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Students, Texas State officials discuss shuttle system changes

By Rebecca Banks NEWS REPORTER @r_banks13 Texas State officials met with students at the annual roundtable event hosted by Student Government. Students had the opportunity to speak face-to-face with university officials on various topics. A representative from Shuttle Services discussed the future implementation of GPS kiosks for bus loops on campus. The kiosks will be available to all students and show each bus’s location. Steven Herrera, Shuttle Service manager, said the kiosks had a successful test in the Quad and will be “up and running” in ten days. Kiosks will be located at the Undergraduate Academic Center, LBJ Student Center and Quad bus loops, Herrera said. “We’ve had to go through some security protocols with the university to make sure those kiosks are secured from a data perspective,” Herrera said. Herrera said the kiosks will have potential to engage with advertising student organizations. He said Shuttle Service officials are considering alternate routes due to the pending Aquarena Springs Drive construction. Anthony Galo, political science sophomore, said he has taken alternate routes on the bus recently. “We’re actually in the process of coming up with a recommendation (for) routes for the fall,” Herrera said. Herrera said planning around construction is the biggest problem when creating alternate routes. Shuttle Service officials plan to have recommendations for alternate routes by the end of the month. Herrera said Shuttle Service officials can do their part by choosing routes to minimize the impact of construction for students. Representatives have discussed using daily alternate routes to avoid unwanted run-ins with construction. “There may be periods when it looks like there’s no construction going on, but the next day barricades can pop up all of a sudden,” Herrera said. Samantha Martinez, political science freshman, spoke with Herrera concerning construction on Aquarena Springs Drive. Martinez did not know about the construction until recently. “I got to know a lot more about how they’re doing with the app (and) the routes they’re going to do,” Martinez said. Herrera said the department’s goal is to provide information for students who live along the construction route.


Servers are stacked on the 7th floor of J.C. Kellam.

Student organizations discuss net neutrality By Andrew Blanton NEWS REPORTER @andrewjblanton


he future of corporate broadband Internet favoritism was halted Feb. 26 after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) narrowly approved net neutrality regulations in a 3-2 vote. Net neutrality regulations will prevent Internet service providers from allowing or selling content at different levels. This will ensure any legal user is allowed access to the same speed of data transfer, and providers cannot reduce the service of one consumer over another higher-paying client. Angela Pates, political science senior and College Democrats president, believes content on the Internet should be available to everyone, not only those who can afford it. “It’s not fair that corporations pay money to have

certain information out there and other small businesses who want their information up can’t get it up because they don’t have enough money,” Pates said. “That’s anti-business, really. It’s just profit for the rich.” Representatives of campus political organizations agree the government should prevent telecommunication companies from instituting content favoritism even though they disagree on regulation details. “There is a reason why we only have four or five huge Internet service providers,” said Jonathan Rodriguez, public relations senior and Young Americans for Liberty media officer. “It’s because it’s impossible to break into this market.” Rodriguez said Internet service providers usually receive their contracts through bidding wars held on a cityto-city basis. Restraints exist due to the limited amount of

physical infrastructure, like wires and telephone poles, in any given market. Service providers prefer to keep the market small and exclusive in an effort to reduce competition. “We would prefer to keep the FCC and the government out of it,” Rodriguez said. “But that cannot be effective unless it’s also paired with ending the corporatism, ending the government favoritism toward these huge companies.” Cutter González, urban and regional planning sophomore and political action director for the Hays County Young Republicans, agreed companies such as Comcast are taking advantage of the lack of regulations. “We support net neutrality when it comes from Congress, the proper means,” Gonzales said. “Now we reject net neutrality when it comes from a



Drilling expansion raises regulatory concerns By James Palmer NEWS REPORTER @jmesspalmer Officials with Baron Energy, Inc. are preparing to expand drilling operations in the Austin Chalk, is a formation in the Gulf Coast region home to oil wells, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Baron Energy has 14 active wells in Frio County, about 100 miles south of San Marcos. Officials plan to add three to four in the coming year, according to their Feb. 20 investor presentation. Frio County officials have been unable to voice concerns about regulatory authority to the Texas Railroad Commission (RRC). Lisa Hamilton, executive vice president, chief financial officer and director at Baron Energy, said the new drill sites will use standard technology to extract the oil. “This is a fairly conventional oil-and-gas play, and we won’t be doing anything special in terms of


The San Marcos office of Baron Energy, an independent oil and gas company. the technology,” Hamilton said. Baron Energy officials do not expect to create any new jobs in the San Marcos area. Hamilton said the companies Baron Energy outsources to could have job openings once the construction and drilling process begins. “It’s not direct employment from Baron,” Hamilton said.

