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OHLONE COLLEGE THURSDAY MONITOR Ohlone braces for change SEPTEMBER 12, 2013 Vol. XLVI No. 1 FREMONT, CA OHLONEMONITOR.COM Syrian student opens up about troubled homeland budget LOUIS LAVENTURE Editor-in-chief SHANNON SORGE Online editor Major construction is coming to Ohlone in the spring. On Jan. 27, construction will begin on a five-level parking structure to be built over lots M, N and O, located at the top of Pine Street on the south side of the property. The structure will blend into the hillside, and each level will have a graphic representing the hierarchy of spirits in the Ohlone tradition, officials said. The new parking structure is part of a series of projects that will transform the Fremont campus over the next four years. They are being paid for through the $349 million Measure G bond, approved by voters in November 2010. The $19.5 million parking structure will provide a total of 905 spaces, along with motorcycle and bicycle parking. To prevent the hassle of driving around within the garage and searching forever for a spot, there will be a parking meter near the entrances and exits (one outside level one on the south side of the structure, and the other outside level five on the east side of the structure) that will display how many spaces are available within the structure. College officials still haven’t decided how much parking will cost. For those who get dropped off for school, there will be a “drop off” circle adjacent to Continued on page 3 Board approves new LOUIS LAVENTURE / MONITOR Ohlone College student Enad al-Atassi fled Syria after participating in peaceful protests. YAHYA BURHANI Staff writer Enad al-Atassi fled Syria two years ago after he fell afoul of the government. He wound up as an international student at Ohlone. Now, as the United States debates a possible military strike on his homeland, Atassi recalls how he became involved in the antigovernment protests that began in January 2011. “So I have two choices: one, to go behind my people, be in danger and fight for freedom and dignity,” he said. “The other, to go on the regime side and be safe. I chose freedom and dignity. … I participated in almost every protest in my neighborhood. For the first six months the protests were completely peaceful except for the regime. They started killing people in my neighborhood. You have to fight for yourself.” The ensuing civil war between government and rebel forces has killed more than 100,000 and created 2 million refugees, according to the United Nations. President Barack Obama has threatened to order missile strikes against Syria after reports that the government there used chemical weapons Continued on page 3 The Ohlone College Board of Trustees voted unanimously Wednesday night to approve the district’s budget, which is based on the first increase in state funding in more than five years. The state hasn’t returned revenues to 2007-2008 levels, but it did offer the first cost of living adjustment since 2007 and restored funding to the tune of about 30 Ohlone class sections, officials said. Ohlone President Gari Browning said during her state of the college address last month that she hopes to increase the number of full-time staff members. Last year, Ohlone spent more than the school brought in – another thing that the college’s financial team is trying to repair. “We project the budget and try to predict our budget using all the knowledge available,” said Farhad Sabit, director of business services. “Sometimes things happen out of our control that cost money, and we have to be ready for that.” Sabit was standing in for Ron Little, the vice president of administrative services, who would normally present the budget. “That is why our total budget decreased and you see the discrepancy in the total numbers.” Trustees approved the budget after deliberating over several key pieces. They pointed out that it is their best estimate, based on projections that have been gathered statewide. No more smoking on campus as ban takes effect MARISSA MARTIN News editor Bad news for smokers: Ohlone has introduced a campus-wide ban that includes the parking lots where students, staff and faculty previously could light up. Smoking is now prohibited in all college vehicles, buildings, indoor and outdoor facilities, disabled and general use parking lots, and all open areas of district property. The nearest spots to smoke or use “e-cigarettes” are the sidewalks on Mission, Witherly and Pine Streets. The policy took effect on the first day of classes, Aug. 26. In 2000, Ohlone became the first smoke-free campus in Northern California, although the policy included designated smoking areas. Since then, the health department at Ohlone has been pushing toward an entirely smoke-free campus, parking lots included. Sally Bratton, director of health services at Ohlone, has been working for 13 years to put this new policy in place. “I was shouting from the tree tops,” Bratton said, describing how she felt when the policy first came into effect. “I was very pleased. It was a long time coming.” When asked if there was anything keeping Ohlone from going smoke-free, Bratton responded, “It really wasn’t that difficult.” She credits the student government, faculty and staff, and the low percentage of smokers on campus for the lack of trouble getting the policy enacted. Compared to the nationwide average of 19 percent, only 7 percent Continued on page 3 MAGDALENA JURYS/ MONITOR

Ohlone College Monitor, September 12, 2013

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