November 29, 2022

Page 1

YEAR IN REVIEW ISSUE

ACTIVISM

Spavital fired, position to be filled in coming weeks

The search for the 21st head football coach at Texas State is on after Jake Spavital was fired after four straight losing seasons. The team finished with a 41-13 loss to Louisiana on Nov. 26 and did not achieve bowl eligibility once under Spavital, going 13-35 in four seasons.

Since moving to the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) in 2012, the Bobcats have been bowl-eligible twice but have not been selected to participate. Texas State is one of three schools in the FBS to have never participated in a bowl game.

Texas State President Kelly Damphousse said that decisions like these are always challenging when dealing with a high-profile position like a head football coach, but assured that it was a professional decision rather than personal. With the position open, Damphousse said that he hopes to have it filled by the end of the week.

Fight for justice continues for Salyer family

After over a year of waiting for justice to be served, Bonnie and Rodney Salyer, parents of deceased Texas State student Austin Salyer, finally await a final court hearing on Jan. 6.

On Sept. 16, 2021, Austin was killed by negligent gunfire while sleeping in his apartment at The Lyndon at Springtown Center in San Marcos.

George Brown, Austin's neighbor, claimed that around midnight, he accidentally fired his gun while modifying it and speaking on the phone with his father. The gunfire struck Austin through their shared wall while he was in bed. Austin was found the following morning around 11 a.m. on the wall beside his restroom where he had crawled before taking his last breath.

Understanding your rights: How Prop A affects TXST students

The city ordinance titled Proposition A or Prop A will end arrests and citations for up to four ounces of marijuana in San Marcos by San Marcos Police Officers. The ordinance passed in a landslide victory with an 81.84% vote 'for' the proposition.

However, enforcement by state troopers and Hays County sheriffs deputies is not affected by Prop A and those agencies can cite and arrest for any amount of marijuana.

Social justice groups Mano Amiga and Ground Game Texas worked in conjunction with local volunteers over the last several months to acquire the over 4,000 signatures required to secure Prop A’s place on the November ballot.

The ordinance will not expunge arrest records regarding position of marijuana but will no longer allow police officers to use the smell of marijuana as probable cause for a search.

According to Samantha Benavides, director of communications for Mano Amiga, the passing of the proposition is just the beginning.

“This campaign is about so much more than the policy itself. It’s about showing our community the power they hold as a collective,” Benavidez said. “We are hopeful that policy change on marijuana enforcement might just be the first step in fundamentally reassessing how we treat drug possession in Hays County.”

On Campus

Despite the victory of advocacy groups in San Marcos, the passing of Prop A raises questions about the possession of marijuana on Texas State property. The university is not affected by Prop A or city ordinace and sets its own drug policy. As it stands, university police officers can issue a citation for any amount of marijuana while on university grounds and refer the student to the Office of Student Conduct.

Texas State has not changed any policies regarding marijuana position on campus since the passing of Prop A, but President Kelly Damphousse is planning to revisit the issue at the start of the new year.

“I have a belief in the effectiveness of marijuana for all kinds of issues and I think it's important for us to be responsive to that. So, I don't know that we have specific plans right now to make changes, but it certainly is time for us to look into that,” Damphousse said.

Marijuana is still federally illegal and the decision of whether Texas State will consider decriminalizing marijuana has to do with federal funds. The university is awarded federal funding for being a drug-free campus and could risk losing that funding if the policy was changed.

“To get federal funding, we have

To get federal funding, we have to be a drug-free campus, and that includes marijuana. Proposition A, what it did was it changed how the San Marcos police can respond. So, I think it's important for our students know that you still cannot have marijuana on campus.”

to be a drug-free campus, and that includes marijuana. Proposition A, what it did was it changed how the San Marcos police can respond. So, I think it's important for our students know that you still cannot have marijuana on campus,” University Police Chief Mathew Carmichael said.

Carmichael wants students to fully understand their rights following the passing of Prop A and worries that it could lead to students getting prosecuted outside of San Marcos due to a misunderstanding.

“A lot of our students, they may live part-time in San Marcos, but at some point go home. So, I'd hate to see a student read into Proposition

A and go, ‘I can have up to four ounces’, leave it in their car, forget it's in their car, drive up to Dallas and on the way be in a traffic stop and for whatever reason that gets discovered. And I think that can be problematic,” Carmichael said.

Hays Country District Attorney Kelly Higgins is planning to not prosecute anyone for cases dealing with low-level marijuana possession. According to a statement released by Higgins on his website, Hays County cannot afford to prosecute hundreds of people for marijuana possession annually.

“Hays County spends an average of $27,000 per case to prosecute possession of marijuana cases. Each year, 400 to 500 of these cases are initiated in our county. Simple math tells us that we are spending $10,000,000 per year prosecuting people,” Higgins said. "Hays County can no longer afford to spend tens of millions of dollars every year persecuting people for possession of marijuana.”

Jordan Buckley, the co-founder of the San Marcos Film Club, a local social justice group, said the university’s current regulations regarding marijuana put students’ education and careers at risk.

“International students can get deported. If you get a drug charge, you get kicked out of the country. Of course, for others you know, it's a two-strike penalty. You get kicked off campus," Buckley said.

The University Star will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.

Grupo Folklórico Ocotochtli to present annual showcase

Evans Performing Arts Auditorium will be lit with golden hues when Grupo Folklórico Ocotochtli (GFO) dancers walk onto the stage, their shoes clacking on wood as they get into position for the opening number. Damas hold their colorful and elaborate skirts in their hands and caballeros fold their hands at their backs. The air hums with anticipation as the dancers wait for their musical cue.

Grupo Folklórico Ocotochtli, Texas State's ballet folklórico student organization, will present its annual showcase from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Dec. 3, in Evans Auditorium. The free entry performance will present some familiar and new choreography that the group has mastered this 2022 fall semester.

