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Defending the First Amendment since 1911


OCTOBER 17, 2012

Homecoming Soap Box Derby

Campus organizations competed in the annual Homecoming Soap Box Derby last weekend. For more details, visit

Local airport awaits upgrades

University president opens doors to students

By Karen Zamora News Reporter

Students had the opportunity to meet with Texas State’s highest administrator Tuesday to address any questions or concerns they have with the university. University President Denise Trauth had 15-minute discussions with six students during her Open Door Session, which is held once per semester. Joanne Smith, vice president for Student Affairs, was also in attendance. Students could only enter Trauth’s office individually, either on behalf of an organization or for personal concerns. Trauth said a few students who attended the session asked her questions regarding how she manages and leads the university, which is unusual. She said students’ interest in leadership shows they are planning for life

The City of San Marcos is gearing up for the one thousand spectators who are expected to fly into Central Texas for a nearby international racing event. The San Marcos Regional Airport will make multi-million dollar renovations in preparation for the November Formula One race in Austin. Stephen Alexander, airport manager from Texas Aviation Partners, said flying into the San Marcos airport will be an easy option for race attendees because it will not be as congested as the Austin airport. Laurie Moyer, managing director of community services, said the City of San Marcos is expected to invest $1.5 million in five capital improvement projects that will renovate some of the original infrastructure of the airport. The bulk of the budget includes a projected $950,000 replacement of a 60-year-old water line that has been in place since 1947, when the municipal airport was developed. Moyer said she was able to leverage an extra $5 million from the Texas Department of Transportation, raising the grand total of airport updates to $6 million. Approximately $4 million of the funding from the department will go toward the renovation of Runway 13/31. The city will spend approximately $394,000 on the same project, Moyer said. Moyer said the acquisition of a 42-acre, Texas State-owned track adjacent to Highway 21 is a key venture. She said after discussing and finalizing a price of $95,000 for the track, Texas State is ready to transfer the area to the airport. Moyer said the Texas Department of Transportation would fund a 90 percent grant match that will go toward the purchasing of the track. Councilmember John Thomaides, Place 3, said the airport should be developed and large enough for commercial uses like FedEx or UPS aircraft deliveries. Alexander said although the airport is capable of the expansions, he does not see commercial uses in the future because of the proximity of the San Antonio and Austin runways.

By Taylor Tompkins Assistant News Editor


Daniela Lawson, Staff Photographer

Warren McAdams, psychology sophomore, speaks with President Denise Trauth Oct. 16 at an open door session in her office at J.C. Kellam.

A DIFFERENT CLASS Students, faculty research cancer treatment

Commissioners vote to continue prayer in meetings By Taylor Tompkins Assistant News Editor Hays County commissioners voted unanimously to continue invocation before their meetings Tuesday. Commissioners passed the initiative under a new county policy that states invocation prayers can be given as long as one belief or faith is not advanced or disparaged, according to an Oct. 16 Austin-American Statesman article. The new policy also dictates how and when religious leaders can say the prayer. The new policy was brought about after discussion was open to the public on the issue last month, according to a Sept. 26 University Star article. Americans United for the Separation of Church and State sent an initial letter to the court in April after a resident complained about the strictly Christian prayers said during the meetings. The court received a second letter in June threatening legal action if no response was received.

Kristen Lefebvre, Staff Photographer

Tania Betancourt, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, observes Laison Nguyen, biology senior, Oct 12 in the Betancourt chemistry lab. Betancourt and her team are reasearching ways to help chemotherapy target specific diseases more efficiently. By Nicole Barrios News Reporter Texas State researchers are developing a new way to treat cancer, and students have joined in on the fight. Two undergraduate students and a postdoctoral researcher are working alongside Tania Betancourt, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, to research ways to use genetic material to target and release potentially healing medicine to specific parts of the body.

Betancourt said the idea behind the research is to use a piece of DNA called an aptamer as a building block for delivering drugs to specific molecules. She hopes to develop a drug delivery system that would only target molecules associated with a patient’s disease. Michael Marks, postdoctoral researcher, said he and Betancourt did much of the “groundbreaking” work and are now overseeing the research done by the undergraduates. The research’s ultimate goal is targeted toward the creation of particles

to help chemotherapy drugs become more selective, which initially attracted Dylan Hall, biochemistry senior, to the project. Hall said he is interested in the mechanics of cancer, and wanted to collaborate with researchers trying to figure out better ways to treat patients. Hall began working on the project in early June. He said this research has been a different experience from the usual work done in classes, where the outcome of the lab is already known.


Construction around campus complicates bus routes By Nancy Young News Reporter

Carlos Valdez, Assistant Photo Editor

Bobcat trams have been re-routed through State Street due to construction.

