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Volume 107, Issue 15


Community supports victim of house fire By Bianca Beronio News Reporter

“We have had not only students, but faculty ask how they can help advocate for open-source textbooks within their departments,” Clegg said. “Maybe not within my term, but within the year we will see Texas State make school more affordable for a lot of people by cutting the cost of textbooks,” Clegg said the English department had already done the work of creating an open-source book which would be used by the introductory writing classes that, based on communications between Student Government and the English department. The department would ideally implement the book in the fall semester of 2018.

Days before ringing in the New Year, a house in San Marcos with two adults and four animals went up in flames, burning all possessions and leaving the family without a place to stay. Since the incident, the community has rallied around the victim, raising more than $6,000 in 12 days. Chrissy Stewart was away at work when the home she shared with her mother and pets since 2013 began to burn. Stewart had been working on the evening of Dec. 29, when her dogs quickly alerted her mother to the fire, saving all of their lives. Stewart, her mother and the dogs were all safe, however, two of Stewart's cats went missing. “The fire inspector said the fire started in my bedroom, in the heating ductwork,” Stewart said. “My theory is that the ductwork hadn't been cleaned since before the flood and something that was in there got really hot and caught on fire.” Firemen put out the fire before it spreads to neighboring houses, but the damage had left much of the possessions ruined and unrecoverable. Janice Smith O’Brien, a friend of Stewart, created a GoFundMe account to support Stewart and her mother. “Chrissy has been through so much in the last few years,” O’Brien stated. “She has survived a very serious lifethreatening health emergency which left her with unimaginable medical bills. Following this she lost a lot of her possessions when the San Marcos floods of 2015 flooded her home, now she has lost everything she owned.” Due to the health emergency, Stewart was forced to withdraw from the radiation therapy program at Texas State in the Spring 2014 semester.



Students visit the Texas State University Bookstore on Jan. 15 to purchase books and access codes in preparation for the upcoming semester. PHOTO BY VICTOR RODRIGUEZ

Free textbooks initiative aims for state legislature By Jakob Rodriguez News Reporter Last semester, Student Government launched an initiative to bring Open Education Resources to Texas State. Initially scheduled to be implemented spring 2018, the initiative now joins an advocacy group as an agenda for the next state legislative session. OERs, such as textbooks, study guides, homework and other academic resources, are defined as freely accessible, openly licensed text, media and other digital assets that are utilized for classroom, homework, research and lecture purposes. The initiative was brought before Student Government on first reading, Oct. 9. Since then, Student Government has

worked alongside other student governments in the Texas Student Government Coalition, an advocacy group comprised of 25 Student Governments and represents over 600,000 students. Texas State Student Government plans to advocate for open-source textbooks during the 86th Texas legislative session. At the coalition’s summit on Nov. 18, representatives from Texas State’s Student Government listed OER programs as their primary focus and managed to get onto the coalition’s fouritem agenda. The agenda for the 2019 legislative session. Student Body President Connor Clegg said working on this piece of legislation is different than working on other campus issues.



New additions to the presidents cabinet

San Marcos community marches for MLK Day

By Sandra Sadek News Reporter Underway during the break, the President's Cabinet welcomed two new members to its body. The positions of special assistant and chief diversity officer have new representatives for the spring 2018 semester. Lisa Lloyd is the new special assistant to the president, a position that provides senior-level support to presidential activities. Lloyd earned her Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science from Texas State, and her Masters and Ph.D. from the University of Alabama. Lloyd joined the university's faculty in 1998 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health and Human Performance. She was promoted to professor in 2014 before serving as Assistant Dean and twice as Associate Dean to the College of Education between 2006 and 2017. "I want to serve Texas State," Lloyd said. "I want to help in any way that I can to advance its strategic initiatives. I want to help President Trauth create an environment that maximizes

human potential. I want to help her continue to build a culture that supports the health and wellness of all members of our university community, one that also cultivates compassion and respect for all." As special assistant, Lloyd's job duties fall within five major areas, such as the State Legislature, the Texas State University System, the Department of Athletics, the Office of Equity and Access and the President’s Cabinet. Her role is to gather data and other relevant information, organize events, review documents, prepare reports and serve as a liaison between the president and individuals in these areas. "I believe that the opportunities offered to me by and through Texas State, first as a student, and then as a faculty member, interim chair, associate dean, presidential fellow and codirector of Total Wellness, have allowed me to broaden my knowledge, skills, and abilities that are necessary to also serve President Trauth in an advisory capacity," Lloyd said.


A wreath was presented at the LBJ MLK Crossroads memorial, Jan. 15. PHOTO BY SHAYAN FARADINEH

By Shayan Faradineh News Editor As celebrations continue across the nation, The Dunbar Heritage Association hosted the march with events praising the voice and dream of Martin Luther King Jr. The holiday celebrates the 89th birthday of the historic civil rights leader. Starting Monday’s events, the history of MLK’s legacy was read and celebrated at the LBJ MLK Crossroads Memorial. The memorial honors the

historic efforts of President Lyndon Baines Johnson and King, in forging Civil Rights legislation. From there, pastors, elected officials and residents then marched from the corner of LBJ Drive and MLK Drive to the Greater Bethel Baptist Church. Behind a banner, and in full solidarity, the Phi Psi Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority lead the march to the church.


2 | Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The University Star


Shayan Faradineh News Editor @shayanfaradineh @universitystar

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FROM FRONT TEXTBOOK Clegg called the initiative a suggestion, however, “To faculty and administration, it’s something that the students want and that the Student Government passed unanimously.” According to the legislation and to the Consumer Price Index, “The price

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About Us History: The University Star is the student newspaper of Texas State University and is published every Tuesday of the spring and fall and once a month in the summer semesters. It is distributed on campus and throughout San Marcos at 8 a.m. on publication days with a distribution of 6,000. Printing and distribution is by the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung. Copyright: Copyright Tuesday, January 16, 2018. 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. 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

fessors about the cost of textbooks and school. While the program remains a work very much in progress, essentially, the program will grow as fast as the students, faculty and administration want it to.

