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Volume 67, No. 29

June 23, 2011

Under Construction

107 to sport intersection, crosswalk, new stores

Proposed Apartments

Alma E. Hernandez/THE PAN AMERICAN

By Belinda Munoz The Pan American The safety of lunch-bound students who regularly dart across University Drive to get a quick meal from fast food restaurants is now a main concern for University and city leaders. For the last year or so, UTPA President Robert Nelsen has worked closely with The City of Edinburg, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, The Department of Transportation and South Texas ISD to propose, design and develop plans for a much-needed crosswalk and street that will create an intersection along with University Drive. To create this intersection, a crosswalk will first be constructed near the front entrance of UTPA, which according to Nelsen is necessary to ensure students are always protected. “My office window oversees University Drive and I have witnessed some close calls with students darting across the street to get to El Pato or Subway,” he said. “Right now there are only two crosswalks on University Drive at 4th Street and Sugar Road, inconveniently located at opposite ends of the front of our campus. I do believe a crosswalk will help us avoid a potential tragedy.” Victoria Cantu, a 22-year old Senior who is pursuing her music degree, explains it is common for her and her friends to cross to the other side of the street at least three times a week in the mornings for breakfast from Stripes or for lunch from El Pato or Subway. To

get across safely, Cantu and her friends only cross on days when it is absolutely necessary and often rely on travelingPlaza in La groups of five or six. Mexicana “I always look both ways and make sure the cars are far enough away, so that I am able to cross. I usually only cross if I’m going to be at school for an extended period of time,” Cantu said “If I don’t have time to go home, I cross to eat with friends. There are some days when I am at school for close to 8 hours a day and I need sustenance.” In order to start construction on University Drive, which is also considered a state highway (107), preliminary plans must first be approved and/or adjusted by the state. According to Pedro Salazar, executive director for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, the City of Edinburg is collaborating with South Texas ISD’s Beta Academy and UTPA to also develop a whole new street which will likely be called Beta Drive. Beta Drive will merge with the new crosswalk in front of UTPA, to create an intersection with University Drive, which both Beta Academy and UTPA can benefit from. Salazar explains the creation of this new street is necessary in order to provide the required access points that Beta Academy will need to expand their campus in the future. “One of the other reasons behind (the proposal for the street) is that (Beta is) looking to build an additional campus at some point and in order to do that

Beta Drive

Future Plaza 2

El Pato

Dairy Queen

Future Plaza 1

University Drive

they are going to have multiple accesses. So they were going to need this access, Salazar said. “So it is going to help the University, in terms of safety for the students. It’s going to help Beta Drive because now it is going to give them access to University Drive, and it allows them to go ahead and build their second campus, whenever they are ready.” Although Beta Drive will begin near the El Pato on University Drive, it will continue southward until about Sprague Street. However, Salazar clarifies that the development process for the Beta Drive/ crosswalk will not happen overnight. “It is going to take a little time,” he admitted. “They have to do some studies, they are called warrant studies, to determine what is the best design of the street, but they key thing right now,

is to be able to acquire the right-of-way for the street.” Across the street from UTPA and adjacent to the future Beta Drive, private investors have also decided to build a shopping center called University Plaza, which will be built by Cantu Construction and Development. To make way for the new plaza, UTPA’s Baptist Student Ministry has already been demolished. Plans to demolish the existing Dairy Queen and University Inn will also allow space for the new plaza. However, an updated Grill & Chill Dairy Queen is expected to be rebuilt close to Beta Drive. With two new buildings proposed, University Plaza would offer an estimated 45,000 square feet of new retail and restaurant space.

“Aesthetically, the construction across the street will enhance the front door of our University. It’s all part of a development project to make Edinburg a real university town,” Nelsen said. “We are always recruiting students and new faculty to make UT-Pan American and Edinburg their home and this will help us sell ourselves. New businesses also mean new jobs for our University students, a majority of whom have to work in order to afford an education. It’s a win-win for the campus community and the community-at-large.” Salazar believes that the new crosswalk and the amenities that the plaza will bring will help to better serve the people who work and study at UTPA by reducing the need to use a car during

