September 14, 2021

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OFFICIALS DEBATE CLOSING CAMPUS Fresno State’s Award-Winning Newspaper

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

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MARCH ON! Fresno State Marching Band returns to the field for the first time in two seasons. See how the students are making a transition back. Page 7

Kameron Thorn • The Collegian






The new normal: residents return to student housing By Adam Solis Reporter Face coverings, sanitization and COVID-19 testing are the norm at student housing as student residents return to the dorms after interruptions due to the pandemic. “I think the way it is now is pretty good because there’s a sense of trust that people will take these precautions as they say,” said freshman Victoria Diaz. “They’re saying to take precautions and they trust the students will take those precautions and take it to heart, as to consider others around them.” This semester, many students are experiencing on-campus living for the first time either because the pandemic interrupted their on-campus experience in 2020 or because it’s their first year at the university. As of Aug. 17, the full capacity of 1,100 students returned to the dorms this semester at Fresno State, according to Fresno State public information officer Lisa Boyles Bell. It’s about a 434% increase of students from last year when only 206 students stayed at the dorms. Diaz moved into the dorms this semester in hopes of being closer to campus and saving time on her commute. She said that the highlight of moving in has been being able to participate in many extracurricular activities. “I like that being here allows you to participate more in the activities that the school provides,” Diaz said. “So like, in those activities you get to go out, you have fun and then you come back so it’s not too far and it’s pretty safe around here.” Prior to moving in on Aug. 19, students had to show proof of vaccination of at least the first dose or seek a medical or religious exemption. They also have to take COVID-19 tests regularly regardless of their vaccination status. “Some new rules this year are that every student was required to have a negative COVID test within 72 hours of check-in regardless of vaccination status. If the student is not fully vaccinated they are required to get COVID tested weekly at the SSU [Satellite Student Union],” assistant director of housing Michele Dunlap said. Hailey Howes, a junior biology major, moved back into student housing this semester, and in previous semesters, the residential community was like a family to her, where everyone was together when there were activities. Because she didn’t know many people starting off at Fresno State, the chance to make new friends in the dorms was a major part of why she decided to move into student housing, Howes said. As a returning resident, she

Jannah Geraldo • The Collegian

Victoria Diaz, freshman, poses for a portait in her dorm room at student housing on Friday, Sept. 10, 2021. enjoyed having the chance to interact and help new students navigate their way around campus. “Now, it’s a little more isolated. That’s just purely because of social distancing and COVID. However, student housing is currently trying to make an effort to get students more involved with each other, with smaller activities with smaller groups,” Howes said. Isolation protocols are in place if a resident is exposed to COVID-19. Students who have to isolate can take advantage of a dining service delivery program, and sick residents get isolation kits, containing disinfectant, paper towels and other resources. Karen Carillo, a junior Chicano studies major, was one of the residents who needed to isolate herself after being near someone who tested positive for COVID-19 last semester and has since decided to move out. She is now living off-campus this semester because of her experience while isolating. “I felt less alone when one of my roommates had actually quarantined earlier that school year, and she told me of her poor experience and that’s when I knew I’m not just acting like a brat. I’m not acting like I need high end royalty care here,” she said. Despite having a bad experience in isolation, Carillo still encourages students to move in since it’s an experience she says that everyone should have when they come to campus.

Jannah Geraldo • The Collegian Signs can be found outside of the student housing Atrium reminding students about COVID-19 policies and self-certification requirements.




Students concerned about delta, possible closure discussed By Edward Lopez Reporter Fresno State freshman music major Nick Vawter, 18, faced a COVID-19 scare before the start of his semester. His friend ended up testing positive for COVID-19, and he got tested as a precaution to keep elderly family members safe. It’s scary, Vawter said, and it keeps people alert. Still, he’s excited for his first semester of college – the possibility of a college experience – which starkly contrasts with his final virtual year of high school. He enjoys being able to interact with fellow students and do different activities, like playing his guitar. Vawter is worried about the prospect of the university transitioning to an online format due to the sharp rise of COVID-19 cases related to the delta variant, a highly transmissible strain of the disease. Many students, like Vawter, have concerns and reservations of being on-campus due to the delta variant. University officials are taking notice too, developing plans to possibly switch to virtual instruction after Thanksgiving. For students, it’s about weighing the risks: To what extent do I feel comfortable risking my safety for my education? They’re concerned about the pandemic but also don’t want to go back to an unsatisfactory online experience. “I think that it’s a real tragedy and we had to do what we had to do, and we are still feeling the effects of it... I think it’s taught us a lot and has definitely changed the trajectory of everyone’s mindset,” Vawter said. Vaccination rates are a key part of students feeling safe on campus. About 75.1% of students have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 9.72% of students are in the process of doing so, according to Fresno State public information officer Lisa Boyles Bell. Jasmine Rymer, a senior liberal studies major, said that her anthropology professor Walter Dodd told students after class that faculty members in his department are considering transitioning to online learning. Rymer, like Vawter, is worried about transitioning to an online learning environment once again due to the ramifications it may have on her educational career. “When COVID-19 started, transitioning to online learning was hard. Then the whole stayat-home order came and caused a bad depression episode and I only passed two of my four classes in the spring of this year,” Rymer said. “When my professor said we may transition