FROM FRONT COMMUNITY The program was led by Shetay Ashford, assistant professor in the department of occupational, workforce and leadership studies at Texas State. Ashford introduced the event’s dancers, San Marcos High School ROTC program, the mayor and guest speaker for the celebration. Following the entertainment and pledge of allegiance, Mayor John Thomaides and Council Member Lisa Prewitt, place 1, read the proclamation before the church, citing King’s legacy and determination. “The lives that we lead can have a lasting impact on future generations,” Thomaides said. “You are somebody, so help someone else realize they are somebody too. And always, strive to leave a positive and lasting impression on those you come into contact with, each and every day.” The mayor proclaimed Jan. 15 as MLK Day in regulation with the federal holiday. Ending the event, guest speaker Kenneth White, San Antonio pastor, took the podium. “Over 50 years ago, Martin Luther King was killed in Memphis,” White said. “The dream was shot at the hotel. But the mistake that they made was the voice is still here. See, they shot the dream, but the voice is still ringing. The voice is still ringing on the mountain tops. The voice was still ringing in the alleys. The voice is still ringing in the communities.”

The Dunbar Heritage Association organized a march from the corner of MLK and LBJ Drive Jan. 15, celebrating and honoring Martin Luther King Jr. Day. PHOTO BY SHAYAN FARADINEH

White challenged the event attendees to use their voice, at every level and for every cause. “A dream is just a dream, but when they killed the dreamer, the mistake they made was they activated millions of voices,” White said. “Around the country, millions of voices are speaking today because they killed the dreamer 50 years ago. You have to activate the voice Martin left for you.” The weekend’s events also hosted children’s arts and crafts and other edu-

cational moments, reflecting on King. Mittie Miller, the organizer of the event, thanked the sponsors, attendees and committees that made the weekend possible. MLK celebrations will continue on the Texas State campus. Student Diversity and Inclusion is hosting the 34 Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Celebration on Jan. 18. There will be a march from Old Main at 6:30 p.m. and the program will begin at 7 p.m. in the LBJ Student Center Ballroom.

FROM FRONT CABINET Vincent Luizzi is the interim Chief Diversity Officer, appointed by President Trauth. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from the University of Rochester, his Ph. D from the University of Pennsylvania and his Juris Doctorate from Boston University. Since 1976, Luizzi has been a Philosophy professor and also works as an Assistant Municipal Court Judge for the city of San Marcos, holding the position since 1982. Continuing on his predecessor's work, Luizzi is especially committed to strengthening the school's culture of respect and inclusion, while promoting a safe environment free from discrimination and sexual misconduct. "The new five-year plan that Dr. Garcia developed will guide my work," Luizzi said. "I support this office's active

engagement in campus discussions of such basic values as diversity, inclusion and safety." Although the search for a permanent Chief Diversity Officer is still underway, Luizzi is not planning on presenting himself as a candidate, preferring to return to his position as a professor and continuing to impact his students through the classroom. "This work is very important, interesting and rewarding, but I look forward to returning to my faculty position, promoting the Philosophy Dialogue Series and serving as a faculty senator," Luizzi said. The President’s Cabinet meets weekly, sometimes more abruptly depending on the timeliness of an issue. The full cabinet can be found online.

The University has two new members of the president's cabinet; special assistant Lisa Lloyd and the temporary CDO Vincent Luizzi (above). PHOTO COURTESY OF COLLEGE OF EDUCATION


City staff prepares to update land development code By Shayan Faradineh News Editor

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of Textbooks in America rose 88 percent in the past decade.” Between access codes, textbooks, online materials and clickers, the auxiliary cost of attending school is not getting any cheaper. Clegg encouraged students to have conversations with each other and pro-

A work session to discuss Code SMTX, the process to update land development in San Marcos, is set for Jan. 19 at 1:30 p.m. at City Hall, 630 E. Hopkins St. The Code contains San Marcos rules for development and regulates the use of land. It is being revised so that new developments fit the community’s vision for the future, as detailed in the Vision San Marcos Comprehensive Master Plan, adopted in 2013.

Following the Jan. 19 workshop, City Council will set a new date for public hearing and the first reading of Code SMTX. City Manager Bert Lumbreras said the work session gives city staff an opportunity to review the recommendations. “This additional work session will allow our team to focus on outstanding topics," Lumbreras said. "To provide options and recommendations to council as they move forward with a decision on Code SMTX." Topics for discussion will include

neighborhood districts, the addition of existing neighborhood regulating plans, single-family preservation buffer, regulation of flag signs, affordable housing, and neighborhood character studies. “Outreach for Code SMTX has included almost 120 meetings,” stated on the city of San Marcos website. “Additional correspondence has included more than 2,000 mailers, 40 e-newsletters and the receipt of almost 2,500 comments from respondents.”

FROM FRONT FIRE Stewart had become very ill, surviving several close calls until she was finally diagnosed with idiopathic thrombocytopenia, a rare bleeding disorder that leads to a severe decrease in blood platelets. “My spleen was eating my platelets, and my blood was like water,” Stewart said. "Life likes throwing wrenches into my plans.” The GoFundMe was quickly shared by other friends in their close-knit group, and in a matter of days they surpassed their initial goal of $5,000. Stewart has decided to rebuild and is seeking to find her lost cats, and the GoFundMe funds have assisted her in finding temporary housing until the project is complete. Stewart had addressed GoFundMe contributors, thanking them for their support on Jan. 3. "Thank you all so much,” Stewart stated. “We have a place to stay. We are working on cleaning out the house, but everything is a total loss. We will survive.

