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Volume 57, Issue 4

Winter Edition 2013-14

Alioto, Dominguez, Salcido, Wilson plead guilty By Lina Chankar Senior Staff Writer

Marshall Murphy


Four more former Southwestern College officials pleaded guilty to felonies and misdemeanors in the South Bay Corruption Case. Former administrators Nicholas Alioto and John Wilson along with former trustees Yolanda Salcido and Jorge Dominguez all likely avoided prison sentences by admitting guilt to one count. They joined former superintendent Raj. K. Chopra as former college officials guilty of crimes related to Proposition R funding. Co l l e ge e m p l oye e s e x p re s s e d disappointment over the lenient sentences approved by Judge Ana España and the San Diego County District Attorney, but also relief that the scandal and criminal proceedings may be finally winding down. Of the 15 defendants in the case, 12 had direct links to SWC either as officials, employees or contractors. Defendants originally faced 262 charges in what District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis called the “largest corruption case in the history of San Diego County.” As of press time, 11 of the cases have been settled through plea bargains. Salcido was originally indicted on 14 counts, including extortion, perjury and accepting bribes. She pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for filing a false document. Her sentencing is April 22. Also pleading guilty to criminal charges were former SWC contractors Paul Bunton, Henry Amigable, Jeff Flores and Gary Cabello. SWC EOPS

Serina Duarte/staff

PLEADING OUT— Four more Southwestern College officials charged in the South Bay Corruption Scandal pleaded guilty. (clockwise) Nicholas Alioto, Jorge Dominguez, John Wilson, Yolanda Salcido.

SWC student creates online book selling alternative By Georgina Carriola Staff Writer

All across America students are howling about the prices of textbooks. Felipe Dominguez is trying to do something about it. His website is the first shot in a revolution the Southwestern College business major is trying to ignite. Other students are enlisting. SWC students can sell or purchase textbooks and calculators at, cutting costly middleman out of the equation. “The point of the website is to help the students that are already posting their ads around school and craigslist,” Dominquez said. Upon entering the website there is a list of classes and images of books for sale. Frightening stories about dangerous encounters on craigslist are driving thousands of students back to the campus bookstore and Otay Books for safety reasons even though both stores are much more expensive. “From a business point of view, I think it’s unethical,” said Dominguez, 21, “(The campus bookstore is) taking advantage of the situation when it gives you $5 for a book that originally cost $100.” Dominguez said buying books for school is please see PinPost pg. A3

Director Arlie Ricasa pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for crimes committed as a Sweetwater Union High School District trustee (see adjacent story). Charges against former SWC Interim President Greg Sandoval, a former SUHSD trustee, are pending. Sweetwater trustees Jim Cartmill, Pearl Quiñonez and Bertha Lopez still face charges, as does former Sweetwater superintendent Jesus Gandara. All defendants had extensive affidavits detailing the charges against them. Most were more than 100 pages. Chopra originally faced 13 charges — nine felonies — including perjury, receiving a bribe and conflict of interest. He pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of filing a false document. Chopra will not make any more court appearances, said his attorney Michael Attanasio. Chopra was fined and will perform community service, said Attanasio, but amounts are pending. Former SWC facilities director Wilson pleaded guilty to one felony, as did former trustee Dominguez. Former vice president of business Alioto originally faced 12 counts, including bribery and perjury, but was allowed by the DA to plead guilty to just one felony. Alioto, Chopra and Wilson will be sentenced Jan. 7. Former Seville Construction executive Amigable cooperated with prosecutors in exchange for a misdemeanor plea deal. An email he sent to SWC construction contractor Flores explaining how Dominguez could influence Chopra please see Pleads pg. A3

Ricasa pleads guilty, resigns board position Lina Chankar Senior Staff Writer

SWC EOPS Director Arlie Ricasa pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor in the South Bay corruption case and resigned from her position on the Sweetwater Un i o n Hi g h School District Board of Trustees. Ricasa, who faced 33 criminal c o u n t s , including 16 felonies, will avoid prison by Ricasa admitting to a single count of filing a false instrument. Deputy District Attorney Leon Schorr said Ricasa made the following admission of guilt: “I received, reviewed, understood and biannually voted on Sweetwater’s conflict of interest code delineating the Form 700 reporting requirements sent to the Sweetwater Board by the Superintendent. In 2009, I was an elected School Board Member for the Sweetwater Union High School District. I accepted gifts from Rene Flores (SGI) in 2009 with a value of $2,099 and I did not report them. The maximum please see Ricasa pg. A3

Iconic baseball coach announces retirement By Colin Grylls Assistant Sports Editor

In 1976 Rocky Balboa graced the silver screen for the first time. Elton John was the world’s biggest rock star. Gerald Ford was president. And in 1976 Jerry Bartow took over as head coach of the Southwestern College baseball team. This season, his 39th, will be his last. “It’s always sad when you have to give up something,” he said, “but it’s time for somebody that’s probably got a lot more energy than I do now. I don’t move as fast as I used to, my voice might not be as good and my whistle might not be as strong.” Bartow, or “Forty” as his players call him, can still see the silver lining. “It’ll be a chance to do something else for a while that I haven’t done,” he said. “Play a little more golf or bum around and see the country. Maybe I can be in Yakima and shoot a few ducks or something.”

Bartow has done much in his illustrious career. A member of the Table Bluff Reservation near Loleta, California, he played college baseball at Washington State University and minor league baseball in the Northwest League. “We beat USC for the Pacific Coast Championship,” he said. “Played in the old College World Series… in Omaha. Rode the train back there from Spokane, Washington. I came back, I signed with the old Salem Senators, and I pitched there in Salem, Oregon.” Bartow credited his adoptive father, MLB legend Carl Mays, winner of four World Series titles and Babe Ruth’s roommate, with his decision to go back to college for a graduate degree. “My stepdad, who was then scouting for the Cleveland Indians, he was in the major leagues for 17 years,” said Bartow. “He was a scout for the Cleveland Indians please see Bartow pg. A2

Dianna Innocencio/staff

ONCE MORE INTO THE BREACH — Jerry Bartow is set to retire after nearly 40 years of coaching baseball for the Southwestern College Jaguars. A national sports figure, Bartow was SWC’s 2012 honorary degree recipient.

Faculty sick over healthcare negotiations By Richard O’Rourke Assistant News Editor

Negotiations over healthcare are giving faculty union leaders and college administrators headaches, stomach pain and hot flashes. Talks so far have been prescription for heartache and hurt feelings. Representatives of employees and

the college are not anywhere close to agreement on healthcare and benefit costs, according to faculty union president Professor Eric Maag. Healthcare talks can be as complicated as the nervous system and raise blood pressure like sodium, he said. Healthcare prices are determined by the Voluntary Employees Beneficiary Association (VEBA). Faculty union vice

president Professor Frank Post said there are 10 tiers. Tier One contains the highest costs and Tier 10 the lowest. SWC is on Tier One¬¬, the most expensive. Maag said there were three factors that inflame healthcare prices and VEBA. They are the district’s contribution to the healthcare fund, competition between Kaiser and the health maintenance organizations (HMO) and employee

opt-outs. District contribution for full-time employees is $5,200. It is a flat rate, meaning if the cost for insurance increases, the employees have to pay more to meet the higher prices. They have had some help, however. “The district has acknowledged that it’s not adequate,” Maag said. “So it has put please see Healthcare pg. A3

A few years ago in a college not far away...


Special Section in this issue


Jaime Pronoble, editor


Winter Edition 2013-14—Vol. 57, Issue 4

Tel: (619) 482-6368 E-mail:

Southwestern pushes for stronger relations with Mexico


courtesy of

Graig Harris

TWO-WAY STREET — U.S. Consulant General in Tijuana Andrew S.E. Erickson says the U.S. is not very open to Mexico By Lilliana Cervantes Staff Writer

American students are ignoring educational possibilities in Mexico, a diplomat said, and by doing so maybe forfeiting a place in the global future. Remedios Gomez Arnau, Consulate General of Mexico in San Diego, pledged to work with Southwestern College to provide meaningful higher education exchanges between the U.S. and Mexico. Her visit was part of a Mexican initiative to win back

American students dissuaded from studying in Mexico due to drug war violence. Arnau said about 14,000 students from Mexico study in the U.S., while only 4,000 U.S. students study in Mexico. “ We c a n n o t b e l i v i n g i n a globalized world where we have global production, global trade, global communication, global travel and we don’t have global education,” she said. “We don’t promote international education.”

Mexican President Peña Nieto and U.S. Barack President Obama established the High Level Economic Dialogue, a platform to share global strategies, including international education. A goal of both governments is to increase American students in Mexico to 50,000 and Mexican students in the U.S. to 100,000 by 2018, said Arnau. U.S. Consul General in Tijuana Andrew S.E. Erickson said American Anglos are rejecting Mexican society, while Mexicans in Baja California

embrace America. “The Mexican-American community in Baja is incredibly open and connected with this side of the border educationally, intellectually, socially, people cross over all the time,” Erickson said. “What’s a little scary for me as an Anglo looking south. We’re not so open to Mexico.” American students studying in Mexico has declined by two percent this year, he added. SWC administration intends to reinstate field trips for students into Mexico on a case-by-case basis. Mexican Consulate in San Diego gave SWC $15,000 in scholarships to support further international education. SWC President Dr. Melinda Nish said she supports integration. “The future is greater integration, not separation,” she said. “It’s how we work together.” Erickson said the murder rate in Tijuana has increased again since 2010 due to the heavy narcotics trafficking. Arnau insisted that Tijuana is safe. “Unfortunately the perception is more important than the reality,” she said. Nish said SWC will expand the Otay Mesa Center, San Ysidro Center and monitor development related to a new Otay Mesa border crossing. Dr. Angelica Suarez, SWC Vice President of Student Affairs, said the college would be a key player in the effort to expand educational cooperation between the bordering nations. “I think we certainly can help in terms of meeting the needs of the labor force of our students with the degrees they’re obtaining,” she said.

Bartow: Southwestern baseball legend will retire after 2014 season Continued from Page A1

and he made a suggestion. ‘You know if you made it to the Pacific Coast League in those days, you might make $1,500. You should go back to Washington State and get your Master’s, work on your doctorate.’ So that’s what I did, I finished my Master’s.” After graduating, Bartow left Pullman, Washington to coach Hoover High School, where he, with a little support from Teddy Ballgame himself, built Ted Williams Field. He led Hoover to a CIF title against Bonita Vista in 1975, the last year he was not wearing an SWC ballcap. Bartow is one of the lucky few to spend their entire lives doing what they love. His passion and knowledge of the sport was clear to retired SWC professor Bill Virchis, whose son played for Bartow. “The game is not a game to him, it’s a lifestyle,” said Virchis. “My son learned so much from him, that’s why he’s in the pros right now. First being drafted by the White Sox and now as a scout. There are many people that come through your life. He’s one that will just stick with you.” Bobby Rector, who played for Southwestern in 1993, said he still has Bartow etched in his memory. “Forty had quite a few quirks that still stand out, like him singing that song,” he laughed before singing a line. “It’s a beautiful day for a ballgame. He used to have that on his answering machine too. He was probably the most nervous coach I’ve ever seen in my life. (If) there’s a tough situation he’s in the corner of the dugout not looking. He was just a crack-up.” Rector, who played in the San Francisco Giants system, is one of 37 former SWC baseball players who signed professional contracts during Bartow’s tenure. His squads have transferred 182 players to play at universities, almost five players for each of Bartow’s 38 years at SWC. “We’ve had a lot of wonderful players, we’ve pretty well taken all of our kids from our own area,” he said. “Had a lot of kids out of Eastlake, Chula Vista. Had that (Alex) Palaez who played for the Padres. He was a little fat guy and Jay (Martel) says ‘You’re not going to like him because he’s fat,’ and I said, ‘Well, if he can swing the bat I’ll like him.’” Countless players have laced up their spikes under Bartow’s watch, but it is the Jaguar Junction baseball field that he considers his greatest accomplishment. “What I’m probably the most proud of is that I got the ballpark all fixed up so it’s a nice park,” he said. “Took a long time to get the concrete and get some of the things done, like the big scoreboard, the turf and looking like a ballpark should. I hope that some day there will be some bleachers in there, some things will change, and will even get better.” Those who do not know Bartow will look at the record books, see his 11 conference championships and his scores of players in universities and think of him as a good coach. To those that played for or worked with him, however, those are actually his least important accomplishments, said Rector. “He was just kind of one of those father figures, always had good advice,” he said. “Whether we wanted to believe it or not, it would always come true. He used to always say stay out of TJ, don’t get an expensive car, and don’t have a girlfriend or don’t get a girl pregnant or something like that. It just seemed like that’s what happened, the guy knew what would happen with young men.” For Professor Angelina Stuart, the Academic Senate President when Bartow was awarded an SWC honorary degree in 2012, her first thought of him was the work he has done for the community. “We have a word for it in Spanish, mansedumbre,” she said. “It’s a sense of humbleness. It’s just doing something good, selflessness.” Bartow and his selflessness have been a fixture on campus for nearly four decades. “Southwestern, when I first started here, H Street didn’t even go through,” he said. “And my ballpark wasn’t much to look at.” Years later, H Street runs through to Eastlake and the Jaguar Junction ballpark puts some professional fields to shame. A lot has changed since 1976, but Jerry Bartow has not. Shakespeare might say he is “constant as the northern star, true-fixed and resting quality.” Bartow, though, is more likely to quote Cal Ripken, baseball’s iron man. “So many good things have happened to me in the game of baseball. When I do allow myself a chance to think about it, it’s almost like a storybook career. You feel so blessed to have been able to compete this long.” Bartow said he is ready for one last year in the sun. “It’s gonna be a great season,” he said, then he paused briefly. “They’ve all been great.”