SEE CROSSWALK || PAGE 3


2

June 23, 2011 Vol. 67, No. 29

Commentary

THE PAN AMERICAN

The vanishing power of ideas

Benny Salinas A&L Editor Like the majority of pop culture consumers, I enjoy color. I like the feeling of being so bombarded with flashing colors piercing through the television or computer screen that I find myself slowly submitting to it, losing the need to completely make sense of the images. It’s like being hypnotized. And I wouldn’t be that surprised to find out that someone had calculated the exact number and pattern of flashing colors your brain has to process before it grows into a passive receiver, and then sold that algorithm to every major broadcaster in the country. Pseudo-conspiracy theories aside,

it’s no secret that most television, radio and websites are vehicles for advertisements. A significant portion of the capitalist machine rides on our need for entertainment. Because of it, the majority of mass communication has been devoted to the lowest common denominator, ensuring the greatest possible number of viewers and highest advertising rates. This is the last stop in the line of triviality that every good idea files through. The cultural shift away from anything resembling mass intellectualism isn’t due to television though. Television is simply the greatest manifestation of it, the end result after a factory line of aesthetic revisions and capitalist opportunists wring the life out of us. This is the how the triviality factory works: Step 1) one person or a group of individuals stumble across a new idea or way of thinking. This is sparked by a number of things, cultural rebelliousness being among the most potent. Drugs, societal repulsion, personal experience or creative impulse push this first group of individuals towards a new idea of culture. It’s this sort of

new idea that informs a movement, i.e. the hippie movement, early punk, beatniks. What these movements did is present a genuine concept or idea through certain aesthetic means such as style of dress, a new way of playing rock n’ roll, or of living intentionally apart from the majority. Thus, the first generation of any movement is the most genuine. Step 2) The second generation of a movement has less connection to that initial idea. Instead, its members often feel most connected to the aesthetic conventions of the first generation. To them, standing apart from the masses is just as important as the idea that set them apart in the first place, though they are still aware of the fundamental reason for how they are different. Step 3) The third and fourth generations of a movement have even less to do with that first idea. With genuine concepts watered down to a few mottos, all these people have are the aesthetic decisions of the prior generations and the desire to be different. These generations

have much greater populations than earlier ones, due to the manner in which aesthetic conventions more easily attract bigger populations than ideas do. Step 4) The populations that make up the movement at this point are large enough to be considered a target market for producers and advertisers. The movement from this point on is viewed in terms of profit-producing capabilities by the only forces strong enough to carry it into a new stage. From here, what was once a genuine idea finds the end of its path on TV, being sold during primetime between home furnishing and female shaving cream commercials. It sits on aisle 4 next to the paint. It doesn’t move or shake anymore. It just waits to be bought. It’s a sad cycle. Yet stopping it is only a matter of reclaiming the pure power of the idea. By looking past aesthetics and looking at the world in terms of ideas, and ways in which the world can be thoughtfully improved, we escape this cycle of loss. We fight off triviality and hold on to the life left in ideas.

1201 West University, CAS 170 Edinburg, Texas 78539 Phone: (956) 381-2541 Fax: (956) 316-7122 The Pan American is the official student newspaper of The University of Texas-Pan American. Views presented are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect those of the paper or university.

CO-EDITORS IN CHIEF: Alma E. Hernandez alma.e.hdz@gmail.com Roxann Garcia roxx.gar11@gmail.com NEWS EDITOR: Karen Antonacci keantonacci@gmail.com SPANISH EDITOR: Saira Trevino sairatrev@gmail.com ARTS & LIFE EDITOR: Benny Salinas 9_benny_9@live.com SPORTS EDITOR: Michael Saenz mike_s2208@yahoo.com PHOTOGRAPHY EDITOR: Reynaldo Leal reynaldo_lealjr@yahoo.com INTERIM MULTIMEDIA EDITOR: Veronique Medrano veroniquemedrano@gmail.com DESIGN EDITOR: Erick Gonzalez erick.dgr@gmail.com DESIGNER: Jennifer Tate Jen489@gmail.com ADVISER: Dr. Greg Selber selberg@utpa.edu ADMINISTRATIVE ASSOCIATE: Anita Reyes areyes18@utpa.edu ADVERTISING MANAGER: Mariel Cantu spubs@utpa.edu WEBMASTERS: Jose Villarreal josemvillarrealcs@gmail.com Selvino Padilla selvinop3@gmail.com

Delivery:

Thursday at noon Letters to the Editor

Anthony Salinas/THE PAN AMERICAN

The Pan American accepts letters of 300 words or less from students, staff and faculty regarding recent newspaper content, campus concerns or current events. We reserves the right to edit submissions for grammar and length. We cannot publish anonymous letters or submissions containing hate speech or gratuitous personal attacks. Please send all story ideas to thepanamerican@gmail.com. Individuals with disabilities wishing to acquire this publication in an alternative format or needing assistance to attend any event listed can contact The Pan American for more details.


