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TABLE OF CONTENTS Section A — News Rep. Rose will speak at commencement … A3 News: A year in review … A3 Lawsuit over professor’s 2001 removal may have statewide implications … A4 Nighttime eats give students break form stress of finals … A5 Students struggle to find time, motivation for studying … A5 Outlet malls offer many seasonal job opportunities … A6 Hays County experiences Growing Pains … A8 Transportation, water availability lags as Hays County demands rise … A8 SMPD working with city to make Christmas less blue for underprivileged … A9 Internships increase post-graduation job opportunities, reduce real-world stress … A10 Racism still touchy issue at A&M; administration says it is making headway … A11 Report: Universities not doing enough to bring in minority, low-income students … A11

Section B — Trends What’s in a name? … B3 A Christmas for all the senses … B3 Winter Holidays encompass more than Christmas, Hanukkah … B4 Don’t let seasonal stress get the best of you … B4 Column: ’Tis the season to spend, and spend … B5 The thought, not the price, is what matters ... B5 Inexpensive gifts are easy to make or find … B5 Gifts come in many packages … B6 Hollywood house opens to all … B6 Student opens Christmas-themed specialty shop … B7 Campuses welcoming retailers with open arms … B7 NBC shows faces behind superheroes’ masks … B8 During short breaks from school students are choosing to fly home … B8 Box office blasts invade theaters in December … B8 Trends: A year in review … B9 A Festivus for the rest of us … B11 Rix’s Technology Fixes … B12 Comics … B12 Sudoku … B12 Crossword … B12

Section C — Sports Hockey team rampages through Alamo City … C3 Culhane making voice known with start of basketball season … C3 Sports programs get booster shot with Signing Day additions … C4 Longhorns visit in final match … C4 Extra Innings to bring training area for serious, casual ball players … C5 Bobcats start SLC season over winter break … C5 Loud Crowd the heart of Bobcat fandom … C6 Men’s basketball off to rocky start … C6 NRA might have to shoot down competition … C7 NBA players feeling the pinch of new behavior rules … C7

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

I

cannot express to you the satisfaction I feel with the completion of this issue of The University Star. For the entire semester, The Star’s staff and I have been busting our humps to bring you a paper three days a week, and we finally get a breather. I am also unable to express the appreciation we have for all of you who read our paper this semester. We received more feedback, negative and positive, this semester than anyone can remember getting last year. I am pleased not only that people from Texas State and the San Marcos community are reading our paper, but also care enough about what we write to contact us and let us know how they feel. I hope this trend continues. Nothing makes my day like checking the starletters@txstate.edu e-mail account and seeing more input from our readers. For us, this semester has been a blast. This staff is still very new, but we love our jobs. Covering the elections was fun and challenging, and it brought us much satisfaction to know we were helping educate the student body about our government. I have been proud of our sports coverage. The Star’s sports writers worked hard to bring you the skinny not only on Texas State athletics, but also keep you informed on what’s going on around Central Texas. I thought our Trends staff did an excellent job, moving away from album and movie reviews and toward coverage that is of interest to our readers: arts and entertainment events on-campus and in the San Marcos area. I hope our columns provided insight into the issues we covered and, even if you didn’t agree with them, helped you look at the situation from a different angle. Mostly I hope you enjoyed reading The Star this semester. As I said before, we enjoyed making it available for you. We’re looking forward to the end of the semester and a chance to recharge our batteries. But we’re also looking forward to next semester when we can continue bringing you The Star. Good luck on finals, and see you next semester. We have big plans for the spring and I can’t wait to get more feedback on what we’re doing.

Jason Buch Editor in Chief The University Star

Cover designs by Claude Dylan Ramey and Lauren English

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Trinity Building Phone: (512) 245-3487 Fax: (512) 245-3708 www.UniversityStar.com © 2006 The University Star


NEWS

Thursday, November 30, 2006

The University Star - Page A3

Rep. Rose will speak at commencement By Kara Bowers The University Star Commencement ceremonies for about 2,200 Texas State students, graduating with bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees will be held Dec. 15 and 16 in Strahan Coliseum. Sarah Miller, curriculum coordinator and commencement coordinator, said the number is average for December ceremony figures and that this year’s ceremony and graduating class will follow in the same tradition as previous graduations. “We consider each commencement special and significant,” Miller said. The ceremony for the College of Liberal Arts begins at 2 p.m.

Dec. 15. The Colleges of Applied Arts and Fine Arts and Communication will hold ceremonies at 7 p.m. later that evening. The ceremony for the McCoy College of Business Administration and the College of Science will be at 9:30 a.m Dec. 16. The final ceremony for the Colleges of Education and Health Professions will follow at 2 p.m. Graduate College candidates will be dispersed among all four ceremonies. State Representative Patrick Rose, D-Dripping Springs, is scheduled to speak at the 9:30 a.m. ceremony Dec. 16. “Because he represents constituents in the San Marcos area, Representative Rose was asked and accepted our invitation to be the keynote speaker,” said

Denise Trauth, Texas State president. “We are excited to have him as a guest for the first time at our commencement ceremonies.” Speakers at past ceremonies have included U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo; Rep. John Carter, R-Round Rock and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. The ceremony is expected to be approximately two hours in duration. Tickets are not required to attend and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Graduates will be able to pick up their diplomas from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Jan. 16 and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 17 through Jan. 19 at the Registrar’s Office in J.C. Kellam. Diploma mail-out begins

Jan. 22. Trauth said Texas State is extremely proud of the fall 2006 graduation candidates and soon-to-be alumni. “We are eagerly anticipating the four ceremonies and looking forward to ending the 2006 year with our students and their families,” Trauth said.

✯FYI For additional ceremony information and schedules, log onto www.txstate. edu/academicaffairs/ commencement/ commencement.html.

Bill Rix/Star file photo A NEW CHAPTER: Graduates in the colleges of education, health professions and science celebrate during the conclusion of their graduation ceremony at Strahan Coliseum on Aug. 9.

A Year in Review JANUARY

ACC trustees validated 1,963 of the petition’s signatures, more than 1,000 of the original 2,999 signatures were rejected as unregistered voters.

10 Cyber Crime Unit sting in San Marcos

JUNE

yields a conviction

14 All eyes on the

Benjamin Scott Owens, 26, pleaded guilty to criminal solicitation of a child. While visiting a chat room suited for minors, Owens unknowingly solicited sex from a Texas Attorney General Cyber Crime Unit investigator posing as a 13-year-old girl. Owens set up a meeting with the girl, who he thought was a minor, at a local fast food restaurant in San Marcos, where he was arrested.

24 San Antonio group to investigate after-party conflict

border Frustrated by federal inaction and a 31 percent cut in Texas’ Homeland Security budget, Governor Rick Perry planned to install hundreds of surveillance cameras along the Texas-Mexico border in an effort to combat illegal immigration.

With a contract signed between the university and independent investigators from Brown Group International, final plans were made so the group could begin the process of evaluating the conflict that took place between students and numerous local law enforcement agencies at the African American Leadership Conference after-party.

