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Mermaid statues call San Marcos home Mermaids wave to the crowd as they ride on a parade float up S. LBJ Sept. 16 during the SMTX Mermaid Parade. PHOTO BY LARA DIETRICH | MULTIMEDIA EDITOR

MERMAIDS SPLASH THROUGH DOWNTOWN By Katie Burrell Lifestyle Editor @KatieNicole96 Ten decorated mermaid statues were unveiled Sept. 16 as part of the main event of Mermaid Aqua Faire following the downtown Mermaid Parade. Arts Commission members prepped the unveiling of the mermaids on a platform in the center of Plaza Park where the statues remained covered. Prior to the unveiling, attendees enjoyed lemonade, live music and free T-shirts at the festival. Local organizations including the Hays County Food Bank, the Heritage Association of San Marcos and multiple student and youth organizations dressed up in seashells, nets and scales to march through the streets.

statue has a unique design. One is said to change colors while another features the biology of the river. One statue is even holding a fish taco. Jamie Shelton, local artist, said she was one of 60 to apply to paint a statue. When she was chosen, Shelton decided to adorn her mermaid with bright blue and green colors and creatures from the river. “She is composed of all of the biology of the river, so the flora and the fauna,” Shelton said. “She has turtles on her shoulders, her eyebrows are blind salamanders and her cheeks are sun fish.”

“It’s a symbol of the preservation of the river, the environment and the history.” -Dahlia Woods The artists unveiled the statues, revealing a variety of inspirations such as local history to river conservation. Each


(TOP) Artists stand near their mermaid creations Sept. 16 during the unveiling of the 10 new statues at the Aqua Faire, held at San Marcos Plaza Park. The statues are to be placed alongside the river, as well as various locations throughout San Marcos. (BOTTOM) The newly unveiled mermaid statues on display Sept. 16 during the SMTX Aqua Faire. The statues will remain on permanent display at various locations throughout the city. PHOTOS BY RICARDO MARTIN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

What does being a Hispanic-Serving Judge blocks Texas’ newest Institution mean for Texas State By Josie Soehnge News Reporter @SoehngeJ Texas State has been recognized by the Hispanic Outlook magazine as one of the Top 100 Colleges and Universities for Hispanic students. The university is recognized on the list for total undergraduate enrollment. Due to the enrollment of Hispanic students, Texas State is categorized as a Hispanic-Serving Institution. However, some students are unaware as to what the university does with the status. Ismael Amaya, Hispanic Policy Network president, believes the university has a responsibility to explain what being a Hispanic-Serving Institution means and how the status shapes Texas State. “I do think we, as an institution, have an obligation to explain to our students, faculty, staff, families and community what it means to be an HSI, why it’s important and what difference it makes,” Amaya said. The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities defines a Hispanic-Serving Institution as “colleges, universities or systems/districts where total Hispanic enrollment constitutes a minimum of 25 percent of the total enrollment. Total enrollment includes full-time and part-time students at the undergraduate or graduate level (including professional schools) of the institution, or both.” According to the Office of Institutional Research, Hispanic students make up 35 percent of the student

35% of Texas State's population is Hispanic


body at Texas State. The population of Hispanic students allows Texas State to meet the qualifications to hold its status as a Hispanic-Serving Institution,

which opens the door for the university to apply for and receive funding. Amaya explained being a HispanicServing Institution allows the opportunity for certain funding, however does not guarantee it. “Traditionally, what you hear is that the designation opens the door to apply for funding, but nothing is a given or automatic,” Amaya said. “We don’t get money for simply being an HSI, or we don’t get money for having 25 percent of the undergraduate students identifying as Hispanic. But, the school can apply for grants that can serve students, and even that is sometimes misunderstood.”  Grants received from the status are not exclusive to only Hispanic students, according to Amaya. “If the university is awarded a grant, it is typically not going to be distributed or used towards benefiting Hispanic students only,” Amaya said. “The grants allow for a service or program that is open to students and, again, just by the numbers, we would expect to see Hispanic students benefit—just like any other student participating in or using the service funded by the grant. The grant/program administrators still need to ensure that they are reaching Hispanic students. The effectiveness of a program funded by funds available to Hispanic-Serving Institutions could reasonably be called into question if it is not minimally reaching a proportionate representation of the study body.”


voter ID law

By Jakob R. Rodriguez News Reporter @JakobRyRod U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos of Corpus Christi, a Texas State distinguished alumna, issued an injunction permanently barring Texas from enforcing its voter ID law, Aug. 23. Introduced in 2011 during the 82 legislative session, authors and sponsors of Senate Bill 14 called for proof of identification prior to voting in an attempt to mitigate voter fraud. The bill was passed in May of 2011, and by March 2012 the legislation had been struck down by the Justice Department. Thomas E. Perez, former assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division, stated he must object a part of the bill in a determination letter to the election director. “With regard to Sections 9 and 14 of SB 14, concerning photographic identification requirements for in-person voting and acceptable forms of photographic identification, I cannot conclude that the state has sustained its burden under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act,” Perez stated. Section 5 of SB 14 at the time was before the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in the State of Texas V. Holder, the letter was provided to the court and counsel of record for full context.


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The University Star


Shayan Faradineh News Editor @shayanfaradineh @universitystar

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

Editors Editor-in-Chief: Denise Cervantes, Managing Editor: Bri Watkins, News Editor: Shayan Faradineh, Lifestyle Editor: Katie Burrell, Opinions Editor: May Olvera, Sports Editor: Lisette Lopez, Copy Desk Chief: Claire Abshier, Design Editor: Vivian Medina, Multimedia Editor: Lara Dietrich, Engagement Editor: John Lee,

