Latinx representation in Oregon education system falls short P. 4
Opinion Media’s focus on crime in Portland is reactionary P. 5
PSU launches plan to engage community in athletics P. 9
Latinx representation in Oregon education system falls short P. 4
Opinion Media’s focus on crime in Portland is reactionary P. 5
PSU launches plan to engage community in athletics P. 9
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Colegio César Chávez: a college without walls
Portland’s crime wave is a media fiction
NEWS PSUFA continues bargaining for fair wages
EDITORIAL EDITOR IN CHIEF
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I am the new associate news editor for Portland State Vanguard. I’m incredibly excited and honored to begin this position, and I am working hard to uphold the high standards of journalism held here at Vanguard
I have a bachelor’s degree in English critical studies with a minor in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. My academic journey has and continues to pave the way for my passion for media criticism.
Currently, I am pursuing my master’s in English at PSU, focusing on queer theory and literature. My academic pursuits have only strengthened my dedication to tell real stories about real people and amplify the issues which impact the community most.
As an experienced journalist, I am committed to seeking the truth and reporting it accurately to ensure our news section remains a reliable source of information for everyone in the PSU community.
I recognize the importance of inclusivity, and am determined to make the news section an inclusive space where the voices of marginalized individuals are heard and represented.
My vision as the associate news editor is to provide relevant and impactful information to all readers, and to promote diversity and inclusivity within the publication. I believe giving voice to the marginalized and underserved is crucial in fostering community at PSU.
Latinos comprise the largest minority group in Oregon at 14% of the population. The state’s Latinx population has increased by 113% over the past 20 years, and now six Oregon counties account for a more significant percentage of Latinx residents than the national average of 19%.
However, Latinx representation in Oregon’s education falls exceptionally short of these numbers. Only 6.6% of Oregon school teachers are Latinx—as are a mere seven out of 194 school district superintendents
Disparities persist in higher education as well, with 16% of Latinx Oregonians having obtained a Bachelor’s degree or higher compared to 33% of white Oregonians.
“We feel like we don’t have equitable investment in our communities and equitable representation in our communities, and it’s true—I mean, we can prove it,” said Anthony Veliz, founder of Oregon’s Latino leadership network PODER.
Educational inequity is one of many systems of imbalance that PODER works to dismantle. The organization was born as a response to the pandemic’s disproportionate effect on Latinx and Indigenous Mesoamerican communities.
Today, PODER advocates for accessible healthcare, Spanish and Mesoamerican linguistic equity and economic security for Latinos across Oregon.
50 years ago, a kindred institution was responding to parallel issues—this time founded by Veliz’s very own father and others like him. This institution was Colegio César Chávez in Mt. Angel, Oregon—the country’s first independent, four-year Chicano university.
The college was made by and for Latinx/Chicano farm workers to forge a place in higher education for those who were—and are still—systematically excluded from mainstream institutions.
“My dad and a group of farmworkers knew instinctively—you know, because we were all farmworkers working in the fields—that the only way
out of the fields was to get an education,” Veliz said. “So in their great wisdom, they said, ‘Why don’t we start a college?’ And they actually did it.”
The educational model of a college without walls was the foundation of Colegio César Chávez’s construction—a progressive approach which valued community service, technical skills and independent projects in collaboration with faculty rather than limiting learning to a rigid grading system.
As the institution’s name suggests, Colegio César Chávez was fundamentally inspired by El Movimiento—the Chicano Movement—and subsequently emphasized multicultural and bilingual education, Latino and BIPOC empowerment and representation for labor rights for farm workers.
Despite this uniquely inclusive framework, the institution ended up dissolving due to financial constraints in 1983.
The college has left an indelible mark on Oregon’s history. In honor of the college’s fiftieth anniversary, PODER will be hosting a celebratory event on August 26. Alongside food, games, live music and entertainment, there will be an exhibit dedicated to the history of the college and a storytelling panel composed of the college’s founders.
