Tag Archives: CSUN

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

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,” she 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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New School, New Surroundings: Now What?

Every year CSUN welcomes thousands of freshmen. These first time students come from various backgrounds and different communities. According to the College Atlas, nationwide, at least 30 percent of these first time college students drop out after their first year.

CSUN students are required to take a class called University 100, which is a course dedicated to the freshman journey and preparing new college students for success.

“No one knows if they need the class or not, so I think it benefits everybody [to take it],” University 100 professor Dinah Nucum said.

Other groups guiding freshmen at CSUN include the Educational Opportunity Program, and the Office of Student Involvement and Development. They work with first-year students and first generation students, not only academically but socially.

The Educational Opportunity Programs (EOP) designs, administers and supports programs that deliver access and retention services to students. EOP provides services to low income first generation students such as mentoring, student engagement, and financial support if necessary. They also offer a bridge program for incoming freshmen to help with the transition to campus life. The bridge program consists of a six week period during which students take classes at the university over the summer, before their first fall semester.

“EOP itself is a student initiative program,” Glenn Omatsu, CSUN Professor and EOP Faculty Mentor Program Coordinator said. “Students fought for this program. Many of the practices that we do actually have been engineered by students themselves. Our population is first generation college students, and they realized that students need to transition.”

“They don’t know what to expect from the university,” Gabrielle Danis, Program Coordinator in Student Involvement and Development, said.  “They haven’t been briefed by their parents, by their loved ones, by their guardians, about what it is to be at an institution. That’s what both of our programs really aim to do, is to help students transition, and make it a more comfortable environment for them: one that they can navigate; one that they feel confident in continuing their academic, social, and cultural success.”

With the help that these programs provide, Omatsu and Danis said they hope students ultimately become aware of the resources provided for them at CSUN and how to use them.

“It’s interesting,” Omatsu said, “because the university is set up in such a way that it tells the students what the resources are, but we found that we have to take an additional step with first generation college students, which is actually show students how to use the resource. Our mentors actually help the students within our community with understanding not only what the resource is, but how to use it as well.”

“That’s the mission of the CSUN mentorship program,” Danis said, “to assist students, and to retain them from the first to second year, because that’s where we see most of our drop-off unfortunately. We want to make sure that those students are as supported as possible, and we think that a lot of it could be that they just do not know how to use the resources here, or they don’t know what type of support systems are available to them. And just like Professor Omatsu said, it is our responsibility to teach them that.”

Moderator: Lauren Turner Dunn

Producer: Haley Spellman

Anchor: Cammeron Parrish

Social Media Editors: Jacob Gonzalez and Heatherann Wagner

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

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They Shoot, They Score, But Do They Pass?

CSUN’s student athletes are still recovering from the NCAA penalization of their men’s basketball team, after the former director of basketball operations allegedly committed academic fraud. The NCAA found that the director, Lior Schwartzberg, was doing online classwork for some of the players.

The incident highlights the challenges for student athletes, and many would agree that, at times, academics take a back seat when it comes to student athletes. This can lead to conflict between faculty members and athletic departments. That’s where Ed Jackiewicz, CSUN’s NCAA Faculty Representative, comes in to ease the conflict.

“A lot of faculty think [athletic] students are on a free ride and getting all these benefits, when, in fact, a lot of them don’t get any money, or much money, at all,” Jackiewicz said.

This assumption is only one of the stigmas athletes face; others are that their lives are easy because they get special privileges as athletes, that they’re not graded as hard as other students so they don’t have to try as hard in class, or that they’re lazy when it comes to their schoolwork in general.

“The myth is that student athletes aren’t good students, when, in fact, there are a lot of successful [athletic] students,” Jackiewicz said.

CSUN’s Athletic Director Dr. Brandon Martin said a lot of misunderstanding exists about the day-to-day life of student athletes.

“I mean, they essentially have two jobs,” Martin said. “They have to be students and athletes.”

In order to keep this balance, student athletes have to be good time-managers.

“Unlike a non-athlete, they have schedules that they have to follow, and they have to have an inordinate amount of discipline to follow that schedule,” Martin said. “That schedule really propels them to the success that we want them to have, both academically and athletically.”

Another pressure on student athletes is being the face of their universities.

“I feel like there’s more expectation for us, being student athletes,” said Carl Brown, a member of CSUN’s men’s basketball team. “We represent the program. We have to represent ourselves in a good way, on and off the court, because we’re representing not just ourselves, but the school too.”

