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Students voice concerns to President Trauth By Rebecca Banks NEWS REPORTER @r_banks13


The second Open Door Session of the year had an attendance of 11 students who discussed littering near campus and future renovations of Albert B. Alkek Library. President Denise Trauth’s Open Door Sessions serve as an opportunity for students to communicate directly with her. Students were invited to discuss issues related to university life. Shelly Alfaro, international relations senior, went to the session to share concerns about cigarette disposal near campus. Alfaro said members of Phi Gamma Mu worked with River Inspired Student Effort (R.I.N.S.E.) during Bobcat Build to clean up trash. The group picked up more than 800 cigarette butts on Woods Street during the cleanup. The street is owned by the City of San Marcos. “We do have a no-tobacco campus, but that street, obviously, is really close to campus, so that’s where smokers will go,” Alfaro said. “The problem is not with the smokers but rather the disposal system with the buds.” The street has one trash can smokers can use, Alfaro said. The can is often filled with other trash, and the cigarette butts are dropped on the ground. Alfaro said the trash on curbs goes down the sewage drain and into the river. The city does not have a filtration system to prevent trash from entering the river. “It kind of affects us students that float the river,” Alfaro said. Lauren Schmidt, English sophomore, said she had concerns about upcoming renovations to Alkek Library. The renovations are scheduled to begin in 2017. “The more I read about it, the more concerned and kind of disturbed I am,” Schmidt said. Schmidt is worried the library will not have books for her research. “What I think is going to happen (is that they will move) the books to a remote location and turn it into a big learning space with a lot of technical resources,”

“You move books that are very lightly used, the kind of book that gets checked out once a year. You’re not removing a Charles Dickens novel down there.”

Volunteers have been working to build a new gate around Ezell’s Cave, which is important to the study of the Edwards Aquifer.

Ezell’s Cave gets bat-friendly facelift By James Palmer NEWS REPORTER @jmesspalmer


he Texas Cave Management Association (TCMA) has completed a project to allow for and encourage bat repopulation. The TCMA Preserves Management Committee built a new gate on Ezell’s Cave over two Sundays and finished March 8, said Jim Kennedy, committee chair. Kennedy designed a “cupolastyle gate” to allow the population of cave myotis bats to enter the space with ease, he said. The structure allows them to enter and exit the cave’s vertical entrance. The cage over the top of the entrance allows the bats to gain elevation over vegetation. The rock walls allow them to evade predators and avoid battling prevailing winds, Kennedy said. Ezell’s Cave needed a gate to protect people from injuring themselves by falling into it, Kennedy said. The gate also prevents people from tampering with monitoring equipment inside the cave. Edwards Aquifer Authority (EAA) officials placed equip-

Schmidt said. Trauth said university officials would build a facility for the books at Science, Technology and Advanced Research (S.T.A.R.) Park. “You move books that are very lightly used, the kind of book that gets checked out once a year,” Trauth said. “You’re not removing a Charles Dickens novel down there.”

ment throughout Ezell’s and other cave systems in the aquifer, said Jon Cradit, geologist for the EAA. “In the bottom of Ezell’s, there’s a lake room that is actually the aquifer,” Cradit said. “We have instruments in that lake room, and then it runs through a cable up to the surface.” The equipment monitors water levels and chemistry to help predict aquifer trends and prevent unfavorable conditions, Cradit said.

“It was most amazing that people came out of the woodwork wanting to help, but these are dedicated cavers.” —RON RALPH, EZELLS CAVE MANAGER FOR THE TEXAS CAVE MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION “If something catastrophic happens, we’ll catch it,” Cradit

See EZELL’S, Page 2


NAACP petitions for African-American studies program By Anna Herod SENIOR NEWS REPORTER @annaleemurphy


The opening to Ezell’s Cave.

