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TUESDAY

August 31,2021

VOLUME 111 ISSUE 4 www.UniversityStar.com

DEFENDING THE FIRST AMENDMENT SINCE 1911

Brother of Iconic Village fire victim searches for answers in documentary

Opinion: Gov. Greg Abbott is not pro-life

Opinion: Local businesses need to evaluate their open carry policies

SEE PAGE 2

SEE PAGE 5

SEE PAGE 6

FOOD

EYE LIKE YOU

Local snack kitchen promotes affordable, healthy snacking By Sarah Hernandez Life & Arts Editor starlifeandarts@txstate.edu A kitchen full of fresh ingredients and a drive to transform the fastfood industry is all Whitney Blandford and Keoki Anderson need to serve their community. As owners of the local snack kitchen Eye Like You, the duo is on a mission to bring their vision of starting a "fast fuel food evolution" to life, one nutritious snack box at a time. The concept of fast fuel food comes from wanting to promote healthy eating while maintaining the convenience and affordability that comes from consuming fast food. Eye Like You achieves this with its variety of $10 snack boxes that include nutritious foods such as fruits, vegetables, meats, nuts and crackers. "I saw a charcuterie [board] once. And I was like, 'hey, that's really healthy.' 'hey, it can't cost that much.' And so, the $10 snack box was born," Blandford says. "I thought $10 is affordable, and it's nutrient food. It's a lot better than a hamburger combo meal at any fast food you can find. So, we just wanted to definitely stick to a social enterprise." In August 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Blandford, a public administration alumna, saw that the future of restaurants was uncertain. As a result, Eye Like You started as a food bike that she rode around San Marcos selling healthy sandwiches and vegan snacks. Thanks to the Red Bus Food

SEE PAGE 7

PUBLIC DEFENDER'S

Hays County Law Enforcement Center sign, Saturday, August 28, 2021, at 1307 Uhland Road in San Marcos. RASIKA GASTI

County allocates $5 million for Public Defender's Office By Arthur Fairchild News Reporter

Eye Like You co-owner Whitney Blandford prepares a fruit box, Monday, August 30, 2021, at Red Bus Food Park. NATALIE RYAN

Park, Blandford and Anderson moved their business from a bike into a kitchen. The sole employees of Eye Like You, Blandford and Anderson, moved back to Texas last year after living in Hawaii and Guam for a few years. While out of the U.S., Blandford worked in the nonprofit sector for seven years on environmentalism and social service missions. Now, she uses her experience to market Eye Like You as a nontypical fastfood establishment. Anderson, a University of Guam Culinary School alumnus, uses his expertise to manage the business' food costs, prices and profits. Although they collaborate on figuring out what goes into the snack boxes, Blandford says Anderson is much more of a "foodie" than herself. In fact, many of the in-house snacks they provide

come from his ingenuity. "I walked into a restaurant one day and I've been hooked. And I've been in restaurants since '07. And that's what I do. That's what I love," Anderson says. "I like to experiment with kitchen stuff and recipes. And we like being out and involved with the community just bringing people together and being involved in things like that. Food brings people together just as much as the arts." Located inside the Red Bus Food Park's indoor food court on the corner of Chestnut Street, Eye Like You's menu offers glutenfree, vegan, keto and traditional options. A snack box containing foods sourced from local farmers and businesses is in the works. Anderson says supporting small businesses and staying connected with other local entrepreneurs has

SEE FOOD PAGE 4

SAN MARCOS CISD

San Marcos CISD continues to enforce mask mandate By Timia Cobb News Editor starnews@txstate.edu

With the first week of the fall semester over, San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District students and staff continue to wear face masks as part of the district's mandatory mask mandate. The district's mask mandate was adopted after a 6-1 vote by the SMCISD Board of Trustees during a special school board meeting on Aug. 12. During the meeting, parents and local citizens against the mask mandate issued verbal attacks, warnings and threats toward the board members, calling the mandate unconstitutional as it defies Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order. In May, Abbott banned the enforcement of masks in governmentfunded establishments, including

Texas State athletes hope to profit off new NIL rules

A SMCISD student colors in class Monday, August 23, 2021, on SMCISD campus. PHOTO COURTESY OF ANDREW FERNANFEZ

public offices, buildings and public schools. Disobeying the executive order could result in fines up to $1,000. SMCISD Executive Director of Communications Andrew Fernandez says the initial decision

to mandate masks on the district's campuses was influenced by the increase in local COVID-19 cases and the need to protect students. “I think for us, we're just looking SEE SMCISD PAGE 3

