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Upper Purgatory open for business once again By Rae Glassford NEWS REPORTER @rae_maybe

San Martians are now gaining access to upper Purgatory Creek Natural Area after the property was closed at the end of October due to the historic flash floods that ravaged Central Texas. Upper Purgatory, one of three trailheads which act as gateways into the woodlands, has been reopened by the city as of Jan. 1, at the behest of the San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance, a locally operated conservation organization. “Shortly after the floods, the city closed the area and started working with the Greenbelt Alliance to do assessments,” said Bert Stratemann, parks operations manager. “They documented all of the damage through GPS mapping and took photographic documentation, which helped us get a better understanding of what it’s going to take to reopen the area.” Using information provided by the Greenbelt Alliance, the San Marcos Parks and Recreation Department determined when opening each section of Purgatory will be possible. Currently, maintenance crews are working their way down to the Hunter Road entrance, where they will need heavier equipment due to the amount of debris, Stratemann said. “We met with the city and got the OK to go ahead and go in to look at the damage that had occurred,” said Maggie Hutchins-Wagner, Greenbelt Alliance president. “After surveying that damage we identified places that could be opened more quickly than others.” Upper Purgatory, the first section to be reopened, sits at a higher elevation than the rest of the area, and did not receive as much damage, HutchinsWagner said. Although the area is higher up, it looks as though floodwaters rose at least 12 feet high in some places. “We are still in the process of going through to clear the rest of the area,” Hutchins-Wagner said. “A lot of the damage is organic debris, so pedestrians can’t see where the trail is. It would be easy to get lost. It does not look the same way it did before; the entire area is transformed.” Additionally, while some trails may appear deceptively clear, the way is inconspicuously hazardous to pedestrians, she said. Danger takes the form of falling tree limbs, lodged in the canopy overhead. “There are large tree limbs hanging 20 to 30 feet up in the air, which could potentially come loose and fall on pedestrians,” Stratemann said. “There are areas where there


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Comm Week’s focus is what all students need, no matter what major By Bailey Buckingham NEWS REPORTER @bcbuckingham

The Communication Studies Department has revamped Comm Week to attract all Texas State students after the event proved to produce moderate to low turnouts in years past. Instead of being a fiveday event, Comm Week will take place over two days this year. During this time, there will be six panels focused on communication and job networking. The panels are set to concentrate on communication studies but are intended for all majors. “This is for the entire campus,” said Marian Houser, communications professor. “Communication is infused in every degree. We aren’t here to show everyone how great we are—we actu-

ally want to get everyone involved.” Houser said the events will give students the opportunity to meet communication professionals and get insight into how communication skills lead to success in careers. One of the events will be similar to speed dating. Students will speak one-onone with professionals and ask them questions for 15 minutes. “Interviews and career fairs can be awkward, just like dating,” said Michael Burns, communications senior lecturer. “So we decided to create an atmosphere that is comfortable and timed so that the students get a chance to hear many different perspectives from professionals that are coming from all over the country.” Shawn Turner, a commu-

nication studies alumnus and former deputy press secretary for the White House, is one of the two speakers to make an appearance at Comm Week. Turner will share insight into the communication field and teach students how to accomplish their professional goals. “I’m especially excited about our two great speakers,” Houser said. “They’ve just been such a success on their own and they have such a story to tell. And the fact that they are our own alumni will be very inspiring.” Kuro Tawil, a communication studies alum and owner of Kuros!, an organization that provides pepper spray to women in developing countries, is the second guest set to speak at Comm Week. Tawil will be speaking

about the importance and impact of communication in students’ lives. “This year we really wanted to focus on what the students want and need, rather than assuming,” Burns said. “We’ve put a lot of work into getting the students’ perspective.” The Comm Week committee decided to restructure the event by enlisting the help of Channing Wan, communication studies junior. Wan, the first Comm Week intern, helped plan the event and brought the student perspective to the committee. “We’re really trying to make this about what students need in order to get ahead in the job field,” Wan said. “Comm Week (is) run by the communications department, but we would love to have people from any ma-

jor. Communication skills are the soft skills that will help (students) to stand out in any field.” Comm Week will begin on Feb. 17 at the LBJ Student Center. On Feb. 18, the sessions will be held in the Performing Arts Center. The two-day event will end with a mixer, allowing students to mingle with professionals, peers and faculty from the communication studies department. “The mixer is a time for people who are interested in communication studies but don’t know much about it to come and meet with many different professionals in many different fields so that they can get a better understanding on the field and department,” Burns said.


