Defending the First Amendment since 1911
Volume 99, Issue 36
The billowing steam outside Jones Dining Hall is no longer. See page 3 for story
Assocation faces director replacement, membership decrease By Amanda Venable Editor in Chief The executive director of the Alumni Association resigned at a Nov. 21 meeting, saying it was time she moved aside. Becky Prince, vice president of university advancement, will temporarily take over Dorothy Evans’ position as executive director of the Alumni Association while a search committee looks for a successor.
Finding a replacement for Evans may not be the only challenge facing the Alumni Association. Membership has decreased since its peak in 2001, with approximately 4.7 percent of living alumni currently associated with the organization. “Our challenge has been keeping people connected,” Evans said. Of the approximately 128,000 living-alumni, fewer than 6,000 are members of
Evaluation sheds light on ASG’s room for improvement By Bianca Davis News Reporter The Associated Student Government conducted its first-ever internal evaluation this semester and the results are in. Vice President Tommy Luna said his work at Breakthrough Collaborative taught him the value of personal evaluation. “In any organization I’ve been a part of, especially any leadership organization, I’ve always given out evals, and ASG is no exception,” Luna said. “Because you have to be able to grow as an organization and as a leader.” ASG President Chris Covo said the evaluations were a way to improve in the coming semester. “Tommy and I are real big on getting better, and we wanted to make the student government better,” Covo said. Senators used a scale of 1 to 5 to grade their executive board and peers, 5 being the best. Seventy-seven percent of senators rated Covo a 4 or a 5. Ninety-six percent of senators rated Luna a 4 or a 5. Neither Covo nor Luna received a rat-
the association — 2,300 fewer than in 2001. The general membership renewal rate has been steadily decreasing since 2001 as well, with the exception of this year. Fifty-eight percent of alumni rejoined the association this year, up from the 38 percent that renewed their membership in 2008. Evans attributes the membership spike in 2001 to the association’s first phone solicitation in 1999. “(In 1999), we had a lot of
people we contacted that had never given to the university,” Evans said. “We were in the process of really going through alumni records and getting those in order. There were a lot of contributing factors to the spike (in membership).” The Texas State Alumni Association is different from its counterparts at institutions such as the University of Texas at Austin, Texas Tech University, Stephen F. Austin University and Texas A&M University.
These alumni associations are independent from their respective universities. “I know that in some instances they have a more independent voice, but yet, they are not as connected to the university as we are,” Evans said. “I don’t have an opinion about that one way or another.” Texas State’s Alumni Association is part of the institution’s administrative structure, with see ALUMNI, page 3
A different kind of learning
ing of a 1. Luna said there was a section for additional comments at the end. The rating scale, he said, was used to get an overall idea. “If you don’t pinpoint, you just know that you as a leader need to do better, and I think that is more motivating than focusing on one thing,” Luna said. “Because if you don’t know exactly where you need to improve you have to focus on everything.” Luna said the executive board read the evaluations and determined areas that senators feel need improvement. “Our senators need some more information on how to legislate, how to maneuver the legislative process and be able to participate in that process,” Luna said. Luna said he has created a plan to address the issue by holding a three-hour training session at the beginning of the next semester. Luna, senate pro-tempore Katie McNeff and parliamentarian Cody DeSolvo will conduct monthly ongoTina Phan/Star photos ing training throughout the semester during committee ANOTHER LAND: Budo and Akabar from the Newcomers project, co founded by a Texas State assistant professor, play on a chalkboard see ASG, page 3
in a university classroom. The project aims to teach children how to express themselves in creative ways. For a photo story see page 6, for a video about the project see UniversityStar.com
Commuters make up majority of faculty 4.5%
By Hollie O’Connor News Reporter
University faculty members come from all over Texas to teach. Data from the Human Resources Department shows that lecturers are the most spread out of faculty. They come from more than 34 different cities across the state, some as far as Dallas — a three and a half hour drive. Michelle Moritz, associate director of Human Resources, said the addresses on file are likely faculty members’ permanent homes, though they may have a local residence to make getting to and from work
Kyle San Marcos
Of the approximately 740 Texas State faculty members, just over a third live in San Marcos, with Austin coming in at a close second. According to Human Resources Department, faculty members’ homes are scattered around the state. San Marcos, Austin, New Braunfels and Kyle come in the top four locations, respectively.
NEWS pages 1-3 Two local species of bird may be taken off endangerd list
OPINIONS page 4 Main Point: Havens for equality, LBGTQ community needs better representation
TRENDS pages 6-7 Students take Black Friday head on, battle fellow outlet mall shoppers
easier. Some of the cities listed include Denton, Fredericksburg, Galveston, Lubbock, Marble Falls and Spring. All faculty members are listed as residing in Texas. Most faculty members live close to the university. Approximately 33 percent of benefits-eligible faculty members, or those who have worked half time for at least one semester, reside in Austin. Julia Decker, political science lecturer, said she drives back and forth between Austin and San Marcos three times a week. The drive normally takes about 30 minutes, but can take up to an hour in Interstate-35 traffic. Decker said she considered the distance from Austin to Texas State when purchasing her home. She used to live in north Austin on Parmer Lane, where the commute to San Marcos could take up to an hour and 15 minutes. Decker said gas expenses are sometimes a problem. She teaches at Northeast Lakeview College in San Antonio. When gas prices hit $4 per gallon last year, Decker considered quitting that job because the pay did not offset fuel costs enough to be see COMMUTERS, page 3
SPORTS page 10
48°/38° Rain Precipitation: 80% Humidity: 82% UV: 2 Low Wind: NNE 9 mph
2 - The University Star
STARS OF TEXAS STATE
Texas State senior quarterback Bradley George was named the Southland Conference Offensive Player of the Year. George completed 63 percent (258-of409) of his passes for 3,121 yards and 23 touchdowns in 2009. He was seven yards shy of the school’s single-season record for most passing yards, and ended his career as Texas State’s all-time career passing leader, having completed 753 of 1,277 passes (60 percent) for 9,556 yards and 91 touchdowns. — Courtesy of Texas State Athletics
Texas State University – San Marcos is a member of the Texas State University System
Sara Strick/Star photo GRADUATING ART: Soon-to-be graduates, such as Mindy Dawn le Jeune, studio art senior, from the department of art and design, presented their senior shows at the Thesis I Exhibition.
