DEFENDING THE FIRST AMENDMENT SINCE 1911 TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2018
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Volume 107, Issue 20
PARKING A Texas State police vehicle sits in a lot across from Brazos Hall. PHOTO BY TYLER JACKSON
Students illegally parking on the Square could see rise in tickets By Tyler Hernandez News Reporter
training program. The process to put an officer in the line of duty can take from five months to a year. The job-search board for campus jobs displays positions available within departments on campus. For the police department, the only listed positions are for a dispatcher and two administrative assistants but none for the three police officer positions still available. In the spring of 2017 UPD was allocated $3 million by the Texas State administration to improve safety conditions, which involved enhanced lighting around campus, equipment upgrades and the creation of three-full time positions for police officers. However, there has been no change in the number of allotted sworn positions since the allocation of those funds. In total, there are 42 sworn positions for UPD, which has remained consistent since at least 2016.
The city of San Marcos will introduce a new system on police vehicles to improve the efficiency of parking monitoring that could impact students who choose to park while attending class. The License Plate Recognition system, set to roll out March 5, will serve to help police officers monitor how long vehicles have been parked in time-restricted spaces. Examples of these spaces are found across downtown and are often restricted to two hours of use between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Kevin Burke, economic development administrator, said the goal of implementing the LPR technology will be to aid in loosening up accessibility for visitors downtown by preventing students and business owners from parking in the spaces for extended stretches of time for class or the workday. “It will free up parking spaces for people who want to come and visit us, not students who want to park close to campus or employees who want to sit in a parking spot for eight hours while they work,” Burke said. “What we want to do is increase turnover and allow more people to use those parking spaces on a regular basis.” Currently, patrolling parking spaces requires officers to mark vehicle tires with chalk, then return later to issue tickets if necessary. The LPR system will allow the marking process to happen digitally based on license plate numbers and GPS location and will notify officers when a vehicle has been parked for too long.
SEE SECURITY PAGE 2
SEE PARKING PAGE 2
UPD seeks to fill staffing shortage By Sawyer Click News Reporter Eighteen schools across the U.S. have faced gun violence since the beginning of 2018, two were colleges, according to national reports. In an effort to protect Texas State, the understaffed university police department has officers working overtime. Texas State's police department is currently understaffed by 20 percent. Home to more than 38,000 students, the university currently employs 34 certified peace officers; that is over 1,100 students for every officer. Promotions and retirement have left eight officer positions vacant, leaving currently employed police officers working overtime to cover the shifts. Patrick Cochran, assistant director of UPD, has worked to find officers to fill the positions. "We have been pretty shorthanded," Cochran said. "That doesn't mean that patrol functions stop or even decrease.
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Other people just have to fill in." Over time, however, the void creates issues within the police department in terms of training. Otto Glenewinkel is a certified crime prevention specialist at UPD and is also a trainer at the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training, known as ALERRT. "We can't ever do enough training, unfortunately," Glenewinkel said. "We're eight officers short right now, which makes it hard to send people to training." Currently, there are five officer candidates undergoing the hiring process who are qualified for the position, according to Cochran. Once the initial hiring process is completed, these officers will attend the university's mandatory 12week training program. Until then, the department remains shorthanded. The Texas Commission on Law Enforcement sets the standards for the hiring process and requirements. Before officers can work they must be licensed through a TCOLE-approved academy and must go through the 12-week
Greek life expected to return in March By Sandra Sadek News Reporter Texas State Greek life organizations are expected to fully return to campus March 1, following a four-month-long suspension. The Division of Student Affairs confirmed the rumors, claiming the organizations are free to return to full status and engage in regular activities as early as March 1, or by spring break at the latest. Joanne Smith, vice president for student affairs, said the task force in charge of reviewing Greek life has met during recent months to review conditions for reinstatement and will be making recommendations to President Denise Trauth, who has the final say on the conditions. "After President Trauth approves the recommendations we make, we will send out all of the components to the organizations, asking each chapter to agree to them in order for them to return to campus," Smith said.
The student body will be notified via email once conditions have been agreed upon by all chapters.
Texas State Greek life organizations are expected to fully return to campus March 1. The suspension of all Panhellenic and Interfraternity Council sororities and fraternities on campus occurred last November, after Matthew Ellis, a Phi Kappa Psi pledge, was found dead offcampus after the fraternity's initiation activities. His blood alcohol content level was .38, over four times the legal limit, according to his autopsy report. Despite the suspension Trauth
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ordered last semester, certain Greek organizations were allowed to finish the events they started prior to the suspension, but were halted after they were completed. Although rumors of the return of Greek life have circulated on campus, many members and administrators were encouraged not to discuss what was to come next for those organizations. Bob Dudolski, assistant dean of students for Greek Affairs, said he could not speak on the matter. A member of the Chi Omega sorority went through her sorority's initiation process while suspended. Her identity will remain anonymous to protect her affiliation with the sorority. "Our national chapter representatives came down to talk to the school," she said. "We were not allowed to recruit or host events but we were still allowed to have initiation. We also only had to pay half of our dues because we did not participate in as many activities."
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The University Star
2 | Tuesday, February 20, 2018
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Appeal against campus carry in Austin files for appeal By Evelin Garcia News Reporter Students at the University of Texas at Austin continue to speak out against campus carry as a case against it is filed in the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Carry Quinn Cox, southwest regional director of students for concealed carry, released the amicus curiae brief by the Students for Concealed Carry and the Students for Concealed Carry Foundation Jan. 29 in the Glass v. Paxton case filed by three UT professors. The Glass v. Paxton case was first filed July 4, 2016. The lawsuit sues the State of Texas and claims that allowing concealed handguns to be carried on public campuses is a threat to the right of free speech and equal protection. The brief released by Students for Concealed Carry and the Students of Concealed Carry Foundation against Glass v. Paxton challenges the two questions that the case is based upon. The first question the brief poses is whether allowing concealed handguns on campus denies professors the freedom to exercise educational judgment over their classrooms. The second question is if the policy compels professors to censor their own teaching material and style. Jennifer Glass, sociology professor, and English professors Mia Carter and Lisa Moore filed the lawsuit. Two organizations filed the brief against the case. First, the SCC, a national nonprofit organization founded in 2007 is responsible for starting the national campus carry movement. Second, the SCCF, a nonprofit organization formed in 2014 by alumni of SCC and is dedicated to advancing concealed carry on college campuses. Several students from UT commented
Concealable handguns have been causing controversy on college campuses. STAR FILE PHOTO
on the issue. “I didn’t know about the current lawsuit, but I’d understand why they’d do it,” said Valeria Valdez, UT sophomore. “Carrying guns on campus is in its own way an abuse of power and people can’t make the parallels that everything is political.” Veronica Lozano, a senior at UT, said she has always struggled to choose a side in the concealed carry argument because of her personal experiences at the university. “Not so long ago, there was a stabbing incident on campus where three students were injured and one student killed,” Lozano said. “Another girl was murdered walking back to her dorm and this is another example of how having
a gun can change the outcome of your life forever.” Joshua Genova, a senior at UT, said he is against campus carry. Genova said he does not feel safe allowing handguns inside classrooms. “Professors have been telling students during syllabus day that they don’t approve of the law and that they don’t allow such weapons in their classroom during their lectures,” Genova said. “It also seems like there have been more assaults on, or near campus. Concealed carry is supposed to help but it hasn’t helped.” Moore, one of the three professors involved in the ongoing case denied to give a statement and referred all questions to her lawyers.