21 Rio Vista Dam

FEBRUARY

A community party celebrating the transformation of the oncedamaged Rio Vista Dam to the newly renovated Rio Vista Falls commemorated the name change and introduced two new park preservation programs.

8 Blaze destroys office, clubhouse Two Texas State students said they witnessed a man set fire to the clubhouse and office area of the Bishop’s Square apartments. San Marcos Fire Rescue crews arrived on the scene at 11:16 p.m. Assistant Fire Chief Len Nored said 25 firefighters battled the blaze and brought it under control in about an hour and a half. No one was injured in the fire.

8 One of Our Own A decades-long effort to place a student on each university system board of regents in Texas became an official reality when Gov. Rick Perry announced his picks. Among them is Francis Bartley, public administration junior, who will serve on the Texas State University System Board of Regents until February 2007.

MARCH 1 Child pornography on iPod gives evidence for

gets new look, new name

JULY 8 Shooting spree suspects arrested Three men were arrested in connection with a shooting spree that took place in San Marcos, injuring one woman and causing property damage to residential homes and vehicles.

12 Dry Weather devastates Texas agriculture The drought that afflicted most of the state impacted the agricultural industry tremendously — annual and perennial crops were devastated, range and pasture conditions decimated and ranchers were forced to liquidate their herds, resulting in nearly $1.5 billion in losses since April 2005, prompting Gov. Rick Perry to request disaster relief assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency for 24 counties.

grand jury indictment

AUGUST

Ron James Guzman, a former Texas State student, was indicted by a Hays County grand jury on nine counts of possession of child pornography and six counts of promotion of child pornography.

30 San Marcos man killed, use of lethal force

4 River volunteers take out the trash Volunteers from all around Central Texas gathered at the Lion’s Club Tube Rental in the San Marcos City Park to pick up trash in and around the San Marcos River.

APRIL 6 Smoke-free zones have risen in amount of cigarette butts collected The Quad was designated as one of the smoke-free areas of campus, yet Bobcat Build volunteers collected more cigarette butts this year than last year. In one hour, 13,600 cigarette butts were picked up throughout The Quad by 30 adult and children Bobcat Build volunteers from Camp Fire USA and Texas State Terry Foundation scholars.

14 Students allege signatures on petition forged Allegations of fraud threatened the possibility of San Marcos’ annexation to Austin Community College district, and students were among those claiming their signatures on the petition were forged.

questioned A San Marcos Police officer shot and killed a 19-year-old man who was allegedly stabbing his mother with a fork on the 900 block of Gravel Street. Christopher Jonathan Gonzales was taken to Central Texas Medical Center and was pronounced dead by Hays County Justice of the Peace Joanne Prado at noon.

SEPTEMBER 18 Texas State honors former president, alumnus LBJ Texas State’s newest sculpture was unveiled in a ceremony outside Flowers Hall. The sculpture depicts class of 1930 alumnus Lyndon B. Johnson as a college student walking through The Quad.

18 San Marcos enacts Stage 2 water restrictions In response to low springflow levels at the San Marcos springs, city officials declared Stage 2 drought restrictions.

26 Getting Kinky: Friedman, Ventura make campus stop Gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman, along with Jesse “The Body” Ventura, former governor of Minnesota and professional wrestler, spent the second of a three-day college campus tour delivering their message to a Texas State audience.

OCTOBER 4 Heggie resigns as president of College Democrats The president of College Democrats resigned amid controversy and pressure from outside democratic organizations. Eric Heggie, international studies senior, had come under fire for his open support of Republican candidate Judge Jim Powers. As president of the College Democrats, his decision presented a potential conflict of interest.

NOVEMBER 8 Robertson, Thomaides take city council seats Experience was the key to this year’s city council elections as incumbent city councilman John Thomaides and smallbusiness owner Betsy Robertson, who serves on the San Marcos Planning and Zoning Commission, won the Place 6 and Place 1 seats, respectively. Photo- Thomaides and Robertson, election night

14 Burglaries plague apartments heavily populated by students At least 10 apartment break-ins were reported to the San Marcos Police Department in what appeared to be a string of connected burglaries. Some apartments affected are the Ridge Apartments, Zone Apartments, Village on the River, Hill Country Apartments and Bobcat Village.

16 Grand jury indicts two Texas State students Univeristy Police arrested Rene Esquibel and Stephen Darnell Sept. 15 in connection with a burglary of a residence in San Jacinto Hall where laptops, a digital camera, a stereo, iPods and a khaki bag containing about $120 were stolen. Compiled by Eloise Martin All photos Star file photos


NEWS

Page A4 - The University Star

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Lawsuit over professor’s 2001 removal may have statewide implications By Nick Georgiou The University Star A lawsuit filed against Texas State by a former professor is finally going to trial, and could establish a precedent for the removal of tenured professors. Former geography professor Ryan Rudnicki’s lawsuit against the university for his 2001 dismissal will go before the 250th Judicial District Court Jan. 18. Rudnicki was fired after receiving three negative annual evaluations, which can be grounds for dismissal under the post-tenure review process. The trial was originally slated to begin Nov. 6 but was postponed because a witness was ill. Doug Becker, Rudnicki’s attorney, said his client was wrongfully terminated. Rudnicki is suing the university, claiming he did not receive full due process of law. “It’s the first one of its type in the state,” said William Stone, faculty senate chair and criminal justice professor. “Post-tenure review was a new law and when the legislature creates these laws one of the things that ultimately

happens to many of them is they get tested as to how well they stand (up). And, to some extent, the future of the post-tenure review legislation, or the application of it, could easily be influenced by this case depending on how it goes.” Becker does not think the case will set a precedent, but said Rudnicki could be a trailblazer because he is the first professor to protest the termination of his tenure since the state legislature passed a law in 1997 requiring the tenure review. The legislature’s rationale in mandating the tenure review was to increase accountability and to make sure tenured professors continued to be productive. “The legislature felt it needed some accountability to people who are given lifetime appointments, essentially,” said Fernando Gomez, Texas State University System vice chancellor and general counsel. Gomez is not sure if the trial will establish a precedent. He said it depends on the outcome and how the facts play out. “I think it’s a straight case in-