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FROM FRONT HISPANIC Currently, the University College is home to three HSI grant programs: Mentoring and Academic Coaching, Career and Financial Education at Texas State and Del Mar College and IMPACT STEM Student Success and Texas State University. Each program has provided resources to the university supporting the overarching goal of “strengthening institutional capacity to serve” Hispanic and low-income students, specifically, and all students, more generally. Each of these grant programs have been made possible through the University’s status as an HSI. Daniel Brown, dean of the University College believes the university’s HSI status has allowed for a significant positive impact at Texas State. “These three HSI programs allow us to be innovative in our responses to student need for assistance and service,” Brown said. “They are focused

on freshman persistence and retention and graduation rate improvement, and will help us achieve overarching goals for student success at Texas State University. It is also exciting to see changes in our student success ecosystem at Texas State that have and are occurring due to the significant and  positive impact of these Title V and Title III HispanicServing Institutions grant programs.” There have been many questions raised regarding the university’s responsibility to its Hispanic Students as an HSI. Alex Molina, Student Government senator and executive assistant of Hombres Unidos, said the university has a responsibility to ensure its Hispanic students feel welcome on campus. “Making Hispanic students feel safe and like they belong is the first step in making sure that the University retains them,” Molina said. “Giving Hispanic students the resources to stay in school

and graduate is a main responsibility of the university.” Molina also said the university should be more vocal in its solidarity when issues affect the Hispanic student community. “Recently, with the removal of DACA, many students felt like the HSI wasn’t there to defend them,” Molina said. Among total enrollment, Texas State was nationally ranked in five categories: fourth for Public Relations, Advertising and Communication Degrees for Hispanics; sixth for Visual and Performing Arts Degrees for Hispanics; 13th for Bachelor Degrees Granted to Hispanics; 30th for Master’s Degrees Granted to Hispanics and 31st for total Hispanic enrollment. Hispanic Outlook is an information news source and a Hispanic educational magazine resource for the higher education community.


Amid Wells Fargo scandals, Texas State continues partnership By Sandra Sadek News Reporter @Sandra_sadek19 The Wells Fargo Banking Company suffered from two major scandals within the last two years, involving the creation of more than 3.5 million fraudulent accounts and the unnecessary sale of 570,000 car insurance to customers. Although the bank has been navigating through fraud for over a year, the logo is still printed on every Texas State student ID. The story was first reported by the L.A. Times in 2013, which led to a lawsuit in 2015. The settlement for that lawsuit was decided nearly a year ago on Sept. 8, 2016. Texas State partners up with Wells Fargo to give students special benefits and services if they decide to combine their banking account with their Bobcat card. These benefits include a waived monthly service fee, online financial education and money management tools as well as a Zero Liability protection at no extra cost. Upon the discovery of the incidents, concerns arose on campus regarding the safety of the students and faculty’s financial assets. Valerie Van Vlack, university treasurer, said that Texas State students are not a target by the bank. “Texas State learned about the Wells Fargo banking issues and spoke with senior leaders at Wells Fargo as well as the LBJ Student Center bank manager,” Vlack said. “The LBJ Student Center branch did not have the sales goals in place at this branch, (which originally led to the creation of fraudulent accounts).” Since the incident, Wells Fargo has been working diligently to restore its reputation and regain the trust of its customers. The company has set aside

With two scandals in two years, Wells Fargo's integrity s has once again come into question. PHOTO BY ROBERT BLACK | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

$142 million for customer remediation and settlement expenses, and has eliminated product sales goals for retail bankers, the original cause of the scandals. Tymika Morrison, communications consultant for the Houston, Austin and San Antonio branches said Wells Fargo is still prioritizing customers. “We recently completed a major milestone by completing an additional analysis and remediation concerning improper retail sales practices,” Morrison said. Overall, the company has been active in its response to the incidents. Within a year, the chief executive and the head of the retail bank were removed, and

the board was completely transformed into a simplified version of its formerly decentralized structure. Wells Fargo has also willingly submitted to federal investigations while producing its own independent reports. Texas State has continued to engage consciously with all of the vendors they do business with, and has been selecting the student services that provide the best value. As for Wells Fargo, they are continuing to address concerns while communicating clearly with their customers. If you believe you have been a victim or want to review your account, visit, call 1-866-4318549 or visit a branch.

Publications Coordinator: Linda Allen,

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 6,000. Printing and distribution is by the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung. Copyright: Copyright Tuesday, September 19, 2017. 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. Print Copies: The first five issues of each edition of the paper are free. Contact The University Star office at (512) 245-3487 to purchase additional copies. Deadlines: Letters to the Editor or any contributed articles are due on Monday the week prior to publication. Corrections: Any errors that are in the pages of The University Star and are brought to our attention will be corrected as soon as possible. Visit The Star at

FROM FRONT VOTE In 2014, Gonzales Ramos found that over 600,000 registered voters in Texas do not have the type of photo ID the Senate Bill 14 would have required. Gonzales Ramos did not rule out the concept of a photo voter ID, rather her 147-page ruling illustrated that the terms would be discriminating against minority groups. The Fifth Circuit court for the District of Columbia, however, overturned the ruling because it was too close to the election date and would potentially cause more confusion at the polls. The court agreed with Gonzales Ramos’ initial overturning of the bill because it canceled the protections guaranteed by the Voting Rights Act. This session, Senate Bill 5 hoped to do what Senate Bill 14 could not, have Gonzales Ramos’ court decision refer back to the Texas Legislature and treat SB 5 while also purging Senate Bill 14 of its “discriminatory purpose” found in the initial ruling. The bill passed, supported by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and would have gone into effect Jan. 1, 2018 had Gonzales Ramos not halted the legislation. Gonzales Ramos’ court granted declaratory relief and held that SB 14 violated section two of the Voting Rights Act as well as the fourteenth and fifteenth amendments of the United


States Constitution. According to Gonzales Ramos’ order, Section B, private plaintiffs sought an “injunction completely barring implementation and enforcement of SB 14, Sections 1 through 15 and Sections 17 through 22, as well as SB 5 in order to eliminate the discriminatory law ‘root and branch.’” Opponents of the bill have even gone as far as comparing the law to a poll tax. While others, such as Texas State Senator Donna Campbell, suggest that Gonzales Ramos’ decision was steeped in partisanship. Campbell opposed the block. “Judge Ramos’ Wednesday ruling is nothing more than political posturing from the bench when the courtroom should be absent of such partisan bias,” Campbell stated in a press release. Campbell and her co-sponsors’ goal for Senate Bill 5 was to allow flexibility for the circumstances of all Texans while still safeguarding integrity at the ballot box. “It’s a shame to see some use this issue as a political football rather than uphold the rule of law, protect the bedrock of our democracy and prevent voter fraud,” Campbell said. The voter fraud these laws would have guarded against are fraudulent acts like double voting or voter imperson-

33 states are enforcing or will begin to enforce some type of voter ID law.

ation fraud, both of which have drawn criticism to the validity of the issue. As of September 2017, 33 states are enforcing or will begin to enforce some type of voter ID law. Over the past six years, voter ID laws have become a major partisan issue.