According to Bianka Gonzalez, animal science senior and president of GFO, the group hasn't had a showcase since the pandemic started, making this event especially important to the GFO leaders.

"We're preparing this showcase to start off a launch for next year, which is our 30th anniversary," Gonzalez said. "So we're going to try to make [this event] big, and get donations so we can make that possible."

www.Universitystar com TUESDAY VOLUME 112 ISSUE 15 November 29, 2022 SEE FOOTBALL PAGE
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SEE PAGES 4-9
DANCE SEE DANCE PAGE 10
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BY DILLON STRINE SEE CRIME PAGE 10 CRIME
ILLUSTRATION
Grupo Folklórico Ocotochtli dancers, recereational administration freshman Nancy Cruz and physics graduate student José Perez Chavez, strike a pose in front of Old Main. STAR FILE PHOTO

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

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Director: Laura Krantz laurakrantz@txstate.edu

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About Us

History: The University Star is the student newspaper of Texas State University and is published every Tuesday of the spring and fall and once a month in the summer semesters. It is distributed on campus and throughout San Marcos at 8 a.m. on publication days with a distribution of 3,000. Printing and distribution is by the New Braunfels HeraldZeitung.

Copyright: Copyright Tuesday, November 29, 2022. 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.

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From the sidelines, to the final headline

I never thought I’d end up at The Star.

In high school, they let us choose career pathways. I chose two: medicine and journalism. The medical path was practical and something that would make my family proud. But journalism.. that was all for me.

I accidentally fell in love with photography as a 14-year-old high school freshman who needed an extra elective and was transferred to a yearbook class. A couple of weeks later, I was given a camera and was on the sidelines shooting my first varsity football game. From that day, I don’t think I ever wanted to do anything else.

I discovered that my favorite thing in the world was storytelling. I grew a love for documenting moments behind my lens. Growing up, I’d always considered myself someone who was shy and kept to herself. But becoming a photographer, I began using my camera as an excuse to interact with the world. I became Sports Editor and ultimately Editor-In-Chief of my yearbook and newspaper staff. I don’t think I lived out my nickname of “girl with the camera” until I graduated.

When I applied to Texas State, I was still doing photography, competing in events from Orlando to Seattle, all while still doing clinicals at a physical therapy clinic every morning. I was always told that studying photography and journalism would never lead me toward a stable career. So I applied as an exercise and sports science major,

with the intention of letting my love of photography go. It was almost as if I had no choice and understood that my “hobby” would have to come to an end.

That was until Bobcat day when I toured Texas State for the first time, walked into the LBJ ballroom, and was introduced to The University Star. While my family was trying to drag me off into informational sessions in the science building, I was thinking of every possible way to sneak off and grab a newspaper.

I never wanted to let anyone down. I was first-generation and my family talked about me being a doctor my entire life. So I stayed away from The Star. That is until two years later when I met Briana Benitez.

She was the life and arts editor at the time and I briefly told her about my curiosity about wanting to join The Star when I first came to college. She spent months trying to convince me to apply.

Then the pandemic hit in 2020. I realized how tired I was of watching my peers and friends take all the classes I wanted to so desperately partake in like photojournalism, media design and digital media. I knew that after quarantine, I had every intention of coming back to Texas State with a mindset of doing what I actually wanted to do when I first came here.

So I changed my major, applied to The Star and that was it. For the first time since I held a camera, I finally felt like I was on the path of doing what I loved most in the world.

I can’t express enough how much my

From carhop to columnist

life has changed since being part of The Star. I started out as an eager multimedia reporter who was just happy to be behind the camera again, to the Multimedia Editor who ended up being spotted on ESPN documenting Texas State making history at the NCAA Stanford Baseball Regional in California.

More than anything, I couldn't feel luckier to be surrounded by the editorial board at The Star. I would've never thought Monday would become my favorite day of the week. I wouldn't trade writing down "out of context quotes" from Arthur, listening to Marisa talk about Australia, talking to Sarah about what Colleen Hoover books we've read, hearing Kadence say, "Slay," every 15 minutes, sharing my "weekend debrief" with Nichaela, convincing Carson to make diet coke trips to the music building and bickering with Dillon over absolutely nothing.

Picture this: I'm fresh back from a stint away from college - a year spent working as a carhop for cash tips that ended abruptly when my workplace burned to the ground. I spent much of the years before my break burnt out and bored, and am now seeking an outlet. I wander to the listings on The Star's jobs page one afternoon, and my eyes immediately land on the opinion columnist position. Something in me tells me to apply, so I do. A few weeks later, I'm invited to an interview, and the rest is history.

My time writing for The Star afforded

me more opportunities than I could have imagined when I accepted my position, even outside of the chance to see my writing in print and writing about topics I was passionate about, which was already very cool. Shortly after I started writing, I was offered an opportunity to work with the street team. I spent every Tuesday morning of the spring semester passing out papers on The Quad and talking to people, friends and strangers alike, about the different articles that had recently been published. Then, in April, I won Columnist of the Year, an award that my peers granted me even though I'd only been a columnist for a few months, and that now sits on my desk as a reminder to keep going even when I'm gripped with imposter syndrome.

Then in August, Dillon, the opinions editor, called me on Zoom before school started and asked me if I'd like to be the assistant editor. I agreed because, even though my schedule was crammed, I was too excited about the opportunity to pass it up. And I'm very glad I didn't; working as the assistant opinions editor has been some of the most rewarding work I've done in my college career.

