The band aid for Chapman counseling staffing problem

Some Chapman students whose issues aren’t considered pressing don’t always necessarily get turned away from SPCS, but they seldom go knowing they could be taking the opportunity away from others. Photo by Danielle Konovitch

Chapman University is compensating for the surprisingly low student-to-counselor ratio by taking a new holistic approach to advance health and wellness for students.  

The Student Government Association and Student Engagement are expanding the amount and frequency of recreational fitness sessions on campus, and a newly-hired full-time Program Coordinator for Student Engagement will start spearheading itineraries this summer, said Assistant Director of Student Engagement Mike Keyser. SGA President Mitchell Rosenberg is meeting with senior advisors with a formal proposal to double the size of the fitness center, according to Keyser.  

“We’re trying to connect working out to more than just looking good,” Keyser said. “Fitness satisfies social and physical needs as well as it revitalizes students’ mental health.”

As of spring 2018, Student Psychological Counseling Services (SPCS) balanced a counselor-to-student ratio of 1:1310. This ratio includes both undergraduate and graduate students on Chapman’s main campus as well as the Rinker Health Science Campus, according to Director of SPCS Jeanne M. Walker, Ph.D. The counselor-to-undergraduate student ratio was roughly 1:980 this spring, according to Walker.  

Student Psychological Services has recently hired two new full time equivalent counselors, one of which is specifically for the Rinker Health Science Campus, so the ratios are expected to be better next year, Walker said.  

“The new model counseling services is grappling with will assist students on a need basis and on the level of the crisis,” Keyser said. “The new staff will help manage the amount of people and I anticipate that the students who need less specialized attention will lean toward our new upcoming fitness programs and events.”  

More yoga on the lawn wouldn’t help the issues a lot of students have, said junior public and advertising major Meagan Donovan.  

Donovan stopped utilizing Chapman’s counseling services for generalized anxiety because she felt she was taking the opportunity away from someone else.  

“No one ever explicitly said I couldn’t be seen, or I couldn’t be helped,” Donovan said. “But it made me uncomfortable from the beginning knowing there is a waitlist of people who many need more help than I do.” 

Talking it out would be the most useful way to cope with anxiety, Donovan said.  

“I like kayaking and yoga on the lawn, but these activities wouldn’t necessarily help the issues I was being seen for,” Donovan said.  

A residence advisor who wishes to remain anonymous to not jeopardize her position said she had been turned away from the counseling center.

“I was nowhere near suicidal but in desperate need to talk to someone, and basically they told me they can’t see me within the week unless I’m about to kill myself or harm someone else,” the student said. “They said to seek counseling elsewhere if possible because they won’t be able to see me for a few weeks.”

By the time the student finally received an email a month later saying she could make an appointment, she didn’t need to talk to anyone. 

Chapman’s Student Psychological Counseling Services Office didn’t respond to request for comment by deadline.  

As of spring 2018, Student Psychological Counseling Services (SPCS) balanced a counselor-to-student ratio of 1:1310. Photo by Danielle Konovitch

Chapman housing can better serve transgender students

Matt Burnside, a junior television writing and production major who identifies as trans-male, said that his on-campus roommate situation wasn’t ideal his first year at Chapman, before his transition. Photo by Danielle Konovitch

Chapman continues to struggle with how to best accommodate the housing needs of transgender students.  

The Office of Residence Life and First Year Experience now offers first year students a chance to indicate their needs regarding gender inclusive housing. Students have the option of selecting “I WANT” to live in gender inclusive housing, “I AM WILLING” to live in gender inclusive housing, or “I DO NOT WANT” to live in gender inclusive housing, according to Residence Life Director David Sundby.  

This system, put in place Fall 2017, replaces one that did not thoroughly describe or define what gender inclusive housing meant. Students that selected the need for gender inclusive housing in past years were emailed with an explanation and asked if they still needed it, according to Sundby.   

Sundby declined to provide the percentages or numbers regarding the forms.  

“Anyone with strong opinions about this topic will see numbers as confirmatory. Advocates for LGBTQ inclusion may see preference indication as necessary while those who oppose LGBTQ rights will see this as confirmation of, ‘nobody wants this! It’s just catering to a small minority, so why do it?’” Sundby said. “I don’t want to give anyone fodder to argue against this change. It’s how we do things now because we believe it to be the right thing to do.”

Chapman housing emailed students with different needs in the past to keep their needs on the down low, according to Sundby. Now they’re adamant about openly supporting all students and halting students from potentially impacting each other negatively, Sundby said.  