June 23, 2011

3

A Product of Despair Studying the culture behind the violence

By Karen Antonacci The Pan American

Graduate Student, Amelia Flores Reynaldo Leal/ THE PAN AMERICAN

Amelia Flores is writing a qualitative research paper on the human side of drug cartels. Her paper, titled “The Origin, Development and the Emergence of Drug Cartels – A Social and Cultural Analysis,” draws on her experiences living with and learning from what she calls the “bottom tier” of the cartels in Mexico. “I think people don’t know the real reasons. They think they are all bad people. I want to bring a little bit of culture into the light,” the 27-year-old psychology and sociology double major said. “My research paper is going to concentrate on the people and their lives - the social aspect of their culture, not just because they kill and kill because of this. How it originated, the emergence of what they do and the development of the lifestyle. It’s a lot of qualitative material, mostly interviews and stories that I found out through the people.” Flores is a UTPA graduate student working with sociology professor Uzzer Raajpoot in an independent research class. “He told me, ‘I don’t want you to just write a paper, but write a paper that can be published,’” she said. A Valley native, Flores travelled to the western state of Michoacán, Mexico two years ago, and spent months living with families in impoverished regions. “I would communicate with

people, just trying to understand why they did what they did,” she recalled. “I found out they were involved in illegal activities, but they weren’t bad people, they weren’t living extravagant lives, they were just doing it to survive.” Flores remembered families with no electricity that, like many, felt forced by their socioeconomic conditions to grow illegal crops for the cartels to make ends meet. For them, the psychological toll of a hard life was evident. “One lady was very young; she was 28 and had three kids…She needed pans,” Flores said. “They only had one for everything. I helped them cook… And the smoke was horrible. She was coughing all the time. She’s tired from living that life. They grew their little crop to help if the kids got sick. She told me about when one of the kids got stung by a scorpion and they had to walk 15 miles before someone picked them up to take them to the doctor. And the kid’s dying. And this happened twice.” In 2006 Mexican President Felipe Calderon introduced his policy to extinguish the drug cartels with military force. The policy has drawn much criticism, as an oft-corrupt military and police force have proven largely ineffective and the violent responses from major cartel players such as The Zetas and the Gulf Cartel seem to be rising. Since 2006, 35,000 people have died as a result of the cartel wars. Flores said that given the economic climate in Mexico, the violence seen from

this crackdown on cartels was to be expected, as the rich and poor alike lost their main source of income without a replacement alternative. “There are people making hundreds of thousands of pesos and then you just cut them off…hello, they’re not going to be happy,” she said. “Instead, create a program, or give them land to farm, don’t just cut them off.” Flores says her paper will fill a gap in the research field, as others shy away from work on the subject as Mexico becomes more and more dangerous. Even basic news about the violence has become hard to verify as local news outlets have stopped reporting on corruption and executions, for fear of retaliation. The fear is not unfounded, as the El Diario de Juarez newspaper found out when a photography intern was gunned down in September. El Diario responded with a frontpage editorial asking the cartels to tell them what they were allowed to publish. Flores recognizes this fear and says it will make her efforts stand out. “The research is so interesting and there’s not a lot of material,” she said, adding that she is not afraid of the consequences. “There’s not a lot of people interested in it and the people that are end up dead. But I think it’s worthwhile to let everyone know what’s really going on…When it’s your turn, it’s your turn.”

