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University employees undergo sexual misconduct training By Nicole Barrios ASSISTANT NEWS EDITOR Texas State held training to teach Title IX sexual misconduct investigators as the university updates its policy in the wake of new national guidelines. Title IX investigator training was held Oct. 27 and 28 with administrators from the university and other institutions in the Texas State University System, said Gilda Garcia, chief diversity officer and Title IX coordinator. The NCHERM Group, LLC, a law and consulting practice, came to Texas State to conduct the training, Garcia said. “It was two full days of training,” Garcia said. “Anybody that’s gonna be conducting Title IX or sexual misconduct investigations attended that training, and as a result they will be certified to perform sexual misconduct investigations on campus.” Administrators and staff who attended the training received an overview of Title IX information—what it is and the requirements and techniques involved in conducting sexual misconduct investigations, Garcia said. A working session was held on Oct. 29 to rewrite the sexual harassment policy into a sexual misconduct policy that follows the guidelines of the TSUS, she said. “We have a working draft that came out of that meeting, and that draft has been forwarded to the secondary reviewers,” Garcia said. “We’re doing everything we can to expedite the adoption and approval of (the updated) policy.” The TSUS Board of Regents updated its sexual misconduct policy in August. The university is now changing its policy in accordance with the system-wide mandate, Garcia said. “We’re pretty close to finalizing the Texas State policy,” said Joanne Smith, vice president of Student Affairs.

See TITLE IX, Page 2

A feasibility study is the driving force behind new renovations to Alkek Library.


Library renovation to include updated technology, study spaces By Mariah Simank SENIOR NEWS REPORTER


lkek library could undergo a major face-lift bringing new infrastructure and technology renovations. The final report for a feasibility study was received in May 2012 and is now the driving force behind three phases of renovation to the library. The project is currently in its fundraising process, and a start date for renovation has yet to be determined. Sarah Naper, director of Research and Learning Services, said the renovations will move floor-by-floor, with the excep-

tion of the first and third levels, beginning with the second. The plan includes collaborative spaces for group work, areas for individual study and technology upgrades such as interactive screens and visualization walls. The final stages of the project will take place on floors five, six and seven, Naper said. The feasibility study and phasing the library is currently planning does not include an eighth floor, but the building is capable of having one, said Lori Hughes, director of Administrative Services. “The building was designed with a floor weight capacity that says you could add anoth-

er level—if you need to—at the top,” Hughes said. “Currently it isn’t part of the plan, but it is something that is a possibility in the future.” The money to pay for the project will come from internal university funds as well as donor contributions, Hughes said. “That’s really the phase we are in right now, is building that fund and doing a lot of fundraising,” Hughes said. Naper said the infrastructure must be updated before technology-based renovations can begin. “In the coming years, we

See ALKEK, Page 2



Emergency operations plan to serve as model for universities in Texas to follow By Jake Goodman NEWS REPORTER The Texas State Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) will soon serve as an example for other university plans throughout the state. Every university and state agency in Texas is required to have an operations plan in case of disaster, said Russell Clark, director of Environmental Health Safety and Risk Manage-

ment (EHSRM). Texas State has always had a business continuity plan, but the State Office of Risk Management (SORM) changed the name to COOP last year, said Bill Nance, vice president for Finance and Support Service. “COOP prepares us for everything from a tornado making the campus inoperable to a hurricane evacuation at one of our sister colleges,” Clark said. Nance said Texas State was

the first institution audited by SORM due to its proximity to Austin and the advanced nature of the plan compared to those of other universities. Clark said the auditors wanted to make the Texas State’s COOP a model for other institutions. “(Clark) and (Hollingsworth) have really taken the lead to make sure Texas State is in line with the best plans,” said Jake Palmer, emergency management coordinator. “The

state has sent auditors down, and they’ve said this is going to be a model for other universities.” Clark said the eight institutions in the Texas State University System rely on each other to set up a base of operations in case the campuses are inoperable. The universities would only relocate enough staff to continue essential operations

See COOP, Page 2


Texas State ranked 17th for Hispanic students By Benjamin Enriquez NEWS REPORTER ranked Texas State as 17th in the nation’s “Top 50 Colleges for Hispanic Students” in 2014. The rankings are based on academics and the number of Hispanic students currently enrolled, according to the website. This fall semester, 11,606 Hispanic students are enrolled at Texas State,

said Joe Meyer, director of Institutional Research. The university set a goal of becoming a Hispanic-Serving Institution over ten years ago, Meyer said. The university achieved HSI status in 2011. “In fall 2004 there were 4,980 Hispanic students enrolled, and in fall 2014 there are 11,606 Hispanic students enrolled,” Meyer said. The additional 6,626 students equates to a 133 percent increase


Students sign in for the Hispanic Policy Network Symposium Nov. 6 at LBJ Student Center.