The Southwestern College Sun

Dean takes two months to release information By Jaime Pronoble and Kasey Thomas News Editor/News Assistant

and all documents and information related to online parking permits. McClellan’s office refused to provide the information A two-month long effort by the staff of within the 10 days required under the the Southwestern College Sun to obtain 1968 law. information about a new online parking Student journalists followed up with permit program ended on Oct. 30 when SWC CPRA compliance officer Patti Dean of Student Services Mia McClellan Blevins. On Oct. 1, she informed the staff released the information hours before the that she had not received a response from newspaper was to begin legal action under McClellan. the California Public Records Subsequent e-mails were Act. exchanged between the staff “We are glad that Dean “ We are and McClellan, requesting the McClellan decided to comply documents. glad that with state and federal law On Oct. 29, Sun staff and release the documents,” Dean received an e-mail response s a i d D a v i d M c V i c k e r, McClellan from McClellan regarding the editor-in-chief of The Sun. request. “Our governing board and decided “To date, I am not familiar administration are telling to comply with the request to my our community that we office or to Ms. Patti Blevins have entered a new era of with state regarding the online parking transparency, but it seems that and federal permit program by [Sun staff the word has not yet made it members],” wrote McClellan. law and to all corners of our campus.” “However, I would be happy McVicker said he was release the to follow up with Ms. Patti surprised McClellan was Blevins to find out if she sent so resistant to releasing a documents.” the public records request “routine and non-controversial David McVicker to Campus Police since they document.” The struggle to oversee the parking program.” obtain it was a matter of Editor-in-Chief Campus Police staff told principle, he said. The Sun in September that SWC Sun reporter Brittany Black was McClellan was the administrator responsible turned away from McClellan’s office by for online parking permits and the person secretary Janet Bynum when Black refused with the requested documents. On Oct. to submit a list of questions in advance. 30, another Sun staff member received SWC journalism students are taught that a response from Blevins apologizing for questions provided in advance is a form the delay. An attached PDF contained the of prior restraint, which the American online parking permit documents. Constitution and California statutes College President Dr. Melinda Nish defend against. personally pitched the idea of an article Although the reporter offered the about the new online parking permit subject of the interview, Bynum refused program during the summer. Editors at The to schedule an appointment. McClellan Sun budgeted the article for the first issue of did not respond to emails and multiple the fall semester. When McClellan refused written requests for information. The Sun’s to be interviewed, Public Information editorial board filed a California Public Officer Lillian Leopold helped track down Records Act request on Sept. 9 seeking any the available information.

PinPost: Textbook website provides affordable alternatives Continued from Page A1

an investment and becomes a business when students begin marketing and advertising their textbooks. Krista Garrigus, 21, a psychology major, said she avoids high prices with websites such as and “I feel that my way [of buying books] is saving me money,” she said. “I shop around and check prices before I rent or buy.” While online buying can save money, time spent waiting for books to arrive causes stress and can hurt grades, said Matthew Schwimmer, a philosophy major, who still prefers the bookstore. “I could probably save a few dollars if I bought my books online,” he said, “but I would have to wait for the books to get to me.” SWC’s bookstore is trying to lure students with Bookswap. Students may enter the ISBN of the book s/he wants to buy or sell. Dominguez said he is not a fan. BookSwap is not “open,” he said. Whereas pinpost has a list of the books available, BookSwap does not. “We’re not trying to take the market from the bookstore,” he said. “We’re just trying to take the market that is already there, the people posting on the walls and Craigslist. They are looking for alternatives to the bookstore.” As a hopeful entrepreneur, Dominguez started the ambitious project with Griffin about five months ago and has provided the website at no cost to students. Although it targets SWC, it is not limited to SWC students. “We’re trying to start a revolution,” said Dominguez. He said he hopes becomes a nationwide occurrence one day, but first he wants the endorsement of the SWC ASO. “The ASO is the voice of the students and we want that support,” he said. ASO or no, the website is up and running. To ensure privacy Dominguez requires a profile for posting and purchasing. “This would keep resources inside the school and benefit both students and teachers,” said Garrigus. Pinpost can also recycle course readings and other professor-generated materials. Schwimmer said students need to have access to assigned reading materials. “What’s good for the students is good for the school,” said Schwimmer. “As long as the students have what they need to do well in class and they get those things at an honest price, then they, and therefore the school, will benefit.”

Healthcare: Faculty urge union to reject district proposal

Continued from Page A1

more money into the system.” Maag said the district contributes $800,000 per contract. Another fund is provided by the governing board on a year-by-year basis. This year it is $400,000. Even that, plus the $5,200, Maag said, is not enough to cover the increase in healthcare prices. “Even though the district put in more money,” he said, “we still have people who are paying more out of pocket this year for their healthcare than they were this time last year.” Factor two is equalizing the Kaiser plans and the HMOs, Maag said. VEBA wants Kaiser and the HMOs to be competitive. The idea is to bring in better service and lower prices. Opt-outs are the third factor. An employee may choose not to take the district coverage and instead keep the $5,200 as cash. Post said opting out has damaged the employees’ ability to purchase affordable healthcare. “While health and welfare costs were low, it wasn’t such a significant thing

Pleads: Four former Southwestern College officials admit guilt

Continued from Page A1

was described in an affidavit. “Had a good dinner this evening with George (Jorge) Dominguez Board member at Southwestern College, his wife, Greg Sandoval and his wife and Angela and I,” wrote Amigable. “Greg encouraged George to support us to get the Program management assignment at Southwestern College. Right now the President of the college Raj Chopra has gotten real close to George. George believes he can influence Chopra right now because he needs his board support. He is going to set up a lunch with the President and let us pitch to him directly why they need to hire a PM (program manager) right away they want to go over John Wilson. In addition, George is going to try and influence who will be put on the selection committee.” SWC officials were treated to expensive dinners, extravagant wine and cocktails, theatre tickets, sporting events and other gifts in exchange for support and favors for Proposition R contractors and hopefuls. Some dinners approached $3,000 with wine and bar tabs of nearly $600. Proposition R-related events have rattled the college since 2008 when the $389 million construction bond passed. Chopra punished college employees who spoke against passage of the measure and layed off at least one classified employee for not supporting the bond. Chopra, Alioto and Salcido engaged in an assault on the student newspaper and its faculty when it began investigating irregularities in contracting, campaign contributions, extravagant gifts to college administrators, and secretive transactions at the college’s educational foundation in 2009. Alioto twice froze newspaper funding, refused to authorize payment of printing bills and publically accused the adviser of

that people were opting out,” he said. “However, as health and welfare costs across the nation have increased, our service provider, which is currently VEBA, views that negatively. Therefore, we’re placed in a lower tier rate, which means it (insurance) costs more.” Newer employees cannot opt out. More senior employees can collect the $5,200 as long as they continue to opt out. Once an employee opts back in, s/ he cannot opt out again. VEBA does not want employees withdrawing from district-provided healthcare and taking the $5,200, Maag said, because the money could be spread around and decrease the price for everyone. This would also increase the employees’ total contribution pool, giving SWC a chance to move up on VEBA’s tier scale and qualify for cheaper insurance. Maag said there are employees who feel they should be able to receive the $5,200 if they choose not to receive healthcare from the district. The rebuttal is that the $5,200 is part of a benefits package, and if an employee chooses not to take his benefits, then s/ he should not receive the cash. Part-time instructors are not covered by district insurance unless they have at least 50 percent of a full-time

Winter Edition 2013-14­—Vol. 57, Issue 4

financial mismanagement. Chopra physically assaulted a journalism student and the newspaper adviser, then offered the adviser “whatever it is you want” to influence his students to stop the investigations. In 2010 Alioto ordered campus police to arrest three staff members of The Sun. When four armed officers approached the newspaper building the adviser locked them in his office and refused to turn them over. A two-and-ahalf hour standoff ensued and a crowed gathered. Police left when Professor Robert Unger, a lawyer, convinced them that their action was illegal and they needed to leave. Alioto also took control of the newspaper’s advertising revenue and failed to collect more than $11,000 over a period of 12 months. Journalism students billed the college for the funds in 2011, but the request was ignored. In September 2010 Chopra directed former Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Mark Meadows to order The Sun to cease publication until after the November 2010 governing board elections. Journalism students raised private funds and printed the September 2010 issue of The Sun in Los Angeles County. The issue broke the story of Alioto accepting luxurious vacations and other gifts from contractors and potential contractors. The Sun also published investigations about unreported campaign contributions to Salcido, Dominguez and current board president Terry Valladolid. Valladolid cooperated with the DA and has not been indicted. Salcido and Dominguez were defeated at the polls by Norma Hernandez and Tim Nader. Days before the new board majority assumed office, Salcido, Dominguez, Valladolid and former trustee Jean Roesch voted to give Chopra a $100,000 severance package and he resigned before he could be fired. Alioto resigned in March 2012, followed by more than a dozen other Chopra allies in the administration, including the VP of human resources and the campus police chief.

workload. For example, if an adjunct has a 61 percent workload, the district contributes 61 percent of that person’s healthcare costs. This goes on up until 67 percent. California Education Code states if an instructor works 67 percent (or above) of a full-time workload for more than a year, s/he can apply to have the district cover the corresponding percentage for healthcare costs permanently. Female instructors can find themselves in a vicious cycle, Maag said. Adjuncts do not receive maternity leave. A pregnant part-timer would have to work to pay for her own healthcare, but would not be able to teach a physical class. Maag said the system needs an overhaul. Faculty need to have a sensible contribution from the college, he said, of $10,000 to $12,000. Opt-outs need to end, he said, and the bargaining units should meet five to six months earlier to avoid the last-minute panic. Post said there should be no taking sides on the opt-out issue. “We want to look out for our employees as a whole and we want to look out for our students as a whole.” Health care is a necessity, he said. “It’s proven that prevention is a key to a longer, healthy, fruitful life.”

Sun writer is National Reporter of the Year By Sun Staff

Southwestern College Sun senior staff writer Nickolas Furr was named National College Reporter of the Year by The Associated Collegiate Press at its annual National College Media Convention in New Orleans. Furr was selected from all print and broadcast journalists at two-year institutions in the United States and Canada. Also honored were Amanda L. Abad for sports writing and the team of Albert Fulcher, Ernesto Rivera, and Serina Duarte for multicultural reporting. SWC journalism students were the biggest winners at the San Diego Press Club Excellence in Journalism banquet, taking 17 of the 33 awards in the College Division. Staff members also earned three awards in professional categories, including Marshall Murphy in sports photography, Mary York for military magazine story and David McVicker and Albert Fulcher for multicultural magazine story.

