Tag Archives: CSUN On Point

#MeTooNowWhat

Over the past several months, women and men have been coming forward with their own personal stories of sexual harassment. With the help of social media, #MeToo stories are spreading.

“I think we all are having a moment right now,” CSUN Title IX Coordinator Susan Hua said. “Whether a survivor is male or female, I think people are breaking the silence … You’re seeing sports figures, you’re seeing politicians, and men in powerful positions, being held accountable for sexual harassment and sexual misconduct. I think [#MeToo is] really giving not only a voice through social media and technology and how that’s impacting this movement, but also allowing people who might not have spoken up years ago … to feel like now there’s support for them.”

The #MeToo movement has encouraged many people to speak up about sexual harassment, and that lets even more victims know that they are not alone.

“I talked to several women who had kept information to themselves for 40 or 50 years, but now feel like coming out,” said Betsy Butler, Executive Director of the California Women’s Law Center. “More than that, they’re ready to make change happen, and it starts with policing. So many levels of action need to take place now, and mindsets [need to] change here in this country. It’s a different culture we need to look at.”

Bringing conversations about sexual violence into the mainstream helps remove the stigma for survivors, by showing how sexual harassment has affected the lives of many men and women.

“Part of the oppression of women is that we think we’re alone, and we think that our personal difficulties, or our harassment stories or whatever, are individual, and they never are.” CSUN Gender and Women’s Studies Professor Jennifer Berry said. “I think this is what the MeToo movement has done, is [demonstrate] that you are not alone. Not only are you not alone, we’re building an army.”

Despite the numbers of people coming out with their own personal stories, a lot of victims have not come forward, and Hua said some may not know how to bring grievances or talk about their experiences. She said students and faculty at CSUN are able to report any sexual harassment case through the Title IX Office.

“We have done extensive training, with both our students and employees, making sure that students know who they can go to as confidential resources here on campus,” Hua said. “That’s usually our counselors, our mental health advisors, and our victims advocate on campus…. Knowing the different resources [survivors] can access on campus [helps, and] I think we are seeing an increase of survivors who feel that they are ready to talk about their experiences, and as they are continuing to process their experiences, to get help, and to hold individuals accountable.”

But it still may be hard for some victims to come forward with their story, even if they have the resources and people available to them.

“Some women will never come forward,” Butler said. “You know, a lot of these situations [involve people whom] they know, and so they have to grapple with whether they want to bring it all out in the open. These aren’t generally strangers, particularly on campus, who have assaulted them or harassed them.”

Hua said that students’ cultural backgrounds and legal status can also be a factor.

“CSUN is such a diverse community,” she said, “and we have undocumented students who may not want to go above the radar, even though they have been victimized … Or we have cultural differences, in which someone, for example, from an Asian culture, might feel like [they] can’t talk about it, because that’s airing [their] dirty laundry or bringing shame to [their] family.”

Legal experts said movements like #MeToo are only the beginning, and that much more needs to happen in order to prevent sexual harassment.

“I think we can do better,” Berry said. “I think we can have higher expectations of men; I think we can believe women, and work with young people and care deeply about their lives. I think us older people [need] to remember how young and hopeful we all start out, and keep that hope alive.”

Moderator: Heatherann Wagner

Producer: Haley Spellman

Anchor: Lauren Turner Dunn

Social Media Editors: Cammeron Parrish and Jacob Gonzalez

Reporters: Jacob Gonzalez, Katherine Molina, Cammeron Parrish, Haley Spellman, Lauren Turner Dunn and Heatherann Wagner

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Wealthier Is Healthier

Moderator: Breanna Burnette

Producer: Nathan Hoffman

Anchor: Star Harvey

Social Media Editors: Shuandy Herrera and Maxwell Goen

Reporters: Breanna Burnette, Max Goen, Star Harvey, Shuandy Herrera, Nathan Hoffman, Tephanie Martinez and Jennifer Montiel

 

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Strolling for Success

Moderator: Cammeron Parrish

Producer: Lauren Turner Dunn

Anchor: Katherine Molina

Social Media Editors: Katherine Molina and Haley Spellman

Reporters: Lauren Turner Dunn, Jacob Gonzalez, Katherine Molina, Cammeron Parrish, Haley Spellman and Heatherann Wagner

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Mental Health Matters

Depression is the number one reason students drop out of school, and it may lead to other mental illnesses or even to suicide.

