July 12, 2022

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TUESDAY JULY 12, 2022 VOLUME 112 ISSUE 2 www.UniversityStar.com











Students prepare for a semester free of COVID-19 restrictions By Katie Smith News Reporter Social distancing, online classes and required masks have been a part of the Texas State community's everyday life for the past three years. As they prepare to embark on their first academic year with no COVID-19 restrictions, students reflect on an unusual college experience and discuss their expectations for the upcoming school year. According to statements released by Texas State's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Emilio Carranco, "the development of safe and effective vaccines, more availability of testing and therapeutic agents that decrease the risk of severe agents" are all contributing factors to a restriction-free school year. In person classes will continue to resume, with some courses still giving the option of a hybrid style class. This coming term will be nutrition and foods junior Libby Beal's first time taking in person classes at Texas State. "When I transferred last year, I was a little disappointed that most of my classes were going to be a hybrid style," Beal said. "I transferred to Texas State because I wanted to go to a bigger school to feel a sense of community, so I'm super excited to be able to actually be in a classroom sitting next to other people where I'm able to see their faces."

Social interaction between students was an aspect of the college experience that students like Beal lost to the pandemic. Strictly online classes forced them to move back home during the height of COVID-19, leaving some to never come back. Former Texas State business major Adrian Zapata was sent home his freshman year due to the pandemic and ended up leaving the university altogether. "I felt like dropping out after getting sent home was really the only option for me," Zapata said. "Me and my parents didn't feel like we were getting our money's worth paying for an an online education where I was in Zoom classes all day long. A big part of college for me was being able to interact and learn in person, so once that was taken away from me, I felt like it didn't really make sense to stay, personally." Zapata would have graduated with the class of 2023, a class that had its freshman year cut short because of the pandemic. Packing up their dorms mid semester and saying goodbye to new friends and college life was heartbreaking to many Bobcats. Josh Chambers, a mass communication senior, is one of the many affected who is now looking forward to the upcoming school year. "I finally feel like everything's coming full circle just right in time for my senior year," Chamberlain said. "I think the


Alumna expresses love for San Marcos in new children's book By Brianna Chavez Life and Arts Contributor

There are many things to love about San Marcos. The lush waters of the river, the mystical mermaid culture and the beautiful campus Texas State students call home. For comedian, author and Texas State alumna Kelly Stone, all of this inspired her to write her first children's book, "Goodnight San Marcos," about the things that make San Marcos a one-of-a-kind city. It all started when Stone wanted to buy her kids a souvenir during a trip to New Orleans in 2010. Instead of the typical snow globe or toy, she opted for a children’s book titled “Goodnight NOLA." Since then, it has been a tradition for her to grab a book for her kids any time she travels out of town. “I was like ‘you know what? I’m going to buy a children’s book for my kids every time I travel’ and that’s what I did,” Stone said. “I’ve got tons of books from lots of cities on my bookshelf.” Upon her return home to San Marcos from a trip, Stone was on the hunt for a children’s book about the Texas town she loved so much. Her love for the city began in 1994 after attending cheerleading camp and later moving here to attend Southwest Texas State University in 1996. In hopes of teaching her two young sons about San Marcos, she was out of luck as there were few to no children’s books about San Marcos at all. This fact fueled her idea to write “Goodnight San

Kelly Stone holds her book tight at Showdown in San Marcos, Texas. PHOTO COURTESY OF KELLY STONE

Marcos” in 2010. Although Stone never thought she would become a children’s book author, her sons' love of reading inspired her

to begin her writing journey. Her first book "Mom, What is the Opposite of Guacamole?" was published in April 2021 and is filled with hilarious and

thought-provoking questions and quotes from her two boys, Mayne and Denly Stone. The boys have fond memories of their mom bringing home souvenirs to read. The books she bought made them want to travel more, especially to New Orleans after reading “Goodnight NOLA." Published in May, “Goodnight San Marcos" is a children's book written in a similar style to the classic story "Goodnight Moon" by Margaret Wise Brown. Readers of Stone's book say "goodnight" to well-known places, items and symbols of San Marcos. It took 12 years for the book to come to life and land on the bookshelves of homes in Texas and across the country. When she began the process in 2010, Stone was on the hunt for an illustrator who could help her dreams become reality. After some trial and error with previous illustrators, she was in dire need of an artist. It was a stressful time for Stone as she recalls the feeling of going from one illustrator to another. “I was at my wit’s end,” Stone said. “I just wanted to get the book done. I even considered looking into Fiverr.” A close friend of Stone named Nix Nova knew about “Goodnight San Marcos” early on in the process after meeting her in 2011 while Stone was doing stand-up comedy in the San Marcos area. Nix witnessed how hard it was to put the pieces of the puzzle together in order for Stone’s book to be ready and published.


