Update: A hearing is possible over the fate of Country Roads

“I am usually extremely positive, but to kick out successful businesses to build another restaurant/bar is not acceptable,” said Michele Morgan, who has lived in Orange for 15 years. Photo by Claire Treu.

The fate of Country Roads Antiques, a beloved 26-year-old antique mall in the Orange Plaza, may be the subject of a state Alcohol Beverage Control administrative hearing.

Close to 1,000 Orange residents signed letters objecting to a local real estate grandee, Al Ricci, being given a liquor license for the premises in Old Towne Orange which were submitted to the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC), said Public Information Officer John Carr.

Residents distressed by the loss of the store – which follows the departure of other antique stores – organized this spring to stop Al Ricci, owner of half of the building that houses Country Roads, from turning the shop into a bar, but Ricci has said he will turn the premises into a dry food hall if he doesn’t obtain a lucrative liquor permit.

When protests are submitted to the ABC the licensee is notified and can contact protestors to address concerns. If a compromise is made, protesters may revoke their letters. If no agreement is made, information goes to a public hearing, Carr explained.

“If [protesters] don’t want to agree to any of the conditions from the licensee and withdraw their protests, then the matter goes before an administrative law judge,” Carr said.

But residents who signed the petition think it is unlikely Ricci – who failed to respond to two emails and three phone calls requesting comment – will work with the community.

“He is a businessman and money talks,” said Orange resident of 15 years Michele Morgan. “It may come to a public hearing. I think enough locals and those businesses affected feel strongly about this issue.”

Carr declined to specify whether letters of protest have ever resulted in the denial of an alcohol license. “Every case is unique,” he said.

The ABC is still reviewing the letters of protest. The review process goes through each letter and considers letters valid only if they prove a license applicant as “not qualified” or a premise as “not suitable.”

An unqualified licensee means the individual who filed the licenses may have a police record, record of chronic insobriety, is not the true owner or is under 21-years-old, according to information provided by Carr.

An unsuitable premise means that the business is in a high-crime area, would create a public nuisance, has illegal tenancy or is a location too close to a school, church, hospital, playground or nonprofit youth facility, according to information provided by Carr.

There is an empty building catty corner to Watsons, according to Morgan. If Ricci is going to build a restaurant or bar, he should build there instead of kicking out a successful business, Morgan said.

Country Roads has not been the only antique store to fall out of favor with property owners.

Property owners “have closed two antique malls and are going for the third,” said Beth Castro, who has lived in Orange for 17 years.

Antique Mall of Treasures closed April 9 and the Chapman Antique Mall closed approximately two years ago, according to Castro. Castro felt these two antique stores closed under the radar.

Country Roads was the “last straw” for antique-loving residents like Castro. Because community members saw a notice of the alcohol license posted in the window of Country Roads, they jumped on their chance to protest.

“What Al Ricci is doing is horrible,” Morgan said. “He is basically shutting down businesses located in Country Roads – a store that customers drive miles to visit and purchase antiques – so he can make money.”

A notice was posted in the window of Country Roads, giving community members a chance to organize a protest. Photo by Claire Treu.

Not left enough: Some Chapman Democrats say Biden is too “moderate” to make a good president

“Biden is just the opposite of what the [Democratic] party needs, and I don’t have any faith that he would be able to defeat Donald Trump,” said President of Chapman Democrats Alexis Sutterman. Photo by Claire Treu.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, who announced April 25 that he will join the 20 candidates competing for the Democratic nomination for president, can’t expect much primary support from Chapman Democrats.

Biden, who has received criticism as a political opportunist and for his friendliness to big donors, is not popular among club members, said President of Chapman Democrats Alexis Sutterman. While the club has 138 members on its mailing list, about 10 students regularly attend meetings, according to Sutterman.

Biden is currently leading in the polls, according to a study conducted by SSRS.   

“Biden represents the worst part of the party,” said Sutterman, a senior political science major. “He doesn’t represent new Democrats, who are fighting for progressive causes,” such as Medicare for All, women’s rights and decreasing inequality, Sutterman said.

The disdain in Sutterman’s complaints echo snippets of a larger conversation in the Democratic party about its soul and strategy for the 2020 presidential election. Will the Dems select a brash, plain-talking visionary likely to energize young, idealistic voters or a less controversial, conciliatory candidate likely to appeal to centrists, independents and the undecided?

