TUESDAY JUNE 23, 2020 VOLUME 110 ISSUE 0
DEFENDING THE FIRST AMENDMENT SINCE 1911
black Black ILLUSTRATION BY BLAKE WADLEY
The University Star
2 | Tuesday, June 23, 2020
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Texas State LGBTQIA+ community responds to historic Court ruling
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About Us History: The University Star is the student newspaper of Texas State University and is published every Tuesday of the spring and fall and once a month in the summer semesters. It is distributed on campus and throughout San Marcos at 8 a.m. on publication days with a distribution of 4,500. Printing and distribution is by the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung. Copyright: Copyright Tuesday, June 23, 2020. 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. Deadlines: Letters to the Editor or any contributed articles are due on Monday the week prior to publication. Corrections: Any errors that are in the pages of The University Star and are brought to our attention will be corrected as soon as possible. Visit The Star at universitystar.com
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The U.S. Supreme Court deeming it unconstitutional to fire employees on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity has been nationally recognized as a major win for the LGBTQIA+ community. Now, Texas State faculty and students celebrate the court's decision while still recognizing the obstacles ahead. The court ruled, 6-3, that sexual orientation and gender identity are protected under Title VII in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, originally signed by Texas State alumnus Lyndon B. Johnson. The ruling brings it full circle, impacting the mission of Texas State's own LGBTQIA+ Task Force assembled to support the university's LGBTQIA+ community. Chair of the LGBTQIA+ Advisory and Resource Network Michael Casey expressed relief after the Supreme Court made its decision, saying it was a win for LGBTQIA+ people. “The ruling reflects the better parts of this country—the idea that we can be free to pursue our own happiness,” Casey said. “This ruling means persons in the LGBTQIA community will be able to rest more easily knowing they cannot be fired simply for not being straight or cisgender.” The road toward the ruling was a tumultuous one for Casey and the task force. The first challenge it faced was the limited nature of the assignment given to them by the President’s Cabinet—an assignment expected to accommodate the needs of an underrepresented community at Texas State and other universities alike. “We were told to come up with three to five initiatives, and if [we were left] alone and not [limited] we could have come up with 10 or 12,” Casey said. “We had way more ideas than we were allowed to have, so to speak, so what we did was roll some of the ideas together and consolidate them into one.”
The Task Force presented three recommendations to the President’s Cabinet in April: Draft a new civility policy, work to increase Texas State’s rating with the Campus Pride Index and make the task force a permanent entity. The network, now permanent, will continue to periodically recommend initiatives to the cabinet and assist in their implementation while shifting its focus toward supporting the university's LGBTQIA+ community following the historic ruling. “[The community is] vulnerable, and the fact that I have an employer who wishes to take an interest in my safety and I feel secure that I have a job every day I come into work—that it’s not just going to disappear one day simply because I’m gay—that means something," Casey said. The ruling serves as a relief for members of the LGBTQIA+ community, like Casey, who now can feel more secure in their place of employment. But Philosophy professor and member of the LGBTQIA+ Advisory and Resource Network Holly Lewis explained the decision does not necessarily prevent employers from refusing to hire people based on sexual identity or gender orientation. "If employers refuse to hire trans and non-binary people and those trans and non-binary people are forced to suffer on the margins of the economy, the public begins to assume the fact of suffering on the margins indicates some kind of inherent instability or ‘employability issue’ with the marginalized group," Lewis said. Others feel the ruling, while a step in the right direction, hardly brings an end to workplace discrimination, considering a firing was only one of many challenges LGBTQIA+ employees had to worry about. The Supreme Court ruling one of those obstacles unconstitutional means other factors used to discriminate against the community could come into play. “I’m a trans person, and I can’t be out
ILLUSTRATION BY BLAKE WADLEY
at my workplace because I would face harassment," said Alex Cox, a political science senior. "I would be misgendered constantly. It would not be a safe work environment, and it would probably make the scrutiny on me from higherups worse.” June Strickland, sociology junior, also acknowledges the other potential challenges that may come as a result of the ruling. She views it as a small step in the right direction, saying more protections for LGBTQIA+ workers are always a good thing. “With at-will employment, they could just fire you anyway," Strickland said. "But on the upside, it sounds like if there is a Supreme Court precedent and someone does get fired, and they suspect it was because they are trans, they might be able to file a [lawsuit] or something." The LGBTQIA+ Advisory and Resource Network’s initiatives aim to address some of the concerns brought forth by Texas State faculty and students and help make the university all-inclusive. Casey said he is thankful for the opportunity to work with the network and the university administration’s interest in helping its LGBTQIA+ employees. “I never would have dreamt that my employer would have been concerned about me in that way," Casey said. "So when my employer approaches me asking me to do this kind of work, my answer is ‘Oh yes, I’ll do the work, absolutely.’”
