Tag Archives: CSUN

The Future of Money

Moderator: Savannah Palacio

Producer: Kelcey Henderson

Anchor: Karen Elle

Social Media Editor: James Farr

Reporters: Karen Elle, James Farr, Kelcey Henderson, Son Ly, Savannah Palacio

Comments Off on The Future of Money


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

Comments Off on #MeTooNowWhat

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


Comments Off on Wealthier Is Healthier

Dare to Dream

As the battle over Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) intensifies in Congress, so does the fear of many LGBTQ immigrants, whose chances of being deported to a country that may not support their lifestyle are increasing.

Experts say that out of the 800,000 dreamers in the United States, around 75,000 identify as LGBTQ. Dreamers are children who were brought to the United States without documentation at a young age. Some 36,000 of those are DACA recipients, many of them living in California.

The White House announced in September that DACA would end for many dreamers on or before March 5, 2018.

“Many people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer, are not only LGBTQ, but also undocumented and people of color, and not just brown, but also black,” said Ronnie Veliz, executive director of Somos Familia Valle. “So, it is very important to us to understand that, within the immigrant population, the LGBTQ population is present, with papers and also without documentation. It affects everyone’s dreams, because it does affect also mixed status families, those who know the United States as their only country from a very early age.”

What happens to the LGBTQ dreamers who come out in the United States, and then are deported to an intolerant nation?

In more than 70 countries, same-sex relations are criminalized, and out those 70, ten have a death penalty for those in the LGBTQ+ community. Many DACA recipients come from countries that can be dangerous for LGBTQ+ people. Countries like Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are the most common for asylum seekers.

“The risks are not only to be deported to a country that doesn’t even have marriage equality,” Veliz said. “…Keep in mind that marriage equality hasn’t stopped the famous videos of the killing of trans and queer people. It’s not just being deported to a country where you’re going to be killed, and mentally, psychologically, and spiritually abused, but it is also a fact that there are centers and corporations making profits from detaining immigrants.”

Although dreamers face an even greater risk of detention and deportation now, it is important to remember they can still exercise their rights. Practicing those rights before an encounter with an immigration officer, can prepare them.

“Immigrants, whether documented or undocumented, have rights and constitutional rights,” said Julia Vazquez, Southwestern School of Law Professor and the director of CSUN’s Student Legal Clinic. “Everybody should practice his or her rights ahead of time…if you don’t feel comfortable exerting your rights, [remember] the number one right that everyone has is the right to remain silent, and folks should exercise that.”

The DACA program has provided security, opportunity  and hope to recipients. They had the ability to obtain driver’s licenses, enroll in college, and legally secure jobs.

“It’s shameful we are now seeing the cycle of scapegoating, not only [against] immigrants,” Vazquez said. ” Now that we have the language, and more of a platform to really understand, that not every immigrant experience is equal, like people of color, like LGBTQ, and that when you combine those, [these groups] are going to be doubly oppressed by a system of laws that are failing to protect even the most privileged of that group.”

On December 8, in a 5 to 4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled the Trump administration does not have to turn over legal documents connected to its decision to end the program. The Court said it would consider the matter further.

Moderator: Diego Girgado

Producers: Morgan Ball and Minerva Medrano

Anchor: Joselynn Castro

Social Media Editor: Tyler Jones

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


Comments Off on Dare to Dream

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

Comments Off on Strolling for Success

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

Comments Off on Mental Health Matters

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

Comments Off on Media Literacy Trumps Fake News

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

Comments Off on New School, New Surroundings: Now What?

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

Comments Off on They Shoot, They Score, But Do They Pass?

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

Comments Off on Put Your Paws Up for AB 485