March 9, 2016 The Egalitarian

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Today’s Weather

75 / 64 Thunderstorms likely. Afew storms may be severe. 3 to 5 inches of rain expected.


Super Bowl volunteer preparations

Rodeo Hall of Famers honored

A beautiful struggle see Campus, Page 2

see Culture, page 14

see Community, Page 5

Honors College expanding AlyssA Foley

THE EGALITARIAN Houston Community College’s Honors College program is expanding to two new campuses this fall: Stafford and Spring Branch. With 25 slots for the freshman classes at each location, the primary responsibility of the Honors College Directors Deanne Schlanger at Southwest and Dan Flores at Northwest is to populate the program with qualified students. The Central Honors College is in its ninth year, serving 50 of HCC’s most talented students every year. The Honors College admissions deadline is set for May 1. However, “we’re open until the class fills, and the class does have to fill with people who are qualified,” said Dr. Cheryl Peters, the executive director of the Honors College. “Just the fact that someone submits something tells you that they have some motivation,” said Dr. Peters, “I want to work with as many people who have an interest in being in something like this, but they do have to meet the qualifications. Period.” New students must show that they’re ready to take college-level courses in their first honors semester. They look for either a qualifying TSI score, a combined SAT score of 1100 or a composite ACT score of 26. “Test scores even trump high school GPA,” said Dr. Peters, but she added that, “Nobody is excluded unless every last test score they have said they’re not college ready.” An essay and two letters of recommendation are also among the admissions requirements, followed by an in-person interview once all

Thomas Hopkins / The Egalitarian HCC Central Honors College students Josue Rodriguez (right) and Alexandre Soares da Silva (left) study in the honors lounge on the first floor of the San Jacinto building. Two new Honor Colleges, complete with student lounges, will open this fall at the Stafford and Spring Branch campuses. requirements are met. “You have to be able to mentally and intellectually keep up with others who have demonstrated that they want to be good students and they want to be in a group of other similarly smart and motivated students,” concluded Dr. Peters. Applicants can be first-time college students or can have some prior coursework, but students must take a minimum of 18 credit hours with the Honors College. Honor students are given additional financial help and guidance through the aid process, from filling out the FAFSA for Pell Grants to finding scholarships. Undocumented students are directed

to TASFA, which enables them to receive state financial aid and state tuition under certain conditions. The HCC Foundation, T-STEM and outside cultural organization scholarships are also available to such students. There is also a strictly merit-based Honors College scholarship for students who are turned down for a Pell Grant. “These funds are limited,” Dr. Peters cautioned. Referring to international students she said, “we can’t scholarship them all.” The Honors College was established to serve local constituents of the HCC district, which adds some political pressure to the program to put local students first. Dr.

Peters said she could fill the freshman class with qualified international students instantly, “they’re fabulous students.” Scholarships are awarded proportionally to the total international student population at HCC, which means about four international students at Central receive aid through the Honors College scholarship fund. The scholarship proportion cap doesn’t affect admissions, “We don’t want to keep them out of the Honors College...We’ll take you in, but whether or not you get the scholarship or not, we can’t tell you right now.” Since scholarships are so limited, they wait till all the new students are admitted before determining the most deserving. “That’s why we can’t really say it’s free for everyone,” explained Dr. Peters, although they certainly try to make it. “There will be some students who are not getting the same benefits that everyone else is, and it’s only because they are an international student,” said Dr. Peters regretfully. Thao Thanh Nguyen is an international student studying chemical engineering at the Honors College. She received an Honors College scholarship in her first semester, but as the funds were stretched, she was encouraged and assisted in applying for other scholarships to help pay for her tuition. And with a the program’s textbook scholarship, her books are free. Today Nguyen is the secretary of the Central campus’ Student Library Advisory Council, she says that her biggest benefit has been “being with other honors students and learning from one another.” SEE


Chancellor Maldonado says “No” AlyssA Foley

THE EGALITARIAN The Houston Community College Board of Trustees authorized the chancellor to execute a lease agreement on Feb. 25 for the Conn’s property. The property has been the center of controversy since HCC Trustee Dave Wilson filed a complaint with the Harris County District Attorney’s office against Chancellor Cesar Maldonado and Chief Facilities Officer Chuck Smith in August 2015 for alleged “Fraud/ Misappropriation of Bond Funds” due to “misstatements [that] resulted in excess money

being paid for the property.” Trustee Wilson alleges that among other things, the trustees were told only a portion of the property would be leased, but the appraised value is based off the entire property being leased. When asked if there was any discrepancies between what the trustees were told and what was told to the professional appraisers, Chancellor Maldonado responded with a dismissive, “No.” Chancellor Maldonado stated in an interview that he does not believe that the complaint is justified, and he refused to respond to the trustee. Harris County District

Attorney’s Public Integrity Unit would not comment on the status of Wilson’s case against the chancellor. Public Relations Officer Jeff McShan stated that the unit, “will never confirm nor deny it is investigating anything.” Trustee Wilson previously stated that he has only been told that the case has been assigned. McShan added that, “If a grand jury decides to indict on any public integrity case...then that info would be released to the public.” The plan is to lease the building at 5505 West Loop South as a business location for service to the general public. With the board’s approval, the agreement

received the green light to be sent back to the prospective tenant to finalize. It’s been almost a year since HCC acquired the property. Leasing the building is intended to defray the long-term cost of acquisition. According to meeting minutes, the board previously approved a lease agreement on May 27. Currently, there is a “For Lease” sign on the building and no rental income has been generated. The former Conn’s Appliance store was acquired by the College in March 2015 for $8.5 million, even though it was appraised for just $5.3 million just a few months before.

The college hired appraisers to assess the property’s value in November 2014 and again in January 2015. The November appraisal of $5.3 million did not satisfy the seller, so the same appraisers were directed to reassess the property in January, which is when the value jumped to about $8.5 million. The Jan. 15, 2015 appraisal document lists an “Extraordinary Assumption” that “We assume the property is leased to Tesla Motors at $23.00 per square foot on a 5 year term with a 4 year, 11 month option.” They used the SEE


ON CAMPUS A beautiful struggle 2



Houston is one of the most diverse cities in the nation. It’s no surprise that Houston Community College is full of an array of individuals with completely different sets of experiences. All students experience some degree of struggle on our way to achieving our goals. Many nontraditional students enroll at HCC after a long hiatus, often returning to obtain a certificate for a better position at work or for other personal reasons. Cynthia Hall is a nontraditional student; after attempting to obtain a degree in accounting in the 80s, personal issues stood in the way of her pursuing her education. “I was separated from my husband and wanted to better myself,” explained Hall, but, “I had to stop and go to work to take care of my kids.” During this time, Hall’s children began experiencing health issues, “My kids were going in and out of the hospital. I was a full time mother, nurse, house keeper and anything else that came with raising kids.” These unfortunate circumstances would lead to her next attempt at obtaining a degree. “I was constantly in and out of the hospital dealing with doctors. I was encouraged by the staff at Ben Taub Hospital to think about becoming a respiratory therapist.” Hall’s children suffer from Asthma. However, the same struggles that led her to decide to return to school would be the reason she ultimately had to drop out again. “My second time was the fall semester of 1995. I attended HCC Southeast Jones high school campus and it had grown into the Gulfgate area campus. I was 36 at the time and it was very difficult. My kids kept




getting sick and I had no one to keep them while I was in class.” Hall focused all of her attention on her family and admits that there was a period when she completely lost focus of her dreams. However, in 2000 Hall turned her grief of losing her grandmother into a guiding force. She attended a ministry school and became a statelicensed minister in 2009. Hall holds church services on the side of her house and feeds churchgoers. She recalls an experience that she feels foreshadowed her most recent return to HCC, “someone asked me if I was a nurse. I said ‘no,’ but I do take care of people for a living. He said, ‘You will be going back to school.’ I thought to myself ‘Yeah right. I have had enough of school.’” Hall’s major is undeclared, but she says she knows that her calling is to help those in need— whether it be through taking care of the sick, taking care of her congregation or taking care of her neighbors. Hall was raised and still lives in Sunnyside. She remembers her childhood being filled with neighborly love and weekend fishing trips. She points out that Sunnyside today, “is a far cry from when I grew up here. Jail, drugs and death is a big part of the cycle here.” “I have seen injustice firsthand when my son was tased in front of me and a crowd of witnesses. I was even threatened by the police to be tased myself!” She explains that her experience with the prison system has spanned years, and now her son is serving time in jail. Hall is determined to do whatever it takes to keep her children out of the prison cycle, but that it has been a painful and traumatizing experience for Hall and her family. Hall’s determination to

Are you going to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, and what are you looking forward to? FELIX ALVARADO Jimmieka Mills/The Egalitarian

Yes I’m going to the rodeo. I look forward to the games and the carnival.

