Edition 9 of the Cougar Chronicle

Page 1




Crowdfunding campaign in honor of Cindy Harper underway T

he Office of Academic Advising is sponsoring a Cougar Crowdfunding project in [Cindy] Harper’s memory, aiming to raise $5,000 for a memorial bench to honor her 27 years on campus. The bench will be placed in Founders Plaza near the Campus Coffee cart. Harper died Aug. 8 after a long battle with Cancer.

Photo courtesy of CSUSM Newscenter

Harper was a CSUSM academic advisor.

Library launches memorial

crowdfunding campaign library has created a crowdfunding campaign, ending on March 2, to raise $5,000 for a memorial bench in honor of Lynette Boyd who died unexpectedly on Nov. 16. The bench will


CSU Chancellor Joseph Castro resigns following sexual harassment complaints Jordan Parker, Kamelia Varasteh, and Dylan McNeill wrote this article for Sacramento State’s The State Hornet.




be located adjacent to the library. This bench will serve as a place for the campus community to remember Boyd and to reflect on her spirit of service, positive outlook and generosity.

California State University Chancellor Joseph I. Castro submitted his resignation to the Board of Trustees on Thursday. Castro’s term as chancellor lasted just 13 months after taking over for former Chancellor Timothy White on Jan. 4, 2021. The board accepted Castro’s decision after a USA TODAY report revealed Castro’s mishandling sexual harassment complaints against a former employee during Castro’s time as pres-

Screencap by Mercy Sosa

California State University Chancellor Joseph Castro addresses student reporters in a virtual press conference Monday, Feb. 8, 2021.

ident at Fresno State. “I have been honored to serve the California State University for more than

eight years, including as its eighth chancellor, and the decision to resign is the most difficult of my professional

life,” Castro said in a press release Thursday night. “While I disagree with many aspects of recent media reports and the ensuing commentary, it has become clear to me that resigning at this time is necessary so that the CSU can maintain its focus squarely on its educational mission and the impactful work yet to be done,” Castro said in the press release. The Board of Trustees is currently working on finding a replacement for Castro. Steve Relyea, the Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer, will be stepping in as Castro’s replacement until the new Chancellor is named.


Current COVID-19 statistics at CSUSM BY MARBELLA RAMIREZ Editor-in-Chief


Photo courtesy of CSUSM Newscenter

Boyd made an impact within the CSUSM library.

he CSUSM campus has 31 active COVID cases as of February 22. Students comprise 22 of the current cases, faculty comprise nine and no venors competes the total count of 31. The latest case was reported February 14, the loca-

tion affected by this case is Markstein The data includes cases from students and employees who have tested positive for COVID-19. Additionally, the data shows whether individuals with COVID-19 were on campus or in an off site campus program. The positivity rate of students, faculty and staff test-

ing through on campus testing is 99%. As of February 22, the numbers demonstrated in current data include the case is only known to CSUSM and are not inclusive of positive cases, impacting CSUSM community members off campus. This data and more infrmation about infected locations

can be found on https:// www.csusm.edu/csusmasone/faq/current-cases.html or by searching “CSUSM COVID cases”. The data updates when there are new cases reported to the university, masks are still required on campus. Stations may be found around campus along with hand sanatizer.


Dr. Ching-Ming Cheng’s piano recital is the key to euphoria BY CASSIDY LOVELL A&E Editor

Dr. Ching-Ming Cheng, associate professor and CSUSM’s current department chair for music was joined by Janet Kao, her longtime friend and faculty pianist at Chapman University, for a two-piano concert. The concert, which took place on Feb. 18 from 7-9 p.m., was the first Arts & Lectures event of the spring semester. Available in a hybrid format, attendees could arrive in person at Arts 111 or watch a livestream via YouTube. The event was free for students, $5 for faculty, staff, and alumni, and $10 for members of the community. Beginning with a brief in-

troduction to the event, Merryl Goldberg, a professor of music at CSUSM, mentioned that “under Dr. Cheng’s leadership, we became an All-Steinway school. So with great thanks to Ching-Ming Cheng and all the donors who helped us out with the pianos.” All-Steinway is a title given to a college, university, or other institution who has, according to the Steinway website, “demonstrate[d] a full commitment to excellence by providing their students and faculties with the best instruments possible for the study of music.” As an All-Steinway school, Cheng and Kao sat at Steinway & Sons pianos. Over the course of two hours, Cheng and Kao played a variety of songs, such as Carmen Fan-

tasy and a Disney Medley. There was a brief intermission and an encore performance. The duo is set to perform again on the 19th at the Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad, California. “I was impressed with the diversity of the songs they could play and how they transitioned from song to song. It was really seamless how they moved from each song to the next one,” Saige Brown, a third-year student, said. Regarding the Arts & Lectures event format, Brown said, “I’m glad they’re doing in-person events again because it’s a lot more immersive. And it’s cool they livestream it for people who can’t attend in-person.” A notable addition to the Arts & Lectures website

is information regarding Covid-19 waivers and vaccination/testing requirements. While students, faculty, and staff are listed as omitted due to the mandates on campus, outside members of the community are subject to additional requirements in order to attend on-campus events. These include signing a waiver and showing proof of one of the following: vaccination, a negative covid test no more than two days prior to the event, or a negative rapid antigen test no more than one day prior to the event. The campus mask policy is still enforced for indoor events. For more information on CSUSM’s Arts & Lectures and upcoming events, visit https://www.csusm.edu/al/index.html

Graphic courtesy of CSUSM Arts & Lectures. Dr. Ching-Ming Cheng is also set to perform at the Museum of Making Music.