The University Star

2 | Tuesday, July 12, 2022


Madelyn Weirich News Editor starnews@txstate.edu

FROM FRONT COVID-19 Trinity Building 203 Pleasant St. San Marcos, TX 78666 (512) 245 - 3487

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university was a little loose with restrictions when we came back on campus the first time, which I feel like slowed down our progress. But I'm definitely hopeful that this year will be different, because I'm ready to get a full year of the most normal college experience I can." Texas State's COVID-19 restrictions took a different shape each year as the pandemic progressed. When the first wave hit back at the start of 2020, students living on campus were sent home for the remainder of the spring semester. The following fall term, it was announced the university would partake in a socially distanced campus layout with online and hybrid classes offered. Riley Suiter, a health science sophomore, believes that last year, the university should have taken better measures regarding the pandemic. "While I can recognize that the school was trying to preserve the learning environment by doing in-person classes, I think they should've decreased the size of classes," Suiter said. "I always felt uncomfortable going to my in-person classes because in the majority of them, it was left up to the professors to decide on whether masks were required." Feeling unsafe around others after the pandemic is not an uncommon feeling among students attending a major university. Many students are curious to see how much these looser restrictions will

truly affect the number of cases, as well as how close it will be to the true experience before the pandemic arose. "As for this year, I'm super interested to see if there will be a spike in cases and how the school will deal with it," Suiter said. "I feel like we've all kind of done the back and forth thing where we tried to go in person and social distance, but it didn't seem to work, so we got sent back home again, so I hope this time it will actually stick." While it is still recommended for students to test for COVID-19 when symptoms develop and to report positive cases to Bobcat Trace, campus will


start to look a lot like it did in fall of 2019 before the pandemic changed students' lives forever. The university still strongly encourages masks, but social distancing and mask mandates are no longer required for students, faculty, staff or visitors. Students are hopeful yet hesitant when it comes to what the upcoming restriction-free year will hold for the university. While COVID-19 has seemingly taken away three years of many students' college experiences, the beginning of the end to pandemic-related stressors is in sight for them.


Counseling Center helps students transition to postpandemic schooling By Nichaela Shaheen News Reporter Arody Valencia recalls the anxiety she felt walking into her first in-person class since the start of the pandemic. Immediately taking note of the over 100 students she would be sharing the classroom with, knowing all the exams were to be in person and meeting her professors all added to the anxieties of navigating a COVID-19 world. Valencia has lived with anxiety and depression for years, but born in Michoacan, Mexico, seeking help was considered something uncommon for her traditional Mexican family. Valencia had a difficult start to her college journey. During her freshman year, she had to navigate online classes. "I definitely had a really, really rough semester. My GPA was lower with stress and everything," Valencia, a pre-med biology junior, said. The transition to in-person classes can be a daunting task for students like Valencia after they have already adjusted and perhaps found comfort behind the screens of online learning. The Texas State Counseling Center offers resources to help students thrive through the transition. For many students, the upcoming fall semester will be the first one in which they have all in-person classes. For some, it will even be their first semester on a Texas State campus. Regardless of the circumstance, the Counseling Center staff wants students to know it is easy and important to receive the support and help needed to succeed. Richard Martinez, a counselor at the Counseling Center, said the process of scheduling an appointment requires paperwork to be filled out prior to looking at appointment availability. “Students complete the paperwork online on the website, and then they get to select their appointment time. So we've gotten a lot of positive feedback from students that it's very simple and easy to use. That's probably the easiest way to do it,” Martinez said. According to Martinez, non-crisis counseling sessions are held virtually via TeleHealth and require appointments, which can be made over the phone or by going to the center in person after filling out the intake paperwork. Crisis sessions, on the other hand, are always conducted via phone call or text to the hotline. With a silent stigma still surrounding mental health issues, Nyleen Mendoza, a social work senior, believes the battle is just getting people comfortable enough

to seek help. “With my mom and grandparents, there's a little bit of a negative stigma against [counseling]. But I also come from a traditional Mexican family, so that is for cultural reasons,” Mendoza said. Texas State is a Hispanic Serving Institution. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, more than half of more than half of 18 to 25-yearold Hispanic people who have serious mental illness may not even receive treatment. Common mental health disorders for Latinos include anxiety disorder, major depression, PTSD and substance abuse, all of which Texas State's Counseling Center offers resources for. Mendoza, who sought help from the counseling center during her freshman year, believes it is important to seek help regardless of the noise or backlash one may face for doing so.

for students to voice concerns. The many resources the Counseling Center provides ensure just that. “We have individual counseling, a really robust group therapy program, which is where one to two counselors come together with a small group of students around a common topic or concern over the course of a semester,” Martinez said. ”We also have self-help programs on our website and then we have workshops and presentations that we do for students as well. We have the prevention and outreach role.” Mendoza first sought treatment with the Counseling Center to help with the transition from a small town to a large university. She also leaned on the center when COVID-19 forced the world to slow down and moved classes to remote learning. “My transition was pretty tough. I'm used to social interactions with my classmates so that was pretty difficult,”


“If you're already thinking you need help, there really is a positive community around the whole Counseling Center, and there's a lot of good people that go to those support groups,” Mendoza said. “There really is someone that is just going to stand by your side, so you shouldn't be scared.” The Counseling Center offers various types of resources for students who are currently enrolled in at least six credit hours, and the cost of using the center is already included in student service fees. This means that come the date of appointment, no payment will be necessary and students receive up to 15 sessions with the center. Martinez explains that it is important and helpful to have a supportive, judgment-free and confidential space

Mendoza said. “The counseling center was able to get me in contact with some of the support groups that they have, and it opened me up to more people to talk to that were also going through, like, similar things. It gave me a sense of community that I was missing.” Like Mendoza, after time and multiple conversations, Valencia's once hesitant family now recognizes and supports her mental health journey. The Counseling Center is located in room 4.1 on the fifth floor of the L.B.J. Student Center. For more information about the Counseling Center, contact 512-245-2208 or counselingcenter@ txstate.edu. The Counseling Center also is on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @ txstcc.

