The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

Student news without fear or favor
The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

Student news without fear or favor

Sean Keister, Author

All content by Sean Keister
Mike Coats, junior marketing major, shows of some of many tattoos, each of which has its own significance and is inspired by an event in his life.

Body art no longer reserved for bikers as students get inked

Sean Keister
February 6, 2013

Walk across the campus at Sacramento State on any given day and you are nearly as likely to see someone sporting a tattoo as you are a backpack.Thomas Eidam, a junior criminal justice major, got a Celtic...

Well used by more students

Sean Keister
October 3, 2012

The Well at Sacramento State has seen a significant increase in members from this time last year. Jessica Roesemann, who has been at The Well since July 2010, a month before it opened, is the member services...

CSU chancellor Reed retires after 14 years at the helm

Sean Keister
May 28, 2012

The Chancellor of the California State University system announced Saturday that he plans to retire after 14 years with the university system.In a statement sent to CSU campuses and employees on his retirement,...

Food trucks are already a presence in downtown and midtown Sacramento.

Food trucks possible to return to Sac State campus

Sean Keister
March 28, 2012

After a long absence, food trucks could be coming back this fall to Sacramento State to give students an alternative to current restaurants on campus. Jim Reinhart, director of University Enterprises Inc.,...

Investment society brings finance students closer together

Sean Keister
February 29, 2012

The Institutional Investment Society is setting out to establish itself at Sacramento State as it sets out to boost recruitment. Consisting primarily of finance majors, but open to all majors, the society...

Quran Jones sits in the Sacramento Superior Court during a hearing in October.

Jones trial start date delayed until April 2

Sean Keister
February 22, 2012

Former Sacramento State student Quran Jones' murder trial start date has been delayed again to early April, in order to finalize witnesses. It was announced today at the Sacramento County Courthouse the...

CSU’s Early Start program to strengthen math and english skills for incoming freshmen

Sean Keister
February 22, 2012

Beginning this summer, freshmen entering Sacramento State, who did not pass entry-level skills testing in math and English will be required to enter the Early Start program. Exclusively affecting freshmen...

Textbook prices looking to decrease

Sean Keister
February 15, 2012

The initiative for cheaper textbooks is under way as the California Joint Legislative Committee held its first meeting on finding ways to bring down the cost of textbooks statewide. The hearing on Feb....

Author Eva Rutland to visit Sac State for campus-wide discussion

Sean Keister
February 8, 2012

Award-winning author Eva Rutland will be visiting Sacramento State to discuss her 2007 book "When We Were Colored: A Mother’s Story." As a granddaughter of a former slave, Rutland chronicled her experiences...

Sac State food drive delivers results

Sean Keister
February 8, 2012

The 2011 State Employees Food Drive collected 332 more pounds than the previous year's effort. Sacramento State's community donated 7,775 pounds of food for Sacramento’s needy from Nov. 14 to Dec. 20....

Financial Aid workshop provided by Sac State for students, parents

Sean Keister
February 8, 2012

The Financial Aid Office will be conducting free workshops this month to assist students and their parents in completing the 2012-13 Free Application for Federal Student Aid application with proficiency...

Quran Jones sits in the Sacramento Superior Court during a hearing in October.

Quran Jones’ trial postponed to late February

Sean Keister
February 6, 2012

Former Sacramento State student Quran Jones' murder trial start date has been delayed again to late February. It was announced Monday at the Sacramento County Courthouse the trial will begin on Feb. 22....

Quran Jones sits in the Sacramento Superior Court during a hearing in October.

Quran Jones trial being pushed back again

Sean Keister
February 1, 2012

Former Sacramento State student - Quran Jones' murder trial start date has once again been extended. It was announced Jan. 25 at the Sacramento County Court that Jones' official trial start date will be...

Senate pushes for cheaper online textbook library

Sean Keister
January 25, 2012

Students statewide could soon save hundreds of dollars on textbooks if a senate proposal, creating a digital library of free textbooks, passes in California. Proposed by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell...