Chemistry professor secures prestigious grant By Brigeda Hernandez NEWS REPORTER @brigeda_h

As an emerging research institution, Texas State has joined the search for renewable energy resources. Todd Hudnall, assistant chemistry professor, just received his second grant from the National Science Foundation. The Faculty Early Career Development Program award, which pro-

vides funding for five years, is a competitive grant attracting thousands of proposals each year. Hudnall is conducting research to create molecular compounds, which may have the potential to facilitate cleaner and more efficient energy storage, particularly in light-emitting devices such as computers and cell phones. “I like to think of myself as an architect within chem-

istry,” Hudnall said. “We like to make molecules.” He is working under a three-year Individual Investigator Program grant from the NSF, awarded in 2014. Funding from the new grant will begin this February. It is uncommon for a principal investigator to receive two active research grants from the NSF, Hudnall said. William Brittain, chair of


Let all of campus know about your upcoming nuptials by being included in the Star’s 2016 Bridal issue, hitting stands February 25.

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2 | Monday, February 8, 2016


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


from front

Faculty, staff, administrative diversity lacking By Clayton Kelley SENIOR NEWS REPORTER @Claytonkelley

Texas State is known for its diverse array of students, but that diversity does not extend to faculty, staff and administrators. However, university officials said they are working to improve this issue. According to the Office of Institutional Research, as of 2015, only 5 percent of the university’s faculty, staff and administrators are made up of African Americans, while 22 percent of this group is comprised of Hispanics. Over the past 5 years, these percentages have seen minimal fluctuation. However, Texas State officials said they are actively working to increase diversity among the university’s faculty, staff and administrators. “We have a very important strategic goal of increasing diversity among our faculty, and we measure that by looking at increases in percentages,” said Cynthia Opheim, associate provost of Academic Affairs. “We’ve


had some pretty decent increases in the number of Hispanic faculty, but we haven’t made dramatic increases in African Americans.” Opheim said over the past 20 years, there has been a significant increase in racial groups of faculty and gender, she said. One of the five goals of the university’s Master Plan is to increase diversity groups among faculty, staff and students. “Whenever we advertise for a new faculty position, we always advertise in several publications that are geared toward ethnic and racial faculty,” Opheim said. “We always make a point to put ads in outlets that minorities will look at.” Prisca Ngondo, public relations assistant professor of African descent, said Texas State is not as diverse as it could be, but recognizes that minority recruitment can be challenging. “It’s a pressing issue nationwide, but I do think the university is making steps towards increasing diversity as much as they can,” Ngondo

said. “It does seem like Texas State is working on hiring a more diverse pool of faculty members.” Texas State has hired 404 new faculty members within the past five years, and 14 of those were African-American, according to the Office of Institutional Research. “It’s important to promote diversity because it is through exposure towards people that are different than us that we can create a nation of tolerant and accepting people,” Ngondo said. Opheim said recruitment can be challenging because, in some disciplines, there are very limited pools of Ph.D. faculty among ethnic minorities. “Some pools of people with Ph.D.s are limited on minorities, but we try to make it work by sending faculty to conferences and using personal networks,” Opheim said. “We just hired two new African-American faculty in the College of Business and we’re very proud of that.” She said Texas State is always finding ways to make

the school an appealing place to work at for minority faculty and staff members. “We’ve been very deliberate in pursuing diversity in faculty, staff and students,” Opheim said. “Over 30 percent of our students are Hispanic and we’re trying to increase the numbers of other ethnic groups as well.” Retention is just as important as recruitment, and groups such as the Hispanic Policy Network and the Coalition of Black Faculty and Staff can help the university, Opheim said. “For me, I think those numbers (of minority staff and faculty) are not necessarily reflected of the changing population here at Texas State,” said Skyller Walkes, member of the Coalition of Black Faculty and Staff. “Changing the cultural process is a dynamic process. However, I think it’s a process the university needs to assume enthusiastically and aggressively.” Walkes said the Coalition of Black Faculty and Staff is very intentional with its

programming and outreach in an effort to retain students. Events such as the Black Student Organization Retreat and the Academic Achievement ceremony offer mentorships between staff and students. These events also serve as a way to build a strong community among black students and the population, she said. “We’re very strongly tethered to the idea that we have not only a professional responsibility, but a social responsibility to support students who otherwise may fail to receive it,” Walkes said. “It’s not a recruitment process as much as it is to remind students that we are a living resource for them.” She said cultural competency and diversity training at any institution should always be intentional—never optional. “If you don’t ensure or guarantee that those resources are not just available, but they’re absolutely imperative, like academics are expected to be, then you’re already behind in the game,” Wal-

