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Texas State Net Impact is helping local businesses conserve energy and save money Just one of the many party buses often seen around San Marcos.

Parking regulations for private bus companies up for consideration for first time ever By Rae Glassford SENIOR NEWS REPORTER @rae_maybe

Private charter bus companies seem to have discovered a lucrative enterprise in transporting partygoers to and from bars and nightclubs. However, these companies may presently find themselves confronted with newly-minted parking restrictions. It has been proposed that a new section be added to Ordinance 90, which concerns vehicles for hire, in order to prevent “party busses” from parking in residential neighborhoods. The request originated

from the Neighborhood Commission, and later made it to the San Marcos City Council’s discussion table during their most recent meeting. “The problem as I understand it is that we have busses loading and unloading in residential neighborhoods,” said city councilwoman Jane Hughson, Place 4. “The apartment complexes that the bus companies primarily cater to are near these neighborhoods.” Logically, it makes sense for charter bus services to load and unload near apartment complexes that house many of their customers,

Hughson said. But when the apartments in question are unable to provide adequate parking space, the buses simply drop clients off in nearby neighborhoods, leaving customers to walk the short distance back to their homes. “I personally have no problem with people getting on busses and going up to Austin, maybe drinking some alcohol and partying,” Hughson said. “But an issue arises when these busses park in the middle of the neighborhoods. These busses are picking up folks around nine or 10 in the evening, and dropping them back

off at two or three in the morning. Those who have had a drink tend to get a little louder, maybe tend to do things you wouldn’t typically do at two in the afternoon.” Noise complaints, which have arisen and been brought to the attention of the city as a result of such incidents, are an issue for residents who have to get up and go to work in the morning, Hughson said. It could also be a problem for students who might have early morning classes the following day. “We need to make sure that private charter bus companies have made ar-

rangements for parking,” Hughson said. “This whole idea really came about as a parking location issue.” Currently there are at least four private charter bus companies operating within San Marcos, perhaps as a testament to the economic success of such services. Although parking for taxicabs and pedicabs has been regulated for years, and services like Uber and Lyft have been regulated since last year, there are no regulations in place which apply to charter busses in town. “It has been suggested

See BUS, Page 2


Confetti toss graduation photos cause concern for the environment By Tommy Murphy NEWS REPORTER @TommyMurphy

Environmentalists are troubled by the increasing popularity of confetti toss graduation photos, which cause the substance to wash into the San Marcos River. Confetti used for graduation photos can be extremely harmful to the 12 endangered species currently inhabiting the San Marcos River, according to local environmental experts. “Everybody can have an important part in protect-

ing the river,” said Colleen Cook, environmental health safety specialist at Texas State. “Very few people realize the unique environment that we have here and how lucky we are to have it.” She said anything on the ground will end up in the river, and confetti is something endangered species shouldn’t consume. “The easiest thing people could do is take a dust pan and just sweep it up,” Cook said. “There are plenty of trash cans around campus and it really takes just a matter of minutes.”

Dianne Wassenich, San Marcos River Foundation program manager, suggests throwing something such as flower petals or bird food instead of confetti or glitter. Cook said protecting the river is extremely important because endangered species are federally protected. Residents love to use the river for recreation and nobody wants to swim in dirty water. She said the “What Goes Here Flows Here” campaign can help prevent pollution. “The university and city find it necessary to do everything they can to improve

their storm water—the water that flows directly down into the river,” Wassenich said. “Part of that improvement process is this terrific, wonderful and very much needed educational outreach program.” Wassenich said the university constantly has new students who might not understand the importance of the river. A campaign such as “What Goes Here Flows Here” will help educate students on the need to keep the river clean. “The program helps residents, students, and the

campus community realize how important this river is to everyone,” Cook said. “The river has been here for hundreds of years and we want it to be here a hundred years from now.” Cook said the river’s beauty is appealing to the community and must be preserved. “Texas State prides itself on its beautiful campus with a river running through it,” Cook said. “It really is important for students and residents to take care of it.”

By Bailey Buckingham SENIOR NEWS REPORTER @bcbuckingham

Texas State’s Net Impact chapter is making an economical and environmental difference downtown by providing local businesses with free energy audits. Net Impact is a global, volunteer based program centered around sustainability and environmental protection. Each chapter takes on projects throughout the year to help their universities and communities. The Texas State chapter is hosted in the McCoy College of Business, but members are from a variety of majors. The Texas State chapter focuses on the values of the global organization but also ties in economics, said Joseph Fischer, finance junior and project manager of the energy audits. “Our branch takes a more business friendly approach that pairs sustainable growth and environmental responsibility with economically feasible solutions,” Fischer said. “Things that won’t break the bank for a small business but will make a difference in the environment.” Net Impact and Main Street San Marcos have joined forces to provide the energy audits conducted by student volunteers within the organization. The volunteers underwent training to learn the skills necessary for the audits. The idea to conduct these audits for local businesses came from volunteer work the chapter did for Texas State in 2012. Janet Hale, Net Impact faculty advisor, said in 2012 that the Net Impact chapter conducted free energy audits for 54 percent of the buildings on campus. “By conducting these audits, Net Impact ended up saving Texas State over $40,000 in auditing fees,”