Bobcat Tram riders may be experiencing delays after construction near campus has forced buses to reroute. Some campus buses have been rerouted to go from the bus loop up State Street past the Hines Academic Center to avoid traffic caused by construction on Sessom Drive. The eastbound lane near the intersection of Sessom and North LBJ Drive will be closed until Nov. 3 for gas line installation, according to the City of San Marcos website. City Engineer Jennifer Shell said the Engineering and Capital Improvements Department plans to begin more road construction in December, and will also make

wastewater line repairs on Sessom once the gas lines are installed. Grimes Irrigation and Construction is working on the road repairs. Joe Richmond, director of Transportation Services, said the buses would have to make a hard right turn due to the lane closures on Sessom. It was logical to reroute a number of the buses to relieve traffic, he said. ”Unfortunately, that did not work out,” Richmond said. “Any delays are probably from the recent detours.” Cesar Deleon, music studies senior, said he thinks the detours are lacking framework. “It just doesn’t make any sense,” Deleon


2 | Wednesday October 17, 2012 | The University Star


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wild art



1777 – British forces under Gen. John Burgoyne surrendered to American troops in Saratoga, N.Y., in a turning point of the Revolutionary War. 1919 – The Radio Corporation of America was created. 1931 – Mobster Al Capone was convicted of income tax evasion and sentenced to 11 years in prison. 1945 – Col. Juan Peron staged a coup, becoming absolute ruler of Argentina. Daniela Lawson, Staff Photographer

Erica Temple, elementary education senior, and Sean Dunlap, construction science senior, practice during their tennis class Oct. 10 at Owen Goodnight Junior High School.

library beat Wittliff Collections’ namesake to speak at LBJ Student Center Austin screenwriter and film producer Bill Wittliff will take part in a panel discussion Saturday, Oct. 20 on making the Emmy award-winning miniseries “Lonesome Dove.” As a screenwriter and producer, Wittliff’s credits include “The Perfect Storm,” “The Black Stallion” and “Legends of the Fall,” among others. The event celebrates the publication of “A Book on the Making of Lonesome Dove,” which features never-before-published photographs taken on the set by Wittliff. The book is a new addition to the Wittliff Collections’ photography series with the University of Texas Press. The event will take place in the LBJ Student Center Ballroom and admission is free. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with the panel discussion at 7:30 p.m. Attendees who RSVP to will receive a 5 percent discount on the signed book. Signed books will be available for purchase at the venue for the regular cover price. Costumes from “Lonesome Dove” will be on view in a special satellite display. The panel will also include the book’s author, John Spong, who wrote the text by interviewing forty of the key people connected to “Lonesome Dove,” including author Larry McMurtry and actors Robert Duvall, Tommy Lee Jones, Anjelica Huston, Diane Lane, Danny Glover, Ricky Schroder, D. B. Sweeney, Frederic Forrest, and Chris Cooper. Other panel members include executive producer Suzanne de Passe, director Simon Wincer and Bill Wittliff. Additionally, Jeff Wilson will be on the panel. Wilson took studio photographs for the book of the filmmaking materials preserved in the major “Lonesome Dove” production archive at Texas State’s Wittliff Collections. The materials included props and costumes, set and wardrobe designs, shooting scripts and more. Moderating the panel will be Stephen Harrigan, a novelist, staff writer and former senior editor at Texas Monthly. He published a cover story in the June 1988 issue of the magazine about his experiences on the set of “Lonesome Dove.” Harrigan also wrote the introduction to Bill Wittliff’s 2007 “A Book of Photographs from Lonesome Dove.” --Courtesy of Michele Miller


Oct. 10, 3:16 p.m. Roy F. Mitte Technology and Physics Building Graffiti of a school University property had been vandalized with graffiti. This case is under investigation. Oct. 10, 9:50 a.m. Wood Street Parking Garage Possession of marijuana A student was arrested for possession of marijuana and was transported to Hays County Law Enforcement Center. Oct. 10, 9:00 a.m. Bobcat Village Parking Lot Criminal mischief under $500 A student reported that their vehicle had been moved and intentionally damaged. This case is under investigation. Oct. 10, 6:45 a.m. Peques Commuter Parking Lot Burglary of vehicle A student reported that their personal property had been taken without consent. This case is under investigation. Oct. 10, 1:44 a.m. Sewell Park Driving while intoxicated A student was transported to Central Texas Medical Center after suffering injuries due to driving while intoxicated. A report was made of the incident. —Courtesy of University Police Department

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Brides Supporting Breast Cancer Research

1957 – French author Albert Camus was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature. 1973 – Arab oil-producing nations announced they would cut back oil exports to Western nations and Japan; the result was a total embargo that lasted until March 1974. 1979 – Mother Teresa of India was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her work on behalf of the destitute in Calcutta. 1987 – First lady Nancy Reagan underwent a modified radical mastectomy. 2007 – President George W. Bush, raising Beijing’s ire, presented the Dalai Lama with the Congressional Gold Medal and urged Chinese leaders to welcome the monk to Beijing. —Courtesy of The New York Times

correction The Oct. 11 University Star article, “Organizations prep for derby,” should have said the Non-Traditional Student Organization has won the overall Homecoming Soap Box Derby since 2006.