Melina Kazanjian• The Collegian

COVID-19 guidelines and a sanitizing station at the DISCOVERe Hub at the Henry Madden Library, a common occurrence throughout the campus. back to online learning, my heart sank.” Even with stringent enforcement of COVID-19 regulations on the campus, the rise of cases could jeopardize the university’s plans for a mostly in-person semester. The Office of the President reported that there have been a total of 248 confirmed COVID-19 cases amongst campus community members since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. After Aug. 9 there have been a total of 84 confirmed cases of COVID-19. There are currently 43 additional cases that the Office of the President is currently investigating, the Fresno State COVID-19 website said. Currently, the university is discussing contingency plans to transition from in-person classes to a virtual environment after Thanksgiving should conditions worsen on the university campus, said Honora Chapman, dean of the College of Arts and Humanities. “On Tuesday, Aug. 24 at 9 a.m. the provost [Xuanning Fu] called a meeting of the deans and we talked at great length for an hour about everything to do about repopulating the cam-

pus... We talked about ‘Plan B,’ ” Chapman said. Chapman described the university contingency plan as something that grew out of an initiative to prevent any potential outbreaks that may arise by simply waiting for the inevitable due to the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. “In the case of Aug. 24 the provost is saying to us ‘Plan B.’ What happens if we have massive multiple breakthrough COVID infections? What if it [is] just sweeping like wildfire, and we received word advising [told] us to shut down?” said Chapman. According to Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Xuanning Fu, the deans have met on a number of occasions to discuss a contingency plan. “The deans have met many times too on this topic, not just on Aug. 24,” Fu said. “With the fall semester underway, we have been carefully watching the development of the pandemic and preparing for different scenarios… No decisions have been made yet. Our decision-making process will be guided by the circumstances on the university campus.” Chapman said the current plan to transition

to online education after Thanksgiving would be a natural transition to prevent potential outbreaks on campus as a result of people mingling during the break. At this time, the contingency plan is only in discussion. During the Sept. 9 virtual President’s Forum, President Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval confirmed the existence of the ongoing discussions as a method to prevent potential outbreaks on campus. “On the one hand, I think students [would] appreciate going to virtual after the Thanksgiving break because we only have just a few days after Thanksgiving in order to finish the semester off,” Jiménez-Sandoval said. “And then on the other hand… it’ll be good to not all return after Thanksgiving, after we have been with family and friends and spending the weekend, you know, with other people. So that in order to mitigate a little bit of the spread as well.” He said the current contingency plan is subject to change as the situation evolves given the present conditions of the pandemic. “This is not set in stone right now, we are exploring the possibility. And we are constantly asking for feedback from the county, from the hospitals, from our health officials; from everyone,” Jiménez-Sandoval said. “What COVID has taught us more than anything is that we cannot plan two months ahead… We have to go with the moment with a process with the presence that is here with us.” In previous discussions with state and health officials, September is slated to be a bumpy ride, Jiménez-Sandoval said. However, the university is committed to remaining in-person through the month. “We are focused right now 100% on trying to remain face-to-face through September, because then I’m being told that once September is gone and then October comes, the situation [will] stabilize once again,” Jiménez-Sandoval said. Although optimistic that he will be able to continue his first on campus semester in-person, Vawter holds reservations as to whether or not the current situation is viable for a prolonged period of time given the mutations of COVID-19. “I mean looking at this scene. It looks like a somewhat normal state, right? But if things really ramp up and goes to the worse then they have to do what they have to do. I really hope that [doesn’t happen] because I love being on campus and the vibe and everything,” said Vawter.




ASI discusses menstrual products, DACA ally training at meeting

Jannah Geraldo • The Collegian

Associated Student Inc. discussed potential projects for the fall semester at the Wednesday, Sept. 8 senate meeting, including a menstrual product proposal.

By Jannah Geraldo News Editor Fresno State Associated Students Inc. (ASI) senators discussed a menstrual product proposal and undocumented ally training from the Dream Success Center at the senate meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 8. Senators met in-person, but due to current circumstances caused by COVID-19, the meeting remained closed to the public and was live streamed to the ASI Facebook page. Senator of Operations and Resident Affairs Megan Torres brought attention to the menstrual product proposal she previously recommended as a student to ASI during the 20202021 year regarding accessibility to menstrual products on campus. “Based on our data, there’s about 12,000 students who use menstrual products here on campus,” Torres said. “While the majority are female students, there are a lot of students who are nonbinary and male students who require these products, and they’re really not represented or heard.” The resolution to expand inclusive accessibility to menstrual products was passed at the Sept. 2, 2020 meeting unanimously by the former 2020-2021 ASI senate. Torres said that the project will require funding from ASI.