Biden is “funded by big donors. He is definitely a friend of Wall Street,” Sutterman said. “He wouldn’t be promoting the kind of policy changes we need in terms of tax reform that would benefit working class families.”

Prowl could not find a way to reach a Biden campaign representative on Facebook, Twitter or the campaign website.

The Democratic party is going through a rift as some contend the party is failing working class people and ordinary Americans, Sutterman continued. What Biden would call bipartisanship is seen as selling out by young progressives, said Sutterman.

The largest portion of Biden’s donations came from lawyers and law firms between 1989 to 2010, according to Open Secrets.

The former Delaware senator was recently criticized for what was seen as an opportunistic apology to Social Policy, Law and Women’s Studies Professor Anita Hill for failing to call witnesses on her behalf in order to appease Republican colleagues during the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in 1991. Hill, formerly an employee at the Department of Education and Equal Employment Opportunity Commision, accused Thomas of a number of inappropriate acts, such as describing pornography he had seen in vivid detail and questioning her about a public hair on his Coke can. Biden did not call the four witnesses ready to testify on her behalf.

Biden has also been scrutinized for being overly hands-on with women and children in the era of #MeToo. Vice News recently published an article called “Why touchy-feely Uncle Joe Biden isn’t funny anymore,” and on Youtube, cringe-worthy videos of Biden being less than appropriate with children have racked up millions of views. However, no public sexual assault accusations have been raised against him.  

Twenty percent of America’s 18 to 29-year-old Democratic voters can be expected to vote for Biden in the 2020 presidential primary, according to a 2019 national poll by the Harvard Institute of Politics (IOP). Sen. Bernie Sanders is still more popular among young Democrats, with an estimated 31 percent of the youth vote. Sutterman is rooting for Sanders, and said that Chapman Democrats’ most active members tend to support him as well.

“Young people now are seeing that they shouldn’t be trivialized anymore and they can’t be bought with memes and stuff – those are fun – but people need to be critical thinkers,” Sutterman said.

“Biden will initially rely on a decades-old network of big donors if he enters the Democratic presidential primary contest as expected, in contrast to the small-donor base that many of his 2020 rivals are racing to build,” the Wall Street Journal reported last week.

While Sutterman is disappointed that Biden is running, she says she will vote for him should he receive the nomination.

Some Chapman Democrats welcome Biden throwing his hat in the ring. Senior political science and screenwriting double major Juan Bustillo said he is “relieved. . .the more moderates there are in the race, the more they will just tear each other down and open [the] way for people who I think are actually viable candidates.” Bustillo is also a member of Chapman Democrats.

Bustillo is pulling for Sanders or Elizabeth Warren to win the primary. “If Biden was to get the nomination, I think Trump would devour him in a debate,” Bustillo said.

Biden “doesn’t really stand for anything, he’s just an amorphous blob who goes wherever money takes him,” said Democrat senior political science and screenwriting double major Juan Bustillo. Photo by Claire Treu.

“I personally like Biden,” said senior history major Barsegh Everekyan, another Chapman Democrat. Though Biden is not his first choice, Everekyan thinks his intentions are honest and sincere.

“Even before he officially announced his campaign, he was polling higher than the other candidates in early states,” Everekyan said.

“In this election, many people are going to have to wrestle with the question: Do we want the progressive who promises everything we want, or do we want the one who can win and beat Trump? And if those aren’t the same person, which do you go for?” Chapman political science professor Gordon Babst.

“Compared to this point in the last presidential cycle, young Democratic voters are more engaged and likely to have an even greater impact in choosing their party’s nominee,” said Director of Polling for the IOP at Harvard John Della Volpe in a 2019 report.

The youth vote will have a significant impact, but that does not mean it will be determining, Babst said.

“Whoever the Democrats pick will end up being popular with the youth, because they very much want not to have Trump again,” Babst said.

The increase of young Democratic voters doesn’t worry junior business administration major Ryan Marhoefer, a member of the Chapman Republicans.

“A lot of young Republican voters are coming out too,” he said.

Marhoefer supports Biden running because “he will be easy to beat.” Ultimately, Marhoefer said it doesn’t matter who runs, because he’s confident that Trump will win again.

Marhoefer said he is confident Trump will be reelected: It’s not even a debate.”