The University Star

Tuesday, September 19, 2017 | 3


Katie Burrell Lifestyle Editor @KatieNicole96 @universitystar

FROM FRONT MERMAID Shelton’s goal was to remind viewers how important river conservation is. Ruben Becerra, arts commissioner and the statue project coordinator, said the project intends to bring visitors to town to see the statues. However, he would primarily like to see the city reminded of the importance of river con-

servation and the value of community. “It will help our long-term branding, and create awareness and appreciation for this beautiful community,” Becerra said. “Like making sure you make decisions that don’t pollute our river or create settings that will erode our river.” Other festival guests included Dahlia

Woods, arts commissioner and owner of the Dahlia Woods Gallery. Woods said she was determined to see the mermaids presented this month at the festival and hopes they will positively influence the city. “It’s a symbol of the preservation of the river, the environment and the his-

tory,” Woods said. “The river is used by thousands of people so we really need to protect it and its endangered species.” After the parade and festival wrapped up, the mermaids were taken around town and are now waiting for permanent locations.


Hollywood playwright at Black and Latino Playwrights Conference By Katie Burrell Lifestyle Editor @KatieNicole96 Josephina Lopez was honored at this year’s Black and Latino Playwrights Conference, where she spoke about her struggles as a Latina actress and playwright in Hollywood. Lopez was honored with the Distinguished Artist’s award by Eugene Lee and the Texas State department of theatre for her work in the arts community and her influence on the conference. Students performed excerpts from Lopez’s collection of work, listened to Lopez speak had a live questionnaire. Lopez told her story of struggle with directors in Los Angeles, California. She explained the stories of her life as a woman and as a Latina actress. She said she has experienced racial discrimination, misogyny and body shaming. The audience had questions for her about how she overcame these issues to have a career in the acting and writing industry. Lopez had issues finding leading roles for women, Latinas and herself. She took up playwriting to do something about the lack of representation, and despite running into countless rejections on her plays, Lopez has gone on to have a successful career and believes she paved the way for other Latina actresses in Hollywood.

“When you complain about something, after the fifth time, shut up about it,” Lopez said to the audience. “That’s when I took up writing.” Daniella Treviño, fine arts acting freshman, performed two sections of a monologue from Lopez’s “Boyle Heights” which is about a young immigrant finding her home in California. “It was so life-changing. It was so inspiring, so illuminating, it felt so good,” Treviño said. “It felt complete to see a woman of that stature with that power she holds with just her mind and a pen. She reminded me exactly what it was like, what it should be, to be okay with yourself, to be in touch with the world.” Daniel Aguilar, theatre education senior, had a part in one of Lopez’s plays for the night. “I originally got reached out to by Nadine Mozon, a faculty at Texas State,” Aguilar said. “And I think her writing hits home, where I didn’t know I would have felt it. I saw my family in her writing, I saw my family in herself and it was just a beautiful thing to experience.” The audience was made up of theatre students and others of all colors and ages. The audience fielded questions about themselves, the industry and Lopez’s career making the night an enlightening one for many. Deb Alley, chair of the theatre department, was in attendance for Lopez’s


Veterans choose Texas State after years of service PHOTO BY LARA DIETRICH | MULTIMEDIA EDITOR

By Lauren Rexroad Lifestyle Reporter @laurenrexroad96 Texas State has a population of over 1,000 veteran students who served in various branches of the United States Military. For these veterans, attending school can come with special challenges to veterans. According to Anson Davis, veteran's affairs coordinator at the Veteran’s Affairs It is not required for student veterans to make themselves known to the veteran’s affairs office, so that number can vary. The office of Student Diversity and Inclusion is a resource for veterans who want to come to Texas State to get an education. Juan Garcia, advertising graduate student and Air Force veteran, joined the military because he was tired of jumping from job to job without any real direction. Garcia joined the Air Force because of the intel jobs it offered. According to the U.S. Air Force webpage, intel officers are responsible for collecting and protecting information. Garcia worked for the Air Force for eight years before deciding to start his college career at Texas State. Garcia chose to come to Texas State due to the resources given to veteran students. Some of those resources include the Veteran Friendly Office Program and the Veterans Alliance of Texas State. Garcia’s decision to attend Texas State was influenced by its proximity to Austin and San Antonio. Garcia is the social media chair of VATS. VATS is a resource for veteran students who may have a hard time ad-

justing to college life. According to Garcia, the biggest challenge of attending college after being in the military is going to class with students who are several years younger. Both Harrison, 28, and Garcia, 36, had a hard time adapting to college because of the age difference between them and other undergraduate students. According to Joshua, it is hard to have conversations with substance with the younger population. “The student population needs to not be afraid of student veterans," Garcia said. "Not all of us have PTSD or fall into any stereotypes. We are just students. We just served in the military and now we want to get our education.” Although Garcia has never experienced an issue where a student was afraid of him personally, he acknowledges it as a stigma put onto many veteran students. Joshua Harrison, physical therapy junior, a Marine veteran, decided to go to Texas State because he grew up in the area and has family members who live here. Harrison hurt his knee during a basketball game and was not able to be deployed. “It was mostly the commercials and the dress uniform to be honest. I always loved the marines," Harrison said. "I grew up watching ‘Full Metal Jacket’ constantly, so I think that was always in the back of my mind.” After graduating, Harrison plans to become a physical therapist who works separately from the Veterans Affairs hospital. He wants to help veterans similar to him who have been injured serving in the U.S military.