SWC earned 35 awards at the Journalism Association of Community C o l l e g e s Fa l l Conference in Fullerton. Each of the program’s three publication platforms were presented with conferences’ top award, General Excellence, Serina Duarte/Staff f o r T h e S u n ACE REPORTER — Senior staff writer Nickolas Furr was named n e w s p a p e r , Reporter of the Year by the Associated Collegate Press. theswcsun. com affiliated website and El Sol Award from the Columbia University Magazine. Scholastic Press Association earlier San Diego County Supervisor this semester. Cox told student Greg Cox presented journalism journalists to “keep up the good students a County Proclamation work.” declaring October 31, 2013 as “What you do here is importation “Southwestern College Sun Day” in and helps keep all of un informed the County of San Diego. Cox said about Southwestern College, which the proclamation was in recognition is a very important institution in of the newspaper’s Gold Medal South County,” he said.


Ricasa: SWC EOPS Director resigns from Sweetwater board

Continued from Page A1

amount one may lawfully receive from one source per year is $420. Rene Flores provided these gifts with the intent to influence my vote on business awarded to Seville Group Inc.” District Attorney Bonnie Bumanis originally charged Ricasa with the most counts of any of the 15 people indicted in the sweeping corruption case. According to a D.A. Affidavit For Search Warrant, Ricasa had accepted the following items: 1) $1,741.70 – Dinner and wine with her husband Ed Bagaporo, and SGI President Rene Flores. 2) $313.18 – Amigable for dinner with her husband. 3) $3,600 – SGI contribution to Ricasa’s campaign for State Assembly District 78. 4) $13,600 – From SGI for various political campaigns in 2007 through 2010. 5) $1,380.22 – From Henry Amigable to “wine and dine.” 6) $208.78 – Dinner with Amigable on May 12, 2007. 7) $132.98 – Dinner with her husband and Amigable. 8) $3,600 – Contributions from SGI for 2008 State Assembly campaign in June 2007. 9) $1,800 – SGI paid for the sponsorship of Ricasa’s daughter, Natalie Bagaporo, for Leadership Council in July 2009. 10) $5,000 – from SGI for campaign contributions in Sept. 2010. 11) $5,000 – from SGI for campaign contributions in Oct. 2010. These and other gifts and contributions need to be reported on California Form 700, Schorr said. Ricasa failed to report any gifts or other reportable interest in 2008 and 2010, which is signed under penalty of perjury. The D.A. affidavit stated that Ricasa, trustee Pearl Quinones, trustee Greg Sandoval and superintendent Jesus Gandara all violated the California Political Reform Act Government Code section (871191014). After a lengthy investigation that included raids on their homes, defendants were accused of bribery, perjury, conflict of interest, filing false instrument, offering a thing of value to a member of government and conspiracy to defraud another of property. After Ricasa’s guilty plea, Schorr said that in every case there is the potential to negotiate an agreement to settle the case without going to trial. Ricasa’s super visor, SWC dean Beatrice Zamora-Aguilar, said Ricasa is a dedicated educational professional who cares about students. “I trust her judgment,” Zamora said. “All of the work she does, anything that has to do with any kind of reporting and budgeting, I provide oversight to. I’m a very careful and meticulous manager and I feel comfortable with any of the information she puts forward.” S ch o r r s aid he is moving forward with the case against other Sweetwater officials and the D.A. is prepared to go to trial. S W C Pre s i d e n t D r. Melinda Nish said she referred Nish the matter to the acting vice president of human resources Lynn Solomita and the college’s legal counsel to see if the guilty plea has an impact on Ricasa’s $125,000 position. “It was in her capacity as a Sweetwater elected official that the violation occurred,” said Nish. “Unless there is some nexus with her employment here, it has no bearing on her employment. So I’m asking for both HR and legal advice, and that’s where we’re at with it.” Nish said if any disciplinary action is taken it would be a personnel and confidential matter and would not be discussed publicly. She said she would like to see Sweetwater issues put to rest. “I’m really pleased that Southwestern has done a lot of work to clean up what it does and how it does it,” she said. “Sweetwater is our educational partner and I would hope the sooner they get their business cleaned up the better for all of us in the South Bay. So I’m looking forward to this coming to closure.”


The Southwestern College Sun


Winter Edition 2013-14—Volume 57, Issue 4

Editorials, Opinions and Letters to the Editor

The mission of the Southwestern College Sun is to serve its campuses and their communities by providing information, insights and stimulating discussions of news, activities and topics relevant to our readers. The Staff strives to produce a newspaper that is timely, accurate, fair, interesting, visual and accessible to readers. Though the “Sun” is a student publication, staff members ascribe to the ethical and moral guidelines of professional journalists.


There is no justification for rape




Nickolas Furr Lina Chankar NEWS

Jaime Pronoble, editor Jason O’neal, assistant Richard O’Rourke, assistant Kasey Thomas, assistant VIEWPOINTS

Anna Pryor, editor Ytzel Alonso, assistant CAMPUS

Gonzalo Quintana, assistant ARTS

Dan Cordero/Staff

Daphne Jauregui, editor Saira Araiza, assistant Fernanda Gutierrez, assistant SPORTS

Nicholas Baltz, editor John Domogma, assistant Colin Grylls, assistant ONLINE

Mason Masis, editor Kimberly Ortiz, assistant PHOTOGRAPHY

Serina Duarte, editor Lillana Cervantes, assistant Karen Tome, assistant STAFF WRITERS

Luis Alltriste

Victor Ene

Jose Luis Baylon

Adrian Gomez

Maria Bertalan

Kael Heath

Brittany Black-Jones

Adriana Heldiz

Cindy Borjas

Alma Hurtado

Lee Bosch

Victoria Leyva

Madeline Cabrera

Alyssa Pajarillo

Georgina Carriola

Ana Raymundo

Zayda Cavazos

Alejandra Rosales

Pablo Cervantes

Gabriel Sandoval

Andre Chenova

Marianna Saponara



Alisa Alipusan

Priscila Berumen

Dan Cordero

Rick Flores

Wendy Gracia

Pablo Gandara

Joaquin Junco Jr.

Marshall Murphy

Michelle Phillips

Pablo Pedroza

Gabriel Hernandez

Ricardo Rios

Student Press Law Center National College Press Freedom Award, 2011 National Newspaper Association National College Newspaper of the Year, 2004-12 Associated Collegiate Press National College Newspaper of the Year National Newspaper Pacemaker Award, 2003-06, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012 General Excellence Awards, 2001-12 Best of Show Awards, 2003-12 Columbia University Scholastic Press Association Gold Medal for Journalism Excellence, 2001-13 California Newspaper Publishers Assoc. California College Newspaper of the Year, 2012 Student Newspaper General Excellence, 2002-12

Society of Professional Journalists National Mark of Excellence, 2001-13 First Amendment Award, 2002, 2005 San Diego Press Club Excellence in Journalism Awards 1999-2013 Directors Award for Defense of Free Speech, 2012 Journalism Association of Community Colleges Pacesetter Award 2001-13 General Excellence Awards, 2000-13 San Diego County Fair Media Competition Best of Show 2001-03, 2005-2012 American Scholastic Press Association Community College Newspaper of the Year San Diego County Multicultural Heritage Award

The Issue: SWC has taken its eye off the ball and neglects academics.


Our Position: Administrators need to focus on the most important purpose of the college, academics.

SWC needs to re-establish academics as its priority

Now that five former college officials have admitted to criminal activities and the SWC portion of the South Bay Corruption Case is winding down, it is time for this institution to make a sharp turn. After 11 years of budget crises, revolving door leadership, multiple grand jury spankings, a reign of incompetence and terror, near-loss of accreditation, national headlines and the District Attorney indicting 11 people with SWC connections…it is time to breathe. It is time to reflect. It is time for a major change in direction. It is time, after a dozen years of neglect, to refocus on academics. We are after all, a college. We sincerely hope our college leaders listen to what we have to say on this topic. Our academics have atrophied from abuse, funding starvation, neglect, incompetence and distraction. Think this is an exaggeration? Just look around. Our academic side of the house is in shambles. The energy of college leadership goes to practically everything except academics. We are too focused on Proposition R, accreditation minutia, labor issues and silly administrator awards. In the meantime, the transfer rate at SWC is abysmal. Depending on who you talk to, the rate is 12 percent, 8 percent, 33 percent, 5 percent, 11 percent or 24 percent. These are all numbers provided this semester by college officials and state reports. Not a single source agreed with another. Our excellent transfer center director was the most forthright person we spoke to. She admited that she is not sure what SWC’s transfer rate really is, which bothers her greatly. Ascertaining transfer rates seems to be harder than forecasting winning Powerball numbers. State education officials deserve the blame for confusion about transfer statistics. Shutting down the CPEC agency that collected date with no plan for an alternative really hurt. But SWC has been wandering in a data wilderness for years. It is hard to improve when we don’t really know how we’re doing. Deposed former superintendent Raj Chopra created this mess by laying off our director of institutional advancement because he didn’t like her. He suspended any meaningful collection of data for years. Research staff atrophied. Our director is back now and we wish her godspeed as the college works to re-establish a data baseline. Even if we do that this

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year, however, it will take years more before it begins to provide useful information. Research and statistics can be used to describe student success in more detail and complexity, including transfer patterns, persistence, and certificate or degree completion regardless of level, and at any institution. Not to mention reputation. It is counterproductive to chase away brilliant local students who may go elsewhere because of a less-than-stellar reputation for transfer. Texas and Florida do it right. They know who comes in, who goes out, who makes it, who doesn’t. Let’s put a couple SWC administrators on jets and send them there to figure out how they do it. Students and conscientious members of the community need to follow the money. It is easy to say that academics are a priority, but if our leaders are not applying resources (money, faculty) to teaching and learning, the words mean nothing. It is mighty discouraging to watch how money is spent around here. Millions and millions are spent on non-academic temptations. Our college is light on councelors, faculty and classes, and heavy on administrators, consultants and lawyers. We understand that building money and academic money are in different pots, but it does send a funky message to the community that we are building a state-of-the-art football stadium when the college underfunds biology, engineering, math, visual art, journalism, women’s sports, forensics, theatre and many other academic areas. (Here’s hoping college football survives the NFL’s brain damage scandal that is already shrinking youth football programs across America, but that’s another story.) SWC’s decade of scandals has our board and president putting out fires and cleaning up messes. We understand that. But SWC also has an academic VP, academic deans, a diverse and talented faculty, and other people who could start the process of reinvigorating academics. They can do the heavy lifting, but our top leaders need to send the message that academics will henceforth be the college’s priority. As our beloved retiring baseball coach Jerry Bartow might say, this college needs to keep its eye on the ball. Academics is King. Period. Time to put our money and energy back into teaching and learning. Now.

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There is no grey area or moral loopholes. No hidden clause in a jumble of legality stating the opposite. Rape Is rape. Women between the ages of 16-24 have a four times higher risk of being raped than any other group. College freshmen are the most raped women of all. Rape of young women are too easily blamed on provocative dressing and alcohol consumption. Excuses, excuses. Both unacceptable. Rape is caused by rapists. Women should never be blamed for being assaulted, falsely imprisoned and sexually violated. No midriff shirt, no shorts, no amount of alcohol means a woman deserves to be forced to have sex. Among students, 75 percent of male students and 55 percent of female students involved in rape had consumed drinks or drugs. Not an excuse. If someone is killed by someone who is drunk it is still considered murder. Assaulting someone who is drunk is still rape. Consent is the moral and legal key to determining what constitutes rape. If a woman says yes it is consensual sex. If a woman says no, it is rape. If a woman is incapacitated it is also rape. A stereotypical rapist is a gruesome, brutal-looking man with eyes that pierce and a vibe that screams “danger.” He preys on victims from behind a bush with a handkerchief soaked in chloroform. That is a horror movie rapist. In reality, rapists look like everyone else. An estimated 84 percent of victims knew their assailant. That old high school friend or neighborhood acquaintance may be the culprit. More than half of rapes (57 percent) happened on a date. Rapists come in all shapes, sizes, races and both sexes. Women are also rapists. Pat Benatar wrong. Love is not a battlefield. Rape is the battlefield. According to Major General Patrick Cammaert, the Deputy Force Commander of the United Nations Mission to the Democratic Republic of Congo, underscored how tough it is to be female. “It is now more dangerous to be a woman than to be a soldier in modern wars,” he said. Cammaert was describing the rape strategy used in the Congo and other African nations. Women are used as weapons of war, pawns in an unfair chess game. It is time to stop objectifying bodies and start recognizing human rights. Innocent, unwilling women should not be included in the casualties of war. Our own military needs to model the way. Unfortunately, barely 2 percent of rapes are reported to authorities. A culture has been created that leaves both women and men feeling hopeless and unwilling to seek help. People have normalized rape by making excuses for it and joking about it. Asking what a women was wearing at the time of the rape is as ridiculous and unnecessary as asking the rapist what they were wearing. Even if they were walking around stark naked, it does not warrant the act. Rape is inexcusable. Making a “funny” remark is ignorant and offensive. Elected officials and military leaders condone rape with their antiquated attitudes and stupid remarks. Recently a judge in Montana has been under fire for commentating that a 14-year-old girl appeared “older than her chronological age.” Her rapist was only sentenced to one month in jail. Tragically, the girl killed herself before the trial was over. In another instance, a top Indian official, Ranjit Sinha, director of the Central Bureau of Investigation, said during a sports ethics panel discussion, “If you can’t prevent rape, you enjoy it.” Former Los Angeles Police Chief, Ed Davis, same virtually the same thing in the 1980s. If the roles were reversed it is unlikely that he would enjoy being unwillingly and forcibly penetrated. Clueless men like Sinha and Davis, with questionable morals and lack of empathy, should not hold the positions they do. Anna may be reached at