New Star Wars series does not live up to expectation

Visit the purr-fect place for cats and coffee

The coffee shop features a variety of lattes, teas, espressos, and even kombucha. PAGE 4

The Book of Boba Fett overall was enjoyable, with some hiccups along the way. PAGE 5


Reversing the mask mandate

The pandemic threw a wrench in many of our plans, however, our resistance to alleviating the situation is our fault. PAGE 7






A day in the life Sophomore Dominique Hernandez plays guard on CSUSM Women‘s basketball team. PAGE 8





CSUSM will maintain its mandatory masking

requirement as state mandate expires BY KRISTEN BERGMANN

Staff Writer


the statewide mask mandate ending, CSUSM’s Campus Communications department informed students that the campus-wide indoor mask mandate will remain in place until further notice. According to an email by Campus Communications, San Diego County is still a high transmission area per CDC criteria and the California Department of Public Health is still recommending wearing masks indoors. When the campus first reopened after the two-week virtual period in the beginning of the semester, the mandate was kept, along with the regulation requiring booster shots, which was announced in December 2021. The CSUSM mandate required all patrons to wear masks in indoor areas. Masks may only have been removed when actively eating or drinking, and unvaccinated individuals must also have worn masks outside when social distancing was not possible. Now that the school an-

nounced that it will continue the mandate, plans to accommodate for upcoming semesters are already underway. Regina Frasca, Director at the Office of Safety, Health

& Sustainability at CSUSM, says the health committee is slowly starting to strategize and create a plan for summer and fall 2022. She says that the committee is following

the guidelines of the California Department of Health as well as the San Diego County Department of Health. Requirements from the Chancellor’s office must also

be followed, and employees considered. Theoretically professors could require masks even if the campus-wide mask mandate gets lifted. However,

Photo by Marbella Ramirez

Mask stations are set throughout campus to esure the safety of students.

Frasca says, it is unlikely that a professor would do this. Although her office is starting to plan for future semesters, Frasca is mindful of the unpredictability of the Coronavirus and the course of the pandemic. “We can have a plan, and then we go down that road, and our plans get destroyed,” she said. In the meantime, the university stays committed to protecting students and faculty from the ongoing spread of COVID-19 and provides numerous resources for the campus community. Hand sanitizer stations and surgical masks are conveniently located at the main entrances of all university buildings. As surgical masks have been proven less effective against the Omicron variant than against earlier variants, KN95 masks are available for free in various locations around campus. Information about campus resources for protective equipment can be found here: https://www.csusm.edu/ csusmasone/resources/covered-cougar.html


Newsom nominates first Latina

to California Supreme Court This article is written by CalMatters College Journalism Network Fellow Byrhonda Lyons


tate Supreme Court justices are nominated by the governor and must then be confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments, which consists of California’s chief justice, the state attorney general and the senior presiding justice of the Court of Appeal. Guerrero would replace former Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, who stepped down to run the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Cuéllar’s resignation left no Latino representation on the state’s most diverse bench. Since then, Newsom has been under increasing pressure to appoint the state’s first Latina member. “Newsom has a chance to make history and give a Latina her rightful place in the California Supreme Court, making the judicial system stronger and fairer,” wrote Paul Barragan-Monge, director of mobilization for the University of California, Los Angeles, in November. Across the state, there’s a significant shortage of Latinos attorneys and judges,

Photo property of California Courts

Guerrero marks a milestone for California courts.

considering that Latinos make up a plurality of the state population. In four majority-Latino California counties — Colusa, Kings, Madera, and Merced — there are no Latino judges in any superior courtrooms. California has one of the most diverse benches in the country. In 2020, Newsom made history after appointing Martin Jenkins to the Supreme Court. Jenkins is the state’s first openly gay justice. Still, California has been slow to appoint Latinas to the court, falling behind Texas, Colorado and New York, which have at least one Latina currently seated on their states’ highest courts. Nationally, 40 states have no Latino Supreme Court justices, according to a recent survey by the Brennan Center for Justice, a left-leaning law and policy institute.

And such disparities can have effects that ripple through individual lives and entire communities. Research indicates that racially diverse judges and women judges tend to assess certain cases differently, on average, from their white and male counterparts. And while roughly 60% of white and Asian Americans said they felt California county courts were fair over half the time, only about 40% of Latinos reported feeling the same, according to a study commissioned by the California Judicial Council. After CalMatters reported last year on the gap and the state’s struggles to get more Latino attorneys to transition into judgeships, Gov. Newsom launched the California Judicial Mentor Program to help more diverse candidates apply to serve on the bench.

