WEDNESDAY MARCH 25, 2015
VOLUME 104 ISSUE 70 www.UniversityStar.com
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Texas State SAE chapter responds to controversy
By Jon Wilcox NEWS REPORTER @thrilcox Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity members have experienced national scrutiny and widespread criticism after a scandal shook the Oklahoma chapter in early March. SAE officials disbanded the University of Oklahoma (OU) charter after a video showing members chanting a racist song went viral. OU officials expelled two students identified in the video days later. The Texas State SAE chapter garnered national attention on March 12 when an inactive member posted racially insensitive tweets. Officials with Texas State’s SAE chapter have denounced the controversial video and tweets, according to a March 12 press release written by Matt Garrity, SAE chapter president. “The Texas Sigma Chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon at Texas State University in no way agrees with or supports the song in the video,” Garrity wrote in the press release. The Texas State SAE chapter has 55 active members, and over 35 percent are of ethnic minority groups, according to the press release. Texas State officials will not pursue an investigation into the local SAE chapter or its members, said Vincent Morton, associate dean of students. He said students’ free speech is protected by the First Amendment as long as they do not “create a hostile environment” for others. Officials at OU made the decision to expel two SAE members, arguing their actions led to the creation of a hostile environment for some students, Morton said. Texas State has no grounds to punish the fraternity for opinions expressed on the Internet by an inactive member, he said. “There is a process you go through for individuals that is totally different than the process you go through for organizations,” Morton said. Student misconduct allegations are handled by the Dean of Students Office. Organizations are investigated and disciplined by the university’s Student Involvement department, Morton said. Student Involvement officials enforce organization-specific sanctions. Sanctions include restricting participation in university activities, mandatory community service, withdrawal of financial support, prohibition of alcoholic beverages and suspension, according to the university’s Student Organization Disciplinary Procedures. “The decision impacts the organization, not the individual,” Morton said. Jeff Fitzgerald, sound recording technology freshman, knew one of the OU students seen in the video. Parker Rice was Fitzgerald’s high school classmate. Fitzgerald attended Jesuit College Prep in Dallas with Rice. Jesuit College Prep is a small, close-knit school with about 1,000 students, he said. The Jesuit model of schooling strongly emphasizes mutual respect for all people, Fitzgerald said. “We were all brothers, and we all got along,” Fitzgerald said. “We all meant it—wholeheartedly we meant that stuff. (The school) shapes who you are.” The school’s demographics at the time were composed predominantly of nonminority students, but racial intolerance was not an issue, he said. “We never have problems with anything, especially race,” Fitzgerald said. “No one cares how much money you have. No one cares what the color of
See SAE, Page 2
PRESLIE COX STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Tanner Hill, junior catcher, leaps to catch a relay throw during a non-conference baseball game Tuesday at Bobcat Ball Park. Texas defeated Texas State 6-4, extending the Bobcats’ losing streak to 20 games against the Longhorns.
Bobcats fall to No. 10 Texas in eighth inning By Quixem Ramirez SPORTS EDITOR @quixem
t was the same as ever for the Texas State baseball team. The Bobcats’ 6-4 loss Tuesday night is the team’s 20th consecutive loss to the Longhorns. The game took on a similar tenor to previous meetings. Texas State held a lead for the entire game before Texas put together a late rally to secure the win. “From the first pitch, I thought we were going to win,” said Jeremy Fikac, assistant coach. The Longhorns’ comeback attempt came at the hands of Texas State’s most reliable relievers— Cory Geisler, junior pitcher, and Blake Whitter, senior pitcher. Geisler moved from the outfield to the pitching mound in the eighth inning to relieve Montana Parsons, freshman pitcher, who allowed two earned runs in seven innings.
Geisler retired the first two batters of the inning. Derek Scheible, freshman centerfielder, mistimed the jump in the next at bat, and the Longhorns had a runner on third base with two outs. The game-tying run was at the plate, and Fikac entrusted Whitter to close the matchup in a highleverage situation. He has been there before, after all. Whitter leads the team in appearances (15) and saves (4) this season. Fikac said Whitter’s side-arm throwing motion makes it difficult for hitters to elevate the ball in the air. He needed one out to give the Bobcats a lead heading into the bottom of the eighth inning. C.J. Hinojosa, Longhorns junior shortstop, capitalized on Whitter’s second pitch—a fastball on the inside of the plate— for the game-winning three-run home run. Hinojosa’s home run was the first allowed by Whitter this sea-
“Talent-wise, we are there. A couple more hits, make one more pitch, there’s a chance we come out with this one. It’s what baseball is. You have to go pitch-to-pitch. You have to execute.” —JEREMY FIKAC, ASSISTANT BASEBALL COACH son. Texas has outscored opponents by 24 runs in the eighth inning this year. Texas added another run in the ninth inning, giving the team enough of a cushion to outlast the Bobcats. “I tip my hat to those guys,” Fikac said. “Those kids really competed. The end result isn’t what we wanted. We are never satisfied with a loss.” The loss spoiled Parsons’
bounce-back performance. Parsons earned the start against UTSA only to allow five earned runs in 1.2 innings. He was pulled in the second inning. Fikac called his number against the No. 10 team in the country a week later. Parsons did not disappoint. The freshman recorded an out in six of his first seven at bats in
See BASEBALL, Page 2
Train horns may be silenced in San Marcos By Jake Goodman NEWS REPORTER @Jake_thegoodman San Marcos officials have worked to limit the sound of train horns since 2011, but minimizing noise for residents may put drivers in danger. City officials spent roughly $800,000 from 2011 to 2015 turning 19 railroad crossings into
quiet zones, said Rey Garcia, senior engineer for capital improvements. Garcia said the quiet zones increase safety and reduce noise for residents. Jeffrey DeGraff, director of corporate and media relations for Union Pacific Railroad, said banning train horns makes drivers more vulnerable to train collisions.
