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Vol. XXXIV, Issue 18 February 22, 2011

Richland

www.richlandchronicle.com

CHRONICLE

page 8

Video games take control


Sara,

Class of 2014

Hometown: San Antonio, Texas Major: Business Administration Why I chose Texas A&M University-Commerce: It gave me the opportunity to do the two things I enjoy the most - learn and play golf. Favorite Class I’ve Taken: Macroeconomics What It’s About: Macroeconomics taught me that it is very important to be aware of what is going on in the world, because it affects us individually. I also learned how the economy functions, and how one country’s economy can deeply affect other parts of the world. Best Professor So Far: Dr. Ray Green. I had him for Intro to Psychology. The way he conducted class made it clear that he had a passion for the subject.

Richlandchronicle.com • February 22, 2011+

Cool Stuff I’ve Done: I qualified for every golf tournament during the fall season, and achieved a 4.0 GPA in the Honors College.

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How A&M-Commerce Changed Me: Ever since I came to college, I think I have become a more mature individual. Being at A&M-Commerce made me realize that if I want to achieve my goals, I need to take responsibility, use my time wisely, and make intelligent decisions.

WWW.TAMU-COMMERCE.EDU 903.886.5000 or 888.868.2682 A MEMBER OF THE TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY SYSTEM


NEWS

Media predicts potential presidential candidates Image courtesy - www.newsinfo.com

LINDSEY JUAREZ Managing Editor

Before many formal announcements are made by candidates placing their bids to run for president, several media outlets are already making predictions on potential presidential nominees. The Hill, a congressional newspaper published daily while Congress is in session, pointed out in January that Republican candidates would possibly announce their intentions sooner due to President Barack Obama’s recent popularity in polls.

Donald Trump

Michael Bloomberg

Ron Paul

Image courtesy - www.hollywoodphotoshop.com

Image courtesy - www.governing.com

Image courtesy - www.news.iastate.edu

In an Associated Press- GfK (a national market research company) poll released in January, 53 percent of respondents said they approve of the president. So far, the only Republican candidate to formally announce a bid for the presidency is Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain. In an interview with The Hill, veteran Republican consultant Mark McKinnon said that it seems odd for prospective GOP candidates “to be holding back.” “The clock is in play and every day that goes by is a potential day wasted that could have been used to organize or raise money,” McKinnon said.

A few favorite Republican prospects to make the list from NJ.com, New Jersey’s largest online newspaper, include Sarah Palin, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, and Mike Huckabee. Texas Congressman Ron Paul has reportedly denied any intentions to run again after he lost the nomination in 2008. Another rumored Republican candidate is real estate and entertainment mogul Donald Trump. According to Presidential-candidates. org, a Web site run by Politicks (an information organization not affiliated with any political party), a New Hampshire poll ranked Trump high on a list of potential candidates. Fewer potential Democratic candidates

have been announced, but the top pick among media outlets is incumbent Barack Obama. NJ.com reports that the president has plenty of legislation under his belt to aid in his campaign, though his greatest hindrance will be an economy that continues to suffer. Other Democrats listed by the Web site include Dennis Kucinich, Howard Dean, and Russ Feingold. The top potential Independent candidates include New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader.

Inappropriate conduct comes with a ‘Price’ LAURA GARSEA Viewpoints Editor

Blowing a fuse at last Tuesday’s Dallas County Commissioner Court meeting, Commissioner John Wiley Price repeatedly told citizens in attendance to “go to hell.” The argument between Price and citizens began when Dallas Attorney Jeffery Scott Turner began referring to Price as “the Chief Mullah of Dallas County.” According to CBS, court rules state that public speakers may not address individual commissioners by name. However, Price said he was not pleased with the reference. He viewed the term as offensive and as a derogatory slur. After the term was repeated by Turner, Price began to argue against the phrase, resulting in Price reiterating that he was the only African-American in attendance and adding, “All of you are white. Go to hell.” In an interview with Fox 4 News that night, Price followed up on his behavior at the meeting and commented on the slur. “You can call me the racist if you’d like,” Price said. “My position is he said ‘moolah’ at

least six times before I finally responded.” The term ‘moolah’ and ‘mullah’ sound similar, but have different meanings. According to Fox, Price said he was offended because the term “mullah” is close to “moolah” or “moolie” which is a slur sometimes used to defame or discredit African-Americans. “The word ‘moolah’ has traditionally been a very derogatory, racist term,” Price said. Turner e-mailed a statement to the Dallas Tea Party and county commissioners the next day. In the e-mail, Turner claims he referred to Price as the “Chief Mullah,” not “Chief Moolah.” “We hear in the news about the ‘mullahs’ in Iran, for example, who essentially run that sad country by dictate and corruption,” Turner said. “And who remain in power through intimidation and dismissal of any and all opponents.” Price says he defends his actions and said if he had to do the situation over again, he would not change his reaction and does not intend to apologize.