“However, you might imagine if everybody stopped contracting these people, then those folks would be laying (workers) off.” So far, the company has limited expansion plans to company strategy rather than filing official applications with the Texas government, Hamilton said. “We will eventually apply for

permits with the regulatory agency, which is the Texas Railroad Commission,” Hamilton said. “At that time, it will kind of show that there’s more concrete plans to do something.” The Railroad Commission approves all drilling permits directly. Individual counties have limited authority to regulate drill permits or be notified by the commission about new ones, said Dale Stein, Frio County engineer. “That’s an issue that we’re trying to get modified,” Stein said. “Right now, we’re relying on the local newspaper to notify us when new items are being processed.” The Railroad Commission has jurisdiction over the underground formations where the oil is located, Nye said. “Drilling is done underground in the mineral estate, which can be separate from the surface estate,” Nye said. Texas legislators have proposed bills in past sessions to change the regulatory dynamic


Texas State and the Texas Tribune are joining forces Tuesday to present “Festival On the Road: A Symposium on Water.” The event will feature guest speakers and panelists giving short presentations followed by question-and-answer sessions on specific topics, said Andrew Sansom, executive director of The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment. The university will hold the event for the second time, Sansom said. Texas State was chosen as the venue because of the relationship between the Texas Tribune and the university, Sansom said. Holding the symposium at the university’s Meadows Center and Edwards Aquifer Research & Data Center was a natural choice. “I think Texas State is well placed to have a discussion on water,” said Ken Kramer, panelist and former director of the Lone Star chapter of the Sierra Club, an environmental organization. Officials with the Texas Tribune selected speakers including state representatives and Sid Miller, Texas Agriculture Commissioner, is among the presenters. Sansom has worked with the Tribune since its creation to print the Meadows Center newsletter. Sansom will moderate the panel discussion on the “Battle Over Groundwater.” He said students should be aware of the issues surrounding groundwater in Hays County. “The majority of our water comes from groundwater, and that is projected to increase,” Sansom said. “Groundwater will be a critical part of our future.” Sansom said the conflict over groundwater comes from the complicated and elaborate regulation system in Texas. He said more than 100 different regulators, including the Edward’s Aquifer Authority and Trinity Aquifer Authority, operate in the San Marcos area. Four of the institutions regulate the same aquifers. “A large part of this discussion will be about a water management system that is desperately in need of repair,” Sansom said. Sansom said issues associated with groundwater are relevant to San Marcos because the proposed pumping from the Trinity Aquifer in Hays County could harm wells and springs in the area. “It would threaten virtually everything we value here, like the San Marcos Springs and Jacob’s Well,” Sansom said. Dianne Wassenich, program director for the San Marcos River Foundation, will speak during the “Battle Over Groundwater” panel. She said the district boundaries are difficult to regulate because water borders are determined by political restrictions, not geological ones.

“The majority of our water comes from groundwater, and that is projected to increase. Groundwater will be a critical part of our future.” —ANDREW SANSOM, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE MEADOWS CENTER FOR WATER AND THE ENVIRONMENT “I think we need a science-based way of handling our water concerns, and there’s going to be a lot of jobs in that field,” Wassenich said. Wassenich said groundwater has become “a hot topic” because the population of Texas is increasing and people are using more water. She said rapid population growth, combined with droughts, has forced cities and counties to search for additional resources. Groundwater offers an alternative to depleting rivers, but people are often unaware rivers and groundwater are connected. “Yes, we have enough water, but we’re going to have to learn to live a little differently,” Wassenich said.

2 | The University Star | Tuesday, March 10, 2015



BOBCATS COMPLETE SERIES SWEEP ONE PITCH AT A TIME By Donavan Jackson SPORTS REPORTER @djack_02 Coach Ricci Woodard challenged the Texas State softball team early in the 2015 season to take each game one pitch at a time in order to put seven innings together. The Bobcats are 14-10 overall and 3-0 in Sun Belt play four tournaments and one conference series later. Texas State retained its momentum heading into the final matchup of the three-game series

against Georgia Southern March 8 for the 5-3 victory. The Bobcats scored 19 runs in the series, allowing six. “It’s always great to start conference play with a sweep,” Woodard said. “Being able to do it on the road is even more impressive. I thought the kids did a great job at staying focused and achieving their goal for the weekend.” Texas State jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Courtney Harris, senior third baseman, put down the sacrifice bunt to score Kelli Baker, junior second

baseman. Lexi Fryar, sophomore left fielder, hit a sacrifice fly to score two more runs later in the inning. The matchup remained 3-0 until the Bobcats scored two insurance runs in the sixth inning after Wiley’s single to left field scored Harris and Baker. Brooke Red, Eagles senior pitcher, recorderd her seventh loss of the season, giving up five hits and nine walks in 5.1 innings. Georgia Southern attempted to rally in the seventh inning, bringing the game within two runs after