they are eight police officers down." Although the increased presence of UPD can give a sense of security, officers must still work with efficiency to monitor dangers students may not see. Glenewinkel said he has worked to resolve threats before escalation. "We've found people in possession of firearms inside the residence halls that weren't supposed to have them," Glenewinkel said. "As far as active shooters threats, we're all pretty well trained on the protocols and how to handle them should one arise." Safety does not fall solely on officers, however, according to Bob Klett,assistant chief of police of the San Marcos Police
Department. Both the San Marcos Police Department and the Texas State Police Department encourage citizens to use the Department of Homeland Security's policy of reporting suspicious activity, no matter how seemingly small it is. "You could spend millions of dollars securing a school and trying to make it safe but it could still not be enough to stop school shootings," Klett said. "It comes down to the staff and students being comfortable enough to report suspicious activity. We would rather operate on the side of caution." The non-emergency number for UPD is 512-245-2805.
FROM FRONT SECURITY The office of President Denise Trauth allocated funds for officers to patrol the quad between the busiest hours of the day in an effort to increase visibility of UPD for students, according to Cochran. Samantha Wolfshohl, criminal justice senior, is the president of the Citizen's Police Academy, a student organization that gives students insight into the workings of UPD. "This semester especially I've noticed an increased presence on campus," Wolfshohl said. "I've always seen UPD driving around in their cars, but I've noticed more foot patrol, specifically in the quad. I feel like security has been increased, which is surprising given that
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FROM FRONT PARKING “Right now when they are actually chalking the tire. If they want to give somebody a ticket, they have to walk by, see a car parked there, chalk the tire at a certain time… then they have to circle around approximately every two hours,” Burke said. “What this system does is automate that process.” The adoption of LPR represents an effort to make San Marcos more accessible to people who would want to visit from out of town, as well as a step toward the larger goal of encouraging alternative transportation over single person commuting. Esteban Gonzalez, computer science freshman, said that students already have a hard time parking and believes it is not fair to punish them for wanting to park close to campus. "People try to park close to campus so they don’t have to walk as much and for them to restrict them or ticket them or move their car kind of seems unfair to them,” Gonzalez said. Texas State will also be deploying the technology, but it will serve a different function than what it does for the city and will not be active until fall 2019. This is because the implementation of the university’s LPR will coincide with a complete digitalization of the current parking permit system. Stephen Prentice, associate director of Parking Services on campus said the change could significantly affect students. “Not this year, but next year we will have virtual permits,” Prentice said.
Cars parked in areas with timed parking will soon be affected to the new ticketing system. PHOTO BY ELZA TAURINS
“The permit that used to be on your windshield is now gonna be on the front and back of your car as your license plate.” The LPR system will scan the license plates of cars parked on campus and tell the parking monitor whether or not each vehicle is registered with the appropriate digital permit. If the vehicle is not, a ticket may be placed on the vehicle’s windshield. The system works by using a mounted camera to take an image of parked vehicles in the context of the parking space along with an image of the license plate and the vehicles GPS location. As
the patrol car passes a series of parked vehicles, for example on North LBJ, this information is collected for each space. Upon driving past the spaces again, the system updates the vehicles parked and calculates the amount of time each vehicle has occupied its respective space. If any spaces have been occupied beyond their designated time allowance, the officer driving by will be notified so they may distribute any appropriate tickets. The tickets will still be distributed by the officers and left on the windshields of vehicles. The LPR system itself does not distribute tickets and works only as a notification tool.
"Greek life is a lifelong commitment," Smith said. "We had this time-out in order to review the system and make sure it is vibrant, healthy and positive. We want to make it better in the long run."
Upon returning to campus, fraternities and sororities will be able to resume all activities, including recruitment.
FROM FRONT GREEK The only organization not returning to campus will be Phi Kappa Psi, which is no longer recognized by the school. The internal investigation by the school of the chapter and its members is still ongoing.
The University Star
Tuesday, February 20, 2018 | 3 LeeAnn Cardwell Lifestyle Editor @leeanncardwell
Anthropology alumnus wins master's thesis award By Alyssa Weinstein Lifestyle Reporter Most people would not enjoy handling corpses at a decomposition site as part of their studies, but one former graduate student was more than ready to get his hands dirty. James Fancher, Texas State alumnus, won the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools Outstanding Master’s Thesis Award for his work in forensic anthropology. Francher also won the 2017–2018 Graduate College Outstanding Master’s Thesis Award in the Life Sciences from Texas State. Fancher, a military veteran and parttime professor of dental hygiene at Austin Community College, recently went back to school to earn his master’s of Arts and Anthropology at Texas State. Fancher created his master’s thesis titled, “Evaluation of Soil Chemistry in Human Decomposition Sites,” which he submitted to CSGS for review last fall. Fancher won the Texas State award in November 2017 and the CSGS in January 2018. With these wins, Texas State and Fancher were awarded $1,500. The money will go toward research and academics at Texas State.