Regents approve Undergraduate Academic Center design, construction Regents of the Texas State University System approved the design Friday of a proposed Undergraduate Academic Center. Construction is expected to begin in June. The $47.7 million, 130,000 square foot structure will be built at the intersection of Guadalupe and Wood streets. It will be across from the Evans Liberal Arts Building on the site of an existing parking lot. Construction completion is expected in the 2012 fall semester. The center should open for the 2013 spring semester. The location of the building is the south gateway to the academic center of the Texas State campus. It will support freshman academics and bring key student support services under one roof. The center will house the departments of Psychology, Political Science and Sociology. It will also be home to the university’s Personalized Academic and Career Exploration (PACE) Center and Quality Enhancement Plan (associated with the university’s reaffirmation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools). The center will include
the University College, University Seminar and the Texas Success Initiative Program. A wing will include general classrooms on three levels and a coffee house at the Bobcat Mall gateway entrance of the building. The P.A.C.E. Center is a new initiative at Texas State designed to enable freshmen to focus their academic and career goals by assessing their interests and abilities. They can explore the future of the work world and choose appropriate pathways and opportunities. P.A.C.E. will serve as a one-stop location for personalized freshmen advising, career planning and mentoring. Tuition revenue bonds will primarily fund the Undergraduate Academic Center construction. Additional funding will come from Higher Education Assistance Funds and auxiliary enterprise reserves. The Board of Regents met Nov. 19 and Nov. 20 in Beaumont on Lamar University’s campus. — Courtesy of University News Service
Texas State hosts Murphey’s ‘Cowboy Christmas Ball’ Michael Martin Murphey’s famed “Cowboy Christmas Ball” returns to Texas State for the 2009 holiday season. It will show at 8 p.m. Dec. 5 in the LBJ Ballroom. The Texas State Symphony Chamber Orchestra will join Murphey. He previously collaborated with the orchestra for performances of “Cowboy Christmas Ball,” “Sagebrush Symphony” and “Cowboy Christmas: Orchestral, Part I.” Ticket prices are $25, with proceeds benefitting the Orchestra Scholarship Fund. Free parking is available in the LBJ Student
Center parking garage. The Texas State engagement is one of the few venues for which Murphey performs his entire “Cowboy Christmas Ball” outside of its historical Anson venue. The Central Texas Cowboy Christmas Ball features the original orchestral accompaniment by Orchestra Director Howard Hudiburg and the Texas State Symphony Chamber Orchestra. — Courtesy of University News Service
1824: The House of Representatives convened to decide the presidential election because no candidate had received a majority in the Electoral College. John Quincy Adams was eventually chosen the winner over Andrew Jackson and Henry Clay.
Nov. 23, 12:00 a.m. Burglary of Vehicle Wood Street Parking Garage A student reported to a police officer his personal property was taken from his vehicle without his consent. The case is under investigation.
1913: The first drive-in automobile service station opened, in Pittsburgh.
Nov. 23, 1:23 a.m. Possession of Marijuana/ Laurel Hall A police officer was dispatched to the location for a suspicious odor call. Upon further investigation, a student was arrested for possession of marijuana and transported to Hays County Law Enforcement Center and is awaiting a court date.
1942: Nationwide gasoline rationing went into effect in the United States. 1955: Rosa Parks, a black seamstress, defied the law by refusing to give up her seat to a white man aboard a Montgomery, Ala., city bus. Parks was arrested, sparking a year-long boycott of the buses by blacks. 1959: Representatives of 12 countries, including the United States, signed a treaty in Washington setting aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve, free from military activity. 1963 The Beatles’ first single, “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” was released in the United States. 1965: An airlift of refugees from Cuba to the United States began in which thousands of Cubans were allowed to leave their homeland. 1969: The U.S. government held its first draft lottery since World War II. 1991: Ukrainians voted overwhelmingly for independence from the Soviet Union. 1997: A 14-year-old student opened fire on a morning prayer group at a high school in West Paducah, Ky., killing three students and wounding five.
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Tuesday, December 1, 2009
2000 Vicente Fox was sworn in as president of Mexico, ending 71 years of rulingparty domination. 2004: Tom Brokaw signed off for the last time as anchor of the “NBC Nightly News.” — Courtesy of New York Times
See Seethe theVideo VideoOnline Onlineatat
See Seethe thePhotos PhotosOnline Onlineatat www.universitystar.com www.universitystar.com
Nov. 23, 10:04 a.m. Medical Emergency/ Psychology Bldg A nonstudent reported to a police officer he injured himself because of a fall. The nonstudent was transported to Central Texas Medical Center for further evaluation. Nov. 23, 11:30 a.m. Burglary of Vehicle/Wood Street Parking Garage A student reported to a police officer a nonstudent attempted to take his property from his vehicle. The case is under investigation. Nov. 23, 12:15 p.m. Interference with Public Duties/Butler Parking Lot Two students were arrested for interfering with public duties. The two students were transported to Hays County Law Enforcement Center and are awaiting a court date. Nov. 23, 12:53 p.m. Burglary of Vehicle/ Bobcat Stadium Parking Lot An officer was dispatched for a report from a student that his vehicle was broken into. Upon further investigation, items missing were taken from his vehicle without consent. The case is under investigation. — Courtesy of University Police
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
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the executive director of the organization serving as the director of alumni relations for the vice president of university advancement. Unlike some other institutions, university funds pay Alumni Association staff salaries. Evans was paid between $80,000 and $90,000 a year, around 80 percent less than that of directors at other universities, she said. “You can tie that back to membership,” Evans said. “We are a young association. We are growing.” Prince said university officials would examine the best practices used by institutions across the country and conduct a national search for the next executive director of the
Alumni Association. Prince will be working with contracted consultants in researching new initiatives the association will employ. University President Denise Trauth will appoint a search committee charged with selecting Evans’ replacement. The committee will be comprised of past Alumni Association presidents, distinguished alumni, a Texas State student and current board members, among others. Evans started a new job Monday working as an employee in Special Projects after announcing her resignation during the Alumni Association Board of Directors’ quarterly meeting. Evans worked as director of Special Projects in 1991 before
becoming executive director of the Alumni Association 10 years ago. “I feel like I have come full circle,” Evans said. Evans, whose retirement will be effective Jan. 31, 2011, said it was time she stepped down from the executive director’s position. “This is a heart-wrenching experience,” she told board members. Prince told board members it was time to “wring out the old” and make changes by launching an “aggressive campaign” finding a replacement by Oct. 1 of next year. “We have the task in front of us to take something and make it better,” Prince said.
