“Shocking and Disappointing”: Female Soccer Players Discuss National Team’s Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

Despite being the most successful women’s soccer team in history, players for the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, claim that they are not being paid fairly, are forced to play on fake turf while the men get real grass, and take commercial flights while their male counterparts fly charter, among countless other complaints. Their rancor has culminated in a lawsuit filed in March against the U.S. Soccer Administration alleging widespread gender discrimination.

Many members of Chapman’s Women’s soccer team hadn’t even heard of the lawsuit – but they had strong feelings about the conditions their professional sisters allegedly endured, and about discrimination in sports.

Jessica Roux, freshman software engineering major

Although Chapman is a Division III school, Roux wouldn’t consider herself “working any less hard than a Division I athlete or taking care of my body less.” Roux finds the vast pay discrepancy between male and female professional soccer players “shocking and disappointing.”

Jessica Roux believes women and men work equally hard in athletics and should be paid accordingly. Photo by Emilio Mejia

Alex Morgan is the highest paid female U.S. soccer player, earning $450,000 a year. Yet the highest paid U.S. male soccer player, Michael Bradley, makes a whopping $6 million not including revenue from endorsement deals. Yet, the most recent women’s world cup final was the most popular televised match in U.S. soccer history, attracting a total of 23 million viewers.

“Women work just as hard as men,” and go to just as much effort to train and stay in shape, Roux said.

Elly Aronson, junior news and documentary major

Gender discrimination “always stays in the back of my mind” said Aronson who described the the lawsuit allegations as “heartbreaking.” Yet, she’s grateful that unequal treatment of female athletes is in the news.

“I wish change was coming much faster, but I’m glad awareness is finally being brought to the national spotlight,” she added. Aronson won’t let discrimination discourage her, though: “I’ve always competed for myself” she affirms.

Madie Bigcas (left) and Elly Aronson (right) unite in their condemning of female athlete’s treatment. Photo by Emilio Mejia

Madie Bigcas, sophomore communication studies major

Madie Bigcas was dismayed by the comments of former FIFA president Sepp Blatter, after being asked in 2015 how to increase viewership for women’s matches: “Let the women play in more feminine clothes like they do in volleyball. They could, for example, have tighter shorts… female players are pretty. If you forgive me for saying so.” Sepp Blatter is currently four years into a six-year ban from all FIFA related activities.

“It really puts things in perspective when someone that high up says something like that. You’re there for the game, not to see women’s butts,” Bigcas said.

“It’s hard to hear” the way that the national women’s team claims it is being treated, but Bigcas said, “I don’t let it get to me.”

The U.S. women’s team consistently draws more eyes and fills more seats than the men’s team. However, these numbers have not translated into financial incentives.

Bailee Cochran, junior business major

International women’s soccer games are commonly played on artificial turf, whereas men’s games are played on grass. The players have made their disapproval for this quite clear: playing on turf provides significantly more challenges than playing on grass. Often, the temperature of the turf can teach 200 degrees Fahrenheit, which results in painful, large burns on the player’s skin if they perform a slide tackle. In addition to injuries, there are questions about the correlation between long-term exposure to artificial turf and cancer clusters.

A photo of turf burn as a result of playing on artificial grass. Photo by Pavel on Adobe Stock

“I try not to expect things” Cochran when it comes to the double standards to which female athletes are subjected. “I focus on going out to play my hardest… if I love something, I’m going to give it my all” she adds, “I’m going to do the things I love and not think of anything else.”

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.

Reverse gender gap mystery: only 25% of study abroad students at Chapman are male

Some of the more popular study abroad locations include City University in London, University of Glasgow in Scotland and University of Cape Town in South Africa, according to Jodi Hicks. Photo by Porapak Apichodilok on Pexels.

There are over 90 semester abroad programs offered at Chapman, but few young men take advantage of these opportunities.

Male students made up about 25 percent of participants in the Center for Global Education (CGE) programs last year, according to Assistant Director of Overseas Programs Jodi Hicks.

While our percentage is even lower than the national average, according to study abroad data from the 2018 Open Doors Report, the poor showing of men “is a nationwide trend. It’s at Chapman, it’s at all universities,” Hicks said.

About 67 percent of all U.S. students who studied abroad during the 2016-2017 school year were female, according to the Open Doors Report.

In the past, some college administrators attributed the gender disparity to women outnumbering men on college campuses and gravitating towards majors that are supplemented with more overseas programs in the social sciences and the humanities, according to the 2018 Open Doors Report.

