VOLUME 102, ISSUE 17
Defending the First Amendment since 1911
OCTOBER 2, 2012
GO NE ONLI NOW
Texas State students and faculty adjust to an environment under construction. To learn more, visit UniversityStar.com.
of a 2-part serie s Part 2
Student works to promote deaf equality
Texas State pushed aside by Nevada
By Jordan Gass-Poore’ The University Star Michelle Elliott is working to overcome the social stigma and stereotypes of the deaf community she has experienced from some Texas State faculty and staff. Elliott, a graduate student who is “profoundly deaf” and wears hearing aids, said Texas State Office of Disability Services representatives offered to provide her with an interpreter. However, she does not know American Sign Language. Elliott said this is just one of several instances of disconnect she has experienced between the disability office and students who are deaf or have partial hearing loss. Elliott registered through the Office of Disability Services when she was a Texas State undergraduate about five years ago. She wanted to find on-campus services for students who are deaf or have partial hearing loss. However, she quickly began running into problems. An issue arose in an English class where Elliott said her “deafness” was called into question by the professor. She said the professor put in a request for an interpreter for another deaf student in the class because they were going to watch a video without closed captioning capabilities. However, Elliott said the professor would not make accommodations for her because of disbelief of her deafness. “This (hearing aid) isn’t a fashion statement,” Elliott said. Elliott said she did not learn to sign because her family wanted her to be “mainstreamed” in the San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District. Instead, she began to read lips at nine years old. Even though she does not know American Sign Language, Texas State interpreters, like Ellen Crabaugh, have played a role in her academic career. As an undergraduate, Elliott said she would sometimes sit by students who are deaf and watch their interpreters in case she missed something while taking notes. Four full-time and 24 part-time staff interpreters worked more than a combined 11,000 interpreting hours in the 2010 fiscal year. That same year, a total of 176 special interpreting requests were made by students. Special interpreting requests for events and appointments for final exams can be submitted through the Texas State Office of Disability Services website at least 72 hours in advance. Semester-long interpreter requests for academic classes must be submitted on a Request for Interpreters Course Schedule form available in the disability services office. For the fiscal year 2011, 24 students used Texas State interpreting services. Crabaugh said sometimes the interpreting process is made difficult by teachers who speak quickly, classroom noise and class-specific terminology where no sign language word exists, such as some computer classes. Crabaugh, who previously worked as an interpreter in the Los Angeles area, said she has enjoyed watching former
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Kathryn Parker, Staff Photographer
Andy Erickson, junior wide reciever, had a career-best game with eight catches for 108 yards and a touchdown Sept. 29 at Bobcat Stadium. Texas State fell to Nevada 34-21.
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Study shows cross-border shopping aids economy By Monica Solis News Reporter A recently published study co-written by two Texas State faculty members shows Mexican national shoppers have a significant impact on San Marcos’ retail establishments. The study indicates Mexican nationals spend approximately twice as much money per shopping trip as Texan shoppers. The article said results show cross-border shoppers’ expenditures contribute to both the local and regional economy. The study was recently published in an article titled “Mexican national cross-border shopping: Exploration of retail tourism.” It was written by as-
sociate professor Pauline Sullivan and senior lecturer Ann DuPont, both of the School of Family and Consumer Sciences. Mark Bonn of Florida State University and Vertica Bhardwaj of the University of Texas were additional coauthors. The study examines the shopping motivations and economic impact of Mexican national shoppers. The article featuring the study appears in the Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services. The study involved a survey component conducted from December 2008 to January 2009 in which researchers went to both the Tanger and Prime Outlets of San Marcos to appraise sev-
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Adriana Candelaria, Staff Photographer
The Tanger Outlet Mall attracts large amounts of Mexican nationals who on average spend two times more than Texas shoppers per visit.
Poor record management leads to new position By Natalie Berko News Reporter A part-time records manager has been hired for the next fiscal year after an assessment found the county’s records have been in disarray. The Hays County Commissioners Court decided to add a part-time records manager position after an internal assessment found $100,000 was spent in unnecessary scans and some departments were destroying permanent records. Effective Oct. 1, Melody Barron, county law librarian, took over the position in addition to her current role. Mark Kennedy, special counsel to the
Commissioners Court, said Barron dedicates 20 hours each to the roles of law librarian and records manager. Barron’s first duty as records manager will be to assess the recovered documents and organize them with a better system. Laureen Chernow, Hays County communications specialist, said prior to the Commissioners Court’s decision to create the position, records management was handled within each department. The departments made decisions regarding which documents should be kept and which should be discarded. Kennedy said the department responsible for the $100,000 worth of unnecessary electronic scans is a subdivision of the
state, and no county funds were used to his knowledge. Hays County Clerk Liz Gonzalez said the county has not had a records manager since about 1995. “Every year it is brought up that (the court) needed to have (a records manager) or wanted to get one, but there was never really a push in that area,” Gonzalez said. Gonzalez said the state library sets up retention schedules for documents, and the departments follow those schedules to determine which ones are considered permanent. The schedule denotes which documents can be destroyed and when.
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Virus-carrying mosquitoes hit Texas, Hays County By Hannah Mills News Reporter The Texas Department of State Health Services is warning Hays County citizens to take caution against a rash of West Nile virus cases in Texas. There have been six cases of West Nile virus and no deaths in Hays County. However, 1,464 cases and 71 deaths have been reported statewide, Laureen Chernow, Hays County communications specialist, said.