“The county is thriving under [Trump]. I don’t know too many people who are worse off because of him – who are American citizens,” said Republican junior business administration major Ryan Marhoefer. Photo by Claire Treu.

Breaking: controversial “The Birth of a Nation” movie posters removed

Last Thursday about 200 students participated in a sit down in front of “The Birth of a Nation” posters following a rally outside of Memorial Hall. Photo by Autumn Sumruld.

Dodge faculty voted that the two “The Birth of a Nation” movie posters from Marion Knott Studios be returned to their donor, Cecilia DeMille Presley, President Daniele Struppa announced via email this morning.

“As I had indicated earlier, I support their resolution. I hope the students are satisfied with the outcome and appreciate that their voices were heard,” Struppa said.

His statements represented an about-face from earlier statements in which he claimed that removing the posters promoting an epic 1915 movie about the Ku Klux Klan and which depicted black people in derogatory ways would constitute censorship.

“While I know this has been a difficult decision and there was disappointment that I did not just act on my own and have the poster removed, I do hope that faculty and students appreciate the importance of how this decision was made,” Struppa wrote. “I felt strongly that it could not be imposed by me as an act of authority, but rather requested by the faculty who best understand the impact of the decision on their school and on the students’ educational experience. On the basis of the many conversations I had with my colleagues, I know their decision is predicated on their love for their students and their desire to eliminate anything that could be an obstacle to their learning.”

On Friday Struppa said he was confident faculty would vote to remove the posters but imagined they would be placed in a more secluded location with descriptions that would make their historical context clear.

Students expressed relief at the Dodge faculty’s decision.

“Taking down this poster gives me hope for the beginning of a new wave of activism and diversity for Chapman. This is evidence of what happens when an administration listens to its students. A university can’t be one without its students,” said sophomore peace studies major Natalia Ventura.

Struppa’s email indicated that the poster imbroglio may be only the beginning of a deeper discussion. “I hope this is only the beginning of an important dialogue on this campus as we continue our work to improve the student experience at Chapman,” he wrote.

Struppa talks censorship, presidential authority and “The Birth of a Nation” with Prowl

About 200 students gathered on Friday to protest the controversial movie posters. “The piece is already here. When a piece is out, to take it down is a form of censorship. Unless the people who take it down are the people in charge of the wall,” said President Daniele Struppa. Photo by Autumn Sumruld.

Chapman President Daniele Struppa continues to maintain that removal of the two “Birth of a Nation” posters from the walls of the Marion Knott Studios is censorship, but acknowledges the right of Dodge faculty to remove items they find offensive in “their home.”

In a Friday interview with Prowl, Struppa said he has “100% confidence” the Dodge faculty will vote to have the posters promoting the racist, but historically significant, movie removed, and admitted the controversy – which has roiled a campus infamous for its minuscule representation of black students (1.6%) – has given him an education at the institution over which he presides.

It appears that the Dodge faculty voted to have the posters removed today. It is at present unknown when the posters will be taken down and what will happen to them.

Struppa met with members of Black Student Union, joined by two faculty, on April 15. After the faculty told Struppa they, too, believed the posters should be removed, he decided to leave the decision in the hands of the Dodge faculty, which is voting today.  “If they take it down because it’s their home, so to speak, then that’s not censorship. You decide what you have what you have in your home,” Struppa said.

“It would be problematic for me to say, ‘the students want it down let’s take it down because I care about the students.’ Of course I care about the students, but that doesn’t mean that I’m going to do something, that to me, flies in the face of what proper governance is in the university,” Struppa said.

Struppa compared the emotions generated by the posters to the backlash generated by “Piss Christ,” a famous photo by Andres Serrano, which depicts a crucifix in a container of his own urine. The image prompted outraged Republican legislators to cut the budget for the National Endowment of the Arts and the artist received death threats. A print displayed in France was destroyed by angry Christians. Art that generates strong emotions may be provocative, annoying and offensive, “but it is art,” said Struppa, who indicated he is open to a donation of a “Piss Christ” print.

The posters came to Chapman as a gift from a descendent of the film mogul Cecil B. Demille, Cecilia DeMille Presley,  and installed shortly after the completion of The Marion Knott Studios in 2007, according to the Chapman website.  Neither Presley nor other members of the DeMille family have reached out since students began demanding the removal of their gift, said Struppa, who did not indicate what he was doing to smooth relations with the DeMilles, who have donated generously to Chapman.