The Southwestern College Sun

Winter Edition 2013-14—Vol. 57, Issue 4


Student apathy on campus is disappointing

Dan Cordero/Staff

By Jason O’Neal A Perspective

A disconnect has developed and students are numb to the events that are happening on their campus, in their communities and across the country. Even the latest episode of “The Walking Dead” has nothing on the mindless drones wandering the Southwestern College campus. Student apathy has risen to new heights and SWC is not immune to a zombie pandemic. In what can best be described as Grade 13, this college has fallen prey to a debilitating disease that spreads like a virus throughout the community. While many are worrying about transferring and completing two-year programs, a majority of the student body has no idea what they are going to do tomorrow, much less next year. This epidemic is the result of information overload and technology. Constant bombardment from advertisements and

marketing campaigns is nothing new. Advancements in technology, however, have brought it up close and personal. Planetary connectedness is at an alltime high, but personal contact is rapidly decreasing. Social media sites and text messaging have replaced family outings and telephone calls. Access to information is at historical levels, yet many people are too lazy to do research. Dumbed-down masses take things at face value without questioning or thinking on their own. Perhaps this is the result of years attending schools where information is spoon fed by teachers. Regimented curricula demands obedience and there is no room for contemplation. Standardized testing is the weapon and young impressionable minds are the target, causing human intellect to be under attack.

When asked about events going on around the campus and community, most zombie-eyed students repeat quotes from reality television, sports statistics and pop culture. Campus government is left to those students that are conscious and care or those promoting their own agenda. Few students attend the meetings of the Associated Student Organization or SWC Governing Board, bodies that make every decision regarding school budget, administration of classes and scheduling of events. Even fewer students know the names of these elected officials or even when elections occur. Thousands of students are attending classes at SWC, but only a fraction are members of a campus club. Distraction and the need for instant gratification supplants the desire for understanding. Many students do not care anymore unless grades are at stake. A zero attempt resulting in a failing grade sends

the most passive pupils into a frenzy. Most live a lifetime of less-than-languid ambition and expect top-notch credit for it. Poor attendance, sloppy work and the bare minimum is par for the course and many students think that it is not only acceptable, but commendable! Years of social promotion and the “everyone wins” mentality have produced results that show humanity is losing. Many teachers are battling poor parental involvement and a dependence on gadgets, according to, an online teaching alliance for educators. A teacher from Philadelphia left a comment on the website claiming that the students in her class, “don’t study, rarely do homework, leave projects unfinished, pay little attention to the lesson and wonder why they’re getting a failing grade. They demand ‘review’ sessions where the teacher tells them everything that’ll be on the test. Their behavior is horrible.”

Students are too occupied with their phones, iPods, make-up and show up to class without books, paper and writing instruments. Attention spans are shorter and reliance on technology is higher. In a world dominated by video games, sound bites and YouTube, people are able to get the short and sweet version at high speed. Today everyone wants the dessert before the meal and the reward before the effort. Joe Friday, from the iconic 1950s television show “Dragnet” would approve of this “just the facts, ma’am!” lifestyle. Unfortunately, reality is not so simple. Real life is elaborate and complex—there are no Cliff’s Notes. It is time to log off Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and look around. Students need to re-engage with their peers and professors while stealing back their education. Everyone’s future depends on it.

Technology debilitates students By Alyssa Pajarillo A Perspective

Einstein tried to warn us. “It has become appallingly obvious,” he wrote, “that our technology has exceeded our humanity. Technology has advanced so far that we no longer have to be bothered with the mundane tasks of everyday life or what is the human experience. Convenience is obsession. Our fingertips are digital powerhouses. Einstein was right again. Smart phones, tablets and laptops have hindered the way we live. It is as if while everyone is busy updating social media they have forgotten to actually live in the moment. Technophiles are so busy posting online about their lives instead of actually living them. A quarter of Americans say they have missed out on important moments because they were busy updating social media sites, according to, a popular website that monitors social media. Our addiction to technology is easy to see. Just put down the phone and look around. Some people mindless scroll through their phones to get a false comfort of looking busy and social instead of actually standing

alone. Southwestern is crawling with students standing nervously alone constantly checking their phones as if they have a lineup of people dying to hang out with them. What is scary is that too many of us see this as perfectly normal behavior. That person on their phone is not really doing anything, she did not magically receive a text exactly as her friend left to use the restroom. At first glance this may not appear too much of a negative impact, but it can. While people are using their “not actually alone” disguise, they are developing an inability to stay idle for a few moments resulting in shorter attention spans. Phones and other technology is being used as a shield against uncomfortable situations, causing us to hide behind them whenever an awkward situation presents itself. This is teaching people that avoidance is okay and socially acceptable. It is acceptable that if people hide behind their phones when an uncomfortable situation arises, the issue will simply fade away and magically be resolved. Friendships have also suffered from the addiction to technology. Facebook was designed with the intent of making connecting with others easier. Although it may be easier to stay updated on our friend’s

lives, people are spending too much time scrolling through their newsfeed instead of actually going out and interacting in person with their friends. Instead of making new memories with friends, people are scrolling and clicking their lives away. Parenting has also changed with the advancement of technology. Parents are relying on technology as their on-call baby sitters. Too may times have mothers and fathers dropped an Ipad or Iphone in front of their small children to keep them entrained, and not making a fuss and getting in trouble. Technology has become a substitute parent for some children. While tablets and other gadgets can provide children with early learning, they cannot meet a child’s physical and emotional needs they must have to properly develop. Giving children technology at an early age can cause a visual and auditory sensory overload, while causing other parts of the brain to be under stimulated and become under developed. Older children and families can suffer from technology. It used to be that family sit down dinners were disrupted and replaced with families sitting in front of the TV together and eating dinner. Now our phones have disrupted family dinners.

Joaquin Junco Jr./Staff

Families often sit around the dinner table, at home or in a restaurant, with their phones in their faces. Again, scrolling their lives away. At least when families were in front of the TV, they were doing the same thing and they could converse about the show. With phones, everyone is doing their separate things, causing families to live different lives under the same roof and with their own

ThinkingOutLoUd James Curry, 18, Nursing Major

Vito Di Stefano, 20, Journalism major

“I talked to counselors to see what “I regularly check the counseling center for college fairs and I need to take in my next two years campus tours.” here to transfer.”

agenda, instead of being an actual family. When someone does try to bring up a topic for discussion they are often met with idle responses from their family members. Technology is fantastic, in small appropriate doses. People need to learn when it is appropriate to use their tech devices, and when to put it away and simply enjoy what is happening now.

What have you done in preparation for transfer?

Margarito Alvarado, 23, Communications Major

Maria Saysay, 19, Undecided Major

Isabella Molina, 19, Psychology Major

“I got my semester educational plan to make sure I am taking the right classes to transfer.

“Since I don’t have a major the counselor directed me to the career center.”

“I went to and figured out what classes and prerequisites I have to take.”


The Southwestern College Sun


Winter Edition 2013-14—Volume 57, Issue 4

Working Wonders with a Second Chance

New Spanish Certificate helps students land better employment Skills in multiple languages paves way to job success By John Domogma Assistant Sports Editor

Serina Duarte/Staff

REBORN— Albert Fulcher survived a terminal diagnosis to become America’s top student media leader. He is now Editor-inChief of the East County Californian newspaper. By Sun Staff


lbert Fulcher was a dead man walking. Diagnosed with HIV, he was told by his grim-faced doctors to get his affairs in order. After months and over the course of a year Fulcher relished his waning life until he realized one day that he was still alive and relatively healthy well past his doctor’s predicted expiration date. An experimental drug cocktail seemed to have worked. Fulcher was reborn. F. Scott Fitzgerald was wrong. Fulcher got a second act and the United States Navy veteran used it to become America’s best student media leader, a multiple award-winning writer and a warrior for the First Amendment. He was recently named Editor-in-Chief of The East County Californian. Fulcher found journalism accidently after his Navy career. He said he was hit with the fact that without a diploma he would not be able to find work that made him the same kind of money he was used to. “Everywhere I went and looked for work,” he said. “The best I would find without a diploma was $25,000 a year despite all my experience. The sad thing was that no one cared what kind of degree

I had, they just wanted to see I had some kind of schooling after high school.” Fulcher began attending Southwestern College and said he chose to take a writing class solely because he did not want to be another person who could not write a proper email. After two semesters of classes with Professor of Journalism Dr. Max Branscomb, he fell in love with print media and it with him. An article he wrote in Branscomb’s Writing for Publication class was purchased by Newsweek. “I got so hooked on journalism that it got to the point where money wasn’t an issue anymore,” said Fulcher. “I had finally, at the age of 50, found what I loved to do. I had come to school to make more money and I could easily be making three-to-four times as much as I am now, but I don’t want to anymore. I don’t care about the pay.” Fulcher used his national award-winning column in The Sun, The Human Chord, to fight against former superintendent Raj K. Chopra and the corruption that engulfed SWC during a very tumultuous time in the school’s history. Fulcher was an editor at The Sun in September 2010 when Chopra ordered the paper to stop publishing. Despite countless attempts to silence him and the rest of The Sun staff, Fulcher said it was that very struggle that elevated him as a journalist. In 2012 he was named America’s best student media leader – university and college – by

the College Media Association. “If I had to give one kudo to the infamous Chopra,” he said, “it would have to be that he made us into real journalists. He made it more difficult than anyone else could have if they tried and that pushed us to be the best that we could be, and taught us to be professional journalists.” Fulcher picked up a few fans along the way, including students who served under him at The Sun. “I find him to be an amazing journalist with a great attention to detail,” said Angel Huracha, a former Sun columnist. “The fact that he is editor of the East County Californian speaks volumes about his dedication to the art of journalism.” Former Sun staff member Rebecca Niebla Paredes said Fulcher was an inspiring leader. “I’m happy for him,” she said. “I met him while I was a staff writer at the Sun and knew he was a great journalist. I’m sure he is going to do a great job (at the Californian). This is a huge step in his career.” Fulcher, as always, was quick to give credit to others. “The freedom Max gives The Sun staff makes it, in my opinion, the best journalism program in the country,” he said. “It attracts the best and it creates the best journalists. I feed off that. I’m like a vampire. I will suck the best thing out of every person and I will morph it into myself.”

Fulcher said his experience at The Sun prepared him well for his job at The East County Californian. “I have this job because The Sun made me such a well-rounded journalist,” he said. “One of the main reasons I love this job is because it reminds me of The Sun. I get to do a little bit of everything.” Amanda Abad, former editor-in-chief of The Sun, said Fulcher “made his own luck.” “Albert worked hard during his time at The Sun to learn everything and to keep up with the younger students,” she said. “He definitely kept pace and outran many of them. He caught the journalism bug and it’s hard to shake. He loves what he does and it loves him back.” The weekly East County Californian, formerly known as The Californian and The Daily Californian, has served San Diego’s East County since 1892. Fulcher has breathed new life into the publication, and is winning fans with his talent, energy and empathy. “When I got hired I was told to be ready to be the mayor of six communities and they weren’t lying,” said Fulcher. “I’m busier than I’ve ever been, but I never feel overwhelmed and I love every second of it. This isn’t a profession where you go to work and then just head home at the end of the day. You really have to live, breath and love this job.”

