SEPTEMBER 28, 2015 VOLUME 105 ISSUE 16
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San Marcos Unitarian Universalist Fellowship shows support for LGBTQIA organizations By Autumn Wright NEWS REPORTER @autumnwright697
DARYL ONTIVEROS STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Jeremy Kennard is accompanied by his service dog, Athena, Sept. 23 in the Writing Center.
Veteran hopes to educate community after service dog incident By Darcy Sprague and Clayton Kelley NEWS REPORTERS @darcy_days and @claytonkelley
An Iraqi veteran is accusing Texas State of implementing an illegal policy after an event regarding his service dog happened earlier this year. Jeremy Kennard, social work senior, contacted a lawyer when he discovered the university enforced a policy he felt violated the federal American Disability Act. Kennard entered the classroom of Raphael Travis, assistant professor in the School of Social Work, on the first day of the fall semester with his service dog, Athena. He said
Travis asked him to produce paperwork proving Athena was a certified service dog. Travis said after he requested the dog’s certification, and then Kennard left the class in a “clearly frustrated” manner. According to the ADA, a person is only allowed to ask someone with a service dog if the animal is a service dog and what it is trained to do, Kennard said. Travis said he told Kennard he must comply with the university’s policy of providing proof of the dog’s service certification. He said Kennard attended class the next day, presented the requested paperwork from the Office of Disabili-
ties and apologized for leaving class abruptly during the previous session. Kennard said Texas State would face a $50,000 fine for its first violation of the law. Every violation after that would be double the previous cost. “It’s not about me,” Kennard said. “It’s about a policy that needs to be changed.” Kennard does not intend to pursue the issue in court. “It’s not (Travis’) fault. He didn’t know,” Kennard said. “Don’t shoot the messenger.” Travis said there have been students with service dogs in his classroom before the policy of asking for documentation was implemented. He
has never had to ask for proof that a dog was a service animal in the past. “(Faculty and staff), were instructed by Texas State just recently this year that anyone who has a service animal needs to provide paperwork in order to keep it in the class,” Travis said. Kennard said Texas State installed the policy during the summer, despite the fact that it is in violation of federal law. “The Office of Disabilities encourages every student to register the use of their service animals in order for our staff to provide them with appropriate assistance,” said Clint-Michael Reneau, director of Disability Services.
Reneau said registration is not required and that he is aware of the ADA law stating only two questions can be asked of a person with a service animal. “If I ask you for your documentation for a service dog, I am asking you for your medical records,” Kennard said. “How would you feel about that?” Kennard said he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. He obtained Athena four years ago. While Athena was certified by the school that trained her, there is no standard certification required for service dogs,
See KENNARD, Page 2
One of the primary donors to this year’s SMTX Pride Parade and Festival was a local church. San Marcos Unitarian Universalist Fellowship showed its support of the LBGTQIA community by donating to the event. Additionally, the institution lends its facilities to monthly meetings of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. Sylvia Sandoval Hernandez, executive organizer of SMTX Pride, said she received a $650 donation from SMUUF this year and a $550 contribution last year. Hernandez said she grew up in San Marcos and has noticed a change in the community’s attitude toward the LGBTQIA community. “I think it (has sunk) in already,” Hernandez said. “There’s a little bit more acceptance.” Hernandez said she is already planning for next year’s SMTX Pride and gives credit to SMUUF for encouraging her to bring the celebration to a new level. “They’re the reason why I started San Marcos Pride,” Hernandez said. Hernandez said the church has proven that it consists of good people because its members have volunteered
See PRIDE, Page 2
Q&A with Shane Scott, Place 6 city council incumbent By Anna Herod NEWS EDITOR @annaleemurphy
Anna Herod: Where do you call San Marcos City Council home and why? elections are quickly ap- Shane Scott: San Marproaching. The University Star sat down with Place 6 candidate Shane Scott to discuss his campaign.
Born: December 9, 1966, Kingman, Arizona Occupation: City councilman, filmmaker, owner of Porsche shop German Elite Education : B.A. in Criminal Justice from thencalled Southwest Texas Uni-
cos. I made San Marcos my home because it is like a balance of everything I like. I raised my daughter here and I was a single dad for a long time. It’s just home.