West Nile virus has been more common in the northern part of Texas, particularly in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and surrounding counties. Bexar County has seen 18 cases and one death, and Travis County has seen 103 cases and three deaths, said Emilio Carranco, director of the Student Health Center. West Nile fever is a milder form of the virus, and patients typically recover. West Nile neuroinvasive disease is more severe and could result in hospitalization, long-term effects on the respiratory and nervous systems
and even death, said Christine Mann, assistant press officer at the Texas Department of State Health Services. “We haven’t been hit as hard as other surrounding counties, and we’re fortunate for that,” Chernow said. Chernow said there has been a statewide issue with West Nile virus. Since Hays County has had a rain increase during the spring and summer months, mosquitoes have been attracted to the area to breed. An increase in mosquitoes brings an increase in the vi-
rus, which the insects ultimately catch from birds. “This is the worst year ever for the virus in Texas,” Mann said. Carranco said there have been few student cases concerning West Nile virus at Texas State and none have tested positive. However, Carranco said the virus is still an ongoing problem and should not be taken lightly. Mann said 80 percent of people with
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2 | Tuesday October 2, 2012 | The University Star
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Common Experience author discusses global travels during campus visit
Kathryn Parker, Staff Photographer
Kelsey Timmerman speaks to students about the ideas in his book “Where Am I Wearing?” Sept. 27 at Strahan Coliseum. By Monica Solis News reporter Kelsey Timmerman, author of this year’s Common Experience text, spoke to students and faculty Sept. 27 in Strahan Coliseum about global initiatives and social responsibilities. The Common Experience book is titled “Where Am I Wearing? A Global Tour to the Countries, Factories and People That Make Our Clothes.” Timmerman received $5,000 from his grandparents as a gift upon graduating with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Timmerman said rather than investing the money, he decided to use it for six months of traveling. Timmerman said during this time he traveled to Dracula’s castle in Romania, taught children from a Honduran village how to play baseball and shopped for underwear in Bangladesh.
“Today I stand as one of the top 10 underwear journalists in the state of Indiana,” Timmerman said. “If you go (to these places) and write about it, you’re an author. If you go and don’t write about it, you’re just some weird dude.” Eventually, while on another trip in Honduras, Timmerman said he went to a clothing factory where a guard refused him entrance. Timmerman spoke with workers as they left the factory, learning about their wages, goals and lifestyles. This experience led him to explore sweatshop factories in other countries. “The world doesn’t need more sweatshops,” Timmerman said. “Think about the girl who makes $24 dollars a year. How long will she have to work just to wear what you walked into this gymnasium with?” Timmerman said local issues become global issues. Students need to be “plugged in” to issues on a local level and get involved. He referenced the Human-Environmental-Animal-Team at Texas State and Bobcat Build. Meredith Baird, communication design freshman, said she read Timmerman’s book and follows the author on Twitter because she feels his work is important. “It’s important in my career choice for people to know I’m engaged and fully know a product,” Baird said. “This coincides with the book. A lot of people, especially in America, tend to think we’re in our own little world. Kelsey’s work helps us be more engaged consumers.” Erika Mittag, a librarian from Austin, heard about the event from a friend in her book club. Mittag said she related to Timmerman’s idea of being a world citizen and being aware. “So many people are not aware of these long chains of supply that are not humane or ecologically sound,” Mittag said. “It’s important for people to know.” After Timmerman’s anecdotes, stories and humor, he concluded the presentation on a more serious note. “This trip has really made me look at myself. What do I do? What could I do?” Timmerman said. “Often we interact within this fine layer of people in our lives. We live in bubbles. So, I will leave you with this question: What will your impact be?”
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West Nile virus do not show any symptoms. The remaining 20 percent who do show symptoms are affected by one of two virus strains, West Nile fever or West Nile neuroinvasive disease. The virus is harsher for young people and for those over the age of 50. “The public should continue to take precautions to avoid exposure,” Mann said. Carranco recommends wearing an insect repellent containing DEET or any other kind of approved repellent. The public should wear long-sleeved clothing when outside, especially during dusk and dawn. Stagnant water, found in flowerpots,
child pools and pet water bowls should be drained because mosquitoes breed in standing water. Windows and doors should have screens to prevent mosquitoes from entering homes. “If anyone thinks they may have been exposed (to the disease), they need to contact their health provider,” Mann said. Texas State students can be tested at the health center if they believe they may have been exposed to West Nile virus. “I think that even though healthy students are not likely to get the serious form of the virus, I would still be very careful and follow all of the recommendations,” Carranco said.