Want the answers? Go to https://tinyurl.com/CCrossword


Learn about Graduate School through TRIO McNair Scholars Info Sessions BY MAGALI CASTILLO Features Editor


he transition after graduating college is an open road that may lead to many avenues one of being graduate school. The TRIO McNair Scholars is hosting information sessions through zoom on Wednesdays from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Assistant Director of the program, Dr. Ray Malfavon-Borja hosts the information session. Dr. Malfavon-Borja introduces himself plus asks the students to share their major and career aspirations. After learning what students would like to pursue he goes through an overview of the information session. One of the things he shared was that instead of pursuing his masters he was able to go pursue his Ph.D. which is something that the TRIO McNair Scholars program en-

THE COUGAR CHRONICLE EDITOR IN CHIEF Marbella Ramirez csusm.cougarchronicle@gmail.com MANAGING EDITOR Kinsey Canez cougarchron.managingeditor@gmail.com CREATIVE DIRECTOR Mallory Arcena cougarchron.design@gmail.com WEB & SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER Eric Hendricks cougarchron.web@gmail.com

TRIO strives to support students. courages their students to do. TRIO McNair Scholars program’s goal is to motivate underrepresented students to aspire graduate degrees. Their aim is to assist students in their undergraduate studies and prepare them to thrive in

Event Calendar Wednesday, February 23 6:00 p.m. Exterminate All the Brutes @ USU Ballroom (virtual option avalible) Thursday, February 24 12:00 p.m.

Circle of Sisters and Brotherhood

Alliance Collaboration @Black Student Center

Saturday, February 26 10:00 a.m. BSC Fifth Anniversary Celebration/Symposium @ USU Ballroom

Thursday, March 3 6:00 p.m. Camarada Presents Baroque and Blue @ CSUSM Arts Building The Cougar Chronicle is published twice a month on Wednesdays during the academic year. All advertising revenue goes to support Cougar Chronicle scholarships. Letters to the Editor should include a first and last name and should be under 300 words, submitted via email. It is the policy of The Cougar Chronicle not to print anonymous letters. The Cougar Chronicle reserves the right to reject




any Letter to the Editor for any reason. The Cougar Chronicle is the independent student newspaper at CSUSM. We dedicate ourselves to the education enlightenment of students and the campus community and uphold the highest professional journalistic standards, ethics and responsibilities.

graduate school. Dr. Malfavon-Borja shared resources that the Office for Training, Research, and Education in the Sciences (OTRES) have for students. If you want to learn more about graduate school, the

Screencap by Magali

TRIO McNair Scholars program is having three more information sessions on Feb 23, March 2nd, and March 9th. Save the date! To learn more visit, https:// www.csusm.edu/mcnair/index.html.

RECIPE: Overnight Oats

Don’t leave your

home without this breakfast BY PRISCILLA CRUZ Staff Writer

2 tbsp of peanut butter.

In addition, find a type of container or glass jar to put classes makes it hard to all ingredients in. make breakfast before you leave for class, but these Grab your jar or containovernight oats will not only er, add your rolled oats and be super fast to make. boost chia seeds.Next, add the your energy to start your day milk of your choosing.. The off the right way. toppings of peanut butter Just like in the name, these and maple syrup can be addoats need to be in the fridge ed. After that you will go in overnight to be ready by and add your peanut butter morning time. This recipe and maple syrup. Blend all needs to be made the night ingredients until the peanut before so that the next mornbutter has been fully mixed ing you can grab it from the to the milk and oats. fridge and head to class. Lastly, close your jar or container and put it into the In this recipe, you will fridge overnight. To get a need wondoreous texture, leave it in the fridge for about ½ a cup of rolled oats 6-8 hours. The next morning, your oats are ready to 1 tbsp of maple syrup go and you can head off to class starting your day with a ½ a cup of any milk of healthy and delicious breakyour choice fast!

Going back to in-person

¾ tbsp of chia seeds and

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NEWS EDITOR Christopher King cougarchron.news@gmail.com A&E EDITOR Cassidy Lovell cougarchron.arts@gmail.com FEATURES EDITOR Magali Castillo cougarchron.features@gmail.com SPORTS EDITOR Zoe Silva cougarchron.sports@gmail.com OPINION EDITOR Sayna Nassertorabi cougarchron.opinion@gmail.com VIDEO EDITOR Jose Valdovinos cougarchron.video@gmail.com ASSISTANT A&E EDITOR Nik Chrissanthos cougarchron.aeassistant@gmail.com ASSISTANT FEATURES EDITOR Danya Rodriguez cougarchron.featuresassistant@gmail.com ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR Nijiati Maimaitiyiming cougarchron.sportsassistant@gmail.com REPORTERS Priscilla Cruz Kristin Bergmann Raul Marroquin Natalie Navarro Brittany Stroffolino GRAPHIC DESIGN INTERNS Shea Hauswirth Angelina Parra Fernanda Ugarte PHOTOGRAPHERS Angelina Parra Valeria Serna ADMINISTRATIVE COORDINATOR Maria Clements JOURNALISM ADVISOR Kent Davy

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REVIEW: Cat & Craft

Visit the Purrfect Place

for Coffee and Cats


Cat & Craft is a cat cafe located in Vista, CA. The building is split into two parts: the coffee house and a cat lounge. The cat lounge is a large room filled with cat towers, toys, and most importantly, cats! All cats are up for adoption through The Rescue House, a non-profit organization dedicated to rescuing and rehoming abandoned, abused, unwanted and stray cats.

The coffee shop features a variety of lattes, teas, espressos, and even kombucha. Food options include toast, granola bowls, and breakfast sandwiches. Allergic to cats or can’t afford the reservation? No worries! The coffee house has large windows for guests to peer into the lounge. In order to support the cafe and the upkeep of the foster cats, the price to enter the lounge is 15 dollars an hour. For those interested in visiting the cafe frequently, Cat & Craft offers a “cat pass.”