265 colleges and universities in the United States have gender inclusive housing according to Campus Pride. Chapman University is a part of a network of universities that are communicating through the Association of College and University Housing Officers to effectively pair roommates and arrange comfortable housing for LGBTQ students, according to Sundby.

Chapman University is also listed on Campus Pride’s website as one of 1,036 colleges and universities in the U.S. with nondiscrimination policies that include gender identity and expression.  

The best way to accommodate transgender students in on-campus housing is to ask students their gender identity on the application and base the pairings off of this rather than sex assignment, according to director of Campus Pride Genny Beemyn.

“Chapman’s current housing application gives students the ability to express their prejudice,” Beemyn said. “Also, it doesn’t help if you’re a trans guy and are paired with a trans woman when you want to live with another trans guy; and when two cis people who are trans supportive get assigned to each other because of their willingness to live in gender inclusive housing.”

Parents have called Chapman housing with complains about being uncomfortable with their students’ LGBTQ roommates, according to Sunbdy.  

“Sometimes it’s solely the parent’s issue, otherwise I ask the student if they have actually talked to their roommate, and usually such discomfort is solved with a conversation. Many times, roommates with different orientations find common ground and become friends,” Sundby said.  

However, this was not the case for all LGBTQ students.  

Chapman housing denied senior digital arts major Jesse Herb, who identifies as trans-female, gender inclusive housing in the spring of 2015 because she wasn’t presenting. Presentation is defined as the physical manifestation of one’s gender identity through clothing, hairstyle, voice, and body shape by Trans Student Educational Resources.  

“I had to come out to the housing professional I met with because I had to explain why I didn’t want to live in just a co-ed house, which was the gender-inclusive option before the application gave a definition,” Herb said. “I just wanted to live with my [female] best friend. The housing professional said that because I’m not presenting, I don’t qualify for gender-neutral housing. I told her I’m coming out to her now, and she said I have to be presenting to everyone else.”

Herb said the experience was completely invalidating and dehumanizing, and recognizes the university’s vast improvements since that ordeal.  

“Many faculty we have now are very understanding and try to be inclusive, but not all – like some English professors refuse to use they/them pronouns, which is an easy fix,” Herb said. “In general, Chapman could normalize pronouns. Outing yourself can be hard, so it would help if professors presented the opportunity for students to email them and communicate how they want to be addressed.”  

Herb also said she knows Chapman has some conservative backers, so it doesn’t surprise her that easy changes to make transgender students more comfortable takes time.  

“Putting pads and tampons in the men’s bathrooms would be respectful health care for men who have vaginas,” Herb said.  

Matt Burnside, a junior television writing and production major who identifies as trans-male, said that his on-campus roommate situation wasn’t ideal his first year at Chapman, before his transition.  

“I was good friends with my suitemate but when I came out to her as bi, she told me I had to tell my roommate because otherwise I was lying to her. When I asked why, she said, ‘I don’t know, she might feel uncomfortable changing in front of you so it’s important for you to let her know,’” Burnside said. “I never told my roommate but I think my suitemate might have, because she became distant from that point forward.”

Burnside said he consulted his residence director, who assisted Burnside in moving out.  

“I’m seeing good strides. Making a change like this one to the housing application is a positive and easy way to protect students who identify as transgender, gender non-conforming, or non-binary,” Burnside said. “I think it’s a definite step in the right direction and with more push from students and faculty for safety and inclusion.”

Students aren’t clear on where to turn for advising at Chapman

Walk-ins for quick questions are available in the Academic Advising Center on Mondays from 8:30 am to 4:20 pm. A 30-minute session can be scheduled by calling (714) 744 – 7959. Photo by Dasha Konovitch

Chapman University offers a cohesive academic advising program, but students don’t know how to use it.

Some Chapman students do not know that their major and minor specific questions need to be addressed by their faculty program advisor and not by the academic advising center. Shannon Baker, Chapman’s one dedicated undeclared advisor, is available for undeclared students to meet within the academic advising center. The four main areas of advising at Chapman are professional advising, program advising, specialized advising, and faculty mentoring advising. The AAC currently has nine advisors, making the AAC advisor to student ratio roughly one to 915.

The four main areas of advising at Chapman are professional advising, program advising, specialized advising, and faculty mentoring advising. Photo by Dasha Konovitch

Despite these resources, some students say they aren’t informed about how to use them and are thus disappointed by the lack of efficiency and personalized guidance by the academic advising center.