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students succeed academically and professionally for more than a decade. “Deaf-friendly” Texas State faculty members who have experience working with interpreters helped Crabaugh during the more than three years she has worked for the university. “(It is) nice to know that I had some little part in helping bridge that communication barrier so that (the students) could succeed,” Crabaugh said. While Crabaugh said working with the disability office has been nothing but a good experience, some students have had issues. Elliott said her hearing aids and lack of on-campus resources for people with disabilities have hindered her academic success. Elliott said she received a low final grade in an undergraduate French class because the feedback from her hearing aids prevented her from wearing computer headphones for the lab portion. Elliott’s frustration with disability services inspired her to make a difference in
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“Everybody has got a retention schedule, but some offices maybe did not realize that they have to follow that,” Gonzalez said. There could be legal consequences for destroying documents in some cases, but there has to be an element of knowingness and intention, Kennedy said. “I think anything that has happened at the county thus far is due to a lack of education and training on the issue,” Kennedy said. Chernow said Barron’s position is neces-
people’s lives. In 2005, Elliott said she and Jan Carmack, Texas State instructional technologies microcomputer lab coordinator, created the Access Computer Lab in room 204 in Academic Services Building South. Plans for a second lab are underway. Emily Collins, psychology junior, has worked in the lab for a year. She said the lab’s technology is not very complicated. Many students who utilize the lab’s services are already accustomed to the technology offered. Elliott said her work with Carmack and the Texas State Writing Center has led to her reputation as an advocate for people with disabilities. “It takes somebody with enough empowerment and being pragmatic enough to force these things to happen because it’s expensive and it takes time. You have to write grants and petition,” Elliott said. “It’s so time consuming, and it’s hard. Most people who have faced the blocks I have faced wouldn’t still be here.”
sary to the county since the records management portion is more of a requirement and more complex than it has been in the past. “This will bring a lot more formality and regulation to the records keeping process,” Chernow said. A public hearing in response to this addition and others to the county budget will occur Sept. 18 at 1:30 p.m. in the Commissioners Courtroom at the Hays County Courthouse.
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eral groups of Mexican National shoppers. Sullivan and DuPont, along with students in the School of Family and Consumer Sciences, formed the research team that went to the outlets to conduct the surveys. Sullivan said the team surveyed shoppers in both English and Spanish. “Language is very important,” Sullivan said. “I think the ability to have a bilingual sales force is important. I think people have to recognize the importance of retail trade to the economy in terms of jobs it creates.” The study said the fact most Mexican cross-border shoppers responded to a survey in Spanish emphasizes the importance of employing bilingual retail associates. Mark Saldana, assistant manager at the Pac-Sun store at the San Marcos outlets, said it is helpful to have bilingual retail associates because of the increase of crossborder shoppers. “Usually if we miss a sale due to an international (shopper), it’s because of communication,” Saldana said. Additionally, the study determined an open border is important for allowing the income generated from cross-border shoppers to continue. This income contributes
to the life of U.S. retail and its communities. “If you have money and want to come shop, then come shop,” said Daniel de los Santos, criminal justice sophomore and manager at the Affliction outlet. Researchers compiled a table indicating the things Mexican national shoppers most enjoyed about the outlets. Shopping came in first, with eating and experience ranking as significant factors. The study said price is a notable factor influencing cross-border shopping, with other elements such as clothing variety weighing in heavily. Saldana said customers have told him the prices of clothing are much higher in Mexico. Saldana said he has seen people visiting from Australia at the Levi’s outlet because the jean brand is considered an import product. He said a pair of Levi’s jeans average about $200 in Australia. Sullivan said there is a new study currently in discussion that will look to replicate the first, but more deeply examine the social and psychological factors behind shopping motivations.
Your friendly neighborhood watchdog.
ON THIS CRIME BLOTTER
DAY IN HISTORY 1869 – Political and spiritual leader Mohandas K. Gandhi was born in Porbandar, India. 2000 – The International Space Station got its first residents as an American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts arrived aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule for a four-month stay. 2002 – A man was shot and killed in a grocery store parking lot in Wheaton, Md., the first victim in a series of sniper attacks in the Washington, D.C. area that left 10 dead. 2006 – A man took a group of girls hostage in an Amish schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Pa., killing five and wounding five others before committing suicide.
Katrina Barber, Staff Photographer
Ariana Sanjar, photography junior, and Jade Young, drawing senior, learn how to bind a book Sept. 27 at a demo put on by the printmaking organization, PROOF.
Correction In the Sept. 27 University Star issue, the video teaser description should have read that FashioNation is one of several organizations relating to fashion at Texas State.
—Courtesy of The New York Times
Sept. 27, 11:32 p.m. Comanche Street Fire call A shorted circuited transformer caused a fire on a light pole. The San Marcos Fire Department extinguished the flame. Sept. 27, 2:50 p.m. Bobcat Village Warrant service A non-student was arrested for a warrant and was transported to Hays County Law Enforcement Center to await a court date. Sept. 27, 2:03 a.m. President’s Parking Lot Graffiti of a school University property had been vandalized with graffiti. This case is under investigation.