Mayor Kevin Johnson speaks on education

Sean Keister
December 1, 2011

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson spoke Nov. 30 at Sacramento State to address the state of education in California. Johnson spoke to approximately 150 people at Modoc Hall for the "Campus Conversation on...

Two people robbed at gunpoint in Sac State residence hall parking lot

Sean Keister
November 19, 2011

Two people were robbed at gunpoint in their car Friday night in the Sacramento State residence hall parking lot. According to the report, at approximately 8:30 p.m., the two victims were sitting in...

Members of Sac States debate team pose in front of their awards
- with Kristen Tudor, team coach, in the center 

Debate team expects victory at CSU Northridge match

Sean Keister
November 9, 2011

Sacramento State's debate team heads toward this weekend's competition at CSU Northridge with its confidence at an all-time high after a series of recent victories. The team has already taken the top spots...

California Faculty Association pickets at Sacramento State

Sean Keister
November 8, 2011

Faculty and students picketed Tuesday morning at the campus's entrance to address conditions on their upcoming contract.  Kevin Wehr, Sacramento chapter president of the California Faculty Association...

Air bags deploy from both vehicles involved in last nights car
accident that happened on campus in front of the American River
Courtyard. 

Two cars collide in front of American River Courtyard

Sean Keister
November 3, 2011

No one was hurt in a car accident that occurred Wednesday night in front of the American River Courtyard.  At approximately 10:30 p.m., a white Toyota Corolla and a navy blue Chevrolet Cavalier collided....

Group of audience members working on a case study during the
human trafficking presentation by Open Doors Inc. The meeting took
place Thursday in the Walnut Room of the University Union. 

Panel addresses human trafficking

Sean Keister
October 26, 2011

A representative from Sacramento's Opening Doors came to Sacramento State Thursday, where she spoke about the human trafficking epidemic in the Sacramento region. Human trafficking is an issue that continues...

Quran Jones trial pushed to next year

Sean Keister
October 21, 2011

Quran Jones' trial has been pushed to January, after a hearing today at the Sacramento County Courthouse.  At 9:45 a.m. Jones was brought into the courtroom, where it was announced his trial preparedness...

Cleaning crews work to get Mendocino into operation. 

Cleanup begins in Mariposa and Mendocino

Sean Keister
October 19, 2011

Cleanup crews are continuing their efforts to repair the damage caused by Thursday's fires in Mariposa and Mendocino halls. With the exception of a few classrooms on the fourth floor of Mariposa Hall,...

Car catches fire in American River Courtyard parking lot

Sean Keister
October 17, 2011

A car fire at the American River Courtyard parking lot was extinguished quickly this afternoon around 3:45 p.m. The student was on her way back from getting her car serviced when it started smoking. She...

Mendocino and Mariposa Halls scheduled to reopen Monday

Sean Keister
October 14, 2011

Sacramento State's Mendocino and Mariposa halls are scheduled to reopen Monday after the damage is cleaned up over the weekend from Thursday's fires. Until further notice, however, the fourth floor of...

Quran Jones sits in the Sacramento Superior Court during a hearing in October.

Quran Jones’ trial pushed back

Sean Keister
October 14, 2011

Former Sacramento State student, Quran Jones had his hearing pushed back again today at the Sacramento County Jailhouse. Jones is accused of murdering Scott Hawkins, his roommate, at their American River...

Japan opens for study program

Sean Keister
September 28, 2011

After the substantial damage caused by the tsunami that ravaged Japan last March, the country is now back open to students in Sacramento State's study abroad program. The California State University Chancellor's...

Classes of students dropped prior to first day per policy

Sean Keister
September 21, 2011

Sacramento State's waitlist policy for enrolling in classes continues to be a source of frustration for many students on campus. The waitlist is set up to deal with students who add a class even after...

Sac State police investigate alleged indecent exposure in the Library

Sean Keister
September 20, 2011

The Sacramento State Police Department is investigating an indecent exposure allegation that occurred Tuesday afternoon in the University Library. The incident was reported at 2:30 p.m. when a female student...

