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First-ever deaf section headed to Bobcat Stadium this fall DARYL ONTIVEROS STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

By Quixem Ramirez SPORTS EDITOR @quixem

San Marcos residents have expressed concerns that the pollution along the San Marcos River has worsened this summer. Citizens are apprehensive of what Float Fest 2015 will bring. Float Fest is being held August 28-30.

Community organizations take action against Float Fest river pollution By Clayton Kelley NEWS REPORTER @Claytonkelley


loat Fest is quickly a p p ro a ch i n g a n d some city officials are concerned about the environmental impact the event may have on the San Marcos River. The live music festival is set to happen Aug. 28-30, giving those who attend an option to float the river during performances. Festivalgoers can also camp on

event grounds over night. “Float Fest is a wonderful concept, a great way for our community to come together and float down our beautiful river and enjoy good music and company,” said Meredith Miller, senior programming coordinator at the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment. Miller said she feels Float Fest organizers did a poor job of minimizing environmental issues that accompanied the festival

last year. Anthony Erikson, marketing director for Float Fest, said the idea behind the festival is to combine two of Central Texas’ favorite pastimes—floating the river and live music. “San Marcos is a great city and a great culture with a wonderful river community,” Erikson said. “Considering how crowded Austin can be, San Marcos is a great alternative location for this event.” Dianne Wassenich, pro-

gram director for the San Marcos River Foundation (SMRF), said she attended Float Fest last year with other volunteers and stood in the river handing out trash bags while reminding floaters to be respectful of the water. “The people who operate these kinds of events, like Float Fest, have absolutely no concern with the pollution that can be caused from these events,” Wassenich said. “The sponsors of Float

The Texas State football team will have a new group of fans this fall. For the first time in university history, there will be a deaf section for fans at Bobcat Stadium. The section, which seats up to 1,000 people, will be near the 35-yard line. Ticket prices will be reduced from the usual $25 to $10. Deaf people and those fluent in American Sign Language will be eligible for the reduced ticket prices at the lower level. To purchase tickets in the section, fans should contact Brian Guendling, communication studies junior, through his social media platforms. Guendling plans on providing a tent for deaf people who wish to participate in tailgate festivities. Guendling, a former Texas State football player, wanted to merge two worlds together with the creation of a deaf section. “Deaf people are no different than everybody else,” Guendling said. “A lot of my deaf friends expressed that they wanted to go to football games.” The next thing on Guendling’s mind was, “What if I brought a deaf section to Texas State and brought hundreds of people to games?” Guendling worked with the Texas State Athletics Department and ticketing to set up the promotion, which will continue for the entire season.

Fest abuse this beautiful resource just to make money without returning the favor to the river.” Erikson said Float Fest sponsors are planning several cleanups after the event. “Float Fest is throwing a concert and we aren’t really doing anything more than what tubing companies do the rest of the year,” Erikson said. Miller said the San Mar-

See FLOAT FEST, Page 2


University Police Department graduates first Citizen’s Police Academy class By Jennifer Hogan SPECIAL TO THE STAR @jennniferr17

The University Police Department’s inaugural class of the 13-week Citizen’s Police Academy graduated Aug. 25 with a second group on the horizon for the spring semester. UPD officials said the academy is intended to educate faculty and students about the different services UPD offers and to inform the community about the “unique policing” that is practiced at the university.

Rolando Belmares, UPD sergeant and Citizen’s Police Academy (CPA) coordinator, said the program has been six years in the making due to funding issues the department has faced. “It takes a decent amount of money to put on an academy,” Belmares said. “We were able to get a grant this year to fund two academies, and hopefully we will be able to sustain it for many years to come.” Belmares said he hopes students and faculty will utilize this unique resource.

“We want to educate about the services we provide that help out on daily activities,” Belmares said. He said some students are unaware that UPD offers services 24 hours a day, seven days a week. “We give Bobcat Bobbie rides and have safety escorts,” Belmares said. “UPD provides many services that the community does not know about, and we want to bridge that gap (with the academy).” The academy will meet for classes every Tuesday during the 13 weeks of the

program. As of Aug. 26 there were 12 spots available for CPA courses, Belmares said. He said the department has received an “overwhelming response” of more than 150 applications for the fall session. Bethany Wilson, CPA student and criminal justice senior, said the academy will give her an advantage in her field of study. “I do want to go into the criminal justice system,” Wilson said. “I want to understand the law enforcement end and get an

overall understanding of the experience.“ Michelle Hamilton, associate professor in the College of Liberal Arts, is enrolled in the course, and said she hopes to gain an understanding of local policing and the different ways it can be beneficial to the community. Hamilton said she is enrolled in the academy to learn what resources are available through UPD and whether they are utilized to the fullest extent.

See FOOTBALL, Page 2


Q&A with Scott Gregson, Place 5 city council candidate By Alexa Tavarez NEWS EDITOR @lexicanaa San Marcos City Council elections are quickly approaching. The University Star sat down with Place 5 candidate Scott Gregson to discuss his campaign.