CROSSWALK

continued from Page 1 lunchtime, as people will no longer have to drive away from campus to eat. For students like Cantu, who desire better food options but do not always have the means to drive away from campus to get lunch, being able to cross to the other side is a must. Cantu admits that many of her attempts to cross the street have also been in an effort to reserve the gas in her car, as well as her parking spot during busy lunch time hours. In the past, the attempt of finding a new parking spot after returning from an off campus lunch destination has

often made her late to her next class or music lesson. Along with it’s convenient placing, the plaza is also expected to revamp the university’s image by providing university-focused retailers and restaurants that will ultimately help achieve a “university town” feel that can be associated with UTPA and University Drive. While excited about the possibilities of the plaza, Cantu believes that the plaza can only be advantageous, if the restaurants and stores in the plaza are catered to students’ budgets. “Sure, I’d visit the new plaza. It’s always sweet to see what’s new in our

city,” Cantu exclaimed. “Whether or not the plaza would be beneficial would rely on what the plaza contained. If it had affordable restaurants for a typical university student, or other venues useful to students, I’m more than sure it would be beneficial to our campus and community.” Still in the beginning stages of planning, it is still unknown what restaurants or stores will definitely be included in the plaza. Salazar believes the new plaza will allow UTPA to remain competitive amongst other colleges and universities with similar university

town atmospheres. This is especially true since, roughly 108 apartments for UTPA and Beta Academy faculty will also be built directly behind University Plaza. The exact cost for the plaza and the apartments will also remain unknown until a building permit can be is issued. Salazar believes that the apartment complexes will be well-suited for faculty members since professors are typically mobile and often do not feel the need to buy a residential home. Nelsen feels that the new apartments will help faculty save money and live more efficiently.

“You know what they say, ‘it’s all about location, location, location,’” he noted. “With campus parking at a premium and today’s soaring gas prices, Pan Am employees might find it very convenient to live in apartments located just a short walk away from work.” Although the timeframe in which all these changes can be completed are dependent on many things, Salazar remains optimistic that if construction on the street, crosswalk and university plaza happen simultaneously, all construction could reasonably be completed by spring of next year.


THE PAN AMERICAN

Page 4

June 23, 2011

Show your Colors During the ‘60s across America it was customary for police departments to raid gay bars arresting anybody found inside. In the early morning hours of June 28, 1969 the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgendered (LGBT) community fought back, resulting in a standoff between police and the patrons of the Stonewall Inn, a bar in Greenwich Village, N.Y., which still stands today. This event became known as the Stonewall Riots, serving as a catalyst for the gay rights movement.

THE PAN AMERICAN

June 23, 2011

From homecoming king to prom queen By Alma E. Hernandez The Pan American

Talk about versatile. In high school he won Homecoming King and last month he was crowned prom queen at the Valley’s first ever Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) prom May 28 in McAllen.

Prior to the night of the prom, Sergio Gonzalez asked prom coordinators if he could run for prom queen because he’s never had that opportunity before and felt it was a good way to prove a point. Currently, Gonzalez is a senior management student at UTPA in the College of Business Administration working for a local nonprofit chamber of commerce. In August he will start an internship with a large Fortune 500 entertainment company.

In 2000 Pres. Bill Clinton declared June to be Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, honoring the Stonewall riots, and in 2009 Pres. Barack Obama extended that to include bisexuals and transgendered Americans.

LGBT Alliance provides a safe haven for students By Benny Salinas The Pan American

Though still coming off its first semester as a club, the LGBT Alliance at UTPA has not shied away from trying to establish a strong presence on campus. For Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month the club has put on a series of events ranging from bracelet-making to student panels in conjunction with the Global Lens film series. “It’s very important for LGBT members to feel that they have a safe place,” club president Marlon Duran said. “And that’s what we try to provide for people.” The 20-year-old premed/pre-law major started the LGBT alliance after the Gay Straight Alliance at UTPA disbanded in the fall; member

Alma E. Hernandez/THE PAN AMERICAN

ALL DRESSED UP - Sergio Gonzalez, a senior management major was crowned prom queen at Right to Prom, the Valley’s first LGBT-themed prom in McAllen May 28.

Alma E. Hernandez/THE PAN AMERICAN

LOUD AND PROUD - (from left) Alexis Bay LGBT Alliance secretary and vice president Dorian Cantu participate in A Day of Silence April 14, joining thousands of students nationwide by taking a vow of silence to bring attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment. dissolution led the group to miss the club deadline established by the Office of Student Development. “The old members didn’t keep the club going after GSA stopped,” Duran said. “So I decided that if the old members won’t, then I will.” Since the club’s start it has formed partnerships with the Texas GSA and PFlag in Harlingen, the latter an organization that works with families of LGBT members. The group has also worked closely with Christine Carruthers, associate director of student life, who coordinates ALLY, a program dedicated to providing support for the GLBTQ community on campus. The club has three mission statements that guide events