Opportunity for business students in new honors program

Sean Keister
September 7, 2011

The College of Business Administration at Sacramento State is gearing up to launch the new business honors program, designed for the most competitive students in the region. Beginning in the fall of 2012,...

Sac State police arrest two alleged burglars

Sean Keister
August 31, 2011

Two men were arrested Wednesday in a Sacramento State parking lot on suspicion of burglary. They also face the charges of possession of stolen property and possession of burglar's tools. Daniel A. Flores,...

Students overcome struggles with first-day parking

Sean Keister
August 31, 2011

Sacramento State students returned to class this week, where many found parking easier than last semester. Nancy Fox, senior director of University Transportation and Parking Services said they anticipate...

Cost of parking permits scheduled to increase

Sean Keister
May 12, 2011

The University Transportation and Parking Services announced today that the cost of parking permits for students, managers and administrators will increase. Effective July 1, 2011, the cost of permits...

UTAPS uses summer to save money by closing structures

Sean Keister
May 11, 2011

For the third year in a row, University Transportation and Parking Services will save approximately $50,000 on energy costs during the off-peak period this summer by closing several parking facilities...

Spanish department assesses future cuts

Spanish department assesses future cuts

Sean Keister
May 11, 2011

The Spanish program at Sacramento State faces the possibility of further cutbacks to courses and sections during the fall 2011 semester.Nick Burnett, interim associate dean of the College of Arts and Letters,...

ASI president competes in digital debate

Sean Keister
May 6, 2011

Associated Students Inc. President Terry Martin came in second place at the first-ever totally digital debate last week. The debate, part of the Annenberg Digital Debates, was hosted by the University...

CSU students seek answers to managerial salary raises

Sean Keister
May 4, 2011

Students and the administration have varying opinions on the issues of managerial salaries under increased tension due to the debate over managerial salaries at Sacramento State. It was April 14 when students...

Environmental studies faces lack of professors

Sean Keister
April 27, 2011

The environmental studies department faces the possibility of fewer sections this fall, as the department is down to two full-time professors.Environmental studies department chair Dudley Burton said the...

Health fees proposed to increase to cover department cuts

Sean Keister
April 27, 2011

The Counseling and Psychological Services Department is proposing an increase to the mandatory student health fee by adding $35 to the $75 per semester students already pay as part of their tuition. This...

Sac State faculty prepares for summer youth program

Sean Keister
April 20, 2011

The Sacramento State faculty is gearing up for kids in the Sacramento region to start another summer semester of the Academic Talent Search program.

The talent search has showcased an array of courses for sixth through ninth graders, and was expanded in 2009 by adding programs for fourth and fifth graders.

This summer's courses include a wide variety of subjects like acting, cartooning, physics, forensic science, cooking, photography and more.

The founder of the program, Terry Thomas, still holds his position as the executive director of the Academic Talent Search.

He said when he founded the talent search program in 1982 there was an obvious need for a special program to meet the needs of kids in the area.

"Lots of students, who are very bright, have little opportunity to develop in regular school settings," Thomas said. "So the academic talent search then gives the brightest students an opportunity to really develop their areas of strength."

When Academic Talent Search started, there were 100 students and three classes. Now, there are approximately 120 courses (40 for fourth and fifth graders, 80 for sixth through ninth graders), and more than 2,000 students who attend every summer, looking to prepare themselves for college life.

"Some of our students are recruited from the finest Ivy league universities throughout the country," Thomas said. "So we have a chance to help them along the way, and that's what (the Academic Talent Search is) all about."

Chris Taylor, who has been a physics and astronomy professor at Sac State for eight years, is going into his fourth year teaching astrobiology for the talent search program. He is a strong supporter of the program and how it helps local kids to begin thinking about their future careers.

"It gets kids to see what college is like, but I also think it's good for (Sac State) because it brings a whole bunch of kids who are local to the area, and lets them see we do cool things here so they don't automatically think, "Well I'm going to go to a UC,'" Taylor said.