The University Star - 3
Cause still foggy for erupting steam
Sara Strick/Star photo STEAMING TROUBLES: The pipe next to Jones Dining Hall is fixed after more than a year of being broken.
The broken steam pipe next to Jones’ Dining Hall is finally fixed. Planks of wood and orange traffic cones now block off what used to be the steaming manhole landmark. Monica Ahsan, anthropology sophomore, is one of several students who had been curious about the problem. “It kind of grosses me out,” said Ahsan. “I was like ‘What is that?’” Enos Jones, director of facilities, said he thought, on Nov. 17, the problem had to do with storm drainage. He said in low spots on campus, such as the area by Jones’ dining hall, water seeps through the manholes after rainstorms and comes into contact with the pipes. The pipes can be as hot as 300 degrees, and the water evaporates. Determining the cause of the steam was not an easy task because instead of running through a tunnel, the pipes are buried underground, Jones said. Jones said, on Nov. 19, the cause of the steam had not yet been determined, but was likely a leaky pipe or a loose
gasket. “I’m not sure (what the problem is), because it has continued to steam beyond the rate that is natural,” Jones said. Later that day workers began excavating the pipes using shovels and heavy machinery. Jones said maintenance of the pipes causes inconvenience for people using the buildings surrounding the manhole, including those at Jones Dining Hall. “We’d have to coordinate with the buildings in that area,” Jones said “For example, the cafeteria indirectly uses the steam we supply. We would have to coordinate with their cooking schedule so they could shut down at a time when they could tolerate being offline for a few hours. Then we’d turn it back on.” Jones said sectioning off the road the manhole is on causes problems for the pedestrians and vehicles that use it, another issue that kept the maintenance from being scheduled. Jones said there are several connection points underneath the manhole. The steam may have occurred because of a broken gasket, a mechanical seal that prevents leaking in the space between two joined
objects. The other possibility was that the pipe itself was leaking. Jones said in either case the problem could be fixed once the pipes were unearthed. Students said the pipes have been an issue for a long time, though no one is exactly sure when the manhole started to steam excessively. “That thing has been steaming since my sophomore year,” said William Robinson, interdisciplinary studies senior. Samantha Lewis, interdisciplinary studies freshman, said the manhole has been steaming “for forever”. Jones took over as director of facilities this semester and said he does not know when it started He said it has been a problem for “quite a while.” Jones said the steam pipe would have to be fixed, despite setbacks. “We’ve had some problems scheduling it, but now at this point we really don’t have any choice,” Jones said. “We have to go and get it done.” Jones could not be reached for comment Monday to confirm what caused the steam.
Emergency officials evacuated students and faculty members from Centennial Hall and the Chemistry Building Monday afternoon after a faculty member smelled what she believed to be gas and pulled a fire alarm. Battalion Chief Russell Allen said fire personnel are unsure of the cause of the odor but have ruled out a gas leak. “We have reports that maintenance was cutting some concrete (below the buildings),” Russell said. “Concrete blades are made up of a certain glue that can produce an odor rem-
iniscent of gas.” Antonio Alfau, Spanish lecturer, was teaching when the alarm sounded. He said there was a “definite smell.” People were allowed back into the building at approximately 3:45 p.m., about half an hour after fire personnel reached the scene. Despite the cold weather, students like Arissa Math, biology sophomore, did not mind standing outside. “Its kind of nice right after Thanksgiving to get a fiveminute break,” Math said as she waited to hear whether
her 3:30 p.m. organic chemistry class would be cancelled. Around 300 students in Julia Decker’s federal government course got confirmation their class would be cancelled before police re-opened the building. Decker said the cancellation would set the class back in terms of material covered. “We will just have to catch up on Wednesday,” Decker said.
Hollie O’Connor News Reporter
LEFT: Golden-cheeked Warbler RIGHT: Black-capped Vireo
Photos courtesy of Creative Commons
Two local species of bird may be taken off endangered list By Heidi Morrison News Reporter Two species of endangered birds will benefit from a habitat conservation plan by Hays County Commissioners. County commissioners Loomis Partners, Inc. and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service informed the public of the conservation plan at a public hearing Nov. 18 at the San Marcos Activity Center. The main purpose of this plan is to conserve the habitat of Hays County by preserving land, said Clifton Ladd, vice president of Loomis Partners, Inc. He said the plan focuses on two endangered species of birds, called “covered species” — the Golden-cheeked Warbler and Black-capped Vireo. “Our goal is to de-list these species,” said Allison Arnold, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service biologist. The plan was initially proposed because Hays County’s population continues to increase. According to the final draft of the Regional Habitat Conservation Plan, prepared by Loomis Partners, Inc., it is expected to increase 150 to 300 percent during the next 30 years. “Projected development and infrastructure projects could cause the loss of approximately 22,000 acres of potential habitat for the federally endangered golden-cheeked warbler,” according to the final draft.