a homer and a double to center field. Breanna McLendon, Eagles senior outfielder, hit her first home run of the season recording one of six hits for ULM. Rowan McGuire, Eagles freshman outfielder, had a team-high two runs batted in when subbed in to pinch hit for Emily Snider, sophomore left fielder. McGuire is hitting .308 with six runs batted in, one double and one homer. Randi Rupp, freshman pitcher, earned her 10th win of the season. She allowed eight baserunners in seven innings to earn her 13th

complete game of the season. “The big thing with Randi right now is that she gets better as the game goes on,” Woodard said. “And most pitchers can’t do that. As the game goes on she gets stronger and more difficult to hit. She did a great job all the way around this weekend.” The Bobcats return home for the next six games. They will begin the stretch with a non-conference matchup against the Lamar Cardinals March 11 before hosting Sun Belt opponent Georgia State March 14 for a three-game series.




The Texas State baseball team clinched its first series victory of the season prior to the second game of Saturday’s double-header. Assistant Coach Jeremy Fikac wanted more. He was eyeing a sweep. Instead, the Bobcats lost 7-4 to the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks in the finale of the three-game series. “We are disappointed that we did not sweep,” Fikac said. “We had an opportunity to sweep. I can’t take anything away from ULM. That’s a good baseball team. They dug their heels in, and they beat us in game three.” Louisiana-Monroe had a chance to break the game open in the eighth inning. Cory Geisler, junior pitcher, moved from center field to the mound with two runners on base and one out. Geisler recorded the force out at second base. Luke Sherley, freshman shortstop, threw out Josh Faciane, Warhawks junior second baseman, at home to seal the inning. Texas State trimmed the deficit to one run after Cedric Vallieres, senior second baseman, scored on a passed ball in the eighth inning. Blake Whitter, senior pitcher, replaced Geisler in the ninth inning. Fikac wanted Whitter to induce a ground ball and erase two base runners. Whitter, who pitched in every game of the series, walked a batter and allowed a single to drive in two more runs. “He’s been as solid as we got back there,” Fikac said. “He told me he wanted the baseball. When kids tell you that and they have that confidence, I trust them.” Louisiana-Monroe’s lead increased to three runs. The Bobcats did not respond in the bottom of the ninth inning.

“We haven’t played well at home,” Geisler said. “Getting a series win the first of conference is great, but we always want to sweep. We are still working on things and trying to get better. Everyone can see that.” Texas State failed to turn Vallieres’ home run, his second of the season, in the fifth inning into a rally. Vallieres finished with two hits, two runs and two runs batted in. Louisiana-Monroe scored in three consecutive innings to close the game. “Unfortunately for us, we weren’t able to capitalize and continue and put more runs up,” Fikac said. “They were able to answer, answer, answer in three consecutive innings. It was a lot of momentum swinging back and forth.” Texas State’s starters allowed five earned runs in 20 innings in the three-game series. The starters recorded a 2.25 earned run average. Fikac instructed the pitching staff to throw inside of the zone against LouisianaMonroe because of the Warhawks’ offensive experience. “I thought we threw the ball well all weekend,” Fikac said. “We were better in the execution of pitches. When we didn’t, we gave up runs. For the most part, I was pleased. There’s some progress.” Geisler pointed to defensive execution as the reason for his success. The Bobcats averaged 1.3 errors in the series, down from the team’s season rate of 2.5. “All-around defense—we’ve lacked it,” Geisler said. “That’s what kept us in the ball game. We wouldn’t have done it without them guys.” Texas State’s next game is March 11 against Rice, ranked 12th in the nation. “I’m looking forward to see what our ball club can do away against a good team,” Geisler said. “We aren’t scared to face anybody. Hopefully if we get the ‘W’ there, it will give us some confidence going into the next weekend on the road.”


BOBCATS CLOSE REGULAR SEASON WITH ROAD LOSS TO WARHAWKS By Paul Livengood SPORTS REPORTER @IamLivengood The Sun Belt Conference tournament represents a clean slate for the Texas State women’s basketball team. The Bobcats closed their regular season with a 90-84 overtime loss to Louisiana-Monroe Saturday and a 61-55 defeat by Appalachian State Thursday. “We had the opportunity to put them away,” said Coach Zenarae Antoine. “Every chance we had to put them away, we either took an ill-advised shot—which was failed opportunities in transition—or

we missed our free throws, or we ended up fouling.” Louisiana-Monroe went to the free throw line 43 times, while Texas State tallied 21 attempts. The Warhawks shot 74.4 percent from the free throw line. Texas State shot 52.4 percent. Sharnice Brooks, Warhawks senior center, accounted for 15 free throw attempts. Brooks finished the game with 33 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks. “Sharnice Brooks had a phenomenal game,” Antoine said. “The shots she took were very difficult shots. She did a good job of being aggressive, and we fouled her because of that. She found a way to put the team on her back.”