According to Torres, the menstrual products will be purchased one unit at $125, and each unit will contain 500 products. She said that a six-month trial run of the project will require 60 units — 30,000 menstrual products — and will total $8,162.50 with tax and shipping. “And if you break By the numbers that down with our 12,000 students, that’s about 68 cents per student. 68. That is a very doable number,” Torres said. At this time, Torres said a reserve pull from the ASI budget will fully cover the project and will provide menstrual products at about 30 to 50 locations including student housing, gender-neutral bathrooms and additional women’s restrooms. David Klein, senator of university innovations, said that adding the 68 cents as a student fee increase could be a permanent solution to the project. “I’m a little worried if we were to approve the form through ASI that they wouldn’t con-

tinuously get approved... so that’s why I wanted to propose adding it into the student fund... that way it actually gets paid for every year,” Klein said. ASI President D’Aungillique Jackson assured that, if the project were approved longterm, it would be written into the ASI budget. “Ideally what you’re doing is solidifying this for the next year… So there is security in utilizing that ASI budget,” Jackson said. The funding for this project was discussed at this meeting and will be voted upon at a later date. Senator for the College of Science and Mathematics Jacqueline Campos Ledezma discussed information about a planned undocumented ally training for student leaders to be held by the Dream Success Center. Ledezma currently works as a peer mentor and helps guide a group of first-year Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients.


Menstrual products will be provided at about 30 to 50 locations on campus if this project were to receive ASI funding.

“As a peer-mentor, I can attest to the devastating implications that our students have experienced due to the hold on first-time DACA applications,” she said. “I have also noticed a decrease in the number of first-year undocumented students enrolled in classes.” After talking with Gaby Encinas, coordinator for the Dream Success Center, Ledezma said the center plans to host a number of events beginning the week of Oct. 18. The events will include information for students about the center’s legal services and other resources. “The training will bring awareness to the obstacles that our students are facing and provide meaningful allyships that will make them feel supported,” she said. Other events planned include guest speakers, a rally and information sessions. Additionally, a condensed, two-hour undocumented ally training is planned for interested student leaders. “Take advantage of this resource because, for example, like you’re saying because it’s hard and a lot of people want to know about this stuff, but like it’s hard... know that this resource is here,” Senator of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Karen Carrillo said. “Take advantage of it. We are leaders, and we should be leading by example.”








Campus Pointe expands with Kennel Marketplace By Sydney Morgan Reporter The Square at Campus Pointe had a new grand opening for one of its stores Friday. The Kennel Marketplace, which is selling university-themed apparel and gifts, held its grand opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The marketplace, besides selling apparel and gifts, also sells Apple products such as Airpods, MacBooks, and iPads. They are currently setting up a T-shirt bar where customers can choose patches to put onto their desired articles of clothing. Many students, families and special guests attended the opening to support the university. The store also held an event on Saturday, Sept. 11, to honor first responders as part of its grand-opening weekend. “There were lines going out the door, and we made over $35,000 just from [Saturday],” said Alyssa Alafa, a Fresno State senior and team lead for the store. The event had free goods such as donuts, balloon animals and limited time color-changing Fresno State cups. “We had games like cornhole and jenga, and we had food yesterday,” said Michaela Grey, a Fresno State alumna and team lead for the store. Campus Pointe is located east of the Save Mart Center and is home to multiple studentliving areas, restaurants and attractions. According to Fresno State News, the area was set up as a 45-acre mixed use development project, and Kashian Enterprises is the master developer of the project. The area has been developed to provide a college-town experience with residential, retail and commercial uses. The development plan includes 180,000 square feet of retail and office

Sydney Morgan • The Collegian

The Kennel Marketplace celebrated their grand opening last weekend at The Square on Campus Pointe. The Starbucks inside has a Victor E.-themed drink available. space, a full-service business hotel, a 14-screen megaplex theater and 1,000 units of multi-family retail and senior housing, according to the university. There is also a Starbucks bar in the corner of the marketplace and a few tables scattered around it for students to work on homework, projects or just hang out to get out of the summer heat. The Starbucks location inside is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. “There was a lot of foot traffic this weekend. It was really good for our business,” said Hunter Wooldridge, supervisor and shift lead for Starbucks. During the grand opening, this Starbucks

location released a specialty drink to commemorate Fresno State students, athletes and faculty. The drink is called the “Victor E. Bulldog Frappuccino,” which is a cream-based frappuccino that includes strawberry inclusion and puree, whipped cream, white chocolate and a cookie-crumble topping. The new Kennel Marketplace is open from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday to Sunday and is the first store on the left of the Campus Pointe entrance. If you are looking for restaurants for lunch or dinner at Campus Pointe, you can choose from a variety of choices: Pieology, Hino Oishi (sushi and teppanyaki), Mad Duck Craft Brew-

ing, Què Pasa Mexican Cafe, Bulldoc Korean Fusion, Wahoo’s Fish Tacos, Ike’s Love and Sandwiches and Farm Fresh Bowls. There are also places you could go to fulfill those ‘treat yo’ self’ moments, such as Sweet Lyfe Boba Bar, Coldstone Creamery, Collect Coffee Bar and now the crowd favorite located inside the new Kennel Marketplace, Starbucks. A Maya Cinemas movie theatre lies within the center of the square along with an outdoor sitting area. The area also has several seasonal events including “Rock the Mall” outdoor concerts hosted by The Fox 95.7 station, cornhole competitions put together by Dawg Pound Cornhole League and Cars at the Pointe, among others.