Junior strategic and corporate communications major Shoshone Truro-Allee believes there’s a disconnect between general advisors, the registrar, and program advisors.

“After telling me they can’t help me with choosing and signing into classes, the academic advising center redirected me to a program advisor,” Truro-Allee said. “The program advisor told me to go to the registrar and the registrar pointed me in yet another direction. There was a lot of confusion and running around.”

Truro-Allee said she had to figure out how to pick classes herself for SCC and learned what she had to do from experience instead of from one person giving her tangible steps.

“I asked the AAC how I can determine which department I’d best fit into, and they read my program evaluation to me,” Truro-Allee said. “I can do that myself.”

Senior strategic and corporate communications major Molly Silk has the same issue.

“It took me my whole freshman year to figure out what classes to register for and it was difficult not knowing who to talk to,” Silk said. “When I thought I’d finally found someone, I was redirected and redirected again. I wish there was a stronger connection between program advisors and general advisors.”

Director of Academic Advising Roberto Coronel acknowledged the concern and said he wishes to figure out how the AAC can address it.

“Students don’t always necessarily understand our structure, in that they don’t know when to go to the AAC versus a program advisor,” Coronel said. “The AAC is here to help students understand overall degree requirements and any specific questions about major requirements are handled by program advisors.”

All incoming freshmen have the option to go through a mandatory online advising tutorial or attend a summer advising workshop in order to become familiar with the advising system in addition to navigating the student center and understanding the program evaluation, according to Coronel. If a student has additional questions, they can schedule an appointment with a general advisor. Should a student need personalized academic mentoring, help with postgraduate planning, or planning support for interdisciplinary programs and self-designed majors and minors, they should seek out faculty-mentoring, Coronel said.

“While program advisors answer major and minor-specific questions, they won’t get into GE requirements, so normally there would be a referral to come back to our office,” Coronel said. “This could explain the running around.”

Program advisors can be inefficient and at times don’t recognize that they are program advisors, according to some students.

Sophomore political science major Madison Buss said her initially assigned program advisor failed to respond to her emails, so Buss’ mother got involved, and Buss’ new advisor was an assistant head of AAC.

“It wasn’t well explained that you need to find a faculty advisor for your major. I didn’t have one until three weeks ago,” Buss said. “I think program advisors should be systemized into a group, and that if someone is assigned to you, they should reach out to you right away.”  

Coronel agreed that ideally there should be a system in place and an option for a freshman to choose their program advisor, but each department is different and assigns program advisors in a way that works for that particular department.

Coronel said the AAC used to have a better sense of what students’ concerns are when he collaborated with a student representative from SGA, but since the leadership changed, he hasn’t met with one in years.

“I want to hear directly from the students on how we can improve,” Coronel said. “I have not heard direct student complaints since I worked closely with SGA.”

Associate Director for Content Development of the National Academic Advising Association Jennifer Joslin said that Chapman’s issue could be that not every group of advisors has an advising mission statement, so the advisors don’t know if their interactions with students should be transactional or transformational.

“Chapman should transition their system from schedule building to academic advising, by which students can engage with advisors to learn about themselves,” Joslin said. “Having a conversation with a program advisor should reinforce the students’ trust that they are on track, pursuing the right major, and are in the right institution.”

Land of opportunity for some, but not all

Out of 1,114 internships Chapman partnered with during the 2016-2017 academic year, 767 were unpaid, 311 were paid, and 36 had some other form of reimbursement, according to Chapman University’s Career Development Center. Photo by Danielle Konovich

The United States Department of Labor recently announced new regulations concerning unpaid internships, making it easier for for-profit employers to hire interns without offering compensation.

The new rules by the U.S. Labor Department install a “primary beneficiary test,” endorsing seven elements that determine the standard for internships. One states that training is expected from the employer that “would be similar to that which would be given in an educational environment.” Another says that the intern and employer should understand that there is no expectation of compensation.

Such a feat perpetuates inequality in the United States, according to chief of staff of Pay Our Interns, Guillermo Creamer. Social mobility in the United States is among the lowest of major industrialized economies, according to the Economic Policy Institute. Many employers who don’t pay interns reason that their unpaid internship provides a valuable hands-on learning experience that is more beneficial to the intern than the company, Creamer said. Unpaid internships impact students’ economic stability in that students from relatively high-income families can get ahead of students from lower income families, who are left holding paying positions to pay expenses.

