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CONTENTS SECTION A – NEWS Board of Regents approves Rec Center expansion ... A3 McCoy’s CEO addresses graduates, stresses importance of integrity ... A3 Former student honored with posthumous degree ... A4 Music student remembered by friends, family, faculty ... A4 Cancer detection technology improves ... A5 Text messages become first emergency alert ... A7 Qualifications of former ASG president in question ... A9 New ASG leadership sworn in ... A9 Future site of forensics facility uncertain ... A11 San Marcos’ historic downtown faces changes ... A11 Students’ unwanted clothing, belongings find new homes ... A13 Advocacy organization’s survey measures students’ acceptance ... A13 Student-lending practices under review nationwide ... A14 News Briefs ... A15 Opinions ... A16


Dear incoming Bobcats, Since 1911, The University Star, through its various monikers, has served as the primary source for information about Texas State. In April, The Star held its second reunion where former writers, editors, photographers, publication advisers and more came together to reminisce about the newspaper they helped build. In my conversations with former Star employees, people spoke about the stories they wrote or the photos they took and the impressions they made on the university and the community. While no story was the same, one theme prevailed: Everyone loved working for The Star. I encourage you to apply at The Star, which is completely student-run, if interested in any facet of the newspaper, regardless of experience. I came on board the first semester of my freshman year as an inexperienced reporter and have grown since. Not only have I been able to report

Academics & Majors ... B2 University Departments, Programs & Offices ... B6 Student Organizations ... B13 Religious Organizations ... B15


Greek Organizations ... B15

SECTION C - TRENDS Common Experience focuses on future of river ... C2 San Marcos tidbits … C3 Important San Marcos phone numbers … C3 Goodbye to a River: A journey through Texan folk history … C5 Local Flavor … C7 Local live music venues … C9 Fact: Freshman students put on extra pounds … C10 Dormitory 411 … C11


Must see San Marcos … C12 Sequels, blockbusters define summer movie season … C13 Study finds increase in prescription drug abuse … C13 Rix’s Technology Fixes ... C15 Spotted: A wandering Bobcat turns heads across campus … C16 LBJ statue has 132 friends at Texas State … C16

SECTION D – SPORTS Sam Houston State defeats Bobcats in SLC tournament final ... D2 Campus Recreation activity guide ... D3 Tactical changes come to forefront of Bobcat athletic fund-raising ... D4 Duke lacrosse weathers storm, advances to NCAA championships ... D4 Bobcat track and field coach named best in SLC ... D5 Hopeful Olympian, proven Bobcat track and field star ... D5 UT standout to go No. 2 in NBA draft ... D7 Illinois athletes under fire after legal troubles ... D7 Popular UFC champion beaten by No. 1 contender, loses title ... D9 Message not sent: NCAA bans popular recruitment method ... D9 Brutal behavior of football players connected to sport ... D9 Softball pitcher takes top honors ... D10 Bobcat women win another SLC championship ... D10 Softball has near miss at SLC Championship ... D10 Covers designed by Angie Strickland and Claude Dylan Ramey


on famous actors and musicians, politicians, locals and more, I have made lifelong friends working here. More importantly, I have established a real sense of connection to Texas State and the San Marcos community. Whether or not you decide to join The Star, I want you to know this is your newspaper. The Star has an open door policy, and we want to hear from you. Whether it’s through e-mail, phone, letter to the editor or stopping by to talk to us, we want to know what you think concerning the university, San Marcos and/or our coverage. My ultimate goal as the new editor-in-chief is having The Star continue to be the source on news that matters to you throughout this school year and beyond. Several of our editors have returned from this past year, and experienced staff has moved into our previously vacant positions. Our advertising department continues to produce remarkable sales and creative graphic design, as evidenced by the front page of each section in this issue. The hard work and dedication to this newspaper exhibited by the staff assures me we will continue to be an award-winning publication. It is my pleasure to welcome you to Texas State. I am proud to call myself a Bobcat and it is my hope you will feel the same way.


Maira Lysette Garcia Editor in Chief The University Star


Friday, June 1, 2007

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Board of Regents approves Rec Center expansion By Christine Mester The University Star

vice, the bonds will be repaid through an increase in the Student Recreation Fee. The think the If everything goes accordwas approved by a overall game- increase ing to plan, Texas State stuspring 2005 student vote. day atmosphere dents will have more room In addition to the recreto get in shape in the fall ation center project, the will be changed of 2008. A new eight-lane board authorized the univerwith the new lap pool and a rock-climbsity to spend $1.5 million on ing facility are among the updated scoreboards at Bobscoreboards expansions to the Student cat Stadium, Strahan Colisethat work as a Recreation Center apum and Bobcat Field. marketing tool proved at the May 18 Texas “We have been wanting State University System new scoreboards for a few and as a tool Board of Regents meeting. years,” said Athletics Directo enhance the The 94,000 square-foot tor Larry Teis. “We worked expansion, scheduled to really hard to get them this game.” begin this summer, will past year and to secure the —Larry Teis include a leisure pool, finances. I think the overall athletics director increased space for the game-day atmosphere will be weight room and cardiovascular areas, ad- changed with the new scoreboards that work ditional basketball and volleyball courts, an as a marketing tool and as a tool to enhance indoor soccer field, a golf simulator, a com- the game.” puter lab and a snack bar lounge area. The 1,800-square-foot football scoreboard One purpose of the expansion of the SRC at Bobcat Stadium will have a 390-square-foot is to alleviate the current overcrowding is- screen equipped to show live video, instant sues. replays and animations. “Most people know there will be a really The scoreboard is expected to be ready long wait when they come,” said Jon Janis, Sept. 1 for the football team’s first home informal recreation manager and marketing game. sophomore. “Right now the numbers don’t “I’m really excited (about the new scorematch up with how many people go to the boards),” said Jan Tolentino, finance sophoschool and how much weight room and car- more. “I go to most of the games and I think diovascular space we have here.” this will make the experience more exciting. The expansion of the SRC has been on Hopefully more people will come out to the the board’s agenda since it was adopted May games now too.” 2005 as part of the Campus Master Plan. The Kyle Morris, former Associated Student board approved basic plans prepared by Mar- Government president, addressed the board mon Mok architects in May 2006. on behalf of Texas State students. The board The project will cost $31 million and will and Morris discussed the tragedies at Virginbe funded by a Texas State revenue-financ- ia Tech University and their impact on Texas ing bond and Higher Education Assistance State. Texas State has reviewed its policies Funds. According to the University News Ser- since the attack at Virginia Tech.


Graphics courtesy of Media Relations

McCoy’s CEO addresses graduates, stresses importance of integrity By Paul Rangel The University Star The keynote speaker of the May 12 commencement ceremony addressed a packed Strahan Coliseum, citing integrity, commitment and the willingness to help others as qualities graduates should take with them as they venture into the world. “It is not what you need to do to be successful, but who you need to become,” said Brian McCoy, President and CEO of the McCoy Corporation. McCoy is a familiar name among the Texas State community. McCoy’s parents, Emmett and Miriam, donated $20 million to the university in 2004. It was the largest gift in the school’s history and the McCoy College of

Business Administration was named after them. Brian McCoy worked his way toward the position of CEO since the age of 17. He has held several positions with the company including lumberyard worker, floor salesman, store manager, vice president and co-president. Maintaining a good work ethic and striving to be successful were other key points in his address to graduates. Matthew Cumbie, a graduate of the College of Fine Arts and Communication, said he enjoyed McCoy’s speech. “(McCoy) did a good job of communicating important ethics and beliefs to a large group,” Cumbie said. He said graduates should take what McCoy said to heart as they enter the working environment.