The Bobcats raced out to a 27-9 lead with 11 minutes remaining in the first half. Louisiana-Monroe closed the deficit to 10 points at halftime. The Warhawks made 12 of 26 shots in the second half, eliminating the deficit and sending the game into overtime. Louisiana-Monroe attempted 16 free throws in the overtime period while shooting 60 percent. Texas State missed all four of its free throws with a 58.3 shooting percentage. Antoine said someone told her the Warhawks had nothing to play for since they were eliminated from postseason contention prior to the game.

She disagreed. Antoine said the matchup was the Warhawks’ last home game of the season and their senior-day game. They had plenty to play for. “They (the Warhawks) are not going to lay down and die,” Antoine said. “They are going to continue to fight.” Ayriel Anderson, junior guard, finished the game with a team high of 21 points. Erin Peoples, junior guard, posted a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Taeler Deer, freshman guard, had the team’s other double-double with 18 points and 10 assists. The loss puts Texas State on a two-game losing streak entering the conference tournament, which

begins Wednesday. The fourth-seeded Bobcats will play the fifth-seeded UT-Arlington Mavericks Wednesday at 2:00 p.m in the first round of the tournament. The Bobcats swept the regularseason series against the Mavericks, including a 65-58 overtime win at home. Antoine feels confident in her team now the regular season is over. “I told the team before we broke our last huddle, ‘It’s 0-0 now,’” Antoine said. “UT-Arlington is a team we are very familiar with. We have played them every year I have been at Texas State.”

The University Star | News | Tuesday, March 10, 2015 | 3

NEUTRALITY, from front bureaucratic agency.” Regulatory agencies such as the FCC and the statutes giving them authority over communication services are sometimes in place for decades, said William DeSoto, associate political science professor. “It makes a point that a lot of policy is made not by Congress but by these agencies,” DeSoto said. “There are laws where these statutes tend to be fairly broad, and so they have be interpreted.” Josh Martinez, political science senior and College Democrats discussion director, agrees the FCC

should approve net neutrality regulations. Martinez said the Internet has grown into something much larger and more important than a commodity and the infrastructure does not belong to private corporations. “The government gave these Internet companies billions of dollars to improve their infrastructure and build more towers and more satellites, and they squandered it on executive bonuses,” Martinez said. Representatives of the College Democrats expressed concern that without net neutrality regulations,

“The government gave these Internet companies billions of dollars to improve their infrastructure and build more towers and more satellites, and they squandered it on executive bonuses.” —JOSH MARTINEZ, POLITICAL SCIENCE SENIOR AND COLLEGE DEMOCRATS DISCUSSION DIRECTOR Internet service providers could attempt to dictate the purchase of certain content, much like cable companies that sell differently priced television packages. Net neutrality could stifle innovation in technology, said Leanne

Kelley, electronic media sophomore and College Democrats member. “Without the net neutrality law being passed, you wouldn’t have another YouTube, you wouldn’t have another Facebook,” Kelley

said. “You wouldn’t have another Internet outlet or entity that could change the way we look at things that make the world smaller than what it has come to be with the Internet.”


New complex to house Family Justice Center By Darcy Sprague NEWS REPORTER @darcy_days San Marcos local Catherine Shellman said she had no idea her daughter’s abusive boyfriend was capable of murder until he killed her. “As a law enforcement officer, what we are practicing (by assisting victims of domestic abuse) is homicide prevention,” said Penny Dunn, San Marcos Police Department (SMPD) assistant chief and Friends of the Family Justice Center board member. Dunn said leaders of Hays County social service organizations hope to create a shared campus-style complex this year. Representatives of Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), the newly founded Family Justice Center and Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) began talks of co-locating in 2000 to combine

resources and save money. Dunn approached the organizations in 2004 to add the Family Justice Center after seeing a highly successful example of a shared complex in San Diego. Officials hope the complex will provide services in a one-stop-shop model. The centralization stops services from being duplicated and allows easier access for citizens who may have transportation problems, Dunn said. The building will be constructed on a 29-acre lot off Hunter Road and Reimer Avenue. Friends of the Family Justice Center officials bought 10 of the acres with a grant from the city. Kathy Morris, former San Marcos mayor and social worker, donated the rest of the land, Dunn said. The project, known as Village Main, will cost $3.3 million, according to a March 2 Friends of the Family Justice Center press release. Dunn said Friends of the