“T

he future of the post-tenure review legislation, or the application of it, could easily be influenced by this case depending on how it goes.” — William Stone faculty senate chair

volving interpretation of a statute,” Gomez said. “It’s just hard to predict what its precedent value will be.” There is a misunderstanding on the nature of tenure, Stone said, and the perception that tenured faculty cannot be fired is untrue. “Tenure is not a protection against being fired,” he said. “It’s merely a protection against being fired for appropriately expressing views that the university disagrees with. It protects academic freedom. It has never protected incompetence.” Tenured professors can be fired for incompetence, insubordination or criminal offenses,

according to the Texas State University System Board of Regents’ rules and regulations. “What the legislature wants is perfectly reasonable and in reality was always there,” Stone said. Tenure primarily serves two purposes: the protection of academic freedom and job security. Freedom and economic security are indispensable to the success of an institution in fulfilling its obligations to its students and society, according to the American Association of University Professors Web site. “The concept behind tenure is if people are secure in their jobs that they will have the academic freedom to teach and to speak

and to seek knowledge without fear of retaliation for espousing unpopular ideas,” Gomez said. The American Association of University Professors is against the post-tenure review process. The organization says no procedure for evaluating faculty “should be used to weaken or undermine the principles of academic freedom and tenure.” Patricia Shields, tenured political science professor for over 20 years, said tenure allows faculty to follow their intellectual curiosity without having to worry about offending someone. “This is the kind of exploration that leads to new discovery,” she said. A range of opinions exists among faculty members concerning tenure and the post-tenure review process. Shields agrees with the legislature’s viewpoint of increasing accountability, but said she understands why some professors may be skeptical of the post-tenure review process. “I don’t think that the tenure process should be trivialized in that I do think it should provide a great deal of security but it shouldn’t be an excuse for incompetence,” she said. “I don’t think it should be an excuse for laziness.” Lucy Harney, modern languages associate professor, said she would be opposed to a posttenure review process if the legislature not mandated it. “Depending on what departments do with it, it effectively does away with tenure,” Harney said. Harney is concerned that politics can be played behind the post-tenure review process, enabling colleagues to give vague reasons for not granting a professor tenure. “Before you get tenure, there’s always this sort of backdoor talk of how they don’t owe you tenure,” she said. “They might say, ‘Oh, it’s just to make sure people don’t egregiously under perform,’ but I worry some of that other subjectivity might creep in — where it becomes a question of political factionalism in departments and enemies use it to get rid of people on the other side of the divide.” Harney said the idea is that a professor goes through that uncertainty and may even lose his or her job, but once they get tenured they do not have to worry

about that the rest of their life. Marian Houser, assistant communication studies professor, is also worried about the political aspect of tenure review, but thinks the system should be eliminated. She said professors should automatically be protected by the university and all faculty members should be held to the same guidelines. “There’s a hierarchy that I don’t like,” Houser said. “I feel like (tenure) is outdated and political. I’ve seen people get tenured who don’t deserve it.” Tenure also holds a unique position in the public and private job sector in that it provides a reasonable amount of job security. “We are in an at-will state which means people can be fired at-will,” Shields said. “With tenure, you have to give a reason. So tenure takes away the at-will nature of employment.” Harney said she is not surprised with the direction the legislature went considering the job security of tenure conflicts with the idea of accountability. “It goes along with the corporate model for holding people accountable, which is always the assumption that you’ve got a bunch of lazy people and if you scare them a little more by telling them their job could on the line, they might work a little harder,” she said. With the renewed interest in tenure and the post-tenure review process, faculty and administrators will be keeping a close eye on the outcome of the trial. Maria Czyzewska, associate psychology professor, said the case could be important for any college with a post-tenure review policy. “This shows you exactly the reality of it — that the schools will be very afraid to terminate someone based on this law because they are risking getting involved in a risky and costly lawsuit,” Czyzewska said. After Rudnicki was fired, a committee formed by the faculty senate spent about three years revising the post-tenure review policy in the hopes of avoiding a similar situation. “We believe the policy to be dramatically improved, but you really can’t tell how a policy will work until it has a test case,” Stone said.


NEWS

Thursday, November 30, 2006

The University Star - Page A5

Nighttime eats give Students struggle to find time, motivation for studying students break from stress of finals By Alex Hering The University Star Moonlight Breakfast will be served from 10 p.m. to midnight Dec. 5 in Jones Dining Hall to wish students good luck on finals. The event is intended to reduce stress around final exams and provide students an opportunity to eat a free breakfast, said Ted Ingwerson, Moonlight Breakfast co-coordinator. “Moonlight Breakfast is a program every semester when faculty and staff cook students a fun breakfast at night and as a way to send students off into their final exams,” Ingwerson said. “It is for all the students who live on campus.” The Student Health Center will be providing stress relief information for students during the breakfast, Ingwersen said. “It’s also a stress reliever; they come in, and they can get free stress toys,” he said “It will also help them take their minds off things for an hour while they have breakfast. Faculty and staff will be able to show their support of students for the stressful time finals may be for them.” Ingwerson said they are currently looking for volunteers who can come in for a total of four hours and help serve, cook and set up decorations. The shifts are from 9 to 11 p.m. and 11 p.m. to 1.a.m. Patricia Prado, executive assistant for Finance and Support Services, said there is a necessi-

ty for faculty and staff to have a relationship with students and the Moonlight Breakfast helps serve this purpose. “I work in an office where we don’t work with too many students, so I thought this would be a great opportunity to engage more in the student activities,” Prado said. “I think we need to be in more of a one-to-one level with students instead of a day-to-day business type of an atmosphere, and I think this will be a great chance to do that.” The breakfast is free for students with meal plans, but student IDs will still need to be presented, Ingwerson said. “I believe in the past they have added a meal trade to every student’s meal card that way it doesn’t cost students a meal to eat breakfast as long as they have a meal plan,” he said. “It’s free somehow, but they add a trade to make sure the student has a plan.” The breakfast is sponsored by Residence Life, the Student Health Center, the LBJ Student Center and Chartwells catering. Last December, 1,350 students attended Moonlight Breakfast. Ingwerson said he hopes more students will come enjoy the fun atmosphere this year. “It’s a stress free event where they don’t have to worry about anything,” Ingwerson said. “Typically, we have pancakes, potatoes and scrambled eggs — buffet style. We also will have biscuits, fruit, coffee and juice.”

Library hours

The library will be open continuously for study: Sunday, December 3, 1:00 p.m. Friday, December 8, 10:00 p.m. Sunday, December 10, 1:00 p.m. Tuesday, December 12, 5:00 p.m.

there are study habits that you can develop that will complement that,” McWilliams said. McWilliams, who also teaches a study habits workshop, said rewriting notes, making flashcards or reciting things aloud can be helpful in retaining information for a test. It is also important to get enough sleep, she said. “Avoid cramming and get a good night’s rest,” she said. McWilliams also said studying before you sleep can be more useful for some students, as opposed to waking up early and cramming a few hours beCotton Miller/Star photo fore an exam. HARD AT WORK: Christina Keating, communication studies senior, “I read, whether it’s true or studies on the seventh floor of Alkek Library, Nov. 26. Knowing your not, that when you sleep your personal learning abilities is one of the best ways to use study time brain continues to process information,” she said. effectively. For some students it’s not a By Brooke Keller students can take measures to matter of how to study but a The University Star ensure they are studying in the matter of when. With work and most efficient way. extracurricular activities, havIt’s crunch time again for stuCheryl McWilliams, director ing the right amount of time to dents. of Student Support Services, study for finals can be difficult. Many are finding themselves said the key to studying most efOscar Vela, mass communicaputting the pedal to the text- fectively is figuring out how you tion junior, said he has found book metal, trying to retain that learn information. himself studying whenever he last bit of information needed to “Once you figure out what gets a chance, even if it’s on stage pass their classes. your learning style is, whether with his band. Studying can be an inevitable you’re an auditory learner, vi“I had a paper due Monday time consumer before finals, but sual or a hands-on learner, then and I had no time to do it be-

cause we had a show Friday and Saturday night in Houston,” Vela said. “ I propped up my laptop on my snare drum and started typing the paper in a night club.” Besides finding the time to study, another issue for students is simply getting motivated. Marietta Colon, exercise and sports science sophomore and University Bookstore employee, said what motivates her is the idea of finding a better job. “I don’t want to work at the bookstore the rest of my life,” Colon said. Raymundo Martinez, exercise sports science senior, said thinking about graduation gets him off of his couch. “I just think about graduating, and try to raise my GPA,” Martinez said. “I graduate in May, so I really can’t screw up.” Maria Navarro, psychology senior, said her best study advice for students is to stick with basics strategies. “Just go over all your material and make sure that you go over the things that the professor told you to specifically study or repeated over and over again,” Navarro said.