The University Star | Wednesday October 17, 2012 | 3


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Commons now closed on weekends to cut costs By Hannah Mills News Reporter Students living on campus now have one less place to eat on Saturdays and Sundays. Commons Dining Hall is now closed on weekends due to a decrease in the number students living on campus, which means fewer meal plans were purchased this semester. By closing Commons over the weekend, the university is relieved of some of the dining hall’s operational costs, said John Root, director of Auxiliary Services. Rosanne Proite, director of the Department of Housing and Residential Life, said there was a waitlist for sophomores who wanted to live on campus this fall. A large amount of incoming freshmen were

expected to live on campus, so students on the waitlist were advised to find offcampus housing. However, fewer freshmen than expected chose to live in campus housing, leaving more empty spaces in dorms than usual, she said. Root said there are not enough students living on campus to justify having Commons open over the weekend. There are approximately 6,200 spaces available for students living on campus, including Bobcat Village apartments, and about 5,500 are occupied. Furthermore, students living at Bobcat Village are not required to purchase a meal plan, Proite said. Proite said when less students than normal purchase meal plans, Auxiliary Services and Chartwells need to make efficient cuts to stay within their budget.

OPEN DOOR SESSION after college, as well as success while in school. Warren McAdams, psychology sophomore, said he asked Trauth about her position as a leader and how she aligns her core values with the school. “I want to know how she is able to maintain composure in stressful situations and maybe implement her tips in my positions as leader,” McAdams said. Campus sustainability was another major issue students brought to Trauth, who said the university is actively engaged in energy conservation. The university wants to play its part in the country’s push for energy independence, she said. Ethan Pfeiffer, applied mathematics senior, brought the Human Environmental Animal Team’s “sustain campaign” to Trauth’s attention. “(The campaign) has renewable energy on campus as a focal point, as well as recycling and sustainable solutions for a positive impact,” Pfeiffer said. “I really like camping and hunting and being out in the environment and we’re just destroying it.” Damerick Davis, healthcare administration junior, is a resident assistant at Gaillardia Hall. Davis said he attended the session to express his concerns about residence hall parking on the west side of campus. He said the disconnect between Parking Services and the Department of Housing and Residential Life does a disservice to students.


“I think we should shuttle the faculty in,” Davis said. “The majority is here from eight to five. They move their car once for lunch maybe. The students in the residence halls work and run errands, and they have to get to their car. It’s a hassle. I don’t expect (Trauth) to have an answer, it’s just a suggestion.” Davis said his conversation with Trauth went well. Smith said a few students at the session said there is no place they can be directed to find help and focus while applying for graduate school. She said students need a one-stop-shop for graduate school help. “Students don’t know what they should be thinking about or what they should do (when applying for graduate school),” Smith said. “We start with our freshmen and sophomores on campus, but as students go out into the world a little bit, then it becomes a little more difficult to get that information about.” Trauth said more students are going to graduate school, and the administration will work toward a solution. She said the biggest issue would be deciding what should be done regarding the issue. Trauth said with more than 34,000 students on campus, their concerns can sometimes be generalized, so it is good for her to periodically have “grounded, individual” conversations with them. “Much of the time what students are looking for is ‘I heard this, I heard that. I want to hear what the president has to say about this,’” Trauth said.

Closing Commons was the answer in this case because not many students eat at the dining hall over the weekend, she said. Students living on campus can now eat at either Harris Dining Hall or Jones Food Court during the weekend. Arleen Gomez, English freshman, said she doesn’t eat breakfast on weekends because she doesn’t have easy access to it. Gomez lives in Laurel Hall, and does not go to Harris unless she can get a ride with a friend because she does not have a car. While Harris offers buffet-style breakfast starting at 10 a.m. on weekends, Jones opens at 11 a.m. and has limited breakfast options, according to the Texas State Dine on Campus webpage. Garrett Monkress, fashion merchandising freshman who lives in Berretta Hall, said he does not feel he is able to use his



“(Lecture courses and labs) kind of teach you a way to think, but they don’t really teach you how to approach new problems necessarily,” Hall said. Laison Nguyen, biology senior, is the second undergraduate working on the project, and said the research has built on things he has already learned in previous labs. Nguyen said the research allows him to do things he wouldn’t otherwise learn in normal classes. “I get to see what research is like now, so I have a head start and know what I’m doing later in the future,” Nguyen said. “Knowing it now is better than later on trying to decide if you want to do research or not so you’re not wasting your time later on in the future.”


meal plan to its full advantage. “(Students) paid so much for these dining plans, and we don’t necessarily get full access to the dining halls everyday, especially over the weekends,” Monkress said. Two custodial workers were assaulted at knife-point Sept. 14 while walking from Harris to the Child Development Center. Monkress said the incident has made him uneasy about eating at Harris. “I would feel safer being able to walk to Commons, which is right next to my dorm,” Monkress said. The number of students living on campus is expected to increase in the coming years, along with the amount of meal plans purchased, Root said. This could potentially result in Commons reopening over the weekend.

Betancourt said the research received a $35,000 grant in July from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement. A proposal for further funding from the National Science Foundation is currently being written. More funding is needed because each order of DNA used in the research costs about $1,000 and is used quickly, she said. Betancourt said undergraduate research is essential to a student’s education. “We want them to be exposed to what it is like to be a scientist,” Betancourt said. “We make sure that not only they learn whether they actually like it, but that they have the right tools to succeed once they get out.”


said. “They didn’t think through the main route system. So, it’s just nonsense every morning, everyone arriving late to class. It is just as hectic to the driver as it is for the students.” Deleon said he has been a Texas State student for two and a half years and has been riding buses for four semesters. As a student who utilized the bus system before and after changes, he said he has noticed a difference in its efficiency. Students like Vanessa Goldberg, marketing freshman, may have to leave for class earlier than usual or wait for a bus later than expected due to the route changes. “It is pretty horrible. I usually have to get to the bus 45 minutes before my class,”

Goldberg said. “It definitely needs to be more organized. We need more buses because a lot of the time in the afternoon there are so many people on the bus, they have to turn people away and tell them to wait for the next bus. It’s just really frustrating.” Richmond said a passenger count will be conducted this month to determine if ridership has increased. Richmond said he noticed the crowds of passengers have increased this year when riding the trams. Richmond said approximately 2,000 new residents inhabit recently built apartments located on existing bus routes. He said as Texas State grows, so does the need for more public transportation.