“There’s so many statistics on it,” said Steven Wang, from CSUN Counseling Services and the coordinator of the campus’ Blues Project. “One of four students are more likely to have depression, and it’s not treated. Stress would be on that spectrum, as well.”

Many people still hold negative stereotypes of mental illness as dangerous or a sign of weakness, and those stereotypes may keep people from getting help.

“I think the stigma comes from people not being familiar or just not knowing what the behaviors are,” said Ebony Harper, an advisor to students in CSUN Student Housing. “So it can be seen as acting out, or you have behavior problems, so you get this thing that people don’t want to be around you.”

Organizations such as the National Alliance on Mental Health have been emphasizing the importance of recognizing and treating mental illness, but mental health is often not talked about within families.

NAMI board member Michelle Thomas said there is a lack of knowledge, but that most people with mental illnesses lead normal lives if they get treatment. “Most of the time you don’t even know people have mental illness, unless their symptoms are active,” she said.

NAMI and the University Counseling Services offer support and treatment options that may help students feel free to talk about mental illness and seeking care.

“Using proper language, and being able to address it properly, as well as sharing your story, I think helps,” Wang said.

Moderator: Tephanie Martinez

Producer: Nathan Hoffman

Anchor: Max Goen

Social Media Editors: Star Harvey and Jennifer Montiel

Reporters: Breanna Burnette, Max Goen, Star Harvey, Shuandy Herrera, Nathan Hoffman, Tephanie Martinez and Jennifer Montiel

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Media Literacy Trumps Fake News

Fake news has been on the minds of most adults in America, including President Donald Trump, who recently told Fox News’ Lou Dobbs that he coined the now infamous phrase.

Its existence raises the question, how can people fight it?

Experts say media literacy is the most effective way to combat fake news, and becoming media literate will help everyone, including students, understand the differences between real and fake news. The National Association for Media Literacy Education recently held its third annual Media Literacy Week to raise awareness about the issue.

According to a recent Pew Research Study “nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults (64 percent) say fabricated news stories cause a great deal of confusion about the basic facts of current issues and events. About a third of U.S. adults (32 percent) say they often see made-up political news online, while 39 percent sometimes see such stories, and 26 percent hardly ever or never do.”

Pew Research Center also reports a ten percent increase since 2016 in social media use for people over 50 years old. And the study also saw a ten percent increase in nonwhite social media users. In addition, 45 percent of all Facebook users say they rely solely on the site to deliver their news.

“I think it is less about the mobile devices themselves, and more about how they have changed our culture,” CSUN Communications Studies graduate student Anya Crittention said. “Also, I think [the controversy over fake news] is damaging to journalism itself. While people are now ready to believe fake news, there’s also this increasing cynicism and distrust of the media. And, I think that is also dangerous since the media inherently is meant to be for the people and if we turn our back on them, that’s also dangerous.”

Media historians say social media outlets have allowed for an emergence of more voices, and that makes the news more democratic. And now the news cycle has become 24/7 due to the emergence of digital media technology, and that makes news and information more accessible to more people.

“I think there’s been fake news around for a long time,” CSUN Cinema and Television Arts Professor Anna Marie Piersimoni said. “We just have more of it because we have more of everything, and more voices doing that, but from the early days of yellow journalism, [from] the building of the Hearst Empire to the building of the Murdoch empire, there’s been fake journalism.”

Piersimoni said sensational ‘clickbait’ headlines cause people to jump from one article to the next without taking the time to evaluate the story. And since people are not reading the full story, they are relying only on their own beliefs, and not using the critical and analytical tools of media literacy. These strongly held beliefs and biases create filter bubbles, and limit the amount of information people are exposed to, or willing to read.