from the Hispanic enrollment level of ten years ago, Meyer said. “The 6,626 increase in Hispanic enrollment at Texas State University represents two-thirds of the net growth of 9,956 students between 2004 and 2014,” Meyer said. The U.S. Census Bureau currently estimates 38 percent of the Texas population is Hispanic, Meyer said. “Because 32 percent of the enrollment at Texas State is Hispanic in fall 2014, we are approaching a Hispanic enrollment at Texas State that is representative of the Hispanic population in Texas,” Meyer said. Increased Hispanic enrollment in colleges is important for the future Texas workforce, Meyer said. The Hispanic Policy Network, a group of Hispanic faculty that creates policy to benefit students at Texas State, helped the administration reach its goal, said Israel Nájera, HPN founder and Counseling Center senior counselor. “We accomplished that goal two years ahead of schedule,” he said. HPN’s new priority is to retain the Hispanic students who enroll at Texas State, Najera said. “We don’t only want to bring students in, but our goal now is

to retain them,” Najera said. “We wanted to make sure the students got the services they needed and deserved.” Hispanics have not always been a focus in higher learning, said Daniel Vasquez, associate director of Campus Recreation. “Historically, (Hispanics) haven’t always been invited to be a part of higher education,” Vasquez said. “Now that demographics are shifting, we see more young people coming in and being a part of the higher academic community.” Vasquez said having Hispanics enrolled at universities is good, but getting them to graduate is better. “As one of the fastest-growing populations in the state of Texas, we still have one of the lowest graduations rates in the state,” Vasquez said. “If the overall population increases and no one is graduating, then we get into a big problem.” Selena Escobedo, bilingual education senior, said incoming Hispanic students should take advantage of the services the university provides for them. “When I was a freshman, I was in Student Support Services and the Bobcat Bridge Program, and it

helped out a lot,” Escobedo said. “I was able to meet with advisors and plan things out.” Laura Ayala, healthcare administration junior, said she loves how far Texas State has come in its diversity. “I feel accomplished,” Ayala said. “My freshman year I didn’t see interaction with the Hispanic community and the school, but now I see it through the Multicultural (Greek) Council.” Ayala said the university should continue to build on what it has started by promoting Hispanic events on an equal level with other functions. Amy Indalecio, radiation therapy sophomore, said she is glad to attend a university with the level of diversity of Texas State. “By having the different organizations that we do, it allows everyone to get to know each other,” Indalecio said. Indalecio said Hispanic students should not be afraid to take steps toward their personal success. “Sometimes you have to go out and do things on your own,” Indalecio said. “The resources are there. You just have to look for them.”

2 | The University Star | News | Thursday, November 13, 2014


Central Texas encouraging alternative fuel vehicle technology Adriana Cruz, president of the Greater San Marcos Partnership, said the group hosted the regional conference in San Marcos in colA regional initiative focused on laboration with the Central Texas alternatively fueled vehicle (AFV) Fuel Independence Project (CTtechnology has brought together FIP) and Alamo Area Clean Citbusiness and industry experts in ies Coalition. San Marcos. Electric charging and alternaThe inaugural “Fleet Exchange: tive fueling stations, fleet optimiDialogue On Natural Gas in Cenzation and financial incentives for tral Texas Fleets” conference was early adopters of AFV technoloheld on Aug. 26. Andrew Johngies were among topics discussed, ston, lead of the Central Texas according to a GSMP press reFuel Independence Project, said lease. the use of compressed natural gas “GSMP was essentially the fa(CNG) in the region as an alternacilitator of a broader conversation tive fuel source is accelerating by on how the IH-35 corridor can become a lead voice in support of alternative and sustainable fuel growth,” Cruz said. As a testament of growth, Tesla motors constructed the company’s first electric charging station in 2013 at the Tanger Outlets in San Marcos. “What Tesla did was put a stamp on San Marcos and defined it as the heart of a transportation triangle—a key inflection point for rangeassurance,” Johnston said. The City of San JOHNEL ACOSTA STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Marcos Electric Utility has considered opAdrian Killam charges her electric vehicle Nov. 2 at the Telsa charging station. By Houston York NEWS REPORTER

more than 200 percent year-overyear. Electric vehicle technology grows yearly by 300 percent. The amount of electric vehicles locally has increased tenfold from 2011 to 2014, Johnston said. “It is explosive growth,” Johnston said. “This is technology future generations will be driving regardless.” The initiative is funded by a Department of Energy (DOE) grant, he said. The grant’s baseline requirements include creating informational brochures for current and potential drivers of AFV, fueling and charging station hosts and utilities and fleet operators.

