VOLUME 102, ISSUE 40
Defending the First Amendment since 1911
THURSDAY GO NE ONLI NOW
NOVEMBER 29, 2012
A House United
Tantra Coffeehouse has found a new focus after ending live music performances. For more on the Tantra Coffee House update, visit UniversityStar.com.
of a 3-part serie s Part 3
Map details sewage spills over aquifer By Caitlin Clark News Editor
Custodians express outsourcing concerns By Megan Carthel News Reporter Some Texas State-employed custodians are questioning whether their shoes will be able to be filled by the new McLemore hires when the university eventually outsources all custodial positions. Texas State started the process of outsourcing its custodians last summer. The university entered a contract, effective June 1, with McLemore Building Maintenance, Inc. McLemore employees will fill the vacancies as university custodians retire or quit over time. Some university custodians do not feel the McLemore employees will be able to provide the same level of service Demanding hours and tasks, fewer benefits and a lack of pre-existing loyalty to Texas State could be some hurdles the outsourced employees will face, some custodians say. “We’re putting our lives into this place and hope we will be able to retire some day,” said a
custodian who wished to remain anonymous. “We don’t understand how they think the outsourced people are going to do a greater job than regular state employees could do when they don’t have the benefits and get paid less. They don’t have the loyalty.” Kim Graves, director of Custodial Operations, said as of Dec. 1 her department will employ 88 Texas State custodians. She said there is a traditionally high turnover rate in the custodial industry. Brent Losak, a former worker under Custodial Operations, now works for the Department of Housing and Residential Life. Losak said it is a cause for concern if a department in a growing institution has frozen the number of in-house employees and started outsourcing. Brent Losak, custodian with the department of Housing and Residential Life, said he used to work the night shift in Alkek Library during his time with Custodial Operations. He re-
Texas State students have created an interactive map detailing sewage spills over the recharge zone of the Edwards Aquifer in Bexar County, which could have future health and environmental implications. A team of four students found the spills totaled more than 809,000 gallons since 2004. Yongmei Lu, associate professor in the Department of Geography, said her students created the map for a “service learning” project. The students had to ap-
ply skills learned in class to help a non-profit organization, in this case the Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance. Lu said what started as a class project ended up raising questions about the environmental impact of urban development on and near the Edwards Aquifer. Lu said Brady Nock, Mark Wilson, Rachael Weissman and Amy Woods were a part of the GeoTex Environmental Solutions student group that put together the interactive map. The map provides the latitude and longitude of the spills, when they occurred and how much
sewage was discharged. Annalisa Peace, executive director of the Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance, said the sewage spills can be caused by many issues. The spills can result from breaks in water pipelines caused by rust, shifts in the earth or clogs from things people should flush down their drains, like grease. Sewage spills are particularly troublesome over the aquifer’s recharge zone because water is not filtered when it enters the aquifer from those locations.
READ SEWAGE, PAGE 2
A DREAM DEFERRED
READ custodian, PAGE 2
Ruptured gas line causes hall evacuation By Taylor Tompkins Assistant News Editor Students eating in Commons Dining Hall were evacuated after construction equipment struck a gas main near Wood Street at Edward Gary Street Wednesday afternoon. Construction workers struck a gas main on the Performing Arts Center construction at approximately 1:30 p.m., said Mark Hendricks, director of University News Service. Students received an emergency notice about the gas leak at 1:57 p.m. Because of wind direction and the smell of gas in the area, con-
struction workers and University Police Department officers evacuated students dining in Commons at 1:46 p.m. Hendricks said the dining hall remained evacuated for about 20 minutes. Biology junior Michael Odiari,said he was waiting for his food to be prepared when students and staff were asked to evacuate the building. “I was irritated because I was really starving,” Odiari said. “I lost my swipe.” Hendricks said CenterPoint Energy put a sleeve on the ruptured pipe at about 2:45 p.m., and activity resumed normally in the area.