AH: Why did you decide to run for public office? SS: I originally was motivated to run for office by the previous mayor, Mayor
Susan Narvaiz (San Marcos mayor from May 2004 to November 2010) at the time. And her passion for the city and the community inspired me at the time to go, “You know what, that’s what I need to do.” I saw city council as being an opportunity to do just that. It’s like you’re problem-solving all the time. You’re trying to make decisions for everybody as a whole, and you can’t fall into the popular trend of the day. You have to really understand the long-term impacts that your decisions make. I think that’s critical—
independence. I don’t have to do this. I do it because I love the citizens and the community. You don’t need anyone who has an agenda. And basically I think we always need people who are independent that way.
AH: What issue is at the heart of your campaign? SS: I don’t have any issues. Like I said, some people go into (their campaign) with an agenda. It makes me very sad because my opponents are using the Memorial Day flood as a platform to run
for office. Even the independent group that looked at all the details, who said if there were a 100-foot wall (on the construction site of the Woods Apartment Complex) it wouldn’t have mattered because everybody was going to get flooded anyway. Cape’s Camp didn’t flood (the adjacent neighborhoods) because we made sure (the apartments) were higher and out of the flood plain. If you want to blame somebody (for the flood) then blame God. Because
See SCOTT, Page 2
—COURTESY OF SHANE SCOTT
Green Guys Recycling took Memorial Day flood ‘personally’ By Darcy Sprague SENIOR NEWS REPORTER @darcy_days
Green Guys Recycling, a San Marcos company dedicated to household recycling, was affected when some of its employees lost everything during the Memorial Day weekend flooding. Laura Driver, administrative service manager at Green Guys, said the company’s dedication to disaster relief runs deeper than just its employees’ personal losses. “When one of your own is affected, even if they are just
from your community, it hits you hard,” Driver said. “We took the flood personally.” She said the company made two donations to the floodstricken community of over $15,000 after the natural disaster occurred. Employees began collecting scrap metal in San Marcos and Martindale the day after the flood to fund the first donation. Green Guys Recycling gifted money to the American Red Cross, My Neighbor’s Keeper, United Way of San Marcos and seven other local charities, according to the organization’s Facebook page.
Driver said the city subcontracted the company to help clean up after the flood. To fund the second donation, Green Guys picked up and weighed scrap metal along with various metal appliances in Wimberley and donated the monetary value back to Hays County, she said. “We didn’t want to profit from a disaster,” Driver said. “We also wanted to divert (the collected materials) from a landfill.” According to the Green Guys website, the company gathered over 733,000 pounds of debris from the flood and
removed 223,000 pounds of damaged appliances from landfills. Hays County has accepted money from Green Guys and KVUE in order to create an upstream monitoring system for the Blanco River, stated Laureen Chernow, Hays County communications specialist, in an email. Driver said the system sets off a trigger warning when floodwater rises upstream in order to alert those who reside downstream. Six feet of water flooded the Martindale house of a Green Guys Recycling employee
during the Memorial Day weekend flood. Driver said everything was ruined by the time it was safe to try to salvage items in the house. “(The employee) escaped through a window with his dog,” Driver said. “Then he drove off in a pickup truck.” Driver said Green Guys encountered countless customers who had lost everything due to the flood. “They were trying to sell metal they collected just so they could have some money to start over with,” Driver said. My Neighbor’s Keeper, a Wimberley nonprofit that
offers cash grants to locals after disasters, was able to distribute $340,000 to the community after the flood. This included money donated by Green Guys Recycling, said Tom Keyser, director of the nonprofit. Keyser said the grants were available to all Wimberley residents. “We give undetermined, nopayback grants,” Keyser said. “That means people can use this cash to use for whatever they need.”
2 | Monday, September 28, 2015
The University Star Anna Herod, News Editor @annaleemurphy email@example.com
PRIDE, from front and donated money toward the cause of spreading LGBTQIA awareness and acceptance both years that SMTX Pride has occurred. Chitah Daniels Kennedy, co-host to the SMTX Pride show at Stonewall Warehouse, is a drag performer who partakes in “any and all LGBTQIA events.” “They always march in the parade, have a booth at Pride, and are always involved in all LGBTQ events that happen,” Kennedy said. “The church is one of the few groups that has raised that aware-
ness of having more acceptance for the LGBTQ communities.” Kennedy said SMUUF is heavily involved in the Bobcat Pride scholarship, a program that supports LGBTQIA Texas State students of all minorities, sexualities and gender identities by providing financial support in order to promote the retention of an “underrepresented” community. The church has a monthly offering where members can donate money for nonprofit organizations such as the Bobcat Pride Scholarship Fund,
said Scottie McIntyre Johnson, minister of the SMUUF. Since 2012, SMUUF has donated $3,600 to the Bobcat Pride Scholarship Fund, she said. The church has shown support for the LGBTQIA community for 30 years and Johnson said he is happy to see a “positive change” in society. “The rapid pace of change is phenomenal,” Johnson said. “People have a right to not approve, but (the legalization of same-sex marriage) is not an attack on marriage, it’s supporting it.”