While it was a weekend of celebration for the graduates, Strahan Coliseum was under increased security. People were searched when entering the building. Certain areas were designated as entrances while others were exits only, each guarded by at least one officer. “We’ve stepped up our security a little more since the Virginia Tech incident,” said Ralph Meyer, director of the University Police Department. “We’re concerned about the safety of everyone that’s here.” As guests were entering the building, UPD officers, in conjunction with the San Marcos Police Department, searched bags and stood ready in the event of an emergency. Officers were assigned to the various exits to prevent

people from entering through them. “We’ve implemented some new things, and we have a security plan that’s more in-depth that we feel is more beneficial for everyone,” Meyer said. Security measures were consistent throughout the graduation ceremonies. Precautions will be taken at future commencements, but each will be evaluated differently, he said. “We’ve had a really good response from the public,” Meyer said. “There haven’t been complaints about delays or things of that sort — they’ve accepted heightened security.” He said new measures were taken because of the recent events at Virginia Tech and because of the recent bomb threats occurring at Texas State. There

have been some leads about the bomb threats at the university, but Meyer said they are vague and random. There were no interruptions in any of the commencement ceremonies. Spring commencements began May 11 and continued the next day. The May 11 ceremony was for graduates of the College of Education and the College of Health Professions. Graduates from the College of Fine Arts and Communication, the College of Applied Arts, the McCoy College of Business Administration and the College of Science received their degrees May 12. “A total of 2,905 Texas State students are candidates for bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees this spring,” according to the University News Service.


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Former student honored Music student remembered with posthumous degree by friends, family, faculty By Alex Hering The University Star She was remembered as a kind, devoted daughter and an ambitious medical student from an affluent suburb of Dallas. She was determined and intelligent. Her name was Megan Hamid, a 24-year-old Texas State graduate student. Her dream was to help people. She aspired to become renowned in the field of medicine, and from the beginning of her college career she showed nothing but drive and passion. “There was never a time when I didn’t see a smile on her face,” said her father, Michel Hamid. “She chose a career where she could help other people and she never lived to accomplish her dream.” Megan Hamid’s life was cut tragically short Sept. 18, 2006, when she was killed in a car accident six miles from her home while driving on an unlit highway. In remembrance of Hamid, at a special graduation ceremony May 11, the provost’s office conferred her parents a master’s of healthcare administration. Hamid was expected to graduate in May. More than 150 guests attended the ceremony, including Mayor Susan Narvaiz, University President Denise Trauth, Hamid’s professors and acquaintances from The University of Texas Medical Branch and the Texas Hospital Association. Narvaiz gave an honorary key to the city of San Marcos to Hamid’s family on her behalf and proclaimed May 11 Megan Michelle Hamid Day. A Plano native, Hamid was in the process of completing her yearlong residency at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. Residency positions at the university are highly competitive, but it was her outstanding grades and involvement in the Texas State Department of Health Administration that got her the job. She earned a bachelor’s in 2004 from Texas State with a 3.89 GPA, and was seeking a master’s at the time of her death. “She loved Texas State,” Michel Hamid said. “She said to me, ‘Dad, you can’t go to too many universities in this country where professors with doctorate degrees are teaching all your classes.’ She said that it’s unheard of. It’s unheard of to walk into a (professor’s) office and sit down and ask for help. But she said that you could find it at Texas State. That’s why she loved it there.” Megan Hamid was a graduate assistant for Oren Renick, Texas State health administration chair and professor. Renick said Hamid was instrumental and involved in the department. “She was a great person inside and out. Academically she was able to come through with projects and be a leader as well,” Renick said. Michel Hamid said his daughter told Renick how “lucky she was” her parents paid for her education. She expressed sympathy for the “many qualified people that could not make it to school because of finances.” So now Hamid, with the help of his wife Frances and daughter Stacy, is focused on en-

larging a memorial scholarship in her name. “It’s something that my wife and daughter and I are committed to completing to make sure it becomes a reality,” Hamid said. “If we meet our goal, my wife and I are going to continue to enlarge the scholarship so we can help not only one kid but two or hopefully three.” When Renick became aware of Megan Hamid’s scholarship, he decided to run a 26-mile Houston marathon in her name to raise money for the fund. The Megan Michelle Hamid Memorial Scholarship Fund will be available fall 2008. Renick took donations from Hamid’s peers and Texas State faculty upon completion of the marathon. Renick said he was able to raise over $11,000 for the scholarship fund, which grew larger May 18 when Alpha Xi Delta, Megan Hamid’s sorority, donated $1,000. Michel Hamid said his gratitude to Renick and his family for helping raise money was immense. “Dr. Renick turned around and trained for the Houston marathon in January,” Hamid said. “God Bless him, he ran and completed the race in her name. He has never run before. We have raised some money from the race, and from the family and friends of Megan.” Hamid and his family were grateful to the Texas State community and their help in creating the scholarship and the special graduation ceremony. “There is nothing my family can do to repay Dr. Renick and Texas State for all the time and all the hard work to make the special graduation possible and the help they gave us to set up the scholarship,” Hamid said. Melinda Braun, development officer for University Advancement, said the mark Megan Hamid left was evident in the amount of support her family received. “There was just this groundswell of support. It goes to show how much impact she had on the school,” Braun said. “It is a real testament to Texas State, too. You can go to another university where you won’t even meet your professor until your final year. Here the relationships between professors and students, and students and other students are so strong that a chair of a department will run a marathon in memory of you.” Support for the family and the memorial scholarship, she said, came together from the community members, faculty and fellow classmates of Hamid. “It touched a lot of people throughout the community, and the common thread was Megan and Texas State,” Braun said.

Donations to the Megan Michelle Hamid Memorial Scholarship Fund can be sent to the Texas State Department of Health Administration c/o Oren Renick or can be made online with a credit card at catsweb.txstate. edu/app/give_to_TXstate.

By Karen Little The University Star Frederick Willrich was well known around the music building. He was involved in the University Orchestra, Texas State Chorale, VocaLibre and the Sarinda String Quartet. “You always knew when Fred was in the building because of his laugh,” said Joey Martin, associate professor of the school of music. He said Willrich liked to practice his viola in the hallway or start a “stomp” dance with fellow classmates. Willrich, music junior, died unexpectedly in April after suffering a pulmonary embolism, a blocking of the pulmonary artery by a blood clot. “Everyone loved and admired him,” Martin said. “(You) could talk to him as a friend.” Martin said he called Willrich the “zeitgeist” of the building, which is German for “the spirit of the time.” “He was sort of the spirit of the building,” Martin said. “He was incredibly talented and had great tolerance and patience for students that struggled. That’s a really admirable trait.” One of Willrich’s funniest moments, Martin said, was when VocaLibre went to Slovakia during Spring Break. Willrich and a classmate preformed a “cat duet” at the Rossini Conservatory. They had to sing in falsetto, which is a male voice in an upper register beyond its normal range. The only word they could sing was “meow.” “He sang in a B flat, which is hard for even a soprano to sing,” Martin said. “It was funny and inspiring at the same time.” Rosalind Arranz, San Marcos resident, is no stranger to Willrich’s talent. She said she liked to go to his recitals and enjoyed his performances. “I am just a fan of his,” she said. Arranz said she first heard him sing years ago when Texas State presented “A Little Shop of Horrors.” Willrich was the voice of Audrey Junior, the evil, bloodthirsty plant. “I listened to him sing a good many times,” she said. “I love to hear him sing and play the

Photo courtesy of music department FALLEN FRIEND: Frederick Willrich, music junior, died in April and is remembered for his laugh, talent and kindness.

viola.” Nick Ytuarte, music education sophomore and Willrich’s roommate, said he knew Willrich since high school. They were both in choir from different schools in Houston. “We just moved in with each other in August,” Ytuarte said. “We spent a lot of time together.” Ytuarte said Willrich’s last concert was with VocaLibre for a graduate student recital. Willrich was supposed to sing and play viola, but did not feel well. He only played his viola. “It was a great concert and came together beautifully,” Ytuarte said. He said Willrich was a friend

who was known for his compassion. “He was the most selfless person I have ever met in my whole life,” Ytuarte said. “He went out of his way and would give you anything he had even if he didn’t have anything, which is the way his grandmother raised him.” Annie Willrich, his grandmother, said Willrich was one of the “sweetest people she had ever known.” She raised Willrich and he lived with her until moving away for college. “I never had any problems with him,” Willrich said. “Growing up he had a very good understanding of everyone else’s wants and needs.”