Sept. 26, 3:34 p.m. Sewell Outdoor Center Theft under $1500 A student reported that their personal property had been taken without consent. This case is under investigation. —Courtesy of University Police Department
The University Star | Tuesday October 2, 2012 | 3
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Moment of silence suitable alternative to prayer
Kara Ramer, Star Illustrator
Local officials may be about to test whether personal freedom of religion allows for freedom from religion in county court proceedings. The Hays County Commissioners Court is potentially coming under legal fire for conducting sectarian Christian prayers at the beginning of their meetings. Religion should have no place in the rulings of elected officials and constituents should not feel isolated or underrepresented due to particular religious practices conducted in the public meetings. Instead, a moment of silence needs to be implemented to accommodate a wider spectrum of beliefs. The Americans United for Separation of Church and State sent a letter to the court complaining that their invocation violates the Establishment Clause. This clause of the First Amendment is
generally cited as the reason religion and government should not mix, stating, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” Claiming they violated the Establishment Clause may be a tough case to prove as long as these moments of prayer are not affecting commissioners’ decisions as a law-making entity. Commissioners do have the right to freedom of religion, and invocation is present on local, state and national levels of government. A Chaplain was elected during the first U.S. Senate meeting in 1789, and every meeting since has begun with a prayer. However, this letter to the commissioners is evidence that at least one individual is made uncomfortable by the practice. The editorial board believes this unnecessary element of the meeting can and should be changed. Instead, this time could be spent in a moment of silence. Members of the court and public could pray to any deity or denomination they see fit, abstain from
Financial aid regulations may improve student performance
By Evan Bolton Opinions Columnist
t is important for Texas State students to utilize educational resources to keep from falling down academia’s slippery slope, especially with new guidelines in place. According to a Sept. 13 University Star article, students at any public university will no longer receive financial aid while they are on academic probation, as of this past summer. To avoid academic probation, students must meet the minimum GPA requirements as well as completion and maximum completion rates. Since this change, on-campus student services are working to help students learn the new regulations. Texas State made a great move by hiring a coordinator to aid students in danger of academic probation. According to the same article, 10 percent of undergraduate students were on academic probation out of the 25,277 enrolled last fall. The university should do everything in its power to provide outlets to assist those students in their academic careers. Many universities have a tutoring lab to help people work through a plethora of courses. The problem is that some students, especially those who need assistance, do not take the time to diligently attend a tutoring lab. This lack of initiative, in the long run, can lead to failed classes, aggravated The University Star 601 University Drive Trinity Building, Room 101 San Marcos, TX 78666 Phone: (512) 245-3487 Fax: (512) 245-3708
and discouraged students, constantly sinking GPAs and eventual academic probation. Universities are not necessarily at fault if they have a high number of students on academic probation. Nevertheless, schools should provide their students with resources to help them overcome academic obstacles. More educated graduates will be put into the workforce as a result of the university developing better learning opportunities for its students. This outcome will simultaneously boost the university’s image and prestige, creating a win-win situation. In addition, it makes sense that students who truly need financial aid will work hard to stay off academic probation so they will keep their aid. Despite this, there may be many extenuating circumstances where students could argue both for the new financial aid regulations and against them. Though, the best option is to just embrace the requirements. Financial aid is granted to students so they may complete a degree and prepare for a career. If a student is on academic probation, he or she should not continue receiving financial aid for their classes. It is not like academic probation happens as an overnight occurrence where a student bombs one test and suddenly wakes up without his or her financial aid money. Students need to use on-campus tutors and other educational services to keep their GPAs up, especially if they are in danger of failing their classes. The new financial aid regulations may tighten students’ budgets if they cannot make the grade. However, the regulations may just be the catalyst that some students need to finally earn their diplomas. —Evan Bolton is a mass communication senior.
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praying, plan their next meal or simply gather their thoughts. This will allow those who want to pray to continue exercising their right to freedom of religion. It would avoid unnecessarily alienating individuals who want to exercise their own right not to practice religion or those whose religious views do not align with the meetings’ sectarian Christian prayers. Elected officials cannot hope to please all their constituents all of the time. Dealing with the public agreeing or disagreeing with decisions is an occupational hazard for public officials. There are many people in the community who have no problem with this practice, if the more than 20 citizens who spoke in favor of the Christian prayers at the Sept. 25 commissioners court meeting are any indication. However, this unnecessary display of religion in a public meeting is not representative of non-christian constituents. A potential commissioners court
lawsuit may cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. But the reality is no one should feel that their religious practices, or lack thereof, put them out of place during a meeting of their own elected officials. The tax dollars of a non-christian constituent are as valuable to the court’s proceedings as those of Christian constituents. All religions and nonbelievers should be welcomed in the meetings with a non-sectarian moment of silence.
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.
Alkek due for cleaning, renovations
By Jose R. Gonzalez Opinions Columnist
exas State needs to ensure the proposed renovations for Alkek Library will adequately accommodate students to remain competitive with other emerging research institutions. Without question, the library desperately needs new furniture. The seats, tables and couches used now are antiquated in every sense, and an upgrade is very much necessary. The couches on the fifth floor have dirty upholstery, the armrests are wearing thin and the grimy look of the carpet begs replacement. Unlike the furniture used now, new seating additions to the library should observe the laws of ergonomics and be compliant to the modern use of technology. Laptop rests attached to single sofa chairs are a practical suggestion. Study groups are not properly supported by the overwhelming use of squareshaped tables. Instead, study groups gathering at Alkek would greatly benefit from larger round tables which tend to lend themselves to more cohesive discussions. The dusty blackboards and chalk, as found in the study rooms on the fifth and sixth floors, ought to make way for hypoallergenic whiteboards and markers. In its present state, the library does not meet many of the technological needs that students have today. For one, Alkek does not allow on-site printing from students’ laptop files. According to a 2010 study by the Educause Center for Applied Research, 87 percent of undergraduate students own a laptop. Taking this number into consideration, introducing laptop on-site printing technology would help alleviate the computer-user saturation at Alkek. This could significantly cut down long lines of students waiting to use the desktops to print.