Firefighters work to put out a house fire on Dec 29. The fire was put out before neighboring houses were damaged. PHOTO COURTESY OF JANICE SMITH O'BRIEN

We needed to declutter anyway. Life is going to be super busy with work and clean up, but I will get back to you. I love you all and appreciate this more

than you can imagine." Stewart’s GoFundMe campaign can be found at

The University Star


Tuesday, January 16, 2018 | 3 Katie Burrell Lifestyle Editor @KatieNicole96 @universitystar


Mermaids statues in remain storage room months after reveal By Lara Dietrich Special to the Star Standing at eight feet tall, ten vibrant mermaid statues of gather dust inside of a storage unit located off Highway 123 awaiting approval for their placement. An entire year after the call to artists was made, and over three months after their unveiling, the mermaid statues have yet to be placed throughout town. The statues are to be placed as permanent art installments throughout the city of San Marcos, but until the locations are approved, the dark, cold storage unit is their temporary home now after the reveal to residents in Sept. 2016. Jamie Shelton, a local artist chosen for the project, said she has not been given an exact date as to when her mermaid, along with the others, will be placed permanently. “I mean obviously we would like them to be up in their place but Lisa Morris (recreation manager) said that will happen by the first quarter of next year,” Shelton said. “They will eventually get up and we will eventually enjoy them.” Shelton said the artists were paid in full upon completion of the statues. Dahlia Woods, art commissioner and owner of Dahlia Woods Gallery, said that the placement is being delayed because the approval of locations has not yet been finalized. “In the next few months, we should know exactly where (the mermaid statues) are going. I know they are going to be spread around the city and in the children’s park, and various locations around the Square,” Woods said. “(The arts commission) is just trying to decide

The mermaid statues are currently being held inside of a storage unit off of Highway 123 until placement plans for the project are finalized. PHOTO BY LARA DIETRICH

what the best statue is for the best location (The arts commission is) working with the city as to the restrictions as far as placing them in public venues.” Woods said that part of the approval

process depends on the local and state governments because the different locations are properties that are owned by each. Ruben Becerra, arts commissioner,

said there is a specific process that must take place before the statues can be placed.



Students begin 2018 by volunteering abroad By Madison Tetrault Lifestyle Reporter For one Bobcat, winter break was the perfect opportunity to partake in an international mission trip to benefit citizens of Guatemala. Cesar Leon, mass communication junior, started his year off in Guatemala mentoring children for two weeks starting after Jan. 2. Leon went on the trip with 14 other people as apart of a joint mission between Pine Cover and Christian Camping International. Leon’s first mission trip ever was to Haiti, where he worked to build a playground and clean up an orphanage. He then went on to Belgium where he would do construction work on a mission base. Leon said his love for these experiences sparked a goal to participate in a mission trip every year. “I love doing mission work, I love helping others," Leon said. "I was very involved in school, I was in student council and just very involved in my community.” Leon's trip over the winter break was his third mission trip. While abroad he spent time working in Guatemala as a co-counselor to mentor kids, sharing life experiences and motivating children to achieve their goals. “One of the most eye-opening moments was when I shared with one of my students in Guatemala where I’ve been,” Leon said. "I remember telling the kid what I’ve done and him just looking at me and saying, 'I want to do what you do.' It’s just so cool to see that and just give them that motivation. For me to just confirm to them, 'If I can do

it, you can. Anything is possible."' Mission trips can have a huge impact on not only the lives of the people that missionaries serve, but also on the missionaries themselves. Ariel Howard, public relations sophomore, will be going on her first out of country mission trip this March. Howard said she believes mission trips are life-changing opportunities that will help strengthen relationships and create life-long memories. “It’s important that we get out of our comfort zones and go meet people," Howard said. "If we keep within ourselves, we’re not making a change. It’s a life-changing (experience) and I can’t wait to see how it changes my life.” There are multiple ways to participate in mission trips, such as through independent organizations and campusbased groups. Bobcats for Orphans is a student organization that works to bring awareness to the orphan crisis in Haiti. Samantha Sandacz, secretary of Bobcats for Orphans and marketing sophomore, said the organization is open to everyone. “What’s special about Bobcats for Orphans is that it’s a place for all people willing to serve and support the orphans in Haiti while on a college campus,” Sandacz said. Leon said mission trips are a way to build relationships and create lifechanging experiences. “I want people to know not to take the opportunity for granted. I think it’ll teach you a lot of character to see another aspect of life and how others live, and how we live,” Leon said.

Students arrive loaded on school buses in Guatemala during a winter mission trip. COURTESY PHOTO FROM CESAR LEON

4 | Tuesday, January 16, 2018


The University Star Katie Burrell Lifestyle Editor @KatieNicole96 @universitystar


Owner, Kristen Alvarex operates K n D's, a resale shop located on N. LBJ. PHOTO BY ERIKA CONOVER

SAN MARCOS “Something that has been hard on us is when students leave for the summer, it really slows down and you can tell they are gone and that’s why I try to depend on my locals. But that’s the hardest part because the students are all of my walk-in traffic, so when y’all are gone, it’s a ghost-town. But I try to live life to the fullest, I guess it’s kind of

cheesy but it’s really me. You only live once and so I feel like you should do anything and everything you can. Keep your head up high, and sometimes you might step to the wrong path, but I feel when you do that, it’s a lesson learned.” – Kristan Alvarez, owner of K n D’s



A patch of cacti sits at the side of a running trail at Purgatory Creek Natural Area. These trails host the annual Purgatory Trail Run. PHOTO BY VICTOR RODRIGUEZ

Local runners brave rocky conditions at Purgatory Creek By Alyssa Weinstein Lifestyle Reporter Runners of all ages came together on Jan. 6 to participate in the 6th annual Purgatory Trail Run, a competition full of rocky terrain, twists and turns that benefits the local high school. David Moody, owner of San Marcos' Core Running Company, created the race in 2012. The event has since been embraced by the community and is known for being tricky. “There were no trail races here in San Marcos and we have a beautiful Purgatory green space here that the city was wanting the citizens to know about and to use as one of their recreation areas," Moody said. "When I bought my running store six years ago, creating a trail race was was one of the first things I wanted to do.” The race consists of two divisions: the 5K division and the 10 mile division. Participants pay a fee that is dependent on which division they enter. All the proceeds earned are donated to the San Marcos High School cross country team. The funds raised help the Running Rattlers afford new uniforms and other essentials. This year there were 140 runners who participated in the race. The number of participants has ranged from 100 to 300 runners over the past six years. Among the participants, were many