Hays County's COVID-19 response evolves as cases surge By Daniel Weeks News Editor When the COVID-19 pandemic initially made its way to Hays County, the daily case count increased slowly until testing capabilities began to increase and Texas started to reopen in phases. Since then, the county uncovered a second wave of virus cases, forcing its leaders to respond quickly. On June 10, Hays County reported 27 new cases of COVID-19, totaling 492 lab-confirmed cases in the county. By June 18, total cases tripled to 1,448 with 1,105 active cases prompting the county to establish free testing drives throughout its cities and require the usage of face masks in public spaces. Free testing drives began June 14 at Bonham Pre-k School, where at least 700 people were tested. Hundreds more were tested June 18 at Simon Middle School in Kyle. Tests were administered in partnership with the Texas National Guard and Texas Division of Emergency Management. Specimens collected by the mobile testing teams are distributed to 10 labs the state is utilizing to process the tests. While it was originally reported that test results were expected between 1025 days, TDEM said the state works to meet a 48-96 hour turnaround time. State Rep. Erin Zwiener believes testing in Hays County is struggling to keep up with the ever-growing case count. “I suspect that part of the reason we saw the dramatic spike in cases in San Marcos is not because cases increased [a lot] in a week, but because those cases had [already] been circulating and weren't being tested for,” Zwiener said. “I'm aware the county has made some testing options available, but clearly, they're not being well utilized by the community.” Hays County Epidemiologist Eric Schneider said the county has not had a lack of testing or testing locations, citing locations in San Marcos, Kyle, Buda, Dripping Springs and Wimberley.
Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra issues an executive order requiring Hays County residents to wear face coverings in public, Thursday, June 18, 2020, outside the Hays County Historic Courthouse. The order was issued amid rising positive COVID-19 cases. PHOTO BY REBECCA HARRELL
"Maybe at the beginning of this outbreak we had some issues, but ever since things have begun to ramp up, if somebody needs a test they’re not getting turned away,” Schneider said. “As far as putting together a drive-thru [testing site], we are a small health department with very minimal resources, so we’re trying to do the best we can with what we have.” As of June 18, over half of the total cases in the county are between the ages of 20-29, at 773 cases out of 1,448. Additionally, San Marcos has the highest number of active cases at 749—the second-highest is Kyle at 224 (as of June 18). Schneider said the county is witnessing the second wave of COVID-19, particularly affecting young San Marcos residents and businesses. "We anticipated an uptake as businesses, bars, restaurants and local hangouts reopened, but that number is growing faster than we expected," Schneider said. "We also know many local businesses are impacted because a chunk of their employees are in that [20-29] age range.” Zwiener calls for the county to invest in a public information campaign in order to combat the surge among young people. “Clearly with the case rates among our young folks, we need something that's really targeted at the 20-29-year-old
demographics,” Zwiener said. “The state has failed to communicate well with young people. The federal government has failed to communicate well with young people. So Hays County needs to step up and do it.” Due to San Marcos' surge in cases, several businesses in the area have temporarily closed or initiated deep cleanings in response to employees testing positive. Since the Hays County Local Health Department does not have the authority to shut down businesses, the county took different measures in an attempt to mitigate the spread of the virus and keep the local economy in motion. County Judge Ruben Becerra issued an executive order mandating the use of face coverings in public spaces and all businesses throughout the county, effective June 22. Becerra said the pandemic is far from over, adding it is “better to be safe than sorry.” “I’ve been told if we make masks mandatory we are trampling on our civil liberties. Our freedoms as Americans come with a responsibility too, and caring for each other is all of our responsibilities,” Becerra said. “Wearing a mask while at a place of business is no more trampling on the constitution than mandating folks to wear a seatbelt.” Zwiener believes mandating facial coverings was only the first step in improving the Hays County COVID-19 response, calling for the usage of CARES Act funds, a federal COVID-19 relief package that provides grants for assistance to state and local governments. “I want to see permanent, free, easily accessible testing locations for Hays County, and then I want to see a robust public information campaign so that everyone in Hays County understands how to keep themselves and their community safe,” Zwiener said. “The county has almost $5 million and CARES Act funding from the federal government, and this is the perfect use for it.”