Bulldog Marching Band marches back onto campus By Miranda Adams Reporter The Best in the West can’t be hushed for long. The Bulldog Marching Band (BMB) is back after a two year hiatus following the pandemic. “The first time we played it was so surreal,” said Joshua Bell, president of the band council. “You have a conductor in front of you and a director telling you, ‘I need you to play a little bit louder,’ and I missed that feeling. It was very nostalgic playing in person again.” Marching Band was one of the few classes to be completely canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, with no fans in the stands at Fresno State football games, that meant no marching band. “Much of the band is my source of community,” said Lauren Webb, who plays the mellophone in the marching band. “To have that large community and have it be taken away during that time is very difficult, especially when you’re a music student, and there are certain things that you go to, and are used to doing.” Kaitlyn Jones, who has been a member of the BMB for three years, points out that the cancellation was very sudden. “It was weird because we expected to come back,” she said. “A lot of programs were told, ‘you guys won’t come back,’ but we had planned to.” The Sierra Classic Cup, the high school marching band competition hosted by the BMB, was also canceled last year. Although this is one of the band’s largest fundraisers, revenue was not lost as the band did not incur any expenses that year. Even though the news may have been disappointing and difficult, students were understanding of the situation. “If I’m being honest, I thought it was better that way,” said Aurora Flores, a piccolo player in the BMB. “Since we are a really big group I don’t think it would have been a good idea for the whole band to be together during that time.” The 253 member band has been working diligently to follow COVID-19 precautions. Both the musicians and the instruments mask up while indoors, albeit only the brass instruments have to wear bell covers. For some members, auditions were held virtually. Julie Richards, a member of the color guard, auditioned virtually this year and last. “It felt very weird not having a traditional audition,” she said. “We sent in our own videos, but we didn’t meet anybody until we came to campus, so we definitely missed out on a lot of bonding.”

Kameron Thorn • The Collegian

Members of the Bulldog Marching Band attend practice in person on Sept. 8, 2021 after a two year hiatus due to COVID19. The pandemic posed several other unique challenges to students. For some, it was the shoulder pain from marching with a 40-pound sousaphone after not having done so in over a year. For others, it was the mental stress. “Not having marched for a year, there was some hesitation [returning],” Gracie De La Cerda, BMB clarinetist, said. “I was a bit scared that I wasn’t going to remember everything, but it worked out because everything was taught very well and very thoroughly.” De La Cerda is one of the many new members to the BMB. The majority of the 2021 BMB are new to the band because of the gap year caused by COVID-19. This large incoming class meant fewer mentors and more new learners. Despite this challenge, the band was able to march on. “From the very beginning of band camp, everyone has been giving full focus and effort to learning our marching technique and performance style,” said Michael Gil, head drum major. “Some of our members came in without field show experience, but we have a lot of experienced members in each section who have done a great job of showing them the ropes.” Although the marching band was canceled last year, many of the band’s members still had music classes and had to meet and perform virtually. Virtual learning comes with a large set of

obstacles, but it can be especially challenging when the subject is music. Computers lag and microphones distort. However, there are sometimes silver linings. “Normally we’re in the concert, so we can’t really hear ourselves as the audience would hear us. But with the virtual experience it’s like we’re sitting in the crowd watching ourselves,” Bell said. “As a musician, it’s nice to be able to listen to the ensemble in that way.” Steve McKeithen, associate professor of music and director of the Bulldog Marching Band,

points out that there is also an upside that many of us can relate to. “I think that maybe now we can appreciate what we do more, and we can better appreciate the time that we get to do what we are doing,” McKeithen said. Visit the Fresno State Concert Hall on Oct. 7 at 8 p.m. to listen to the joint performance featuring the Fresno State Wind Orchestra and the Fresno State Brass and Percussion Ensemble. Admission is $5 for students, $12 for seniors and Fresno State employees, and $15 for others.

Kameron Thorn • The Collegian

The Bulldog Marching Band’s Color Guard returns to practice on campus.