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4 | Wednesday October 17, 2012 | The University Star


For more viewpoints or letters to the editor, e-mail

Plan to silence trains leaves money unavailable for better use

Lara Shine, Star Illustrator


lthough trains may be a disturbance to many residents across San Marcos, spending $514,000 on the first phase of a project to silence the horns is money that could be better spent elsewhere in the city. Safety measures, including quad gates at intersections to block the road entirely on either side, road medians on both sides of the tracks and “no train horn” signs at each railroad crossing will be expensive. The process is also expected to be lengthy. According to an Oct. 11 University Star article, Phase I construction is estimated to take about six months, and there will be another six-month period of adjustment before the trains can be silenced. When San Marcos residents rented apartments or bought homes near the train tracks, they made a conscious buyers’ choice knowing noise would likely be an issue in the area. Railroad crossings are

abundant in San Marcos. It is hard for residents to be unaware of the impact that trains have on the city. With a six-month construction period for the project, residents’ frustrations will ultimately increase even more than with the current train horn situation. Solutions this lengthy, especially when dealing with city infrastructure, are sometimes not worth the end result. According to the same article, Phase I will only account for 26 intersections. Even after a year has passed, some residents will still be left suffering through their war with horns at other railroad crossings in the city. According to a March 8 University Star article, funds for Phase II of the project covering the Post Road and Uhland Road crossings have not yet been set aside in the budget. Under the current plans, it could be months or years into the future before all the trains that roll through San Marcos are silenced. The money allocated to be spent

on the potentially long-term railroad quiet zone project should be invested into different and possibly less timeconsuming projects to improve other parts of San Marcos. For example, old and overused roads must be fixed. Especially in the downtown area, more sidewalks and bike lanes should be added, and existing cycling lanes need to be renovated. Those improvements could greatly benefit the overall structure of the city. Instead of waiting a year for the trains to be silenced, completing quicker much-needed projects throughout the city could ultimately be less costly and pose smaller inconveniences for residents. It is commendable that the city is making an effort to improve the quality of life among all of its residents. However, there are not enough reasons to spend half a million dollars on Phase I of a project that will take a year for intended effects to be observed and will only address a portion of the problem.

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.

The University Star 601 University Drive Trinity Building, Room 101 San Marcos, TX 78666 Phone: (512) 245-3487 Fax: (512) 245-3708

Editor In Chief................................................Beth Brown, Managing Editor............................Lee Moran, News Editor...................................................Caitlin Clark, Trends Editor............................Hollie O’Connor, Opinions Editor..........................................Liza Winkler, Photo Editor.......................................Austin Humphreys, Sports Editor..........................................Cameron Irvine, Copy Desk Chief......................Thomas Glasebrook, Web Editor............................................Karyn Kittlitz,

Multimedia Editor.........................Alex Peña, Design Editor................................Michelle Wadsworth, Account Executive........................................Christina Carr, Account Executive...................................Casey Neubauer, Account Executive..................................Michelle Rohmer, Account Executive.....................................Hannah Wilson, Media Specialist.............................................Mary Scheske, Advertising Coordinator...........................Kelsey Nuckolls, Publications Coordinator.......................................Linda Allen, Publications Director...........................Bob Bajackson,

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 Wednesday, October 17, 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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Opinions | The University Star | Wednesday October 17, 2012 | 5

Death penalty financially, ethically irresponsible

By Christian Penichet-Paul Opinions Columnist


exas State students should stand against the state’s outdated and ineffective death penalty. Texas State prides itself as a home of multiculturalism and empathy. This year’s Common Experience theme encourages students to explore the world and become socially responsible members of the global community. One way students can adhere to this theme and become more socially responsible is to take a stand against faulty systems like the death penalty. According to an Amnesty International report released in May, the death penalty sentencing process can be surpris-

ingly arbitrary and unfair. According to the same report, Texas has accounted for 37 percent of all executions in the nation since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. An Oct. 11 ABC News article reported the state recently executed its tenth inmate in 2012 through a lethal injection. The death penalty is a complicated issue that students must consider and take a stand on. Students should not elect supporters of the death penalty in next month’s election. For one, performing an execution is expensive. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, a non-profit organization that provides analysis on capital punishment, the process costs more than sentencing an inmate to life in prison. According to information from the center, $693,500 is the cost of housing an inmate for 40 years. However, the legal costs alone of fulfilling a death penalty case from indictment to execution total about $1.2 million, according to information from the center. The death penalty makes no financial sense. Students have the power to oppose capital punishment in