The University Star
Tuesday, June 23, 2020 | 3
LIFE & ARTS ALUMNI
Brianna Benitez Life & Arts Editor email@example.com
BLACK LIVES MATTER
Alumni brothers design protective screens for local businesses By Anabelle Elliott Life & Arts Contributor In 2009, brothers Luke, Dane and Spencer Adamson sat in their Dallas garage blasting reggae-rock band Rebelution from an iPod, completing the final touches of their first custom made skateboards. The Adamson brothers' newfound hobby in that garage would later transform into Adamson Brothers Design, a business they did not know years later would be capable of helping an entire community during the COVID-19 pandemic. The now local company, owned by the three Texas State alumni, designs, constructs and sells protective plexiglass screens to local businesses throughout Central Texas. “Once the pandemic started and everything started shutting down, we were kind of worried, and we were trying to think of what we could do,” Luke Adamson said. “We just kept seeing all these other stories of people with 3D printing machines making ventilators and stuff, so we [were just] kind of thinking about what [we can] do to help out.” The brothers got their start in San Marcos when they started building skateboards for people around town during their college years. But the urge to build and utilize their creativity came from their childhood when they often worked with wood and other materials. “We were building tree houses, and we really liked longboarding and skateboarding, so we started building skateboards for ourselves," Luke Adamson said. "We’re completely selftaught.” Now, Adamson Brothers Design takes on a variety of woodworking related projects such as metal fabrication, computerized numerical control (CNC), laser engraving, graphic design and product design. After receiving acrylic plexiglass from one of their suppliers, the brothers sat down and developed a way to make the screens. Their plan was to produce the screens quickly and sell them for an affordable price, but the process is nothing short of complex. The first step to building the screens is to visit the business, take measurements and determine if the customer will need a gap at the bottom of the screen. After the measurements are taken, wood is cut down, supplies are gathered and assembled and wood is sanded and stained to the customer’s
preference. A piece of plexiglass is cut and then attached to the wooden frame. The screen is then cleaned, delivered and installed with a goal of keeping two individuals from spreading germs to each other. Adamson Brothers Design created the plexiglass screens for several local spots around San Marcos including Casa Maria, Gumby's Pizza and several libraries throughout the area. “It definitely provided a little bit of social distancing between the customer and our employees,” said Alex Robles, manager of Casa Maria. “It has helped us too. For those that are scared to go out, having those extra measures does make the customer [and our staff] feel safer.” In addition to giving Casa Maria customers an ease of mind, the protective screens have helped the employees work in more sanitary conditions and keep electronics clean. Similarly, Gumby’s Pizza, whose dining room remains closed, purchased the screens in an effort to keep the area more sanitary and bar crowds safe when it opens its front doors at night. “It provides a physical barrier to keep people more mentally mindful of what's going on but also keeps people literally multiple feet away from our employees,” Gumby’s Pizza owner Adam Higdon said. “We’ve worked with Adamson Brothers on multiple other projects in our store, and they're just a really good local company.” Adamson Brothers Design decided to keep prices low for the screens as their main goal is to help businesses during such a challenging time. “The quicker we get through this pandemic, the better,” Luke Adamson said. “And the quicker that we can get [the screens] out, the quicker the stores can open. So it helps them out a lot.” In the future, Adamson Brothers Design plans to work on commercial projects, big millwork as well as purchase a CNC machine. Regardless of what new project comes their way, their biggest inspiration remains the same—each other and the community they live in. “I’m inspired by my brothers,” Luke Adamson said. “We all inspire each other and we love the community. We’ll probably be in San Marcos for the rest of our lives because we love it here so much.” For more information about Adamson Brothers Design follow them on Instagram @adamsonbrosdesign or visit their website at www.adamsonbrosdesign.com.