The Hays County Commissioners Court has moved forward with creating a Public Defender's Office (PDO) and will use $5 million from the American Rescue Plan to fund the project. A PDO will legally represent individuals who cannot afford their representation in court. Additionally, a PDO will accelerate the judicial process and promote a fair trial system for the defendant. The current model of court-appointed attorneys can be slow and leaves people waiting in jail for weeks or even months, a wait time that aims to be dramatically decreased once the office becomes operational. “Right now, people are in [jail] for months, not yet found guilty and have not yet seen a judge,” says Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra. "If you have a storage [unit] and don’t pay it for two months that stuff is all sold, you’ve probably lost your apartment, gotten your car repossessed and maybe gotten kicked out of school when it all could’ve been avoided.”

"RIGHT NOW, PEOPLE ARE IN [JAIL] FOR MONTHS, NOT YET FOUND GUILTY AND HAVE NOT YET SEEN A JUDGE," RUBEN BECERRA Hays County Judge

According to Becerra, the Hays County Jail is overpopulated and expensive. Inmates are outsourced every day to other jails in different counties. The weekly cost of outsourcing inmates was $50,000 in 2020. The creation of a Public Defender's Office will open space in the jail and help drive outsourcing numbers down. As of Aug. 22, 82% or 498 inmates in the Hays County Jail are held for pretrial and are still awaiting representation, according to the Hays County Jail Dashboard. Along with accelerating pretrial wait times, the Public Defender’s Office is part of Hays County’s cite and divert initiative. Cite and divert works to keep people out of jail and the PDO will give them representation if they are arrested. Becerra says crimes like felony drug offenses can have a devastating impact on individuals such as university students who may not have legal representation. “My biggest hope is to end arresting people needlessly. Of course, I do not excuse aggressive crimes or crimes against people. Victimless crimes like the one’s Governor Perry put out and the list of cite and release offenses, all that stuff should not bog our justice system down, our jails should not be overcrowded, and people’s lives shouldn’t be ruined,” Becerra says. Social justice organization Mano Amiga has pushed for the creation of a Public Defender's Office in Hays County since 2018. Despite an initial setback when a grant application through the SEE PUBLIC DEFENDER'S PAGE 2


2 | Tuesday, August 31, 2021

The University Star

NEWS

Timia Cobb News Editor starnews@txstate.edu

DOCUMENTARY

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

Editorial Staff Editor-in-Chief: Brianna Benitez stareditor@txstate.edu News Editor: Timia Cobb starnews@txstate.edu Life & Arts Editor: Sarah Hernandez starlifeandarts@txstate.edu Opinion Editor: Hannah Thompson staropinion@txstate.edu Sports Editor: Sumit Nagar starsports@txstate.edu Design Editor: Viviana Faz stardesign@txstate.edu Multimedia Editor: Natalie Ryan starmultimedia@txstate.edu Engagement Editor: Eryka Thompson starengagement@txstate.edu Podcast Editor: Kim Davis Jr. starpodcast@txstate.edu

Brother of Iconic Village fire victim searches for answers in documentary By Arthur Fairchild News Reporter

Three years after losing his sister to one of the deadliest fires in San Marcos history, Brian “BK” Frizzell has set out to create “Justice For Our Kids,” a documentary chronicling the haunting night of the fire and the stories of those affected by it. Just hours before dawn on July 20, 2018, a fire engulfed the Iconic Village Apartments. The fire left 200 residents displaced, killed five people and injured several others. The fire took the lives of Frizzell's sister, Haley, and roommate, David Angel Ortiz, along with Belinda Moats, Dru Estes and James Phillip Miranda. Frizzell's sister was staying in his bedroom while he was away, studying abroad. According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the fire was arson. There is a $110,000 reward for anyone who can provide information on the individual responsible for causing the fire. Frizzell set out to create the documentary over a year ago once his initial fundraiser on GoFundMe raised more than $6,000. He hopes the documentary detects new information from that night and helps capture the perpetrator.

