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VOLUME 102, ISSUE 39

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NOVEMBER 28, 2012

Phoenix Saxophone Quartet The Phoenix Saxophone Quartet is a group of students in the School of Music raising funds to perform at the 36th annual Navy Band International Saxophone Symposium in Virginia. To learn more, go to UniversityStar.com.

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LINKING LANGUAGES

Faculty members respond to plans for custodial outsourcing By Taylor Tompkins Assistant News Editor Though the complete outsourcing of custodial positions at Texas State may take 10 to 15 years, some faculty and staff are already beginning to consider its effects. Texas State contracted McLemore Building Maintenance, Inc. to fill the vacancies as university custodians retire or quit over time, effective June 1. Some buildings, such as the LBJ Student Center, Student Health Center and Student Recreation Center, were already outsourced. While some faculty and staff in those facilities have subsequently seen no change in the custodial services provided, others say they expect to see a difference. The outsourcing will spread to Jowers and Strahan Coliseum starting in December. It began as an effort to consolidate the individual contracts held by the three buildings already outsourced. Bill Nance, vice president of Finance and Support Services, estimates all custodial positions at Texas State will be outsourced by 2030. Some faculty are concerned because of the close relationships they hold with Texas State-employed custodians. Rebecca Montgomery, associate professor in the Department of History, said the same Texas State custodian has cleaned the Taylor Murphy History building for years. “We just do not want her to be replaced with outsourced employees because we value the relationship we have with (the custodian),” Montgomery said. Montgomery said because outsourced custodians are not employees of the university, they will have “no real loyalty or commitment” to Texas State and “no real connection” to the faculty. She said having an unfamiliar custodian around confidential information in faculty offices is a concern. However, not all faculty members say they foresee negative effects from the outsourcing. Jacqueline Slaughter, manager at the University Bookstore, said she will see no change in custodial staff at the facility. The bookstore hires its own custodian, so the outsourcing does not affect her staff. Kristy Caldwell, associate director of Campus Recreation, said the recreation center has had an outsourced custodial staff through McLemore since it opened in 1994. However, under the new contract, additional facilities such as the outdoor center, golf course and university camp were added to the custodial rounds. “We have been pleased with (McLemore’s) services,” Caldwell said. “The (new contract) has allowed us to get more spaces cleaned and save a little bit of money.” Associate Provost Cynthia Opheim said McLemore officials and faculty will meet to discuss issues pertinent to the individual buildings as they become outsourced. Special needs and issues will be addressed during these meetings.

Madelynne Scales, Staff Photographer

Blake Petrea, German and philosophy junior, works on German homework in the Honors Building. The foreign language department will be consolidating German and French majors due to the lack of students graduating.

French, German degrees to be consolidated cal year 2008. The board requires low-producing majors to request a temporary exemption, consolidate Blake Petrea’s grandmother emi- with similar programs or be phased grated from Germany to Texas in out. The German and French prothe 1960s knowing her native lan- grams will follow the middle option. guage is important to his family, Robert Fischer, chair of the Deacademic life and career. partment of Modern Languages, However, Petrea, German junior, said the French and German mais one of few students studying the jors will be consolidated into a sinlanguage at Texas State, prompting gle degree with specific tracks since changes to the future of the degree. the two aren’t producing enough The Texas Higher Education graduates on their own. The change Coordinating Board designated will take effect in fall 2013. both German and French as “lowThe consolidation will change producing” undergraduate majors, the names of the majors to Modern defined as one that does not gradu- Languages with a German conate more than 25 students in five centration and Modern Languages years. There have been 17 German with a French concentration, with and 25 French graduates since fis- all-level teaching certification still offered for both. The degree requirements Degrees awarded to French and and curriculum will not change, but the German majors by fiscal year consolidation will serve as a “reporting 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 mechanism” showing higher enrollFrench 8 5 4 4 4 ment numbers to the coordinating board. German 3 3 4 “This approach 5 3 By Adrian Omar Ramirez News Reporter

Investigation underway after Aquarena Center vandalism By Taylor Tompkins Assistant News Editor The Aquarena Center is recovering from a recent surge of vandalism that has left glass bottom boats and other property damaged. The center has experienced five cases of vandalism dating back to August, the most recent occuring the morning of Nov. 19, said Johnny Johnston, University Police Department officer. The others occurred Aug. 14 and 22 as well as Oct. 24 and 26. No buildings of the center have been broken into, but acts of vandalism have caused damages to property, and graffiti has occurred in most of the incidences. “Although (graffiti) hasn’t been done on every single (incident), it seems to tie in together with the vandalism of the boats, in relation to the area

