City College San Francisco The Guardsman

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Journalism Department
Journalism Department
Journalism Department

Volume 142, Issue #8




Ms. Bob Davis, transgender advocacy and outreach coordinator, poses in front of a unisex bathroom.


The Associated Students will make both bathrooms on the second floor of the student union gender neutral, one open to the public and one locked.

The decision was made Nov. 29 in response to concerns over the safety of transgender students and cleanliness.

The new rule is a compromise of a proposal by Ben Schaeffer, Associated Students vice president of administration, in which he hoped to have both bathrooms closed to the public due to a lack of cleanliness, with access given to AS staff members only.

“We have one bathroom that is left unlocked, for the students in the building to use,” Schaeffer said.

“Yet, the problem is that it’s filthy. It's not being respected, and as a man I feel horrible having to use that bathroom."

 The proposal to lock both would have violated an earlier decision by the City College Diversity Committee, which provides safety for transgender students, according to Bob Davis, transgender advocacy and outreach coordinator.

“The Diversity Committee decided that there should be one gender-neutral bathroom that provides privacy in every building on campus,” Davis said.

Davis said the committee, which is made up of college administrators, faculty and students, made the decision based on reports of transgender students being harassed while using the restrooms.

“When I consult my transgender students, one of the things I give them is a list where bathrooms are on campus.”

When the project started, Davis said, there where only two gender neutral bathrooms on campus. There are now at least nine on the Ocean campus, according to Davis and Nathan Libedia, custodial supervisor.

In the next two years all buildings on campus will provide unisex bathrooms, according to James Blomquist, associate vice chancellor for facilities planning and maintenance.

The new decision will make the women’s bathroom gender neutral — which troubles Tracey Faulkner, program coordinator of the family resources center.

Faulkner said she has encountered urine on the toilet seat and floor in the gender-neutral bathroom.

“I have no issue with either bathrooms being gender neutral,” Faulkner said. “What guarantee are we going to have that it will be clean?" Faulkner said.

“My concern has to do with more people using the locked bathroom,” she said.

“Right now I'm being promised by all the men that they will clean up after themselves — so we will see how satisfied I am."




The Urban Sustainability Alliance was the only campus club as of November 27 to take advantage of an offer to gather signatures at $1 per signature, up to a maximum of $10,000, for a petition that would put a new measure on the 2008 state ballot.

The American Federation of Teacher’s local 2121 needs about 30,000 verified signatures collected at City College for the measure, which would roll back tuition fees to $15 per unit, said Ed Murray, president of the AFT 2121.

The measure would also create an independent system of governance for California community colleges.

Antonio Roman-Alcala, president of the Urban Sustainability Alliance said his group collected 30 signatures during some events at Ram Plaza.

“We have a lot of other events that took precedence, but we tried to tie the petition outreach with those events,” Roman-Alcala said.

“We would like to do more, but this is the first semester for our club and we are still rather small.”

The idea was presented to clubs at the October 16 Inter-Club Council meeting and the forms have been available since then, but only a couple of clubs seemed interested, said Julia Waters, vice president of the ICC.

“I honestly don’t know why the clubs didn’t want to do more, it’s disappointing but doesn’t surprise me,” Waters said.

If the clubs are unable to secure the signatures by the Dec. 15 deadline, the AFT 2121 will have to find another way to get the measure on the ballot, Murray said.

“We are actually copying Los Rios City College in Sacramento, which had the idea to go to the Associated Students and ask them to gather signatures and get paid instead of using our union money to hire paid signature gatherers,” Murray said.

“We wanted the money to go back into the school and benefit the students.”



Leilani Battiste was hired by City College as ADA director to comply with the settlement.

Attorney Leilani Battiste was hired this fall as City College’s full-time American Disabilities Act consultant to comply with the settlement from a class-action lawsuit against the college last year. 

The plaintiffs claimed in the lawsuit that City College had failed to provide full and equal access to students who have mobility disabilities.

The settlement states that the college will spend $7.5 million improving access, with 21 of its buildings undergoing improvement of some kind.  It also ensures that City College will be protected from inflated lawyer’s fees in the future.

Battiste, who has acted as an outside consultant for the past five years, will oversee the implementation of the stipulated judgment and order.

Battiste said the settlement provides for accessibility both to facilities and to educational programs, but the bulk of the change will be facilities-related.

“Did you know a paper towel dispenser can’t be higher than 48 inches from the ground?  The law can get very specific,” Battiste said.

The Americans with Disabilities Act, passed in 1990, is a new and ever-changing area of the law, Battiste said.

Battiste has represented other clients such as the Los Angeles International Airport and the San Francisco School District in matters related to ADA compliance.

Peter Goldstein, vice chancellor of finance and administration, said he is completely confident in Battiste’s ability to bring City College up to code.

