Will “The K” be OK by its move-in date? Future dorm residents are worried, but Chapman director assures that all is well

“There’s still a big dirt hole in the center of the building. Seeing that doesn’t make me feel secured,” said freshman history major Eric Alva. Photo courtesy of R.D. Olson.

Some of the 400 students slated to live in Chapman’s newest dorm, “The K,” worry construction won’t be finished in time for the Aug. 22 move-in date.

“There’s still a big dirt hole in the center of the building. Seeing that doesn’t make me feel secure,” said freshman history major Eric Alva, whose first choice of housing was The K because it’s separate from main campus but close enough to skateboard to class.

Because move-in is just three months away, some students are concerned The K will not be complete or built at the best quality. Director of Residence Life Dave Sundby said he is confident that the building will be completed on time but acknowledged there is no “Plan B” if it’s not. Residence Life had been planning on building more dorms for years and initial construction was supposed to start five to six years ago, Sundby said.

Residence life started planning last spring and began construction early January of this year, according to Sundby.

Residence life intended to build The K where the tennis courts are, but there was an issue with the soil, according to Sundby. Now, The K sits diagonal to Marion Knott Studios. All of The K apartments will be fully occupied, housing around 400 students, which is just shy of the populations of Davis, Harris, and Glass combined, Sundby said.

Chapman Grand was freshman broadcast journalism and documentary major Vi Nguyen’s first choice, but after thinking it over, she realized The K was a better option because it’s so close to Marion Knott Studios, where she takes many classes. She was wary of choosing The K without knowing what the inside would look like other than renderings of its layout and a youtube video by Residence Life.

In the video, Henley Hall Resident Advisor and YouTube personality Jack Ruhl compared the size of one K apartment to three times that of a Henley dorm room. He also included footage of an unfinished apartment.

“We worked hard to get information out to students,” said Sundby. “We had more access to the building than I’ve ever had in my career for a building that’s under construction.”

Sundby was eager to guarantee that construction was occurring as scheduled. “There’s no doubt that the building will be open for students to move into in August,” he said.

If for some reason the building is not ready, “we would have to figure out how we would house those students for any temporary stretch until the building is opened,” Sundby said.

Director of Residence Life Dave Sundby is confident students will move into a finished building in the fall. Photo by Sydnee Valdez.

Even if R.D. Olson, the company hired to build The K, completes the construction by their proposed date, there are worries that work might be rushed.

“The idea that they might rush the construction scares me because I want it to be really modern and nice, and I don’t want them to do a half-ass job,” Nguyen said.

Others are trusting the process.

“Students will be living there and it’s owned by the university: There’s no way that The K won’t be as safe as it possibly can,” said undeclared freshman Adam Richardson. “I am not concerned. It will absolutely be fine.”

There are inspections throughout the construction process done by different project managers employed by Chapman who will work alongside R.D. Olson, Sundby said. The city also has to permit The K after looking at both the city and state building codes to ensure that the building is safe, according to Sundby.

“If something goes wrong with the building that’s structural, [contractors] are taking on that liability. Contractors and subcontractors don’t want to do poor work because that will come back to them financially and from a reputation standpoint,” Sundby said. “There is no reason for the work to be rushed, and there’s good reason to believe that if a company were to do poorly it would affect their future business with Chapman.”

Pictures of the construction can be found on the website of R.D. Olson Construction.

The K, Chapman’s newest housing option, takes up the spot where the Saturday Farmer’s Market was formerly held. Photo by Sydnee Valdez.

Broken door in Hashinger is a result of broken communication

“I have been temporarily locked out before class many times, and it takes a few minutes to jiggle in,” said sophomore economics major Kat Brown. Photo courtesy of Sydnee Valdez

See something, say something.

That seems to be the moral of a recent saga that led to students and teachers being locked out of their class in the Hashinger Science Center basement.

The doors of a Hashinger Science Center classroom locked automatically for weeks –blocking students from class– before it was repaired the day after a Prowl reporter inquired about the problem on April 22.

The double doors in the basement of Hashinger Science Center were broken for more than three weeks, according to sophomore economics major Kat Brown and Jianwei Zheng, a PhD student and Math 203 instructor.

Zheng and some of his students trying to attend class in room 50 of Hashinger fiddled with the lock for minutes at a time, resulting in both lateness and absence from a significant amount of lecture.