The voices of hop thA A, written by James Anthony Taylor, stand and bow after a successful show Sept. 9 at the Preforming Arts Center Concert Hall. PHOTO BY HANNAH FELSKE | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

tribute. Alley said the tribute did exactly what it was intended to do: inspire the students to aim for success despite discrimination. “(Lopez) is an amazing woman, that I think, no matter your ethnicity, race,

religion or gender- she says you have value. There is nothing more wonderful for all of us to hear, and she says it with such passion. She’s such a strong woman,” Alley said.

4 | Tuesday, September 19, 2017


The University Star Katie Burrell Lifestyle Editor @KatieNicole96 @universitystar


Witliff Collection releases exhibit celebrating Tejano art By Erika Conover Lifestyle Reporter @airwreckaaa_17 A new collection featuring articles from Tejano artists throughout history is now on display in the Witliff Collections on the 7th floor of the Alkek library. The exhibit contains items from collector Ramõn Hernãndez, a long-time journalist, photographer and historian, who has worked closely with the artists of Tejano music for over 40 years. David Coleman, director of the Witliff Collections said he and his staff entrusted the project to Hernãndez due to his expertise in the subject of Tejano art. “He’s the expert, he knows the material, kind of like encyclopedic knowledge,” Coleman said. “We gave him some tips on what kind of works in this space, but basically he had total freedom setting up.” The exhibit, which displays several cases in a timeline order starting with the left side of the room, took almost a month to put together. Hernãndez, his wife and the Witliff staff worked extensively almost every day leading up to the unveiling of the works. “For something as big as this is, and with so many moving parts and costumes and such, it takes a team,” Coleman said. “We knew some point this semester we would put up a major show highlighting all of the materials in his collections.” The Witliff chose to display this series with the intent of celebrating underrepresented Tejano music in addition to its art and history, as is the collection’s purpose. The growth and adaptation of Tejano music can be seen when visitors follow the timeline. “Music is regarded around the world as an important part of any culture, and Texas State University is known for encompassing all cultures,” Coleman said. This exhibit speaks to many people on campus, and enlightens others who are walking through. We are really putting a lot of emphasis on music this year, and we need to represent all cultures of Texas music. It’s really pulled in a whole group of people.” Lyda Guz, events coordinator at the Witliff Collections, said the Witliff is

expanding and calling the exhibit a pillar of their new section, and an important one. “The Tejano artists are kind of underrepresented; they don’t have a lot of places to show and it’s such a colorful, flashy show,” Guz said. “It exhibits so well.” “Hernãndez has a love for the history of Tejano artists, and wants to inspire people by showing his collection,” Guz said. “Hernãndez had too many artifacts in his home, so he needed a public venue, and this exhibit is just a small fraction of what he has in his possession.” Emily Cappello, physics freshman, admires the Witliff Collections for showcasing music, and said schools often do not prioritize the arts. “I think that music is something people should celebrate and should embrace,” Cappello said. “I think it’s a good thing to see where it comes from and the history of it.” Coleman has a video of Hernãndez playing on loop during the exhibit, and said he hopes students understand the

passion that went into creating the music originally, and in gathering the art. “You have the collector telling you the history of a dress or of a hat, and you also get kind of the broader context of why this is important and the history

of the music,” Coleman said. “Spend some time up here.” The collection will be on display until Dec. 20, and a mystery event pertaining to the exhibit will take place on Nov. 12,.

(Left) Legends of Tejano Music features a classic Tejano star outfit Sept. 6 at the Wittliff Collections. (Right) Legends of Tejano Music features a dress donated for use by Carlos Sanchez Sept. 6 at the Wittliff Collections. The Wittliff Collections, Alkek Library, Texas State University-San Marcos PHOTOS BY HANNAH FELSKE | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER


Bobcats continue the Texas State spirit through traditions By Erika Conover Lifestyle Reporter @airwreckaaa_17 Now that football season is in full swing, football traditions have become a large part of the university atmosphere. The University Star has looked into the past at some of Texas State’s most famed traditions.

THE HAND SIGN Probably one of the most known traditions is the Texas State hand sign, which involves students making Texas with their left hand, pressing the ring and pinkie finger down towards the center of Texas, representing San Marcos. Their right hand is formed into a claw, just like a bobcat. This is performed plenty of times throughout the game, and is involved in the various chants.

THE TEXAS STATE CHANTS There are several chants for Bobcats to follow, and Jocelyn Stephens, head cheer coach, said on game days all students participate in them. “We have the Texas State chant, and we divide the crowd, we have big signs and everyone chants,” Stephens said. “Sometimes the crowd likes to lead it, and sometimes they’re not always on beat, but we love them anyway.”

Students are supposed to come together to sing the alma mater song at the end of any athletic event, win or lose. Created in 1961 by Paul Yoder, the fight song is involved with the students and alumni alike, and several hand signs are completed throughout the song. Coffey McCurdy, political science senior said the Texas State fight song is her favorite tradition. “It’s just really fun and it’s one of those things that even if you don’t know it, when you hear it, you realize we did something good,” McCurdy said. “It’s a positive song so it’s a cool aspect of the game.”

BOKO THE BOBCAT The most spirited Bobcat on campus, Boko has had his name since 1964, 43 years after Texas State adopted the Bobcat mascot. Boko has been the USA National Champion mascot twice. “He’s quite the character, and gets along with the young ones and the elders,” Stephens said. “Very crowd entertaining and he can do a few flips as well.” There will be three mascots this year, instead of two.

TRADITIONAL TEXAS STATE TAILGATING Trucks spread throughout the parking lot, music, food, and games are all parts

A student holds up the official Texas State hand signs Sept. 13 in the Quad. The Heart of Texas Hand Sign is supposed to resemble the shape of Texas, with the two outside fingers pointing at the location of the university. PHOTO BY KIRBY CRUMPLER

of tailgating, which is a large tradition on game days at Texas State. “If you want to go out, you can always find someone to go with you,” McCurdy said. “My freshman year I would go to the freshman tailgate zone, which is really fun and it’s a nice opportunity to get introduced to tailgating if that’s something you’re into.”

