Category Archives: Opinion

Crime alert system needs upgrade

5.12.17 SafetyThe University of La Verne prides itself on the level of safety it provides its students. With full-time campus security, proximity to the La Verne police department, video cameras, blue emergency poles, the LiveSafe app and procedure posters in each classroom, it’s hard to feel unsafe on campus. The University also employs the “chad” system, or radio frequency identification, locks on every dorm entrance. But what the institution has yet to fully recognize is the safety that comes with awareness.

To keep students and staff informed, the University employs two systems: e2Campus, which sends out a campus-wide alert via phone and email during a current and life-threatening emergency, and a campus incident alert sent through Stu Info that is supposed to inform students and staff about non-active incidents within a timely manner. The email alerts are supposed to be in accordance with the timely warning requirement of the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Crime Statistics Act of 1990.

“This federal law requires a general communication to the campus community of all crimes reported to campus or local police departments that may pose a threat to the campus community.

Such reports shall be provided to students and employees in a manner that is timely and that may aid in the prevention of similar occurrences,” the email said.

However, there are multiple problems with the campus alert emails, including timeliness and the fact that students receive the emails separate from faculty.

Recently, the campus alerts have not been emailed in a timely manner. For example, on March 8 the Stu Info email reported a strong-arm robbery that occurred in the Circle K parking lot. A female student was approached by an unknown male who stole her iPad and fled. Upon further investigation by the Campus Times and confirmation from the La Verne Police Department, it was found the incident actually took place Feb. 21.

Not only were students notified 15 days late, but the incident was reported to have happened at 9:30 a.m. the day of the email. Students cannot be expected to be on alert for suspicious activity when they are not even aware of the correct time and date of an incident.

On April 20, the campus incident alert email reported a strong arm robbery/snatch and run that happened the day before, April 19, at 11:46 p.m.

Although this email was sent to the campus in a more timely manner, faculty received the email over three hours before students. Faculty received the email at 10:52 a.m. and students received the email at 1:56 p.m.

There is no reason to alert faculty before students when the alerts are about past incidents. The system separates students and staff in the database and emails them separately. This needs to be fixed so that the campus incident alerts treat students and staff equally with important safety information.

Professors are not on campus as often as students. They may have classes or office hours only a couple days a week. Students have the option to live on campus, therefore spending more time here than any other professor does, and should be wary of possible dangers.

With many Campus Activity Board and Associated Students of the University of La Verne events beginning at 10 p.m., students could be walking around campus late at night. For example, the CAB-ASULV Destination Procrastination ended at 1 a.m. Friday morning.

If students are walking on campus so late at night, they deserve to be informed of safety concerns. Students deserve to be alerted at the same time as professors, if not before, especially after school hours.

 

The material above was originally published by University of La Verne’s Campus Times. Although written and drawn by me, the cartoon and article are the property of the Campus Times. 

Advertisements

Free tuition plan is positive step

On April 9, New York’s state legislature approved Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to provide free college tuition to New York residents who are full-time students and earn less than $100,000 annually. In 2018, the cap will increase to $110,000 and then $125,000 in 2019.

The plan is projected to help approximately 80 percent of New York families, according to NY.gov. However, the scholarship that was created to make college more accessible to the middle class may exclude the very people it was designed to aid, strict requirements should become more lenient to aid those it currently excludes.

In March, more than 30 members of the state’s Assembly signed a budget letter agreeing that the proposal should focus on the middle-class and suggested the scholarship should be available to students whose household income is $175,000 or less. According to the Assembly, with the current requirements, the project would benefit only 32,000 students, less than 5 percent of undergraduates, once fully implemented in fiscal year 2019-20.

Multiple income families, despite meeting the cut-off, may not be able to afford tuition due to the high cost of living in New York. This is a reality many middle-class Californian families can relate to.