James Fancher, an alumnus of Texas State University, wins the CSGS Outstanding Master’s Thesis Award for his work in forensic anthropology. PHOTO BY ALYSSA WEINSTEIN
Fancher's thesis studied the soils of decomposed human bodies in order to determine the time or interval of death of the cadavers. He was able to conduct his research on campus at the decomposition facility in the Forensic Anthropology Research Center. “What we found was that we can very well predict where decomposition has occurred in the soil parameters," Fancher said. "We don't have all the data together, but it gives hope that we
can actually sample the soil and predict the post-mortem and to also locate sites where people have died.” Michelle Hamilton, associate professor of anthropology, advised Fancher throughout his research and nominated his thesis for the Graduate College Outstanding Master’s Thesis Award in the Life Sciences. “His research is important to forensic investigators," Hamilton said. "It lays the groundwork for a new way to understand and analyze time since
death, based on soil profiles underneath a decomposing human body.” Steve Black, associate professor of anthropology, said he was ecstatic when he realized Fancher won the award. Black directed the 2013 Texas State Archaeological Field School where Fancher heard a lecture that inspired the ideas that led to Fancher's thesis research project. “When I found out he won, I broke out into a big smile and shook my head in appreciation," Black said. "If anybody deserved to win such an award for an outstanding thesis, it was Fancher.” After winning these accolades, Fancher said he will not be continuing the soil and human decomposition study. Instead, he will continue working with the operation identification cases by conducting osteological and dental evaluations. “Winning this award is an unexpected honor, especially for myself as a nontraditional student," Fancher said. "Being selected by the Texas State Graduate College, with the nomination of my adviser, Dr. Hamilton, was like being selected for an Olympic team. Winning the Southern Graduate School award is like winning a Gold Medal at the Olympic Games. The Bobcats have a lot to be proud of.”
Rockbot app rocks Jones A&L takes on San Marcos By Arielle Raveney Lifestyle Reporter
By Constunce Brantley Lifestyle Reporter A new brewery in town has crafted a German style beer that is not only award-winning but winning the hearts of San Martians. Altmeyer & Lewis Brewery competed in the Best of Craft Beer Awards Jan. 26-28 and won a silver medal for one of their special brews. The brewing competition is the third largest in the U.S. and takes place in Bend, Oregon. This year the competition hosted more than 2,000 entries and 100 different styles of brews. Stewart Altmeyer and Byron Lewis opened A&L a year ago to make their dreams of owning a business a reality. Altmeyer was a home brewer before A&L and got the idea to create a brewery in 2012, but did not know who to go into business with. His wife’s sister married Lewis a few years prior, and Altmeyer knew Bryon had some experience brewing. From that moment forward, A&L Brewery was born.
SEE BREWING PAGE 4
There no longer has to be awkward silences while eating on-campus because diners can fill the airwaves with music and groove as they chew. Jones and Harris have introduced Rockbot, an app that is like an interactive jukebox. It allows anyone with the app the ability to queue up songs they want to listen to. Steven Granados, Chartwells director of marketing and guest experience, said the key factor behind implementing the app was because of the number of requests from students for music in dining halls. “People have always been requesting it through our guest satisfaction surveys," Granados said. "The satisfaction survey gauges things every semester, like what (students) want us to include, how pricing is, etc. One thing that is always in there is music.” The app was connected first in Harris last November and then in Jones last December. The app can be used in any location that recognizes the program - even at a barbershop. “I get my haircut in this barber shop in New Braunfels and they actually use the app too,” Granados said. “There’s a beacon that sends out a notification to everyone that has the Rockbot app downloaded when you walk by it. There is one at a register in Jones.” Chartwells will soon be placing tents on each table with information about the app and how to download it. Customers can also ask student workers like Victoria Reyna, criminal justice sophomore, about how to play their favorite tunes. Reyna has worked at Jones for almost two years and says that Rockbot has not only brought joy
The Rockbot App lets students queue songs to play in participating dining halls. PHOTO BY MARINA BUSTILLO-MENDOZA
to the customers, but also to her work day. “It is so entertaining to be able to check out people at the register while listening to music,” Reyna said. “Every other song is a good one so you can catch on. You see other people dancing and singing, it is fun.“ Though Reyna suggests the app to customers, she said she never quite knows what to expect from the music selection. “There have been moments where it is like ‘okay, I feel this’, and there have been others that are just not,” Reyna said. “People have played elevator music and that is not good music to be playing in Jones with a bunch of college kids.” Asinate Korosaya, political science freshman, said she has enjoyed the variety of music played during her dining experience.
“I have not had a least favorite song yet,” Korosaya said. “I like the difference within the queue. Every time you come in it is a different artist or genre.” Korosaya heard about the app through a friend and has been queueing up her own selection of throwback songs ever since and highly suggests the app to anyone who regularly eats on campus. “Having the ability to request your own song and having everyone listen to the song that you choose is exciting,” Korosaya said. The app can be download from the app store for both Android and Apple phones. Chartwells is working on expanding the locations that use Rockbot to Au Bon Pain and Georges. Until then, students can have fun queuing up while digging in at Jones and Harris.
4 | Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Black Art Association celebrates black creativity By Diana Furman Lifestyle Reporter The history behind popular dance moves such as the 'whip' and hairstyles such as cornrows is often lost and disregarded. That is why the Black Art Association's goal is to bring people together through art to remind students of the origins of black creativity. Sammera Fadul, interior design senior, participated in The Mr. and Miss Black Excellence Pageant in spring 2017. During the Q&A portion of the pageant, Fadul was asked what solution she had to unify the black community at Texas State. She said she planned on creating a group of students that showcased and glorified black creativity. After a semester of participation in the pageant, Fadul won. She then followed through with her plans and collaborated with Dora Borrego, psychology senior, to create the Black Art Association. Fadul and Borrego said bringing awareness to black culture in everyday life is one of the main purposes of the organization. “You can drive down the highway and see a billboard that says, 'watch me whip', and have no idea that dance move was actually started by a black community in Atlanta,” Fadul said. Fadul said she was tired of witnessing black creativity absorbed by the world without due credit. “It’s a genre of art that’s extremely underrated and overlooked,” Fadul said. “Not just by the world but specifically by the black community in itself.” Borrego said the unity the association provides for its members is strong and significant. The group welcomes people of any racial background and is not limited to artists or black students; anyone who wants to participate is welcome. “Anybody that could be subject to disenfranchisement or put at a disadvantage should always be front and center so we could help them reach equality,” Borrego said. “Let’s not live in a society where someone a thousand years from now looks back and is disgusted with their ancestors.” Truth Anderson, fashion merchandizing sophomore, is a member of the association who said he appreciates the community it has brought into his life. “It has a vibe that’s really similar to my life,” Anderson said. “You’re always surrounded by uplifting people and just all forms of art.” In celebration of Black History Month, on Feb. 6 the association went to the Quad with a cornrow demonstration in a display of black art and unity. Fadul said the origin of cornrows goes back to Africa where tribes would wear different hairstyles to represent themselves. Borrego said although she appreciates Black History Month, celebrating and talking about black history is something the association does all year round and that February just serves as a time to bring it to the forefront. The association plans to present a Black Art Week March 19-23. The organization will host a variety of events showcasing black art and celebrating the community.