The University Star

Tuesday, July 12, 2022 | 3


Marisa Nunez Life & Arts Editor starlifeandarts@txstate.edu


Community jams out at Summer in the Park By Marisa Nunez Life and Arts Editor Since 1987, Summer in the Park has been an ongoing concert series for the San Marcos community to enjoy. The San Marcos Performing Arts Association (SMPAA) has created what are now some of the most popular and anticipated community events in San Marcos including the concert series, an annual event for families and music lovers alike. Barry Brittain, director of Summer in the Park, has been an event volunteer for 12 years now. He was formerly in a band that frequently participated in Summer in the Park and was recruited by the former director, Arlis Hiebert, after he stepped down. He has enjoyed giving back to the community and seeing people come out to enjoy the concert series. “I think the biggest joy comes from just seeing the positive response from the community, and seeing people out in the park together as family units," Brittain said. Summer in the Park board members plan the event from late November until the end of the year, carefully selecting the musical acts for each concert. Brittain goes to great lengths to find musicians who are unique in their craft by either having their own music or own interpretation on classics. To support local music, he selects artists within a 30-mile radius of San Marcos. "Diversity of musical genre is is really primary, but also within that I want to make sure that the quality of the of the program is at a high level and that then encourages a nice big audience which is also appealing to the sponsors," Brittain said. "That all kind of comes together and trying to get done what we want to do, which is to have a great musical series and a free concert series for our community." Rick Bowen, the president of SMPAA,

has been helping to put on Summer in the Park since 2000. Over the past 22 years, he has thoroughly enjoyed witnessing family memories being made and the joy that radiates from the concert crowds. This year, Bowen looks forward to watching bands and seeing community members have a good time. More specifically one of his favorites is Brave Combo who have been playing almost every year since 1992. “I've never seen a band incorporate the audience, like they did. They have conga lines running through the entire

everybody," Bowen said. "If you're not, you're wishing you were because it's jdancrtestust magnetic. The energy that they project and the professionalism that they do." Summer in the Park is a free concert series open to anyone. The celebration is possible thanks to the Texas Commission on the Arts through the governors office and several sponsorships from community businesses and donors. "This is really for the community and it's so heartwarming to see how the community steps up and supports us. We have banners on the stage and

their businesses," Bowen said. Both Brittain and Bowen are passionate about Summer in the Park and said they would quit before charging for admission. Keeping it free and sponsored so everyone in the community can enjoy it is important to the integrity of the event. Lizzie Lempeotis, a Summer in the Park volunteer, is excited to partake in her second run with the event. She admires Brittain and Bowen's passion for making it all happen. "Both of them have a lot that they've put into this event and that they've invested into this event," Lempeotis said. "And I think it's just really nice that [they] put forth that for the community." Lempeotis heard about Summer in the Park from Brittain at a networking event and has been taking care of the social media accounts as well as helping create graphics and posters for Summer in the Park. Being a lover of music, Lempeotis was drawn to getting involved, and she loves that it is also way she can give back to the San Marcos community. “I like the community it brings together. I think it's a lot of fun when you go there because honestly, I've met a lot of different people,” Lempeotis said. “I've really enjoyed getting to meet people in the community… something about it just really feels like a community and really makes everyone feel kind of together. And I just think it's really nice. Just the whole vibe of it.” The free concert series takes place every Thursday from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. until August 11 at San Marcos Plaza Park. Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or towels and their own refreshments.

Attendees dance in a conga line at Summer in the Park. PHOTO COURTESY OF SUMMER IN THE PARK

For more information on Summer in the Park, visit its website at https://summerintheparksm.org/ or visit its Instagram or Facebook @ sanmarcossummer.

park, they do the hokey pokey and they get everybody out of their seats – I mean

there will be two or three of the series sponsors out in the audience showcasing

New Student Orientation

Texas State associate dean Dr. Victoria Black gives a First Gen presentation to incoming freshmen at NSO, Friday, July 1, 2022, at Bobcat Stadium. PHOTO BY VANESSA BUENTELLO

Texas State incoming business marketing freshman Dax Lawhon (left) reviews his NSO schedule with freshman Jeremiah Perales, Friday, July 11, 2022, at LBJ Student Center. PHOTO BY VANESSA BUENTELLO

Texas State incoming freshmen Jordan Hargrove, Madilyn Falloon, and Marcella Martinez (left to right) hang out between NSO sessions, Friday, July 11, 2022, at LBJ Student Center. PHOTO BY VANESSA BUENTELLO