Carlos Valdez, Assistant Photo Editor
Joel Ruiz was born in Mexico and left Veracruz, Mexico at the age of 7 to become a U.S. citizen in Lockhart. Ruiz recently obtained his work permit under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Hopeful student, immigrant struggles to further education READ THE FULL STORY, PAGE 7
Townhomes demolished to make way for Wildwood By Nicole Barrios News Reporter The Mill Street Townhomes were demolished to make room for a new student housing complex that will open its doors Aug. 15. Andrew Freeman, development operations coordinator for the city of San Marcos, said The Dovetail
Companies purchased the property from Tim Olwell , owner of the Mill Street Townhomes, in July. The land will be used for the construction of Wildwood, a student apartment complex. While no residents were evicted from the townhomes, Olwell said residents received a letter on June 1 informing them of a 60-day deadline to
move out. Mike Swope, director of marketing for The Dovetail Companies, said he was unsure of how much the property formerly occupied by Mill Street Townhomes was purchased for. Olwell would not comment on the property’s price. Olwell said The Dovetail Companies first approached him re-
garding buying his property about a year ago, and negotiating the deal took a long time. The Dovetail Companies bought the eight lots of land Olwell owned to add to the areas already purchased behind the Mill Street Townhomes for Wildwood. Olwell said The Dovetail Companies needed his acreage to develop
the larger complex. “They bought (my lots) and they bulldozed them and they’re going to create a great big housing area for students,” Olwell said. Swope said The Dovetail Companies purchased the property for Wildwood because its proximity to
READ WILDWOOD, PAGE 2
Free-range hamburgers to be offered at dining halls By Nancy Young News Reporter
Shea Wendlandt, Staff Photographer
Chartwells is currently awaiting corporate approval for an order of free-range beef patties that will be available to students next semester.
Students will be able to order free-range beef patties at The Den beginning spring 2013. Chartwells is awaiting corporate approval on an order of a few hundred free-range hamburger patties. Chartwells Interim Director ChinHong Chua said the patties will be available to students next semester. Ian Smith, communication studies senior and co-founder of the Human Environmental Animal Team, said the organization has been pushing for free-range meat on campus since 2010. Free-range meat products come from animals that were allowed to
roam freely, rather than kept in enclosures or cages for the entirety of their lives. Smith said the university supports the push to bring freerange patties to campus, but has expressed a concern with the extra cost associated with the product. Smith said former Chartwells director Leslie Bulkley worked with H.E.A.T. during her tenure to bring free-range meat to campus. He said because the product is more expensive, it would come at a higher price for students. Smith said Bulkley was adamant about not changing meal trade costs for students. “(Bulkley) refused (to raise the price) because students already pay a lot for meal trades,” Smith
said. “It will just be an extra option at The Den that you can use with your dining dollars.” Smith said a free-range meat option will be comparable to the extra cost of ordering guacamole on a burrito or avocado on a burger. H.E.A.T. campaigned for freerange meat at the beginning of the semester by having students participate in a “face petition,” Smith said. Instead of asking students for their signatures, H.E.A.T. members asked students take a picture in a cage to represent the restrained animals used for meat products. More than 400 students participated in the interactive
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Courtesy of Yongmei Lu
“This is really a cause for concern because when you look at the amount of raw sewage spills in the San Antonio area, that’s all going into the aquifer,” Peace said. Peace said with an increasing amount of development coming into the San Antonio area, more and more sewage pipelines are being installed. Lu said in big cities with densely developed neighborhoods, like San Antonio, sewage pipelines are used. Residents of San Antonio get their drinking water from the Edwards Aquifer. Diane Wassenich, program for the San Marcos River Foundation, said it is “not a good plan” to develop on the Ed-
wards Aquifer recharge zone. She said the sewer lines break, spills happen and residents end up drinking the contaminated water. “It’s never good to have raw sewage mixed with your drinking water,” Wassenich said. Lu said many residents in San Marcos have septic tanks on their properties, so as a result, their wastewater never goes through sewage pipelines. There are subsequently far fewer sewage leaks in Hays County in comparison to Bexar County. San Marcos’ smaller population is a factor, she said. Wassenich said there have still been sewage spills in town, even though the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone in San Marcos is not as highly developed as it is in Bexar County. The City of San Marcos has been steadily upgrading its sewage system, with improvements recently being made on the pipelines on Sessom Drive. Lu said it is especially important for the water in San Marcos to be uncontaminated. When contaminated water enters the aquifer, it will pollute the San Marcos River years later. The endangered species unique to the area, such as Texas wild rice, will disappear if sewage spills keep occurring. “If we don’t take care of this now, future generations will suffer,” Lu said.