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Cancer detection technology improves By Kawanza Newson Milwaukee Journal Sentinel MILWAUKEE — Pamela Frey put off getting her first mammogram for about eight months, so her primary care doctor took the liberty of scheduling one for her. Although Frey had a strong family history of gynecological cancers, she hadn’t thought much about her risk of breast cancer. That is, until she learned she had cancerous tissue in her left breast. Frey immediately started searching the Internet and talked to close family and friends about what she should do next. She decided to have a magnetic resource image, or MRI, taken of her breasts; particularly her right one, to detect cancers the mammogram might have missed and an ultrasound of her lower body to make sure no other cancers were forming. “I just wanted a clearer picture of my body,” said Frey, 40. “Based on my situation and genetic background, I knew I could sleep easier knowing.” Frey is among the approximately 1.6 million U.S. women at extremely high risk for breast cancer who the American Cancer Society says will benefit from both MRI and mammography during annual screening exams. Experts say MRIs are more costly and get more false results, but Frey and other patients say those are the least of their concerns. “My goal was survival,” she said. Magnetic resonance imaging is a screening tool that produces detailed pictures of internal organs and tissue. It is a non-invasive procedure and is widely used to diagnose a variety of conditions, including heart disease, cancer and injuries of muscles and ligaments. For cancer, MRI screening had been on the rise because it’s better at finding small tumors and examining women with dense breasts. However, the new guidelines, released in late March, recommend the procedure only for women with at least a 20 to 25 percent lifetime risk of the disease. This includes women with a strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer and those who have been treated for Hodgkin’s disease. Yearly mammograms for women age 40 and older are still considered the “gold standard” for cancer screening. However, they do have drawbacks,


including an inability to detect cancer in 15 percent to 25 percent of cases. A federal study released last week showed fewer women had mammograms from 2000 to 2005, a finding that concerned health officials because early detection has contributed to higher survival rates from breast cancer. “By doing both, you maximize your chance of finding cancers,” said Debbie Saslow, co-author of the new guidelines and director of the breast and gynecologic division at the American —Sandy Pelzek Cancer Society. Sandy Pelzek had cancer patient an MRI in February and was surprised to learn she had cancer, particularly since she’d just had a mammogram in November. Pelzek, 33, had been getting regular mammograms since learning she had the BRCA mutation during genetic testing in her mid-20s. About 5 percent to 10 percent of breast cancers are caused by inherited mutations in a single gene. Women with mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2 have about an 80 percent chance of getting breast cancer in their lifetimes. The new guidelines call for women with the mutation to start MRIs at age 30. “If I hadn’t had the MRI, I don’t know where I would be,” she said. “In a way, it’s kind of creepy because it’s in there and it’s spooky because it’s spreading,” Pelzek said. “You want someone to tell you what to do to keep it from going awry.” Pelzek had surgery in April and is now in chemotherapy. Both Pelzek and Frey said their MRIs were covered by insurance. MRIs cost 10 times the amount of a mammogram, which is approximately $100, said Gale Sisney, an associate professor of breast imaging at the University of Wisconsin Medical School in Madison. “That’s not worthwhile in the average woman,” she said. “But there are more chances of cancers being found in these very high risk women, so you get more bang for your buck.” Radiologists say they are still gearing up to screen more women. Until now, they only saw a few women referred by their physicians. According to hospital spokeswoman Kathy Sieja, annual mammography screenings at Froedtert Hospital in Wauwatosa, Wis., and the Medical Col-

lege of Wisconsin Breast Care Center were up 31.8 percent from December 2000 to December 2005. From 2005 to 2006, annual screening mammograms were up 3.68 percent over 2005, and based on preliminary rates from 2007, the rates will be up 11.6 percent over

2006, she said. Sisney said the University of Wisconsin Medical School is preparing for the added workload, particularly because each procedure takes about an hour and produces 2,000 and 3,000 pictures that must be read by the radi-

ologist on the computer. But regardless of the detail given by the MRI, experts all agree women shouldn’t forego their mammograms. “One doesn’t substitute for the other,” Sisney said.

f I hadn’t had the MRI, I don’t know where I would be.”

Karen Sherlock/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/MCT CANCER SCARE: Sandy Pelzek, right, is undergoing physical therapy May 9 with Gina Zader, an occupational therapist at Froedtert Hospital, in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. Pelzek has undergone regular mammograms since her mid-20s, but an MRI revealed she had breast cancer.

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Text messages become first emergency alert By Philip Hadley The University Star The student peered at her cell phone during Spanish class at 2:59 p.m. April 30 to find a text message sent from Texas State administration warning of a bomb threat at the LBJ Student Center. “It took me by surprise, I told everyone around me in class,” Jillian Jaresh, communication studies junior, said. After the Virginia Tech massacre, many universities in the United States are struggling to find a solution to emergency campus alerts. Texas State announced April 27 the availability of a service through Mobile Campus that would alert subscribers. The service created a network with the capability of immediately alerting students, faculty and staff of emergency situations by sending text messages to their cell phones. The service is free and is already deployed on several other major campuses including the University of Texas and the University of Texas-Dallas. While emergency notifications such as campus wide emails, Web page updates and auto-dial phone messages are already widely used, administrators say the Virginia Tech tragedy has pushed them to look for a way to reach students anytime and anywhere. Joanne Smith, vice president for student affairs and member of the Crisis Response Team, said the new service would give the university another opportunity to get people’s attention. “We will continue to issue other types of alerts, but now have added capability that includes cell phones,” she said. Violet Campos, accounting junior, thinks the service is a great way to keep students informed about emergency situations.


tudents are going from one class to another. They’re not going to check their e-mail between classes, so what we can do is prevent them from entering a building that is unsafe.”

—Halen King enrollment manager, Mobile Campus

“More and more people are starting to sign up for it and everyone uses text messages and everyone carries their cell phone around regardless of where they are or what’s going on,” Campos said. “It provides a quick way to find out about emergency situations. I’ve already signed up for it and I think everyone else should be encouraged to sign up as well.” Halen King, enrollment manager at Mobile Campus, said the service comes at no cost to the student or the university. “The service is free, but the normal text rate with the individual’s phone service still applies.” Students who sign up for Mobile Campus can customize their service to only receive emergency alerts from their school. “When singing up, the user will have two options — alert and merchant,” King said. “If a student wants to receive exclusive merchant offers they can set up a profile in which they choose the types of vendors they want to receive discounts from. Or, you can choose to only receive alerts from the university.