 

Statistics provided by Jodi Hicks, Assistant Director of Overseas Programs. Graphic by Jennifer Sauceda.

 

However, STEM students are now among the largest group of majors who study abroad.

While the shortage of males in study abroad programs continues to be a nationwide occurrence, many campus officials are still mystified by why these students are avoiding the programs.

One theory used to explain the lack of male participation suggests that complacency plays a major role, according to a 2010 Research in Higher Education study.

Along with leaving behind the comfort of familiarity, some male students are concerned about the impact their absence will have on their social life.

“[What has me hesitant is] distance to home, distance from my family and from school, and possible isolation if it doesn’t work out,” said junior communication studies major Jack Fozard.“If I were to have an emergency, it would be really stressful to be treated in another country as a student abroad.”

“Are you gonna get dropped out of your group? How are things going to continue socially while you’re gone?” said freshman business administration major Anish Bajaj, who hopes to study at sea in the future. Leaving his friends would make even an enticing adventure nerve-wracking, he said.

Although some male students fear the social repercussions of studying abroad, others are deterred by the cost.

“I’m not from a super wealthy family so I know I’d probably have to pay for it myself,” said political science and communication double major Dylan Derakhshanian. “I’d rather enjoy the experiences I have here instead of paying a lot of extra money to go abroad.”

Other male students who have already traveled overseas relate to the fears of foreign travel during college, but encouraged guys to think strategically about their professional development.

“It’s rather hard to uproot your life and spend five months away from the friends you made in college,” wrote junior Chuck Hua in an email to Prowl. “Especially if you’ve already established a life for yourself in different clubs, are in a fraternity, or are just being busy with trying to kick start your career as soon as possible.”

The television writing and production major studied abroad in Newcastle, Australia where the university he attended accepted his financial aid and offered courses that fulfilled his academic requirements.

“Money and budgeting is always something on my mind, even after I applied to go,” Juan Bustillo, a senior screenwriting and political science major, wrote. “Keeping tabs on spending was one of the most important tasks I had to do throughout my time there.”

Bustillo travelled to Buenos Aires, Argentina in the spring of 2018.

Hicks said the CGE  is always trying to find new ways to market the program. Besides including an equal number of males and females in advertising and consulting with male-dominated departments, Hicks said she wanted to advocate for the multitude of STEM study abroad trips available.

While each student’s experience is individualized, Hicks mentioned a few opportunities for STEM majors. Students interested in computer science can study at Korea University, where they can take courses like Computer Programming I and II. Similarly, chemistry majors can travel to Spain and study Organic Chemistry I and II.

“Experience new things and connect to new people, because honestly, it makes your life so much more meaningful,” Hua said.

10 Tips to Land an On-Campus Job

On-Campus Jobs

The easiest commute you’ll ever have is just a few steps away.

On-Campus Jobs

Cynthia Wang, a freshman creative producing major, is an assistant in the Office of the Provost, one of the many on-campus positions at Chapman. Photo by Carlee Correia.

A quarter of Chapman’s 8,542 students have on-campus jobs, according to the Student Employment Office. These jobs may pay above minimum wage, are conveniently located within minutes of classes, and provide opportunities to form connections with other students and professors. To land one of these competitive and coveted positions, read on.

1. Use Your Connections

If you know anyone who is a current or former employee or student at Chapman, reach out to them. “I contacted a family friend who works at Chapman. He told me they were looking for a new student worker and within the first week of school I had an interview and was hired on spot,” said Sophia Fisher, a student manager of men’s basketball at Chapman. Other common jobs on campus include a student grader and teacher’s assistant. Reach out to your professors to see if they have any job positions available. You won’t have to compete with other applicants and you build a stronger relationship with your professor.

 

2. Always Look for New Postings

New on-campus job postings go up frequently, so check for new postings on the daily. The earlier you apply, the better chance you have of securing an interview. Employers get swarmed with applications within the first few days of a job posting. If you are one of the first to apply, you’re ahead of the competition. To get an advantage over other fall semester applicants, look for jobs during your summer vacation, which is when many employers are looking to hire so as to have hires in place for fall.