As my time at The Star draws to a close, I'd like to thank a multitude of people. Thank you to my family, including my parents, who were just as excited to see my work in print for the first time as I

was, and my brother Luke, who asks me where his copy is whenever I have a piece printed. Thank you to my boyfriend, Simon, who cut out my first article, framed it, hung it on his apartment wall, and has read every column since. Thank you to Dillon Strine, my editor, who hired me with no experience, read all my jumbly drafts, and 3:00 am "just submitted my edits" Slack messages, and frequently had more confidence in my writing and leadership abilities than I did. Thank you to Laura Krantz, who has supported my nascent journalism career and my other pursuits on campus and always offers great advice.

Thank you to everyone who sat down for interviews with me for my pieces because your perspectives made my work that much stronger. To my columnists, who have been so eager to write that it makes me that much more excited to read and edit their work, and to the editorial board, who welcomed me with open arms when I got promoted. You all have made me a better writer and person and made my year at The Star one that I'll never forget.

I've spent hours upon hours in Trinity, and it's sad to think that soon, my ID won't unlock the door. But I'll always hold the memories I've made there close to my heart and carry them with me into my next phase of life.

To think that a student-run newspaper is not a credited source for your weekly information was the first mistake I made.

The University Star is an incredible newsroom covering stories from the newest Pokemon Go saga to crime on campus. A beautifully made newspaper that 'hits the rack' every Tuesday, as my editor Nichaela Shaheen would say.

A mentor, a friend, a quick colleague but a wonderful human who loves news more than anyone I know, Shaheen ignited my love for news even more as it is a powerful beat to cover. To be a news reporter is more than being a voice for the voiceless, you have the power to create a well-rounded and accurate story covering all sides of the community.

Being a part of the news section at The Star was a remarkable time for me especially as the 2022 midterm election surfaced. I can remember the day like it was yesterday as it was one of the most tiresome yet rewarding moments in my college career.

As I awake in my groovy Austin bedroom I am confronted with the

thought of Election Day and the sudden urge to release as many endorphins through my eyes as possible. I am OK; still breathing but rather anxious as I was given a big task to accomplish.

Time passes and here I am at Buda City Hall in the nicest outfit I could find. I begin speaking with Shelley Henry, a very kind woman there to support her husband Bill Henry, who is the current Judge for the 428th District Court in Hays County. Fearless by nature, Henry delivered advice to candidates she shared a relationship with and her utmost support as this was my first election on the grounds. As Henry and I spoke, she shared with me her story, explaining how she is a Hays County native and a previous journalism student herself before sending me off with good wishes as I continue my Election Day quest.

I would encourage you to picture what it is like attending two classes, two election locations, one election party, consistent interviews and never-ending tweets to update the general public. This was one of the longest days of my life but something I will carry for the rest of my career.

I am grateful for those who spoke with me this semester and accelerated

my stories in a way that I never imagined. From my commissioners court story to the bird flu outbreak back to poll worker's challenges, I am forever influenced by the voices in these stories.

To my fellow Newsies, I would like to say thank you for sharing the air with me as we were able to spend a brief semester pushing out some of the most incredible content for the community.

To those who read The Star, thank you for supporting some of the most driven journalists in the state of Texas. Your regular views do not go unappreciated.

2 | Tuesday, November 29, 2022 The University Star
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SENIOR
Extra! Extra! Sargent to leave The Star
COURTESY OF IRELAND SARGENT
PHOTO
PHOTO COURTESY OF KERA DAUGHTERY PHOTO COURTESY OF DEREK RUSSELL

Players, coach Holeman reflect on winning season

The 2022 season for Texas State soccer came to an abrupt end after a 0-1 loss to James Madison University on Nov. 4. The teams competed in the first round of the Sun Belt Tournament in Foley, Alabama, and after the game that ended the Bobcat season, James Madison went on to place second in the tournament.

Senior defender and captain Ka maria Williams said that the season as a whole was successful despite the heartbreaking end.

"We had a really good winning season and it's been better than it has been previously," Williams said. "[The loss] was disappointing. It was sad because that was for sure my last game, but it was a bittersweet moment. All the seniors, we were crying but we were also laughing at the same time, we re ally didn't know how to feel toward the end of the game."

Several Bobcats had individual successes this season. Madi Goss, a sophomore midfielder, led the team in goals, scoring nine total, and graduate defender Juana Plata led the team in assists with five. Sophomore goalkeeper Katelyn Chrisman had 57 saves.

Head coach Steve Holeman said that the team wanted to have an iden tity throughout the season as the most hardworking team, and he believes the players accomplished that.

"We have an incredibly hardwork ing team. They're committed, they're passionate about the game, they want to win and starting from day one in preseason they came in super fit which

is a reflection of all the hard work that they did over the summer to prepare for preseason," Holeman said.

The returning players are already reminiscent of their last year with the seniors, but they anticipate what is next for them after seeing how well they did in 2022.

"I feel like this year was probably our best year chemistry wise and I feel like our team was really good this year so I'm definitely going to miss the seniors," Goss said. "But I'm looking forward to seeing what the incoming players can bring and then also just seeing how we all find a new chemistry for the team because obviously, it's go ing to be different, but just seeing how we'll do next year."

The team has begun to put in work to ensure that its 2023 season is an accomplished one. The Bobcats have workout routines ready and the players are preparing themselves mentally for next year.

Junior midfielder Wimberly Wright said keeping a positive energy for the team is a key to past and future success.

"Keeping your composure, keeping the positive energy for everyone else playing, I say that's a large part. If ev eryone can get into the same mindset, we would benefit a lot," Wright said.

This was Holeman's first season coaching the Bobcats, and the team had five more total wins than it did the previous year.

Holeman brought 27 years of experience to the Texas State soccer program. Since joining the program in March, Holeman has dedicated his time ensuring that the relationships between the players were strong on and

off the field so the team was successful.

"I feel like a lot came from [coach Holeman] coming in," Williams said. "I feel like [he] implemented the chemistry a lot better, kind of forced us in a way to be more involved with one another and just getting to know each other...When [Holeman] first got here he made us do a lot of games, so I feel like [the games] definitely improved a lot of the stuff off the field and on the field."