newcomers like Matt Haverland who ran in the 10 mile division. “This is my first time running the Purgatory run, and the only goal I have is not fall too hard,” Haverland said. The Purgatory trail is rocky, making it a difficult run for many participants. “We haven't had any major injuries over the years, but many people claim when they come out here, they fall down all the time,” Moody said. Whitney Oldfather, a participant in the 10 mile division, also voiced concerns about the conditions of the trail. “As long as I don’t fall down I’ll be fine” Oldfather said. "I just want to finish it alive without bleeding." There were no major injuries reported from the race this year. The top three winners of the 5K division were Nicholas Wittkopp, Pablo V. Franco-Olvera and Travis Rounds. While in the 10 mile division, Justin Uresti, Travis Decker and Daniel Chidester won. The victory was Wittkopp's second consecutive in the 5K division. “I wanted to win, but honestly my only goal was to not get a twisted ankle because this place is pretty technical," Wittkopp said. No matter the risks or difficulty, Wittkopp plans to return to next year’s Purgatory Run. "Out of all my races, this one by far is my favorite and is the funnest of them all,” Wittkopp said.

A map of Purgatory Creek Natural Area hangs near one of the trailheads to the park. PHOTO BY VICTOR RODRIGUEZ

“The subcommittee talks about places where they should be located, and based upon of course community feedback and assessments and the spirit of the effort, and then the subcommittee will vote on sites selected, bring it to the arts commission, and then the arts commission can modify it or accept it, and then the city council will give the final approval of its placement,” Becerra said. “There are many people that need to be incorporated into the decision making so that most people, because you never get them all, can be happy with the placement.” According to an article by The University Star, the city of San Marcos recruited artists for the project in December of last year. Around 60 applicants submitted their unique designs, and ten finalists were chosen by the arts commission. The statues were unveiled in front of a large crowd during the Aqua Faire in September at Plaza Park. The Aqua Faire unveiling was the grand finale following a mermaid parade that made its way through downtown San Marcos that morning. At the Aqua Faire, the artists were introduced to the community, and art commissioners announced that the mermaids would be placed in various undisclosed locations along the river, as well as some locations near the Square. Dahlia Woods said Aqua Faire was a great chance to draw a large crowd to the newly created mermaid statues. “It’s a wonderful project and it gave the artists an opportunity to show their work at the unveiling,” Woods said. "That was something that I worked hard to coordinate." However, the Mermaid Parade and Aqua Faire was not the first time mermaids were a trending topic in the city of San Marcos. According to an article published on Collectors Weekly, mermaid culture

in San Marcos stems from the amusement park that was hosted at Aquarena Springs in the 1950s. Performers, known as “aquamaids,” would perform for guests of all ages under the waters of Spring Lake. The shows continued until the 1990s when the park was purchased by Texas State. In recent years, mermaids have noticeably been on the rise again. The city currently has a Mermaid Society, and a mural was commissioned near the Square. On occasion, mermaids can even be seen along the San Marcos River. Morghan Parker is among the few residents that own and maintain fully functioning mermaid tails and costumes. Parker performs at children’s parties as a mermaid, and can often be found swimming in the river. The statues send a message that the mermaid is the symbol of San Marcos. Shelton said there was some controversy surrounding this decision, but she believes the mermaid is a great way of combining the natural aspect of the city with the human aspect. “The mermaids (are) kind of a symbiosis of nature--the river and the human element,” Shelton said. According to the Mermaid Society website, the creatures symbol unites the community by “working collaboratively toward shared values for creative community impact.” Other cities have been known to have symbols of similar nature, Wimberly, for example, is home to several decorated boot sculptures. Becerra said the mermaid statue project is a great start to the San Marcos’ community building art pieces. “I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for the community to (support) something; mermaids... are being conveyed and portrayed in a wholesome manner,” Becerra said.

The mermaid statues were revealed to residents in September 2016. The City of San Marcos is still deciding the location of the statues. PHOTO BY LARA DIETRICH

The City of San Marcos recruited artists for the statues last December. Out of the 60 applicants, ten artists were choosen to create the mermaid statues. PHOTO BY LARA DIETRICH

The University Star

Tuesday, January 16, 2018 | 5


Carrington Tatum Opinions Editor @mogulcarrington @universitystar

2018 is dedicated to growth By Carrington Tatum Opinions Editor January marks the beginning of a new year as well as new resolutions for much of the country. We often set year-long goals that seek to improve what we see as our weakest attributes. We devote ourselves to eating healthier, exercising more, being better students, and generally coming closer to our ideal selves. While many resolutions never make it past Jan. 31, the value of raising the standard with which we hold ourselves to is one that The University Star has internalized through and through. 2018 will be a year just as eventful as any, there will be great triumphs and causes for celebration, and likewise there will be devastating losses as is the nature of the world. However, in a time where the negative seemingly gets more airtime than the positive,

and sometimes the bad guys win, it is important that we as academics and as citizens remain steadfast. We cannot be repulsed by the exchange of ideas, and we cannot be fatigued by the labor of challenging the status quo. Even when political ideologies clash in a monotonous fashion we cannot allow ourselves to slip into civic apathy. Because regardless of what party or regime is in control, if the citizens do not hold them accountable, then no one will. The University Star is committed to the responsibility of accountability on a national scale as well as within the scope of Texas State and the San Marcos community. The war against principalities and powers is a long fought battle but it will be fought valiantly with information and reason, not hatred. We will strive to uphold a freedom of ideas, diversity of opinions, a community of inclusiveness and

We will operate with an optimism that is not obstructed by the mistakes of the past but rather informed by the lessons of history. fairness, transparency and accountability, constructive conversation and above all, we will inform and educate our community as are our values as a publication. The Main Point aims to uphold these values. This column stands as an outlier to the rest of the columns in the opinion section because unlike the others, The Main Point represents the

entire editorial board. Throughout the course of the year, The University Star editorial board will take a stance on the most pertinent of issues that pertain to our society. The resolution of civic engagement cannot be allowed to fall off like other resolutions. In order to prevent this falter, The University Star will devote 2018 to raising the standard of journalism that we provide in our publication. We will operate with an optimism that is not obstructed by the mistakes of the past but rather informed by the lessons of history. Whether it be through news, opinions, sports, or lifestyle; The Star has been reconfigured to serve the San Marcos community with a vigor greater than years past. As our motto states, we have defended the first amendment since 1911 and will continue to do so indefinitely. We hope that our readers will join us in this mission.