tions for constructing electric vehicle charging stations that would be available to the public, he said. “There is a good possibility of seeing electric vehicle charging stations at The Square in downtown San Marcos next year,” Johnston said. However, the DOE’s stated objective to create informational pamphlets was a low expectation for the regional initiative, Johnston said. As a result, the decision was made to go beyond expectations and put a “hyper-focus” on points limiting the future adoption of AFV technology. “It became apparent that nationwide there are only 600 CNG fueling stations, of which only three are in Texas,” Johnston said. “That is really limiting small- and medium-enterprise businesses from achieving any impactful change.” Yliana Flores, coordinator for the Alamo Area Clean Cities Coalition, said the adoption of AFV technology by companies with large fleets would increase demand for CNG fueling stations, benefiting consumers across the region. The objective was developed to help fleet managers recognize the optimal point to switch to alternative fuels. “A lot of fleet managers are interested in alternative fuels and have already decided to implement them,” Flores said. “On the other hand, some fleet managers that are aware of alternative fuels

are not sure if it is the right decision.” Alternative fuel vehicle technology is new to almost everyone, although people should not be afraid of it, Flores said. “The technology is very safe,” Flores said. “Natural gas vehicles are similar to conventional vehicles, and the only real difference between the cars is how they are fueled. It is just public safety awareness.” CTFIP also partnered with Austin Community College to develop the Advanced Vehicle Training Program as a continuing education curriculum for current or future AFV technicians, Johnston said. “Between organizations, this is a $70,000 investment at minimum,” Johnston said. “Together we want to create a legacy program which will be replicated at Gary Job Corps and Alamo Community College.” The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is offering a $2,500 rebate for consumers who lease or purchase a CNG or electric fuel vehicle, Johnston said. TCEQ is also offering to pay for half the expenses of any business that constructs an alternative fueling infrastructure, which costs around $1.5 million. “Technology is the ripple effect that hits everything: industry, government and consumers,” Johnston said.

ALKEK, from front are going to be starting to do a renovation of the library’s infrastructure,” Naper said. “And that’s really important because the building—right now—does not have the power or the data it needs to accommodate some of the technology ideas that we have planned for.” Naper said the renovations are being performed in an effort to adapt to the university’s eventual move to emerging research status, which means creating more collaborative study spaces and areas with fewer distractions. Students tend to prefer collaborative spaces to individual ones. Library offi-

cials still want to value and honor the individual space. “We believe that because the university is going down a path towards emerging research status, that we need to support the research needs of students and the campus community as a whole,” Naper said. Lorin Flores, Learning Commons librarian, said the addition of more research areas would mean less room for books. The library is already running out of space with over one million books and documents, she said. In the coming years, a book repository will be built on Hunter Road for

collections that students use less frequently to help solve the overflow issue. “One floor is about the size of a football field, and we have at least three floors out of the seven that are pretty much all dedicated to book storage,” Flores said. “As we free up that space, it will allow us to have a lot more room for studying and group work.” Naper said students on campus will continue to have easy access to the books with the renovation. “Our expectation would be that we could have materials delivered on a daily basis, perhaps even twice a day, to anybody who made

a request for them,” Naper said. “If people wanted to go there, we have allocated space in the repository for what we call reading rooms so that the material could be pulled for students and they could look at them right there.” Hughes said library officials are currently testing prototype learning spaces to see what works best for students. “A lot of libraries are finding themselves needing to transition to a learning commons model, and that is something we have been working on and planning towards for several years now,” Hughes said. “You can see, when

you come into the library, that we have prototype learning spaces that we are trying out on a small scale to see what works and what doesn’t.” The cost of the prototypes is minimal, but the final dollar figure for the finished renovation will be large, Naper said. “Part of the reason why we are doing our smaller-scale things first is so that we don’t spend a lot of money on something we really don’t need,” Naper said. “We are trying to be careful about that.”

new laws and ensure the policy is current. All colleges and universities must pay attention to the guidelines concerning Title IX issues, so officials are trying to be as compliant with the standards as possible, Smith said. The university has implemented the new student Campus Clarity educational program and worked with athletics, Greek Affairs and resident assistants to raise awareness of Title IX issues, Smith said. Officials at the Health Promo-

tions Services office will continue to work with the Men Against Violence campus organization to conduct presentations and roll out information to the university as a whole, Smith said. Sexual misconduct policy and Title IX must be handled differently than other student code of conduct issues, Garcia said. “That’s why people needed to be educated and trained in how to do it,” Garcia said. The legislation also mandates annual training for Title IX inves-

tigators, Garcia said. Garcia said investigations and reports will be “prompt, reliable and thorough” now that staff have undergone Title IX training. Online Title IX training for faculty, staff and graduate assistants began Nov. 3, Garcia said. All full-time employees are required to take the 30-to-45-minute training every two years. “As we go through this process as a university, we’re trying to look at what the appropriate staffing levels need to be for (Title IX in-

vestigators),” Smith said. University officials will consider whether extra investigators or staff will be necessary, Smith said. “I’m very thrilled that the campus is getting all of this training, and I’m very thankful to all of the people who participated to make this happen because it is a very large number of people that all came together to make this happen,” Garcia said.