Page A6 - The University Star

NEWS

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Outlet malls offer many seasonal job opportunities By Alysha Mendez The University Star Students who are looking for a job over the break don’t have to look very far. San Marcos’ Outlet Malls provide a plethora of seasonal job opportunities. More than 75 stores from the Prime and Tanger Outlet centers, including Reebok, American Eagle and Nike are currently looking to fill positions over the winter break. Most of the outlet stores simply require you to come fill out an application and a manager will talk with you right away. “Whenever someone comes to fill out an application, we set them up for a group interview,” said Heather Bishop, one of the managers at Banana Republic. “We’re looking for people available the week of Christmas and with weekend availability, someone outgoing with customer skills.” The Converse outlet store is one of the many stores on the Prime Outlet side of the mall currently hiring. “Attitude, appearance and demeanor — but integrity is the biggest thing,” Converse Manager Kevin Pledger said he looks for. Texas State’s Career Services is also a great resource to use. “We can help them with résumé and interview skills, we’ll critique everything from dress to nonverbal attitudes to body posture,” said LaTonya Croskey, assistant director for Student Employment and Employer Outreach at Career Services. The Office of Student Employment manages the hiring process for all undergraduate students while Employer Outreach scouts new employers to recruit on campus and maintains relationships with the employers. “Demands for extra help are out there,” Croskey said. “This time period holds Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years, so people are traveling, making plans, and shopping.” If the outlet mall is not for you, Croskey also suggests stu-

“P

resent yourself in the best way possible, including dress and how you communicate.”

— LaTonya Croskey Student Employment and Employer Outreach assistant director

Monty Marion/Star photo OPPORTUNITIES ABOUND: With a high density of stores and an increase in traffic because of the holiday shopping rush, the Prime and Tanger Outlet malls offer many part-time jobs for students.

dents try the hospitality industry such as hotels for winter vacationers. “Anything to do with holiday business,” she said, “like caterers, event planners or delis. The job seeker has to have in mind what they’re wanting to do.” Career Services will remain

open through Dec. 15 and will reopen Jan. 7. “The advice I have about actually landing a job is to be comfortable with talking about your skills and interests,” Croskey said. “Present yourself in the best way possible, including dress and how you communicate.”


Thursday, November 30, 2006

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The University Star - Page A7


NEWS

Page A8 - The University Star

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Hays County experiences

GROWING PAINS

As population grows, worries arise over jobs By David Saleh Rauf The University Star Hays County’s population grew at a 27.5 percent rate between 2000 and 2005, making it the 35th fastest growing county in the nation. The county that had fewer than 500 residents at its inception around 1850 is projected to have a population of more than 200,000 people by 2010. State and local officials in Hays County are faced with the task of managing and planning for the future of one of the fastest growing regions in Texas. “Texas, in general, is going through a massive bit of economic expansion,” said Brad Bailey, county coordinator. “It just seems that everybody wants to move somewhere on this corridor. Being along the I-35, which is the major artery between Laredo and Mexico, puts us smack dab in the middle of where all the growth is occurring.” Since 1980, the county’s population has tripled, totaling about 130,000 residents, with an estimated 15 percent growth rate each year, according to researchers at Texas A&M’s Cooperative Extension. “We’ve gone from being a strictly rural county to within the last 20 years being an urban county,” Will Conley, Precinct 3 county commissioner, said. “A lot has changed, as it should, in this area to accommodate that.” Conley said elected leaders will continue to plan for future growth of the county by focusing on three main issues: economic development, water availability and the maintenance and construction of roads. “It’s almost impossible to separate transportation, economic development and water availability,” he said. “As we build proper transportation systems and come up with appropriate water solutions for Hays County, our economy will grow and people will be able to have the higher-paying jobs that they deserve in Hays County.” The lack of higher-paying jobs in the region, Conley said, is forcing many Texas State graduates to leave the area. The workforce needed to lure highpaying jobs would be available if university graduates remained in area, he said. “What I am extremely disappointed in is the ability of somebody, particularly an educated person, to be able to make a living in Hays County,” he said. “That is something we fundamentally need to change. I think the county and the city and the university have a close relationship and can do a lot to improve that. Those people can be a tremendous asset to Hays County.” Bailey agrees, saying the county needs good jobs outside of the retail sector. “It’d be really nice if we had jobs that paid 40, 50, 60,000 (dollars) on average, so we can keep people here to build nice homes and develop the community,” Bailey said. State Representative Patrick

“W

e’ve gone from being a strictly rural county to within the last 20 years being an urban county.” — Will Conley Precinct 2 county commissioner

Rose, D-Dripping Springs, said the county must find a way to expand its base of manufacturing jobs along the Austin and San Antonio corridor. “While we have grown in rooftops, we need to grow more from a job standpoint,” Rose said. “We’ve got an opportunity in the next five to 10 (years) to create a county that not only is a wonderful place to raise a family but is a wonderful place to grow your business.” The opportunity to bring big businesses to the region in the future, Conley said, will be dependent on local officials communicating better. “We need to get on the same page for a consistent amount of time,” he said. “What we’ve had in this county, and what we’ve had within different cities, is inconsistency at times and a breakdown of communication.” Conley, a local business owner, said large employers like coming to predictable environments where they know what the rules are and who the leaders are and what to expect. “What they do not like is unpredictability and our county and our cities have been unpredictable for some time,” he said. “Its having cohesiveness and stability and being able to work together as a team is how you finally land some of those larger research firms or a new university, new manufacturing plant or a new distribution center.” San Marcos Mayor Susan Narvaiz said officials from different cities within the county work together on a regular basis to discuss issues that impact the region. “Things don’t happen overnight, but I would say that I have seen a definite increase in the dialogue between all the entities and the communicating of what the long term goals need to be to support the growth plans of each entity,” Narvaiz said. Liz Sumter, Hays County judge-elect, said she is in the process of putting together an umbrella group that consists of economic development teams from each city within Hays County to help identify specific economic corridors. “The county can play a huge role by putting that umbrella group together,” Sumter said. “We find that cities compete against each other. After we put together a comprehensive plan, what where going to find is that cities don’t have to compete with each other because there’s enough to go around.” Bailey said population numbers in areas such as Kyle and Buda are fast approaching the point where they are going to rival the size of San Marcos, creating competition within the county for economic development. See POPULATION, page A10