Born: August 9, 1956, Garrison, Texas Occupation: Downtown business owner Education: B.A. in Finance and Administration at Texas A&M, M.B.A. in Business from Harvard School of Business Alexa Tavarez: Where do you call home and why? Scott Gregson: I call San Marcos home. I began to invest here in 1996, about 20 years ago. And I did it because it was a great place—to me at least— between two growing cities. I moved here to the community in 2000 and moved downtown in 2006. I’ve really grown to love this community for what it is. AT: What challenges are you expecting to face in your campaign? SG: The same challenges that face every other candidate. It’s a marathon with a

few sprints in the middle. You start out 90 days out. I started fairly early on. I wanted to be prepared because I’ve been involved in campaigns before. I wanted to be prepared for interviews like this as best possible and have my signs ordered. And then it’s just the dynamic. I mean, ultimately the people are going to make the choice. The evening of November the 3rd they will decide whether there will be a winner or a runoff. I’ll do the best I can, give it all I have, then at the end of the day if I’m the choice the people want, I’ll make a great representative for them. AT: What issue is at the heart of your campaign? SG: We can easily become another gas stop between Austin and San Antonio, easily become an homogenous part of a growing corridor. But then we lose who we are, our identity, that uniqueness and charm and vision I talked about. I’m committed to not have us do that. As a city we have a comprehensive master plan. That was a yearlong effort with about 50 people on committees, and we tried to put together a roadmap that takes into account the infrastructure needs of the

city, how we can grow, where to grow. It will become part of our land development code that’s being rewritten now. But that’s a road map and I’m committed to stick to that road map... I’m committed to stick to that plan. We ask people to participate in the development of that plan, and at the end of the day if we really don’t follow them, we’ve turned our back on those who were willing to participate and spend their valuable time contributing. AT: What are your thoughts on the amount of development San Marcos has seen in the past years? SG: I’ve invested here since ’96 and I’ve seen a lot of development and cycles that we’ve had, up and down. The last cycle we had was interrupted by a big recession that we had. We are beginning to see those waves of development come back to our shores. And I think, based upon my earlier comments, what I view to be one of the biggest challenges we face as a city would be to make sure that growth occurs the way we want it to occur and we have the San Marcos we want, and that it is done the way and held to a development standard that

makes certain that we’re not just building slums in our city or the next slum. It’s important we respect ourselves so that we get the type of development we deserve. AT: Do you feel the city has handled economic growth well? SG: Well, I think in some ways yes and some ways no. Let’s take, for example, the issue of Cape’s Camp. I was an advocate for Cape’s Camp to be a park and partly out of pure economic development perspective. I made presentations to the Greater San Marcos Partnership Board, their executive board, the Chamber of Commerce Board, saying we need to build a central park in central Texas and that can be it. It also served another purpose for us: It would provide east-west connectivity. Understand we are really two cities, separated by a band of concrete going north and south. And there is no way to walk across there without putting your life at risk—either a TxDOT intersection which you’re trying to figure out what light to watch or walking across a frontage road where cars are zipping up at 60-70 miles per hour or faster. I felt like Cape’s Camp


Scott Gregson, candidate for San Marcos City Council Place 5, sits at his desk Aug. 24 as he discusses his plans for the upcoming election. could have been that connectivity between east and west or a walkable, bikeable link of our city. At the same time, part of that development happened. It certainly wasn’t the cause of the flood, but it certainly did intensify the impact of the flood in the Blanco Gardens neighborhood. I think as (a) city we need to be responsible for the citizens in this time of critical need. AT: In regard to the neverending drought, what role should the city play in regulat-

ing water consumption? SG: Let’s think about who we are. And the genesis of this city was on the basis of the San Marcos River being here. We’ve been here ten millennia and at the basis of that growth and the energy, power dynamism, this city was generated by the river. We have a legacy, not only of education, but a legacy of water. And I think we should be good stewards for our water. Being on the utility advisory board, we’ve done a lot of work on that. It’s not so simple as to put on a bumper sticker.

2 | The University Star | News | Thursday, August 27, 2015

FOOTBALL, from front

FLOAT FEST, from front cos River is currently going through a phase called nonpoint source pollution. “Rather than being caused by one source such as a factory dumping chemicals into the water, this nonpoint source pollution is a result of many different things,” Miller said. “This includes the development of new land, cutting down trees, people putting fertilizers and pesticides on their lawn and not properly disposing of household chemicals.” Miller said natural disasters, such as floods, have an impact on pollution. “The flooding Hays County experienced earlier this summer hurt the San Marcos River’s ability to help buffer water quality and control pollution,” Miller said. “Because of this, I do believe that we should spend more time as a community to really repair the area around the bank of the river.” Pollution in the river is getting worse and the impact of the music festival may cause even more damage, Miller said. “The impact of Float Fest last year did temporarily de-

grade water quality and it also left behind thousands and thousands of pounds of trash,” Miller said. “Practically dump truck loads full of beer cans and garbage.” Miller said there were complaints from private property owners along the banks of the river during Float Fest last year. “A lot of landowners near the river were not happy last year because people were defecating and throwing trash on their property,” she said. “This year at Float Fest, people should be more respectful to their neighbors on the river.” Derrick Lee, founder of an activist group called The Eyes of the San Marcos River, said he started the organization with the intention of getting people to occupy the riverbanks to prevent any damages from being done to the river or personal property. “The tubing culture does tend to get out of control, so our objective is basically to be a positive presence to the San Marcos River and to let people know that there you are being watched,” Lee said. “Behavior

such as littering and disrupting private property will not be tolerated.” The Eyes of the San Marcos River has been active in the effort to raise awareness of river protection tactics. “We actually started a social media trend on Float Fest’s Facebook page,” Lee said. “Many local citizens who respect the San Marcos River are commenting on the page and posting hashtags like ‘#leavenotrace’ as a way to express how important it is to leave the river the same way you came in.” Erikson said Float Fest has embraced the hashtags by promoting the protection of the river. “We have nothing but support for people trending ‘#leavenotrace’,” Erikson said. “There is a lot of activity that happens (on the river) yearround that I feel like a certain amount of their frustration may come from.” He said the event’s organizers do their “best to inform the audience” to respect the river and be responsible while they float.