kes said. The Hispanic Policy Network assists in maintaining an important resource for minority students, said Alex Villalobos, Hispanic Policy Network president. “Many students would like to see more upper level positions represent the population,” Villalobos said. “I think the more you see someone that looks like you, the easier it is for students to feel more comfortable.” Villalobos said Texas State has room for improvement when it comes to faculty, staff and administrative diversity. However, he said the problem cannot be solved overnight because it is all part of a process. “We’re falling flat on those particular areas, but we do find a way to address the issues of misrepresentation,” Villalobos. “By pushing along to promote the discussion and dialogue of this, we find ways to update each other on things that we’re doing.”

have a chance to rewrite the textbook,” Hudnall said. Hudnall received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Texas State. Although he had always been interested in science, Hudnall also liked to draw and originally began his studies as an architecture student. At first, chemistry classes were a way to strengthen his GPA. As Hudnall took more,

he realized chemistry was a better fit for him. Chad Booth, associate chemistry professor, worked with Hudnall while the grant recipient was still a student at the university. “He was one of those students, from a laboratory standpoint, that you always want and get only occasionally,” Booth said. “He would work six or seven days a week.

He was always in lab, that’s where he wanted to be.” Since Booth began working at Texas State in 2001, he said the university’s involvement in research has grown in terms of magnitude. “The battery area is a huge area of research, with everybody moving towards electric cars, hybrids and things like this,” Booth said. “The big issue there is the type of bat-

tery in the vehicles.” Brittain said original discovery research, such as the type Hudnall is doing, takes a lot of time and energy to complete. “You do it because you hope you’re bettering yourself,” Brittain said. “The people who accept that role love it. Dr. Hudnall is a great example of how you prosper despite that burden.”

from front

the chemistry department, said Texas State gains recognition as a research university when professors secure awards such as these. “The CAREER grant is an honor,” Brittain said. “You have to show real promise. It’s not just about getting money. You have to show commitment to society and the community.” Hudnall enjoys making

molecules, but in order to receive funding, the compounds have to show promise in terms of what they can do. Hudnall said the research that gets funded is perhaps a high in the sky idea, something that could be transformative if it works. “It’s the challenge of trying to make molecules that are unstable, and what I like about it is that we possibly

is no longer a discernable trail path.” Stratemann said the rough terrain and open cliff faces could result in a very bad day for someone unfamiliar with the closed area. “In fact, we still recommend that people exercise caution even in the areas that are reopened, especially if you’re a biker,” Stratemann said. The Greenbelt Alliance is composed entirely of volunteers, and has no paid staff. The organization operates inexpensively, and most of their funding comes from individual donations and small grants, Hutchins-Wagner said. “Anyone who wants to work on the trails needs to be trained by the Greenbelt Alliance, carry insurance, and follow the proper guidelines,” Stratemann said. “We know when they’re working on trails that they’re doing it to our standards, that they have permits allowing them to access these areas.” The San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance’s official website provides information on general bushwhacking safety, and the trail crew typically give volunteers a brief orientation before putting them to work, Hutchins-Wagner said. Volunteers must sign a waiver before helping clear

the trails. The amount and type of experience someone has can determine what type of job they’re given, she said. “We have a very dedicated trail crew,” Hutchins-Wagner said. “They are making this happen. We have also had a couple of requests from other entities that have come and worked with us; AmeriCorps came out earlier last week.” The Greenbelt Alliance has entered a memorandum of understanding with the city, authorizing the organization to maintain and create the surface trails in San Marcos’ natural areas. “We’re trying to make the area safe before it’s accessible again,” Stratemann said. “We had to reopen some of the trails because people were going in anyway, but you can get ticketed for trespassing in the closed zones, which carries a pretty substantial fine.” As for the other two entrances to Purgatory, the Hunter Road and Prospect trailheads are estimated to be re-established, connected and open to the public by April, Hutchins-Wagner said. “The weather has been cooperative,” Hutchins-Wagner said. “Some trails will remain closed, but people can expect to be able to go from one entrance to another.” The middle section of Purgatory, which is still closed,

received the most amount of damage and will likely take the longest amount of time to rehabilitate, she said. “This is really a multipronged process,” HutchinsWagner said. “What’s worked the best is recruiting people who have experience doing this type of trail-clearing. There are a lot of things you have to consider. Our biggest obstacle is safety concerns.” Dianne Wassenich, program director of the San Marcos River Foundation, said another major area of environmental concern is the Sink Creek watershed, which flows through a recharge zone and directly into the San Marcos River. “The head of our river is important to protect,” Wassenich said. The San Marcos River Foundation is a local organization involved in land conservation, river cleanups and water quality testing, and helped start the San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance. Other natural areas in San Marcos still closed due to flooding damage include Thompson’s Island, immediately upstream from John J. Stokes Park, and Cape’s Camp, immediately below the Woods apartment complex.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE CAREER DAY Discover Job Opportunities in the Field of Criminal Justice! Talk with Representatives from Federal, State and Local CJ Agencies!