Transportation, water availability lags as Hays County demands rise By David Saleh Rauf The University Star Hays County officials believe the region could face dire straits in the near future if proper implementation of water resources, road construction and maintenance plans do not meet the demand of a rapidly growing population. “We’ve got to figure out a way to have sustainable water resources in Hays County. That’s probably going to be the big tell-tale sign in 20 years from now,” said County Coordinator Brad Bailey. “If the planning focuses in on water, which is more important to us than gold or black gold at this point, then theoretically we should be able to manage it and protect the natural resources in Hays County.” Bailey said if the county fails to manage its water resources and does not properly develop a good wastewater system, pollution of the aquifers could occur. “We could just totally wipe everything that made people want to move here in the first place,” he said. Water issues afflicting Hays County are multi-faceted. San Marcos, Kyle and Buda have secured short-term water supplies by moving to surface water alternatives such as Canyon Lake, which reduce their dependence on the Edwards Aquifer. “That’s an investment the city has made over the years, and I think long term it’s going to have been a wise decision although it was expensive,” said San Marcos Mayor Susan Narvaiz. “We made that sacrifice …. We all, if you would, bit the bullet and paid in to having a long term source of

water that does not drain the aquifer. Our goal now as a city should be to get all of the cities that are on the aquifer on to surface water to the extent that we are.” The western portion of Hays, which includes Dripping Springs and the Wimberley area, pumps its water from the Hays Trinity Aquifer. “(It is) an aquifer that we don’t have very much information on, but that I would say cannot withstand the pressures of development that are going on in the western portion of the county,” said Will Conley, Precinct 3 county commissioner. “There is no silver bullet. There is no one answer to our water problems.” State Representative Patrick Rose, District 45, said the county needs to find a way to get the second phase of the Lower Colorado River Authority Highway 290 surface water pipeline to Dripping springs and Wimberley. The Lower Colorado River Authority has a contract to provide the Dripping Springs Water Supply Corporation with enough water for 1,100 households. “Water is a tremendously important issue to our county and our region,” he said. Incentives for rain water harvesting on the state level need to be offered, Rose said. “I think the state needs to take a role in subsidizing rain water catchments systems by providing low interest loans,” he said. Conley said the county passed a Link Deposit Program this summer that will offer residents low interest loans on different types of water conservation measures. “You have the incentive to go

e’ve got “W to figure out a way to have

sustainable water resources in Hays County. That’s probably going to be the big tell-tale sign in 20 years from now.” — Brad Bailey county coordinator

out and get a much lower interest rate in order for you to put in your rain water harvesting system or do other measures that are in the ideal of conservation,” Conley said. Liz Sumter, Hays County judge-elect, said the county has been historically reactive in searching for new water sources. “Its been a reactive county in the sense that if a well goes dry then they look at something,” Sumter said. “I’m quite confident with this new court that they’re going to be very proactive. We’re not going to wait until well’s go dry. We’re going to be very proactive in the sense of where do we need to get water from, what communities do we need to get it to.” Sumter and Precinct 4 Commissioner-elect Karen Ford have already voiced their concern to stop construction of subdivisions solely dependent on groundwater in the western portion of Hays County. See WATER, page A10


Thursday, November 30, 2006

NEWS

The University Star - Page A9

SMPD working with city to make Christmas less blue for underprivileged By Paul Rangel The University Star With Thanksgiving in the past, the Christmas holiday season has started and The Blue Santa program has begun its annual toy drive to provide gifts for children during the holidays. “Blue Santa is one of many programs that the San Marcos Police Department and the public, along with students from the university, can interact with one another,” said Danny Arredondo, SMPD crime prevention officer. Students who wish to donate to the program can do so at the University Bookstore. “Students can donate in three ways,” said Lauren Williams, assistant bookstore manager.“They can bring their own unwrapped gift and drop it in the toy box, buy a toy from the bookstore or purchase a blue ornament.” Students will not actually receive the $1 ornament, but they can place it on the Blue Santa tree, Williams said. The toys can be packaged but may not be decoratively wrapped. Blue Santa does not give any toy weapons or toys that are offensive or may be viewed as violent. “The toy drive will be going on through December 8,” Williams said. “We encourage students to come. Also any money they spend here, even if it is a toy, will end up going back to the school.” Students can come by at any time during business hours from 7:45 a.m. to 6 p.m. and make a donation, Williams said. David Racino/Star photo The drive is being held by the FLYING HIGH: An inflatable Bob the Builder balloon floats high above Congress Avenue in Austin San Marcos Police Department, Nov. 25 at the annual Blue Santa parade. The Blue Santa organization conducts an annual toy drive to but there are several businesses provide gifts for children during the holidays. and organizations helping with

the program, Arredondo said. “We’ve already began wrapping sessions,” Arredondo said. “There have been many donations and people volunteering to wrap; students from the school have also attended.” The police department has a room filled with toys, wrapped and unwrapped. An entire wall is covered in wrapped toys and across from that are more boxes that still need to be wrapped. The organization received contributions from businesses, such as $500 from New Honda Dealership. Target has also contributed, along with the outlet malls, which have served as a great resource of volunteers and donations, Arredondo said. “We are doing good right now, but I’m almost afraid that we have more volunteers than we do toys to wrap. Any donations are welcome,” Arredondo said. Upcoming toy drives include one from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Dec. 1-3 at KB Toys, located at the Prime Outlet mall. Another will be held Dec. 6 and 7 at WalMart from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The toys will be transported Dec. 18 to the San Marcos Activity Center where family applications will be sorted through. “On the 23rd (of December) we will meet at the police department and begin to deliver toys that morning,” Arredondo said. “Volunteers are welcome to come and help with distribution.” The Blue Santa Program has volunteers from the GAP, Crate and Barrel and other businesses from around the community. Arredondo said students have especially been helpful, noting that the Texas State fencing club

has volunteered numerous times at wrapping sessions and students from the criminal justice classes have also been lending a helping hand. “If people haven’t helped with the Blue Santa Program, they should,” Arredondo said. “It’s such a good program and if they have never volunteered, they can come and have a good time. Seeing the faces on children and knowing that you have helped those who might not have had a good Christmas is a great feeling.” The program has purchased or received more than $9,300 in toys from donations. Organizers still need tape, paper and other things for wrapping gifts. “I hope that we will receive enough toys and donations to give each child two or three gifts,” Arredondo said. “I’m trying to make this the biggest and greatest.” Last year the Blue Santa toy drive helped approximately 350 families. The San Marcos Blue Santa is not affiliated with the program offered in Austin. Each city has its own program set up for its community. Information can be found at www.bluesanta.org. Toys can be donated to the police department through Dec. 16.

✯FYI For more information, contact Daniel Arredondo at (512) 754-2270. Checks can be made out to Blue Santa and sent to the San Marcos Police Department.