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.


Keep tuition affordable for all By Kaiti Evans Opinions Columnist With every raise of tuition, students' willingness to continue to pay drops. The cost of room and board, books, supplies and all other extra fees, would lead one to think that colleges, especially a large school like Texas State, should have enough money to keep itself running. This observation makes it hard to understand why any public school would continue to overpower their students by continuously raising the cost of tuition. In 2015, Texas State students who took an average 12 hours saw an extra one hundred dollars leave their bank accounts every semester. Additionally, last year we saw Texas State administration approve a tuition increase of 2.95 percent for the 2018-2019 school year. This means a $161 increase for students enrolled in a fifteen credit hours. Eventually, these somewhat small costs will begin to add up. The budget shows that the increases will go towards rennovations of the student center as well as a $1 boost to the athletic fee. They seek to expand, and that is understandable, but when does the time come where the fees and the costs have become so ridiculously

high that no one can afford to attend? If any of us wanted to attend an expensive school who charged absurd amounts of money for the same exact degree, we would have attended a private school like Texas Christian University or Baylor University which currently have a tuition of $44,508 and $40,198 respectively. Texas State should maintain its identity as an affordable institution rather than competing for the prestige associated with expensive tuition costs. We do not need brand new locker rooms or renovations on a student center that has only seen 40 years. We need affordable education and maybe some more parking spots if the administration feels generous with their budgeting. There are currently 38,694 students enrolled at Texas State; if we all pay roughly 5,300 dollars a semester for 15 class hours and fees without room and board, our college receives over 205 million dollars in one semester. If that cannot cover collegiate expenses in one single semester, then our school has a budgeting problem. It is indisputable that running a college is expensive. However, if a highly prestigious college, such as Oxford, can run their own college while charging less than $12,000 for an entire year, col-


leges that lay on a much less prestigious level could as well. Raising tuition and adding extra fees may help the university buy more amenities or new technologies, but at the end of the day, student bank accounts suffer and sometimes only for things they do not reap the benefits from. Budgeting must become a high priority

for administration, otherwise students will begin seeking lower-priced institutions. Students do not need to spend their money as much as the university wants them to. The focus must be on the students' needs and not on the wants of officials.


Welfare should not be permanent By Katelyn Moriarty Opinions Columnist Welfare was incorporated into the economy in 1935 under President Theodore Roosevelt with the purpose of supporting the disabled, elderly, and unemployed. Welfare was not created to float people money while they choose not to work. The program has continued on into present day society and is no longer used as a last resort or even frowned upon by others. Instead it is more freely distributed and is, in some cases, given to those who do not deserve it. Under the Trump administration, there is a hope that welfare will be given only to those in the most necessary of situations and recipients may be more limited. Welfare programs like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and food stamps provide assistance to low income families, but are also sometimes given to people who are not in the

worst financial situations. The amount of fraud committed by people in the United States is unreasonably high. The Office of Management and Budget within government said they lost $115.3 billion in "improper payments" in 2011. As recent as October 2017, 12 people were charged with Food Stamp fraud after hiding $20 million worth of food stamps. Currently, only 15 states have mandated that drug tests be given before someone can receive the benefits of welfare. But even within these states, only recipients 'suspected' of drug use are forced to be tested. Thankfully, President Donald Trump has chosen to cut down food stamp usage by over $1 trillion over the next ten years. These cuts would force the able-bodied people on welfare to either work towards earning the benefits they receive, or require those who can not immediately find a job to be under a type of training to help prepare them

for finding a new job. Though I do support Trump's budget cuts within this department, we must make sure that those who cannot provide for themselves are not harmed by these cuts. So as to not leave people without help, there should be more strict limitations put in place for who is able to receive these benefits. All recipients should be legal citizens and have a legal disability to where they either can not work at all, or have no ability to change the job they work at now. It is understandable that some people do not have the ability to leave their current jobs and are stuck making low wages. New regulations should provide these people support, but also push them to improve their jobs and wages to eventually relieve them of welfare. There should also be special regulations for retired Veterans that have mental illnesses or physical limitations and are unable to find work or rein-

tegrate themselves back into civilian life. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, there are at least 40,000 homeless veterans that have no job and no place to call home. As a solution to stop the abuse of the welfare system, all states should require recipients to complete a drug test, show proof of citizenship and make sure that the people who are applying have a legal handicap, whether physical or mental. Those who truly cannot provide for themselves or their family should be taken care of by the government and taxpayers. Americans work hard for an education and choosing the best career path possible in order to give their families the best possible future. They do not want their tax dollars going to people that see an easy way through life, sitting back living off the hard earned money of others.

6 | Tuesday, January 16, 2018


The University Star Carrington Tatum Opinions Editor @mogulcarrington @universitystar


Millennials should kill businesses By Zach Ienatsch Opinions Columnist For the last few decades, when a corporation developed unsavory business practices, disgruntled American consumers were told to “vote with their wallet.” Instead of continuing to purchase from the evil business, consumers were encouraged to boycott the company or even turn and give their business to a competitor. This was seen as a more effective means of recourse than petitioning government entities to remedy the situation. No group of consumers has been more effective and relentless in this practice than millennials. Blog posts accusing young people of “killing” every commercial outlet, from cable television to the diamond trade to the housing market, are very familiar. However, these businesses died of natural causes, not murder. A commercial enterprise that cannot succeed with a younger group of consumers has no business surviving. This is the idea behind the (often misused) phrase “the customer is always right.” Would it be correct to blame previous generations for killing the horse and kerosene lamp industries? No, because subsequent products like the automobile and electricity were much more adept to meet the needs of the public. We see carriages and oil lamps as archaic objects, but fail to realize future generations will think the same thing about shopping malls and over-watered lawns. Most of the familiar aspects of American commercialism spawned in the explosion of suburbia after World War II. The enormous middle class had more spending power than ever before,