See IMPACT, Page 2


Questions remain regarding next phase of Campus Carry By Brigeda Hernandez SENIOR NEWS REPORTER @brigeda_h

As implementation of campus carry approaches, some of the finer details still need to be discussed. University officials published President Denise Trauth’s recommendations for the implementation of campus carry. The Texas State University System Board of Regents will vote on the policies during their May 26-27 meeting. This leaves officials just over two months to tackle issues such as signage, safety training and disciplinary action before the law takes effect this August. “The one thing we have to recognize from the getgo is it’s the law,” said Emily Payne, curriculum and instruction associate pro-

fessor and faculty senator. “It got passed. We have to be fully aware and responsive to what our legislature passed.” The Campus Carry Task Force submitted their preliminary recommendations November 2015 for the law’s implementation on campus. After receiving feedback from public forums, task force members shared the revised recommendations in December. Final recommendations were made February, following the final public forum. “The TSUS and the Board of Regents were on this early on and they were vigilant about having a plan,” Payne said. “Getting input from everybody they could, trying to find ways to accommodate the law that passed but do it in

LARA DIETRICH STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER The Texas State University Board of Regents will be voting on President Trauth’s campus carry recommendations.

a way that respects peoples’ needs.” Payne said faculty senators requested carve-out zones, places where firearms are prohibited despite the law, include any place where children under 18 receive services. This would apply to locations such as the Child Development Center and the Clinic for Autism Research Evaluation and Support. According to the campus carry rules listed on Texas State’s website, the law would not apply during the summer months in which there are children’s camps. However, it is unknown how it would be applied to something such as a campus tour. Another concern is how campus carry will apply in


2 | Monday, April 18,, 2016


The University Star Anna Herod, News Editor @annaleemurphy @universitystar


New police chief headed to University Police Department By Daryan Jones NEWS REPORTER @DaryanJoness

The University Police Department will be under new leadership this year, as a new police chief will take on his role in May. Jose Banales was hired as the new police chief, and will begin his duties May 2. Banales has been in law enforcement for over 32 years in San Antonio. Banales received his undergraduate degree from Texas State. The police chief to be said he enjoyed his time at the university, and when he heard about the job opening, thought it was a perfect opportunity. “I learned of an opportunity to retire from the city of San Antonio to a place where I feel like I can make a difference,” Banales said. “Everyone I spoke to during my interview process spoke very highly of the university environment, and I still like what I do as far as being an officer. I was looking at starting a new career so this was a perfect opportunity.”


Captain Rickey Lattie said UPD has continually grown and developed and the officers are looking forward to the fresh perspective Banales can bring to the table. “We are a technology leader in the field of law enforcement for many years we have been progressive in our policies and community policing procedures,” Lattie said. “I know Chief Banales already has some new ideas for the department and how he’d like to see it restructured and improved.” Captain Daniel Benitez already has a working relationship with Banales. “I talk to him on a weekly basis to give him the rundown as to kind of what we are doing so when he gets here it’s not like a total shock of what we do and how we do things,” Benitez said. Benitez said that he and Banales have some of the same philosophies and views when it comes to police work. “I believe that Chief Ba-

nales is an individual who believes in accountability and in loyalty,” Benitez said. “He believes in many things similar to me and I think working together with him will help get his views across.” Lattie thinks he knows Banales is highly qualified and puts an emphasis on community involvement— something Lattie says is a must for UPD. “He’s been assistant chief to one of the largest law enforcement agencies in Texas,” Lattie said. “He’s worked from the lowest level up through the ranks. He has a wide range of experience and understands how the different levels of law enforcement work, and LARA DIETRICH STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER he has a great view towards Jose Banales will be the new chief-of-police for the University Police Department. community involvement.” Banales said he is a ment to make sure that our He also wants to make they are in line with the nastrong believer in commu- officers are approachable,” sure the department is up tional practices,” Banales nity, and wants to ensure Banales said. “My philoso- to date on all of its policies said. “This will ensure that that UPD officers engage phy and expectation would and procedures. we are in line with all the with the local environment be that every police officer “My strong suit of what best practices so that we around them. that works for the Universi- I want to bring to Texas know we will be up there “My experience in San ty Police Department is out State is probably getting with other law enforcement Marcos is that they all have there cultivating and nur- the department a complete agencies.” to have a certain confi- turing relationships with review of the policies and dence in the police depart- every encounter they have.” procedures to make sure