The efforts made by the players and coaches garnered a historical season for the program. The Bobcats will be in season again during the fall 2023 semester.

Siblings follow each other to Texas State Athletics

Sports were always present in the Ortega-Jones household. On any given day, Isaiah and Julian could more than likely be found playing outside with their friends or on one of the teams they were part of.

Inseparable since day one, they have always followed closely in one another's footsteps. Their close bond led them to attend and play sports at Texas State together, Isaiah as an outfielder and Julian as a wide receiver.

“We’ve always loved sports,” Isaiah said. “That’s really kind of made us who we are in a way. It shaped our personalities and how we move in life.”

Isaiah is 14 months older than Julian, and because of that age gap, Julian often played up in most sports to stay close to his brother.

When Isaiah played baseball in high school during his senior year, the baseball team needed an outfielder. Julian's name was the first to pop into his head.

“I played [baseball] in high school because it was the only chance I had to play with my brother,” Julian said. “As soon as he graduated, I quit ... playing with my brother, honestly I wish I could do it today.”

Growing up, their parents supported their interest in sports

however they could. Whether it was standing on the sidelines cheering the boys on or taking them across the country for sports camps, they were there for all of it.

Having such support from both parents gave Isaiah and Julian the confidence they needed to find success.

“They pushed themselves in playing every sport there was. From the time they were little until now, they always were ready to play,” the boys' dad, Dietrich Jones, said. “It wasn’t because we pushed them, it was because they loved it.”

After a journey at Bowling Green College and an ACL tear that left Julian questioning his college football career, he received an offer to play football at Texas State. Julian said that on the FaceTime call with his family, Isaiah was visibly the most excited.

“It’s always been a dream of ours to go to college together so it was just kinda cool how it all came back together in the long run,” Isaiah said. “I got to spend my last year with him by me.”

Being at the same school meant a lot to the boys, as they were able to support each other at every home game and some away games. The handshake that they shared with their dad became their pregame tradition.

“Growing up, we always had a handshake with our dad so now before every game or whenever we see

each other, we do our handshake,” Isaiah said.

During Isaiah’s senior year of college, the Texas State baseball team had its best season in history. Julian was right there to watch Isaiah throughout the whole season, cheering him on every step of the way.

In June, the Bobcats traveled to Palo Alto, California, for the NCAA Regionals. Isaiah was on the field for all nine innings of the final NCAA Regional game against Stanford on June 6. He put everything he had into that game and having his family watching from the stands only made him work harder.

“It just fills your heart to see your kid out there and see his name up in lights and hear the announcer talk about him,” Julian said.

Texas State lost the game against Stanford and the next few days were difficult for Isaiah. He was excited about the history the team had made that year but the loss marked the end of an era.

When Isaiah got back to San Marcos, Julian was ready to lend support in any way that he could.

“He was just telling me how proud everyone was of me and I couldn’t hold it back so I just started bawling,” Isaiah said. “I don’t think he’s ever seen me cry like that, to be honest.”

For Isaiah, that was a big moment in their relationship.

Isaiah has since graduated from Texas State with a general studies degree and Julian is now an applied arts and sciences senior. The brothers still live together in San Marcos and they try to spend as much time together as possible.

They now both have plans to become real estate agents. Isaiah received his license and Julian will pursue the same path when he graduates.

Throughout the ups and downs, they have always been there for each other and they always will be.

“We’re inseparable, probably the closest set of brothers you’ll meet,” Julian said. “Honestly, we’re probably going to be close like this for the rest of our lives.”

"We’ve already had a lot of interest expressed by coaches who have had coaching experiences and Texas ties in their resume that are interested in our position here, and so I think we’ll move pretty quickly," Damphousse said.

Texas State Athletic Director Don Coryell met with Jake Spavital on Nov. 27 to inform him about the change in leadership to the program.

"I strongly believe that Texas State football can consistently win at a high level," Coryell said in a press release. "Our search for a new head football coach is underway, and we will move with the utmost speed and diligence. We are confident that we will find an excellent leader of men, a man of character, and a tremendous football coach to take us to unprecedented heights."

One year still remains on Spavital's contract and Texas State will owe Spavital $400,000 next year, 50% of his annual salary.

Spavital said that there were no talks between him and the athletics department of the firing after the loss on Nov. 26. Texas State Athletics and Damphousse met with football players and coaching staff after the firing to inform them of the coaching change before they found out via the internet.

Since finishing the 2014 season with a 7-5 record under former head coach Dennis Franchione, the Bobcats have not achieved a winning record.

"We simply did not win enough games and make the desired progress for us to believe that the immediate future would be different. On behalf of Texas State Athletics, I want to thank Jake for his service, and we wish him, Mehgan, and their family all the best moving forward," Coryell said in a press release.

SPORTS Tuesday, November 29, 2022 | 3 The University Star Carson Weaver Sports Editor starsports@txstate.edu
Texas State junior forward Olivia Wright (20) dribbles the ball past a Huskies de fender in a game against Houston Baptist, Sunday, August 28, 2022, at Bobcat Soccer Complex. The Bobcats won 2-1 PHOTO BY VANESSA
They're comit ted, they're passionate about the game, they want to win."
STEVE HOLEMAN
SOCCER
TEXAS STATE SOCCER HEAD COACH
FAMILY
FROM FRONT FOOTBALL Texas State head coach Jake Spavital talks to other coaches on his headset in between plays, Sept. 24, 2022 at Bobcat Stadium. The Bob cats won 34-0. Julian (left) and Isaiah (right) Ortega-Jones imitate a batting stance in their little league baseball jerseys, June 6, 2006. PHOTO COURTESY OF ROSA ORTEGA-JONES PHOTO BY VANESSA BUENTELLO

YEAR IN REVIEW

JANUARY

SMPD officer terminated months after killing woman in car collision

Sgt. Ryan Hartman of the San Marcos Police Department, who killed a woman in an off-duty car collision and used a stun gun on a complaint man, was indefinitely terminated from the department, according to city officials.

