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Volume 57, Issue 5

January 21 ­­- February 21, 2014

Faculty okays new contract, COLA increase Vesting for part-time staff remains unresolved By Jaime Pronoble News Editor

An often-tense 18 months of labor negotiations ended with a new deal for Southwestern College faculty when its representatives accepted a 1.57 Cost of Living Adjustment. Faculty were initially

Student Success Act takes effect

asked to take a five percent pay cut, but an improved California budget turned a sizable give back into a small raise. Faculty are expected to vote to ratify the contract, according to Professor of Communication Eric Maag, president of the Southwestern College Education Association.

please see Settlement pg. A4


Alioto pleads guilty Former V.P.’s charge reduced to a misdemeanor, $8,000 fine, community service

Legislation aims to push students through in 2 years

By Lina Chankar Senior Staff Writer

By Balkis Nasery Staff Writer

California community colleges have historically been platforms for students to explore the depth of themselves and experience new educational endeavors. Students fresh out of high school, returning students and community members seeking to better themselves have found a welcome at California’s two-year colleges for more then 50 years. No more. State leaders are “narrowing the gate” and working to push students through in two years. The Student Success Act of 2012 (SB 1456) was passed with the intent to push more students to complete Associate’s degrees or transfer to four-year universities. At Southwestern College about 43 percent of students transfer or complete a degree and the average time is six years, according to college research. Proponents argue that the legislation will improve student success rates, increase efficiency and lower costs. Critics say that it will harm students who do not have a major their freshman year and will discourage students from trying new subjects. California’s Legislature directed the Board of Governors to create the California Community Colleges Student Success Task Force, a 22-member committee aimed at changing the framework of 112 community colleges and 71 off-campus centers. Recommendations made by the Task Force will be implemented in phases through 2015. Students will be required to attend an orientation and develop a Student Education Plan during their freshman year. Educational planning services and state standardized diagnostic assessment tests will also be mandatory for new students. Students who are not assessed will not receive financial aid, including the Board of Governors Waiver (BOGW). Students must declare a major after completing 30 units. Colleges are now required to publish scorecards that measure their students’ academic success. Enrollment priorities have also been changed by the Student Success Act. Lots of units is no longer a priority. First-time students will register first, followed by EOPS students, veterans and students with disabilities. BOGW

Acting SWC Vice President of Human Resources Lynn Solomita said the district will also add $400,000 to the employee health, welfare and benefits fund, boosting it to $1.2 million. Some employees will enjoy a smaller monthly healthcare premium, she said. Other changes to the collective bargaining agreement include new rules to allow faculty

Karen Tome/staff

NO JAIL FOR FORMER V.P. — Nicholas Alioto leaves court after pleading guilty in the South Bay Corruption Case. He was sentenced to a fine and community service.

please see Student Success pg. A3


A lawyer for former Southwestern College Vice President Nicholas Alioto convinced the judge in the South Bay Corruption Case to reduce his original guilty plea from a felony to a misdemeanor. Alioto, the last of the SWC defendants to be sentenced, escaped prison time in exchange for a $8,000 fine and community service. Alioto was originally indicted on 12 counts, including bribery and perjury. He pleaded guilty to one felony count, but his Public Defender Danesh Tandon asked Judge Ana España for a motion to reduce the felony to a misdemeanor. España granted the request over the objections of four citizens who argued that the former VP of business and fiscal affairs deserved prison time due to the severity of his offenses. A grand jury originally indicted 15 defendants on a total of 262 charges, including SWC officials, current and former Sweetwater Union High School District officials, and agents of construction firms. When The Sun began investigating irregularities in construction bids and campaign contributions, Alioto, former trustee Yolanda Salcido and former SWC President Raj K. Chopra attempted to shut down the student newspaper in order to stifle the investigation. The Sun received an outpouring of financial support from the community and was able to break the story of the South Bay Corruption Case. Dr. Carla Kirkwood, SWC Coordinator for International Programs, told España that Alioto was a dishonest bully who took bribes and tried repeatedly to shut down the student newspaper in

Ricasa should go, poll shows EOPS director says she will not resign $125K post By Lina Chankar Senior Staff Writer

Arlie Ricasa escaped a possible prison term when she pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor in the South Bay Corruption Case after originally facing 33 counts, including16 felonies. Part of the deal included her resignation from her position as a trustee of the Sweetwater Un i o n Hi g h School District. Ricasa’s plea, however, did not require her to surrender her position as Ricasa EOPS director at Southwestern College and she has indicated that she does not intend to resign. Now it is up to the governing board and President Dr. Melinda Nish to determine whether Ricasa will continue in her $125,000 position at the college or be terminated for criminal activity. Nish has allowed Ricasa to stay in her post pending legal and human resources advice, she said. Acting Vice President of Human Resources Lynn Solomita said the college district lacks policy related to disciplining academic administrators convicted of misdemeanors. College legal counsel has not yet issued a legal opinion. Members of the community, however, please see Ricasa pg. A3

Should EOPS Director 100 Arlie Ricasa be allowed to return to her position?

please see Alioto pg. A4


No, 91

Marcha Migrante IX calls for social justice in the borderlands Border Angels volunteers trade well wishes with human rights activists through the international border wall at Friendship Park. Founder Enrique Morones led a caravan from Playes de Tijuana to Mexicali to protest American immigration policy and Mexico’s poor treatment of deportees. John Domogma/staff

Ricasa, Cash are embarrassments to the college. Viewpoints, A5

Full coverage on pg. B6

Lebanese refugee survives war to become journalism star. Campus, B7



13.5% Not sure, 15 4.5% Yes, 5

Baseball team’s 10-1 start fuels playoff hopes. Sports, A8

Three former SWC marachis are Grammy winners. Arts, B2


Jaime Pronoble, editor


Jan. 21-Feb. 21—Vol. 57, Issue 5

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

Gov. board’s top accomplishments



“Our goal


“We were

going to be able to create revenue, we’re going to be able to bring the community to to our campus.” Humberto Peraza

worked so hard at the college (in 2013) and the fact that we can do that is a really powerful thing.” Nora Vargas

is to make sure that jobs are earmarked for Chula Vista and that we meet our goal, so we’re looking forward to making sure that works” Terri Valladolid

we’ll continue seeing the budget move in the direction of more specificity and detail...” Tim Nader

patient, we took time and made sure that we involved all the constituent groups on campus.” Norma Hernandez

By Jaime Pronoble News Editor

Gove r n i n g b o a rd m e m b e r s m a k e hundreds of decisions though the course of a year and 2013 was no exception. In the third year of the post-Chopra, postprobation period, SWC’s reformist board has driven a number of innovations on campus. Trustees were asked to list what they thought were the board’s top 10 most important achievements of 2013. Here is what they said: Humberto Peraza • Veterans Resource Center opened • Labor negotiations • Center status for Otay Mesa and National City satellite campuses • Funding eight issues of The Sun • Facility Master Plan • Fiscal independence from the County Office of Education • The appointment of Nora Vargas to the board • Community Benefits Agreement for construction contracts • An improved budget and COLA • Revenue generation “Moving forward on revenue generation I think is the one thing I’ve been talking

about since the day I stepped onto this campus,” said Peraza. “I think that is going to be a huge benefit. We’re going to be able to create revenue, we’re going to be able to bring the community to our campus, community is going to be able to use our fields and we’re going to create a revenue to be able to pay for some of the programs that were underfunded during our budget cut times.” Nora Vargas • Center status • Fiscal independence • Veteran Resource Center • Facility Master Plan • Corner Lot projects restarted • Improved budget • Student Success Conference • Better communication with faculty • New auditor • Salary restoration “I was really proud that we were able to (restore salaries for employees),” said Vargas. “Everyone worked so hard at the college (in 2013) and the fact that we can do that is a really powerful thing.” Norma Hernandez • Veterans Resource Center • Open classes for students • Better resources for network system

• Ellucian upgrade • Center status • Internal assessment • Student Success Policy • Facility Master Plan • Community Benefits Agreement • Improved development of the corner lot “That corner lot has been controversial to say the least,” said Hernandez. “I feel that was one of our major accomplishments. I’m pleased with the fact that as a board, we were patient, we took time and made sure that we involved all the constituent groups on campus and people from the community so that we could feel good about approving the development of that corner lot.” Tim Nader • Renewed focus on student success • Veteran Resource Center • Solar Power Initiative • Funding eight issues of The Sun • The appointment of Nora Vargas • Community Benefits Agreement • Educational Master Plan • Better security • A new, clean campus contract. • More transparent college budget “ The budget that we adopted in

September wasn’t all the way there yet,” said Nader. “But it was a significant step in a more positive direction and hopefully we’ll continue seeing the budget move in the direction of more specificity and detail in the future.” Terri Valladolid • Appointment of Nora Vargas • Facility Master Plan • Center status • Solar Panel Initiative • Fiscal independence • Restored salary for employees • Student Success Policy • Veteran Resource Center • Ellucian upgrade • Community Benefits Agreement “We knew (the Community Benefits Agreement) was controversial, so what we tried to do was listen to both sides so went onto this listening campaign,” said Valladolid. “We listened to the union and then we listened to the contractors. We approved it, we’re moving forward, and our goal is make sure that jobs are earmarked for Chula Vista and that we meet our goal so we’re looking forward to making sure that works.” With contributions by Serina Duarte

CSEA president says he will retire in August By Aydan Lopez Staff Writer

Karen Tome /Staff

ONE FOR THE BOOKS — CSEA President Bruce MacNintch, a 21-year veteran of the SWC Library, will retire in August.

Bruce MacNintch is one for the b o o k s . So u t h w e s t e r n C o l l e g e’s outspoken California School Employees Association president and library technician recently announced his retirement effective in August. After 21 years, he said he felt like it was time, especially with a campus smoking ban looming. “There is a proposal to ban smoking on campus,” he said. “This would make it so you could not have a cigarette inside the sidewalks (that circle the campus). Same with electronic cigarettes. I’m a smoker and that’s outside my comfort zone. So why would I come to work at a place where I’m no longer comfortable anymore?” MacNintch said he has worked for 45 years and began his first job when he was 13. He said the only thing he would absolutely not miss would be working every day. “I had a friend who retired a year ago from here, and she started getting depressed on Sunday nights at the prospect of having to go to work the very next day,” he said. “I didn’t know what she was talking about at first, but the weekends now seem to be too short. When my mom retired, I asked her, ‘what’s life like being retired?’ and she said, ‘Every evening is Friday night and every day is Saturday’. That’s what I’m looking forward to.” Academic Senate President Randy Beach praise on MacNintch for his

“outstanding leadership and hard work.” “I’m happy for him,” he said. “He has been an incredible leader for the people he represents. He knows how to analyze and make sure we are counting all our chickens correctly and counting all our beans properly. (He has been) a tireless advocate for the classified professionals he represents.” Beach, a reading professor, said MacNintch was also devoted to the campus library. “He worked his backside off for the college,” said Beach. “Not just his role as CSEA President, but his support for the library and his role there. He is the first to bring to the attention of the administration (and others) the needs the library has to meet student’s needs. So, he’s not only advocating on behalf of his constituents, but on behalf of the students as well.” Faculty union president Eric Maag he is also a MacNintch fan. “I’m excited for him,” said Maag. “It’s going to be sad to see him go. He’s been the classified employee president for what seems like forever.” MacNintch said he has always enjoyed his colleagues. “It’s the people I’ll miss,” he said. “A job’s a job, and I always tell people that Southwestern College is not my life. Southwestern College pays for my life. But it’s the people that make the difference and I’ve been fortunate enough to work with a lot of great people.”

New priorities for enrollment in Fall 2014 By Adriana Heldiz Assistant News Editor

When students line up for fall classes later this spring there is going to be a whole new order. Southwestern College has unveiled its new Enrollment Priority System for fall 2014 and the times they are a-changin’. California’s Student Success Act of 2012 shuffles the desk. First-year and returning students are now required to go through a matriculation process that includes online orientation, assessment testing and a Student Education Plan. T h e r e a r e f o u r g r o u p s . Fi r s t priority goes to military veterans, foster youth, CALWORKS recipients, EOPS students and Disability Support Services students. Second priority goes to ASO officers, MESA students, District Identified Learning Communities, University Links, Vocational Rehabilitation, students in the SWC Honors Program and eligible student athletes. Third priority goes to SWC High School Early Admission Program students. Level 4 is comprised of continuing students. Those making good progress towards transfer get priority. Students with more than 100 units go to the back of the line. Level 5 will accommodate new and please see Enrollment pg. A4


The Southwestern College Sun

Student success: New regulations aim to speed completion

Ricasa: Survey shows little support for her return as EOPS head

Continued from Page A1

Continued from Page A1

will be capped at 110 units and denied to students who are not in good academic standing. New restrictions on class repeatability are coming and colleges will be required to focus their class schedules on the courses that students need based on their placement exams. Online tools and services must be made available for students to develop education plans and monitor their progress. SWC President Dr. Melinda Nish was a member of the original Student Success Task Force and a “full throttle” proponent of the new law. SB1456 is meant to “establish a passport for transfer,” she said. “The committee (members) did not agree on everything, but they did their work,” she said. Nish implores students to take the new implementations seriously. “One of the things our students really need to pay attention to is that there is a recommendation that there be academic standards put into place for BOGW fee waivers and we anticipate them to go into effect in 2015,” she said. Nish said she understands that there are areas of potential concern for SWC students, particularly low-income students and students who work. “Seventy-five percent of students have jobs, which is the highest percentage in the San Diego community colleges,” said Nish. “It is understood that a working student will take longer to finish school, which in respect is not necessarily a bad thing, but perhaps looks poorly on the mandated score cards.” Nish said the purpose of the scorecards is to get a “pulse of how well our students are doing.” Detailed metrics of the scorecard have been measured by the California Community College Chancellor’s office. Nish said the scorecards will hold other schools accountable in a quantitative method, but it is not precise. “Numbers don’t tell the whole story,” she said. Another problem with the scores is lack of portability, Nish said. Assessment scores are non-transferable between colleges. Each time a student transfers to another school Nish said, their assessments would not count at another community college, even if the schools belong to the same district. Nish said the Task Force recommended standardize testing nationwide. Little progress has been made on this front, she said. Critics said they fear the Student Success Act will create a centralized control of community colleges in Sacramento, making it a lumbering bureaucracy. Dennis Frisch, president of the Faculty Association of California Community Colleges (FACCC), sent a letter addressed to Dr. Jack Scott, Chancellor of California Community Colleges. Frish said there are dire oversights and impending negative outcomes if the program is implemented in California. “Classroom faculty and counselors are in the best position to respond to the specific needs of local students,” he said. Frish warned that imposed assessments would limit what local community colleges have defined as success for their service areas, while sweeping aside the unparalleled contribution they bring to the diverse community of students. Such an outcome would be limiting opportunities and access to classes for students. A BOGW fee cap at 110 units, will undermine the core mission of Community Colleges by denying access to the neediest students in our system, he said. “Wealthy students under the proposal would have better access to the public education than those lacking means,” he said. Frish said an EOPS counselor is more sensitive to how many units an underemployed “member of the working poor” can have under his belt, than state officials. Nish said the intent of the legislation is to help students from all walks of life. Students that enter community colleges are not college ready, she said. “College preparedness is based on when you are assessed and ready to go to a college math and English,” she said. “Sometimes people measure completion rates with a socioeconomic level and you have to ask yourself why?” Nish said implementing the Student Success Act will be bumpy, but she predicted it would help students to earn degrees, obtain certificates and transfer in less time with less money. Two-year colleges, she said, may actually move students through in two years.