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Hale said. There was a company that offered to provide these audits to the city for a fee, but it did not complete the job, Fischer said. “They ended up flaking out and not completing what they set out to do, so we came in to fill that gap and provide what we had done at the university in 2012,” Fischer said. Volunteers are provided with a list of businesses to audit. The audits take anywhere from 15-30 minutes depending on the size and type of business. There are questions that managers are asked about their energy use, and the rest is filled in by Net Impact volunteers. Nikita Demidov, finance sophomore, said he joined the project to help his future career while also making a difference in San Marcos. “Auditing seems like such a complicated process when you hear it,” Demidov said. “So I wanted to learn what it was about and now that I understand, my goal is to contribute what I know to help the businesses in the community.” The audits are designed to search for ways businesses can save money on energy bills while simultaneously impacting the environment in a

positive way, Fischer said. “We look for things that are more basic but the little things you can do that will help to improve their energy efficiency while being environmentally aware,” Fischer said. The audits Net Impact is conducting are classified as American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and AirConditioning Engineers level 1 audits, alternatively known as walk-through audits. This is a basic starting point for energy optimization. The businesses which agree to receive the audit must register online through the Green Impact Campaign which is the software volunteers enter the audit results into. According to its website, Green Impact Campaign is a nonprofit organization that connects students and businesses together to facilitate climate change. The volunteers enter the information and the results go directly to the businesses so that everything stays confidential, Hale said. “It’s not about us, we’re just the implementers of the audit and they (businesses) can decide what they want to do or they just get data full of information they need,” Hale said. Cedrik Chavez, health

CAMPUS CARRY, dorms. Payne said the student task force opted not to have the dorms designated as carve-out zones, but it might also be unsafe if there is not some type of lock-up facility. The problem would present itself to students taking physical education classes. When wearing garments such as gym clothes, it would not be possible to keep the weapon concealed, Payne said. “At what point are you violating someone’s second amendment by saying,


that these bus companies be required to keep a manifest – that is, maintain a record of all trips made, and how many people were serviced on each trip,” Hughson said. “We would not require that the names of clients be kept, however.” City council is still looking into the issue, and the topic will continue to be discussed, Hughson said. All changes to an ordinance take a minimum of two meetings to be put into effect. “We must provide sufficient offset parking,” Hughson said. “One option for busses may be that they will have to rent spaces from the university or make arrangements with large shopping centers that can provide parking lots or other open spaces.” Having pick-up and loading locations downtown is out of the question because the bus clients’ cars will be taking up parking spaces that could otherwise be used by shoppers, Hughson said. However, many bus companies (such as Sky-

line and Lonestar, both of which operate within San Marcos), cater to private parties, and are often asked to pick residents up directly in front of their homes. “We don’t offer hourly service, so we don’t do apartment trips,” said Sara Ndeau, a representative of Skyline. “We try to be as close as we can to the customer, but there’s no set pickup location.” There has been concern among the community that preventing busses to drop customers off directly in front of their apartments will encourage clients to drive home drunk. “I feel like it does encourage drunk driving,” theater sophomore Mackenzie Lawrence said of the proposed parking restrictions. “I mean, that’s the whole point of why people go on party buses in the first place: so they don’t have to drive home afterwards.” Lawrence said she has been on party busses multiple times, and that they do tend to return to San

‘You can have your gun, but you have to leave it in your locked car’?” Payne said. “Or, ‘You have to leave it in another building, or on the first floor when you live on the third floor.’” Areas where health and counseling services are provided will be carve-out zones, as well as any premises used for disciplinary action. Payne said this does not include individual faculty offices.

All schools in the Texas State University System will submit their recommendations to the TSUS Board of Regents. Policies could vary by school. “University presidents are required to base their rules on the nature of their student population, specific safety concerns at their institutions, and the uniqueness of their campus environments,” said Vicki Brittain, assistant to the

president and head of Campus Carry Task Force. Scott Bowman, criminal justice associate professor and faculty senator, said university officials have little to no authority regarding how campus carry could be interpreted. “Universities were collectively informed that however the implementa-

tion gets constructed still has to fall within the spirit of the law,” Bowman said. “You couldn’t carve out the entire university as a safe space.” Bowman said most faculty members believe participants will carry responsibly, and are not concerned. “I think the larger concern is for the unknown,”


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Marcos around two or three in the morning. “One time, the bus dropped us off at Capstone,” Lawrence said. “Another time, we were dropped at another apartment complex, somewhere down Aquarena. It makes sense that nobody wants loud drunk people getting off a bus outside their house in the middle of the night, but the drive back from 6th Street doesn’t give people enough time to sober up.” Even if customers have regained some driving capabilities by the time the bus drops them off, it still isn’t safe to get into a vehicle after a night of drinking, Lawrence said. This ordinance will only apply to busses whose destination is San Marcos, and/or which originate in San Marcos. “We couldn’t regulate out-of-town busses that pass through, even if we wanted to,” Hughson said. “Those drivers have no way of knowing what our regulations are or how to comply with them.”