(the incidents are) occurring in and the time it occurs,” Johnston said. Deborah Lane, assistant director of the center, said damage was done to Plexiglas windows, fire extinguishers and emergency blow horns on the boats. Vandals set off fire extinguishers and threw them off the damaged boats, releasing chemicals into Spring Lake, Lane said. Some of the removed Plexiglas was recovered, but other damages cannot be repaired as easily. Lane does not have an estimate for the damages accrued from the five incidents. Johnston said at this point of the investigation, it is likely the incidents are linked and the vandalism was done by a group of people, not just a single culprit.

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Star File Photo

The Aquarena Center has experienced several acts of vandalism since August. University Police officials believe a group of people vandalized the center’s glass bottom boats and released chemicals into Spring Lake.

will take care of the problem for some time, maybe forever,” Fischer said. “If not, then we’ll talk about something else in the future, but I don’t see that as a problem.” However, Carole Martin, professor of modern languages, still worries about the possibility of Texas State losing these programs in the future. A growing number of students are choosing to study Spanish as a foreign language at Texas State. Martin said each year there are fewer students electing to study other languages like German and French. She estimates nearly 80 percent of modern language majors choose to study Spanish. “It’s not an issue specific to Texas State, or specific to Texas for that matter, but in terms of foreign language, students do favor Spanish,” Martin said. “Year after year, (the board) does eliminate low-producing programs. We are talking about the possible elimination of German and French as majors.” Petrea said he could see the ap-

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Health center notifies inactive students of care ineligibility By Taylor Tompkins Assistant News Editor Bobcats attempting to receive services from the Student Health Center more than one semester after leaving Texas State can now expect a notice signaling their ineligibility. The Student Health Center provides a grace period that allows students to continue receiving medical services for one semester after their last enrolled term at Texas State. Emilio Carranco, director of the Student Health Center, said he has recently seen students who had not been enrolled at Texas State for up to two years requesting services. Carranco said health center staff have found it necessary to begin formal notifications to grace semester patients so they are aware of when eligibility for services ends. Beginning this fall, the health center staff has begun emailing non-enrolled patients notifying that they will no longer be eligible for medical services after their four-month grace period. The email will let patients know if they re-enroll at Texas State eligibility will be regained for full services. Carranco said about 1,950 students who are not currently enrolled are able to access its services this fall based on their grace-semester status. These students have to pay an officevisit charge of $35 because they have not contributed the Medical Service Fee included in tuition. Students who are enrolled and have contributed the Medical Service Fee pay only a $10 office-visit charge.. Non-enrolled students who took classes at Texas State last semester can receive care during time between

academic terms without the $35 office-visit fee. There are no limits to how many grace semesters students can have, as long as they were enrolled during the previous term, Carranco said. “The university typically provides services only to enrolled students,” Carranco said. “The reason we got an exception is because you cannot just stop providing health care because the semester ends. We need time to work with the patient so that the patient can transfer care to another doctor if they are not going to be enrolling again.” The grace semester period and the lower office-visit fee offered by the Student Health Center are not offered at several other Texas universities. Courtney Waggoner, patient services manager for Texas A&M University, said students who aren’t enrolled in summer classes at her institution can use the health center there. However, they have to pay the fee that would be included in that semester’s tuition. The policy only covers the summer semester, not the spring or the fall. According to its website, the University of Texas requires students who were registered for the previous semester but do not attend UT to subscribe. The subscription allows them to get care for one additional semester. During the summer, Texas Tech University attendees may be eligible for Student Health Services care, according to the institution’s website. “Students without insurance find it very, very difficult to find affordable

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The University Star | Wednesday November 28, 2012 | 3