To attend, students must take a college ability test to see if they are able to handle the program. The test was taken by more than 6,000 students in Sacramento between January and March of this year.

Many of those involved in the program say one of the most exciting aspects of the program for kids is just experiencing the atmosphere of college life.

"That is a very important part program, they aren't just lined up and moved around like they would be at a typical elementary school," Thomas said. "They enjoy the (University) Union for example, and that's good for the university too because they are bringing their lunch money there."

Current and former Sac State students can be found in the talent search classrooms during summer where they earn a minimum wage as teaching assistants.

Academic Talent Search is a self-supported program on campus, receiving no state, federal or university funding. The classes cost anywhere from $114 to $399 depending on the length of the course and financial aid is available for those who qualify.

Thomas said Academic Talent Search is really appealing to parents who want their gifted kids to go somewhere fun where they can also be challenged.

Michelle Felten, theater and dance professor, has taught in the talent search program for four years; this year, she is teaching acting for the camera. She said she is impressed by the intellect of her students.

"The idea is teachers are not necessarily supposed to bring (the material) down to a younger level," Felten said. "I mean obviously I'm going to give them scenes from movies that are age appropriate, but as far as the way I instruct them and the way I try to help them through things &- I try to really approach it that way."

The kids in the Academic Talent Search are experiencing the same level of course difficulty that Sac State students face.

While many instructors are professors who teach at Sac State the rest of the year, others might just be professionals from the area, like a local attorney who teaches kids about solving crimes.

Academic Talent Search is a program that brings a big change from the teachers' usual routine throughout the year, and Felten said the professors really respond to that shift.

"I was thinking about taking a summer off, but I thought, you know I just really enjoy the class. And it's worthwhile to me. It's a change from what I normally do, so I'm happy to be a part of it," Felten said.

Even after nearly 30 years, Thomas continues to be excited for the program to start up again every summer.

"When you see a student who's totally engaged in what they're doing in class, and there's a whole classroom full of students just like that who are really intent, and the teachers afterwards come back and tell me things like, "Gee, these students do a better job than my regular college students at the same kind of material.' That is pretty rewarding," Thomas said.

Sean Keister can be reached at [email protected]

Environmental studies offers bachelor of science degrees

Sean Keister
April 13, 2011

After years of development, Sacramento State's environmental studies department has been given the go-ahead to issue bachelor of science degrees.

Virginia Matzek, a professor in the program, said she is thrilled about the decision, and said now along with the bachelor of arts degree for environmental studies, they have two great programs.

"Students now have more flexibility to design a major that prepares them for the careers they want to pursue," Matzek said.

The process began four years ago, when Matzek and professor Michelle Stevens were hired. The department wanted to award bachelor of science degrees at that time, but was short on staff. Having a full staff gave it a better justification to create the new degree.

While it was originally announced a year ago at a campus level, the environmental studies department finally gave the green light to issue bachelor of science degrees at the university level by the chancellor's office in Long Beach.

Further research and information had to be provided for the need of this degree at Sac State in order for the California State University system to give the OK, but it was finally approved as of this semester.

Environmental studies chair Dudley Burton was the spokesman presenting the plan to committees in 2009.

All committees approved the proposal and Burton said it is a necessary progression of the department.

"I think it's important that we provide this opportunity for our students," Burton said. "There are lots of these jobs available for students in this area and it's certainly appropriate that the pathway to getting those jobs be as straightforward as possible."

In both the bachelor's of arts and science, Burton said both groups of students would take the same basic environmental courses and complete their senior thesis. Those in the bachelor of science program would have a wide variety of scientific courses as part of their curriculum, such as oceanography and field botany.

The main difference is now each environmental studies degree would be able to stand on its own with enough units, so studentswon't have to take a minor.

Professor Greg Popejoy is in his fourth year as a part-time instructor and worked for the Department of Conservation for 20 years. He said this decision is long overdue and can provide more for students.