Concealed carry task force formed in response to campus carry bill By Anna Herod ASSISTANT NEWS EDITOR @annaleemurphy

President Denise Trauth has created a 26-member Concealed Carry Task Force in response to the campus carry bill passed in the 84th Legislature. The group, including four faculty representatives, will begin meeting Sept. 4. Michele Conroy, faculty senate chair, said the task force aims to smoothly and safely integrate the new campus carry legislation onto campus. Trauth stated in a letter sent to potential task force members that the group will be responsible for gathering relevant student and facilities’ data, staying educated on safety concerns and suggestions from university

members. Conroy said she and three other faculty members have been selected as representatives of the university’s faculty on the task force. Dwight Watson, associate professor, Lori Stiritz, senior lecturer and Pete Blair, executive director of the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) Program, will serve as the other three faculty representatives on the task force. Sue Weill, journalism and mass communication senator, said she feels faculty representation on the task force is going to be low. Representatives will be required to develop recommended policies, guidelines, signage and other appropriate documents by the end

of September, according to Trauth’s letter, read by Conroy. The task force will continue to work through next spring and will assess recommendations through public meetings and discussions, Trauth stated in the letter. Trauth stated in the letter that the group will make revisions based on the feedback received in public meetings. The finalized recommendations will be presented to Trauth for consideration by early March 2016, according to the letter. Conroy said community members, staff, students and alumni will also be represented on the force. A full list of everyone chosen for the task force has not yet been released, she said.

“Now deaf people will feel welcome (at games),” Guendling said. “All of them have never been to a game. If you open up the doors and make them feel welcomed, you’re going to attract deaf people from everywhere.” With Texas State at the forefront of the movement, Guendling is hoping to see other universities follow suit. “I want (deaf people) to

feel welcomed,” Guendling said. “It’s an opportunity for the deaf. They are all so excited for football season now.” The deaf section is the next step in Guendling’s sign language efforts. In July, Guendling produced the first-ever sign language concert to the tune of Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk.” The YouTube video exceeded 200,000 views and contin-

ues to grow in audience size. Guendling plans on attending five of the six home games in the deaf section. For Guendling, this is just the beginning. “I want the deaf community to know that I’m doing this for them,” he said. “I think other sporting programs will join with this. Deaf people will express that they want the same thing. This is the start of something great.”

This is the start of something great.” ­—BRIAN GUENDLING, COMMUNICATION STUDIES JUNIOR


School zone safety program to expand By Kasandra Garza NEWS REPORTER @KasGarza

Hays County has decided to expand the School Zone Speed Safety Camera Program that will work toward limiting speeding for the upcoming school year. The program began July 15 at Scudder Primary in the Wimberley Independent School District. The program consists of vehicles equipped with radars and cameras to snap photos of the license plates of those speeding. The information is sent directly to the county, where they locate the owner of the vehicle and give them citations. Initially, Hays County signed an agreement to have the program in two different county precincts, Wimberley and Dripping Springs, said Laureen Chernow, Hays County communications specialist.. During the pilot program, 71 warning tickets were given within a four-day period, Chernow said. “I think that surprised everyone,” Chernow said. “We didn’t expect there to

be that many school zone violators.” Chernow said the amount of violators points to the need for the program in the Hays County area. With the expansion of the program, vehicles will be deployed only to school zones that are outside of city limits, Chernow said. There are two vehicles for the program, Chernow said. Both vehicles will be primarily deployed to Precincts 3 and 4, Chernow said. Warning citations will be issued until Sept. 8 and then tickets will be given to school zone violators, Chernow said. Violators can be looking up to a $150 fine. Although the program is expanding, it is still a pilot program, Chernow said. “We are going to see how one semester goes,” Chernow said. “Then the same program will be reviewed by the commissioner’s court in two years.” Although the program will not cost Hays County anything, American Traffic Solutions (ATS), the supplier of the fully equipped vehicles, plans on taking

75 percent of fines collected during the first year the program is in session, Chernow said. Commissioner R ay Whisenant, Precinct 4, has been overseeing the project since the pilot program was launched in the summer. Whisenant was not available for a comment. “This is an excellent way to increase our law enforcement presence without hiring additional personnel,” Chernow said. Although the program is moving forward, Ken Strange, board president of Wimberley Independent School District, said he has been hearing mixed reviews regarding the public’s response to the program. “Some people are happy about others having to slow down in traffic,” Strange said. “Other people are mostly frustrated—not because the car is there, but because a huge percent of the fine charge goes to a separate company.” Chernow sayid that plans to expand the program outside of Precincts 3 and 4 has yet to be determined.