had very clear opinions about whether Ricasa should stay or go. Staff members of The Sun interviewed 125 students, college employees and citizens of the college district. Of those, 111 said they were aware of the Ricasa case. Just five of the 111 said Ricasa should be allowed to keep her job, while 91 said she should be fired. Fifteen respondents said they were not sure whether Ricasa should be fired or allowed to stay. SDSU employee Bianca Padilla, a former SWC student, said Ricasa should be terminated. “It shows that Southwestern College condones her actions and allows her to conduct criminal activity on campus while not being held responsible or accountable,” Padilla said. “She gets a ‘get out of jail free’ card.” Andrea Wilkum, a former SWC student, said Ricasa received a lenient sentence because she is an elected official. “(Ricasa retaining her position at SWC) is bullshit!” she said. “It just proves that money matters as well as who you are. If that was any normal person who knows how many years in jail they would get. Someone in a lower-paying job would have been fired on the spot. Southwestern College is…a joke.” Several people interviewed said Ricasa betrayed the college and the community. “She should not return,” said Elisha Moore, 22, a music major. “She cannot be trusted. It was her job to serve students here and she betrayed it. She has lost her rights.” Music major Alex Vargas, 21, agreed. “She stole once so she will steal again,” he said. “How can she be trusted? She can’t be put in any position with power because she will betray it.” Yolanda Rocha, senior project clerk in the SWC CalWorks office, said she was “shocked” that so many charges were reduced to misdemeanors for most of the South Bay Corruption Case defendants, starting with disgraced former president Raj Kumar Chopra. “These folks all got a slap on the wrist,” she said. “The message is that it’s okay to do it and whatever investigation (there is) they’ll get a misdemeanor. I don’t think it’s fair.” Monica Osuna agreed. “I would think that anyone who commits a crime while using their work resources would be fired, especially if taxpayers like myself are paying for them to be at work and doing the job I am helping pay them to do,” she said. Ricasa’s defenders said she has given years of service to the community. California State Senator Marty Block, in a letter to Nish, ASO President Laura del Castillo and the governing board, did not directly comment on Ricasa’s legal situation, but he did offer praise for her contributions to the community. “It behooves the Southwestern College Board of Trustees and its administration to understand the valuable asset that they possess in Arlie Ricasa as an educational and community leader,” wrote Block. “Retaining quality educators and achieving diversity at all levels at the College are important and worthy objectives.” Another former student with ASO connections, Xenia Sanchez, wrote to

Jan. 21 - Feb. 21, 2014 —Vol. 57, Issue 5

he said. “It’s very disappointing.” Nader said it is extremely serious when a public official acknowledges they used their public office for personal gain to influence a vote. “I think to the extent that people come away feeling the consequences didn’t match the criminal actions, that’s a problem for us as a society,” he said. “Whether you are talking about elected officials taking gifts in return for their votes or whether you are talking about people committing street crimes and getting off with short time (in prison).” Professor of English Andrew Rempt said the college needs to follow its policies and procedures. He said if the college has a policy about employees pleading guilty to misdemeanors, then the Ricasa case is “something that needs to be looked into.” Otherwise, he said, the college probably has no choice but to retain Ricasa. “What I worry about is that she be April Abarrando /Staff treated fairly,” Rempt said. “Recently FLASH POINT — Tony Ricasa used the college has had problems when it his camera to temporarily blind a reporter dismissed employees and then had to attempting to interview his sister. bring those employees back under different circumstances. It was a very costly process former and current ASO students asking that was damaging to the school. I think we them to write a letter in support of Ricasa, need to tread carefully in whatever decisions who ran the ASO prior to her indictment regarding Arlie.” on charges of bribery, perjury, conflict of When she pleaded guilty in December, interest and others. Ricasa admitted to taking gifts in the “The SWC Governing Board wants to amount of $2,099 that she did not report. fire Arlie from her current EOPS position The District Attorney’s Affidavit Search as the Director,” wrote Sanchez. “They are Warrant, however, argued that Ricasa had saying the reason is because she has been a taken more than $35,000. bad influence on students for years. So she Ricasa had agreed to be interviewed asked me to contact you!” for this story, but her secretary, Veronica No governing board member has said Cadena, cancelled the meeting twice. publically that Ricasa should be fired, but When she canceled the first appointment some trustees have expressed concern that Cadena said Ricasa had to attend a meeting Ricasa was charged by the district attorney with Dean of Counseling Beatrice Zamorafor committing crimes on campus during Aguilar. A Southwestern College Sun work hours using college computers and fax reporter went to Zamora’s office, but Ricasa machines. The district attorney’s affidavit was not there. on Ricasa is more than 100 pages and Ricasa served on the Sweetwater includes a section describing her efforts board for 15 years before she resigned in to obtain a large amount of cash from a December. She has run unsuccessfully for potential Sweetwater contractor to send her higher offices, including a 2008 run for the daughter to a conference in Washington California State Assembly. Ricasa was fined D.C. $2,000 after that campaign for failing to Board member Tim Nader would not disclose an $18,000 loan on her campaign comment on the Ricasa case, but said he statements. Her campaign manager, is concerned any time a crime is dealt with Kinde Durkee, was recently convicted of very leniently. stealing $10.5 million and sentenced to “Betrayal of the public trust is unfortunate eight years in prison for embezzling from when anyone does that and it’s unfortunate elected officials whose campaigns she had when it happens in our own community,” managed.


Ricasa attended the Feb. 12 governing board meeting with about 30 supporters. She declined to answer questions as she left the meeting. Her brother, Tony Ricasa, told a reporter from The Sun to leave the area outside the boardroom where Arlie Ricasa was huddled with supporters. The reporter refused to leave and told Tony Ricasa that they were on public property and she was performing her job as a student journalist. Angered, Tony Ricasa pulled out a camera, held it inches from the r e p o r t e r ’s face and fl a s h e d i t in her face several times, temporarily blinding the r e p o r t e r. More than a Joyce Temporaldozen Ricasa Ricasa and Tony supporters Ricasa formed a semi-circle around the reporter, who eventually left and re-entered the boardroom. Tony Ricasa’s wife, Joyce TemporalRicasa, works for California State Senator Marty Block as an office manager in Lemon Grove. Tony Ricasa also used to work for Block. Block said Arlie Ricasa asked him for the letter of support. He said he was not fully acquainted with Ricasa’s criminal charges. He said he did not write the letter himself, a staff member did, but that he supports what it says. “I know roughly the charges,” he said. “I’m not terribly familiar with the material.” Block said he did not realize that Ricasa was originally charged with 33 counts, but said what was important is that she was actually convicted of only one misdemeanor count. Block said he and Ricasa were opponents for the 78th Assembly District primary in 2008. They also worked together on an effort to build a university in Chula Vista, he said. “I wrote nice things about Arlie because she’s done a very good job, as far as I’m concerned, with her work with students,” Block said. “Through the (2008) campaign she conducted herself very professionally and I respected her for that.” Ricasa is scheduled to be sentenced in the South Bay Superior Court on April 9.

April Abarrando /Staff

BIG TURNOUT — Arlie Ricasa (top 1) brought about 30 supporters to the February meeting of the governing board. Some of the supporters later harassed a student journalist outside of the board room.

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Jan. 21-Feb. 21, 2014—Vol. 57, Issue 5

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Settlement: Faculty, district reach deal on small COLA hike Continued from Page A1

Serina Duarte /Staff

COLA REFILL — Members of the faculty union demonstrate for a Cost Of Living Adjustment during negotiations with college administrators. Faculty agreed to a 1.57 percent COLA bump. (clockwise from top) Deana Alonso-Post and Angelina Stuart. Jordan Mills, Andrew Rempt and Eric Maag. Andrew Rempt.

Enrollment: Revised priorities await students registering for fall ‘14

Alioto: Judge ignores calls for prison time for disgraced VP

Continued from Page A2

Continued from Page A1

2009 and 2010. “When we began to investigate what was going on with Prop R money and contract negotiations, The Sun immediately had its funding blocked by Mr. Alioto’s office so they could not report on that information,” she said. Sweetwater Bond Oversight Committee Chairman Nick Marinovich urged España not let Alioto off lightly. “I worked for the County of San Diego for 30 years,” he said. “What we’re talking about here is the public’s trust. What Mr. Alioto did was despicable.” Marinovich asked España to give Alioto a harsher sentence than previous defendants. “(Alioto’s) mannerisms seemed a little odd, like he was hiding something,” Marinovich said. “As it all came out, we’ve seen the facts before you. I guess what this comes down to is what message this is sending (to the community) by what you do today to those that work in the public arena. Is it going to be (a slap on the wrist) or is it going to be a little more?”

members to use campus mailboxes for a wider range of purposes, a maximum five-day leave of absence without loss of salary, 12 weeks of unpaid leave per fiscal year for reasons covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act and the California Family Rights Act, and a stipend of $2,000 for full-time faculty with a doctorate degree plus an additional $500 at the end of each semester. Maag said he is relieved negotiations for 2013-14 have come to an end and he expessed his gratitude to the faculty for its support. “I cannot say enough about how thankful I am for all the work you have done on our behalf,” he said. “I’m so fortunate to have seen first hand the relentless and passionate efforts you have put into this last year and a half.” Faculty negotiations team member Rob Unger agreed. “ Thank you for marching, carrying signs and showing your support!” he said. “It was greatly appreciated and helped turn the tide!” Maag cautioned that there are still bruised feelings to heal. “It’s been about a year and six months that we have been negotiating this contract, which is pretty out of the ordinary,” he

said. “During that last year and six months they asked us for a five percent pay cut, they’ve threatened to do layoffs, they threatened to take us to impasse and delayed sabbaticals. It’s been a really rough ride in the last year and six months.” Maag said he was relieved with the deal, but also said a 1.57 percent increase after seven years of not receiving COLA is not much. Vesting rights are also still an issue. Part-time instructors who get favorable evaluations and have worked for six semesters in a row would be vested with the amount of classes they taught during the same six-semester period. “If I taught three classes for six semesters in a row with nothing but good evaluations, I would assume I would be vested at three classes,” he said. Ve s t i n g l a n g u a g e re m a i n s unclear, he said. “Now (the district) argued that vesting is less than one class,” said Maag. “So even if you’ve taught here for more than 10 years, nothing but positive evaluations, their argument is that they only owe you one class.” Ma a h s a i d h e e x p e c t s t h e vesting issue will be a central topic in the next round of negotiations, which is scheduled to begin no later than April 25. With contributions by Nickolas Furr and Jason O’Neal

have to be able to notify students that they’re not going to be eligible so they have time to petition.” Students will be prioritized by t h e i r ov e r a l l u n i t s . R e t u r n i n g students with fewer units will get higher priority. Students with 100 or more units lose enrollment priority. Counselor David Ramirez said California is narrowing the gate. FAFSA has reduced its student financial packet from nine years of Pell Grant awards to six years, he said. “The requirements are increasing, financial aid is decreasing,” said Ramirez. “This will help students reach their goals sooner.”

Level 5 will accommodate new and returning students on a comefirst, served-first basis. Dean of Student Services Mia McClellan, who led the System Planning committee, said the p ro g ra m w a s de s i g n e d t o h e l p students earn certificates or transfer within two years. “The big emphasis is getting students to declare a major and making sure that they take those degree applicable units,” she said. St u de n t a t h l e t e s -Veterans -Foster Youth are eligible for -CALWORKS -EOPS priority registration -Disability if they follow the Support Services -ASO National Collegiate -MESA Athletic Association -University links (NCAA) guidelines, -Vocational rehabilitation said Academic Senate -Honors -SWC High President Randy program School Early -Eligible Admissions Beach. student Program athletes students Students close to transferring that do not receive high enrollment priority can appeal, said McClellan. “We are working on the timelines right now,” she said. “We

College Changes Registration 1 Priority


Balkis Nasery /Staff

BIG ROLLOUT — Nicholas Alioto backs away from the Chula Vista Courthouse in a new Mercedes Benz following his guilty plea. He was represented by a public defender.

España suggested to Alioto that he should apologize for his crimes. Alioto stood and said he accepted responsibility for actions. “I believe very strongly to this day that the actions that I took were intended to get the best deal for the college,” he said. “I did accept these gifts and that had consequences and

a reduction in the community’s faith, and for that I’m truly sorry.” After his sentencing Alioto declined to comment on the case, but told a reporter for The Sun that he never received fair treatment from the campus newspaper. “Your organization has never printed anything I said

correctly and I don’t intend to continue to discuss it,” he said. Alioto then hollered to a nearby Chula Vista Police officer twice and asked him to tell the reporter to leave him alone. The officer ignored both requests. Alioto then climbed into a new Mercedes Benz and said he would never, ever return to Chula Vista.


4 -Continuing students based on number of units


-New and returning students making academic progress

Kasey Thomas /Staff

January 21 - February 21, 2014, Volume 57 Issue 5


The Southwestern College Sun


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.


Hyper-sexed media wrecks women’s image



Lina Chankar Serina Duarte Nickolas Furr NEWS

Jaime Pronoble, editor Adriana Heldiz, assistant


Jason O’Neal, assistant VIEWPOINTS

Anna Pryor, editor Joaquin Junco Jr., assistant Alyssa Pajarillo, assistant CAMPUS

Fernanda Gutierrez, editor Liliana Cervantes, assistant Wendy Gracia, assistant ARTS

Dan Cordero/Staff

Daphne Jauregui, editor Saira Araiza, assistant SPORTS

Nicholas Baltz, co-editor Colin Grylls, co-editor Lee Bosch, assistant ONLINE

Mason Masis, editor Kimberly Ortiz, assistant PHOTOGRAPHY

John Domogma, editor Karen Tome, assistant

The Issue: A pair of college administrators who have committed criminal acts are, nevertheless, still working here.

Jose Luis Baylon

Kayla Noyce

Melinda Castro

Reena Ocampo

Evan Cintron

Andrew Perez

Zayda Cavazos

Paulina Quintero

Pablo Gandara

Ana Raymundo

Adrian Gomez

Gabriel Sandoval

Cesar Hirsch

Marianna Saponara

Victoria Leyva

Angela Soberanes

Martin Loftin

Romina Serrano

Aydan Lopez

Stefanie Tellez

Irving Moya

Kasey Thomas

Maricela Murillo

Steven Uhl


Dan Cordero Kimberly Garza Gabriel Hernandez Andrea Munguia Christian Olivares PHOTOGRAPHY

April Abarrondo Madeline Cabrera Rick Flores Kayla Hall Jacob Harris Alejandra Rosales


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Our Position: This is a make-or-break moment for our college’s leadership. Our community is watching.