According to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), horns must be heard for 15-20 seconds before a train enters any intersection. Trains are only permitted to sound horns in emergencies when entering a quiet zone. There were 2,087 collisions between motorists and trains in 2013 nationally, resulting in 251 deaths, according to the FRA.
“By not allowing us to sound that train horn, you’re taking one of our tools off the table,” DeGraff said. Union Pacific acknowledged train horns can be disruptive to residents, DeGraff said. However, they are necessary to ensure motorists know a train is coming. “People may disregard lights
See TRAINS, Page 2
Student Government in “transitional period” By Carlie Porterfield ASSISTANT NEWS EDITOR @reporterfield Student Government has served Texas State since the days of Lyndon Baines Johnson, the univer-
sity’s most famous alumnus and former student body president. In 2003, Student Body President Robert Dorr wrote legislation to change the name of the university from Southwest Texas State University to Texas State
JOHN CODY STALSBY STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
A 1960s Texas State yearbook shows photos of Associated Student Government members.
University, said Councilman Jude Prather, Place 2. Prather was a member of the organization, which was known then as Associated Student Government (ASG). ASG officials introduced the name change to Senator Jeff Wentworth after the Board of Regents did not support the idea. Members asked if Wentworth would sponsor a bill to change the name. He agreed provided ASG do the legwork, Prather said. ASG officials rented buses to go to the Capitol and stayed involved with the name change bill through the different committees, Prather said. Eventually, the bill passed. “The day it passed—I can remember it clearly,” Prather said. “That was the day I fell in love with democracy.” Mayor Daniel Guerrero and Chris Jones, former city council
member, were also in ASG at the time. “That was my light bulb moment in life of ‘Wow, democracy,’” Prather said. “You can write a law, take it to your elected representative and that law could be so significant that it changes the name of your school.” He said the name change is probably Student Government’s biggest accomplishment in the history of the university. Since his time, the organization has changed. Vanessa Cortez, student body president from 2013-2014, was part of the push to restructure ASG. “It had kind of been stagnant a little bit,” Cortez said. “We weren’t seeing as much response from students, and so we wanted to do something so where we’re actually there for students,” Officials hired a representative
See STUDENT GOVERNMENT, Page 2
2 | The University Star | News | Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Hays County residents concerned by over-pumping of Trinity Aquifer By Jon Wilcox NEWS REPORTER @thrilcox The Hays County Commissioners Court debated environmental concerns Tuesday after an independent presentation of possible effects groundwater could have near the proposed Electro Purification (EP) well field. Hays County residents, some of
whom reside within miles of the proposed well field site, packed the courtroom. Some were concerned EP officials may over-pump the Trinity Aquifer, lowering the groundwater to unprecedented levels. Rapid growth and shrinking water resources in Hays County were factors in the decision to support EP. Hays County Judge Bert Cobb worried the findings by LBG-Guyton Associate, a San Antonio-based
environmental consulting firm, lacked sufficient evidence to make the decision. David Braun, an attorney who represents Bill Johnson and the Halifax Ranch, presented findings from LBG-Guyton Associates. Braun said groundwater levels would drop 500 feet five miles away from the pumping site if EP sustained a rate of three million gallons per day for 30 years. “That’s a critical point,” Braun
said. EP officials have proposed pumping up to five million gallons of water per day, he said Patrick Cox, a Hays County resident, said the Trinity Aquifer could become “depressurized” if it is over-pumped. Depressurization could harm water availability and quality in the immediate area. Cox said he owns property within two miles of the EP site and draws all of his water from a personal well.
Hundreds of residents within five miles of the EP pumps rely on wells as a “sole source” of water, Cox said. “It’s like a bank account,” Cox said. “You can’t overdraw what you don’t have. If you pull all of your water out, how are you going to replace it?” Bob Ochoa said he lives within “spitting distance” of the EP wells and thinks over-pumping will eventually make his property a “wasteland.”
TRAINS, from front
Wimberley woman faces charges for making false kidnapping report By Anna Herod SENIOR NEWS REPORTER @annaleemurphy A Wimberley woman was arrested Monday after falsely reporting a kidnapping earlier this month. Hays County deputies said Kristi Rutterly White, 37, told authorities a man tried to force her into his red Ford Ranger pickup on March 5 around 6:30 p.m. in the parking lot of the Dollar General store at FM 2325 and Carney Lane. White said she escaped and made the police report upon arriving home. Detectives reviewed surveillance footage of the parking lot and discovered White left the store in her vehicle without any problems. White later confessed the reported incident did not happen. White faces up to $2,000 in fines and could serve up to 180 days in jail if convicted.
or beat the train, but that horn coming from the train is the best way to alert people,” DeGraff said. Garcia said quiet zones make railroad crossings less dangerous because additional safety measures are required to prevent drivers from being blindsided by oncoming trains.