Some student athletes have  commitments besides their sport and their school work. Track & Cross Country runner Manny Vargas is not only a student athlete. He also works part-time, and is in a fraternity. “It’s been a very tough process … [to be]… a student athlete; you’re working and in a fraternity; it’s a lot sometimes,” Vargas said.

CSUN has been working on providing resources to ease the busy lives of student athletes, and prevent another penalization.

“It was a chance for us to create a place, the Matador Achievement Center,” Martin said, “a place where our student athletes could really feel like [they] get the love and support and encouragement that they need to be successful.”

With these resources, and better relationships between faculty and the athletic department, student athletes are starting to prove the stigmas wrong.

Moderator: Star Harvey

Producer: Nathan Hoffman

Anchor: Shuandy Herrera

Social Media Editor: Tephanie Martinez

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

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Put Your Paws Up for AB 485

Californians no longer have to think twice about where their new pets come from, now that a new law requires pet stores to sell animals acquired only from shelters and rescue organizations.

Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 485 this month. The bill was written by California State Assembly members Patrick O’Donnell (D – Long Beach) and Matt Dababneh (D – Woodland Hills), and it makes California the first state in the nation to regulate the breeding of pets and their sale to this extent.

“Basically what it will do is create a statewide ban on the sale of puppies, dogs, kittens, cats and rabbits in for-profit pet stores when they’ve been gotten from puppy mills,” Dababneh said. “We’re not going to let animals be sold in our state as pets when they come from inhumane breeding facilities that treat these animals as commodities, and don’t have any regard for the animal’s health or wellbeing.”

This new bill rules out the selling of animals that come from puppy mills or kitten factories, but independent breeders will still be able to sell their animals to pet stores. It primarily applies to the selling of dogs, cats and rabbits.

“This bill is extremely important,” said Charlotte Laws, an animal rights activist. “It will hopefully end the killing in the shelters. Right now, in Los Angeles, I believe we adopt out something like 84 percent of the animals that come into the shelters.”

“I think what the bill will do is promote more responsible pet ownership,” Bunnyluv Rabbit Resource Center representative Jody Springborn said. Springborn said that rabbits are the highest killed animals in shelters because they face a multitude of challenging health issues commonly affecting their teeth and eyes.

The bill’s supporters said that since rescue organizations are ‘no kill’ and require thorough adoption screenings, the placement of rescue animals into pet stores will help prevent the killing of many animals unnecessarily. Many shelters are recognized as being ‘no kill’, but others do have to euthanize animals with in critical health conditions or who have not been adopted within a certain time period.

The bill will go into effect on January 1, 2019.


Moderator: Shannon Ozburn

Producers: Joselynn Castro, Diego Girgado and Tyler Jones

Anchor: Minerva Medrano

Social Media Editors: Joselynn Castro and Diego Girgado

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

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Disaster Strikes! Are You Ready?

In the past 20 years, 600,000 people worldwide have died in natural disasters. These disasters are typically unexpected and often cause physical damage, but they can also take an emotional toll.

“The more preparedness, the better,” American Red Cross Preparedness Manager Guillermo Sanchez said. “Be better prepared, so that way it doesn’t impact you as much. People think preparedness is complicated, but it’s not: take simple steps.”

Organizations such as American Red Cross and CSUN’s Office of Emergency Management advise everyone to have a plan, not just for themselves, but for their families as well. Families should discuss a meeting place in case of emergency, and they should practice these plans. Having an out-of-state contact is encouraged. Residents should have household kits ready for when a disaster strikes. Some items people should include in their kits are: storable foods, water, sanitation products, and hygiene products. These items should also be updated every six months. CSUN’s Office of Emergency Management hosts events throughout the year for students, faculty and staff promoting emergency preparedness.

“A significant disaster such as a major earthquake is kind of an all-hands-on-deck situation,” said Lisa Curtis, Emergency Manager for CSUN’s Department of Police Services. “If the incident requires resources beyond those of the university, we will definitely be supported by assisting agencies from fire and police departments, as well Public Works and the Department of Public Health…depending on the scale of it. If it commands resources across the region and across the state, we could see resources coming in from multiple jurisdictions and multiple levels of government.”