TITLE IX, from front The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, which President Barack Obama signed into law on March 7, imposes new obligations on institutions under its Campus Sexual Violence Act, Garcia said. “As laws change as a result of the ongoing nationwide discussion about this, new rules are going to be put in place,” Garcia said. “So right now, this is a very fluid process.” Garcia said the university is doing its best to “keep up” with the

COOP, from front like payroll records by creating a memorandum of agreement, he said. “The plans can be everything from how to deal with a fire in a single building to evacuating the entire campus,” Clark said. Clark said the next step for the COOP plan is to test it out with a drill. The drills will involve moving personnel to the Round Rock campus to make sure the computers function properly and the staff can be contacted. The drills are a new requirement SORM added to the plan. Nance said the procedure will also include “table-talk” drills in which

members of the EHSRM staff and Emergency Management discuss the necessary changes to the COOP and implement updates. The date for the drill has yet to be chosen. “When we do our exercise here soon, it will be another step others haven’t taken yet,” Palmer said. Nance said the university would relocate to the Round Rock site if the main campus were inaccessible due to something like a tornado. Texas State is open to other universities within the TSUS in case they need to relocate. “(The legislative council and budget board) will be able to relocate here if

something happens to the capital with minimal disruption,” Nance said. The SORM auditors were impressed with the university’s COOP and the computer system that compiles all the plans into one digital database called Texas State Ready, Nance said. Before Texas State Ready, EHSRM directors would send out messages to all of the various departments and chairs, Nance said. “It’s sort of like a cookbook where you input information in so you know what to do in the event of a problem and then start making plans to recover,” Clark said.

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The University Star | Thursday, November 13, 2014 | 3


Local events provide seasonal winter fun for families, students

City restaurants offer variety of brunch options By Ernest Macias ASSISTANT TRENDS EDITOR Brunch is some people’s favorite meal of the day for various reasons, just one of which being that it’s suddenly perfectly acceptable to consume cocktails at 10:30 a.m. It seems that nearly every restaurant in town serves brunch these days, so the University Star separated the best from the rest:


By Kara Dornes TRENDS REPORTER The ushering in of colder weather means so much more than the arrival of cute knitted beanies and seasonal Starbucks drinks. San Marcos and its surrounding areas are trotting out some of their most beloved events for a season of family fun, holiday nostalgia and Instagram-worthy sights.


Through Nov. 16 SAT 11 a.m – 12:30 a.m. SUN 11 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. MON – WED 5 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. THUR & FRI 5 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. Sprechen sie “fun?” The tenday festival will come to a close on Sunday, but there is still time to go and enjoy what the annual Wurstfest has to offer. Wurstfest is located on the Wurstfest Fairgrounds at Landa Park and includes many different attractions. Wurstfest started off as a sausage festival and has evolved into what is now a full-out celebration including great food, music and a carnival for all ages

to enjoy. “The festival is over 50 years old, and it was started by a veterinarian as a sausage contest,” said Brenda DeStefano, Wurstfest office staff. A band all the way from Germany will make its third-year appearance to give Wurstfest that authentic Deutsch sound along with classic German foods such as potato pancakes, bratwurst, wiener schnitzel and much more.

STAR FILE PHOTO sic cars. “There is free admission for friends and family after 5 p.m., and there will also be a band playing,” said Angelica Barreras, front desk at Dick’s Classic Garage Car Museum. Dick’s Classic Garage Car Museum 120 Stagecoach Trail. San Marcos, TX 78666 (512) 878-2406

178 Landa Park Dr. New Braunfels, TX 78130 (830) 625-9167



The city’s annual Sights and Sounds of Christmas event, dubbed the “Best Christmas Festival in Texas,” is a favorite among residents, students and out-of-towners alike. This year’s festival features a performance by country superstar Kyle Park as well as an ice-skating rink, a nativity scene and carnival food favorites.

Nov. 15 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.

For any car enthusiasts in town, this is the chance to go look at some of the most classic vehicles in San Marcos for free. The monthly Cruise in Night is located at Dick’s Classic Garage Car Museum and gives patrons a chance to show off their custom rides or look at the vehicles around the museum. Live music and local eats will be available for patrons to enjoy while browsing the clas-

Dec. 3 – 6

Sights and Sounds of Christmas, 401 E. Hopkins San Marcos, TX 78666 (512) 393-8400

Palmer’s Restaurant, Bar & Courtyard on Moore Street might be the ultimate go-to spot for date-night dinner, but its brunch is perfect for the morning after. The restaurant’s offerings strike the perfect balance between lunch and breakfast, featuring everything from the addictively sweet, gooey bun starters to a cilantro aioliinfused breakfast panini. Additionally, the mimosas and Bloody Mary cocktails are perfect “hair of the dog” elixirs to help even the most enthusiastic of Square-goers recover.