Lindsey Pearson, criminal justice junior, works at Smoothie Warriors downtown. PHOTO BY SONIA GARCIA
The University Star LeeAnn Cardwell Lifestyle Editor @leeanncardwell
FROM PAGE 3 BREWING A&L won the silver medal for their Hefeweizen, a German wheat style brew. The brew is made from half wheat malt and half barley, making it a tedious process. “I take seeds, sprout them, kill them, put them in hot water, make sugar tea out of them and add flowers and feed that to yeast and hope it all works out,” Altmeyer said. The Hefeweizen poses more than just a few challenges in the brewing process but is also rather timeconsuming. “I want it to be a certain temperature for a half hour, then another temperature for 30 minutes, then at the final temperature for an hour or two hours," Altmeyer said. "If I hit those numbers, it’ll be a good beer.” Entries can be made for any category of brew, so long as the competitors have a brewing license. The Beer Judge Certification program outlines the different styles, the percentage of alcohol, color and bitterness they look for in the beer. The brews are then judged in two categories. “The first is the categories of beer and the second is the off-flavor, so what is wrong with the beer and if the beer fits a certain style of criteria,” Lewis said. After the initial round of competitors are weeded out, Stewart said the judges look at the color, flavor and how the beer feels in your mouth. The Best of Craft Beer Awards are a big deal and a few local bars are taking notice of the award. One place on the Square has recently begun selling the award-winning beer.
Byron Lewis (left) and Stewart Altmeyer (right) holding their Silver medal from the Best of Craft Beer Awards. PHOTO BY CONSTUNCE BRANTLEY
Roxanne Dunaway, co-manager at Taproom, said she is happy to support a local brewery and that the awardwinning brew has left an impression on her. "I love Hefeweizen," Dunaway said. "I like the citrus from it and how it
almost tastes creamy with a little hint of banana in it." A&L Brewery may have just started out, but they are ready to take on the business and join the San Marcos brewing community.
Students tackle food insecurity By Sonia Garcia Lifestyle Reporter Having a decent meal is not always easy as a college student so an oncampus resource is helping make food more accessible. On Feb. 1, the School of Family and Consumer Sciences opened its doors to the new Bobcat Bounty food pantry. The SFCS partnered with the Hays County Food Bank to accommodate a community suffering food insecurity. Bobcat Bounty started with a successful turnout, opening with 100 clients after only expecting 25 to show. The pantry is run by dietetic interns and student volunteers who work to organize the food, make food samples and direct students as they pick out their food. As soon as a student walks in, they are greeted, sign in and can immediately begin selecting food like in a grocery store. This unique set-up allows consumers to take only what they want and not waste excess food. Hannah Thornton, senior lecturer and SFCS dietetic internship director, discovered a number of her students in her classes were not eating for more than 24 hours at a time. That is when she decided to do something about food insecurity on campus. Thornton approached BiedigerFriedman, assistant professor and registered dietician, and dietetic interns who conducted research last year that found 40.6 percent of Bobcats met the definition of being food insecure. "I am an educator because I believe education is transformative and if you are hungry, you can't engage in that transformative experience," Thornton said. Thornton said food insecurity impacts academic success so by partnering with the Hays County Food
Dietitian intern and volunteers prep before 5 p.m. for the opening of the food pantry in the Family and Consumer Sciences building. PHOTO BY SONIA GARCIA
Bank, they allow students to prosper and focus better in class. Bethany Diaz, nutrition graduate student, is one of the ten dietetic interns currently on the project. She has also been involved in various other works that help ensure communities have the opportunity to be wellnourished. "Food is fuel and powerful, it fuels our body, and I strongly believe in feeding our body the proper fuel so we can live healthy lives," Diaz said. Thornton and Diaz said it is important to have volunteers in order to create a welcoming environment. Junior Aguirre, nutrition senior, learned about Bobcat Bounty and immediately signed up to be a volunteer.
"This semester I was able to do a lot more community outreach," Aguirre said. "(Bobcat Bounty) has inspired me to continue what I am doing. I like interacting with people and helping them." The food pantry is gaining support not only from the SFCS, but also from the Equity and Access Committee and the College of Applied Arts. Researchers hope this support continues to grow so a permanent food pantry spot is established on campus. Bobcat Bounty is open 5-7 p.m every Thursday for students and faculty. Physical proof of financial needs is not necessary to receive assistance and client identities are protected.