STAR FILE PHOTO
KENNARD, from front he said. “You can get a paper,” Kennard said. “But it doesn’t mean anything. Even the vest (signaling the animal’s service status) means nothing.” Kennard went to the Office of Disabilities to tell the employees what happened. “The guy told me he understood,” Kennard said. “He asked me the two questions and registered my dog with the university.”
SCOTT, from front there was a 40-foot wall of water that came down, and no one was safe.
AH: What are your thoughts on the amount of development San Marcos has seen in the past years? SS: I’m all about the growth—we
need it. The problem is (students) didn’t have a place to stay, so we need the growth to have places like the Retreat and the Woods and all these other places that are fun. Probably 50,000 (students will go to Texas State) in the next couple years, so yeah, we have to grow. I voted for Amazon. My opponent doesn’t want the council to give (corporations) deals to move here. Are you out of your mind? There’s no traditional loaning mechanisms anymore. Banks will not take a chance on anybody. Municipalities are the funding agents at this point. We have to have smart people who understand business to make those deals, which I do. Make sure we don’t lose money. We don’t make any deals where we lose money. We may not make as much on the front end, but I guarantee on the back end we do. You have to incentivize and make (businesses) want to come, and with those it will make the students want to stay.
AH: Do you feel the city has handled economic growth well? SS: Back in the ‘80s there was
this big push to do exactly what’s starting to happen now with Amazon (coming to San Marcos) and stuff like that, and H-EB and all these other companies started coming. And then that group got into power and shut it down and growth stopped.
He said requiring students to register their dog with the university is also a violation of the ADA. The veteran contacted a lawyer about the situation he experienced in Travis’ class. Kennard said the lawyer called the university and informed them their policy was breaking the law. Kennard said he has had similar experiences in the past because most people are un-
aware of the ADA’s law and do not believe he has a disability, judging by his physical appearance. “I love this university,” Kennard said. “I didn’t want to make waves. I just wanted to have the policy changed.” Kennard said the Office of Disabilities is currently reviewing the policy. He said he hopes a change will be made and that he understands the process could take time.
The veteran said he informed the University Police Department about the problem and they will now escort him to class. The Office of Disabilities has outreach programs to educate students and faculty about service animals and procedures associated with them, Reneau said. “Certainly, one of the things we are going to focus on in terms of outreach this semes-
ter will be working with service animals to ensure student’s success,” Reneau said. Kennard said Athena is a medical alert dog and is able to sense his emotions. The dog is trained to distract Kennard if he becomes angry or stressed. “Before Athena I couldn’t leave the house alone,” Kennard said. “I couldn’t stand in line at the grocery store.” Athena serves as a buffer between him and other people
so he has enough space to feel comfortable. Similarly, Kennard wants the buffer between him and everyone else to go away through more education on veteran issues. “Every time (stories like this) hit the news, people get more educated,” Kennard said. “I don’t want the attention. I don’t want to come off as a whiny vet. I’m just looking for people to become educated.”
Now we’re back at it again going back (toward growth), and this time we’re going to fight for it. So has it been handled well in the past? No. It’s been stifled by special interest groups. (Economic growth) is going back up and I’m going to fight like hell to keep it going. We’re not going to go backwards by voting for two people that are against it. Don’t vote for (Scott) Gregson. Don’t vote for Melissa (Derrick). Because you’re going to go backwards. I’m here to fight and continue growth and not let it get stopped this time by those same special interest groups.