“This would allow us to instantly send out a text emergency message to all university students, faculty and staff in less than five minutes.” Smith said new students attending summer orientation would be informed of the service. “Through summer orientation, we will be letting all the new students know about the service and allow them to register right away,” Smith said. “Current students have already been notified of it through email and will be subsequently reminded in the fall.” King said the service will institute a very efficient means of communication during a crisis. “Students are going from one class to another. They’re not going to check their e-mail between classes, so what we can do is prevent them from entering a building that is unsafe,” King said. “We have created a way for us to connect immediately.” Smith said a successful message transmittal was achieved the same day they were meeting to discuss it. “The day we were meeting to discuss this partnership was the day of the threat at the LBJ Student Center,” Smith said. “Literally from my office here, we were able to send out a message to the 5,400 students who had already signed up for the program.” Smith said only qualified administrators will be allowed to send out the messages. “The Texas State administration will actually send the messages,” Smith said. “Mobile Campus does not take part in the sending of the message, nor do we have to inform them when we decide to send a message.” Those who wish to sign up are urged to visit the Mobile Campus Web site at

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Qualifications of former ASG president in question By Nick Georgiou The University Star

qualification as president. He said the final semester referred to Kyle Morris, former in the requirement Associated Student means a long semesGovernment president, ter, meaning fall or has come under scruspring. He did not tiny after it was discovhave to be classified ered he might not have as a full-time student KYLE MORRIS met one of the qualifi- Former President because it was his cations to hold office. last long semester of As stated in the ASG Con- study; summer does not count, stitution: “During the term of he said. office, the president must be “Maybe the ASG Constituclassified as a full-time Texas tion could stand to be a little State student, unless he or she more specific in what it means is in his or her final semester when it says semester,” Morris of study ... ” said. “But the only logical way Morris was not classified you could interpret that is long as a full-time student in the semester.” spring and will not graduate, Morton did not see Morris’ or receive his degree, until Au- perspective. gust. He took four hours in the “What does long semester spring and needs six more. have to do with anything?” he “This has prompted some asked. interesting action here in the As interpreter of the con(Dean of Students Office) be- stitution, it would be up to cause that wasn’t anything that the ASG Supreme Court to I was any aware of,” said Vin- determine this. However, the cent Morton, ASG adviser and Supreme Court justices are on associate dean of students. summer break, and the chief Morton said he was under justice graduated in May. the impression Morris was There are no ASG meetings graduating in May. during the summer. The Uni“(Morris) told us he was versity Star called numerous going to be graduating (this senators for comment, but only spring),” he said. two could be reached. It is the job of the Dean of Former ASG Sen. Megan Students Office to check to see Titus, College of Liberal Arts, if ASG members meet the re- said she would not be opposed quirements. to making the qualification Morris said he was sure more specific. the dean’s office would have “It’s something we need to checked the qualifications at fix before something else hapthe beginning of the spring se- pens,” she said. mester. ASG Sen. Alexandria Bitzel, “I have no reason to believe College of Applied Arts, offered they failed to do their duties,” no comment. he said. Without Supreme Court jusBut Morton said qualifica- tices or ASG meetings, Mortions are only checked when ton said a unique situation has a person files for candidacy. been created. And because Morris would “This is the first time this not register for spring courses has ever happened and what, until several months after he if anything, should be done filed, the qualification was not and if so, who initiates it and checked. everything else has to be conMorton said in these situa- sidered,” he said. “It’s just tions, they depend on the per- something we’re going to have son to be honest and bring up to look into. I can’t even give the issue to their advisers. a response right now because “One of the sworn obligations this is the first time that’s ever is to uphold the responsibilities happened.” of the ASG Constitution,” MorMorton said he was unsure ton said. “There’s an honor sys- whether any action would be tem that we work with here.” taken because Morris’ last day Morris said he has met every as president was Friday.


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New ASG leadership sworn in By Alex Hering The University Star The Associated Student Government president and vice president were sworn into their new positions May 10 at J.C. Kellam after winning the April election. Both received around 60 percent of the vote. ASG President Reagan Pugh and Vice President Alexis Dabney officially take office Friday. Pugh said he was excited students chose him and Dabney to represent them. “Oh man, it’s a dream come true,” said Pugh, English junior. “It is a perfect way to finish out a college career.” He said he has many expectations for his time as president. “We are going to solidify some new relationships,” Pugh said. “Alumni relations are a big focus. In the coming fall we will have 20 new senators and we will acclimate them to what we are doing.” A referendum was passed in March expanding the Senate from 40 to 60 members and creating on-campus, off-campus and atlarge seats. University President Denise Trauth said

Texas State is “incredibly” privileged for having strong students step up to leadership positions. “I think there is always that sense,” Trauth said. “It happens in classes, when you are teaching a class that you’ve been with for 15 weeks that you’ve really gotten to know. When they graduate or go on to other classes, it’s always a bittersweet moment because you have formed strong relationships. But I am convinced that we’ve got two good people coming in.” Trauth, president of Texas State since 2002, said she has seen committed individuals make the university better through ASG. “I’ve seen a great deal of commitment to working together to making this an even better university,” Trauth said. “Also to achieving our mutual goals to make Texas State being a school that graduates students. That is our highest priority here, to recruit students and have them be successful at this institution. I think it is job number one of student government to help the university to create the best environment for student success. I think we have done a lot of that.”

Dabney said this summer will be an organizational period. “We will be meeting with people and addressing some big issues,” said Dabney, mass communication senior. “We want our senators to understand what roles they have to fill so that we can be interactive.” Pugh said the student government will be able to create an ASG alumni chapter at Texas State in the fall. “We want to host a banquet for the alumni in the fall, this will let ASG know they will be taken care of when they leave here,” Pugh said. Former ASG President Kyle Morris said he was proud to see Pugh take office. “Reagan is ecstatic,” Morris said. “This is how it works, it is the continuation of the strength of ASG.” “It’s rewarding to be able to help out with the future. When I leave I’m going to be a resource to him. If Reagan wants advice, he can call me and get that advice. June 1 is the real deal — after that point I will be very respectful and cautious that I don’t overstep my boundaries. Until that point I will try to give Reagan all the information and contact history that he needs.”

Bridgette Cyr/Star file photo SUMMER PLANS: Reagan Pugh, Associated Student Government president, and Vice President Alexis Dabney, both won about 60 percent of the vote in the April election. They will utilize the summer as an organizational period for their administration.

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Future site of forensics facility uncertain Airport

Star Graphic

By Alysha Mendez The University Star Texas State is searching for a new site to build a 17-acre forensics research facility after concerns were raised about vultures causing danger for planes. The originally proposed location of what would be largest “body farm” in the nation was on Texas Highway 21 near the San Marcos Municipal Airport. The San Marcos Airport Commission and other pilots fear the facility would attract vultures to the area. “Vultures are the largest birds

we have in great number around here,” said Kenneth Johns, board member for the San Marcos Airport Commission. “A single vulture is capable of bringing a small airplane back to the airport in a hurry. They can do a lot of damage to a plane and its passengers.” The researchers of the facility would be studying problems related to outdoor crime scenes and decomposition rates for human remains. Cadavers would be buried and allowed to decompose under various weather conditions, and then data would be collected to aid law

enforcement in solving crimes. Vulture-proof cages were intended to be placed around the bodies left in the open along with a 10-foot high security fence around the facility. However, after a meeting between Provost Perry Moore and the San Marcos Airport Commission, the plan to build the facility on Highway 21 was completely scrapped out of concern for pilot and passenger safety. “We’re not back to square one, but we’re back to square two,” said Jayme Blaschke, public information specialist for the University News Service. “We’re evaluating all potential sites.” Blaschke said the risk vultures pose to planes is not major, “but when you’re dealing with airplanes and big birds, any possibility of risk is a chance we cannot take.” Tarleton State University student and pilot Korey Rohlack said in an e-mail the only thing that scares him while flying is vultures. “Radar operators in control towers cannot warn you of an approaching vulture, and even when diligently scanning the skies around you, you will not see them until it is almost too late,” he said. Rohlack said he is not against the facility or the research, only

the location. “Texas State University could be a shining star in forensics studies, but the proposed location for this is extremely unwise and poorly thought out,” he said. “The (Federal Aviation Administration) has determined that vultures make up 5 percent of bird-strikes in the United States and have cost billions of dollars to aircraft damage as well as killed hundreds of people.” Rohlack said a vulture causes substantial damage when it hits a plane of any size. “Rapid movements of the aircraft during landing procedures and the final approach could easily cause a stall or a spin to occur and with being so low to the ground, there is no altitude for an aircraft or pilot to regain control before crashing,” he said. Two alternative sites previously mentioned in discussions were Centerpoint Road and Freeman Ranch on Ranch Road 12. The Centerpoint Road site has been ruled out, but the Freeman Ranch location is still up for consideration, said Mark Hendricks, assistant director of media relations and publicity for the University News Service. “We really haven’t progressed much further as of this point,” Hendricks said. “The university