“I want to be fair to the people who accepted the gift 15 years ago. I don’t think they should not have accepted the gift. It’s a collection of many posters. But (Chapman staff) should have been careful about what they did with them,” Struppa said.

“If there is a fault there, it’s with nobody really having the forethought to say: ‘Wait a second, what are doing here?’ But to attribute to them – and them by extension to me – support for white supremacy, it is in my view absurd,” Struppa said.

Throughout the interview, Struppa strove to put a good face on the controversy, insisting that the posters, while perhaps in need of context, were teaching tools about the history of racism in the United States.

“Some people said there is no education in having the poster. But that’s not true. The best proof is the last week,” Struppa said. “I know more about the movie now than I would have ever known if the poster would have not been there and the student would not have become upset about it,” Struppa said. “I know that I am a better person because of that.”

A professor’s job is to push students outside of comfort zones, Struppa said. The outrage over “The Birth of a Nation” posters have pushed people to this place of discomfort and offered education, he said.

If the posters are removed, Struppa thinks they will be moved to a less conspicuous locaton, such as the Hilbert museum or an area in Dodge which “you have to go if you want to see it, and where there is going to be significant explanation,” Struppa said.

“People say we didn’t take action fast enough. I met with the Black Student Union Monday night, and by next Monday night the poster is going to be down,” Struppa said. “It seems to me that the university has responded.”

As the university responds to the poster, larger diversity issues have demanded attention. Black students here are clearly unhappy and underrepresented at Chapman, but Struppa said he does not have a road map to address their concerns.

“I don’t have ready, quick answers and quick solutions, to be honest. It would be presumptuous of me to say that we can easily fix this,” Struppa said.

“The problem is that Orange County itself is not an attractive place for African Americans, because there aren’t any,” said President Daniele Struppa. Photo by Autumn Sumruld.

Reported drug and alcohol incidents at Chapman explode, officials say substance abuse policy needs updating

Almost half of first-year students reported at least one episode of heavy drinking, according to the Alcohol & Drug Crisis Prevention section of the Chapman University website. Photo by Claire Treu.

Despite sharp rises of reported drug and alcohol abuse incidents at Chapman in the last two years, the committee responsible for recording drug and alcohol violations failed to meet half of the recommendations the group set for itself in 2016. The group did not meet once during the last two years, according to the report, which was emailed to the Chapman community in January.

The report also states that the university does not have a comprehensive strategy to support the success of students in recovery, despite a perceived increase of this population in the student body.

The report, known as the Biennial Review of Alcohol and Drug Programs, compared 2017-2018 incidents to those of the 2016-2017 academic year. “Illegal substances” incidents quadrupled, from four to 16 in the earlier report to the one covering 2017-2018. The number of students with two violations almost doubled, from 45 in 2016-2017 to 87 in 2017-2018.

“Deferred violations” showed a stunning increase as well: from 198 to 422 in the latest report. This means the violation is held in abeyance, or suspension, if no other violations of the conduct code occur, the report states.

Increased drug and alcohol incidents are often correlated with a higher incidence of sexual assaults and violence, may indicate growing addictions and can be detrimental to student health, according to a fact sheet from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

This review is conducted in compliance with the Drug Free Schools and Campuses Act, (DFSCA), which contributes to the university’s ability to receive federal funding. The review board addresses challenges – such as the 2018 legalization of marijuana – in addressing substance use on campus, and set goals for the next biennium.

Eleven university officials serve on the board, but the group did not meet for two years between the compilation of reviews.

“It’s a challenging group of people to find time when we are all free and available,” said Colleen Wood, chair of the Biennial Review Committee.

The committee plans to gather before the next biennial review but as of now no meeting has been scheduled, Wood said.

Eight goals from 2016 are listed in the report. Out of these eight, four were achieved.

“This goal was not met during the biennium” was the status listing for the following objectives set in 2016:


1) “Review University policies, including student organization risk management policies, surrounding student organization hosted ‘venue parties.’”

2) “Develop an enhanced communication procedure between Public Safety and the Dean of Students office for medical calls related to drug and alcohol use.”

3) “Create a resource webpage for students and employees where information about local resources is more readily available than the required annual Drug Free Schools and Communities notification.”