“It’s going to be beautiful, historic, once in a lifetime,” Veliz said. “Literally once in a lifetime, because the founders are in their eighties, so those that are still with us will be there to celebrate.” Additionally, paid tickets are available for the event’s kick-off breakfast with keynote speaker Dr. Gustavo Balderas—a nationally recognized educator and the Beaverton school district superintendent.
Many educational institutions, community members and local organizations are coming together to make this event informative and actionable. “It is Oregon’s history and farmworker history,” said Veliz. “We think it’s really important that all Oregonians learn a little bit about our past.”
Moving into the future, PODER advocates for
greater Chicano-Latino representation throughout Oregon’s social and educational institutions.
“About PODER and the colegio—to me, it’s the modern-day movimiento,” Veliz said.
“The original movement was like César Chávez, Dolores Huerta—and they did it the way they did,” he said. “Now you’re talking fifty years later, but still with the spirit of serving and advocating for the most vulnerable parts of our community—which are undocumented, Indigenous, Mesoamerican farmworkers.”
One way that post-secondary institutions could support Latinx students is by pursuing the Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) designation, a federal program that requires a 25% Hispanic or Latino student population. Qualifying as an HSI allows institutions to receive additional federal funding and support systems for Latinx students.
While many of Oregon’s higher education institutions do offer Chicano/Latinx studies and cultural centers, such a designation would indicate a commitment to serving the Latinx community on a larger scale and act as a university-wide initiative for the admission and retention of Latinx students.
Colegio César Chávez represented an institution committed to creating educational opportunities and accessibility. While the college
exists today in memory, Veliz imagines a prospective reopening.
“There’s gonna be a major push, and it’s gonna happen,” he said. “I believe that we’re going to jumpstart Colegio César Chávez, probably virtually and then maybe eventually into brick and mortar someday.”
“I can see us tapping into the best and brightest minds—Chicano, Latino professors in America—to teach, because virtually there are no walls,” said Veliz. “So that’s really exciting.”
The Colegio César Chávez fiftieth anniversary will take place in Mt. Angel, Oregon. It will be free and open to the public by reservation on PODER’s website.
If you’ve been watching the news for the last few years, you’ve probably heard about the supposed crime wave sweeping Portland— homicide rates are skyrocketing, businesses are closing and the police are struggling to keep up with Portland’s “ongoing surge in crime,” according to one NewsNation report.
The only problem? That’s not true. Portland’s crime wave is an exaggerated media creation. Per one KPTV report, Portland doesn’t even crack the top 15 list of most dangerous cities in the United States, and it ranks twenty-first in per-capita crime, according to KGW. However, you wouldn’t know that if you’ve been watching the news.
After Coava Coffee Roasters shuttered their downtown location in April, citing “extreme violence and criminal activity on an almost daily basis,” the closure became fodder for countless news sites. KPTV, the New York Post, Blaze Media and Breitbart all took the opportunity to jump on the issue. “Portland coffee shop closes downtown location due to ‘extreme violence’ and ‘crime,’” stated KPTV’s headline.
It is not just Coava, either. Everywhere you look there’s a story about yet another business closing due to the supposed crime epidemic. “REI Blames Costly Crime Wave for Pulling Out of Portland,” stated one Yahoo headline. “Walmart to close remaining Portland stores as crime-ridden city battles shoplifting wave,” according to a New York Post article. Local news station KOIN 6 News started off one 2022 article claiming “
continued vandalism in Portland leaves business owners having to pick up the pieces.”
The media frenzy over the supposed crime wave is an extension of the law and order ideology which has guided American politics for the better part of the last century. This was spurred on by national figures like former President Donald Trump exploiting the 2020 protests against police brutality—such as when he tweeted in August 2020, “People of Portland, and other Democratrun cities, are disgusted.” Or when he simply tweeted “LAW & ORDER!!!” in all caps.
However, those flashy, public pronouncements of law and order politics are only the tip of the iceberg. The more insidious threat comes from media coverage that hammers incessantly on crime, crime, crime until even the most casual reader begins to come around to the narrative.