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and fitness management sophomore, said he has been involved with several Net Impact projects but feels none of them has made as much of a difference in the community as this one. “I wanted to make a difference in the community,” Chavez said. “I’ve never had such an impact with the other projects I’ve done, and this one drew me in because I really wanted to make a difference in San Marcos.” Net Impact will continue through this semester conducting free energy audits for businesses downtown. The group will also extend the audits through the fall semester, Fischer said. “We’re going to continue the energy audits to next fall and expand the number of businesses, in addition to expand the area that we’re looking at,” Fischer said. Net Impact is using its tools to support Texas State and the community as a whole, Hale said. “What it all comes down to is really about campus community involvement,” Hale said. “We wanted to do what we can to those who constantly provide for us in the historic downtown area.”

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Bowman said. “The potential for people under 21 to carry—the potential for people in general to carry illegally.” Brittain said she believes Trauth’s recommendations are thoughtful and measured and will receive approval in May by the Board of Regents.

The University Star

Monday, April 18, 2016 | 3


Carlie Porterfield, Lifestyle Editor @reporterfield @universitystar


LARA DIETRICH STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Tabitha Williams poses in the Quad April 11 wearing a cute dress.

Emily Tomczyk, freshman, poses for a photo April 11 in the Quad.

Danni Lopez-Rogina, anthropology senior, poses for a photo April 11 in the Quad.

Bobcat fashionistas take the Quad By Tiffany Goulart LIFESTYLE REPORTER @tgoulart93

This week I talked to three fashion-forward female Bobcats about their style. First, I talked to Tabitha Williams, coordinator for organization conduct. Her favorite places to shop include JCPenney, Old Navy, New York and Company,

Express, H&M and Loft. “I wear clothes that are cute, but not necessarily what is in,” Williams said. “Lace is in, but I do not like it so I do not wear it too much.” One unique aspect to Williams’ style is how she picks a different color to wear each week. This week, Williams decided to wear coral, so each day her out-

fits incorporate this color. She will most likely wear her favorite coral pants from New York and Company one day. Williams loves the way Kerry Washington and Viola Davis pull off wearing suits. She also loves a good pump, especially if they are from the Jessica Simpson line. Next I spoke with Danni

Lopez-Rogina, a sociology graduate student. The black Doc Martens she was wearing were purchased in London. Lopez-Rogina can be found shopping at Old Navy and Target. “The way I dress each day depends on my mood that morning,” Lopez-Rogina said. “I have a lot of clothes. Sometimes I will dress like cute thug, and

other days like a flower child.” She said Korean rapper G-Dragon inspires her style. The last person I interviewed was Emily Tomczyk, family and child development freshman, who buys from Etsy , Electro Threads, Forever 21 and PacSun. “I wear whatever is com-

fortable, fashionable and cheap,” Lopez-Rogina said. “My style is inspired a lot by the singer Lana del Rey.” Her favorite article of clothing is a colorful, tapestry-like romper bought from Earthbound Trading Company. Props to these Bobcats for taking the time to put thought into their outfits every day.



Bluegrass and beer makes the hipsters cheer By Taeler Kallmerton LIFESTYLE REPORTER

Looking for a fun Wednesday night? Tantra Coffee House has you covered with their Bluegrass Night. With its composition of fast tempos and improvisation as a key component, bluegrass is technically difficult to play, yet easy to listen to. According to the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation, the genre originated from immigrants who came to the United States from places like Ireland, Scotland and England, but would later be heavily influenced by the African-American art of jazz. Originally called “mountain music,” bluegrass was mostly written by people living in remote areas. The revolving acts consist of local bluegrass musicians from the greater Austin area. Rudy Martinez, politi-

cal science sophomore and Tantra employee, said the coffee house makes the majority of its profits on Bluegrass Night. “Tantra has a special from 9 (p.m.) to 9:30 (p.m.) where you can get a 34 ounce pitcher for $4,” Martinez said. “The brews that go with the deal are Rio Blanco, Fireman’s #4 and Boulevard Brew.” Come for the beer, but stay for the culture. The atmosphere is energetic and filled with a conglomeration of music buffs and locals in the area. Nikkye Re’Anne, local jewelry designer and founder of the Daughter of the Wild brand, said she has been going to Bluegrass Night since its inception years ago. “It has gone through so many changes, but my favorite part is dancing whenever my best friend is in town,” Re’Anne said. “We used to be referred to as the

‘Bluegrass Ladies’ because we danced so much and kicked up a lot of dust.” The twang of the instruments and the soul in the voices of the bluegrass band playing made the night feel otherworldly. While the event itself is free, a tip bucket is passed around. Since the event is outside, Tantra Coffee House allows people to bring their four-legged friends. If students do decide to bring their pets, staff recommends bringing a water bowl and some plastic bags as well. Lee Porter, marketing sophomore, said this was his first time going to Tantra’s Bluegrass Night. “Its a fun time to sit and chill and listen to music,” Porter said. “People dance and drink beer, it seems like a real hangout spot for locals.”

CASSANDRIA ALVARADO STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Sweet heart bikini bathing suite tops are one of the many types of swim suites that are in style this summer.