Scientists say Southern California is due for a major earthquake. It’s possible a magnitude 8.2 quake could shake Los Angeles. A quake of that magnitude would be most destructive in the L.A. area because the San Andreas fault runs very close to and underneath densely populated areas. The U.S Geological Survey predicts an earthquake of such magnitude on the San Andreas would produce shaking more intense than the 1994 magnitude 6.7 earthquake that hit Northridge and killed 57 people. The quake had a large impact on  CSUN’s campus and the surrounding community.

The American Psychological Association says it’s normal for natural disasters to create unpredictable feelings in survivors: trouble concentrating or making decisions, disrupted sleeping patterns, and emotional upsets on anniversaries or other reminders. Psychological research shows that many are able to successfully recover from the emotional trauma of disasters. Taking active steps to prepare and to cope are important factors in having the ability to move forward.

“That’s another way of having a sense of control over something that is out of everyone’s control,” CSUN Educational Psychology & Counseling Department Professor Jennifer Vargas Pemberton said. “Anything you can do to be supportive of one another…It really gives us a sense that we can be part of the healing, and part of the restoration, and that really strengthens us and moves us forward.”

“What is most important is that people reach out to their support systems,” CSUN Counseling Services’ Lori Meono said. “Whether that’s friends, family, coworkers or whoever helps them feel safe…because one, I think, very common response, is that people lose a sense of safety. Having support can be really helpful.”

Moderator: Katherine Molina

Producer: Heatherann Wagner

Anchor: Lauren Turner Dunn

Social Media Editors: Cammeron Parrish and Heatherann Wagner

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

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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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The Future of Women’s Health

A day after the inauguration of Donald Trump, millions of women marched through the streets of Washington D.C. and all around the world in support of women’s rights, and to protect women’s health.

“I personally believe that with our current Administration, I do think that women’s health issues and rights are just under attack at this very moment,” Planned Parenthood intern and CSUN student Mihaela Vincze said. “I can’t really define what the most pressing issue is besides the issue of abortion.”

In his first 100 days, President Trump has signed a bill allowing states to withhold family planning funds from Planned Parenthood. He reinstated the so-called global gag rule prohibiting U.S. funds from going towards nongovernmental organizations that assist women on family planning, including abortion. And Trump has defunded the United Nations Population Fund, an international humanitarian aid organization that helps prevent maternal deaths, unsafe abortions and reproductive health care.

“[Abortion] is our right. It is our constitutional right, and people don’t understand that you are taking our rights away,” Vincze said. “Abortions are going to happen, whether they’re legal or not, and if you care about the life of the woman, you would take that into consideration.”

Still, almost 40 percent of Americans believe that abortion should be illegal, because they believe that life begins at conception, and that women should take into consideration the life they are taking away and choose other options, such as adoption. Many Americans hold groups like Planned Parenthood responsible for what they consider to be the ease of getting an abortion in this country, and they do not want tax dollars going to support Planned Parenthood.

But Planned Parenthood’s 2013-2014 Annual Report reported that only three percent of its services covered abortions. The other 97 percent went for STI/STD testing and treatment, contraception, cancer screening and prevention, and other women’s health services.

“[Planned Parenthood] provides options like counseling as well,” Registered Nurse Practitioner Shirley Navarro said. “So it’s not like, ‘Oh, you’re here at Planned Parenthood? Awesome, sign up for your abortion right now.’ That’s something that would be nice to clarify.”

“A lot of especially low-income women will use Planned Parenthood as their primary health provider,” Vincze said.

“According to CDC guidelines for women between the ages of 21 and 25, they recommend STI/STD screening at least once a year,” Navarro said. “And if you have higher risk, in terms of having multiple partners or not using really good contraception, [that should be] maybe every six months or so.”

The Klotz Student Health Center provides CSUN students with health services such as pap smears, pelvic exams, STD testing, referrals for mammograms, Family PACT services and reproductive health services.

For many women, Planned Parenthood remains an important health resource.

“Before I knew about the Klotz Center, I went to Planned Parenthood,” Vincze said, “because I didn’t have that relationship with my parents where I could be open with them about my reproductive health. So I used this organization to learn and take care of myself, and it was an invaluable resource for a young person. I don’t know where I would be today if it wasn’t for this organization.”

Moderator: Lexi Wilson

Producers: Arianna Takis and Lexi Wilson

Anchor: Arianna Takis

Social Media Editors: Jose Duran, Adam Hajost, Luzita Pineda and Rosa Rodriguez

Reporters: Jose Duran, Adam Hajost, Luzita Pineda, Rosa Rodriguez, Arianna Takis and Lexi Wilson

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