and illustrate its general purpose on campus. 1) Providing a safe place for LGBT member and allies. 2) Promoting community outreach and awareness for LGBT members. 3) Promoting social and political empowerment for LGBT members. The club has 60 people on its mailing list and 20 to 30 members attending meetings. Despite a small amount of animosity (the club had some of its first batch of handmade posters torn down), Duran said the campus has been welcoming. “The university community is very LGBT-friendly,” he explained. “We’ve gotten lots of help and people have been receptive.” To conclude Pride Month, the club is putting on a “Rainbow Rave” Friday at the UC Ballroom from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. “We’re very happy to be at Pan Am and to be part of the community,” Duran said. “We really encourage anyone who has any question, or who is questioning their sexuality, to contact us.”

The club can be found online at: http://www.facebook. com/LGBTAlliance.Utpa.

Page 5

Courtesy of Sergio Gonzalez

Alma E. Hernandez/THE PAN AMERICAN

Hosted by the Stonewall Democrats, a local political organization affiliated with the statewide Texas Stonewall Democratic Caucus, the event, Right to Prom, was not widely advertised, as all of it was done directly through the Stonewall Democrats, Facebook, and word of mouth. Prompted by last year’s events of teenage suicides, bullying and discrimination the Stonewall Democrats decided to host the prom as a non-discriminatory, non-threatening event. “We wanted to create a safe, healthy environment for all youth who felt they did not belong anywhere else,” said Eli Olivarez, the president of Stonewall Democrats. The group plans to make the prom an annual event. Olivarez didn’t hesitate in saying yes, reminding Gonzalez the prom was all about embracing yourself, whoever you want to be, in whatever form you want to be, without judgments. The day of the event Gonzalez wore a Spanish-style dress and submitted his name for the prom queen competition. He had an hour to work the crowd trying to persuade them to vote for him. Votes were cast based on popularity and when they were tallied Gonzalez was crowned prom queen. Gonzalez says that subconsciously and consciously he believes winning was a dream come true, and wants to spread a message as prom queen that it’s ok to be gay. “It gets better and it’s not the end of the world,” he noted. “You can do anything you want to do as long as you want it enough. That’s my message as prom queen. I think that winning prom queen was phenomenal, it was an amazing experience, I think it’s just kind of surreal.” The winner wanted to point out that he’s not a drag queen, though he does drag on occasion for events, pageants and special events like Right to Prom. “I don’t consider myself a drag queen,” Gonzalez commented. “I’m more of a competitor, I do it on occasion, if anything I’m more of a beauty queen, female impersonator. I don’t do shows regularly, not that there’s anything wrong with that. “I love people who do that and I love seeing those shows and I thank them for doing it. I’m a management student, an aspiring businessman and I’m pretty heavily involved in the social affairs here in McAllen.” He has studied abroad twice, spending a summer session in Spain and Portugal in 2008 and traveling to the UK for a mini-mester in 2009. Gonzalez was a member of the UTPA cheerleading program from 2008-2010 and participated in the theater arts department. He loves the performance aspect of drag and considers it his dramatic outlet. “I see it as fun, I love drama. As soon as I feel that light hit my face, it’s like, the show is on,” Gonzalez said. “I think for a person who likes the theater arts like I do, it’s really a rewarding experience, to do it and then to win because you feel like you’re being compensated for everything you’ve done.” His first drag experience was Halloween as a 20-year-old. Bar Code, a bar in Edinburg, was holding a first-time drag competition. He entered and won dressed as a western saloon girl, taking home $50 and a plaque. Four months later he competed in Miss Switch Night where drag queens dress as men and men dress in drag. He won, taking a crown and cash prize. Next Wednesday Gonzalez will again be participating in Miss Switch Night at PBD’s. Gonzalez says he is lucky to have gotten help and understanding from family and friends “I have a very supportive family. There are times when I have a few friends who may frown on it but I’m very open, I have very supportive parents,” he explained. “My mother has been to a few of my pageants and I think that’s pretty damn amazing, because it’s like, ‘How many times do parents go see their gay children compete in a gay pageant?’ “That’s the bottom line, it doesn’t happen. I’m blessed, because all around friends, family, distant relatives, they’re always there and I’ve always said if I have somebody frown on it, you know I don’t need that in my life. Whoever is my friend, is my friend for a reason, they’re true friends.”