California Lawyer cited an issue of controversy that exists around compensation of an intern, in that “any promise of compensation, express or implied, suggests that the intern is an employee — and vice versa.” In other words, compensating an intern may obscure the extent to which the intern’s work “complements, rather than displaces, the work of paid employees while providing significant educational benefits to the intern.”

The discrepancy has agitated thousands of interns in the recent past.

Thousands of former interns filed a class-action lawsuit in 2014 against Condé Nast, a mass media company founded in 1909 that publishes and maintains brands such as Vanity Fair, Vogue, and The New Yorker. Condé Nast agreed to pay $5.8 million to settle the lawsuit brought by the interns who said they were underpaid for working at the top-tier magazines on Nov. 13, 2014.

The lead plaintiffs on this case, Lauren Ballinger and Matthew Leib, told Reuters Magazine that Ballinger worked for around $1 per hour organizing accessories in the fashion closet at W Magazine, while Leib earned around $300 for a summer internship at the New Yorker. Thanks to these two, former interns who have been underpaid since June 2007 received from $700 to $1,900, according to the settlement.

While Chapman students understand their employers’ dilemma on whether or not to pay interns, several believe that the lack of compensation for labor perpetuates inequality.

Sophomore English major Maggie Mayer doesn’t have to contribute to her rent or tuition because of the scholarships Chapman gave her, but has worked at Starbucks for 20-30 hours a week for over a year to pay for everything else.

“Even if I had a car an unpaid internship wouldn’t be possible,” Mayer said, “I’m already juggling too much coursework with my paying job. I’m always jealous of people who have the resources and time to find an unpaid internship.”

Mayer found a loophole for the coming summer in the form of an internship grant. She submitted clips of some of her writing and won a couple thousand dollars to cover her internship for a local newspaper in Tahoe, California.

“I also think it might be easier to get internships in certain fields over others,” Mayer said. “All these Dodge kids are doing crazy things in LA, but some opportunities seem thinner in other areas. And I’m not a low income student, but not having a car and having too much on my plate makes it very difficult.”

During the 2016-2017 academic year, Chapman was partnered with 1,114 internships that were registered for credit. 767 of those were unpaid, 311 were paid and 36 had some other form of reimbursement, according to Chapman University’s Career Development Center.

The Career Development Center at Chapman University advises students who can’t afford to take on unpaid internships to look for part-time jobs in their industry of choice, according to career educator Janelle Farkas.

“Just because something isn’t listed as an ‘internship,’ it doesn’t mean the student can’t get valuable experience out of it,” Farkas said. “As long as the student can articulate transferable skills, the job is of value.”

Less than half of the internships Chapman University partners with are unpaid. Photo by Danielle Konovich

When a student is unable to find a part-time job in their industry of choice, Farkas asks them what types of jobs they are willing to seek in order to make money, and walks them through the process of applying to those jobs, which are usually in retail or the restaurant service. Next, Farkas suggests the student look for volunteer opportunities or on campus research opportunities with professors that are related to what they are looking for.

“It’s not ideal, but it still allows the student to make some money with a part-time job, while still gaining some exposure in their field of choice,” Farkas said.

The CDC looks at this issue on a case by case basis, as what works for one student wouldn’t necessarily work for another, according to assistant director Susan Chang.

Junior business major Iker Belausteguigoitia is currently working for free for Wilsher Financial Network as a real estate investment intern. Belausteguigoitia said he pays his own tuition and rent using money he earns by working as a real estate agent in the summer.

“I’m only doing it because I can get three credits for school, and if that weren’t the case, I definitely wouldn’t be working unpaid internships,” Belausteguigoitia said. “This summer I’m only looking for paid internships because if I’m not getting paid, it’s not worth my time.”

Belausteguigoitia believes that unpaid internships create an income gap between students from wealthy families and students from middle-class families who can’t always afford to work for free.

“It’s also in the employer’s best interest to pay interns on a need basis,” Belausteguigoitia said. “They would be working with students who are more appreciative of the money as they’ve gotten less from their parents.”

Butterfly Social Media, a company that provides marketing assistance to businesses with the help of social media managers, marketers, editors, photographers, and videographers, works with interns who need to learn the ropes of the marketing industry, according to Sondra Barker, director of public relations and social media strategy.

Butterfly Social Media teaches students marketing techniques not taught in college classes, such that students essentially receive a free course and college credit to work for the company, Barker said.

“Asking why interns aren’t compensated is like asking your school why they don’t pay their students to go to class,” Barker said. “Full time employees take time from their work and free time to train students. This is a learning experience in which the student is essentially receiving a free course and college credit to work for our company.”