Family Justice Center are seeking money from any possible source and have posted a donation link on the Friends of Family Justice website. Relocating the Hays County Food Bank to the property will be the next step in the process, Dunn said. Dunn has supported a Family Justice Center since 2004. She has seen firsthand the importance of assisting victims in domestic abuse situations. The most dangerous time in an abusive relationship is when the victim is trying to leave or has left, said Shellman, former Friends of Family Justice board member and current Unsilence the Violence speaker. “What we know for sure is that we pull drunk drivers over because they will kill,” Dunn said. “Just like drunk drivers, batters will kill too.” In 2012, 114 women were killed by domestic abusers, according

to the Texas Council on Family Violence, a nonprofit dedicated to providing a statewide network of those involved in ending domestic violence. Just fewer than 200,000 cases of family violence happened in 2012. Victims sometimes flee from their abusers with nothing and struggle to find means to get the help they need, Dunn said. The Family Justice Center would provide law enforcement, legal aid, spiritual assistance and job training to empower victims, Dunn said. The goal of the Family Justice Center is to prevent victims from going back to their abusers and being killed. “All barriers (to getting help) are removed,” Dunn said. “Victims can stand on their own feet. They don’t have to go back to their abuser.” Roya Williamson, Victim Service Coordinator for SMPD and Friends of the Family Justice Center, said victims will be able to file

reports regardless of what jurisdiction they fall under. Victims can file a protective order at the center. She said the center will allow victims to bring their children and is hopeful some sort of childcare will be provided in the future. Shellman left the board of the Family Justice Center in 2012 to work on her nonprofit LOVE, Leaving Out Violence Everywhere. However, she remains a supporter of the program. “It is proven that the best way to provide help to victims is a Family Justice Center,” Shellman said. Shellman will host a function April 10 at Dicks Classic Car Garage. The function will support social service organizations in the Hays County area. The Friends of the Family Justice Center will partner with Shellman for this project. Dunn admits planning to break ground this year is ambitious. “If I won the lotto, I would fund it,” Shellman said.

BARON ENERGY, from front in favor of local oversight, Stein said. Stein and Frio County officials followed these proposals. Stein said local legislators have made recommendations to modify bills and coordinate with the Railroad Commission. “Unfortunately, we haven’t had any luck in getting any of that through,” Stein said. Stein said local authorities could help alleviate problems associated with oil drilling in Frio County. “We have a lot of the waste injection wells from past oil production,” Stein said. “So we’re getting a lot of those heavy trucks down our county roads into these old wells.” Stein said oil companies cannot be taxed or billed for damaged roads. Frio County must use

money from the county’s annual budget. Some of the oil companies in the area outsource to private transport corporations and defer responsibility for damages to thousands of individual truck drivers. Frio County does not have the budget to pursue those cases, Stein said. Baron Energy officials sell oil to private buyers who transport it using trucks, Hamilton said. Frio County has 350 total miles of roads, Stein said. Oil waste trucks damage 75 to 100 miles of those roads. “We typically have about $600,000 to $700,000 a year in our budget,” Stein said. “I would say probably half of that is used to maintain damage done by these vehicles.”

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4 | The University Star | Tuesday, March 10, 2015



University should continue to adopt green initiatives


mplementing green initiatives ranging from alternatively fueled vehicles to solar panels can be beneficial for Texas State and society at large. According to a March 3 University Star article, Texas State will implement Compressed Natural Gas vehicles, also known as CNGs, in the university fleet after the enforcement of a statewide mandate. Accordance with the mandate will not go into full affect until May, but the new law requires statefunded public universities to have at least 80 percent of their vehicles on an alternative fuel source. The inclusion of these vehicles solidifies Texas State’s commitment to going green, and hopefully the effort will prove to be viable. Texas State has made previous attempts to go green but none on such a grand scale. For instance, dining facilities such as Jones and The Den have gone green after officials eliminated Styrofoam containers. These attempts have proven successful, but only minimally so. The inclusion of these alternately sourced vehicles is an apt and formidable step in the right direction.