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 9th, 2016 10 am - 2 pm LBJSC MAIN BALLROOM Students seeking degrees in all majors are invited to attend.


from front

Masters of Biomedical Sciences


CONNECTIONS At UIW, you will find your connection to careers in health professions. You can learn more about our Masters of Biomedical Sciences program by attending one of our upcoming information sessions: Thursday, February 11 at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 23 at 6:30 p.m. For more information or to reserve your spot, call (210) 283-6976 or visit Sessions will be held at the Office of Admissions (4301 Broadway, Administration Bldg., ground floor.)

Sponsored by Texas State School of Criminal Justice and Texas State Office of Career Services.

For details visit

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The University Star

Monday, February 8, 2016 | 3


Carlie Porterfield, Lifestyle Editor @reporterfield @universitystar

Live Music Roundup By Stacee Collins LIFESTYLE REPORTER @stvcee

Feb. 8

Where: Stonewall Warehouse When: 5 p.m. Is there a better way to enjoy live music than seeing friends make fools of themselves? Stonewall Warehouse hosts karaoke every Monday night. ( mon/monday-karaoke-night)

Feb. 9

Where: The Marc When: 7 p.m. The free show will feature Fat Tuesday and dance music artist NGHTMRE. From Los Angeles, the solo DJ has collaborated with trap artists like SLANDER and Richard Vission. (https://secure.

Feb. 10

Where: Cheatham Street Warehouse When: 9 p.m. Every Wednesday, Cheatham Street Warehouse hosts Kent Finlay’s Songwriters’ Circle. The nonprofit event allows artists to sign up and perform songs. ( events/arts/kent-finalys-songwriters-circle.html)

Feb. 11

Where: Wake the Dead Coffee House When: 7:30 p.m.

O’Malarkey will be performing at Wake the Dead Coffee House. The local Irish/Celtic band plays every second and fourth Thursday. (

Feb. 12

Where: Cheatham Street Warehouse When: 9 p.m. Cheatham Street Warehouse will host folk rock band Dylan Stuart & The Eulogists. The group recently released a new album Giving up the Ghost. (

Feb. 13

Where: Cheatham Street Warehouse When: 9 p.m. Blue Water Highway Band will kick off its second tour show at Cheatham Street Warehouse. The members will revisit their roots in hometown San Marcos for this concert. (

Feb. 14

Where: Performing Arts Center’s Recital Hall When: 4 p.m. Banjo legend Alan Munde will perform acoustic music with vocalists Elliot Rogers, Janice Rogers and Kitty Ledbetter. This concert is part of the Performing Arts Encore: Supple Music Series. ( aspx?id=1780&cid=120&p=1)



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Healthy & Non-Smoking BMI 19 - 32 Weigh at least 110 lbs.

Thu. 2/18 - Sun. 2/21

Healthy & Non-Smoking BMI 18.5 - 29.9

Thu. 2/19 - Mon. 3/7 Outpatient Visit: 3/14

Healthy & Non-Smoking BMI 18 - 33

Wed. 2/24 - Mon. 2/29 Outpatient Visit: 3/3

Healthy & Non-Smoking BMI 20 - 32 Weigh at least 110 lbs.

Wed. 3/2 - Sun. 3/6 Outpatient Visit: 3/7

Healthy & Non-Smoking BMI 18 - 30 Weigh 110 - 220 lbs.