 

3. Apply to Jobs Within Your Specific College

“Sharing a floor with faculty members at your college gives you professional insight,” and offers the opportunity to network with administrators and professors,” said Preston Tholan, a front office assistant at the Dodge College admissions office. Colleges look for students with extensive knowledge of their college, programs and operations. If you are already a student within the school or college, you have a leg up on the other candidates. “Whether it be directly or indirectly, I definitely think being a Dodge student helped me get my job at Dodge because I already had previous knowledge of the school,” said Tholan.

 

On-Campus Jobs

Entrance to the Dodge college admissions office where students and parents meet for tours and inquiries about the application process. Photo by Carlee Correia

On-Campus Jobs

Preston Tholan, a junior screenwriting major, works with 10 other student employees, each one representing a different Dodge major. Photo by Carlee Correia.

 

4. Design Your Own Resume

Your first instinct is to pull up Google Docs and click on the “resume” template. Resist this urge. On-campus employers are accustomed to seeing the same resume template time and time again. Be unique with a custom-designed resume (we recommend Canva!). Also, stop by the Chapman Career and Professional Development Center for free advice on your resume. Its walk-in hours are 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday and Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday.

 

5. A Cover Letter is NOT Optional

A cover letter is listed as optional on several on-campus job postings. With many applicants per job, set yourself apart by turning in a customized cover letter that contains specific evidence as to why you are the perfect candidate for the position. Mention any skills you have (a second language? a knowledge of Excel?) that will be of use in the position.

 

6. Apply to as Many Jobs as Possible

When we say a lot, we mean a lot. Some jobs get so many applications that you won’t hear back for months, or you won’t hear back at all. “I applied to upwards of 15 jobs the summer before my fall semester and only heard back from two,” said Cynthia Wang, a student worker at the Office of the Provost. When searching through Chapman job postings, flag any that interest you. Increasing the number of jobs you apply to betters your chance of securing at least one interview. But be sure to include a custom cover letter with each one.

 

On-Campus Jobs

Cynthia Wang at her office job, where she works at least 10 hours a week. Photo by Carlee Correia.

 

7. Write a Thank You Note After the Interview

Whew! You’ve finished the interview. If you’ve done research on interviewing, you know to send a follow-up email. BUT, you can do better! Write a handwritten note thanking your interviewers and reference specifics in your conversation. Also, mention any of the strengths, skills and qualifications you may have forgotten to mention in your cover letter or during your interview. Drop if off within a day. This shows employers that you don’t take their interest in you for granted, and care about their time and the position.

 

8. Skip the Beach, Get on Your Grind

Summer break! While many students are on the beach the rest of Chapman remains in operation. If you are available to work in the summer, you have an edge in landing an on-campus  jobs. Summer months are slow for Chapman – which means you  may even have time to study between  answering phone calls.

 

9. Stick Around for Interterm

Chapman also operates through interterm in December and January. Cut a few weeks off your winter break and work at Chapman.“My boss would frequently contact me asking for help in the office,” said Fisher. If many students don’t stay for interterm, chances are you will get scheduled for more hours. Get another course out of the way while raking in the cash.

 

On-Campus Jobs

Sophia Fisher (bottom right), a freshman psychology major, used her summer to secure a job by reaching out to her Chapman connections.

 

10. Be Patient

You’ve applied to multiple jobs, but haven’t heard back from any. It can be frustrating. Keep persisting and applying. “A job I’ve been interested in closed last semester, but I found out from a friend that it recently opened up again since her co-workers will be studying abroad or leaving next semester,” said Kate Cheong, a student now trying to land it. Seniors graduate every year, leaving their on-campus jobs behind.

Chapman Student Who Says He Was Racially Profiled Beats Traffic Ticket

Domenick Sevor holding his “notice to appear” in the Chatham Superior Court, where, he says, he beat a costly speeding ticket. His name and license plate number have been redacted to preserve his privacy. Photo by Amir Ghani.

A Chatsworth traffic court has dismissed a $400 speeding ticket issued to a Chapman sophomore who believed he was racially profiled, according to the student.

On Monday, a judge dismissed the ticket issued by a California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer who also accused communications major Domenick Sevor of following him for eight miles on I-5 South before stopping him in Grapevine on August 23, 2018, Sevor said.

The motorcycle officer had written on the ticket that Sevor had been following him on the freeway for eight miles and was going 80 miles in a 65 miles-per-hour zone.

“It didn’t make sense [to the judge] that I was exceeding the speed limit and following an officer,” Sevor said.