Ringing in this year’s swimsuit trends By Tiffany Goulart LIFESTYLE REPORTER @tgoulart93

As the weather warms up, halter tops, one pieces, highwaisted bottoms and many other unique swimsuit styles will be trending. Not many fashion magazines and blogs have written about this year’s trends, so I wanted to get a head start. I spent time talking to Kapo Tong (exploratory professional junior), Kendyl Kaufmann (fashion merchandising sophomore) and Jordin Redou (fashion merchandising junior) about how swimsuit trends have changed over the years and what looks will be popular this season. Growing up, most swimsuits I saw people wearing were the classic triangle top bikinis. However, lately more designers are fashioning quirky and unique styles. “Last year, the Triangl brand was popular,” Kaufmann said. “This year it is not as popular since most everyone already has one.” The statement “less is more” is definitely apparent in swimwear. Although

skimpy bathing suits will continue to be popular, this year’s in-fashion swimwear is more modest than usual. “One pieces can show off a woman’s curves in the right way. Swimsuits had a lot more fabric in the past,” Tong said. “I think one-pieces are going to be the next big thing because they look good on everyone.” Although she agrees more fabric is popular right now, Redou said some one-pieces are far from the modest suits that may come to mind. “Some one pieces are so scandalous,” Redou said. “So, I guess some people agree that slightly less is more.” When it comes to popular colors, this year many college students are opting to wear bright colors. Color blocking is a huge trend right now. However, the classic colors such as black, red and white will never go out of style. A cover up that will be popular this year is a kimono. Kimonos are made of a very light material and can have floral or other fun patterns in cute colors. Black, white or other neutral colored coverups will also be trending because they match with any

swimsuit. Another huge trend is wearing mismatched tops and bottoms. Lately, people in our age demographic do not care to match their swimsuits. Buying mismatched tops and bottoms can actually save money, which is a huge plus for college students. “Personally, wearing mismatched swimwear is not my thing,” Kaufmann said. “If you are going to try and pull off wearing a top and bottom that do not match, you really have to do it right or people will be able to tell.” Regarding guys, options are limited—unless they opt for Speedos, which are definitely not in style. Shortlength swim trunks, like Chubbies, are trendy right now, especially with bright colors and patterns. More important than being trendy is making sure you like your bathing suit and feel confident when you slip it on, Redou said. “What’s the point of buying a bikini if you are not comfortable in it and spend all day in a cover-up?” Redou said. Keep a look out for the latest trends when shopping for swimwear this year.

4 | Monday, April 18, 2016

The University Star


Brandon Sams, Opinions Editor @TheBrandonSams @universitystar


Curse of the crimson tampon tax Countless girls, women and beings with vaginas undergo similar natural phenomena or cycles throughout the course of their lifetime. A woman can carry a foreign being in her stomach and watch as said creature shoots out of her vagina after nine months. Whether she wants a child or not, a woman’s body lies in wait for the day she finally gets knocked up. If she doesn’t get pregnant that month, her body rebels and rips apart her uterine lining as punishment. Many state governments, including that of Texas, have been drinking the red Kool-Aid and feel as though a period is not enough penance. To add to the burgeoning stress of having a blood week, a woman also has to pay a sales or “luxury” tax for the items she needs to protect her clothing, seat and dignity. Tampons and other sanitary products should not be billed under the “luxury” tax. It is not a luxury to protect a woman and others from gushing vagina blood over every surface her bottom comes into contact with. Sanitary products are


already expensive to begin with—even the cheap, card-

board variety. If a woman chooses to wear tampons

over pads, she still has to buy pads for nightly flow.

Not to mention that there is a plethora of underwear women have to replace because good ol’ Aunt Flo decided to pay an unexpected visit. Eventually, all panties become period panties. Although women experience severe symptoms, periods are not treated as medical episodes and its aids are not exempt from taxation. Other medical supplies are not taxed and neither is Viagra—which alludes to the idea that boners are more important than literally bleeding all over yourself. Women are being taxed for being women, as feminine products more expensive than their male counterparts. Personal care products such as razors and soap cost 13 percent more for women than men. Instead of taking money from women’s already unequal paychecks, how about the government use money earned from taxing feminine products to give women a proper raise? As much fun as bleeding from a vagina is, many women experience not only blood leakage, but also a myriad of other super-fun symptoms. These symptoms

are so delightful that many girls choose not to show up to school at all. In fact, 30 percent of women in Nepal are too busy enjoying the constant vomiting, fainting, dehydration and fatigue to bother showing up to learn. Numerous women at Texas State show up for class despite the crimson curse, yet the school cannot be bothered to stock the dispensers that hang hollow and unfilled in the women’s restrooms. If there is money to put condoms in the vending machines, female Bobcats should have access to sanitary items in the unoccupied dispensers. Or, if the school does not want to spend money on keeping the dispensers stocked, it can constantly replace our blood-covered seats. Sometimes, a woman’s baby box rebukes her for not fulfilling its needs. A woman should not be punished for the actions of her baby-maker, because she cannot control it. The most a woman can do is pick up some tax-free tampons from the dispensers on campus and just go with the flow.