and the retail industry knew it. For the remainder of the 20th century, American consumers were almost obligated to buy mindlessly. Middle-class households were expected to “keep up with the Joneses.” Millennials, however, have failed to buy into this mentality the way their parents and grandparents did. Millennials do not have as much spending power as their predecessors and do not feel compelled to spend what little money they have after necessities to splurge on unnecessary products. It is more cost-effective for young people to cook at home than eat at franchise restaurants that do little to improve their quality. Time is used more efficiently when shopping online than making the trip to the local shopping mall, where the prices and selection struggle to beat the online marketplace. Nothing is wrong with the millennials when it comes to the market. Just as every other consumer did before them, millennials make the best use of their dollar given their circumstances and needs. If failing businesses want someone to blame, they should reexamine their own practices and adjust accordingly if they want to remain viable. But no matter what private businesses do to stay afloat, the era of needless consumption is coming to a close. In 2016, the Washington Post reported a survey conducted by Harvard University that found more than half of respondents ages 18-29 rejected capitalism. The generation raised in the wake of the 2008 housing crisis and the Great Recession is slow to emulate the "yuppie" culture that dominated the 1980s and instead opt to live a more simple lifestyle. At the very least, if older people


want millennials to spend more money in these failing industries, they could try paying them more. Until then, the customer is always right and as of 2016,

millennials constitute the largest share. As baby boomers die, more companies will need to accept the responsibility of changing how and what we consume.


Respect rivers as rivers, not people By Zach Ienatsch Opinions Columnist In March 2017, the Whanganui River in New Zealand was granted full legal rights of a human being after more than 140 years of legal battles by local Māori with the passing of the Te Awa Tupua Act. Recognized as a person, the Whanganui is now entitled to legal representation in court and ensured safeguards against pollution. The recognition of the Whanganui as a person is the first for natural formations in New Zealand. The local Māori’s insistence on the river’s personhood reflects traditional cultural practices of treating natural features, such as rivers and mountains, as being indistinguishable from humanity. Shortly after the court ruling in New Zealand, India implemented similar measures for the Ganges and Yamuna rivers. The measures are a win for local indigenous people with religious and spiritual connections to the rivers in question. Beyond that, personhood status protects the rivers from excessive environmental abuses like pollution. The most significant quality of personhood is that if the Whanganui is abused, it is legal for the Māori to sue for reparations. Obviously, the Whanganui is not allowed to vote or be summoned for jury duty. The rights of personhood starts

and ends with protection from pollution. Just as human beings have the right to not be assaulted or accosted and if so, can seek retribution through the legal system whereas the Whanganui, Ganges, and Yumuna rivers receive complementary protections from “assault”. However, it is important that we consider the implementation of such measures in a court of law. By granting personhood to a natural entity, the law is not setting a standard

deserve mercy from man-made abuse. If courts are going to bestow rights to non-human animals and natural entities, the language must be clear that the party in question has value in its own rights. The main purpose of distancing natural entities from personhood is to develop a mindset that keeping rivers clean is a good idea from the start. If one would have to grapple with a river’s personhood to decide if they will regard it with decency, then the battle is already lost. Appreciation for natural features should not originate in a selfish preference above the rest of nature. And yes, I mean the rest of nature, because any conception of nature that doesn’t include humans fails to recognize our place in the ecosystem as just another member. ILLUSTRATION BY KENNEDY SWIFT Imagine going through the rigorous process of obtaining personhood for for protecting rivers as a body of water. our own San Marcos river. Why does it take litigation and arbitrary, "person" The definition of how we as humans titles to keep us from throwing confetti treat nature remains removed from into the river that provides us with life humanity itself. and recreation. Rather than make up We should strive to protect rivers, legal reasons to protect our rivers, we valleys, coral reefs, not because we see a little bit of ourselves in them, but be- should stress the importance of an cause they deserve separate procedures inherent respect for the environment that sustains us. We must be careful not from existing protections on humans. Failing to consider the value of rivers to regard personhood as the only way as nature reinforces an anthropocentric to respect Mother Nature. view that only humans, organisms, and natural features benefiting humans are the only components of nature that



The University Star


Tuesday, January 16, 2018 | 7 Brooke Phillips Sports Editor @BrookePhillips_ @universitystar



Men’s basketball finishes 10-7 over winter break By Melea Polk Sports Reporter The men’s basketball team ended the winter break with an overall record of 10-7 and a Sun Belt Conference record of 3-1. During the month-long break, the Bobcats went 5-2 and began conference play. The Bobcats started the break with a road game against Colorado State Dec. 17 and lost to the Rams 66-58. The Bobcats shot 37.8 percent from the field goal and 69.2 percent from the free-throw line. Texas State outrebounded its opponents 32-30 during the game. Next for the Bobcats was a home game against Ecclesia College that ended with an 85-43 in the Bobcats’ favor. Texas State ended the game shooting 46.8 percent from the field and 22.2 percent from the three-point line. The Bobcats also shot 50.0 percent from the free-throw line. Emmanuel King, senior forward, led the team with a double-double. King finished with 14 points and a careerhigh 13 rebounds. Alex Peacock, junior forward, and Nijal Pearson, sophomore guard, both had 11 points for the night. Peacock grabbed six rebounds, and Pearson grabbed seven with five assists and two steals. Texas State won its final non-conference competition 74-66 against Rice University in Houston Dec. 22. The Bobcats shot 47.1 percent from the field and 2-of-28 from the freethrow line. Pearson had a team-high of 18 points. Marlin Davis, sophomore guard, and King followed with 15 points each, respectively. King also grabbed 11 rebounds, while Pearson grabbed five. The Bobcats began SBC play Dec. 29 against Appalachian State in Boone, North Carolina. Texas State lost 66-62. The Bobcats shot 46.0 percent from