Sevor – who was driving his Honda Civic full of personal belongings to Chapman Grand in advance of the fall semester, suspected he wasn’t really being stopped for speeding.

“I was racially profiled,” Sevor said. “There was no real reason for the officer to stop me.”

Sevor said he did not share his suspicions with the judge but instead argued that he was driving the presumed speed for safety reasons. The judge, he said, seemed to agree that he could not be simultaneously following an officer and speeding.

“I believed I was going to beat the case the whole time. I was relieved,” Sevor said.

CHP did not respond to a voicemail left on its press line requesting comment.

The process cost Sevor class time – he’s had to go to court twice in Chatsworth, which is more than two hours away from Chapman – and wear on his car and gave him a newfound sympathy for others trying to prove their innocence.

“It’s a long process that just kept getting dragged on. I can only imagine what someone with a serious case has to go through,” he said.

Sevor said he received an unexpected fame of sorts after Prowl published a story about his case on April 2.

One young woman recognized him at a Dodge mixer and told him, “it’s good that you’re standing up for something important.”

Track and field team overcomes the hurdles of limited resources

Armond Gray taking part in the long jump at a meet. Photo courtesy of Larry Newman via SmugMug.

Running track and field at Chapman can sometimes feel like wrestling with one hand tied behind your back, say some team members.

Chapman’s track and field team travels 13 miles each way to practice on a full length running track. Some team members have to pay for their own uniforms.

While the team is able to use a jump pit, a full track, and high jump mat at a field off campus, not having these resources on campus has prevented them from hosting meets at Chapman.

“A lot of people don’t even know we have a track team. Part of that is because we don’t have a real track,” said team member Armond Gray, a sophomore kinesiology major.

Student and faculty turnout at track events suffers as a result, with only a handful of people showing up for the meets, Gray said.

“It would be nice to have a standardized track here,” said Montana Jelden, a sophomore health sciences major who is on the cross-country team. The Chapman track is more than the regulation size of 400 meters long “and it’s more square, which makes it a little bit more difficult to do workouts.”

The track and field team holds practice on Wilson Field three days a week, but its two-lane track is not ideal for a team with more than 30 members, according to Gray.

When unable to practice on Chapman’s campus, the track and field team usually practices at a nearby high school. But facilities there are currently under renovation, so the team now travels to Golden West Community College in Huntington Beach.

“Not having your own facility can be frustrating at times,” Gray said. “We’ve had to improvise a lot more and figure out what we could do in substitution for things.”

The team’s lack of funding is common for Division III athletic programs, which usually emphasize academics as opposed to sports, according to the NCAA.

Chapman’s Director of Athletics Terry Boesel would not specify how much money the team receives from the university, but said the amount increased this year because of the team’s off-campus needs. The cost of renting out Gold West Community College and the vans that transport the team is high portion of the budget, but fundraisers have picked up the slack.

“It’s normal for universities that are in a metropolitan or residential area to have to use facilities off campus,” said DeAndra’e Woods, the head coach.

With at least five school records broken and more than 10 personal bests achieved this spring, Chapman’s track and field team is taking strides to grow as a program, said Woods.

The team’s most successful form of fundraising is a “phone-a-thon,” which consisted of each team member reaching out to fifteen people for donations. The athletes have raised around $10,000 since January, according to Gray. The team is also planning a fundraiser luncheon for their family members.

“The [money] goes towards practice materials. We had to buy our medicine balls, poles, wickets, resistance bands, tennis balls and lacrosse balls, batons, shot puts and disks,” Gray said.

Fundraising events must be approved by the athletics department.

At Chapman, a sports team’s budget is determined by the number of participating athletes, the type of equipment needed, as well as the on and off campus needs, Boesel said.

The budget is “a fluid number depending on their needs,” Boesel said.

“Our team is growing. As we bring in more people and continue fundraising, then I think we’ll get more support from the athletic department,” Gray said.

There are no plans for establishing a standardized track on Wilson Field, according to Boesel.

The men’s 2019 track and field roster consists of 20 members, while the women’s roster has 18 members. Photo courtesy of Larry Newman via SmugMug

Voting Changes Coming to OC the Biggest in the County’s History

Basic polling stations, such as this one, will be replaced by Vote Centers in 2020. Photo by Elliot Stallion, courtesy of UnSplash.

Orange County is making it easier for you to vote.

But a spokesperson for the City of Orange says the municipality has yet to be told that changes are coming.