"Obviously it's more science oriented," Popejoy said. "With the B.A. side, obviously, you can go more into policy and planning issues. But with a science degree, you can go in the lab, you can do field ecology, field biology &- there are all sorts of jobs, especially with global climate change happening. There is a need for scientists."

Jill Goff is a senior environmental studies major who will graduate in December with a bachelor of science degree. She thinks getting a bachelor of science as opposed to a bachelor of arts will allow her to better compete in the job market.

"I think it makes the environmental studies program a more well-rounded department," Goff said.

Moving forward, Burton said the department's main concern is budget cuts. As a result, certain classes students need may only be offered every other year.

"Right now nobody knows what's going to happen," Popejoy said. "Courses are being cut, staff is being cut; right now our department is very thin. We are down to two full-time people running the whole department and adding new classes, and a new major while we're doing it. So they need somebody who's going to teach these classes this semester and we're going to relying more on the part-time folks."

Many students were counting on the bachelor of science degree when it first was announced a year ago, but Burton said the department is doing what it can to assist those students who graduated before it was officially offered.

"Many, in fact, were disappointed that it didn't happen quicker, but the administration is allowing us to work with students who graduated in December to redo their degree to see if they can meet the requirements for the B.S.," Burton said. "Students who graduated longer ago than that will be disappointed that they cannot get the B.S., but I have agreed to write a letter for them if that would help them."

Burton said the state hiring boards have become more strenuous, which is what prompted the department to seek the bachelor of science program.

"If they say you need a B.S., then you need a B.S.," he said.

Sunny Kandola is a senior who is working on his bachelor of arts in environmental studies. He said it does make a difference which degree someone gets.

"It matters in what job you're going for," he said. "If you want a B.S., you are doing a lot more daily research."

Popejoy said this is an important step because of how expansive the new degree is, giving students a boost in the green-jobs market.

"This will be good because it's beyond just regular science, like biology and chemistry," Popejoy said. "The folks coming out of this program will have this background in environmental issues, as well as a better understanding of the bigger environmental picture."

Sean Keister can be reached at [email protected]

Budget proposal graphic::Megan Harris - State Hornet

Budget proposal for CSUs increase after mandatory costs

Sean Keister
April 6, 2011

Consideration is under way at Sacramento State on how best to handle Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed year-to-year reduction of $500 million in CSU funding for the 2011-12 school year.

After $50 million in mandatory additional costs, including heightened energy and employee health premiums, have been factored in, the CSU will actually need to address a $550 million total gap in funding.

Kimberly Nava, Sac State spokeswoman, said it is too early to tell exactly what kind of effect this proposal will have.

"We are not certain yet how a cut of this magnitude would affect Sacramento State specifically &- and it is our hope that it doesn't come to that," Nava said.

Olivia Estrada, junior photography major, is not surprised by the possibility of further funding cuts.

"With what's been going on the last two years, it makes me angry. But I'm not shocked," Estrada said. "I don't think they have any consideration for us at all. It's all financial."

At a March 22 CSU Board of Trustees meeting, university officials looked at a number of strategies of how to deal with the governor's proposed cuts to CSU funding.

According to Legislative Analyst's Office, the following recommendations were made if state support for the CSU is cut: a 5 percent reduction in budgeted enrollment levels (which would mean 20,000 fewer students served), a tuition increase of 10 percent or $480 per year (generating an additional $120 million) for undergraduates added to the increase already in place for fall 2011, and a 5 percent decrease in faculty and staff compensation (saving up to $158 million, but only if negotiated and put into place almost immediately).

Even with all of these recommendations enacted, the CSU would still have a $162 million shortfall.

John Kepley, director of public affairs, said these proposals are not actions the school could take on a campus level. He said tuition and enrollment targets are set by the chancellor's office, and faculty and staff compensation are for the most part prescribed by collective bargaining agreements.

"Based on the $500 million proposal, the University Budget Advisory Committee is asking all divisions to plan for a 9.7 percent reduction, or about $12.88 million," Nava said. "Divisions are now preparing those plans."