AH: In regard to the never-ending drought, what role should the city play in regulating water consumption? SS: I think we’re a little bit too re-
PLACE 5 & 6
Tweet your questions to #SMTXDebate15
City Council Candidate Debate October 7 @ 7-9 PM in LBJ 3-14.1
strictive. I don’t think we should use the aquifer as our means to regulate the water because we don’t get our water from the aquifer. We get it from Lake Dunlap. So there’s a problem there, and that hasn’t been worked out yet. (City council) has looked at it a couple different times with no real result. But I think we have to be conservative, and we need to have things that work better with this environment—just in case. I think as mankind is evolving, we are getting way smarter in that regard and understanding our impacts on the planet. We’ve already taken care of our water for the next 50 years. The city’s always been proactive on that. As for as the drought, we’re probably going on the other side of it now. You’ll see things get wetter and probably hear less about water issues. But we have all the mechanisms in place to protect us from the drought.
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The University Star
Mariah Simank, Lifestyle Editor @MariahSimank firstname.lastname@example.org
Exhibition showcases alumni talent Texas State professors By Ana Flores LIFESTYLE REPORTER @Anak2813
Corn husks, brass, silver and corn silk can be seen throughout The University Galleries during the 15th Annual Alumni Invitational exhibition. A group of six Texas State Alumni from the School of Art and Design are currently displaying their work Sept. 9-Oct. 7 at the galleries. Chad Dawkins, interim gallery director, said the group utilized several different materials, including paintings, ceramics, metal photography, printmaking, sculpture, performance and video. Dawkins said exhibition participants were chosen based on faculty input. “It’s cool to have these alumni come back and to be able to see a lot of them move on to other parts of the country or display their works in other art galleries,” Dawkins said. “It’s a nice way to show the
current students what work looks like after you leave—almost like motivation.” Featured alumni include Laritza Garcia, Brandon Gonzalez, Suzy Gonzalez, Kristy Richard, Michael Menchaca and Hope Mora. Dawkins said each piece of art represents the diverse nature of Texas State graduates. Kristy Richard said the work she designed was inspired by her passion for ceramics. Richard said working with ceramics to create a glazed teapot was relatively simple. “Ceramics are probably our most commonly used dinnerware beside paper goods,” Richard said. “We eat from ceramic plates especially when dining out. We drink from ceramic mugs and eat soup and cereal from ceramic bowls.” Richard said she came to Texas State with the dream of one day becoming a professional artist. Richard said several of her professors gave her the tools
to be successful and have a positive impact on members of the art community. “My professors have been very important in my journey as an artist,” Richard said. “I still keep in touch with them, they still critique my work and I’m grateful for it. I hope to have that kind of impact on someone, no matter what their occupation is.” Brandon Gonzalez said he was honored to return to the place that helped him grow as an artist and person. “It is exciting to circle back to my roots here because it continues to mark a line that connects disciplines of worlds,” Brandon Gonzalez said. “Texas State has allowed for my ideas and practices to develop on the edge.” Suzy Gonzalez said she constructed her piece out of chicken wire, newsprint, corn husks and silk. “Making a life-size corn husk doll involved being covered in wheat paste goo and
became so fun and messy that I almost forgot I was trying to make serious art,” Suzy Gonzalez said. “There’s a lesson to be learned there.” Suzy Gonzalez said she reflected on undergraduate days to find inspiration for her new exhibit. “The last time I showed in Joann Cole Mitte was for my Texas State thesis exhibition, so it was helpful for me to think about my past work from my present perspective,” Gonzalez said. “I can see what concepts and materials stuck, and how they have evolved.” S.J. Zavala, business sophomore, said she enjoys taking time to view each display. “Even though I’m not an art major and don’t consider myself an artist, I’m a huge fan,” Zavala said. “I usually come here anytime I feel a little overwhelmed, it calms me down. I just love how an artist can go from nothing to making something so meaningful.”
DARYL ONTIVEROS STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Gallery 2 at the University Galleries is currently featuring works of art by Texas State Alumni that reflect their current creative practices.
