize my lecture, the University has contributed to the continuing marginalization and demonization of the Jewish state.”

J. also reported that SF State Jewish studies professors and Hillel claim their organization was purposely excluded from an informational human rights fair called “Know Your Rights” by the event organizers through a last-minute change to the cut-off date for registration. The University is currently investigating the incident, and Hillel said in their email to Wong they had not received any comment from him regarding the incident.

J. reported that Wong said in an interview he thinks all students need to “get tougher.”

“Where’s the resilience?” Wong asked rhetorically, according to J. “I think part of education is preparing your brain, so you own it yourself. To be able to stand up with that voice to power, to be able to say ‘I understand what you’re saying but I think you’re flat-out wrong,’ it makes for a better person.”

Still, the articles by J. paint a picture where the Jewish community on campus feels they have been ignored by the University’s administration.

“Because of the hostile climate on SFSU’s campus, we are forced to pick sides and hide who we are,” Hillel members wrote in their email to Wong.

President Wong, GUPS, and Hillel were not available for comment at the time of publication.

]]> 2 77585
SF Build brings diversity into science labs Thu, 04 May 2017 02:08:35 +0000 A science lab is often stocked with white laboratory coats and more often than not those laboratory coats are worn by white scientists, but professional Leticia Marquez-Magana has dedicated her career to opening the door for minority students.

At a young age, Marquez-Magana became interested in science with a continuous curiosity towards molecular biology. After earning her bachelor’s and master’s degree in biological science from Stanford University, Marquez-Magana continued her education at University of California, Berkeley where she earned her doctorate in biochemistry. She has been a professor at SF State since 1994 and is currently teaching a class about the health disparities of cancer and gene expression.

As one of the speakers during the March for Science in San Francisco on April 22, Marquez-Magana embodies the diversity that the science community came out celebrate and advocate for.

Standing in front of thousands of peers and other attendees, she spoke of an inclusive culture of diversity that the science community needs in order to thrive and to serve the betterment of humanity. Marquez-Magana’s voice echoed over the crowd as she shared a story from her childhood, touching on experiences being a first-generation Mexican American woman and realizing her community’s lack of representation.

“To make a difference for all of our communities the practice of science must be inclusive,” Marquez-Magana said to the crowd. “It must include the perspectives of multiple disciplines and the lived experiences and cultural understanding of our diverse communities to solve the complex problems that confront humanity.”

As the lead principal investigator of SF Build, Marquez-Magana hopes to give students from different ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds more opportunities to become researchers and scientists. SF Build is a year-long program led by SF State in partnership with University of California, San Francisco students and faculty.

SF Build helps build student confidence with opportunities to learn by performing hands-on research with scientists. Creating a safe environment where students from diverse backgrounds can learn and collaborate together, even with a little conflict, can lead to more diverse biomedical research that contributes to reduced health disparities in underrepresented communities.

“As studies have shown if you have a homogenous like-minded individuals, you’ll get a good solution, but it’s the same solution,” Marquez-Magana said in an interview. “If you get together a set of heterogeneous group of individuals sometimes you get a worse solution, sometimes you get the same solution and sometimes you hit it out of the box.”

Marquez-Magana believes that by having a science lab filled with scientists of the same gender, race and class leaves no room for conflict when all the researchers share similar experiences that don’t reflect communities they are researching.

Imani Walker, 21, is majoring in microbiology and currently works in the SF Build program as an intern at UCSF.

Walker is currently researching the correlation between African American and Latina women who start their menstrual cycle at younger ages and an increased risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer later in life.

As a black woman, Walker can identify with the community of women she’s studying. “It’s important to have (researchers) who understand the point of view, or understand what those communities are going through because they can relate to those people and they can explain to them what kind of research they are doing and how they want to help them,” Walker said.

Natalie Warren, an SF State alumna that majored in biology with an emphasis in physiology, was also an SF Build student. Warren now works at UCSF and has just been accepted into UC Berkeley’s Public Health master’s program.

“For people of color, we are so underrepresented, not only in basic sciences but in higher education as a whole,” Warren said. She credits SF Build for opportunities it opened up for her and for the role the organization plays for other aspiring minority scientists.

“I know I would have never been placed at UCSF and I know that other people like me need (SF Build) in order to succeed,” Warren said. “This is a tool for success.”

Marquez-Magana also serves as a director at Health Equity Research Laboratory, where she leads research projects aimed at “Linking Basic Science to Community Health.” Currently, Marquez-Magana is researching whether there is a genetic link between African-American women and Latinas who have the triple-negative breast cancer gene.