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 Student Media, the School of Journalism and Mass Communication or Texas State University.


No animals were harmed in the making of this product By Allison Chavez OPINIONS COLUMNIST @AllisonChavez21

Unfortunately for all those animal lovers out there, sometimes testing on our furry friends is just unavoidable. However, that does not mean those who test on animals get a free pass to murder and harm as many as they deem is necessary. Nope, sorry guys, but that’s a no-go. Unless, of course, there’s something about torturing tiny adorable animals that just hits the spot for someone. Assuming animal researchers have at least a modicum of decency or

empathy, the least they can do is employ the plethora of alternative techniques and procedures available to lessen the amount of pain and death animals have to undergo while in their care. While I personally fervently believe that we should not torture innocent fluffy animals, I recognize that there are instances when testing on animals is essential in order to diminish the loss of human life or function. However, others who believe the opposite feel just as strongly. But despite how vehemently people on each side of the “Should

we conduct research on animals?” issue feel, there might not be a simple yes-or-no answer to that question. So, as it is clear neither of the sides is ever going to concede defeat and let the other claim victory, let’s compromise. And yes, that is in fact possible in this instance. There are three different methods to minimize the pain animals are subjected to when being tested on, described using the three R’s. First, the technique replaces a procedure that uses animals with one that does not. Pretty simple. Take the pyrogen test. This is a process that

attempts to determine whether potentially fevercausing bacterial toxins are present in vaccines and drugs. Traditionally, rabbits are injected with the vaccine or drug and monitored to see if a fever develops. But now, instead of using bunnies, researchers could use donor blood from human volunteers. And look, no poor little rabbit got murdered. What a concept, right? This method alone can save hundreds of thousands of rabbits a year. And this technique is just as effective as the one that involves harming a bunny rabbit, so it is a win-win

on both fronts. The second “R” involves anything that reduces the number of animals used in a procedure. An example of this is the “fish threshold method,” which can reduce the number of fish used by 70 percent. And finally, the third “R” is something that refines a process to alleviate or eliminate the pain the animals might potentially be put through. This could entail administering an anesthetic or the provision of a pain reliever to the animal undergoing testing. It could even involve using a milder technique while still fulfilling the aim of the experiment.

These procedures and techniques are only a few of the abundance of ways animal researchers can reduce either the pain the animals are put through or the number of animals used. Basically, animal researchers should take every possible opportunity to limit the number or pain of animals they conduct research and tests on. And when there are so many viable options that accomplish just that, why not? —Allison Chavez is a journalism freshman


America should say ‘no’ to torture By Cris Rivera OPINIONS COLUMNIST @cris_rivera13

Reuters published March 30 a poll to get an idea of U.S. citizens’ views on torture, and it showed that Americans overall support it. Despite the high support for use on terror suspects, torture is not morally or legally right, and in no way is it useful to furthering the United States. After CIA torture reports were released by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in 2014, it became common knowledge that the U.S. conducted torture abroad. The report brought negative backlash on the CIA

and the U.S. for using such inhumane and barbaric tactics in an attempt to gain information from terrorist suspects. These suspects were not always confirmed to be involved in terror networks in any way, but were treated as though they were nonetheless. Nearly two-thirds of the poll’s respondents support the torture of terrorist suspects to forcibly get information. Of the total number of respondents, 25 percent said it was “often” justified, and 38 percent said it was “sometimes” justified. These numbers attempt to add pretense to the plainly black-and-white issue of torture. The initial problem with torture falls under a moral

The University Star Editor-in-Chief...........................................Kelsey Bradshaw, News Editor........................................................Anna Herod, Sports Editor..............................................Paul Livengood, Lifestyle Editor......................................Carlie Porterfield, Opinions Editor..........................................Brandon Sams, Multimedia Editor..............................Daryl Ontiveros, Copy Desk Chief.................................Abigail Marshall,

dilemma in which a person is asked to put another human being through excruciating and unbearable pain physically, mentally and emotionally to hopefully “gain” something from the tortured. These extreme acts put the person in control through almost as much stress and mental distortion as the person being tortured, and through time can desensitize the torturer to their barbarism. Torturer Tony Lagouranis said, “You have to twist your mind up so much to justify doing that.” Lagouranis was a military intelligence specialist who, while at first eager to start trying coercion techniques, soon found out that conducting torture

came at a cost. When he came back home he experienced strong anxiety during very basic activities, such as riding the train or going to the airport. The fear he imposed on others overseas quickly became his own fear and anxiety as he came back home to civilian life. Aside from torture being inherently cruel, the Geneva Convention stated clearly that it granted every human a certain amount of dignity and a certain set of rights, which no country’s government could take from a person. This makes torture not only morally wrong, but also lawfully wrong as defined by the international community.

