Fall 2014 issue 14

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    December 3, 2014ISSUE 14VOLUME XCIX

    T he Bay Area experienced a string of protests this week after a St. Louis County grand jury decid-ed Nov. 24 not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting of Michael Brown.

    A total of 93 demonstrators were ar-

    rested after two major protests took place in Oakland and San Francisco Friday.

    Approximately 25 demonstrators chained themselves to BART trains at both West Oakland platforms, which shut down transbay service for two hours and led to the arrest of 14 protesters

    while 100 more demonstrated below the platforms, according to BART Media Resources Department Manager Alicia Trost.

    Later in the evening, demonstrators took to the San Francisco streets under

    CONFRONTATION: Police form a line to keep protesters off of Interstate 580 after hundreds of people walked on it and stopped traffic Monday, Nov. 24.

    RECORDED: Surveillance video captures Nikhom Thephakaysone, who is charged with the murder of SF State student Justin Valdez, riding a MUNI train Monday, Sept. 23, 2013.



    Serving the San Francisco State community since 1927




    PETER SNARR psnarr@mail.sfsu.edu

    Protests erupt in the Bay Area


    DAYDecember 1

    AIDS memorial promotes prevention for new generation

    DAYVON DUNAWAY ddunaway@mail.sfsu.edu

    In observance of World AIDS Day, SF State student groups rolled out a series of events on campus Monday to commemorate the lives lost to the disease and educate students.

    The 2014 theme, Focus, Partner, Achieve: An AIDS-Free Generation, marked the events 26th run.

    The diagnosis of HIV or AIDS used to be a death sentence, said Alexandre Santos of the Sexual Health P.E.A.C.H. Now its more of a OK, we have an illness so what are we going to do?

    San-tos, who identifies as gay, was always told that he was going to get HIV or that he was going to die. He said that people today have more concrete information reinforcing the idea that anyone having sex can con-tract the disease.

    Accord-ing to amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research, approxi-mately 1.2 million people in the United States live with HIV. It is estimated that of those living with the disease, one in five are unaware that they are infected.

    Getting tested is very im-portant because HIV doesnt always present symptoms, said Sexual Health P.E.A.C.H. Jennifer Goranson.

    Student groups commemorate SF

    State-related lives lost to AIDS

    Suspect pleads not guilty to Valdez murder

    LULU OROZCOohlulu@mail.sfsu.edu

    The man charged with the mur-der of SF State student Justin Valdez pleaded not guilty to three felony counts Tuesday at the Hall of Justice, one month after new evidence was present-ed against him.

    Public defender Robert Dunlap entered the plea on behalf of Nikhom Thephakaysone in response to charges of assault with a deadly weapon, pos-session of an illegal assault weapon and the murder of Valdez.

    Alexandre Santos,P.E.A.C.H.

    The diagnosis of HIV or AIDS used to be a death sentence. Now its more of a okay, we have an illness so what are we going to do?


    You should always know the status of yourself and your partner before engaging in unprotected sex.

    For the most part, students tend not to think about contracting HIV or AIDS, according to Goranson. Most college students, more specif-ically if theyre in a heterosexual relationship, are worried about getting pregnant rather than STIs when the chances of getting an STI are much higher than the risk of getting pregnant, she said.

    This isnt the case with criminal justice major Lanberto Palominos, who decided to get tested with his girlfriend before becoming sexu-ally active.

    Its vital because before you have sex with anyone, that should be the number one thing on your mind, Palominos said. I know some people usually dont do it because it takes time and they dont want to wait.

    Activities kicked off at 10 a.m. at many locations across campus, ending at 9 p.m. with poetry against AIDS. In addition, HIV/AIDS testing and workshops filled Mondays sched-ule, with a reception at 5 p.m. Tuesday at the Richard Oaks Multicultural Center.

    Palaminos said that having a conversation about getting tested is crucial to any relation-ship. The other person has a right to know if you have any diseases, he said.