next month’s election by voting for state legislature representatives and judges. Fiscally, there is no reason for students to elect death penalty supporters. Students should also know the death penalty is not the most effective way to deter crime. According to the Amnesty International report, cited FBI data shows 14 states without death penalties had homicide rates at or lower than the national level. Many industrial countries do not support capital punishment. Instead, these nations use alternative methods to deter crime. It is important to consider the innocent lives that can be put at risk through capital punishment. According to the Amnesty International report, 140 inmates have been released since 1973 from death penalty rows because of evidence of wrongful conviction. If the system is unnecessary and flawed, it is only just that Texas State students should stand against it. Texas State is a university with a growing voice in state politics. If students and campus organizations work together against the state’s use of capital punishment, then the issue could

resurface in Texas’ policy agenda. Texas State, like many universities, encourages an atmosphere of congeniality and multiculturalism. Students are always reminded to place themselves in other people’s shoes. As a result, there are many organizations at the university that support a variety of social issues. These organizations would do well to unite and advocate for alternatives to the death penalty. Politically and socially oriented campus organizations across the spectrum should join to tackle the death penalty issue. The death penalty is a worthless policy that makes little fiscal, logical or moral sense. Texas State students should make sure to voice their opposition to the death penalty, both in the voting booth and through university organizations. This university can play an important part in the state political scene, and Texas as a whole is a major player in the death penalty issue. Students at Texas State have a greater impact on the issue than they might realize. -Christian Penichet-Paul is a history junior.

Students need to become active in campus outdoor activities

By Alex Pernice Opinions Columnist


s the fall months begin to arrive, cooler weather should encourage students to take advantage of outdoor activities affiliated with the Student Recreation Center and the Outdoor Center. There are a number of different events, trips and amenities that become available

at Texas State around this time of year. For instance, the Adventure Trip Program is an effort by Texas State to help bring, essentially, “adventure” to the community through exciting travel and active learning opportunities. Since the program’s inception in 1986, students have taken trips to Enchanted Rock, the Grand Canyon and other places. The Adventure Trip Program hosts different clinics designed to teach outdoor skills like kayaking and rock climbing. Texas State has land out in Wimberley that is designated for University Camp and managed by the Outdoor Center. The area consists of a 126-acre campground that includes lodges, hiking and biking trails, access to the Blanco River and a challenge course for students, staff and alumni. It is a fantastic place to visit when looking to get out of town, breathe

fresh air and become active. The autumn months should inspire Bobcats to go and spend a few days out at University Camp, especially since it is a beautiful time in the semester. Something great about both The Adventure Trip Program and University Camp is that both offer reduced rates for students and staff to make the activities as cost effective as possible. As college students, those discounts make it easier to balance a tight budget and experience something exciting at the same time. The university provides very close-to-home ways to go adventuring by making it easier to schedule around a busy college lifestyle. But, even when participating in student recreation is not enough, consider where Texas State is located. San Marcos itself is a hub of outdoor activity and life.

Many students and residents alike foster a fun and diverse lifestyle that should encourage others to get outside and get active. Even though these locations may not be considered exotic, a simple trip to the river at Sewell Park, traveling to the Comal in New Braunfels or taking a hike along Purgatory Creek’s trail are also great ways to get active. Get ready Bobcats. As this autumn season begins, students need to start thinking about how they can go out, have some fun and exercise. As important as homework and exams are, go learn something different outside of the classroom this semester. Take some time during the next few months to try something new. The beautiful Hill Country awaits. -Alex Pernice is a mass communication sophomore.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Judge Bert Cobb, My name is Matthew Davis, and I am writing you on behalf of the Secular Student Alliance at Texas State. It recently came to our attention that your organization is facing a potential lawsuit from Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, and we are writing to urge you to comply with them. Most members of the Secular Student Alliance are residents of Hays County. Because of this we have a vested interest in the goings-on of the county, and your recent transgressions have disturbed us deeply. Freedom of religion is a truly beautiful thing. Many of the men and women who settled here centuries ago crossed an entire ocean to escape religious persecution, and religious freedom has been an important part of our cultural identity ever since. In order to prevent this religious persecution from happening again, the founders of this country and the drafters of our Constitution provided safeguards to religious freedom, the primary of which is the Establishment Clause. Found in the First Amendment of the Constitution, it reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” Pursuant to the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution and the Supreme Court’s ruling in Everson v. Board of Education (1947), this does not apply solely to Congress, but to all forms of the state. In the words of Thomas Jefferson, it was meant to be “a wall of separation between church and state.”