City Manager Bert Lumbreras stated in a press release Hartman’s termination came because of sustained misconduct related to dereliction of duty and insubordination.

Students face mental health concerns as new semester begins

As the spring semester begins and Texas State returns to a temporary remote learning experience, some students are worried about facing familiar challenges that arose during previous virtual semesters.

On Jan. 6, President Denise Trauth announced the move to an online format for most classes for the first two weeks of the spring semester. According to the announcement, the decision was brought on by the new Omicron variant which continues to spread rapidly around Texas.

Emily DeWalt closes out historic season with Texas State volleyball

Texas State volleyball setter, Emily DeWalt, finished off her fourth year after breaking records in both the Sun Belt Conference and Texas State volleyball program.

DeWalt, who graduated in December with a degree in exercise and sports science, was recognized as the Sun Belt Conference Setter of the Week 18 times throughout her collegiate career, an accomplishment no other player in conference history has earned. Additionally, she is the single athlete in Texas State volleyball history to be named a Division I American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-American.

FEBRUARY

Activists look to decriminalize marijuana in San Marcos

San Marcos-based activist groups Caldwell/Hays Examiner and Mano Amiga are working together to decriminalize marijuana in the city.

This month, the groups will collect signatures at Texas State in hopes of securing the ordinance on the November 2022 ballot. The groups began collecting signatures in December of last year but need at least 10% of registered voters in San Marcos, 4,400, to sign the petition before the ordinance can secure a position on the ballot.

National rise of catalytic converter theft reaches San Marcos

A relatively new crime that is soaring in popularity is the theft of catalytic converters, a mechanical piece underneath a car that works to filter toxic air pollutants so they are less harmful when they exit the exhaust.

The mysterious black market for catalytic converters has little to do with the converter itself but the precious metals that lie within. Rhodium, platinum and palladium are rare metals and when extracted from the converter can be worth upward of $800.

Mistick

Krewe

of Okeanos celebrates community, culture during

Mardi Gras

Colorful parade floats and live music will fill the streets of the city this weekend as the annual Mardi Gras parade hosted by the Mistick Krewe of Okeanos rolls through town on Saturday.

The Mistick Krewe of Okeanos is a nonprofit organization that seeks to foster peace in the community and support local art and music through annual Mardi Gras celebrations. Similar to other Mardi Gras krewes across Texas and Louisiana, the San Marcos organization takes its name from the Greek river deity, Okeanos, to honor the San Marcos River.

MARCH

San Marcos activists stand up for transgender children

A crowd of several dozen San Marcos activists met outside the Hays County Historic Courthouse on March 2, protesting for the rights of transgender children. The protestors stood in a line shouting in unison for the protection of trans kids as onlookers inevitably took sides, often calling back in support or opposition of the protest.

The protest is in response to a recent initiative spearheaded by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who ordered the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services on Feb. 22 to investigate parents whose adolescent children have undergone gender-affirming care. The Texas governor is pushing the agenda that gender-affirming care in the form of medication or surgery is to be considered child abuse.

Steve Holeman looks to bring new strategies to Texas State soccer

Texas State soccer will be under new direction this season with Head Coach Steve Holeman who has taken over as the second-ever head coach in program history.

Prior to accepting the position at Texas State, Holeman served as the head coach of fellow Texas State University System school Lamar University from 2016-2021. During his term, he led the Cardinals to their first NCAA Division One Conference.

Alumna tackles male-dominated industry

Texas State alumna Haleigh Blocker is the director of football operations at the university and is known for juggling various roles to keep the program running. Being only the second woman to hold the position, Blocker said it's been a memorable experience, especially since she graduated from Texas State and has always wanted to work in sports.

“It feels really good you know especially being at a school that I graduated from," Blocker said. "I kind of sit back and I look at it when I graduated high school and went into college, and I knew I wanted to work in sports and then to be where I am now it's just kind of surreal to me. It just shows that women can do it."

4 | Tuesday, November 29, 2022 The University Star
NEWS SPORTS
NEWS NEWS LIFE
LIFE & ARTS SPORTS
NEWS PHOTO BY LILIANA PEREZ STAR FILE PHOTO STAR FILE PHOTO STAR FILE PHOTO

YEAR IN REVIEW

APRIL

San Marcos police respond to major vehicle collision involving university bus

A collision involving a university bus and multiple vehicles occurred at the intersection of Aquarena Springs and Charles Austin drives this afternoon around 5 p.m.

Police say a vehicle rear-ended a university bus, causing a major collision. One female and one male were removed from their vehicles and transported to a nearby medical facility.

According to witnesses, the collision caused a cloud of black smoke to envelope the intersection. While students initially remained on the bus, bystanders ran over to assist the people in vehicles until first responders arrived. No students on the bus were injured.

Lack of winter storm preparation frustrates disabled graduate student

With widespread power outages during the winter storms of February 2021 and February 2022, students living on campus were forced to travel through ice and snow if they wanted to use a meal swipe. After waiting through long lines in frigid weather, students crowded into the dining hall for a hot meal.

While getting food was no easy task for students living on campus, for students with disabilities, it was nearly impossible.

From Navy vet to Bobcat tight end: Tyler Huff’s journey to Texas State

Tyler Huff thought his football career was over after his last season at Saddleback College in 2019.

It was a season that wasn’t lost on him though; he’d just played what could’ve been his last season as a college athlete alongside his younger brother on the offensive line. While that season lived up to Huff’s expectations and more, Huff was fully ready to move on from football after he received no legitimate interest from D1 football programs.