said. Cradit said much of the “matrix” of pores in the cave’s limestone has dried up due to drought conditions. TCMA officials wanted to provide the cave bats access to Ezell’s after the population was displaced due to security measures, Kennedy said. The cave’s original owner, Truman Saltonstall, covered the cave’s mouth with a steel plate in 1962 due to trespassing concerns, according to Ernest L. Lundelius’ Natural History of Texas Caves. “Eventually, because of overvisitation and liability concerns, he basically welded a steel plate over the entrance, which, of course, was disastrous for the cave ecosystem,” Kennedy said. “No organic materials can get in and out, critters can’t come and go and all that kind of stuff.”Saltonstall sold Ezell’s in 1970 to the Nature Conservancy, an environmental nonprofit organization, according to Natural History of Texas Caves. “The Nature Conservancy got involved, removed the steel plate and bought the cave and put another gate on it,” Kennedy said. “Although this gate wasn’t very

Representatives of the Texas State chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People are encouraging students to sign a petition requesting the university add an AfricanAmerican studies program to the curriculum. The idea began when students gathered during the Black Student Organization retreat in December 2014, said Erin Lewis, NAACP member and business management junior. The students decided they wanted more opportunities to learn about their histories and cultures. The NAACP drafted a written proposal, Lewis said. NAACP officials are requesting the program

be an interdepartmental undergraduate degree in the Center for Diversity and Gender Studies. Representatives want to collect 1,500 signatures for the petition, said Tiandria Moore, NAACP secretary and healthcare administration sophomore. The petition currently has 256 signatures. Lewis said members of the group began researching after the retreat. They found both the University of Texas at Austin (UT) and the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) offer African-American studies programs. According to a Feb. 11, 2010 Austin American-Statesman article, UT was the first university in the state to create a department dedicated to African-American studies. Texas A&M University and the University of Texas at Arlington offer minors.


The NAACP chapter at Texas State currently has 107 signatures for a petition to create an African American studies program. Moore said having an AfricanAmerican studies program is important because of the many black

students on campus.

See NAACP, Page 2


Social work program in need of update, officials say By Rebecca Banks NEWS REPORTER @r_banks13 School of Social Work officials have proposed to combine courses from the graduate programs to help market students in the workforce. Officials are waiting for the Texas State University System Board of Regents to approve curriculum changes in May. The curriculum will begin this fall if approved, said Dorinda Noble, director of the School of Social Work.

Angela Ausbrooks, associate professor and Master of Social Work coordinator, said the proposal to combine the curriculum began last fall. The department, the University Curriculum Committee, Faculty Senate, deans and directors agree with the proposal, Ausbrooks said. The current graduate students focus either on administrative leadership or direct practice. The proposed curriculum will only affect second-year coursework, Noble said.

Ausbrooks said officials proposed to merge eight courses from both programs into four. “A lot has changed in 20 years out in the work world, and our agencies that we work with tell us that they really need people who are skilled working across the continuum,” Noble said. Students will need to adapt to the new curriculum, Noble said. “They are probably going to need to really push themselves to get the same depth because it’s going to go a little faster,” Noble said. “But our

students are bright and capable, so we feel this is a win-win.” Students in the current graduate program will have the opportunity to continue their degree plans, Noble said. An overlap in some social work courses prompted officials to consider combining the curriculums. Increased enrollment in the graduate program was an additional factor, Ausbrooks said. “We now have about 250 students in our masters program alone, and we have another 300

to 400 in our undergraduate program,” Ausbrooks said. “So that’s like 600 hundred students that the social work faculty have to then educate.” Noble said the school would have more sections available for students to choose from during registration and more electives. “We have electives in our department, but the additional electives will allow students to be able to take something that is specifically related to their career path,” Ausbrooks said.

2 | The University Star | News | Wednesday, April 1, 2015


New director hired for San Marcos Public Library By Alexa Tavarez SENIOR NEWS REPORTER @lexicanaa A longtime resident of San Marcos and Texas State alumna will put her love for the community to use as she assumes a new role with the public library. Diane Insley took office Monday as director of the San Marcos Public Library. Insley has worked in various positions with the branch for 26 years, building relationships with fellow community members. “Even as the director, you will see me out at the reference desk,” Insley said.