THE PAN AMERICAN

Page 4

June 23, 2011

Show your Colors During the ‘60s across America it was customary for police departments to raid gay bars arresting anybody found inside. In the early morning hours of June 28, 1969 the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgendered (LGBT) community fought back, resulting in a standoff between police and the patrons of the Stonewall Inn, a bar in Greenwich Village, N.Y., which still stands today. This event became known as the Stonewall Riots, serving as a catalyst for the gay rights movement.

THE PAN AMERICAN

June 23, 2011

From homecoming king to prom queen By Alma E. Hernandez The Pan American

Talk about versatile. In high school he won Homecoming King and last month he was crowned prom queen at the Valley’s first ever Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) prom May 28 in McAllen.

Prior to the night of the prom, Sergio Gonzalez asked prom coordinators if he could run for prom queen because he’s never had that opportunity before and felt it was a good way to prove a point. Currently, Gonzalez is a senior management student at UTPA in the College of Business Administration working for a local nonprofit chamber of commerce. In August he will start an internship with a large Fortune 500 entertainment company.

In 2000 Pres. Bill Clinton declared June to be Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, honoring the Stonewall riots, and in 2009 Pres. Barack Obama extended that to include bisexuals and transgendered Americans.

LGBT Alliance provides a safe haven for students By Benny Salinas The Pan American

Though still coming off its first semester as a club, the LGBT Alliance at UTPA has not shied away from trying to establish a strong presence on campus. For Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month the club has put on a series of events ranging from bracelet-making to student panels in conjunction with the Global Lens film series. “It’s very important for LGBT members to feel that they have a safe place,” club president Marlon Duran said. “And that’s what we try to provide for people.” The 20-year-old premed/pre-law major started the LGBT alliance after the Gay Straight Alliance at UTPA disbanded in the fall; member

Alma E. Hernandez/THE PAN AMERICAN

ALL DRESSED UP - Sergio Gonzalez, a senior management major was crowned prom queen at Right to Prom, the Valley’s first LGBT-themed prom in McAllen May 28.

Alma E. Hernandez/THE PAN AMERICAN

LOUD AND PROUD - (from left) Alexis Bay LGBT Alliance secretary and vice president Dorian Cantu participate in A Day of Silence April 14, joining thousands of students nationwide by taking a vow of silence to bring attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment. dissolution led the group to miss the club deadline established by the Office of Student Development. “The old members didn’t keep the club going after GSA stopped,” Duran said. “So I decided that if the old members won’t, then I will.” Since the club’s start it has formed partnerships with the Texas GSA and PFlag in Harlingen, the latter an organization that works with families of LGBT members. The group has also worked closely with Christine Carruthers, associate director of student life, who coordinates ALLY, a program dedicated to providing support for the GLBTQ community on campus. The club has three mission statements that guide events

and illustrate its general purpose on campus. 1) Providing a safe place for LGBT member and allies. 2) Promoting community outreach and awareness for LGBT members. 3) Promoting social and political empowerment for LGBT members. The club has 60 people on its mailing list and 20 to 30 members attending meetings. Despite a small amount of animosity (the club had some of its first batch of handmade posters torn down), Duran said the campus has been welcoming. “The university community is very LGBT-friendly,” he explained. “We’ve gotten lots of help and people have been receptive.” To conclude Pride Month, the club is putting on a “Rainbow Rave” Friday at the UC Ballroom from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. “We’re very happy to be at Pan Am and to be part of the community,” Duran said. “We really encourage anyone who has any question, or who is questioning their sexuality, to contact us.”

The club can be found online at: http://www.facebook. com/LGBTAlliance.Utpa.