Look at how major media outlets report on Portland’s crime wave. One article from the LA Times began, “if you want to understand the schism that dominates the political and social landscape in this famously liberal city, a walk down Southeast Rhine Street might be a good place to start.” The headline has an even more explicitly anti-liberal bent. “What’s the matter with Portland? Shootings, theft, and other crime test city’s progressive strain,” stated the article.
That LA Times article is not an opinion piece. It is a news article filed under the paper’s World & Nation section and written
by one of their national correspondents. It’s written in the style of a straight news article, too. The prose conforms to AP style and cites interviews from multiple sources, including Portland City Commissioner Mingus Mapps.
It is articles like these that cause the most harm. By sticking to established news standards, media outlets can lend themselves a sense of objectivity, even when laundering reactionary political opinions. “Long hailed as a model of conscientious urban planning and civic engagement, Portland is facing a crisis of confidence,” stated the article. “A backlash [to progressive policies] is underway.”
The message here is that Portland—riddled with crime—is due to the folly of progressive reformers, but the LA Times isn’t officially saying that. Instead, they slip those politics into their news section, where the sheen of journalistic objectivity gives that narrative a sense of legitimacy that it would not have if it were simply run through an op-ed column.
In his book Manufacturing Consent , linguist and social critic Noam Chomsky described how media organizations run propaganda campaigns to steer political discourse. “Propaganda campaigns, in general, have been closely attuned to elite interests,” Chomsky stated, even though media outlets run with stories that are useful to their bottom line.
That’s clear to see in how other mainstream outlets report on Portland.
For example, look at how KGW reports on
Portland police. “Portland among major cities losing police officers, which is affecting residents,” stated the headline of one AP wire story. The subhead continued, “Pandemic burnout, budget cuts, and anti-police protests have reduced police ranks in major American cities, including Portland.”
It’s hard not to read this as blatant pro-police propaganda, as it all but says that Portland’s supposed spike in killings results from disillusioned police officers overrun by anti-police protesters and misguided progressives.
Willamette Week tackled this issue in a July 2022 article. “Violent crime is the story of Portland’s summer,” the article stated. “However, are progressive reforms and activist politicians to blame for the latest crime wave?”
Citing a report from the Brennan Center, the article stated that there “just isn’t enough evidence to establish a link between increased violence and progressive policies” and pointed out that the evidence suggested “broad national causes driving crime” across the country.
The next time you read a story about crime in Portland, take a second to ask yourself who benefits from that story. Why are you hearing that particular narrative? The media’s focus on crime in Portland is designed to push a reactionary law and order narrative and crack down on progressive political action. It is our job as media consumers to keep an eye out for when news organizations try to manufacture consent for pro-police policies.
The PSU Faculty Association (PSUFA) met with Portland State’s administration on July 19 in another Cost of Living Increase (COLA) bargaining session for adjunct professors. The PSUFA—a democratic union advocating for part-time faculty at PSU since 1979—has negotiated for a COLA since March 10. The bargaining session on July 19 was the first time the PSU administration presented the PSUFA with an offer.
According to Shannon Kidd—an adjunct professor for the School of Art + Design—the PSU administration offered adjuncts an 8% increase on the top wage they could make. Another bargaining session was held on July 28 so PSUFA could respond to the offer
“Adjuncts don’t really make hardly any money doing what we do, even though we’re just as qualified as full-time faculty,” Kidd said. “Even if we are offered a cost of living increase
of 8%, it’s an 8% increase on the top wage we can be paid—which is about $25,000 a year— versus the lowest pay that full-time faculty can receive—which is usually about $60,000 a year. So an 8% increase in their wage versus an 8% increase in our wage doesn’t really match out. It’s an increase—that’s a win—but it’s still not very much.”
Kidd explained how the continued bargaining is part of an economic reopen process—which occurs at the halfway point of their five-year contract and allows them to edit the parts of the contract which were established in previous years and no longer serve PSUFA’s needs.