“I think that the awareness of your own biases is the only way that you can start to pierce the bubble,”  CSUN Department Chair of Political Science Dr. David Leitch said. “If you don’t know what your preferences are, and if they’re sort of unexamined, unaware, unconsciousness, then you don’t have any strategies for confronting them. And I’ll be an advocate: I will say it’s good to confront your biases, not just because it is healthy and democratic, because it is fun.”

Media literacy experts say it’s important for students to read opinions written by sources they don’t necessarily agree with, and to be exposed to more viewpoints, even if they have to look hard to find them.

“The best thing, I tell my students, is to not only follow the money, but to follow the breadcrumbs,” Piersimoni said. “Especially if you go to Wikipedia. Down at the bottom of the page, check all the little footnotes, and double check, and then cross-reference. It is the best thing that you can do. And then see if you can find the opposite view of what you’re looking at.”

Moderator: Minerva Medrano

Producers: Diego Girgado and Tyler Jones

Anchor: Morgan Ball

Social Media Editors: Joselynn Castro and Shannon Ozburn

Reporters: Morgan Ball, Joselynn Castro, Diego Girgado, Tyler Jones, Minerva Medrano and Shannon Ozburn

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CSI: California Syphilis Investigators

Syphilis rates grew more than 18 percent from 2015 to 2016, and 2016 saw the highest number of cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis ever.

“In the last 20 years, we have seen an increase, especially in the LBGT community,” said Johnny Cross, a syphilis expert from the Los Angeles LGBT Center. “In 2000, there were under one hundred cases, and since then it’s been rising steadily. As to why? We don’t really have an answer for why.”

Programs promoting STD awareness, prevention and education have made steps in the right direction for the last few decades, but sex education can still be a very controversial topic in public schools.

“We need more education to youth,” Cross said. “We do a lot of educating at the Center, and the main focus is keeping people healthy, and a big part of that is prevention and education. I strongly advocate for education for the youth.”

Syphilis is dangerous because it can transform into more serious conditions like neurosyphilis, which can lead to blindness, severe memory loss and in some cases, death. Neurosyphilis usually takes ten years to develop, and affects around 30 percent of people with syphilis who don’t get treated in time. “There is latency for a while, and [syphilis] usually doesn’t come back,” Cross said, “but if it becomes neurosyphilis, it gets into your spine, your brain and starts doing major damage. It causes dementia, blindness and even death. Which is why it’s so important to do what we do.”

The Los Angeles LGBT Center and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation provide health care options and resources, and they also alert potential contractors of the disease through social media or phone calls.

“We can find people through Facebook,” Cross said,  “and try to match up networks, and friends, and find partners as well.”  The more efficient these centers are at flagging down potential contractors, the quicker they can stop STDs from spreading through networks of sexual partners, but the initial contact can be difficult.

“You might have people who feel it’s a sales call or a prank call,” said Disease Intervention Specialist Keyari Badon, from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “But I really try to be assertive, because if I’m calling, I want to be friendly and provide good customer service to you, but at the same time I am calling about a serious issue.”

Because of the stigma around sexually transmitted diseases and infections, sometimes people do not want to get tested. But with the emergence of this potentially deadly disease, the best thing to do is get tested if any symptoms appear.

“No one wants an STD,” Cross said, “but it comes with the territory, and really the best thing is to be tested and move on from it. The stigma attached does a lot of harm, and if we can find a way to remove that we can get more people tested.”

Moderator: Nathan Hoffman

Producers: Breanna Burnette and Star Harvey

Anchor: Shuandy Herrera

Social Media Editors: Tephanie Martinez and Jennifer Montiel

Reporters: Breanna Burnette, Max Goen, Star Harvey, Shuandy Herrera, Nathan Hoffman, Tephanie Martinez and Jennifer Montiel

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What the Number 1100 Means to CSUN

Since this summer’s announcement of Executive Order 1100, many CSUN students and faculty have expressed concern about how the order would affect them. In late September, the Faculty Senate and its Standing Committees voted not to participate, freezing any action by the Faculty toward implementing the order at least until the Senate’s October meeting.