Page A10 - The University Star

NEWS

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Internships increase post-graduation job opportunities, reduce real-world stress By Bill Lancaster The University Star A college degree used to guarantee a job. Now, students are finding they need to show potential employers that they gained real-world experience before graduating. “In a classroom, a teacher can lecture over what it is like to be involved in a sale,” said Jamal Yusuf, marketing senior, who interned with the AustinAmerican Statesman. “But, it is not until you are actually selling an item to a potential customer that you gain the real knowledge of the experience.” Yusuf is one Texas State student who has taken advantage of the opportunity to gain firsthand knowledge of a daily job while deciding on a career path. Yusuf said he originally planned to get a marketing job that offered a salary after graduation, but his internship has shown him something different. “I was convinced I would … have a solid salary job,” said Yusuf. “Instead, I know now that I was made for the sales industry and with my personality type, I need a job that has some sort of commission pay.” Experiencing the challenges of a workplace and being able to confront and overcome them with the help of the professional

guidance is also another benefit of having an internship, Yusuf said. “One can expect to encounter the occasional feeling of being overwhelmed or even scared because you don’t know what you are doing,” Yusuf said. “Just make sure you are hard at work and showing the rest of the staff that you are trying, and they will be more than pleased to give a helping hand or a word of advice.” Brandi Simchak, intern coordinator for the department of international studies, said internships help students gain industry-specific experience as well as general knowledge. Interns are exposed to different customs, cultures and work environments, she said. “Students have done work with the U.S. Department of State, the FBI, the CIA, AT&T, charitable organizations, the Department of Commerce, the Mexican Consulate and others,” Simchak said. Karen Julian, Career Services assistant director and internship coordinator, said students can find internships in a variety of ways. The Career Services Office, the internship coordinators in each respective department and employer Web sites are good resources for students looking for an internship, Julian

said. Julian said it is a mistake to wait until your senior year to start looking for an internship because at that point, students should be focused on a full-time job search. “The optimum time for students to do internships is their junior year,” Julian said. “That way they can do a second internship during their senior year.” Internships are highly competitive, Julian said, and students must market themselves and have a strong, well-written résumé. “You have to have the best résumé you can possibly produce,” she said. “That means working on it more than one time.” The Career Services Office, located in the LBJ Student Center, provides a wide range of services, including résumé assistance and internship contacts. Melissa Norman, psychology senior and Career Services intern, agrees that internships can help narrow the job search. Norman said she was looking for something in business, but the internship she completed led her to work in marketing and research. “Internships make you more marketable,” Norman said. “I’ve noticed on interviews that they are really impressed that I am doing an internship.”

POPULATION: Buda, Kyle will soon compete with San Marcos economy CONTINUED from page A8

“That’s caused some tension,” Bailey said. “Instead of having one city that’s competing for all the economic development and all the jobs, you now have numerous cities, and they’re not always nice to each other when they compete.” Narvaiz said economic development is already very competitive in the region but San Marcos has one advantage — it’s a region that is already developed in many ways that other cities in the county are not. “There’s always healthy competition,” Narvaiz said. “But we work together knowing that

whatever comes to our region is good for all of us.” The City of San Marcos, the largest in the county, is embarking on $129 million in new building permits for construction, which will include a new $52 million high school and a variety of retail projects along Interstate-35. Narvaiz said the city will be increasing its potential for high paying positions as C-FAN, a manufacturing entity that makes fan blades and other composite engine components for the aerospace industry, adds 300 new jobs. Grande Communication has also announced plans to expand its main building to add about 50 new jobs.

The new Grande Communication jobs with benefit packages will range in the mid-$40s, which is excellent for the area, she said. “They will be renovating space in their main building and will begin adding those jobs as early as February,” Narvaiz said. Early discussions with St. David’s Healthcare System to open a hospital in the city that will add several hundred jobs is also an option that San Marcos might see come to fruition. “We have been looking at expanding health care because that is one of the areas where jobs can be created that do pay a living wage,” Narviaz said.

WATER: Administration sees need for road improvement, despite budget problems CONTINUED from page A8

The county’s road infrastructure is also a main concern for officials. “As quickly as this county is growing, it is my feeling that it would be very irresponsible not to make road improvements in the near future instead of waiting 20, 30 years down the road when our population has already doubled and the unsafe roads today have become tremendously unsafe,” Conley said.

The county road department budget is approximately nine to $10 million a year. However, Conley said there is simply not enough money for all the road construction and maintenance that is needed. “This is statewide. Now you bring that down to the local level here at Hays County (and) we’re in the same situation everyone else is in statewide — not enough money.” Rose said the county commissioner’s court approved an agreement with the Texas

Department of Transportation that has taken measures to improve several county roads, including work on the center turn lane of Highway 290 heading out to dripping springs, improvements to FM 1626 in the Buda area, improvements to Ranch Road 12 between San Marcos and Wimberley, and the beginning of a loop on the east side of San Marcos. “That’s a beginning point, not an ending point,” Rose said. “We’ve got a lot of other important infrastructural projects.”

Catch up on The Star during the break

at www.UniversityStar.com


NEWS

Thursday, November 30, 2006

The University Star - Page A11

Racism still touchy issue at A&M; administration says it is making headway By Laura Schreier The Dallas Morning News COLLEGE STATION — A shocking home video of a white student in blackface grabbed headlines, but minority students at Texas A&M University point to their campus’ subtler troubles. Recent graduate Keith Jackson, who is black, said he could not help but notice the empty seats surrounding him in class. Or the bar near campus that turned away his black friends, who wore buttoned-down shirts, because they violated the dress code. Other minority students swap anecdotes about racial slurs scrawled on a dry-erase board in two black students’ dorm room or Ku Klux Klan Halloween costumes spotted off-campus. A&M administrators say they’ve worked hard to recruit nonwhite students and to make them feel welcome, but some of those students — though they profess love for the school — say it still has a lot of work to do. “It’s not a blatant, in-yourface thing here, but there’s undertones,” Jackson said.

Race relations on the campus, where 74 percent of undergraduates are white, have become a big topic since a video posted on YouTube showed a white Aggie in blackface, chomping a banana and begging mercy from his “master.” As word got around, administrators responded swiftly. A&M President Robert Gates strongly condemned the video in several campus-wide communications, and the three students who made the video have withdrawn from the university. The video was removed from YouTube. Last week, A&M’s student newspaper, The Battalion, published a letter from one of the filmmakers, who said the movie was intended as satire that brought “attention to the diversity issues that exist at A&M.” Through the newspaper, the student declined to comment, and none of the three have spoken publicly. But their actions woke a longstanding discussion about how far A&M has come. “It’s not just about the video,” said Kaku Barkoh, a student who helped organize a rally that drew a racially mixed group of about

300 students last week. Barkoh said the video and other incidents show the need for changes, and students have circulated a petition asking the school to require more culturaleducation classes. The petition, which Barkoh said has about 1,000 names so far, also asks for changes to the code of student conduct that would punish racist acts and require diversity training. Administrators said they’ll take a look at the ideas. Some students said A&M, particularly during the tenure of the now-outgoing Gates, has made strides. “It’s a shame, because it’s so easy to take a step back with something like this,” said Jake Brown, a junior from San Antonio, who is white. “The majority of kids here are not like that.” Despite increased efforts to recruit minority students and the changing demographics of Texas, the student body at A&M looks essentially the same as it did a decade ago. White students account for three-quarters of undergraduates; about 3 percent are black, and roughly one in 10 are Hispanic.