After reading Mr. Penichet-Paul’s Sept. 25 article “San Marcos needs more low-price options for residents, students,” I feel compelled to voice my opinion on the subject from the perspective of a local businessman and a Texas State student. Because of the large student population in the city, which is a demographic not well known for increasing the median income, San Marcos will certainly have a far different economic makeup when compared to surrounding cities. What caused me concern was the overwhelming tone of entitlement that simply because poor college students are, well, poor, that local businesses should lower their prices in order to meet the financial needs of the students. What Penichet-Paul is overlooking in his article is the cost of doing business. As real estate prices in the area continue to climb along with the cost of renting a retail store front and the increase in distribution costs due to skyrocketing fuel prices, it would be counterproductive for local businesses to simply lower their costs across the board to meet the needs of the student population. Many local businesses have been hit hard by Internet competi-

In short, if any governmental body were to take an action or make a law “respecting an establishment of religion,” it would be unconstitutional. By opening your meetings with a Christian prayer, you are, in your capacity as a governmental body, endorsing the Christian religion. In order to protect the freedom of religion of individual citizens, the government of the United States must be without religion. When members of the government come together to represent their constituency, their personal religious views should not matter. In your capacity as government officials it is your ethical obligation to represent this constituency, which consists of people of many religious affiliations. When you open up your meetings with a Christian prayer, you are excluding non-christian people. This is not only in direct contrast with the U. S. Constitution, but is also contrary to everything this country is supposed to stand for. The original national motto, before being replaced in the 1950s as a response to communism, was “E pluribus unum,” which is Latin for “From many, one.” From many different cultures, races and yes, even religions, we have come together in order to make a country that is welcoming to anyone. All we ask is that that not be betrayed. Please, keep Hays County inclusive to anyone and everyone, not just those who identify themselves as Christian. As an alternative to opening meetings with a prayer, may we suggest a moment of silence? If

tion as well as the increasing costs of doing business, and some have failed to weather the storm. If local businesses decided that this viewpoint was valid, and decided to lower costs, it is very likely that many would succumb to a severe loss of profits. Would it be a better option for the students if there were only major corporations such as McDonald’s and Wal-Mart, which can afford to sustain themselves on lower prices, or would they find it preferable if San Marcos retained its unique, locally owned establishments that aid in the character of San Marcos? Penichet-Paul manages to simultaneously applaud and vilify local businesses by praising their contributions to making San Marcos an “attractive location,” yet chastising these businesses for trying to remain competitive and profitable. As for the title itself, San Marcos is well known for its “low-price options.” I have yet to be charged a fee to enjoy the river or its surrounding parks. Shows at the Triple Crown are still $5 a head, and the Showplace movie theater, which is far more accessible to a greater number of students than the

that is not desirable, perhaps pray before even attending the meetings? These alternatives are not only in accordance with the Constitution and a proper show of inclusion and respect toward those who are not Christian, but are actually more in line with biblical teachings. According to the Book of Matthew 6:5-6:6, “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” We urge you, do the right thing and discontinue this exclusionary, un-American practice. With Thanks, Matthew Davis President, Secular Student Alliance at Texas State

Starplex, still sells tickets for $1.50. I realize that to those attempting to live above their means, capitalism is a four-letter word, but these local businesses are owned and operated by men and women who rely on the profitability of their businesses to care for their families, pay their rents and mortgages, and, hopefully, put a few dollars aside for a rainy day. If local business owners were to lower their prices significantly enough to appease the poor college students, the entire town would end up below the poverty line. Where would we be then? Sincerely, Mark Diehl Studio Art Junior

6 | Wednesday October 17, 2012 | The University Star


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Dogs, yoga meet at alumna’s business

Kristen Lefebvre, Staff Photographer

Nicole Vykoukal, Texas State alumna, is the owner of Austin Doga. In doga, humans and dogs perform a variety of yoga poses. With Vykoukal’s assistance, her dog Snoop does a twist. By Sarah Stephens Trends Reporter Dog-loving yoga enthusiasts no longer have to leave their furry friends at home during their workouts. On the contrary, the dogs are an integral part of classes at Austin Doga, alumna Nicole Vykoukal’s yoga studio that merges dog and human poses with meditation, breathing techniques and aromatherapy, known as “doga.” Vykoukal said the class is a chance for people to bond with their pets in a peaceful state while helping them get in shape and meet other dog lovers. “At the beginning of the classes, I try to work on human centering, which is basically just getting the humans to work on their breaths and regulate the nervous system,” Vykoukal said. “The dogs usually always respond to

Anna Schautteet

Aspiring Anthropologist By Randi Berkovsky Trends Reporter

Photo courtesy of Anna Schauteet

Ever since she was 3 years old, Anna Schautteet has dreamed of discovering the remains of the past. Now 17, the New Braunfels native recently assisted some of Texas State’s anthropology professors and faculty on the Gault Archaeological Project located 40 miles north of Austin. After doing so, Schautteet was asked to be on an episode of comedian Amy Poehler’s new show, “Smart Girls at the Party.” Anna talked about her love for anthropology and served as example of the show’s motto to “encourage girls to change the world by being themselves.” Schautteet will be attending Texas State in the spring of 2013 with the hopes of continuing her education in anthropology and deciding what branch most interests her. The University Star spoke with Schautteet about her life-long love of anthropology, her assistance with the Gault Archaeological Project, and her feelings toward having her own episode on “Smart Girls at the Party.” RB: How did you become interested in anthropology? AS: I have been interested in archaeology since I was three years old. Anthropology, to me, is researching the past to make a foundation for the future. I became interested in that because I think the human side of it is just so interesting. That is what intrigues me the most. RB: Tell me about the Gault Archaeological Project. What was it like working on the project? AS: It was a huge honor to be invited to the lab. I’ve had a wonderful experience. I started by cleaning and washing the artifacts, and now I have moved up to cataloging, which is where you separate different pieces of artifact into groups, mark it all down and send it off to other scientists to be studied. The doctors are very helpful and answer all of my questions. It was a wonderful learning experience. RB: I’d love to hear about your trip abroad. Where did you go and what was the experience like? AS: I went to Macedonia, and it was all by coincidence that I got invited on to go on the trip. My brother-in-law has an intern who is originally from Macedonia, and she invited me to stay with her family as a host family. It was my first trip abroad. I got to work on the Bylazora site there which is a neoclassical Roman-period type of archaeological site. I got to do my first drawing and my first graphing of the site. RB: Tell me about your experience on Amy Poehler’s show. How did that happen for you? AS: I had been volunteering at the Gault Lab for about two years. When the show contacted Dr. Wernecke, who directs the research of the project, he gave them my name. I was the only one under 18 volunteering at the site. It was a wonderful experience. I was so nervous at first, but they were so nice. I think the organization is just wonderful for young girls. RB: How has the show “Smart Girls at the Party” impacted your life? AS: After I was on the show, I got a lot of feedback from young girls who said they were really inspired by it. That was the absolute best part for me. I think that helping inspire someone to be their self and follow their dreams is what it is