HUMANS OF SAN MARCOS “Over the Christmas Break I went to Montana to visit my moms side of the family. We go about every 4 years or so, and my Grandma comes to visit us about every two years. I honestly have no clue how my parents settled in Dallas, that’s where I’m from. My mom came to Texas from South Dakota, and my Dad
moved to Houston from Baltimore. I enjoy visiting family that do not live in Texas, but Montana is way too cold for my liking, but I did get to ski for the first time since I was five years old. Maybe I need to visit in the summer to enjoy it.” – Lindsey Pearson
The University Star
Tuesday, February 20, 2018 | 5
Carrington Tatum Opinions Editor @mogulcarrington
The kids are not alright Thoughts and prayers, thoughts and prayers, thoughts and prayers are never scarce in a country that averages one mass shooting a day, according to the Congressional Research Service. A mass shooting is considered 'mass' when it results in the deaths of four or more people, according to congressional research standards. And now we are faced with the terrors of a school shooting in Florida where a domestic terrorist murdered 17 people and injured 14 others. The well of thoughtful commentary and witty editorials concerning mass shootings has run dry. Mass murder and society's insensitivity to it will continue on as it has the past few years. The idea of shootings being normalized in the U.S. is not the result of nihilistic attitudes, but is representative of the inaction that surrounds every mass shooting in modern America. Florida's tragedy stood out from other shootings not only because of the body
count, but because of how high school students are able to capture the moment as it happens. A school shooting of this magnitude has not struck the hearts of Americans to this degree since the massacre of Columbine High School in 1999 and Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012. However, in both of these cases, the victims were not capable of documenting the sounds of gunshots echoing through the halls. In the case of the Florida shooting, we see high school students sharing their experiences via social media, and organizing around gun regulation laws as a result of the carnage that befell them and their classmates. Students who are also victims have gone on television, organized a national walk-out day taking up the issue of gun regulation for themselves. President Donald Trump, in his address of the Florida shooting, used mental health as his scapegoat ensuring Americans that he is, "committed to
tackling the difficult issue of mental health." Kentucky Governor Matt Bevins says we need to, "have a serious conversation around violent video games and movies" when it comes to gun violence. Former congressman Joe Walsh blames a lack of faith for mass shootings tweeting that, "America doesn't have a gun problem, America has a lack of God problem." These perspectives on mass shootings are not only insensitive, but easy to deliver when they come from those who are not among the most vulnerable to incidences of gun violence. Additionally, there may be something to be said about American attitudes towards mental health and its correlation with gun violence, but claims based on religion and video games are baseless and detract from the gravity of these massacres. Young people have been forced to take up the issue of their own safety before many of them are even old enough to
vote; because their representatives are more concerned with conversations around everything but the issue that is directly related to gun violence. In response to the shooting, students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have worked in conjunction with the youth branch of the Women's March organization to organize a national walkout day on March 24 where they will leave their classrooms for 17 minutes in protest of the inaction of government officials, according to CBS. Young people may seem preoccupied with escapism and coping mechanisms on social media, but some are cognizant enough to know they ought to be educated in an environment free of the constant threat of gun violence. Baby Boomer right-wing thought leaders will defend relaxed gun laws for the sake of their own partisan agendas, but they do so at the expense of the America's children.
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.
Your webcam FBI agent is more than just a meme By Zach Ienatsch Opinions Columnist One of the latest meme trends on the web are comical scenarios between Internet users and their personal FBI agents assigned to spy on them through webcams. These scenarios usually cast the FBI agent as a sympathetic, unlikely friend who watches the user suffer relationship failures, binge Netflix shows and waste time on the web instead of doing homework. While comical, the normalization of federal law enforcement infringing upon citizens’ right to privacy is a dangerous precedent Americans should not be quick to accept. The first thing to realize about these memes is they are not completely hypothetical situations; the government is most certainly spying on the American population without due process of law. The NSA debuted its PRISM surveillance program in 2007 after the passage of the Protect America Act and was further expanded under the FISA Amendment Acts of 2008. The latter act "specifically authorizes intelligence agencies to monitor the phone, email, and other communications of U.S. citizens for up to a week without obtaining a warrant" when one of the parties is outside the United States. The NSA used this legislation to tap into the electronic devices of citizens without a warrant or even probable cause. The full scope of PRISM was unknown until whistleblower Edward Snowden leaked documents detailing NSA activities to The Washington Post and The Guardian in 2013. What was once regarded as crackpot conspiracy theories by paranoid shut-ins is now not so fictitious. And to assume the government and private corporations would not use this opportunity to wrongfully spy on individuals through their webcams is naive. Documents released by WikiLeaks as recently
as March revealed televisions, smartphones, cars, even anti-virus software were exploited by the CIA to spy on their users. And even without invasive hacking by the government, private companies like Facebook are also actively selling user information to the highest bidder. If Mark Zuckerberg has his webcam covered, so should you. To understand the popularity and spread of your friendly neighborhood FBI agent meme, one must understand generational context. For young Millennials and members of Gen Z, individuals born in the mid-'90s and after, the idea of online privacy is somewhat mythical. With the PATRIOT Act’s passage in 2001, when most of Gen Z had yet to own their first cellphone, the government’s erosion of e-privacy was more status quo than a new threat to liberty. Add in the 2008 housing crisis and wars without an end in sight, it’s no surprise young people approach the future with a less optimistic lens, compared to their parents and grandparents. This is where memes serve society. When the young demographic feels helpless in the face of growing inequality and injustice, the only solace remains in the comfort of relatable, humorous jokes on the Internet. FBI webcam memes are the prime example of using comedy as a mass coping mechanism against ongoing infringements which should not be happening in a land claiming to be for the people and by the people. The most beneficial aspect of memes like the FBI agent in the webcam is starting a conversation with young people. Laughing on the Internet is all good fun, but there must come a time when we affirm that the context of this joke should not be normalized. There should never have been someone spying on us, regardless of the great meme content that stems from it. Gen Z should laugh, but they should also be
ILLUSTRATION BY KENNEDY SWIFT
angry. They should be angry enough to march in the streets and show up to the polls. They should be angry enough to question the government, especially when our rights are under siege in the name of “safety” or “security”. They should be angry enough to demand better or at least what the Bill of
Rights entitles them to. Your personal FBI agent is not just a meme and is certainly not your friend. But they are a great reason to expect better for yourself. - Zach Ienatsch is a journalism senior
CARTOON OF THE WEEK
CARTOON BY STEPHANIE CLOYD | GRAPHIC DESIGNER
6 | Tuesday, February 20, 2018
The University Star Carrington Tatum Opinions Editor @mogulcarrington
Black Panther Spoiler-Free Review By Carrington Tatum Opinion Editor "Black Panther" tells the story of prince T'Challa returning to the fictitious African nation of Wakanda to claim the throne following his father's death in the U.S. as seen in 2016's "Captain America: Civil War." In the film directed by Ryan Coogler, T'Challa explores what it means to be a good king while bearing the responsibility of protecting his home, the most technologically advanced place on Earth. This duty becomes increasingly difficult as T'Challa uncovers the secrets of his father's rule and is confronted by the enemies it created. "Black Panther" proves itself to be an outlier to not only the Marvel Cinematic Universe but to Hollywood films as a whole. The film incorporates authentically inspired African culture, and a palate of purple, blue and red hues to create a visually appealing and ethereal tone for the film. The score composed by Swedish composer Ludwig Grönsann orchestrates traditional African instruments like the "Talking Drum" for an authentic atmosphere of African culture. And where appropriate, Grönsann blends this sound with modern techno, Hip-Hop, and orchestral sounds to encapsulate the characters and motifs of "Black Panther." These qualities come together to create a dreamlike aesthetic that gives its warm, somber and triumphant moments an unfamiliar yet relatable weight. Beats of fun and beats of tension are woven around a wide cast of
characters, each with their own lovable and relatable quirks that make up the collective personality of Wakanda. Although, among the moments of charisma there is some corny humor forcibly sprinkled throughout the film. While not a major distractor, outdated references to internet trends like, "what are those?!" and Willow Smith's, "whip my hair" are unnecessary and take away from genuine moments with the supporting cast. However, the challenge of humor has been an ongoing struggle for the MCU since it officially began back with the first "Iron Man" film. Additionally, the diversity of personality among the characters is a slight drawback in that the movie seems to stretch itself thin in terms of characterization with so many bases to cover. This leads to T'Challa being outshined in a lot of ways by his supporting cast. But this could also be perceived as a literary device as it aligns with the theme of the king's power not coming from the man himself, but from the people whose loyalty he has earned. T'Challa is also presented as a character that deviates from the quick-witted, arrogant playboy archetype that was used for Iron Man and subsequently cloned for other protagonists like Thor, Starlord, AntMan and Dr. Strange. The serious disposition of T'Challa is refreshing for the MCU. Hollywood does not have the best track record when it comes to telling stories of black characters, much less African characters without mocking the culture or reinforcing harmful
stereotypes of African people. The nearly all-black cast and crew of "Black Panther" staunchly interrupt this trend and signal a paradigm shift in Hollywood filmmaking. However, what makes "Black Panther" great is that it accomplishes this feat while telling a compelling story that transcends race.