After two and a half months, Huff got a call from Texas State Offensive Line Coach Brian Hamilton.

MAY NEWS

Commissioners Court to move forward with approval of next steps for Public Defenders Office

During its May 24 meeting, the Hays County Commissioners Court met to address the addition of a Public Defenders Office (PDO) in Hays County as part of an agenda of over 65 items.

The Court first approved specifications and authorized purchasing to solicit for RFP 2022-P04 Public Defenders Office in November of 2021. After months of efficient work, the court voted to continue the efforts in hopes of the completion and execution of the office.

Head coach Plunkett retires after 19 years

With over 150 career wins as the women's tennis head coach Tory Plunkett is retiring after nearly 20 years at Texas State.

“I think it's time for me to give that opportunity to somebody who's possibly you know a little younger and has new ideas,” Plunkett said. “It's time for me to pass the torch and move on.”

From career fields in marketing and accounting to healthcare, female Bobcats are taking the workforce by storm according to results from a Stepping Blocks career survey that shows Texas State is ranked No. 6 for its successful and high-earning female graduates among R2 Southern universities.

JUNE

SPORTS

Remembering the 2022 Texas State baseball season

The sports staff of the University Star will take nothing but fond and prideful memories from reporting on the 2022 Bobcat baseball season. In our time at The Star and at Texas State, it is the first time we have seen San Marcos represented on a nationwide scale, and being a small part of such a historic season has not been taken for granted.

We sat in the press box at Bobcat Ballpark to witness the team's record-setting 47 wins, the most in school history. We had the opportunity to meet with the players and coaches on the field during post-game interviews on the field. We all shared the joyous victories and gutwrenching losses with the team, Texas State students and the San Marcos community.

The Texas State University System (TSUS) Board of Regents announced early Thursday morning that it will be renaming the Undergraduate Academic Center (UAC) on the San Marcos campus in honor of President Denise M. Trauth. The decision, which was announced at TSUS's quarterly meeting on May 20, was unanimous.

President Trauth enters retirement on June 30, 2022, following an outstanding 20-year career at the university. She will also be the first person awarded the title of President Emeritus, recognizing the university's incredible growth during her time in office.

Indigenous community speaks on importance of river at protest against film studio

Members of the San Marcos Indigenous community gathered alongside environmental activists outside City Hall to protest the development of a new film studio on a recharge zone in the La Cima Development, Tuesday, June 28.

Organized by the newly developed Protect The River advocacy group, the protest was in response to City Council's announcement on June 7 that it would be providing thousands of dollars in tax breaks for a new film studio to develop on top of a vital area for the health of the San Marcos River.

Activists are worried about the environmental implications of such a large-scale project developing on top of a major recharge zone, preventing rainwater from soaking into the ground, where it then filters into the springs and back into the San Marcos River.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022 | 5 The University Star
NEWS
NEWS SPORTS
PHOTO BY VANESSA LIFE & ARTS
Success in her future: Texas State ranked for high-earning female alumni
SPORTS STAR FILE PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY MADISON WARE
NEWS
UAC to be renamed after President Denise Trauth PHOTO BY VANESSA BUENTELLO

YEAR IN REVIEW

JULY

Students prepare for a semester free of COVID-19 restrictions

Social distancing, online classes and required masks have been a part of the Texas State community's everyday life for the past three years. As they prepare to embark on their first academic year with no COVID-19 restrictions, students reflect on an unusual college experience and discuss their expectations for the upcoming school year.

According to statements released by Texas State's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Emilio Carranco, "the development of safe and effective vaccines, more availability of testing and therapeutic agents that decrease the risk of severe agents" are all contributing factors to a restriction-free school year.

Texas State offers course on Harry Styles Spring 2023

Next semester students will have the opportunity to take the first-ever Harry Styles course at Texas State.

On Saturday, July 16, Louie Dean Valencia, associate professor of digital history, announced on his Twitter that his upcoming honors course titled “Harry Styles and The Cult of Celebrity” will begin this upcoming spring 2023.

His initial idea for the course was brought on by the pandemic which conflicted with his regular research due to travel restrictions in 2020. Wanting to continue with his passion for researching, Valencia decided to take on a new approach inspired by his own interests and the things around him. Always researching aspects of counterculture and youth culture pushed him towards beginning to research the international pop star, Harry Styles.

MULTIMEDIA

Photo Essay: Blues on the Green

Former Bobcat Tristan Stivors drafted to Chicago White Sox

Students express concern over university monkeypox case

Texas State announced its first confirmed case of monkeypox on Aug. 23, raising mixed emotions among students about the upcoming school year.

SEPTEMBER

For over 30 years the City of Austin has welcomed the tradition of Blues on the Green. Produced by Austin City Limits Radio, the event showcases local artists and provides a free event that has become a beloved summer tradition for Austin and its surrounding area residents.

SPORTS

Texas State track and field star Alyssa Wilson is an olympian in the making

Alyssa Wilson began her track and field career in middle school simply as an extra way to stay in shape. She started with sprints and worked her way to shot put and discus. Her first love was basketball, but due to injuries, she wanted to shift focus.

As she transitioned into the start of her track and field career, Wilson and her father used YouTube videos to gain a better understanding of techniques for the field events in which she would compete.

AUGUST

Meet Kelly Damphousse

Dr. Kelly Damphousse stepped into his role as the 10th president of Texas State University on July 1, succeeding a 20-year career by Denise Trauth. He moves to the position after serving as chancellor and CEO at Arkansas State University. Making quite a splash in his first few weeks on campus, Damphousse has been quickly immersing himself in the Texas State campus and its culture.