Insley knows people who have continued to visit the branch since she led storytime at the library nearly 30 years ago. “The part I like the most about the library is being out on the floor and interacting with the San Marcos citizens,” Insley said. Library officials began the search for a new director after Stephanie Langenkamp retired in September 2014, according to a March 26 city press release. The interview process involved a series of questionnaires and a video interview before the final candidates were chosen, said Jared Miller, city manager. “We’re really excited to have found

such a highly qualified person in our own ranks,” Miller said. “I think that you’ll see the library move forward without an interruption of service.” Miller said Insley has the qualifications necessary for the position and demonstrated she was the right fit for the community during the interview process. Insley grew up in a small town in New York called Wellsville, near Pennsylvania. “Most people imagine New York City, and (Wellsville) is nothing like it,” Insley said. “I grew up on Main Street next to a chicken farm.” Insley received her Bachelor of Arts in English from Southwest Texas State University. She attended three other

schools as an undergraduate because she kept changing majors. “Turned out I just liked going to school,” Insley said. Insley realized she wanted to be a librarian after taking a career-counseling test offered by Austin Community College (ACC). The test projected her career options using the credits she had. “When I saw ‘librarian’ on there, I knew that’s what I needed to be doing,” Insley said. Insley has lived in San Marcos for 29 years. “I knew I wanted to stay in this area,” Insley said. “I was going to make San Marcos my home.” Insley wants to expand the pro-

grams and resources the library offers. An average of 1,500 people visit the public library each day. The library offers 100 free programs, including children’s concerts, magic and puppet shows. “I would think we would have one of the noisiest libraries in the state,” Insley said. Insley will hold her former position as the public services manager for the San Marcos Public Library while city officials search for her replacement, Miller said. He does not anticipate the search to find a qualified candidate will take longer than two months.


Nanotechnology entrepreneur program arrives at S.T.A.R. Park By James Palmer NEWS REPORTER @jmesspalmer The Advanced Polymers and Nanomaterials (APN) Laboratory at Texas State is now operational at the Science, Technology and Advanced Research (S.T.A.R.) Park. The nanotechnology laboratory is part of the Materials Science, Engineering and Commercialization (MSEC) graduate program. MSEC is an interdisciplinary program combining elements from the science, business and communication departments, said Clois Powell, director of the advanced polymers/nanomaterials lab. Officials with the laboratory program partnered with S.T.A.R. Park to access its customizable facilities, Powell said. “The cool thing about the S.T.A.R.

building is that we can customize the room out there to fit our needs,” Powell said. “All the utilities and stuff come down from the ceiling, so the floor’s not dug up or anything like that. That’s a pain. And the walls can be changed around.” The APN lab space was outfitted specifically for the program’s needs, said Stephen Frayser, director of S.T.A.R. Park. Other groups use standardized facility space. Including housing laboratory space for the graduate program was “integral” to the park’s multi-phase development strategy, Frayser said. The entrepreneurial nature of the APN program aligned with S.T.A.R. Park’s goals, he said. “The center is going to provide services to firms who assist them in getting to market faster through the development of new product lines and more efficient development processes,” Frayser said.

“We want to give them tools to help them be successful in their professional endeavors.” —CLOIS POWELL, DIRECTOR OF THE ADVANCED POLYMERS/ NANOMATERIALS LAB Powell said representatives of oil and chemical companies have reached out to members of the APN program because of its research in polymers and nanotechnology. The laboratory program was designed to help graduate students gain field experience to attract businesses and investors, he said. “We want to give them tools to help them be successful in their professional endeavors,” Powell said. “We expect them to be successful.” Ph.D. candidates must learn business skills and develop a product based on their research in order to complete