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There are about 11 Mac desktops available for use by students in the library. The creation of a lab exclusively for Mac desktops is long overdue in the library, since it already exists in other places on campus. Alkek is a clear victim of the university’s mad rush to expand its facilities to meet the growth of student enrollment. Consequently, the building itself lacks definitive character. Its interior is unique only in its drabness. Beyond satisfying functional needs, Alkek’s renovation process should strive for aesthetic excellence to help the building match the attractiveness of recent campus additions, such as the Undergraduate Academic Center. There are currently a grand total of two pieces of art in the entirety of the library’s non-exhibit areas. These paintings of bobcats are tucked away in the open computer lab area of the library’s “learning commons.” In addition, the library’s walls are in a state of mundane despair and need decorations similar to those found in many public buildings. Renovations could include a fresh paint job and wall-mounted exhibits on all levels of the building to display the work of both professional and student artists. The inclusion of a café has also been contemplated. This café would best serve students by being more than simply a source of caffeine hits or sugar rushes. A fruit bar incorporated into the café would provide healthier options for students. Because of their antioxidants, fruits are a better “brain food” than anything caffeinated. To lessen the interruptions that remodeling could create for students, it would be prudent to make renovations to Alkek during the summer when enrollment is at its lowest or during breaks between the fall, spring and summer sessions. Through proper planning and working during the library’s non-operational hours, alterations can be achieved seamlessly and without significant disruption to the facility’s users. With the proposed renovations, Texas State has a great opportunity to enhance Alkek by making it an even better place for studying and a source of pride for all Bobcats. —Jose R. Gonzalez is a mass communication senior.
The University Star is the student newspaper of Texas State University-San Marcos and is published every other Wednesday in the summer semesters. It is distributed on campus and throughout San Marcos at 8 a.m. on publication days with a distribution of 6,000. Printing and distribution is by the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung. Copyright Tuesday, October 2, 2012. 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. The first five issues of each edition of the paper are free. Additional copies of the paper can be purchased at 50¢ per copy. Contact The University Star office at (512) 245-3487 to purchase additional copies.
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Now playing: Mistaken identities take center stage in Texas State’s new comedy By Randi Berkovsky Trends Reporter The play may be set during the Great Depression, but only laughs are in store for audiences attending Texas State’s latest Mainstage Production. The Texas State Department of Theatre and Dance will present “Lend Me a Tenor” by Ken Ludwig at the University Mainstage Theatre Oct. 2 through 6 at 7:30 p.m. and October 7 at 2:00 p.m. The comedy “Lend Me a Tenor” is set into motion when Italian opera star Tito Merelli, scheduled to perform in Cleveland, Ohio, disappears. To cover his absence the general manager of the Cleveland Opera Company, Saunders, and his assistant, Max, attempt to impersonate Merelli rather than cancel the show and take a financial loss. “My role throughout the play as Max is to be Saunders’ right hand man,” said Cody Jenkins, theatre freshman. “Max wants to be seen in the same light that people see Tito Merelli in. Basically, I have to be Max, make myself into Tito, and then I have to transform Photo courtesy of Texas State Theatre and Dance back into Max. It is quite frightening.” Cody Jenkins, theatre freshman, and Zuhdi Boueri, theatre The play is being directed by Richard Sodders, who sophomore, will be performing in “Lend Me a Tenor,” has taught at Texas State since 1985. Two of his preopening Oct. 2 at 7:30 p.m. vious productions include “Noises Off” and “The Im-
portance of Being Earnest.” He specializes in farces and comedies and has directed many musical theatre productions like “Lend Me a Tenor.” “Farces are dependent upon physical action,” Sodders said. “There is a lot of running around on stage and in-and-out of doors. That is trademark of farces. They are used for comic timing and mistaken identities. Also, in farces, characters say directly what they are feeling. So, this play is not so much about subtext as it is timing.” The cast and crew have had four weeks to prepare for opening day, practicing three and a half hours a day, five days a week. Zuhdi Boueri, who plays Tito Merelli, said the cast and crew have devoted many hours to rehearsals and have sacrificed their social lives to get the production ready on time. “I am most proud of the ensemble,” said Boueri, theatre sophomore. “The amount of hard work put in by everyone 100 percent of the time is just mind-blowing to me. To be able to work with such funny and talented people is an amazing experience. I’m really excited for everyone to see the hard work that we have put in.” Tickets are available for purchase at the box office located in the Theatre Building on campus. A general admission ticket will cost $12 and student tickets are $7 with a valid Texas State ID.