The Orange County Board of Supervisors voted on Feb. 26 to overhaul the traditional voting model and enact a “voter center” model–known as the California Voter’s Choice Act–that eliminates regular precincts and expands the number of days for voting. The new model allows people to vote at any Vote Center in the county – as opposed to reporting to a particular precinct – four to 10 days prior to Election Day – as opposed to just Election Day – with the Centers open on weekends. All eligible voters will also receive a vote-by-mail ballot sent to their house. Trained staff with customer service and administrative skills will replace paid volunteers.

The modifications represent the most significant in the county’s elections since 1890.

Voters want an easier voting process according to Vote Center Briefing Report. The changes are to accommodate voter’s desires to cast their ballots on their own terms.

About 68% of voters in Orange County receive permanent vote-by-mail ballots, which leaves about 32% who vote in person.

Permanent vote-by-mail voters will rise to 90% of eligible voters with only 20% of ballots cast at polling places in a few years, claims the report. It is expected that over 1,000 polling places will be nearly empty on Election Day as a result, which will waste “County resources and taxpayers dollars”.

Vote Centers will serve as in-person polling places, vote-by-mail drop-offs, and as places to disburse replacement ballots. Residents will also be able to register and vote on the same day,  and check their registration and ballot statuses, according to the report. Vote Centers are more secure, and electronic poll books provide real-time voter data, according to the Orange County Registrar of Voters’ website.

The Registrar of Voters’ website and Voter Information Guide will include a list of Vote Centers to help voters find locations near them, said Community Outreach Manager for the Registrar of Voters, Jackie Wu. Possible Voter Center locations include city halls, libraries, community centers, and school district offices.

The changes are expected to roll out in March 2020, Wu said. The Registrar “[plans] on implementing extensive outreach and education efforts with community workshops, media plans, speaking engagements,” to make voters aware of their new options, Wu said,

The new system is expected to offer flexibility while saving money: It is projected to save about $10 million to $20 million initially, then hundreds of thousands of dollars for the following statewide elections, the briefing report states.

Orange is the seventh California county to enact the Voter’s Choice Act. Five out the 14 counties in California have already made the switch, with Los Angeles County recognized as the sixth in 2020 by the Voter’s Choice website.

Efforts to change the voting system started in 2013, making the reform six years in the running.

The Board voted for “Option 1” of the Voter Center Model, which includes 188 Vote Centers – a steep decrease from the 1,100 polling places operating during the 2016 election.

Option 2, which would have provided 313 Vote Centers and Option 3, which would have provided 500, would have cost more to operate than Option 1.

The switch may benefit voters, because it allows more time to cast a ballot, said junior public relations and advertising major Erica Lucia, who worked on the Anaheim mayoral campaign last year.

“In the 2018 election, the lines were really long towards the end of day, which discouraged people from voting,” Lucia said. “Having so many extra days to early vote will cut down on line congestion, especially because it will encourage voters to drop off their mail in ballots ahead of time rather than on Election Day.”

However, Option 1 also presents some disadvantages, particularly to people who are accustomed to voting at polls very near their homes. With fewer Vote Centers, voter-dense areas may have longer lines and bilingual support may not be as widely available. The locations of Vote Centers may also require more research “to avoid perceived marginalization in certain communities,” the report says.

However, the City of Orange has yet to receive direction from the Registrar, said Public Affairs and Information Manager Paul Sitkoff.

“Until we are given direction, the only answer we have is that we are continuing with voting as normal,” Sitkoff said.

A special election will be held in November to fill a vacancy on the Orange City Council. Elections in 2019 will continue to use the traditional model until the switch in 2020, said Wu in an email to Prowl.

“The Registrar of Voters is currently developing outreach and education plans, which will include city officials, to inform the public of the transition to vote centers leading up to 2020,” Wu said.

To register to vote in Orange County for the 2020 election, visit the Secretary of State’s website. To find out more about these changes, contact the Orange County Registrar of Voters.

“I was racially profiled”: Chapman student challenges ticket from California Highway Patrol

Domenick Sevor was driving to Chapman Grand in his Honda Civic when he was pulled over on Interstate 5. Photo by Amir Ghani.

A Chapman sophomore says he is yet another statistic in the racial profiling scandal that has rocked southern California law enforcement.