Iconic Tower Theatre’s sale to Adventure Church sparks community response By Ashley Flowers A&E Editor The Tower Theatre has been a fundamental feature of the Tower District in Fresno, an area of town known for its unique culture and popular bars and clubs since 1939. But as of late, controversy around the sale of the theatre has had some people petitioning against it. News broke out of the sale of Tower Theatre to Adventure Church in December 2020. In early January 2021, the Save the Tower Theatre Demonstration Committee “coalesced,” according to committee member Jaguar Bennett. “We first started with creating a community letter to the city council and the mayor outlining our objections to the possible rezoning of the Tower Theatre. Then we started weekly demonstrations, starting on Jan 10,” said Bennett. Opened initially as a 20th Century Fox Movie House, the theatre is now restored and used as a center for the performing arts. The iconic design of Tower Theatre is well-known and loved by the community. Tower Theatre has hosted various events over the years, including film screenings, concerts, plays and awards shows. The venue has also been used recently for church services by Adventure Church, which was founded by Pastors Anthony and Mandy Flores in 2010. Anthony Flores is an avid supporter of recalling California Governor Gavin Newsom and against vaccine mandates, according to his Facebook posts. Flores also has faced backlash for including sexist comments in sermons in the past. In one recorded sermon preserved by the Save the Tower Theatre Demonstration Committee, Flores is heard urging women to wear more clothes to the gym while he is working out because “you can’t stand there at the buffet and not sample - hello!” While Adventure Church currently has another location only half a mile from the Tower Theatre, Pastor Chris Williams of Adventure Church said they “continually felt the pull not to leave the Tower District, but to continue to invest in the community where we started and where a large percentage of our parishioners call home. Our home.” After using the Tower Theatre to host services before Williams said, “It seemed to be a perfect fit to expand in the neighborhood that

Kameron Thorn • The Collegian

The Tower Theatre advertises Adventure Church’s services as well as other performing arts events. we had already called home for close to 10 years.” In a letter sent to city officials on Dec. 7, 2020, Adventure Church said it will utilize the theater to operate various types of events, ranging from concerts, theatre and performing arts shows, city events and community functions. Flores in the letter said that church services would happen on Sunday mornings and occasionally once a month on Wednesday nights, if no other event is scheduled. The possible rezoning is the heart of the issue for most supporters. “There are so many sensitive businesses in the Tower District. The economic heart and foundation of the Tower District are its many bars, restaurants, and nightclubs, all of which have liquor licenses,” Bennett said. “There is a city ordinance that says a liquor licensed establishment cannot be within 1,000 feet of a church, school, or park.” “It would not affect these businesses immediately. Their existing licenses would be alright. But it would endanger future licenses,” Bennett said. “Any time that a new place wants to open and get a liquor license, any time that a bar or restaurant changes hands, or the liquor license has to be transferred to the new owner. We’re looking at the long term economic health of the Tower District.”

According to documents sent to the city in December, the church said about 15,000 square feet of the theater space would be used for church services. The issue is, however, Olive Avenue is zoned as a commercial main street, which means only 2,000 square feet are allowed for religious assembly, according to a Dec. 10 response from Fresno City Manager Thomas Esqueda. The church argues that events will be the primary function of the theatre. They aim to start with a 2-to-1 event ratio but hope to increase it to 3-to-1. Another potential downside to the purchase is that it’s “bad for the culture,” committee member Haley White said. “The nightlife is part of what keeps the Tower District a very free, independent, kind of bohemian community. The gay clubs are important centers for the LGBTQIA community,” added Bennett. “These bars are also performance venues for music acts and important events like the Rogue Festival. Anything that threatens the bars is going to threaten not just the economy, but the nature of the Tower District as an arts center.” Tower District is often seen as a haven for the LGBTQ+ community in Fresno, due to the presence of gay clubs and bars alongside flourishing arts community, Bennett said. Adventure Church, as a Foursquare Church,

initially had a doctrinal statement on their website citing biblical passages that condemn homosexuality and gender transitioning. This statement has since been removed, though a record of it is alleged to be preserved on the Save the Tower Theatre Demonstration Committee’s website. The committee has accused Adventure Church of being anti-LGBT due to these sentiments, and argues a church with such policies runs contrary to the values of the neighborhood. Adventure Church was asked to respond to these allegations, but has not replied at this time. Many share the Save the Tower Theatre Demonstration Committee’s concerns. The committee’s weekly demonstrations attract at least 50-60 people every week, according to Bennett, and can fluctuate based on weather and media attention. “We have been focusing on keeping these demonstrations sustainable,” Bennett said, encouraging supporters to take breaks and pace themselves because “we don’t know when this will end.” Lourin Hubbard, a demonstrator and 2013 political science Fresno State alumnus, moved to Fresno from Bakersfield in 2007 and is now running to represent California’s 22nd congressional district against incumbent Devin Nunes. Hubbard grew to love the Tower District after moving to Fresno, and has attended 24 of the 30+ demonstrations so far. “[Tower is] a cool, welcoming, happening place. It’s where the happenings happen,” Hubbard said. When asked for the church’s thoughts on the protests Williams said, “Although we may not agree with the message of the protests, we do agree with their exercise of free speech and the constitutional protection to protest.” The Tower Theatre purchase has been complicated by various other issues. It is currently in escrow, as fellow Tower District business Sequoia Brewing Company argues that their rental contract includes the right of first refusal to purchase the Tower Theatre and that it did not receive that in this instance. Many community members, such as the Save the Tower Theatre Demonstration Committee, hope to see the restaurant succeed in court. Sequoia Brewing Company’s next court date is not set until early 2022, according to White.