EZELL’S, from front

the program, Powell said. “We’re focused on outcomes,” Powell said. “It’s not just a matter of taking a class and getting a grade, and then you go on and do another class, or whatever you do your research for.” Tyler Nash, technical operations manager and research associate for S.T.A.R. Park, had to arrange the laboratory space and equipment for his doctoral research as practice for setting up in a corporate environment. “I had to spec all that stuff out—figure out how much it was all going to cost, lay out a budget and do some projection, (which is) a theoretical

operating budget,” Nash said. Nash had to learn how to use some of the new equipment he added to the lab. “I had to get up to date on every single piece of equipment in there and learn how to run it all, and there’s quite a few pieces of equipment in there, so it was a pretty big task,” Nash said. He received training from the companies that made the equipment. Nash had the opportunity to network at S.T.A.R. Park and speak to others working on nanotechnology projects. He engaged with customers interested in the products he developed. Nash was able to carry out his projects at S.T.A.R. Park using skills he learned in the MSEC program. “(We were) required to write a business plan (and) a grant proposal so we can get exposure to a lot of entrepreneurial activities and exposure to a lot of things in the business world that a traditional APN program might not provide opportunities to,” Nash said.

NAACP, from front

ecologically friendly either.” TCMA officials bought the cave in 2004 from the Nature Conservancy. The preserve’s management committee for the TCMA funded the gate’s construction through grants, Kennedy said. “We started raising some funds, and we got a grant through (the) Texas Parks and Wildlife (Department) and a bunch of private grants as well,” Kennedy said. “(We) raised enough money to buy the steel and hire a welder and to do all the work we needed.” The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department provides funds through the Land-

owners Incentive Program (LIP), said Ron Ralph, Ezell’s Cave manager for the TCMA. “The grant would offset our cost of steel and tools and things like that, and we could pay it back or match it by volunteer hours working on the cave,” Ralph said. Volunteers were eager to help build the new gate. “It was most amazing that people came out of the woodwork wanting to help, but these are dedicated cavers,” Ralph said. “These are folks that just help you whenever they can. It’s always kind of been that way with the caving community.”

“(Students) want to learn the history, and they do want to learn about their culture,” Moore said. “I know when I was growing up, I didn’t learn too much stuff in school about black history.” The proposed program would overlap significantly with the curriculum for the English, music, political science, psychology, sociology and theatre arts majors. Students in the program could easily earn a double major in one of these subjects. The members plan to present the petition and proposal to university officials once they reach their target number of signatures, Lewis said. “Texas State is a diverse campus,” Moore said. “We all promote diversity. So if

you’re diverse and you want to make sure everyone gets their equal right in learning everything, then sign it and help everybody.” Debbie Thorne, associate vice president for academic affairs, said the university is expected to allow curriculum development to draw from faculty interests. The expectation is part of the university’s Southern Association for Colleges and Schools (SACS) accreditation. “The university is always interested in new programs that are of interest to students and to the wider community,” Thorne said. Students should approach faculty who would be interested in pursuing the program, she said.

“If there’s a good number of students who are interested in this, then the next step might be for them to approach the appropriate academic department or departments to figure out if there might be faculty who are already engaged in research or teaching that relates to (African studies),” Thorne said. Lewis is excited students are coming together to support the endeavor by signing the petition. “Personally, I think it’s important that (the university) incorporates this because it’s what the students want,” Lewis said. “(The students) are actually seeking the knowledge, so why not give it to them?”

“Texas State is a diverse campus. We all promote diversity. So if you’re diverse and you want to make sure everyone gets their equal right in learning everything, then sign it and help everybody.” —TIANDRIA MOORE, NAACP SECRETARY AND HEALTHCARE ADMINISTRATION SOPHOMORE

Strange, but informative.

Correction: In a March 31 University Star article, “High school students discover university life,” Joseph Pomar, electronic media junior, was incorrectly listed as the “communication relation student coordinator” of Bobcat for a Day. Pomar is the “community relations coordinator” for the event.

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The University Star | Wednesday, April 1, 2015 | 3