“The FRA has stated if there is iminent danger or unsafe circumstance, the train is permitted to sound its train horn.” —JEFFREY DEGRAFF, DIRECTOR OF CORPORATE AND MEDIA RELATIONS FOR UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD Railroad crossings are treated on a case-by-case basis, Garcia said. The majority of crossings require the construction of medians to prevent drivers from disregarding the warnings and automatic gates that deploy when a train is nearby. Garcia said the FRA reviews each cross-
ing to ensure it meets standards after the safety improvements are made. “It’s really a risk management program, and we have a consultant who evaluates crossings based on the number of trains,” Garcia said. Garcia said gates and additional warning signs have been added to San Marcos railroad crossings, and the city is currently awaiting approval from Union Pacific. He said a 21-day transition period will take place if the approval is granted. After that, trains will be required to stay silent. “We’ve been working on this thing for several years now, and we’re almost to the point of approval,” Garcia said. Richard Zepeda, applied mathematics sophomore, lives less than 100 yards from the train tracks. He said he would prefer not to hear the train because it keeps him awake at night. Zepeda understands the train horns are necessary but thinks a time restriction should be put in place. “It’s all right at a certain time, like 10 p.m., but not at 1 a.m., 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. when we’re trying to sleep,” Zepeda said. Garcia said the city will have no authority to enforce the rule if the train horns continue in violation of the quiet zone. Instead, the city would file a complaint with FRA officials, who would assess a
fine for Union Pacific Railroad after an investigation, Garcia said. The train horns will still sound in emergency situations, Garcia said. For example, the horn will sound if a car is stranded on the tracks as a train is approaching. “The FRA has stated if there is imminent danger or unsafe circumstance, the train is permitted to sound its train horn,” DeGraff said. Frank Hamilton, president of the Four Rivers Association of Realtors, said he is in favor of quiet zones. Hamilton said railroads can have a significant impact on land value. He said he once sold a house for $200,000 adjacent to railroad tracks. A house two blocks away sold for $400,000. Hamilton said quiet zones would probably not increase land values significantly. “The railroad itself chugging along does make some noise, so it’s not going to completely go away,” Hamilton said. Hamilton believes quiet zones could make crossings less safe because drivers would not hear the trains. However, he said the quiet zones would improve the lives of residents by minimizing interruption.
BASEBALL, from front front of a record-setting crowd of 2,653 people. His first taste of adversity occurred in the fifth inning after Michael Cantu, Longhorns freshman designated hitter, led off with a solo home run. Instead of pulling Parsons, Fikcac told him to trust himself. Parsons retired the next eight batters to keep his team’s chances alive. “I told him he wasn’t coming out of the game,” Fikac said. “‘I trust
you.’ He’s thrown the ball great. ‘Get back to throwing down in the bottom of the zone.’ He did. He got better.” Texas State supported Parsons with two home runs. Geisler opened the game with a home run to deep centerfield on the second pitch of the game. Granger Studdard, freshman first baseman, added the team’s second home run in the fifth inning. Fikac attributed the home runs to the warm weather conditions and
the players’ hitting ability. “We got off to a great start,” Fikac said. “There was a ton of momentum in our dugout, and the fans were in the game. If you are a baseball fan, that was a fun game to watch. I hated that we lost, but it was a good baseball game.” Facing a 20-game losing streak to Texas meant Texas State had a slim margin for error. The team is 41-9 all-time against Texas, with zero wins in San Marcos.
“Talent-wise, we are there,” Fikac said. “A couple more hits, make one more pitch, there’s a chance we come out with this one. It’s what baseball is. You have to go pitch-to-pitch. You have to execute.” Texas State remains in a tie for first place with Georgia Southern in the Sun Belt Conference. The Bobcats will begin a threegame series with Georgia Southern Friday, with a chance to take the first place slot in the conference.
The team’s performance in the loss to Texas reaffirms what Fikac preached in the preseason. The team can compete with anyone in the country. “They understand what is at stake,” Fikac said. “One of our goals is to win the Sun Belt. Our guys are aware of that, and they’ll step into that moment.”
STUDENT GOVERNMENT, from front from the American Student Government Association to complete an internal and external review of the organization’s structure. Cortez said their findings laid the groundwork for changing ASG. “We changed how our elections work, a little bit of what our purpose is, (and) we changed the name (from Associated Student Government to Student Government),” Cortez said. “(Student Government) is going through a transition, and over time it’s going to get a lot better with the changes that we’ve made.” This period has been “extremely hard,” said Tiffany Young, current student body president. The 2014-2015 academic year included the introduction of a new constitution and governing documents. “We’re in a very transitional stage, and I’m trying to make sure that everybody understands the new ways because if we set a precedent this year, it will stay,” Young said. Rebranding and making changes within the organization was difficult when paired with managing the negative perceptions of Student Government, Young said. A misconception exists that the organization is primarily comprised of sorority and fraternity members. “Neither Sean (Quiñones, student body vice president) or I are Greek,” Young said. “That’s a big change. This is the first time in a long time that somebody in one of those positions hasn’t been in a Greek organization.” Lauren Stotler, student body presidentelect, thinks Student Government has a marketing issue. “I think there’s a disconnect between what we do and how the students view it or
if they even get to see it at all,” Stotler said. Stotler hopes to appoint “someone good” as a director of marketing, a currently vacant position, to promote Student Government. “We haven’t been able to find the right person,” Stotler said. “It’s a pretty important position, and we want to make sure the right person is in it.” Voter turnout in Student Government elections has steadily declined in recent years. According to a Feb. 19 University Star article, a total of 573 ballots were cast in the 2015 elections, representing 1.56 percent of the student population. A total of 1,019 students voted in the previous election, accounting for 2.9 percent, according to an April 3, 2014 University Star article. Stotler thinks the low voter turnout can be attributed to the lack of candidates. “I think because it wasn’t as exciting of a race as it was last year,” Stotler said. “Last year, there were four candidates running for president. This year there were only two. And then Tyler (Burton) was running unopposed.” Student Government has experienced a decline in participation, Stotler said. Stotler plans to improve productivity in Student Government by “making sure members are committed and showing up to things” and planning out goals ahead of time. “Other events we’re putting on distract us from the goals that we originally had,” Stotler said. “If I have a plan of when I want to do things, it’s easier to remember to do them at that point.”