Alumnus excels in dance with help from faculty By Paige Lambert Trends Reporter The journey from theme-park performer to resident artist in Washington, D.C. has not been without stumbling blocks for a Texas State alumnus, but it has been rewarding. Professional dancer Matthew Cumbie didn’t originally want to dance. During high school, he was involved in soccer and choir. His interest in dance sparked when he started working at the Six Flags AstroWorld in Houston. “At first I auditioned for a singing position at what was AstroWorld,” Cumbie said. “The guy I worked for really encouraged me to try out for the dancing part, and I really enjoyed it.” While attending Texas Lutheran College, Cumbie got involved with a dance studio in Seguin. After studying communication, Cumbie would go to the studio to teach or strengthen his own dancing abilities. Cumbie joined Texas State to study dance, with some prompting from his instructor, after earning a bachelor’s in communication studies from Texas Lutheran. “This was the first time I was introduced to modern dance and improv,” Cumbie said. “It really allowed me to explore how my body worked anatomically. The program there was key in helping me develop the skills I have with me.” Cumbie said the professors created rules that set the bar for himself, which he used as stepping stones. Kaysie Seitz Brown, dance lecturer, said during his first modern course with her, Cumbie showed a natural ability to pick up movement and didn’t struggle like other students. “Matt is full of sensation. He seemed to understand how to move authentically and what he could do with choreography. Plus, he always took an advantage to learn and grow,” Brown said. “We had this routine
where he would come to my office, sit on the floor, and just ask questions about dancing or anything.” After graduating, Cumbie spent the summer in New York at a professional training program. At the end of that session, he came back to Texas and soon enrolled in the dancing program at Texas Woman’s University to get his master’s. During his excursions and graduate courses, Cumbie stayed in touch with his San Marcos mentors. LeAnne Smith, director of the dance division, said Cumbie came to her when there was confusion about the concert on which he was working. “Graduate school is difficult in any field. At that point he became very frustrated,” Smith said. “We did a lot of talking, and I helped him reexamine and approach the (faculty) about his disappointment. I was just being a springboard and reflected my perception of the situation. I was just there for him.” Cumbie went on to graduate with his master’s in dancing and traveled back up to New York. After a short stay there, he was hired by a dance company in Washington, D.C. as a resident artist. The Dance Exchange is a modern dance and theater company that offers classes and creates professional performances. “Everything in the Dance Exchange is anatomically based,” Cumbie said. “We really work on how the bones and muscles work with the floor. Many of the lessons I gained at Texas State trickle into what I’m doing here.” At the Dance Exchange, he rehearses and helps to develop ideas within the company. He coordinates workshops and teaches improvisation classes to all levels of dancing. “We work with a lot of different dance companies and are open to teaching all ages,” Cumbie said. “I love improv because it creates a space open to everyone but pushes them as well.”
Cumbie said the journey to the Dance Exchange was consistently filled with lessons from his mentors at Texas State. “Getting here hasn’t been without hardships, but I’m definitely fortunate to be
here,” Cumbie said. “The atmosphere cultivated by the faculty was essential, just having the space, and them being open to me creating and exploring new ideas changed everything.”
Photo courtesy of Emily Macel Theys
Matthew Cumbie, Texas State alumnus, and Sarah Levitt perform in a Dance Exchange production. Cumbie discovered his passion for dancing as a performer at Six Flags AstroWorld in Houston.
MFA in directing allows new opportunities for theatre majors By Paige Lambert Trends Reporter The Department of Theatre and Dance has been on the national radar for years, winning awards and sending its students all over the country. However, this semester, another degree has been brought to the table: a Master of Fine Arts in directing. An MFA is a terminal degree, meaning that no more academic training is needed to teach at the university level. It opens doors for graduates beginning their careers in the directing field. Charles Ney, theatre professor, said the MFA had been in the theory phase for years. “The idea for a higher degree started when the university was first considering to offer Ph.D.s,” Ney said. “At the time, we were always challenged financially, and we were a lot smaller.” That was more than 10 years ago. Now, the theatre program has doubled and the musical theatre section has been revamped. Texas State had the largest theatre program without an MFA in the country, according to Ney. He brought up the MFA again to a colleague, starting with a 20-page proposal. For more than a year and a half, the proposal went through critics, revisions and extensions. The document had to pass 10 different reviews on the department, university and state level. In order to pass, questions had to be answered about the job market, research and the department’s capability of offering a high level degree. “We really wanted it for the students. That’s what spurred me on. A terminal degree is pretty much required in the job market,” Ney said. “We could’ve gotten a Ph.D., but that type of degree isn’t focused on the actual application of skills like the MFA is.” The long process and hard work has paid off as the finished, 100-page proposal was approved in the summer. Ney asked current graduate students if they were interested in the program that starts this fall. Aaron Johnson, graduate in theatre and director of La Fenice in Austin, said he im-
mediately jumped at the opportunity. “There was no question when I heard about the MFA,” Johnson said. “This experience has expanded my career horizon and made an impressive list of contacts. Now I can focus on making the work at La Fenice much stronger.” The MFA takes a more intensive look at the directing process and all aspects of the career. One class, The History of Directing and Cinematography, is focused on how the position of a director came to be. Robert Wighs, theatre graduate, said the new studio classes offer outside opportunities for students to use their skills. One example is the chance to co-direct for an Austin Shakespeare theatre. “Our colleagues are pretty stoked about this. The more credentials we have the better chance we have to work professionally,” Wighs said. “This opens a lot of potential for all of the department.” John Fleming, theatre chair and co-author of the MFA proposal, said they wanted a terminal degree that would complement the undergraduate programs. For example, the directing graduates work on the same plays as acting undergraduates. “Acting is big for our undergraduate program,” Fleming said. “By having our graduates working with them, we get more directing experience, and just a higher quality of experience overall.” Ney said once more students enroll into the program and the new performing arts center is completed, the department will look into obtaining other MFAs. One in particular is in design, particularly for scenery, costumes and lighting. Spaces for this MFA have been included in the planning of the center . Some areas will be used to combine MFA courses. “Eventually we want to have some team teaching for the MFAs, where the design professor teaches for a time and the directing professor takes over after him,” Ney said. “I’m just really excited that it’s going to prepare our students for the profession, teaching and all the challenges they may face in the future.”