THE BOBCAT SPIRIT One of the main part of game days

is how the crowd is involved in the actions of the games, and some students have gone to extreme measures to have their voice heard. Tynisha Jackson respiratory care junior cheerleader, said she has spotted a few reoccurring fans going above and beyond to cheer on Texas State. “Some diehard Bobcat fans will get a group together and paint their stomachs to say “TXST” or “Bobcats” and that’s become a tradition for a few years now,” Jackson said. “They get the crowd pumped up.”

The University Star


Tuesday, September 19, 2017 | 5 May Olvera Opinions Editor @yungfollowill @universitystar


We have tactlessly normalized 2017

If 2016 was the year of political earthquakes – Brexit, Trump’s rise to power, continuously rising tension surrounding police brutality – 2017 is the year of hyper-normalization and apathy toward a tumultuous state of affairs. A time that began with much of the population vowing to ‘resist’ the products of last year has turned into one that either ignores or fully embraces them. At this year’s Emmy awards, former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was promoted from one of the administration’s many dunces to media darling. In what seemed like an attempt to transform Spicer’s image from Melissa McCarthy’s satirical depiction of him to lovable as that , Spicer rode his podium onto the stage. He exclaimed the crowd would “be the largest audience to witness an Emmys, period — both in person and around the world.” It is as if the world had forgotten Spicer’s role as the mouthpiece of an

Orwellian administration that blatantly disregards facts and deems journalistic integrity as the enemy, as exemplified by President Trump’s Aug. 22 speech in Phoenix, Arizona which was full of falsehoods that largely went unchallenged. According to, Trump not only cherry-picked excerpts from his past statements about the violence in Charlottesville in an attempt to glaze over his blame of “both sides,” but also falsely expressed that CNN’s ratings are going down as a result of their White House coverage. On the contrary, CNN’s ratings continue to rise. Sadly, his claims have begun to be shrugged off as typical “Trumpisms” instead of falsities dangerous to democracy. Trump’s worst tendencies mirror that of his most fervent supporters: members of the so-called alt-right. According to the Associated Press, the “alt-right” is “an offshoot of conserva-

tism mixing racism, white nationalism, anti-Semitism and populism, or, more simply, a white nationalist movement.” The media’s normalization of the “alt-right” is something this country has already started to pay for. The groups tragic success in Charlottesville is largely due to the media’s inaction and disregard toward these “trendy” neo-Nazis. In November, Mother Jones released an expose on Richard Spencer titled “Meet the dapper white nationalist who wins even if Trump loses.” Others followed by deeming the “alt-right” a harmless group of hipsters with nice haircuts, irresponsibly overlooking their fascistic tendencies. Most tragically, as a country we seem to have reached a point of desensitization toward police brutality. While activists and citizens of St. Louis protested the acquittal of the police officer who murdered Anthony Lamar Smith, the rest of the country was generally

unresponsive. While the dangers of police brutality have always been unfortunately common for people of color, we are now in danger of knowingly normalizing the inaction that follows these tragedies. It is no longer a question of being ignorant toward the issues that black and brown America face, but of being aware and still not caring. The perpetrators behind this hypernormalization are journalists such as ourselves. Professionals in our field have been wildly irresponsible in framing people like Sean Spicer as humorous victims, Richard Spencer as an appealing anomaly and failing to challenge Trump’s fictitious claims as well as ignoring issues faced by vulnerable Americans. If we are to continue calling ourselves “the fourth estate,” then we need to stop running public relations campaigns for people we are meant to hold accountable.

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.


Joel Osteen vs. media critics: What really happened? By Kaitlin Evans Opinions columnist @Kateigh_bug Many people throughout the United States have unfairly criticized Joel Osteen and his church, Lakewood, in the past weeks. Lakewood Church sits in the center of Houston, a city devastated by Hurricane Harvey. It is difficult to understand why people are criticizing Osteen. Not only did the church’s first floor flood, but the second-floor walls are made primarily of glass, a fickle wall during a hurricane. Despite seeing all of these obvious safety concerns, social media users continued to condemn Osteen and his faith for, at the end of the day, only being too cautious. The building was not suited to shelter large numbers of people due to the possibility of flooding and debris damage. It would have posed a greater threat to those people. Osteen would have faced backlash for sheltering anyone despite safety concerns.. All the same critics would say, “Osteen never should have opened his church in those conditions.” People believe Osteen should have done more due to his faith. Osteen did as much as he possibly could have done given the circumstances. He had a cau-

tious attitude and, though many believe differently, he never closed his doors to anyone asking for help. Additionally, the city of Houston never asked his church to become a shelter. People did not need to seek refuge at Lakewood until the city shelters had become full. The criticism lies not on the basis of opening his church, but on his wealth and faith. Rather than criticizing a man who tried to keep others safe, people should focus on helping the people in need. Most of his critics did absolutely nothing for the relief, but they had no problem criticizing those who did. Someone in Osteen’s situation would have more than likely left an unstable and flooded structure in order to seek shelter elsewhere. Osteen, however, did not leave. He continued to fix and work alongside his staff to make sure the Lakewood church had enough safe areas for people to seek shelter in when the time came. However, it’s clear many refuse to hear about the good things a Christian does. Instead, careful actions have been framed in a negative light and deemed “not Christian enough” by individuals and biased news outlets. - Kaitlin Evans is a journalism sophomore



A letter to President Trump: Posthumously pardon Timothy McVeigh By Rudy Martinez Opinion columnist @_laszlokovacs Mr. President, I must admit, after a tumultuous start to your presidency, the last couple of months have restored the nationalist and traditionalist fervor that propelled you to an unlikely, albeit necessary, victory. Since August alone, you defended those brave dispossessed patriots, who in Charlottesville, were protesting the liberal decimation of American history, simultaneously laying the blame on Antifa thugs for the death of one of their own; pardoned Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a man who would have made a fantastic Stasi agent; and declared war on diversity by ending the Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrivals initiative. Bravo. However, I have one suggestion that would set the tone for the rest of your presidency: posthumously pardon Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber. Timothy McVeigh, the Paul Revere of the late-20th century, was ahead of his time. Before thinkers such as Steve Bannon appeared on the national stage and began promoting their apocalyptic vision of the United States, McVeigh was fervently studying William Luther Pierce’s “The Turner Diaries” and incessantly watching “Red Dawn.” Though, as previously mentioned, you refused to condemn white-nationalists in Charlottesville, their bourgeoning movement has been confronted with several obstacles, most notably a denial of platform at universities and on the internet. McVeigh’s pardoning