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degrees

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peal in choosing to study Spanish because of the job security the language offers for people living in Texas. “If you know Spanish, it’s a positive thing for any job,” Petrea said. “As far as living in Texas and the rest of the United States, German and French aren’t super-high demand.” Petrea will be studying abroad in Germany this spring and hopes to practice law in German-speaking companies. Germany is the fourth largest economy in the world, and the largest economy in Europe. Petrea said knowing German will be beneficial for people like him who want to do international business or law with Europe. Fischer said some questions arose when the consolidation of the French and German degrees was announced, and several students in his class asked what was happening. Petrea said he thinks most German students were confused by the consolidation, and rumors of the majors being totally eliminated have spread. Petrea is glad the rumors aren’t true, because the elimination of the German program would be “pretty terrible” for him. He hopes the consolidation will give both the German and French programs a chance to grow. Fischer said Texas State is one of several higher education institutions using consolidation as a solution to low-producing programs. “Lamar (University) has done it, Stephen F. Austin (University) has done it, UTSA has done it and so has Texas A&M (University),” Fischer said. “We’re just following suit to other universities.”talking about the possible elimination of German and French as majors.” Petrea said he could see the appeal in choosing to study Spanish because of the job security the language offers for people living in Texas.

health

“If you know Spanish, it’s a positive thing for any job,” Petrea said. “As far as living in Texas and the rest of the United States, German and French aren’t super-high demand.” Petrea will be studying abroad in Germany this spring and hopes to practice law in German-speaking companies. Germany is the fourth largest economy in the world, and the largest economy in Europe. Petrea said knowing German will be beneficial for people like him who want to do international business or law with Europe. Fischer said some questions arose when the consolidation of the French and German degrees was announced, and several students in his class asked what was happening. Petrea said he thinks most German students were confused by the consolidation, and rumors of the majors being totally eliminated have spread. Petrea is glad the rumors aren’t true, because the elimination of the German program would be “pretty terrible” for him. He hopes the consolidation will give both the German and French programs a chance to grow. Fischer said Texas State is one of several higher education institutions using consolidation as a solution to low-producing programs. “Lamar (University) has done it, Stephen F. Austin (University) has done it, UTSA has done it and so has Texas A&M (University),” Fischer said. “We’re just following suit to other universities.”of Texas State losing its French program. With a growing number of students choosing to study Spanish as a foreign language at Texas State, Martin said each year there are fewer students electing to study other languages like German and French. Martin estimates nearly 80 percent of modern language majors choose to study Spanish. “It’s not an issue specific to Texas State, or specific to Texas

for that matter, but in terms of foreign language, students do favor Spanish,” Martin said. “Year after year, (the THECB) does eliminate low-producing programs. We are talking about the possible elimination of German and French as majors.” Petrea said he could see the appeal in choosing to study Spanish because of the job security the language offers for people living in Texas. “If you know Spanish, it’s a positive thing for any job,” Petrea said. “As far as living in Texas and the rest of the United States, German and French aren’t super-high demand.” Petrea will be studying abroad in Germany this spring, and hopes to practice law in German-speaking companies. Petrea said Germany is the fourth largest economy in the world, and the largest economy and Europe. He said knowing German will be beneficial for people like him who want to do international business or law with Europe. Fischer said some questions arose when the consolidation of the French and German degrees was announced, and several students in his class asked what was happening. Petrea said he thinks most German students were confused by the consolidation, and rumors of the majors being totally eliminated have also spread. Petrea said he is glad that is not the cause, because the elimination of the German program would be “pretty terrible” for him. He hopes the consolidation will give both the German and French programs a chance to grow. Fischer said Texas State is one of several higher education institutions using consolidation as a solution to low-producing programs. “Lamar has done it, Stephen F. Austin has done it, UTSA has done it and so has Texas A&M,” Fischer said. “We’re just following suit to other universities.”

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health care,” Carranco said. “Being able to the entity takes on when caring for paprovide a grace semester would help those tients. students tremendously, and it really has.” “It really gives us a chance to work with Carranco said the policy was imple- our patients so they can transfer,” Carranmented several years ago, and one of the co said. “It’s been a wonderful resource for demands for the grace period was the dif- us, and we are just very happy that the vice ficulty of finding medical care between president and the university was willing to semesters. make that exception.” “Students will often step out a semester for the summer or at some other point while going to school,” Carranco said. “It’s been a wonderful resource for students who don’t have insurance and students who can’t provide affordable care when they step out for that one semester.” Carranco said the policy allows the Student Health John Casares, Staff Photographer Center to comply with medical and The Student Health Center allows students who are not currently enrolled to conlegal obligations tinue using its services for one additional semester.