"ONCE THE PANDEMIC STARTED AND EVERYTHING STARTED SHUTTING DOWN, WE WERE KIND OF WORRIED, AND WE WERE TRYING TO THINK OF WHAT WE COULD DO. WE JUST KEPT SEEING ALL THESE OTHER STORIES OF PEOPLE WITH 3D PRINTING MACHINES MAKING VENTILATORS AND STUFF SO WE [WERE JUST] KIND OF THINKING ABOUT WHAT [WE CAN] DO TO HELP OUT." -LUKE ADAMSON
James Adamson sands pine wood frame right before staining it to the customer's preference. PHOTO COURTESY OF ADAMSON BROTHERS DESIGN INSTAGRAM
ILLUSTRATION BY JACOB HERNANDEZ
Defining allyship to the Black Lives Matter movement By Trinity Dayton Life & Arts Reporter Protests have taken place across the nation following the killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd at the hands of police, with people speaking out against America’s racist roots and demanding justice for the murders of countless Black people. At the forefront of the protests is the Black Lives Matter movement, established in 2013 after the murder of Trayvon Martin and acquittal of George Zimmerman. Dedicated to bringing awareness to and addressing the racial injustice directed toward the Black community, the movement has gleaned more support from outside communities following the recent killings of Taylor and Floyd—bringing into question the meaning of allyship to social justice movements. Former president and current senior adviser of Texas State's Black Student Alliance Destiny Whitaker said in order for meaningful change to take place, it is important for activists and individuals outside of the Black community to support the Black Lives Matter movement. She said it ensures the movement is long-term and its message reaches all communities. “When it comes to allyship, people [are] more likely to listen to someone who looks like them about an issue rather than someone who looks like me (Black)," Whitaker said. "People really underestimate the power of their voices; [allyship] means empathizing but knowing you won’t be able to share the same experience as someone who is actually Black because there is never going to be a day where you have to wake up and [live] with those issues.” Whitaker said some people may be hesitant to voice their opinions or show their support because of a few common misconceptions surrounding the movement. She said oftentimes people associate it with violence and riots but do not educate themselves on why Black people are risking their lives to take a stand against racial injustice. “If [an individual] believes [racial injustice] is wrong, which it clearly is, it’s [her or his] job to stand up and support the creation of change," Whitaker said. "Just like with any other movement, there is right and wrong, and it is your duty as a human being to stand up for what is right.” To become an ally to Black Lives Matter or any movement for social justice, research and education are recommended before trying to start conversations; some individuals will have to go as far as deconstructing what they were taught throughout their childhood. Robert Garcia is the assistant director of the Diversity and Inclusion office where he focuses on services directed to help LGBTQIA+ students and implement programs centered around social justice issues such as racism. Garcia said for an individual to truly become an ally to any movement for social justice, it takes research and evaluation of one's privileges overlooked in everyday life. "If I am not being an ally for the rights of the Black community and those individuals, what can I expect for myself as a person also of color (nonBlack) and as a person who also identifies [outside of the] heteronormative cisgender identity realms," Garcia said. He said once an individual has educated themselves and is prepared to have conservations, it is important to remember the importance of vulnerability and openness to learning new information.
Complete with sparkles and decorations, members of the Black Student Alliance celebrate the beginning of the fall 2019 semester at the Student Recreation Center. PHOTO COURTESY OF DESTINY WHITAKER
Dr. Dana Fitzpatrick is a student development specialist with the Diversity and Inclusion office who focuses on Black student retention which is dedicated to providing a comfortable and safe campus environment for Black students. Fitzpatrick said allyship to the Black Lives Matter movement is determined by actions and not words—what matters is the action implemented in everyday routines like buying from Black-owned businesses, donating to Black student organizations and signing petitions. She said actions can be as simple as speaking against racial injustices as soon as it occurs. “Advocate for Black people to sit on boards or leadership teams,” Fitzpatrick said. “If you’re sitting around and only see white faces; ask that question [why they are not represented]. I can promise you there are some Black people who are just as qualified if not more qualified [for] those positions.” She said if people outside of the Black community don’t stand together in support of Black Lives Matter, law enforcement will continue with the oppression and wrongdoings of Black individuals. “We all have to live in this world together," Fitzpatrick said. “At the end of the day, our children are going to have to live in this world. We have to learn how to co-exist. if you’re choosing to be silent, you’re choosing the side of the oppressor. To say 'it doesn’t affect me, I don’t care, the police aren’t pulling me over [or] they aren’t killing anyone in my family'—to say that is negligent.” In the digital age, some individuals take part in the Black Lives Matter movement for reasons the Black community deems wrong—selfpromotion or fear of 'cancellation', making it difficult to see who is truly an ally. Some believe allyship is a difficult concept to comprehend when trying to weigh the impact on a movement; especially if people are performative with the movement's true purpose. “I feel like allies do have a lot of power,“ said Gabby Grant, president of Interruptions, a multi-racial, antiracism peer educator group at Texas State. “However, I feel like allyship is dangerous when it becomes the [main] purpose or focus of a movement because it’s taking away from the things that actually need to be talked about or the actual people that have been oppressed.” Grant said for real change to take place, it takes more than advocating in front of a camera or posting it to social media. She said change starts from behind the scenes—reading books on Black history and holding friends and family accountable for their words and actions. “Allyship shouldn’t be something that you’re able to just take off and choose when you can do it and when you can’t," Grant said. "We need allies to be on the clock full-time.”