Cash, Ricasa embarrass our college

“Send lawyers, guns and money/ Dad, get me out of this!”



—Warren Zevon

Most of the time the citizens of our community do not really know what’s going on at Southwestern College. Our island of self-importance ends at Otay Lakes Road and East H Street. Ask someone at Ralph’s, MJ’s Fusion Grill or I Sushi about labor negotiations, the Student Success Task Force or our dynastic crosscountry athletes and you will likely get a shrug or blank stare. (Unless, of course, they read The Sun.) What people in Chula Vista, National City, IB, Bonita and San Ysidro do know about is our loony gun-slinger police chief Michael Cash and our admitted-criminal EOPS director Arlie Ricasa. When staff members of The Sun conducted a random survey of the community we learned that an astonishing percentage of our community is well-informed about the Ricasa case. Of the 125 citizens interviewed, 111 said they knew about Ricasa’s plea bargain and her survival at SWC. Of those 111, 91 said Ricasa should go (82 percent). Only five said Ricasa should stay (4.5 percent) and 15 had no opinion (13.5 percent). Luckily for Ricasa, the citizens of the district cannot vote her off the island. That job belongs to our college president Dr. Melinda Nish. It would be an exaggeration to say that Ricasa got away with murder, but she seems to be getting away with other crimes. Only her brilliant lawyer and a hugely lucky break – District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis suddenly facing her own possible corruption problems – allowed Ricasa to avoid hard prison time on 33 corruption counts (16 of which were felonies). One would think Ricasa would thank her lucky stars that she is still a free woman, eat a little humble pie and ask for forgiveness. Instead, she has brought her dogand-pony show from the Chula Vista Courthouse to the SWC Boardroom. A former high school cheerleader, Ricasa seems to think that cheering sycophants, handlettered signs, clapping young children and swaying balloons are the way to win friends and influence people. Her lack of self-awareness, as much as her shady behavior, has made her the Clown Princess of the South Bay and a deep scarlet embarrassment to our college. But woe be unto any student journalist who dares to report on this story. Ricasa’s posse turned goon squad at the February 12 governing board meeting. Her brother, Tony Ricasa, behaved like a gang banger. First he was rude to the governing board, then he aggressively harassed a female reporter from The Sun by trying to tell her she had to leave the sidewalk area outside the boardroom. When that did not work he held his camera inches from her face and fired off a series of flashes,

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temporarily blinding the reporter. (Save yourself the time and energy denying it, Mr. Ricasa, The Sun has it all on video.) When the reporter’s vision returned, she was nearly surrounded by cross-armed, mad dogging young men from the Ricasa posse. Team Ricasa also played the normally-savvy California State Senator Marty Block, who appears to have signed a letter to Nish and the governing board supporting Ricasa. The letter does not mention, however, that Joyce Temporal-Ricasa (Arlie’s sisterin-law) is Block’s Lemon Grove office manager. Or that Temporal-Ricasa’s husband, the flash happy Tony Ricasa, is a former Block staffer. Our administrators and campus police chief are supposed to be role models for students on this campus. God help us! Here is what students have learned so far from Michael Cash: • It is okay to fire a gun at Southwestern College. • It is okay to hide behind the Police Officers’ Bill of Rights – legislation written to protect brave and honorable officers – to cover up an investigation into firing a gun and having a nervous breakdown in police headquarters. • It is okay for campus police to promise escort service to threatened teenage female students, then blow them off and leave them unprotected. • It is okay to bully and insult faculty because he has a gun and a badge. From Arlie Ricasa we have learned: • It is okay to solicit bribes from your office during work hours. (In fact, you will be rewarded with a six-month paid vacation worth $60,000.) • It is okay for administrators to commit crimes because there is apparently no district policy that says they can’t. • It is okay for members of your family to use their government employee positions to get special favors from elected officials. • It is okay for the brothers of administrators to harass and bully students on college grounds who are engaged in an academic assignment. • It is okay for ASO candidates to cheat during their campaigns (though, thankfully, most choose to be honest). Ricasa’s camp would like us to believe that her crime is no more serious than a traffic ticket and that life should go on. This is a pivotal moment in SWC’s history. Our president and our board need to send a clear message to the community and to future wouldbe criminals that the pay-for-play era is over. They need to send a clear message to renegade employees that they are not above the law (even if they think they are the law). They need to show us that they are not afraid of lawyers, guns and money.

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hile models and celebrities airbrushed to perfection and photoshopped beyond recognition flood the media, a regular lady’s self esteem takes more hits than Facebook. While women are making impressive progress in education, professions and politics, body issues are worsening. Unrealistic beauty standards bombarding TV, movies and magazines are damaging the esteem of girls as young as 5. While objectifying pictures and advertisements are most likely to appear in men’s magazines, teen girl publications are a close second. Cartoons, shows and commercials stress the importance of being tall, thin and perfectly made up. Between 40-70 percent of girls are unhappy with at least two aspects of their bodies and their self image plummets between the ages 12 and 15. These messages have a monopoly on emotion. Ignoring them is easier said than done. Those few extra pounds turn into a million on the shoulders of teenagers and young women. Barbie-like “perfection” is unreasonable and unattainable. Even though most women know that Barbism is unrealistic, millions still aspire to the look. Disappointment inevitably follows. One in six high school students had considered committing suicide and 1 in 12 had attempted it, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. More females than males were affected. Many things can be attributed to suicide, but body image is a leading cause. Feeling inadequate is a killer. Young women are frequently bullied and insulted about their appearance. They are bullied over weight, height, clothes, makeup and other superficial factors. Targets of bullying face increased de p re s s i o n , a n x i e t y a n d e a t i n g disorders. Many turn to selfmedication for solace, often with deadly results. Men also suffer. Society tells them to be muscular and to sleep around. Women with lower self-esteem are more likely to have problems in their sex lives and engage in unprotected sex with multiple partners. Research shows the lower the self-esteem, the less likely to seek help. Studies have shown that blatantly sexualized ads actually increase selfesteem of a majority of women. They understand what corporations and advertising agencies are trying to do and they laugh at it. Subtle messages are more dangerous. Some larger companies only cater to smaller sizes. Mike Jeffries, CEO of Abercrombie and Fitch, said his company’s market was “cool, goodlooking kids.” Only after there was a noticeable decline in sales following his comment did the company begin to offer larger sizes. Fo r t u n a t e l y, o t h e r b i g n a m e companies are starting to catch on. Aerie, American Eagle’s undergarment line, is starting to “get real and think real.” They are ditching the supermodels and photoshop for reality. “There is no reason to retouch beauty,” their website states. “We think the real you is sexy.” This could not be more true. It is time to stop relying on fixing these issues once they have happened and have compassion. Every woman and every man is unique, amazing and beautiful, no matter what Madison Avenue says.

Anna may be reached at


Anna Pryor, editor


Jan. 21 - Feb. 21, 2014 — Vol. 57, Issue 5

Tel: (619) 309-7908 E-mail:

Americans should embrace bilingualism By Joaquin Junco Jr. A Perspective

Kim Garza/Staff

Thousands of students of Southwestern College are gifted with the ability to speak multiple languages. Many students of Hispanic descent are able to speak their ancestral language and operate in two cultures, another gift. This blending of cultures sometimes comes with conflict. Discomfort, some bigotry and occasional violence are still problems as some people around America refuse to accept a new bilingual reality. People with linguistic skills are often accused of being an invading force instead of the global future of this country. A 2011 analysis by the Pew Research Center concluded that 37.5 million Americans five years and older speak Spanish at home. Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world and in America. With the rising number of Spanish-speakers, some states have taken measures to facilitate services to newcomers still adjusting to the English language. Reactionary English-only elements still exist in the new America. In 2006 a

¿Por qué no hay plays en español? In a world rich with great Spanish theatre, the bilingual talents of Southwestern College performing arts students are wasted By Saira Araiza and Wendy Gracia A Perspective

Southwestern College is an American institution with a Mexican heartbeat. It serves thousands of students at home in two countries, two cultures and two languages. It is bustling crossroads where two great cultures overlap and interact. English and Spanish are spoken interchangeably in the halls, classrooms and fields, but there is little representation for bilingual students on the stage. SWC is brimming with linguistically gifted actors, singers and musicians. It is home to the planet Earth’s best collegiate Mariachi. During the brilliant life of Professor Michael Schnorr, the college was a world-renowned center of borderlands art. So why is our theater program monolinguistic? How can it be that the college that has produced professors and students who created “La Pastorela,” “Journey of the Skeletons,” “Let the Eagle Fly,” and other popular transcultural classics be so Eurocentric in its own theater? Southern California is a bilingual community and Spanish is now heard in most American states. Latinos are the majority at this college, but the theater department has failed to offer anything that relates. It is sad when “The Night of the Iguana” is the closest thing to an international play at SWC. It has been more than a decade since SWC has produced a Spanish language play. Spanish-speaking abuelitas, nanas and tias who wish to watch their grandchildren, nieces and nephews perform are out of luck. Due to a language barrier, family members lose the opportunity to enjoy watching their hijos, primos and sobrinos thrive as international performers. It is not for the lack of good material. Spanish writers have produced some of the greatest plays, novels, poems and stories ever created in any language. There are many productions, whether they are plays or songs, novels or anthologies of poems, which transcend language. “El Amor en los Tiempos del Cólera,” known in English as “Love in the Time

of Cholera,” is a classic novel-turnedplay-turned-movie by Gabriel García Márquez, a Colombian writer. Chilean Pablo Neruda is known for his striking romantic poetry. He is considered the greatest poet of any language of the 20th century, a prime example of the power of linguistic transcendence. “Don Quixote,” the classic Spanish novel by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, is a provocative story of oppression that has leapt continents. As a college situated in between countries, swarming with linguisticallygifted students, Southwestern College should be a Spanish arts hub for the United States. Instead of sweeping

español under the rug, this college should celebrate it. Spanish productions would be good business for SWC. Bilingual or Spanish productions sell in this region. Mo re t h a n 5 0 p e rc e n t o f t h i s institution’s students are Latino, so why are 0 percent of its plays in Spanish? Some borderlands theater companies will do the same play in two languages, English one evening, Spanish the next. SWC could do it, too. Mexican food is available in the cafeteria, but Spanish theater is not available in Mayan Hall even though the appetite is there. This bilingual community would appreciate a little more spice.

restaurant in Philadelphia was under fire for a sign that informed customers that all orders must be in English. This poster was decorated with a bald eagle and a waving Old Glory in the background, insinuating that English is the official language of the United States and others are “foreign.” Not so. America has no official language, but plenty of old racists. “English Only” signs are reminiscent of signs from the 1960s that read “Whites Only.” Bilingual people usually limit their use of Spanish to family, acquaintances and folks they are reasonably certain are also Spanish speakers. Few barge into a business like a restaurant speaking Spanish and expecting everyone else to. Right-wing extremists are claiming that if left unchecked, the influx of immigrants from Latin America will impose Spanish as the official language of this country. While the annoyance of some English speakers over accommodations for Spanish speakers is understandable, they are missing the larger picture. Studies by Pew have predicted that by 2050 there will be more Spanish speakers in the

U.S. than anywhere in the world and those new generations of Americans will be fluent in more than one language. Bilingualism is a common skill in most parts of the industrial world. Anti-Spanish Americans fail to acknowledge the work Latino citizens put into learning English and American culture. This group of immigrants has mastered English faster than any other new Americans from Europe, Asia or Africa ever. Latinos practice their English, even if they have an accent, and employ the dictionary whenever a word or sentence is unfamiliar to them. In the 1970s conservatives warned that as Spanish pushed in, English would be pushed out. Hasn’t happened. Won’t happen. Bilingual people know the importance of understanding and speaking English. Our South Bay community is living proof that Spanish and English can co-exist. Language is a gift, not a threat. Bilingualism strengthens and empowers communities. English is the great equalizer. Bilingual Latinos get it. Maybe others will soon.

Are you aware of the situation with SWC EOPS director Arlie Ricasa? Do you believe she should be allowed to return to her position?

Laura Jessica Del Castillo, 23, Political Science “We just have to make sure that we are keeping a close watch on people and make sure that this does not happen again.”

John Hewuse, 20, Psychology & philosophy “There is not really much to say on it. I don’t think she should be allowed back.”

Ana Carrasco, 20, Communication

“I don’t think it is professional for her to come back after she resigned (at Sweetwater).”

Cesar Garcia, 24, Photography

Wendy Gracia/Staff

Vallo Riberto, Gallery Curator “I think she went over the line and she abused our trust. This is a public institution and she stepped over the line.”

“It is very hard to earn trust and very easy to lose it. How can we trust in her after she has broken our trust once?” Compiled by John Domogma and Karen Tome

Letter to the Editor: Administration coddles police chief What does it take to get fired at Southwestern College? Apparently firing a weapon at head level through a blind wall with no idea of what’s on the other side and nearly causing a fatality is not grounds for firing, otherwise Police Chief Michael Cash would be gone. Cash came closer than anyone in the college’s history to killing someone with a gun. This was first and foremost a crime, not an accident. Southwestern College took the predictable act of first calling its lawyers because they realized that this is a potential lawsuit. There is a video camera with audio in the booking room of the SWC police department. What happened to this evidence may never be known. This would

be evidence for opposing counsel to collect by court order be protected from being destroyed. It looks like the administration didn’t want to pay out emotional distress damages to the employees who witnessed the event therefore they had to silence those employees, just in case they knew they had rights and should be awarded money for what happened to them. How many practice drills do the SWC police conduct per semester? Students have a right to know if the types of emergency text messages that they are receiving are police practice drills or real. This is especially important since we have trust issues with the chief of police who has trouble keeping his firearm

in its holster. How many people heard the weapon fire? Do the Southwestern College Campus police have silencers on their pistols and rifles? It seems that they might, since students on campus on the day of the incident were unaware that it had happened without the reports in the college newspaper. Although the incident was a crime, predictably it will not be reported as a crime to the “College Crime Statisistics Website” because ironically, it was one of their own. Even though the college has chosen to forgive Mr. Cash and allow him to keep his career for now, any individual who is guilty of such misconduct should be required to involuntarily resign.