Butterfly Social Media charges clients thousands of dollars for the same training and information students learn from their internship program, Barker said.

“This is not an easy industry to get into, and requires a specific skill set and work ethic that most students don’t have,” Barker said. “To expect cash compensation for an internship which you’re not qualified for is an entitled millennial attitude.”

While companies who pay their interns are technically advocating for the cause, Pay Your Interns is the only organization that is working toward getting paid internships up and running by meeting with nonprofits and members of Congress, Creamer said.

“We have an influx of students from wealthy families working unpaid internships and students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds being barred from reaching their potential,” Creamer said. “Those students tend to be students of color and first generation students.”

Many staffers in Congress have attested that they were once an unpaid intern, suggesting that if a person can’t afford to be an unpaid intern they’re less likely to quickly jump into working on the hill, Creamer said.

Deliberative Dialogue: Mass Shootings

Photo by Danielle Konovitch

A Socratic Seminar about gun violence held Wednesday night in Argyros Forum demonstrated surprising consensus between pro-gun and anti-gun students.

Chapman and Santiago Canyon College students who attended Deliberative Dialogue on Mass Shootings March 14 faced discrepancy when discussing three methods to reduce mass shootings. Of 62 Chapman students polled on the issue, 79 percent would restrict assault weapons, 8 percent would equip people with weapons to defend themselves and 12 percent would root out violence in society by reducing media coverage of mass shootings and restricting depictions of violence in entertainment.

Civic Engagement Initiatives, hosting the event, had to halt and redirect the seminar when students debated the impact of delaying the age at which long guns (rifles and shotguns) can be obtained.

Licensed firearm dealers may sell long guns or ammunition to a person who is 18 or older. As for handguns, licensed dealers may sell to those 21 and older, according to Giffords Law Center. However, unlicensed dealers are a different story: they may sell long guns to people of any age and handguns to those 18 and older, as long as the buyer indicates the need for their handgun for activities including employment, ranching, farming, target practice and hunting. 

Some students were disgruntled by the question of delaying the age at which guns can be purchased.

“Age doesn’t matter at all,” said junior psychology and strategic and corporate communication major Kyler Hannah. “I get that people want to protect their second amendment right, but just delaying age wouldn’t make a difference. If someone wants a gun, they’ll be able to get it.”

Another student diverged Hannah, offering that ease of accessibility to weapons would make a lot of difference.

“When you think pragmatically, if people are making impulse decisions based on emotions like, ‘I’m angry and I want to kill them,’ and they either already have a gun or could buy one, then they’ll start killing people right away,” the student said. “Whereas if that person had to wait a few years before they could buy a gun, they would have time to cool off.”

Students also stated that Congress should allocate more money toward more thorough background checks. Students believe that licensed sellers need to cover a buyer’s background and take additional time to double-check it.

“If a licensed seller doesn’t have these things in place, then age doesn’t matter,” a student said. “If there’s nothing forcible for it, you can just go and buy a gun using fake identification, and that’s terrifying.”  

Department of Justice guidelines require the National Instant Criminal Background Check System reviewers to make an immediate decision on whether a person can buy a gun or not in 90 percent of cases, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. If a background check requires more information, the FBI takes three business days to make a final decision. The Brady Act allows the Federal Firearms License to sell a gun to a buyer if the NICS transaction is not resolved within those three days, according to the FBI.  

“If I have to wait 90 days before I can get an internship, then I think it should take more than a few days to get a gun,” a student said.

Students also discussed the outlook of equipping people to defend themselves, along with its primary drawback that the proliferation of firearms and armed guards in public places may create the atmosphere of a police state.

A 1997 study cited by the hosts of the seminar used cross-sectional time-series data for U.S. counties from 1977 to 1992 and found that allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons deters violent crimes and does not produce an increase in accidental deaths. The same study found that if the unarmed states had adopted guns in 1992, about 1,579 murders and 4,177 rapes would have been dodged yearly.

However, a conflicting study also referenced refuted the other through extended analysis, which established that more guns means more crime.

Students reviewed the hypothetical action of arming teachers and school administrators as well. Many students brought up the drawbacks of interfering with the learning environment and placing teachers in positions for which they may neither be ready for, nor temperamentally suited.

Students’ opinions were congruous regarding the prospect of arming teachers and school administrators, in that it would be calamitous.