Cynthia Hall member of the National Society of Leadership and Success. support her children’s futures would lead her right back to where she started over 20 years ago: at college. Hall still experiences struggles at home and in school, but this time she admits that her outlook on school has changed over the years. “Now school is like my Calgon moment ‘take me away!’ I can forget and leave that stuff behind me out there for a little while. I feel empowered and strong when I am learning.” She said that, “Finding time to study is my number one obstacle. I live with my mother, son, his wife and their 4-monthold baby.” Though study time may be scarce in her household, Hall’s new enthusiasm for higher learning is showing. In January, Hall was nominated to join the National Society of Leadership and Success. “I pray for the ones who are coming after me to have a better life,” says Hall, “I hope one day to have my own church or at least a place to help the young people in my hood choose life.” Her advice to other nontraditional students is: “Don’t listen while people tell you you are too old. It is never too late to do something for yourself.”

CORY JUNE ENGINEERING Yes I’m going to the rodeo. I’m most looking forward to the carnival and the rides.

AHMED ABDULLA GENERAL STUDIES Yes I’m going to the rodeo. I’m looking forward to the food.

JONATHAN KAEWKONGPAN GENERAL STUDIES I might go to the rodeo. I’m most looking forward to turkey legs.

Classifieds and tidbits Career Ambassador Network Career Ambassadors serve as a bridge between Career Planning and Resources and HCC’s student population. CAN Meetings: March 10 from 4-6pm and March 24 from 4-6pm, both at the Stafford campus, room 142. Contact: or (713)718-7718 Realm of Writers Creative Writing Club Realm of Writers fosters the creative writing community at HCC. They will meet Tuesday March 15 at 2:30pm at HCC Central Campus, San Jacinto

Building room 215. Contact: Photography Club The Photography Club exposes students to the art of photography through events to improve their technical skills. Open to all HCC students. Street Photography Workshop, March 20. Contact: hcc5601photoclub@gmail. com. Student Open Mic Poetry Slam. The West Loop Student Library Advisory Council will be hosting a Poetry Slam for National Poetry Month in

April, featuring poets from within the HCC student body. Student-poets can take this opportunity to showcase their talent. Contact W202214131@ or 713-7187880 to register. The event will be held April 11 from 5-7pm at the West Loop campus. Graduation Rehearsal A mandatory rehearsal for graduates walking in HCC’s 2016 graduation ceremony is set for Friday, May 13 at 6pm at NRG Stadium. Registration for the May 16 commencement ceremony opened on March 1. For more info: students/graduation

JEREMY SLACK GENERAL STUDIES Yes I’m going to the rodeo. I’m looking forward to Florida Georgia Line, I’ve seen them once before and they were great.

CHRIS POLLARD STUDYING COMPUTER NETWORKING Yes I’m going to the rodeo. I look forward to the food.







Campus property economics AlyssA Foley

THE EGALITARIAN “The fact that our campus there was flat in enrollment was an indicator of problems with access,” said Houston Community College Chancellor Cesar Maldonado. Fort Bend County is the fourth fastest growing county in the U.S., yet the Missouri City campus in Sienna Plantation hasn’t grown with it. The new Missouri City campus being built off Texas Parkway will be a far more visible location. The chancellor stated that by all indications there is still a demand for a campus in that area, and that “the relocation of the campus is justified.” “We have a property that’s bought and paid for. The fact is, we haven’t been able to utilize it to what its potential should have been,” said Trustee Robert Glaser. Glaser has been making calls for more transparency within the administration, “I didn’t have any supporting evidence in writing in front of me prior to the vote...There was never any hard numbers done other than just macroeconomics saying, ‘Well, there’s growth in the area.’...we could have had a lot more supporting evidence to back up the commitment of that kind of money.” “We expect a big jump in dual credit students there,” said Dr. Maldonado about the Missouri City campus. Recently the board of trustees voted to make it so that out-of-district dual credit students can now college courses at HCC for free. Many dual credit students are take dual credit courses at their

“The new Missouri City campus being built off of Texas Parkway will be a far more visible location, the relocation of the campus is justified.” Cesar Maldonado HCC Chancellor

high school, so it’s unclear how many will actually step foot on an HCC campus. The new location will be only two miles away from the Stafford campus, but the chancellor insists that the neighboring campuses are “not going to be competing against each other.” Dr. Maldonado explained that, “The plan for that location, in some areas overlaps with what we’re doing with Stafford, but it’s significantly different from what we’re doing at Stafford today.” The plan is to make the new Missouri City campus a center for entrepreneurship and health sciences. Meanwhile, Stafford is set to be the center for manufacturing with the new workforce building about to be completed this May. “These are two different communities,” adds Maldonado, “the Stafford campus is near capacity, it is growing strong still.” Many students who attend classes at Missouri City also attend classes at Stafford. Recently, HCC was in the local news with headlines

HONORS, FROM PAGE 1 Every year, the college pays for honors students to travel abroad as part of their curriculum. The travel is intended to be a “total immersion” in the culture of everyday people. They were going to travel to Istanbul, Turkey, but after the terrorist attacks the college administration cancelled those plans. Plan B was to travel to Paris, France, but those plans were also cancelled after the terrorist attacks. This year, the class is traveling over spring break to two cities that represent U.S. history: Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Dr. Peters was disappointed for the students who didn’t get to study abroad like every other class. “We were very committed to making sure that they could do a trip,” stated Dr. Peters, “we will continue to be committed to the travel.” Honors classes are project based, often including research. They’re smaller, with the largest being about 2225 students. Usually, honors students are not put in classes with other HCC

stating that the college lost $10 million in the Missouri City campus relocation. “That number is inaccurate,” stated Dr. Maldonado. Exactly how much HCC lost depends on how you look at it. The total book value of the existing location is about $22 million. Only about $10.5 million is being recovered by the recent sale of the land and building, and with a grant the college is receiving from the non-profit George Foundation, HCC is actually taking in nearly $12 million with the move. On the surface, it does appear that HCC lost $10 million on the Missouri City campus move, because it’s taking in $12 million for a $22 million dollar campus. However, the number shifts depending on how you look at the details. In a previous article in The Egalitarian, I explained how at least $5.5 million was lost on the Sienna location. I stuck with that generously low number because I view the rest as being debatable. Even if only five million was lost, that is five million too much. It’s borrowed money that’s collecting interest, which area taxpayers

students, but if they are mixed the class may be adjusted so all the students may receive honors credit. “The rigor of the curriculum is harder,” said Ivan Rouge, who is majoring in economics and plans on transferring to Columbia University in the fall, “it resembles the more demanding curriculum of a four-year university.” At first, Rouge was not accepted because he didn’t have any academic indicators. He took four HCC classes in the summer of 2014, and was accepted into the Honors College that fall. He is now the president of HCC’s Omega Sigma chapter of the international honor society Phi Theta Kappa, where five out of the seven officers elected for the 2015-2016 year are Honors College students. Rouge described the community as being close-knit, and with the small classes, “you develop these relationships and learn from each other much more than if you just take regular classes, when sometimes you don’t even know the name of the person sitting next to you.” Stafford and Spring Branch, like Central, will have an Honor College lounge for students to meet, study and socialize. “You must have a lounge to help develop the