What is the campus police budget and what is the chemistry stock rooms budget? When was the last time new animal brains were ordered for the human anatomy and physiology students? It seems that the last goat brain I got to examine had broken into various sections from over examination by too many students over years of biology classes and was completely missing its pineal gland as well as other small brain parts. Now we have a football stadium enormous structure that will serve a tiny fraction of the student population, cost the taxpayers millions, and still we are forced to re use sections of goat brain floating in a bucket in the biology stockroom from

last century. College leaders are proud of the winding sidewalk at Gotham Street, but why don’t they take pride in the sidewalks on campus that are used as a parking lot by the campus police who will eventually break that sidewalk with the weight of their vehicles and require more stupid expenditures on sidewalk that should have gone towards academics? No more budget increases should be allowed for the campus police. We don’t need a Humvee, K-9 unit, or police sedans when there is already very little crime on campus, excusing the misconduct created by them. - Andrea Boggs


The Southwestern College Sun

Jan. 21 - Feb. 21, 2014 — Vol. 57, Issue 5


Bilingualism is a benefit in more ways than one By Victoria Leyva A Perspective

Hand gestures, frustration and a loss for words. Sounds like a tough game of charades, but it is the reality for monolingual speakers working in multilingual Chula Vista. Hearing rapid-fire Spanish while walking to class or Tagalog in the library is a common occurrence at Southwestern College. After attending the school long enough, other spoken languages begin to sound like background music. Proximity to the Mexican border means passive Spanish is the #1 “foreign” language. Sitting on the Pacific Rim also means culturally-diverse Chula Vista is home to Pacific Islanders, Asians, Europeans and bi-racial people with a polyglot of tongues. Statistics gathered by the United States Census for Chula Vista found that 56.1 percent of residents spoke a language other than English at home. These results are a daunting number compared to the 20.5 percent that the rest of the U.S. faces. One is the loneliest number. Living in Chula Vista makes it tough to be a monolingual. Foreign tongues live in businesses, churches and athletic events. Some monolinguals are even outnumbered in their own household. Few things are more frustrating than mostly understanding another language but not being able to communicate back. In some parts of

the United States bilingualism is a plus. In Chula Vista it is essential. Bilingualism is a strength and a commitment. Job opportunities often hang on the ability to communicate in another language. Admitting monolingualism

Spanglish, like SWC, is a beautiful blend

to prospective employers can be a deal breaker. Being trapped with only one language can stunt conversation, social interrelation and prosperity especially in the workplace.

Communication barriers can cause anxiety and a feeling of helplessness. Playing charades to help a customer causes frustration. Speaking more than one language increases e mp l oy a b i l i t y and can mean higher p a y.

California Department of Personnel Administration studies show workers earn more an hour. Bilingualism can literally pay off. Monolinguals can miss promotions because they cannot talk to co-workers. It is hard to be the leader when the leader cannot be understood. Dr. Angelica Suarez, vice president of student affairs, said that helping others who have not mastered English is a valuable asset in Chula Vista. “It’s essential to learn to speak the language of the country that you are living in or are in close proximity to because it helps you navigate the system,” she said. “I’ve used it to help others, whether it is family members or others in my community to help them navigate or transition.” Some nativists argue that we should speak only English in the United States. That mindset is archaic in a fast paced world. Besides, languages are part of the rich cultural and ethnic diversity of our region. In some parts of the United States being bilingual makes a person the minority. In Chula Vista, bilinguals a r e t h e m a j o r i t y. Multilingualism is an important role in lifelong learning. It is never too late to start learning a new language, and on a campus like SWC there are thousands of people to practice with. Andrea Munguia/Staff

Hidden class fees hit low income students hardest

Joaquin Junco Jr./Staff

By Kimberly Ortiz A Perspective

Spanglish, like the famous carne asada fries at Lolitas, is a marriage made en el cielo. As the United States and Mexico continue to blend cultures in our magical and unique San Diego. In Tijuana’s borderlands, Spanglish is less of a novelty and more of a way of life. Besides, mixing English and Spanish together, is … como se dice… helpful. Some puristas argue that speaking Spanglish is unprofessional and call those who speak it “pochos,” claiming that it is a result of an Americanization or loss of culture. What they are not accounting for is that some words that exist in Spanish do not translate well or at all in English and vice versa. Bilingual speakers transition from Spanish to English daily. It is hard to transition from one language to another, so Spanglish is a way to gap a language chasm. Many borderlands students grew up in a household where only Spanish is spoken and mastered English in classrooms and work. Others have been raised in bicultural casas where one parent might be fully American while the other is fully Latino. It is not easy preserving Spanish perfectly in an English-dominant culture. Mixing English in their Spanish

is as normal as breathing and as natural as life itself to the racially blended people of Latin America and Southern California. Spanglish is being used mas y mas as our cultures continue to blend. A student’s playlist may have Drake and Banda El Recodo. Many insist that Spanglish is ruining and disrespecting English and Spanish, but it actually honors both. Besides, it is used primarily in casual settings with friends and family. Spanglish is often called slang, but that is a faulty comparison. Most of the words are mainstream Spanish or English words, mixed and matched as needed. The phenomenon, by the way, exist in Canada and the Northern U.S. were French and English blend, and in Catalonia where Spanish and French mix. Spanglish is giving legitimacy. It is even used in English courses at Southwestern College. English 116 uses “The Latino Reader,” a book that highlights Latino writers that use Spanglish to further express their feelings in their poems and stories. Spanglish will keep developing. This new and dynamic idiom is here to stay. It does not deserve to be treated as a plague or an abomination. It is an essential tool for those maneuvering through the melting pot that is America.

Gabriel HErnandez/Staff

By Alyssa Pajarillo A Perspective

“From near to far, from here to there, funny things are everywhere!” – Dr. Seuss At our beloved college hidden fees are also everywhere. Some Southwestern College classes have been surprising students with hidden class fees, like a scorpion in a sneaker. Students are too often required to pay for subscriptions to websites like MathXL, engineering software like Solidworks or unforeseen art supplies. Websites may charge students as much to $60 for a six-month subscription. MathXL is ubiquitous in math classes. Biology, political science and language classes also often have hidden subscription requirements. While many students have become savvy about where to find less expensive textbooks, there are no discounts for website subscriptions. Whereas books

can be shared between students or kept on reserve at the campus library by merciful professors, web subscriptions cannot be evaded. This leaves students with only two options: Cough up the money or drop the class. SWC is populated with low income students who strategically plan finances to get through each semester. About three of every four students receive FAFSA, which does not always arrive in time to pay expenses at the beginning of the semester. Waiting weeks for financial assistance to come through puts many students at risk. Skipping out on textbooks, quizzes, tests and homework can do serious damage to a student’s academic standing. Same with subscription websites and other required tools with a price tag. Students are usually informed during registration if the class will require a

lab fee. They are not told about expensive materials and subscriptions. Classes are already hard enough to get into. Textbooks and expenses are prohibitive. Students should not be strong armed into having to spend precious food or rent money for these hidden fees. This fall Southwestern is embarking on a new emphasis to get students through to certification or transfer in two years. Hidden fees slow students down. Besides that, the websites are of dubious value. Professors and instructors justify subscriptions to these websites to provide interactive lessons, round the clock help access, tools and provide paperless assignments and assessments. They have largely failed, however to prove that these websites are actually help to improve their students academic performance.


January 21 - February 21, 2014—Volume 57, Issue 5


The Southwestern College Sun

Jaguars enjoy roaring start A 10-2 start has Bartow’s boys in the hunt for the championship By Colin Grylls Co-Sports Editor

and three in the eighth, the Jags were down by one with left fielder Daniel Jerry Bartow has spent years making the Goodrich set to lead off the bottom of baseball field feel like home and it has the ninth. An error by the shortstop paid off this year as the Jaguars are unde- put Goodrich on first and catcher feated at the Junction and 10-2 overall. Dominik Sawyer bunted to move him “We’ve got a pretty good crowd com- over to second. After walking leadoff ing every day, people like their baseball,” hitter Roberto Lucero and a Victor said the veteran coach. “I just hope we Valley pitching change, Chris Allen keep doing good. I think we’ve got a flew out to right, moving Goodrich little nucleus anyway, the kids have a to third, where he scored on the next good spirit. They play well together as at-bat, a Miguel Solano single. a team.” Then, for the second time in as SWC’s good spirits were tested during many days, Mello stepped up to the several closely contested games. In the plate with two outs and the gamehome opener against Chaffey College winning run in scoring position. the team needed 11 innings to scrape by Once again, Mello pulled through to with a 11-10 victory. The Jags complete the comeback. had opened up an 8-5 lead “I went up there and after seven innings, but in “ I think I was thinking load and the top of the eighth Chaffey we’ve got a explode,” he said. “I was scored four runs to take a thinking I gotta clutch up one-run lead. After giving nucleus. The there for my team. We’ve up another run in the top of kids have all been working hard, the ninth, SWC scored on a they got on base and I wild pitch and a passed ball good spirit.” just moved them around to force extra innings with a a little. That’s all.” 10-10 tie. While the Jags are Jerry Bartow, Right fielder Roberto Luoff to a hot start, with cero hit a single through the Head Baseball wins against teams like right side of the infield to Coach state-runner up Fullerstart off the bottom of the ton College and peren11th. After centerfielder Chris nial powerhouse Orange Allen flew out, the Jags threw conven- Coast College, Bartow considers tional wisdom out the window and had non-conference play to be a time to Miguel Solano, who is hitting .415 and experiment. hits third in the lineup, bunt. Solano’s “It’s just putting the pieces togethbunt moved Lucero to second with er,” said Bartow. “We’ve got another cleanup hitter Frank Mello stepping up (few) games before we open against to the plate, but with two outs. Palomar, maybe we can establish a When the freshman took two quick lineup before opening day in our strikes, a 12th inning seemed inevitable. league. Try to play all of these guys, Then Chaffey pitcher Daniel Honorof find out who can swing the bat.” threw a curveball that caught too much One player establishing himself is of the plate. Mello took it back up the centerfielder Chris Allen, who is hitmiddle to drive in the game-winning ting .457 and has scored 15 runs in run and made Bartow look like a genius. 12 games. He echoed Bartow’s focus “We battled back, that’s a good thing,” on PCAC games. said Bartow. “At least we got to play “League play is a totally different with a little bit of a heart, right? Hope- story,” he said. “That’s when evfully that will carry over, we’ll get a erything counts, when you have to little stronger. We got a lot of new kids, put all of your marbles in. I think but I think we’ll be alright.” (non-conference games are) kind of Bartow’s team did not have to wait getting us ready for it and showing long for its next challenge – the next day the whole team that we have to play it fell behind 7-2 against Victor Valley all nine, we have to do what we do, College at the seventh inning stretch. and we have to just stick to our SWC After scoring one run in the seventh baseball.”

Rick Flores/staff

Colin Grylls/staff

SLINGING, SLIDING AND SLUGGING — (top) Sophomore infielder Miguel Solano singles against Fullerton College in a 5-3 victory for Southwestern. (above) Freshman third baseman Anthony York scores against Palomar. (below) Sophomore pitcher Joey Esposito went five innings with zero earned runs in an 11-5 win against Barstow.

Tuesday, Mar. 11 - Palomar, 2 p.m. Saturday, Mar. 15 - Palomar, Noon Tuesday, Mar. 27 - Imperial Valley, 2 p.m. Friday, Mar. 28 - Imperial Valley, 2 p.m. Thursday, Apr. 3 - San Diego City, 2 p.m. Tuesday, Apr. 8 - Grossmont, 2 p.m.

Rick Flores/Staff


The Southwestern College Sun

Jan. 21- Feb. 21, 2014—Vol. 57, Issue 5


Upbeat coach of disabled soccer team is pitch perfect

Serina Duarte/staff

PETITE LADY IS A BIG CAT — Southwestern College architect major Poema Sandoval has won praise and earned the respect of her Chula Vista Pumas soccer team for disabled players. By Adriana Heldiz Assistant News Editor

Poema Sandoval is four feet and eleven inches, but a tower of power. Actually, a tower of empowerment. Sandoval is a coach of disabled young adult soccer players who knows how to make her message known without being the loudest person on the field. Last summer Sandoval was asked to help coach the Chula Vista Pumas V.I.P soccer team for disabled players ages 16-24. Players have a wide range of disabilities such as autism and Down Syndrome. She unexpectedly became an

assistant coach of the team a day later. Her learning curve was steep. “The first day was interesting,” she said. “They tried to flirt with me.” After boundaries were set, she said, players learned to treat her with respect. Sandoval’s conditioning techniques were a big adjustment for a group players who have played together since most were eight years old. Head coach Ernesto Gutierrez said he knew from the beginning that Sandoval would be perfect for the job. “They absolutely love her,” he said. “ She was stern, clear, but had compassion.”

An architecturel major and treasurer for the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) Club, Sandoval said she struggles to balance work and coaching. She is also taking child development classes to better understand her players. “The first days it was hard, really hard,” she said. “I was doing way too many things, but for the most part I’ve balanced everything.” Educating young adults is challenging, but can be joyful. One of her autistic students picked up a feather and began to examine it. Young adults with autism

usually have expressionless faces, but her student smiled as he watched the feather glide from side to side until it hit the floor. “I learned so much from them,” she said. “These are my kids.” Even parents of the soccer players such as Cristobal Medina were surprised by how easily Sandoval was able to communicate to their children. “Us parents were worried, but she is amazing,” said Medina. “I’m very happy with her.” Soccer has been known as a sport of adrenaline and speed, but for the

Chula Vista Pumas it is more than that. Communication skills and coordination are being built for those who struggle with it and sticking true to her name “Poema,” meaning “poem” in Spanish, Sandoval creates true poetry every time her players enjoy what they are doing and know that they are being treated as equals. The Pumas’ season will not start for another seven months, but Sandoval can hardly wait to step onto a field filled with grateful soccer players. “Out of everything I do, this is what I enjoy the most.”

Men’s basketball team stumbles out of the playoffs again By Madeline Cabrera & Evan Cintron Staff Writers

It’s been a long, cold, lonely winter on the basketball court for a men’s program used to going to the playoffs, but coach John Cosentino has issued a warning for 2015. Things will be different next year. Southwestern College finished 1115 overall and 4-4 in the Pacific Coast South Athletic Conference, good enough for second place. SWC’s fierce freshmen will return.