aquarena

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“The (UPD) patrol has been already advised to increase patrols and keep an extra eye out over there,” Johnston said. “It being a remote location and an older university building, obviously the lighting is not up to par. They are looking at ways of beefing that up a little bit to be able to protect and secure that area to hopefully keep this vandalism from continuing.” However, Lane said increasing UPD presence at Aquarena will not be enough protection due to the size of the campus and the center’s location. “We are not here 24 hours a day,” Lane said. “It’s probably going to have to mean that we’re going to have our own security guard that patrols at night. That will be probably $30,000 a year, at least.” Texas State bought the former amusement park in 1994. Some of the older buildings still stand in the area, such as a candle shop targeted in the vandalism. Johnston said the candle shop had been boarded up, but vandals had removed the boards from the windows and doors before seemingly being interrupted. He said the case is probably related. Lane said the center is taking extra precautions but still

cannot guarantee the safety of the boats while no one is there. “Without someone being here or having a security camera, and even with that, it doesn’t mean that you’re going to see anybody,” Lane said. “It’s dark, and there’s tall grass, and there’s really nothing keeping people from going in there.”

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OPINIONS

For more viewpoints or letters to the editor, e-mail staropinions@txstate.edu

River deserves protection from construction, sediment

LETTER TO THE EDITOR I write to you as a proud Texas State alumnus. I was in Annapolis, Maryland with my family, friends and fellow alumni for the Texas State versus Navy game Nov. 17. It was a great weekend for so many of us who in our day only dreamed of seeing our institution being affiliated with a tradition-rich and honorable institution like Navy. Our hosts from the Naval Academy treated us with class and respect. I hope we can do the same when they come to San Marcos in 2014. All of us students, alumni, faculty, administrators and other Bobcat stakeholders are at a critical phase in the maturation of our fine university. We have decisions to make that will impact our university for years to come. It is incredibly important that we all rise to the occasion and opportunity to support the university. I wish each and every University Star reader could have felt the pride of walking on the campus of the Naval Academy in our maroon and gold to see huge banners that read “Go Navy ... Beat Texas State.” I must tell you all I could not help but get a lump in my throat at such a sight. This simple gesture on the part of our hosts in Annapolis is an important manifestation of the hard work of our president, our chancellor, our administrators, our faculty, our students and the alumni donors and supporters I met. The banners we saw did not get there by accident. They got there because many Texas State stakeholders had a vision and have a lot of pride in the direction the university is taking. We did not beat Navy on the football field on Saturday, but all Bobcats won a huge victory. However, like the Bobcat football team battled on Saturday until the very end of the game, we all have to keep fighting in any way we can to support the mission of the university. I call upon all stakeholders to help our beloved institution grow. I literally saw Pride in Action, and I would like to remind us of the missive in the book of Luke that reads, “To whom much is given, much is required.” Please give your time and/or dollars consistently, in any amount you can. Please attend athletic contests. Please support the curricula offered on campus. Please build good will between Texas State and others. The university is a vastly different place compared to when I was a student. We are so lucky, and we must give back to keep the pride in focus. Please, continue to support our great university. What banners and what pride can we show our guests in 2014? We have a lot to offer, and there is much for which to be proud. Go Bobcats!

Lara Shine, Star Illustrator

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he San Marcos River could potentially face unnecessary damage if officials do not take active efforts to ensure the waters are clean and safe from runoff and sediment. San Marcos profits from numerous developers, businesses and tourist attractions each year. The river is not only a luxury for residents but a source of money for the city. It is important that the San Marcos River remains in its natural state for years to come. According to a Nov. 15 University Star article, the university and other parts of the town are located around the headwaters, which puts the river at a greater risk for sediment and runoff from construction or other activities. According to the same article, small “peninsulas” form in the San Marcos River when runoff flows from construction on areas such as Sessom Drive. Endangered species native to the area can be buried from runoff, which causes the riverbed to feel muddy and squishy, rather than gravelly.

Sincerely, Prof. Rob Patterson, ‘86 University of Virginia

Runoff from construction threatens the precious river ecosystems and endangered species such as the blind salamander and Texas wild rice. These fragile species are protected by the federal government and are unique to the San Marcos area. If the habitats of these valuable creatures and vegetation are destroyed from runoff, future generations may not be able to view and enjoy these species. In addition, the river should be cleaned as much as possible to keep the springs and Edwards Aquifer intact. It is vital to keep the river protected and naturally preserved as much as possible. Efforts should be put forth by residents, students and long-term San Marcos residents alike to ensure the natural resources and recreational sites stay clean. Sediment and runoff in the river should be a concern for construction workers and developers, along with residents and students. These precious natural resources cannot afford to be polluted.