The University Star
4 | Tuesday, June 23, 2020
Laura Nunez Opinion Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
Opinions expressed 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.
Censoring the Black Lives Matter movement is unconstitutional By Delilah Alvarado Opinion Columnist The murder of George Floyd prompted thousands of peaceful protests across the nation demanding justice for victims of police brutality. In response, federal and local governments are attempting to silence the voices of citizens, violating the one thing people should never worry about—their First Amendment rights. Various protests against animal cruelty in the food industry and COVID-19 precautions took place with no limitations, yet the Black Lives Matter movement has experienced dangerous signs of censorship. The First Amendment grants Americans five basic liberties: Freedom of religion, speech, press, petition and assembly. Three of the five have been threatened in the wake of this movement. The protests began the day after Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis on May 25, and people still continue to gather across the country, even in San Marcos. Although a majority of the protesting has remained peaceful, a call for police and militarized forces was requested on a national level. After President Trump threatened to send military forces to cities and states that refused to take action against protesters, Gov. Greg Abbott declared a state of disaster for all Texas counties in response to growing protests. Abbott deployed 1,500 DPS officers and the National Guard to assist law enforcement agencies in keeping the peace and reduce property damage. However, viral videos have circulated on Twitter showcasing police officers and the National Guard repeatedly attacking bystanders for no reason. Sending law enforcement turned peaceful protests violent, forcing protesters out of public spaces and making them unable to use their voices to protest.
ILLUSTRATION BY MICHELE DUPONT
Being able to stand and peacefully protest is guaranteed in the First Amendment within the U.S. Constitution. Congress shall make no law prohibiting this, and police forces are only allowed to contain you if they witnessed an actual crime, have probable cause or possess a warrant. As seen in many incidents, police have no problem resorting to violence with protesters. People have the right to amplify their voices by protesting. The right to speak freely (with narrow restrictions) and peacefully assemble is guaranteed in the Constitution. When people are detained, tear-gassed and shot at, it impedes on their constitutional
freedoms. In addition to quelling protests with violence, curfews were put in place in areas like San Antonio and Dallas. Protestors violating their city's curfew would be arrested and fined, further dividing any civility between law enforcement and community members trying to protest peacefully. The decision to implement a curfew was undeniably done to silence the movement. Officers are supposed to make civilians feel safe, heard and protected; instead, law enforcement and the National Guard have made citizens feel as if they were under Martial Law. Protestors and bystanders have not
been the only ones to suffer at the hands of law enforcement; journalists have also become victims of violent action and censorship. Instead of being able to do their jobs, journalists have become targets. The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker verifies over 400 reported incidents against the media nationwide. Many have been peppersprayed, detained and physically harmed by police forces. Actively preventing journalists from doing their jobs is censorship at its core. A camera crew and reporter are not difficult to identify. No journalist should be attacked for informing the public. With different narratives of protests being shared online, the trust between media and Americans will continue to dwindle. But the fight for protecting Americans' basic liberties should bring a clear consensus. Government officials have been trying to silence the voices of the people during these ongoing protests. History has told us there is power in movement, and leaders in positions of power with the ability to establish change are well aware of this. Attempting to censor the Black Lives Matter movement will only add fuel to the fire that Trump and local officials have been neglecting. Protestors should be allowed to protest and use their voices; journalists should remain unharmed while in the field doing their job. These are things guaranteed by the First Amendment; they should not be up for discussion. People will continue to use their voices because they have that right, whether it be over a pandemic forcing people out of work or lives lost from systemic oppression. -Delilah Alvarado is a journalism senior