“[It was tough] blending 12 new players together,” he said. “We didn’t have a lot of experience and that was the biggest thing. A lot of new freshman.” A lot of talented freshmen. First-year forward Shawn Lathan emerged as team MVP, leading the team in almost every statistical category. He was second in the conference in points per game, rebounds per game, field goal percentage and three-point percentage, making him the only player to be in the top three in all four categories. “He has always put in time on the

court,” Cosentino said. “But it’s the other things like going to class and not being a distraction.” Lathan led the way in the home finale against Cuyamaca College. The Jaguars dominated both sides of the court. Their defense forced Cuyamaca to take low-percentage shots as SWC cruised, 82-64. Lathan had 21 points and sophomore forward Jimmie Edler notched 17. Against Imperial Valley College, the Jaguars pulled within one point to end the half at 33-32. In the second half they played with a sense of urgency and tough defense. With the Jags leading 58-57 withw 25 seconds left, freshman guard Jacob Craig made a key three pointer to seal a 64-59 win. Elder led scorers with 19 points and Lathan added 15. Facing Southern California’s topranked team, Mt. San Jacinto College, the Jags were met with their biggest challenge of the season. Mt. San Jacinto’s height made it difficult to grab rebounds and score inside the paint. Even so, SWC was able to control the tempo and led 22-20 at halftime. Lathan said Cosentino motivated the team with an inspiring halftime address.  “Coach told us we have another 20 minutes (to) play so we have to keep working hard until the game is over,” said Lathan. “As long as we keep playing together as a team we can win.” SWC, however, did not have an answer for Mt. San Jacinto’s defense. Even with Lathan’s 15 points and Craig’s 10, SWC was outscored 38-21 in the second half, en route to a 58-43 loss. Assistant coach Domenic Cosentino said the team needed improvement. “We’re going to have to limit turnovers,” he said. “(And) make the easy baskets.” Back at home after a close loss the week before to Palomar College, the Jags were determined to defeat Miramar College. Teams were tied at halftime, 35-35. When the second half buzzer rang, SWC’s energy took off.  With an impressive series of rebounds, steals and scoring, the Jags pulled off a 74-68 win. Lathan had 28 points and Edler 8. Although it was a rough season for the Jags, their young core of athletes bodes well for the team’s future. Cosentino admitted he is still learning after 30 years of coaching. Photos by John Domogma “I wasn’t patient enough,” he said “I still need to work that. Sometimes A POINT TO MAKE — (l) Sophomore guard Julian Stewart takes flight. (above) I forget that they are still 18 and 19.” Sophomore Jimmie Edler scores against Mt. San Jacinto College.



Jan. 21 - Feb. 21, 2014—Vol. 57, Issue 5

Nicholas Baltz & Colin Grylls, co-editors Tel: (619) 482-6368 E-mail:

Athletic director happy about new stadium, good students Margie Reese and Colin Grylls Staff Writers


erry Davis insists there is a reason that “student” is the first part of student-athlete. Only a tiny fraction of Southwestern College athletes are going to make a living as professional athletes, he said, but 100 percent have potential they can develop in community college. Davis is a community college product. A St. Louis native, Davis said when he was 10 years old friends started to call him “the professor” because he was always trying to teach them something. “I always have a passion for giving,” he said. “I believe the more you give, the more you get back.” At 18, Davis joined the U.S. Navy to see the world, he said, but did not see much more than San Diego where he served as a hospital corpsman. He worked in surgery for four years and stayed in San Diego after being honorably discharged. Davis said he still likes St. Louis, but he loves San Diego. “Most sailors sailed the world, but I had an opportunity to sail into San Diego and make it my home,” he said. While in the Navy, Davis attended three community colleges and earned an associates degree in general education from Mesa College. In 1986 he graduated with a BA from SDSU. He earned an MS in health administration at Chapman University in 1989. His career at Southwestern College began 27 years ago in the surgical technology program that he helped to design. He was a teacher, a coach and served as president of the SWC African-American Alliance. He became dean of the School of Health, Exercise Science, Athletics and Applied Technology in 2005. Davis said he is the administrator for five departments, including exercise science, health, administration of justice, applied technologies and computer information systems. He is also the athletic director. “It is not uncommon in California to play the role of dean and athletic director due to limited manpower resources,” he said. “I enjoy the challenges of both areas.” Davis said his pride and joy is the

John Domogma/staff

A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS — Athletic Director Terry Davis is overseeing the completion of a new football stadium that he said will be a centerpiece of the community.

new athletic field house next to the stadium scheduled for completion this summer. The four-story building will house a weight room, lockers, a laundry area, training area, classrooms, tutoring rooms and a 150-seat theater for small recitals and guest lectures. Head football coach Ed Carberry said the stadium will be Davis’ crowning achievement. “They’re going to look back and see that he oversaw the total development of the sports complex and everything that relates to students using all of the facilities,” said Carberry. “When we build those pools out there it’s going to be a community magnet.” At SWC there are seven fields, four grass and three turf. Although much of the SWC community opposes turf

due to its danger to athletes, Davis defends it. “Grass with too much use becomes dirt,” he said. “Others in the community have asked to practice on our fields and SWC has had to say no because of the wear and tear on the grass fields. Going to turf reduces water and labor costs by about 40 percent each. Turf has provided community access to use our fields. The baseball field, softball and track will remain grass.” He said his dream to improve academics for SWC’s athletes has already come true. “Our students are on task and focused,” said Davis. “We have such different requirements than the regular students here for athletics because we

are under the NCAA rules that most people don’t understand. Our athletes must maintain 12 units each semester. Every Monday each athlete is checked to make sure they are still enrolled in 12 units. Nine of those units have to be toward graduation, transfer or certification. Because of that there is greater opportunity to transfer. That is good news for SWC.” Gary Creason, professor of criminal justice, works in Davis’ school. “I’ve known Terry Davis many, many years,” said Creason. “I can tell him anything and he listens and he returns. We can say anything to each other and in the end, we get the job done, no matter what.” Davis said Mohandas Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Cesar

Chavez inspire him. “All three men sacrificed, which helps you be successful,” he said. “When you go to college you sacrifice. What you’re doing today is not what you will be doing in 10 years. If you hang in there it will be worth it.” Davis said he plans to retire before 2020. He said he would like to teach health or management, but also has a soft spot for the national pastime. “I love baseball and I really want to be an usher at baseball games,” said Davis. “I love to see people happy and I have to be doing something that is helping people. I would love to work at Petco Park or Starlight Theatre. I can’t get bored. I have to do multiple things at the same time. For me it works.”

Home-grown soccer coach steps in and saves the season By Alma Hurtado & John Domogma Staff Writer and Photo Editor

Growing up in Logan Heights, Carolina Soto could not wait to get out of the South County. Once she did, however, she had a huge change of heart. Now, after starring in college and playing professional soccer, her heart belongs to the women’s team at Southwestern College and Chula Vista High School. Soto was asked to take over the SWC program less than three weeks before the start of the season when coach Karyna Figueroa went on maternity leave earlier than expected. Several Lady Jaguar players had already quit before Sotto arrived, but those who stayed say they are glad they did. “We’ve had our struggles, but overall she (Soto) is a good coach,” said goalkeeper Donna Greenman. “I look forward to figuring out how to make our team stronger.” Forward Jennifer Rodriguez praises Soto’s coaching efforts. “She had a lot to deal with through-out the season but she brought it together not only with her skill in teaching, but also relating to us and getting to know us on

a different level,” she said. “That really helped out.” Soto said she was happy to step in. She pulled together the team quickly and posted a 12-7-2 record (9-4-2 conference). Very impressive considering the circumstances. “I wanted to come back and help my community,” she said. “I want to be a role model.” Soto said she played with a soccer ball before she could even walk. She credited her soccer-player father with igniting her passion for the sport. “My dad has been my biggest influence,” she said. “There are pictures of us when I was about 1 or 2 years old and I’m sitting on his lap in his team pictures.” The Beautiful Game is part of h e r f a m i l y h e r i t a g e , s a i d So t o. “I’ve always had a lot of support from my father and my entire family,” she said. It could have been very easy to fall in with the wrong crowd as a young Latina in a place like Logan Heights, Soto said, but soccer became her outlet and ultimately opened a door to a world of opportunities. “I grew up in a tough neighborhood,” she

said. “Other people were out doing things they weren’t supposed to do, but soccer kept me away from that.” At age 9 she began playing for the local YMCA league and worked her way onto elite teams like Crusaders Spirit and the Bonita Rebels. After serving as team captain at Montgomery High School she attended USIU then Long Beach State University, earning degrees in kinesiology and Chicano/ Latino studies. She played professionally for the San Diego Gauchos and coached with Olympic gold medalist Julie Foudy. C o a c h i n g t h e L a d y Ja g u a r s has been a revelation, she said. “This is my calling,” she said. “I feel completely blessed.” Rodriguez describes Soto as a person and a coach. “She has a passion for soccer and for helping players develop their skills,” said Rodriguez. “As a coach she is determined to get the players to be on the same page and flow with each other, no matter the situation.”

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Priscilla Berumen/staff

SUPER SUB — Carolina Soto took over the women’s soccer team on short notice and led it to a second place finish in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference.


The Southwestern College Sun

Jan. 21- Feb. 21, 2014—Vol. 57, Issue 5

Gabby Robledo

Cardedra Evans

Photos by John Domogma

FAST BREAK—Freshman Taylor Smalley fires a down court pass in the Lady Jaguar’s 63-40 win against San Diego Mesa College.

Court Jesters No More Brianna Davis

Coach Cherry has weeded out divas and distractions to forge a cohesive team of contenders. By Nicholas Baltz & Victor Ene Co-Sports Editor & Staff Writer

Alexis Harris

Grace Ward

It’s another silver medal for the Lady Jaguars basketball team after a heartbreaking 60-48 loss to Mt. San Jacinto College in the conference championship game. Head coach Darnell Cherry said he was disappointed, but saw a silver lining. “San Jacinto is a good team,” he said. “They were a state championship team last year, so we knew it was going to be a tough battle coming in and trying to get a win. But you know, I’m proud our squad played hard. They fought until the end. It was a good game.” It was another sterling season for the Lady Jags, who racked up a shiny 19-8 overall record and 11-3 in conference, but also the third consecutive year they have been bridesmaids in the Pacific Coast Conference. In the title contest, referees called a tight game as each team had 11 first half fouls. Southwestern struggled from the free-throw line all day, shooting 13-30, but trailed by only two at halftime, 21-19. In the second half it began to unravel for the Lady Jags. They allowed Mt. San Jacinto to get second chances on offense for easy layups, falling behind 35-26 six minutes into the half. SWC was outrebounded 54-34 on the day and only tallied two team assists, well short of their season average 11. Offensively, the ball would just not go in. Sophomore guard Gabby Robledo finished second in the PCAC in three-pointers per game and free throw percentage, but she made just 5 of 11 from the line and 2 of 10 from three-point range. SWC shot just 23 percent from the floor and racked up 10 team fouls with five minutes remaining. Three key players fouled out, including sophomore guard Cardedra Evans, freshman forward Brianna Davis and freshman forward Tia Griffs. With two minutes left, the Mt. San Jacinto

lead was cut to 52-44, but comeback chances disintegrated after three technical fouls on one play. A foul call in front of the team bench caused a frustrated Cherry to call for a timeout when the team had none remaining. He was whistled for a technical foul. Frustration boiled over, as Cherry and assistant coach Christian Brodt were each called with additional technical fouls. Mt. San Jacinto held on to win 60-48, sinking 19 of 29 free throw attempts for the game. Cherry did not blame the fouls for the loss. “You can’t control the officials,” he said. “You just have to go out and play. That’s pretty much where it’s at. We’re going to fight for our players regardless.” A Slow Start The loss was a microcosm of an up-and-down season. After starting 8-6, the Lady Jags rattled off seven straight wins to move into the thick of the PCAC race. Evans said teamwork was the key. “Once we started sharing the ball and getting everyone involved, everything started coming together,” she said. Defense was the staple of this team, suffocating opponents. The Lady Jags averaged 22 forced turnovers a game, best in the conference and 10th in the state. They were even better at avoiding turnovers, finishing second in the state with 12 per game. Mt. San Jacinto: Take One With an epic comeback in their first matchup against Mt. San Jacinto, the Lady Jags stormed into first place. Robledo’s hot hand brought the Lady Jags within 4 points at 41-37. A furious fight to the finish ensued. Trailing 38-27 the Lady Jags needed a spark. Robledo lit the fuse. She scored 10 straight points in a two-minute span, bringing the Lady Jags to life and the home crowd to its feet. “I was having an off day and just needed to

put it behind me,” she said. “We needed someone to step up, so as a leader and a captain, I thought I should be the one to put something together for us.” Sophomore guard Alexis Harris gave the Lady Jags the lead with a three-pointer from the corner with three minutes remaining. Mt. San Jacinto however, responded with a three, knotting the game at 50-50 with two minutes left. With one minute remaining and the game tied at 54, Robledo found an opening with her signature step back move and drained a threepointer to put the Lady Jags ahead for good. Mt. San Jacinto was left in a stunned silence as SWC held on for a thrilling 59-54 victory over the defending state champions. Robledo finished with 21 points, including four three-pointers. Harris also pitched in with 15 points and Ward contributed 14 points as the three guards scored all but nine of their team’s points. Ward said the players found themselves in the victory. “We had our heads down in the beginning, but our heart came back in the situation and we pulled away, with the grace of God,” she said. A slip up against San Diego City College cost the Lady Jags’ sole possession of first place, but after clutch victories over Grossmont and Palomar College, Cherry said they were determined. “We play every game with a sense of urgency,” Cherry said. “But when we lose it seems like it’s more heightened in practice and those things. So it shows that they have that intestinal fortitude.” The Lady Jags entered the championship game with confidence, Cherry said, tied for first and on a four-game winning streak. Mt. San Jacinto won the rematch though, and a Cinderella season struck midnight. Cherry said it was a rewarding journey. “It’s been a little difficult just because of the different personalities, but I’ve really enjoyed it,” he said. “It’s a really good group of girls to work with and winning always helps, too.”



January 21—February 21 Volume 57, Issue 5


The Southwestern College Sun

Anna Pryor/Staff


By Jason O’Neil • Staff Writer

t first glance the Terrace Park Cemetery in Holtville, California, looks like any other. Green grass, trees, flowers and beautifully chiseled granite headstones mark the gravesites of the persons interred there.

Serina Duarte/Staff

Anna Pryor/Staff

However, a closer look toward the back of the cemetery reveals a no trespassing sign next to a locked gate. On the other side, about 100 yards down a dirt road flanked by barren sunbaked dirt fields, the ground is littered with small bricks stamped with Jane and John Doe. Marking the final resting place of forgotten people—undocumented migrants who died crossing the border trying to find a better life en el norte. This section of the cemetery is the largest mass grave in the United States not resulting from a war or battle. Unless immigration is considered war. Enrique Morones, founder of the human rights organization Border Angels, has visited the cemetery for more than a decade. Morones led this year’s Marcha Migrante IX from the beaches of San Diego and Tijuana to Holtville cemetery. “There are more than 600 people buried here, most of them unidentified,” said Morones. “These people should not be dying, they simply wanted to have a better life.” Crossing into the United States through mountains and desert is a gamble migrants take. Since the construction of a border fence in the 1990s more of them are left with no alternatives but to risk their lives crossing. Those buried in Terrace Park lost that wager and are still isolated behind a fence. When describing the unsightly conditions of this paupers’ cemetery, Morones sees the irony. “It is a sad situation,” he said. “Even in death they are marginalized.” Morones said more unidentified remains are transported to neighboring Ocotillo and others are cremated with no chance of identifying them. Border Angels is a non-profit organization that raises awareness of immigrant struggles in the community. Every year, on the anniversary of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that ended the Mexican-American War, Border Angels hosts Marcha Migrante. Alicia Cervantes, an activist from Salt Lake City, Utah, participated in this year’s march because she says the United States needs immigration reform. “We are all human,” said Cervantes as she wiped away tears. Buddy Bell, a school bus driver from Chicago, Illinois, voiced similar concerns. “It falls on us,” Bell said. “As people who live in the U.S. to pressure our government to have a humane immigration policy.” Morones says current legislation before Congress is not the answer to the problems immigrants face because they do not want a path to citizenship as much as they want to have legal status. If approved, the current bill will authorize more construction on extending the border fence. At the conclusion of the march Morones thanked the participants. “This creates a lot of awareness about what is taking place,” he said. “But the marcha really goes on. There is so much more work to do.” As everyone left the cemetery, the groundskeeper was waiting inside his tool shed watching. Someone had to lock the gate. GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN — (clockwise from top) Alicia Cervantes of Salt Lake City was overwhelmed by the tragedy of the Holtville Cemetery. John Hernandez is a long-time Border Angels supporter. Buddy Bell came all the way from Chicago for Marcha Migrante IX. Founder Enrique Morones prays for a deceased veteran. Border Angels activist Roberto Rubio.