During the past few bargaining sessions, Kidd said that the PSUFA presented their requests to the administration. The PSUFA provided all the details behind their demands for increased pay, a need for adjuncts to purchase
technology and the various reasons why they deserve to receive a livable wage.
The PSU administration has resisted these tasks. Kidd said PSU claimed they needed to allocate the funds required for a COLA elsewhere. “Some of the loose reasons we’ve gotten is that there’s just funds that need to be allocated to other places, but we don’t really know where those other places are,” Kidd said.
When asked for a comment, PSU stated that the Office of Academic Affairs “continues to work together with PSUFA to find solutions. Bargaining is ongoing, resuming again Friday, July 28.”
Emily Ford—president of the PSU chapter of the American Association of University Professors —explained how the full-time union successfully secured a COLA for fulltime faculty during their economic reopening process which ended in December.
“We were successful, so that means there is
no reason that PSUFA and the university cannot adequately acknowledge the labor that adjuncts perform on behalf of our students, and their contributions to student success and retention and student learning,” Ford said.
Ford explained how adjunct professors at PSU do just as much work as full-time faculty developing curriculums and supporting students academically and emotionally. “There is no reason that—because of their contingent status—[adjuncts] should not be afforded equal compensation, benefits for healthcare or sick time. It’s equal pay for equal work.” Ford said.
“The PSU administration is really good at crying wolf when it comes to their budget,” Ford continued. “I don’t know that [the] PSU administration is putting their financial resources behind the teaching mission of the university. If the administration were putting its financial resources behind the student-serving mission
of the university, then the people who work for the university to support, retain and teach students would not have to fight tooth and nail for what they deserve in terms of compensation, health benefits and salary step increases based on years of service at the university.”
According to a 2016 report on the PSUFA website, 47% of all PSU faculty work as adjuncts. However, Kidd explained how most adjuncts cannot make a liveable wage solely by working at PSU, and how most adjuncts work at multiple universities simultaneously.
“There have been accounts of adjuncts living in their car while teaching, so it’s pretty desperate times,” Kidd said. “Canned tomatoes in the store where I shop are $12 a can. If that doesn’t represent a need for a cost of living increase, then I don’t know what does. PSU just does not meet the needs for adjuncts. Unfortunately, that’s pretty standard for a lot of universities.”
Despite all the work done by adjunct faculty, Kidd said they aren’t provided the same healthcare, sick leave, benefits or protections as full-time faculty. If she becomes ill or requires time off, she has no health insurance and cannot receive sick leave or paid time off. Additionally, there is no guarantee that she will receive rehire.
“The unstable footing that being an adjunct builds is really unfortunate,” Kidd said. “I do not get paid to build a curriculum, but I do. If I had more of a wage, I could spend 60 hours a week building a curriculum and I could make even cooler classes, but I just don’t get paid enough to make that worth it at all.”
According to the PSUFA’s Bargaining Recap for their July 14 session, PSU adjuncts make up roughly 3% of the university’s budget and teach about 40% of the credit hours. Adjuncttaught classes pulled in more than $59 million
in tuition for the university last year.
“Collectively, the PSU team (7 people) sitting across the table cost the university over $1 million dollars a year,” the bargaining recap stated. “Our proposal, which would make meaningful change to the lives of 1,200 adjuncts, costs in total around $6 million. A $6 million increase to the PSU adjunct budget to approach equal pay for equal work—although we would still not be there—is more than reasonable.”
The bargaining recap explained how the fulltime union received an additional $9.4 million for the 2024 fiscal year, while the PSU administration chided the PSUFA for “trying to change the structural conditions of a contract negotiation.”
“Every budgetary decision PSU makes is a choice,” the bargaining recap stated. “If PSU denies our proposals, it’s not because they can’t afford it—it’s because they don’t want to. We are cheap labor for the university, and they want to
keep us that way. We need radical transformation for adjuncts at PSU because that is what equal-pay-for-equal-work requires, and that is what ending the two-tiered system of adjunctification in higher education necessitates.”