The most important fact about torture is that it simply does not work. The excuses drawn up to explain torture suggest it helps the U.S. intelligence to stop attacks and death from happening in the future. The dependability of the information gathered by torture is questionable at best. The committee that reviewed the torture report released by the CIA found that the torture conducted on prisoners never led to intelligence of any imminent threat. The high amount of support for even the occasional use of torture is tied to the number of terror attacks that have happened in the last

year alone. These acts of violence are creating a fear that leads people to falsely believe in extreme measures. Fear is not a reason to allow for atrocities to be committed or for the United States’ moral principles to be tainted. Violence and atrocities are being committed in the world, and all for deplorable reasons. However, even for good reasons, the U.S. should not further this senseless violence and cruelty. The American people should not let fear harden their hearts and allow for more cruelty to flourish. —Cris Rivera is a computer science freshman

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The University Star is the student newspaper of Texas State University and is published every Monday and Thursday of the spring and fall and every other Wednesday in the summer semesters. It is distributed on campus and throughout San Marcos at 8 a.m. on publication days with a distribution of 6,000. Printing and distribution is by the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung. Copyright Monday, April 18, 2016. All copy, photographs and graphics appearing in The University Star are the exclusive property of The University Star and may not be reproduced without the expressed written consent of the editor in chief. The first five issues of each edition of the paper are free. Additional copies of the paper can be purchased at 50¢ per copy. Contact The University Star office at (512) 245-3487 to purchase additional copies.

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Paul Livengood, Sports Editor @IAmLivengood @universitystar

Get to Know: Lora Assad, golfer By Matt Perry SPORTS REPORTER @Matt_Sperry17

Matt Perry: Where are you from? Lora Assad: Johannesburg, South Africa. MP: How would you compare Johannesburg to San Marcos? LA: I would say it’s totally different just in terms of little things, like cars, food and the way life is here is very different. I feel like life over here—there’s rules and regulations. Back home, there aren’t any. MP: What brought you to Texas State? LA: Golf scholarship mainly. MP: How did you get

into golf? LA: Actually, I was a field hockey player before this and I got badly injured. I was always good at sports and I wanted to be a professional in one of the sports that I was good at. MP: Did you play any other sports besides field hockey when you were a kid? LA: I played soccer, cricket. I ran for my high school, and that was mainly it. MP: What have you enjoyed most about Texas State? LA: Definitely being on an exclusive team, and a team that is global. They are basically like my family here. I don’t have any family here, so they are my family.

MP: What’s your favorite place to travel? LA: Vegas. I just think the buildings and infrastructure there is totally different. It reminds me of a fake city and I just like the night life. MP: What’s your favorite food? LA: Sushi. It just has that amazing taste. MP: Do you have any hobbies? LA: I go to the gym, stretch, study and listen to music. MP: What kind of music do you listen to? LA: R&B, rap, house music (and) a little bit of EDM. MP: What is your biggest fear? LA: Not making it on the (Ladies Professional Golf

Bobcat counts his blessings and continues to succeed By Lisette Lopez SPORTS REPORTER Lisette_1023

Throwing has been a tradition in this athlete’s family for years, but the Bobcat has bigger dreams. Roman Rodriguez, senior thrower, has been throwing ever since he could remember. His father, Gerald Rodriguez, coached the Bobcat and his three older brothers. Roman Rodriguez said he was born into the sport. His dad started training him as soon as he was considered old enough. “He would have a throws team over the summer and, when I was old enough, he made me a member of the team,” Roman Rodriguez said. “It was destined to happen because all of my other brothers threw. It was never forced. I wanted to be a part of our family name and went along with it. I wanted to be better than what people expected me to be.” Roman Rodriguez competed in the Junior Olympics twice. The athlete said he remembers being nervous and not doing so well, but was glad to have some experience under his belt. The experience helped the athlete improve in high school. The Bobcat had the No. 3 best throws in the nation when he was a senior. He was now faced with committing to track and field only. Roman Rodriguez quit football his senior year because he wanted to commit to throwing. He wanted to improve and focus on becoming a collegiate thrower. Before track season, however, he sprained a ligament in his thumb and was not able to compete. The stress of being recruited his senior year was getting to Roman Rodriguez. “I thought I wasn’t going

to be able to compete in college,” the senior said. “Colleges were asking me why I wasn’t competing, and I didn’t want to tell them that I was hurt. I threw less than my junior year in the shot put, and that was so disappointing for my senior year.” Despite the injuries, Roman Rodriguez said everything happens for a reason. He was still able to land a scholarship here at Texas State, and has won multiple championships. Track and field is an important part of his life, but it isn’t the only thing he loves. The Bobcat is an upcoming hip-hop artist known as Rome. Roman Rodriguez’s journey began as soon as he picked up his brother’s guitar. “I looked up to my brother, so after he played, I thought I could play too,” Rodriguez said. “I would always play on his guitar whenever he was at practice. I taught myself and got pretty good at it looking at people through YouTube. This was the start.” When Roman Rodriguez was in high school, he was the singer in a band. They performed throughout his hometown of Houston, Texas. The athlete really loved what he was doing, but always knew it could never go any further once coming to Texas State. “I wanted to pursue my music dream, along with trying to be eligible in track and do well in school,” Roman Rodriguez said. “I wanted to give it my all in music, but it was hard to do that—especially with track