San Marcos’ historic downtown faces changes By Scott Thomas The University Star A meeting was held May 31 by the city of San Marcos and Broaddus and Associates to field questions and concerns from San Marcos residents regarding downtown development. Broaddus and Associates is the product managing and consulting firm in charge of downtown renovations, which created the 2006-2015 Texas State Campus Master Plan as well. “We try to include as many meetings as possible to include people in the process,” said Christopher Rice, senior associate with Broaddus and Associates. The firm currently has no definite plans for construction or renovation in the downtown area, but is drawing up a master plan. Rice said the plan, which should be finished by October, provides vision and framework for the future of the city. “At this point we’re doing interviews and gathering info to put together analytical drawings,” he said. Rice asked residents at the meeting how they believe others perceive San Marcos.

Tom Wassenich, San Marcos resident, said the city’s natural resources come to mind. “I was in Fort Worth on an elevator when I told someone I was from San Marcos,” he said. “The first thing he mentioned was our river, saying, ‘what a beautiful river.’” The issue of San Marcos’ population growth was addressed as well. Kyle Maysel, chairman of the downtown parking advisory board, said with an increasing rate of 4 percent per year, the master plan should take population into account. “All the statisticians tell us we won’t be a small town for long,” he said. “We need to address the reality, and if we don’t, we’ll be doing what Austin is doing forever.” The preservation of downtown San Marcos and its long-standing architecture was a concern expressed by several attendees. “Don’t change our downtown and don’t change our historic buildings,” said Ollie Hargis-Giles, a local small business owner. “As an ex-student from the university, I want to keep my downtown atmosphere homey, and I want to see our historic buildings preserved.” Rice said frustrations regularly communicated to him from residents included long and

frequent trains, extended stoplights and lack of parking. “We’re trying to get a better understanding of parking,” he said. “There’s no silver bullet that will solve the parking issue.” Rice said more parking garages and more than one San Marcos stop on the proposed commuter rail could help alleviate the problem. “The one thing the city has said they are interested in right away is building a parking garage,” he said. “But there’s no date for it. We’ve been asked to look objectively at where it might go.” The meeting addressed ways to keep students in San Marcos after graduation as well. Rice said lack of affordable housing and wellpaying jobs are two major reasons students leave. “I think most people who come to school here come from suburbia,” he said. “Then they fall in love with a downtown area and realize how great it can be.” Hargis-Giles asked Rice if he would like to live in San Marcos. “I would love to live here, I think you’ve got a great town,” Rice said. “I would love to be able to walk to work.”

started preparing for graduation right after the decision was made to not use the Highway 21 site.” He said everyone involved in the facility planning was involved in graduation. Anthropology professor Jerry Melbye, who proposed the building of a forensics research facility, went to Mexico for a research trip. “So I suspect it’s probably going to be sometime (during the week of May 28) that they’ll get together and discuss other possibilities,” Hendricks said.

Mayor Susan Narvaiz said she thinks continuing with the plans to build the facility is important. “We’re working with the university in any way we can to support their desire to locate the facility in San Marcos,” she said. “(Provost) Perry Moore is looking at different options and we’re all very supportive.” Hendricks said there are also other university-owned properties they are going to be considering. “Clearly we still want to go forward with this project,” he said.

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Friday, June 1, 2007


Friday, June 1, 2007

Students’ unwanted clothing, belongings find new homes

The University Star - Page A13

Advocacy organization’s survey measures students’ acceptance The University Star By Chelsea Juarez

Aaron Smith/Star file photo GIVING BACK: San Marcos residents sift through hundreds of pieces of clothing donated by the community during the 2006 Pack It Up and Pass It On charity event.

By Bill Lancaster The University Star Students will have an opportunity to help the San Marcos community during the sixth annual Pack it Up and Pass it On event at Texas State. During May and continuing into June, the community relations department has collected unwanted items for a charity event to be held at the LBJ Student Center Ballroom. Kim Porterfield, community relations director, said this is a chance for students to aid those in need and help preserve the environment. “It’s a win-win process because it reduces the amount of trash going into the landfills and it gets items students don’t want any longer into the hands of needy residents that can use them,” Porterfield said. “A lot of folks, especially people with kids, can come and get clothes.” Students can drop off items Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at the ballroom. Pack it Up and Pass it On is organized in conjunction with the United Way of Hays County and with the assistance of student and community volunteers, various university departments and the local school district. Community organizations assist in the program by identifying those in need and distributing vouchers allowing access to the charity event, Porterfield said. There is no charge for the donated items. This differs from other universities’ similar programs, which do charge a fee, as reported in May by The Associated Press. Gene Martin, resident services director for the San Marcos Housing Authority, has been involved in the program every year since it began. “Our residents are low income families — elderly, single moms and some couples,” Martin said. “(They) are given vouchers and are able to participate.”

Donations have been collected from 42 barrels placed in dorms and departments throughout campus. “The volunteers take all the stuff to the storage pods,” Porterfield said. “The storage pods will be moved to the university ballroom on June 4, and for three days we have volunteers who sort the items. We have a couple of hundred tables and five pods filled with stuff that students donate.” Last year, the program assisted approximately 1,000 people in the San Marcos area, Porterfield said. “The things that students used to just throw in the dumpsters are now being recycled,” Martin said. “It’s still good and our residents are able to take advantage of it.” The sorting is a fun and interesting time, Porterfield said. They have a contest for whom can find the most unusual donation. Students donate games, refrigerators, stuffed animals, toys and clothing, and they always end up with a big box of thong underwear, she said. The distribution will take place Thursday. Pack it Up and Pass it On began as a way to reduce dumpster overflow at the end of the semester and to reduce the number of rugs and egg-crate mattress pads going to the landfills. “Instead of being wasted, (the items) are going to a good cause and it helps public relations between the community and the students at the university,” Martin said. “It’s a positive way for the two to come together.”

✯ FYI For volunteer and donation information, contact the Texas State Office of Community Relations at (512) 245-9645. Vouchers to attend the event are available through the United Way of Hays County.

Incoming Texas State students can find organizations on campus dedicated to promoting a welcoming environment for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community. “Not just a tolerate climate but an acceptable climate,” said Mike Wilkerson, coordinator for the organization Allies. “(Allies) is an educational advocacy program for members of the LGBTQ community.” Tyler Ferguson, political science sophomore, said he feels the campus promotes an accepting environment, although he admits there is still work needed. “It’s really accepting, especially for being a southern Texas school,” he said. “Right now, gay and lesbian students are accepted while … those under gender identity are left out in the cold. They need more resources available for them as well.” The Allies program conducted a survey consisting of questions geared toward discovering the acceptance and satisfaction rates of students, to gain insight into the current environment on campus. For example, one of the questions asked, “Overall, how comfortable are you with people of varying sexual minorities?” The survey was constructed to identify areas that need to be addressed to improve the environment for working, living and learning on campus. All students, faculty and staff were encouraged to participate in the 20-minute survey. The results are expected to be available in June, said Wilkerson, health education coordinator. “I think it’s important that there are such groups on campus ready to help create a sense of belonging for gay and lesbian students and all of that in between and beyond,” said undeclared junior Jessica Ramirez. “People shouldn’t be looked at differently or treated differently based on anything, in this case, their sexual preference.” Wilkerson said Allies has created a board to help ensure students who identify with the LGBTQ community feel welcome and at ease, especially during the transition into college.