4) “Explore creating a taskforce between the University, Orange Police, and the local office of the California Alcoholic Beverage Control to discuss collaborative opportunities between the groups to enhance enforcement of existing laws.”


The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) conducts periodic program reviews to assess institutional compliance. A fine may be imposed if an institution has failed to certify that DAAPP is in place or if the program fails to address all required subject areas, according to a spokesman.

Will Chapman be fined? “The Department cannot speculate on a specific institution’s compliance without conducting its own review,” the DOE spokesman stated.

Reports must be completed every two years and the DOE periodically assesses compliance with federal regulations, the spokesman said.

“The maximum fine amount is currently $57,317 per violation. While fines are the most common sanction for DFSCA violations, serious violations of the law could result in a termination of an institution’s eligibility to participate in federal education funding programs,” the spokesman stated.

Despite marijuana becoming legal in California for those 21 and older, it is still against the student conduct code to consume the drug on Chapman’s campus, according to Wood. Graphic extracted from Chapman’s most recent Biennial Review.

A student’s first and second violations of the alcohol policy, and first drug violation if only involving marijuana – are generally deferred. This means that if a student has two alcohol incidents, more often than not, they actually have four, according to page four of the review.

These multiplying numbers are said to be a result of “increased training on the student conduct process and the emphasis on correctly entering information into the student conduct database,” according to the report.

Wood attributed the leap in violations to an increase of students living on campus and more robust enforcement by resident directors. The 2018 legalization of marijuana could also be a factor, she said, but these are only theories.

“I’m not positive that (student) substance use has actually increased,” Wood said.

Wood hypothesized that students who have multiple incidents tend to move off campus for their second year. Chapman now requires students to live on campus for two academic years, which could increase the number of citations in the next review.

Dave Sundby, Director of Residence Life and First Year Experience, attributed the dramatic growth of offenses to an increase in students living in university housing.

The university did not add any new residence buildings within the two school years. Chapman Grand was not opened until fall 2018, so it does not apply to the report.

“In my ideal world, I would like to see those numbers drop and go down, but we are bringing in another residence hall in the fall and we are moving to a two-year living requirement. So, I think those numbers are actually going to go up,” Wood said.

Despite rising numbers, the university did show effort in addressing substance use on campus, which can be shown in the four goals which were met. Most notably, the Student Engagement staff has coordinated with Information Systems and Technology to track a student’s campus involvement at the time of their violation. This means the university keeps track of what clubs, athletic teams or campus engagements the student is associated with. They have also collected data from fraternities and sororities concerning alcohol and drug education.

Wood hopes to conduct a campus-wide survey of Chapman student drug and alcohol use in the future.

“We hear a lot of rumors about what substances the students are using, but it would be nice to have some numbers,” Wood said.

Wood said the committee tried to get a comprehensive survey of student drug use approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB), but it was rejected. The IRB is an authoritative board which oversees research of human subjects in accordance with federal regulations, according to the Chapman website. Wood said she hopes to try a different approach to get such a survey  approved within the next few years.

In addition to running the majority of drug and alcohol trainings on campus, Dani Smith, the director of Chapman PEER and Health Education, meets one-on-one with students who have multiple violations. She said that in the past few years, fewer students have been referred to her. The reason for this is unclear.

“Students would generally be referred to me if they had three or four violations,” Smith said. “So I don’t know where all those referrals are going.”

Jerry Price, Dean of Students, was unable to comment by deadline. Sundby said he was unaware that referrals to Smith had declined.

Smith and Wood said Chapman’s drug and alcohol policy needed to be updated. The policy should have more consequences for third and fourth violations, Smith said.

Above are the officials who served on the review committee. Graphic extracted from Chapman’s most recent Biennial Review.


10 Alternatives to buying the new iPhone XS Max

How much is too much to upgrade to the latest iPhone?

The newest versions of the popular cellphone – iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR – were shipped to preorder customers on Friday. The biggest and the baddest of the trio, the iPhone XS Max, will retail for $1099. That’s $100 more than the prior 2017 series. But there are signs some consumers may finally be telling Siri “enough!” with pricy upgrades. Apple received about 10 million preorders for iPhone XS in the first three days of release, reported Jun Shang, Rosenblatt Securities analyst. The previous series, iPhone X, received 12 million preorders in the first three days, Shang said.

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