In Quebec there is a popular joke- Q: What do you call someone who speaks three languages? A: Trilingual. Q: What do you call someone who speaks two languages? A: Bilingual. Q: What do you call someone who speaks one language? A: An American! A lot of Americans at SWC are gifted with a second language and, like sophisticated Europeans, can move back and forth between two (even three) languages fluidly. Like the scarecrow in “The Wizard of Oz,” these talented multi-linguistic students only need a piece of paper to let the world know of their gifts. SWC’s School of Language and Literature offers the Spanish Proficiency Certificate, a passport into the professional world. This certificate helps students with bilingual talent to channel their skills into well-paid careers. A chance encounter between Spanish Professor Deana Alonso and a real estate broker in need of a translator led to the program’s creation in 2006. “He told me that it was hard for him to distinguish between a person who speaks Spanish fluently and one who speaks Spanglish,” she said. “He asked if there was any type of certification by which students could show that they are fluent in both Spanish and English.” School of Language and Literature estimates concluded that students with bilingual certification make $7,000 more per year than monolinguals. Students are required to take Spanish 215 and 216 (Spanish for Bilinguals I or II) or Spanish 216 (Spanish for Bilinguals II), as well as Introduction to Literature, Spanish 221, and one Spanish Translation business courses 225, 226, 227, 233, 234 or Legal 257. These classes prepare students for the business side of interpretation and translation in the medical, legal and immigration fields, among others. USD Spanish professor Martha T. Oregel is a fan. “What this does is that it makes you more qualified to translate legal documents and news articles that are directed to a non-Spanish speaking audience,” she said. “I recommend that students join so they can see the impact of Spanish on our community.” Alonso said many students choose not to receive the certificate, which she insists is a mistake. “Unfortunately, there is a large number that insist on taking Spanish I for the fear of failing some of the more advanced Spanish courses,” she said. Earlier this semester the School of Language and Literature hosted an informative gathering in front of the Cesar Chavez building about the benefits of the Spanish Certificate. Department Chair Dinorah GuadianaAcosta called it a success. “The objective was to make a gathering where students could get to know who we are and create an environment where students feel free to knock on our doors,” she said. Accounting student Diana Castaneda said she looks to benefit from the Spanish Proficiency Certificate. “Being bilingual opens a lot of doors and opportunities,” she said. “I think it is excellent that we can prove our bilingualism through this certificate.” Alonso says students need to channel their skills intelligently. “I recommend students take advantage of this blessing,” she said. “They have mastered speaking Spanish, now all that is left is learning to write it and formalize their vocabulary a bit so they can turn this into an economical tool.”

Two green thumbs way up for cheerful patron of plants

By Lee Bosch Staff Writer

San Diego City College was not working out for Eddie Munguia. He hated accounting, loathed computer programming. Then at Southwestern College he hit pay dirt. In the dirt. Dirt that pays. Today Munguia is the horticulture lab technician for the acclaimed South Bay

Botanic Garden on campus. He is one of the region’s greatest green thumbs, skillfully tending a four-acre lot that is the Garden of Eden, Noah’s Ark and The Secret Garden all tucked into an oft-overlooked chunk of campus behind the automotive center. SWC’s award-winning botanical collection has hundreds of plant species and Munguia nurtures them all with love and science.

Accounting and computers are in his past. “I spent a semester taking computer classes and I realized I was horribly bored being stuck inside all day,” he said. Munguia discovered his love on a blind date. Flipping through the fall SWC catalogue in 2002, he came across landscaping classes and took “a shot in the dark.”

“A couple months after the semester started I realized I really started to like this,” he said. “I kind of felt that change in me where I was thinking of this as a possible career and I think my instructors at the time picked up on it. I was really interested and really enthusiastic about learning and they gave me the opportunity which turned out to be the opportunity of a lifetime.”

That shot in the dark turned into an 11year relationship with SWC. “By December, when I got hired as a student worker, I was hooked,” said Munguia. “I absolutely loved it. I never really realized just how much I’d enjoy working with plants, being outdoors.” By 2007 he earned an associate’s degree

please see Garden pg. B2

Gonzalo Quintana, assistant


Tel: (619) 482-6368 E-mail:

Winter Edition 2013-14—Vol. 57, Issue 4

Professor scores an eye in the sky

By Jose Luis Baylon Staff Writer

n the 1700s Giovanni Piranesi w a s a s k e d b y t h e Fre n c h Academy of Rome to etch the city’s ancient streets and monuments. He created a detailed 3D aerial perspective that captured minute details of every nook and cranny set in stone. Piranesi did it the hard way. He would love Southwestern College Professor of Geography Ken Yanow and the

Geospatial Information Systems he has brought to the campus. Yanow came aboard full-time 12 years ago and inherited a situation out of the turn of the century—the 20th century not the 21st. He set out to bring in a GIS system like the one he had used as a graduate student at SDSU. He started to write grant applications to the United States Department of Education. His first attempts were unsuccessful. Undeterred, he followed some advice from chemistry professor Dr. David Brown and set his sights on the National

S c i e n c e Fo u n d a t i o n (NSF). Ya n o w’s first NSF grant brought in $300,000 over a course of three years and at the heart of it was curriculum development, he said. “We made our courses,” he said. “We were able to collaborate with San Diego State and we had Gabriel Hernandez/Staff a r t i c u l a t i o n with some of the courses that we were offering.” Yanow infused the program with more hardware, including a Global Positioning System (GPS). “It took me probably two or three years to really get everything running,” he said. “After that, we started to add more courses. We became successful and it turned into a nice program.” Advanced Technology Education Program (ATE) is specifically designed for community colleges to find funding to assist curriculum development and professional development for

professors so they can master new technology. “That first grant was really for GIS, which is geospatial information systems,” Yanow said. “When that grant was about to end, I wrote another NSF grant and that was to infuse more geospatial technology, which is remote sensing and digital analysis.” Yanow’s students are currently conducting geological analysis. They are taking remote imager y of a landscape, looking at the absorption and reflection of the ground, and then matching the signatures to predict what type of minerals may be there. Archeology can also benefit from GIS, said Yanow, because it allows researchers to look at the ground and analyze spectral signatures to see whether or not there is something beneath the brush without damaging the habitation site. Yanow’s latest NSF project is a collaboration with the nationwide Geospatial Technology Center of Excellence. “A beauty of SWC being part of this is we are always at the forefront,” he said. “We know what software the field is using. We know what geospatial techniques the workplace workers are using. We know that, we can obviously translate that to our students so our students are more prepared to get a job in this field right out of the institution.”

Biologist shows education has no expiration date a full-time student at Southwestern College who plans to transfer to SDSU. “I want to study molecular biology and participate in cancer research,” she said. “My mother had skin cancer. I think we still have to do many studies on that matter. If one has the ability to help others, we should.” Her father, a violinist, and her mother, a grand reader of literature, were not able to put their curious daughter through college even though she was a stellar Serina Duarte/Staff student and academic MOONBEAM— Luna Beneish leaps over obstacles on her way gold medalist. Poverty to a degree in molecular biology at age 76. blocked the college door. By Daphne Jauregui and Daniel “I always wanted to study, but we were Guzman too poor, if you do not work you do not Staff eat there,” said Beneish. “There were In Spanish luna means moon. many private but expensive universities. Bright, brilliant and wise, Luna The public ones were catastrophically Beneish fits the description. poor and glamorized by students trying Born in the barrio of San Telmo, the to make it.” oldest neighborhood in Argentina’s La Guerra de las Malvinas, the Falkland capitol city of Buenos Aires, Beneish Islands War with England, sparked riots was bit by a scholastic bug. At 76 she is in her old colonial neighborhood near

the British Embassy, causing her family to flee the dangerous part of the city. As an American citizen, her father requested residency and the family moved to the United States in 1982. Working as a bilingual interviewer for the University of Michigan, Temple and SDSU, Beneish found a way to spend her time and earn money. “I got paid very well,” she said. “I had the opportunity to travel to many places. I visited Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, South Africa Italy, Spain and Sweden. I visited many different places.” She said she has never been interested in visiting great cities. “I like nature’s beauty,” she said. “It’s something spectacular. It’s something that was not touched my man’s hand and is not contaminated. It is pure beauty and I like that. I love nature.” For two decades, Beneish cared for her parents who suffered from Alzheimer’s. “I did it with all of my love,” she said. “Many times I mentioned to my father that I could not live the life of an 89-year-old because I wanted to go out, live and study,” she said. “But they could not keep up with my pace and that is okay. Many family members suggested I settle my parents in a home, but I did not want to. It did not matter how many of my years I had to give them, they deserved it.” Through pain came the desire to

express herself as a leaf collector. Beneish found a parallel between leafs and people. Her collection exceeds 1 million leafs. “I personally do not care about the origin, ossification or botany of each leaf,” she said. “I simply classified them for their beauty and physical characteristics, like people, leafs can be ugly or very beautiful.” Beneish found another outlet writing poems and short stories, which she published online. Like the leafs she has collected, the stories and poems in her book titled Honrando la Naturalesa come in vast variety. “I did not write to please anyone, I wrote as a necessity to express myself,” she said. Beneish’s said she is taking every possible step to achieve her goals. “I intend on transferring in one semester,” she said. “To me all the universities are the same because what matters is if you want to study and there are books on everything. Regardless if the professor does or doesn’t teach, you’re going to learn only if you want to.” Beneish said she will live like the moon, radiating light among the stars. “I will study until the final day of my life because I have the soul of a student,” she said. “Age is simply a number. Youth is carried in one’s spirit.”


Garden: Botanical center’s plant life is in very good hands

Victor Ene/Staff GROUND BREAKING—Colleagues say Eddie Munguia has a big heart and two green thumbs.

in landscape occupations. He served as interim head horticulture lab tech and took over in March 2008. Bill Homyak, program coordinator of Landscape and Nursery Technologies, was on the committee that hired Munguia. “We needed someone who was selfmotivated and hard working,” said Homyak. “We knew he had that watching him as a student worker. We couldn’t survive without him.” Munguia set out to make a positive impact on the garden. He monitored all 12 irrigation clocks and studied watering patterns. After two years of experimenting, he was able to cut water use by a third. “That’s probably one of the things I’m most proud of,” he said. “That’s not something I would have attempted if I hadn’t had the experience of working here and familiarity with the site. I still continue to tinker with it.” Student workers help Munguia maintain the garden year-round. His breaks are taken only on federal holidays when campus is closed. Summers are another story. “The summers are long and hot,” he said. “I do have some volunteers here and there, but as far as regular paid help, I’m pretty much on my own for the summer. It’s not really conducive for me to take summer breaks.” Botanical Garden personnel offer free tours of the garden and workshops to educate the public on gardening. Tips on drip irrigation, drought tolerant plants, native plants and other regional gardening wisdom are shared at no cost. One of the Botanical Center’s recent accomplishments was creating a garden at Tiffany Elementary School. Tiffany Garden Coordinator Julie Adam met Munguia while perusing the botanic garden one day. “He just kind of stepped up and said ‘We’d love to help,’” said Adam. “He’s been invaluable. He always answers every email or call within minutes. He’s awesome.” During an open house for the garden, Munguia had another experience he said made him proud. “One of the girls who planted some of the native plants, she went over there with her family and they all stood around the plant and took pictures,” he said. A popular club has blossomed at Tiffany. Two days a week during lunch, children taste the food they grew or share an aspect of gardening. “A lot of these kids have never had a fresh carrot right out of the ground,” said Munguia. “To be able to expose them to that and get them interested is what it’s all about.” Tiffany teachers have used it as a tool to practice art, writing and science, said Adam. Munguia said he wishes more people would avail themselves to SWC’s Secret Garden. “That’s kind of always been our struggle, getting people to realize we are here,” he said Munguia insists he and his team know what works best when gardening in this region. “A lot of people don’t realize we can grow cherries here and they’re delicious,” he said. “We can grow blueberries here. We can grow these things, but people don’t know it.” Munguia said he hopes to become an ornamental horticulture technician in May. The test will certify him as an expert in the science, technology and business involved in plant care for human use. He said he plans to stay with his garden for a lifetime. “I would absolutely love to be here until I retire,” he said. “Very rarely does it feel like work because I love what I do.