How Fresno became home away from home By Jesús Cano Managing Editor As I finished the last units of community college, I was filled with excitement to finally transfer to a four-year university. But when I revealed to friends and family that I was transferring to Fresno State, it sounded like they felt bad for me. “Fresno? That’s still good, but why Fresno? It’s so boring.” That pretty much summed up what people had to say to me before even telling me congratulations. But I didn’t care. This place just also felt like where I needed to be. I was first introduced to Fresno State through its football team, specifically the 2012 and 2013 teams that featured two NFL stars — Derek Carr and Davante Adams. Talent on the field was great, but the support in the stands was what really caught my eye. The Red Wave, seeing how invested they were into the football team and the entire athletic department for that case, really drew me. But as Fresnans are probably aware, this place isn’t exactly the No.1 attraction - especially in the Bay Area’s eyes. I’m from Pittsburg. No, not the one in Pennsylvania. My Pittsburg has no H. It’s a suburban community in the East Bay. San Francisco, Oakland and San José are just a short drive or a BART ride away. Places like the Golden Gate Bridge, Ghirardelli Square and Silicon Valley are all accessible, and sports teams from the Oakland Athletics to the San José Sharks to the Golden State Warriors have their presence too. So coming here, a place that is nearly the polar opposite of what I’m used to, I was prepared for a culture shock. But after spending over a year as a resident in this city, I’ve realized this city isn’t for everyone - but it’s the one for me.

The Collegian is a student-run publication that serves the Fresno State community. Views expressed in The Collegian do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff or university.

Craig Kohlruss • Fresno Bee/TNS

The downtown Fresno, California, skyline can be seen below snow caps the Sierra Nevada mountains and clouds along the foothills, Dec. 14, 2009. Here are some features I like about Fresno.

Big city with small town vibes My town is only 19.1 square miles. That’s tiny compared to Fresno’s 116. But every section of the city feels like it has its own culture and has everything I need. Stores like Dick’s Sporting Goods, Best Buy and shopping centers like River Park are down the street from me, as opposed to driving three towns over to get to those places back home. Sometimes the thought of having an airport 15 minutes away from me still doesn’t feel right. With that, traffic isn’t as big of an issue since Fresno has long streets like Shaw Ave., Barstow Ave. and Herndon Ave. that can get you across the city. Even if traffic is packed, you can get around town in a relativley quick amount of time.

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It’s not that hot

Cost of living

The heat is bearable – of course, if you invest into air conditioning. There were times during the summer where the heat would match some cities in the Bay Area. Not to mention that it’s only four months out of the year where it is “scorching.” The bright side of that is the winters aren’t as freezing compared to other parts.

This is a big one. My living arraingments is a three-bedroom, two-bath, off-campus student housing unit that is in an OK area of town and has a shuttled offer to campus every weekday. I pay under $600 in rent and other fees. If this was thee Bay Area, I’d probably be looking at $1,000 and maybe need a roommate to help offset some of the costs. I gave Fresno a chance, and I don’t regret moving to this city at all. The people, the landmarks and the lifestyle of the community has really grown on me. There’s a reason why so many people are fleeing other areas of California to come live here. I may not be in Fresno forever, but for the time being I take pride in being one of the 525,010 people that live in Fresno. Because this is my home away from home.

Location For someone who enjoys going on long drives, Fresno is ideal. Driving back home to the Bay Area isn’t a burden when the drive is two and a half hours away and going on a weekend getaway to Southern California doesn’t seem like a long-haul compared to where I was originally driving from.

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SPORTS Fútbol to football: A Fresno State kicker embraces his Mexican roots and journey TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2021



By Jesús Cano | Managing Editor It was the biggest day of Abraham Montaño’s life. The butterflies in the first-year Fresno State kicker’s stomach prevented him from getting much sleep. As he boarded the team bus, he listened to his pre-game playlist that includes some of his favorite reggaeton artists like Bad Bunny and J Balvin. As he looked out the window, he gazed at Autzen Stadium, home of the No. 11 Oregon Ducks – one of the most iconic teams in college football. That college football cathedral was the site where Montaño would make his first college football start. He learned he was starting just a day before the game since starting kicker Cesar Silva suffered an injury in practice. Once he stepped on the field and admired the empty stadium that would soon be rocking

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with fans, it finally hit him. This was the shot he had been working on for the past couple of years. But if you asked him in high school, he said he wasn’t too fond of football. Football was basically a foreign language to him growing up. Montaño grew up in a Mexican community on the east side of Salinas. And his father, José Alfredo, made sure he stayed connected with his roots, sending his kids to Mexi-