Alex Yu, senior chemistry major, said he is not surprised by the likely cuts. He said it is best if students try to graduate as soon as possible before things get any worse.

"They've been saying "We're OK,' but tuition keeps increasing," Yu said. "Seems like the more they cut, the further we are from the budget."

Yu said he is now numb to the process.

"We can't really do anything about it," he said. "We can go on strike, but we need our diplomas. We need school."

Kepley said Sac State is planning for the cuts outlined in the governor's budget proposal.

"The work we have done to prudently manage the campus budget has left us in a relatively better position to handle our share of the current proposal's cuts," Kepley said.

Kepley said the administration has decreased expenditures on many levels. He said, for example, it has ensured that enrollment is not too small or too large, and resisted the temptation to use one-time funding for permanent spending commitments.

"President Gonzalez also works closely with the University Budget Advisory Committee," Kepley said. "The faculty, staff and students on the committee have gained valuable experience in recent years as our campus has weathered cut after cut."

Gonzalez originally addressed Sac State about the proposed budget cuts during the Spring Address held in the University Union.

Jenna Mahoney, junior psychology major, said she is most disappointed with the number of courses that have been cut, resulting in larger class sizes.

"It's not about the quality of education," Mahoney said.

Nava said the school is doing all it can to keep cuts to a minimum. She said going by the proposed $500 million reduction to the CSU system, Sac State continues to plan for a 2011-12 enrollment target of 21,625, about the same as the current year.

"We are working very hard to limit the CSU's reduction to $500 million," Nava said. "President Gonzalez, Chancellor Reed and other CSU officials are communicating regularly with state legislators &- with the message that California needs to invest in public higher education to ensure future economic prosperity. "

Daniel Buchanan, senior business major, said he can see where the school is coming from, and it needs to save money and look at all options.

Buchanan said he favors cutting enrollment levels so more seats would be available, but is not sure about the recommendations that would cut the salary of professors.

"You want well-educated people teaching. It's going to have a bad effect on future leaders," Buchanan said. "Sac State is already one of the cheapest universities to attend. It might even be a way to improve the prestige of the school if they increase tuition."

Sean Keister can be reached at [email protected]

Exhibit to show Sac State through the years

Sean Keister
March 28, 2011

The Library Gallery Annex is getting ready to host an exhibit showcasing the work of longtime campus photographer Sam Parsons, who retired in January after 30 years at Sacramento State. Organized by Parsons,...

ASI president encourages student activism

Sean Keister
March 8, 2011

Associated Students Inc. President Terry Martin spoke about ASI's accomplishments over the past year in a speech today in the Union Lobby. Around 25 students attended the event, where ASI served pizza...

Royal Flush exhibits notable African-Americans

Sean Keister
February 20, 2011

Royal Flush, a Black History Month event celebrating notable black scientists, entertained and informed the Sacramento State community on Thursday. The event featured five exhibits that highlighted the...

Career Fair aims to help students land entry-level jobs

Sean Keister
February 16, 2011

Today's Sacramento State Career Fair welcomes current and former students of all majors who will have the opportunity to meet with employers who have positions to fill in their companies. From 10 a.m....

Students seal lips to protest N-word

Sean Keister
February 15, 2011

A silent protest is occurring this week on campus that encourages students to stop using the N-word. Rashad Mosely, an 18-year-old freshman ethnic studies major, is leading the protest by encouraging his...

Maintenance to the campus pushes forward despite cuts

Sean Keister
February 9, 2011

Sacramento State is looking to complete projects in Tahoe, Yosemite, and Capistrano halls while bracing for future budget cuts. "We have an allocation right now," said Mario Ruiz, the interim associate...

Survey shows limited free speech at CSUS

Sean Keister
January 25, 2011

A recent survey found Sacramento State to be among the most restrictive four-year universities in the nation in terms of limiting the free speech of students. In the report "Spotlight on Speech Codes 2011,"...

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