Thu. 3/3 - Mon. 3/7 Thu. 3/10 - Mon. 3/14


NATURAL BRIDGE WILDLIFE RANCH is hiring immediate FT/PT VISITOR CENTER and RESTAURANT personnel. Join our friendly, customeroriented team with flexible schedules and an unique atmosphere. Apply today in person or download application www.WildlifeRanchTexas. com. SEMEN DONORS NEEDED! $150 per

specimen, healthy college students age 18-39. For application go to www. KUNGFUSANMARCOS. COM Come join our loud, fun, happy crew and learn how to roll pitas like a pro. All positions available! Must love life, people and pitas! Email us @:

The Student Publications Board of the Texas State School of Journalism and Mass Communication is conducting an all-campus open petitioning process to select a student as Editor-in-Chief of The University Star. Term begins one week following the final issue of 2016 Spring Semester publication schedule. Applicants must be available to serve the entire term of the appointment. Each applicant is asked to complete a written petition, which is subsequently screened by members of the student publications board. The board will interview qualified candidates for the position. The student publications board includes the journalism sequence coordinator in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, the assistant director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and a member of the print medium who is selected by the director of student publications. The director of student publications and the current editor-in-chief serve as ex-officio members for the committee.

Minimum Qualifications To qualify, applicants must be enrolled in at least 12 credit hours each semester during the term office. Students graduating in the final semester of the appointment (Spring 2017) may be enrolled in fewer hours as long as they meet graduation requirements. Applicants must have worked in a professional editorial environment, or have served as a section editor at a university student newspaper. Students of all majors and classifications, including graduate students, may petition for the position. Applicants must be in good academic standing with the university when submitting an application. Applicants must maintain a 2.5 semester and overall grade point average during their time of appointment. A student who falls below the 2.5 grade point grade semester average will forfeit the office even though he/she maintains an overall 2.5 grade point average.

The University Star Mission

American Heart Association


Courses for all types of CPR One person class or 5 or more We will come to your location! North American CPR 830-626-0672

The editor is the primary student editorial administrator for The University Star and has authority in all personnel matters and makes the final decision regarding news, sports, feature, photo, Web and opinion content. The editor determines daily operation guidelines, provides a role model for professional behavior, delegates operational authority and fulfills policies and procedures as determined by the student publications board and faculty adviser. The editor oversees meetings and handles personnel problems, evaluates all copy and artwork for each publication. The editor-in-chief is responsible for hiring, properly training and supervising all members of the editorial board. The editor-in-chief promotes relations between the publication, the community and campus organizations. The

editor-in-chief is also the voice of the publication with the community.

Term of Office Term of office begins following the final publication of the Spring 2016 semester and runs through Spring 2017 semester. Applicants must be able to serve the entire term of office in order to be considered for the position A salary is paid during the term of office.

Petitioning Process Applications for the position will be due by noon, Wednesday, March 30 to the Director of Student Publications, Trinity Building, Room 107. People interested in petitioning should sign a candidacy list in Trinity, Room 107 and acquire an information package. Qualified applicants will be notified and interviews will be scheduled beginning April 4. Selection of the editor-in-chief will be made shortly after interviews have been completed. Formal assumption of duties will begin one week after the final newspaper of the Spring Semester is published.

Petitioning Deadlines Applications for the position will be due by noon, Wednesday April 1 to the Director of Student Publications, Trinity Building, Room 107. People interested in petitioning should sign a candidacy list in Trinity, Room 107 and acquire an information package. Qualified applicants will be notified and interviews will be scheduled beginning April 13. Selection of the editor-in-chief will be made shortly after interviews have been completed for the position. Formal assumption of duties will begin one week after the final newspaper of the Spring Semester is published. PACKETS AVAILABLE: March 2, noon; Trinity, Room 107 INTERVIEWS Will be scheduled beginning April 4

4 | Monday, February 8, 2016

The University Star


Brandon Sams, Opinions Editor @TheBrandonSams @universitystar



University journalism officials fold on stripper ad and they’re absolutely wrong After causing a fervor in the media last week, The University Star decided to discontinue a half-page ad from the San Antonio gentlemen’s club, Sugar’s, despite the objections from the editorial board. Most detractors saw a degree of sexism in the advertisement, citing that it targets women students specifically and in a sexualized fashion. However, advertisements targeting male students, such as sperm donations, have not received any backlash. And the process and procedure of donating sperm is an objectively more sexual experience than dancing on a pole. The clear and evident underlying problem with the exotic dancer and waitress ad can be summarized

quite simply: antiquated ideas of gender, expression and work. Part of being a feminist or prophetic freedom fighter is not apologizing for the decisions and actions made by one’s self. Frankly, there is no need for an apology— stripping is an occupation. It is not illegal nor is it an immoral career choice. Many people find themselves drawn to the profession for various subjective reasons, with emphasis on subjective. It is their life and no one else’s. To reprimand a publication for daring to run an ad for a gentlemen’s club illustrates the narrow-mindedness of those in institutional roles of influence. Joining a convent of nuns is not intrinsically better than becoming an exotic