Texas State mass communication sophomore Carlota Pulgar (left) and biology junior Mali Cisneros get ready for the next NSO group, Friday, July 11, 2022, at LBJ Student Center. PHOTO BY VANESSA BUENTELLO

The University Star

4 | Tuesday, July 12, 2022


Marisa Nunez Life & Arts Editor starlifeandarts@txstate.edu

FROM FRONT READING “[Stone] paid illustrators to illustrate and in the end not be able to use those drawings for multiple reasons,” Nix said. “It was pretty unfortunate.” Stone posted a Craigslist ad in 2015 to which many artists responded, including Rayah Jaymes. Stone wanted an illustrator who was familiar with San Marcos and who could capture the culture of the vibrant city. Luckily, Jaymes fit the part. Stone said it was a long saga to get to Jaymes, but it was well worth it in the end. Jaymes has always been drawing and creating since they were young. When they got older, they pursued a job in the culinary field for 12 years until they realized their true calling for art. Since leaving their job as a chef, Jaymes has illustrated 15 children's books and is very fond of "Goodnight San Marcos" because of the history they have with the city. "As a San Antonian who has spent plenty of time in San Marcos, I was excited about telling the story of one of my beloved Hill Country cities," Jaymes said. Jaymes worked on several rough drafts until they said they came to the realization that they wanted the San Marcos River to be incorporated into the book. With their simplified color palette, they illustrated the river to flow in and out of each page turn. When she was selling copies of her first book “Mom, What is the Opposite of Guacamole?” Stone was teasing her upcoming book “Goodnight San Marcos." The owners of Gil’s saw a glimpse of a Manske roll illustration and wanted to celebrate the book release by hosting a book signing for her. Stone said she appreciates all the support “Goodnight San Marcos" has received. “The local businesses have really shown great support,” Stone said. “It’s pretty amazing, and there will be more parties to come for sure.”

The cover of Kelly Stone's book, "Goodnight San Marcos" ilustrated by Rayah Jaymes. PHOTO COURTESY OF KELLY STONE

“Goodnight San Marcos” highlights the color and life of a city that is colorful and lively. Mayne and Denly are happy that there is a book that kids can read to learn about San Marcos. From bookshelves in New Mexico, Alabama and all over Texas, “Goodnight San Marcos” has taken off. Nix believes that the book can resonate with anyone that has a love for San Marcos. “San Marcos is a town that captures your heart,” Nix said. “We’re unique, and there’s something powerful about being able to share that in book form.” Stone is proud of making her dream become a reality and finally having a book about San Marcos that is

intergenerational. There is an appendix at the back of the book which she hopes readers of all ages can use to learn something new about San Marcos while they take in the book's elaborate illustrations and detail. “I want the readers to be stimulated in their curiosity to learn more about San Marcos,” Stone said. “To feel nostalgic and to feel love.” To purchase "Goodnight San Marcos", visit Kelly Stone's website at https://kellystone.org. Keep up with Stone on Facebook @funnykelly and Instagram @kellystonecomdy.


'Cats Walk: Danielle Rugemer speaks on school experience By Monica Vargas Life and Arts Contributor

Cats Walk is a weekly segment that will highlight Texas State's most fashionforward students. Each week, Web Editor Monica Vargas will talk to a different Bobcat fashionista about style, self-love and Texas State For this segment, Monica interviewed animal science sophomore Danielle Rugemer. Danielle is sporting her chic bell-bottom pants, with a light plaid tank top, comfy crocs, boho bag and summer shades while she checks out books in Alkek Library. Danielle's favorite quote is "Nothing can be loved or hated unless it's first understood" from Leonardo Da Vinci. Vargas: Danielle, what would you say you absolutely love and appreciate about who you are? Danielle Rugemer: I love that I am a genuine person, have an optimistic view of life and am confident within my own skin. Vargas: Where does the name Rugemer originate from if you don't mind me asking you? Danielle Rugemer: My last name is German; I don't speak any but would like to learn it. Vargas: Are you originally from Texas? Do you live near?