“As someone who is pro-gun and is a future teacher, even if teachers and administrators had training and the government funds the training, how many will have experience shooting a gun while being shot at?” a student said. “People react differently under threat. Brain chemistry wouldn’t allow a person to think properly while using their gun and there may be more casualty than there would have been if the teacher wasn’t armed.”

Another student pointed out the inevitability of bias and favoritism, having seen teachers’ tweets about not trusting themselves or colleagues to protect their students.

Rooting out depiction of violence in society appeared to be the least favorable solution to diminishing mass shootings. All student attendees agreed that video games and violence in mass media don’t equate to reality, and that entertainment culture wouldn’t bring out violence in people.

“One of the most famous mass shootings was Columbine,” a student noted. “The student was straight, popular, rich and confused everyone. No one suspected these two guys to be the type of people to be shooters because they looked like they had ideal lives from an outsider perspective. They weren’t bullied or struggling, and they were the guys who inspired many mass shooters after them, like the Virginia Tech one. How would combatting video games and bullying play a role in stopping this trend perpetuated by these guys a little over two decades ago?”

Joseph Lanning, a student visitor from Santiago Canyon College, believes that the best solution out of all those discussed would be to eliminate lobbying and removing the National Rifle Association as a persuasive voice in how gun violence is handled in the United States.

Students who attended the forum, though affiliated with different political parties and holding different opinions about the second amendment, were in agreement with regard to strengthening background checks, the notion that equipping teachers and school administrators would cause mayhem, and that less guns means less violence.

Chapman University may feel dispersal of riverbed homeless

Impact of homeless evictions on Chapman University unclear, but campus is preparing.   

More homeless people may visit the Chapman campus as a result of people being evicted from the Santa Ana River Trail, but Chief of Public Safety Andy Burba said the campus is prepared.

“While I think we will see more of them, I’m not concerned,” Burba said. “Homeless people haven’t been a huge problem and we treat them like anybody else. If they disturb class or bug somebody we’ll ask them to leave, but we treat them the same as we do the kids skateboarding in the Piazza,”he added.

Burba said Public Safety responds to all student complaints, but the Department would use its discretion in deciding whether a person’s behavior and demeanor justified being asked to leave the campus.

Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do announced a reconstructed 3-month project to evict homeless individuals from the Santa Ana River Trail on January 26, but Federal Judge David Carter ordered a temporary suspension of the evictions Feb. 6.

Photo Courtesy of: Danielle Konovitch

The federal court order to halt the eviction was in response to a lawsuit filed on behalf of seven homeless individuals against Anaheim, Orange, and Costa Mesa, after Sheriff’s deputies announced that they would begin citing and arresting people for trespassing if they didn’t permanently leave by Wednesday.

Last Tuesday, Carter ordered the county and city officials to finalize short-term accommodations for the hundreds of homeless people being evicted and in response, county lawyers and staff met in a courthouse to arrange 400 motel vouchers. If it wasn’t enough, they would open 300 to 400 more to be accommodated on vacant county land.

Departures from the riverbed started in May 2017 when 46 individuals from Bridges at Kraemer Places and 221 from the Courtyard Transitional Center moved into housing. In January, Orange County announced that 490 tents occupied by homeless individuals would be destroyed over the next three months, and speculation began as to where the 1,000 or so people who have been living in the river bed would wind up, despite being offered help and accommodations.

Homeless people are divided as to the effect a coming forced diaspora may have on Chapman.

Kim Gray, a 49-year-old homeless individual, who has lived on the Santa Ana riverbed for 8 ½ years, believes it unlikely that too many riverbed residents will be coming to campus.

Her current neighbors know of Chapman University but are unlikely to move to or visit the college, she said. Why? Being able to obtain food and water at more accessible places such as Denny’s and Burger King is more important to them than taking a stroll through an aesthetically pleasing facility. At the end of May each year, however, many river bed residents go “dumpster diving” outside the dorms for clothes, furniture, and resources left by students, noted Gray, who indicated that the death of her ex-husband from congestive heart failure factored into her losing her home.

Yet, “next steps” are certainly top of mind for her community. “The tension here definitely lightened since last week,” Gray said. “The judge’s suspension lifted a weight off people’s shoulders. But when it expires, people will have to scramble again to figure out where they’ll go next. Lots of people got nowhere to go. I was going to go toward Santiago Creek, which is where I first started since the death of my husband.”

And if Chapman students should encounter some new visitors? “I want Chapman kids to understand that we’re just homeless, and we’re not criminals,” Gray said. “Homelessness is an epidemic, but each person has a story,” she said.