will have to repay. Taking out the value of transferable assets (i.e., couches and equipment) that will be moved to the new location and the depreciated value—which is a sunk cost anyways—HCC is walking away from about $16 million that the college invested in the Sienna campus. They sold a $16 million asset for $10.5 million. Therefore, the college lost $5.5 million. Receiving a gift from a nonprofit doesn’t change how much tax money was lost, so I did not count the foundation grant. “If you look at the economic transaction, we’re replacing money,” said Chancellor Maldonado, “I don’t understand the scenario where there is no value for that because we’re getting an improved facility where we’re going.” According to numbers published by the college, the total book value loss is $4.4 million. “There are sunk costs in the project,” Chancellor Maldonado admits, but “When we look at the infrastructure where we’re moving, it’s in excess of what we’ve invested in the

camaraderie—the sense of a community— both an intellectual and social community,” explained Dr. Peters. Honors freshmen take a hybrid learning frameworks or EDUC 1300 course, with lectures alternating between the normal curriculum and weekly leadership seminars led by Central Director David Wilcox. The leadership training is based off the Phi Theta Kappa leadership development model of servant-leadership. After the first semester, students have been putting the leadership principles they learn into practice. “Our students just literally transformed the leadership of other organizations here on this campus,” said Dr. Peters. As the United Student Council President, Josue Rodriguez is the student body president for all of HCC’s nearly 60 thousand students. Before being accepted into the Honors College, he was aiming for a paralegal workforce degree, but he wanted a degree path that would provide opportunities to grow and is now studying government and pre-law. “The main benefit is the tremendous amount of support. The Executive Director Dr. Cheryl Peters, Director

current location.” With $21 million in bond funds flowing into the project, asset sales, and grant money, the project is well funded. The administration expects a zero sum loss, with excess funds being returned to the George Foundation. “This is part of a long-range plan to service the needs of those taxpayers,” said Dr. Maldonado. When Missouri City joined the HCC taxing district, they were told that they would be given their own campus. The Texas Parkway location will be the third time HCC established a campus in the community; before Sienna location was built, HCC had a location off Cartwright Road beginning in 1997. Trustee Glaser said perhaps leasing a facility would have been a better deal because the college could walk away without having made such a large investment. He hopes that in the future, a student base can be developed before so much money is dedicated to a new campus. “Obviously, if I didn’t think it was a good project, I would not have recommended it to the board,” concluded Chancellor Maldonado. “We don’t have such a good track record down there,” says Glaser, who is guardedly optimistic about the move, “I’m hoping that we can do better.” Recently, the construction documents were completed and are being reviewed by Missouri City government for permitting. The next steps include reviewing the budget and the schedule, as well as receiving a permit from the municipal government.

David Wilcox, professors and honor students provide everyone with an enormous amount of support. It is no mystery that this support system has helped honor students become leaders in the community, club organizations and life.” Rodriguez said that during his admissions interview with Dr. Peters and Wilcox, “they truly saw me as a unique individual. After my interaction with them, I had the confidence to run for the USC President position. The Honors College has taught me to become a better listener, communicator, and student. These qualities have made me a better leader.” Godswill Muofhe served as the USC president before Rodriguez. He’s majoring in accounting and pre-law at the Honors College and will graduate this spring. “The professors have challenged me to put forth my best work through their rigorous course load. I’ve met amazing people that have exposed me to new ways of learning.” Muofhe said that through the program, “I basically gained more family members.” For more info: about-us/hcc-honors-college






DEQ staff failed in Flint

College readiness emmAnuel AkinolA THE EGALITARIAN


FLINT, Mich. — Michigan environmental regulators made crucial errors as Flint began using a new drinking water source that would become contaminated with lead, auditors said Friday, as crews in the city started to dig up old pipes connecting water mains to homes. The report by the state auditor general found that staffers in the Department of Environmental Quality’s drinking water office failed to order the city to treat its water with anti-corrosion chemicals as it switched to the Flint River in April 2014, but also said the rules they failed to heed may not be strong enough to protect the public. Flint had been using water from the Detroit system but made the change to save money, planning eventually to join a consortium that would have its own pipeline to the lake. The corrosive river water scraped lead from aging pipes that tainted water in some homes and schools, and has been blamed for elevated lead levels in some children’s bloodstreams. If consumed, lead can cause developmental delays and learning disabilities. Crews on Friday dug up a lead service line in Flint and replaced it with a copper one at the home of an expectant couple. It marked the first residential lead pipe removal that is part of Mayor Karen Weaver’s Fast Start initiative designed to replace all lead service lines in the city. Barry Richardson II, who lives in the home with his pregnant fiancee, thanked mayor and said he no longer will “have to worry about the lead poisoning” his water. Weaver said the work that started Friday will target lead service lines at homes in neighborhoods with the highest number of children under 6 years old, senior citizens, pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems and homes where water tests indicate high levels of lead at the tap. More than two dozen Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, also visited Flint on Friday to hear from families affected by the water crisis. Democratic Rep. Dan Kildee of Michigan said it let lawmakers hear about Flint’s problems firsthand and kept up pressure for Congress to act on a stalled bill aimed at helping the city. Kildee criticized Senate Republicans for delaying the bill


Jake May / AP Photo Signs warn not to drink the lead contaminated water from a water fountain at Woodside Church in Flint, Michigan and noted that lawmakers who have visited Flint in recent weeks were all Democrats. Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, who has repeatedly apologized for the state’s response, said it’s taking longer than expected to locate all the lead pipes in the city but the state is working to find them. The DEQ has acknowledged that its staffers who worked with Flint misread federal regulations designed to prevent lead and copper pollution of drinking water supplies. Three DEQ employees, including the director, have lost their jobs. Director Keith Creagh said Friday the DEQ appreciates the auditor general’s “thorough review” and “is committed to developing and implementing process and program improvements to address the findings in the report.” But the DEQ said the federal Lead and Copper Rule was ambiguous, and the auditors agreed, saying it and Michigan’s Safe Water Drinking Act needed improvements. Snyder said he’d also like to set a higher water quality standard than the federal rule. The audit said the federal rule does not require using indicators such as blood screenings to monitor for human exposure to lead. Sampling of drinking water that does take place relies mostly on samples from single-family residences, leaving out other locations such as schools and hospitals. Additionally, many samples are taken by residents, who might use incorrect procedures, the report said. Other DEQ shortcomings it noted included a failure to ensure that Flint drew enough water samples for testing from high-risk homes with lead pipes or fixtures. The agency said it would “put in place appropriate audit procedures that will increase the confidence and accuracy of water supply submissions.”

“College readiness is not an ISD problem. It’s not an HCC problem. It’s our problem as a community,” stated Catherine O’Brien, HCC’s Assistant Vice Chancellor for College Readiness. She spoke at a College Readiness Summit at the West Loop campus on March 2. In attendance were faculty and staff from Lone Star College, HCC, and other private and municipal school districts. Panelist and keynote speaker Dr. Anna Schmidt, the development English department chair at Lone-Star, collaborated with Cy-Fair ISD to re-write the high school curriculum for English in order to counter the issues facing student placement from the Texas State Initiative test or TSI and laxed secondary school preparation. Nearly 1.7 million students nationwide need remedial classes before enrolling in their respective courses, according to a study by Complete College America. Susan Firth, the director of advanced academics from Cypress ISD and Dr. Michel Rodriquez Zuch, the Dean of Academic Affairs from Lonestar, collaborated with Schmidt in creating the CARE Academy as an alternative for incoming students. The CARE Academy stands for College Awareness, Readiness, and Education and is an academic track that certain students can enter if they meet the requirements for college readiness set by Lone Star. These requirements consists of earning a B letter grade or higher in Advanced Algebra and/ or English IV, a C or higher in the college readiness course, completing a LSC-CyFair application, filling out a prior Learning Assessment Form, providing a high school transcript, and enrolling

in college level English or math courses. The English IV course from secondary school is now aligned with English 0309, otherwise known as Integrated Reading and Writing. This was all done in response to Texas House Bill 5 to identify the best practices in fostering college readiness. Advanced Algebra, the secondary school math course, which Schmidt admitted was “a developmental course” that doesn’t prepare students for calculus or trigonometry, is now aligned with Math 0308 or Introductory Algebra. Initially, there was push-back when Schmidt and her co-workers began to brainstorm ideas for revising the English course curriculum. Teachers were afraid “their favorite pieces of literature would go away,” Schmidt recalled. In revising, there was more emphasis on incorporating contemporary pieces that would be practical for students in the classroom. “[It was] the fear of the unknown. The more it becomes known, the more it becomes the staple, the standard thing,” Schmidt points out, noting the slow transition. Worry lessened when teachers were able to be kept in the loop of what pieces of literature they could continue using. Another challenge faced was in the alignment of the math course where Schmidt and other teachers had to come up with their own curriculum and syllabuses by themselves. That involved contacting the textbook publishers and informing them of their ideas for student learning outcomes or the necessary topics they hope students will learn by the end of the course. “Right now, the particular focal area is in how do we shorten the amount of time it takes for a student to get to college-level courses,” O’Brien reiterates.