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petition. “Having students sign a petition is just so generic,” Smith said. “Doing this made it more tangible for students and more interactive. It definitely sparked curiosity with students.” Maryam Samavati, psychology freshman and H.E.A.T. member, is in favor of having free-range meat in campus dining
halls. Samavati said students will probably have a positive reception to the free-range beef patties in The Den. “I believe everyone will be really supportive of it once they know what it is,” Samavati said. Chua said if there is a market for freerange hamburger patties on campus “down the road,” Chartwells will order more.
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called one instance in which there were four custodians cleaning all seven floors of the library. Graves said the university operates under a cleaning standard that says a custodian should be able to clean roughly 18,208 square feet in a seven-hour shift. However, Juan Guerra, associate vice president of Facilities, said each Texas Stateemployed custodian is currently cleaning approximately 31,818 square feet. In comparison, Graves said it takes two or three times as many McLemore custodians to complete the same work as one Texas State-employed custodian. “Somehow (McLemore is) making money,” Graves said. I don’t know if they’re paying their employees less. I just know how many employees we counted, and we didn’t send that many employees.” One Texas State-employed custodian, who wished to remain anonymous, said he believes the university is outsourcing custodians to save money by not having to give benefits to such staff members in the future. As state employees, university custodians receive health insurance, a retirement program and 1.5 percent salary increases every two years, among other benefits. Bill Nance, vice president for Finance and Support Ser-
vices, said because McLemore is a private company, it does not have a benefits package as extensive as those provided by state entities. Though the custodian said he believes the outsourced workers will be paid less, Curtis McLemore, CEO of the maintenance business, said his company’s wages and rates are “within competitive industry standards.” Nance said the starting salary for McLemore custodians is approximately the same amount as the starting wages for Texas State custodians, $16,000 to $18,000. The custodian said he and his co-workers don’t think the university will get the same level of cleaning from McLemore staff because the outsourced workers don’t have loyalty to Texas State. Losak said he has enjoyed his time as a Texas State custodian, but is concerned about the future of the department. “If you find that a department has a high turnover rate, low morale and can be demonstrated to be consistently asking each employee to cover on average what should be the duties of two full-time employees, most reasonable people should start asking questions as to whether there’s some mismanagement going on there,” Losak said.
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campus and location on the Bobcat Tram bus route makes it a good place for student housing. Olwell said the majority of Mill Street Townhomes residents let their leases run out, and two or three units needed to be bought out of their leases. He said residents were notified that if they moved out early there would be no penalty, and if residents did not owe him money they received their deposit back. Olwell said he gave residents who moved out before July 1 extra money to help them with the expenses of a new apartment since he “was forcing them” to move out. There was no penalty if residents had to be bought out of their lease, but he did not give them extra funds. “We wanted (residents) to get out so I could get ready for the sale,” Olwell said.
“But they all got something. Nobody was forced out with anything.” Olwell said residents who owed back rent and were going to be evicted were not included in the incentives. No Texas State students lived in the Mill Street Townhomes, Olwell said. The townhomes were two bedroom, one bath “starter family housing” that many young unmarried people lived in with children. Some residents were also of retirement age. “We tried to be very good to the people,” Olwell said. “I think I was as fair as I possibly could’ve been.” Swope said this is The Dovetail Companies’ first property in San Marcos. The Athens, Ga. based developer also hopes to build a similar student housing complex at Cape’s Camp.