These 37 dollars per month membership allows unlimited weekday access to the cat lounge, two lounge reservations, and 10 percent off food, drinks, merchandise, and special events. Aside from reservations for the cat lounge, Cat & Craft put on additional events such as Friday movie nights, cat yoga, and coffee tastings! Just a 13-minute drive from campus, Cat & Craft is a great place to grab a quick bite while supporting shelter cats.

Watch as cats go through their everyday life as you eat.

Photo by Cassidy Lovell




Meet the team behind Cougar-bot

BY KINSEY CANEZ Features Editor


hristine Vaughan and her University Communications colleagues spend their time talking to students and the rest of the campus community. Their trick is finding a balance among targets, content and method. “I know if I’m trying to reach students today, I am not going to be posting that on Facebook,” said Vaughan, director of Communications. “... What’s the audience? What’s the outcome? And then once you determine those, what’s the best channel for communication and then creating that content? It’s a very dynamic process as opposed to a flat linear process,” said Vaughan. To reach students, faculty and staff, the department created “This Week at CSUSM” newsletter sent weekly on Mondays to all campus addresses. Separate versions cater to different audiences. For instance, employees may get one take, students another. It all comes down to who will benefit and be interested in the messages being shared without making it hard to find, Vaughan said. Keeping it streamlined is crucial. Nothing too overwhelming or an overflow of announcements clogging re-

cipients’ inboxes. “I kind of call it a Reader’s Digest of Monday. Here are the top things you need to know: easy, skimmable information. Click on what you want to know more about as opposed to getting lost in a sea of standalone emails,” Vaughan said. Another newsletter, “NewsCenter,” is more editorial. It tells the stories of the people, programs and initiatives of the university, Vaughan said. One version is emailed to students, another to employees, and one to extended friends of the university. To students who have remained online these past few semesters, these newsletters have been a glimpse into campus life that would not have otherwise existed. In 2020, when COVID-19 resulted in the campus closure at first, the volume of emails sent spiked by 40 percent, Vaughan said. Students and employees could no longer walk past sandwich boards promoting upcoming events. Instead, the university shared news entirely online. Today, digital communications are still up by 18 percent compared to 2019 semesters. While the number of eyes on these communications has escalated, click rates to embedded links have not. “I know people are interested

in the content, but I don’t know if people always have the time or desire to know more beyond that,” Vaughan said. The name of the University Communications department, once known as the Office of Communications, changed in September of 2020 with the unit reporting directly to the Office of the President. Eight professional staff members led by Chief Communications Officer Margaret Chantung make up the department. This kind of restructuring is common across higher education institutions to create a wider scope of communication for the campus, Vaughan said. “Our office is responsible for advancing and elevating the mission and goals of the university” including news and fundraising as its official voice, she said. While other areas of the university include the ‘CSUSM’ signifier in their email addresses or social media handles, University Communications is the only office that reaches across every department, students and staff. The content of the messages isn’t always glamorous. “Sometimes we have to share information that is not good, but it is for the public’s good to know it,” Vaughan said.

Photo by Cassidy Lovell

Satisfy your cravings by treating yourself this weekend.




The Office of Communications is located on the fifth floor of Craven.

Photo by Kinsey Canez




The Cougar Chronicle New Star Wars series does entertainment rundown REVIEW: Star Wars: The Book of Boba Fett

not live up to expectation



his new sit-com series follows a group of teachers at an underfunded public elementary school in Philadelphia. The lives of the school’s educators and the

stylish but not always super helpful principal are at the heart of the show, as well as their determination to help their students succeed. Quinta Brunson, the writer and star of the show, plays an idealistic second grade teacher. She’s too new to be discouraged when the school won’t spend money

to fix the hall lights and, in episode three, turns to TikTok to fundraise for classroom supplies. It has heart, humor, and is twenty-one minutes of pure joy a week. Abbott Elementary is available to watch on ABC, Hulu, and other streaming services.

Photo from Rotten Tomatos,

Take a break from the stress and try this new show.

property of HULU.

Photo property of Disney, concept art by Brian Matyas.



Photo property of 20th Century Studios

Death on the Nile is currently in theaters.

ebruary 2022 saw the release of 20th Century Studios’ Death on the Nile -- the third screen adaptation of Agatha Christie’s novel of the same name and the second entry in what is shaping up to be 20th Century’s murder mystery cinematic universe. A sequel to Murder on the Orient Express, Death on the Nile swaps notable stars Willem Dafoe and Judy Dench for Armie

Hammer and Gal Gadot. Death on the Nile is currently available to watch in theaters. But with mediocre ratings from fans and critics on IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes, and Metacritic, you may want to give Death on the Nile a pass, at least until it’s available to stream.


Horizon Forbidden West, a sequel to the 2017 game Horizon Zero Dawn, was released on Feb. 18. Developed by Guerilla Games and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment, Horizon Forbidden West is a singleplayer, open-world, actionadventure role-playing game. Players control Aloy, a skilled huntress and the protagonist of the former game. Then, adventure

through the “Forbidden West,” a post-apocalyptic version of western states such as California and Nevada— even featuring famous landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge and the Las Vegas Strip. For fans of Horizon Zero Dawn or anyone looking for an adventure game with fantastic graphics, Horizon Forbidden West is now available to play on Playstation 4 and 5.