While the department of Facilities Planning, Design and Construction is looking into projects to prevent storm-water runoff from entering the river, upkeep should not be solely the city’s responsibility. Developers should enact proactive measures on sites to try to control sediment and construction runoff. With close inspections and adequate planning ahead of time, easy steps can be taken to keep runoff at bay. If companies can curb the pollution before it ever reaches the river, the cleanup job will be easier and smoother for all those involved. Sediment and runoff can cause disastrous effects and irreplaceable harm to the San Marcos River. Endangered species are already at risk, but unchecked runoff would only further harm their numbers. The river benefits all San Marcos entities: the city, the residents and businesses. Everyone should care for the natural resources that fuel the lifeblood of the city.

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.

Bobcats need more weekend classes

By Molly Block Opinions Columnist

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he addition of more weekend and evening classes at Texas State would benefit many students with nonacademic responsibilities and could create a more satisfied campus overall. According to a Nov. 8 University Star article, a task force created last spring recently discussed the implementation of more Friday and Saturday courses and class offerings at varying time slots throughout the week. The group recently submitted its recommendations and suggestions regarding these matters to the provost’s office. One of the suggestions given by Associate Provost Cynthia Opheim was to increase class scheduling Monday through Friday during underutilized class times. The committee specifically proposed adding more classes at 8 a.m., 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. According to the same article, the committee made the recommendation believing students may be receptive to the new additions and register for classes at those times. The addition of weekend and evening classes at Texas State would be advantageous for many students. Currently, some students face difficulties when attempting to fit certain courses into their schedules because of relatively impractical class times. Some courses are only offered at limited times and days during the week. If students cannot squeeze a particular class hour into

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their schedules, it can prolong their degree plans. Students who work or commute to the university may find additional difficulties when planning class schedules. Those with family responsibilities may have trouble fitting certain classes into their busy days. Often, the only sensible option for students with chaotic schedules is to sign up for weekend or night classes. According to an April 19 report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the total work force participation rate of youth enrolled in school is 39 percent. With so many students having to work and take classes at the same time, it is important for Texas State to add weekend and night classes in an attempt to ease the stress of tight schedules. With the addition of these new classes, working students and commuters would have the opportunity to register for courses that were previously difficult to fit into their schedules. According to the same University Star article, Brenda Castillo, psychology junior, said that more 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. classes would be helpful additions for her schedule. Castillo is a full-time student who commutes to campus from Austin while working approximately 35 hours a week. For students like Castillo, additional evening and weekend classes could help relieve pressure from the registration process because of tight schedules. Weekend and evening classes may not be a popular choice for every student at Texas State, but for many Bobcats, these additions could be vital. If Texas State wants to see a more satisfied student body, weekend and night classes need to multiply in the future. --Molly Block is a mass communication junior.

Editor In Chief................................................Beth Brown, stareditor@txstate.edu Managing Editor............................Lee Moran, starmanagingeditor@txstate.edu Letters..................................................................................starletters@txstate.edu News Editor...................................................Caitlin Clark, starnews@txstate.edu Trends Editor............................Hollie O’Connor, starentertainment@txstate.edu Opinions Editor..........................................Liza Winkler, staropinion@txstate.edu Photo Editor.......................................Austin Humphreys, starphoto@txstate.edu Sports Editor..........................................Cameron Irvine, starsports@txstate.edu Copy Desk Chief......................Thomas Glasebrook, starcopychief@txstate.edu Web Editor............................................Karyn Kittlitz, starwebeditor@txstate.edu

Students benefit from semester evaluations

By Alex Pernice Opinions Columnist

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tudents should remember to take full advantage of their professor evaluations at the end of the semester. As fall classes begin to wrap up, many students may want to express strong opinions about particular professors and courses they have taken over the past few months. It is important that students use the professor evaluations to adequately measure the efficiency of lectures and learning methods within the classroom. According to Texas House Bill 2504, all public higher education institutions have been required to publicly post certain information regarding their undergraduate academic programs since 2009. This includes items such as teaching evaluations, class syllabi, departmental budgets and other pieces of information. The data must be readily available for any person to view on the university website, and it is updated as changes are made. Texas State has its own policy regarding departmental teaching evaluation information. According to Debbie Thorne, associate vice president for Academic Affairs, anonymous student evaluations of all faculty members are conducted at least once a year. These evaluations are kept anonymous, scored by the university’s Testing, Research Support and Evaluation Center, and results are sent back to department chairs and faculty members for review. These teaching evaluations are separate from those required by HB2504.