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6 | Tuesday October 2, 2012 | The University Star
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Wolf Pack outduels Texas State in pistol formation
Formation change pays dividends, earns sweep in Seattle By Jordan Cole Sports Reporter
Kathryn Parker, Staff Photographer
Andy Erickson, junior wide receiver, had a career-best game with eight catches for 108 yards and a touchdown Sept. 29 at Bobcat Stadium. Texas State fell to Nevada 34-21. By Jordan Brewer Assistant Sports Editor The Bobcats (2-2) capitalized on an early interception to grab the lead against University of Nevada-Reno (41), but were not able to secure a victory Saturday in their 34-21 loss. Texas State entered the locker room at halftime with a 21-20 lead but did not score again during the second half. The offense’s inability to score or move the ball in the final two quarters destroyed any hope of beating a Nevada football team that has been to seven straight bowl games. “I don’t know if (Nevada) did anything different,” said Coach Dennis Franchione about the second half. “We did not play as well. We’ve had our second-half problems. To beat a team like Nevada, we have to make plays in the second half.” The Bobcats finished with 254 yards of total offense. They gained just 83 total yards and 18 rushing in the second half. Stalled drives plagued Texas State, as it only reached the first-down marker six times after the half. The Bobcats crossed over into Nevada’s territory just twice in the second half. Other than reaching the 47yard line once, they had a drive in the final quarter that resulted in a failed fourth-down try on the Wolf Pack’s 6-yard line . They were sacked a play later. The contest featured two polar-opposite run games with drastically different results. Nevada is among the nation’s leaders in several offensive categories, rushing for 273 yards against the Bobcats. For the second straight week, the Bobcats struggled to rush the ball as effectively as they had against Houston (248 yards), finishing the contest with 68 yards total. That amount gives them the lowest for the year by more than 60 yards (129 vs. Texas Tech). The rushing game had only 2.3 yards per carry. Senior quarterback Shaun Rutherford enjoyed a solid game in terms of completion percentage (68.8), but the passing game could not pick up the slack from the lackluster rushing. Rutherford had 143 yards on 15-22 passing, two touchdowns and zero interceptions, but was replaced by junior quarterback Tyler Arndt in the fourth quarter. Arndt, who came in relief with more than eight minutes remaining in the fourth, could not add any explo-
siveness to the offense, registering 43 yards on 3-12 passing. The Bobcats gained a potential threat in the passing attack with junior wide receiver Andy Erickson (8 rec, 108 yards, TD). “We put ourselves in a good position at halftime,” Erickson said. “We didn’t come out in the second half like we were in the first. It seems like we can’t execute like we do in the first half. It weighs on you. It’s a consecutive thing so it’s something we need to definitely focus on.” The Bobcats’ passing game averaged 5.5 yards per completion. Nevada averaged the same amount in yards per rushing attempt. The deep passing plays were there on several occasions, but Rutherford and Arndt were unable to successfully complete them. The Bobcats’ defense was on the field for 84 plays against the Wolf Pack, which affected the unit late in the game. The number of plays is the second most on the season to SFA, with 96. Texas State offense ran a total of 63 plays. The Nevada rushing attack was bolstered by two of the nation’s top 20 rushers. Stefphon Jefferson was its leading rusher with 178 yards on the ground, and quarterback Cody Fajardo added 98 and a touchdown. The threat of both backs running the football out of the pistol formation proved a challenge to the Bobcats’ defense. “We knew (Fajardo) could sling it a bit,” said junior safety Justin Iwuji. “He’s a good runner as well. He showed that all day. He’s a good quarterback. Nevada’s a good team. He made good throws today, and I don’t want to take anything away from him.” The Wolf Pack opened up its offense in the second half and started passing the ball more, especially deep down the field. Fajardo was 12-18 for 171 yards in the second half. Wide receiver Brandon Wimberley was his main target. Wimberley caught six passes for 135 yards, including a long of 44. The Bobcats’ defensive line was able to get into the backfield at times against the Nevada offense (three tackles for loss) but for the third straight game, no sacks were recorded. Texas State will move on to the University of New Mexico, which will be their first road contest since week one when the Bobcats defeated the University of Houston 30-13.