would reenergize the white-nationalist movement. This was a man who, 20 years before fascism got the Urban Outfitters treatment, was openly expressing his admiration of Hitler at parties and stockpiling an uncomfortable number of guns. This is not to say that it will be easy

to forgive the man responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing. However, if you need to justify your actions, which you usually don’t, there are two ways to go about it. Firstly, refuse to let the mainstream media refer to the bombing as a terrorist incident. This could

easily come to fruition by signing an Executive Order which narrows the definition of terrorism to the actions of “radical Islamists.” McVeigh was simply expressing his anger toward the federal government, this doesn’t mean he wasn’t a fine young man. After all, he was a lover of fine filmmaking, counting Terry Gilliam’s farcical dystopian satire “Brazil” as a favorite, a film that’s since seen a Criterion Collection release. Secondly, you should draw comparisons to yourself when reintroducing our country to McVeigh. The two of you support the indiscriminate killing of civilians in the name of some false ideology; by pardoning McVeigh your administration will garner more support for such actions. Who knows, you may inspire an entire generation of McVeighs! I would hope that in reading this short letter, Mr. President, you come to realize that Timothy McVeigh is more of a comrade than you may have ever given him credit for. Mr. President, you are the master of McVeigh’s fate, the captain of his soul, and you exert these same positions over this exceptional nation. McVeigh, in the months leading up to the bombing, was certain in what he had to do. I would expect you, the “law and order” president, to similarly assert your power. Wheresoever eagles gather, be it Valhalla or our nation’s capital, may they gather under the banner of sister Europe, Trump and the gangly ghost of Timothy McVeigh. In solidarity, Laszlo Kovacs

6 | Tuesday, September 19, 2017


The University Star May Olvera Opinions Editor @yungfollowill @universitystar




Honest Abe is good with context By Carrington Tatum Opinions Columnist @mogulcarrington A quick Google search is all you need to find a comprehensive list of blog posts exposing the true nature of some of the world’s most impactful people such as Dr. Martin Luther King, and, particularly, his response to a kid who asked for advice about his gay thoughts which would have King crucified in today’s atmosphere. Or the even more popular argument that any Founding Father or president prior to 1865 are not people to be celebrated because they owned slaves at one point in their lives. Although not every early president owned slaves, the claim is still likely made by United States citizens who depend on the constitution to enumerate their rights and be their leverage against governmental abuse. What the “well actually” community misses is that our history books have made these people out to be god-like figures in our minds with their seemingly impossible triumphs. However, each person that is heralded as someone who made a fundamental change to our country was a human being with the same human characteristics as any person that walks the earth today. Since

no citizen, pundit or politician alive today has all the right answers, why expect anything different from those of the past? In reality, their problematic mindsets are not as far removed from that which is prevalent today. It is this post-facto application of the countries values to historical figures, that dampens the good legacy that should be acclaimed in order to propagate such values in perpetuity across generations. Every human being is born into the status quo and is equally limited by its restraints on forward thinking. These historical figures had the foresight to affect change based on the world they lived in. Almost none of those people could have imagined what the world would be like a decade from their deaths. That fact remains true today, because while we like to think that we are an open-minded society because we have a growing acceptance on non-traditional sexuality and gender, the future will call us closed-minded for the lack of empathy we have when we interact with Siri. That claim seems extreme now, but 300 years ago so did a black president. It is okay to celebrate parts of a person’s legacy based on the size of their contribution to the world. Does that redeem slavery as a righteous practice?


Absolutely not, but given the context of the society the individual lived in at the time, it does not negate the positive change they made to the world. That is the fundamental difference between Abraham Lincoln’s ownership of slaves and Jefferson Davis’. Abraham Lincoln was willing to change his position on the issue, and did much more good for the country than he did

damage by owning slaves. Jefferson Davis contributed nothing, only doubled down when the moral question was raised therefore his legacy promotes no values good enough to compensate for the damage he did to the country and deserves no praise. - Carrington Tatum is an electronic media sophomore


Trump’s aggression towards Venezuela threatens democracy everywhere


By Brad Waldraff Opinions columnist @defangednoumena It is common practice among warmongers to scapegoat a single person in order to justify hostility against an entire nation, obscuring complicated political realities and appealing to an ambiguously oppressed and vaguely defined “people” whom it is their duty to save. Trump’s new economic sanctions and his ominous threat of a possible military option against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela are no different. In his official statement, Trump not only condemns the popularly elected Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro as “a bad leader with dreams of becoming dictator,” but also claims to know the desires of the Venezuelan people well enough to speak for them and act on their behalf. Coming from a

president who lost the popular vote in his own country by millions, and whose approval rating sits at an embarrassing 37.2 percent it is hard to take his claim seriously. It does not take much investigation to discover that the people Trump appeals to in Venezuela are of the same type as those he appeals to in the United States: the white, wealthy and elite. Thus, when Trump demands “democracy” for this South American country, the question “democracy for whom?” answers itself. Western media is saturated with horror stories of the Venezuelan government repressing their opposition, but on the horrific violence committed by this same opposition against the broad masses of the Venezuelan working class they remain curiously silent. Arguably, democracy is already taking place in Venezuela at a level which far

surpasses our own. This is the democracy of the communes, networks of organic collectives whose localized decision making system and grassroots organizational structure laid the foundation of the Bolivarian Revolution and propelled Hugo Chavez into power in 1999. As with any government in crises, Maduro’s is far from perfect, and the alliance between the state and broad masses of people is a skeptical and tenuous one. However, it is undeniable that policies such as the institutional land reform programs, established first by Chavez in 2005 and broadened under the Maduro government, are of considerable advantage to the traditionally oppressed classes of Venezuela. Ousting Maduro in the interest of the wealthy elite would in no way benefit democracy, but instead strike a possibly fatal blow. Trump’s threats against Venezuela is merely another development in the United States’ long history of aggression against Latin America. For a nation so rhetorically concerned with the spirit of democracy and the wellbeing of the people, the United States has never been hesitant to advance the interests of its wealthy elite with no regard to the suffering that has caused most people within its own borders and abroad. Trump may speak of this violence less subtly than his predecessors. However, the reality of this violence stretches back to Obama, through Bush and back to the genocide initiated by Columbus against the indigenous peoples of the Americas. This is not to deny the hope, comradery and love embodied by millions of American communities throughout its history, but only to recognize what must no longer go unrecognized— that against these communities exists

a parasitic power that would set the world on fire to turn a profit. Against Trump’s ominous promise to “drain the swamp”, perhaps we should have first asked what lay beneath its murky waters. For better or for worse it is time to turn our noses bravely towards the fetid stench of the corpse ridden swamp-bed. It is time to face the atrocity of U.S. imperialism and stand in unshakable solidarity with the Venezuelan people on the international struggle for justice and peace. - Brad Waldraff is a philosophy senior