SAE, from front your skin is.” Fitzgerald met Rice during their senior year while they were doing community service together. “He was a super nice guy,” Fitzgerald said. Fitzgerald was “shocked” to learn Rice had been involved in the chant. Fitzgerald determined Rice was likely under the influence of alcohol at the time after discussing the incident with former classmates. “That is not the Parker that any of us know, that any of us remember from Jesuit,” Fitzgerald said. “I don’t believe that’s the
Parker today. He was an awesome person who made a bad, bad mistake.” Rice released a public apology soon after the video emerged but was expelled from OU, Fitzgerald said. Officials at OU missed an opportunity to educate when they decided to expel Rice, he said. “It was damage control,” Fitzgerald said. “When you mess up, like, big time at Jesuit, you go and talk to a counselor. We’re not at Jesuit anymore, so the consequences are going to be fast and brutal—not like they were at high school.”
Read it any way you like.
The University Star | Wednesday, March 25, 2015 | 3
TEXAS STATE TO HOST SOUTHLAND CONFERENCE LEADER By Donavan Jackson SPORTS REPORTER @djack_02 The Texas State softball team will take a break from the Sun Belt Conference to host the leaders of the Southland Conference Wednesday night. McNeese State, 23-10 on the season, is traveling to San Marcos for the first time since 2012. The Cowgirls lead the Southland Conference with a 9-0 record, with five players batting above .300 this season. “McNeese always brings a good rivalry atmosphere,” said Coach Ricci Woodard. “They come in and play hard. They’re going to come in and expect to win a ball game tomorrow night.” Lauren Langner, Cowgirls senior outfielder, earned her pre-
season All-Southland Conference bid halfway through the 2015 schedule. Langner has a team-high .406 batting average with 39 hits. Erika Piancastelli, Cowgirls freshman catcher, leads McNeese State with 10 doubles, nine home runs and 27 runs batted in. Piancastelli is one of three freshmen batting above .300 for the Cowgirls. Bryanna Castro, freshman utility player, is hitting .339 while Hailey Drew, freshman second baseman, is not far behind sitting at .337. Defensively, McNeese State is putting up the best numbers in the conference. Emily Vincent, Cowgirls junior pitcher, has a conference-high earned run average of 1.19. Rachel Smith, sophomore pitcher, is second in the conference with a 2.04 earned run average along with a team-high 58
STAR FILE PHOTO
strikeouts. Jamie Allred, Cowgirls junior pitcher, leads the Southland with three saves. “It should be one of those low scoring games,” Woodard said. “Both teams have good pitching and both teams have pretty solid hitting.” Randi Rupp, freshman pitcher, is heading into the matchup tomorrow on a three-game winning streak. Rupp has a 2.65 earned run average and leads the Sun Belt in strikeouts with 176. She has a conference-high 13 wins with
eight losses. Woodard said that the Bobcats’ numbers are showing the team’s improvement. The Bobcats have had more success defensively in conference with a .972 fielding percentage. Texas State has six batters hitting above .300 with 44 doubles, 40 home runs and five triples. Kendall Wiley, junior first baseman, is on a three-game hitting streak, leading the team with a .394 batting average. Courtney Harris, senior third
baseman, and Kortney Koroll, senior utility player, have combined for 57 hits and 38 runs batted in. “The top of the lineup has done a great job of buying into our offensive plan,” Woodard said. “We’ve been attacking good pitches and that’s half the battle to our game.” Texas State’s five-game home stretch begins against McNeese State before the Bobcats host conference leader Louisiana Lafayette twice this weekend.
TRACK AND FIELD
THE GAM E
By Matt Gurevitz SPORTS REPORTER @Matt_Gurevitz Luke Sherley, freshman shortstop, entered high school standing 5 feet 2 inches tall. His height did not hold him down for long. Sherley knew he was young and still had a chance to grow. That is exactly what he did. Sherley grew 12 inches during the summer between his junior and senior years of high school. Sherley’s body has gone through more than a rapid growth spurt. Sherley has grown accustomed to the feeling of having a bone broken. Sherley described himself as that kid in school who was always getting hurt. “I broke both thumbs, my pinky and my ankle,” Sherley said. “When I was in third grade, I tripped and hit my head on a desk at school. I was bleeding everywhere and suffered a concussion.” Sherley has a scar from the incident on the corner of his head, where he had to get 10 stitches. None of his injuries were baseball-related. He decided baseball was the best option for him.