Serina Duarte/Staff

Balkis Nasery/Staff

January 21- February 21, 2014 Volume 57, Issue 5


The Southwestern College Sun


Photos by Karen Tome/ Staff

XX MARKS THE SPOT — Maxx Moses presents abstract paintings celebrating freedom in his stunning exhibition “Good Morning America” at the SWC Art Gallery.

NOT FOR SALE Powerful exhibit cries out against social injustice


By Andrew Perez v Staff Writer

raffiti artist Maxx Moses may lack subtlety, but he makes up for it with talent. His bold art screams against injustice. His passionate paintings celebrate African-American history in all its gory glory. Anger and rebellion seethe under the surface of every stroke of the brush, every paste of newsprint, every spray of the can. His exhibit “Good Morning America” is satirically named but seriously serious. Walls of the Southwestern College Art Gallery are aflame with his vivid vision. Moses pulls no punches, even for the commander-in-chief. In 2012 he was asked to contribute a painting for a series concerning the state of racial America for President Obama’s re-election campaign. His entry, “The Final Sale,” was deemed too controversial by the art curator and was not used. It features a larger-than-life self-portrait of Moses smiling maniacally at the viewer. His beard is checker boarded, the word “whore” writ on his cheek and a blue star tattooed around his eye. Next to this face in bold black, the words “Nigger For Sale,” with a defiant “not” spray-painted over “Nigger.” “There is not really a difference between street art and these paintings,” he said. “This was just a merging of those cultures. Yet there was a lot of research and learning involved in this and I used the information I got.” Moses said he was particularly smitten with the Reconstruction era and its upheaval of

land and cultures. America’s first promise of freedom to African-Americans following the Civil War was broken, with more to come. His art career began as a kid living in New York City. His canvas was the walls of the Big Apple. His pallet was his grip of canned spray paint. “Doing graffiti was my introduction to the art world,” he said. “As a teenager, I remember just looking at the writing on the wall and questioning it, like what are these names? Who is doing all this? I thought it was illegal.” The hidden world of these street artists kept beckoning to Moses and time after time he heeded their call, scrawling his name over the trolley stations. The very nature and significance of what these drawings meant were a mystery even to him. “I look at this as trying to find my own identity,” he said. “The act of writing graffiti compelled me. It compelled me beyond any laws, it compelled be beyond anything my parents thought and any

beliefs I had. I had to do it.” It was not always easy, he said. What Moses called art others called vandalism. This hatred baffled a young Moses who thought he did nothing wrong. Dr. Rachel Hastings, assistant professor of communication, said the college art gallery has never had anything quite like the artwork of Moses. “Visually the colors pop and so the vibrancy of the colors is really invitational,” she said. “The overlying of ideas are so intriguing that whether you feel invited or feel outside of it, you are going to be thinking of something.” Hastings said Moses’ creations have inspired many of her students to create and incorporate racial and taboo themes in their own art. Not everyone on campus was enthusiastic about Moses’ art. Photography student Enrique Quijada said he felt that the anti-Americanism present in many of the paintings was a bit much. “I do not think Moses was very honest about his art,” he said. “I do not mind the ‘n’

word, but when I saw the words “Is America worth it?” I felt that that was a bit offensive, it seemed out of place. America is a wonderful country and for him to go and disrespect that, it is just not right.” Hastings offered another perspective. “I think that for those folks who are not African-American, who are not familiar with the African-American experience in the United States, can definitely feel off put,” she said. “It is really difficult to look at the imagery and to see how he highlights the Klu Klux Klan, to look at all the details and see castrated individuals and then to ask ourselves ‘Is this how we feel about America?’” Moses said his exhibition underscores how humans are commodified. In each of the paintings a grotesquery stares back. A nude Statue of Liberty having the milk drained from her nipples in one, a black slave hooked up to a barbaric 60 pound chocker selling “Act Right” miracle elixir in another. “We are all being enslaved,” Moses said. “We are being marketed. We are the new niggas.”


Daphne Jauregui, editor


Jan. 21 - Feb. 21, 2014 Volume 57, Issue 5

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


Vagina Monologues returning By Victoria Leyva Staff Writer

Vagina. A simple word that can cause men to cringe and women to blush. A word so powerful that it has become a taboo even though half the world’s population has one. Eve Ensler’s episodic play, “The Vagina Monologues,” brings power back to women by embracing the word as more than just anatomy, but as a woman’s entire feminine experience. Premiering in 1996, “The Vagina Monologues” is more than just a play, it is now a movement. Constructed of mu lt i ple m onologues, the play highlights aspects of the female self that include menstruation, sex, love, rape, masturbation, birth, genital mutilation, domestic abuse and orgasm. Although most of the monologues confront heavy subject matter that challenge taboos, there are moments of humor. S u s a n O ’ S h a u g h n e s s y, independent director of this year’s SWC production, said the monologues empower women. “‘The Vagina Monologues’ is about healing, you never know what another woman’s story is,” she said. “The biggest goal of the production was to begin to change the subculture of women being subjected to different types of abuse.” What makes “The Vagina Monologues” special to the Southwestern College campus is that it is part of a large movement called V-Day, also started by Eve Ensler. Spanning from February 14 to April 30, presentations of the play are given to fundraise in support of domestic abuse survivors. SWC was contracted by the Chula Vista non-profit theatre On-Stage Productions to fundraise using “The Vagina Monologues.” Proceeds are given to local community crisis centers serving women, with a small portion benefiting the global efforts of V-Day. Ev e r y p e r f o r m a n c e h a s multiple actresses reading the different monologues so that audience members will be able to easily identify with the stories. With no flash or glamour, the play is meant to be raw and poignant. Focus is to remain on the subject each monologue brings forward rather than how well decorated a stage can be. Women of all ages, ethnicities and sizes as well as transgender women are encouraged to participate in the play in order to create a sense of community and trust. Creating an intimate setting, all of the actresses will be seated on stage for the duration of the performance while they take turns reading their monologues. For this particular presentation the women will be reading from their scripts on stage rather than memorizing lines. Rehearsals and preparation are kept to a minimum to keep the entire format simple. “ We will only have two rehearsals so that when the person reads another person’s story it is fresh,” said O’Shaughnessy. Instead of avoiding the word vagina like the plague, SWC students and the community are invited to watch “The Vagina Monologues” on April 25 and 26 in Mayan Hall. There may be moments where men cringe and women blush, but everyone has the chance to learn and think.

Garibaldistas grab Grammys By Wendy Gracia Assistant Campus Editor


Courtesy Photos

GLASS CEILING BREAKERS — Men have dominated Mariachi for decades, but no more. Mariachi’s new rulers are women. Mariachi Divas, featuring SWC alumnae Jillian Kardell (top), recently won a Grammy award.

ariachi has officially given machismo the boot. Women have trumpeted their arrival with a groundbreaking win at the 56 th Annual Grammy Awards, and a duo of talented Southwestern College alumnae helped to blaze the way. Former SWC Mariachi Garibaldi musicians Jillian Kardell, 21, and Carolina Hidalgo, 21, shared a Grammy for Best Regional Mexican Music Album as members of the all-women’s ensemble Mariachi Divas de Cindy Shea for its album, “A Mi Manera” (“My Way”). Kardell and Hidalgo credited their training at SWC under Professor of Music Dr. Jeff Nevin for propelling their careers and for being a global force for women in mariachi music. Mariachi Garibaldi is considered the world’s best collegiate mariachi program. “When I joined, I didn’t really know much,” said Hidalgo. “He really taught me a lot of technique and a lot of ways to improve on my music. Being in the group really taught me a lot, really taught me how to be a good musician.” Hidalgo joined the Divas last

October after auditioning at a mariachi festival in Rosarito, Baja California. Neither she or Kardell saw this coming. “I was a baby,” Kardell said. “I’m just a little girl from Southwestern College. I never imagined that something this big would happen coming out of San Diego.” A chemistry major at UC Irvine, Kardell’s “weekend job” includes playing violin and singing with the Mariachi Divas. She said she first picked up the violin in third grade and went on to play mariachi in middle school because there was no classical strings program. She immediately fell in love with it, she said, and by the time she got to high school, she was at a much higher skill level than her peers. She enrolled at SWC and met Nevin, who has fond memories of his former students. “They were important and had performed with us and traveled with us,” he said. “(Kardell had) gone with us to the World Mariachi Festival in Guadalajara on many of our trips.” Practicing three hours a week with SWC Mariachi Garibaldi and countless hours at home locked in her bathroom to emphasize the acoustics of her violin, Kardell said she is dedicated to doing what she loves. “When it comes to professionalism a n d h ow y o u p r e s e n t y o u r s e l f,

I want to keep growing as a musician and as a person,” she said. Kardell has the support of her mother, Juliet Kardell, who works for the SWC MESA program. “It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Juliet Kardell said. “It’s kind of a joke now, because it’s the third time she’s had this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” Ju l i e t K a r d e l l n o w c o u n t s herself as a mariachi fan. “It’s been really rewarding for her,” she said. “There were days I literally had to pry the violin bow from her chubby little hands. Who would have thought that that would lead to the Grammys?” Like most college students, Kardell sometimes struggles to balance school and work – even when your job is playing for a Grammy-winning mariachi group. “There is something beautiful about this job,” she said. “It will be better tomorrow and with guidance from mentors Cindy Shea and Beto Jimenez, you know that it will be.” Nevin said he is proud of his Divas. “There are only a handful of mariachi groups that are really at the top of the field,” he said. “We’ve had a number of our students go into several of the top mariachi bands.”

SWC gallery director is himself a work of art By Romina Serrano Staff Writer

Longhaired New York artist Vallo Riberto arrived in San Diego in the 1960s expecting to find a dull, conservation Navy town. Not even. “I lived in Los Angeles so I definitely had a sense of California culture, but San Diego I didn’t know at all,” he said. “There are tremendous inroads with the art pulse and border culture.” Riberto liked the South County so much he came back after earning his MFA from Notre Dame in 1995. He began teaching at SWC in 1997. He had previously earned a BA at Governors State University in fine arts and art history, and Yale for a two-year graduate program in fine arts. His education began in 1963 as an apprentice to a master printer for stone and plate lithography at the Pratt Graphic Art Center in New York City. It gave him a look into the education of college students from the perspective of a director. Transitioning to a West Coast community college was a big leap. “It was a challenge,” he said. “There are more adults in the system which brings more problems in terms of singleparenthood, joblessness and people trying to rebuild their lives.” Riberto was a single parent during his years at Notre Dame and the experience helped him to develop empathy for others. “Students who begin following their creative endeavors later in life do not know what is out there for them,” he said. “They have no idea what their community has to offer in terms of art culture or gallery culture.” Seeing his students succeed as artists and teachers makes his work fulfilling, Riberto said. His students have graduated from UCSD, SDSU and the Art Center College of Design, he said. Riberto exhibited a collection of portraits entitled “Life Old and New”

Cindy Borjas/staff

WONDERWALL — Vallo Riberto, SWC’s talented and well-connected gallery director, works wonders with a tiny budget and a big vision.

that depicted people he had met in the Art world, including artist Janin Philippe, Museo d’Arte della città di Ravenna artistic director Claudio Spadoni and photographer Gustavo Mayoral. Originally a software engineer, Mayoral was inspired by Riberto to pursue photography. “Seeing my portrait by Riberto in a gallery is such a great experience,” said Mayoral. “It is a completely different vision.” Mayoral said he has known Riberto for 13 years and has seen his work evolve. He knew Riberto’s wife, Rosa Sandoval Riberto, since childhood and reunited with her while she and Riberto were dating. “Vallo is extremely talented and I consider him a mentor,” said Mayoral. “He has been in the arts for a long time and I am astounded by his great passion and hospitality. I hold him very near to

my heart.” Timothy Earl Neill, an art instructor at SWC, is a former gallery exhibition student of Riberto’s who earned a degree in graphics. He helps his former professor in the gallery and with marketing. “Holding fund raisers and symposiums are just some of the ways that we have used to raise awareness to the gallery and build inroads with other galleries and museums,” said Riberto. Reinvigorating the college’s poorly-funded gallery involves encouraging all types of students to experience art. Neill is a valued Riberto adviser. “We are looking at things that are more cutting edge, choosing the right shows to showcase contemporary art but also lecturing in academia,” said Neill. “This creates the opportunity for art to be built upon and not replicated.” San Diego’s stereotype as laidback beach

community is slowly starting to change in terms of its blossoming art scene, Riberto said. Barrio Logan is a hotbed of culture where work is gaining new visibility due to its proximity to the Gaslamp Quarter. Still, concerns over drop in viewership of the gallery have raised questions on how to increase exposure. Robert Matheny, the founder of the SWC gallery in 1961, said times have changed. “Public Relations have evolved so much over the years that I would not know how to begin to attract viewers to the gallery,” he said. Riberto said he considers SWC to be a premier center for culture in San Diego County. SWC ‘s reputation in years past as a theater hub and its current status as a mariachi and vocal music center help support the visual arts as well, he said. For SWC’s visual arts guru, it’s never a dull moment.