Thursday, August 27, 2015 | The University Star | 3




Season Preview: Fine arts schedule jam-packed for school year

Fashion Finds: pops of color on campus By Sarah Bradley LIFESTYLE REPORTER @sarah_bradskies Fashion Finds is a new, weekly column showcasing students found on campus with unique style. Anything from crazy patterns to the latest trends to what to wear to an interview can be found here each week! One aspect I truly admire about fashion is the ability to stand out from others through selfexpression.

Yajaira Almaguer, fashion merchandising junior, is pictured here in a fabulous JCPenney bright pink top paired with simple black shorts and Chacos. Her selection of the h i g h l i g h t e r- c o l o r e d blouse really stood out to me in the sea of students making their way through The Quad. Almaguer said the bright pop of color is the ultimate way to send off summer trends. “I think the highlighter


The Performing Arts Center will soon be hosting productions from the theater, music and dance departments. By Denise Cervantes LIFESTYLE REPORTER @cervantesdenise

The Texas State Department of Theatre and Dance plans to showcase a variety of performances during the academic year. Students should be on the lookout for concerts, plays, operas, exhibitions and collaborations within departments.


The theater department is set to host a multitude of main stage and black box productions this year. View from the Bridge, a one-act drama written by Arthur Miller and directed by Melissa Utley, theater graduate student, will run from October 6-11 as the department’s season opener. J. Robert Moore, Evita director and theater graduate student, said musical theater at the university has grown immensely over the past few years. “The musical theater program has specifically blossomed,” Moore said. “The talent level coming out of Texas State is equal to some of the major performing arts universities in the United States.” Moore said Evita, which runs November 17-22 in the Patti Strickel Harrison Theatre, is sure to leave an impression on audience members of all ages. “It’s going to be a big splashy Broadway musical,” Moore said. “The music is recognizable and also very emotional and stirring. This is a show that I don’t think people would leave and say, ‘I thought that was boring.’” Amelia Bahr, director of Romeo and Juliet and theater graduate student, said the department will end its season with the Shakespearian play April 19-24. Bahr said this particular show should be familiar to audiences because of its multiple retellings throughout history. “This is a story that everyone knows, even if they think they don’t know it,” Bahr said. “Romeo and Juliet has become a part of our mythology.” Bahr said she hopes to see the community take advantage of every production this season. “We have such a great season this year,” Bahr said. “I am not too sure which one I’m the most excited for because they are all great names, and I hope people enjoy seeing and hopefully go to all of them.”

the department will also be putting on two operas. Samuel Mungo, H.M.S Pinafore director, said the show will run Oct. 22-25. Mungo said the comedic opera’s many relatable moments make it entertaining and enjoyable for all audience members. “It is going to be an absolute blast,” Mungo said. “It is really silly, and people are going to have a great time at it. Many people may hear the name and not know it, but they’ll know the music.” Carlos De los Santos, exploratory sophomore, said he has looked forward to the music departments new season ever since he saw his first production last year. “I saw a guest artist show last semester, and I really enjoyed it,” Santos said. “I would tell anyone to go see a show put on by the music department. It’s so easy to access.” Mungo said the opera will include collaborations between the musical theater, dance and music departments. “We all try to make art and we all try to put on some art,” Mungo said. “Our art students will learn the craft and the art of what that they want to do, and they understand that everybody has to play a role.”


LeAnne Smith, dance director, said the showcase will take audiences though a brief history of dance using student choreography. “It’s exciting,” Smith said. “Dance has been around for centuries, and it’s nice to see how some of it has originated and how they are all tied together.” Smith said it is important to have dance students choreograph their own productions. “We teach our students the tools they need to know,” Smith said. “I like to see how the tools we have given them come into play when they get a chance to choreograph for themselves.” Jenn Barragan, respiratory care freshman, said she is excited to see more showcases this season. “I used to dance, and I was blown away by the student showcase I saw,” Barragan said. “It just shows they take it seriously and put on a good show.” Smith said she has seen the department flourish into one of the state’s largest dance programs during her 30 years at Texas State. “I was one of the few,” Smith said. “I was a physical education major with an emphasis in dance, and now we have hundreds of dance students representing our department.”

The Texas State Dance Division will open their season with Dancestry Sept. 11-12. On the banks of the Guadalupe

Right Behind Gruene Hall


Yajaira Almaguer, fashion merchandising junior, shows off her outfit Aug. 26 on campus.

THURSDAY 8-27-15


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The Texas State School of Music will have an abundance of showcases throughout the year, including their ensemble, faculty artist and guest artist series. In addition to showcases,

look in fashion is really fresh and is the ultimate resemblance of summertime,” Almaguer said. “I figured why not get a few more wears out of my summer styles while I still can?” Almaguer said the highlighter trend also happens to complement her summer tan. Seeing as retire summery looks such as bold and bright colors, floral prints, strappy sandals and all those adorable shorts will soon have to be retired, students may want to take after Almaguer and work them while there’s still time. This outfit was the perfect level of cute and comfortable, making this summer look the ideal choice for students faced with walking around campus in the Texas heat. Not only is the look relaxed for class, it is also easy to dress up for a night on the Square. Pairing the outfit with statement jewelry such as a necklace or large earrings, switching out the Chacos for wedges and adding a blazer would make this look a showstopper for any Bobcat. As the leaves begin to change and the temperature starts to drop, a simple cardigan or a blue jean jacket paired with black leggings and the brightly colored top, would be perfect for any brisk fall morning. Until the temperature drops, bold colors and shorts can be anyone’s go-to look.