Students

conditions

After living in San Marcos for a couple of years, chances are residents know someone who has experienced student living or have experienced it firsthand. Sometimes, the process is painless: a lease is signed, insurance is acquired, keys are picked up and a hot summer day is spent moving in. However, for students in San Marcos, the process isn't always simple. This year's move-in cycle for Texas State students has consisted of moldy bathrooms and kitchen cabinets, broken appliances and even carpets stained with animal feces, causing students to grow weary of the declining standard of student living in San Marcos.

There's potential in an unnamed street that sits between the east 100 block of San Antonio Street and East MLK Drive, right across from the Hays County Courthouse. To some, it's nothing but another backstreet but for others, it's a street of history, art and a celebration of an award winning film.

Boyhood Alley got its nickname during a film screening at the Lost River Film Fest in 2018. The moniker is a reference to the 2014 movie "Boyhood" about a boy who grows up in Texas. A scene from the film, a pivotal moment for the main protagonist Mason, was filmed in the unnamed alleyway and features the Hays County Courthouse in the background.

The sound of music, the smell of food and the sight of mermaid couture brought the community together for its sixth annual Mermaid Festival and Promenade on Saturday.

Organized by the Mermaid Society of Texas, The Mermaid Capital of Texas Fest has been an annual San Marcos event since 2016. Founder of the Mermaid Society of Texas, July Moreno, was inspired by the rich mermaid history of San Marcos that traces back to the Aquarena Springs amusement park to create The Mermaid Society.

NEWS
SPORTS
6 | Tuesday, November 29, 2022 The University Star
NEWS
After former Texas State closer Tristan Stivors was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 16th round this summer, Bobcat baseball head coach Steve Trout had one message for the 2022 collegiate saves leader: enjoy the ride and make the most out of it.
w
PHOTO BY VANESSA BUENTELLO
NEWS
A different kind of housing crisis:
move into poor apartment
Community members push to rename alley after award-winning film
Mermaids swim through the streets at annual Festival and Promenade
LIFE & ARTS PHOTO BY VANESSA BUENTELLO

YEAR IN REVIEW

OCTOBER

LIFE & ARTS

San Marcos celebrates culture at 12th annual Sacred Springs Powwow

By Zachary Scott

The Sacred Springs Powwow is organized by the Indigenous Cultures Institute (ICI), a nonprofit that works to preserve the history and culture of Indigenous communities through education and cultural repatriation efforts. The program is funded by the Texas Commission of the Arts, the San Marcos Arts Commission, the Tomblin Family Foundation, Pedernales Electric Coop Charities and Friends of the Powwow.

By Blake Leschber

While the requirement for freshmen to live on campus continues, a crucial aspect of their daily lives is dining on campus, highlighting adjustments that need to be made.

The Legacy of Boko: Students carry on over 100 years of tradition

PHOTO

By Sophia Somoza, Marisa Nunez

"It doesn't matter where Boko is, everyone automatically is like, ‘oh my gosh, the Boko is here,'" former Texas State mascot Blain Blanchard said. "It's just uplifting. Everyone’s got smiles on their faces when he's there. And it doesn't matter who he interacts with. It's always a good time."

By Nichaela Shaheen

Beto O’Rourke speaks on gun control, reproductive rights during campus rally

By Staff Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke visited Texas State last Wednesday to talk to students about his stance on gun control, reproductive rights and the legalization of marijuana.

The rally took place in Evans Auditorium as a part of O'Rourke's college tour across Texas. The Texas State crowd included a full auditorium plus a line that extended from the doors of Evans Liberal Arts to the Alkek Library stairs.

Wearing a maroon Texas State hat, O'Rourke began his address by calling out Gov. Greg Abbott’s actions regarding gun control following the mass shooting that occurred in Uvalde, Texas, in May

NEWS

By Maya Hicks

PHOTO BY VANESSA

This year's move-in cycle for Texas State students has consisted of moldy bathrooms and kitchen cabinets, broken appliances and even carpets stained with animal feces, causing students to grow weary of the declining standard of student living in San Marcos.

LIFE
& ARTS
Family of first Black TXST graduate seeks recognition Tuesday, November 29, 2022 | 7 The University Star
NEWS
BY VANESSA BUENTELLO Poll workers persist despite public opinion, Election Day challenges NOVEMBER BUENTELLO

YEAR IN REVIEW

YEAR IN PHOTOS

The University Star
8 | Tuesday, November 29, 2022
San Marcos Firefighter Aidan Campbell carries a fire hose with the written names of all the deceased 9/11 first responders during the the 2nd annual Hays County 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb, Sunday, Sep. 11, 2022, at Bobcat Stadium. PHOTO BY CHRIS SWANN Texas State men's basketball head coach T.J. Johnson talks strategy to junior guard Drue Drinnon (55) during a time out in a game against Appalachian State, Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022, at Strahan Arena. PHOTO BY VANESSA BUENTELLO Texas State President Kelly Damphousse shakes hands with students and faculty at a meet-and-greet on his first day in office as the university's new president, Friday, July, 1, 2022, at UAC. PHOTO BY VANESSA BUENTELLO Texas State criminology Amber Weatherton takes a selfie with Texas Democratic guber natorial candidate Beto O'Rourke, Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022, outside Evans Audito rium. PHOTO BY VANESSA BUENTELLO San Marcos residents kayak through the river to kick off the summer season, Thursday, June 2, 2022, at Sewell Park. PHOTO BY VANESSA BUENTELLO Texas State sophomore pitcher Levi Wells (25) pitches to a Cardinal batter during game four of the NCAA Stanford Regional against Stanford, Saturday, June 5, 2022, at Klein Field at Sunken Diamond in Palo Alto, CA. The Bobcats won 5-2, sending Texas State Baseball to an NCAA Regional final for the first time in its program history. PHOTO BY VANESSA BUENTELLO

YEAR IN REVIEW

Tuesday, November 29, 2022 | 9 The University Star

YEAR IN REVIEW

FROM

This year is the 29th year since GFO's foun dation. The humble origins of the group come from a shared love for the Hispanic culture in San Marcos and a passion for ballet folklórico that a small group of 10 Bobcats showed Texas State during the Homecoming Talent Show in 1993. Since then the group has grown from nine Bob cats in 2020 to 20 this semester.