Public & Internal Relations Nadia Gonzales PIR Director starpr@txstate.edu

Full-Time Staff Director: Laura Krantz, laurakrantz@txstate.edu Student Publications Coordinator: Mayra Mejia, mm1894@txstate.edu

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 4,500. Printing and distribution is by the New Braunfels HeraldZeitung. Copyright: Copyright Tuesday, August 31, 2021. 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 brought to our attention will be corrected as soon as possible. Visit The Star at universitystar.com

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The aftermath of the deadly June 20, 2018 Iconic Village Apartment Fire. STAR FILE PHOTO

“My goal is to explore the emotions of losing someone you love in such a tragic and sudden way and to present it in such a way that makes somebody who knows something feel bad enough to come forward," Frizzell says. "If [the documentary] brings peace to people, that’s awesome, but if that’s all it does, it won’t have accomplished its goal." Frizzell is a Texas State alumnus and is one of the first to graduate from the university with a film degree. He has been working in Austin's film and T.V. industry ever since. Nearly all of the families impacted by the fire have been interviewed for the documentary. Frizzell says one of the most difficult things families speak of is the violence of the deaths, making it hard for them to find peace. “I know where my roommate was

Workers demolish the burned Iconic Village apartments, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2020 on North LBJ Drive. An early-morning apartment complex fire on July 20, 2019, left five residents deceased and hundreds displaced. STAR FILE PHOTO

found; I know where my sister was found, and it wasn’t in bed. It sucks for all of us to know and try to deal with that fact that our loved ones did experience it and had to know that they

“I KNOW WHERE MY ROOMMATE WAS FOUND; I KNOW WHERE MY SISTER WAS FOUND, AND IT WASN’T IN BED. IT SUCKS FOR ALL OF US TO KNOW AND TRY TO DEAL WITH THAT FACT THAT OUR LOVED ONES DID EXPERIENCE IT AND HAD TO KNOW THAT THEY WERE ABOUT TO DIE,” BRIAN “BK” FRIZZELL TEXAS STATE ALUMNUS

were about to die,” Frizzell says. Frizzell's longtime friend, Zachary Sutterfield, was left critically injured from the fire with burns covering 70% of his body. He escaped the burning building by jumping from a secondstory balcony, which left him with

a traumatic brain injury. Zachary Sutterfield admires Frizzell's dedication to sharing the stories of those impacted by the fire. “We don’t get to see each other that often, but we still cheer each other on. He’s still my best friend; I love him so much, and I’m just immensely proud of him,” Zachary Sutterfield says. "I’m proud of him for doing this because I know how hard this is on him, to hear from the victims’ families and the survivors. I hope that we do get justice." Zachary’s mother, Deona Jo “DJ” Sutterfield, also hopes the documentary leads to answers on the fire's origin and encourages viewers to establish fire safety awareness. “I’m grateful that he is doing it because it is showing that there are buildings in this country that are not safe. Fire suppression systems and firewalls may have made a difference that night; I’m glad that he’s honoring the victims and survivors, but he’s also bringing awareness to building safety,” DJ Sutterfield says. The Sutterfields take comfort in knowing Frizzell, someone both talented and completely invested in the story, is the one creating the documentary. “The documentary has been hard on our family, but we know that it needs to be done, and we want to support [Frizzell] in every effort,” DJ Sutterfield says. "He’s a great artist. I’ve seen a couple of his things that he’s worked on, and he’s very talented, and I think he’s going to do a great job telling this story.” Frizzell hopes to have the project completed by the end of 2021. He urges viewers to contact the ATF if they have any information leading to the perpetrator.

FRONT PUBLIC DEFENDER'S Texas Indigent Defense Commission was denied, advocates at Mano Amiga continued to push for the creation of the PDO. “It was a devastating setback, but it was not a loss. We refused to treat it as a loss. I really just want people to realize that we really have the power when we show up and speak out, we win,” says Mano Amiga Campaign Fellow Samantha Benavidez.

Mano Amiga Policy Director Eric Martinez believes the PDO will support those who are experiencing financial hardship and will establish balance within the justice system. “Many people in our community are at or near or below the poverty line. Three out of four of the people who will have a felony charge against them will be declared indigent,” Martinez says. “Texas Indigent Defense Commission,

Texas A&M Public Policy Research Institute and others, show that Public Defender's Offices reduce days of pretrial incarceration and get shorter or reduced sentences for those who are convicted or plead guilty." The Hays County Public Defender’s Office is set to become operational in 2022.