Richlandchronicle.com • February 22, 2011+

Barack Obama

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NEWS

21-year-old Mexican police chief fired after seeking asylum in U.S. AILEEN DONAHUE Staff Writer

Richlandchronicle.com • April 5, 2011 +

Criminology student Marisol Valles García was hailed as the bravest woman in Mexico when she was sworn in as police chief of Práxedis G. Guerrero, a small border town about 60 miles from Mexican murder capital Ciudad Juárez, wracked with violence from drug cartels competing for control of the region. However, García was fired on March 7 after failing to return to work following a planned leave of absence, according to The Associated Press. García was granted the leave to seek medical attention for her son, but amidst speculation that she had received death threats from members of drug cartels she has apparently fled and is now seeking asylum in the United States. García, who is only 21 and has an infant

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son, took the position last October with the hopes of easing the fears that have gripped the citizens of Práxedis by focusing on preventive measures and building a sense of community in the town. García was a strong believer in nonviolence and did not carry a gun. “The situation can improve if we believe in ourselves and believe there is hope,” García told Reuters. “I want to carry this through and show that we can do this… We are doing this for a new generation of people who don’t want to be afraid anymore,” she said. Officials in Práxedis denied the reports that their police chief was missing. But when she failed to show up to work at the end of her leave she was fired, city officials said in a statement. “In the absence of (García’s) presence on the agreed-upon day, and since there was no notification of a need to extend the period of her absence, the mayor has decided to re-

move her from office,” the statement read. The Chihuahua Human Rights Comission told The El Paso Times that on March 8, García was released from a detention center in El Paso after an interview with immigration agents to establish a credible fear of returning to her home country. García is currently in hiding at an undisclosed location pending a hearing before an immigration judge in Dallas. A date has yet to be set. García’s departure comes at a particularly dangerous time for Mexican police officers and city officials. Since 2008, when Mexican president Felipe Calderón declared war on the drug cartels operating within the country, drug traffickers have given officers a choice of “plomo o plata”: lead or silver, death or corruption. García’s predecessor as chief of police, Martin Castro, was abducted in January 2009, according to London’s The Guardian. Days later, his severed head was found in front of the police station. At the time of García’s

Texas colleges face funding adjustment VERNON WILLIAMS Staff Writer

State funding for Texas colleges may soon have more to do with the number of students who actually finish degree or certification programs and less with enrollment numbers. Chairman of the House Higher Education Committee Dan Branch proposed legislation that attempts to shift the focus of Texas colleges and universities to a more results-driven approach. Supporters of the bill say improved completion rates may improve the economy. Under current Texas law, funding for universities is based on enrollment num-

bers, with graduation rates and certification completions weighing little in the equation. Some say that once students get to college, many are lost in the system without advising or direction, with the assumption that universities care less about preparing students and more about keeping them enrolled. “I’m surprised it wasn’t looked at sooner. I don’t know of many successful businesses or organizations that don’t focus on results,” Marcia Adams, a professor with the DCCCD said. According to the U.S. Department of Education, national trends show that while enrollment rates and the number of students who receive financial aid have increased, completion rates remain stagnant. “It’s economics 101. Individuals, and by

default institutions, are going to put more attention and focus on efforts that are going to have the greatest effect,” Chase International rate specialist Josh Ferguson said. “If enrollment numbers are what determine my funding, that’s what I’m going to concentrate on. Although I do see a direct relationship between funding and graduation rates, I don’t see one between completion rates and an improved economy.” Like others, Ferguson believes that the lagging economy is caused by a lack of jobs not a lack of human resources. The legislation has been filed with the House Higher Education Committee, but no action has been taken yet.

appointment, Práxedis had been without a police chief for over a year. Richland student Justina James thinks that García was brave to accept the position, but should have foreseen the risks involved. “[Garcia] probably should have realized that she’d be putting herself and her family in danger when she took the job,” said James. “If the United States is the safest place for her now, though, she should be here to protect her family,” she said. According to a report in The New York Times, female officials have not been spared in the bloody conflict. In December ,28-year-old Érika Gándara, the only police officer in the town of Guadalupe, was abducted from her home by armed gunmen. Her whereabouts are still unknown. In Meoqui, police chief Hermila García was killed in November after serving for only a month.