The scholarship also requires students to take 30 units per year. However, this requirement does not take into account students who may work full-time. Also, the scholarship could be lost if a student takes a leave of absence of medical leave. This strict requirement needs to be changed to include students who may need special accommodations to continue their higher learning.

In the United States, 44.2 million Americans have student loan debt, a whopping $1.3 trillion in total. The average student loan borrower will graduate with at least a $26,000 debt. For college graduates ages 20 to 30, the average monthly payment on their student loans is $351, according to federalreserve.gov.

New York has taken a step to provide options for its millions of college students, and as wonderful as that may be, the program should aim higher. Other states should look to New York as an example, an implement a similar program themselves.

This story was originally published by The Campus Times.

‘Sesame Street’ commits to inclusivity

3.31.17 Sesame StChoosing an appropriate, educational television show for your children has become a reality in modern parenting. Time and time again, “Sesame Street” has proven to be the best choice for their commitment to inclusivity.

On April 10, the show will introduce its newest character Julia, a 4-year-old Muppet with yellow skin, orange hair and Autism Spectrum Disorder. According to Autism Speaks, ASD is a genetic and environmentally-influenced disorder characterized by challenges with social skills, non-verbal communication and repetitive behaviors.

It is clarified that Julia has autism when a hurt Big Bird asks why she will not shake his hand. Characters are careful to explain that autism affects everyone differently, and in Julia’s case, it takes her a little longer to take in the environment around her. She is then quickly accepted by her new friends at Sesame Street.

Since 1969, the show has gone beyond simply teaching children ABCs and 123s, tackling sensitive subjects such as racism, divorce and the events of 9/11. Throughout the years, “Sesame Street” has featured characters whose parents are incarcerated and discussed the topics of death, racism, bullying, adoption and breastfeeding.

The show is watched worldwide and tailors characters to fit the demographics and pressing issues of different countries. For example, the South African version introduced in 2003 the first HIV-positive character, Kami. In 2016, Afghanistan’s version of the show introduced Muppet Zarin, who teaches physical and social well-being to Afghan girls.

The American version of the show has a history of featuring characters that teach children important lessons on ableism, which is discrimination against people with disabilities. In 1972, character Linda the Librarian, played by deaf actress Linda Bove, taught children about deaf culture and American Sign Language. In the 1970s, Jason Kingsley helped viewers understand Down-Syndrome. From 1993 to 2001, Tarah Schaeffer, a 9-year-old with osteogenesis imperfecta, taught children about staying active while in a wheelchair.

Although it is wonderful that the show has featured these characters, it is about time a permanent Muppet teaches these lessons in a fun, yet sensitive way.

Julia’s character, orignally introduced as a digital character in storybooks back in 2015, was so well received in the autism community that the show decided to work with autism advocacy groups to bring Julia to life and develop her into a character that is representative and sensitive.

Working with autism advocacy groups goes beyond what is expected of a television show. “Sesame Street” has even developed a page on their website dedicated to educating families on autism, with easy to read articles such as “Being a Friend.” The article teaches the importance of including friends with autism, patience and how to tell an adult if someone is being unkind to them. The steps “Sesame Street” has taken to be inclusive are commendable.

Autism Spectrum Disorder has gone from affecting 1 in 150 children in 2000 to 1 in 68 children in 2012, according to the Center for Disease Control. As those affected by the disorder grow in numbers, it is important that ASD is represented in mainstream media. Now, with the help of “Sesame Street,” newer generations will grow up more sensitive to autism.

It is imperative that children’s shows follow the example “Sesame Street” set to teach school-age children about interacting with people who have ASD, so everyone can feel comfortable and respected in a learning environment. “Sesame Street” has taken the right step toward inclusion, representation and diversity that we can expect from the beloved show.

The material above was originally published by University of La Verne’s Campus Times. Although written and drawn by me, the cartoon and article are the property of the Campus Times. 