The SECURE CAMPUS Act has nothing to do with securing campus By Toni Mac Crossan Opinion Columnist One of Sen. Tom Cotton's (R-Arkansas) most egregious actions has been his sponsorship of the SECURE CAMPUS Act. The SECURE CAMPUS Act, which is also sponsored by Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) and Congressman David Kustoff (R-Tennessee), is designed to prevent Chinese citizens from pursuing graduate and post-graduate studies in STEM by barring them from receiving student or research visas. Although this is meant to "protect" universities from Chinese espionage, all it will do is block Chinese students from enriching their scientific knowledge by doing research at U.S. schools, like Texas State, and block U.S. researchers from the opportunity to collaborate with their Chinese peers. This act is not a new idea in Republican campaigns—in 2018, Politico reported that President Donald Trump claimed: "Almost every student that comes over to this country is a spy." All this suspicion of Chinese scholars appears to stem from concerns over the Thousand Talents Program. The Thousand Talents Program is a Chinese program established in 2008 to bring both Chinese and non-Chinese scholars into Chinese academia—an effort to reverse the "brain drain" China experiences when experts leave for positions at foreign institutions. However, the Thousand Talents Program came under fire from the U.S. government when a few faculty involved were indicted for various crimes, mainly financial. Chinese and non-Chinese scholars alike are accused by the U.S. Department of Justice of committing espionage for the Chinese government,
ILLUSTRATION BY BLAKE WADLEY
whether there is real evidence of information sharing or not. Under the Trump Administration, academics noticed a sea of change in how the U.S. government viewed scholars' ties with Chinese institutions around 2018. Yes, these discrepancies in financial reporting are unethical but are not always illegal. The straw that broke Cotton's back on this subject seems to be the case of the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville's electrical engineering professor, Simon Saw-Teong Ang. Ang was charged with wire fraud after failing to disclose his ties to Chinese programs like the Thousand Talents Program in applications for federally-funded research grants. While it is not clear whether Ang did
this because he was giving proprietary information to the Chinese government, it is clear that the growing Sinophobia plaguing Americans concerned him and made him fear losing his position. This concern is echoed by other scientists, both in China and elsewhere. The SECURE CAMPUS Act is not a new policy, just a stricter one. In 2018, the Department of State already cut the duration of research visas from five years to one year for Chinese students attempting to study aviation or robotics. In the interest of "national security," these new guidelines also decreased these students' access to visits home and international conferences, where the Trump administration argued that espionage could be taking place. However, all of these rules and legislation assume that all Chinese students, and even faculty, are engaged in espionage. This is textbook racial profiling. In the 2018-2019 academic year, 133,396 Chinese graduate students attended U.S. institutions, 34 of those attended Texas State. Several Chineseborn science professionals were arrested on suspicion of espionage, but several have had charges against them dropped. They came under suspicion for merely communicating with a former college classmate, as in the case of hydrologist Sherry Chen, or sharing schematics of their work, as in the case of Dr. Xi Xiaoxing. For those wrongly accused of espionage, their careers are permanently stained, they lose years of work and are under the stress of undergoing investigation for things they did not do. However, senators Cotton and Blackburn need not wait for Congressional approval for their plans to ban Chinese STEM grad students from
entry—President Trump is ensuring the road to research becomes harder for Chinese students through executive action. On May 29, Trump issued a proclamation prohibiting Chinese graduate students from applying for F-1 (to enroll in any U.S. school) or J-1 (to enroll in any U.S. college or university) visas if they had ever studied at, been employed by, conducted research at, or been funded by any institution that "implements or supports [China's] 'military-civil fusion strategy.'" This proclamation even states that students meeting these criteria currently studying in the U.S. could have their visas revoked—a concerning prospect for the graduate students and their advisors researching across the country. Students may suddenly be pulled off of projects and forced back home before their studies are complete. American researchers collaborating with Chinese researchers may be placed on hold as well, leaving U.S. institutions to suffer. University officials and students alike should be outraged that the U.S. government could take actions like these, which are reminiscent of the McCarthyism of the 1940s and 50s. It should raise serious concerns not only for Chinese-born graduate students but all international students. Legislation like the SECURE CAMPUS Act, which punishes all Chinese scientists and students for the actions of a few, keeps brilliant scientific minds out of American universities. The U.S. is playing a dangerous game with scientific research that could leave them behind both technologically and in regards to national security. -Toni Mac Crossan is a biology graduate student