SPORTS

Lakers, Celtics gearing for playoffs JANIE DE LA ROSA Staff Writer

Where will amazing happen this year? Who will be this season’s NBA top dog? The Boston Celtics or the L.A. Lakers? Both Boston in the East and Los Angeles in the West are currently holding the second seed in the standings in their respective divisions. With Paul Pierce as their top scorer, Kevin Garnett leading in rebounds and Rashon Rondo leading in assists, observers say this Celtics team is ready to put on a show. The Lakers are comparably equipped with Kobe Bryant leading in assists and being their top scorer, Pau Gasol leading in rebounds and Derek Fisher leading in three-pointers. Both the Celtics and Lakers have 17 championship wins – the most in NBA history. With Laker’s head coach Phil Jackson trying to create another dynasty (as he did originally with Michael Jordan, Scotty Pippen and Dennis Rodman), the Lakers hope

Image courtesy - thesportsbank.net

to take over and prove that, once again, they have what it takes to be champions. The NBA playoffs will begin on April 16 and are scheduled to conclude on May 30. Each team plans to progressively knock off its opponents to advance to the next round. Celtics head coach Doc Rivers accused the Lakers of failing to beat their best starting line-up, due to injuries during the previous championship. “I don’t get caught up in the emotions of it, but the facts are just wrong,” Bryant said. On the other hand, when asked who he believes is the best team, Bryant confidently claims that it is still the Lakers. “We won the [2010] championship, so, until we get dethroned, we are the team to beat,” Bryant said. While Bryant insists on his team being the best, Paul Pierce views things differently. “I don’t think Kobe is the best player, I’m the best player, Pierce said. “There’s a line that separates having confidence and being conceited. I don’t cross that line but I have a lot of confidence in myself.” Tip off details have yet to be determined due to the remaining end of the regular season.

March Madness coming to a close JEVOY BENNETT Staff Writer

It’s been a year of upsets at the NCAA basketball tournament. In fact, all four number one seeds lost early, and this year’s Final Four is comprised totally of so called “Cinderella Teams.” These include the University of Connecticut, Virginia Commonwealth university, the University of Kentucky and Butler University . There have been only three times in NCAA Men’s Basketball history that no number one seeds have been in the final four; 1980, 2006 and 2011. With over 5.9 million brackets filled out by sports casters and presidents alike 1.6 percent selected Butler to reach the Final Four, 16 percent picking Kentucky, 23.1 percent picking UCONN and 0.1 percent choosing VCU. According to the Associated Press, a fan in Las Vegas (whose name was not released) placed a $10 bet at 5,000 to 1 odds that

VCU would win the national championship. At the time it was reported that everyone laughed at him, but this same fan may have the opportunity to win $50,000, if VCU continues its “Cinderella Run.” Critics, including Jay Bilas and Dick Vitale, have said VCU wasn’t “tournament deserving.” According to an ESPN report, “Jay Bilas still doesn’t believe VCU should be in the NCAA Tournament. However, Dick Vitale is giving VCU the nod in the semi-finals against Butler after both ESPN analysts criticized the school.” As the Chronicle goes to press, the Final Four games have yet to be played. The championship game is scheduled for April 4 at 8 p.m. CDT.

the uMuc alliance PrograM. We’ve eliminated the guesswork about which credits will be accepted for your bachelor’s degree. The Alliance Program synchronized our curriculum with the Richland Community College, so you can apply up to 70 Richland credits toward your degree from UMUC. Better still, all the UMUC courses you need are offered online, which makes earning your bachelor’s degree more convenient, too. ™I]Z6aa^VcXZEgd\gVbegdk^YZhVhZVbaZhhigVch[Zg[gdb your associate’s degree to your UMUC bachelor’s degree ™Dca^cZXaVhhZhZcVWaZndjidXdaaVWdgViZl^i][Zaadl students worldwide ™A^b^iZYcjbWZgd[hX]daVgh]^ehd[jeid(!(%%eZg year available for transfer students from Alliance