dancer, and it also targets women readers. Ironically, no one bats an eye at the nunnery ads that have run in the paper. But these two options epitomize the different poles of a woman’s expression in society: the good, virginal woman of relative morality, and the bad, slutty one who prioritizes debauchery and impulse over conventional ideals. In academia this is referred to as the Madonna-Whore Complex: drawing welldefined lines between the women worthy of respect, and those worthy of purposeful misuse and disrespect. The powers that be seek to exalt this phenomenon by chastising and shunning the Sugar’s ad, while wallowing in complacency regarding an

ad on the wonders of an abbey. Let it be noted: shaming sex workers is not something we as an editorial board support. To the students or general readers who saw the Sugar’s ad and contemplated stripping as a career-choice, do not let the actions of the higher ups discourage personal autonomy. After all, liberty is all about choice; giving students and readers the conscious power to make decisions for themselves. And on Feb. 5 the system purposely took that power away, under the guise of policy and professionalism— two vague, convoluted terms meant to rely on the semantics of understanding. Forcing people to resign themselves due to ar-

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.

chaic beliefs about what is “right” and “wrong” in the scope of mass communication does a disservice to the varied and nuanced populace The University Star serves. So long as an ad does not advocate violence, hatred or illegal activities, it should be fair game. The advertisement does not force students to work at Sugar’s. To suggest this idea as if students cannot help but feel obligated to apply to be a waitress or an exotic dancer at a gentleman’s club is disingenuous. The fiasco is a classic case of “you’re only sorry you got caught.” The only reason The University Star was forced to reevaluate ad policy was because of the amount of attention received. From Fox 7 Austin, to Fox 29 San Antonio to Telemundo, the media storm was evident. But local outrage over the ad begs the question: why now? The University Star

ran a much more provocative ad from Sugar’s featuring a young woman in a risqué schoolgirl outfit with the message, “college students need (money) for school?” The ad with the provocatively-dressed woman ran in full color on May 3, 2011 for Sugar's Fest, as well as June 12, 2013 and Aug. 21, 2013. Stripping advertisements by Sugar’s in the newspaper is nothing new, but the selective outrage is quite original. Leading students and readers down a primrose path is not the way to prosperity and trust, so why pull the ad? The editorial board stands in solidarity with the ad and those who wish to partake in exotic dancing. It is a legitimate line of work, and can be a form of empowerment for women, and men alike.


Get your swirl on but be mindful of distinct flavors

Mikala Everett OPINIONS COLUMNIST @mikala_maqeulla

Ah, love. So light, airy and free—except when it is not. Love can be treacherous and soul-crushingly damaging, yet people love to be in love. Finding that someone special produces the heart flutters like no other sensation—or so I’ve heard. Love is great—all kinds of it. Romantic love, familial love, love between friends, food love—it is all

marvelous to me. There is nothing like meeting someone so amazingly perfect for you, when the question is begged, “Were we carved from the same mold?” But love is difficult in and of itself. Once interracial dating is added to the equation, you may find yourself in a very rocky love boat. As an African-American woman in, well, America, I will have experiences that members of other races will not encounter. There will be emotions and feelings that cannot always be expressed but are understood by every member of my community. This is not to say that other races will not be able to understand, or sympathize with our struggles, but instead suggests sometimes it takes

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

more than sympathy. For example, a dolphin swims with its dorsal fins and flippers. Humans swim with their arms and legs. Sure, a human knows what it feels like to swim, but we do not know what if feels like to swim with dorsal fins and flippers— appendages that have been there since birth. We can imagine it, but we won’t ever quite understand it. And that’s the point. The same can be said for growing up as an African-American in the United States. I did not grow up as a white woman or an Asian man, so I do not know what it feels like to experience shared events as that race or sex. My experience growing up as an African-American girl in the southern United States is unique.

And naturally there are going to be experiences and realities someone outside of my demographic would not be familiar with. Now, this is not to discourage interracial dating because the swirl is beautiful. It is important to keep in mind, however, that our experiences are not the same. With this base understanding in any relationship—whether it be interracial, heterosexual or foodsexual—nothing will be able to tear love apart. The differences between cultures are what make America such an amazing and beautiful country. Instead of abiding by the typical “we are all the same” ideology, it would be more beneficial to recognize and celebrate our differences. Diversity is a wonderful thing, and

is it not much better to be two halves of a whole instead of the exact same pieces? Whether it’s brown sugar, warm vanilla or some other blended love going down, cherish the affection for what it is. If you don’t understand the complexity and beauty of my hair or the cocoa-buttered brilliance of my melanin complexion, it’s OK. So, if anyone is looking, I know an opinionated, beanie-loving, super-cute columnist

who is single. Holla at your girl. —Mikala Everett is a mass communication sophomore

A February

Black History Month Column Series

In honor of Black History Month, the opinions section will spotlight a column written by one of The University Star’s black staff members in each issue. The University Star hopes to showcase a variety of perspectives in the new series dedicated to bringing issues in the black community to light.