Prowl sent an email to Facilities Management on April 22 regarding the broken door and the door was repaired the following day. While the door prompted epic frustration for students and faculty, no one had reported the problem beforehand, according to Associate Vice President of Facilities Management Rick Turner.

Why no one had reported the issue may be explained by two principles documented in psychology research: the bystander effect and diffusion of responsibility. The presence of others discourages individuals from taking initiative and action to solve a problem because they presume – or hope – someone else will do it for them.

“When you walk past that door, it’s a much more efficient strategy to assume that someone else must have seen it, and that I’m not the first one,” said psychology professor David Pincus. “If you always think that you’re the first and only one, and you always try to solve every problem you walk by—I mean go to any major city—you’re going to be helping hundreds of homeless people before you can get a cup of coffee in the morning.”

People sometimes exhibit “not my problem” indifference. In Feb., a toilet in the women’s accessible bathroom stall in the Leatherby Libraries basemen was clogged for 12 days, but Facilities Management only received one complaint, according to Turner. Why don’t people take constructive action to report and solve a problem  instead of complaining amongst themselves? There are several reasons.

Tired of being locked out, Zheng placed a chair between the doors in Hashinger Science Center basement to allow students to enter without hassle. Photo courtesy of Sydnee Valdez.

“I don’t know how to report things to Facilities Management. Is there a form? Is there a hotline? I really don’t know,” Brown said. Zheng confessed that he didn’t know who was responsible for reporting or fixing building issues, either.

“If Facilities Management is interacting with that door every day and it’s a part of their job to make sure that the door is working, then that’s an issue of training and it should be corrected. The responsibility would belong to Facilities Management,” Pincus said.

Zheng was also eager to assign blame to Facilities: “The school should already know that it is broken because they lock the door every day.”

But Facilities Management did not lock the door, said Turner, who postulated that Public Safety or other staff was involved with that task.

Public Safety did not unlock and lock the door daily, and it was confirmed that they did not submit a work order for it, according to Chief of Public Safety Randy Burba.

“Since we did not lock and unlock it daily, we probably would not have known it was an ongoing issue; even if we would have responded to assist the professor in opening it one day,” Burba said.

In this case, the fundamental attribution error, the tendency to blame an individual rather than the situation, would be relevant, according to Pincus.  

“It’s not a question of fault. It’s more a question of how we can find better ways of partnering and sharing information,” Turner said.

After being locked out three times, Zheng called Public Safety and then placed a plastic chair between the doors to keep them open. One time, he re-entered through the Irvine Lecture Hall connected to Hashinger basement, and another time Public Safety had opened the door for him, Zheng said. Other times, he opened the door himself but not without toying with it first.

“It’s super annoying because we shouldn’t be the ones taking care of these kinds of issues, someone else should fix it automatically,” Zheng said.

Although he had called Public Safety, Zheng admitted that he did not report the broken door to Facilities Management. Nor did Brown.

Maintenance of Chapman’s facilities is a shared responsibility between students, faculty and Facilities Management, according to Turner.

“Facilities receives the majority of the work requests from the campus community and those affected by the condition in question,” Turner said. “We rely on the concept of partnering with our faculty, staff and students with the maintenance of our facilities.”

The fact that the door and disabled bathroom were broken for so long proves that this ideal has yet to be met.

Work requests to report maintenance issues can be found on Chapman’s campus services page. For emergencies, you can call Public Safety at (714) 997-6763 or leave a message to (714) 997-6658, Facilities Management’s phone line.

 

New Rules Predicted to Hamper Reporting of Sexual Misconduct Complaints

Some students and officials believe that live hearings are detrimental to victims and could affect their willingness to report sexual misconduct. Photo courtesy of StockSnap from pixabay.

Following a controversial ruling in the California court of appeals earlier this year, Chapman officials announced that sexual misconduct cases will now include live hearings —a setting which allows the alleged perpetrator to question his or her accuser.

“One of the criticisms of the ruling is that it may be chilling for the complainants. It’s something that I have a lot of concerns about,” said Chapman’s Lead Title IX Coordinator Deann Yocum-Gaffney. “It’s one of the cons of the new decision.”

Chapman University had 91 cases of Title IX complaints and allegations in the 2016-2017 academic year, and 82 were filed in the 2017-2018 academic year. Statistics from the 2018-2019 year will not be available until July, but the Dean of Students Office is expecting 80-90 reports, according to Yocum-Gaffney.