$3 WELLS In the Mercantile Building

Across from Gruene Hall

9-11 PM


*$3 FOR 21+ w/ out ad



Please apply online or in person between 2-5pm Monday-Thursday

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4 | The University Star | Thursday, August 27, 2015




Target gender neutrality good move


n August 7, Target issued a press release explaining how they came to the conclusion of removing gendered labeling regarding their Toys, Home and Entertainment departments. In grand American fashion, this progressive move was met with stark and swift criticism. Detractors seem to think that if Target, a multinational corporation, refuses to label Polly Pockets as toys specifically for girls somehow their children will either explode due to an influx of confusion or become gay. Needless to say, both are ridiculous conclusions and border on hyperbole. The true message in Target’s decision to do away with gendering things like toys and bedding is that children will no longer be shamed for their choice in pink linens or “boy’s” toys. A society that constantly indoctrinates little boys and girls on what they “should” do and what they “should”

like has just gotten a little less restrictive—cue the celebratory gender-neutral confetti. The little boy who loves Bratz dolls no longer has to meander into the girl’s aisle where he receives demeaning looks from parents questioning his masculinity just to buy his favorite toy. The little girl who adores all things Hot Wheels can proudly march over to the aisle without disparagingly being called a tomboy for her choice of plaything. That is a good thing; shaming children into false identifications and constructed expressions is positive. In fact, shaming is never positive. Shaming is by its very nature a negative used to restrict and constrict expression and individual choices. If parents want to teach their children traditional, antiquated beliefs regarding gender, they can. Target’s refusal to color code or gender things will not keep parents from teaching their children

their personal beliefs. Parents are still the main influencers of their children and can raise them however they see fit. Unless it is physically or emotionally harmful, no one is going to stop conventional or otherwise gender-obsessed parents from forcing their kids to know pink ponies are for girls and blue bears are for boys. Refusing to gender toys will not turn otherwise straight children gay, which is not a bad thing, and will not cause children to weep in a corner overcome with the grief of a changing world. These are just fanciful delusions from an overactive, defeated mind. This is another manufactured clash by those who cannot stomach constantly losing the culture wars in a continually progressing society. If Target had decided to quietly roll out this new change and covertly remove gendered labeling, chances are, no one would have noticed

and no one would have been outraged. People are not necessarily mad at what Target has decided to do, but more so at what their change in policy symbolizes—progression. Some will fight tooth and nail to make sure the world remains as rigid and stationary as possible, but that is not how the world works. Things are forever changing and moving forward and culture and department store signs are no exception. It is time to end the faux outrage. People’s shopping experience will not be made any harder by Target’s progressive decision. Not everything is politically motivated. Sometimes it just makes sense—sometimes, it is just the right thing to do. In this case, doing away with gendered signs was the right thing to do. Brava Target! If it is any consolation, those outraged can always not shop at Target, which will forever be an option.

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, Texas State University or the advertisers.


A much-needed educational guide on newsworthiness

Brandon Sams OPINIONS EDITOR @TheBrandonSams


pparently some people need an education on Journalism 101 and, like always, I am more than happy to educate the illinformed—it is frankly one of my favorite pastimes. On August 24, the University Star ran a news article on the arrest nine people, including two Texas State students, five San Marcos residents and social media giant Shawn Oneychi, better known as “Big Neechi.” All of a sudden the paper was met with all kinds of criticism. Students

debated and critiqued the decision to run a news story on a student—and a black one at that. I am always amazed when people all of a sudden become experts in journalism. I do not come to Burger King to tell the employees how to flip burgers, so please do not think you are going to “educate” a journalist on the ethics of journalism, which is, oddly enough, something the detractors knew little to nothing about. First, it is important to understand what makes a story newsworthy. Five things make a story newsworthy: timing, significance, proximity, prominence and human interest. The one I will be focusing on is the one that pertains to this story—prominence. Naturally, a famous person gets more coverage because they are more known than the typical person. Oneychi, or “Big Neechi,” has almost half a million Twitter followers

The University Star Editor-in-Chief...........................................Kelsey Bradshaw, Managing Editor.......................Imani McGarrell, News Editor....................................................Alexa Tavarez, Sports Editor.............................................Quixem Ramirez, Lifestyle Editor.........................................Mariah Simank, Opinions Editor..........................................Brandon Sams, Multimedia Editor......................................Preslie Cox, Copy Desk Chief....................................Abby Marshall,

and is considered locally famous at Texas State. For better or worse, his name holds some weight. That is what prominence is. A person of status is newsworthy. Meanwhile, a random student is not—unless they are connected to a prominent figure. For example, if Lauren Stotler, student body president, were arrested, that would be newsworthy because she is a person of prominence at the university. No one would be targeting her because she was a white woman in trouble, just like no one is targeting “Big Neechi” because he’s a black man who got in a scuffle. When a person is in the public eye, as “Big Neechi” is through his local company Endless Entertainment as well as his massive social media following, he or she becomes a media spectacle. It is not a media conspiracy to antagonize and stereotype black people. If it were, I would

be the first one on the front lines protesting. The content of the article is not some conspiracy to attack black students, it is a clear-cut case of news doing what news does: commenting and giving the public information on individuals who are involved in public affairs. So, please do not all of a sudden become a pro-black advocate when it is of convenience, especially when it is built on false ideas and ignorance of journalistic ethics and guidelines. If a person’s entire brand is based on perpetuating white supremacy by way of re-centering pervading Eurocentric beauty standards, then they are not pro-black. Save the outrage, save the misguided conversations and save the uninformed opinions. After all, it was misguided and divorced from journalism in the first place. —Brandon Sams is a journalism junior