Photo property of Playstation.

Go on a new journey by playing the sequel.

SONG: LA NOVELA BY MARBELLA RAMIREZ with Cucu to create a soothEditor-in-Chief ing harmony. Boy Pablo is currently on the European leg of a world oy Pablo released his tour. The North American collaboration single with leg will soon begin, visiting Cucu, La Novela, on Feb. places like Mexico City and 11. The track is sung in Boston. While Boy Pablo spanish and is accompanyed is set to visit the states, by a mellow beat, perfect for there is no destination set in a calming rainy night or for California. For now, you can background music for late satisfy your thirst for Boy night study sessions. Pablo by streaming his song, The song is a love song reLa Novela, or by checking counting a bittersweet story out the rest of Boy Pablo’s full of love and sorrow. The discography on any avalible 23-year-old singer creates a streaming platforms universal story through his lyrics and matches up vocals


Photo Property of Boy Pablo Boy Pablo latest song is sung in Spanish.

The Book of Boba Fett is the latest addition to long-time running franchise Star Wars.

BY NIK CHRISSANTHOS Boba Fett decides to give up bounty hunting and become Asst. A&E Editor the Daimyo of Mos Espa. This review contains spoil- His arc of growing beyond ers. his dark past and becoming a marginally better person The most recent Star Wars was one of the high points of TV show to be put on to the show. Disney+ is Star Wars: The The show’s cracks start to Book of Boba Fett. Temuera appear in the odd pacing. Morrison, who previously The previously mentioned played Jango Fett in Attack flashbacks are important of the Clones, returns to Star parts of the first handful of Wars as Jango’s cloned son, episodes. In the first episode Boba Fett. Alongside assas- especially, the placement of sin Fennec Shand (played by these flashbacks during the Ming-Na Wen), the two try runtime of the show was to make a name for them- quite jarring, even when the selves in the criminal under- content within was enjoyworld of the Star Wars uni- able. The biggest offender of verse. After six weeks and this pacing issue is episodes six episodes, the full season five and six. These two epis out and available to watch. isodes predominantly focus The Book of Boba Fett on Din Djarin, the Mandaloverall was enjoyable, with orian from the show of the some hiccups along the way. same name. The episodes Boba Fett’s character arc themselves were the stronwas very interesting to see gest of the season but at the unfold in the present and cost of having nothing to through flashbacks. One do with Boba Fett, which is question many may have strange. These two episodes going in is how Boba Fett also feature other Star Wars survived the events of Re- characters such as Cobb turn of the Jedi. The flash- Vanth from The Mandoloback portion of the earlier rian, Ashoka Tano and Cad episodes adequately explain Bane from Star Wars: The how Boba survives and what Clone Wars, as well as Luke he was doing up until his re- Skywalker himself. Their appearance in season two appearances have interesting of The Mandalorian. These implications for future Star are used to showcase why Wars TV content, but as part

of a show called The Book of Boba Fett it was wholly unnecessary. On that note, there are plenty of characters both new and old that join or fight against Boba Fett. The first character of note is the wookie Black Krrsantan. Originally introduced in a comic book, Krrsantan made the jump to live action originally as an enemy, but later an ally, to Boba Fett. Then there are the Mods, a group of young adults who have modified parts of their body with cybernetics. They are basically Boba Fett’s entourage, and there is not much to them as characters for the time being. Overall, The Book of Boba Fett provided some much needed depth to the character of Boba Fett. Mostly enjoyable, the show’s weird pacing can be somewhat distracting. For the casual Star Wars fan, this is still worth watching, especially if you are a fan of The Mandalorian because there are some very important reveals in regards to the future of that show. For casual viewers who are not that familiar with Star Wars and just want a new TV show to watch to pass the time, it might be for the best to skip this one.

Cougar Chronicle Song of the Week Submit a song at:






Reversing the mask mandate is not as good as it sounds BY NATALIE NAVARRO Staff Writer


s of Feb. 15, California will be reversing its mask mandate for indoor places due to decreasing COVID-19 cases nationwide. This will be the second time the California government has done so throughout the pandemic, with the last mandate ending in June 2021. The mask mandate regained traction in the state because of the new Omicron variant. Although not as deadly as its dominant predecessor, Delta, Omicron is more contagious. Vaccination status does not prevent infection; however, it does deter hospitalization and/or death. While the decreasing cases exude a glimmer of hope that the pandemic will transition into an endemic, there is concern over the mandate ending so soon. The country has seen this story play out before. Last summer fueled excitement because the vaccine was released to the public. After almost a year and a half of exhausting isolation, having an effective vaccine felt like finding the ultimate holy grail. However, America got cocky. Around half of the

population not only protested against the vaccine, but continued their lives as if nothing was happening. The nation expected very few people to end the pandemic. The Delta variant was destructive. Those unvaccinated had egregiously high rates

of hospitalizations and death. People placed on ventilators were considered hopeless. The pandemic and its treatments were politicized to the point of no return. We inevitably had to reap the consequences and had no one to blame but ourselves.