BOBCATS OPEN OUTDOOR COMPETITION AT TEXAS RELAYS LUKE SHERLEY FRESHMAN SHORTSTOP
Sherley’s baseball skills led him to Texas State. Sherley did not have to think long about choosing to play baseball for Texas State. He said no other schools were interested him out of high school. “I got offers from Navy, Air Force and some other small schools, but this was the school I wanted to come to,” Sherley said. “I loved the coaches and the campus, and one of my good friends was coming here, and we decided to be roommates this year. He helped me make my decision.” The Woodlands High School in Conroe, which Sherley attended, has a history of success. Paul Goldschmidt is an alumnus of the Woodlands program. Goldschmidt is the only baseball player to have his number retired by Texas State and was a National League All-Star during the last two seasons. “It was really cool going to the same school as those guys,” Sherley said. “I used to go to games when I was little, and seeing them play made me want to be good like them.” Goldschmidt’s and Sherley’s careers intersect. Both players won a 5A State Championship while playing at the Woodlands. The Wood-
lands has won three state championships since 2000. Other professional baseball players from the Woodlands program include pitchers Kyle Drabek, Toronto Blue Jays, and Jameson Taillon, Pittsburgh Pirates. Taillon was the second overall pick in the 2010 MLB Draft. The pressure of competition was tough at times for Sherley, but he took it as a positive. “It was really competitive, but it made you work hard every day,” Sherley said. “There was always someone, even if it was your backup, who was just as good as you if not better.” Sherley spent his summers playing for the Houston Heat select team. The Heat won a world championship in 2004 and placed second in 2006. Sherley is no stranger to winning baseball and tough competition. He looks forward to bringing that edge to the Texas State baseball program. “I’m focused on doing everything I can to help the team win,” Sherley said. “My goal is to come here and win the conference championship, win the conference tournament and go to a regional and see what happens after that.”
“I loved the coaches and the campus, and one of my good friends was coming here, and we decided to be roommates this year. He helped me make my decision.” —LUKE SHERLEY, FRESHMAN SHORTSTOP
By Jose Campos SPORTS REPORTER @josewithaj The Texas Relays. one of the biggest track and field meets in the country, will feature athletes from all over the nation as well as international competition. Coach Dana Boone said the meet will set the tone for the outdoor season by allowing the Bobcats to compete against the best collegiate programs in the United States. “(It is) always the meet that everyone looks forwards to,” Boone said. “Kicks off the outdoor season. We are excited about running, and the plan is to go up there and have a good showing.” The Bobcats will be recognized nationally if they make the finals. “Our mission and goal, as always, is to go and represent Texas State wherever we go and whatever we do,” Boone said. “I use Texas Relays as a standard, and the goal is to run at Texas Relays. That’s what everybody would hope to kick off the outdoor season—getting a chance to run at Texas Relays.” Amy Acuff, a five-time Olympian; Kineke Alexander, a two-time Olympian in the women’s 400 meter, and Andrew Riley, a 2012 Olympian in the men’s 110 meter hurdle, will participate in the Texas Relays. Texas State hosts the Bobcat Invitational beginning March 26. The Bobcat Invitational gives the athletes who do not qualify for finals at the Texas Relays another opportunity to improve and compete. Boone especially hopes the team will make the finals for relay events such as the 4x100-meter and 4x400-meter. The Texas Relays is focused on these events. The 4x400 team of Briana Adams (sophomore sprinter), Kimberly Krtinich (senior sprinter), Abby Hani (sophomore sprinter) and Erika Martin (sophomore sprinter) won the event at the TCU Invitational, which was good enough for first place in the Sun Belt Conference. “For track and field, there’s very few atmospheres that are like that,” Boone said. “A full stadium of people there to watch for track and field—the energy is good. When the weather is good, it’s lots of good times and a great environment.”
“Our mission and goal, as always is to go and represent Texas State wherever we go and whatever we do.” —DANA BOONE, TRACK AND FIELD COACH
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4 | The University Star | Wednesday, March 25, 2015
THE MAIN POINT
Campus pad, tampon machines must be restocked
one of the tampon machines on campus are currently in service, and this digression must be remedied. University officials stopped restocking the machines on June 14, 2010, according to the signs posted in women’s restrooms throughout campus. The most commonly cited reason is a lack of funding. Condoms are available for purchase in the vending machines on campus. Access to sexual health resources is important for college students, It seems a bit one-sided that university officials provide condoms but not pads or tampons. Students, faculty and staff should have access to the health resources they need when menstruating. Neglecting to do so makes us question how much officials value the health of the people who menstruate on campus. Taylor-Murphy Hall has a box of sanitary products that are free thanks to the self-proclaimed “Tampon Fairy.” In the note accompanying the box, the fairy writes the products are available for anyone who may have an emer-
gency and need reinforcements. The idea of the Tampon Fairy is nice, and it’s good to see Bobcats looking out for one another. However, the fact that the fairy even has to exist highlights a larger problem. The editorial board is not asking for the pads and tampons to be free. We understand university officials have to make hard decisions about budgets and appropriations of funds. When it comes down to it, in an emergency situation most of us are willing to pay the $1.25 for a sanitary napkin. Officials could even raise the price and people who menstruate would likely still pay for them. According to Cappex.com, women make up 56.21 percent of the full-time student population at Texas State. Almost 60 percent of the student body is female, yet the tampon machines remain out of service and utilized. The problem clearly isn’t a lack of demand, as most biological females have periods and need supplies. Having an emergency period situation on campus is a nightmare be-
cause, in many cases, students are forced to find assistance from off-campus locations like gas stations. Money spent at these locations could go to Texas State instead. According to an April 6, 2012 Jezebel article, women who purchase nine boxes of tampons a year spend $61.11 when the boxes are $6.79 each. Similarly, at $7.99 per package, women can get seven boxes a year and spend $59.43 total. If every woman on this campus bought a tampon tomorrow from the machine at the previous price of $1.25, the university would make $17,292.50 in one day. These numbers de“menstruate” the value of restocking the machines. Four long years and approximately 57 bleedings have passed since the machines were restocked, and it is time for the needs of women on campus to be heard. The cycle needs to stop. The dispensers must be restocked. Period.