ROADRUNNERS LEAVE BOBCATS IN THE DUST By Quixem Ramirez SPORTS EDITOR @quixem The Texas State baseball team expected a “dog fight” against the UTSA Roadrunners Tuesday night. It just took a while for one of the dogs to show up. Texas State was in a 5-2 hole heading into the eighth inning. Chance Kirby, Roadrunners freshman pitcher, had allowed two hits in the first five innings. Back-to-back solo home runs from Cory Geisler, junior outfielder, and Cedric Vallieres, senior second baseman, in the eighth inning opened the door for the Bobcats. UTSA slammed the door shut in the ninth inning as the Bobcats squandered a leadoff single from Derek Scheible, freshman centerfielder. The teams split the season series at 1-1 following Texas State’s 5-4 loss. “If you are going to get in a dog fight, you better show up and start fighting or you’re going to get your butt whooped,” said Jeremy Fikac, assistant coach. “I thought we cost ourselves the game in the first three innings. I don’t think we came out and executed early.” Vallieres opened the

game with a solo home run to center field on a missed curveball. His second home run occurred on a fastball that caught the middle of the plate. The senior infielder leads the team in errors. He has not committed an error in ten consecutive games. The rest of the game belonged to UTSA, which picked apart Montana Parsons, freshman pitcher. Parsons allowed eight hits and five earned runs in five innings. UTSA scored in the first, fourth and fifth innings. “The back four innings we started to compete,” Fikac said. “You have to play 27 outs in baseball. You have to get out of the bus and be ready to go, and you gotta finish. That’s one thing we didn’t do tonight.” Pasquale Mazzoccoli, junior pitcher, replaced Parsons in the sixth inning. Mazzoccoli faced 10 batters and recorded 9 outs. He did not allow an earned run in an appearance for the first time this season. “It’s a good role for him,” Fikac said. “It’s something where he’s got a reliever mentality, and he can come in and let the ball rip. I thought he threw the ball excellent for us. It was encouraging to see.”

Mazzoccoli’s pitching afforded the Bobcat hitters a chance to capitalize on Kirby. Granger Studdard, sophomore left fielder, added to the Bobcats’ run total in the sixth inning with a solo home run. Studdard has hit four home runs in the last seven games. He had zero home runs in his previous 20 games. Texas State had 14 opportunities with a runner on base, but the team did not record a hit in any of these situations. The Bobcats remained in the game, creating a familiar situation. Texas State faced a three-run deficit in the previous matchup against UTSA until they scored seven runs in the seventh inning to reclaim the lead. Sometimes opportunity does not knock twice. “Heavyweight fights are scheduled for 12 rounds,” Fikac said. “I’ve seen people get knocked out in the first. It happens, and that’s why you have to execute early.” The Bobcats failed to win the series against the Roadrunners for the second consecutive season. Texas State’s last series victory occurred in 2013. “There’s no excuses,” Vallieres said. “We should be ready. It’s a rivalry. We didn’t show up.”

TEXAS STATE CONTINUES NONCONFERENCE PLAY ONE GAME AT A TIME By Donavan Jackson SPORTS REPORTER @djack_02 The Bobcats are trying to keep their minds focused on one team before Friday’s matchup against Texas—Incarnate Word. The Bobcats are coming off a three-game series over the weekend against the 14thranked Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns. Louisiana-Lafayette won two of the three games. The Incarnate Word Cardinals are not in the same ballpark as Louisiana-Lafayette. The Cardinals are 3-27 on the season and 0-12 in the Southland Conference. The Cardinals’ most recent win was Feb. 28, and they have since have lost 13 consecutive games. Coach Ricci Woodard said her team is focused on Incarnate Word even though fans may be looking forward to the two-game series against Texas. “We’re big believers in whoever plays the best that day is going to win,” Woodard said. “So we’re not really worried about who is in the other dugout. It could be Baylor, Texas or Incarnate Word. Our job is to play the game the exact same way, and that’s what we’ve been preaching all year long, and we have to buy into that.” The Wednesday matchup against the Cardinals is the first meeting between the schools since 1992. Since then, both schools have advanced to the Division I level with Texas State in the Sun Belt and Incarnate Word in