Photography, drawing, art education featured at exhibition
Texas State’s final senior exhibition group for 2012, “Tired Eyes, Wide Sky,” will be holding a closing reception for its thesis works Dec. 15 in front of the Joann Cole Mitte Art Building. The exhibition is entirely run and planned by students. Works featured in this exhibition represent the culmination of the seniors’ bodies of work over the course of a year. Complementary refreshments will be provided to attendees. Student concentrations will include photography, drawing and art education. Themes in the show range from religion to human desire and everything in between. This event is an opportunity for aficionados and casual art lovers alike to come and talk face-to-face with Texas State artists at the top of their game. Attendance is free, and any additional questions can be posed to gallery coordinator Mary Mikel Stump at mr14@ txstate.edu. —Courtesy of Brittainy Jones
library beat Wittliff’s final fall reading At 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 29, the Wittliff Collections welcomes Kazim Ali for the semester’s final reading in the series, co-sponsored by the Burdine Johnson Foundation and Texas State’s Department of English. An American poet, novelist and essayist, Ali is the author of the cross-genre work “Bright Felon: Autobiography and Cities,” published this past August by Wesleyan University Press. Part detective story, part literary memoir, part imagined past, “Bright Felon” is autobiographical and deeply confessional. Writing in sentences that alternate in time and ranging in form from essay to memoir to prose poetry, Ali details the struggle of coming of age between cultures. He touches on overcoming personal and family pressures to talk about private matters and long-held secrets. Art, history, politics, geography, love, sexuality, writing and religion—and the role silence plays in each—are themes he’s woven throughout. Taylor Gembol, exercise and sports science freshman, leaps for a frisbee Nov. 25 at Sewell Park. Ali also authored a translation of “Water’s Footfall” by one of Iran’s most renowned modern painters and poets Sohrab Sepehri. His innovative lyric verse tuned classic Persian poetry to the cadences of spoken language and often mingled the ordinary and natural with the mystical and divine. Among Ali’s works are two poetry collections, “The Far Mosque,” winner of Alice James Books’ New England/ New York Award, and “The Fortieth Day.” He has written two novels, “Quinn’s Passage,” named one of the Best Books of 2005 by Chronogram magazine, and “The Disappearance of Seth.” Ali’s books of essays are “Orange Alert: Essays on Poetry, Art and the Architecture of Silence” and “Fasting for Ramadan.” In addition to co-editing Jean Valentine’s “This-World Company,”, he is a contributing editor for AWP’s The Writer’s Chronicle, associate editor of Phttp://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRDn the literary magazine FIELD and founding editor of the small press Nightboat Books. He is an associate professor xRc-URhgadBMotKWMhcDec. 14 thru 15 - Special Graduation Buffet of Creative Writing and Comparative Literature at Oberlin 4C0c6RRN46h9vI5jVeBvXjsk7q6Fw College and teaches in the Masters of Fine Arts program at 512-878-2405 the University of Southern Maine. 2550 Hunter Road, San Marcos TX An author signing will follow the reading. Ali’s books will be for sale by the University Bookstore and Barnes & Hunter Road Noble. The event is free and open to the public. Ali will also give a free reading at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 30 at the San Antonio I -35 Austin Katherine Anne Porter Literary Center, 508 Center Street, Kyle, Texas.
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Protection vital in wake of Aquarena vandalism
t is hard to decide which is more upsetting—the recent wave of vandalism at the Aquarena Center or the fact that Texas State is not actively preventing these instances from happening. The Aquarena Center has seen five cases of vandalism since August, the most recent occurring the morning of Nov. 19, according to a Nov. 28 University Star article. Though no buildings were broken into, vandals damaged the Plexiglas windows and emergency blow horns of several glass bottom boats. They also set off fire extinguishers and threw them off the damaged boats, releasing chemicals into Spring Lake. The recent acts of vandalism at the Aquarena Center are upsetting to residents, students and environmental supporters alike. It is even more unfortunate that these acts could have been prevented relatively easily. University Police Department officer Johnny Johnston said in the same University Star article that the lighting at the Aquarena Center is “not up to par” because it is an older building
in a remote location. Poor lighting is a problem that can be solved with ease. Outdoor flood and security lights exist for this exact reason. Once the lighting issue is resolved, security presence at the Aquarena Center needs to be increased. Deborah Lane, assistant director of the center, said in the same article that increasing UPD presence at Aquarena would not be enough protection because of the size of the campus and the center’s location. Even if this is the case, UPD still needs to take responsibility and step up its patrols at the center. The Aquarena Center is one of Texas State’s most iconic buildings, and limited protection is better than relatively none at all. Lane said the center would probably have to hire its own night security guard, which would cost about $30,000 per year. The center should not have to spend such a large amount of money on security when Texas State already has UPD officers who should be doing the same thing. Though there are not enough UPD officers on staff to have an
officer patrolling Aquarena at all times, the department should still make a conscious effort to increase its enforcement at the center. Another issue with the center’s property is that “there’s really nothing keeping people from going in there,” Lane said. The Aquarena Center sounds like a good candidate for a reinforced fence. Like the installation of lights, constructing a solid fence around the property is such a simple solution to the center’s security problems that it is surprising it has not already been done. In addition, alarms and security cameras can be installed to help officers identify those who do commit vandalism at the center. That way, the vandals who deface the Aquarena Center can be brought to justice through further disciplinary action. The Aquarena Center is a part of history for both Texas State and the City of San Marcos. It is common sense for the university to take some simple preventative and proactive measures to make sure the center will be around for future Bobcats to enjoy.