As the PSUFA continues to bargain for fair wages, Kidd urges students and supporters to attend their bargaining sessions—which are held via Zoom and can be found on the PSUFA’s Instagram page alongside additional information and updates on the bargaining process.
“One thing that is really beautiful about adjuncts is that they bring a very distinct flavor of experience and usually more current, up-todate information about the job climate, “Kidd said. “We are not teaching because it pays the bills. I don’t get health care. I don’t have any protections. I’m living under poverty wages. There’s a lot of stuff stacked against it, but I love this job so much that it outweighs the bad.”
The Portland Festival of Cinema, Animation & Technology (PFCAT) will be held from August 3–6 at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI). The event promises an exciting lineup of 119 films, including 110 world or regional premieres from 22 countries. In addition to the screenings, attendees can look forward to engaging in panel discussions, presentations and parties.
The lineup highlights various film techniques, from stop-motion and rotoscope to the charm of hand-drawn animation.
Alongside these animated wonders, you’ll also get to explore a selection of features, documentaries, sci-fi shorts and groundbreaking projects pushing the boundaries of VFX and technology.
“Technology as a tool has the potential to let people [working with] really tiny budgets do things that you could put it side-by-side with the big-budget, corporate projects,” said M. Lynn Cohen, co-organizer of PFCAT. “It could hold up potentially—which is exciting
because that allows for new voices to get out there with their projects that might otherwise not be able to be seen—and that’s our goal. There is a wide range of ways to tell stories, which leads to a diverse collection of narratives.”
People in the film industry are in a better position than ever with software and advanced technology that allows more people more potential to be filmmakers. This festival uplifts smaller creators and studios, as well as those still learning the process of cinematography. “We have a Best Student Film award, and the student films that we have in this are so cool,” Cohen said. “It’s amazing what students are doing.”
In addition to smaller, less established creators, there will also be creatives at the festival who worked on larger projects—such as Dylan Coburn, the visual effects art director on Amazon Prime’s Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power series—who will have a project screening at the festival titled Fear Incarnate Even locally famous creators like Mike
Bennett —known for the fantastical designs of Dinolandia and Wonderwood Springs— will be involved in this festival. He has personally crafted the festival awards for this year’s winners.
This festival put immense effort into creating space for all ages, as well as finding a range of different films from around the world to represent stories which people might not be exposed to elsewhere.
The event also provides opportunities to make meaningful connections for local and international collaboration. The festival immerses creative people in the craft and new technology.
In 2022—its eleventh year—the event formally known as the International Festival of Cinema and Technology has undergone a transformative rebranding to become PFCAT. This shift in identity served two crucial purposes. It designated Portland as the festival’s new home and highlighted a pronounced focus on animation.
Throughout its history, PCAT has established an impressive track record of organizing
over 30 events in eight different cities across the United States, as well as expanding its reach to several cities in Australia. It has left its mark in global entertainment hubs—such as Toronto, Paris and Sydney—solidifying its position as a truly international celebration of cinema, animation and technology.
The rebrand’s focus on animation is due to the high volume of animations featured. It amplifies the desire for a changed attitude towards animation as a multifaceted, storysharing medium.
“We really wanted to put more of a focus in the spotlight on animation, and that’s why we put it right in the title—because our view is that animation is a form of film,” Cohen said. “Sometimes it’s not given its due at film festivals.”
“Part of what we’re trying to do with the festivals is remind folks that animation is storytelling,” said Peter Issaac Alexander, co-organizer of PFCAT. “If you’re filming something live-action digitally, it’s all about transporting an audience, and it’s just a different method.”
Last week, Portland State’s athletics department announced a new five-year plan, now dubbed Build the Ship and anchored in community engagement and support. This ambitious blueprint is poised to transform the collegiate sports landscape at PSU.
Before Athletic Director John Johnson’s arrival, the university asked him to chart a course for the sports program. This journey started with an in-depth review of past achievements, focusing on academic excellence, athletic accomplishments and exposure through national broadcasts.