JORDAN GURLEY STAR ILLUSTRATOR
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.
HE’S NO HERO
Mariana Castillo OPINIONS COLUMNIST @mar9cast
he meaning of “whistleblower” has been called into question since the infamous Edward Snowden revealed top U.S. government secrets in 2013. The term describes someone who reveals wrongdoing within an organization to the public or to the authorities. Snowden was a contractor with the National Security Agency (NSA) when he exposed the government’s practices and tactics of spying on foreign enemies and any threat presenting itself within the nation. The purpose of the NSA is to spy on all foreign nations who pose a threat to national security and hack into their communications. It was created in response to the concern of being attacked again by terrorists. Critics of the NSA believed the organization’s methods were morally wrong and citizens’ rights to privacy were being violated. Yet those same people seem to overlook the NSA’s main focus is not the American public. Snowden broke the sworn secrecy he was expected to uphold. He sought refuge in Russia to escape being arrested in the U.S. and continues to seek help from other nations so he can hide from the federal authority. According to a Jan. 17, 2014 Politico article, when asked
about Snowden’s actions, President Barack Obama said individuals taking government policies into their own hands to publicly disclose classified information results in the government’s inability to keep its people safe. America is often viewed as a country built on the idea of unified individuals who work together for freedom and liberty. Once a weak spot is exposed, the image of America starts to wither away. As soon as our enemies see this nation divide and learn the methods, they can manipulate and change their communications, now knowing ours. Snowden has been called a hero, and others refer to him as a traitor. I really don’t believe he is either because a hero does not run from a fight. He caused damage, which had a ripple effect, making even our allies and powerful political leaders doubt our abilities. The Telegraph reported German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande changed their telephone numbers for fear U.S agencies would listen in on personal conversations. This hurt our country’s reputation not only with foreign nations but also right here at home. The public has not been pleased with the way the government handles itself, and this scandal does not help increase popularity. Instead of finding ways to point out what the government does wrong, the world needs to see a more unified country. If not we make ourselves an easier target. If Snowden really believed he was in the right, then he should have no reason to hide. Simply put, if he loved his country, he would not have given our enemies information that could be used to harm Americans.
Brandon Sams OPINIONS COLUMNIST @TheBrandonSams
OUT EDWARD SNOWDEN
—Mariana Castillo is a journalism sophomore
merican fugitive and whistleblowing intelligence contractor Edward Snowden has been described as many things including a traitor, a detractor, a dissident, and—in my opinion—a hero. He now sits in exile in Moscow, enjoying his temporary asylum status. However, his time in Russia’s capital is quickly drawing to a close. To remedy this, on March 5 Snowden made a video plea to Switzerland hoping the nation would grant him asylum. If Snowden were permitted to relocate to Switzerland, he would be able to escape extradition and impeding prosecution in the United States. In light of the convictions faced by whistleblower Chelsea Manning and the pending case against Julian Assange, Snowden deems his chances at a fair trial slim to none. His lingering skepticism is everything but misplaced. In June 2013 the U.S. Department of Justice charged Snowden with three felony counts including theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information and willful communication of classified communications intelligence information to an unauthorized person. The latter two are in direct violation of the Espionage Act, passed during World War I to prohibit interference with military operations during wartime efforts. Apparently, the American public falls
right in line with this archaic thinking, though it redeems itself to some degree. According to an April 1, 2014 joint HufffingtonPost and YouGov poll, while only 31 percent of Americans think what Snowden did was the “right thing,” 53 percent thought the public had the right to know about surveillance programs Snowden disclosed. Snowden’s loyalty to the constitution and American freedom was thankfully strong enough to forego the country’s complacent indifference to gross violations of liberty and justice. He singlehandedly uncovered and massively disclosed possibly the greatest misstep of government power and authority of the 21st century. Critics theorize his seemingly insubordinate behavior is what led to his political troubles. I do not subscribe to that theory. What he did is not what got him in a world of trouble. How he did it is. If there is one thing the powers that be loathe, it is being made a fool of on an international scale and that is exactly what Snowden arranged. Embarrassment and a tainted ego are the plutocracy’s unforgivable sins. Unfortunately, there is a wrench in Snowden’s desire for political asylum in the land of the Alps. Under current Swiss laws, in order to be considered for asylum, a potential asylum-seeker must submit a request on Swiss territory. The capital of Russia does not exactly fit that criterion last I checked. It is ironic for Russia, a place where democracy goes to die and corruption runs rampant, to be one of only a handful of nations willing to grant asylum to a whistleblower who exposed government overreach. The lines of “good versus bad” have forever been blurred. Perhaps America is not the good gal she has exalted herself to be. As they say in Washington, politics makes for strange bedfellows. —Brandon Sams is a journalism sophomore