As expected, cases especially began to rise at the start of the holiday season. Many Americans disregarded the warnings given by health associations and celebrated the season as normal. The Omicron variant ran rampant throughout the na-

tion, forcing California to take extreme measures to protect its citizens. The mask mandate was reinstated to prevent further infections. However, Omicron’s damage was already done. We are fortunate that Omicron caused less death

Graphic by Angelina Parra

The latest update on the mask mandate has many saying “sayonara” to safety amid Omicron’s reign.

than other variants, though we must also understand that keeping our guard up could have prevented it. Had the mask mandate never been originally reversed, the California government would have never needed to reimplement it. Our collective decisions and actions put us in this predicament. It was not a wise decision to end the mask mandate again, some believe this thought to be cynical, but it seems that we did not learn from our previous mistakes. As of now, Omicron is still considered the dominant strain of COVID-19. The lack of masking is going to assert its dominance until the next variant mutates. Unless Californians abide by the health recommendations that the health administration continues to give, they are inevitably going to go through a roller coaster of infection outbreaks. The pandemic will take longer to become endemic. Life will not feel stable when we are not working to inflict change. The pandemic threw a wrench in many of our plans, however, our resistance to alleviating the situation is our fault. Why should we expect a different outcome when we are not doing anything different?


The irreplaceable value of California’s community colleges

This article, written by CalMatters College Journalism Network Fellows Eleni Kounalakis & Eloy Ortiz Oakley.


s the largest system of public higher education in the world, California’s community colleges have long been a major economic engine driving our state’s economy. The cumulative impact of the 116-college system however has never been quantified – until now. A new analysis reveals the huge economic and social benefits of our community colleges. California community colleges – through our programs, operations, alumni impact and other activities – added $128.2 billion in income to our state’ s economy, or 4.2% of the total gross state product, according to the economic data analytics firm Emsi who analyzed 2018-19 data. For perspective, this impact is larger than the state’s entire construction industry. As we enter a new year, it is heartening to confirm that the community college system, with 1.8 million students, is a wise investment for the state, for taxpayers and for our students. In fact, the average associate’s degree graduate will see annual earnings $11,100 higher than someone

with a high school diploma working in California. This average annual return of 19.6% is almost double the stock market’s 30-year average annual return. Investments in our community colleges pay off for our state and taxpayers, too. For every dollar invested in community colleges the people of California will receive $11.70 back in benefits. Community college

graduates continue to be the backbone of our workforce, educating and training essential workers such as nurses, first responders and skilled workers in manufacturing, climate change response and technology. California’s community colleges helped create nearly 1.5 million jobs, or 1 out of every 16 jobs in the state. While it’s clear that the return on investment for

students is wise public policy, we have yet to keep pace with the true cost of college and the success of our students. Many of our students have unmet “basic needs” such as housing, food, transportation and textbooks – factors that can stymie student success. This reality has only become grimmer as we face an alarming rise in inflation. We’ve all witnessed the significant price hikes at the

grocery checkout line, gas pump and restaurants. No one should have to choose between an education and putting food on the table, and our students have been particularly hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s jarring that 1 in 5 working students has been furloughed or laid off during this pandemic and 57% are experiencing basic needs insecurity in food and housing.

Graphic from istock

College is seemly becoming a more used option as students struggle with the financials of education.

Community college students are struggling to balance work and their households’ health while pursuing higher education. We’ve heard it directly from students in a recent enrollment survey citing a need to work as a top reason they wouldn’t consider enrolling in a community college. But our state needs them. Gov. Gavin Newsom recently announced in his 2022-23 budget proposal a goal of 70% degree and certificate attainment among workingage students in California by 2030. With community college students comprising more than two-thirds of all undergraduate students in our state, they are pivotal to reaching this goal. Our state has made great strides in creating a more accessible financial aid system that reflects the cost of college, and we must press forward to create a more equitable system. Community college students have the highest net cost of attendance despite being among the lowest in income. These economic impact findings show how fruitful investing in our students is, and if we keep our sights set on increasing students’ success, we all stand to benefit.





USA doesn’t have time for war BY SANYA NASSERTORABI

Opinions Editor

Russia and the United

States have had an unstable relationship for decades, evident throughout the cold war, however, was there ever an end to the coldness? Just when the world thought that their 2022 was the year things became calm after fighting a pandemic that seemed never ending, latest updates on diplomatic news reported Russian movements towards invading Ukraine. According to CNN on February 14th, President Biden made a final attempt to stop Russia from invading Ukraine. CNN continues to report, although it is not 100 percent clear what Vladimir Putin is going to do, some assume it will definitely be a threat to national security. In this case the United States will not be sending any soldiers in order to defend Ukraine. “For me. It’s a question of why? We are going through a pandemic, everyone is focused on that. I personally have the feeling that America can’t hold itself off from being involved if this turns into a full out war,” said Abraham Banuleos, a freshman biology major at CSUSM. In the case in which Russia invades Ukraine, the democracy the United States has worked hard to protect and foster becomes unstable. The United States has many important issues that should be prioritized and among those issues is homelessness. According to endhomlessness.org, The United States has one of the highest rates of homelessness. More than half a million people in the United States are home-

less which is equivalent to 17 people out of 10,000. This shows that the problem with homelessness is one of the most important issues in this nation and yet not enough attention is being given to it. The government has provided help for many different causes like insurance and low income housing for those who are in need but not enough attention has been given to those who are struggling with homelessness. The homelessness rate can easily be decreased if there were more homeless shelters and temporary housing for those who wanted to get back on their feet and get a job because the housing would make it easier for them to reach that goal. Another issue that the United States has been deal-

ing with for a while now is the omicron virus. It has been 2 years since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people have lost their lives during this pandemic because there was not a vaccine for this virus. The original prediction was that the pandemic would go away once a vaccine was created for the virus. After a year of struggling with this virus, a vaccine finally appeared and it has been a year since the vaccine has come, yet many people are still refusing to get vaccinated which lowers the hope that this virus will ever truly go away. These are only two of a long list of domestic issues surrounding The United States government, however they are enough to showcase our need of restructuring. Instead of commencing another war, the United States should focus on its domestic war.