the field goal and 65.2 percent from the free-throw line. Texas State grabbed 35 boards for the night and recorded five steals. Pearson shot 50.0 percent from the field and totaled 18 points. Defensively, both King and Nedeljko Prijovic, sophomore forward, grabbed five rebounds. The Bobcats closed out 2017 with a 53-48 win on New Year’s Eve against the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers. The road game win improved the Bobcats’ conference record to 1-1. “This was a great win for us after coming off the disappointing loss to Appalachian State,” Head coach Danny Kaspar said. "This is a very tough road trip in terms of travel and I am really thankfully for the guys' efforts in both games this weekend." Pearson led in shooting with 15 points. Tyler Blount, senior guard, added 14 to the books. Davis had a teamhigh of seven rebounds. The Bobcats continued conference play at Strahan Coliseum Jan. 4 against South Alabama. Texas State defeated the Jaguars 72-69 to improve to a conference record of 2-1. Peacock finished the game with a team-high of 18 points. The junior also grabbed six boards and handed out six assists. King followed with a career-high of 16 points and Pearson contributed 12. In the final game of the break, the Bobcats beat the Troy Trojans 57-56 after a layup by Peacock with four seconds on the clock. The game was held at Strahan Coliseum Dec. 6. As a team, the Bobcats shot 43.6 percent and completed three out of four free throws that evening. Pearson finished just shy of a double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds. The Bobcats are set to play at Strahan Coliseum for two back-to-back games. On Jan. 18, they will play against Louisiana-Monroe and Jan. 20, the Bobcats will play Louisiana.

Sophomore guard, Nijal Pearson stands at the free-throw line ready to take a shot Nov. 15. Pearson is the team's current leading scorer with 244 points and an average of 14.4 points per game. PHOTO BY JOSH MENDS

Dabrasia Baty, junior guard, moves the ball down the court during a game against UTSA at Strahan Coliseum on Dec. 5. PHOTO BY KIRBY CRUMPLER

Women's basketball continues winning season over break By Melea Polk Sports Reporter The women’s basketball team improved their winning season over winter break with an overall 10-5 record. The Bobcats went 4-3 during the break along with jumping to a 3-1 start in Sun Belt Conference play. Texas State competed in five backto-back away games before starting the new year. The Bobcats began with a game in Huntsville against the Sam Houston Bearkats Dec 17, which they won 7341. Leading the way for the team was junior guard Toshua Leavitt with 25 points. Leavitt tied her own record with her seven three-pointers made in one game. The guard also moved to fifth place in Texas State women’s basketball history for a total of 158 three-pointers. The Bobcats then competed in the 30th Annual Hatter Classic in Deland, Florida, where they lost their first game to Bethune-Cookman University 62-56 Dec. 20. Texas State competed in the final game of the tournament the next day against Stetson University. The Bobcats came up short 61-54 to the Hatters. The team then played against Appalachian State for their first conference game of the season on Dec. 29, where they began conference play 1-0 after beating the Mountaineers 69-54. "I thought our girls responded well coming off the bump in the road that was the Hatter Classic," Head coach Zenarae Antoine said. "It started in

practice, I really liked what I saw from the team in our practice time. It is nice to start out conference play with a victory. None of these games will be easy, and today was no different." Senior guard Taeler Deer had a team-high of 29 points. Deer shot 72.2 percent from the field goal whereas Leavitt followed with 11 points with one made three-pointer. In defense, sophomore guard Brooke Holle led with eight rebounds. The Bobcats continued conference play against Coastal Carolina on New Year’s Eve and dropped to 1-1 in the SBC after taking a 65-64 loss to the Chanticleers. After five away games, the team finally made their way back to Strahan Coliseum to start off the new year. The Bobcats began the year with two back-to-back home wins over South Alabama and Troy and improved their SBC record to 3-1. The team beat South Alabama 78-63 Jan 4. with Leavitt leading the way with 28 points. Leavitt moved to the second highest number of three-point attempts in school history with 179 . Deer was also honored during the game as the 16th Bobcat to eclipse 1,000 points in Texas State women’s basketball history. Senior forward Ericka May recorded her second double-double of the season with a season-high of 15 points and 11 boards. The Bobcats will continue their season with conference games, and the SBC Championship is set for March 6-13 in New Orleans.


Junior guard shines through being honored and showing improvement By Brooke Phillips Sports Editor Not only has one women’s basketball player been honored twice in the season, her teamwork mentality and effort are being noticed every time she steps on the court. Toshua Leavitt, junior guard, has been playing basketball since the age of five. Once she reached high school, however, she dedicated her full time to the court. “Basketball brought me the most excitement and I just always knew it was my favorite to play,” Leavitt said. Before graduating high school, Leavitt knew she wanted to play basketball at the collegiate level and, after visiting, she felt like Texas State was the

right fit for her. “I liked the family atmosphere,” Leavitt said. “All the coaches and teammates, they were just really nice and seemed like they really wanted me to be here.” In her first year on the women’s team, Leavitt played in 30 games and scored an average of 5.2 points per game. Leavitt did not stop there and focused on improving for the following season. During her second year, Leavitt’s average points per game increased to 10.1 while she started in 23 games. It was in three-point shots where Leavitt shined as she ranked 65th overall in the NCAA with 77 three-point shots.


Toshua Levitt, junior guard, moves past UTSA defenders at the Strahan Coliseum on Dec. 5. PHOTO BY KIRBY CRUMPLER

The University Star


Tuesday, January 16, 2017 | 8 Brooke Phillips Sports Editor @BrookePhillips_ @universitystar

FROM PAGE 7 FEATURE Coming into her third season as a Bobcat, Leavitt wanted to do better. She earned the title of Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week during the season’s game against Texas Southern and Fresno State. She also earned the honor of SBC Player of the Week for the second time after a successful win against Troy. “It’s a blessing for sure,” Leavitt said. “It’s a way to show off the hard work that I’ve put in. I just work hard in the offseason and preseason and after practice, I just try to work on my game so I can just continue to be better.” Leavitt also wants to better the team. “I want our team to be good and to keep winning,” Leavitt said. “I know that if I just give up or say that I’m good enough then it’s not going to be good for our team.” Already having a couple of years on the team under her belt, Leavitt hopes she can be a good teammate and role model for other players. “I just have to focus on not getting down or frustrated, and keeping my emotions low,” Leavitt said. “I’m always just cheering for my team and hyping

“I want our team to be good and to keep winning.” -Toshua Leavitt everyone up.” Much of Leavitt’s inspiration and continual motivation on the court comes from a small reminder that she leaves on her wrist every game that makes an impact. “The best piece of advice I got was from coach Paige Love,” Leavitt said. “I always write 'NP' on my wrist before every game and it just helps me ... not get down on myself or the team. When I go through adversity I look at my wrist and think 'next play'." Leavitt will have just one more season left after this one, which will be another opportunity for growth on the basketball court.