Ladd said the purpose of the conservation plan is to obtain a permit from the federal government, which is required under the Endangered Species Act, in order to keep species from going extinct. “The federal government enforces it and they issue permits to comply with it,” Ladd said. Ladd said he expects the permit to be issued early next year. “The permit allows a landowner to legally proceed with an activity that would otherwise result in the illegal take of a listed species,” according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Ladd said the goal of the permit is compliance and satisfaction to landowners who want the freedom to do what they want with their land. The plan will permanently preserve 10,000 to 15,000 acres of land in Hays County for the purpose of habitat conservation. Will Conley, county commissioner in Precinct 3 and alumnus of Texas State, said he started the program in 2006 when he received approximately $825,000 in grant money. “It’s a pretty complicated thing,” said Karen Ford, county commissioner in Precinct 4. “It took many meetings of sitting there for hours.” Ford said she hopes the plan will be approved this spring. “I see this as something that’s really important to our
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meetings as refresher seminars about the legislative process, Robert’s Rules of Order and professionalism. ASG President Chris Covo said he thinks the evaluations may have been given too soon. The evaluations were given before the final two pieces of legislation were past at their Nov. 23 meeting. “We had a really strong finish,” Covo said. “It was the first time in the associated student government that the powers were really separated and they came together and had a cohesive effort.” Sen. Asha McElfish hopes ASG will continue to conduct evaluations. “Chris and Tommy take a hands-on approach as executives and now they are able to have an legitimate evaluation from the senators,” McElfish said.
county,” Ford said. According to the final draft of the Regional Habitat Conservation Plan, total average annual costs are estimated to be $6.1 million. Revenue from primarily mitigation fees and tax returns are expected to also be $6.1 million in return, so the net cost and revenue would balance even. Ford said there are other species, besides the two birds this plan is focusing on that are endangered or borderline to extinction. “We will continue to look and watch these species that are potentially endangered if not yet listed,” Ford said. The plan will be both a short-term and long-term solution, not only for habitat conservation but also economics, because the plan will keep money inside Hays County, Conley said. “I believe citizens in this county believe in conservation,” Conley said. “Hopefully it’s downhill from here. We are already starting to move forward on these conservation projects.” Ladd said Hays County voters have approved a bond election for parks and open space and wildlife habitat protection. “In some ways the county is already taking steps to implement it,” Ladd said. Hays County citizens have until Feb. 1 to submit comments.
McElfish said executive board members performed their duties well, helping new members feel comfortable. “If you think of an idea, they point to who you need to talk to and what you need to do next in the process,” McElfish said. “You’re never alone. It’s like a mentorship. They provide a guiding force because they want to help you and disseminate their knowledge.” Luna said some of the senators might not have taken the evaluation seriously, marking the highest rating straight through. “Obviously, we don’t ever want to see that because there are always things we can improve on,” Luna said. “I think the responses that we got are very good. As a whole we need to continue to push ourselves harder to lead by example.”
Maintenance may have caused evacuation
ASG executive performance rated by senators on a 1 to 5 scale with 5 being the best, 1 the worst. —Courtesy of Associated Student Government
worthwhile. Commuters cause traffic, and are victims of it, Decker said. “One thing I’ve noticed is the dramatic difference of cars on I-35 when school is not in,” Decker said. “The sheer number of commuters coming down from Austin to Texas State can add greatly to how many cars are on the road.” Approximately 35 percent of benefits-eligible faculty members live in San Marcos. City officials hope to increase this number through their Residential Homebuyer Incentive Program, said Janis Hendrix, Community Development Block Grant administrator. The program grants tenured track or research professors $5,000 toward buying a local home. Hendrix said city officials
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wish to increase the number of professors living in San Marcos for economic reasons. Professors who live here pay property taxes, shop and eat locally, generating revenue for the city, Hendrix said. City officials hope to increase the demographic of college-educated people living in San Marcos. City officials distributed $50,000 through the program in the last budget year, Hendrix said. None of the loan money for this fiscal year has been used, she said. Jiong Hu, assistant professor in the Department of Engineering Technology, said he used the city’s funds to buy a home in April after hearing about the incentive program from his realtor. He said commuting from a larger city was not an option he and his family seriously considered.
—Brief compiled by Amanda Venable
1 “From the very beginning we preferred some place like San Marcos,” Hu said. “It’s not a big town, but it is close to a big town. If we need to buy something, it’s easy. We don’t like to live in the big city. It’s so crowded.” He said the incentive program made buying a home in San Marcos appealing. For Decker, the incentive program is not enough to convince her to move away from Austin. “It’s my hometown,” Decker said. “I was born and raised there, so I have that sort of connection to it. If I wasn’t tied to Austin based on family it (the incentive program) would make a big difference, but in terms of family, it can’t quite equal that.”
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4 – The University Star
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
point. the main
Havens for equality C
ollege campuses are havens of independent thought and progressive ideas.
Star Illustration / Zach Ashburn
From war protests, to political demonstrations to boundary-pushing intellectualism, universities have been the breeding grounds for the ideas and movements that have changed the nation and the world. So why is it that some students at Texas State insist on ignorance? The Allies of Texas State, an organization that trains and educates members about awareness and understanding of sexual and gender identities, has been forced to replace its placards around campus. The signs denote organizations and offices that have completed Ally training and are qualified to counsel those within the LGBTQ community. The signs have been defaced and torn off walls. According to the Nov. 18 issue of The University Star, Kyle Hennings, president of Lambda, said the defacement of Ally signs is evidence prejudice exists on campus. “Situations such as the plaques being torn down send little messages of hate and disrespect,” Hennings said. “It is not easy for people to come out. People need to step up a bit more.” It would be too easy to respond with name-calling and reciprocate the perpetrators’ hateful actions with more of the same. However, as people say “an eye for an eye.” In the same issue of The Star, Gregory Snodgrass, director of the Counseling Center and Ally, said the group’s placards being torn down confirms the university’s
need for a campaign to educate people on the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and questioning community. The only solution to this problem is education. As one Lambda member mentioned in the article, people are often afraid of what they do not understand. According to the Bobcat Equality Alliance’s official Facebook group page, the organization is a “student advocacy group dedicated to bridging the gap between the gay and straight communities. We fight against prejudice, ignorance and discrimination.” But are they? These organizations need to be more proactive in their “bridge-gapping.” Everyone wins in a situation where students are being educated on various cultures and learning about others’ experiences. Aside from a few events on campus and Lambda’s annual Bobcat Ball, both organizations have been relatively quiet this year. Organizations like BEA and Lambda are not only responsible for supporting their members. The organizations must educate the public about its community. It is crucial, now more than ever, these groups are active in the face of discrimination. The rest of the student body can do their part by taking the initiative with our friends and fellow students to let that small faction of ignorant sign-defacers know intolerance and hate are not welcomed at Texas State. 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.