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.
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Students must acknowledge Graduates not all aspects of legalization matching necessary By Jose R. Gonzalez Opinions Columnist
exas State students who actively support the legalization of marijuana need to become more educated on the issue with proper respect to current state and federal laws. Many opponents of legalization see marijuana advocacy as little more than a coalition of law-disregarding, self-indulgent consumers of junk food. Meanwhile, some of the people who support marijuana legalization do not appear to show a willingness to adequately contribute to a democratic discussion on the issue. After voters in Colorado and Washington approved legislation to legalize marijuana Nov. 6, many of those who use marijuana reacted effusively. In a Nov. 6 Aurora Sentinel article, after the vote results were released, Gary Rymer, Colorado resident and marijuana legalization supporter, was quoted saying, “It means I’m going to smoke a lot of weed tonight, woo!” Proponents of marijuana legalization, such as the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws chapter at Texas State, should
understand that legal reform at the state level does not override existing federal law. The Supremacy Clause in the U.S. Constitution guarantees that federal statutes like the Controlled Substances Act, which made marijuana an illegal offense, supersede any state law. With reference to a statement made by Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper in the same Aurora Sentinel article, students who use marijuana should not bust out the Cheetos or Goldfish just yet. Regardless of how seemingly unpopular a law may be, it still needs to be observed and obeyed. According to UPD records, in the eight-week span between Sept. 21 and Nov. 16, there were 19 student arrests made on possession of marijuana charges. It is imperative for students to fully understand that resident assistants must immediately contact police if marijuana use is detected on campus. It is likely that some Texas State students use marijuana as a relaxant. The substance may be viewed as a remedy for stress that comes with college life. Unfortunately, some people regularly abuse marijuana, and that issue should be taken seriously. Marijuana does affect the human body.
According to the website of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “someone who smokes marijuana every day may be functioning at a suboptimal intellectual level all of the time.” As indicated, marijuana is definitely not a substance that positively stimulates the human intellect. Many may argue that if the federal government legalized marijuana, it could be taxed, thus adding revenue to the economy. However, pushing for the legalization of marijuana for the sake of creating a new tax is simply not an adequate enough reason. When formulating efforts to legalize marijuana, measures should primarily focus on the private sector without merely enlarging the public field. Texas State students who support the legalization of marijuana must become more informed about the nature of federal laws. It is equally important for students to acknowledge the negative effects of marijuana as well. Maybe then, marijuana can finally be discussed constructively between federal and state leaders and among students at Texas State. —Jose R. Gonzalez is a mass communication senior
LETTER TO THE EDITOR Texas State student angry over lack of respect for pedestrians A Bobcat almost became road kill on the way to her statistics class, and that Bobcat was me, a 50-year-old, non-traditional student studying sociology during her first semester at Texas State University. As I was crossing North Comanche Street, after waiting my turn at the four-way stop and checking both to my right and left, a minivan opposite of me decided to pull out and make a left hand turn—right into me. And I mean within two feet of me. Brakes screeched, I put my hands out in front to stop the car, as if I could, and simultaneously jumped back. The driver was startled, and my heart flew out of my chest. The thing is, this is not the first time I, as a pedestrian, have had encounters of the close kind with cars on my walks to and from the West Campus of Texas State. North Street comes to mind as an example. Although, this was the closest I have come to being hit by a two-ton piece of moving metal. I have previously survived crossing Houston’s boulevards, biking in Austin as a Longhorn, driving in San Antonio during work commutes and running errands in Corpus Christi, a city of retired folk. So far, walking in San Marcos has been the riskiest. And just to emphasize the point, on my walk home after this same class, I witnessed a skateboarder save his life by using mad skills to turn his board off the street and into a parking lot, jump off and keep running so as not to wipe out. The car that cut him off did not even slow down. As a sociology almost-graduate student, I would like to do a statistical study on vehicle/pedestrian accidents within a certain radius of this campus. I am sure near misses are not reported, but what about incidents that are? Is the incident rate higher closer to campus than farther away?