Tina Schultz, member of the Allies board and director of disability services, said a broad range of issues is discussed at the monthly meeting. “We’re starting with the survey to get a sense of the climate and the needs for those particular people who identify themselves as such,” Schultz said. “This survey is a way to find out what services should be provided to ensure that members of the LGBTQ community feel like their needs are being met.” Several students have formed organizations with an aim of providing support for the existing and new members of its community, including the Bobcat Equality Alliance and Lambda. Ferguson, president of Bobcat Equality Alliance, said the newly created organization’s mission will be to dispel any negative opinions about the LGBTQ community by focusing on a political side. He said things to look forward to in the near future will be petitions and protests to change the campus discrimination policy to include gender identity and expression. “Right now under the current policy, a transgender student could be denied admission and we want to change that.” Working in close alliance with Lambda, the Bobcat Equality Alliance’s meetings will be held weekly. The group will be discussing different approaches to gender equality. “In addition, three of our meetings per semester will be social and at the end of the semester. We’ll go to Six Flags or something,” Ferguson said. Student-led organization Lambda was founded in 1985 and has maintained its welcoming statement, attracting many members. The organization is most known for its costumed Bobcat Ball, held downtown at Gordo’s on The Square. Wilkerson said incoming stu-

dents should look forward to meeting and socializing with current LGBTQ students from 7 to 9 p.m. Aug. 19 at George’s, located in the LBJ Student Center basement, across from Blimpie. “Just go. It will be lots of fun,” Ferguson said. Current LGBTQ students, along with straight, open-minded people and allies will be in attendance, he said. “There will be mixers, snacks, music — it’s more of a social hang out,” Ferguson said. “Presidents from the different available organizations will go up and give information about their organizations as well as mingle. Overall, the purpose of these programs is to create a safe space on campus for students.” “I feel a lot of times these students are not included as it relates to diversity,” Schultz said. “We shouldn’t discriminate against anybody. Especially someone whose sexual orientation is different from our own.”

✯FYI Incoming students can meet and socialize with current LGBTQ students from 7 to 9 p.m. Aug. 19 at George’s, located in LBJ Student Center basement, across from Blimpie. The organization plans to have a running Web site by August. Bobcat for Equality President Tyler Ferguson encourages students interested in joining the organization to e-mail him at For more information on the Allies program visit their Web site at allies.


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Friday, June 1, 2007

Student-lending practices under review nationwide By Nick Georgiou The University Star A lot has happened since the New York attorney general revealed deceptive business practices in the student loan industry March 15. Financial aid directors have been suspended or fired, a Department of Education official has resigned, private lenders and colleges are facing lawsuits and universities nationwide are reevaluating their studentloan practices. At the center of New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s investigation is the relationship between private lenders and colleges. Included among Cuomo’s findings are allegations of shady revenue-sharing relationships and financial aid officials receiving kickbacks from private lenders. In several cases, university officials were receiving gifts from companies in exchange for being put on the school’s preferred lender list. “There is an unholy alliance between banks and institutions of higher education that may often not be in the students’ best interest,” Cuomo said in a news release. “The financial arrangements between lenders and these schools are filled with the potential for conflicts of interest. In some cases they may break the law.” Twelve days after The Associated Press

broke the story, financial aid directors at three universities were investigated. One investigation was at the University of Texas. In a letter Cuomo sent to UT President William Powers, he alleged the school’s financial aid director, Lawrence Burt, had owned 1,500 shares in a lending group whose parent company was on the university’s preferred lender list. Lawrence made approximately $18,000 off the stock. The next day, April 5, Burt was suspended on paid administrative leave. The university soon began an internal investigation, and Burt was fired May 15. The school had stopped using a preferred lender list about one month prior. According to a Daily Texan article, one of the ways UT’s Office of Student Financial Services ranked a lender was based on the amount of gifts they received from a company. Gifts included breakfasts, lunches and after-work happy hours. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and UT reached an agreement May 19, which banned the solicitation and acceptance of gifts from student lending companies. “Texas is home to some of the nation’s finest institutions of higher learning,” Abbott said in a news release. “We must protect their well-deserved reputations for greatness by ensuring that they are

held to the highest ethical standards.” While UT and several other colleges are steeped in controversy, Texas State seems to be in the clear. “Based on a preliminary review, no illegality has been found between (Texas State University System) campuses and student-lending institutions,” said Amy Williams, director of external relations for the system.” However, all (Texas State University System) campuses have voluntarily discontinued the utilization of ‘preferred lender’ lists pending further review.” Texas State does not use a preferred lender list. Nor does it have any revenue sharing relationship with a lending company, said Harold Whitis, associate director of financial assistance. “We’re very much opposed to having any kind of a lender list or relationship,” Whitis said. “That’s why we’re primarily a direct loan school. We want the students and the university to feel like our financial aid programs are above reproach and that we are focused totally on trying to help the students and not any interested in outside relationships that appear to be inappropriate.” He said about 66 percent of the financial aid at Texas State comes from direct loans, which are funded by the federal government. The other 34 percent is consisted of aid from the both publicly-

and privately-funded Federal Family Education Loan Program. He said the Texas State students who have these types of loans are transfer students. The federal government first began assuming the role of a direct lender in 1994. That year, former President Bill Clinton initiated a direct-lending program in an attempt to provide cheaper loans. Prior to Clinton’s initiative, students usually got their loans from the federal guaranteed loan program. Under this program, private lenders made loans to students with the assistance of the federal government. But after Clinton’s initiative, private lenders had to find a way to stay competitive, so they began offering benefits, such as scholarships, to colleges and universities that dropped their involvement with the federal direct-lending program. Extra incentives may have been given if the school put a company on preferred lender list. “Lenders are like any other business, they have to market their product,” Whitis said. “And part of that is adding extra benefits to the students, and schools will review lenders and what they’re offering to students and typically try and guide students to those lenders that offer the best benefits for those students in repayment.” Cuomo, however, said some lenders

are putting their “market share above fair play.” “A preferred lender ought to mean that the lender is preferred by students for its low rates, not by schools for its kickbacks,” Cuomo said in a news release. As the high-profile investigation began to snowball and gain national media coverage, New York lawmakers were the first to respond with legislation aimed at preventing revenue-sharing relationships between universities and private lending programs. Other state legislatures soon followed, including Texas. State Sens. Eliot Shapleigh, D-El Paso, and Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, introduced two bills May 2. Shapleigh’s SB 2048 relates to a “prohibition against certain activities by a person employed in the financial aid office of a public institution of higher education.” Zaffirini’s SB 2049 targets the relationship between student loan companies and colleges by creating certain requirements and prohibitions. “As the costs of higher education continue to increase rapidly, causing more students to fund their education with student loans, we must remain mindful of our obligation to ensure integrity and accountability within the student lender market,” Zaffirini said in a news release. As of press time, the bills are still pending.