"Black Panther" proves itself to be an outlier to not only the Marvel Cinematic Universe but to Hollywood films as a whole. The duality of tradition and progress, the merits of merciful and wrathful leaders, selfishness and altruism, the joys and pains of family relationships are examined in a way that is detached from race, thus making the film much more than, "a black movie." Coogler is an accomplished storyteller with films like Fruitvale
Station and Creed under his belt. He brings that same craft to "Black Panther" as he effortlessly layers the themes mentioned before with a political and sociological subtext that is bold in some places and subtle in others. It is this convection of ideas that isolates "Black Panther" from other superhero movies as the most mature and thoughtful of all the actionpacked melodramas of the superhero genre. In a quasi-Deadpool fashion, "Black Panther" narrows the third wall that separates the MCU and the real world by unapologetically acknowledging and commenting on race as well as the plight of African people in America. This awareness is new for a generally light-hearted genre. And while bleak in its fictitiousness, the lens of a near-infinitely affluent African nation bolsters the fantasy aspects of the film and lends itself to a unique perspective for assessing the African diaspora. Overall, "Black Panther" is a refreshing installment into the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Hollywood blockbusters. As a film with many moving parts and hype to match, it ultimately delivers with a thoughtful and entertaining action film with cultural impact. Easily one of the top 5 movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and one of the greatest superhero movies across the genre, "Black Panther" is another home run for Marvel Studios and a must-see for moviegoers of all tastes. - Carrington Tatum is a electronic media sophomore
When Two Words is more than two words
Letter to the editor
By Jaden Edison Opinions Columnist Bryan Stevenson, author of "Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption," recently visited Texas State to give a speech. In his presentation, he brought up four major ideas that would help create a more just society, one being the Power of Proximity. Ironically, prior to Mr. Stevenson discussing the importance of moving closer to individuals within the environment, a man chained himself to the university’s Fighting Stallions. Photos of the same mysterious individual had been posted on social media earlier that day, with jokes in the captions about his peculiar actions. The man insisted on not leaving his post at the statue. Students continually asked him for his name and the reasoning behind his display. In response, the man said only two words: “two words.” Those words the man said could be interpreted as anything. Many began to spread rumors that he had to be sick. Two Words’ presence continued to attract a lot of attention. Students from different backgrounds, races and ethnicities began to get close to him. While doing so, they started to learn things about him. What students found was interesting, considering the different preconceived notions going around about him and his actions. According to Two Words, he has resided in San Marcos for 10 years and is a Texas State alumnus. He majored in history and minored in political science. Two Words does not like hats. Two Words is divorced. Two Words is a United States Navy veteran. Two Words is not a coward. Two Words is not afraid of death. Two Words once went through an identity phase and questioned his own existence. Now, Two Words knows who he is. People could see he was chained to a piece of art that represents one
of the core principles of Texas State -- free speech. The chain symbolizes concepts like connection and bondage. Those two things together create a more complex meaning that goes far beyond any dialogue. He does not hide behind Nazi propaganda, tweets or Instagram posts. Instead, he is visible to the public and open to any form of communication. He is not a threat. Students have brought him items ranging from Snickers bars to razors. Those that had gotten close to him could see his appreciation and that he was tougher than any form of hate speech, racism or destitution. Most importantly, those that had gotten close to him felt the love that spews from his presence. All of the things learned about Two Words could never be learned without proximity. Speaking to Two Words has opened up understanding. Students could hear about the pain inflicted upon him in his past. Students could see a man that wanted nothing more but to be appreciated and respected. When asked why he was protesting, his answer was characteristically simple -- everyone. So, instead of deeming an individual a “weirdo” or “psychopath,” get proximate. Students that got close to Two Words witnessed firsthand the power of proximity. Lessons learned from that one-on-one contact changed perspectives. Every object and human in the world serves a purpose, even if they may not appear to be conventional or significant. The road to a more just society resides in neighborhoods, on sidewalks and at universities. The greatest tools for refining a just society lies in the hands of the people. Power and Proximity. Two words. - Jaden Edison is an electronic media freshman
Dear Impeachment Review Board and fellow Student Government Senators, We all see Connor Clegg's fast approaching impeachment trial. It's become apparent this may be the defining moment of our entire Student Government careers and, considering the campus climate, deserves our full consideration. Clegg's impeachment trial is the culmination of the many instances of white supremacy on our campus. Because of the scrutinous national attention on Texas State, the trial will be representative of the way campuses across the country combat white supremacy. It's no longer just for our students, but for potential students, potential donors, and the rest of the country. This is a scary thought. We live in a digital media age where everything is permanent. Clegg learned the hard way the consequences of the internet: you can't take anything back. Anything we do with these articles of impeachment -- admitting or denying his abuses of power -- will be permanent. What happens to Clegg will always have our names attached. If we fail to impeach him people will always know of the time we chose to prevent the removal of an abusive leader, that we chose to protect someone who attempted to steal the First Amendment rights of students of color. We should direct our attention to the student body. Our students have done a tremendous job of mobilizing