My intuition based on anecdotal observation, which are all no-nos in the field of sociology, tells me this would be true. However, being true to my field and to my professors’ teachings, I would need to find out if there is empirical evidence. It is the job of a sociologist to come up with solutions to problems. So, perhaps the university’s physical facilities department, in cooperation with the city (since they are city streets), could paint the faded, white, almost non-detectable crosswalks near campus a bright florescent orange. This would catch the attention of motorists and help direct pedestrians as to where to cross, especially at night. And perhaps the student government association on campus governing all Bobcats could bring awareness to pedestrian right of way at crosswalks—what might seem a simple courtesy has life and death consequences. In the meantime, I ask that driving Bobcats show more courtesy to walking Bobcats who obey traffic laws. I would like to survive long enough to finish my prerequisites to become a graduate Bobcat. Rachel Barchus-Perkes Graduate non-degree seeking student, sociology
workforce skill sets
By Ravi Venkataraman Opinions Columnist
exas State must work toward broadening the scope of the term “liberal arts” through enhanced general education courses to better prepare students for the professional work environment. The traditional liberal arts degree is becoming less and less appealing to some employers. University officials must implement more pragmatic courses such as basic programming and finance as a requirement to a wider audience of students. Employers may be dissatisfied with the burgeoning talent pool of new college graduates when looking to fill openings left by the older baby boomer generation. Now more than ever, we are witnessing a widening gap between the expectations major company executives have for potential employees and the current skill set of recent college graduates. In a Nov. 10 New York Times article, an estimated 12 CEOs within differing industries indicated that recent graduates appear to lack the skills and discipline needed for the modern workplace. The Associated Press reported in an April 24 article that 53.6 percent of college graduates younger than 25 years old with bachelor’s degrees were either jobless or unemployed in 2011. According to the same New York Times article, many graduates may hold degrees of less widely applicable skill sets such as English, history and other liberal arts designations, thus making these potential candidates unlikely to receive even an interview for a job at some companies. In a May 14 Forbes article, Jennifer Floren, founder and CEO of Experience, Inc., advises students entering the workforce to have internship experience, polished “soft skills” such as communication and analytical techniques and the ability to form solid interpersonal relationships. Even so, many company leaders like the ones interviewed in the same New York Times article see the burden of training job seekers with liberal arts degrees. These employers may feel college graduates with degrees in business or computer science are able to contribute more skills to a company right off the bat without extended training. It’s possible that businesses can help close the gap some executives have set regarding skill set expectations of recent graduates. Universities may provide a better fix than businesses in our current rapidly changing and volatile world. Ideally, the liberal arts education is to apply large-scale, abstract concepts to societal challenges. It allows the freedom to think outside the box across a wide range of subjects. The practicality of a liberal arts degree comes into question without a comprehensive background of contemporary technology and society. Therefore, within general university education plans, a higher priority should be put to rudimentary computer programming or entrepreneurship over history or political science. There needs to be a larger avenue to apply the higher concepts of a liberal arts education into global solutions. In order for these initiatives to succeed, general school curriculum needs to keep up with changes in the job market and economy. This is where business employers come in. If the most current and useful job skills are better taught within institutions, companies can eventually reap the benefits of recruiting the most innovative students who adequately fit the bill. The first step in this process is reviewing and reinventing general university education plans and liberal arts education for the 21st century. Making Texas State students better prepared for the future is vital. —Ravi Venkataraman is a creative writing masters student.
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Student a capella group puts on holiday performance
Photo courtesy of Chip Wozniak
VocaLibre, an a capella group formed by students, will be performing a holiday-themed show Saturday in Evans Auditorium.