CNG fleet vehicles are a good example of tuition funds going toward something meaningful and tangible. Devoting time and money to resources Bobcats can see come to fruition is great for administrators and students. This may seem like a steep departure, but the world will be thankful in the long run. Simply put, adopting additional environmentally friendly devices will prove to be a beneficial decision. The option of installing solar panel charging stations was introduced to President Denise Trauth earlier in the academic year, according to a Sept. 25, 2014 University Star article. Unfortunately, Trauth declined the offer. Committing to green initiatives and the betterment of the environment should be a top priority on the list of the administration. Officials should not invest money, time and resources in wasteful sources such as the annoying motion sensor toilets placed in many buildings on campus. Replacing motion sensor toilets with the greener option, such as the type available in the School of Art and Design, would prove

to be a sound investment. The toilets in the Joan Cole Mitte building have signs instructing visitors on which way to flush, depending on their specific needs, in order to better conserve water. No longer will students have to endure random movements causing motion sensors to accidentally activate on hightech toilets used throughout campus, which wastes water. This green alternative could save the university a portion of funds spent providing water to campus facilities while improving the environment. Reallocating funds toward greener alternatives is something all students can agree with and would actively benefit from. Environmentalism is a better cause than the overfunding athletics receives, which takes students actively being interested in order to see some kind of worthwhile payback for the distribution of their tuition. Attempting to decrease both wasteful behavior and spending


can go a long way. Going green has proven to be initially expensive, but it proves to be worthwhile in the long run. The sooner Texas State as a collective body decides

to lead other universities from the front on environmentally conscious issues in order to better preserve the planet we inhabit, the better.

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.


Gender-neutral pronouns should be used, respected

Kirsten Peek OPINIONS COLUMNIST @kirsten_peek

There ze goes There ze goes again Ze calls my name, Pulls my train, No one else could heal my pain” -A hypothetical gender-neutral adaptation of “There She Goes” by The La’s

The concept of gender-neutral pronouns may be confusing for some people to wrap their minds around, naturally. It takes time for these identifiers to become an ordinary part of one’s everyday vocabulary, but for those that fall outside or in between the gender binary, the inclusion of these terms should be fully embraced. Gender-neutral pronouns have proven beneficial when the gender of an individual is unknown or unclear or when an individual does not feel comfortable being addressed with masculine or feminine pronouns. Common genderneutral pronouns are singular “they,” “their” and “them” as well as newly coined “ze” and “zir.” “Gender-neutral pronouns are needed because people don’t always classify binary anymore,” said Pamela Holmes, social work

sophomore and member of Bobcat PRIDE. “Some people feel they are more on a spectrum. If they don’t want to identify as a ‘she’ or ‘he,’ why should they if it’s not how they feel?” Genderqueer is an all-encompassing term for people who identify as anything other than man or woman. This may include people who are genderfluid, genderless or transgender. It is important to note there is a difference between sexual orientation and gender identity. For many people, it is difficult to fully understand the concept of being genderqueer. This is due to the fact that most people have never experienced it or come into contact with genderqueer people. Society has rarely questioned binary gender norms, so the immediate reaction is to erase the need for an “other” category. Regard-

less of personal familiarity with the variety of gender-neutral pronouns, the important part is respecting an individual’s wishes on how they are addressed. “I use whatever pronoun people want me to call them,” Holmes said. “Usually I’ll just ask if I’m not sure. Or I’ll say ‘them’ if I feel I am not in a position to ask.” The gender that a person feels internally is not a choice, and there are many ways to express masculinity, femininity, androgyny or even something completely outside the binary. Expecting a gender-neutral individual to choose a binary pronoun makes as little sense as trying to force a left-handed child to write with their right hand. “Society, in general, is becoming more open to exploring gender identity,” Holmes said. “Our generation is a lot more open-minded

and accepting than older generations. I think younger generations understand that people need to identify however they feel.” Respecting the pronouns of individuals is crucial. It is not the place of society to question the way an individual identifies even if it does not conform to societal norms or expectations. Just as all humans expect others to respect how they identify themselves as individuals, the gender identity, or lack thereof, should be respected as well. The English language is constantly evolving, and there is no reason why it should not incorporate newly formed gender-neutral pronouns. —Kirsten Peek is a journalism senior



Google DeepMind wave of the future

Alamo ownership dispute a non-issue

Nabil Hourani SPECIAL TO THE STAR @nabil_hourani


eople should not fear advancements in artificial intelligence or fall back on the "I watched I, Robot" criticism. In 2014 Google purchased DeepMind, one of the most premier artificial intelligence (AI) companies. This is a huge step forward in developing some of the most sophisticated AI machines society has ever seen. Google DeepMind's mission statement is to combine some of the best techniques from the way machines learn and the systems of neuroscience to build powerful, all-purpose learning algorithms. In layman terms, DeepMind’s mission is to create systems that can teach themselves. DeepMind was founded in 2011 by some of the most prominent AI scientists in the field. Google is the best company to help advance and develop the DeepMind program in a positive direction. Since purchasing DeepMind, Google’s company

executives have been fairly quiet about the projects being developed. However, it was revealed earlier this year they have created a program that can master several old arcade games. These self-teaching algorithms can make the computer create its own winning strategies to theoretically beat any human in a number of games. What makes this system an even more impressive accomplishment—compared to other attempts at creating AI—is the fact that it was not pre-programmed with any knowledge of the rules of the game. It was able to play the game, teach itself and master it without any human aid. Google has proven to play an important role in the development of AI with its purchase of DeepMind. Although the game-mastering software is impressive, there is still a long way to go in developing these AI machines. Google is no stranger to developing self-functioning machines. Self-driving cars are still an ongoing development Google and car companies are creating to revolutionize the way people live life and use machines. Granted, understandable fears exist about what AI could do to society. Some of these fears will likely always remain. People may wonder if AI will become so advanced that it will begin to question why it continues to serve humans at all. Detractors may feel DeepMind moves society one step