The video was the latest in a series of incidents. In 2003, a student group held an “affirmative action bake sale” in which prices depended on each customer’s race. In 2001, the Battalion printed a cartoon that some students said played up stereotypical African facial features. To be fair, A&M isn’t the only university with diversity challenges. Nearly 60 percent of students at the University of Texas are white, and the percentage of black students there is about 4 percent. Jackson said such incidents made some of his black friends opt for UT instead of A&M. He is quick to say he got a top-notch education and a lot of good experiences that changed him for the better. Much of the problem, Barkoh said, lies in the campus climate — and that’s where he thinks diversity training might help. He said it would be easy to include a session on diversity during the student orientation session known as Fish Camp. Administrators in recent years hired a provost for diversity, Tito Guerrero. He pointed to signs of steady progress: Black

“I

’d never seen that big a concentration of white people. I freaked out.” —Anna Khuu Texas A&M sophomore

enrollment increased from 1,100 to nearly 1,400 in the past two years; Hispanic enrollment has gone up from 4,100 to 4,900 over the same time. He said the petition is a sign of good student-university dialogue: Students care enough to compose a thoughtful, businesslike articulation of requests, and it shows they trust the administration to listen. “That speaks volumes to how students feel about Texas A&M,” he said. His office is studying the campus climate for minorities and will release a report in February. And Guererro said the office continually encourages organizations to create a better sense of community. It’s a community bound up in tradition. From Fish Camp to Yell Practice and Silver Taps and

“howdy,” Aggies hold fast to old practices and the bonds between classmates. But becoming part of that community can be daunting. “The first few weeks, it was really bad,” said freshman Manuel Hernandez, who came to College Station from Eagle Pass. At first he thought of transferring to someplace with a larger Hispanic population. But as the semester passed, he adjusted, made friends, and now says he’s here to stay. Ditto for sophomore Anna Khuu, who is Asian American. She said white students were in the minority at her high school, North Garland. The environment was a bit of a shock, she said. “I’d never seen that big a concentration of white people. I freaked out,” she said.

Report: Universities not doing enough to bring in minority, low-income students By Mara Rose Williams McClatchy Newspapers KANSAS CITY — Leading public universities have become enclaves for the privileged and are failing to give bright minority and low-income students fair access to higher education, according to a national report released Nov. 20. The report by the Education Trust, based in the nation’s capital and created to promote high academic achievement for students, graded 50 flagship institutions, one in each state. It concludes the leading and oldest public universities are doing a poor job of recruiting minority and low-income students and of distributing financial aid to needy students. “We really wanted to use flagships as a way to highlight the magnitude of the problem,” said Danette Gerald, senior research associate for the trust and co-author of the report. “We thought that by grading them on measures they are not typically held accountable for it would shine a light on these inequities,” she said. “These are issues that Americans care a lot about — fairness and effectiveness.” Each university was graded on the access it provided for minority and low-income students, graduation rates for those students and progress made from 1992 to 2004 on both fronts. In addition to looking at graduation rates and minority enrollment, the report also examined the number of students who received federal Pell grants in each state compared with the

number who enrolled at the flagship institutions. Looking at all areas measured, the most common grade was an F. No university got an A, and only four got Bs. The University of Missouri at Columbia and the University of Kansas each earned Ds overall, although both got Fs in other areas. Missouri-Columbia’s best grade was a B, while the University of Kansas’ was a C. Missouri-Columbia officials said minority enrollment has increased since 2001. “Ever since I came here in 2001 this has been a major focus of mine,” said Ann Korschgen, Missouri-Columbia vice provost for enrollment management. Missouri-Columbia’s fall 2006 minority enrollment, excluding Asian Americans, which are not an underrepresented minority at flagship institutions, was 2,216, a 30 percent increase from 2001, Korschgen said. “We are making great efforts. We agree that part of our mission is to educate students of all backgrounds from around the state,” she said. At the University of Kansas, fall 2006 minority enrollment was 3,198. Officials said minorities now represent 12.2 percent of the University of Kansas’ approximately 30,000 students, up from 12 percent last year and 11.6 percent in 2004. “We are focusing on this with more interest than we had in the past partly because of the responsibility we have for the future of our state,” said University of Kansas Provost Rich-

ard Lariviere, noting that the minority population in Kansas continues to increase. “We welcome this kind of scrutiny of higher education. We at KU get this problem. … It is a priority for KU.” Both states’ universities did much better when it comes to making sure minority and lowincome students graduate. When it comes to financial aid, the report faulted the flagship institutions for giving too much to students whose family incomes are $100,000 or more and not enough to students from families earning less than $20,000 a year. “These flagships have virtually unfettered discretion to decide which students will benefit from tuition assistance and how much they receive,” Gerald said. For example, the report says that in 1995, these public universities gave $50 million in financial aid to students from high-income families. That jumped to $257 million in 2003, when the institutions gave $171 million in tuition assistance to students from families earning less than $20,000 a year. When it comes to access, the report says there are many more students — especially low-income students — who meet the grade point and test score requirements to enroll at these flagship universities than are actually enrolling. “The conclusion is that either they are not going to college at all or they are going to less-selective institutions,” Gerald said. “As public institutions, the flagships need to be held

accountable for how well and how equitably they are serving the students in their state.” To fix the problem, the report made six recommendations: University leaders should become familiar with minority and low-income enrollment and use them as a guide in defining how successful they are at serving the state; Universi-

ties should focus on improving the success of students already enrolled; Universities should aggressively recruit talented low-income and underrepresented students; Universities should reallocate at least half the funds now going to students from high-income families into need-based tuition assistance; Universities must re-attract

good students who left without earning degrees; and, universities should commit to preparing highly qualified teachers to work in high poverty and predominantly minority schools. The Education Trust is funded by 11 foundations, including the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.


OPINIONS THE UNIVERSITY STAR

Thursday, November 30, 2006 - Page A12

onlineconnection Will you be spending your break working, staying in San Marcos or visiting friends and family? Go to www.UniversityStar.com to vote in our online poll. Results will be published in the first issue of next semester’s The University Star. *This is not a scientific poll

ALMOST THERE...

Opinions Contact — Emily Messer, staropinion@txstate.edu

THE MAIN POINT

T

he end of the semester is nearing and The University Star would like to try not whining about the latest issue in the news and instead tell students, “hang in there.” Just imagine the poster with the kitten on the branch tacked to a cubicle wall.