that and that allows them to become calm as well because they see that their owner is in such a relaxed state.” Group doga classes with Vykoukal cost a base fee of $15 and usually require the pet owners to bring a mat or beach towel for their animal. The classes last about an hour and are open to dogs of all breeds and sizes. As the classes carry on, Vykoukal begins to have the humans and dogs do a range of different yoga poses. “I always make sure that the dogs aren’t doing anything that is too hard for them,” Vykoukal said. “Their owners and I will usually just try to gently pull them into very mild poses that wouldn’t cause them any harm.” Vykoukal graduated from Texas State in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Along with being a doga instructor, she is a social worker. “I really think that my expertise in psychology has helped me greatly as a doga instructor,” she said. “The

two branches are closely related to one another in the sense that they both provide a form of spiritual healing.” Although her classes have been featured in Austin Monthly magazine for one of the 112 things to do in Summer, Vykoukal is concerned about whether or not her business will succeed. “The reason I still worry is because of a lot of people don’t know or understand what doga is or how it works.” Vykoukal said. “I’m still trying to educate those people and encourage them to give my classes a try.” Some Texas State students have already tried out Vykoukal’s workout. “I was a little apprehensive about trying out doga at first because I didn’t want the workouts to strain my dog,” said Alexandra Walker, mass communication freshman. “But my dog, Kennedy, was able to do most of the poses and they eventually helped heal her injured paw.”

The University Star | Wednesday October 17, 2012 | 7


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Special teams


Running back Marcus Curry


Combined rushing yards in wins against Houston and the University of Idaho. Curry had 84 yards and a touchdown on seven per carry against the Vandals. He had 138 yards with two touchdowns and a 9.4-per-carry average against the Cougars. Curry had three of his five touchdowns this season in those two games.


Rushing yards in three games combined against SFA, University of New Mexico and the University of Nevada-Reno. Curry missed the game against Texas Tech because of injury and Texas State lost two of three of those matchups, beating SFA by only four.



Average kickoff return yardage for freshman wide receiver Jafus Gaines. The number is good enough for ninth in the nation in return kickoff average. Gaines, however, is only one of three returners in the top ten who do not have a run-back of 85 yards or more. Average punt return yardage for junior wide receiver Andy Erickson. It’s good enough for 11th in the nation in punt return average. Only Nevada’s defensive back Khalid Wooten averages more than Erickson without a bigger return. Erickson’s biggest return went for 39 yards. Wooten’s longest was 32 yards.

Average yards for junior punter Zach Robinson. Robinson’s longest punt is 53 yards. The length is the shortest of any long punt in the top 20 in the nation. Robinson ranks 12th nationally in punt average.


Second half of season will determine Bobcats’ first FBS success

By Jordan Brewer Assistant Sports Editor The Bobcats have experienced many different emotions during the opening half of their first season in the FBS. Senior linebacker Brian Lilly summed it up best when discussing the first loss of the season to Texas Tech. “We’ve gone from the highest of the high to the lowest of the low, so we’ve seen both spectrums,” Lilly said. “We’ve got to be constant and more consistent, more resilient.” Yes, the quote is from the second week of the season, but it rings true even after seven weeks of football. Starting with the “highest of the high,” the Bobcats might have earned the greatest victory in Texas State football history, possibly in the entire sports program’s history. There

have been some admirable baseball wins but they do not compare to the 30-13 win at Houston. The Bobcats won their very first game playing in the FBS that night against the Cougars, and really were able to do whatever they wanted on offense. The team ran the ball with ease and at some points they were effective in passing the ball as well. After the success in week one, what transpired in weeks two through six had some fans frustrated. We all know what took place in the Bobcats’ first home game in the FBS era: a 58-10 shellacking from Texas Tech in which the Red Raiders held the lead after the first two and a half minutes. While it was a disappointing outcome for football, it was a terrific night for Bobcats everywhere. Bobcat Stadium has never had that type of atmosphere. The Bobcats held off a second-half attack from Stephen F. Austin to beat their former rival for the fifth straight season. Texas State was beating the extremely successful Nevada Wolf Pack team at halftime, which had the nation’s leading rusher at the time, but ultimately did end up losing to Nevada.