release book on gender inequality By Taylor Thompson LIFESTYLE REPORTER @tthompson437
Two Texas State professors are receiving a great deal of feedback after their book exposing gender in professional kitchens hit the national spotlight. Deborah Harris and Patti Giuffre, professors of sociology, worked together to write Taking the Heat: Women Chefs and Gender Inequality in the Professional Kitchen. The book takes a look at how gender in the world of professional chefs is split, what circumstances have led to this exclusion, and how women chefs feel about what they do compared to their male counterparts. Harris said she came to the university in 2007 as a sociology professor specializing in qualitative research methods, but has always enjoyed focusing on gender inequality research. “The most common thing we found is that it’s really hard (for women) to break in and get respect in the kitchen,” Harris said. Candy Cantrell, sociology graduate student, said the two professors were trying to understand how cooking, a job typically seen by society as women’s work, becomes a man’s job in a professional environment. “The message is that (the book) tries to make people aware of the gender inequalities in professional kitchens,” Cantrell said. “(Harris and Giuffre) wanted to show how hard it was for women in a male-dominated workforce.” Harris said they chose to focus on professional kitchens because gender inequality had already been covered in fields such as the military and police forces. “Gender inequality has already been researched a lot in other professions,” Harris said. “This is something
that is a woman’s job in the home, but a man’s out in the world, and that’s what got our attention.” Harris said she and Giuffre found women often have to prove to their male colleagues that they are physically and emotionally tough enough to work in the highstress environment. Women chefs often devise a strategy to demand respect from the men in the kitchen, Harris said. They often refuse to cry because they don’t want to appear weak. “When they move up and become head chef, it is really hard for them to get respect and to be treated like the boss,” Harris said. “There’s no crying in the kitchen.” Cantrell said the book is meant to offer insight to people who lack prior knowledge on the subject. “All people go to restaurants, all people eat food from chefs, but (when they read the book) they get to really see what happens in kitchens and just really get insight to how the sausage is made,” Cantrell said. Harris said she plans to explore different types of chefs for her next study. “There are cultural beliefs that women have a higher body temperature, so they shouldn’t be touching the fish because they would affect the temperature. And in a high-end sushi place, that’s not what you want,” Harris said. Cantrell said the book would be a good read for anyone, especially individuals interested in educating themselves on gender inequality. “It gives a voice to women who work in professional kitchens and shows all of the inequalities that they face every day,” Cantrell said. “It would also be helpful for any women that want to go into a male-dominated field.”
4 | Monday, September 28, 2015
The University Star
Brandon Sams, Opinions Editor @TheBrandonSams email@example.com
RYAN JEANES STAR ILLUSTRATOR
THE MAIN POINT
Proposed tourist fee for the river ineffective plan
aking tourists pay a fee to enjoy a natural resource is a ridiculous, unrealistic proposal that does more harm than good to the community. Melissa Derrick, Place 6 city council candidate, proposed that San Marcos officials pass an ordinance to require non-residents to pay a $10 fee to enjoy the river. The main problem with the plan is the absence of a unified San Marcos identification or database. Therefore, there is no way to guarantee residents and non-residents will be accurately differentiated.
Not only would it be difficult to tell whether or not someone is a resident of San Marcos, but the exact criteria to be considered a local was not outlined in the proposal. Do incoming Texas State freshmen automatically receive a sticker indicating they are now residents, or do people have to be a resident for a specific amount of time before becoming eligible to use the San Marcos River without a fee? There are a multitude of questions and concerns, yet, sadly, not enough reasonable answers. One of the more notable ideas behind the San Mar-
cos River fee was Derrick’s assertion that, “We need to attract the right kind of people than just a free-forall.” Derrick clarified her statement to mean exactly what everyone thought it did. Derrick asserted the $10 fee will attract only those able to pay the fee, implying the purpose of the plan is to detract lowerincome non-residents from using the San Marcos River. Being exclusionary with the natural resources of the community is not the way to garner support. Instead, the proposal will target people who are only seeking to have fun. A proposal that seeks to make those without the
proper funds feel inadequate is a poor stance to stand on. Putting funds towards the river is definitely a good idea. However, charging only selected families and groups of people who want to experience the beauty of San Marcos reeks of exploitation. Investing in trashcans and river clean up is an important step to preserving the natural beauty and ecologically essential waterway, but there are more effective ways to garner funds than discrimination. If everyone cares about the river as much as they proclaim, then having a minimum fee for all visitors, instead of tourists, would be
more cost-effective. A $2 fee for all would-be river visitors is a more economically sound and equitable stance compared to charging noncommunity members $10, as denoted by stickers which will cost money to produce and distribute. Another hole in the fee plan rests on the dysfunctional use of stickers, which are made of paper, on a river. Not only are residents unlikely to haul stickers around, but once sticker meets water there is little left to behold—this a disaster waiting to happen. These resident stickers are vulnerable to destruction, displacement and
theft. Without the stickers denoting residents from non-residents, the entire plan topples over. If the idea is to increase revenue, then wasting money on the creation and distribution of stickers is not the way to go. The river is a natural resource and should be enjoyed by all who wish to use it. Implementing a plan to discriminate against non-residents is not an economical or effective strategy. It only seeks to increase conflict and decrease enjoyment, which come together to equal utter disaster.