Tuesday, August 31, 2021 | 3

The University Star

NEWS

Timia Cobb News Editor starnews@txstate.edu

FRONT SMCISD at the local data that our health officials provide us that the rise in cases [in] young adults and young children are on the rise. If we could just go that extra step and wear a mask, why not take that extra step," Fernandez says. Other K-12 school districts across the state have also enforced mask mandates of their own. Because of conflicts in Abbott's ban, the Texas Supreme Court has allowed schools to require masks. While many comments at the meeting were against the enforcement of masks, SMCISD Trustee At-Large Anne Halsey says she received countless messages of support before and after the meeting. "So, that was a lot of people reaching out to me, and overwhelmingly, like 80% of them were in support of requiring masks," Halsey says. "I think we had a few people who were very vocal, they're in the vocal minority that showed up at that meeting, wanting to be heard, which is fine. But, we had a very large silent majority that was not present at that meeting.” The trustees decided not to address the lifting or change in a mask mandate until January 2022. Fernandez says this is still the plan and the school board will work with its attorney if need be. “As far as we know, with the executive order, you know, our mask mandate is still in place and that's where we lean on our district attorney for guidance on if the mask mandate changes in any way, but as of right now, we are pushing forward with the mask mandate and we'll follow that until our attorney or board decides," Fernandez says. Fernandez says most families have been accepting of the mask mandate. However, he understands every family is different when it comes to their wants and needs. Fernandez adds the district is remaining transparent with its students and their parents by reporting positive cases and updating its COVID-19 dashboard. As of Aug. 30, there are 21 active student cases and six active staff cases, according to the dashboard. "Our families have been super responsive to the mask mandate. We truly appreciate them for working, you know, together and cooperatively, especially during the summer with the numbers going up in our county and around Texas," Fernandez says. Melissa Zader, a resident of Kyle, Texas, says she is proud of SMCISD for issuing a mask mandate and even went to Facebook to applaud the district, wishing her school district would follow suit. “I believe a mask mandate is extremely important for school districts, especially for the elementary level, they aren’t able to get vaccinated," Zader says. "So, a mask is the best level of protection they have at

A SMCISD Pre- K teacher engages with students in a classroom, Monday, August 23, 2021, on a SMCISD campus. PHOTO COURTESY OF ANDREW FERNANFEZ

this point. Studies show when everyone is masked it reduces the level of transmission by 70%. My friends and family are masked and so are our children in order to do our part. None of us enjoy wearing a mask, but we need to do everything in our power to protect each other, especially our vulnerable children.” Marceia Ware, a San Marcos resident and mother of two, is also happy about SMCISD enforcing masks and says it was the best approach to make during this time. “I feel like it's the best idea. I personally think that when the governor said that it was okay for people to not wear the mask anymore, you know, or as often, that that's when the problem arose. Especially for the young kids going back to school because, you know, it's just so many of them, they all have to be in the same building. It just makes sense, really, to me," Ware says. As a mother of three SMCISD students, Halsey expresses the comfortability in knowing her children have another layer of safety when attending school. However, she still worries about the virus as her youngest child is unable to get vaccinated.

“I feel a lot better than I did before this was in place, I’m still nervous," Halsey says. "My two older children are of age to be vaccinated and they are both fully vaccinated and, you know, luckily, knock on wood, they've been safe, so far, and they've been able to participate in activities starting off this fall. My youngest is not able to be vaccinated and it's worrisome to me, but I feel much better about it knowing that he and his classmates are all wearing face masks and taking precautions.” The district is not requiring vaccinations but is strongly encouraging those eligible to get vaccinated. Fully vaccinated students and staff will not need to stay home or quarantine if exposed to a positive case at school. Halsey asks that more community members continue to get vaccinated if they can and hopes that masks will no longer be necessary one day. "We understand why this is necessary, we hope this doesn't last forever. I agree I want it to be as short lived as possible, but we have to do what we have to do to keep kids in the classroom," Halsey says.