Faculty proves valuable for Texas State
By Luis Baez Opinions Columnist Good students have one thing in common — they ask too many questions. But certain events throughout the past semester have thrown one giant question back at us: Is Texas State valuable in the realm of Texas academics? As a transfer student from
St. Edward’s University, I’ll admit I might be too infatuated with making sure anyone answers that question with a “yes.” But things like the unfriendly comments of University of Texas professor Dan Hamermesh, Texas State being excluded from benefits of Prop. 4 or the controversy around the “Texas State Traitors” group are all sometimes, surprisingly, enough to make me second guess my own answer. Or, they were. With a little bit of research, I am more than confident there are no reasons why we have to wonder about that question.
‘Thank You’ To the students of Texas State, I would like to say thank you on behalf of the Texas State football team and staff for the unbelievable support you showed this football season by packing the student side of Bobcat Stadium. To look across the field and see (and hear) all of you provides a huge boost for our football team. Your support has already enabled us to win the first outright conference championship since 1982 and first back-to-back winning seasons since 1990 and ’91. As an alumnus and former player here, I can promise you we are working hard to keep the program headed in the right direction. In closing, I would again like to thank you for your support and we look forward to seeing all of you at Bobcat Stadium next fall. With Bobcat Pride, Brad Wright Head Football Coach
The University Star 601 University Drive Trinity Building, Room 101 San Marcos, TX 78666 Phone: (512) 245-3487 Fax: (512) 245-3708
The discussions about “good” universities usually boil down to two questions. One is, “How qualified are the professors that teach?” The other is, “Is the focus research, research, research?” The professors are extremely qualified and as far as research goes at Texas State, we strike a pretty unique balance between professors’ research and allowing them to teach. To prove I am not cherry picking certain professors to make a point, I’ll use two of mine. Kenneth Ward is my professor for constitutional law. Professor Ward has a
bachelor of arts from Drew University, a juris doctorate from Yale University and a doctorate from Columbia University. Does that make me wonder if I could take the same law class at another university and learn more? Not at all. The same is true for my modern democracy and its enemies class taught by Rebecca Raphael. She has a bachelor of arts from Northwestern University and a doctorate from the University of Chicago. There is no way I’d be able to find a course as unique as this one somewhere else, and given the discussions we have every class, I would
not want to. Qualifications like these are not unique to the political science or philosophy departments. Similar qualifications of other professors can easily be found on the Texas State Web site. But what about research? The general problem with big research institutions is the qualified professors might not be able to actually teach in the classroom. That is not a concern at Texas State. Jennifer Irvin and Byounghak Lee, faculty in science departments, recently won a $100,000 prize from
the Research Corporation for Science Advancement. The House of Representatives delegated $1 million in November to Texas State’s Center for Hetero-Functional Materials. Keep in mind, this is news from the past two weeks. The real world is around the corner and all the questions we once had for professors will be asked to us. And if one of them has to do with the value of Texas State, we will already know the answer. — Luis Baez is a political science junior
Letters to the Editor
‘Texas State Traitors’ creator responds to editorial “If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.” Is that a quote by ASG Sen. Jon Riggs, creator of the controversial Texas State Traitors Facebook group? No, that was Noam Chomsky. Or in other words, another clichéd, oft-quoted figure in the hackneyed How To Fit In With Other Boring Journalists Without Ever Standing Up For Anything For Dummies. In response to your fallacious comparison with Joseph McCarthy, I’d like to contrast some differences between him and me, instead of just damaging my fine character through an astronomically loose association. As it was pointed out within the commentaries of your Web site, McCarthyism is used to
refer to someone making public attacks on another’s character with unsubstantiated accusations. First off, we don’t have to bear the burden of proof when making fun of someone for wearing another school’s logo and colors on campus. We catch people doing it and make fun of them. For your tired analogy to be accurate, we’d be taking pictures of people wearing green t-shirts and claiming they love Michigan State. Secondly, nobody has their comments deleted from the group unless they are a direct threat of violence, which is not tolerated. Implying we are suppressing freedom of expression is preposterous. We encourage an actual free exchange of ideas far more than The Star. Here, people
of all opinions have the opportunity to express their thoughts, without sitting under the shadow of hyper political correctness advocated by you. I would also like to address your accusation that I fail as an official representative of Texas State. In my capacity as an active member of the student body, I addressed a problem that has seriously negative implications for our school pride. I used my rights to express myself freely and attacked a problem. I did not ask for the approval of ASG, nor did I use any resources thereof. But this is the crux of free expression you don’t seem to understand. If every action I took, or expression I made, pleased everybody all of the time, then there would be no need to label it “free.”
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Visit The Star at www.UniversityStar.com
It is termed “free” because, by its very nature, there is likelihood it will offend someone, or even have a negative effect. This is the risk taken when people exercise their rights to free expression. If anything, I feel I have performed my duties as a representative of this school admirably, whether you agree with my methods or not. Finally, I would like to address your position on school pride. You attack an idea? You are unyielding in your stance? I’ve seen a student at the University of Texas beat a brick wall with a bag of marshmallows and have more of an impactful attack on an idea than you. — Jon Riggs is a microbiology senior.
The University Star is the student newspaper of Texas State UniversitySan 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 Tuesday, December 1. 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.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
The University Star - 5
Strokes Sound Back on Stage The Strokes announced their first live performance since 2006. The musical group will be headlining Isle of Wight Fest in June in England. According to pitchfork.com, bassist Nikolai Fraiture recently offered fans hopes of a new album in 2010.