The Southwestern College Sun

Jan. 21 - Feb. 21, 2014 Volume 57, Issue 5


Giant Veggies are

BigFun By Angela Soberanes Staff Writer


or parents, getting their children to eat vegetables is an art and a science. For Marisol Rendon it is purely an art. Southwestern College’s brilliant professor of art created the criticallyacclaimed exhibit “Wobbleland,” part of “Feast: The Art of Playing with Your Food” at the New Children’s Museum in downtown San Diego. Her sculptures of oversized fruits a n d v e g e t a b l e s m a r r y “A l i c e i n Wonderland” to “Veggie Tales” in a hands-on experience for children and

their parents. Rendon is bucking the timeless parental admonition, “Don’t play with your food.” She wants kids to play with it, climb on it and lay all over it. “Parents cook for their children and it is a struggle to have them eat their food,” she said. “This project encourages children to see their food differently.” Children can hide under giant water drops falling from the giant sink and sail a watermelon boat. Kids use their creativity to conjure up fun adventures while sitting in the boat. “The idea of imaginative playing with the boat, being the sailor, looking

Courtesy Photos

VEGGING OUT — Marisol Rendon’s masterful installation “Feast” at the San Diego Children’s Museum is a big time attempt to get kids to eat better.

for sharks, the space becomes an ocean,” said Rendon. “I wanted everything to be playful and colorful, but at the same time with a lot of movement.” A giant wedge of Swiss cheese has holes for children to crawl through and a cantaloupe slice doubles as a rocking chair. Monika Lopez, mother of three-year-old Ceasar, said she enjoyed learning something new about her son by watching him interact with other kids. “I like how he’s playing with all the fruits and naming them,” she said. “I didn’t think he knew what each one was. I helped him figure out what some of the vegetables were, but he found his own way of playing with them.” Since mothers have to spend so much time in the kitchen trying to figure out what to cook, Rendon thought of making the play area in that theme. “Everything is designed from things that toddlers are supposed to enjoy,” she said. Megan Dickerson, manager of exhibition development at the

museum, said Rendon’s installation has been hugely popular. “Marisol is not only a good designer and artist, but she’s a good craftswoman,” said Dickerson. “Wobbleland” pieces teach children to recognize shapes, colors and textures, Dickerson said. An avocado teetertotter entertains toddlers as parents sit comfortably on fruit ottomans. “Wobbleland” gives toddlers a place to create their own world while socializing with others. “They become performers in this space,” Dickerson said. Designing interactive objects for children was a new experience for Rendon. “I felt the need to study and approach design myself and this gave me a great opportunity,” she said. Rendon had a food-themed exhibition at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido called “Esperanto” (Hope) that explored world hunger. A giant plate expressed the hope for food as well as the lack of food. Rendon hosted a fundraiser where children drew their own fruits and vegetables for a chance to get their

design printed on t-shirts to benefit “I used to work with the idea of hunger,” said Rendon. “In Columbia, I grew up with the basic things.” Her mother cooked with simple ingredients like green onions and tomato, which Rendon saw as vital to her survival. Her installation, “El Ratón Pérez Si Existe,” consisted of those ingredients sitting on 200 black pillows and a simulation of a refrigerator that did not work. “It does not work because we don’t need a refrigerator,” she said. “We have to eat everything fresh that day.” Rendon said “Wobbleland” was a stretch for her because it is playful. “I work around poverty and desperation and psychological dramas through a very subtle image, and this is completely the opposite,” she said. Rendon’s creation inspired the museum to open the Green Bellies Café featuring a child-friendly menu. Her installation, it seems, provides more than just food for thought. Mariana Saponara contributed to this story.



‘Love & Liberation’ is a grand poetry slam Jazz Café is

By Victoria Leyva Staff Writer

Their hands moved through the air with grace and authority. Smooth voices rising and shaking with passion as their diction weaved poems that weighed heavily on the conscience and heart. Spoken verses so beautiful that audience members held onto each and every word, relishing its splendor. SWC hosted “Love & Liberation: Javon Johnson and Rudy Francisco of Fiveology” along with several students from Helix High School to perform spoken word poetry to an audience packed into the art gallery. Speaking on different aspects of African-American culture and identity, the passionate poets dictated to the audience seated on bales of hay and chairs. Epic poems and narratives that riveted spectators almost had the power to distract from the large mural of an African-American man with a slaves iron collar that each poet stood in front of. It was a stark reminder of the country’s past and gave more power to the poems that spoke of racism, ignorance and hatred that the AfricanAmerican community has faced. After a brief introduction the first and only female poet, Bry’onna Mann, confidently strolled to the stage. A student from Helix High, she did not appear nervous. She had a luminous smile until she began her poem. Starting off calmly she began to speak about how men think they can treat a woman. Her confidence was radiant, she demanded attention from each audience member and was not afraid to tell each man what she demanded. She said how as an intellectual woman she would not take average men belittling her as their form of romance. This verse resonated with women in the audience, they nodded their heads and smiled while men seemed to take note. Her passion

rose and she was angry. She demanded respect, and when she finished the whole audience saw this high school student in a different light. Later, Helix student Drake Phillips entered the stage. Whether it was nerves or confidence, he appeared stoic in front of the audience. He had a deep, rich voice not congruent with a slender teenager. His poem was commanding from the second he spoke, with an authority in his voice that rang through the gallery. He announced that he was sick of being treated as a second-class citizen and that only ignorant people would believe that racism from slavery would not affect him to this day. Then suddenly he stopped in the middle of his poem. Originally it seemed Phillips was overcome by emotion, but he had actually forgotten the rest of the words. The silence in the room was unbearable. People softly encouraged and comforted him and he began again. After a couple more attempts, he walked off of the stage. Audience members seemed sad, because they were eager to hear what else he had to say. Once the highlight poets Javon Johnson and Rudy Francisco took to the stage, the audience was captivated for the next hour of the performance. Both men seemed completely at ease, Francisco was dressed like a preppy East Coast student while Johnson was in casual attire. They began with a duet poem with such precision that any artist would be impressed. Facing different areas of the audience they alternated verses, reiterating that they were proud and strong black men although society and fellow Americans sometimes portrayed them as terrorists. Their voices were in unison and powerful. They seized the audience with the statement that true terrorism was not men in the Middle East, but the racism oppressing contemporary African-American men. That poem felt like a punch to the

a show of sweet love By Paulina Quintero Staff Writer


John Domogma/Staff

POETRY IN MOTION — Javon Johnson tells a rapt audience how it is.

stomach, it took the audience’s breath away. For the rest of the night’s performance the two men would take turns reciting poetry and touch on subjects like racism, self-esteem, history, awkwardness, domestic violence, religion and injustice. Some phrases sounded so beautiful pieced together that one would try to trap those words into their memory to not forget their poignant splendor. Francisco talked about being an awkward teenager evolving into an awkward adult that the audience laughing at his witty lines. Once it was his turn to speak again he turned the lighthearted environment of the room into a somber mood when he revealed the title of his poem was “A Letter to Chris Brown.” He had the ability to take the audience members

on a roller coaster of emotion and critical thinking that was thrilling to experience. In contrast to Francisco’s style of spoken word poetry, Johnson spoke with a more serious tone. He would crack small jokes between poems, but his subject matter was heavy. He recited a poem that he imagined would be Malcolm X’s last conversation to his eldest daughter before he was murdered. Fathers and beloved daughters could not help but feel their throats tighten and their eyes water. An evening of spoken word poetry promised to be entertaining, but most audience members that night began to see things differently. AfricanAmericans and other Americans were touched and transformed.

ebruary is month of romance and love was in the air at the “Jazz Café: Let’s Fall in Love” presented by the Southwestern College Jazz Vocal Ensemble. A spark of romantic energy electrified Mayan Hall with some of the best love songs ever composed. Director Tracy Burklund-Becker’s black dress was silky and elegant, and so was her group. She opened the show delicately singing a mash up of “Let’s Do It, Let’s Fall in Love,” accompanied by a wonderful rhythm section. Performers seated two or three per table conjured an amorous atmosphere. Lovers in Paris, sat in view of the Eiffel Tower, with a single rose in a vase. The band was magnifique, highlighted by bassist Kyle Bayquen, who provided thunder down under. Jon-Anthoni Nieves went looking for love in the audience and handed a pretty lady a red rose. He guided her to the stage, singing “Fever,” Peggy Lee’s 1956 classic. Victoria Ortiz, impressed the audience with her soothing “A Ghost of a Chance,” and Mitchell Horne connected with “The Way You Look Tonight.” Erick Jimenez and Alex Lira dueted on “Strangers in the Night” as dancers swayed in the background, washing the audience in nostalgia. “My Funny Valentine” was a rousing finale by the group that truly had hearts pumping. On this night, for lovers it was easy to love the singers of the Jazz Vocal Ensemble. They poured out their hearts.


The Southwestern College Sun



January 21 - February 21, 2014—Volume 57, Issue 5

INSTRUCTIONS: From 2 to 20,000 players. Using a single die, each player tries to advance to the end of the game and transfer to a university. Along the path they will find opportunity and peril. Setbacks abound, but players who are smart, resilient and persistent will make it to the end of the path. Good luck!




January 21 - February 21, 2014, Volume 57 Issue 5

The Southwestern College Sun


TWO WORLDS ONE FENCE By Gonzalo Quintana / Staff Writer


Karen Tome/staff

FROM SERVICE TO DEPORTEE — Hector Barajas, a United States Air Force veteran, joined the military to create a better life for his family, but was deported to Mexico and lives in the squalid Tijuana River bottom. He can no longer see his daughter.“This is illogical, I fought for them [the United States] and now I am here alone with my heart broken,” Barajas said. (below) Marcha Migrante begins as people gather on both sides of the San Diego/Tijuana border to peer through the fence at loved ones.

t was a classic case of happy scene played against sad scene. Una fiesta en el norte, tragedia en el sur. Marcha Migrante IX brought it all into focus. As norteño music churned through the sunshine and cool breeze on the beach at the southwestern most point of the continental United States, los pobres suffered in silence at the northwestern most point of Mexico. A hulking wall of flaking rust split the sandy beach and reached out into the foamy waves like a dirty knife in whipped cream. Even the ocean cannot wash away the border. Friendship Park on the American side and Plaza Monumental de Tijuana on the Mexican slopes are all that is left of the once-friendly, once-open relationship between two great nations. Looking at the oxidized chunks of naval landing strips that the American government pulled from the trash, stuck into the beach and called border security, it is difficult to imagine that most Mexicans and most Americans are actually very fond of each other. Enrique Morones and his band of Border Angels have not forgotten the dream of Friendship Park, a place established by the Nixon administration and opened by Mrs. Nixon herself to promote crossborder fellowship, brotherhood and trust. Fellowship and brotherhood are a thing of the past. Trust has been completely destroyed. The Wall is everywhere. Morones said The Wall is in the minds of migrant workers braving freezing mountains, sweltering deserts and filthy rivers to find work in el norte. The Wall is in the minds of people in tropical Mexico and blustery Chicago who are wondering where their loved ones are. The Wall is where grim-faced young men and women in olive uniforms with guns stare across la frontera looking for signs of activity. Since 1996, when Operation Gatekeeper ordered the federal government to build a wall between Los Estados Unidos de America and Los Estados Unidos de Mexico, the two great countries are less united and more divided than ever, Morones said. “Mr. Obama, tear down this wall!” Morones shouted, evoking Kennedy and Reagan at Berlin. Border Angels on the north side and Mexicanos on the south cheered as Border Patrol agents looked on impassively. The Wall, at least for now, is not going anywhere. Dichotomy and irony where merely yards apart. Just steps over the border from the world’s richest country are the world’s poorest people. A nauseainducing refugee camp that has sprung up in the trash and sewage-choked Tijuana River has swollen to nearly 4,000, claim human rights advocates. Its occupants are mostly former residents of the United States who have been deported. Some are petty criminals, some are American university graduates. Some

are drug addicts, others are veterans of the United States military. All are living in squalor, unwanted by two nations. U.S. Navy veteran Amos Lee Gregory Jr. cofounded the Deported Veterans Mural Project along with deported vets Hector Barajas and Fabian Robolledo. Gregory lives in comfort in the U.S., his comrades in arms live in the rancid refugee camp in the river bed. “We want to raise awareness within the Mexican community that these men are here,” Gregory said. “We also want to raise awareness on the other side of the fence for those men who served in the U.S. military during times of war and have been honorably discharged (then deported).” Deporting military veterans is unconscionable, said Gregory. “I am treated like a hero while these men are deported back to Mexico,” he said. “We want to highlight that injustice and unite deported veterans.” Seen from afar, the veterans mural features an upside down American flag, a universal sign of distress. Barajas, who served in the Air Force with the 82nd Airborne All-Americans from 1995 – 2001, created a piece of the mural that is very close to his heart. He painted the word amor in the shape of a heart. “I did amor, which is love, because love is supposed to transcend everything,” he said. “It is supposed to open doors. I put amor for my daughter and my ex.” Barajas was deported in 2004 after serving three years in prison for discharging a firearm into a vehicle. “I am eligible for benefits,” he said. “I am eligible to be buried in the national cemetery when I die. But I have a life deportation and I am never allowed to return to the United States.” He said the U.S. government has failed to match the loyalty he and others like him demonstrated. “We were ready to give everything, our lives,” he said. Actor and activist Jose Yenque was a Marcha Migrante participant. He said it is easy to understand why migrants risk their lives to cross the border. “They are desperate,” he said. “They are looking for opportunities. They are looking to earn money. There is little opportunity (in Mexico). There is not much work here.” Marcha Migrant IX weaved back and forth across la linea from Tijuana to Mexicali, bearing witness to the suffering of migrants and collecting testimonials. “The stories were unbelievable,” said Morones. “They are stories of love for family, sacrifice, courage and suffering. They are stories of tragedy and great generosity. They are human stories in an inhumane immigration policy.”

John Domogma/staff



The Southwestern College Sun

Jan. 21 - Feb. 21, 2014—Vol. 57, Issue 5

Lebanese war refugee finds her powerful voice Student is an outspoken defender of Palestinian rights

Karen Tome/staff

MIDDLE EASTERN MARVEL —Lina Chankar was shot and beaten during the Lebanese Civil War, but survived to become a standout journalist and a SODA recipient. By Maricela Murillo Staff Writer

Lina Chankar has a well-deserved reputation for being a tough journalist and a persistent reporter. Just ask some of the perpetrators of the South Bay Corruption Scandal. Journalism, though, seems like child’s play to Chankar compared to her childhood in Lebanon, a nation gripped by a bloody civil war that left more than 150,000 dead, 1 million displaced and 250,000 refugees. Chankar was one of those survivors. “Pretty much all I remember is war,”

she said. “Growing up in a war-ridden city like Beirut was hard. There were bombings around my neighborhood. Even when my mom was in labor she could not get to the hospital because of the bombings.” Chankar and her father were victims of a bomb that went off near their car and hit them with shrapnel. It got even worse. “I was shot during the war,” she said. “Doctors told my mom I was either going to be paralyzed the rest of my life or die.” When Chankar recovered enough to travel, her family fled Lebanon in such

a hurry they left everything behind, including their home. They boarded a plane and never looked back. Chankar arrived in America in her early teens when her uncle’s petition to get her family to the United States was accepted. They settled in Connecticut, safe but traumatized. Her experiences in the Lebanese war haunted her. Chankar said she would often anticipate bombings and gunfire in the safety of her new home in Connecticut when she heard sudden noises or backfire from cars. “It took me two years to feel safe in America and actually believe there was no war here,” she said. As grateful as she was to get out of the war, Chankar said she missed Lebanon and hoped to return. While living with her uncle’s family in Connecticut, she said she experienced severe culture shock. “It was really frustrating because I was a kid and I did not understand what was going on,” she said. “Since I did not speak a word of English, I hated everything. I hated American food, especially pizza. Now I will eat it all day!” After Chankar finished high school in Connecticut, she said she was excited to travel and see more of the United States. In the Middle East travel was restricted and she had limited access to other cities. Chankar traveled to several cities on the East and West Coast, and has settled in San Diego. She was in Los Angeles when the 9/11 attacks happened and Muslims came under fire in the United States. Chankar decided to go back to her family in Connecticut. After a few years the SoCal sun called her back. “I had a few friends in San Diego, so I thought it would be a good idea to come back,” she said. When she first attended SWC, Chankar was not the friendly Senior Staff Writer at the Southwestern Sun she is today. Journalism professor Dr. Max Br a n s c o m b h a d C h a n k a r i n h i s Journalism 171 class. “My first impression of her was that she was a really serious, quiet, stonyfaced woman who hated my class,” he said. “Boy was I wrong!”