Photo by Marbella Ramirez

Sports Calendar 2/23




















11AM & 1PM @ CSUSM









11AM & 2PM @ CSUSM

2/28 - 3/1



3/3 - 3/5



3/4 -3/6


2PM (3/4), 11AM & 2PM (3/5), 12PM (3/6) @ CSUSM

3/7 - 3/8



Russia’s movements have put many nations on alert, including The United States.


New member Lewis brings his utmost baseball game to CSUSM BY ZOE SILVA Sports Editor


hrisitan Lewis is a new, third year student athlete on the Baseball Team here at Cal State University San Marcos. Chrisitan is a transfer from Palomar College, but has played baseball for three different colleges prior to Palomar, making it a total of four before CSUSM. Baseball kicked off their season on February 6th, against the Regis Rangers with their first win of 6-2. Lewis, positioned as a righthanded pitcher, was able to shine some light on his experience of being a new member of the Baseball Team. Q : How do you feel about being a new member of the CSUSM baseball team this year? A: “It feels really nice to

play close to home and this team has a lot of promising members. We look great so far and the guys are really nice. Everyone puts in the responsibility to better themselves to better the team” Q: How is the team dynamic different here than other teams you have played for? A: “Our team here at Cal State San Marcos definitely is different from other teams I have played for because there are no cliques what so ever. All the guys just blend together really well, there’s a lot of good chemistry on the team, and we have the ability to be really great. Everyone has their role, so they just go out and do whatever their role is. We hold ourselves accountable, and when our name is called to go out on the field, we just execute” Q: What goals do you

have for yourself this season?

A: “My personal goal is to just stay healthy. My overall goal is to help the team to a winning record, and our ultimate goal, is to get to the conference championship and make a run for the playoffs. Helping the team to a winning record comes first and foremost” Q: Why did you transfer to CSUSM? A: “The coaches are really great here, the weather obviously, and we have all the campus resources that I need. It also gives me the ability to compete for my hometown” Q: What are you excited about being on this team? A: “I’m excited because of the group of guys that Coach has brought in. I think half of the team is fairly new, every-

one gets along really nicely, and like I said before, we just blend really well together. It’ll be exciting to see what we put out on the field as the season goes on, seeing all the hard work we put into this game”

Chrisitan Lewis, #33 on the roaster, closes out his interview stating, “I’m excited of what our team can do this year and it’s going to be a really fun season with all the guys. This year’s team has the ability to be one of

the best baseball programs in CSUSM. Go Cougars!” Go Cougars indeed! Check out CSUSM’s Baseball schedule on the official site of the cougars to watch how the baseball season progresses and to cheer on Christian

Q: How does the transition of switching schools impact your playing/ schooling? A: “Having been a transferred student athlete, I’m kind of used to it by now. It’s all about time management and prioritizing. It has given me the ability to get out of my comfort zone and experience different atmospheres and environments. Being a part of different schools gave me that experience of playing in the midwest, playing on the east coast…it gives you a different look on the game. The game is a little different in each state that you play in…it’s beneficial”

Photo courtesy of CSUSM Athletics

Christian Lewis transfered from Palomar College.






Take a peek into the life of a student athlete Cougars start off hot



ophomore Dominique Hernandez plays guard on CSUSM Women‘s basketball team. In the 2021 season game against Cal State LA, Hernandez scored three points of one field goal, one free throw, and a rebound for the Cougars. Her total game plays were five in the 2019-2020 season. Born in Oxnard, California, Hernandez attended Saint Bonaventure high school and became a two-time Coaches’ Award Honoree and served as Spanish Club officer and Girls All-State candidate during her high school years.

She achieved the Mangrum Award for Academic Excellence in the 2020 semester of her college career at Cal State San Marcos. The Mangrum Award for Academic Excellence is honored to student-athletes who remain on an average of 4.0-grade points per semester. Currently, she is preparing to obtain her business management degree. What is your typical day as an athlete? “I will wake up a little more than two hours before practice starts to follow my regular routines, such as getting ready for school and having breakfast. Then I will train at the gym for an

hour before training and get to the trainers. Being in my last semester and studying at school, there are conflicts between my classes that are available in practice times, so I am often rushing from classes to training. And because I have group project meetings, both classes and training times would probably intervene on those, but I am on Zoom, where I am trying to do group tasks and get those done.”

desk. I try to do homework every day and I get an extra two hours on Fridays and hopefully study on Sundays.”

How is your social interaction going right now?

What do you eat on your typical day?