6 - The University Star
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Assistant professor teaches photography skills to refugee children
(Top left) Jason Reed, assistant photography professor, works with Follow Me, Aye Mye, and Mi Thae, all refugee children from around the world. Reed is cofounder of the Newcomers project. He and other members of the projects work with refugee children who arrived in San Antonio. (Top Right) Budo from the Newcomers project writes about a photo he took at his apartment complex. The project teaches these refugee children how to express themselves through photography and creative writing. A gallery of the children’s photos will come to the Mitte building starting Jan. 19 and running through February. (Bottom Right) Marina and other children from the project climb a tree at the UT-San Antonio campus. Reed and other members of the Newcomers project brought the children to the campus hoping to inspire a drive in them to attend college. (Bottom Left) Reed tries to control the children as they turn exercise balls into toys at the UTSA Recreation Center. The visit to the center concluded the day. Afterward, the children went back to their shared apartment complex, which houses many refugee families.
See the Video Online at www.universitystar.com Tina Phan/ Star photos
Area rewards local cave hunters By Matthew Barnes Features Reporter The dirt, the struggle and the solace drives certain locals to crawl into the dark, quiet and sometimes unexplored places of the earth. A group meets every other Wednesday at Gil’s Broiler over burgers and beer to discuss the next expedition into one of the more than 160 caves of the Hays County area. They are unofficially known as the San Marcos Grotto. “It can be very interpersonal,” said Philip Ramirez, Texas State Grant Field technician and alumnus. “Being in a cave is one of the calmest things you can do. Just turn off the light — it’s quiet and you can’t see anything. It’s comforting. It’s actually crawling, burrowing into the earth. It’s not something you
experience often. Getting dirty is a plus.” Clay McCafferty has traveled 2.1 miles to the back of a cave and out again in six and half hours. The trip typically takes 13 hours. “For me, it’s the challenge,” McCafferty said. “You put your arms in front, and if you can fit your shoulders through it then you can fit your body through it. If you get stuck you got to try and wiggle your way backward, which is almost impossible sometimes. I’ve actually had Phillip tug on my feet one time. I’m still convinced I can fit through that hole. I think I had a bad approach angle.” In addition to the love of the underground, cavers are there for accomplishment, whether it is mapping or conducting scientific research. “That’s one of the things about caving as a science,” said Jacob Martin, geography junior. “You document as many caves as you
can. That’s the thrill of it all.” out batteries, downloaded data and built The cavers agreed the process is simple, stuffPhotos inside of caves at with PVC and tarp.” See the Online but can be challenging. The members say their group is filled with www.universitystar.com “At the entrance to the cave, you’ll set a cavers of all experience levels. point,” Martin said. “That will be your first “We have Clay the crazy San Marcos caver point to measure to the second point that’s who fits into any hole measurable and then inside the cave. It is one to the next and then you’ve got people who really want to learn,” back. The sketcher writes it down, connects Ramirez said. the dots and draws in key formations.” Cavers agree the voyage is difficult, but it is The cavers said they take a few tools with rewarding with filled treasures on the way. them: an inclinometer and compass for mea“The formations are really worth it, too,” suring, a spool of measuring tape to pull be- Ramirez said. “Flowstone is really cool. It’s a hind them, pads, helmets, a light, a backup beautiful formation. Then you’ve got stalaclight, batteries and backup batteries. tites and stalagmites, and sometimes they’ll Ramirez and Martin conduct scientific re- connect to make a column. There’s spelesearch for the Texas State Aquatic Biology othem, or soda straws, which is like straws Center during their expeditions. hanging out of the ceiling with water drip“We set equipment to monitor rain water ping out of it. As they drip, it leaves little bits chemistry and flow rate in caves,” Ramirez of sediments that build on stone. You look at said. “So we established equipment, changed it to understand why it’s there.”
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
The University Star - 7
Stores scoured for sales Black Friday
By Thea Setterbo Features Reporter
Anyone venturing to the outlet malls late Thursday night and early Friday morning for post-Thanksgiving spending experienced a hectic environment — a typical scene for the busiest shopping day of the year. The number of customers who flooded the parking lot may lead some to believe the deficit created by last year’s economic decline finally felt relief. Pajama-clad students attended the late-night extravaganza with wallets in hand as they scoured the stores for sales. The name Black Friday holds a different meaning for those students on the other side of the cash registers and fitting-room doors. Caroline Adams, recreational administration sophomore, was faced with obstacles on her way to work at Johnston and Murphy. “A woman actually fell asleep at the wheel on her way out of the parking lot,” Adams said. “There were so many people around that she could have hit, and I was already running late.” Other frustrations arose when customers asked obvious questions. “It was the worst when customers would ask me if something was 50 percent off when we had huge signs hanging everywhere that said the whole store was 50 percent off,” said Bernardo Palmera, communication design junior and Banana Republic employee. Adams said customers constantly left merchandise on the floors. “The mess was ridiculous,” Adams said. “Everything was just extremely messy.” Tension was high for shoppers while fatigue and attitudes worsened as the night continued. “I thought I saw someone’s marriage fall apart,” said Katie Hector, recreation administration junior and Black Friday shopper. “A wife wanted something that was ‘a great deal’ and the husband didn’t want to give in and spend the money.” Aja Hill, Texas State graduate and Betsey Johnson employee, said she could handle the Black Friday activity. “The overall volume gets a little scary,” Hill said. “It was overwhelming, but we appreciate it as a challenge. Betsey Johnson employee Jaci Mize, fashion merchandizing senior,
Tina Phan/Star photo BARGAIN HUNTERS: Shoppers line up at crowded registers Black Friday in a Dallas Target Store
offered some advice to Black Friday workers. “Coffee, coffee, coffee!” Mize said. Black Friday veteran Angie Frost, psychology senior and Banana Republic employee, said she’s knowledgeable about Black Friday night business. “It’s the same thing every year — always picking up clothes and losing patience with people,” Frost said. “But it is a good bonding experience with your coworkers, especially during an overnight shift.” Black Friday seems to stand as the busiest—and wildest—shopping day of the year. Hector said she would continue to hit the stores early in the years to come, even though the outlets were “crazy” on Black Friday. “Besides, if you don’t get there at 6 a.m., you won’t get anything you want,” Hector said.