Last school year the number of reported Title IX cases decreased from 91 to 82. Many people, including Yocum-Gaffney, are concerned that live hearings will steer victims away from reporting Title IX violations. Data chart courtesy of Yocum-Gaffney.

Live hearings are now required by state law, according to Director of Student Conduct Colleen Wood. Designated hearing officers and a university Title IX coordinator will facilitate the hearings between both parties, though the accusers aren’t required to be in the same room as their alleged assailant if they don’t want to face them in person. Regardless, some professionals say that the live hearings are insensitive and could scare victims away from reporting an assault.

Live hearings “will inhibit people from coming forward, and I don’t think that it will ensure any kind of just outcome,” film director and the producer of The Hunting Ground Amy Ziering told Prowl. The documentary, a compilation of testimonies from rape victims and interviews with experts, exposes rape culture on college campuses and “institutional cover-ups.” It has been screened at the White House and has been influential in state laws and college policies.

“Anyone who knows anything about this trauma would just categorically reject this as something reasonable or sane to even suggest. It’s just off the charts ridiculous,” Ziering said.

The live hearings were created to provide “fair trials” after a former USC football player sued the school’s Title IX investigators upon being expelled for sexual misconduct. The student, whose name is redacted in the court documents, claimed the school’s sexual misconduct policy “provides no mechanism for a party accused of sexual misconduct to question witnesses before a neutral fact finder.”                                                

Title IX is a federal law that prohibits discrimination based on race, religion, sex, or national origin. Any college or university that receives federal funding must adhere to it, according to The National Collegiate Athletic Association. State laws also dictate how institutions of higher education must handle sexual assault complaints.

Federal funding would cease if the university rejected the live hearing and hearing officers, according to Wood. This includes student aid, grant money, loans, and Pell grants, so opting out is “not really an option for us,” Wood said.

The university could also lose state funding if it does not comply with the California Education Code, which require colleges that receive state funding to follow its misconduct policies. Affirmative consent, preponderance of evidence, and comprehensive prevention programs are some of the policies mentioned in the Education Code.

Until two years ago, the Dean of Students Office conducted joint hearings. This procedure stopped “because the hearing can be intense,” Yocum-Gaffney said. The new model involved two separate hearings, which at the time was legal because it was still up to the university’s discretion. Now, Chapman is reverting to the single hearing mode, according to Yocum-Gaffney.  

The updated Sexual Misconduct Policy says that after the initial investigation and fact gathering, a live hearing will occur and a hearing officer separate from the investigator will be assigned to a case. Both the complainant and respondent will “attend” the same hearing, though the accused and the accuser may be in different rooms, attending via videoconference.

“Recognizing the risk that an accusing witness may suffer trauma if personally confronted by an alleged assailant at a hearing,” the California Court of Appeals states. “The court in CMC noted that an accuser could be present ‘either physically or through videoconference or like technology.’”

The “cross-examinations” planned for Chapman don’t allow the people involved to question the other directly, Wood said. All questions will be submitted to the hearing officers who will ask them during the hearing, the misconduct policy said.

Some students fear the new process will discourage sexual assault survivors from coming forward.  

“When people use things like roofies, the victim can’t remember, so a cross-examination may not be effective,” Bass said. She also worried how victims might be judged in such a stressful situation: “They might choke up, and if they don’t sound completely confident, have every single fact in their mind, or get overwhelmed, they may seem unreliable.”

Wood said Chapman Title IX coordinators will still approach each case with care.

“We do our best to make this a trauma-informed process. It will never be trauma-free,” Wood said. “Ensuring that they have an understanding of what that entails and what all of the steps are going to be is a really important part.”

Seven to eight faculty members will serve as hearing officers, Yocum-Gaffney said. Hearing officers and investigators are trained by national organizations that specialize in sexual misconduct, according to Wood.

Most notably are Atixa, an association for Title IX Coordinators, U.S. Center for SafeSport who deals with sexual misconduct in U.S. sports, T9 Mastered, and the law firm Hirschfeld Baker.

Even advocates for the accused have concerns about the new procedures.

“I don’t believe anyone should participate in those hearings,” said Los Angeles criminal defense attorney R.J. Manuelian, who defends people accused of sexual assault. From a criminal standpoint, I don’t think it’s a wise idea for anyone to speak about accusations that they are charged with without an attorney.”

“Live hearings benefit the accuser because it gives them the right to confront the accused,” Manuelian said. “It’s a benefit for the accuser and a detriment to the accused because they technically shouldn’t be answering these questions without a lawyer present.”