    Students revisit sexual health for World AIDS Day

    REMEBERING: SF State faculty and students visit tables in Malcolm X Plaza that are designed to teach and create awarness on National AIDS Day Monday, Dec. 1. Blue flags were placed in the grass of the quad to honor staff and alumni who have passed, with The Red Ribbon in the middle acting as the universal symbol of awareness and support.


    The University debuted a new tool that will allow stu-dents to personalize schedules based on graduation needs and availability in time for priority registration beginning Dec. 5.

    Students can insert gen-eral education requirements and breaks through the Gator Scheduler feature to better plan around other activities such as work, sports practice and club meetings.

    We have heard from stu-dents and advisors that students often have difficulty putting to-

    gether a class schedule that takes account of their busy lives," said Senior Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management Jo Volkert in an email. This tool will enable students to develop ideal class schedules and make better and speedier progress to-ward completing their degrees.

    Robert Strazzarino, a Cal-ifornia State University Chico graduate, created the tool after recognizing a need to facilitate class scheduling that would accommodate other aspects of student life.

    The program was initially launched at the University and has since been brought to 19

    other campuses within the CSU system.

    The CSU Chancellors Office negotiated an agreement to cover the $35,000 cost for the program during its first year and subsequent years will be paid through the regular operating budget of the university, accord-ing to Volkert.

    Students can find the courses they need by submitting their un-fulfilled requirements into Gator Scheduler, which will identify the classes that both satisfy their requirement needs and fit into their schedules, Volkert said. Plans made in the scheduler can be imported into their online

    shopping cart, which will be accessible during registration.

    Noelle Abuda, a commu-nications major, thinks the new scheduling tool will help students sift through general education requirements and speed up the scheduling process.

    Just finding all the class-es and their numbers and then bringing them over to the regis-tration page was so time con-suming, Abuda said. Im still finishing my GE so that (Gator Scheduling) would be helpful for me.

    As a senior, psychology student Crystal Lanuza doesnt see much use for the new system

    now, but thinks it would have been a convenient tool when she was juggling multiple jobs and classes.

    I ended up overlapping some classes, Lanuza said. I wish that tool had been there be-fore though. If I were a freshman I would use it.

    While Gator Scheduler is not required in order to register, over 5,000 students have already started using it to plan ahead for their upcoming classes, accord-ing to Volkert.

    The tool is available through the Student Service Center to assist students choosing courses for the Spring 2015 semester.

    New system eases student registration processJENNAH FEELEYjfeeley@mail.sfsu.edu


    SF States Crime Blotter


    Between Monday, Nov. 17 and Tuesday, Dec. 2 the University Police Department responded to 32 incidents. Here are some of the highlights.

    Monday, November 17

    Tuesday, November 18

    Sunday, November 23

    Saturday, November 29Thursday, November 20

    Friday, November 21

    THEFT Officers took a report of a bicycle theft at Mary Ward Hall that amounted to a $3,700 loss. The theft occurred sometime between 9:30 a.m. and 6:40 p.m.

    HEALTH CONCERNS Officers responded to reports of a woman who refused to leave the HSS Building at 9:55 a.m. Upon arriving, officers determined she was a potential risk to herself or others and took her into protective custody. She was taken to San Francisco Gen-eral Hospital for further evaluation.

    EXPLOSION Police received report of an explosion at University Park North around 8:10 p.m. Officers, along with firefighters and PG&E, responded to the report to investigate the scene, but could not determine the cause of the explosion.

    CAR BREAK-IN Officers responded to a call from someone who said their car had been broken into between 11:30 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. at University Park North.

    PUBLIC INTOXICATION Police were no-tified of an intoxicated man on 19th Avenue. Officers made contact with the man around 10:47 p.m., determined he was unable to take care of himself and took him into protective custody. The subject was arrested for public intoxication.

    LEWD Police received a report of a man masturbating in the mens locker room show-ers at 6:27 p.m. in the Gymnasium. Officers responded to the scene but were unable to find the suspect after a sweep of the area.

    SPEED CONTEST Officers driving near Mercy High School noticed a vehicle driving at high speeds at 8:43 p.m. and conducted a traffic stop. Police cited the suspect for exhibition of speed and released them with-out further incident.