Root Cellar Bakery is open in the early morning at 7 a.m., and its breakfasts and brunches are casual enough for a pre-class meal but still nice enough for family gatherings. The restaurant, located right off The Square, features full-breakfast and full-lunch items—few hybrids—but the times at which they’re offered make for a perfect brunch. Signature dishes include perfectlyprepared eggs Florentine—a difficult meal to execute— as well as Brazilian French

toast and Belgian waffles. All of the meals come in at college student-friendly prices, so this might just be the ultimate spot to start a Bobcat’s morning.


For those seeking a more casual brunch outing perfect for groups of friends, Tantra Coffee House on Hopkins couples a nostalgic, relaxed atmosphere with artisan dishes for a delicious-yetsimple breakfast experience. Tantra offers vegetarian and vegan meal options for patrons in addition to the typical lox, bagel and breakfast taco fare featured by many brunch spots. Of course, the shop’s coffee selection is among its best listings, with a unique and ever-changing rotation of options for even the snootiest brew hounds.


Another 7 a.m. option for early-rising students is Café on the Square, an inexpensive local favorite that’s been a staple in San Marcos since opening its doors years ago. Café on the Square serves its breakfast items all day long for those students faced with either the pain of an 8 a.m. class or a lack of early morning willpower. Fan favorites include the freshly prepared breakfast tacos and rye toast with sausage, all served in the Café’s famously cozy spot just minutes from campus. As a bonus, the Café offers free Wi-Fi for guests, perfect for Instagramming the well-arranged food and nostalgia-inducing décor.

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4 | The University Star | Thursday, November 13, 2014



Students must be wary of apartment gimmicks W

ith students beginning to sign leases for the 2015-2016 academic year, Bobcats must do research in preparation for living off-campus in order not to fall prey to gimmicks from apartment complexes. There are over 150 apartment complexes in San Marcos. They come in varying shapes, prices and locations, but one thing that all of them have in common is that they’re trying to make money. To students, apartments are just a place to live, but these people have to make money off students any and every way that they can. Students should take the time to look up places to live. According to a June 4 University Star article, Achieving Community Together (ACT) is a program that helps students find friendly and affordable off-campus living communities. Texas State and the residents of San Marcos collaborate to provide students with information about aspects of living off-campus such as lease agreements and roommate conflicts.

Apartment complexes that have the ACT Ally title are held to a higher standard of maintenance and management than others that are not. Reading completely through leases is an important step to living off-campus that most people overlook. Texas State’s Attorney of Students webpage has several helpful links and documents about some common troubles students face when deciding to move offcampus. Many of these include lease information and tips. Additionally, Bobcats can get their leases reviewed by the Attorney of Students for free by submitting a form on the department website. Students should consider taking their parents with them to sign their leases. As much fun as it can be reveling in the freedom that comes with being a college student, using parents as an older, wiser source for apartment hunting only makes sense. Many apartment complexes take students more seriously when parents are with them and involved in the process. A

young student alone and excited about his or her first apartment will seem like an easy target for hidden loopholes. Those considering offcampus living should take care not to be swayed by the deals and giveaways often peddled by apartment complexes. If a deal seems too good to be true, it usually is. Students should also be wary of signing on with complexes that have yet to be built. In last few years, San Marcos residents have suffered from places like Vistas, the Avenue San Marcos and Eight17 Lofts having to push back move-in dates because of delays in construction. If it’s not built yet, signing up to live there probably is not a safe bet. Leases are legally binding documents. Dealing with the fallout from grappling with a bad one can have a ripple effect on future living situations and possibly credit scores. Picking roommates and leases should be treated with a lot of thought and caution instead of jumping in wallet-first and throwing caution and dollars to the wind.


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.



Cohabitation not wise choice for college students, young adults

Help for mental illness should not be stigmatized

Britton Ritcher OPINIONS COLUMNIST Journalism junior


oung college-aged students should not live with their significant others. This is a cynical statement that may seem harsh and broad. It is, but it also holds some truths. College-aged students go through a great deal of change at a very rapid pace. We grow emotionally, physically and in every other aspect of the word except, potentially, financially. If you

are a college student who is growing financially, you are a rarity, so congratulations. I am not a cynic about the magic that is young love. However, apartment leases are permanent, at least for a solid 12 months, which is enough time for things to drastically change. An MIT study found that the brain does not fully develop until at least the mid20s. Being stuck in a lease with someone you used to be romantically involved with sounds like a mild version of what I assume hell would be like. Dating is not bad, but sharing a lease is a financial risk as well as an emotional risk. In these critical years, we grow mentally. The brain develops. According to the MIT Young Adult Development Project, the prefrontal cortex (associated with tasks like planning and problemsolving) is the area where the most changes occur in