Some students agree with Manuelian that the live hearings would do the opposite of its intention.

Others argue that live hearings are an opportunity to protect the innocent.

“You can see more authenticity with what one person says and how the other reacts. It’s more genuine and accurate. I support the live hearing because it could benefit the victim as well as the accused in the rare cases where they are innocent,” said sophomore kinesiology major Brandon Raymundo.

California’s new law is somewhat in alignment with proposals from United States Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, which aim to eliminate the preponderance of evidence standard and replace it with the standard used in criminal cases, which requires evidence to present a case which is “beyond reasonable doubt.” This would make it harder to prove that the accused violated the sexual misconduct policy, because often times sexual assault cases lack evidence and witnesses.

Chapman Republicans and the California Republican Party did not respond to requests for comment.

The Dean of Students Office released an anonymous Sexual Misconduct Climate Survey to all Chapman students on April 15. It has been done for the last three years, and students are asked questions about sexual violence experiences and their awareness of sexual misconduct policies.

“This information is critical to tailoring sexual violence prevention education programming and to improve the campus response,” the survey said.   

Because of the sensitive topic, descriptions and trigger warnings were given before each section of the survey.

The survey will serve to “understand the scope and nature of sexual violence at Chapman University,” according to the survey.

In 2017, 83 percent of the survey respondents said they were confident that Chapman would administer sexual misconduct procedures fairly, according to the survey data. In 2018 it decreased to 79 percent.

Faculty Senate wants a voice in Chapman donation policy

Chapman’s Faculty Senate President Paul Gulino speaks as the meeting on March 15. The Senate voted on and passed a resolution regarding the acceptance of future donations to the university. Photo by Sydnee Valdez

In the wake of the national admissions scandal, Chapman’s faculty senate has passed a resolution requesting faculty and the administration collaborate on establishing a set of “donor policies” be established to prevent the university from being unethically influenced by money.

Chapman’s Faculty Senate voted on a resolution that advocated for the resistance of future donations that have inappropriate influences on faculty hiring and predetermined outcomes of  research projects, according to the Faculty Senate.

The official resolution reads: The Chapman Faculty senate greatly appreciates the vital role that donors play in advancing the educational mission of the university.  

Chapman University has the ethical obligation to generate knowledge free of any improper influence; therefore, the Faculty Senate endorses the President’s statement that Chapman University not accept donations that require the university to hire faculty dictated by the donor, or agree to engage in research for which the outcome is predetermined. Further, the senate respectfully recommends that Chapman University strengthen this policy by pledging to resist any inappropriate influence from donors or donations whether explicit or implicit.

The faculty senate encourages the formation of a strong partnership between faculty and administration to create a set of donor policies that makes Chapman University a national leader in developing ethical guidelines governing donor involvement in university affairs, hiring practices, and production of knowledge.”

The vote was originally scheduled as a response to controversial donations from the Charles Koch Foundation, which roiled sectors of Chapman faculty. By coincidence, it also came days after a nationwide college bribery scandal broke which involved the university. Chapman was named in as the destination for  $325,000 in donations by a fraudulent charity, according to the charity’s 990 forms.

Two donations were reportedly made from the charity (headed by Newport resident William “Rick” Singer), which federal prosecutors say was a money laundering front for parents to get their underqualified kids into college, according to federal indictments.

Prior to the donations the university was accused of accepting a student, Dylan Sidoo, with fraudulent SAT scores obtained after his wealthy father paid $100,000 to Singer, who hired a ringer to take the young man’s test for him.

This is the second reading of the resolution since November, according to Chair of the Faculty Governance Council Lynda Hall. During the meeting, a second revision was made, and 57 percent of the 30 faculty members voted in concordance with the resolution while 43 percent either abstained or voted against it.

“It is a bare minimum majority. It passes,” Hall said in the meeting.

At the senate meeting, Associate Professor at Crean College of Health and Behavioral Sciences David Frederick proposed the friendly amendment,and it was accepted by Hall. In his amendment, he acknowledged the importance of donors, emphasized “improper” influences, and set forth the idea of Chapman faculty becoming the leaders in making sure that all donations are ethically received.

“It’s good to acknowledge the importance of donors to the university,” Frederick said.