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— Abraham Montaño, Fresno State kicker

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something that was a very important experience in my life... My childhood was amazing. I never missed a meal, and has a roof over my head. It was really an eyeopener for seeing life in Mexico.”

co almost every summer. “To me, it was important to see both worlds: life in the United States and life in Mexico,” Alfredo said. “I think it was an important experience for them to have and value what they have here.” Montaño spent his summers helping the family business, where he would make and sell tortillas. After that, he helped around his family’s ranch in Jalisco. “I think it was something that was a very important experience in my life,” Montaño said. “My childhood was amazing. I never missed a meal and had a roof over my head. It was really an eye-opener for seeing life in Mexico.” And of course, like many Mexican children growing up, he said soccer was his first true love. Soccer – or fútbol as Montaño insisted on calling it – practically ran through the family. His older brother, Enrique, was a star player at Alisal High School. After spending a year at Hartnell, Enrique would go on to play three years at San José State University before pursuing a professional career in the United Soccer League. Vanessa, his sister, grew up around the sport and excelled in it to the point where she had interest from the Mexico women’s national team before an ACL injury forced her to give up soccer. Even as a four-year-old, Montaño knew playing soccer was a no-brainer, and that’s the only thing he cared about for a majority of his life. His mission was to become a professional soccer player and one day share the field with his idols – Lionel Messi, Ronaldinho and Cristiano Ronaldo.

When he first started playing, Montaño shined amongst the kids in his age group. “He was so good with view, so technical, so skillful, and he had a lot of power especially when he started playing with older kids,” his brother Enrique said. “He was driven and curious, just wanted to improve every single time he would train.” Montaño described himself as a versatile player. His true passion, however, was to contribute offensively, even if he wasn’t the one scoring himself. His dominance carried him into high school. Like his siblings, Montaño went on to play for Alisal. As a freshman, he had a short stint on the junior varsity team. The varsity team called him up but he didn’t see the field as much. Nevertheless, Montaño said it was an instrumental part of his career and what was to come. He was a key piece in the Trojans’ championship runs. In his sophomore year, the team went 10-0 in the league, earning an MBL-Gabilan title. But the following season, the Trojans had the chance to compete against tougher opponents and play in the inaugural California Interscholastic Federation regional soccer tournament. During that season, Alisal became champions. They won the inaugural CIF Division 2 bracket. Montaño was a key player and was

awarded all-league honors. The soccer journey Montaño envisioned was starting to pan out the way he always dreamed about. Montaño still asks himself – what is someone with a soccer career and accolades doing kicking for the Bulldogs on Saturdays? He wasn’t too fond of some aspects of the sport growing up. “I wouldn’t say I disliked it, but I did hate specific aspects of the sport,” Montaño said. He disliked how the players at his high school walked the hallways like they owned the place and at times were disrespectful. Montaño especially didn’t take it too kindly that the football team would take up their practice time and space during the beginning of the soccer season. But the football players were a big fan of Montaño and the power he had in his left leg. Even after multiple attempts of recruiting him, Montaño never budged. His goal was to one day represent his parents’ native country of Mexico in the World Cup. But Frank Alvardo, a coach at Hartnell, was the one to finally crack the code with Montaño. “He told me the potential I had, and I decided to stop being a knucklehead and listen to him,” Montaño said. After a successful senior year kicking for the Trojans football team, Montaño returned to play soccer and finished his career with Alisal’s soccer team. But as graduation quickly approached, he was facing a dilemma. While his goal was to always go pro in soccer, his father always wanted his kids to have a career, so a good education was equally important. Montaño had the talent at the next level. But like his brother, he needed to make a stop at Hartnell College. It was a matter of what sport he wanted to dedicate himself to in college since football and soccer both went on at the same time. It was the hardest decision of his life, but after consulting with coaches and friends, he decided that pursuing football full-time was the best option for him. “When he told me he wanted to drop soccer, I was very sad,” his father, Alfredo, said. “He had a bright future ahead with soccer and that’s all he did his whole life.”




Tyler Van Dyke • The Collegian

Abraham Montaño (48) sets up to kick an extra point after a touchdown in Fresno State’s first away game versus the Oregon Ducks on Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Even with how Alfredo felt about Montaño’s decision to play football over soccer, he was always going to support his son no matter what. “Watching him play on TV just made me so proud of him,” Alfredo said. “How can I not be proud of my kids? They’ve done everything and more than what I could have asked for.” After his 2019 freshman campaign at Hartnell, he went six-for-nine in field goal attempts. It wasn’t the ideal season he was hoping for, but he had enough clips to send out to college

coaches. But that was the only film he would be able to use. The COVID-19 pandemic sidelined the entire world, and junior college football was no exception. As the severity of the global pandemic grew, Montaño started to think that this was the end of his journey. “I mean, I had a good film, but personally I didn’t think it would be the best,” Montaño said. “I thought that (the pandemic) for sure was gonna mess with it, but I mean it ended up