Danielle Rugemer: I'm originally from Reno, Nevada, and moved to Cibolo, Texas eight years ago. Vargas: So many schools to choose from in the country, why Texas State? Danielle Rugemer: This school is so diverse, has so much history which includes Lyndon B. Johnson, and so much greenery and beauty. There are outdoors to explore on-campus, swimming, the river and multiple opportunities for fun hangouts. Vargas: What inspired you to major in animal science? Danielle Rugemer: When I was a little girl, I always enjoyed helping heal the animals and taking care of them. I want to be a part of the healing of the animals that need it, through medicine. Animals can't talk, and I enjoy learning the anatomy of animals which would help me assist with their well-being. Vargas: What has been your favorite class so far at Texas State? Danielle Rugemer: Chemistry. I enjoy lab and exploration in science; seeing things happen with experiments. Vargas: What is your dream after Texas State? Danielle Rugemer: Buying a house, starting my own practice as a veterinarian and getting two dogs, preferably Shih Tzus, and putting bows on them. Vargas: What do you do when you are not studying for classes? Danielle Rugemer: In my off time from school, I enjoy anime, drawing, writing songs and reading poetry. Netflix, Disney+, Hulu — I love watching TV shows. One of my favorite shows is called "Too Cute" which is about puppies in progression. Vargas: Any favorite movies and bands? Danielle Rugemer: My favorite film would be "Gone with the Wind". My favorite [artist] is Rex Orange County. I love his albums. Vargas: Okay so tell me, what are your favorite stores to shop at? Danielle Rugemer: I shop at Pacsun and Papaya. I shop at those stores because they have new trendy clothes and also carry various styles. Vargas: Finally, what are some words of advice you would give to new students at Texas State? Danielle Rugemer: Upcoming students: take one day at a time. Don't stress in your lecture and lab classes, be open to new friendships and join organizations and clubs. Try to experience it all, the newness to college. Danielle Rugemer's Instagram: @dani_rugemer To keep up with students featured in 'Cats Walk, visit The University Star's Instagram: @universitystar.

Danielle looks at books at Alkek Library. PHOTO BY MADISON WARE

The University Star

Tuesday, July 12, 2022 | 5


Carson Weaver Sports Editor starsports@txstate.edu


Texas State track and field star Alyssa Wilson is an olympian in the making By Sophia Somoza Sports Contributor Alyssa Wilson began her track and field career in middle school simply as an extra way to stay in shape. She started with sprints and worked her way to shot put and discus. Her first love was basketball, but due to injuries, she wanted to shift focus. As she transitioned into the start of her track and field career, Wilson and her father used YouTube videos to gain a better understanding of techniques for the field events in which she would compete. “My parents were really involved in sports growing up for both my sister and I," Wilson said. "They've always been dedicated with us, you know. They have always been there.” Wilson's sister, Bryanna, is also her teammate at Texas State as a thrower and grew up with Wilson's hard work ethic. "Any sport we did growing up, we would learn it off Youtube," Bryanna said in a press release. "She [Alyssa] would go to the basement with him and do turns relentlessly for hours." In high school, Wilson began collecting awards for breaking school records and was ranked No.1 in the shot put event by USA Track & Field. The recognition caught the attention of track and field coach John Frazier who would eventually recruit her to throw for him at UCLA in 2018. Over the years, their relationship as coach and athlete grew strong, and when Frazier was offered a job at Texas State, Wilson knew she wanted to finish her college career with who she started with. "He [Frazier] took a lot of like the

Alyssa Wilson competes in the hammer throw, Thursday, March 24, 2022 at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin, Texas. PHOTO COURTESY OF TEXAS STATE ATHLETICS

good virtues that he had over there brought them over here,” Wilson said. “He kind of just built a good coaching staff amongst us so it's working out well.” Frazier took the job to be the director of track and field and cross country at Texas State last August. Working with Wilson during the recruiting process, Frazier reached out to Wilson's dad to extend an offer for Wilson to throw for him. “From day one she had already broken the high school national record before she even got to UCLA," Frazier said. "She's probably the most dedicated athlete I’ve ever worked with in terms of making sacrifices to being the best she can be.”

For Wilson, one of her greatest accomplishments was back in 2021 when she was able to go to the Olympic trials. She had a poor performance at an outdoor NCAA meet beforehand, and being able to come back and place sixth in hammer and eighth in discus meant she was the top collegiate among the pros in attendance. Now, she will continue her athletic career under coach Frazier to help fulfill her remaining athletic goals. “I am planning to stay here in San Marcos to train under coach Frazier up until the 2024 Olympic trials and potentially like make that team." Wilson said. "I'm also trying to make the World Team this summer." Wilson is a 14-time All-American,

eight-time first-team All-American and six-time conference champion in track and field. During her 2022 campaign, she was awarded Sun Belt champion in the outdoor weight throw, discus and shot put, as well as Sun Belt Women's Outdoor Field Performer of the Year. Although Wilson's obvious hours of training and work have been put in to reach new heights as a competitor, she said that it's still about helping her team win meets. Wilson led the Sun Belt conference in hammer throw, shot put and discus, propelling her team to higher scores at every meet. "As long as you individually as a person performed well," Wilson said. "You know you're going to help your team succeed."

The University Star

6 |Tuesday, July 12, 2022


Dillon Strine Opinion Editor staropinion@txstate.edu

Opinions in The University Star are not necessarily those of our entire publication, Texas State University’s administration, Board of Regents, School of Journalism and Mass Communication or Student Publications Board.