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

closer to making this robotic doomsday scenario a reality. However, people do not need to overexaggerate these ideas of AI machines. Instead, they should look more optimistically at some of the great accomplishments society can achieve with this advanced technology. Using this self-teaching AI technology, Google DeepMind can help people get closer to having computers create answers for questions regarding things like cures for diseases and solutions to deep societal issues. The talk of robots and AI has been around for decades— both on how to create it and what it could actually affect in society. It has come to the point now, with Google DeepMind, that society will get to see some serious progress in the developments of AI instead of just hearing the rhetoric. Now, whether or not the thought of this kind of technology scares people, its development is inevitable. People must embrace the idea that AI software may become more prevalent and available in the years to come. Instead of automatically thinking of a worst-case scenario involving killer robots in the future, people should attempt to understand the kind of groundbreaking discoveries that lie on the horizon and the potential they embody to make society a better place. —Nabil Hourani is a public relations senior

Jeffrey Bradshaw OPINIONS COLUMNIST @jeffbrad12

Remember the Alamo!” Those words will be shouted once again when Texans take up arms against the United Nations (U.N.) when the organization comes to invade. Well actually, the U.N. is not trying to take over the Alamo, but no one told Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels, that. On Nov. 25 Campbell filed Senate Bill 191, which states the Alamo will never be owned by anyone but the Texas government. She wrote this bill in response to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) that nominated the San Antonio missions, which includes the Alamo, as a World Heritage Site. According to a Feb. 25 Foxsanantonio. com article, Campbell changed her stance on the Alamo recently. There are absolutely no negative reasons for the Alamo and various other San Antonio mission sites to become UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Actually, there are only benefits. The Alamo would become more popular if it were chosen as a World Heritage Site, and this would encourage more tourism in San Antonio and the state of Texas. According to, whenever a location becomes a World Heritage Site,

there is a increase in the level of protection and conservation for the location. So, not only would the Alamo become more popular, creating more money for the state, but the monument would also get more experienced conservationists to help preserve treasured parts of history. The Alamo is not getting any younger and is something all Texans should see. The added conservation and funding that comes with becoming a World Heritage Site would keep the doors of the Alamo open for everyone to experience. This is not the first unnecessary bill Campbell has authored. She also proposed legislation allowing employer discrimination against the LGBTQIA community based on religious freedom, so who knows what she is doing up in Austin. I am not saying every bill she has offered is a bad one, but this one is particularly irrelevant. “There was somewhat of a paranoia that the United Nations could somehow gain possession or have the authority to demand Texas give up its ownership of the Alamo,” said Richard Henderson, senior political science lecturer. I do agree with Campbell when she said the Alamo should never be owned by anyone but Texas, but the U.N. never wanted to own it. Campbell’s bill seems to focus entirely on the Alamo, ignoring the other San Antonio missions up for nomination by UNESCO. This goes to show just how little Campbell looked into this non-issue before writing a bill about it. This bill should not be voted on because the State government has better things to be concerned with. The Alamo and the other San Antonio missions would only benefit from becoming a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Campbell should never have stood in their way. I’m glad she has decided to not start another battle of the Alamo. —Jeffrey Bradshaw is a political science sophomore 601 University Drive Trinity Building, Room 101 San Marcos, TX 78666

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Musicians compete in Battle of the Bands By Sarah Bradley LIFESTYLE REPORTER @sarah_bradskies San Marcos is full of artistic talent, and its local bands are no exception. The Student Association for Campus Activities (SACA) hosted a Battle of the Bands March 5. The annual event began in 2010. The contest is held to select the band that will open for River Fest, San Marcos’ music event, said Celina Concha, communication studies junior and Pride & Traditions Coordinator of SACA. Concha said the event is continuously successful and had a high attendance rate this year. “This year, we hit the maximum of 150 people allowed in George’s at one time by 7:15p.m. and a total of approximately 400 attendees coming and going,” Concha said. These numbers are a reflection of how much preparation, time and effort SACA puts into this event, she said. “We typically start planning for Battle of the Bands the semester before winter break,” Concha said. “Right at the beginning of January, when the new semester starts up, is when we hit the ground running with finding the equipment, fliers, advertising and such.” Concha said the event takes about three months of preparation to put on. This year’s Battle of the Bands featured a total of 10 local groups. The bands that performed were Our Last Day, The Question, Broke Folks, No Idea, Abandoned Under Fire, Merilette, The Converse, Ledger, New To Me and Alive and Fun. The performances included various genres and ranged from