Student loan industry scandal New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo reveals deceptive practices in college loan industry

April 16, 2007

April 5, 2007

March 15, 2007

Education Finance Partners settles with Cuomo

University of Texas’ financial aid director suspended

April 2, 2007

April 10, 2007

Signed settlements between major universities and lenders, adopt a new college code of conduct

March 22, 2007 Cuomo announces first legal action targeted at Education Finance Partners

An additional three financial aid investigators investigated

May 8, 2007

May 16, 2007

New York Legislature passes student loan code of conduct into law

Cuomo settles with two more universities

April 24, 2007

May 11, 2007

First multistate settlement with three colleges

Cuomo reaches settlement with Student Loan Xpress

April 6, 2007

April 17, 2007

May 9, 2007

May 19, 2007

Department of Education official investigated

New York lawmakers introduce legislation to prohibit gifts from lenders

Theresa Shaw resigns from Education Department student loan office

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott reaches agreement with UT

April 5, 2007

April 11, 2007

May 5-7, 2007

May 12-15, 2007

Three financial aid directors are investigated

Sallie Mae reaches settlement with Cuomo

Inspector general begins inquiry into Education Department oversight

UT fires Financial Aid Director Lawrence Burt Star graphic


Friday, June 1, 2007

The University Star - Page A15

News Briefs

San Marcos soldier dies in Iraq

Spc. Michael W. Davis, 22, of San Marcos was killed May 21 in Baghdad from wounds sustained after a roadside bomb exploded near his vehicle. Davis was one of three soldiers killed in the bombing. Sgt. Brian Ardron, 32, of Acworth, Ga. and Staff Sgt. Shannon Weaver, 28, of Urich, Mo. were the other casualties. The three were assigned to the 425th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) and 25th infantry division based at Ft. Richardson, Alaska. Marsha Thomason, owner of Thomason funeral home, said funeral services for Davis have not been arranged. Davis was a 2002 graduate of San Marcos High School. According to a San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District news release, teachers and classmates remembered him as being “popular and well liked by his peers.” Davis traveled to Germany with his class as a part of a student exchange program. His wife Taryn Davis is a 2003 graduate of San Marcos High School. The couple did not have any children.

Medical examiner rules student’s death an accident

Photo courtesy of Davis family

Peculiar plant found in front of LBJ Student Center Texas State may have a greener Johnny Appleseed on campus. A marijuana plant was found in front of the LBJ Student Center growing among the landscaped area in early May. The plant was eventually removed. Officer Ron Dorsey of the Community Awareness and resource team at the University Police Department said no reports were made to any officials regarding a marijuana plant on campus. “We guess that it may have been either maintenance crews preparing for the regents’ visit around (May 15) or somebody walking by picked it up,” Dorsey said. Dorsey said the staff at the Student Center frequently had open communication with UPD about occurrences of any type. “In a case like this one, it would be difficult to prove possession,” Dorsey said. “There really is no way of telling who it belongs to. If a person had the plant in their possession, it would depend on the weight of the plant — what kind of punishment they would receive.” According to Texas Penal Code §481.121, a person is subject to a Class B misdemeanor if the amount of marijuana possessed is two ounces or less. If the amount found were between two and four ounces, it would qualify as a Class A misdemeanor.

Cocaine energy drink sales halted by State injunction A Dallas County District Court has issued a temporary injunction stopping a Nevada company from selling its Cocaine energy drink in Texas. The agreed injunction sought by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, prohibits Redux Beverages and its distributors from marketing, warehousing and distributing the drink because the court deems it may be an unapproved drug. Abbot said the advertising campaign for the drink enticed young people with illegal drug references. Redux Beverages hype the canned drink as “speed in a can” and “liquid cocaine,” with “warnings” that consumers who drink the product may succumb to excess excitement, stamina, fun and feeling of euphoria. The Cocaine energy drink does not contain any illegal substances. Its main ingredient is caffeine.

“Texans have zero tolerance for those who peddle products meant to mimic illegal drugs,” Abbott said in a news release. “The Office of Attorney General will continue to aggressively enforce this state’s consumer protection laws to ensure that Texans will not be deceived by the marketing of unapproved drugs.” Abbot began to file legal action May 2 to stop the sale of the Cocaine drink after learning of the company’s plans to sell the beverage in Texas. The court issued a temporary restraining order at the time, but the newly issued injunction continues the ban until the court holds a trial Nov. 5. In a warning issued to Redux, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration noted because the company markets Cocaine as an alternative to street drugs, including claims that it mimics the effects of illegal drugs, Redux cannot promote the product as a dietary supplement. The FDA considers street drug alternatives to be unapproved new drugs, which are prohibited in the marketplace.

Texas State student Michael Minter died Feb. 12 as a result of mixed drug toxicity, according to the Travis County medical examiner autopsy report. His death was ruled an accident. The report concluded that the combination of methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin and severe congestion of the lungs, liver and spleen led to Minter’s death. The deputy medical examiner reported puncture marks as well as “darkly-discolored and thickened veins” throughout Minter’s body. “Pin-point puncture marks as well as scarring in the veins … are consistent with intravenous drug abuse,” wrote the medical examiner in the report, which was completed April 18. Minter, 24, was a respiratory care senior. According to a Feb. 28 University Star article, “(Minter) was a sergeant in the United States Army Reserve, a missionary, a popular member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity and someone who enjoyed the outdoors, listening to music and watching movies with friends.”

Myspace aids authorities in tracking sex offenders

Jason Buch/Star photo

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott ordered the popular social networking Web site MySpace May 23 to release the names of all convicted sex offenders who have set up online member profiles. MySpace agreed to turn over first and last names of its online users that are registered sex offenders in Texas. MySpace will further provide IP and e-mail addresses and their online profile information. “By providing this information, is helping law enforcement crack down on online sex predators,” Abbott said in a news release. “We urge all social networking Web sites to take all necessary steps to keep children safe from the unwanted advances of online predators.” The attorney general, along with state leaders, have fought to make Texas the toughest state in the nation, creating one of the nation’s harshest versions of “Jessica’s Law,” which tightens penalties for Internet predators and provides district attorneys more tools to prosecute child sex crimes. The Texas Senate passed Bill 6 in March, which provides additional tools to improve law enforcement’s ability to investigate cyber crimes. Service providers are now required to promptly respond to court orders and subpoenas issued by law enforcement.

Lionel Hahn/Abaca Press/MCT


onlineconnection For news updates throughout the summer, check out www.

Friday, June 1, 2007 - Page A16

Opinions Contact — Sydney Granger,



t happens every year. Following spring finals, sleepdeprived students pack up their cars and head out of the hills. The post-exam drive is unsafe, but more importantly, confounding. The University Star questions the mass exodus plaguing San Marcos every summer. Texas State students seem eager to bail out of a town that has given them so many memories. Why do Bobcats seem to assume the only option is to move away? Thankfully, this sentiment is not true for all Texas State students, as many choose to stick around and enjoy the fruits of a San Marcos summer. At the time of print, there were four Facebook groups dedicated to staying in town over the break. The Star sides with these individuals, and strives to help change this trend. There are many reasons to stay in San Marcos. Students needing to complete those pesky few hours so they can live off campus in the fall can do so without worrying about transfer credits. Taking one summer course is not as taxing as a traditional semester load, and could result in an early graduation date. Alumni should not be so fast to leave San Marcos, either. Those graduating at the end of the spring semester will most likely never again have the opportunity to spend three months playing sand volleyball. The Star understands students need to take a break from school. Summer jobs are aplenty, and obtaining one could mean keeping it throughout the rest of the school year. The river offers several opportunities for students who are not working or taking classes to have lazy days in the sun. Students could let each day blend together into one big river party, instead of beating their heads against the wall during re-runs of “Happy Days” while living at home with the parents. Ever wanted to see what the bottom of the river looks like without getting wet? The glass-bottom boat tours offered by the university-owned Aquarena Center can fulfill that desire. Texas State has numerous sports complexes; the Student Recreation Center, the Golf Course and Sewell Park remain operational during the summer, and offer equally tempting ways for students to spend their days. If outdoor activities are not priority one, students can enjoy the nightlife. San Marcos has long been known as a live music town. A good concert is easy to find during the summer. The outlet malls offer another way of spending one’s day. San Marcos has everything Austin does — without the commute. The yearly mass exodus of students is caused by a misconception. The Star urges every Bobcat to stay and help shake the ghost-town mentality haunting San Marcos’ summers.