CSU Chancellor Timothy White issued the Executive Order in an effort to help more students graduate more quickly. Current four-year graduation rates are at approximately 18 percent, and White said he hopes to double those rates by streamlining the CSU graduation requirements at some campuses. Students are currently required to take the Title V courses covering a variety of subjects, but some campuses, CSUN among them, have added requirements in comparative cross-cultural studies.

“At what price are we going to ease graduation rates?” CSUN English Professor Scott Andrews asked. “Being culturally competent in a diverse community, the way the United States is, is just as essential as that Title V education.” Andrews is a member of the 2016 Task Force on the Advancement of Ethnic Studies.

CSUN’s Section F requires students to pass six units in comparative cultural studies, which can include gender, race, class or ethnicity studies and foreign languages. Executive Order 1100 removes that requirement, a change many fear could also lead to lower student enrollment and cuts in faculty in many departments.

“It would be an incredible loss,” Gender and Women Studies Chair Breny Mendoza said. “Gender and Women Studies is a discipline that is already 50 years old, and I think in the CSU systems, there are only two Gender and Women Studies departments. We are … a powerhouse as a department.”

With the addition of a GWS department at California State University Los Angeles, there would be three in the CSU system. However, even with the addition, many other departments, like Chicano/a studies, Asian-American Studies and Queer Studies could be facing cuts.

“Some of the faculty said ‘no, we’re not going to do that, we’re not going to comply’,” Chicano/a Studies Department Chair Gabriel Gutierrez said.

Many students have also expressed their concern over the content of their education without Section F, when campus diversity and knowledge on multicultural perspectives is something CSUN prides itself on.

“I think it’s more important for the students … [to]… have to take these courses, so that they get exposed to things outside of their comfort zone, outside of their background, outside of their own familiarity,” Andrews said, “because that’s what living in a diverse culture is about. It’s about encountering people who are different from yourself.”

Moderator: Morgan Ball

Producer: Diego Girgado

Anchor: Joselynn Castro

Social Media Editors: Tyler Jones and Shannon Ozburn

Reporters: Morgan Ball, Joselynn Castro, Diego Girgado, Tyler Jones, Minerva Medrano and Shannon Ozburn

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Banking on Food

More than 1.5 million Los Angeles residents are suffering from food insecurities. Many of those residents cannot afford to buy food for themselves and their families.

Los Angeles County has one of the largest food insecure populations in the United States. Food insecurity affects not only those who are living below the poverty line. Even families who live above the poverty line deal with the expense of groceries. Hunger can cause people to lose their balance, not function appropriately and effectively, and experience emotional, physical and mental problems.

“Food is an important thing,” M.E.N.D (Meet Each Need with Dignity) Food Bank Director Richard Weinroth said. “[It’s] more than just dinner. When there is no food, life is a struggle. Food is a powerful thing.”

Hunger may threaten nearly 50 percent of college students, and many students report food insecurities. Hunger is a major problem at both two-year and four-year institutions. Nearly 60 percent of food insecure students reported having a job, and almost 40 percent of those students report that they work more than 20 hours or more per week. Researchers from the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness found that being enrolled in an on-campus meal plan does not eliminate food insecurity.

“You cannot be a successful student if you are hungry,” said Professor Shira Brown, Director of CSUN’s Women’s Research and Resource Center. “It’s really hard to concentrate on doing just about anything when you’re hungry.”

The WRRC’s Food Pantry is open to all students with an ID, and offers food, as well as basic necessities like shampoo and toothpaste. CSUN students also have access to the CSUN Food Pantry at no cost. And food pantries operate in many locations throughout the San Fernando Valley.  Los Angeles County has almost 200 food pantries: the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, World Harvest Food Bank, L.A Works and many more.

“Everybody at some point may need a food pantry,” said Manny Flores, the Community Liaison of North Valley Caring Services. “And in our neighborhood, it could be mostly at the end of the month, when people need to make ends meets. That’s when you see our pantry lines grow substantially. Through our pantry, you can get a well balanced meal. We’re putting about a hundred dollars of food in our baskets every week per household.”