Multimedia Editor.........................Alex Peña, starmultimediaeditor@txstate.edu Design Editor................................Michelle Wadsworth, stardesign@txstate.edu Account Executive........................................Christina Carr, starad4@txstate.edu Account Executive...................................Casey Neubauer, starad2@txstate.edu Account Executive..................................Michelle Rohmer, starad3@txstate.edu Account Executive.....................................Hannah Wilson, starad5@txstate.edu Media Specialist.............................................Mary Scheske, ms88@txstate.edu Advertising Coordinator...........................Kelsey Nuckolls, starad1@txstate.edu Publications Coordinator.......................................Linda Allen, la06@txstate.edu Publications Director...........................Bob Bajackson, stardirector@txstate.edu

However, the process of review is similar. It would seem that paying special attention to extremely low or high instructor evaluation scores would be important when an instructor is under review. According to Thorne, all scores factor in with equal consideration. Despite this, particular departmental student evaluations can be specially considered if the department chair allows. Texas State’s system of instructor evaluation is great because all faculty members, tenured or not, go through the same annual evaluation. According to Thorne, faculty members are evaluated based on the “40-40-20” model. This means 40 percent of their time and effort is devoted to teaching, 40 is used for research and scholastic purposes, and 20 is devoted to service. As demonstrated, Texas State is truly committed to the excellence of its faculty and quality of teaching. Texas State students should keep in mind although they may not be able to see change immediately as a result of their requests in evaluations, it is happening behind the scenes. Evaluations are necessary, and with annual student input, the quality of education at Texas State can be retained and improved. Students should trust the thorough and well-trusted evaluation processes instructors go through each year. It may not seem like it, but a well thought-out written explanation as to why a faculty member may not be up to par could lend credibility to other complaints of the same nature. It is imperative students with strong opinions let their voices be heard when evaluation time comes around. Despite the fact immediate action may not be taken, a thorough review could make a difference for classes to come. --Alex Pernice is a mass communication sophomore.

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, November 28, 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.

Visit The Star at www.UniversityStar.com


Trends | The University Star | Wednesday November 28, 2012 | 5

Saxophone quartet seeks funds for performance

Learda Shkurti, University Star

The Phoenix Saxophone Quartet, formed by a group of music education seniors, practices Nov. 27 at the Music Building. By Paige Lambert Trends Reporter Four music students have taken their studies to the stage and pursued passions for melody by creating the Phoenix Saxophone Quartet. Music education majors are required to be part of chamber groups, usually four or five students who play the same instrument. The groups are usually picked and placed by faculty coordinators, but these students created a quartet themselves. A saxophone quartet’s piece played on Joshua Weisbrod-Torres’ iPod on the way to a band directors’ convention in Seattle. After listening for a minute, he handed it to his friends, Josue Mora and Gilbert Garza, on the cramped plane. “We thought, ‘We should play that,’ and the idea for a quartet just kind of happened,” said Torres, music studies senior. “We just ran with it. Funny though, we never got around to playing that piece we heard on the plane.” After that flight in 2011, the three students met with Todd Oxford, one of the saxophone chamber instructors. They recruited Gerald Martinez, music studies senior, as their fourth man and started practicing together. They began compiling music under the guidance of Oxford, meeting with him once a week to help refine for each of their performances. “I really just help them test the waters,” Oxford

said. “They meet on their own and work on what we discussed. It shows they have true initiative and can collaborate with other musicians.” Before the chamber, all four students were part of the Wind Symphony and were close friends outside of the band hall. “Since we’re friends, we can call each other out easily,” said Mora, music studies senior. “Someone will catch a mess up and say something, and we’re all cool with that.” A year after practicing, the quartet was asked to play at the Texas Music Educators convention in San Antonio. The 30-minute showcase was performed in front of high school and college band conductors, along with students from both levels of education. The group has performed at smaller events at Texas State at least once a semester. These performances keep them up to par while preparing for the next big event, the 36th annual Navy Band International Saxophone Symposium in Virginia. The symposium will feature famous saxophonists from around the world, performing and discussing their passion for the instrument. Oxford said the music department is looking into ways to help fund the trip. However, the students, who showed initiative by creating the quartet, have already turned their motivation toward finding another way to get the money. “I saw another sax cham-