Vicky Jeckel, 43, a homeless woman who has been sleeping in Hart Park for five years, said she expects at least some rousted riverbed residents to move into Hart Park, which is a short mile away from Chapman campus.

“I know a couple of people who like it down there, and I expect them to come here,” Jeckel said. “I don’t know what Santa Ana is doing with the $23 million they got to help the homeless or when they’ll do something real, but none of us are being treated well.”

Photo Courtesy of: Danielle Konovitch

The Santa Ana, Anaheim, and Orange County area received $23,458,682 in January of 2017 to house its growing and persistent homeless population, according to the San Bernardino Office of Homeless Services.

Officials have collected more than 80 tons of debris and 500 needles since January 22 and helped four people to the Courtyard Transitional Center. The County of Orange has free beds at the Courtyard Transitional Center, Bridges at Kraemer Place, and the seasonal Armory Shelters in Santa Ana and Fullerton for anyone who voluntarily leaves the Santa Ana Riverbed Trail. These organizations provide more resources including storage, transportation to County-run shelters and pet kenneling for 90 days.

Jeckel said she didn’t use the resources available to her because she was fearful of being robbed in the shelters offered, as her friends had been. She feels safer living self-sufficiently outdoors, she said. But she does feel as if her current residence is provisional.

“In the five years I have been homeless I have been harassed and ticketed for stupid things like having my bong out,” Jeckel said. “Cops always ask what we’re doing and we’ll be minding our own business, away from the playground and people over there. I always feel like I’m on the brink of eviction by cops here, they just don’t say it out loud.”

Her neighbor, Chris M 31, added that he, too, thought Hart Park might become more crowded with overnight guests.  “I got evicted last year because my last roommate, who is my friend’s ex-wife, went crazy from drugs and stopped paying rent,” said Chris, who moved to Hart Park shortly after. “So I’ve been out here for about a year and it hasn’t been bad. Cops are good to me, and I’m better off than a ton of people who have roofs over their heads but can’t afford to eat.” Chris M, has a bit of college history himself: He attended, but never graduated, from Santa Ana College and occasionally visits Chapman to obtain water from the campus Starbucks.

Chris said he hopes to go back and finish college someday, but feels he needs external encouragement to do so – and that is in short supply.

Photo Courtesy of: Danielle Konovitch

Leila T, 39, a homeless woman sleeping on the Santa Ana River trail, said she hadn’t been on Chapman campus since she toured it when she was 17, looking to enroll.

“I wanted to go but my parents didn’t qualify for grants,” Leila said. “I went to Santa Ana College and dropped out. So no, I haven’t been to Chapman recently, and I don’t plan on going. No one else around here has mentioned any intent of going there,” Leila said.

Most students interviewed said they were not worried about an infiltration of homeless people on campus.  Junior television writing major Laurel Speck said she was not inclined to call public safety unless someone was trying to mug her or hurt someone else  – and the housing status of someone committing a crime was irrelevant.

“If I saw a homeless guy on campus I’d probably buy him Rotunda sushi,” Speck said. “I used to work in the circle and there was a guy laying on a bench in the hot sun one day, so I bought him ice cream from A La Minute.”






M.S. in Athletic Training Discontinued

Photo Courtesy of: Ian Craddock

The Master’s of Science degree program in athletic training, which has been around for years at Chapman University, may be terminated officially after a meeting between faculty from Crean College of Health and Behavioral Sciences and the Provost on Monday, Feb. 19, according to Dr. Janeen Hill, Dean of Crean College.  

The program is likely closing due to a “perfect storm” of resignations that leaves the small program unable to maintain accreditation standards, and affected students are stunned and scrambling to assemble a “Plan B.”

Two of the program’s four faculty members are resigning, according to Hill: Dr. Jason Bennett, the Athletic Training Program Director, is leaving Chapman to help start up the athletic training graduate program at California State University, Fullerton, according to Dr. Hill. Dr. Sara Nottingham is transferring to the University of New Mexico, according to Dr. Hill. Their contracts end May 31, leaving only two professors, which is not enough faculty to maintain accreditation standards, Hill explained.  As a result, it appears unlikely that the mandatory self-study for reaccreditation due July 1, to the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training (CAATE), will be complete, Hill said.

Photo Courtesy of: Catie Kovelman

Currently enrolled graduate students will remain in the program and will graduate on time. However, recently accepted students have been notified of their revoked acceptances on Thursday, Feb. 8, and are being advised on which steps to take next in terms of applying to athletic training programs at other schools,  Bennett said.