“I’m really lucky,” Weinroth said. “M.E.N.D has been around for nearly 50 years, so we’ve got a lot of neighborhood recognition. We are a volunteer-driven organization. We have so many pans, and so many pots. We have medical, dental and vision. We have education and training on-site as well. We have the food department, we have homeless services, we have our clothing center. We have been collaborating with so many organizations throughout the community for a very long time. We help feed over 20,000 people a month. We all come together as a community, [because] it takes a village.”

Moderator: Trevor Edwards

Producer: Dana Lites

Anchor: Char’Tre Steward

Social Media Editors: Cynthia Marin and Noemi Salcedo

Reporters: Trevor Edwards, Dana Lites, Cynthia Marin, Noemi Salcedo, Char’Tre Steward and Flor Tolentino

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Catching Zzz’s

How can sleep improve your quality of life?

Experts say getting the right amount of sleep contributes to energy, productivity, memory, concentration, and overall physical health, and growing evidence suggests college students are particularly likely to skimp on sleep, not realizing the dangerous effects.

“It is very important to get sleep,” said Dr. Saimir Thano, a CSUN University Counseling Services psychologist. “It plays a repetitive role, psychologically as well as physiologically. It helps the brain create hormones that help new pathways for concentration and memory, and it sort of plays the role of a battery re-energizing our body. At times, it has been found that sleep produces certain hormones to fight common illness and help organs rest.”

A study published in the current issue of The Sleep Journal said people who sleep fewer than six hours per night are more likely to catch colds than those who sleep seven hours per night, and reach what experts call full rest.

“The goal is every night to get into REM sleep,” said REM Sleep Labs’ Angie Simon. “There are different sleep cycles, but if your body does reach REM sleep, then you’re getting that good quality sleep that you want. However if you have a sleep disorder, the sleep disorder will stop you from getting to that REM sleep.”

The first part of REM sleep lasts about ten minutes and the final part may last up to an hour, according to The Better Sleep Council. People don’t feel well rested if they don’t get REM sleep.

“The best route is to weigh out all your options and figure out what exactly is hindering your sleep and why you need assistance to sleep better,” Simon said. “The best way to figure that out is by getting properly diagnosed by getting the test done in a sleep lab.”

According to the National Sleep Foundation, untreated sleep disorders can cause heart disease, stroke, depression and diabetes.

“Depending on the person, some individuals may need more — some less — but on average research recommends seven to eight hours — nine at the most — but different individuals may need different amount of sleep,” Thano said.

‘Early to bed’ actually is good advice: experts say every hour of sleep between the hours of 9 p.m. and 12 midnight is equal to two hours of sleep after midnight.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine says the best way to increase performance on final exams is to study the day before, and then get a good night’s sleep.

“Studies have shown that those individual students that do overnighters, their GPA tends to be lower in general, and that’s because the brain needs to rest, and when it does, there are new pathways for memory and attention,” Thano said. “When you cram and do everything in one night, your brain is not able to create those new memories…It is best for students to study during the day versus the night before.”

The National Sleep Foundation has found that while asleep, people have the ability to combine different experiences in the parts of their brain that generate problem-solving skills.

“When you are getting good sleep your overall well-being is better,” Simon said. “[Sleep] makes you want to exercise, it makes you want to eat healthier, you feel better about yourself, and you are not as sluggish.”

“Everyone should use the bed only for sleep and sex, and nothing else,” Thano said. “If you’re studying in bed, or lying and just watching Netflix, then your body gets used to it, [and you say to yourself] ‘this is what I do in bed; I watch and read and do other things.’ Taking that away really makes a difference.”

 

Moderator: Anna Akopyan

Anchor: Nick Popham

Producer: Ericka Sims

Guest Booker: Ashton Smith

Reporters: Mirna Duron and Nick Popham

Social Media Editors: Nick Popham and Ericka Sims

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