America’s gun culture fueled on-air shooting of journalists

Brandon Sams OPINIONS EDITOR @TheBrandonSams


crew your gun culture, America—it costs too many lives and continues to put everyone at risk of falling victim to its encroaching grasp. Tragedy struck on the morning of August 26 when disgruntled former WDBJ-TV employee, Vester L. Flanagan II, shot and killed two journalists on live television. It is an upsetting story and my heart and condolences go out to those affected by one man’s senseless, horrific quest for revenge. This tragedy has, naturally, put gun control back on the national forefront. No longer is the discussion of gun control and counteractive gun laws a political conversation. This is a life or death situation—this is a discussion about preservation and protection. America’s perverse gun culture and obsession with the Second Amendment, while being indifferent and ambivalent to other, more damningly violated amendments, needs to be readily dismantled. In no other industrialized nation does this amount of violence and nonchalance exist. July 23 was the 204th day in 2015, and on that day America stood still as it witnessed its 204th mass shooting of the year. For those who have trouble with math, that is one mass shooting per day this year. That statistic is not even counting regular, everyday singular shootings, which are far more numerous, It only counts those with multiple victims. That is a very disturbing number. Regardless of the disgusting prevalence of gun violence, those in favor of lax gun legislation clamor about how tragedies should not be made into political statements. They say this as they ironically regurgitate talking points that claim tragedies would happen less if people just had more guns.

We should never spin tragedies for political gain—not in the layman understanding of politics at least. I agree there, but according to academia, politics is intertwined in every facet of life and discipline. People cannot escape politics—it exists in religion, food, education, housing, down to the very clothes people wear and the way they behave. Everything is a political statement, and there is no better time than now to talk about common-sense gun laws. Mass shootings, according to the aforementioned statistic, happen every day in America. If I were to take the advice of detractors, then we would never have a much-needed conversation on gun control in an attempt to curtail gun violence because it would never be the “right” time. In 2008 Americans experienced 12,000 homicides involving firearms alone. Japan, the country with the strictest gun laws in the developed world, only experienced 11. Even taking crime statistics out of the conversation, there were 587 Americans killed by accidental gun discharges in that same year. Meanwhile, guns were still only responsible for the deaths of 11 Japanese people, accidental or otherwise. I am not saying that there needs to be an outright ban on all firearms, but I am saying this notion that guns make people safer is not based in reality. If the United States insists on having lax gun laws, then we are, in essence, insisting on being lax about the frequency of preventable deaths. Guns are specifically designed to kill—they have no other function. A nation that chooses to exalt killing machines the way America does unconsciously applauds and accepts the killings produced by the device that happens to be the apple of their eye, and I want no part in that. Rest in peace, Alison Parker and Adam Ward. Hopefully America will hear the cries of those abjectly affected by its gun culture and curb the problem before it consumes us all. One can only hope. —Brandon Sams is a journalism junior

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The Texas State football team begins the season playing against the highest ranked team in program history. Playing Florida State, ranked 10th in the nation, will be a barometer for where Texas State lies on a national level. Texas State also plays the top three preseason ranked teams in the conference. “Our schedule is a little tougher this year then last year I feel,” said Coach Dennis Franchione. “Florida State is a little cut above Illinois – go figure huh? We go to Georgia Southern, we go to Lafayette and we go to Arkansas State. That was flipped around last year so this schedule from a total standpoint is a little bit tougher.” The Bobcats are pre-

pared for the tough schedule. Texas State is returning the majority of their offensive players. The offense was one of the four most improved offenses in the country, improving their total yardage output by 138 yards per game from 2013. Heading the offense will be Tyler Jones, junior quarterback. Jones threw for 2670 yards, 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions in his sophomore season. Jones also played a large part in the running game, which ranked 18th nationally in rushing yards per game (238.5). Jones accounted for 539 of the team’s 2,831 rushing yards. The running game should be a point emphasis for Texas State again in 2015. The Bobcats leading rusher in 2014, Robert Lowe, senior running back, is returning after posting 1,091 yards and 12

touchdowns his junior year. Chris Nutall, senior running back, joins Lowe after missing the entire 2014 season due to academics. Nutall rushed for 506 yards and six touchdowns in 2013. “We feel good about our running back situation,” Franchione said. “Rob Lowe is pretty proven, Chris Nuttall is pretty proven, we missed him last year.” The run game success is due in large part to the offensive line. Franchione said his offensive line is finally looking like an FBS caliber offensive line. “We look like we belong,” Franchione said. “They’re were times we ran out onto the field and I cringed a little bit when our line came out, I don’t do that anymore.” With eight or nine returning starters on offense, the offense should be in line with previous