Letter to the Editor

Don’t let the semester’s end distract from finals

Forsaking other college teams is too much to ask I am writing in response to William Ward’s article “Have school pride — but for Texas State” (Nov. 15). I just transferred this semester as a junior for the University of Texas at Tyler. I grew up a UT fan my whole life and have always wanted to go to UT. I tried to play soccer at UT-Tyler, and realized I wanted a “life,” so I did my best to try to get into UT-Austin. A 3.4 GPA wasn’t good enough, so the only other place I applied was Texas State. Honestly, I had never heard of Texas State until my sister applied here my freshman year in high school. You talk about having school pride, how you see people wearing UT or Texas A&M shirts around campus. The fact is that people were raised up being fans of certain schools their whole life and asking them to switch from being a Longhorn or Aggie to a Bobcat is asking a lot. I was at the conference tournament game where the fan yelled at the player, and from what I hear from friends on the team, there’s more to it. It was a boyfriend of another player, but I do agree it was very uncalled for. My question for you is, if you had tickets to a UT game on the same day Texas State played, which game would you go to? UT and A&M are nationally televised week in and week out. There are reasons people wear other schools’ shirts. The fact that I had never heard of Texas State until I was in high school says a lot. Texas State doesn’t have the media or prestige that UT or A&M have. So I totally disagree with your article. I am a UT fan. I grew up a UT fan, went to both Rose Bowls, go to the Cotton Bowl each year to see UT play Oklahoma, and go to most, if not all home games. That doesn’t make me not like Texas State. To be honest with you, I own more Texas State shirts (four) than I do UT shirts. I don’t wear UT shirts except maybe in my own home, but my license plate does say Bevo on it and I do have a UT sticker on my truck. I have Texas State pride and am proud of being a Bobcat, but just because one might wear a UT or A&M shirt doesn’t mean they don’t have pride.

At The Star, we know how easy it is to slack off as finals approach. The urge to take the B or the C rather than spend a final week cramming for tests can be overwhelming. We’re fighting that urge right now. The fact of the matter is, the end is in sight. Start preparing for finals now and save yourself that last-minute stress. When you reach this point in the semester, it can be hard to keep going. A semester’s worth of stress and exhaustion has built up and all you want is for it to end. Fight this urge. It’s hard. You’ve worked all semester. You deserve a break. But if you can make it through the next few weeks you can go into the winter break satisfied that you didn’t give up. And post-finals partying seems so much more rewarding when you didn’t have to settle for anything. We at The Star only hope we can take our own advice. After today, we don’t have any more papers to put out. We only have finals, so many finals. In fact, this might be a cry for help from us. If, as the semester winds down, we see our fellow students still attending the last days of class, flocking to the library and shunning the liquor store, then maybe we can finish the semester with a strong showing. If, however, we go to H-E-B and see the beer aisle packed with college students and cars lining The Square at night, we’re doomed. Joking aside, it is difficult to stay focused during finals. With a chance to visit friends and family so close, it’s incredibly easy to slack off right before finals. We appreciated everyone who read our paper this semester, and we want you to come back next semester, preferably not on academic probation. So hang in there, or whatever cheesy inspirational saying you find least lame, and keep up the good work. If our readers all do well during finals and come back next semester, The Star promises to use fewer clichés in future Main Points.

Gabriel Powell undecided sophomore

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.

Justin Jackley/Star illustration

Think you have something to say? Log on to www.UniversityStar.com and click on the letters link to read old letters and submit new ones.

Legal Guy: Learn to protect your rights, property as a renter If you’re planning on where for that matter, signing a lease at the New is to inspect the lease. Year, make informed deWith all of the comcisions in order to better plicated legal jargon, protect yourself. however, a simple Landlords read and reading of your prosign more contracts than posed contract can tenants. Most renters do turn into a messy CARSON GUY not even look over their nightmare. Two opStar Columnist leases, resigned to the tions are available fact that they often do not unat this point: Do not read the derstand what is being stated lease and hope for the best or in the lease. More importantly, get some help dissecting the they assume, or at least hope, lease. that there is nothing in the If you decide to investigate lease that is unfair to the tenthe lease further, then the Atant. This does not have to be torney for Students in the LBJ the case. There are resources Student Center is a great place available to many prospective to start. By simply making an renters that can greatly even the appointment and bringing a playing field when dealing with copy of your lease, one of the big companies and big leases, lawyers on staff can show you such as the Texas Apartment all of the important things you Association lease. should know about your lease The first thing to do when for free. looking for an apartment or The renter’s chief concern house in San Marcos, or anyshould be protecting their

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

rights. That’s not to say landlords are not on your side, but it is always important to protect your legal interest because the landlords will certainly be protecting theirs. The No. 1 thing anyone can do to fortify his or her legal position is to put everything in writing. This includes receipts for rent, complaints submitted, copies of maintenance requests and anything the renter may have promised or said. Maintenance requests or complaints should be mailed to the landlord via certified mail, return receipt requested. Also, it is imperative to have the landlord and tenant sign and date all of the documents collected. A frequent problem many tenants run into surfaces when they need something fixed in their apartment that affects a tenant’s safety or health. Currently, Texas law prescribes

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that one written notice sent by certified mail, return receipt requested is sufficient. If there are no special circumstances and after seven days your landlord has not made a good faith effort to begin repairs then the option becomes available to break the lease; at which point you may hire someone to repair the problem. Once repairs are completed you are allowed to withhold the cost of the repairs from next months rent. An alternative to breaking the lease allows the tenant to go to court and sue for one month’s rent and $500 as a penalty as well as getting a judge’s order compelling your landlord to execute repairs. It is important to remember that the notice must be written and mailed via certified mail with return receipt requested. When dealing with landlords, it is important to re-

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member that they deal with these types of things everyday. It is easy for tenants to be taken advantage of because of their lack of expertise. Do not let a lack of knowledge force you into court, hurt your future credit or most importantly, hurt you. If the problem being dealt with threatens your health or safety, be sure to let your landlord know that. Broken door handles, broken windows and broken locks are just a few things that could turn into a nightmare even though they may seem harmless at the time. You need to give the landlord written proof of the complaint and the request to have it repaired. Some people may not have time to make an appointment with an attorney for whatever reason, and if that is the case for you, then I suggest at least

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picking up a copy of the Attorney for Students Handbook so you do not have to navigate a complicated lease blindly. Here is another way to look at it: If you were going to go white water rafting and had never been before, would you at least pick up an instruction book on white water rafting? I would hope so. Carson Guy is a political science junior. His column tackles legal quandaries. E-mail questions to Guy at staropinion@txstate.edu. The content and opinions contained herein are in no way meant as legal advice. All information is general in nature. Do not rely on information within this article when trying to resolve a specific legal issue. All situations are unique and require specific legal advice from competent counsel.

The University Star is the student newspaper of Texas State University-San Marcos published Tuesday through Thursday during the fall and spring semesters. It is distributed on campus and throughout San Marcos at 8 a.m. every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday with a distribution of 8,000. Printing and distribution is by the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung. Copyright November 30, 2006. 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.

11 30 2006 Section A  
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