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017 | 7 Lisette Lopez Sports Editor @lisette_1023 @universitystar


Former high school MVP ready to compete By Andrew Zimmel Sports Reporter @Andrew_Zimmel Brooke Johnson, freshman setter, has come to Texas State looking to make a real impact on this year’s volleyball team. Growing up in Tomball, Texas, a city of almost 11,000 in the Houston Metropolitan area, Johnson had sports in her blood. Her father, Clint Johnson, was an AllAmerican golfer at Abilene Christian University while her mother, Vanessa Johnson, was inducted into the New Mexico State University Athletics Hall of Fame after competing in volleyball from 1988-91. Brooke Johnson’s high school career was filled with accolades. From being named the Houston Chronicle’s Player of the Week to winning District MVP, the table was set for her at the next level. “It’s a lot faster, with a lot of better players,” Johnson said. “It’s a lot of fun.” Brooke Johnson has kept up, already in the top five in a few of the statistical categories, due in part by her competi-

tive nature. After almost every practice, you can see her and at least one or two other teammates after practice working on serves or movement. “I’m very, very, competitive and I’m always trying to get better,” Johnson said. “It’s normal for me to stay after (practice) and put in work.” That type of work ethic in a player as young as Johnson is rare to see. “It’s very hard especially when I’m so young and inexperienced, but it’s a lot of fun and I enjoy the team a lot,” Johnson said. That bonding can be attributed to the chemistry that the Bobcats have already started to establish, starting the season with more road games then home, making for a more compact team. “(Being) on the road (is) very stressful because you’re missing a lot of classes,” Johnson said. “It’s not as fun as being at home. We have a lot work to do, but we’re making good progress.” While the Bobcat season is still very young, Brooke Johnson and the rest of the team already have the chemistry and talent to make a deep run this year.

Brooke Johnson, freshman setter, sets the ball for her teammates on Sept. 9 during the game against UMass Lowell at Strahan Colosseum. PHOTO BY VICTOR RODRIGUEZ | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER


Sophomore starts first after a hardworking year By Brooke Phillips Assistant Sports Editor @brookephillips_ College freshmen do not expect much playing time their first year, but the first year of Genesis Turman, sophomore defender, brought an unexpected opportunity.

Turman has been playing soccer ever since she could walk, and focused on it and track and field growing up. However, after her sophomore year of high school, Turman chose to only focus on soccer. Turman wanted to be a Bobcat because of the sense of home it brought. Transitioning from high school soc-

cer to college, however, challenged Turman on a whole new level. “The pace is a lot faster,” Turman said. “I had to learn a whole new system coming in here. Coach took the best out of us and knew what formation and knew what system would work best, trying to fit in where I’m supposed to be and do my role only.”

Although Turman was a freshman last season and was new to the team, she tried her hardest and put all of her work into practices leading up to the first game of the season.


8 | Tuesday, September 19, 2017


The University Star Lisette Lopez Sports Editor @lisette_1023 @universitystar

FROM PAGE 7 SOCCER Turman’s hard work paid off as she learned she would be starting the first game on the field. Not only did Turman start in her first game: she played nearly the entire time. It was after the first game Turman would go on to prove her spot on the field. In her freshman year, Turman started in all 18 games and had a total playing time of 1,571 minutes. “It was an opportunity I was not expecting at all when I first came in,” Turman said. “I remember the first scrimmage against Incarnate Word last year and I was freaking out. I had started, and then all of a sudden I was playing the whole game. It’s not foreign to me to play a whole game, but I think I was very lucky and I don’t take it for granted. I work hard to keep that position and keep

that spot every practice.” All along the way, Turman learned the biggest difference in the way she was used to playing and soccer at the college level. “One of the things you have to do when you come from high school and club soccer is just drop everything that you know,” Turman said. “I was able to do that a little quicker, which was what gave me that spot. Continuing to do that and sticking with the program is important.” Although she continues to learn every day, Turman has enjoyed her time playing soccer thus far. “My favorite part about playing at Texas State is just the atmosphere,” Turman said. “It’s so competitive, which I love. Everyone pushes you to get better. I think that’s the biggest thing.”

However, the thrill of being a college athlete can often be accompanied by obstacles. Turman has learned from day one there are certain challenges with being an athlete and a student at the same time. “The hardest part about being a college athlete is balancing time,” Turman said. “You don’t realize how much time you spend with your sport until everything is said and done and you’re getting home at 8 p.m. You have to shower, cook dinner and only have an hour and a half to study at night. Time management is the biggest thing.” For Turman, though, the time she puts into soccer is worth it. And while she has one season under her belt, this new year is bringing new opportunities and goals. “I’m looking forward to just get-

ting a rhythm,” Turman said. “I think the second that this team finds that little piece of gold deep down in us, we’re really going to take off. I’m excited for that.” While Turman is only in her second year of being a college athlete, by the end of it all, she hopes to accomplish more than just becoming a better soccer player. “I hope to get skills for life out of my college soccer career,” Turman said. “Athletics is so much more than just playing a game. It’s learning how to face adversity and push through it. It’s learning how to become a leader and a follower. You learn a ton more than just kicking a soccer ball into a net. I think all through life that that’s really what’s drawn me to sports— how it applies off the field as well.”