Transgender civil liberties undermined

The Trump Administration announced in February that it would no longer support the advances Barack Obama made for transgender equality in the previous presidency, which allowed transgender students to use the restroom of the gender they identify with. President Donald Trump has made a grave mistake in rescinding protection for these students, who now must use the restroom of their birth gender.

What Trump and those who support his action have yet to understand is that transgender people, especially students, face significant harassment and bullying in restrooms and daily life. Transgender people, especially trans women, fear for their safety if they are forced to use the restroom of their birth sex. They need protection and the basic right to use the bathroom of their choice.

Under Obama, the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights issued informal letters to notify schools across the nation that under Title IX – the law that requires gender equity in education – transgender students can use the restroom of the gender they identify with. The letters were in response to the upcoming Supreme Court case of Gloucester County School Board v Gavin Grimm – a case in which Grimm, a transgender male and senior at Gloucester High School, was suing the school board after denial of an injunction to allow Grimm to use the male restroom for the 2015-2016 school year.

The decision was appealed by Grimm and the American Civil Liberties Union in the U.S. Court of Appeals of the Fourth Circuit, being overturned in August. Since then, the Virginia schools board has petitioned for a review of the Fourth Circuit’s ruling by the Supreme Court.

Transgender students are often asked to use a separate restroom, most of the time being the unisex restroom in the nurse’s office.

At a Gloucester County School Board meeting in 2016, Grimm addressed the questions of the people who spoke before him. “Everyone here who has spoken about me so far has referred to me as a girl… I did have to use nurse’s restroom for the first part of the year. This was alienating. It was humiliating,” he said.

“Seeing as the nurse’s office was one place in a very large school, it took a lot of time from my education,” he added.

Grimm went on to address statements people made at the meeting questioning the safety of their children, stating that he is not violent. He had never met any instance of violence or bullying in the men’s restroom, which he said he is lucky for.

“I cannot use the women’s room, quite frankly, because I am not a girl,” he said.

Grimm wishes to press on with the Supreme Court Case despite Trump’s withdraw of the Title IX protection. The Supreme Court expects letters from attorneys on both sides of the argument Wednesday.

President Trump, despite his personal belief on gender identities, should follow in the footsteps of the previous administration toward the protection of transgender people, especially transgender students whose education has become effected by the issue of which bathroom they are allowed to use.

The public, like the President, tends to overlook the struggles of transgender people. According to Advocate, 2016 was the deadliest year on record for transgender people with 27 reported homicides. Alexis Arquette, actress and transgender activist, died in 2016 from complications of AIDS, but was excluded from the “In Memoriam” segment of the Academy Awards despite being a prominent actor since the 1980s.

With Trump’s repeal of Obama’s efforts, he perpetuates the exclusion of transgender struggles from public discourse, allowing those who commit acts of violence against transgender people to see them as less than human. The Trump Administration must uphold Title IX, and continue supporting not just transgender students, but all transgender people. If they are denied the basic right to use the restroom, they are denied the simplest of liberties.

This story was originally published by The Campus Times.

 

Commentary: Boy Scouts’ inclusivity defies tradition

A sense of belonging is important to a child’s upbringi

2-17-17-boy-scouts

ng. That is why most parents get their children involved in some type of sport or activity: soccer, cheerleading, football, or boy scouts and girl scouts.

If you think about it, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts are really fraternities and sororities for little kids: you pay dues, plan activities, go on retreats, have mentors and can be a mentor to others. Scouts is about brother or sisterhood, helping others and developing social and even survival skills.

In 2007, my mother forced me to join Girl Scouts. Fifth-grade me was reluctant because I was what others called a “Tomboy.” I hated the color pink, I’d dress for comfort, and I was known to be pretty rough. I thought all Girl Scouts did was wear skirts with sashes and sell cookies.

After a year of being a scout, I learned that Girl Scouts was much more than that. They got dirty and went camping. Depending on your leader, you could wear a vest rather than a sash and pants rather than a skirt. I did amazing things and had opportunities I would have never had if I hadn’t been a scout. I continued the program until I aged out and gained my Girl Scout for Life membership card.