The Southwestern College Sun


Winter Edition 2013-14—Volume 57, Issue 4

Tired of second, Lady Jaguars seek title By Nicholas Baltz and Victor Ene Sports Editor and Staff Writer

After a pair of second place finishes, Darnell Cherry wants to go to the top. More importantly, so do the members of the women’s basketball team he coaches. Cherry said he has high hopes for a squad anchored by speedy sophomore guards Alexis Harris, Cardedra Evans and Gabby Robledo. “We want to win conference,” he said. “We’ve come in second the last two years, so we just want to go get it.” The Lady Jaguars are off to a great 5-0 start. They tipped off the season by winning the Coaches vs. Cancer Tournament at Mesa College, defeating Rio Hondo College in the final, 64-58. Evans and Robledo were both honored as AllTournament team players, with Robledo earning tournament MVP honors. Robledo racked up 18 points 7 rebounds and 3 steals in the title game, while Evans added 7 points, 14 rebounds and 2 steals. Freshmen Grace Ward and Brianna Davis played key roles defensively, with a combined 16 rebounds, 8 steals and 5 blocks. Cherry said he can buck convention and win with homegrown talent. “This year we’re all local,” he said. “Everyone is from San Diego County and they are all great kids. I really enjoy working with this team.” Brianna Davis, a 5’11 forward from Otay Ranch, and Grace Ward, a 5’9 guard from Hoover, are rebounding machines that play please see Women’s Basketball pg. A9

Alejandra Rosales/staff

NO PASSING ZONE — SWC point guard Gabby Robledo locks down on defense during a 76-56 home open win against LA Trade Tech College.

Highly recruited Jags prospect skipped high school, heads to D-I By Colin Grylls Assistant Sports Editor

who graduated from Morse High School in 2007, he did not enroll at SWC until 2012, with a little help from his family. “My sister brought me up here,” he said. “I told her I wanted to go back to school just for my education. I was just working jobs, like security jobs, so I told my sister I wanted to better my future and asked her help to enroll. My sister is real smart. She brought me up here.” Football coach Ed Carberry corroborated Hampton’s version of events. “His sister brought him by one day over to [Athletic Director Terry] Davis,” he said. “Then he brought his sister and him over to me in the weight room and his sister says ‘Hey this guy’s gotta play football.’ OK. We won’t turn away a

6’5” 325 pound man.” On the field, Hampton plays like a Thousands of community college man possessed. Carberry said his raw football players dream of being ranked talent was evident from his first practice. a top-10 national recruit. It never “It kind of startled me,” said linecrossed Alfonso Hampton’s mind. He backer Khaalid Abdullah. “When I first was ranked as the 10th best community saw him I thought he had been playing college recruit in the country by ESPN forever. He learns quick, just been doing and never saw it coming. He learned to well. Can’t say anything bad about him.” play football at SWC. Linebacker Jeremy Burgos agreed. From scratch, square one, the start“I didn’t even realize playing with him ing line. for the last two years that he didn’t play He did not play a down of football in high school football, he just seemed way high school. too natural,” Burgos said. “He was just “I wasn’t really interested in it,” he naturally talented and wherever he goes said. “Just kind of floated around school he’s going to get worked up on, more doing my own thing until I came here.” technique. He’s going to be a monster.” A 24-year-old public relations major Hampton might be on his way to becoming a monster on the gridiron, but off the field he resembles Cookie Monster more than Frankenstein. “He’s kind of to himself, but he’s not to himself,” said cornerback Vicente Stafford. “He’s the biggest goofball if you get to know him.” Hampton said his inexperience was a blessing and a curse. “I think it had its pros and cons,” said Hampton. “I wasn’t accustomed to anything so they were like ‘you gotta stop doing this, you got to do it this way,’ but it was also like ‘he doesn’t know how to do this, so we gotta teach him how to do this.’ For the most part I feel like it was a lot easier for them because I didn’t have the bad habits so they were just able to mold me and teach me the basic parts.” Starting from scratch is not ideal, but Carberry said he was working with one of the best blank canvasses he could ask for. “He’s a genetic freak,” he said. “He’s 6’5” 330 pounds and runs around like a guy who weighs 185. He shouldn’t be able to do that at his height and weight but he can. He’s very athletic, got low body fat. He has what we would call ‘country strength.’ He benches 400 pounds but if you told him ‘hey go grab that refrigerator and put it in the back of the truck,’ he could do it.” Country strength helped Hampton total five and a half sacks, 32 tackles, four pass deflections, and a blocked kick in just his second year of playing organized football. “It felt natural once I figured out what was what,” he said. “It just felt natural, like I was built for this. The feeling I get from just being out there is different, I’ve never had that from doing anything else in my life.” As a top-10 recruit, Hampton will undoubtedly get a chance to continue to develop his skills. Now that ESPN John Domogma/staff has taken notice, it is only a matter CAN’T BE STOPPED — Defensive tackle Alfonso Hampton (90) shakes off two defenders as of time until a prestigious program the Jaguars beat Mt. San Jacinto 42-6. He is ranked a top-10 recruit by follows suit.

Karen Tome/staff

NET RESULTS — Oscar Calderow sets up to shoot on Carlo Franco at Chula Vista’s new Futbol Factory training center.

Soccer academy has new students dribbling in By Lee Bosch Staff Writer

Soccer, the Beautiful Game, is music to the ears of Chula Vista’s hottest new coach. Two decades ago in Mexico City, Juan Carlos Paz y Puente opened the first university recognized by the Mexican government. He applies the same teaching method to soccer that produced many successful musicians in Mexico. “The similarities are just unbelievable,” he said. “You have to have rhythm. You have to have control of your body and be aware of your surroundings. You are a band member, a team player. You have to do everything piece by piece correctly to get the result you want, like when you are playing an instrument.” Paz’s soccer academy, the Futbol Factory, is a popular center of learning for the region’s most serious students of soccer. Located in Eastlake’s Design District, the 28,000-square-foot indoor soccer facility focuses strictly on player technique for players. It is the first of its kind in California. “We emphasize the importance of little things,” said Paz. “We dissect the movements. Running and shooting has at least six little actions. We have a method that focuses on improving those actions.” A $100 one-time enrollment fee and an $88 monthly rate cover a pair of onehour sessions a week, with benefits not found at any of the big soccer clubs in San Diego. Players come from as far as Ramona and Tijuana, most between the ages of nine and 13, Paz said, to polish their skills at the two month-old facility. About 75 players currently train with five instructors. Parents rave about the facility. “I wanted to have my kid in an indoor facility with winter coming,” said Gina Gomez. “The people are very friendly and the schedules are really flexible.” Christian Mederos, a 20-year-old nurs-

ing major at Southwestern College, is a coach at the Futbol Factory. He played six months with Pumas de la UNAM’s under-20 team in Mexico City and was on the United States Futsal Men’s National Team in 2010. Lead instructor Cruz Ayala, 25, made the regional round of ODP (Olympic Development Program) try-outs and played for Division I Roma in Bakersfield. Ayala said he emphasizes the ability to stop, dribble and kick with both feet. It is not always fun and games at the Futbol Factory. Trying to teach repetitive techniques to easily distracted 9-yearolds can sometimes devolve into daycare duties. “Sometimes they don’t listen,” admitted Ayala with a smile. While the Futbol Factory’s primary focus is improving player technique, it is not just a one trick pony. A classroom with six long tables and chairs greets players before entering the training arena. It was created for referee classes, tactic lectures and study time for players who show up early or await a ride home. Paz said he wants to prepare players and their families for the professional world. “The difference between a Mexican family and an American family is that the American families are using the sport to get a scholarship and hope their child forgets about the sport to become a doctor or something,” he said. “Mexican families are waiting for their kids to be that soccer star that drags them along. In many cases that’s great because they have the family’s support, but maybe they don’t know about the professional side of the sport. This is part of the entertainment industry and it can be hard.” Paz said he plans to open another facility in North County in the future and possibly establish a club team. He would also like to have scholarships available for promising young players to encourage them to drop the video game controller in favor of a real futbol pitch.

Nicholas Baltz, editor


Tel: (619) 482-6368 E-mail:

Winter Edition 2013-14—Vol. 57, Issue 4

Jags have arms, bats, title shot

A Body in Motion Stays in Motion

Southwestern’s Forrest Gump runs for childrens charity

By John Domogma Assistant Sports Editor

Last summer Andy Galata and his pal decided they wanted to go for a bike ride, so they walked over to their bikes…which were in Utah. After walking across California and Nevada, the pair saddled up and pedaled to the Atlantic Ocean. Galata did it again this summer with his brother, Nieco McCabe. This time, though, they pedaled with the purpose of fundraising $10,000 for the kids at the non-profit Children’s Inn at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. “I was looking into charities and found this one,” he said. “I wanted to raise money for it and visit the kids when I got to the East Coast.” In March Galata and McCabe made their way to the eastern Canadian coast on their new hybrid bicycles. Next he wants to pedal across Canada. “I’m hoping Canada will be an awesome adventure,” he said. “I am little nervous because I will not have access to Internet or family. We take the journey one day at a time an try to remember to have fun and see not only the beauty of Mother Nature, but the kindness in people.” Quitting, he said, is not an option. Galata said that he became a four-year varsity wrestler after he was grounded for a month by his dad for trying to quit the team his freshman year. “It was hard work,” he said. “My dad said that quitting was not allowed, that once you start something you have to finish it.” Galata took that advice to heart, though he admits to having his mind on other things than school. “It’s never been that SWC was too hard,” he said. “I’ve

continued from page A8

Cindy Borjas/staff

HANGIN’ A THREE— Guard Monique Bueno drills a three pointer.

By Colin Grylls Assistant Sports Editor

Courtesy Photos

ONE STEP AT A TIME — Andy Galata treks his way through Arizona .

had a great time and great teachers, but I’ve always had my mind on adventures.” His adventures began when he got kicked out of his house after graduating from high school. He lost the opportunity to join the Marines because of a DUI accident. “I wanted to get out of San Diego so bad that I joined the Marines,” he said, “and right before I was supposed to go to boot camp I decided to drink and drive and crashed my car into a backyard.” Galata said he realized he needed to change course. “It took me awhile to bounce back and I knew I needed to do something with my life,” he said. “You have to keep striving for what you want, go after it hard and don’t give up.” With the help of his mother, Galata saved money for his journey around America. “I was living on my own since I was 18,” he said. “When I got back from my last trip I moved back into my mom’s to save for this one.” Galata said he is motivated by the kids of the Children’s Inn. “A major motivator for me is thinking about what story I want to leave behind for my family,” he said. “These kids are fighting for their lives while I am simply trying to live mine.”

Women’s Basketball: Lady Jaguars have a legit title shot in ‘14 strong defense. Monique Bueno, Tia Griffis and Zykeisha Dewberr y are all from Serra High School. They bring the experience of winning a Division II CIF championship last season. With their talent and chemistry it will be hard for Cherry to keep them off the floor. Representing the South Bay are guards Sierra Thomas from Chula Vista, Laura Tapia from Montgomery and Taylor Smalley from Eastlake. All are great ball handlers, Cherry said, and were the MVPs of their high school teams. New faces bring new challenges, said Cherry. “Communicating more, that’s one of the hardest things to teach, especially freshman on defense,” he said. “They have to get rid of the bad habits developed in high school. We try to get them familiar with the terminology and bring their

skill development up so that their skills fit not only in our system, but those at a four-year school as well.” Perhaps the biggest reason for success is the team’s cohesiveness. “We got a nice little bond going on,” said Evans. “We all have the same goal.” A common vision has the Lady Jags searching for the best shot, not just their own. Robledo said that is the way it should be. “It’s very important to get everyone involved because all of us need to play together as a team,” she said. “Like coach says in practice, we got to make that extra pass.” In a home opening 76-56 win against LA Trade Tech College, SWC dominated from the opening tip. The Lady Jags came out in a full court press that resulted in three steals for layups the first 36 seconds of the game. Harris said to expect that kind of play all season. “We like to go hard and press them early to get ahead,” she said. “It didn’t look like we came out slow but we came out slower than usual.” Robledo led the way on both ends


of the floor with 8 points, 5 assists, 7 rebounds and 7 steals. The Lady Jag’s combined for 19 assists and 20 steals. “We expect a lot out of our bench,” she said. “We’re small so we need to come out with a lot of energy and intensity. We’re going to be subbing a lot so it’s very important for our bench to know what’s going on.” Depth is an advantage for the Lady Jags, said Harris. “We’re really confident (in our bench),” she said. “We’re all the same caliber, so the more people that come in with energy the better.” It would not be as pretty against Compton College. With seven minutes to play the Lady Jag’s lead was cut to just six points. They closed the door on the rally with stifling defense. Robledo once again lit the fuse, stripping the ball away from the defender and then finding teammate Tapia for a wide-open layup. The Lady Jag’s went on an 8-0 run that suffocated Compton players and forced them to intentionally foul as time ticked away. SWC finished the job at the free throw line and came away with a 67-58 victory despite turning the ball over 39