ber use Kickstarter.com to raise money to create a CD,” Torres said. “You can sign up a project, like our trip, and people can donate via the site.” Torres went on to say the group is using social media and any method to spread their funding idea. The Phoenix Saxophone Quartet additionally wants Texas State’s name to be known, so the group asked a local composer to create and conduct a piece to be performed at the symposium. “We want to go because we enjoy playing a lot,” Torres said. “But it will also be great networking and a way to get our foot in the door.” All four students plan on becoming music educators and possibly continuing on to graduate school, which would open more doors to performing professionally. Mora said the future of the quartet is uncertain, as its members will most likely go to different states. “There’s this quartet where the members meet in some state between each other to play,” Mora said. “It would be extremely difficult, but who knows.” At the core, these students will be a group of friends who are passionate about music, no matter what the future holds for the Phoenix Saxophone Quartet. “On top of being great friends, we have this cohesion, almost instinct when playing with each other,” said Garza, music studies senior. “We just rehearse, work hard and have fun.”

Writing workshop provides creative outlet for veterans By Jordan Gass-Poore’ Trends Reporter The letter arrived in the mail from a U.S. Army colonel. It was a response to the letter Terry McDowell, Military Veteran Peer Network coordinator, had written when he was 5 years old. This was just the beginning of McDowell’s cross-over experience with writing and the military. He later enlisted in the U.S. Marines and Army Reserve. “It wasn’t a matter of, ‘Should I go?’” said McDowell, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. “It was a matter of, ‘I have to go.’” McDowell’s self-described journey of healing led him to work on a movie set advising about military protocol and teaching yoga to veterans. Additionally, he began helping people transition to life after service through the Military Veteran Peer Network. His work includes participation in the Texas State Veterans Creative Writing Group. The communitybased writing project meets at 5 p.m. Wednesdays until Dec. 12 in the Hays County Veteran Services Office. Through collaborations with the Texas State English Department and Writing Center, Caitlin McCrory and Jason Coates started the group as a “drop in” style workshop tailored to the interests and needs of its participants. McCrory and Coates, Texas State English senior lecturers, met in 2008 as poetry graduate students. After brainstorming, McCrory and Coates used their experiences working with student military veterans in composition classes to write a proposal for the project’s seven-week trial run. “We really saw a need for some sort of other outlet for veterans, an artistic outlet,” McCrory said. The project was broadened to in-

clude a third community-based session for military veterans, those who work with them and their family and friends. McDowell, who attended the group for the first time earlier this month, said art is a great way to deal with some of the internal darkness that may be difficult to come to terms with. McDowell said as he begins to come to terms with his personal experiences, the group has forced him to stop complaining and just write. “We have some veterans who come in who have never really written and others who’ve kept journals every day of their lives,” McCrory said. “So, it’s something that’s very personal to them, and to be able to share it is a very difficult experience for some of them, I think.” The use of symbolism, such as that of a torn, white flag, was discussed at a group meeting during a free writing exercise. Coates said through the use of free writing, participants alleviate the constraints of grammar and syntax to focus on the act as a physical process. This process starts in the mind and then works its way down to the hand and back up, allowing the writers to vocalize what they record, he said. McCrory said the group discusses the reasons people write, whether it is for political motivations or historical impulse, the desire to correct history and reveal the truth. Members additionally discuss the importance of finding the writer’s voice, he said. The reasons participants choose to write may vary, but the camaraderie felt as a result of the workshop remains the same for some. “We don’t necessarily sell the workshop as a therapeutic-based model, but I think that it sort of ends up happening towards the end for a lot of veterans,” McCrory said.