In week six, the Bobcats had their stiffest road test thus far against a surging New Mexico team and dropped the contest 35-14, letting the Lobos run the ball 59 times for 361 yards. The Bobcats seemed to be at a crossroads, trying to figure out how to improve mentally and physically. Most recently, the Bobcats took care of business against their very first WAC opponent, beating the Idaho Vandals 38-7. The team disregarded all of the negative criticism and soundly beat a team that hung with sixth-ranked LSU for two quarters. In what was the most intriguing game so far this season, the loss to the Wolf Pack summarizes the first six games. Close, but no cigar. Almost there, but not quite. Better, but not good enough. Move along, there is nothing to see here. Most “Could this really happen?” moments in 2012 ended with “Why did I get my hopes up?” The 3-3 record is much better than what most people expected from the Bobcats entering the season, but how the fans ultimately view the season will be defined in the last six games. As the Bobcats enjoy their second and final bye week of the season, the team still

Quarterback Shaun Rutherford

161.7 70.5 98


Rutherford’s quarterback rating. He has nine touchdowns to just two interceptions, and his rating is good enough to be 14th best in the nation, behind notables like West Virginia’s Geno Smith (first), Texas Tech’s Seth Doege (ninth) and Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel. Rutherford’s completion rating. Rutherford has completed 86 of 122 attempts, and while that’s the lowest number of completions or attempts in the nation’s top 10, Rutherford’s completion rating ranks seventh out of 124 starting FBS quarterbacks.


Rutherford’s 98-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Isaiah Battle in their win over the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks is still the longest pass in the nation during the 2012 college football season. That catch accounts for 44 percent of Battle’s receiving yards this year.



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By Jordan Brewer Assistant Sports Editor

What’s a song you’ve been listening to lately? “‘Madness’ by Muse, it’s a sick new song. Also ‘Just What I Am’ by Kid Cudi and Chip Tha Ripper.”

Players that have recorded a forced fumble, interception or sack for Texas State so far this season. Texas State’s defense is getting the job done with a collected effort. Only junior safety Justin Iwuji has made a play in both categories (one interception, one forced fumble).

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Texas State wid

Who/what is your motivation/role model? “My dad is a great man. He has taught me a lot. I had a kid a while back, but he passed away and that motivates me and runs through me a lot.”


Texas State came in sixth at the Hill Country Resort Golf Club in San Antonio for the UTSA/Lone Star Invitational, the highest finish in the fall season.

Andy Eriecrekcisevoern

Is there another sport you used to play or wish you could play? “I played soccer my whole life until my junior year of high school (when) I started running track. I love soccer. I played baseball, football and a little bit of basketball, but soccer is probably my second favorite sport to play.”

Sacks that Texas State has had in 2012. This number is one more than New Mexico State, who ranks last in the nation with five sacks. However, the Bobcats have been putting more pressure on the quarterback lately and achieved four of their six sacks in the last two games.



Is there a position you’ve always wanted to play but never got the chance? “I’ve always wanted to play defensive end. I’m obviously not that big, but I’ve always thought it might be fun going after the quarterback.”

Twitter: @jbrewer32

Points allowed against the Vandals in the first WAC conference game in school history. That 2012 match stopped the four-game streak of the Bobcat defense allowing 34 points or more. Texas State allowed 34 points or more last season.


H EnaLmLe isO...

What NFL player do you model yourself after and why? “I really like Steve Smith, Wes Welker and I just heard about a new guy named Danny Amendola. All three of them are great role models for me. I like watching them a lot.”

has defining moments left in 2012. Texas State still has tough road tests against WAC teams Utah State and San Jose State. Utah State and Louisiana Tech pose big offensive threats, the caliber of Texas Tech and New Mexico. The first football I-35 Rivalry might be the only one for a long time and will be a statement game. New Mexico State is a train wreck and for the Bobcats might mean the difference between being bowl eligible and being left out of college football’s postseason schedule altogether. Whether the Bobcats can rise to these challenges remains to be seen. Honestly, the jury is still out on the Bobcats. I’m not ready to give them credit or the shaft just yet, although enough evidence to validate both has been shown in the young season. Expectations were through the roof after the move to FBS became final, and the victory at Houston didn’t lower them. The verdict will be in by the time Texas State participates in their senior game against the Aggies on Dec. 1. No matter the season’s final record, negative or positive, a consensus feeling of “I can’t wait for next season!” should be reached.

Star File Photo

What’s a movie or show you have been watching lately? “I’ve been watching the ‘Walking Dead.’ I’ve been watching that with my roommates. I watch a lot of ‘Workaholics’ too.” If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go? “I’d like to visit Juneau, Alaska. One of my best friends lives up there, and he’s always been back and forth for the summer. I’d like to go up there with him someday.” If you could date any celebrity in the world, who would it be? And where would you take her on a date? “Jessica Alba. I would probably take her on my boat.” What occupation would you want if you could do anything outside of being a professional athlete? “I would like to be a ranch broker, a Texas ranch real estate broker. I think that would be an awesome job because it’s not that busy and you would be able to go all over Texas.” Twitter: @jbrewer32


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