young adults. During this time, the prefrontal cortex begins to communicate more efficiently and effectively with other areas of the brain. This allows the brain to run to the best of its ability. All of these functions together can be referred to as the “executive suite.” The executive suite can accomplish these tasks before this development begins in the late teenage years, but the development allows us to complete various tasks at a higher functioning level. These developments translate into our relationships. They affect how people communicate and interact with others directly. Drastic changes occur in a seemingly small amount of time. I, a college-aged student, have a completely different perspective at 20 than when I first came to Texas State. I have different relationships, a different perspective and have gone through several different

choices in major. I am a very different, better version of my previous self. Changes in our general character carry over into changes with those around us. Young adulthood is defined as the ages between 18 and 25. These are key college years for most students and key development years for everybody. Our ability to cope with a diverse and changing world is unlikely to be matured and ready to go until you reach roughly 25, give or take a few years. Being in a relationship is tough. Being a college student is tough. Combining both of those factors is tough. It is important to keep in mind that leases are long-term ordeals and should be treated with caution and careful consideration. Don’t be cynical about young love, just be responsible and realistic.


Driverless vehicles should be embraced, not feared

Nabil Hourani Opinions Columnist Public Relations senior


riverless cars are one of the greatest automotive and technological innovations approaching the horizon of mass production in the near future. These autonomous vehicles will have the capabilities of using GPS, radar and computer vision to take passengers to virtually any drivable location without any human aid in controlling the vehicle. Discussion of the idea of this kind of robotic car has brought strong opinions and emotional responses on both sides of the debate. There are those who are incredibly excited and eager to see the mass production of these vehicles. Supporters be-

The University Star 601 University Drive Trinity Building, Room 101 San Marcos, TX 78666 Phone: (512) 245-3487 Fax: (512) 245-3708

lieve it would be great to witness such an amazing technological miracle as well as eliminating the human risk involved with operating a car. There are also those who are skeptical of this technology for many fairly understandable reasons. It must be very clear that these cars can operate without a human driver with an almost non-existent risk factor, otherwise it will be very difficult to convince someone to trust their life with a robotic car that could possibly crash and kill them. The question of personal privacy can be brought up as well. Skeptics may feel these cars will be just another way for the government and other elites to have more resources to track and record the physical locations and other daily activities of users. If society has reached a point that manufacturing these safely driving autonomous cars on a mass scale for the public is possible, people should not fear these vehicles. Society needs to recognize all of the great benefits that can be obtained from having driverless cars. Cities like San Marcos and Austin have a vibrant bar scene and have to deal with drunk

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drivers on a regular basis. Many alcohol-related accidents could be avoided if students had cars with this driverless function available. Students could still go out and drink with friends and safely return home without having to pay for a taxi or awkwardly ask someone for a ride home because they’re too drunk. It must be recognized that the development and release of this technology in the future is inevitable, as Google and various car companies are currently creating the technology for these vehicles and learning how to implement these machines on a mass scale. According to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, it is estimated that by the year 2040 up to 75 percent of all vehicles will be autonomous. Banking company Morgan Stanley has positive financial predictions for the driverless cars as well, estimating the cars could save the United States up to $1.3 trillion annually by reducing crash costs, lowering fuel consumption and increasing productivity. We are living in an incredible time to be able to have the chance within our lifetimes to be able to witness and use this

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type of groundbreaking automotive technology. People who live far away from their loved ones will have a better opportunity with driverless vehicles to be able to drive and come visit without having to deal with the annoyances of driving a car for an extended period of time. You can sit back, read a book, take a nap or do whatever you please while your car seamlessly and safely transports you to anywhere in the country you need to go. The greatest benefit of all with be all of the loved ones people will not lose that they otherwise may have due to a human-caused car accident. In the United States, over 30,000 people died in car accidents in 2012. That is 30,000 potential lives that could have been saved with driverless technology. It is important to be sure this technology will be implemented safely and efficiently once it becomes more widely available in the future. However, once it reaches this point, society must embrace the idea of these driverless vehicles and recognize all of the incredible benefits to be received. Not to mention it would be just about the coolest invention ever.

Jenna Coleman OPINIONS COLUMNIST Journalism senior


any people experience mental illness in their lifetime, yet a staggering amount of people will not seek help or counseling because of the stigma that therapy receives. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in four adults experience some type of mental illness in a given year, totaling to approximately 61.5 million Americans. The chances are fairly high that everyone, at some point in their life, will experience difficulty mentally. Common mental illnesses include depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and many others. However, NAMI also states that there are sometimes decades between when the first symptoms appear and when help is actually sought. Of the people I have known, several have shared with me that they will not go to therapy because of how others react when they share that they are seeing a therapist or psychologist. For some reason, choosing to seek help is seen as a point of weakness instead of strength. If students were aware of how common mental illness actually is, the stigma may reduce. No one should feel like they cannot seek counseling because others may perceive them as completely crazy. Needing someone to talk to does not mean that one is crazy or odd, and it should not be stigmatized as so. According to the CDC, only 25 percent of people affected by a mental illness believe that others are sympathetic and caring towards people who have a mental illness. It’s no wonder only half of people who need help act to find it when only a quarter of people with mental illnesses believe others will understand their position. Tragedies and rash decisions by many may have been avoided if asking for help did not receive a bad reputation. I wonder how many school shootings, suicides and other horrible events have happened just because that person did not want to, or felt they could not, get help. Teenagers and young adults, who are going through periods of life change, are especially susceptible to mental complications, and these often are the ones who act out. Any type of mental illness is serious, and even if illness is not present, no one should ever feel like they cannot talk to a therapist or psychologist because others will think they are insane or have to fear that others will not be sympathetic towards them. Everyone should be aware of how common mental illness is and realize that struggling with stress, anxiety or depression is nothing to be ashamed of.