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A&E

The search is on for a ‘good man’ at Richland

A&E Editor

Searching for a “good man”? You won’t have to look far to find one. He will soon be on our campus. His name’s Charlie Brown and he will appear on the Richland stage in the drama department’s spring musical, “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” with words and music by Clark Gesner. Based on the popular “Peanuts” comic strip by Charles M. Schulz, it will run at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, March 2-5, in the Fannin Performance Hall. While the musical focuses on an average day in the life of Charlie Brown, Director Wendy Welch said it has been anything but an average rehearsal run for the cast

in Richland’s production. They worked twice as hard at rehearsals due to several days lost because of inclement weather. Welch said the last week hindered cast members,but it was an experience in which they learned what it was like to do professional theater, where you may have only a few weeks to rehearse. Welch said she chose “Charlie Brown” last year after the spring musical, “Bye Bye, Birdie,” which had a large cast and was a huge undertaking. “We were proud of what we did,” Welch said. “But, afterward, we agreed to do something small

Richlandchronicle.com • February 22, 2011 +

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MARY CHANNELL Layout Editor

“Killzone 3” is the continuation of the “Killzone” series. In “Killzone 3” players find Emperor Visari, the corrupt dictator of Helghast, dead. Even though the emperor is dead, the war isn’t over yet. Helghast has evolved into a world of murder, deceit and restless conflicts. Since the death of Visari, two very powerful men are battling for complete control while putting in danger Visari’s “vision” of Helghast. The main goal is to survive a lost war and not fight to win it while having limited supplies and clearly no reenforcements.

Players have to come up against, like always, the malicious Helghast army fighting for human survival. “Killzone 3” presents a singleplayer campaign and a full-featured multiplayer mode. Players should also expect bigger environments, a barbaric melee system with many varieties of attacks. Pitted against newer breeds of horrific Helghast enemies, players are able to do more with the vehicle gameplay, such as accessing many landbased vehicle options, using jet packs and fighting off intruders. “Killzone 3” will be released Feb. 22 exclusively on Playstation 3. It’s rated M for Mature.

“Charlie Brown is always seen as the underdog, sort of as the last man out,” Welch said. “There’s not a plot in the traditional sense. Woven throughout is that he is a good guy. He has merit and there’s a lot to like about him.” Welch said the roles are that of children, around 8 to 10. The whole show is a series of vignettes. She has cast only 12 Richland students in Image courtesy - www.wallpaperpimper.com the production. Lucy and Welch said she has always loved Snoopy are comical characters in “Peanuts,” but has never had a role the traditional sense of comedy, in “Charlie Brown” or seen the Welch said. Charlie is the straight show. man, but the other characters all

have their moments. “We are trying to make the whole show, the set, colors, lights and costumes, all look like the comic strip,” Welch said. The costumes are designed straight from the comic strip. They’ve added Woodstock, a little yellow bird.” Welch said that people will enjoy this musical because it’s good, it’s fun, and audience members will discover that they know the characters better than they think. “This is definitely a family show,” Welch said. “It’s for all ages. It’s rated G.” The show is free and open to the public. No reservations are needed, but for further information call 972-238-6255.

Preview:

Battle rages on in Kil zone 3

this semester. It’s going to be a quality show. We went for quality, not quantity.”

Images courtesy - www.loadingscreen.co.uk, www.fotosearch.com

JOYCE JACKSON

PDULFRSD[LQGG

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EDITORIAL STUDENT MEDIA LEADERS Richland Chronicle Editor-in-Chief KDUX Web Radio Station Manager Chronicle TV Station Manager Managing Editor KDUX Web Radio Production Director News Editor Radio News Director Sports Editor Photo Editor Viewpoints Editor A&E Editor Copy Editor Layout Editor Chronicle TV Executive Producer

Jason Barry TBA Dacota Taylor Lindsey Juarez Josh Kirkley TBA Carla Davis TBA David Nguyen Laura Garsea Joyce Jackson TBA Mary Channell Patricia Villacin

COVER AND FONTS Cover Page Design Front Page Image Courtesy

Mary Channell

Certain fonts are provided by the following: http://www.nymfont.com - http://www.bvfonts.com