because it takes so much time.” School and track took up most of the athlete’s time, but with determination he found a way to get his music out there for fans to hear. His sophomore year, Roman Rodriguez began to take it a little more seriously. With the money he had, the thrower invested in a mic and mixing software for his laptop. He released a mixtape called “The Fall of Rome,” and it took off. The thrower said he grew a huge fanbase on social media because of it. Roman Rodriguez said 2015 was a huge year for him, as he was faced with the reality of possibly making a living through his passion. “If I ever make millions one day, that’s OK, but I will never forget why I started doing this,” the senior said. “I want to inspire people to be better.” The art behind the music is what moves Roman Rodriguez. He said hearing the percussion and the melody flow together as one gives him goosebumps. It is all in the power of music. The Bobcat wants his music to impact others rather than impress. “I have always liked writing,” Roman Rodriguez said. “Being able to write my thoughts, putting it into a song and having people say they can relate to them is what really inspires me. If I can make someone be a better person because of the music, then it is all worth it.”

Association). MP: Do you have any siblings? LA: I have a brother. He’s 25. He just came over here for work. MP: What is your biggest accomplishment so far? LA: Playing on the South African National team. MP: What has been your biggest challenge? LA: Trying to win conference player of the year for 2016. MP: What do you want to do after you graduate? LA: Trying to turn professional on the LPGA. MP: What’s the lowest score you’ve had while at Texas State?


LA: I shot a 67 at UT. MP: If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why? LA: It would be to be in-

visible—to be present and no one would know I was there, so you can hear and see what everyone is saying about that current situation. MP: Do you have a favorite athlete? LA: Serena Williams. MP: Do you have a favorite TV show? LA: No, I don’t watch TV shows. MP: What is your regular workout routine? LA: I do a lot of stretching and flexibility. I don’t lift weights a lot. If I go to the gym, I’ll start and end with those. MP: Who is your favorite golfer? LA: Tiger Woods.

From swimming to baseball By Brooke Phillips SPORTS REPORTER @brookephillips_

Brayden Theriot, freshman right-handed pitcher, has had many influences that helped him become the athlete he is now. Theriot began playing baseball at the age of 4 when he was first introduced to the sport. His main influence during the start of his baseball career was his father. He has played baseball every season since his tee-ball years. At the age of 5, Theriot tried another sport: swimming. He grew up in Sugar Land with his father, mother and older sister, Brittani. Theriot often looks up to his older sister, and was influenced by her when he started to swim. Brittani has swum all throughout her life, and Theriot stuck with baseball and swimming until the end of high school. Although Theriot was on the baseball and swim teams in high school, the athlete knew all along what path he wanted to pursue the most. “Swimming was more in the fall and early spring,” Theriot said. “Right when swimming was done, I hopped right into baseball. But I mostly focused on baseball throughout the whole way.”

By the time senior year came along, Theriot’s focus on baseball was at an all-time high as he prepared to enter at the college level. When thinking about colleges, he had been influenced early on to follow in his mother and sister’s footsteps at Texas State. Theriot knew being on the field was definitely meant for him once he got the offer to play baseball as a Bobcat. “Swimming is a lot of work in college, and I wasn’t motivated enough to swim,” Theriot said. “I already loved the campus and loved the school. The vibe that the school brings—it brings a lot of people together. I thought that coming on a team that could potentially win a championship was good motivation to come here.” The team as a whole motivated Theriot to play for Texas State, but a particular individual encouraged him to join the team: his cousin. It is not often when two of the same blood play the same sport at the same school. Derek Scheible, sophomore outfielder, and Theriot are able to experience the college athlete life together on the baseball field. “In high school, I always wanted to move down here with Derek to play baseball with him,” Theriot said. “Whenever he committed here, I’ve always wanted to

play with him, so it was kind of automatic that I would go here when I got the offer to play here.” As far as the team as a whole goes, Theriot does not miss any opportunities to learn from the players who will eventually help him to pursue his overall goal. “I want to make it to the pros,” he said. “Every day, I come out here with a work ethic that it takes to be a professional, so I try to go every step of the way trying to be as perfect as I can be.” Playing his first year at the Division I college level, Theriot has learned about what it takes to perfect his game. While every day is a learning experience, he is supported at every game by his family who influences him to be a better player each time he steps on the field. “My family inspires me in life,” Theriot said. “They’ve always pushed me along to be my best and I don’t want to let them down.” As he continues to look to the future, the next few years at Texas State and life beyond college excites this aspiring Bobcat. Whether it has been his family, teammates, or coaches influencing him along the way, these inspirations will lead Theriot in the path towards success on and off of the field.

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