“She is a very skilled and experienced attorney,” Goldstein said.  “As we are dealing with the federal courts, that helps.”



While home during a break from North Carolina A&T, where she's a sophomore, Rickelle Winton casually mentioned to her mom that she was having a friend over.

They planned to watch TV in Rickelle's bedroom.

"No way," said her mom. Rickelle's friend is a guy.

"I told her I didn't think that was fair because I have boys in my room in my dorm," says Rickelle, who attends the college in Greensboro, N.C.

Dorm's one thing; home's another, her mother, Doreen Odom of Detroit, told her.

Parents and their children home for the holidays are bound to have similar discussions as college students accustomed to living by their own rules return home to live by their parents' rules over the winter break.

"At school, you could come home at 4 o'clock in the morning and she'd have no idea," says Rachel Kay, 19, a University of Michigan sophomore, referring to her mother, Janice Kay, 50, of West Bloomfield, Mich. "It is a frustrating thing when you're used to being on your own, but it's understandable because she's my mom and she worries."

The holiday season will be a happier time for parents and students if they talk about and agree on rules, curfews and plans for the holidays.

And the sooner the better.

Curfews are the top concern, say parents, students and college officials.

"When I was in high school my curfew was 1 a.m.," says Rachel. "When I come home from college, she extended it to 2 a.m."

Janice Kay says she understands the frustration, but she needs the peace of mind. "We talked about it and I told her that when she stays with me, she needs to let me know where she is and when she'll be home. If she's not going to make it home by that time, she just needs to call and let me know," says Kay, a speech-language pathologist with the Detroit Public Schools. "I went away to school too, so I understand what it's like to be away at school and have freedom and come home and have rules."

Doreen Odom, who is in her 40s and an administrator at a community heath center, doesn't set a curfew, preferring to let the occasion dictate the time Rickelle should be home. But she says she does expect Rickelle to tell her where she's going, with whom and what time she'll be home -- something Rickelle forgot when she first returned home last year.

"When I asked her what time she'd be home, she said, `Why? Why do you need to know?' And then she told me, `Nobody tells me what time to come in when I'm at school. I make my own rules. I'm an adult.'

"I said, `Yes, you may be an adult by age. But as long as I'm paying the bills, you're half an adult.'"

Rickelle laughs recalling the conversation. "I guess my excuse wasn't cutting it," says Rickelle, who's majoring in chemical engineering.

Brittany Mae Zito, 20, a Michigan State University junior, says students will have a better time at home if they try to look at the situation from their parents' point of view.

"It's really not that big a problem," says Zito, a pre-med major from Clinton Township, Mich., who lives in her own apartment. "They usually want me home by 2, but if I call they're OK."

Curfew is not the only concern, says Cindy Hellman, assistant director of residence life at Michigan State University.

Hellman says when students return to school, she and other staff often hear complaints about living at home again.

"It's everything from how late they can stay out to how late they can sleep in in the mornings," Hellman says.

"Parents have to realize that sometimes the college student who comes home is probably a little bit different from the student that left home in August," she says.

Students say they appreciate their parents, even if they don't always agree with them.

"I do remember getting into arguments with my parents because I wanted to have more freedom to come and go as I pleased, but in hindsight, it makes sense that my parents show their worries," Rachel Kay says. "After all, they are parents. They are here to worry about us."



SPIN THE WHEEL: Garza (left) and Roni Jacobs (right) operate the Transgener Awareness Day "Gender Quiz Wheel" outside the Visual Arts Building.


As a way to promote inclusion of transgender issues at City College, the HIV/STI prevention office held its 3rd Annual Transgender Awareness Day on November 20 at City College

Three different activity stations were located at Ram Plaza, the Rosenberg Library and the Creative Arts building lobby.

Transgender Awareness Day was designed to promote education and awareness of the safety issues faced by transgender students, according to the event’s organizers.

“We are trying to make the campus more friendly and accessible to transgender students like we try to make the campus safe and open to all students,” said Joani Marinoff, coordinator of HIV/STI prevention studies and Community Leading Training Project.

“I have personally talked to transgender students who have been attacked on the City College Ocean campus,” she said.

“Transphobia,” the fear of transgender people, is the root cause of a population stigmatized by discrimination, harassment and violence, Marinoff said. 

Marinoff said that the San Francisco Department of Health reports that the transgender community currently has the highest incidence of HIV in San Francisco.

Tim Berthold, department chair of the Health Education Program said transphobia causes discrimination by alienating transgender people, their families and communities, leading to a lack of health services and job security. He says these factors expose transgender people to a greater risk of contracting HIV.

“When there are fewer options and you’re just surviving, people may take bigger risks and getting HIV isn’t an immediate priority,” Berthold said.  “We are looking to prevent HIV by addressing transphobia.”

Organizers provided various interactive displays at the Ocean campus.