The University Star is the student newspaper of Texas State University and is published every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of the spring and fall and every other Wednesday in the summer semesters. It is distributed on campus and throughout San Marcos at 8 a.m. on publication days with a distribution of 6,000. Printing and distribution is by the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung. Copyright Thursday, November 13, 2014. All copy, photographs and graphics appearing in The University Star are the exclusive property of The University Star and may not be reproduced without the expressed written consent of the editor in chief. The first five issues of each edition of the paper are free. Additional copies of the paper can be purchased at 50¢ per copy. Contact The University Star office at (512) 245-3487 to purchase additional copies.

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The University Star | Thursday, November 13, 2014 | 5




ence bowl tie-ins: the New Orleans Bowl, the GoDaddy Bowl or the Camellia Bowl. The loser moves farther down the ladder.

The stakes remain high one year after the Texas State football team’s 33-31 victory against South Alabama. For South Alabama, sixth in the conference, a win against the Bobcats could amount to the difference between participating in a bowl game and watching one on television.



Jaguars senior defensive lineman Jesse Kelley called this week’s game “our Super Bowl.” Texas State and South Alabama are jostling for higher positions in the conference, the bowl game implications are imminent. The winner will have the tiebreaker, putting the team in a better position to secure one of three Sun Belt Confer-

“I can see why they might say something like that with Navy and South Carolina left. Those are not easy games for them. I’m sure they look at this as the league win ensures a little bit more. I’m not surprised they feel like that.”


South Alabama’s team has been stripped bare due to injuries. Senior quarterback Brandon Bridge missed the game against Arkansas State with an ankle injury. Jay Jones, senior running back, tore his ACL in the team’s 30-27 win over Georgia State, sidelining him for the rest of the year. To add more injury to insult, senior tight end Wes Saxton, senior

offensive lineman Drew Dearman, senior linebacker Maleki Harris and senior cornerback Qudarius Ford all missed last week’s game. The result was a 35-point loss to Arkansas State. The trickle-down effect of injuries presses less talented players into replicating the incumbent’s production. Surviving injuries, Franchione says, depends on game context.


“I’m sure the injuries do impact them. Sometimes an injury, by the game, you can have a backup play and you’ll be okay, and sometimes a backup that you have to play in this game is really hurtful because of the things you are trying to do. We’ve all got injuries this time of year. You close ranks. You march on. Dead men gotta walk. The injured can’t play, and the ones with pain do play. You play the hand you’re dealt.”


Bowl game opportunity at stake in game against South Alabama

By Mariah Medina ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR @MARIAHMEDINAAA Tyler Jones, then a freshman quarterback, stood behind his offensive line on fourth-and-26, down three points with less than two minutes to go. “It’s over if this is not executed,” ESPN commentators said as Jones prepared to snap the ball. “It’s a tough fourth conversion, fourth and a lot.” Jones felt the pressure from two South Alabama defensive backs and scrambled to find Ben Ijah, wide receiver, for a 51-yard completion. The pass set up Jason Dann, place kicker, for a 42-yard field goal. Texas State regained its lead with four seconds left on the clock. The Bobcats won 33-31, simultaneously ending South Alabama’s season. Both teams will enter Saturday’s competition in the same positions as last season. A win could spell the end of a season for one and a bowl game berth for the other. “Anybody can beat anybody at any moment in this league,” said Craig Mager, senior cornerback. “It’s really going to come down to who works hard enough during the week, who wants it more at the end of the day.” Injuries have hurt South Alabama’s stats as of late, but Jaguars senior quarterback Brandon Bridge is now listed as “probable” to play against Texas State. Mager says Bridge’s numbers warrant concern from a defensive standpoint. South Alabama is a predominantly run-heavy team, but Bridge has established a 59.3 completion percentage for 177 yards in one game in November. South Alabama senior running back Jay Jones incurred a season-ending ACL injury against Georgia State that will alleviate the running threat the Bobcats initially anticipated. Mager and his defensive squad, however, can’t rest easy in light of injuries. South Alabama senior wide receiver Shavarez Smith has over 500 yards on the season. Mager says the physical aspect Shavarez and others bring to their team’s offensive unit is substantial. “They’re all pretty tall, they’re all pretty fast, they all have great ball skills,” Mager said. “Hopefully we can get a little bit of pressure on them and do what we do best in our defense.” To some, the biggest question mark for Texas State has been Jones. Jones threw two interceptions in his team’s last game against Georgia Southern, one of which was returned for a 100-yard touchdown. His decision-making has been questioned, but cooffensive coordinator Mike Schultz is confident about Jones, who is currently second in the conference for