Texas State graduates Hailey Hughes (left) and Cole Campbell dance together, Friday, August 27, 2021, at Our Lady of Wisdom University Parish. LAUREN LIGUEZ

Blevins band members Brandon (left) and Kevynn Blevins strum their guitars, Tuesday, August 24, 2021, at LBJ Amphitheater. STEVEN PHIPPS

Texas State general agriculture junior Dominike Uscanga looks through a stack of posters, Tuesday, August 24, 2021, at a poster sale on the Quad. RASIKA GASTI

Rachel Moose (left) explains about different types of crystal necklaces in her booth to Texas State advertising junior Citlaly Morales, Saturday, August 28, 2021, at Jo's Cafe. RASIKA GASTI

Texas State students participate in a Super Smash Bros tournament, Thursday, August 26, 2021, at Alkek One's Immersion Studio. JEFFREY HALFEN

Blevins band member Brandon Blevins sings, Tuesday, August 24, 2021, at LBJ Amphitheater. STEVEN PHIPPS


4 |Tuesday, August 31, 2021 Sarah Hernandez Life & Arts Editor starlifeandarts@txstate.edu

FOOD been an important part of growing and developing Eye Like You. "Doing local — it creates community also as like a network of strong players that want to push the community forward," Anderson says. "It's less intimidating when you can support local farmers and you can do something for them. They might know something that you can use that could be helpful for your business. And it's just like a nice little tight-knit community. And because we're all kind of in the same boat, trying to make [it in] a big corporate world, trying to stay local and small, it makes even more of a tight-knit community." Diana Martinez, owner of the Red Bus Food Park, knows the importance of lifting up small businesses in San Marcos. There is something for everyone at the Red Bus Food Park and she admires Blandford and Anderson for the mission they have for Eye Like You. "Being healthy is really important for mental wellness, physical wellness, there's a lot of pieces," Martinez says. "When you talk 'fuel food' I love that because it really is about feeding your mind and soul and respecting those around you and supporting those around you. So, I think, I love, love their mission. I think it plays exactly into what we're most passionate about as an organization." As the owner of a site with several other small businesses, she also admires Eye Like You's effort to give back to the community. "The idea of giving back to the community that ultimately is supporting you, whether they're buying from you or they're providing you with produce for your meals, I mean, that is what it should be like, and I think what's amazing about that is San Marcos, and Texas I mean, there's just a very special hometown feel when we're here," Martinez says. "I just feel

The University Star

LIFE & ARTS so lucky to be part of an organization where we do have people that believe in that and really act on it to give back. So, it's incredibly important and very admirable." San Marcos was the ideal location for the snack kitchen, not only because it is the home of her alma mater, but because of the open-mindedness of the college community, Blandford says. "We think [San Marcos] can really see what we're trying to do here," Blandford says. "But yeah, college kids — not only do they need something affordable, but they need something with sustenance. I just think college kids are just more intelligent than when I was [that] age. I just think y'all are just more aware of our issues and more aware of what's right and what's wrong. And I think Eye Like You co-owner Whitney Anderson prepares a fruit box, that they'll see this, and they might Monday, August 30, 2021, at Red Bus Food Park. want to be a part of it." Blandford says she and Anderson NATALIE RYAN are in no rush to grow their business any faster than they should. They're grateful to be starting small and hope to gradually achieve their goal of opening a cafeteria to serve home-cooked meals alongside their snack boxes. For now, they celebrate the small victories that come with running their local snack kitchen. "Just the small little wins that you can see yourself pushing forward, like I remember coming home and seeing the business cards, or I came home and saw the flyers and just those little things that validated and made me feel like, 'wow, we're really moving forward with this,'" Anderson says. "But I think the tangible, like, the authentic stuff, like when we sell a box and somebody tries it, and their feedback is so genuine, that's rewarding for me to see." Eye Like You co-owners Keoki Anderson (left) and Whitney Anderson Eye Like You is open Mondays and talk with each other, Monday, August 30, 2021, at Red Bus Food Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more Park. information and to view the menu, visit NATALIE RYAN its Facebook @eyelikeyouuu.


Tuesday, August 31, 2021| 5

The University Star

OPINIONS

Hannah Thompson Opinion Editor staropinions@txstate.edu

Opinions in The University Star are not necessarily those of our entire publication, Texas State University’s administration, Board of Regents, School of Journalism and Mass Communication or Student Publications Board.