How transformation is shaping up AlyssA Foley

THE EGALITARIAN It’s been almost a year since Houston Community College Chancellor Cesar Maldonado announced his plan for college transformation to faculty and staff. The restructuring of the college’s academic department has been the most significant change. “We had six different operating units running their own academic departments,” explained Dr. Maldonado in an interview, referring to how the system has been operating as six separate colleges—Central, Coleman, Northeast, Northwest, Southeast and Southwest. In phase one of the transformation, HCC has consolidated the leadership and the management. This allowed for more sharing of resources. Since last spring, in-

structors could teach at multiple HCC locations instead of just at one college. “We have more talent across the system at the same cost,” said the chancellor. By the end of last summer, the college had restructured the academic departments. “It had a very positive impact on our budget,” said Chancellor Maldonado, “we were able to budget the salary increases that were recommended...without increasing our ask from taxpayers.” Transformation is actually in month 14, the board’s updated vision statement in December 2014 was the real kick off of the changes. Now, they college is looking at pedagogy studies by academic department to help make more dynamic improvements from an instructional perspective. The aim is to develop departmental strategies to make sure that students are taught “in

a more uniform way across the system. It’s not going to be identical because instructors use different methods—different styles of teaching - but we’ll be shooting for the same goals.” After spring break, HCC will start having a new face with a revamp of its communications and customer service. Apps will be rolled out to help make student services more seamless and “far more accessible to students through mobile phones” including transferring from high school to college, changing majors, and registering for classes. Expect to see such apps in about a year from now. “I’ve had a lot of complaints on the website,” admitted the chancellor, “I’m pretty tech savvy, and it’s hard for me to navigate.” HCC is seeking proposals from qualified firms to redesign the current HCC website. A project committee is already in place

to plan how should look and work in the future. Student representatives will be added to the committee after the election of new Student Government Officers this semester. Many of the Centers of Excellence are falling into place as well. The Chancellor hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Alief-Hayes campus on Feb. 3 to celebrate new improvements to the campus. Improvements included opening the second, third and fourth floors of the building which now house the filmmaking, media and technology program. The campus was is in the transformation plan as being the center for engineering and media arts and technology. The Stafford campus will become the center for manufacturing with the new 57 thousand square feet workforce facility on track to be completed this May.






Rodeo Hall of Famers honored AJAni stewArt THE EGALITARIAN

With the help of two Houston based museums during Black Heritage Day, Several African-American rodeo legends were recognized at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. The American Cowboy Museum and the Buffalo Soldier Museum were both invited by the Rodeo Black Heritage Committee help celebrate two African-American cowboy hall of famers and provide insight into their careers for future generations. The honorees include: Myrtis Dightman, Lloyd Randle, Nathan “Mama Sugar” Jean Sanders, Harold Cash, Lloyd Randle, and Mollie Stevenson. They helped multiple guests and rodeo attendees to learn about the rodeo’s multicultural branch. President and CEO of the Houston Rodeo Joel Cowley says, “The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo serves the Houston community, and we want to serve the entire Houston community by bringing people out and inviting them to enjoy what we do out here.” Black heritage day and Go-Tejano day are two of the Houston Rodeo’s ‘special days’, which celebrate the contributions of cultural groups to western culture. Cowley continued, “Black Heritage day and Go-Tejano day are designed to do that, to reach out to different areas of the community bring them in, and let them see what we do.” The African-American Hall of Fame riders ultimately had to earn their place at the top. All of them lived through the Civil Rights struggles in mid-20th century Southern U.S. Myrtis Dightman, also known as the Jackie Robinson in professional bull riding, was a seven-time bull riding finalist and the first ever African-American to compete in a National Finals Rodeo. Starting off as a rodeo clown protecting riders from the bull, Myrtis found himself riding the bulls by 1964. When asked about the racism spread through the old South, Dightman says, “That didn’t bother me too much. I went to a couple rodeos that I couldn’t go at the same time because I was working...but rodeo has been good to me, I have been all over the world two or three times, I’ve never been in a fight, never been in an argument and never been in jail.” Dightman told himself that he would win the world one day. Promoting—that it’s the way you carry yourself. Unfortunately, he only ever achieved the runner up spot. Later on in his career, Dightman saw to the

CONN’S, FROM PAGE 1 income method to justify the price increase, and estimated that the first year rental income would generate $575 thousand, but the college has yet to see such income from the property. “The value of a property is based on several different factors, we had a professional appraiser give us a report on that,” said Chancellor Maldonado, “I relied on the advice of experienced professionals to set the value of that property. It followed, what I understand and in my experience to be accepted principles for appraising properties.”

Ajani Stewart / The Egalitarian African-American cowboys pose during Black Heritage Day at the Houston Rodeo along with Rodeo President Joel Cowley. training of Charlie Sampson, the first ever African-American to ever win the National Finals Rodeo. “I did not have any help, I paved my own way and everything,” Dightman says. Now living in Crockett, TX, the retired rodeo-man expressed how he would like for the new generation of young, particularly African-Americans to be more involved in rodeo life. Aware that the numbers of black riders are decreasing, he still hopes for individuals to carry on the tradition and continue to open new doors within the western sports. Dightman is the founder and Trail Boss of the Prairie View Trail Riders—the first official black trail riding association— where he looks to give insight to young individuals about the rodeo lifestyle. A colleague of Dightman and fellow hall of fame inductee, Harold Cash, faced similar issues as a professional African-American bull rider. Growing up in Kendallton, TX, Cash watched his town’s local rodeos on Sunday, one of only five rodeo opportunities available to blacks at the time. After being introduced to the sport, his mentor Willie Thomas took him on the road, where he traveled around the U.S. to places like New York, Chicago, D.C. and New Jersey. Cash said, “Without the sport of rodeo, then I probably wouldn’t have obtained a bachelors in science degree from Prairie View A&M.” Later he became the sole owner of the Tie Down Saloon in 1985 and formed the

“Mr. Smith and I did not talk directly to the people who were going to be leasing to,” said Chancellor Maldonado. He said that HCC attorneys and the facilities department handles that. It was also stated in the January appraisal that “we were provided with potential letters of intent, given by the current property owner [HCC]...We requested actual LOI [Letters of Intent] documents, but were not provided them.” The Texas Appraiser Licensing & Certification Board “found that the report contained minor deficiencies” and issued a non-disciplinary