Compliance necessary for improved police relations
Maddie Teague OPINIONS COLUMNIST @maddiebell_bell
ensions have been high between citizens and police officers with dangerous encounters on both sides. Recently, when this tension breaks, it ends in the death of either a citizen
or a police officer. Officers need to work on de-escalating the situations. In order to do their jobs to the best of their ability, however, they need full compliance from the citizens involved. A popular adage states, “You can beat the rap, but you can’t beat the ride.” In layman’s terms, whether innocent or guilty, one cannot escape the ride to jail. However, everyone has a chance to prove their innocence once there. Fighting the charges is constitutionally supported, but fighting the cops is a criminal offense. Odds are the person being arrested did something illegal. It does not matter if the crime is considered to be small to most people. It does not matter if the person being arrested believes they are being treated unfairly. What does matter is utter and total
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compliance. There has never been an instance when a person became violent or attempted to resist arrest and the cops decided to chalk it up to fate and let them go on about their merry way. Take Jerame Reid’s case for example. Reid was a black man shot and killed by a black police officer named Braheme Days. According to a Jan. 6 South Jersey Times article, Reid was sentenced to 15 years of prison in 1994 for shooting at three New Jersey State Police troopers. Last year he was arrested on charges of obstruction, resisting arrest, possession of narcotics and failure to appear in court. Things took a turn for the worse when he was pulled over with a gun in his vehicle. A scenario where a man with a record for shooting cops is pulled over and a gun is discovered in his vehicle
sounds like a nightmare for any officer on the case. Not to mention that as a convicted felon, Reid was prohibited from carrying a firearm. According to authorities, Days pulled his own gun on Reid after discovering the firearm, telling him and the driver to put their hands out the window. Days informed the car’s occupants they would be shot if they attempted to leave the vehicle. The person driving Reid’s car responded with complete obedience. He followed the cop’s orders and put his hands out of the car as he was told. However, Reid responded by telling the officer he was going to exit the car. He was told not to get out of the car—otherwise he’d be shot. Super simple stuff. Being a man of his word, Days shot Reid once he exited the car. Meanwhile, Reid’s friend left the ordeal unscathed because he followed
orders. I believe if Reid had responded like his friend, he would still be alive today. Resisting arrest or not following orders does nothing to help either side. Police officers can become very intense, and their frustration may result in treating the suspect with hostility. Sure, Days could have done with a little less yelling, but he made his intentions and instructions loud and clear. Reid was shot because he did not follow orders. One of the most important aspects when dealing with the police is compliance. If you are approached by the police and worried for your own safety, then be compliant, be respectful and you will be safe. —Madison Teague is an English junior 601 University Drive Trinity Building, Room 101 San Marcos, TX 78666
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STUDENT MUSICIAN CELEBRATES RELEASE OF FIRST ALBUM By Callie Haley LIFESTYLE REPORTER @calliehaley A Texas State student released his first extended play (EP) album this semester under the project name Native Prix. AJ Gatley, Texas State marketing sophomore, 19, has been playing instruments and singing ever since he can remember. He recently began taking his music more seriously. “When I was 14, I made my first demo, but this is like the first legit album I’ve made so far,” Gatley said. Gatley said the release date for his album, entitled Recreated Dreams, holds a special meaning. “I decided to release my album on Jan. 31 in memory of my dad,” Gatley said. “He passed away on that day about 10 years ago, so it felt like a good day.” Gatley wrote each song on the album in addition to playing drums, guitar, keyboard and bass. “I played all of the instruments and sang the backup and lead vocals,” Gatley said. “I’d describe my music as just alternative. It ranges from punk rock to indie electronic.” Gatley’s musical talent grew from participating in his church band and playing backup guitar for his grandfather. “I was given my first guitar around five or six,” Gatley said. “My family is very musical. They grew up having their own musical projects as well.”
Gatley’s main goal when producing Recreated Dreams was to develop a connection with his audience by writing music people could relate to on a personal level. “I like to think that the album has an introspective feel to it,” Gatley said. “I wrote a lot of the songs while going through the stuff everyone goes through at this age.” Nico Thomas, marketing sophomore and Gatley’s friend, enjoyed the album. “It’s just feel-good music,” Thomas said. “It’s like comfort food.” Gatley said the inspiration for his music came from a variety of popular rock and electronic rock bands. “I go through music phases, but lately I’ve been really inspired by Awolnation,” Gatley said. “Also the band Say Anything—the front man of Say Anything was a huge inspiration for me when I started listening to punk rock bands.” Gatley collaborated with an artist through the website Fiverr to create the album cover for Recreated Dreams. The website is a marketplace for freelance artists, some of whom specialize in album art. “After looking around a lot for the right person to do the cover art, I found someone from Malaysia that did this really cool pattern art,” Gatley said. “I had a doodle for the concept I came up with in class, sent it to him and he made it awesome.” Gatley enjoys performing for open mic nights and other venues.