STUDENT MEDIA STAFF

STUDENT MEDIA ADVISERS Image Credit - Jason Barry

Richlandchronicle.com • February 22, 2011 +

Video games rated D for Depression

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A recent study in the online journal Pediatrics found that children who spend numerous hours daily playing video games are more likely to become addicted to them. The study found the children to have trouble fitting in with their peers, academic performance below expectations, and ultimately develop depression. From elementary to college students, video gaming can become a dangerous routine. When playing a video game, the child can become so involved and wrapped into the virtual world that time escapes them. At the Chronicle, we believe that video games have a correlation with depression, though we are unsure of which comes first. It’s plausible that the child was depressed initially and turns to gaming as an outlet, or that the child begins playing video games and by doing so becomes depressed. Students, as well as children, find themselves staying up into the early hours of the morning playing a game and may not even realize that they have class in a couple hours. Those who cannot seem to stop playing, even when social events and academic affairs are calling, show the symptoms of addiction. These gamers live

in their virtual world and that world is top priority. Social awkwardness has been listed as one of the side effects of a pathological gamer. However, on Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG), like “World of Warcraft”, gamers have the ability to interact with other gamers around the world. In this instance, they are able to have social contact. However, there may be barriers between the way the gamer interacts online and how they interact on campus. Many gamers find themselves talking and interacting with fellow gamers and limit themselves to a certain group they associate with, while others may chose to not associate with anyone outside of their virtual world. Unlike MMORPG’s, games played on older gaming systems like XBOX, PlayStation and Nintendo did not allow for interaction between other players. Here, children and students could get completely soaked into games and indulge themselves for hours in this virtual world. The simplest solution is for more parent involvement. Parents have the ability to monitor a child’s play time, what they play and when they are able to play it. Many students express that, as children, they were

not able to go out and play on weekdays. Instead they were told to finish their homework and study and were allotted the weekends for free time and play time. For students and adults who don’t rely on their parents to tell them to stop gaming, getting friends and peers to distract them from games is the best option. Granted, if their friends are gamers, it might be a little harder to get the motivation to step outside. Having a third party non-gamer is a wise option. It would be good for gamers to step out into the sunlight and get some much needed vitamin D. Gaming in general isn’t a bad thing. In fact, there are many intelligent and educational games available to play. It’s when the person has lost all control and the will to stop playing, does it pose a threat to their health and social life. The most probable solution that seems to have the most effectiveness would be for the parents to implement set times for video game playing. Not allowing the child to overwhelm themselves in the virtual world by allotting time for a child to play would be most beneficial. It is important for the parents to be authoritative and help prevent pathological gaming from an early age.

Esther Cho Erica Edwards Jack Fletcher David Goodloe Tim Jones

Steve Noviello James Ragland Marshall Siegel Doug Wilson

SPRING 2011 ISSUES January 18 January 25 Febtuary 2 February 15 February 22 March 1 March 8 March 29

April 5 April 12 April 19 April 26 May 3 May 10

AWARDS ACP Pacemaker Winner, 2000, 2001, 2007 ACP Pacemaker Finalist, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2006, 2007 ACP Online Pacemaker Finalist, 2007, 2008 1st Place - TIPA Sweepstakes, 2005 3rd Place - TIPA Online, 2005 & 2006 Over 150 Texas college journalism awards since 2000

CONTACT INFORMATION El Paso Hall, Room E-020, 12800 Abrams Rd. Dallas, 75243 Newsroom: 972-238-6079  E-mail: chronicle@dcccd.edu Advertising: 972-238-6068 E-mail: advertise@dcccd.edu Fax: 972-238-6037

MEETINGS & POLICIES Staff meetings: Monday and Tuesday 2 p.m. and Wednesday 3 p.m. in E-020 ------Letter Policy Letters to the editor may be edited for space. They will be edited for spelling, grammar and malicious or libelous statements. Letters must be the work of the writer and must be signed. For identification and verification purposes, letters also must include the writer’s classification (grade level), full name, address and telephone number, although address and telephone number will not be published. Editorial Policy The Chronicle is the official student-produced newspaper of Richland College. Editorials, cartoons, columns and letters are the opinions of individual students and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of other individual student writers, editors, advisers or the college administration. © Richland Chronicle 2009


VIEWPOINTS

Do you think there is a relationship between video games and depression?

Ogundu Kameu

Returning Sophmore, Marketing

When I started playing video games, it made me more depressed. I think there’s a relationship, they’re like brothers and sisters.

Incoming Freshman, Computer Science

Amber Davis

Prospective Student

I think it’s more of a gray area. I don’t think it’s a straight yes or no, but I think they can go hand in hand.