Page 5

Courtesy of Sergio Gonzalez

Alma E. Hernandez/THE PAN AMERICAN

Hosted by the Stonewall Democrats, a local political organization affiliated with the statewide Texas Stonewall Democratic Caucus, the event, Right to Prom, was not widely advertised, as all of it was done directly through the Stonewall Democrats, Facebook, and word of mouth. Prompted by last year’s events of teenage suicides, bullying and discrimination the Stonewall Democrats decided to host the prom as a non-discriminatory, non-threatening event. “We wanted to create a safe, healthy environment for all youth who felt they did not belong anywhere else,” said Eli Olivarez, the president of Stonewall Democrats. The group plans to make the prom an annual event. Olivarez didn’t hesitate in saying yes, reminding Gonzalez the prom was all about embracing yourself, whoever you want to be, in whatever form you want to be, without judgments. The day of the event Gonzalez wore a Spanish-style dress and submitted his name for the prom queen competition. He had an hour to work the crowd trying to persuade them to vote for him. Votes were cast based on popularity and when they were tallied Gonzalez was crowned prom queen. Gonzalez says that subconsciously and consciously he believes winning was a dream come true, and wants to spread a message as prom queen that it’s ok to be gay. “It gets better and it’s not the end of the world,” he noted. “You can do anything you want to do as long as you want it enough. That’s my message as prom queen. I think that winning prom queen was phenomenal, it was an amazing experience, I think it’s just kind of surreal.” The winner wanted to point out that he’s not a drag queen, though he does drag on occasion for events, pageants and special events like Right to Prom. “I don’t consider myself a drag queen,” Gonzalez commented. “I’m more of a competitor, I do it on occasion, if anything I’m more of a beauty queen, female impersonator. I don’t do shows regularly, not that there’s anything wrong with that. “I love people who do that and I love seeing those shows and I thank them for doing it. I’m a management student, an aspiring businessman and I’m pretty heavily involved in the social affairs here in McAllen.” He has studied abroad twice, spending a summer session in Spain and Portugal in 2008 and traveling to the UK for a mini-mester in 2009. Gonzalez was a member of the UTPA cheerleading program from 2008-2010 and participated in the theater arts department. He loves the performance aspect of drag and considers it his dramatic outlet. “I see it as fun, I love drama. As soon as I feel that light hit my face, it’s like, the show is on,” Gonzalez said. “I think for a person who likes the theater arts like I do, it’s really a rewarding experience, to do it and then to win because you feel like you’re being compensated for everything you’ve done.” His first drag experience was Halloween as a 20-year-old. Bar Code, a bar in Edinburg, was holding a first-time drag competition. He entered and won dressed as a western saloon girl, taking home $50 and a plaque. Four months later he competed in Miss Switch Night where drag queens dress as men and men dress in drag. He won, taking a crown and cash prize. Next Wednesday Gonzalez will again be participating in Miss Switch Night at PBD’s. Gonzalez says he is lucky to have gotten help and understanding from family and friends “I have a very supportive family. There are times when I have a few friends who may frown on it but I’m very open, I have very supportive parents,” he explained. “My mother has been to a few of my pageants and I think that’s pretty damn amazing, because it’s like, ‘How many times do parents go see their gay children compete in a gay pageant?’ “That’s the bottom line, it doesn’t happen. I’m blessed, because all around friends, family, distant relatives, they’re always there and I’ve always said if I have somebody frown on it, you know I don’t need that in my life. Whoever is my friend, is my friend for a reason, they’re true friends.”


Page 6

June 23, 2011

the pan american

PANINI CAFE & DELI NEEDS A NEW LOGO!! We calling theTHE students of UTPA WEare ARE CALLING STUDENTS OF to participate in our logo contest. UTPA TO PARTICIPATE IN OUR LOGO

CONTEST.      Submit your BY logo creations      SUBMIT YOUR LOGO CREATIONS th on AUGUST a PDF document ON10 A PDF DOCUMENT TO to paninicafeanddeli@yahoo.com panicafeanddeli@yahoo.com

     

select your logo,      If If wewe select your logo, youyou willwill win win $100 free Panini $100 plus aplus freeaPanini combocombo once a once a week a year. week for for a year.

 

   GOOD LUCK!


June 23, 2011

7

The year that was

Athletic Director Chris King reflects on the 2010-2011 Bronc season By Michael Saenz The Pan American The close of the athletic season for the University of Texas-Pan American was signaled when baseball season ended in late May. Even though the Broncs weren’t able to win a championship in any sports this year, there were still a handful of memorable moments that took place throughout the 2010-2011 campaign. The women’s golf and cross

country teams finished in second in their respective conferences, with the men’s golf team also playing very competitively in the American Sky. Even though other Bronc teams didn’t quite measure up to the competition, Athletic Director Chris King has little doubt that UTPA is on its way up. “Overall, competitively we need to do better; I think we will do better. A lot of the coaches were in their second year,” King said. “Many times you see most of the success coming out in the third or fourth year when there’s