Although Southwestern College’s baseball team finished the 2013 season with a respectable 20-16 record and third place in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference, the Jaguars could have done more after an 11-4 start. In this, head coach Jerry Bartow’s final season, the team wants to send him out on top. One factor in the 2013 slide was the Jags’ poor performance on the road. When playing at home they were 14-7, but away from the Jaguar Junction they were 6-9. Bartow already has his own remedy. “We always play a lot of those L.A. teams,” he said. “Orange Coast, for example. Sometimes when you get to the playoffs you end up playing them again. Then I like to be able to travel a little bit, because you have to get used to travelling. You gotta learn how to play at those other ballparks.” Ranked 18th in Southern California’s preseason poll, SWC has second-ranked Orange Coast scheduled for a home-andaway series, as well as home games against last year’s state runner-up, Fullerton. Ninth-ranked East L.A. is also on the schedule. Co-head coach Jay Martel said he is not intimidated by the schedule. He called it a blessing. “The biggest thing about a tough nonconference schedule is that if you can compete against those teams,” he said, “you get into league and you’re already battle tested for the good teams we have in our league. We have Palomar, who’s ranked fourth in Southern California, Grossmont is a pretty good powerhouse in our league.” The Jags have to navigate their difficult schedule while replacing five players who received university scholarships, as well as two taken in the MLB draft, pitcher Matt DeRosier (24th round, Nationals) and third baseman Hector Montes (33rd, Rays). “We’re definitely very young this year,” said Martel. “We only have a couple of returners who established themselves. I think we have a very talented group of freshmen. When they get that nonconference schedule they’ll get their feet wet. It could be a pretty good ball club, barring injuries.” SWC returns three of their five players that hit over .300 last year, second baseman Miguel Solano (.368), outfielder Albert “AJ” Mikell (.326), and first baseman Nicholas Quintero (.318). “Our strength and our speed is in the outfield with Chris Allen, Daniel Goodrich, Lucero, and AJ. All four of those guys really run well,” said Martel. “They should be a really good catalyst for our infield. We have some question marks on the mound, but we feel good with our arms. They’re just inexperienced right now.” Bartow said he is not worried about a repeat of last year, despite the new players and the tough schedule. “Baseball’s just kind of funny,” he said. “It’s like the Red Sox, all the sudden they’re playing better. So that’s where we are. I’m hoping things will work out.” Bartow said he cannot wait for spring. “The ballpark’s been reseeded, it looks good now,” he said proudly. “It’s a little bit soft in places. It’s getting better.” This Jaguar squad is not perfect, he said, but it has also been reseeded. Time to see how the grass grows.

times, a season high. Cherry said he is happy with a win, but works to improve. “We have to take care of the ball better, too many turnovers,” he said. “We also need to team rebound defensively. Usually we have taller post players, but we don’t have that this year so we have to rebound by committee.” Robledo said the team needs to communicate better. “We lack a little bit on that with each other,” she said. “We need to be able to talk to each other, let each other know we have their back, knowing who to guard when a new person comes into the game.” After the Lady Jags played three grinding out-of-town tournaments, Cherry said he is pacing his team for the long season. “In years past we trained real hard and it seems to me that as we get into December and the tournament season, we’ve kind of been wearing down,” he said. “This year we’ve cut back the practice hours and are getting more prepared mentally for three games in three days.”


The Southwestern College Sun







By Nicholas Baltz v Sports Editor


eauty is in the eye of the beholder and there was much of it to behold at the Southwestern College Student Art Exhibit. Painters, illustrators, designers, sculptures, woodworkers and printmakers blended their creativity in an impressive array of talent and vision. It was a great mixture of culture and diversity around the school and in our community. Many of the pieces were for sale, ranging from $50-$200, but some were thousands of dollars. Most were worth it. Perhaps the most breathtaking was the largest piece of art, “Raft of the Medusa,” a mural created by 20 students. Originally a painting by Théodore Géricault, the mural depicted a group of men stranded at stormy sea on a battered wooden raft. Many lying dead and naked, their sheets of clothing created the sail or a signal to a ship that lies just on the horizon. Made from pieces of the raft itself, the mast represents a cross, or faith in a greater power. One of the most politically charged and beautiful works was Sandra Baker’s sculpture “We are Your Universe,” displaying the body of a woman decorated in a jeweled crown and necklace. A collection of strings exude from her head, representing knowledge and perception. Flowers and a collection of planets surrounded her, representing women as the creators of life who carry the potential of the universe within them. Her clothing is covered in powerful messages such as “Girls are valuable” and “Women are more than sex o b j e c t s ,” which aim to

empower w o m e n and acknowledge persecution. Baker’s richly evocative creation was the highest priced piece of art at $5,000. A bargain. Cynthia M. Beltran’s piece, “In Touch With Nature,” was also inspiring. It shows a human head, covered in sunglasses and stereo headphones, with wires protruding from the back of his neck. Representing humanity’s struggle balancing technology and nature, each sunglass lens has a picture of a landscape to remind us of the beauty we take for granted every day. With no mouth, it cannot communicate or express itself, furthering isolation. Headphones show how humans intentionally cut off their own senses and their lack of awareness of their environment. This piece was offered for $2,000. In an exhibit filled with great art a few things missed. Large 3-D depictions of “The Pink Panther” and the “Minion” from the Disney movie “Despicable Me,” were nostalgic, but derivative among such unique and inspired pieces of art. Digital images were mostly shots of landscapes or people. While beautiful and crisp, most did not invoke passion or wonder. Some did. Michael Cook’s image of cigarettes stacked and being served on a platter like a fancy meal was fascinating. The table is set with fancy silverware and dishes, and the smokes are even topped by a garnish. Andrew Garcia’s “Aces” showed a well-groomed handsome young man wearing a black leather jacket. He lays on his back in the grass as a deck of cards falls around him. His expression shows vulnerability, allowing his image of strength and charm to fall aside to show the man hiding behind. SWC’s Student Art Exhibit lived up to its legacy of launching great artists out into the world. Some new talent is clearly on its way.

Winter Edition 2013-14—Volume 57, Issue 4

Daphne Jauregui, editor


Tel: (619) 482-6368 E-mail:

Winter Edition 2013-14—Vol. 57, Issue 4


Out of Africa, into the heart By Gabriel Sandoval Staff Writer

outfits. Purples, blacks and browns were as dark as the roots of a baobab tree. Costumes were as loud and luscious as the beat. Dancers waived handkerchiefs as if to say, “Look what I have.”      Their enthusiasm was contagious. “Gambia,” the festive social dance, was a platform for impressive s o l o s .  Clapping wooden


ot os



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rp hy

A chilly evening was no match for hot drumming and frenetic dancing. SWC’s West African Drumming and Dance Experience warmed the hearts and feet of an audience coming in from the cold. Directed by dance instructor Akayee Atule and music professor Todd Cashetta, the African dancing and drumming ensembles brought the spirit of West Africa to America’s West Coast.   It was impressive, educational, inspiring and fun. Bare feet by the dozens stomped and jumped across the stage in circles and lines as Cashetta, Ileana Feria and Jorge Luis Jimenez slapped a propulsive drumbeat. Dancers transcended their lack of experience with enthusiasm. Chanting to the beat, dancers teased the audience with “Bor Bor Bor,” a flirtatious dance of love. Guys strutted in dashikis while ladies adorned with beaded necklaces and bracelets sashayed in matching skirts and head wraps. Splashes of tropical greens, blood reds and sunlight yellows accentuated dancers’

instruments, dancers split the dance floor into opposing rows that left center stage open to the crowd. All were


Yo, can’t touch this Shakespeare

Karen Tome/staff

RAPPING FOR LOVE — Adriana (Ruff Yeager, l) complains to Luciana (Kelly Henry) in the hysterical Shakespeare send up “Bomb-itty of Errors.” By Itzel Alonso Assistant Viewpoints Editor

William Shakespeare would probably have liked hip-hop. It sure likes him. SWC’s production of the Shakespeare send up “The Bomb-itty of Errors” brought out the in Big Willie S. It was a well-staged laugh riot of Renaissance farce

and street smart sitcom all rapped together. Director Ruff Yeager’s retelling of Shakespeare’s “The Comedy of Errors,” credited to the writing team The Q Brothers, is still set in the swinging crossroads city of Ephesus, Turkey, made all more hip by the gifted mind and excellent design work of Professor Mike Buckley. “Bombitty” is staged in three locations: a brothel

called Othello’s Pleasure Palace which is contiguous with St. Betty’s Cathedral, the marketplace – which was also the DJ’s booth – and the home of Antipholus of Ephesus. An X dominates to floor to signify the crossroads Anthipholus and Dromio face throughout the course of one eventful day. When Antipholus of Syracuse (Dallas DeLeon) arrives in swinging Ephesus with his servant, Dromio (Juan Palomino), things get complicated. They are confused with Antipholus and Dromio of Ephesus (Paul Gaines and Cortez Johnson). DeLeon and Johnson owned the evening. DeLeon’s outstanding rapping and Johnson’s comedic acting, were as fluid as their ability to flip from one character to another. They gave the crowd mirth and laughter to let old wrinkles come. Audience interaction was encouraged. Kelly Henry, who portrayed Luciana, was also a highlight. With her wit and quirkiness kept the audience in stitches. Yeager himself stepped as an emergency understudy. Decked in a crimson colored wig, glittery scarlet pumps and a fusia tutu, he pushed the play to the brink of delightful insanity. Yeager instantly inhabited the character and was the embodiment of bomb-diggity. Willie the Shake might have said “Present mirth hath present laughter” or “Yo, blood, stick wid the muggin cause yo act is fly ’n buggin.” “Bomb-itty” was the bomb.


Vocal groups dazzle at Balboa Park By Saira Araiza Assistant Arts Editor

It was not Central Park but Balboa Park. It did not snow, but baby it was cold outside. On the road from Mayan Hall the Chamber Singers and the Jazz Vocal Ensemble of Southwestern College dazzled at December Nights. SWC’s stars lit the Organ Pavilion Stage like Orion in a clear winter sky. Opening with “Winter Wonderland,” the Jazz Vocal Ensemble won over the audience at “Sleigh bells ring, are you listening?” A chilly fall evening was never so warm. On Santa’s nice list is Jon Anthony, who scored the best solo performance of

the night with “Merry Christmas Baby.” He danced. He rocked. He moved like Jagger. He enraptured the audience. Roman Rodriguez was also nice as the nasty “Grinch.” His heart was just the right size, large and generous. Alejandro Vargas and Sara Martinez earn the award for most emotional performance by a duo. Singing “Believe” from the movie “The Polar Express,” they were one heartbeat, two voices and infinite Christmas spirit. Vargas, bass gave grounding to the performance while Martinez soared. Christmas got a breather when the Chamber Singers surprised the crowd with an African interpretation “Bonse.”

Out of place, maybe, but also the best performance of any group that evening. “Broadway” BJ Robinson took the audience to the North Pole with his p e r f o r m a n c e o f “ Po l a r Express.” Robinson, as always, was the package. He danced, sang and entertained like a young Sammy Davis. December Nights felt warm as August.

magnificent.   Unable to resist, Cashetta joined the dance.    Sporting a dashiki and Chuck Taylors, he lifted his hands from his drum and stomped the rhythm with his feet.   The audience roared.   Atule, not to be upstaged, joined in. With the eyes of a tiger and the instincts of a lioness, she danced with radiance and fury. Energy crackled and sparked. “Ke Ke ku lee” was the last and most meaningful dance of the show. Atule said it would unite the village and celebrate that unity. She invited friends and loved ones to join the dance on stage to fulfill her wish. Apprehensive at first, audience became performers, moving in tribute to oneness.  “Adowa,” traditionally a funeral dance now used in recreational situations, was the only one to curb enthusiasm. Slower than the first three, it was similar to the part of a marathon when runners lose breath right before catching their second wind. Dancers caught their breath and finished brilliantly. Audience members had forgotten how cold the evening was. The West African Experience provided the warmth.