Toshua Levitt, junior guard, passes the ball during a game against UTSA at Strahan Coliseum on Dec. 5. PHOTO BY KIRBY CRUMPLER


Softball prepares for potential fourth consecutive winning season By Anthony Flores Sports Reporter The start of the 2018 softball season is right around the corner and the Bobcats are preparing to put together their fourth consecutive winning season in the last five years. The softball team posted a 42-17 record during its 2017 season which is the third most wins in school history. The Bobcats scored 18-8 against Sun Belt Conference opponents and finished with the second seed in the conference. Despite a regular season campaign filled with success, the Bobcats were unable to close out the postseason, losing to Louisiana in the Sun Belt Conference championship and to Texas in the College Station Regional. As is the case with college athletics, several key players for the Bobcats are now seniors in their final year with the team. Texas State’s ace in the circle, senior right-hand pitcher Randi Rupp, is among those in their final year as a Bobcat. Rupp dominated the 2017 season earning the Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Year and being named to the 2017 First Team All-Sun Belt Conference. Rupp enters the 2018 season with 82 wins and 953 career strikeouts, both ranked second on Texas State’s all-time list. Senior infielder Ariel Ortiz , is also in her final year as a Bobcat and will play a key role in boosting the Bobcat offense after totaling 15 home runs and 37 RBIs in 2017. Ortiz enters the spring season as Texas State’s all-time leader in home runs with 33 and sits at second place in both career RBI's and a career batting average. With a total of eight freshmen this

season, the team will rely on the leadership of Rupp, Ortiz and other veteran players to continue the success the team has seen in recent years. The Bobcats open their spring season hosting the 2018 Bobcat Classic and are set to face the Sam Houston Bearkats in their first game of the season Feb. 8. Texas State’s first series in the Sun Belt Conference is an away series and play begins March 10, a double-header against the Georgia State Panthers. The Bobcats were 1-2 against the Panthers in the 2017 regular season before defeating them in the first round of the Sun Belt Conference Championship. The Bobcats will host their first home conference series against the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers March 17. Texas State was 2-0 against the Chanticleers. Of the non-conference games on Texas State’s schedule, its two matchups against the Texas Longhorns stand out amongst the rest. The Bobcats faced Texas four times in 2017, going 2-0 in their regular season battles before meeting up again twice in the College Station Regional. Texas State heads to Austin for its first matchup March 21 before hosting the Longhorns April 11, for the Pink Out Breast Cancer game. Following their second game against the Longhorns later in the season, the Bobcats will close out the 2018 season on a four series stretch of 12 games against Sun Belt Conference rivals Louisiana, University of Louisiana Monroe, Troy and the University of Texas Arlington. The Bobcats were a total 7-5 against those four opponents. Should the Bobcats continue the success we’ve seen in recent years, fans will see this team go far in the postseason, perhaps atoning for last year’s bitter end.

Women's softball players encourage each other between innings during a game last season. The Bobcats finished the 2017 season with a 42-17 record. STAR FILE PHOTO

Luke Sherley senior infielder stands at bat as his teammates watch from the dugout against Oklahoma State University last season. Sherley is entering his third year as a letterman this season. STAR FILE PHOTO

The state of Texas State Baseball in 2018 By Anthony Flores Sports Reporter With the beginning of the new year, a new season of college baseball follows closely behind. For Texas State, the upcoming season is another opportunity to improve on the season prior. For past several seasons, the Bobcats have hovered around a .500 record. The 2017 season saw the team continue the trend, posting a record of 29-30. Although they finished with a losing record, the Bobcats were able to earn a spot in the Sun Belt Conference Championship Tournament. Overcoming the odds, the Bobcats downed both Little Rock, in the playin round, and #1 seed Coastal Carolina, in the first round. The team's run ended with an 11-5 loss to Georgia Southern in the semifinals, just one game short of the conference championship game. The Bobcats open the 2018 season Feb. 16, with a three-game series against Oklahoma State at Bobcat Ballpark. Texas State was 1-2 against the Cowboys in 2017, the one victory being a 12-11 thriller. Sun Belt Conference play starts March 16 with a three-game home series against the Appalachian State Mountaineers. Texas State outscored the Mountaineers 15-7 in 2017, and swept them 3-0 for the season. Like the softball team, the baseball team is set to take on the Texas Longhorns multiple times this season. The 2017 season saw the Bobcats go 1-2

against the Longhorns. The highlight of the three match-ups was the first meeting, an 11-10 extra innings victory for the Bobcats at home. The Bobcats will look to improve their performance in both away games and conference play in 2018. In 2017, the Bobcats were 7-17 in away games and 13-17 in conference play, a significant downgrade from their 20-13 home record. Returning for the Bobcats this season, are junior infielders Jonathan Ortega, Jaylen Hubbard and Derek Scheible, senior outfielder. These three could be the keys to putting together a potent offense. During the 2017 campaign, Ortega led the team in runs with 54, was second on the team in hits with 81 in 239 at-bats, second in batting average at .339 and second in RBIs with 45. The criminal justice major is set to be one of the primary offensive weapons for the Bobcats. Hubbard followed closely behind Ortega as one of the 2017 season’s key players, posting a total of 67 hits and 43 RBIs, both good for third overall among the team. The Missouri City native also added 39 runs and boasted a .296 batting average. Scheible was close behind Hubbard, totaling 65 hits in 235 plate appearances. Scheible finished third on the team in total runs with 51 and added 32 RBIs. For the team to make an impact in the Sun Belt Conference and improve its record, it is clear that the trio of Ortega, Hubbard and Scheible must be effective this season.

January 16, 2018  
January 16, 2018