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    Equal Opportunity InstitutionPhoto: Martin Seck

    Superior Court Judge Bruce Chan said at the arraignment hearing that Thephakaysone willfully and illegally discharged his weapon on the night of Sept. 23, 2013, when the suspect allegedly shot the 20-year-old student as he exited the M-Oceanview Muni train at Randolph and Bright streets.

    Thephakaysone, who also attend-ed SF State at the time, was arrested by police the day after the incident at his Oceanview home where officers found assault weapons, four knives and $20,000 in cash.

    During his preliminary hearing last month, investigators found two finger-prints to an ammunition magazine, but said only one was usable for analysis and the identification of Thephakaysone.

    Additional evidence revealed in court by Assistant District Attorney John Rowland included photographs, the .45 caliber handgun and a bullet casing.

    Crime scene investigator John Evans said at the Nov. 8 hearing that the firearm and magazine were found in a storm drain at the intersection of Oriz-aba Avenue and Lobos Street, less than

    a block away from where the shooting happened.

    The firearm number had been obliterated or defaced, according to Evans, and the .45 caliber handgun was unloaded when they found it.

    Forensic pathologist for the medical examiner Ellen Moffatt, who was at the scene of the crime, said that Valdez was not killed as a result of a gunshot wound to the back of the head, but from a gun-shot wound to his back. She concluded that Valdezs death was a homicide.

    A Muni surveillance video prior to the incident shows both Thephakaysone and Valdez on the same train, with no sign of interaction between the two before the shooting.

    A sustainability advocate and mem-ber of the water polo team and Dragon Boating Club on campus, Valdez was a sophomore and active member of the SF State community, Xpress previously reported.

    Thephakaysone transferred to SF State in Fall 2008 and was enrolled in Open University classes at the time of the incident. He is set to appear back at the Hall of Justice Feb. 6 at 2 p.m.

    Valdez murder trial date set for next year


  • At three years old, Mitch Hymowitz told his parents that he couldnt wait to get older and be a man. His parents fired back by re-minding him that he was born a girl.

    My whole life has just been con-formity, Hymowitz said. Conform-ing to femininity and gender roles and gender expression.

    Hymowitz was one of the panel-ists who shared their experiences as a transgender person in honor of Trans-gender Day of Remembrance, Nov. 20, in the Richard Oaks Multicultural Center.

    The Queer and Trans Resource Center hosted the event to memorial-

    ize people killed in anti-transgender violence according to Assistant Direc-tor of the Queer and Trans Resource Center Justin Boese.

    According to the Trans Violence Tracking Portal, 102 transgender people were murdered in the first four months of this year.

    Trans issues are still largely absent from LGBTQ discussions, Boese said. These issues in part are that we really want to bring awareness to on campus.

    Hymowitz and fellow panelist Queer and Trans Resource Center Director Sebastian Ochoa-Kaup trig-gered deep emotions as they read the names of those killed by anti-trans-gender violence and the details of their death.

    Ochoa-Kaup called for a moment

    of silence in honor of victims before opening the panel to share stories of identity and experiences of being transgender in the college community.

    "In college I began to question what being trans meant and if it was for me," Ochoa-Kaup said. "I kind of filed that away and years later I started to articulate my own gender identity."

    The event kicked off at 4 p.m. and captured audience members with stories of identity, struggle and perseverance.

    Besides highlighting the vio-lence that transgender people face and honoring those whose lives have been lost, it is important to talk about the larger issues," Boese said. "Transpho-bia, racism, classism and others are factors that lead to the discrimination

    and inequality that pervade the lives of transgender identified people."

    Attendees shared laughs as panelists detailed what it was like identifying as transgender in a college environment.

    Discussions included gender-neu-tral bathrooms, dating, name changing and appropriate references to people in the LGBTQ community.

    SF State student Jenelle Wil-liams felt that she came out of the panel with a better understanding of LGBTQ issues and how delicate they are.

    People should just be treated as people, Williams said. It was really sad and heartbreaking when they were reading the names of people that have been killed and thats not what you hear about everyday.


    The Uni...