HARON SAENZ STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Morgan Graf of Merilette and Austin Sisler, sound recording technology sophomore, perform March 5 during battle of the bands at George's in LBJ Student Center.

groups to soloists. Cody Silveira, international studies freshman, said he found the musical diversity of the contest appealing. “Pretty much every single act was phenomenal and super talented, although the acts were completely different, featuring genres like indie music, hard rock and alternative,” Silveira said. “It was really nice to see such diversity and be able to experience all

the different styles and preferable music genres from people at our university.” Cole Smith, English sophomore, said the event provided an artistic outlet and exposure for local bands. “I think that this event is really awesome because not only is it free, live music for students, but I think it promotes creativity and really helps get these band names out there,” Smith said.

Concha said Battle of the Bands is a unique entertainment opportunity for the students and residents of San Marcos. “Although the Battle of the Bands event is mainly a contest to directly select the band that will perform the opener for River Fest, this event is also a great way to showcase all of the talent here at Texas State and in San Marcos in general,” Concha said. “And even on top of that, it’s another oppor-

Theatre students modernize Greek classic ‘Medea’ By Denise Cervantes LIFESTYLE REPORTER @cervantesdenise Texas State’s Department of Theatre and Dance performed “Medea,” a modernized version of Euripedes’ Greek tragedy, in the black box theatre March 5-7. The play, directed by Amelia Bahr, graduate student, follows Medea’s vendetta against Jason, her exhusband. Bahr has over 30 years of theatre experience, but she had never directed a Greek play. “I used to not be a big fan of Greek plays, but tonight that has completely changed,” said Terrence Folker, audience member. “It was modernized enough to where I wasn’t falling asleep in my seat, but it also had the genuine Greek elements as well.” Bahr read over 15 different renditions of “Medea” during the summer until she settled on the Frederic Raphael and Kenneth McCuish rendition. “I was looking for one that still had the beauty of the image but wasn’t quite as difficult for my audience to understand and for my cast to tackle because I knew I was going to be doing a modern rendition of it,” Bahr said. The chorus was one of the Greek elements incorporated into the modern rendition of “Medea.” Bahr said in the ancient Greek plays the chorus not only sang and danced but also spoke. “It has a lot of music and some dancing that has been added back to the script, so we played around with that a lot,” Bahr said. “We did a lot of playing with the chorus work and had a lot of fun.” Folker said the cast of “Medea” captured the emotions of the characters and portrayed them powerfully to the audience. “The cast was amazing,” Folker said. “There was not a single moment where I was not memorized, especially at the very end when Jason starts to have his meltdown. That was so strong.” Grayson Yockey, musical theater sophomore, played

the role of Jason. Yockey described how he related to the naivety of his character. “He’s a lovable fool in that sense, and I’d like to think I’m a little smarter than he is, but he’s very kind and just looking out for the good of the people,” Yockey said. The show was performed in the black box theatre, a small show hall with a flat stage surrounded by the audience on all sides except for the back. This fostered an intimate conection between the audience and performers. “I was sitting in the front row, and let me tell you, it

was intense,” said Anna Joel, musical theatre junior. “There were a couple of times where I almost felt myself getting just as mad as Medea was, to be honest, because I could just feel her pain so bad.” The small space meant the set was kept minimal. However, that did not limit the creativity of the actors and director, who brought the elements of ancient Greece alive. “I loved the set,” Folker said. “It wasn’t what I was expecting, and the background music that was chosen to be played went really well too.”

Bahr said she hopes her audience will leave with a greater understanding of how to treat people and will consider the actions of the ancient Greeks when they deal with others. “One of the things that makes ‘Medea’ so interesting is not that she and Jason are in a toxic relationship but the fact that he treats her so poorly because she’s a foreigner,” Bahr said. “(Ancient Greeks) don’t consider the fact that other people are human beings. I hope the audience fears becoming like them because of the way they treat other people.”

tunity for entertainment for students and San Marcos residents.” The winner of the 2015 Battle of the Bands and opener for the upcoming River Fest was Broke Folks, a local indie band. “I really enjoyed working with the Battle of the Bands this year,” Concha said. “I always do, but I feel that this year was a really diverse, talented and successful one.”







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