Winter Edition 2013-14—Volume 57, Issue 4


The Southwestern College Sun

Tiny Fingers

form fantastic frescos Precious and prescient art makes a splash at SWC Child Development Center

By Amanda L. Abad Campus Editor

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” –Pablo Picasso. Here is hoping that the children at Southwestern College’s Child Development Center never lose their creative vision. It was easy to spot the artists while they were mingling with their adoring fans. Soft music, low lights, the scent of cookies and loud giggling filled the art gallery as they showed off their talents. This semester’s exhibit, “Beauty is in the Eye of the Child,” was an explorative showcase of the artists’ creative processes. While much of the displayed work was done by individual artists, each class worked on larger collaborative pieces that were on display for silent auction. In a room full of projects that incorporated objects from nature and a wide variety of colors, a group of paintings stood out the most. Black paint on crisp white canvases surrounded by black frames hung contrast to the white wall and bright display lights. This collection would have had a more dramatic appearance if they were on the wall alone, however, they were provided with ample distance from other works to still create an impact. The children created much more than finger paintings. Each work is a piece of selfexpression. Like any true artist, the children communicated ideas, messages and emotions through their art.

Photos by Amanda L. Abad

PICTURES OF PERFECTION— (clockwise from above) Dapper Agustin Gutierrez with his colorful creation, a young artist looks like Banksy, paints like Pollock, Chloe Schreiber is happy to talk about her piece, Mia Collins channels Worhol.


n o i t i d E l a Speci

Volume 57, Special Edition

A few years ago, in a college not far away‌

Winter Edition 2013-14



The Southwestern College Sun

Winter Edition 2013-14 – Volume 57, Issue 4



Norma Hernandez as Padme Amidala, courageous former queen-turned-warrior.

Yolanda Salcido as Darth Vader, the board president who sets out to vainly consolidate power and rule through intimidation.

The Corner Lot as the Death Star, the bloody battlefield in the center of the conflict. Nick Aguilar as Obi-Wan Kenobi, the fearless defender of truth and integrity.

Raj K Chopra as Emperor Palpatine, the mysterious evil force who becomes emperor, seizes power, spreads fear and intimidation.

John Wilson as Greedo, the administrator who keeps the contracts moving and the money flowing to the empire.

Police Chief Brent Chartier as Darth Maul, who agrees to do the emperor’s dirty work as chief enforcer.

Nicholas Alioto as Jabba the Hutt, the finance VP who handles money laundering, payoffs and bribery.

Terry Valladolid as Jar Jar, the hapless creature who thinks she is good but whose actions (and inactions) empower evil.

Tim Nader as C-3PO Wise and considerate, he is the voice of reason among his peers.

Phil Lopez as Han Solo, the swashbuckling, fearless freedom fighter.

Humberto Peraza as R2-D2 Well-connected political machine, warrior against corruption.

Andrew Rempt as Chewbacca, banished but returns to strike a deadly blow against the Empire.

Albert Fulcher and staff of the SWC Sun as Luke Skywalker, who investigates evil plots and battles corruption.

Nora Vargas as the Ewok who provided much needed assistance during the end of the conflict.

Angie Stewart as Princess Leia, Senate president who fights for freedom.

Robert Unger as Yoda, brilliant counsel and advisor to the rebellion.

Wendy Gracia, Joaquin Junco Jr., Gabriel Hernandez and Dan Cordero/Staff



Winter Edition 2013-14 – Volume 57, Issue 4

The Southwestern College Sun

The Nick of Time NICKOLAS FURR

Guilty pleas cap Chopraera nightmare A

Joaquin Junco Jr./Staff

The Issue: Guilty pleas by former officials may signal an end to seven years of corruption and chaos.


Our Position: There are many essential lessons from the turmoil for our current leadership.

Hoping college’s years in hell are over Guilty pleas by four more of the Southwestern College players in the South Bay Corruption Case may finally draw to a close the Seven Year War the college has endured since the 2006 arrival of former superintendent Raj Chopra. Admissions of guilt by former college officials Nicholas Alioto, John Wilson, Yolanda Salcido and Jorge Dominguez were disappointing in their leniency, but satisfying in that they and Chopra finally admitted to the criminal behavior The Sun started sniffing out in the fall of 2008. There are many lessons to be learned for those who survived the calamity and those who came in later with the charge to clean up the mess. Lesson #1 is to do our homework. Chopra had an enormous record of incompetence, misanthropic behavior, bullying students, dishonesty and petulance that spanned school district across the nation. He was literally days away from being fired in Phoenix when he soft-landed here. How could the 2006 governing board have hired such a bumbling and vicious man? Part of it goes to the corrupt culture of superintendent searches where “head hunters” earn fees by placing executives at K-12 districts and institutions of higher education. Men and women of often-dubious talent are polished up, packaged and sold to unsuspecting governing boards that often lack the experience to do a little healthy research and ask the right questions. The board that hired Chopra demonstrated laziness and a lack of thoughtful consideration for such an important decision. Lesson #2 is pay attention to words and deeds. Chopra demonstrated bizarre behavior right out the gate, according to journalists, college employees and citizens who interacted with him. Though some members of the business community professed to liking him, many others have said they found him arrogant, offputting and lacking in communication skills. A reporter for The Sun who interviewed Chopra days after he was hired said he was mystified that the new superintendent spent nearly the full hour grilling the student about good ways to “make some extra money around here.” Chopra, apparently unhappy with his $200,000-plus salary, talked about starting his own newspaper, opening stores and launching consulting firms before his superintendent’s seat was even warm. The 2008 board should have cashiered Chopra when he was caught plagiarizing a Thanksgiving message from a Southwest Airlines newsletter (he also stole the name of the newsletter). Ironically, the college was in the midst of a crackdown on student plagiarism and academic dishonesty, so Chopra’s “do as I say, not as I do” hypocrisy was particularly galling and embarrassing. Emboldened by the board’s passivity and failure to punish him, Chopra followed with some of his worst, cruelest and most damaging moves, including laying off classified employees who disagreed with him, physically accosting a journalism student and the campus newspaper advisor, turning the campus police against students and faculty, and brutalizing the one board member who asked questions. Lesson #3 is to watch who people surround themselves with. Abraham Lincoln, John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan chose confident, thoughtful people with various points of view for their cabinets. They expected to hear different opinions and multiple options. Chopra surrounded himself with

supplicant yes men who did little more than follow orders, even if they were really bad orders. Former Police Chief Brent Chartier, former VP of Human Resources Michael Kerns, former VP of Academic Affairs Dr. Mark Meadows and Alioto are all guilty of carrying out illegal, unethical or mean-spirited orders when they should have known better. Other Chopra-era administrators and a Chopra-supporting governing board member who is still here are also guilty of not having the courage to speak up when they should have. They know who they are. We are hopeful that, if the time comes again when good people need to speak up, they will be good people and speak up. Lesson #4 is the most basic of all. Avoid temptation. Proposition R, unbeknownst to South Bay voters who approved to $389 million construction bond, attracted charlatans, sleazy businesspersons, crooks and bottom feeders that sniffed a windfall like sharks smell chum in the water. Every culture on the planet Earth warns about the faceoff between goodness and evil. SWC’s former leaders listened to the devil on their shoulders instead of the angel. They succumbed to venality and crass creature comforts. Some sat back and passively accepted illegal money and gifts, others actively had their hands out. No one was protecting the taxpayers, the citizens, the college or the students. Chopra, Alioto, Wilson, Salcido and Dominguez (and the unindicted Terry Valladolid) behaved shamefully and deserve the scarlet letter that will follow them the rest of their lives. Wendell Phillips’ admonishment “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty” is Lesson #5. Faculty, employees, student journalists and some members of the ASO were the watchdogs that brought justice to bear. Like Gandhi’s peaceful soldiers of liberation, there were beatings to absorb and brutality to stare down, but eventually a critical mass of citizens rose up, swept out the board and cheered as the bad guys left town or went underground. The rest of us can finally take a deep breath and attempt to move on. Our latest superintendent and our current board need to remember why they are here. They need to, as candidate Norma Hernandez promised to do, continue “cleaning the barn.” They have not finished the job and corners of the barn still smell. Dr. Melinda Nish got off to a strong start but has stumbled recently with her clumsy attempt to wring salary concessions from employees by threatening layoffs, her ineffective vice president raises and her mysterious protection of Campus Police Chief Michael Cash (and the investigation into his unauthorized gunfire in police headquarters). Is she really the cheerful, bright reformer and leader that we thought we were hiring or is she really a dour, conservative, old-fashioned bean-counter manager destined to make the same mistakes as the Chopra crew? We are hoping for the former, but bracing for the latter. The sixth lesson is that this community will rise up when it needs to. It did once, it can certainly do it again.

“Every culture on the planet Earth warns about the faceoff between goodness and evil. SWC’s former leaders listened to the devil on their shoulders instead of the angel.”

s former members of the SWC administration and governing board line up to accept plea deals in the South Bay Corruption case, they officially become what many have called them for years -- criminals. It is disappointing to think that Raj Chopra, Nicholas Alioto, John Wilson and Yolanda Salcido will avoid prison and plead to one charge each – a felony in some cases, a misdemeanor in others. But more importantly is that in doing so, each of them has admitted to the “criminal” label. This is proof that for every one of us who spoke out, argued, protested, sought legal assistance, complained, wrote letters, demonstrated, fought, cried, suffered and eventually took the fight to the voters in 2010 to defeat the Chopra regime… we were right. We won. Southwestern College won. In December 2010 new members of the governing board were sworn in – trustees who ran against dishonest, unethical incumbents who supported the Chopra regime. When the brisk wind of electoral victory blew through, it carried away the superintendent, vice presidents and more than a dozen cronies working cushy jobs they were unqualified for. By the time Alioto resigned in early 2011, the campus atmosphere had changed. It had been toxic for years. The board met in sham public meetings, cutting off or ignoring people who spoke out against them. They belittled trustee Nick Aguilar. They disrespected those who asked questions. Professors and classified employees were treated worse. Teachers were shouted at in admin offices. Employees were abused verbally, psychologically, and at times, physically. Administrators threw office supplies in anger. Union leaders were harassed. Five employees were capriciously and illegally fired. (They have since been rehired or awarded large cash judgments.) The students suffered as well. When they spoke out about academic cuts they were dismissed. To protest class cuts, students held a rally which Chopra’s people called a “riot” and used campus police to disperse. Four professors were suspended for instigating the 15-minute sidewalk “riot,” including one who was not even present. All had spoken out against Chopra’s class cuts. They were informed when an HR director flanked by armed campus cops banged on their front doors at home that evening to hand them suspension papers. After that Alioto and Chopra chopped 426 classes, including core and basic skills classes they had promised not to. During registration, students wept upon discovering that the one class needed to transfer or graduate was no longer available. Most of the Chopra-era ASO sucked up to the administration and refused to get involved, but students at The Sun had no such fear. They paid a heavy price. Every time a student wrote a story about them, Chopra and Alioto would seek yet another way to kill The Sun. During one showdown four armed campus cops arrived at the newsroom to arrest reporters and their professor after he locked the students in his office and refused to turn them over to the police. Only intersession by professor/lawyer Rob Unger during a tense two-and-a-half hour standoff prevented an explosive situation. Community members finally started watching. A citizens committee tasked with oversight of Prop R’s $389 million in construction projects was misled and fed inaccurate information for more than a year. When news crews and political activists started appearing, the administration lashed out. When I personally tried to register students to vote, I was threatened with arrest. It did not work. When Southwestern College became state and national news for its First Amendment violations, attempts to silence the student newspaper and brutality to employees, the glare became too much. The community rose up and swept away two corrupt board members, giving the trustees a reformist majority. It was an Everyman’s Revolution of professors, students, The Sun, employees, citizens, mothers, fathers, the concerned and the angry. That was three years ago. Faces have changed. Southwestern has changed. But remember, cracks in this criminal administration appeared years before it all came crashing down. Our current administration has some cracks of its own. Disenfranchised employees, whitewashed investigations, closed-door meetings, budget deficits that aren’t actually deficits, verbally abusive administrators, mistreated adjunct faculty, bent rules, poor judgment, broken promises, last-minute “take it or leave it” demands made by college negotiators in the hours before Christmas... we’re watching these.

Fall 2013 - Issue 4  
Fall 2013 - Issue 4