HEARTBEAT BILL

Gov. Greg Abbott is not pro-life By Mckenzie Siller Opinions Contributor In March, Gov. Greg Abbott lifted the state mask mandate and later issued an executive order prohibiting public schools, universities and government offices from enforcing face masks within their institutions. In a tweet regarding the mask mandate, Abbott stated, “Texans, not gov’t, should decide their best health practices.” Abbott's belief, however, does not apply to women who do not wish to be pregnant. Abortion has been legal since the historic ruling of Roe v. Wade in 1973. This landmark case defends a woman's liberty to decide to have an abortion without extreme regulations by the government. However, the decision in Roe v. Wade grants states the power to impose their own regulations on second-trimester abortions. Beginning Sept. 1, the Texas government will enforce one of the nation's most restrictive laws against abortion with Senate Bill 8, also known as the Heartbeat Bill, a bill that will make it illegal for individuals to get an abortion past six weeks of pregnancy. The name of the bill itself is misleading. According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, embryos do not develop hearts until later in the pregnancy. What will be detected in ultrasounds near the six weeks of pregnancy is electronically induced flickering of tissue that eventually develops into a fetus’ heart. States restricting abortion rights is nothing new. Alabama, Kansas, Ohio and recently Louisiana, have implemented anti-abortion bills. In Alabama, abortions are banned at any stage in pregnancy, except in medical emergencies. Across the state of Texas, citizens are threatening to enforce the Heartbeat Bill themselves by filing lawsuits, with awards of $10,000 if they win, against any provider suspected of

I feel that we are going back a lot of steps. Just taking away our rights to our bodies is not fair," says Alissa Greber, a psychology junior.

I FEEL THAT WE ARE GOING BACK A LOT OF STEPS. JUST TAKING AWAY OUR RIGHTS TO OUR BODIES IS NOT FAIR," ALISSA GREBER PSYCHOLOGY JUNIOR MADISON WARE

performing abortions past the sixweek period. Suspected providers can include abortion clinics, such as Planned Parenthood, doctors, rape crisis counselors and family members. "I think it is not really fair because most women don't know they are pregnant at six weeks," says Sapphire Davidson, a fashion and merchandising sophomore. Before a woman can decide if she is financially and mentally stable enough to raise a child, the government decides for her. Once that woman gives birth to an unwanted child, the government does little to support her or her child. While there is a proposed Medicaid expansion of providing support to new mothers for a year postpartum, Texas lawmakers will not pass the bill in time to coincide with the Heartbeat Bill. Abbott's claim to be "pro-life" seems murky when noticing the lack of health benefits offered to these women, and more skepticism arises when looking at the lives of those in Texas foster care. In 2019, Texas had 31,427 children and teens in foster care with an average

stay time of 17 months. Out of those numbers, only 6,105 were adopted into families. Since July 2019, 23 foster children have died while in state custody, six of which were attributed to caregiver abuse and neglect. These deaths occurred during Abbott's second term as governor and should have never even happened. Before abortion became legal, the estimated number of women dying from illegal and unsafe abortions in 1965 was reported to be under 200, accounting for 17% of all deaths due to pregnancy and childbirth that year. The actual amount was most likely higher. In 2019, the number of women dying from legal abortions in safe clinics was less than 0.6 per 100,000 procedures. There will most likely be a rise in deaths, due to illegal abortions seen here in Texas. Abortion clinics in the southwest have already experienced an increase in patients traveling from Texas. "If somebody doesn't want an abortion, they don't have to get it, but to take that right away from another woman is hard for me to accept because

If the Texas government genuinely cared about human life, it would have done more for the thousands of children and adults who died from COVID-19; it would have done more for the 210 lives lost due to ERCOT power grid failures during Winter Storm Uri. It's hard to believe Abbott's proclamation that Texas is a pro-life state when the government lifts mask requirements even with the COVID-19 Delta variant rampaging through the country (Texas has had a 400% increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations in the last month). Nor did Abbott attempt to stop the execution of Quintin Jones on May 19, 2021, a man who had been on death row since 1999 and requested clemency along with some family members. The only solution to end these unnecessary tragedies is to vote. The Texas gubernatorial election will take place on Nov. 8, 2022. I urge everyone to register to vote, no matter their opinions or political views. We have a voice; we should use it. - Mckenzie Siller is a biochemistry junior


6 | Tuesday, August 31, 2021

The University Star

OPINIONS

Hannah Thompson Opinion Editor staropinions@txstate.edu

Opinions in The University Star are not necessarily those of our entire publication, Texas State University’s administration, Board of Regents, School of Journalism and Mass Communication or Student Publications Board.