the Southland Conference. The Bobcats have four players batting above .300 heading into the game. Kendall Wiley, junior first baseman, has a team-high .391 batting average with 33 runs batted in, eight home runs and three doubles. Ariel Ortiz, freshman shortstop, leads the team with a .734 slugging percentage while posting 15 doubles, seven home runs and one triple. Randi Rupp, freshman pitcher, leads the defensive charge. Rupp recorded her fifth straight complete game in Sunday’s contest against Louisiana-Lafayette. Rupp leads the Sun Belt Conference in strikeouts, innings pitched, wins and runners picked off. Woodard does not have much to address with one practice left before the Incarnate Word matchup. “I think the biggest thing we’re going to do is just continue to work on our offensive attack,” Woodard said. “We just need to make sure to attack good pitches because that’s going to be the key to our success.” The Bobcats have a twogame series against Texas and one matchup with Baylor before continuing conference play. “We just need to continue to do what has made us successful,” Woodard said. “We got away from our game plan this past weekend and got caught up in our emotions. That’s what we’re going to be working on this time around— finding a game plan and sticking to it.”

4 | The University Star | Wedneday, April 1, 2015



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.

Parkour ramps necessary to improve campus morale T

he University Star editorial board is declaring April 1 as Texas State Parkour Day. Congratulations, Texas State. Now, this appeal is not some half-cocked plan completely out of left field. After all, everyone loves freerunning, cartwheeling off walls and front aerial flipping through alleyways. Adding the beloved sport of parkour to university life would bring magic to the soles of each and every Bobcat. Hardly anyone cares about the Bobcat football team. Redistributing some tuition money from the athletic fee to put a parkour course in the Quad would actually benefit many students. Coaches could use the course as a recruitment tool to get some more talent onto the men’s basketball team. A good dose of competition is just what the university needs to keep people on their toes. Thankfully, the threshold for joining the basketball team is so unbelievably small that it really becomes anybody’s game. Stairs are the bane of every Bobcat’s existence. This campus has stairs upon stairs upon steps upon more stairs, which

can often seem endless. No one has time for that. Investing in parkour courses would help break up the monotony of stairs that contribute to Texas State’s unofficial number-one ranking in calf beautification. A parkour course would help Bobcats bypass pesky Parking Services officials. They may be able to ticket a car, but they cannot ticket a high-flying, lightning-fast body as it backflips its way to class. Utilizing the slope of the aptly named “Hill Country” will be easy on the environment and will allow students to continue to become one with their natural surroundings. Texas State is all about going green, and nothing is greener than using Mother Nature’s mightily curvaceous body to aerial up and down her hilly surface. To be frank, the benefits to incorporating a parkour course are endless. Brother Jeb shows up on campus? Parkour right past his glistening balding head faster than he can call someone a slut. See the Texas State Fondler slowly approaching on a dark night? Handspring away on the newly built mega ramp in the Quad. Being flooded

with pesky fliers? Simply front-flip onto the Taylor-Murphy History Building while somersaulting right through the Comal Building and then, BAM, no fliers for this Bobcat. Students in wheelchairs can join in on the fun as well. Uprooting plants to accommodate concrete half-pipes, stone mini ramps and bricked-down quarter pipes gets a thumbs-up from Bobcats everywhere. The University Star is all about parkour equality, and allowing everyone to flip and wheel their way to success is near and dear to the editorial board. Taking the time and resources to nurture this parkour program would make Texas State the first university to utilize parkour as transportation. Stripping out walkways to install ramps, short walls and dangerous drops is the kind of investment students can get behind. College is all about new experiences, and somersaulting to class is the best new experience a person can have. The sooner university officials act, the sooner Bobcats can get flipping.

**If you are confused by this editorial, remember that today is April Fool’s Day. The editorial board does not endorse the construction of a parkour course in the Quad. Please parkour responsibly.

The University Star Editor-in-Chief................................................Nicole Barrios, Managing Editor....................Cameron Cutshall, News Editor..............................................Kelsey Bradshaw, Lifestyle Editor..........................................Britton Richter, Opinions Editor.......................................Imani McGarrell, Photo Editor...........................................Madelynne Scales, Sports Editor........................................... Quixem Ramirez, Copy Desk Chief.....................................Sam Hankins,

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The University Star is the student newspaper of Texas State University and is published every Tuesday, Wednesday 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 Wednesday, April 1, 2015. 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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The University Star | Wednesday, April 1, 2015 | 5


