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Aug. 14 - 20, 2019 EDITOR: Kaitlyn Little • news@thedailyaztec.com

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Cancer fund supports students in need by Kaitlyn Little NEWS EDITOR

On Sept. 1, 2017, Tammy Blackburn was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer. She went into remission less than a year later, but this would be cut short in March 2019 when she was diagnosed with stage four metastatic breast cancer — it had spread to her spine. She has a long history with San Diego State, as a double alumna and the current director of Development Technology for SDSU Alumni, and her experience has inspired her to give back to the university. With this came the Wallace, Shatsky, Blackburn, Courage Through Cancer Fund for students at SDSU whose education may be affected by a cancer diagnosis. She said the mission of the fund is to give these students financial support, a passion inspired by her days spent in the cancer center. “I saw people who didn’t have family members with them and I saw people who had to take public transportation to get there (and) people who just struggled to even pay for their medicine,” Blackburn said. Blackburn announced the fund in August 2018, named after the two UC San Diego Health doctors who inspired it,

Courtesy of SDSU NewsCenter

SDSU Director of Development Technology Tammy Blackburn (left) and Cameron McCullough, the first student recipient of the Courage Through Cancer fund.

Dr. Anne M. Wallace and Dr. Rebecca A. Shatsky, according to the SDSU crowdfunding webpage. Just a few weeks after the campaign’s launch, the fund was able to give an award to its first student. The fund has since helped seven students and continues to grow. Despite her current diagnosis, Blackburn has stayed dedicated to the cause. “I’m scared and it’s hard and I’m in pain, but I will not stop focusing on bringing awareness to anybody who wants to

understand that there are people, students at San Diego State, who have to live the way that I’m living and they just need a little help,” Blackburn said. Depending on a student’s situation, the fund can help cover a student’s tuition, meal plan and housing. Anybody can apply to be considered who has experienced a personal diagnosis or one within their immediate family. The Economic Crisis Response Team website has a link that students fill out about their

specific needs and, once completed, someone from the team connects them to specific resources. “I don’t want that student to experience personal pain and anguish because of cancer,” Blackburn said. “I want to keep students on track to graduate. It’s very important that we allow them to finish what they began.” Blackburn said she wants to specifically do two things with the fund: continue to grow the endowment and continue to award students throughout the school year. The endowment allows for the fund to continue servicing students long into the future. The goal is for students who are affected to be able to graduate, and Blackburn said three recipients of the fund were able to graduate last May. “That’s the ultimate goal and I got to be at the graduation and see them and that was a really a very personal experience for me,” Blackburn said. “It is the reason why the fund is there.” Chemistry senior Diego Perez is one of the recipients of this fund. When his brother was diagnosed with leukemia, he said he was able to talk to the financial aid office where the employees connected him with Blackburn.

“I mentioned that my brother was sick, so it was kind of getting harder for my dad to help toss some money over every now and then,” Perez said. He said he could not overlook Blackburn’s perseverance and commitment to this cause. “Tammy is one of the nicest, most genuine people I’ve ever met and that’s the kind of people I want to surround myself with in my life,” Perez said. “For her to be able to go through what she’s going through and has gone through and still think about other people is just really incredible to me.” Anyone can help to donate to this fund, and Blackburn said she would like to see more students supporting the cause. On Sept. 25, there will be a fundraiser held at the SDSU bookstore. “You don’t have to be an alum to donate,” Blackburn said. “You don’t have to have a lot of money. You can have $5 dollars or $10 dollars and participate. Last year, our students participated in it in an event that was a fundraiser for this fund and raised about $7,000 dollars in just a couple hours.” To donate to the Courage Through Cancer Student Success Fund, visit the crowdfunding website.

State audit finds fewer available spaces and higher parking rates by Michael Cline ASSISTANT NEWS EDITOR

San Diego State students are facing higher parking permit fees despite a decrease in parking availability over the past decade, according to a state audit of the university’s parking program. The audit, conducted between fiscal years 2008-09 and 201718, reported a rise in parking permit fees from $135 a semester to $168, even as the number of available student parking spaces decreased by 850, or almost 6%. With the cost of a day permit now $174 per semester, the increase in student parking fees over the last 11 years totals nearly 29%. Meanwhile, the audit found SDSU held over $28 million in surplus parking fees and fines at the end of the last fiscal year. The audit concluded SDSU students “tended to have less parking available than faculty and staff,” with some parking lots at complete capacity during peak hours. Data provided by the audit found SDSU sold over 48,000 student permits during the 2017-18 school year, despite only having 14,197 available spaces. Even with the reduction in total student parking spaces on campus, the audit clarified SDSU’s transportation management plan found the university had not reached

practical capacity for campus parking. Additionally, the audit examined SDSU’s construction of a new parking structure at South Campus Plaza, used primarily by customers of the building’s restaurants and businesses. Even though the additional parking structure did not increase the overall availability of student parking, SDSU used “students’ permit fees to pay for the facility’s construction,” the audit said. In an online statement, the university said the South Campus Plaza parking structure was intended for customers and campus visitors who support the building’s tenants between semesters and pay hourly parking fees. Additionally, the university said South Campus Plaza was sustainably designed to accommodate pedestrians, public transit and bikes to meet SDSU’s commitment to providing alternative modes of transportation. “The university is encouraging and, in some areas, seeing a reduced reliance on vehicles on and around campus,” the SDSU statement said. Beginning in the fall, SDSU freshmen living in student housing will not be permitted to park on campus, a move the university said will decrease emissions and increase parking spaces available for commuters. Three other CSU campuses

— Fullerton, Channel Islands and Sacramento State — were also randomly selected for the state audit of campus parking programs. The three other CSU campuses also maintained a surplus in parking fees and fines while also increasing the availability of student parking spaces. The audit said SDSU’s total surplus was the highest among CSU campuses, at over $456 million at the end of the last fiscal year. Bank accounts held by the CSU system outside the state

treasury were also subject to review. The audit indicated the CSU “failed to fully disclose” $1.5 billion in reserves — made up largely of unspent tuition fees — to students and elected officials as it nearly doubled annual tuition rates for students over the past decade. The CSU had set aside $400 million of that surplus for economic uncertainty, according to the audit. A statement from CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White said the report had mischaracterized the reserve

funds as discretionary, saying tuition increases and state funding were necessary because the surplus could not have been used to fund ongoing system expenses. White also said the report mischaracterized the system’s surplus as undisclosed. “The report’s incorrect claim that the CSU failed to fully inform its stakeholders about fund balances overlooks dozens of presentations of publicly available reports that included information about these funds,” the statement said.

File photo.

A vehicle drives through parking structure 12.

Profile for The Daily Aztec

08-14-2019  

Volume 106, Issue 1

08-14-2019  

Volume 106, Issue 1