pass efficiency. “We ask Tyler to manage the game,” Schultz said. “Sometimes we are all guilty of mismanaging things. Has he had some times where I wish he put the ball in a different place? Yeah, but he’s been pretty solid this year. He’s still, you know, a young quarterback. He’s barely played 12 games. He’s still going to come on and do the things that we ask him to do. On the banks of the Guadalupe

I’m not worried about him.” The implications of the game are grand with both teams contending for one of three bowl game invitations available to the Sun Belt Conference. Coach Denis Franchione said as the season winds down, all games are big ones, but the Bobcats will have work to do after South Alabama regardless of the outcome. A Few Doors Down From Gruene Hall


The recurring theme for the Jaguars offense: leaving points on the board. South Alabama has scored on 18 of 25 red zone opportunities this year, the lowest percentage in the Sun Belt Conference. They average 3.6 points per red zone opportunity. Texas State averages 5.0 points per red zone opportunity. Over an entire game, the difference is significant.

ably, the team’s most consistent defensive performance of the season in the 28-25 loss to Georgia Southern. The Eagles’ run offense finished 130 yards below their regular season average, and the passing game, an underrated facet of the offense, didn’t create big plays. Defensive coordinator John Thompson, meanwhile, wasn’t ready to call it the best performance of the year



“They just haven’t been consistent. They are an explosive team, and they take shots down the field. Both quarterbacks are good players. They haven’t had any continuity, so I’m sure all of those guys will be back and healthy for this one.”

If you don’t win, nothing is the best. That’s still a lot of yards. Our guys played hard, but we gotta play better. There were a couple plays that, if we could go back and change the outcome of those plays, we win the game. We still have a lot of work to do.”



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Texas State 28, South Alabama 24.

Contact (512) 392-9299 for more infomation

6 | The University Star | Sports | Thursday, November 13, 2014


Bobcats to open regular season on road By Sabrina Flores SPORTS REPORTER @SABRINAFLORESTX The Texas State men’s basketball team will launch its regular season campaign this Friday on the road against the Seattle Redhawks. The Bobcats are seeking their first winning season in 15 years. Seattle is a mature team, with 10 players returning from last year’s roster. Isiah Umipig, senior guard, was named to the Preseason All-WAC First Team. He averaged 19.6 points and 3.8 assists per game in the 2013-2014 season. “I am really concerned about this game,” Coach Danny Kaspar said. “I do think we can beat them. Like I tell all my teams, ‘Fellas, when you go on the road, you’re going to have to be 10-14 points better and hope you can get out with a close win.’” The Bobcats will have to control the up-tempo offensive style the Redhawks bring to the court. Led by Umipig, the Redhawks keep opponents on their heels by pushing the ball. According to Kaspar, Wes Davis, senior guard, did not have his best defensive game in the team’s 76-57 exhibition victory against the Texas-Wesleyan Rams. Davis had three steals against the Rams. D.J. Brown, senior guard, will rotate with Davis to contain Umipig. Getting back on defense during transition plays will be the key for the Bobcats.

“When the guy (Umipig) gets going, he’s almost unconscious,” Kaspar said. “We have to play very good defense and control the tempo of the game. We are going to be in their gym with a decent crowd.” The Redhawks were picked to finish in the top three in the Western Athletic Conference this year, a testament to their athleticism and skill set. Seattle’s athleticism helps in rebounding, an area Kaspar wasn’t pleased with in the exhibition against Texas-Wesleyan. Texas State was outrebounded 38-36 by the Division II school. Davis is the only player on the roster who played Seattle two years ago. During that season the Bobcats went 3-0 against the Redhawks. “They are more talented this year,” Davis said. “They really let their point guard have a lot of freedom. The bigger guys like to post their guys up. They give them freedom to shoot. We have to concentrate on containing their point guard and everything else will fall into place.” The Bobcats could face anything from a 2-3 zone to full court press due to Seattle’s versatile defense. Seattle will attempt to keep Texas State off-balance offensively by constantly changing the defense. “We tend to get a little celebratory when we do some good things, and we get a little bit down when we do some bad things,” Kaspar said. “We have to grow and mature. We can’t let their style of play dictate our style of play—don’t get wrapped up in what they are doing.”

The Department of Housing and Residential Life will be sending a survey by email to randomly selected residence hall students. If you receive the survey invite, please share your thoughts regarding your on-campus living experience.

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