Opinion: SMTX needs the CROWN Act By Tiara Allen Opinions Contributor On June 11, the Austin City Council passed the CROWN Act into law. The CROWN Act, which stands for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair, was created by Dove and the Crown Coalition in 2019 to legally protect race-based hairstyles such as braids, dreadlocks and twists from being banned by work and school dress codes. Austin became the first city in Texas to ban discrimination against racebased hairstyles when they passed the CROWN Act into law, and San Marcos lawmakers should follow suit. While Black students often invest in their hair as a form of expression or hobby, they should not feel required to spend extra money to meet a discriminatory uniform policy; requiring students to do so is a form of racism and broadens inequality. This is not the first time the CROWN Act has been proposed to San Marcos citizens. The San Marcos Daily Record conducted a poll about people's views of the proposed CROWN Act from February to March 2020. Readers were asked if they thought it would be beneficial to pass the CROWN Act in Texas. At the time, 51% of the 234 respondents voted for the option "No, schools and workplaces should be able to designate dress and hair codes as they see fit," and only 49% of respondents answered, "Yes, workplace and school policies often disproportionately affect people of color's natural hair and styles." After the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement later in 2020, hopefully, San Marcos citizens can support such a needed bill in the community. Hair discrimination in schools harms the social and emotional well-being of Black students. The psychological effects of racial discrimination have been studied since the era of segregation when the doll test was first unveiled. The doll test was a psychological study presented in the Brown v. Board Supreme Court case that demonstrated that Black children, after viewing four identical dolls of various skin colors, preferred the white doll and described it positively, and referred to the Black doll with negative characteristics. Segregation legally ended in 1963, but the effects of self-esteem on Black children still linger, especially regarding hair. Many young children feel pressure to conform to beauty standards to which they do not fit, a stressor compounding when they are not allowed to wear hairstyles from their cultural identity. Sydney Bynes, a public relations junior, remembers incidences in which teachers told her that the beads on her


braids were too distracting to her peers, who would often pull her hair or touch it without permission. She states that hair policies against Black hairstyles can have a profound emotional impact on students at an early age. "It makes you automatically feel different and excluded; like you are not the norm and that you can't be who you are," Bynes said. "To tell that to an eight-year-old and a nine-year-old ... that can be really, really damaging, and that can grow with them." In addition to lowered self-esteem, hair discrimination and the punishments that come with it, such as being sent home or barred from participation in classes or extracurricular activities, harm progress in academic and personal pursuits. Students have been sent to the office, asked to leave, or even suspended from school due to hairstyles. One notable example is when Kaden Bradford and De'Andre Arnold, two high schoolers at Barbers Hill Independent School District near Houston, were suspended for the length of their dreadlocks in 2020. When challenged, the school board voted unanimously to uphold the policy. Missing school days, especially over infractions for discriminatory hair policies, is highly detrimental because students miss out on vital instruction, resulting in lower grades and lower standardized test scores. Furthermore, it can cause students to feel isolated from their peers, not only from feeling

bothered by hair policies but also from missing out on time with classmates during their removal. Bynes noted that, while her school did not have policies against Black hairstyles, she heard stories about peers who dealt with such policies during her childhood in the Houston area, some of whom had to cut off their dreadlocks to participate in sports teams on campus. As a result, Bynes always felt that the policies were discriminatory and unfair. "How is something that's a part of me or a part of my identity distracting to you, or making you uncomfortable?" Bynes said. Finally, hair discrimination causes an additional emotional and financial expense to Black students, which is another barrier to equal access. The Black community spends significant time, effort, and, most notably, money on haircare. In 2020, Black people, who only make up a third of the nonwhite population in America, accounted for almost 90% of the spending in the ethnic hair market. While much of the spending is for personal enjoyment and cultural styling, it would be difficult to ignore that hair discrimination contributes significantly to why the Black community spends so much on hair. Particularly for products that help Black people achieve straighter, more Eurocentric hairstyles, such as relaxers, wigs, and weaves. This becomes particularly insidious when one considers that Black men and women face an earnings gap. On

average, Black men earn 87 cents to every dollar a white man makes, and Black women earn 63 cents to every dollar a white male makes. Black families are often required to spend more money on top of economic inequality just so their children can receive an education without fear of punishment. Recent inflation has amplified this disparity; in addition to the price increases of hair products on the shelves, salon owners have noted price increases for their materials of up to 25%. As a result, these costs get passed on to clients. Moreover, many of the products used to straighten hair come at a cost to health as well. Bynes said that older relatives in her family would wash their hair with Tide laundry detergent when they were younger to ensure their hair was as straight as possible. Nowadays, while hair technology has improved significantly, many hair straightening processes can cause heat and chemical damage. These costs also do not include any additional fees accrued from maintaining and styling hair for many cocurricular and extracurricular activities. Bynes notes that those such as cheerleading and drill teams require identical hairstyles that are often impossible for Black students to achieve without extreme modifications to their hair textures and styles, which can often come at the cost of additional styling products, hours in a styling chair and possible hair damage. As a result, Black children have to pay extra or sit out altogether — a prime example of why the CROWN Act is needed. Those opposed to the CROWN Act argue that businesses and schools should set their hair policies as they see fit and that Black people should avoid companies and schools that do not allow them to wear their hair in styles they like. However, I believe the onus should not be on those discriminated against to discern which place will accept such a vital part of their identity, especially in schools, where many other factors are involved. In conclusion, San Marcos should pass the CROWN Act to allow its Black students to study without worrying about whether their hairstyle is "acceptable." -Tiara Allen is a marketing senior The University Star welcomes Letters to the Editor from its readers. All submissions are reviewed and considered by the Editor-in-Chief and Opinion Editor for publication. Not all letters are guaranteed for publication.