The resolution grew out of a faculty response to an earlier statement made by Chapman President Daniele Struppa in a guest editorial defending acceptance of money donated by the Koch foundation that read “Chapman University has not and will not accept donations that require the university to hire faculty dictated by the donor. Nor would we ever agree to engage in research whose outcome is predetermined by any donor.”

The Senate Executive Board proposed voting to endorse the statement and after discussion, it was expanded.

Despite having discussed the issue of accepting controversial donations for several months, some faculty members did not apparently agree with the new resolution.

“I just want to understand. Are we still discussing this again, or is it done?” asked Computational and Data Science Graduate Programs Professor Heshman El-Askary.

El-Askary and another faculty member objected to the revised resolution but their concerns were not explored because voting for the resolution had already begun, Hall later explained.

This is the second reading, we took the amendment, we had the vote. We’ve got to move on,” Faculty Senate President Paul Gulino said.

Gulino will send the resolution to President Daniele C. Struppa, Executive Vice President of University Advancement Sheryl Bourgeois, and the Board of Trustees on March 25, according to Gulino.

Chapman officials have been working with the Department of Justice for several months as a part of the ongoing college admission scandal, and officials have not been accused of wrongdoing, according to a March 21 statement issued by Struppa.

“These allegations are very serious and are personally concerning to me,” Struppa said. “It is imperative that we look deeper into this situation and do a thorough investigation to whether we are indeed living up to our values and principles at all levels of the organization.”

 

Forty-four faculty members attended the meeting and listened to the second reading of the resolution. Photo by Sydnee Valdez

 

UPDATE: 4,000 square-foot fitness center coming to Henley Hall, budget of $1 million

The current gym in the Henley Basement has some cardio equipment and machines for strength training. Photo by Sydnee Valdez

After years of dissatisfaction with the Julianne Argyros Fitness Center, the administration has approved a construction plan to renovate the Henley Hall basement into a 4,000 square-foot fitness center, according to Student Government Association (SGA) President Mitchell Rosenberg. 

SGA has been working to expand Chapman’s gym facilities since 2016, Rosenberg stated in an email to the Chapman community on Tuesday. Construction is anticipated to start at the end of May and be completed by fall 2019.  The project budget is $1 million, according to Associate Vice President of Facilities Management Rick Turner.  

Currently, the university has two fitness centers at its Orange campus: the Julianne Argyros Fitness Center and a small gym with limited equipment in Henley Hall. The main fitness center is often crowded, so many students choose to pay for a gym membership to avoid the campus facilities all together, ChapBook Magazine reported last spring.

After its projected completion, the basement will boast two fitness rooms. One will be a spin studio for indoor cycling sessions, and the second will be used as a multipurpose room for things like Zumba, Yoga, and High Intensity Interval Training (HITT), according to the email.

The facility will also include new fitness equipment and an open space for free weights, stretching, and core workouts, as well as a service desk where students can rent out sports equipment.

“Seeing the email got me really excited. I was also kind of sad because I’ll probably be living in (Chapman) Grand next year. I won’t be able to use it as much, but it will be nice for the freshmen next year who will have a bigger gym,” said freshman undeclared student Katie Brown.

Brown, a resident of Glass Hall, admitted to working out more in the Henley Basement because of its close proximity.  Students say the main gym is flawed and overcrowded – SGA has received many complaints about its inadequacies in the past few years, according to ChapBook.

Using student feedback and survey data expressing concern about the current lack of fitness space available causing an overcrowded fitness center, SGA’s proposal for expanded fitness space was accepted by university administration,” Rosenberg stated in his email. “This result was made possible by countless students using their platform to speak up about their concerns.”

While Rosenberg claimed that all students would have access to Henley Fitness Center as well as Julianne Argyros Fitness Center, it is unknown whether faculty members will receive the same privilege.

The gym expansion will not affect the John Biggs Conference Room, Paul Frizler Media Room, the two music practice rooms, laundry room, and Chapman Radio booth. The four billiard tables, however, will be “removed and re-tasked as needed,” according to Turner. 

“We do come to the basement a lot because it is a big hang out space. We also use the media room a lot for hall events. It would be very unfortunate to lose those areas in order to put in a gym,” said freshman film production major CJ Mitchell.

More updates from SGA and Fitness and Recreation Services will be given throughout this semester, according to Rosenberg. The center will be taking student recommendations for equipment and services at www.chapman.edu/fitness

Starting on Feb. 18, the university will be accepting job applications for students who want to work in the Henley Hall Fitness Center during the 2019-2020 school year, according to the email.