and informing themselves. They are relearning their rights, using government code to their advantage and demanding they be accurately represented in politics. Students and citizens are more civically engaged than history has seen in decades. It's empowering and beautiful and also a little scary. We must realize that the fire under Clegg does not end at Clegg; the heat will be transferred onto anyone who intentionally ignores student demands of impeachment. The student body may not yet know how to remove us from office, but they will find that information, and just like with Clegg, will channel tremendous amounts of energy into the effort. We live in times of rapidly increasing transparency and accountability. We, as elected officials, must remember this when making decisions, most especially when making decisions with such weight as the impeachment of Student Government President Connor Clegg. Really, this decision is only officially ours. The court of public opinion has already decided, and now it is up to us to reflect that with our votes. I wish all of you the best of luck with this decision. This situation has the potential to burn many sensible people's careers for the mistakes of one less mindful person. I trust that you will all find it within you to accurately represent our student body. Best Regards, Claudia Gasponi Senator, University College
The University Star
Tuesday, February 20, 2018 | 7
Brooke Phillips Sports Editor @BrookePhillips_
Senior forward succeeds in the face of adversity By Anthony Flores Senior Sports Reporter One of the core beliefs of American society and a pillar in the world of sports is hard work and determination pay off. One basketball player is an embodiment of that ideal. Ti’Aira Pitts, senior forward, began her athletic career in middle school and while her interests were varied, it soon became clear basketball would be her sole focus. “I did track in middle school," Pitts said. "I did hurdles and I did volleyball up until my junior year of high school." While Pitts was involved in volleyball, she was also beginning to take an interest in basketball. The Austin native was tall for her age, a trait her coaches noticed. “In seventh grade, I was very tall," Pitts said. "I actually played volleyball. The volleyball coaches were the basketball coaches, so they were like, 'You’re playing basketball.'” Her mother, Clarice Reeves, began to see improvement in her game after Pitts began playing with a team outside of school. “By her eighth-grade season, she started with this other basketball team, you know, like AAU,” Reeves said. “She started with them and she did pretty good. She just had to work on being (less) sensitive.” Since arriving at Texas State, Pitts has matured as an individual and owns up to her overly sensitive and immature ways. “When I first came in as a freshman, I let a lot of things get to me,” Pitts said. “But now that I’m a senior, I take everything with a grain of salt." Pitts arrived at Texas State in 2014,
Ti'Aira Pitts, senior forward, dribbles past the opposing team's defenders during a home game. PHOTO COURTESY OF TEXAS STATE SPORTS INFORMATION
and being family-oriented, the location of the school played a large part in her decision. “It’s right down the road," Pitts said. "I’m from Austin, so my family can come to my games, and as soon as I stepped on campus I just felt a different atmosphere." Aside from an ideal location, Pitts found common ground with the team and coaching staff from the get-go. “The team that was here automatically made me feel like I was part of the team and I just loved everything about the coaching staff,” Pitts said. Pitts’ first year with the Bobcats was a difficult one. 16 games into the 2014-
15 season, the senior forward suffered ACL injuries and missed the remainder of the season. Despite the setback, Pitts remained vigilant, focusing on her schoolwork while recovering. “She injured both of her knees, had two ACL surgeries, dealing with schoolwork and basketball at the same time, and it just shows what type of person she’s always been,” Reeves said. The senior forward tries to have a positive attitude on and off of the court. “I always try to be positive even when things aren’t going my way,” Pitts said. “I always tell myself there’s people out there that wish that they had my bad days.”
Pitts’ unwavering spirt and perseverance have always been apparent to her mother, even from a young age. “She’s a go-getter, very determined, and just won’t stop until she gets what she wants," Reeves said. "She’s always been like that, since she was little.” With the end around the corner, Pitts resolves to remain a pillar of leadership for the team and aims to add a championship to her resume. “I just want to continue to lead my team, continue putting points on the board and continue to be that voice on defense and offense, just being there for my team,” Pitts said. “Our end goal is of course to win this championship and go to the NCAA tournament.” Since the beginning of the season, she has embraced her confidence, playing a vital part in the team's success. “Something just clicked in me and I was just like, 'I’m not going to play timid,'" Pitts said. "My confidence is going to be at an all-time high, and I’m just going to shoot the ball. So that’s what I’ve been doing.” Pitts is majoring in psychology and plans to pursue her master's degree, eventually becoming a counselor to provide guidance to middle schoolers. “I want to be a middle school counselor so I’m going to try to get my masters,” Pitts said. “I feel like middle school is a very crucial part in children’s lives where they need the most guidance.” Although her collegiate basketball career is ending, she does not see a future without her favorite sport involved in some way. “I love this game so much," Pitts said. "There’s no doubt it’s going to be part of my life in some way or another.”
Football program builds team with 22 new signees By Region Kinden Sports Reporter The football team signed a total of 22 new players during the national signing period. Everett Withers, head football coach, said he is not yet finished with recruiting, and that there are athletes who may be signed by the next season. The Bobcats ended last season losing eight out of 10 games. The team is working on its leadership during the offseason, hoping to turn the tables for the fall. The team lost a strong group of seniors that made an impact on the team. Many were grateful to have their experience on the team, like Damian Williams, former senior quarterback. “It was a great opportunity for me to be a leader,” Williams said. “To show the leadership skills that I’ve learned and preach to those guys the right thing to do on and off the field." Withers explained how the younger players, many with a year under their belt, will be able to show the new recruits what to expect and help guide them. “We played 29 guys last year,” Withers said. “They were learning and
getting it done. I think those guys that have been here a year now can come in and help the guys in the summer of 2018.” Withers is hoping many of the new players coming in will be involved in the leadership role as well. “Leadership isn’t about how many seniors you have,” Withers said. “We’re a young football team and leaders come from something within them to step up and take charge.” The program got hold of some talented players from many positions such as the offensive lineman, who can also play on the defensive side. Tyler Vitt, high school senior quarterback, is a recruit Withers pointed out to be special for his program and hopefully will be a part of the leadership role for the Bobcats. A future kicker is another subject coach Withers talked about. Withers said bringing in kicker Chris Kessler, from Longview, was important because he can kick the ball in certain places that will help on the Bobcats' special teams unit. The football program will be working to have a fresh look coming into the new season as the team rolls into spring practice.