Images Credit - Laura Garsea

Richlandchronicle.com • February 22, 2011 +

Johnathan Ballinger

I think they can be linked. If you find a person who is depressed, they might find their escape through video games.

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COLUMN

No more Oscar predictions for this writer Who is going to win this year? Well, who really cares?

JOE STUMPO

Richlandchronicle.com • February 22, 2011 +

Staff Writer

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This year marks the first time since I have been writing for various publications (off and on since 1991) that I will not issue predictions of who will win on Oscar night, Feb. 27. Barbara Walters last year said she would do no more hour-long specials before the Oscars, saying, “I’m thrilled we have such great stars and have such a wonderful show, but to be honest, I feel like I’ve been there, done that.” I, too, share the same sentiment. Or, to put it more bluntly in Walters’ words, “I think I’m sick of them.” The Oscars, for me, have become too predictable, like a lot of today’s movies. Every year it’s the same debate: Immediately following the nominations, we hear movie critics and entertainment television show reporters and magazines writers commenting about who got snubbed. I could tell you, for example, why actress Mila Kunis failed to land a nomination playing the rival ballerina in “Black Swan” and why the documentary “Waiting for Superman” about the country’s failing education system did not make the cut. But, I’m not going to. Chances are you’ve probably heard the reasons already, if you really care. I am tired of reiterating the usual tired comment about how one doesn’t need to be a brain surgeon to figure out who is going to win. Heck, one doesn’t even have to see every single film nominated. All one has to do is read up on how many times the actor, actress or director has been passed over to narrow down who the winner will be. Or for that matter, determine which two

films have the most nominations. At that point one can determine which will be the front runner for best picture. Of the 10 films nominated for best picture this year, I have, so far, only seen six. Of those six, the only two I can justify seeing again are “Toy Story 3”, which would be to watch all three films together since I haven’t seen the first two in years, and “Inception,” because I did not exactly understand it the first time (I fell asleep watching it). I consider the other four I have seen, (“The Social Network”, “True Grit”, “The Fighter”, and “Black Swan”), to be one-hit wonders. Sure, they all made over (or are coming close to grossing over) $100 million. Let’s be honest; how many of you can justify seeing these movies again when they hit video-on-demand and pay-TV months from now? Of those four, I liked three of them, but that doesn’t mean I want to see them again (unless it’s to write a review). That being said, despite my no longer wishing to make my usual predictions in the form of some boring long-winded article I get no compensation whatsoever for writing

(don’t tell me you actually think I am getting paid to do this or that I am doing this for my health), I will still take off work on Sunday Feb. 27 (until they move the telecast back to Monday nights) to watch them, mainly because I still find them enjoyable. The one thing that has always kept me drawn to the Oscars is how consistent the show has been in delivering at least one or two surprises that give viewers and the entertainment media something to talk about the next day. That alone makes sitting through the threehour plus telecasts less painful. Who can forget Ben Stiller’s imitation of Joaquin Phoenix’s talk show appearance on David Letterman at the 2009 Oscars? Watching last year’s Oscar telecast, I wondered why George Clooney was in a bad mood. What got everyone talking, even on the Internet as the telecast was still on the air, was how the Academy left late actress Farrah Fawcett out of the tributes. On that level, the Oscars are like the Super Bowl where the most memorable moments are usually the clever commercials, if not the halftime show. This year it was a kid in

a mini Darth Vader suit trying to use “The Force” and Christina Aguilera’s self-destructive rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner”. If there is one thing I will find of interest with this year’s Oscar telecast, it will be to see how James Franco and Anne Hathaway fare as hosts. Rest assured, if the two fail miserably and ratings are down, as they have been in recent years viewers will likely be asking themselves one question. “What were the producers thinking when they decided to ask them to host?

Images courtesy - www.fmtaccess.com www.filmofilia.com


COLUMN

Managing Editor

For those of you who haven’t been paying attention to what’s been going on in Austin lately, here’s the gist of it: college funding is being cut and someone is going to have to pick up the slack. This isn’t necessarily a new issue. Dr. Wright Lassiter, chancellor of the Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD), addressed this issue last semester with student journalists, saying that the state has called upon DCCCD and other college districts to reduce their budgets significantly. Students have already felt the effects of the cuts with higher tuition costs this semester. This, however, doesn’t seem to be enough to make up for the budget shortfall that Dallas colleges are dealing with. The cuts that DCCCD will have to make will likely affect the faculty’s pay and benefits. A couple of weeks ago, the Chronicle reported on DCCCD faculty frustrations with the budget cuts. The anger over the situation is understandable. You can’t cut a budget without having to give up something to make up for the loss of funding. Someone naturally is going to get upset.