Melina Kazanjian • The Collegian

Abraham Montaño also played in Fresno State’s game versus Cal Poly on Saturday, Sep. 11, 2021.

working out.” Montaño spent countless hours sending over 400 emails to college coaches, but only received one response. It was the one he was banking on. “Fresno was number one in my list like I really want to go there,” Montaño said. “It means a lot to me just because I come from a very Latino-based community. It feels like home anywhere I go. Fresno State was the perfect fit for me.” Fresno State special teams coordinator Eric Schmidt liked what he saw from Montaño and met with him virtually in September of 2020. But, according to Montaño, that was the last thing he heard from Schmidt until January. “There’s so many good kickers around here that we felt like, ‘hey we could get a kid to come in here and walk on and be a really good player,’ ” Schmidt said. “He wanted to come to Fresno State, and this is a place I think that is pretty special to him, and you’re always closer to home and geographically it made a lot of sense for him and we just felt like he was going to be a good fit here.” Just a week before the spring semester started at Fresno State, Montaño got a call he wasn’t expecting, but it was the one he had prayed for. Schmidt called to offer him a spot on the team as a walk-on. It was an easy decision for Montaño.

He accepted the invitation, but it had to be a quick turnaround. Classes were just days away from starting at Fresno State, and Montaño was getting ready to start his spring semester at Hartnell. Just like that, he packed what he needed in his car and moved in with his family in Fresno. “I swear I think it’s a pretty crazy story because, I mean, all this happened in the span of literally three days maybe,” Montaño said. “I had to pack my bags, I had to start driving down and settling down because the following week school was already starting and we had to report to practice.” Now that Montaño is at Fresno State, he said he plans on developing both as a player and as a person, by embedding himself in the community. “This is really a place I can see myself at for the rest of my eligibility,” Montaño said. He’s off to a good start, according to his coaches. The pressure of playing in one of college football’s loudest stadiums with over 43,000 fans didn’t phase him. He was perfect in three field goal attempts, nailing them from 33, 39 and 22 yards. When Montaño makes his debut at Bulldog Stadium, he’s hoping to see a Mexican flag in the stands to remind him who he is playing for: his familia.




Jake Haener records six touchdowns in win over Cal Poly By Manuel Hernandez Sports Editor Fresno State struggled with a slow start to begin the game. It’s an issue that quarterback Jake Haener wants to fix. “I want to challenge the guys… we got to start faster,” Haener said. “I like to see us start faster, and kind of go from there.” Fresno State’s rocky start began with a quick three-and-out. Their next offensive drive was also short-lived with seven plays and 24 yards. But when the offense finds its rhythm just like it did in its third drive of the game, Fresno State turns into a dominant force. The Bulldogs produced 569 offensive yards in their 63-10 victory over the Cal Poly Mustangs Saturday night at Bulldog Stadium. Haener – who is averaging 336 passing yards per game – was the key component in orchestrating a smooth offense. The senior quarterback finished the night with 380 passing yards and six total touchdowns. The Bulldogs — who amassed a total of 71 passing yards with only one touchdown in the first — had new life in the second, passing for 187 yards with four touchdowns. Haener followed up with his second rushing

Melina Kazanjian • The Collegian

Fresno State linebacker Tanner Blount (49) tussles with a Cal Poly defender during a play in Fresno State’s game versus Cal Poly on Saturday, Sep. 11, 2021. touchdown of the game after a four play, 69yard drive. In a double-pass play, Haener threw it to Cropper, who then heaved a 51-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Josh Kelly. The Bulldogs then led 28-3. Cropper is no stranger to tossing the pig-

skin. During his tenure at Sanger High School, he saw quite a bit of time at quarterback. Fresno State’s dominance carried over to the second half. Running back Ronnie Rivers rushed for a 6-yard touchdown with 11:24 left in the third quarter. In their next possession, Haener threw a 62-

yard touchdown pass to Pope just two minutes later. In his final play of the game, Haener threw a 53-yard touchdown pass to Keric Wheatfall before subbing out. Freshman quarterback Jaylen Henderson took his place as Fresno State led 56-10 heading into the fourth quarter. Haener finished his start with 380 yards. Kelly led with 127 receiving yards, followed by Zane Pope with 95 and Cropper with 70. The wide receivers combined for six touchdowns. “Yeah, they make me look good and make my job a lot easier,” Haener said. “So grateful to have those studs outside running routes for me.” The last touchdown of the game was Jordan Wilmore’s first as a Bulldog, as he rushed down the field for a 10-yard touchdown to cap the game’s score at 63-10. No. 11 Oregon – who the Bulldogs lost to last week 31-24 – beat No. 3 Ohio State this morning. A win next week against UCLA can potentially put the Bulldogs in consideration for the top 25 rankings. “There’s a physical toughness that we are trying to continue to have,” DeBoer said. “It’s just going to continue to carry us through the season. We got to always improve.”