In November, New Jersey mom Kristie Maldonado received a phone call informing her that her nine-year-old son, Joe would not be welcome at his first Boy Scouts meeting as he was born a girl. Joe Maldonado fell victim to what was an outdated policy more than a century old.
In the summer of 2013 I went to a beach camp where girl scouts were on one side of the beach and boy scouts were on the other. It was there, in the co-ed dining hall, that I learned that there were quite a few girls who were happily Boy Scouts. It made me wonder why I had never met a boy Girl Scout.

In January, Boy Scouts of America announced that they will be accepting new members based off their self-identity and their application, not their birth certificate. This new policy comes over three years after the organization ended its ban on openly gay leaders.

Both Boy Scouts of America and Girl Scouts of the USA were founded on religious beliefs and patriotism, still including “God” and serving the country in their oaths. Some may even view the organizations as traditional and conservative with a negative tone. However, they do wield much influence on policy in other youth programs.

The Boy Scouts’ addition of transgender youth, although 107 years late, is an example of organizations rooted in tradition making the right move towards inclusion and acceptance. I hope that other youth programs follow. This is especially important now since President Donald Trump’s Feb. 10 move to combat former President Barack Obama’s efforts toward transgender inclusion.

It is important for children, especially those growing up with an identity that often meets prejudice, to find somewhere they belong. Boy Scouts of America now provides a more inclusive place for those young individuals to find that sense of belonging, a policy that should be embraced and adopted.

This story was originally published by The Campus Times.

Reintroducing Mental Health Support at West Covina High School

I put this spread together for my school’s news organization

Following the death of sophomore Ian Armas, students at West Covina High School begin a conversation about mental health and suicide prevention.

American Apparel Model Applicaton

So you want to be an AA model? Well, we have a few questions for you to ask yourself before you even fill out the application form below.

1) How’s your come-hither-and-take-advantage-of-me look? We pay our ameature photographers top dollaaa4r to take pictures of you in a basement that looks like it was once owned by a sex-slave trafficker who took pictures of children on the coincidentally identical mattresses you’ll be posing on to sell kids to pedophiles. We want to recreate that look as much as possible, so look up “five year old’s first time” on Google or YouTube and practice that look of fear in the mirror over and over again.

2) Are you comfortable with your body? Yes, we are a clothing company, but eighty-nine percent of the time you won’t be wearing any clothing at all. We consider ourselves a revolutionary company throwing it back to before the nineteenth amendment minus the flapper dresses- not revealing enough.aaaa2

3) Are you a butterface? No problem at all! We really don’t discriminate against women who have ugly faces as long as their body’s banging. Your face won’t even be in the shot most of the time. Just make sure you keep up with the squats, leg lifts, and crunches. After you’ve been working for us for a few months we’ll even pay for lipo, a tummy tuck, and even a boob job if you need it.

4) How flexible are you? No, not your time schedule, we mean physically. Can you do the splits? Fantastic! You’ll be putting your gymnast skills to the test leaving nothing up to the male imagination. You’re going to show it all! You should really do those butterfly stretches and get used to it. Your genitals will be in full view for everyone in every country our ads haven’t been banned from yet to see and enjoy!

5) Are your eyes sensitive? Remember how we said we’re going for that child-porn star look? That means you need to cry… A LOT. No tears will be in the pictures chosen for the final ad, but your eyes better be so red the public will mistake the I-was-just-crying look for I-just-got-high. We keep a kryolan menthol stick on hand at every shoot in case you can’t cry on command, but after seeing the “five year old’s first time” pictures or videos, how hard can it be? Sure, your eyes will be burning hotter than the fiery Hell all of us ad campaign idea makers are going to, but we’re American Apparel and you want to become one of our sex-slave, don’t you?

Thanks for considering AA as the next step in your modeling career! We hope to objectify you in every way possible!