OPEN CARRY

Local businesses need to evaluate their open carry policies By Jacklynn Broussard Opinions Contributor

Guns have been the root of many crimes in America, ranging from crimes stemming from police brutality, crimes within communities or shootings sparked by hatred. The ability to easily obtain firearms has increased throughout the years as Americans feel the need to protect themselves with weapons, an understandable feeling with the current heated events across the U.S. However, with House Bill 1927, a newly passed law by Gov. Greg Abbott, rogue gun enthusiasts now have little to no barriers when it comes to purchasing deadly weapons. To ensure the safety of their patrons, local businesses must take the necessary steps to regulate the ability to carry firearms in their establishments. House Bill 1927 allows adults 21 years of age or older to possess a firearm in non-prohibited public spaces without any licenses or training. Starting Sept. 1, background checks and training measures that were once established will no longer be in place. It will now be extremely easy for people unaware of the responsibility and weight that comes with owning a gun, to obtain one. Gun mishaps are common occurrences, and problems could arise in local businesses leading suddenly to injuries in an armed fight. These injuries could be a result of not putting the safety on, malfunctioning of the gun itself, heated arguments or even a child grabbing the gun. All incidents could happen anytime and any place. It is not uncommon for guns to accidentally go off, most often killing people under the age of 25. Each state has its own set of rules when it comes to concealed carry into businesses. In Texas, private businesses must display their individual gun carry laws outside their establishment to prevent any unnecessary confusion. If the rule is not explicitly said or shown, then many Americans will presume they can carry a gun. In Washington, citizens can carry guns inside

restaurants, but only in areas where persons under the age of 21 are allowed, such as dining areas. Additionally, gun carriers cannot consume or have consumed liquor, beer or wine, ensuring gun holders are held responsible, even in restaurants.

MADISON WARE

The new bill still prohibits individuals from carrying a firearm into a bar, which is defined as any establishment that earns 51% in alcohol sales. Those who violate this law could serve between two and 10 years in prison and be fined up to $10,000. This portion of the law holds carriers accountable to a point. However, gun owners can still drink and carry at restaurants, removing the accountability from carrying and drinking. Some local restaurants, such as KAsian, do not have any gun policies of their own. Firearms are not toys, and they should not be regarded as such. Giving guns out to the public with no guidance or training restrictions will only lead to tragedy and increased gun crimes. There are training courses recommended for those who decide to purchase firearms, however, these courses need to be

required. People cannot assume they can easily defend themselves by simply "pointing and shooting" with no training. The right to bear arms was put in place to defend oneself from attacks, yet there have been numerous mass shootings across America where gun owners have instead attacked innocent people. Public places including nightclubs, grocery stores and restaurants have been the scenes of deadly shootings. Allowing any person to openly carry their guns in establishments breeds unsafe situations. Federal law has prohibited certain groups from obtaining guns such as felons and persons less than the age of 18 years. However, guns continue to be easily obtained, whether that be legally or illegally. In Texas, individuals do not need a permit to purchase a handgun or long arm, nor do they need to register those types of guns. With this newfound law going into action in September, it will only make obtaining and using guns an easier occurrence. People will be able to carry their firearms legally and openly. There has to be a middle ground reached by the state government or firm rules enforced by local businesses. Public establishments need to become stricter on their policies and explicitly display their stance on open carry, so that there is no room for misunderstanding. As for the government, if the firearm was not fired with the purpose of self-defense or some heroic event then there needs to be a justifiable consequence. House Bill 1927 gives the masses too much free reign, which can only cause residents more harm than good if not handled in a serious manner. America has an issue with gun violence, and Abbott is choosing to ignore the issues surrounding it. Business goers and owners should not have to live in fear that a stray bullet may hit them, while working or visiting an establishment. Individuals who choose to carry guns need to be trained, licensed and held accountable. - Jackie Broussard is a journalism sophomore

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Tuesday, August 31, 2021 | 7

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SPORTS  



Sumit Nagar Sports Editor starsports@txstate.edu

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TXST NIL Texas State then-junior guard Caleb Asberry (2) scans the court for an opening in the ULM defense, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021, at Strahan Arena. The Bobcats won 61-57.