Line-backer bounces back from injury By Melea Polk Sports Reporter @meleadenae

Alex Jones, junior, shows determination on her face as she returns the ball to the opposing player. PHOTO COURTESY OF TEXAS STATE ATHLETICS

Junior player wraps up final year of tennis By Anthony Flores Sports Reporter @BornToRun_19 It can be a difficult choice for a young adult to leave his or her home country to study abroad. Alex Jones, junior tennis player, made that difficult decision, leaving her home in Essex, England to study in the United States. Jones first arrived to America in 2015, attending Long Beach State in California before transferring to Texas State for her sophomore year. Jones found herself lucky enough to have a friend join her on her journey to the United States, making the transition and adjustment easier than it is for most. “Well firstly, I was in California at Long Beach State,” Jones said. “I went there with a friend, so I had another English person and we were adapting together.” Things got easier for Jones as time went on, like most adjustment processes. “As the months went on, it got a little easier and I enjoyed it,” Jones said. “I was always so excited about coming to America.” Jones comes from an athletic family—her father, mother and brother taking part in a sport of some kind. “My dad was like an all-arounder, so he played cricket, soccer, rugby and tennis,” Jones said. “My mom played a bit of hockey before going into the business, and my brother plays all sports like my dad.” Unlike most tennis players, Jones didn’t begin playing tennis until she was 10 years old. “Girls normally start around 5 or 6 so I was a late starter,” Jones said. The junior played several sports growing up but ultimately tennis won, becoming her sole focus. “When I was younger I played soccer and golf,” Jones said. “I love golf and still do, but it’s always been tennis.” Jones credits tennis for helping build her confidence and her ability to approach and befriend others. “I’ve gotten confidence, a lot of confidence,” Jones said. “When I was

younger, at tournaments we had to be around loads of random people and you just make friends.” The junior credits much of her collegiate success to the confidence she gained on the court. “I think that helped me come to college because I know how to make friends,” Jones said. “I know how to interact with people in class.” Jones was encouraged to attend the university by another Texas State student from England. “I had a friend here,” Jones said. “She was from England as well. She was here for four years.” Once in San Marcos, Jones was hooked. She enjoyed the coaching staff and the atmosphere of the city and its people. “I’ve had a lot of fun, just the people and the coaches, the whole athletic atmosphere,” Jones said. “The players, the other teams, they’ve all been so friendly.” When Jones isn’t worrying about academics or focusing on tennis, she takes advantage of all San Marcos has to offer. “I like to go to the river, and sometimes we go to the rapids and sit there and watch the sunset,” Jones said. “Or maybe The Spot, you know, bowling and cinema.” This is Jones’ final year of playing tennis, but she still plans on being involved with the team during her senior year. “It’s my senior year in tennis, so this is my last season playing,” Jones said. “But then I’ve got another year on top of that, so I’ll probably be helping, kind of like an assistant.” Unable to entirely give up the sport, she doesn’t rule out the possibility of joining a club tennis team. “I definitely want to keep the tennis up,” Jones said. “All these years playing, I don’t want to just let it go to waste.” Despite being a veteran on the team and coming to the end of her collegiate tennis career, Jones doesn’t feel that way. “I feel like I’m still a freshman,” Jones said. “I feel like I was just coming to America.”

After putting on a defensive show during the season opener against Houston Baptist, Easy Anyama, junior line-backer, plans to make a major comeback in his final season as a teamcaptain. Anyama and the Bobcats began their season with a 20-11 win at Bobcat Stadium against the Huskies on Sept. 2. This was Anyama’s return to the field after suffering a ruptured achilles tendon injury three games in during last season. “It felt really good to be out there,” Anyama said. “I’m honestly glad to be back on the field. A lot of people kept reminding me that I was back.” Anyama recorded five tackles and his first two quarterback sacks in his football career. The Stafford native also forced a fumble and added a blocked extra point attempt to his stats. His hard work on the field earned him the Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Week title for week one. “I didn’t try to do anything outside of what I was given by the coach to do,” Anyama said. “It just felt good to be on the field again.” Anyama began his Texas State football career in 2015 after transferring from the University of Texas at Austin. There, Anyama competed for the Longhorn’s track and field team before deciding to transfer down I-35. The linebacker started off as a safety for the Bobcats and started in five of the seven games he played. Anyama started the first three games in the 2016 season before he was injured. Coming off a season-ending injury is no easy task, and Anyama has shown that hard work pays off. His tenacity to get back on the field was rewarded when the junior was voted team-captain by his teammates and coaches. As the team-captain, Anyama is counting on his leadership to help

move the team in the opposite direction of last season. The Bobcats finished in last place in the Sun Belt Conference with a season record of 2-10 and zero wins against conference foes. The Bobcats have a relatively young team this season after recruiting over 30 freshmen. The defensive side of the ball is where most of the freshmen are, so Anyama took the time to try to get them to relax on game day. “When they came in for game day, I told them that it was okay to be nervous,” Anyama said. “After a while the game slows down, take your time and just breathe. It’s just football. We have been doing this our whole lives.” Along with a change in the size of the defense, Anyama credits the players’ accountability for their success on the field. When everyone is doing the job given by the coaches, the defense works. “I think that it has to do with more people being accountable for their job,” Anyama said. “I don’t know if a lot of people know that in order to get sacks, the defense has to be on the same page. When everyone does their job, things happen.” The Bobcats have six sacks on the season with two credited to Anyama. That is three away from the 2016 season total of nine. “We came in relaxed,” Anyama said. “We were just doing what we practiced.” After Houston Baptist’s first touchdown in the first quarter, the Bobcats were down 6-0. Anyama blocked the extra point on special teams to hold the score. “Our coaches put a huge emphasis on special teams,” Anyama said. “We practice how we are supposed to play. Anyama and the Bobcat defense has showed a major improvement since last season, but Anyama knows there is room for more. “As far as defense goes, we just have to communicate better,” Anyama said. “If we all do our jobs, we will succeed.”

The Bobcats run the ball down the field Sept. 16 during the game against Appalachian State at Bobcat Stadium. PHOTO BY JOSH MARTINEZ | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

September 19, 2017  
September 19, 2017