601 University Drive Trinity Building, Room 101 San Marcos, TX 78666

Phone: (512) 245-3487 Fax: (512) 245-3708

Design Editor...........................................Lauren Huston, Web Editor........................................................Emily Sharp, Account Executive............................................Hanna Katz, Account Executive.................................Morgan Knowles, Account Executive..........................Angelica M. Espinoza, Media Specialist.............................................Dillan Thomson, Advertising Coordinator...............................Kelsey Nuckolls, Publications Coordinator........................................Linda Allen, Publications Director...........................Bob Bajackson,

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

Visit The Star at

The University Star

Monday, February 8, 2016 | 5


Paul Livengood, Sports Editor @IAmLivengood @universitystar



Autumn Anderson: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? Ti’Aira Pitts: Probably Africa, to see all the animals and stuff like that and how it really is and how it really looks. AA: What is your favorite thing to do in San Marcos? TP: Probably just hang out with my teammates, really. That's all I really do. We go to the river sometimes, or the outlets. AA: Do you have a favorite TV show? TP: My favorite is Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. AA: If you could meet any pro-

fessional athlete, who would it be? TP: Probably Candace Parker because I’ve looked up to her ever since I started playing basketball. AA: Do you have a pregame ritual? TP: No, I actually don't. AA: What’s your favorite local restaurant? TP: Herbert’s, the Mexican restaurant. It’s amazing. AA: If you could only watch one movie for the rest of your life, what would it be? TP: Probably The Princess and the Frog. AA: What is your biggest fear? TP: Growing up and not having any money.



Although raised in a small town, this baseball player’s family always had big dreams for him. Tanner Hill, senior infielder/catcher, is a Texas native who grew up in both San Marcos and New Braunfels. One might recognize Hill’s name not only from his baseball career at Texas State, but from his family’s legacy. Both of the senior’s parents attended Texas State (Southwest Texas State back in the day) and his older sister is also a proud alumna. Not only are Hill’s mom and dad former students here, but they were also active Bobcat athletes. Hill’s father was a member of the tennis team, while his mother played volleyball for Coach Karen Chisum, who still leads Texas State women’s volleyball team today. The two met at Texas State and developed a sense of Bobcat pride they wanted to pass on to their children. Although his father aced the game of tennis, Hill was not expected to pick it up too. Rather, his dad wanted him to find his own sport to master. “When he was about 8 or 9, I realized baseball was his sport,” said Darrell Hill, the athlete’s father. “He seemed to really like it and he was pretty good at it. When he was young he put lots of hours into it in the backyard.” Tanner Hill’s sister, Shelby Hill, is six years older than him and knew Texas State was where she wanted earn her college degree. Even though his entire immedi-

ate family chose to be Bobcats, Tanner Hill’s decision to attend Texas State was ultimately his choice. Initially, Tanner Hill forged his own path and attended Galveston College to play baseball his freshman year. Sophomore year everything changed for the athlete when he returned home to San Marcos to continue his college baseball career at Texas State. “I grew up five minutes away from the university, so it’s always been a dream of mine to play here,” Tanner Hill said. Growing up in Bobcat territory, the infielder/catcher has always been influenced by the university “He could have gone to a lot of other places, but this is where he wanted to go,” his father said. “He was raised always going to Bobcat football, baseball and basketball games, so his goal was always to play here at Texas State.” Watching Tanner Hill play baseball has been his family’s first priority. They can be seen at all of his games, rain or shine. “My biggest support system is absolutely my family,” Tanner Hill said. “My mom, dad, aunt, uncle and cousins all come to watch my games. I have a cheering section and it’s good that they’re always there.” Tanner Hill’s parents are not only known around the university, but throughout the San Marcos community. The infielder/catcher is affected by his family’s reputation every day. “Everywhere I go in San Marcos people ask me how my family is, and they always