LARA DIETRICH STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
AJ Gatley, marketing sophomore, poses Feb. 11. Gatley performs vocals and instrumentation on his original music. “As far as live shows go, I want to really transport this style of music that I’ve created into an awesome live show,” Gatley said. Gatley has complied a fourpiece band to play with in future shows. “Fate fell into place when some of the musicians I’ve met around town moved right across the street from me,” Gatley said. “We jam really coherently, and I just got a good vibe from them.”
Gatley said bringing together emotion, melody and lyrics is one of the hardest things a musician has to do. “There’s a certain sound that I really want to show to people and convey with my music,” Gatley said. “I’m working on that and getting better at it with every song I record.” Randy Baccus, finance junior, has noticed improvements in Gatley’s sound over the past year.
“He’s always working really hard and is very dedicated,” Baccus said. “We are proud of him. He’s doing great things with Native Prix.” Gatley hopes to reach more people with his music in the future. “My whole life I’ve always had a personal connection with music,” Gatley said. “I hope I can get even one person to feel that way when they listen to my stuff.”
Pagan Fellowship provides safe Student group place for interested students advances to nationals, hopes for fourth win By Sarah Bradley LIFESTYLE REPORTER @sarah_bradskies
By Jonathan Hamilton LIFESTYLE REPORTER @Jonodashham1 Members of the Texas State chapter of Enactus are preparing to appear in a national competition this April in St. Louis, Missouri. Seth Bleiler, Enactus president and business graduate student, said the organization is a nonprofit group focused on helping members apply practical business techniques to everyday life. Nicholas Jones, executive board member and president elect, said over 400 universities will appear in the Enactus National Competition April 13-16. Jones hopes the organization, also known as Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE), will add a fourth title to its trophy case and advance to compete in the Enactus World Cup in Johannesburg, South Africa later this year. The national competition consists of three to four entrepreneurial project presentations judged by a host of experts, business executives and CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, Bleiler said. He said the Texas State team, the reigning champion of the national event, has put in countless hours perfecting the projects to be presented in St. Louis. Bleiler said the students have every intention of coming home with the gold, but they will consider the trip a success regardless of their ranking. “No matter who wins the competition, those (400) or 500 universities are all doing projects that help impact people’s lives,” Bleiler said. “Winning is important and wonderful, but the more important thing is how we impact people’s lives.” Jones said he recommends Enactus to students looking to challenge themselves both personally and entrepreneurially. He said the group has helped him better understand how to use textbook knowledge to produce tangible business success outside of the classroom. “You get out of SIFE what you put in,” Jones said. “If you want an organization that will push you to be the best person you can potentially be in a business sense, SIFE is the organization for you.” Jones said members participate in community outreach programs with the purpose of bettering the living conditions of people in need. He said Enactus officials believe members have a responsibility to help create change economically along with their community-building efforts. Bleiler said the team is currently under the leadership of Vicki West, faculty advisor for Enactus. West has served as supervisor of the team through all three of Enactus’ national titles, he said. “Ms. West is the backbone for opening opportunities for us and making sure we develop as leaders,” Bleiler said. Nina Aguirre, marketing senior and Enactus officer, said competition for a spot on the executive board is difficult. She believes the experience has helped in preparation for her first national competition. Aguirre said the experience she gained while working with the organization will help her make a mark on corporate America. “Enactus is like stepping in the real world and getting a taste of it,” Aguirre said. “You actually apply everything you have learned in the workplace, and that is better than stepping out of college and not knowing anything.”
People take part in a variety of underground religions, but some beliefs go largely unnoticed. That is where the Pagan Society comes in. Jared Brown, vice president of the Pagan Student Fellowship at Texas State, said the group is composed of students, alumni, faculty, staff and community members. Some group members are devoted Pagans. Others are people interested in learning more about Paganism. Brown said the Pagan Student Fellowship was founded in 2006 by alumna Tamara Langstrumpf in an effort to create a discussion about various beliefs and practices. Hinduism, Buddhism, Druidism, Wicca and witchcraft are openly discussed, Brown said. “Paganism is not a religion in itself,” Brown said. “It is a term used for the various minority religion. However, if you were to ask them, they may or may not exclusively associate with just one.” Hunter White, political science sophomore and current president of the organization, said the group advocates the acceptance of different opinions. No one is condemned for their beliefs. “I believe the Pagan Fellowship offers a healthy dose of curiosity— a willingness to discuss things, ask questions and grow by learning and opening up to new concepts,” White said. Heather McMaster, literature graduate student and treasurer, said the
HARON SAENZ, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Members of the Pagan Student Fellowship pose March 23 at Comal Building. meetings provide group discussion rather than fixed religious practice. “The meetings are more educational than anything, where we discuss various ideas of Paganism rather than practice specific aspects within Paganism,” McMaster said. Stefan Sanchez, philosophy and applied ethics graduate student, said the meetings help educate members and provide a secure place for open discussions. Sanchez, a former In the Mercantile Building president of the organization, said students can
consider the group a protected zone for those curious about any religion. “We strive to provide a safe haven because most of our students, even if they are Pagan, are wanting to learn more about it,” Sanchez said. “There really aren’t many people for them to turn to and ask about it, so we try to offer a safe spot where anyone can come and interact with others who are open-minded.” Across from Gruene Hall
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