Thea Setterbo/Star photo
Hideous Men is beautiful masterpiece Sequel does justice to cult classic
By Brent Vickers Trends Columnist John Krasinski’s directorial debut, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, is a film that has managed to maintain a position both under and on the radar. The film’s marketing campaign has not done much to promote the picture, yet everyone I talk to seems to have heard about it, seen the trailer or even the movie itself. The popularity is no doubt from
Krasinski’s fame as Jim on The Office, which is an image I feel he is trying to shed. I was ambivalent about this film when I first heard of it. The pros seemed to evenly weigh with the cons. On one hand, I love John Krasinski and The Office, but, I feel the symbol he has become would hinder his ability to perfectly create a film of this stature — the first film adaptation from any of David Foster Wallace’s writing. I was unable to attend any public exhibitions of the film, but was able to rent it from the on-demand channel at my parents’ house during Thanksgiving break. The $7 cost was well worth it. Krasinski provided the perfect template on which to view the late Wallace’s work through a different
medium. Krasinski had obviously been practicing his directing techniques because the film plays out perfectly and the writing in the film, including Krasinski’s, was little short of perfect. I giggled with joy at the end of the movie because Krasinski was humble enough not to give himself too much screen time, but smart enough to make an appearance toward the end. I got a kick out of the name dropping of literary critics, bands and films — all prevalent features in the book — as well as the cast that Krasinski chose, namely Ben Gibbard. I would recommend this film to anyone who enjoys independent cinema, postfeminist theory and reverse chronological order. Do not, however, expect to see Jim in this film.
By Brent Vickers Trends Columnist Troy Duffy’s follow-up to his cult classic The Boondock Saints came as a surprise to me. I had not anticipated a sequel, and I had dismissed all talk — on the Internet forums I cruise in the late hours — as pure rumor. I was surprised then to find it playing at a theater near my hometown and even more so that it was actually a decent and entertaining sequel. I can be sure of one thing: The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day will retain the cult status of its predecessor and attain nothing higher. I can safely say this judging purely on the reaction from the audience present during my viewing, and Duffy definitely wrote the film for this audience alone. Many sequences were campy, trite and occasionally
had nothing to do with the film at all. With All Saints Day, Duffy is trying desperately to classify himself as somewhat of an auteur, and he instead made a mockery of himself and the film he was following. Duffy did, however, try out new narrative techniques like weaving in a somewhat twist ending. The film should be, in my opinion, regarded as the first: an entertaining “guy” movie. It is certainly nothing more or less. The film is a perfect sequel
to The Boondock Saints, and for that, I tip my hat to Duffy, yet he ended it on a note with hints of a third film, and I have no doubts there will be one. It is unfortunate this installment to the Saints story was obviously shadowed by Duffy’s own vain personality — the same personality shown in the 2003 documentary Overnight. I give the film an A- and definitely suggest it to those die-hard Saints fans, even though they have probably already seen it.
8 - The University Star
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
c ro s s w o rd
thursday, NOvember 19 solution
Complete the grid so each row, column and 3-by-3 box (in bold borders) contains every digit, 1 to 9. For strategies on how to solve Sudoku, visit www.sudoku.org.uk TOday’s sudoku solution
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ALCOHOL & Drug Resource Center AA MEETINGS -Tuesday & Thursday 12:30-1:30pm LBJSC 3.4 -Fridays 11am-till noon LBJSC 4.1.
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For Rent—Condos/ Townhomes $810 PRE-LEASE TODAY for 1/9/10. 2BD/2.5BA Townhouse 1,000 sq.ft., 3 blocks from TxState, small, clean & quiet community. Free HBO, free internet, W/D. www.windmilltownhomes.com
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rates & policies Cost-25¢ per word (1-6 days); Cost-20¢ per word (7+ days); Deadline-2 business days prior by noon All classified ads must be paid in advance, unless credit is established. Classified ads will be edited for style purposes. We do our best, but please check your classified ad for accuracy. Any corrections to your ad must be made by the second day of publication. As a free service to you, all classified ads will be published on-line on our web site at www.universitystar.com. However, since this is a free service, posting is not guaranteed. While The University Star attempts to screen ads for misleading claims or illegal content, it is not possible for us to investigate every ad and advertiser. Please use caution when answering ads, especially any which require you to send money in advance.
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Tuesday, December 1, 2009
The University Star - 9
Sports 10 - The University Star
ALL-SOUTHLAND HONORS Several Bobcat football players received end-of-the-year Southland Conference honors. Bradley George, senior quarterback, was named SLC Offensive Player of the Year. D.J. Hall, sophomore offensive lineman, and Mishak Rivas, sophomore wide receiver, were named to the All-SLC first team. Da’Marcus Griggs, junior wide receiver, and Travis Houston, senior defensive end, were named to the All-SLC second team.
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Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Bitter sweet Ending
FOOTBALL FINALE: The Bobcats finished the season ranked 25th in the FCS Coaches Poll and third in the Southland Conference. The Texas State football team ended its season with a 5-2 conference, 7-4 overall record. Stephen F. Austin is the lone SLC team still in the FCS playoffs and will face Montana 1 p.m. Saturday in the second round.
Tina Phan/Star photos
Bobcats FALL SHORT
Texas State Looks to improve record at home
The Texas State women’s basketball team could not serve the Colorado State Rams and the Houston Cougars on its post-Thanksgiving victory plate after the Coors Rocky Mountain Invitational. Texas State fell 66-54 to Colorado State and 90-58 to Houston. The Rams shot 11-of-28 from 3-point range. Texas State shot 2-for-11 from the field and 17-of65 for the game (26 percent). Texas State shot 18-of-22 (81 percent) and out-rebounded the Rams 51-44 on the glass. Chika Ofoegbu, junior forward, leading scorer in the last two home games, shot 1-for-7 but ended the game with eight points and seven rebounds. Leading the Bobcats in scoring in the loss was Victoria Davis, senior guard, with 10 points. Aimee Hilburn, senior forward, had nine points and eight rebounds. The Cougars handed the Bobcats to their second consecutive loss. The Cougars forced 22 Bobcat turnovers. Texas State got a lift off the bench from Verinus Kalu, sophomore guard, who led Texas State in scoring with 10 points and four rebounds. Houston’s guards Roxana Button and Brittney Scott, and forward Courtney Taylor, shot lights out to send the Bobcats packing for the weekend. The three starters shot 17-for-35 (49 percent). “Sometimes you have to have some bad experiences to learn from,” said Coach Suzanne Fox. “We’ve learned that if we don’t bring our ‘A’ game and we don’t concentrate on the details, you get what happened (with) Houston — you get your tail kicked.” Next for the Bobcats (2-3) is a trip to Lubbock where they will face the Texas Tech Red Raiders (5-1). “They’re (Texas Tech) going to be a big test for us,” Fox said. “We have to come in ready mentally to play from the get-go. Concentration and being able to focus when you’re out there playing the game, that’s the separator.”