Bobcats practice for their upcoming football season at practice Aug. 19 at Bobcat Stadium. expectation. Franchione’s offense likes to move up-tempo and get the ball up the field in a hurry. Texas State was the 13th fastest offense in the nation in 2014. Franchione wants to increase the pace, but he doesn’t want to sacrifice efficiency either. “We’ll never be the fastest because we go to the motion more than the no-huddle tempo teams do,” Franchione said. “We wouldn’t mind being a little faster but that’s not something we’re sitting around talking about.” Defensively, Texas State has to find a way to replace Craig Mager, a third-round draft pick in he 2015 NFL Draft, and David Mayo, a fifth-rounder. Mayo finished second in the nation

with 154 total tackles in 2014. Replacing the production of Mager should be easier than Mayo, simply because of the presence of David Mims II, senior cornerback. Mims recorded five interceptions in the last seven games and received the 2015 Preseason Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year. Franchione’s motto for recruitment is OKG – our kind of guy. He’s spent years retooling the roster and finds himself reaping the rewards. Guys that lead by example are Franchione’s type of guys. “I really like my team,” Franchione said. “I like my guys. I hope they win some games. They’re my kind of guys. They’re hard workers.”

For Texas State, the ultimate goal is getting to a bowl game. The Bobcats have been bowl eligible for two consecutive years now and have no bowl invitations to show for it. Game attendance and other political factors do come into play, but Franchione and his team have made it a mission to “leave no doubt” in bowl committee members’ minds. “I don’t know how to quantify how you beat a team by 17 points and the same the record and they go to a bowl game and you don’t,” Franchione said. “There’s no sense in whining about it. What’s done is done but we just have to do better. We have to catch peoples attention and we have to leave no doubt in there minds.”




Kwamane Bowens, sophomore wide receiver, tosses the football Aug. 26 during practice at Bobcat Stadium.

Kwamane Bowens, sophomore wide receiver, doesn’t care what you think. Bowens doesn’t just ignore the praise, he doesn’t even hear it. In the current college landscape, Bowens is a rarity. None of the distractions, praise or exterior elements that influence collegiate athletes factor into Bowens’ equation. Not even after Coach Dennis Franchione called Bowens, a junior college transfer who played one year at Hawaii, one of the rising stars of fall practice. “I don’t hear any of it,” Bowens said. “It’s a blessing to hear but even though he’s saying it, I still have to ignore it because I’m not really worried about what the head coach says right now. I’m worried about how I can keep grinding and keep grinding for the receiving core and the team.” Bowens learned that lesson the hard way. When he was a kid, Bowens let his emotions get the best of him. He would hang his head. He was sentimental. Then Bowens’ brotherin-law, Benjamin Charley, gave him a dose of what he calls “keeping it real.” Charley showed Bowens that nothing was

earned. “He never sugarcoated anything,” Bowens said. “He kept it real. Him keeping it real really made me into the guy I am today.” Now when Bowens hears Franchione’s glowing remarks, his reluctance to accept the praise makes more sense. “If you’re not focused on what you’re doing and what you’re doing it for, you’re going to let everyone down because it’s all about yourself,” Bowens said. “It can’t be about yourself. There’s 10 other people on the field.” It was a mentality instilled in him at an early age. Bowens, along with his two nephews, learned by watching Charley closely. Bowens said Charley basically raised him in high school. But perhaps the most important life advice Bowens gleaned from Charley was not to let people inside his inner circle too easily. Charley told Bowens that people aren’t there for you unconditionally. Most people, Charley would tell him, are only there when things are going well. Bowens, a three-star recruit coming out of high school, learned that lesson firsthand. He graduated in a class of 600-700 people. He only talks to his family and a few friends on a regular basis.

“You’re going to have a lot of people in this world who show to be your friend because of where you’re going at the moment,” Bowens said. “If it looks to disappear, they’re going to go so fast. As soon as you pick it up, they want to come back. Do you really call them friends?” Bowens chooses to keep his inner circle from increasing in size. His methodology is simple. “If you can count your friends on your 10 fingers, and not have to use your toes, you’re fine,” Bowens said. “Every time you look up, count your fingers. Never count your toes.” So when Bowens, now on his third team in three years, considered his next option, there wasn’t really another challenger. Texas State was the place for him because Franchione, like his brother-in-law, just kept it real. “Coach Fran kept it real,” Bowens said. “He was one of those guys. He’s not going to sugarcoat it. If you don’t like it, you don’t like it. I loved it. I want to come in for a coach like that who will let you know how it is.” Bowens joins a deep receiving core including Jafus Gaines, Brandon, C.J. Best, senior wide receivers and Demun Mercer, sophomore wide receiver. In just three weeks, Bowens has proved he

belongs. He’s paying attention to detail and learning the little things from Gaines, Smith and Best. The added weight helps too. Bowens has gained around 30 pounds since his junior college stint. Now he can use his body for leverage against secondary instead of being physically overmatched. And yet, Bowens’ role remains undefined. He’ll see playing time this season, but the wide receiver position is one of the deepest on the roster. “I’m just going to be the best receiver I can be,” Bowens said. “I’m not the best receiver. We’re all the best. It’s not on me to say my role.” Bowens is in the position to capitalize on his opportunity. The credit, in large part, goes to Charley, who has seen it all—the ups, the downs and everything in between. And though Charley lives in Virginia Beach, he makes it a point to keep in close contact with Bowens. “It always seems for him to text me in the moments that I need him most,” Bowens said. “He’ll text me, ‘Hey Kwa, keep your head up. I just felt like I needed to send you this text. Keep your heart in it. Keep going. No one expects you to be here, but you’re here.’”