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Everett Withers, head football coach, spoke at National Signing Day Feb. 7 PHOTO BY REGION KINDEN
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The University Star
Tuesday, February 20, 2018 | 8
Brooke Phillips Sports Editor @BrookePhillips_
Senior golfer works to improve mentally By John Paul Mason II Sports Reporter Scoring a 75 in a round of golf is something few ever achieve. For one senior golfer, he consistently made this score last season but is still only thinking of ways to improve for this upcoming semester. Xander Basson, senior golfer, has been playing golf since he was about 4 years old and began playing competitively until he was 13 years old. “My dad took me out (to the driving range) with him when I was around 3 or 4 years old, and then we would go around some different holes at our local golf club every Friday," Basson said. “I actually was a big tennis player when I was younger until I was about 13 years old and then I started playing more competitive golf. I actually won my state title when I was 13.” Basson, from a young age, has tried modeling his game after his idol: 2012 and 2014 Masters Champion Bubba Watson. "He’s been my role model all my life," Basson said. "Just the way he plays golf and the way he creates his shots is amazing." Basson has a few pre-round routines that are vital to his confidence during rounds. “I just listen to some music, normally
pop and African music since that’s my language," Basson said. Basson still sees room for himself to improve even after a successful season last year. “I’d say (last year) I was pretty average," Basson said. "It wasn’t a great season. Mentally I didn’t think I was stable, but now I'm mentally more stable, just getting into the groove of my senior year. Now I know how things are going. I'd say last season was pretty average and this year will be a good semester for us.” When talking about Basson's commitment to Texas State, one of the many selling points was the campus itself. “It’s a beautiful campus," Basson said. "I visited a few other schools before I came here and Texas State was the prettiest campus I'd ever seen. I love the river, the people are friendly, and the weather is great over here.” Another main point was the coaching staff here at the university. “Before I came to Texas State I was at Midland College, a junior college in west Texas," Basson said. "So, I sent my resume to (the coach) and he started recruiting me. He also went to some of my tournaments up there too. We have a great coaching staff here, and they do a lot for us every day. They support us in everything we do.”
Basson also knows the strengths and weaknesses of his game like many successful golfers do. "My strength would be my chipping, and that helps my putting," Basson said. "You won't have those long putts if you are chipping as good. But my weakness would be when I need to hit those long putts after a short pitch.” When being critical of his game, Basson put it plainly on what he needed to improve on: stronger mentally. Basson is more than ready to get started with his team this upcoming season. He knows where they need to improve and is confident they can. “We have a really good team camaraderie, but if we start playing bad, it goes the same way with the team," Basson said. "I'd like to see us go forward in our semester stronger because we have a pretty good system going right now. Mentally we can all be better, and we need to be more positive about things we are facing.” Basson is confident he will be able to take his golf talents farther after finishing his final season with the Bobcats. "Golf is the game for a lifetime," Basson said. "You don’t have to be great right out of college, and you have time to improve and get better if you want to make a future out of it.” Golf is a game that is sometimes
Xander Basson, senior golfer poses for a headshot. PHOTO COURTESY OF TEXAS STATE SPORTS INFORMATION
forgotten about when looking over sports in college. But Basson is looking to put Texas State in the centerfold this season, and with the confidence and game to back it up, it looks like he just might do so.
Baseball player starts fresh for new season By Melea Polk Assistant Sports Editor For one Texas State baseball player, he is using the new season as a fresh start to his collegiate baseball career. Jaylen Hubbard, junior third baseman, is currently in his fourth season with the Bobcats, and has been named to the 2018 Preseason All-Sun Belt Conference Team. “I appreciate the title a lot,” Hubbard said. “But, it is something I did last year. I am just trying to be better this year.” Last season, Hubbard started in 57 games and 56 of them as third baseman. He recorded a .296 batting average, 43 RBIs, three home runs and went 88.5 percent in the field. Hubbard also landed a spot on the All-Sun Belt Conference Second Team. The Missouri City, Texas, native has big plans for the 2018 season. “We have a lot of great players and a great staff this season,” Hubbard said. “We have an unbelievable lineup, so I think we can do great things this year.” As a team, Hubbard wants to learn to recognize faults quicker and adjust them. The junior also noted that they have to stay focused in order to succeed. “I expect us to recognize what we need to work on and focus on that,” Hubbard said. “We were great at a lot of things last year and bad at a lot of things last year, and we ended up having a great year." Personally, Hubbard wants to be better all around. From an increased batting average to an increased fielding percentage, he aims to see improvement from previous seasons.
Jaylen Hubbard, junior third baseman, slides into home plate during season opening weekend against Oklahoma State. PHOTO COURTESY OF TEXAS STATE SPORTS INFORMATION
“I am looking for better numbers,” Hubbard said. “Overall, I just want to be better. I had a great season last year along with being named an allconference player, but I want more this year.” Some of Hubbard’s goals are to be named an All-American and Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year. The economics major is no stranger to what it takes to be the best. Hubbard’s father, Trinidad Hubbard, spent 19 years as a major league baseball player.
Trinidad has been very outspoken on social media about his son’s progress and success as a baseball player. “A pure hitter like Howie Kendrick plus the skillful glove work and arm of an Alex Bergman equals Texas State’s third baseman Jaylen Hubbard,” Trinidad said. “I’m so proud of his lab work.” Taking on more responsibilities in order to be the best includes becoming a role model and a leader to everybody else. “I consider myself to be one of
the leaders on the team along with a couple other people,” Hubbard said. “I know there are a few that could make a difference in this team. So, I know that I need to sort of take them under my wing, which could be for the better this season or in the long run.” The Bobcats have a long season ahead of them. The starting third baseman has complete faith in their ability to win the Sun Belt Conference title. “If everything all comes together," Hubbard said. "I think we could make a good run for the title in the playoffs.”
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