talk about how good they are, especially my grandpa and dad,” Tanner Hill said. “Whenever people do that, it means they have a good reputation, and this is why I look up to them the most.” While Tanner Hill admits members in his family are role models in his life, the senior serves as an influence in his family’s lives as well. “He works hard, has a good heart, is very loyal and is a good kid,” Darrell Hill said. “He usually makes the right choices, and that’s probably the part that makes me most proud.” Tanner Hill is preparing to step onto the Bobcat Ballpark baseball field for his final season as a college athlete. This will also be the last time the Hill family has

the opportunity to reminisce about their Bobcat days while watching their son play. With professional baseball on his mind, Tanner Hill still hopes to leave a lasting impression at Texas State—not only for his sake, but for his family’s name. “This could be my last year of playing baseball, so I’m just going to try and enjoy it as much as I can,” Tanner Hill said. “I think we’re going to have a really good team this year, so it should be a fun season.” They say home is where the heart is and for Tanner Hill, Texas State is home. No matter where life takes him, his heart will forever be in San Marcos with his family.



Kyle Denomme, freshman runner, is from Windsor, Ontario, Canada, and he is certainly a long way from home. Despite the distance, he is enjoying every minute of it at Texas State. Denomme says there are differences between his hometown and the United States. He says the people and the weather are a lot nicer in Canada, just like the stereotypes people hear about. “It is a lot more rushed in the United States. Everyone seems like they have to be so fast and are always on the go; where as in Canada there seems like a lot more people are more laid back, and they take their time on things,” Denomme said. “It is a lot more crowded here than it is at home, and a lot busier.” Choosing to come to Texas State was a very exciting experience for Denomme. He says he loved the school and everything that came with it. His decision to come and further his education was not only for the sport, but also for the different culture. He says it’s the best of both worlds. “I definitely liked the scenery. I liked that the school and the people were really nice,”

Denomme said. “I get the hot weather here, and then I also get the cold weather at home. I could make a whole new set of friends, and the school is great.” With his outgoing, adventurous and very social personality, Denomme had no problems making lifelong friends. “I got the perfect people on my team, they treat me well. They treat me like their family,” Denomme said. “It’s really great, because if you didn’t have something like that you would hate it here. Everyone I met here has been really open towards me, and have helped me out as much as they could.” Without the help of his family at home, he has learned more responsibility. Denomme said he likes living on his own even though it can be tough at times His team has helped him adapt to a new environment. “They were all so open about me coming right from the first day I met them. I can see all of these people being my best friends and it’s already happened,” Denomme said. “Every day I am happy to go to practice. They are all so nice and they are so open and talkative and it just make practice better.” His family is Denomme’s other passion. He said having a close relationship with

his family is very important to him. Denomme said his parents, Jeff Denomme and Ann Marie Murray, are very supportive of everything he does. He said they always thought he would be a great runner. “They kind of pressured me to start running. I listened to them, but I didn’t like it at first,” Denomme said. “I started doing really well in it and I started to progress. I started to get more and more into it, and then I just kind of quit every other sport that I was in for running.” With track and school, Denomme does not go home as much because of the far distance. He said it is the toughest thing that he has ever had to go through. “It was a weird change of not being able to see my family every day. Not coming home and not being able to hang out with my family and friends,” Denomme said. One special event that Denomme and his family celebrate happens about every five years— the anniversary of his great-grandparents’ wedding. They have been married for close to 75 years and Denomme said their relationship together remains pretty special. Denomme said it is a big event and it is always great

to spend time together. “It is one of the longest marriages around where I am from. So it is pretty big, and it is always pretty special when we have our whole family get together.” Denomme said. Time management is the key to success in college. Denomme said he is learning more responsibility and trying his best to balance his time with school and track. “Being able to maintain schoolwork, running, getting the right amount of sleep and eating proper. All of that in one day is kind of hard,” Denomme said. “It’s really hard to manage your time in college, but I am trying to do the best that I can.” Denomme is majoring in criminal justice, and hopes to go to law school after he graduates. Denomme hopes to bring success to his team and for himself as an individual this track season. “I see a lot of potential in the team, and being able to win conferences year after year. I came here because I saw that,” Denomme said. “I want to bring as much as I can to the table for me winning individual titles for the team. Also, helping out in relays and any other team as much as possible.” Denomme wants to help his team out in each and every way.


He wants to help the school as a whole and do what his coaches’ think is best. “I want to score as many points as I can in indoor and outdoor, so I can help the

team win the conference that we need to win,” Denomme said. “I think if we win conference, we’ll get the best school name in terms of track.”

6 | Monday, February 8, 2016

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February 8 2016  
February 8 2016