1320 w Hopkins St San Marcos, TX 78666
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Photo courtesy of Chip Wozniak
By Glen Tadych Trends Reporter Students can kick off the holiday season Saturday with a musical celebration presented by the VocaLibre a capella group. VocaLibre’s end of the year concert, “Dance with Me,” will be the group’s first holiday-themed show of its kind. This year, the show will blend multiple musical styles, lighting sequences and setups to reflect the mood of featured music and connect with the audience. “This concert will offer a true holiday spirit,” said VocaLibre director Craig Aamot. “We’re trying to break down the separation between the performers and the audience.” Rather than singing only standard holiday tunes, VocaLibre will perform pieces featuring styles such as a Gregorian chant, as well as contemporary rock and pop tunes. The group will perform the pieces in a manner that blends the songs together instead of a mere list of tunes. “(Aamot) presents a montage of styles with this concert,” said Thomas Miller, VocaLibre member and musical theatre freshman. “You see how the songs connect and present the same message.” In addition to the woven sounds of “Dance with Me,” the concert will also feature a portion of dancing. The show will feature dancers from dance troupes Harambee and Texas State’s Merge Dance Company, as well as VocaLibre members. Kirstin Sims, music studies sophomore, expressed how the choreographed sections are a new activity for the ensemble to participate in, and moreover how they will enhance the concert experience. “There’s going to be a lot of movement in this performance,” Sims said. “We’ve really been getting into it at rehearsals and it’s going to be a fun concert.” The most important of the concert’s attributes, however, will not be what the audience takes in with their eyes, but with their souls, said Kailyn O’Donnell, musical theatre freshman. “‘Dance with Me,’ represents the human desire to live free, and to the fullest, while connecting with those around us,” O’Donnell said. The concert will provide those in attendance the motivation to join in life’s dance and push to make them whole as a person, she said. “It’s going to reach out to everybody,” O’Donnell said. “It’s very inspirational and really well put together and thought through.” Despite the timing of the holiday season and atmosphere presented by “Dance with Me,” the performance and VocaLibre intend to touch anyone and everyone. “Yes, we’re focusing on Christmas, but there’s so much more to it than that,” said Sims. “You don’t have to celebrate Christmas to enjoy this show.” The curtain will go up on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in Evans Liberal Arts auditorium.
Trends | The University Star | Thursday November 29, 2012 | 7
Resident, undocumented immigrant shares struggles By Jordan Gass-Poore’ Trends Reporter For San Marcos resident Joel Ruiz, the 894-mile journey from Mexico to the U.S. was about finding a better life and pursuing a dream based on the stories of those who had left before. “The reason we moved (to the U.S.) was just like any normal illegal family, just trying to find a better way—the whole American Dream thing—but so far, it’s been hard ...,” Ruiz said. Ruiz’s life changed through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, which grants a two-year reprieve for certain undocumented immigrants. Ruiz recently applied and was granted the reprieve, but his journey to obtaining it has not been easy. Ruiz was born in the major port city of Veracruz, Mexico and was raised in San Luis Potosí, located halfway between Mexico City and the U.S. border. At 7 years old, Ruiz and his immediate family left the sounds of swallows and the taste of enchiladas potosinas for Lockhart, later moving to the small town of East Bernard. The decision to leave Mexico for Texas was not made on a whim. Ruiz’s father would occasionally visit family in Texas and had made preparations for the move, said
Alma Mora, Ruiz’s girlfriend. “(Ruiz) never gets into detail about why he came over,” said Mora, anthropology senior. “Some sort of trouble that had started there. The drug cartels and gangs were barely starting in the area (of Mexico) he lived in.” After the birth of Ruiz’s sister, with money his father had saved and help from family in Texas, the family took the risk to cross into the U.S. That risk paid off. Ruiz lived most of his life as an American with no problem, but began to run into trouble when he enrolled at a nearby community college to study nursing. The college was a 15-minute drive from his home, but without a license or any form of government identification, he was forced to depend on others for transportation. Ruiz succeeded in graduating from community college and set his sights on enrolling at Texas State. However, the tuition is too expensive for him to afford, and financial aid is not available because of his immigration status. “Honestly, I never asked to come here and go through all these troubles, but I went ahead and went through it all,” said Ruiz. “I grew up here and this is all I know.” Although his higher education plans have been temporarily put on hold, Ruiz’s move