University celebration honors César Chavez By Sarah Bradley LIFESTYLE REPORTER @sarah_bradskies Students gathered in the LBJ Ballroom Tuesday evening to honor and celebrate the legacy of one of the most well-known Latino civil rights leaders. The Texas State Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion presented the “Con Dolores y César: iSí, Se Puede! Celebration.” The event was held in honor of Chavez’s work as a civil rights leader. The title of this event translates to “With Dolores and Cesar: Yes, We Can! Celebration.” The celebration featured a narrative play about how César E. Chavez and his partner, Dolores Huerta, changed working conditions on farms. Sherri Benn, assistant vice president and director of Student Diversity and Inclusion, said the play taught viewers the significance of Chavez and Huerta’s work. The event was organized to commemorate and celebrate both cofounders of the United Farm Workers of America (UFW), Benn said. The history of Chavez and Huerta details a liberation movement for a group of oppressed farmers, Benn said. The movement occurred dur-

ing a time when people’s health and well-being were overlooked. “March 31 (César Chavez Day) is an official holiday in the U.S. states of California, Colorado and Texas,” Benn said. “So we typically try to celebrate him every year on this day by giving back to the community as César and Dolores have done.” Texas State typically celebrates the holiday with a breakfast for the custodians. Custodial staff work a thankless, low-wage job, similar to the workers Chavez and Huerta fought for, Benn said. Officials with the Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion have expanded their audience by holding an extra event in the evening, she said. “This is our first year for an evening celebration,” Benn said. “We usually only have a breakfast, but we thought it best to try and broaden our scope with including an open evening event in addition to that.” Benn said the best way to honor Chavez’s legacy is to continue to educate the public. “Chavez’s life was devoted to serving the community and helping his fellow man by fighting for the rights of farm workers,” Benn

Italian opera relatable for university students

Photojournalist shares firsthand accounts from Afghan women By Adriana Ruiz LIFESTYLE REPORTER @Adreezzy Students attended the Voices of Freedom section of the Philosophy Dialogue Series March 31 to hear from the author of Gathering Strength: Conversations with Afghan Women. Peggy Kelsey, photojournalist, is the founder of the Afghan Women’s Project. Her goal is to seek wisdom from women who have experienced hardships. During her conversations with students, she discussed sections of her book, which details the lives of individual Afghan women. Kelsey visited Afghanistan for the first time in 2003. She returned in 2010 after meeting Afghan women in Austin. The people she met did not fit the victim stereotype of Afghan women the media often portrays. Kelsey said meeting the women made her want to investigate the situation further in order to better tell their stories. “I wanted to tell a bigger story,” Kelsey said. “They were not poor, helpless victims that needed help.” She asked women what they thought about their burqas, an outer garment worn by women in the Islamic culture that covers the body, throughout her trips. The responses she received were surprising. “They did not care,” Kelsey said. “They were more concerned about education and healthcare.” Mark Norris, philosophy senior, was captivated by the women’s concern for particular issues. “I think it was interesting when (Kelsey) said the women talking about the burqas and how they are not concerned with what they wear but instead (with) what it means to be a person,” Norris said. Kelsey said her discussions about domestic violence included the fact it is not always between a man and a woman. “Twenty-five percent of violence is woman-to-woman, mostly between motherin-laws and sister-in-laws,” Kelsey said. Kelsey said this type of violence occurs because some women follow more modern customs than others. When a woman marries a man, she usually moves in with his family. Problems can arise if the new bride does not follow the family’s traditional customs. Maximiliano Hernandez, philosophy sophomore, who attended the lecture, said the women’s stories surprised him. “I learned more about