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.
Stricter helmet laws needed to insure motorcycle safety
Michael Meier SPECIAL TO THE STAR
hether someone is riding a motorcycle, ATV or moped, not wearing a helmet is one of the most dangerous and inane things the individual can do. Not only is the lack of head protection putting your life in complete danger, but contrary to how you think you look, it makes everyone who fails to secure their cranium appear completely stupid. My comments may sound like something from a driving safety video, but it only takes one accident to change someone’s views. It only takes one accident to end his or her life. According to the Insurance Information Institute, an estimated 4,500 people die each year from motorcycle accidents, 80 percent of which are fatal hits to the head. So for all those “wild ones” out there that want to feel the
wind in their hair, I would think twice before having a freedom moment. It might just save your life. Thankfully my sister and I are two of the 1,630 people annually who are saved by wearing safety helmets. So I’m not speaking as a random figure—I am speaking from experience. I know just how dangerous motorbikes can be. To prevent deadly and injurious crashes, there needs to be a law in place requiring all License A holders and their passengers to wear helmets. It seems like a common sense law to have, but it’s not in Texas. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, only 64 percent of all motorcyclists said they wore helmets in 2014. Perhaps if Texas invested in a law requiring helmets for all people, that number would increase. Being the survivor of what would have been fatal motorcycle accident, I can easily vouch for the passing of a law that would require wearing helmets while on motorcycles. If it were not for the helmet I wore, I probably would not be writing this right now. Unfortunately, the law in Texas only requires bikers to wear helmets if they are under the age 21. It is
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Choose responsible alternatives to partying, drinking
plain to see that only a few of the students who ride their motorbikes to school every day wear helmets. Even with statistics put aside, it simply puzzles me why bikers decide not to wear helmets. Whether it is the bulkiness or the “uncoolness” of wearing something that can potentially save your life, there simply isn’t a sufficient enough excuse not to wear one. It is just sad to see how our generation cracks under pressure of looking “cool” by not wearing a helmet. That’s almost identical to the old saying, “If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you?” Who cares what other people think? Protecting one’s life should always take priority over impressing random people in the streets of San Marcos. Without a helmet on, you are definitely not going to impress them with your intelligence, so do not bother. I suppose next, people will just stop wearing air tanks when they scuba dive and harnesses when they rock climb. It is times like this I see why older generations mock ours, considering we find being stupid cool. All I ask is that people wear a helmet. —Michael Meier is a biochemistry freshman
Allison Chavez SPECIAL TO THE STAR
eople envision parties and binge drinking when they think of college, as though these activities are inevitable in the collegiate experience. I am here to say that this is not true. Responsible fun is just as enticing. College is what you make it, and people can have a wonderful, fulfilling time without going to parties and overindulging in alcohol. It is unfortunate some assume that drinking and partying are an inescapable fact of life for college students. We picture fraternity parties and binge drinking before football games and studying, as if that is all college is about. Frankly, that insular view of college is an absolute lie for most hardworking college students. Becoming a fulltime party animal is a bad decision, and students should think about their responsibilities and priorities before deciding how to have fun. I implore those who fall into the “wild partier” category to think about the choices
they are making. Someone—perhaps even you—is paying thousands of dollars a year for you to be here. The purpose of attending a university is to gain the privilege of a higher education and to become a better citizen, not to waste days away drinking and being irresponsible. Wild fun and partying have a direct, detrimental effect on a student’s studies. A survey found that the amount of time spent partying—specifically, drinking— had a negative correlation with GPA. In other words, the more time spent drunk or partying, the lower the person’s GPA was. Aside from studies, drinking and partying can even have serious physical effects. Over 1,500 students a year die from accidents resulting from alcohol consumption, with an added 600,000 students seriously injured annually. A few moments of fun is not worth a person’s health or life, which is why choosing a more responsible way to have fun is ideal. Having fun responsibly means enjoying one’s self safely, without getting drunk or behaving in risky and dangerous ways. Students can have plenty of fun just spending time with friends, or by joining a few clubs or organizations here on campus. If you decide to spend your time exploring something you are passionate about, there are plenty of