According to Johnson, they brought some extra exposure to PSU last season by scoring six national broadcasts, 11 live and local broadcasts and over 150 live streams of athletic events.
PSU recognized the power of unity and solidarity, emphasizing how supporting its athletics program is a win-win situation for the university and the city. “Some are traditional students, some have families, et cetera, so we plan to put packages together to help them very efficiently while they have fun,” Johnson said. “We want to be the place to go.”
By backing PSU’s sports teams, Portlanders can take pride in the success of their home team—whether they are alumni or not. “I believe that Portland State and our athletics can help bring back the city and community engagement downtown,” Johnson said.
PSU recognized the need to be self-sufficient and not solely rely on financial reserves to fund its athletics program. Thus, the strategic plan emphasized the importance of increasing revenue through various channels, including ticket sales, sponsorships and fundraising.
Extensive research and outreach were conducted to support the core missions of the plan.
Johnson created the Athletic Futures Report, a comprehensive analysis of the university’s potential for success after COVID-19.
Athletics uniquely unite people, transcending boundaries of race, religion and social status. To foster this spirit of diversity at PSU, the university conducted equity reviews to ensure that its approach to athletics was inclusive and fair.
Furthermore, the university engaged experts from a local sports business consulting company— SRO Strategies—and Collegiate Sports
Associates to assess market opportunities and conference memberships, ensuring that PSU was on the right track.
“Before you can go forward, you have to take a look at where you’ve been,” said Johnson on looking to improve the program. “And very clearly we’ve had great academic success. We’ve had 1,037 conference athletes and 33 all-Americans since we’ve been in the Big Sky. Our student GPA is 3.34 for all of our athletes. 18% of our student athletes are 4.0 a 44% or 3.5 or above.” So they shifted their focus to the community.
As the five-year plan reaches its destination, PSU envisions a city painted green from being united in pride and passion for their sports teams. The university hopes that the achievements on the field and court will serve as a testament to what a collective effort can achieve.
PSU hopes to strengthen its bond with Portland through the journey’s highs and lows, and believes that the city’s culture and identity will benefit significantly from this positive impact. Whether you are an avid sports enthusiast or a newcomer to the world of athletics, there’s a place for you in this grand voyage.
With its deep-rooted history in the Big Sky Conference, PSU reaffirmed its commitment to this league. Big Sky is a collegiate athletic conference in the United States that competes at the National Collegiate Athletics Association Division I level. Member schools engage in competitive rivalries and tournaments throughout the academic year, culminating in championship events.
The conference provides student-athletes opportunities to showcase their talents, foster athletic growth and emphasize the importance of academics and sportsmanship. Over the years, the conference has evolved to become an integral part of the college sports landscape, promoting a spirit of healthy competition and fostering a sense of community among its member institutions.
For finances and exposure, the conference provided the best platform for the university’s sports programs. Additionally, being located in the most prominent recruiting market of the conference only strengthened PSU’s decision to stay anchored within the Big Sky.
In the quest for increased revenue, sponsorships play a crucial role. PSU is exploring new
partnerships to support the athletics program financially and enhance the overall fan experience. Collaborations with local businesses and alumni will add a vibrant touch to PSU’s sports events.
Through this strategic plan, PSU seeks to be a catalyst for rejuvenating Portland’s team spirit. By planning to host exciting events and engaging the community before games, the university aims to foster a sense of pride and unity, reminding everyone that supporting PSU athletics is supporting the entire city.
PSU encourages everyone to actively participate in this vision as the ship sets sail by
embracing the spirit of unity and pride. “We need to sell the city and [the] fact that Portland State Athletics are good for Portland, whether you’re alumni or not,” Johnson said. “And that’s, again, part of being involved [in] putting together promotions and group tickets for youth, for businesses, to get them here to have great outings with friends and family [and] to see what a wonderful campus and facilities we have.”
With the collective support of Viking supporters, boosters, sponsors and stakeholders, the vision aims to elevate PSU athletics and contribute positively to the entire city of Portland.
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