Dr. Bennett did not comment on his reason for resignation, and Dr. Nottingham did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

Many factors are involved in deciding to discontinue a program. A rationale coming from either a group of faculty, the dean, or provost is sent to and voted on by the college curriculum committee whether to support or not support the recommendation to close the program. Then it is discussed between relative department faculty and finally sent to the Provost, which serves as the official closer, according to Dr. Hill.

“I was the one who submitted the rationale for the closure,”  Dr. Hill said. “I want to emphasize that program closure is a very serious undertaking, and is a multifactorial process that is not done on a whim. The students currently enrolled in the program and the ones who were accepted into the program will be carefully counseled, along with the faculty who teach in the department, whose best interests are at heart.”

Enrolled students found out they will still graduate on time, sit for the board certification, and that this discontinuation will not impact their ability to finish and graduate with their degrees at a meeting on Monday, Feb. 12.

Photo Courtesy of: Catie Kovelman

Dr. Bennett serves as a guidance counselor for the students who had their acceptances revoked by being available to them for meetings and informing other schools with athletic training graduate programs of their credentials and situation.

“Dr. Bennett has been nothing but extraordinarily helpful,” said Rebecca Brown, a senior kinesiology major from Chapman whose acceptance was revoked. “The meeting on Monday with the dean was pretty disappointing because there was no getting around what she was saying, which was ‘it was a perfect storm of events.’ Dr. Bennett was more transparent with us toward the end of the meeting so that was when I found out more about what was going on.”

“I know my professors are leaving and I don’t think they’re at fault, because people should be able to make their own life decisions,” Brown said. “But I just don’t understand why Chapman couldn’t hire other professors to replace them.”

Brown, with Dr. Bennett’s advising, is applying to all the schools that are still accepting applications, and schools recommended by the ones Dr. Bennett assured were of high quality.

Ellie Peterson, another senior kinesiology major whose acceptance to the program was revoked, is also meeting with Dr. Bennett and discussing her options. She plans on taking some community college classes over a gap year while she figures out what to do next.

“I’m pretty frustrated but have come to terms since I got that call on Thursday from someone in grad admissions who told me my acceptance is revoked and that I’d get my $500 deposit back,” Peterson said. “The process sucked, but Dr. Bennett was helpful because he reached out right away and told me that whenever I was going to re-apply to programs I should reach out to him for recommendations.”

Peterson said she and her colleagues are angry because faculty should have been replaced. They feel as though they’ve been left with nothing.

“I’ve met with the students who applied from Chapman, called the ones who applied from other schools, and have talked to programs at Oregon State, University of Pacific, Azusa Pacific, Cal Baptist, and Northern Arizona,” Dr. Bennett said. “I told them what’s happening and recommended the students based on the students’ choices of schools. My first priority is that both groups of students the ones currently enrolled and the ones with revoked acceptances are taken care of,” he added.

“I think every faculty member in this university is replaceable. Most people are,” Dr. Bennett said. “The athletic training program here is high quality, has great students, great alumni, and a super high reputation within our field. Why couldn’t they just hire new faculty?”

Photo Courtesy of: Catie Kovelman

Because the timeline left to replace faculty with the expertise and qualifications to teach in a graduate program is too short to guarantee replacement, according to  Dr. Hill.

Student athletic trainers who worked under the supervision of the head athletic trainer Pamela Gibbons will no longer be assisting Gibbons in patient care. Athletic training internships that involve more observation than a supervised hands-on experience will still be available to students interested in pursuing the field.

“It’s a sad day,” Gibbons said. “This program has been around for 35 years in a number of different formats. It started as an internship program transitioned to an undergrad curriculum and finally a graduate program. In my 27 years of being here I have seen very many successful alumni.” Athletic Training as a bachelor’s degree became available to undergraduate students in 2001 and became a graduate program in 2015.  

Jack Bauerle, MS, ATC, CSCS, former program director (1998-2000), proud alumni, and part-time professor, led the athletic training program into the accreditation process after the program’s founding father, Monte Smith, retired.

“It saddens me to hear the program’s closing because of its rich history and legacy of alumni across the world,” Bauerle said. “We have international students as certified athletic trainers in places as far as Japan.”

The cancellation is a shame, according to Bauerle, because alumni created an endowment – the Monte Smith endowment – to benefit the athletic training department. Bauerle and other alumni are currently deciding where they’ll re-channel the money they raised for the program.