All-American Rodeo Association with Dightman. Cash emphasizes the doors that the rodeo has opened for him. The Harold Cash Living Legend Rodeo puts on a rodeo every first Saturday in June in Raywood, TX to honor deceased African American cowboys. Also, a member of the National Multicultural Hall of fame Cash says, “I have seen the back-end of segregation. People like Willie Thomas and Myrtis Dightman, they really broke the ice for black cowboys.” Continuing he says, “It was just a way of life back then, it wasn’t the cowboys. For the cowboys it was man against beast…The places you went to made it segregated.” Practical tools made the experience at the rodeo tougher for African-Americans. The bull rider explained how at times, the timer of the ride would double the 8-seconds of regulation time for the black rider. Cash further expressed his appreciation for rodeo figures like Dightman and Thomas, whom he watched as a young man and later started to work alongside. Recognition in places such as the Multicultural Hall of Fame and the American Cowboy Museum gives individuals the chance to act as a role model for future generations. “When I accept any one of these awards, I tell them when you’re looking at me, you’re looking at a 1000 cowboys, it’s not about me,” stated Cash, adding, “The doors have opened for blacks, but the wheels are still turning slow.” He is encouraging young individuals to do what they love and

warning letter to the appraisers to advise that they provide “documentation and analyses to support adjustments” and to acknowledge any prior work on a property. Besides Tesla Motors, the appraisal indicated other possible leases with Goodwill Industries, a Tile Shop and Party City—none of which materialized. When asked if he thought the Conn’s Property was a good deal for the college, Chancellor Maldonado stated that, “In my opinion, it is, or I would not have taken it to the board...The recommendation that I took forward to the board for its

work their hardest in order to achieve their dreams. Subsequent to Harold Cash’s expression, 15-year old bell-racer Zoria Crawford looked on at the numerous displays of her predecessor’s achievements and awards. The Hightower High School freshman spends her free time as an active member of the Fort Bend 4-H and the Junior Livestock Committee of Fort Bend, both of which she holds leadership roles in. Zoria also takes part in a Youth Rodeo Camp in the summer, teaching kids bell racing and pole bending. Her audience ranges from 7-year-olds to 9-year-olds, permitting her to provide hands-on demonstrations and creative teaching methods for children. Referring to seeing the accomplishments of the inductees, Zoria says, “That’s a happy feeling.” Traveling around Texas to compete in Angleton, Egypt, Montgomery and Pasadena, she has been crowned pole-bending champ for three years straight and All-American Cowgirl by the All-American Youth Rodeo Association. Placing first in numerous competitions, Crawford says she believes she can get to the heights of professional bull riding pioneer Dightman, despite being female and African-American in a predominantly male sport. When speaking about riding she says, “I want to do it until I can’t do it anymore,” proving that her optimistic attitude and positive actions keep her going, along with those around her. Crawford says she influences her friend by motivating them to do what she does, but whether or not she is riding or assisting her community Crawford made it known that she would not be where she is today without her father Willie Crawford Jr.— whom she “thanks god for.” Similar to Crawford, Mollie Stevenson, a hall of fame cowgirl and the owner of the American Cowboy Museum, says opportunities where all four of her colleagues can come together are rare. The idea for the exhibition was created by the American Cowboy Museum, but brought to fruition by the Black Heritage Committee with a purpose to give exposure to the inductees. Crawford epitomizes what professionals—like Harold Cash, Lloyd Randle and Charlie Sampson—say about how the tradition needs to be kept alive. Not an individual who uses their talent as an opportunity to become famous, but as a person who continues to inspire and open doors for others, whoever they are. Her dream, she says—both concise and attainable—“To become pro.”

action was sound, and I stand behind it.” The West Loop campus falls in Trustee Robert Glaser’s district. While Glaser admitted he has reservations about the deal, he said, “In the long run, I think that property will be an excellent fit for that campus.” With the campus so close to Bellaire and the Galleria area, purchasing property to expand the campus would likely only become more expensive in the future. Glaser explained that picking up the property while it was on the market is preferable because it prevents the college from having to possibly go through

the unpopular process of eminent domain and ultimately condemnation of adjacent property in order to expand the campus at a future date. Glaser said that it’s “a piece of property that ultimately may have become a piece of that campus….Whether we needed to buy it at this time or not is a serious question.” The details of this new prospective lease will not be made public until finalized. The trustees deliberate real estate matters in closed session, as allowed by the open meetings act since a public discussion could have a detrimental effect on the college’ position in negotiations.






Above: Trail riders preparing to serve dinner. Left: Trail Riders adjusting harnest on mules Bottom: Award winning ribs. Opposite Page Top Left: Bagwell belting tunes at the Cook Out. Middle Left: Grilling some beef and sausage. Top Right: Feeling the song while squeezing that box. Bottom: Two-Stepping the night away













Left: Scracthing away on he scrub board. Above: Singing with a twang on the MIller Lite Stage. Bellow: Carnival goers fighting gravity. Opposite Page Top: The view from the ferris wheel at the HLSR carnival. Middle Left: Need tickets. Bottom Left: A young Cowgirl ready for a night of fun. Right: Picking the strings that fill the night air.













Above: Artwork at the Rodeo. Right: Holding on tight. Below: Bare back Bronco riding goes airborne. Opposite Page Top Left: Rodeo legend Harold Cash Top Right: Rodeo goers petting a horse on duty. Middle Right: Getting to catch any run away calf. Bottom: Student checking her phone while waiting to present her massive animal.





CULTURE Pikachu celebrates 20th anniversary 12





AnA rAmirez

THE EGALITARIAN Pokemon celebrated their twentieth anniversary on Feb. 27 by making a game called ‘Sun and Moon’ available for Nintendo DS. Pokemon was established in 1996 in Japan, starting off with the first two games of red and green. Originally, it wasn’t named Pokemon it was called ‘Pocket Balls’. The animated TV series Pokemon premiered in April 1997 in Japan. One year later the animated series came to the United States and garnered 1.5 million views in its first month. Pokemon was introduced in America by having an expo in Los Angeles, CA. Also In 1998, Nintendo released Pokemon blue and red. Nintendo also created a Pokemon Pikachu. It is a small virtual pet that could go into your pocket and you were able to play any time you wanted. The year 1999 was big for Pokemon. They released the hugely popular trading card game. Fans were now able to collect cards and trade them amongst their friends. In April, Super Smash Bros. was released having Pikachu and Jigglypuff as playable characters. In the 90s pinball was popular, so Pokemon and Nintendo released a game called Pokemon Pinball. In September 1999, season two of the animated TV series Pokemon was premiered. Later on, the game Pokemon Yellow: Pikachu edition was released for the Gameboy. By the end of 1999 Pokemon premiered their first movie called ‘Pokemon The First Movie’. In 2000, Pokemon started off the year by having a stadium tour, visiting 20 U.S. cities in February. The second movie was published in July. In September, Pokemon created a three-day event called: Pokemon World Champions. To finish the year, Pokemon went live with the first stage show performing in Radio City Hall in New York.

Image courtesy of Drawing of Ash holding a Poke ball along with his best friend and first Pokemon Pikachu. In November 2001, Pikachu was featured in the Macy’s annual Thanksgiving parade for the first time after the third movie came out in April. As the legend continues for Pokemon, in 2002 different trading cards were created and the fourth movie was released. Pokemon’s Ruby and sapphire games were released in the beginning of 2003 for Gameboy Advance. By the end of the year, Nintendo created the Pokemon channel exclusively for the Nintendo cube. At the start of 2004 Pokemon published its fifth movie and in June it the sixth movie came out. Toward the end of the year Pokemon created its first ever-trading game world champion. The event was held in Orlando, Florida. Japanese people won in every age division. In February 2005 the seventh movie was published and by March the technology grew for Nintendo, so Pokemon Dash

was created for Nintendo DS, but they still created games for Gameboy Advance. Pokemon trading card game world champion’s event was held in San Diego, California during the month of August. U.S. players made a comeback and won in every age division. Pokemon’s tenth anniversary kick off was in at the American Toy Fair in New York City, and a mall tour starting in Miami in February. The tour lasted several months through 24 cities, finishing off in New York City. In August Pokemon had its first ever Video Game National Championship. Later they had their trading card Championship in California, and they had their first European champion. To end 2006 the eighth movie was published. By 2007 Pokemon premiered its ninth movie. Nintendo created a game called: Pokemon Battle Revolution for the Wii. In

August, Pokemon’s trading card game was held in Hawaii with the youngest champion being only 7 years old. February 2008, the tenth movie of Pokemon was released. As the Wii and the Nintendo DS were becoming more popular, Pokemon stopped creating games for Gameboy. The trading card game and the video game showdown were held in Orlando, Florida. In February 2009 the eleventh movie was released. Pokemon created their trading cards and games as the platinum version. A boutique opened in Times Square Toys R Us dedicated to Pokemon. Pokemon combined both championships and held them in San Diego, California, before ending the year off with their twelfth movie. Pokemon’s theme for the beginning of 2010 was heartgold and soulsilver. They created trading cards and games off of it. The Pokemon championships were held in Hawaii and had its first female champion and male champion of three consecutive wins in video games. The Pikachu Balloon made its tenth appearance in the Macy’s annual Thanksgiving parade. Pokemon kept growing, especially with their animated season and the black and white version of the game. The Pokemon championship had their first Brazilian and Australian champion held in San Diego, California. The online trading game launched for Mac and PC at the end of August. Pokemon keeps hosting their annual championships and are still making more trading cards and video games. In 2013 they had their own TV mobile app. is the official apparel website, which was launched in 2014. The trading card game online is now an app for iPad as of 2014. Throughout the year of 2015 more mobile apps were developed and the eighteenth movie of Pokemon was released.