With their surplus of dancers, the GFO’s per formance set has added two new regions to their performances. The five regions they will represent during the showcase are Jalisco, Yucatan, Chiapas, Veracruz and Nuevo León with costume changes, choreography and songs to represent the unique culture of each region.

This year, co-directors Lily Cura and Camila Rodriguez have choreographed the performance with Cura’s expertise as a dance major and Ro driguez’s 15 years of experience dancing ballet folklórico.

According to Victoria "Sunshine" Torres, graduate student and secretary of GFO, the in tegration of new choreographers has led to a shift in footwork technique due to the choreographers' experience and their rigorous rehearsal sched ule. Dancers have practiced twice a week for two hours this fall.

“They brought like a lot of structure we really appreciate,” Torres said. “More technique, more structure. We have a routine now for every prac

FROM FRONT CRIME

tice, like a kind of agenda.”

In addition to the new regions, guest folklóri co groups are going to perform at the showcase as well. From Akins Ballet Folklorico group from Akins High School in Austin, Leon Valley Ballet Folklorico from San Antonio and Bagdad's Bal let Folklorico from Bagdad Elementary in Lean der, North Austin Area. The groups are going to

BIANKA GONZALEZ, GFO PRESIDENT

perform to exhibit the growth that all the vari ous Central Texas Folklorico groups have accom plished this semester.

Next semester, GFO is hoping to host more events and participate in the spring competi tions such as the Festivales de Mexico National Folklórico in San Antonio and the San Antonio Festivales de Mexico competition.

In addition to bringing more prestige to their folklórico group through competitions, GFO hopes to welcome more dancers into the group. No matter their dance experience anyone can join the dance group according to Gonzalez.

“I joined back in 2017 with no dance experi ence. Five years later I'm still in the group and still

Before entering Austin's apartment, his parents were unsure of what they would find.

“They had the flooring all ripped out where his body was,” Bonnie said.

Since the tragic day, the Salyers have been advocating for their son's killer, Brown, to serve his time in jail. However, with a booked court system, the pain of waiting has been excruciating as time continues to tick on.

“None of the legal process moves forward until the autopsy is complete and it's not complete until they finalize their paperwork,” Rodney said. “Again, if you go back and look at the actual dates on the paperwork, they had this done long ago. Why was it sitting there for four months? Why does it take four months? Why is it take six months to sit there when you know the autopsy has already been done?”

The Salyers spent nearly $2,000 and waited eight days until the autopsy was complete to have their son's body home in Grapevine, Texas, on Sept. 24. Austin's memorial service took place on Sept. 27 before his body was sent for cremation.

“After he was transported, he was in what they call a holding casket, that's the casket he was in for the service,” Rodney said. “While he remained in that holding casket, still waiting for the judge to sign off so that we could then have the cremation and so knowing your son is laying there basically, every minute seemed like an eternity.”

The State of Texas v. Gabriel Brown court case opened on April 27, seven months after Austin's death. While the grand jury is secretive, according to the Salyers, the jury was presented with two sentencing options: manslaugh ter and criminally negligent homicide. The major difference between the sentencing being the time behind bars for Brown.

“A lot of people don't know or understand that it's very difficult because you're turning this over to other people's hands and you get to have no in put say,” Rodney said. “Yet, Gabriel gets to be at the grand jury, he gets to speak on his behalf but nobody gets to speak on Austin's behalf besides the prosecutor.”

The grand jury found Brown guilty of criminally negligent homicide,

ILLUSTRATION BY ELIJAH CARDENAS

dancing,” Gonzalez said. “Staff, faculty, alumni and students are welcome to join us. If you don't know how to dance at all, or if you've been danc ing for 20 years. No matter race, gender or ethnic ity, everybody is welcome to our family.”

All that’s required to join GFO is a love for performing and folklórico. According to Yasmin Mancera, anthropology junior, GFO volunteer coordinator and treasurer, the best part of danc ing she hopes to share with new group members is the thrill and adrenaline of being on stage.

“When you're getting ready, you don't really feel the excitement just yet,” Mancera said. “But as soon as you're backstage, ready to go in? Oh, I just love that feeling. I use all that energy to… pop out more in the audience so people can see this is so much fun and get into our performances.”

Grupo Folklórico Ocotochtli’s annual show case is also going to also function as a fundraiser event so that the group can expand on their ward robe, accessories, travel and competition expenses. They will be accepting donations at the showcase through Cash App, Venmo and in-person dona tions.

which he plead guilty to, resulting in a maximum of two years in jail com pared to up to 99 years if charged with manslaughter.

The Salyers were disappointed and angered with the sentencing, feeling that it is not enough for the loss of their only son’s life.

“He's lost way more than two years. We've got our decades left to live without him. He was our only child. So it's just us. We don't have other children to turn to. We'll never see grandchildren," Rodney said. "We won't have anybody to help care for us when we're older. We won't be able to do all the plans that we had with so it's something we're going to have to live with for many, many years with a lot of pain. At most he's going to see two so that's why the sentencing is so important to us. We have a lot of folks that are planning to come to that, some of which will we'll be giving impact statements.”

Since Brown has plead guilty, the jury will decide how many out of the maximum time he will have to serve during the Jan. 6 court hearing. The Salyers' goal is to get as much time as possible for their son's justice.

10 | Tuesday, November 29, 2022 The University Star
For more information and updates on Grupo Folklórico Ocotochtli, visit its Facebook, Instagram or Tiktok. FRONT DANCE
"I joined back in 2017, with no dance experience. Five years later, I'm still in the group and still dancing."