Main Point: Abortion is a human right By The Editorial Board

On June 24, the Supreme Court ruled in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization that the U.S. Constitution does not protect the right to an abortion, overturning Roe v. Wade and throwing years of precedent out the window. Determining the legality of abortions is now a state decision and in many states including Texas, the medical procedure is now considered a crime. Millions of women in the United States are now less free than men, in making decisions about their own bodies and the privacy around those decisions. In Texas, a trigger law went into effect upon the overturning. Formally known as Texas HB 1280, the law makes no exceptions are for cases of rape or incest and has limited exceptions for the safety and life of a pregnant person. The statute also sets up criminal penalties for abortion providers such as hefty fines and license revocation. Traumatized victims are met with punishment and not compassion. Although traveling to another state for the procedure is possible, the option is often only for people that can afford the cost and time away from work. The striking down of Roe v. Wade unfairly targets lower class individuals who cannot afford the travel expenses to get the procedure done in another state. Banning abortions does not prevent them from happening. It only makes them less safe. The pro-life advocates that rally against abortion often cite foster care or adoption as alternative options for parents who are not prepared to have a child. While those are valid options, the foster care system cannot

currently handle the children in circulation right now, certainly not thousands more in the system. For 11 years now, the Texas Foster Care system has faced a federal lawsuit for violating the constitutional rights of children and failing to protect them from harm while in the care of foster homes and facilities. These failures are due to a surplus of children entering the system while there are too little foster homes and staff to manage each caseload. Children are now sleeping in offices and motels because there are no homes available. Texas should not be passing legislation that leaves people with no other option but to place their child in the system when the system cannot care for them. Beyond this, children should never be considered a consequence of having sex. The abuse and neglect that occurs when a child is seen by their birth parents as unwanted, or a “punishment” has been seen first hand by members of this editorial board. Forcing people to raise a child they did not want to have inevitably punishes that child. Many cite their Christian religion as reasoning for pro-life beliefs, but religious freedom must extend to non-Christians. A synagogue is suing the state of Florida for infringing upon the liberty of Jewish people to seek an abortion as lifesaving care. It is a slippery slope. Who is to say this is not just the beginning of the court’s plan to strip away fundamental rights? In his concurring opinion for Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization Associate Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that the court has a duty to “correct the error” established in precedents set by court cases such as Griswold v. Connecticut, Lawrence

v. Texas and Obergefell v. Hodges — three cases having to do with Americans’ fundamental privacy, due process and equal protection rights. On a local level, college campuses across the U.S. are well known locations of increased sexual assault. College students, particularly those of low income, who face unexpected and unwanted pregnancies risk the possibility of putting their education on hold. Students do not always have the adequate resources such as time, money and support to simultaneously pursue higher education and be a parent. As journalists, part of our job is to ask the right questions and do our research. The right to an abortion was taken away because those who wanted could organize and make it happen. It is time to organize and rally to take back this right to bodily autonomy. We must elect people who will actually make the change you want to see. Change does not stop when those people take office, however. Hold them accountable. Make sure they do what they said they would and vote them out if they do not. All in all, our main point and what we hope you take away from this editorial echoes the message of our previous one: Just because you are not directly affected by an issue, does not mean you should not care. The overturning of Roe v. Wade is not about politics. It is a human rights issue, and this decision has implications for everyone.

The University Star

Tuesday, July 12, 2022 | 7


Dillon Strine Opinion Editor staropinion@txstate.edu



Opinion: Dating apps dilemma By Kadence Cobb Opinions Contributor

As students enjoy their summer break relaxing, working, learning or traveling, it can become a challenge to keep in touch with others. Students may experience loneliness during the long break and struggle to feel connected to those around them. However, with the help of technology, students can form new relationships faster than ever. With the technology available today, online dating has become the most common way for individuals to meet their partners. The COVID-19 pandemic caused an increase in individuals partaking in online dating, and users are still utilizing the applications. In April 2021, nearly 70% of individuals stated they continued to use dating apps after the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly 30% of adults in the U.S. claimed they had used a dating app or website, while 48% of Americans within ages 18 to 29 stated they had tried online dating. Despite the convenience of online dating, dating apps negatively impact one’s ability to form meaningful relationships which, in turn, can harm their mental health. In addition, users of these dating apps face the possibility of being put in unsafe situations with those they meet on the app. The fast-paced environment created within dating apps can be extremely harmful to those looking to form meaningful relationships. With the added pressure to find a partner, online dating profiles are under extreme scrutiny. Rather than getting to know an individual face-to-face, users create profiles to showcase their interests and display their physical appearance. The apps are designed to narrow their selection from a large group of people to those they are interested in, which can cause users to immediately look for negative