Scared of movie night, not with Redbox erik CAlderon THE EGALITARIAN

Being tight on a budget as a student, going to the movie theater can break the bank. With $10 for one ticket, $7.50 for an Icee, $8.50 for a bag of popcorn, that’s already close to $30 for one person. Why not make it a Redbox night? Redbox makes the perfect date night on a college student budget. Redbox has over 1,200 kiosks all over Houston, and with a price of $1.50 per night, how can you beat that? For $5, you and your date can watch a film, have some popcorn and make some hot dogs. I did it this week. Here’s the breakdown: Movie: $1.50, bag of Popcorn: $0.99, hot dogs: $0.99 and twelve pack of buns: $0.99. That comes out to a total of about $4.50, plus tax of course. Redbox has new releases every week on Tuesday. Visit for the latest list of

releases and their future release schedule. Just released to the box is the new film by Nancy Meyers ‘The Intern’. It’s a film about a 70-year-old widower, Ben Whittiker (Robert De Niro) who is bored, retired and tired of the same old routine of everyday life. Ben sees an ad for a senior intern position with a company that’s looking for a new angle and trying to catch some publicity. He get’s hired on and has to shadow the owner, Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway), a young woman, founder and executive of a thriving fashion online store who has a whole set of her own problems. The film takes place in an old building in the Bronx. Quite coincidently that building just happens to be the same building Ben worked in for over 20 years. The film is a romantic comedy budgeted at $35 million and grossed over $75 million. I would say that Director Nancy Meyers, also known for direct-

ing ‘It’s Complicated’, ‘The Holiday’, ‘Something’s Gotta Give’, ‘What Women Want’ and ‘The Parent Trap’ did an amazing job selecting the location and bringing out amazing performances from the cast. This film grows on you. The relationship between Ben and Jules becomes like a father-daughter relationship. Ben is the father you never had who helps you through your challenges, and always tries to guide you along the best path. Being that this is a movie about fashion, I did enjoy the array of clothes—especially the way Nancy Meyers compares fashion from decades past to today. There is one scene when Ben explains why men carry handkerchiefs in their pockets, which I never understood until I saw this film. Ben is a real character full of love and kindness. The kind of person you want to be around all the time. Always on time, always trying his best, making sure that

things get done and most of all standing up for what is right. This is truly a film you can enjoy over the weekend or anytime during spring break with a special someone. Make ‘The Intern’ into a movie night, buy some popcorn, maybe grill up some hot dogs and have an enjoyable, entertaining evening. Another option is ‘The Good Dinosaur’, a film by Peter Sohn starring Jeffrey Wright, Frances McDormand, and Maleah Nipay-Padilla. These are actors I’ve never heard of, starring in a film that took a staggering $350 million to get to market. To date, it’s grossed just over $315 million and is now on DVD. This is a great film for the family, or even a nice date. This film takes an interesting twist on evolution. Instead of the asteroid hitting Earth and causing mass extinctions, the asteroid missed Earth. Bob Peterson, who came up with the original concept and story, does an amazing job with the “What

If?” scenario. What if the dinosaurs did not become extinct? What would the world be like? What would we be like? How would we live? Although the story concept was from Bob Peterson, it looks like Director Peter Sohn was intricately involved in writing the script. The film is about Arlo, a young Apatosaurus, who is learning about life, facing his fears and having to grow up and mature. Arlo loses his father when trying to track down and kill a young human. It’s fascinating how low humans are on the food chain in this alternate universe. After losing his father and trying to seek revenge, Arlo is swept away from his home by a storm. His journey is about getting back home and facing his greatest fears. On that journey he becomes friends with the human child he was trying to kill. Just for the record, the dinosaurs speak English, but the humans can’t speak.

13 Spring break staycations around Houston WEDNESDAY MARCH 9, 2016



AlyssA Foley

THE EGALITARIAN If spring break will be a staycation or if you’re on a tight budget, there are free things you can do around Houston for a unique experience on your time off. Go sightseeing. The JPMorgan Chase Tower offers the highest public view of Houston from the Sky Lobby on the sixtieth floor. A one-stop elevator takes visitors to the observation floor, which gives a wide North-Western view of Houston and beyond. The Sky Lobby is open to the public during the office hours of 9am-5:00 pm Monday through Friday. Explore the Underground. Beneath Houston’s downtown streets is a system of tunnels that connect 95 city blocks. It provides restaurant and shopping to the large downtown office population. The Wells Fargo Plaza and McKinney Garage on Main offer direct access from the street to the tunnel, but most downtown office buildings have stairs, escalators or elevators that bring you to the tunnels 20 feet below the city. Walk into any downtown building and ask how can you get into the tunnels, and most office receptionists are happy to help hometown or visiting tourists on their way. The tunnels are only open Monday through Friday from approximately 6am6:30pm, but most restaurants close by 2:30pm after the lunchhour rush. See nature. Watch thousands of bats fly off into the night from under-

John Cañamar / The Egalitarian The reflection pond located on the Northwest corner of Hermann Park from the steps of the Sam Houston statue on Fannin St. neath the Waugh Drive Bridge near Buffalo Bayou. Like the bat bridge in Austin, it’s an amazing sight at sunset to see them take off. This bat colony consists of Mexican free-tailed bats that emerge nightly to feed on up to 1,200 tiny insects an hour. Possibly the largest colony of Mexican free-tailed bats that live in Texas all year can be seen from the bat observation deck in Buffalo Bayou Park. Watch the sunset or sunrise. At James Turrell’s “Twilight Epiphany” Skyspace, you can meditatively watch the transition from day to night or night to day through the roof of this unique art installation. Public light sequences occur Wednesday through Monday at both sunrise and sunset. Reservations are free and required for sunset light shows, but not for sunrise. Located adjacent to the Shepherd School of Music on the Rice

University campus, the structure is equipped with an LED light sequence that projects onto the ceiling and through a gap in the 72foot square roof just before sunrise and at sunset. The gently shifting lights complement the natural twilight light for a beautiful and calming experience. For viewing times, parking info, and reservations, visit: Get cultured: visit a museum. Many Houston museums are always free, others have free admissions at particular times. The Museum of Fine Arts is free all day Thursday from 10am9pm, and if you show your Student ID on any other day, admission is discounted from $15 to $7.50. Special ticketed exhibitions will still cost you, but the permanent halls are free to roam. The Houston Museum of Natural Science’s permanent exhibit halls are free Thursday from 3-6

pm, adult tickets are normally $25. Admission to the butterfly house, planetarium, giant theater and special exhibits is not included with the free admission. If you want to hit up as many museums as possible, the Holocaust Museum is free Thursday 2-5pm; the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum is free Thursday 1-5pm; the Children’s Museum is free Thursday 5-8 pm; the Health Museum is free Thursday 2-7pm; and the Museum of African American Culture is free Thursday 6-8pm. Other museums are free every day of the year, including the Asia Society Texas Center; Contemporary Arts Museum; DiverseWorks; Center for Contemporary Craft; Center for Photography; The Jung Center; Lawndale Art Center; The Menil Collection; Rice University Art Gallery; and the Rothko Chapel. Visit:

See a live performance. Enjoy a free show in an openair theater in the heart of the museum district at Miller Outdoor Theatre: 6000 Hermann Park Drive, Houston. On Friday, March 18 at 8pm, the GuGu Drum Group from Shanghai will perform. The group will present a theatrical drum drama, depicting historical and culturally significant drum compositions. Director Yang Xiaodong will take a contemporary approach to his authentic ancient drums, representing a powerful lineage of drum movements dating back to the times of the Emperors of Chinese Dynasties. GuGu Drum Group uses traditional Chinese drums with modern percussion techniques, most famous just outside of Shanghai. On Saturday, March 19 at 8pm, Salsa artists Angelo Pagan, Jimmie Morales and Oskar Cartaya will perform in Noche Caliente. Angelo Pagan is a salsa recording artist and band leader, with tracks in Spanish and English and in genres spanning from salsa, pop and big band. Jimmie Morales has performed in sessions for almost every major artist in the Salsa genre with consistent sound and rhythm. Oskar Cartaya plays bass, composing, arranging and acting as musical director for artists. Free tickets are available for the covered seating area (4 per person over age 16 while they last) for each event at the Miller Outdoor Theatre box office one hour before show time. Or, you can bring your folding chairs or picnic blanket and enjoy the show from the hill.