Bobcats defeat Vandals, lose to Seattle The Texas State Bobcats (4-8-1) concluded their five-game home stand, completing their first WAC weekend with a win against the University of Idaho and a loss to Seattle University. The Idaho Vandals started the game Friday attacking and continued the whole first half. Chelsea Small, the WAC Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, set the tempo for Idaho, scoring the first goal of the game in the 28th minute just outside the box. Outshot 15-3, the Bobcats had no answer in the first half. The second half told an entirely different story. The Bobcats responded early, forcing the issue, which resulted in opportunities that paid off late in the game. In the 81st minute, sophomore midfielder Tori Hale got behind a Vandal defender and only had the keeper to beat. She fired a shot from 20 yards and connected with the back of the net to tie the match 1-1. Three minutes later freshman forward Lynsey Curry intercepted a kick from the Idaho goalie and put the
game-winning shot in the back of the net. This sealed a 2-1 triumph for the team’s first WAC win in Bobcat soccer history. “Our attack is really good, but our defense is awesome,” said junior midfielder Sydney Curry. “Our defense lets us win the ball and allows us to get into our attack, and so when we keep our pace up and get more shots up, we do pretty well.” The Bobcats entered Sunday’s matchup against Seattle (6-5-1) with an early conference record of 1-0-0. After the big win Friday, the Bobcats were unable to match the Redhawks’ pace Sunday afternoon. Texas State was outshot 11-9. Of its nine shots, just three of them were on target. The Bobcats were unable to score a goal for the fifth time this season. “We didn’t do a whole lot wrong as far as technically, but it was just the pace we brought today,” Hale said. “I don’t think it was quite what it was on Friday. We were a little bit less aggressive and direct. We need to adjust to what the other team’s defense is doing.” Texas State had opportunities to score in the second half, trailing 1-0. One of those chances came early in the
By Odus Evbagharu Sports Reporter
The Texas State volleyball team split a two-match series in its first road trip in the WAC over the weekend against the University of Idaho and Seattle University. The Bobcats began with a tough five-set loss against Idaho’s Vandals on Thursday, but rebounded effectively with a sweep of Seattle’s Redhawks on Saturday to get Coach Karen Chisum the 750th win of her career. In the win, Texas State improved to 7-9 overall and 2-3 in the WAC. The Bobcats were down 2-0 in sets to Idaho in the beginning. At that point, Chisum and company decided it was time for a change. The team switched to a 6-2 formation, which meant two setters on the floor, including freshman Ali Gonzales. “I think it was definitely a turning point for the team,” said Associate Coach Tracy Smith. “We made some lineup changes that appeared to be the spark that was needed. It was just a different team.” Gonzales had a solid performance in her first look at extended playing time, coming up with career bests of 15 assists and seven digs in just four sets. “(Gonzales’) personality and persona out there seemed to really help the team,” Smith said. “She played really well, and it was a surprise, a pleasant surprise. She might have been the key ingredient that we’ve been needing, but time will tell.” Chisum said she was proud her team finally decided to show the grit she has been looking for all season, despite the fact it did not net a win. “I’m pleased with the fact that we didn’t quit,” Chisum said. “We found a way to get back in the match. Switching to the 6-2 gave us some more offensive power, which helped. If we can build on sets three and four, we’ll be okay.” Senior setter Caleigh McCorquodale led the way with 32 assists. Sophomore defensive specialist Laura Whalen came up with an impressive 20-dig performance and junior middle blocker Ashlee Hilbun had five rejections. The Bobcats won two of the final three sets, then traveled to Seattle looking to get Chisum that 750th win versus the Redhawks. It was the second time a Texas team had played in that arena, the first being UTSA on Thursday. The team rebounded quite effectively, still featuring that 6-2 formation. It swept a team that had not lost in three sets all season in the WAC. It was also the first conference road win for Texas State and came roughly 2,200 miles away from home. Chisum felt the match was a must-win. “It was a great win for the Bobcats tonight,” Chisum said. “I think it was our best blocking match of the year. It was a win we needed desperately.” Smith echoed those sentiments and was glad the team was able to get on the same page and start playing good volleyball again. The 6-2 formation change paid off over the weekend. The Bobcats took five of six sets from their opponents following the change. “Everybody stepped up their game, and everyone was solid,” Smith said. “It was a great performance from a nucleus of players and not just one or two. We pretty much just put them on their defense from the start and didn’t let them get back into it.” The two setters, McCorquodale and Gonzalez, were on the same page as they tallied 17 and 16 assists in three sets, respectively. Hilbun, again, led the team with six blocks while upcoming sophomore Molly Ahrens was not far behind with five of her own. Chisum will try to get win number 751 as the Bobcats attempt to move up from the No. 7 spot in the WAC on Thursday, Oct. 4 at 6:30 p.m. The game will be played at Strahan Coliseum against former Southland Conference contender UT-Arlington.
second period when senior midfielder Taylor Person attempted a goal just outside the 18-yard box, but the keeper made a save to maintain Seattle’s 1-0 advantage. The Bobcats were able to keep a 7-7 shot stalemate in the second half with the Redhawks but could not capitalize. Seattle’s Monique Escalera challenged the Bobcats in the 72nd minute by scoring a game-sealer to put her team ahead 2-0. Seattle never looked back and gave Texas State its first loss in WAC play. “We are in a new conference and they (Texas State) are trying to figure out how these other teams play,” Coach Kat Conner said. “And sometimes we give too much respect to other teams because ultimately they (Texas State) are just as good, and they (Texas State) just need to come out with confidence and learn how to play with pace.” The Bobcats start WAC play with a 1-1-0 record and will endure a west coast road trip this upcoming weekend. They head to California to play San Jose State University Friday, and then Sunday the team will conclude the trip by battling Utah State.
Around the WAC: October 2 For a complete summary of WAC weekend headlines for football, volleyball and soccer, scan here or go to UniversityStar.com.
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