to San Marcos has not been in vain. It is here he met Mora at a party. They became friends, swapping stories about their lives, but not their immigration status—until Ruiz’s roommate told Mora the truth. “He’s just another person,” Mora said. “His English is better than mine ... I was so surprised.” Mora said it has been difficult financially supporting herself and Ruiz. She uses her financial aid and money earned from her job to help pay rent because it has been difficult for him to find steady work. She said their situation is especially frustrating because Ruiz did so well in community college and wants to further his studies. He currently works in construction. “(Ruiz) learned all the things we learned. He passed all the tests,” Mora said. “I’ve seen him basically start to get depressed because he’s hit a dead end. He doesn’t know what to do with his life.” Under the proposed Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, which has stalled in congress, Ruiz may have been eligible for student loans and federal workstudy programs. The act would create a path to citizenship for undocumented youth upon completion of a degree or two years of military service. Even though the D.R.E.A.M. Act hasn’t
passed, Ruiz said deferred action is not a bad temporary solution. Those who are eligible for deferred action must mail in their request for a deportation deferral and separate forms for a work permit. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security began accepting applications last August. Ruiz and his 19-year-old brother began what he considered a “really long and complicated” two-month deportation deferral process last summer, which included over $3,000 in legal and processing fees. The $465 application fee is meant to defray program administration costs. “Basically, in that time, it’s just fear of what could happen, what could go wrong: us getting thrown back, not being able to get a job, a driver’s license,” Ruiz said. “Now we’re just waiting and seeing what happens.” Ruiz recently received his work authorization card, following the approval of his younger brother’s application. They have joined the 4,500 others who have completed the process of deferred action and received their temporary work permits. “It’s not permanent,” Mora said. “As long as he’s doing his part, he’s guaranteed the next two years.”
Former and current Bobcats release debut album
Those Nights will release its self-titled album Saturday at Texas Music Theater. By Amy Greene Trends Reporter Those Nights, a five-man band rooted in San Marcos, is kicking off the release of their self-titled album with a party Dec. 1 at 9 p.m. at Texas Music Theater. Evan Styles, Christopher Balcom, Pete Martin, Ephraim “Sam” Wickline and Lindsey James are the guys who call themselves Those Nights. Styles, Balcom, and James joined together in 2010 and recruited Martin and Wickline later in 2011. Styles, Texas State alumnus, said Those Nights is enthusiastic about their first fulllength album. It has taken the better part of six months to record, produce and edit
to the final version that will be released at TMT. A keyboard, guitar, trombone, cello and electric mandolin are instruments that Those Nights uses along with vocals to create a diversified collection of music. Those Nights’ sound is often unpredictable, with a jam-band mixed with a men’s choir style in one song, and a rapper of spoken word in another. “We have such a big mix of people that come out to our shows and support us,” Styles said. “It ranges from college kids to their parents. It’s all walks of life.” Wickline, sound recording technology junior, said Those Nights have played at TMT in the past, and he likes the venue.
Photo courtesy of Evan Styles
He said the variety of instruments and the way the band works together leaves a lot of room for creativity. “Our fans are a really loving crowd full of a lot of energy,” Wickline said. “These people are always so great, and we get a lot of dancers. Our friends and family are really supportive too.” Martin said he met James out of pure luck and stuck with him, beginning with another project, Olive Street, and moving to Those Nights. Martin played bass in Olive Street and said they experimented with the trombone by another stroke of chance on a corner in Austin at the South By Southwest Festival in 2011. “I was walking down the street and I rec-
ognized the song,” Martin said. “At first, I thought it was somebody’s car stereo, but it turned out to be them actually playing on the street. So I opened my trombone case and played a few songs.” Balcom, graduate student, said he is excited about the album release party for the band and for himself as a musician. “This is definitely something we are all excited about, to have that accomplishment under your belt as an artist,” Balcom said. “This is a pretty cool stepping stone, regardless of what happens.” Martin said those who attend the release party will have access to an album that his mother doesn’t even have a copy of yet.
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