The University Star
Tuesday, June 23, 2020 | 5
Aidan Bea Sports Editor email@example.com
ILLUSTRATION BY JACOB HERNANDEZ
Sports journalists reflect on sports in a COVID-19 world By Aidan Bea Sports Editor Journalists all over the world are busy churning out news about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic; however, in a world void of sports to write about, sports journalists have been forced to make adjustments and get creative with their content. In these times, there are only so many updates a journalist can provide on the state of sports before content becomes repetitive. Much of it boils down to breaking news or looking deeper into athletes as people and how they are coping with the current situation. Even for myself, working as the sports editor for a news organization such as The Star, I have had trouble. Dealing with Texas State's ever-changing path toward normal operation, hesitance from university officials over the release of information and an overall lack of sports content to cover has been a challenge. For this story, I decided to contact other sports journalists in Texas to learn from their experiences and see what circumstances they have been dealing with. What I learned encouraged me and pushed me to realize that some have faced difficulties bigger than I could have imagined. San Marcos Daily Record Sports Editor Drew King said he was concerned his department would shut down altogether when sports were canceled. “I was kind of nervous because I didn’t know how I was going to be able to fill our sports page every day,” King said. “I remember going into Nick Castillo’s office, who is my managing editor, and I was like, ‘I don’t know if y'all want to try turning the sports page into something else or whether you want to try to keep this going. I’m open for whatever.’ He pretty much told me, ‘go for as long as you have content, and then if you run out then we can try something different.’ Very luckily I’ve been able to have at least one local story.” King added that the pandemic has
allowed him to look a bigger picture— not just game coverage in itself. “[I have been] trying to keep a better eye on what we can put in the paper that doesn’t strictly have to do with the game," King said. "You know game stories make up the bulk of sports coverage, and without it, I have to do a better job of figuring out what else is going on that is still sports-related.” San Antonio Express-News Sports Editor Nick Talbot said the COVID-19 pandemic took away some access to players, coaches and teams. He said the loss of that accessibility has been one of the bigger adjustments. “I mean, you can’t go into the locker rooms anymore; you can’t interview anyone," Talbot said. "No matter how many Zoom interviews we do it’s never going to replace that access we were used to pre-COVID." Journalists who normally cover sports have even made transitions into other areas of the industry. Talbot said it was intriguing to see his reporters branch off into areas like general news and experience success. “[Tom Osborn], one of my sportswriters, had the biggest story in our paper for the year; I think everyone has seen the story on the San Antonio Foodbank now,” Talbot said. “It’s been on CNN, MSNBC and the New York Times did a story on it. He’s the guy that broke that story. I think it’s up to like more than half a million views on our paid-site. It’s our most-read story of the year. That came from a sports reporter.” Jeff Jones, sports director at KVUE in Austin, said the sports department, like others, shifted its focus to creativity away from day-to-day game coverage, specifically segments with anchors and on-air stories still having to do with sports but more about fun and hobbies. He said some of the changes will be longterm after the COVID-19 pandemic. "[Journalists] are going to find a way to make it work," Jones said. "In February, if you told me, 'hey Jeff, you guys are going to, not just as a sports team or not just half of the news team,
but all of KVUE is going to work from home for at least three months,' I would have looked at you crazy and asked you 'how is that going to work?'"
"[JOURNALISTS] ARE GOING TO FIND A WAY TO MAKE IT WORK. IN FEBRUARY, IF YOU TOLD ME, 'HEY JEFF, YOU GUYS ARE GOING TO, NOT JUST AS A SPORTS TEAM OR NOT JUST HALF OF THE NEWS TEAM, BUT ALL OF KVUE IS GOING TO WORK FROM HOME FOR AT LEAST THREE MONTHS,' I WOULD HAVE LOOKED AT YOU CRAZY AND ASKED YOU 'HOW IS THAT GOING TO WORK?'" -JEFF JONES
KVUE SPORTS DIRECTOR
Even in a world without sports, journalists like myself, King, Talbot and Jones have a responsibility to provide our readers and viewers with quality sports content. As important as the work we are doing now is, we all look forward to the day when sports returns for us to enjoy, read about and cover.