“It’s supportive to be aware and not discriminate,” said student Sue Goa, as she added to the “Talking Wall,” a wall with large sheets of paper on it in Ram Plaza, where students could share their thoughts and ask questions about transgender issues.

Student David Ibarra agreed after spinning the “Gender Quiz Wheel,” which was provided to educate students on how to become a transgender ally.

“Education and exposure is the key to eliminating fear and ignorance,” he said. “There is hope the climate can change.”



Instructor Louis Schubert will co-teach American Studies 5, a social schience class that uses comics and other related media to examine power and American culture, with Instructor Art Nishimura.


Spiderman, Superman, Judge Dredd and other characters will be used to demonstrate power dynamics in the United States in a new class at City College.

“Comics, Power and Society,” or American Studies 5, is a serious social science class using comics, graphic novels and related media as sources to examine the variability of power in culture in the United States, instructor Louis Schubert said. He will be co-teaching the class with Art Nishimura.

“When we look at power, there are questions of different levels of power; we have the question of power and powerlessness,” Schubert said.

“In American culture, very often questions of powerlessness have been answered with fantasies of super powers.”

Within the social sciences, power is the single most important variable when discussing politics, history, or psychology, Schubert said — power is to social science what energy is to physics.

Jerry Alvarado, a mathematics major who picked up a flier for the class, said he believes it has a lot to offer every student. He said his son is obsessed with comics and he wants to understand why his son loves them so much.

“This might be a great class to take because it would be interesting to see how the instructors weave it all together,” Alvarado said.

Even though students will be reading a lot of comics, they will have to write papers and take tests just like any other class, Schubert said.

It is still being decided whether or not the class will be transferable to four-year universities, Schubert said — but he said he is confident it will.



Three graphic communications students created a new crest to adorn all City College athletic uniforms and retail merchandise, according to Dr. Mark Robinson, dean of student affairs.

The crest was trademarked in October, according to Robinson.

The class that designed the crest, Graphics 68, is a graphic design and production class where the students offer their services at no charge to the City College community, graphic communications instructor Regina Rowland said.

Students Alice Chan, Ye Wan Choy and Mark Kelley completed the new design and student Leye Tchaco contributed sketches; the class was taught by Rowland and Amy Conger.

Robinson said he presented the idea to the entire class and each student drafted sketches. He said the process eventually focused on two designs, with the winning design chosen based on feedback from City College administration.

“The ram is a mascot of City College,” Robinson said. “The athletics department is only part of what it represents.”

He said that most schools are strongly associated with their mascots. 

“If you think about every college, the image that comes to mind is usually the mascot, not the academic seal,” Robinson said.

He said the Athletics department has been using the ram since 1936.

“You come into Conlan Hall and you see a giant carved statue of a ram. People walk back and forth and they don’t even know what it is,” he said. 

Robinson added that he hopes the new face of the ram will convey a strong identity for the athletic teams as well as City College as a whole — although the crest will not be used on business cards or stationery, according to Francine Podensky, chair of the City College Communications Committee.

Podensky said the college advisory council emphasized the need to use the circular college seal on all letterhead and cards.

Robinson said City College is now negotiating a deal with a licensing agent and that any profits generated by sales of trademarked rams merchandise will be used for students.



Aspiring firefighters lift a heavy wooden ladder onto the side of a "burning" building before John McGee climbs three stories during a drill.


City College will offer the Firefighter 1 certificate in fall 2007, which will allow fire science students to be certified as firefighters without having to transfer.

The program will take over the facilities occupied by the City College airframe and power plant program at the San Francisco International Airport campus.

“It has a huge parking lot with multiple fire hydrants,” City College fire science instructor Jim Connors said.

“It has a large storage building for fire apparatus, and a large building with seven classrooms. It’s a semester-long program that will get you a Fire Fighter I certificate.”

Connors, who is also a captain with the San Francisco Fire Department, is the program coordinator. He and his colleague, fellow fire science instructor and retired SFFD captain Bill Long, are in the process of accumulating equipment and materials for the new program like turnout gear and hoses as well as donated apparatus, including fire engines from local fire departments.

Anyone wanting to become a firefighter now has to have Emergency Medical Technician and Firefighter 1 certification, Connors said. Training currently takes two-to-three years.

City College Curriculum Committee approval and a self-assessment by fire science department faculty are necessary before submission to the State Fire Marshal’s Office, Connors said. The target date is Dec. 1 and approval is expected by Jan. 31, 2007.

The Fire Marshal’s Office is responsible for establishing firefighter training guidelines and programs for all fire departments and community colleges throughout the state, Connors said.

The progression through the revised program will be a three-step process for aspiring fire fighters: EMT certification followed by two core fire science courses. The last phase is the single-semester regional fire academy and Firefighter I certification, Connors said.