clubs and organizations to choose from. Joining an organization is not only a great way to meet people with shared interests, but it’s also an amazing way to have new experiences and expand your knowledge. The world can always benefit from more well-rounded individuals. While many students may not be into clubs or organizations, they should not feel left out. There are plenty of other fun options available. Doing something as simple as going out and exploring the shops on the Square with friends is a fantastic alternative to partying. Even studying can be a fun activity. Forming a study group is a great way to make learning a more enjoyable and effective experience. It is a way to hang out with friends while getting some of the knowledge everyone came to college to receive. Some students may even find themselves looking forward to studying. Whether it is spending more time studying with friends or joining a few clubs, there are plenty of alternatives to partying for students to engage in. They are not only less risky but also more conducive to healthy habits. So let us do better together by choosing to have fun responsibly. Your liver will thank you. —Allison Chavez is a journalism freshman 601 University Drive Trinity Building, Room 101 San Marcos, TX 78666
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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 Monday, September 28, 2015. 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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Monday, September 28, 2015 | 5
The University Star
Quixem Ramirez, Sports Editor @quixem firstname.lastname@example.org
HE’S COMING HOME: MERCER RETURNS TO HIS OWN ‘BACKYARD’ By Paul Livengood ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR @IamLivengood
On Saturday night, one of Houston’s own had the first homecoming of his collegiate career. That someone was Demun Mercer, sophomore wide receiver. Mercer was born in Louisiana, but has lived in Houston since he was in fifth grade. His uncle is a pastor at a church on Francis Street, which is just a few blocks away from the University of Houston and across the street from the football stadium. “Growing up, I’ve seen the stadium,” Mercer said. “Basically like being in the backyard, hearing the announcers announce other guys before my time. It’s a good experience living in that area.” Usually hometown kids go one of two directions. Either they dream of playing football in the stadium they are so accustomed to seeing, or, as in Mercer’s case, they want to get away from home. Mercer played high school football with his brother, Jafus Gaines, senior wide receiver, and Tim Gay, senior linebacker. Mercer played quarterback, Gaines was his number one receiver and Gay was his running back.
Mercer said the three were one of the best triple-threat, high-powered offenses in the state. Then Gay and Gaines left together for Texas State, with Mercer left behind at Chavez High School. That temporary distance would never separate the brothers permanently. “Since we were young, we always told each other we were going to stick together,” Mercer said. “We just decided that we were going to stick together and rock it on out from there.” After transferring to La Marque High School for his senior year, Mercer followed in the footsteps of his older brother and committed to Texas State. “I didn’t want to be too close to home,” Mercer said. “I felt like U of H was right there. I kind of wanted to get away from home, so Texas State was my best option and I don’t regret my decision to come here at all.” Mercer was recruited as an athlete and anticipated a move to receiver even though he played quarterback all his life. Transitioning from quarterback to wide receiver wasn’t easy for Mercer. He said it initially took a mental strain on him simply because the perspective of the game is completely different. “It’s different from be-
LAUREN HANCOCK STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Demun Mercer, sophomore wide receiver, scores a touchdown Sept. 19 against Southern Mississippi. ing in the backfield to now you’re outside on an island by yourself,” Mercer said. “So what I did was took all the quarterback knowledge that I had and used it as a receiver.” A quarterback’s awareness is something that Mercer used to help ease the transition to wide receiver. The quarterback has to know everyone’s job on the field and know where people are supposed to be. Having that knowledge and experience helps him understand coverage in the secondary,
including where and how to align himself. Fast forward two years later and Mercer was set to return home and play in front of his friends and family for the first time since his senior year at La Marque. This is Mercer’s first collegiate homecoming. He knows some players on the team, guys he played with and against on Friday nights. Mercer did say he wants to make this game a special one for his friends and family to see, but he made
sure to not make this game a bigger deal than it needs to be. Playing in front of family in your hometown is always fun, but there is business to be taken care of first and foremost.
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“(Mercer and Jafus) haven’t made too much of a mention of it, but they have told me that they do know some of the guys,” said Jason Johnson, wide receivers coach. “They haven’t really made too much of a fuss about it. They know the business at hand, which is we have to take care of our business regardless of who is over there and who they may know.” Mercer is ready to come back home and do his best to perform well. What once was a boy listening to the announcers call out the names of the Houston players will now be a young man hearing the announcers call his own name. “Yeah, I’m back home,” Mercer said. “(The team has) to make sure that we are on the same page from the game plan to just staying focused, period. The game is going to be exciting. Friends will hit us up, but if we stay focused, stay dedicated and keep working then we will be fine.”
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