said. “What better way to honor him and his life work by further helping the community as he has done?” Margarita Arellano, Dean of Students, said honoring Chavez and Huerta is significant because they dedicated their lives to serving others. “(They are) so signif icant and worthy of this holiday because they fought for all famers, not just Latinos,” Arellano said. “Although they both serve as symbols of DENISE CATHEY ASSISTANT PHOTO EDITOR hope and positive change in the world Members of Grupo Folklorico Ocotochtli perform native folk dances March 31 at the Con Dolores y César: ¡Sí, for the Latino com- Se Puede! Celebration in the LBJ Student Center. munity, Chavez and hard work Chavez and Huerta societal changes, he said. Huerta helped any and all in need.” put in during their lifetime (is), “Chavez and Huerta were people Ramces Luna, communication junior, played Chavez in the nar- the impact their actions have on who fought for what they believed rative. He said Chavez and Huerta society are even more amazing,” were injustices amongst human beings and never gave up hope serve as role models for Latin Luna said. Nonviolent boycotts, marches, in their fight for improvements,” Americans as well as members protests and civil disobedience Luna said. “That is why César of other cultures. “Along with how amazing the from the movement led to positive Chavez Day is so significant.”

By Denise Cervantes LIFESTYLE REPORTER @cervantesdenise The Texas State Opera Theatre presented Giacomo Puccini’s “Gianni Schicchi” March 26-29 at the Patti Strickel Harrison Theatre in the Performing Arts Center. The opera was separated into two parts by an intermission, with one portion in Italian and the other in English. The story is a comedy about a family and a friend, Gianni Schicchi, who plans a scheme to receive all the money left behind by the wealthy Uncle Buoso. Samuel Mungo, director and associate professor in the School of Music, said the cast and crew put in four months of practice for the show. “Gianni Schicchi” was the first foreign-language opera Mungo has directed. Emphasis was placed on the Italian portion to give the actors a chance to tell the story effectively. “It was a challenge,” Mungo said. “There was a disconnect no matter how hard you tried, so we did a lot of training, and a lot of hours were spent on translation. During rehearsal, we would stop and say, ‘OK, what exactly are you saying?’” Actors received books explaining the meaning of each song in Italian to help them accurately convey the story when performing. “Singing operatically and acting is probably the hardest thing I have ever done in my life,” Mungo said. “People

what exactly the women of Afghanistan want and their outlook,” Hernandez said. Kelsey said the women she met were educated and concerned about civil rights issues and feminism. The women were passionate about feminism, but their concerns departed from the context of American views. “When we think of helping them, we think of, ‘Oh, be more like us,’ but they want their own interpretation,” Kelsey said. “‘We don’t want Euro feminism, we want Islamic feminism.’” Fixing the various social issues the women face in Afghanistan will take time, she said. People working to solve problems in Afghanistan should not expect the women to be more like Americans because they are members of a different culture. “We are dealing with civil rights issues here, but things are getting better here, and things will get better there, too,” Kelsey said.

say the hardest thing to do is hit a curveball. I would say a curveball is nothing. Trying to create something truthfully while using your voice at high demands—that is hard.” Jennifer Dryer, music masters student, played the role of Schicchi’s young daughter, Lauretta, during the Friday and Sunday productions. DENISE CATHEY ASSISTANT PHOTO EDITOR She said singing in Italian was easy because Spencer Reichman (performance senior), Francis Nieves (music of her fondness for the studies sophomore) and Kurt Kaiser (music senior) perform March 29 at the Patti Strickel Harrison Theatre. language. “I actually prefer singing in Italian,” Dryer and I’m sure other people would have, said. “It is one of my favorites. I just too. You still get the story because of think it is a beautiful language.” the acting.” Subtitles displayed English translaDryer said the show was ideal for tions on a screen above the set so the beginning opera watchers because of the audience could understand the Italian production’s comedy and short duration. portion of the show. “I watch it every night and find some“I was grateful for the subtitles,” said thing different to laugh at each time,” Will LeBlanc, audience member. “I sort Dryer said. of would have wanted the second part Mallorie Gabbert, performance juof the show to be in Italian as well. Both parts were great, but the Italian is just nior, played Lauretta during the Thursday and Saturday productions. She said very nice to listen to.” LeBlanc said the comedic aspect the show is relevant to college students. “I want the audience to see that opera of the show made it relatable for the is not just for music majors,” Gabbert audience. “It was really funny,” LeBlanc said. “I said. “It’s very relatable, and it’s for think even without the subtitles, I still everyone. I hope they have a good time would have been able to understand, and they see how hard we’ve worked.”

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