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that’s returning three All-Conference players next year. “They work very, very hard, from the coaches all the way to the players,” King noted. “I mean sometimes coaches coast and just watch the players, but not Manny. It‘s amazing how hard he works, both on and off the field.” It was a tough year in sports, from the diamond to the hardcourt, where an even more disappointing season was had. Put in a tough situation when he was hired in July 2009, head men’s

a little more continuity between the coaches and players at the program.” Actions speak louder than words- And King not only said he had confidence in the future of the program and its newest coaches, but he showed it when he extended head baseball coach Manny Mantrana’s contract through the 2014 season after it was set to expire this year. The baseball team had a hot start but struggled down the stretch this season and finished with a 21-32 mark. But the Broncs have high hopes for a program

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basketball coach Ryan Marks came in late, and when he arrived at UTPA he had a team with only seven players; subsequently, he basically lost an entire year of recruiting. Technically Marks will be entering his third season as head coach .After a tough season AD King believes that this team has gained experience in the last two seasons that will pay off in the years to come. “I‘m really excited for both the men‘s and women‘s basketball teams. The men will be returning

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MOVING FORWARD - Although Bronc sports did not meet expectations during the year, UTPA Athletic Director Chris King believes that the ‘11-‘12 year will be different. (From left) Mike McCarthy, baseball; Aaron Urbanus, basketball; Bronc volleyball; Beau Bernstein, tennis. four starters and a very talented redshirt senior who will start,” King said, speaking of speaking of senior guard Nick Weiermiller.. “They have gained lots of experience the last two years in the Great West Conference tournament and I believe will have a strong upcoming season.” As for women’s basketball, that group finished 12-19 and had two players that were top 5 in the nation, one in assists (Erin Lewis) and another in three-point shooting (Ce‘Monay Newell). King also thinks that with the veteran ball club that the women will have next year, they can be very successful. “They have six seniors so it‘s

a senior ball club with three or four junior college transfers coming over, so it should be good,” he explained. “They play an exciting brand of ball that should attract fans, and I am very excited about women‘s basketball next season.” The Broncs also welcomed two new faces to the volleyball program this year. Head coach Brian Yale and Margot Frederick will both be entering their first year. Frederick joins the Broncs as an assistant after one season at Muskingum University, while Yale comes over from Stephen F. Austin, where he was an assistant coach for Debbie Humphreys. On the tennis side of things, AD King and UTPA

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have decided not to renew the contract of head coach Chris Taylor. Instead they plan on hiring separate coaches for both the men and women’s teams. The search for Taylor’s replacement is underway and a decision should be made in the coming months. In track and field coach, Coach Dave Hartman continues to build that program up. With NCAA preliminary appearances by Melinda Sarmiento and Jameson Strachan this spring, King hopes the program will continue the road back to the top with a future development of the facilities. After 20 months on the job, King has seen significant improvements overall in the athletic department, and

program under UTPA.” No one enjoys rebuilding seasons, but perhaps that is what lies ahead for UTPA. One would think that after rebuilding for many years a successful season will harvest, but until then King will continue to work at getting the full potential out of the Broncs. “You know a lot of times in the community, until you start seeing your program win year in and year out there’s still going to be that doubt about UTPA athletics,” he admitted. “So it‘s about continuing to improve each year until we get to where we need to be.”

panamericanonline.com Health & Wellness Center

The UTPA Wellness and Recreation Sports Complex will have many activities that will keep students active this summer. Check them out Online.

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is intent on making sure that progress continues. “The program is definitely in a better spot now than where it was twenty months ago. We put in a strategic 3-year plan back in October 2010, we have eight major goals, and are about a good 35-40 percent complete with that plan at this point,” he said. “The three major things that we have to do are: we need to get into a more geographic conference that has a NCAA automatic qualifier; our budget needs to improve-which would help us in recruiting and traveling; and the other thing is we’ve got to get more public funding- that will help us move ahead in improving each

Basketball Camp

Men’s head basketball coach Ryan Marks and UTPA held the annual Broncs Basketball Summer Camp June 20-23 at the UTPA Field House. Kids joined in to have fun and learn the fundamentals of the game. Read the full story Online. Freddie Martinez/THE PAN AMERICAN


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the pan american

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June 23, 2011