Chankar joined the staff of The Sun and became a star, Branscomb said. He later successfully nominated her for the SWC Student of Distinction Award, the college’s top student honor. “She has such a great work ethic,” he said. “Lina is now the go-to reporter for our big controversial stories. I really appreciate her.” Albert Fulcher, a former editorin-chief of The Sun, worked with Chankar for two and a half years. Like Branscomb, he is a Chankar fan. “She always works her back end off,” said Fulcher. “We are going to see a lot of her in the future. I hope she keeps her passion going.” Today Chankar does more than write and edit for The Sun. She has been an advocate for Palestinian human rights for the last 15 years and works at the grassroots level for civil rights of Palestinians in the Middle East. “My dad is Palestinian and in the Middle East if you are Palestinian you are no good,” she said. Du r i n g t h e a d m i n i s t r a t i o n o f President George W. Bush, Chankar went to the White House in 2003 to protest the war on Iraq. She also worked on the presidential campaign of Ralph Nader. Apart from her humanist activism, C h a n k a r m a n a g e s h e r ow n we b aggregator business called San Diego 411. With compiling restaurants, upcoming events, and local top news stories, 411 has grown tremendously in popularity on Facebook and Twitter. “I figured I would do some sort of news outlet, instead of going on several sites to look for information, [people] can just go to one site,” she said. Chankar said she looks forward to bringing more writers on board at 411 so she can expand her business. She said she will also continue supporting human rights for Palestinians and keep up her award-winning work at The Sun. Branscomb said she has a bright future as a journalist if she chooses to pursue it. “Lina is going to be an important voice in the media, either as a reporter, or, if she chooses, as a voice for Palestinians and other people in the Middle East,” he said. “She’s smart, fearless and talented, so she has the ability to be an impact player.”

College celebrates achievements of talented African-American students By Kasey Thomas Staff Writer


ashing in her dashiki, Donna Arnold bid the crowd “karibu!,” a Swahili welcome that tumbled as thunder across the savannah bracing for a storm of life-giving rain. Southwestern College’s ebullient dean of Arts and Communication was clear in her message. “It’s on!” Black History Month was four weeks of fun, reflection, celebration and renewal anchored by a stunning gallery exhibit by fiery Maxx Moses that was capped by SWC’s third annual Unsung Heroes and Sheroes. Honoring outstanding AfricanAmerican students and community heroes, the event danced and rocked in the Art Gallery courtyard with Moses’s “Good Morning America” exhibit towering in the background. It was a celebration, but not all party. History Professor Stanley James gave an edgy and candid talk about the roots of African-American History Month. “The African-American concept of holocaust is one that is quite unique,” he said. “It went on for 447 years and in the process of those 447 years to be exact 163,622 days in a row, the Portuguese went down in raids bringing back various Africans.” America’s slave trade was pernicious, James said. “Someone who worked for a short period of time and then was cast out, as the idea of keeping the hyena in the village, is illogical,” said James. “You do not keep hyenas as pets, they come they go and you are happy when they leave.” For generations the first AfricanAmericans spent their entire lives as slaves. “Whether you are enslaved for a month

or a year, that month or that year seems like forever,” he said. “But the AfricanAmerican in the New World could be enslaved forever.” Arnold said the evening was about students and personally paid for their scholarships. Dr. Rachel Hastings, assistant professor of communication, said the event was about the students and community honorees. “Personally, I think tonight’s event is about giving,” she said. “It is about recognizing them for giving both their time, their energy and their effort to support others, as well as us giving to those who are going to be the future givers of the world.” Hastings also said she wants to make sure students realize they are important. “I want to put the students first and I think it allows them to see they are not neglected,” she said. “Oftentimes it is easy to get lost in the masses, so for them to know their professors recognize their work inside and outside of the classroom gives them motivation to seek out opportunities on and off campus.” Student award recipient Alexis Harris, 19, a biology major, said the faculty and staff members who put on and supported the event did a great job of making students feel welcomed and special when they received their awards. “It feels really good,” Harris said. “When (my professor) first told me about the award I did not know how big a deal it was until tonight and when I saw how everyone was awarded I actually felt very honored because many of these people have done great things.” Though the event was to honor the students and community members, Harris says it affects the campus community. “It means a lot,” she said. “As a minority

you kind of get down on yourself sometiwmes and when you see an entire community supporting you, it motivates you to do great things.” Steven Whiting, 25, a telemedia and political science major, agreed. “I think it impacts the community a lot,” he said. “All of the recipients will go back to tell their friends, ‘Hey guess what I did, I got an award for doing this and being the best I can be.’ I think that will be infectious, just like a domino effect.” SWC President Dr. Melinda Nish praised students for their achievements and the community recipients for their altruism. “What they all have in common is the volunteer spirit with no expectation of special recognition,” she said. “They are the pebble in the lake that makes the ripples that touch each and every one of us more and more every day.” Unsung Heroes and Sheroes Student of Distinction awards were presented to students Elisha S. Moore, Alexis V.

Harris, Steve A. Whiting, Sonya L. Chisholm, Eddie R. Williams, Evan Cintron, Quincy E. Stephens, Shantinae L. Evans, Darryl L. Buckhanon, Theresa M. Glasgow, Denise Griffin, Cortez L. Johnson and Deleon D. Dallas. Community honorees were Clovis Honoré, Monica Honoré, Wanda Clay Majors, Tony McGee, Joyce Suber and Larry Johnson.

Victor Ene/staff

DRUMMING UP SUPPORT —Gene Perry was the heartbeat of Unsung Heroes and Sheroes.



Pluto to Plato

Jose Luis Baylon


hy is love so powerful? It is in our DNA. Over the summer, I tried to recuperate from the throes of losing the woman I loved for 3 1/2 years. I rummaged through my thoughts and kept my winds about earth and I thought about love.  Even in separation, my ex-partner’s presence inhabited my mind. That is the power of love.  Explaining love is best left to poets, but scientists have also been hard at work contemplating the realm of Cupid and St. Valentine. Forgive me if this seems reductionist, but the scientific explanation for love is Cellular Unification.  Human bodies are fashioned of many cells. They are long, short, stout, transparent, weird, rare, long-lived, short-lived and kamikazes. All of these cells belong to a group. Very much like our sun grouped with many other suns on the grand wing of the Milky Way galaxy, cells are part of a larger whole.  Leading the charge is our amazing brain. Professor of Astronomy Grant Miller calls the human brain the most astonishing creation in the universe. He is correct. Cellular unification means life and the brain is pulling it all together. Our brains are calling the shots. The brain is a multitasking marvel, simultaneously operating the lymphatic system (the reason we don’t get sick very often), the circulatory system (we cannot stay warm without it) and the endocrine system (it is why we grow).  Our brain also manages our heart, the poet’s home of love. Sorry Shakespeare, but love actually lives in the brain. As the storehouse of memory and emotion, the brain allows us to love.  Aristotle wrote that “love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies” Powerful words. Our powerful brains allow humans to create and understand powerful words. We are possibly the only life forms on Earth with the cognitive ability to have words affect our physiologic outcomes. Words can uplift, words can cripple.  Love is complicated, even for our magnificent brains. Sights, smells, words, stares, winks, voices, messages, meals, sex and memories of love are interpreted by our cells. We bring it to life. Love is Life, just ask Gandhi. “Where there is love, there is life” wrote the Mahatma. It is a fair bet that most who bask in the adulation of their lovers never consider the journey of love in the cellular world.  Once the message is received, the body carries it in all directions releasing hormones, pheromones, rushing blood, sweat and that tingly sensation. Love has not yet been found to leave a genetic marker, but it does modify a persons outward presence. Poets say love changes a man. Romantics insist love brings out the best in people. Humans enjoy being in love. It feels good.  Love creates positive outcomes inside the human body insist most neurologists, cardiologists, and physiologists. Love is healthy. Lovers have healthier hearts, brains and cells. When poets says that love affects every fiber of the body they might be right.  Shakespeare wrote: “Love is a smoke raised with the fume of sighs, being purged, a fire sparkling in the lover’s eyes” The Bard knew love. Scientists are learning. Cellular unification is the model. So far, we don’t have a clear picture of how cells communicate with each other, but we know they are at work in love. Science, like romance, is a labor of love. This Valentine’s Day read poetry and sing songs of the heart, but toss a few props to your amazing brain. If you have love on your mind, you have it in your JoseLuis may be reached at


Jan. 21 - Feb. 21, 2014—Vol. 57, Issue 5

Fernanda Gutierrez, editor


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

LON COOPER WALKS OFF THE JOB Story by Gabriel Sandoval/ Staff Writer

Courtesy Photo

THE LON ROAD HOME — Retiring SWC IT whiz Lon Cooper is hiking royalty due to his popular website and epic treks. In April he will start a 2,660 mile hike from Mexico to Canada.


orrest Gump just felt like running. Lon Cooper, Southwestern College’s peripatetic instructional lab technician, just felt like hiking.  Cooper retires from SWC on March 7, one day shy of his 59th birthday.  After bidding farewell to the campus and community he has helped to keep running, he plans to do some walking. All the way to Canada. “On April 3 I am going to Campo,” he said. “That is where the start of the Pacific Crest Trail is and I will start walking north from there, 2,660 miles to Canada.”  The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a beloved trail for hikers. Spanning from Mexico to Canada, crossing California, Oregon a n d

Washington state lines. Its southern terminus is about 38 miles east of SWC or about an hour car ride away.  From there, just beyond  26 National Forests, seven National Parks, five State Parks and three National Monuments,  its northern terminus is in Manning Park in British Columbia, Canada.  Many people hike sections of the PCT, but those who are bold hike it end-to-end, which usually takes five to six months to complete.  They call themselves thru-hikers.    More than 25 years ago, Cooper  lived in Texas and worked as a photojournalist for the Austin American-Statesman, the Dallas Morning News and various other smaller publications.  An outdoorsman all his life, Cooper thought hiking opportunities in Texas were not spectacular, but found a new career path that was. “It was the very beginning of digital imaging and the Dallas Morning News was really interested in that,” he said. “They encouraged me to learn about it, so I did.”   Cooper’s technology, computer education and expertise are a result of the time he spent working with the Dallas Morning News.   In 1995 Cooper moved to California where he worked as the information technology director at the Bakersfield California Newspaper.  Cooper soon discovered hiking opportunities in abundance.  “When I moved to Bakersfield, I was fairly close to the Sierra Nevada,” he said. “I ended up hiking the John Muir Trail that goes from Yosemite to Mount Whitney.” Prior to hiking the John Muir Trail, Cooper only had a few weekend treks under his belt, but nothing he would consider substantial.  The John Muir Trail was his first long hike and after that monumental journey he was hooked. Cooper has since hiked the PCT extensively, typically hiking anywhere from 15 to 20 miles a day. “I have been a little obsessed with the PCT,” he said.  “I have hiked it every summer, several hundred miles of it.” He has also put an extremely generous amount of time and effort into creating maps for the PCT.  His maps are the cumulative result of data logged into his GPS logging device from 2007 to 2013.  His maps can be found on his websites, pctwater. com and  Along with fellow hiker David Lippke, Cooper created Halfmile’s PCT, a free app for smart phones that is a companion to his maps.   It shows users PCT landmarks and trail notes relevant to exact locations.  Cooper’s maps are popular amongst PCT hikers and explains where his nickname, “Half Mile,” came from.     Jack Haskel, a trail information specialist for the Pacific Crest Trail Association, regards

Cooper as an expert on the PCT due to his vast knowledge from hiking and mapping it for many years. Haskel acknowledges the importance of Cooper’s maps to hikers of the PCT. “They are probably the most widely used maps for long distance hikers,” Haskel said.  “He helps to educate people through his maps.  They are definitely appreciated and loved.” Haskel estimates there are around 700 to 800 people each year who attempt thru-hiking the PCT. On Cooper’s thru-hike, Deb Kress, his girlfriend, will accompany him. “It has been his dream for a long time,” she said. Kress said they originally planned to thruhike the PCT in 2015, but decided to go this April because Cooper will retire a year earlier than anticipated. Kress, whose longest hike was a three-week continuous hike of the John Muir Trail, has mixed feelings about their imminent hike of the PCT.   “It kind of jolted me a little bit,” she said. “It is scary. I cannot wrap my head around how long this trail is. But I am feeling pretty confident that when I am following him on this trail I am going to get where I need to go.” Cooper estimates his gear, not including food and water, will weigh around 12 pounds.  That includes a backpack, a tent, a sleeping bag, a cook-stove, a knife, a first-aid kit, spare clothes, rain gear, an iPhone and a few other necessities.  He and his girlfriend will also have with them collapsible water containers, capable of carrying about seven liters, which they will refill at water caches, springs and streams.  Going north until about Lake Tahoe, they will stop at post offices to pick up packages they sent to themselves, containing food and snacks such as dried fruit, granola, quinoa, rice, beef and salmon jerky, crackers and freeze dried spaghetti.  After passing Lake Tahoe, Cooper and Kress will buy food at stores along the way. Cooper estimates they will reach Canada six and a half months after he starts or at least by October. Hikers have perished on the trail by falling off mountains, dying from hypothermia and a couple were hit by a car while hiking alongside a highway. Cooper said he is prepared and not scared. “People will ask if it is dangerous, like if wild animals are going to get you,” he said. “But I do not think of it as dangerous at all.” Donna Arnold, dean of the School of Arts and Communication, was Cooper’s supervisor during his first five years at SWC.  She was not aware of Cooper’s upcoming PCT hike, she said, but not surprised by it either because he “is a typical outdoorsman.” Arnold and his co-workers praise Cooper at SWC for his respectful demeanor, strong work ethic and concern for the quality of his work and the impact it can have on students. “When you call Lon and ask him for assistance, he is always trying to figure out the best way to solve the problem,” Arnold said. “He is a great worker, we are really going to miss him.”       Forrest Gump said he ran across the United States for no particular reason, but the swift and efficient yet ever-so-kind computer technician, knows exactly why he is hiking up the PCT. “I love the PCT, it is a great trail,” he said. “You have the natural beauty, but then there is also the aspect of a journey to set out on foot with everything you need to just walk.” And thus Lon “Half Mile” Cooper will walk, one step at a time.  Just about  5,320 half miles to Canada.

Spring 2014 - Issue 5