High action thriller hits target emmAnuel AkinolA THE EGALITARIAN

‘London Has Fallen’ is an action thriller sequel to 2013’s ‘Olympus Has Fallen’. The plot involves a massive terrorist attack on the city and the efforts of one Secret Service agent to protect the President of the United States from being captured. Gerald Butler reprises his role as the secret service agent Mike Banning, Aaron Eckhart returns as President Benjamin Asher, along with Angela Bassett as the director of Secret Service Lynne Jacobs, and Radha Mitchell as Leah Banning, Mike’s wife and nurse. The film was the English-language directorial debut of Babak Najafi, who previously directed episodes of Banshee. The writers from the first film, Creighton Rothenburger & Katrin Benedikt, returned to write the story and screenplay with co-writers Christian Gudegast and Chad St. John. Though the film was entertain-

ing, the overall script and direction of the film was below standard. The opening scenes and other parts of the film were poorly edited. The acting by Alon Moni Abouthoul playing the villain Aamir Barkawi and Waleed Zuaitar as Aamir’s son Kamran Barkawi were subpar. Butler’s character, Banning, deals with being a father and deciding whether or not he should resign from duty. This subplot was trite and uninteresting even when the film picks up mid-way. There’s also barely any character development in this film. In the main plot, President Archer and other world leaders attend the funeral of the British minister. A full war breaks out and most of the world’s leaders are killed, which leads Archer and Banning to run. In the first 30 minutes, the setup to the attack felt drawnout and anticlimactic, especially with the numerous explosions and gore involved in the scenes. The stakes were raised after the initial attack when Archer

and Banning are forced to fend for themselves when a missile shoots down their helicopter. That served as a great reversal to the first film which had Banning securing the White House while the President was underground, in this film they are being hunted through the streets of London amid a blackout caused the terrorists. There was great emotional impact in the film when a major character died in the midst of the attacks. The film became more interesting when Banning and Archer rendezvous to a MI6 safe house where they meet British agent Jacqueline Marshall portrayed by Charlotte Riley. The frequent jokes and cliche one-liners by Banning fell flat at times and reminded me too much of the ‘Die Hard’ films or even James Bond films. The sideplot with the British police officers responding to the attack was intriguing, but never fleshed out. The same applies to Jacqueline’s mission to find the mole or insider that helped the ter-

Image released by Focus Features Aaron Eckhart, left, and Gerard Butler in a scene from Grammercy Pictures’, “London Has Fallen.” rorists carry out their plans. The film never added any depth to Barkawi and his son. Their motivation was understandable, but there was hardly any effort on the filmmaker’s part to flesh out these characters. The music by Trevor Morris had un-impactful, generic political themes. The cinematography by Ed Wild was standard, but the action sequences throughout the film were shot well. The ending action sequence

was a tour-de-force; the tracking shots really did well in bringing the audience to experience the all-out war between Banning and British special forces attacking Barkawi’s men at his safe house. For the average movie-goer who wants to turn their brain off and enjoy the ride, this is the movie for you. For anyone looking for substance to the story, you’re out of luck. In my opinion, the first film was superior and had more depth.

SPORTS Super Bowl volunteer preparations 14






Houston is counting down the days until the Super Bowl returns to Houston for its third time. Andy Newman, the Director of Volunteer Programs, has a big job to complete. In about 340 days, he must recruit and oversee the training of 10 thousand volunteers that will help guide the million or so visitors expected to descend on Houston the week of Feb. 5, 2017. For those hoping their volunteer gigs would score them free tickets to the big game, you’re out of luck. Volunteers won’t even be working inside NRG Stadium. “That’s important to say,” Newman explains. Of course, that could narrow down the pool of applicants, but this is a “oncein-a-lifetime opportunity.” Last year, the NFL announced that it would end its decades long tax exempt non-profit status. The change means that the organization must start paying income taxes, but this end of an era means the NFL no longer has to publically disclose financial information like executive pay. Now a for-profit business which made $327 million in revenues in 2013 and paid their top executive $44 million in 2012 is asking for 10 thousand Houstonians to work for them for nothing but the “oncein-a-lifetime” experience. Still, they probably won’t have a problem finding 10 thousand people in this city of almost 6 million who have a fervent love for the sport and wish to be involved

with the biggest day of the football season. One of the main goals for the Host Committee is that the body of volunteers represents the most diverse city in the country. “I want to ensure that the volunteer team represents that diversity and Southern hospitality,” says Newman. Hosting the Super Bowl is nothing new to Houston. The city has already hosted the game twice—in 1974 and 2004—but every new event has its challenges, from the changing times and current events. Newman says that though the Host Committee looks to past years in Houston as guidance, the city has changed a lot since the game was held here, and they’re mostly learning from Super Bowls held in recent years. Houston has undergone a rapid development of parks and green spaces in the last few years that adds opportunity for more Super Bowl-related activities and possible revenue streams. For example, Newman points out that Discovery Green was “more concrete” in 2004, and that applies to almost anywhere in central Houston. Newman explained what will happen over the next eleven months. Currently, applications for volunteers have already been released and are open through April. To attract applicants, Newman says the committee has been doing “a lot of community engagement.” Requirements are outlined on the website, and potential Super Bowl LI volunteers must assure that they have the personality, availability and time to commit. Anyone who will be at least 18 years old on

Image courtesy of Houston Sports Authority The 2017 Super Bowl LI logo that will be used next year in Houston Dec. 31 is welcome to apply. This summer, the committee will reach out to all applicants and assess in what area they would like to serve. Though the committee doesn’t know exactly how many applications to expect, in the early fall the number will be whittled down to 15 thousand candidates who will be interviewed face-to-face at the Volunteer Recruitment Center. By the end of October or early November, successful applicants will be notified and in-depth training will start with an

orientation that shows “what it means to be a Houston Host Committee Super Bowl volunteer” and preparing them for venue-specific roles. Newman says the goal at this point is to get volunteers excited about what they will be doing. As the big day approaches, volunteers will receive their official uniforms and credentials sometime in January. Volunteers will begin to execute their duties on Jan. 27. For more info, visit: HouSuperBowl. com/Volunteer

Sneak peek into the promotion world FABiAn Brims THE EGALITARIAN

At last week’s match against the New Orleans Pelicans, where the Houston Rockets won 100:95, two Houston Community College students were shadowing Rockets employees on the game day at the Toyota Center. Houston Community College is an educational partner of the Houston Rockets. Although not everyone is needed on the court, there are many more things to do on a game day from security, concessions, cameramen and journalists, dancers and performers and among many others, promoters. Ivan Medina and myself, both HCC students, trailed in the footsteps of the promoters. Even though the game started at 7pm, the workday for the promoters started at 2pm. By that time the stadium was already bustling hours before opened it to the audience. After meeting the game day operations team responsible for all promotion activities during halftime and timeouts, there was a little tour through the arena before the preparations for the game began. They folded hundreds of

t-shirts that were going to be tossed in the audience, and helped find fans who are willing to participate in promotion events like the ‘Bud Light Thirst Half’, or a little race, where kids had to wear large shoes and jerseys and try to throw a basket. Events like these are split between the members of the promotion group. Everybody makes sure his or her part is running without any interruptions, and us students were able to help. The most interesting part was not the work itself. Being able to attend an NBA game is already an awesome experience, but when you get an allarea-pass for this, it’s priceless. From an aerial view above the jumbotron monitor to the sideline and down to the catacombs of the arena, there were not many places the students didn’t get to see. They glimpsed behind the curtain of a world-class basketball match, which was a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity for us which we’ll never forget. The partnership between HCC and the Houston Rockets continues, so watch out for future shadowing programs to be able to help the Houston Rockets with TV broadcasting, business operations or, like Medina and I last week, with game day

promotions. Ivan Medina described the experience: “I have been to plenty of sporting matches, but I have never really payed attention to anything on the jumbotron besides the game info and any replays. Well, after my experience shadowing the Game Operations team for the Houston Rockets last week I have a whole new respect for the unseen, and unnoticed individuals responsible for your in-game entertainment.” “The production meeting takes place fifteen minutes before doors open where everyone goes over their assigned schedules. In the world of sports nothing is predictable, there are no scheduled commercial breaks besides halftime, so everything is scheduled around time outs. Anything and everything could go wrong, so backups must be in place in case a planned segment does not work or possibly a timeout does not occur in a quarter.” “The Game Operations team were kind enough to give Fabian and I actual assignments as if we were members of the team and not just two students given a backstage tour. My first assignment was to run up to section 430 and find two fans