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KATE CONNORS

Texas State athletes hope to profit off new NIL rules By Sumit Nagar Sports Editor

starsports@txstate.edu

With the passing of Texas Senate Bill 1385, Texas college athletes can now profit off their personal name, image and likeness (NIL), a concept that's been debated among sports commentators and fans for years. According to senior basketball guard Caleb Asberry, institutions have had more control over an athlete's name, image and likeness than the athlete themselves. With the passing of the bill, Asberry and other Texas State athletes can use their status to endorse products and partner with businesses for compensation, taking ownership of their personal brand. "It's kind of overdue," Asberry says. "[Schools and the NCAA] get money off of us, so why couldn't we do it a long time ago?"

Texas State junior wide receiver Trevis Graham Jr. (14) jumps in celebration with Wide Receivers Coach Bryson Abraham after a touchdown at spring practice, Thursday, April 22, 2021, at Bobcat Stadium. KATE CONNORS

"IT'S KIND OF OVERDUE," ASBERRY SAYS. "[SCHOOLS AND THE NCAA] GET MONEY OFF OF US, SO WHY COULDN'T WE DO IT A LONG TIME AGO?"

Texas State then-junior guards Caleb Asberry (2) and Mason Harrell (12) embrace each other and walk off the court after being named the Sun Belt Conference champions, Friday, Feb. 26, 2021, at Up until now, athletes have received Strahan Arena. The Bobcats won 58-49. no financial compensation for their KATE CONNORS hard work and long hours. With CALEB ASBERRY

SENIOR BASKETBALL GUARD

early mornings and late nights, senior basketball guard Mason Harrell has a demanding schedule that is different than the average college student. "We'll probably wake up 7:30, 8:00 for the workouts," Harrell says. "Class, and then after class, you probably got another workout. Practice, [watch] film with the coaches ... From eight in the morning to nine o'clock [at night] you're busy doing activities with basketball,

school, tutoring ... We're not able to be like a normal student and maybe go to work or have some downtime or get time to make money or have a job." The NIL bill's passing may allow Harrell to earn money while maintaining his long schedule. In the 2020-21 basketball season, Harrell and Asberry had breakout seasons, landing as the top two scorers on the team. Both players wished they were able to profit

off their names and talents sooner but are now glad to have the opportunity in the months to come. "I think I could've benefitted from it, beforehand," Harrell says. "Now, it's kind of a good thing that they made the rule this year for me. I'm looking forward to really taking advantage of it." Just as the bill came into effect, the Texas State Athletics Compliance Office held in-person and virtual sessions with

athletes to teach the basics of the bill. Associate Athletics Director Compliance Kelsey Solis says Texas State has made efforts to cover financial literacy, time management, budgeting and financial aid. Additionally, the Compliance Office will add sessions such as entrepreneurship, business management and building a brand. “We are working to create a comprehensive and ongoing education plan for all of our student-athletes and then several focused topics for those that are really interested in getting into the business world of NIL and growing their opportunities as student-athletes and even beyond when they are done playing sports,” Solis says. Junior football wide receiver Trevis Graham Jr. echoes Harrell's sentiment, adding that potential partnerships and endorsements directly reflect the athlete and their values. "You don't want to tie your name to every company that offers you," Graham says. "You don't know what every company is offering or what they stand for, so you just want to be smart in that regard [than] just handing over your name, image and likeness to someone ... Make sure the company is the right company that represents you." With this new opportunity coming into form, Graham says athletes with the most name recognition will reap the most benefits, while lesser-known ones will struggle. "It's definitely not for everyone," Graham says. "Not everyone is going to make a whole bunch of money off this, and not everyone is gonna be getting sponsorships and deals. But, for the people who do have a name, and a brand wants to use their name, it's definitely good for them to be able to capitalize on that and be able to make money while they're a hot commodity." Graham believes not every venture in this NIL era will be successful, but it allows himself and other athletes to try ideas immediately, without the fear of repercussions. "Instead of ideas like I had in the past, and just [saying], 'once I get out of college, I can do that,' I can actually do them now and get started on it," Graham says. "Even if things don't kick off or don't work out, it's still real-world experience."


8 | Tuesday, August 31, 2021

The University Star

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August 31, 2021  

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