By Anthony Medina Sports Reporter
By Cameron Irvine Sports Reporter
The Texas State men’s basketball team dropped five consecutive games to make its overall record 1-5 for the season. The Bobcats lost the first two games of the National Invitational Tip-Off Tournament to Arizona State and Cal State Northridge. They then traveled to New Orleans and played two consolation games in Fort Worth to finish the tournament. The Bobcats left New Orleans losing 67-55 to the Privateers. Texas State suffered its worst shooting night of the season going 18-of-62 from the field on 29 percent shooting. Ryan White, junior guard, logged 26 minutes in his first game of the season for the Bobcats. He shot
1-for-8 from the field including 0-for-5 from behind the arc. White finished the game with four points and one rebound. Texas State got within three points early in the second half against the Privateers. New Orleans answered with a pair of shots and a slam dunk. The Bobcats had back-to-back games against Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Texas Christian Monday and Tuesday, respectively. Wisconsin-Milwaukee jumped to a 16-0 lead in the first half before the Bobcats could score. The Bobcats shot 45 percent from the field against Wisconsin-Milwaukee and did not get their first points until nearly seven minutes in the first half. J.B. Conley, junior forward, led the Bobcats with 17 points on 7-for-11, shooting in the 96-77 loss to the Panthers.
The Bobcats’ following game resulted in a loss, which was opposite from the one-sided game the previous night. TCU needed triple overtime to get the victory Tuesday against Texas State. “I told our players I was proud of their efforts tonight,” said Coach Doug Davalos. “I can keep going on and on because everyone contributed. If we have this same kind of effort the rest of the season, we are going to win a lot of games.” The Bobcats had four players in double digits, including a seasonhigh 30 points from John Rybak, senior forward, on 11-for-22 shooting. Rybak was two points shy of the career-high he set against Rice last year. Texas State held the lead late in regulation. The Horned Frogs outscored the Bobcats 9-4 at the end of
regulation to send the game into its first overtime. TCU took the lead late before Rybak sank his fifth three-pointer to tie the game at 85, forcing a second overtime. Another 3-pointer by Rybak in the second overtime gave the Bobcats a lead with 32 seconds left. TCU answered with a 3 pointer of its own from guard Ronnie Moss to send the game into its third overtime. The Bobcats ran out of gas in the third overtime and TCU won 108-99. TCU had six players score in double digits and two Horned Frogs recorded double-doubles. The Bobcats play Texas A&M-International tonight at Strahan Coliseum. Texas State looks to get its first win since the season opener against Howard Payne.
“Our kids really stepped up,” Chisum said. “Anyone out there on the floor could have made the alltournament team.” The Bobcats played their toughest match of the tournament in the semifinals against Lamar. Texas State took the first set 25-17. Lamar responded with a 25-16 second set victory to tie the match. The third set consisted of 15 ties and six lead changes. The Bobcats won 28-26 in extra points. Texas State battled Lamar to extra points again in the fourth set before clinching it 26-24. “The semifinal against Lamar was an intense match. It could possibly have been the tournament final,” Chisum said. “I was worried we expended too much energy in our semifinal match but thankfully we didn’t and were able to beat SFA the next day.” The Bobcats will face No. 2 Texas in the first round of the NCAA tournament 6 p.m. Thursday in Austin.
Chisum said the tough draw is a reminder of how important each match is during the season. “We are disappointed in the way we played early this season,” Chisum said. “If we had played better, we could be matching up with (Texas Christian) or Rice instead of Texas.” Chisum said the midseason turnaround the Bobcats experienced came from a combined effort by coaches and players. “Hats off to our players. They made it happen,” Chisum said. “Also the coaching staff did a great job laying out the plans for the girls.” Chisum said the Bobcats have seen significant contributions from every area of the team this season. “Mo Middleton has been a nice addition. Jessica Weynand has done exactly what we expected her to and Amber Calhoun has played outstanding despite her inexperience as a middle blocker,” Chisum said. “Melinda (Cave) and AJ (Watlington) have
been key as outside hitters. They’re going to be our leaders next year and our setters Shelbi (Irvin), Brittany (Collins) and Caleigh (McCorquodale) have stepped up as well.” Chisum said the team’s offense is powerful. “We have a lot of weapons and everyone has been able to step up,” Chisum said. Chisum said each player has been crucial to the Bobcats’ success despite the amount of on-court playing time fans have seen. “We have players who don’t get as much playing time, but they have been key in practice,” Chisum said. “It took all 15 players to be the championship team we have become.” Chisum said the Bobcats are ready to try and extend their winning streak and season despite being underdogs. “UT is big and dominant but we are looking forward to the challenge,” Chisum said.
Volleyball continues win streak, prepares for Texas By Eric Harper Sports Reporter The Texas State volleyball team ran its win streak to 13 matches en route to the Southland Conference tournament championship Nov. 20 to Nov. 22 in San Antonio. The Bobcats swept Southeastern Louisiana in the first round and defeated Lamar 3-1 in the semifinals to prepare for the final match against Stephen F. Austin. Texas State pushed past the Lumberjacks 3-1 in the tournament final, securing a spot in this year’s NCAA tournament. “It’s always our goal to make the NCAA tournament and we succeeded,” said Coach Karen Chisum. Mo Middleton, junior outside hitter, was named Most Valuable Player with 18 kills in the final match and 36 total for the tournament. Jessica Weynand, senior outside hitter, and Melinda Cave, junior middle blocker, received all-tournament honors.