Team to host rival in home opener Friday night By Donavan Jackson SPORTS REPORTER @djack_02

Longtime rival McNeese State will be visiting San Marcos Friday evening for the 12th time in school history. Although the Texas State soccer team owns the series advantage against McNeese (17-8-1 overall), Coach Kat Conner knows this matchup won’t be an easy task for her team. “I am excited for the season opener and it’s going to be a great game,” Conner said. “Despite what people may think of McNeese State, they are a very well-coached team and they have

always given us great competition. I’m really looking forward to the atmosphere and hope to see everyone out here to support us.” McNeese State began this season with a similar challenge facing Texas State: inexperience. The Cowgirls added seven new faces to their roster during the offseason and have had to rely on All-Conference players such as Savannah LaRicci, Cowgirls junior forward, to step up into a leadership role. LaRicci created the majority of the offensive production for McNeese last season after leading the team in every offensive category including points (15), goals (6), assists (3) and shots on goal (28).

Her performance, along with the Cowgirls’ late-season run, earned them a sixth and seventh spot in the Southland Conference Preseason Poll. McNeese won four of its final five games last season before an early conference tournament exit. It wasn’t the ideal ending they were hoping for. The team wanted more. “It was definitely an eye-opener when we were ousted from the tournament last season,” said Sarah Bricker, Cowgirls senior defender. “Nicholls’ player took a really good shot that cut us short, but I do believe that getting there just showed how much work that we put in last season.”

Heading into the matchup, both Texas State and McNeese have started the season off in similar fashion with victories. The Bobcats are coming off a 2-0 win over Houston with a goal from player Lynsey Curry, senior forward, and Lauren Prater, junior forward. When asked about the defense, Kristen Champion, senior defender, said everyone is becoming accustomed to Conner’s system. “As one of the older players on the team,” Champion said. “It’s our job to answer any questions and be open to the freshmen when they have any questions. The sooner we get comfortable with one another, the better position we’ll be

in for the season.” Conner would agree the season has been a process, but added that she is proud of how the team has been communicating with each other when correcting mistakes during the first two games. The McNeese State contest could turn out to be the biggest indication of how this season could pan out. “Our main goal is to get a championship,” Champion said. “McNeese is going to be a tough game because they have always given us great competition. At the same time, I feel like we’re ready to show everyone, and the rest of the conference in particular, that we’re ready to take it.”

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Texas State opens season in SMU/TCU Crosstown Challenge By Matt Gurevitz SENIOR SPORTS REPORTER @Matt_Gurevitz

The season is underway for the Texas State volleyball team as they travel to the Dallas-Fort Worth area to compete in the SMU/TCU Crosstown Challenge. The tournament will include Arizona and in-state rivals TCU and SMU. The Bobcats will face TCU in their first match Friday night in the Horned Frogs’ gym. The game can’t come soon enough for Coach Karen Chisum. “I’m really looking forward to face TCU because it’s our first,” Chisum said. “It’ll be a great opportunity to face a Big 12 opponent and we’re all excited for it.” Texas State has not competed against TCU since 2007, when the Bobcats won 3-0. After the season opens up against TCU, the Bobcats will play against the Arizona Wildcats Saturday morning. Arizona, ranked 17th in the country, is the only team in the tournament ranked in the top 25. The Wildcats are one of two ranked

opponents on the Bobcats’ schedule. Arizona defeated Texas State in 2010 in three sets in the last meeting. The Bobcats will then face the hometown team, the SMU Mustangs, Saturday night. SMU is unranked, but Chisum said, “They were a top-45 team last year and (it) will (be) tough.” Texas State has played SMU more than any of the other teams in the tournament in recent years, with a 2-2 record against each other since 2009. The last time the Mustangs and Bobcats battled was the 2013 Delta Zeta Classic in San Marcos. Texas State won 3-1 and the team looks to continue succeeding against the Mustangs. This opening tournament will be competitive, but it will show Texas State what kind of team it will be this season. “It’ll be nice to know where the team is at right now,” Chisum said. “Our coaches will do a great job assessing the players and continuing to improve our

performance on the court.” This season, two newcomers are being thrown into the fire as starting setters. Both of the new players are transfers. “Emily Shelton and Erin Hoppe will come in right away and play,” Chisum said. “It’s a little scary because we’ve never dealt with that here at Texas State.” The team will use the two transfer players Jaliyah Bolden, sophomore middle blocker, and Morgan Lewis, junior middle blocker, early in the season. There is some uncertainty within the team, but overall the Bobcats are still confident and it shows. “The feeling in this facility has been wonderful,” Chisum said. “We started off slow, but our coaches really got after them, and ever since then the culture here changed. Our players know that every touch matters and no balls hit the floor without some diving for it.” Chisum loves players who play the “Karen Chisum way.” Ali Hubicsak, senior labero, and Shelby Vas Matt, junior outside hitter, showed exactly what that

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