But this time, faculty members may be justified in their concerns. The DCCCD Faculty Association hired Ulibarri-Mason Global HR for the Feb. 25 meeting to present data on the current budget and to propose ideas to minimize “the impact of state mandated budget cuts on accessibility to higher education, and the quality of programs and services to students”. In the report released during the meeting, the numbers and statistics unsettlingly don’t add up. Dallas was compared side-by-side with nine other major community college districts in Texas including Houston, Austin, and Alamo. At first glance, things look good. DCCCD is in charge of seven colleges and 11 campuses. It also has the second-lowest tuition rate among the districts studied. The first red flag is raised when looking at the employee head count. Dallas by far has the largest number of administrative employees (498). With 765 full-time faculty members, that’s just one and half faculty members per administrator. Richland alone has only 40 more faculty members than administrators. In a city like Houston, with nearly 1,000,000 more people and 14 more community college campuses than Dallas, there are only 137 administrators. With 829 full-time faculty members, that’s about six

faculty members per administrator. Why does Dallas have so many administrators? Doesn’t it make sense to have several faculty members for one administrator? Dallas also has the highest number of professional support staff (PSS) among the districts studied. There are over two PSS members per faculty member in DCCCD compared with just over one PSS member per faculty member in other districts. Combined, DCCCD has about three PSS and administrators per faculty member, more than any of the nine districts. Another concern is how much the faculty is being paid. DCCCD actually ranks high in average faculty pay, placing second among the districts. This makes sense considering that 34 percent of its employees have more than 25 years of teaching experience, many with doctorates. The worry is how much the district’s faculty members are being paid compared to other local school districts. College employees with master’s and doctorate degrees are being paid less than employees with the same education level at primary and secondary education schools. Not to demean employees in other public school districts, but shouldn’t college instructors and employees be paid more? The DCCCD faculty has not seen a salary

increase since the 2008-2009 fiscal year, which was a 5 percent increase. Suggestions to decrease faculty pay now with schools seeing record enrollment rates is irresponsible. The solution, whatever it is, will not be easy. The data suggest that the fix that would save the most money is a reconstruction of the administrative staff. With nearly five times more savings than a faculty pay cut, this seems more than reasonable. My personal solution would be to go straight to the source. The legislature in Austin holds the key to our schools’ financial well-being. Texas lawmakers needs to be convinced to not cut funding from education. A better education leads to a more skilled workforce, which leads to more money for the state. If the legislature would agree on the importance of the state’s funding for education, then we wouldn’t have to deal with the budget crisis. I know this solution would be very difficult to do, considering funding would have to be cut from somewhere else. But I do think it is worth a shot. It would be better than to have well-deserving faculty members having to suffer the consequences of a tightened budget plan.

How to celebrate Black History Month

LINDSEY JUAREZ Managing Editor

February is almost over, but there are still activities you can do to continue celebrating Black History Month (BHM). 1. Read “I Beat the Odds” by Michael Oher, the once homeless teen who went on to become a football playing legend and was the inspiration for the movie “The Blind Side.”

2. Join the Pan-African Connection Bookstore in Dallas on Friday, Feb. 25, at 5 p.m. for a BHM celebration featuring artists, open-mic readings, and cultural workshops. 3. Visit Eastfield College and North Lake College Feb. 22-28 for various celebrations and activities. Go to dcccd.edu for more information. 4. Watch “Judging ‘Thurgood’” on HBO Thursday, Feb. 24, at 8 p.m. 5. Visit Southern Methodist University for

BHM events Feb. 22-28. Go to smu.edu for more information. 6. See Almetta Russell do a dramatic reading from the words of Sojourner Truth. The event will be at Paul Laurence Dunbar Lancaster-Kiest Branch Library Feb. 26 from 2 to 4 p.m. 7. Join the Black Forest Theater in Dallas for the Third Annual Tribute to Black History Month Feb. 25-27.

Images courtesy - www.jacksonville.com

Richlandchronicle.com • February 22, 2011 +

LINDSEY JUAREZ

Cutting faculty pay is not the answer

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