The University Star | Wednesday November 28, 2012 | 6

SPORTS

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AFTER FURTHER REVIEW: ODUS’ OUTPUT

Despite loss, women’s soccer season ends on high note By Odus Evbagharu Sports Reporter Relegation is the most dreaded word a soccer fan could bear to hear. When a team is relegated, that means it can no longer participate in the highest class of soccer, such as the English Premier League. To be relegated, the team has to have one of the three worst records in the league, and gets replaced by a minor league team. Some of those relegated teams could stay in the minors for years, and it is really disheartening for a fan. As an avid follower of soccer, or football as my European brethren would like us Americans to call it, relegation crossed my mind for the Texas State Women’s Soccer program. The club had a scoreless streak of four games and went seven without a win going 0-6-1. That stretch of dismal play screamed relegation. The team looked like they were not on the same page and seemed disorganized as a unit. However, Coach Kat Conner preached “patience” with the team. I had no choice but to be patient. Not everything was “cream colored ponies and crisp apple strudels” at first, like Julie Andrews famously sang in “The Sound of Music.” Watching them play was not included in “a few of my favorite things.” “Patience” with the team was wearing thin, and then something great happened: they scored. The Bobcats had an offensive explosion on Texas Southern University, scoring six goals on the Tigers. Granted, TSU’s defense was giving up goals

like Santa gives away gifts. A win is a win and the club earned it. The thought of relegation was creeping away and Texas State would give the performance that rendered all doubts that they could perform on the big stage. After facing TSU, the Bobcats had their first WAC game in the program’s history. The University of Idaho quickly welcomed the club to the WAC party by jumping out to a 1-0 lead in the 28th minute of the match. The game was seemingly out of reach, and something divine had to happen for the ladies to win. With 81 minutes having already passed, sophomore midfielder Tori Hale got behind a Vandal defender and had one to beat. Hale took a shot from 20 yards out that connected with the back of the net to tie the game. Just 3 minutes later, freshman forward Lynsey Curry stole the punt from the Idaho keeper and scored the game-winning goal for the Bobcats. From then on, the “9-minute miracle” was born and gave the team and the fans great confidence heading deeper into WAC play. Expectations after the Idaho game were not to see five Mia Hamms, three Lionel Messis, two Peles and a partridge in a pear tree. There was an expectation to see a team that would compete and give it their all the rest of the way. This wish was granted. Before the season started, the WAC media projected that the Bobcats would finish sixth out of a possible nine teams . Little did they know, the team from San Marcos was out to make a statement and prove the prediction wrong. The team ended the season 4-4 in the WAC and took third place in the conference. Their biggest statement was heard loud

and clear when they lost to No. 23, Denver University. Before they played the Pioneers on the road, Texas State was 3-3 and trying to survive for a tournament spot. They had recently lost two games to better opponents at the time and had been shutout both times. The team had to travel to thin-aired Denver and showed that they belonged. The game was close for a while and the club was able to stand defensively and hold the conference’s best scoring team to one goal in the entire match. Texas State lost a game where a great play had to be made to beat them and where they finally did not beat themselves. It was hard to stay patient with a team that was consistently inconsistent, but the ladies, through conference play, proved me wrong. They stayed in attack mode and never stopped believing in their ability to play. The club has a lot to look forward to. The Bobcats return their two leading scorers, Hale and Curry, and the exciting part is they are only a sophomore and a freshman. Their junior goalie, Natalie Gardini, will make a return next season as well. She accounted for four shutouts and had five of the team’s eight wins. Texas State is a young team that has great potential. Next year, it will make noise in the Sun Belt and be “very fun and exciting to watch,” Conner says. Conner will have her hands full tackling her third conference in three years going into the Sun Belt, but if anybody can do the job, it is the coach who has the 30th most wins in NCAA history. Next year, watching them will be one of “my favorite things.”

Twitter: @odus_Outputs

Bobcat News and Notes Volleyball ousted

Heading to Oklahoma

Texas State volleyball fell in the first Women’s basketball travels to Oklahoma round of the WAC Tournament last week- Wednesday to take on the Oklahoma State end at the University of Texas-San Antonio, Cowboys. Tipoff is at 7:00 p.m. It will be falling to the University of Idaho in four the second straight Big-12 opponent on sets. It was the third straight time the Bob- the schedule for the Bobcats. Texas State cats lost to the Vandals this season. Texas defeated Texas Christian University 91-80 State finished 14-16. This is the first time Sunday in San Marcos. The Bobcats have the program has finished under .500 since scored at least 80 points in three of their 2006 but will return all but three players four games so far this season and senior next season from the young roster. The big- guard Diamond Ford is second in the WAC gest loss will be senior setter Caleigh Mc- in scoring, averaging 23.0 points per game. Corquodale, who has led the team the last Junior forward Ashley Ezeh is ninth, avertwo years in assists. In her last three years at aging 13.8 ppg. Texas State, she totaled 2,455 assists. Report compiled by Cameron Irvine, Sports Editor Twitter: @txstcamirvine

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