“COVID makes social interactions tricky, so the Cougars have their own bubble right now, but after the winter COVID-19 breakthrough, we all promised each other to stay in our small group to make sure no one gets sick. Now, we are mainly hanging out with the team members. Occasionally, I will see people in my classes, but I will be home often and play safe.”

“Every morning I will eat a bowl of oatmeal mixed with fruits before practice because it keeps me full.”

How often do you train? “I will train week and get on Sunday to tally and

six days a a day off reset menphysically.”

When do you complete your school assignments? Photos courtesy of CSUSM Athletics.

Dominique Hernandez has a busy schedule, yet manages to excell in what she loves.

“Since we are playing, I lack time to do homework on Saturdays, but I try to maximize my time at my

Do you prefer group study or self-study? “I plan to study by myself, so I list things I need to accomplish and sit in my room for hours to do work and at the time, I will get a ten-minute break to relax and continue my study.”

What is your sleep routine? “This week, the coach told us the practice has moved to 9:30 a.m., so I get some extra time to rest. Typically, I wake up around 6:20 to 6:45 a.m., but sometimes I do have time to sleep, like this morning, until 7:30. At night, I try to sleep at a reasonable time, around 10:30 p.m.” Getting a look into the life of a student athlete allows our enjoyment of watching sports to grow even more. Show support for Herndandez and the CSUSM Women’s Basketball team here by attending their upcoming games.

after near two year layoff BY RAUL MARROQUIN Staff Writer


he CSUSM Men’s Track & Field team started off the season on a high note with a top 10 performance this past month, Jan. 29, in the OIDFE Challenge on Saturday at the Burns Track Complex. In the DMR, the Cougars ‘B’ team of Trevor Boaz, Jonathan Burton, Nick Melanese and Shea Vavra won with a time of 10:15.76 while the ‘A’ squad of Alex Anderson, David Bonds, Austin Edwards and Byaombe Mloko finished second in 11:10.07. In the one-mile run, three Cougars placed in the top five of the event. Ruben Piña placed third with a time of 4:20.46, followed by Joshua Litwiller coming in at 4:20.68, and Kibrom Elias with a time of

4:22.21. Jason Morse would also place in 11th coming in at 4:37.64 Other top performers during the meet included Justice Chima who won the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.01. In the 3,000-meter run, Melanese placed second with a time of 8:41.37, and Boaz was third in 8:41.89. Jalen Dorsey finished second in the long jump with a mark of 5.95 meters. Temidayo Fateropa placed second in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 9.05 while Shaun Katje was the lone entrant in the high jump and cleared a mark of 1.65 meters. The next time to see our Cougars back on the track is Feb. 26, at the Rossi relays, when they return to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps for their first countable meet of their return season.

Photos courtesy of CSUSM Athletics.

Track ad Field returns to competition after a break due to COVID.


CSUSM’S Dance takes on USA Nationals BY ZOE SILVA Sports Editor


leading the team. She communicates with the coach and assistant directors of campus recreation to help coordinate practices and events. In asking Veronica if it’s difficult to be a student while also managing a student-run athletic organization, she said it “can be difficult at times, but it has really helped me get better at my time management skills. In the end, it is rewarding to be able to take the stage and see all our hard work pay off.”

Carrasco finishes her conversation with The Cougar Chronicle by stating her favorite part of being a dancer at CSUSM. She said “dancing with all my girls and cheering on all of our cougars” is the best part of being a Cougar on the Dance Team. Another member of their team, Olivia Mann, has been dancing for 16 years, three of which were spent at Cal State University San Marcos. Third year member, Mann, was also kind enough to shed

some light on what the team has brought to her college experience here at CSUSM. When Mann was asked what about the team here at school is so important to her, she replied, “Being on the CSUSM Dance Team, I have not only found my home away from home but have created incredible bonds with these nine women. As people may know, college is a stressful time as students are furthering their education and discovering their career

paths. Having this team as a support system and dancing alongside women that cheer you on, wish you good luck, and are there for you with a shoulder to cry on is the most amazing thing I could ask for.” In regards to their upcoming competition at the USA Nationals, Olivia was asked what she hopes to be accomplished. In her reply, she states, “I hope that as a team, we are able to grow even stronger at Nationals. Not

id you know that CSUSM’s Campus Recreation Club Sports are student-run organizations? There are a total of 13 club sports here at Cal State University San Marcos, varying from men’s and women’s soccer to CSUSM Competitive Dance. The Cougar Dance team has a total of 10 members who perform at various sports events including basketball and soccer games. They will also be competing in USA Nationals located in Anaheim on the 26th and 27th of February. In the competition, the Cougars compete in the Open Dance Division which include DII, NAIA, and community colleges. They dance Jazz, HipHop, and Pom, all of which are in their competitive division. Their President, Veronica Carrasco, is the only senior on the team and was able to give us a few words on her experience being a dancing cougar. As the president, Carrasco is responsible for The dance team is composed of 10 dancers who dedicate time to learning routines.

only do I hope that we are able to place in our two different categories, but we are able to create more memories and strengthen the bonds within our team. I am so excited to get to take the floor with my best friends and see all of our hard work pay off.” The CSUSM Dance Team will be in Anaheim this weekend to compete in blue led by Veronica Carassco and Vice President Mariah Villamar. Best of luck to our Cougars!!!

Photo courtesy of CSUSM Athletics