WHERE ARE YOU GOING? Students leaving town during summers miss out on the best of San Marcos

The Main Point is the opinion of the newspaper’s editorial board. Columns are the opinions of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the full staff, Texas State University-San Marcos Student Media, the School of Journalism and Mass Communication or Texas State University-San Marcos.

Pat Stark/Star Illustration

Anti-smoking groups’ demands become increasingly questionable By Bronwyn Lance Chester How’s this for a puff of nannyism: Movies can now receive an “R” rating for depicting a perfectly legal act. Thanks to pressure from anti-smoking groups, lighting up onscreen will now factor into the ratings bestowed by the Motion Picture Association of America. The association announced the move last week. And filmgoers who like a touch of realism in their flicks got off lucky: The MPAA bragged it had resisted calls to stick a mandatory “R” tag on any movie where cigs are smoked. Way to stand up for artistic freedom! I may be a native North Carolinian, but I’m not a smoker — never have been — and have no love for cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chaws or snuff. In fact, I recall the sheer number of cancer-stick addicts as the worst thing about living in Europe. I wish the cursed things (cigarettes, not Europeans) had never been invented. They aren’t called “coffin nails” for nothing. Still, I’m not certain whom the MPAA and anti-smoking groups think they’re

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protecting. Tobacco-control groups regularly point to studies postulating a link between onscreen cigarette use and youth smoking. Hence the ratings change. But a bit of perspective amid the crusading would be nice. Other studies, including one from the University of North Carolina, show that children’s exposure to all sorts of media — including unsupervised access to television — has a correlation with smoking. I wonder how many well-intentioned anti-smoking advocates let their own children have bedroom TVs. Or how long it will be before interest groups try to regulate TV owners’ ages. These days, any kid with a pulse knows about the dangers of smoking and can cite chapter and verse why it’s a stupid habit. And any impressionable child heading to the movies will have to run the smokers’ gauntlet outside the mall before he even steps foot into the cinema. What’s next: A restraining order banning kids from coming within 500 feet of the entrances to government buildings,

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restaurants, offices, private homes or anywhere else smokers — glamorous or otherwise — might be spotted? If you think the down-with-tobacco crusade stops with movies, think again. British anti-smoking groups have moved to ban the practice in private vehicles, alleging that lighting cigarettes causes accidents. What they mean is inattention in all forms — including changing CDs, eating while driving and swatting at children — causes accidents. Will they try to ban child passengers, too? Like it or not, cigarettes are legal. And in many cases, puffing onscreen is realistic. I can’t imagine the character of Edward R. Murrow in Good Night and Good Luck without his ever-present cig. Or the fate of the satirical Thank You for Smoking under the MPAA’s new guidelines. Or the leg-crossing interrogation scene in Basic Instinct where Sharon Stone uttered the movie’s best line: “What’re you going to do? Charge me with smoking?” Yep. You and your movie, too. It’s only a matter of time before other do-gooders leap on the you-can’t-show-

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that bandwagon. In 2004, obesity replaced smoking as the nation’s leading cause of preventable death. And car accidents kill 45,000 Americans each year. So while smoking can garner a stricter rating — meaning a flick will likely have a smaller audience — daredevil driving or scarfing cheeseburgers and Coke is still OK. For now. I don’t look to the movies for examples. I look to them for escapism. And I’d be willing to bet many kids do, too. After all, the fun of movies is watching others do what you can’t or shouldn’t. You cannot legislate away the real world. At what point do grown-ups allow kids to see scenes that serve as catalysts for parental discussions on right and wrong? And therein lies the problem: It is parents’ responsibility — not that of movie directors or trade associations — to teach kids the consequences of harmful behavior they witness. Anyone advocating otherwise is just blowing smoke. Bronwyn Lance Chester is a columnist for McClatchy-Tribune News Service. Readers may send her e-mail at Account Executive...........................Jackie Pardue, Account Executive.....................Krystal Slater, Publications Coordinator..Linda Allen, Publications Director..............Bob Bajackson, Visit The Star at

Affordable student rates in everyone’s best interest Welcome back Bobcats, to another exciting year at Texas State University. While some of you may be new to the university, Lloyd Doggett not all of you are U.S. Rep. new to Central Texas. Likewise, although my years in public service have been long, I only recently became the Congressman for Hays County. Last summer, court-ordered redistricting added the Texas State community to the congressional district I represent. Although I have served San Marcos and the rest of Hays County before as a Texas State Senator, I have enjoyed visiting the campus this past year to get reacquainted with old friends, make new ones and witness the exciting changes taking place here. Last fall, I participated in the Welcome Back Picnic in honor of the 98th birthday of Texas State’s most famous alumnus, President Lyndon B. Johnson. As a student, the future president once had a job mopping the floors of Old Main just to earn enough money to afford tuition, room and board. Making ends meet is still an issue for most students. Higher education must remain affordable and accessible. I strongly believe that all students should be able to get all of the education for which they are willing to work. The new majority in the House has made education a priority. In the first hundred hours, Congress passed legislation that would cut federal student loan interest rates in half. Rather than pay 6.8% interest — as they would under the Republican law passed last year — interest rates for these loans would drop to 3.4% — saving the average student more than $5,000. In February, the President sent Congress a budget that would cut funding for student aid — including Perkins Loans and supplemental grants to the neediest students. As a Member of the Budget Committee, I was pleased to support the Democratic Budget that would increase the maximum Pell Grant to $4,600 for next year — the biggest increase in the grant since 2000 — without undercutting our investment in students to pay for it. With too little funding for grants under this Administration and too many students in need, loans are an important resource. Federal Direct Loans go directly from the Department of Education to students, cutting out lenders who will buy their way into preferred lender lists and use interest rates for corporate profit. Texas State is the biggest Direct Loan provider in the state, and I have sponsored legislation that would encourage other schools to follow Texas State’s example and provide federally guaranteed loans to more students. Regardless of your career plans, government affects you. When the lack of fiscal accountability leads to record deficits, it will be you and your children who have to repay the debt in higher taxes. Government affects you, but you also have the ability to affect government. Becoming educated and then becoming involved are duties for responsible citizens. As President Johnson himself said “Every child must be encouraged to get as much education as he has the ability to take ... for freedom is fragile if citizens are ignorant.” Please help me ensure that my priorities in Washington are your priorities by visiting my Web site at where you can find helpful information about student aid, internships, send me an e-mail, fill out an survey on federal issues or subscribe to legislative updates. U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, represents the 25th Congressional District and is a senior member of the Ways & Means Committee and the House Budget Committee. Prior to winning election to Congress in 1994, Doggett represented Hays County in the Texas Senate and served as a Justice on the Texas Supreme Court. The University Star is the student newspaper of Texas State University-San Marcos published Tuesday through Thursday during the fall and spring semesters. It is distributed on campus and throughout San Marcos at 8 a.m. every other Wednesday of Summer I and II with a distribution of 12,500. Printing and distribution is by the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung. Copyright June 1, 2007. All copy, photographs and graphics appearing in The University Star are the exclusive property of The University Star and may not be reproduced without the expressed written consent of the editor in chief.

06 01 2007 Section A  
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