attributes that would cause them to lose interest rather than focusing on positive qualities. Dating apps focus heavily on physical appearances when approaching a potential connection. Rather than starting a conversation with one another, users are initially presented with a dating profile consisting of preselected images and a short description of their interests. With the rapid speed at which profiles are typically examined, individuals could overlook compatible matches solely based on their physical appearance. These apps aid in creating a negative mindset when approaching a possible match. This design of online dating apps can harm the user’s mental health. With the overwhelming number of profiles accessible via dating apps, it could lead to individuals facing frequent rejection. With dating apps allowing users to view profiles constantly, the boundary separating individuals and the limit of rejection has disappeared. These apps can lower self-esteem and threaten one’s perception of self-worth. Dating apps can trigger those with and without existing mental illnesses by provoking emotional and psychological distress. Online dating can be hazardous for college students who may not understand the risks of dating apps, such as catfishing. Catfishing is the term used to describe the act of someone creating a virtual fake identity and targeting a victim for personal gain. Dating app users risk catfishing due to the high number of fake accounts across platforms. The Better Business Bureau reported that one in seven online dating profiles might be fake accounts. In addition, scammers often use dating apps to “connect” with individuals and manipulate them for their financial gain. Over 23,000 people claimed to be victims of catfishing in 2020, and it was reported that scammers were sent over $600 million. With the

significant financial responsibilities accompanying a college education, the possibility of scammers taking advantage of students is highly problematic. Connecting with a stranger on the internet can be extremely risky and lead to unsafe scenarios. A survey from Pew Research revealed that 60% of women on dating apps were contacted even after stating they were not interested in the other party. Additionally, 57% of women claimed they had been sent a “sexually explicit message,” and 19% of young women reported they had been threatened to be physically harmed while using a dating app. With college students frequently using dating apps, students must remain cautious and ensure they are being safe when using dating apps. While there are many downsides related to dating app usage, the benefits of online dating are also present. These apps make it relatively easy to meet multiple people in a short amount of time. The dating apps allow you to connect virtually with other individuals, which can be helpful for shy individuals and those who deal with social anxiety. The ability to create a personalized profile to fit your beliefs and interests can assist in developing new connections and meeting others who are like-minded. However, the apps should be used cautiously, and students need to understand the negative aspects of online dating. - Kadence Cobb is a journalism freshman The University Star welcomes Letters to the Editor from its readers. All submissions are reviewed and considered by the Editor-in-Chief and Opinion Editor for publication. Not all letters are guaranteed for publication.

Editor’s Note: “-30-” has traditionally been used throughout journalism to indicate the end of a story. Each semester, The University Star encourages its graduating seniors to write a Senior 30 — a farewell piece to readers — indicating the conclusion of a journalist’s time as an active member of our organization.

Senior 30: Just a quick opinion By Mckenna Bailey Opinions Contributor

Writing is my life and breath. If I'm not writing, I'm not living. I've been giving my opinions at The Star about various things, from video gaming to summer classes, and I've enjoyed all the thought, time and effort into the words that each topic deserved. Although my time here has been relatively short, and I've only actually been at Texas State for about two and a half years, I have genuinely loved my time here. It saddens me to leave, but I am excited about figuring out my next steps. For this sign-off, I wanted to give a quick opinion or advice on imposter syndrome. For those of you who don't know what imposter syndrome is, it's when you feel underskilled or inadequate compared to others around you. You feel like an imposter, even if those around you will tell you how skilled or amazing you are. Many things have factored into my own imposter syndrome. One reason is being a woman in STEM, but the other reason has to do with my journey so far. My journey has been unconventional by normal or average college student standards. After graduating high school, I went to Austin Community College and graduated in two years with my associate's degree and transferred here to Texas State. Unfortunately, I transferred right as the pandemic hit, so my first year here was completely online. Since I wasn't on campus, I had no idea about The Star or KTSW 89.9 or other student organizations I didn't join until my second year. I do have to say that doing this has its ups and downs. Although I felt no pressure to graduate within exactly four years, or rather two years, and it was the right decision financially, not being at Texas State for long enough made it difficult to make deep connections and friendships. The friends I made lasted only semester by semester, unfortunately. I saw it as a sign that my other friendships outside of school were long-lasting ones. Besides, there's always graduate school, which just so happens to be my next step. I applied for graduate school at Texas State, but when I was denied, I again saw it as a sign. Although I love Texas, I'll get to live in my dream place when I attend the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. Throughout this time, struggling with imposter syndrome has taught me something I hope someone reading will be inspired by. Absolutely under no circumstances listen to the old adage that says "there is always someone better than you." I grew up hearing that, as many of us might, but it's a lie. Telling yourself that there is someone better out there does nothing but shrink your own idea of your abilities. Telling yourself the opposite, however, that you are unique and a master in your own right, will lead to turning heads and conquering fears. But that's just


my opinion. Special thanks to Dillon for hiring me, to Bruce and Ashley for inspiring me to be a better writer, to my mom and my sister for the support and grace, and to my various friends and family for giving me their much-appreciated feedback and opinions on my opinions. Thank you a million times, and don't forget that your opinion matters.

Texas State President Kelly Damphousse shakes hands with students and faculty at a meet-and-greet on his first day in office as the university's new president, Friday, July 1, 2022, at UAC. PHOTO BY VANESSA BUENTELLO