Image courtesy of Houston Rockets Home court of the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center. dressed in Rockets swag to receive a free seat upgrade and tickets to a future game. Once they were picked out, a message had to be sent upstairs so the cameramen know where to shoot during the second time out in the first quarter.” “Our whole night was like this, we had to gather and make sure the people for these scheduled promos were in their seats the entire time until the segment was completed. It wasn’t all work though, we got to spend a considerable amount of

time on the court before, during and after the game.” “The Rockets winning made a great experience even better, I stood ten feet away from the team as streamers—that we set up—fired from the ceiling celebrating the victory. The whole experience was fun and extremely rewarding. I would highly recommend everyone sign up for the next shadowing program or possibly look for an opening in Game Operations in the summertime when they are hiring.”







Egal•i•tar•i•an (adjective) aiming for equal wealth, status, etc., for all people 3517 Austin; 303 Fine Arts Center; Houston TX 77004 Phone: 713.718.6016; Fax: 713.718.6601 Adviser: Fredrick Batiste


Editor-in-Chief .............................................. Alyssa Foley News Editor ...............................................Jimmieka Mills Sports Editor .............................................John Cañamar Culture Editor ............................................. Erik Calderon Photo Editor .......................................... Thomas Hopkins Social Media Mgr. ...................................Jessica Wosiack Staff Writer .................................................. Ajani Stewart Staff Writer ................................................... Ana Ramirez Staff Writer ......................................... Emmanuel Akinola Staff Writer ................................................ Tori Hendricks Staff Writer .................................................. Fabian Brims Staff Writer ........................................... Marialuisa Rincon Staff Photographer .....................................Gilbert Bernal ——— The Egalitarian has been the official student newspaper of the Houston Community College System since September 1974. The Egalitarian is published bi-monthly, every other Wednesday except during holiday breaks. Print circulation is 8,000 copies per issue and distributed to selected HCC campuses in the Houston, Spring Branch, Alief, Katy, North Forest and Fort Bend areas. Comments and contributions are always welcome. Deadlines for contributions and advertisements are one week before the issue print date. The Egalitarian is written and edited by students of Houston Community College. This publication does not necessarily reflect the opinions, views, interests, attitudes and tastes of the Board of Trustees, HCC administration, faculty, staff or students. Opinions and editorial content of The Egalitarian that are unsigned do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Egalitarian staff or adviser. The Egalitarian reserves the right to edit any submitted material for grammatical errors, offensive language, libelous materials and space constraints. It may also refuse any advertising that does not adhere to the HCC mission.


The Egalitarian staff consists of HCC students who must complete all tasks required to produce the newspaper, which serves all campuses of the HCC System. We want all students from all majors to contribute. However, we must follow our submissions policy in order to operate under our limitations of time, energy and staff. All staff and contributing writers must be currently enrolled students at Houston Community College. The Egalitarian interacts with contributing writers via e-mail and telephone. Visiting The Egalitarian will not help contributors get published, only quality work will. Publication priority is given to staff members and assigned articles, and verbal commitments for assignments will not be accepted or recognized. Press releases, story ideas, news tips and suggestions are always welcomed. Any student interested in joining The Egalitarian staff may request more detailed information regarding story length, topics, style, etc., by e-mailing The Egalitarian Faculty Adviser Fredrick Batiste at

It’s no longer funny

MARIALUISA RINCON There is no way an educated person can possibly believe Donald Trump will be an effective president. We used to think this was funny, and we would cringe at his racist statements and joke about them on Twitter. However, a man who was slow to disavow the Ku Klux Klan, promises to ban Muslims from entering the country and publicly defended the size of his genitalia on national television has a real possibility of winning the Republican nomination. Primaries and caucuses are a drawn out, baffling process. The level of confusion surrounding picking party nominees ranges from common sense open primaries, where anyone can vote for a single party, to completely dumbfounding things like caucuses where people literally stand on opposite sides of a room and argue about who is a better candidate. On March 1, twelve states voted on Super Tuesday for their picks and allotted delegates accordingly. Texas was the biggest prize of the night, with 222 Democratic and 155 Republican delegates at stake. Of course, any candidate who cannot win their home state in the primary isn’t a practical choice to win the general election. It came as no surprise that Ted Cruz took the Lone Star State after holding rallies in the state’s biggest cities. State-by-state, Trump won the South and the moderate Massachusetts and Vermont; while Ted Cruz won Texas, Oklahoma and Alaska; and Marco Rubio only won in Minnesota. Hillary Clinton won seven states, but Bernie Sanders vowed to stay in the race until the Democratic convention despite his win of only his home state of Vermont, plus Colorado, Minnesota and Oklahoma. Unfortunately, this is looking more and more like a two-man race for the Republican nomination. Although Trump is a narcissistic bigot, the worst thing about him is that he makes all the other candidates look like a godsend in comparison. For the most part, all of the moderates have dropped out of the race, with the exception of John Kasich—a conservative in sheep’s clothing who just

weeks ago quietly signed a bill into law defunding Planned Parenthood in Ohio. That law strips $1.7 million from preventative care and sex education. Abortion has been illegal in Ohio since the 1970s, but Kasich still supports any anti-abortion bill he comes across and actively campaigns against paid maternity leave. Ted Cruz has carved out a lead place by appealing to a demographic with an excellent voting record with Bible-thumpers. He has racked up an impressive 300 delegates so far against Trump’s 382. Before Super Tuesday, Cruz was the only candidate to beat Trump in the polls, a fact he repeats time and again on the campaign trail. Cruz was a key player in last year’s government shutdown. He is well-known and disliked in the senate for his abrasive personality and penchant for pushing his own agenda. Until recently, he had zero congressional endorsements, but as he moves towards the front of the race, representatives and senators are waltzing to his side. Moderates have suggested the GOP rally around Marco Rubio as an alternative to Trump and Cruz. However, Rubio’s voting record, his early debate failures, his indecisiveness on immigration policy and the fact that he’s only won a single state so far are all making it look like his campaign will end before the primaries do. It was only at the Feb. 25 debate in Houston that Rubio began to attack Trump, and though many declared him the winner of the latest GOP debate in Detroit, it might be too late for him to remain a viable option. The Democratic primary so far has played out in a predictable fashion. Although Bernie Sanders has gathered celebrity endorsements and does well with young and minority voters, classifying himself as a Democratic Socialist has alienated casual observers who confuse social welfare with communism. Although the general theme this election cycle is anger towards career politicians like Hillary Clinton and the establishment, her experience in the presidential cabinet and in the senate could win her the presidency. Despite the controversy surrounding her, her husband and her failed 2008 presidential bid; if Donald Trump wins the 1,237 delegates needed for the Republican nomination—as he very well might—and if Clinton clinches the Democratic nomination; looking at it with a wide-angle lens, Hillary Clinton seems like she could actually win the presidency. Before Trump was seriously viewed as a threat to establishment candidates, the Republican party asked for his allegiance to the party to prevent him running as an independent and drawing away votes from the GOP. It’s a move that may come back to bite them in the general election. Now his opponents and government officials who have spoken out against him have vowed their support in the event he is nominated. There was a time in America when the wellbeing of everyday Americans mattered more than showmanship or loyalty to your party or political affiliation, but that’s not America today.






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