On August 23 Domenick Sevor was driving to Chapman on move-in day. The communications major had left his San Jose home that morning in his Honda Civic filled with clothes, furniture, his skateboard and other personal items, destined for his new digs in Chapman Grand. He was making good time traveling on Interstate 5 through the village of Grapevine (about halfway between Bakersfield and Santa Clarita), when a California Highway Patrolman on a motorcycle in front of him “slowed down, got behind me, and turned his lights on signaling me to pull to the far left,” Sevor recounted.

Sevor, who is African American, knew what to do when stopped by a cop. He had been stopped before when driving his brother’s Mercedes in white neighborhoods. He also grew up in a law-enforcement family. His mother served four years as a police officer and another twenty as a correctional officer. She had given her son the drill on how to behave when stopped so as to put police, who face danger when stopping strangers, at ease.

Sevor turned down his music and put his hands on the steering wheel at “ten and two” to allay the officer’s concerns.

But the officer, he recounted, seemed irate before even speaking with him. “He comes up to the window really aggressively and says, ‘Why the ‘f’ are you following an officer?’ I was dumbfounded. I was trying to explain my situation, but he just cut me off and asked for my license and registration,” Sevor said.

Sevor gave him his license and registration and the officer walked back to his bike, returning about 10 minutes later to give Sevor a $400 ticket for speeding (the officer pegged him as going 80 mph in a 65 mph zone) and “following a CHP unit several miles.”

Now, months later, he is fighting the charges, claiming the officer had no valid reason to pull him over and did so because of his race. And besides – how could he be speeding and following an officer, if the officer was driving at the speed limit?

“I was racially profiled,” Sevor said “There was no real reason for the officer to stop me.”

The sophomore’s experience is not a unique one. About 76 percent of all profiling complaints about California law enforcement agencies in 2017 concerned race or ethnicity, according to the 2019 Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board report. Other complaints include sexual orientation profiling and age profiling.

Sevor said he’s been the victim of “driving while black” before, but never before had the inconvenience resulted in a costly ticket and having to miss school to attend court dates. On March 1st, Sevor had to drive two hours to the courthouse in Grapevine, just to be told by the judge that he “didn’t have to be present” that day and instead would have to show up on April 15th for his hearing.

The day he was stopped by the CHP motorcycle cop, “I was going 70 miles per hour on the 65 miles per hour freeway but always stayed at least three cars behind the officer who had to be going 80,” he recounted. “I was keeping up with the flow of traffic,” he added.

“The cop may have been suspicious because of all my furniture,” Sevor continued. “When I’m at home I get pulled over all the time. All of those times I never got ticketed. I was in the wrong part of town maybe driving a car they’re not used to. Occasionally I would drive my brother’s Mercedes. That’s when I was getting pulled over a lot.”

“At home I’ve been pulled over six times in total and pulled over once here. Back home I was pulled over in the wealthier areas, mostly west and east San Jose,” Sevor said.

CHP staff did not respond to Sevor’s specific accusation of racial profiling, but said the agency does not support the practice. “We train our officers to treat everyone as equal individuals,” said CHP Public Information Officer Christian Baldonado.

“We [the CHP] do not condone racial profiling. In fact, we are one of the most diverse departments out there as far as races within our department,” Baldonado said.

The note written on his ticket indicating he was “following” an officer was not a citation, but just a note to the officer to jog his memory should the ticket come up in court, said Officer Josh Greengard, a spokesman for the CHP.

When asked how it was possible for Sevor to be both speeding and following an officer if the motorcycle cop was driving the legal limit, Greengard said the officer was probably speeding because he was responding to a call that was later cleared.

But the California Highway Patrol has a long history of racial profiling.

In 1999, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a racial profiling lawsuit against CHP after a Latino attorney was stopped by an officer because “his car touched the line and he turned his headlights on,” according to the ACLU.

The lawsuit reached a settlement in 2003, after which CHP pledged to reform their traffic and disciplinary policies.  

Over a decade later, claims of racial profiling by the CHP persist.

From 2012 to 2017, 40 percent of motorists stopped by the California Highway Patrol were Latino and two-thirds of those had their vehicles searched in Grapevine, the same area that Sevor was stopped at, according to an investigative report by the Los Angeles Times.

“Cops have different behaviors in different regions. They come from different cultures and backgrounds. Even though it seems everyone is going 80 miles per hour, officers still may be extra vigilant of their surroundings, especially if they’re on a motorcycle,” said Patrick Buelna, a civil rights attorney who specializes in civil rights and criminal defense at the Law Offices of John L. Burris.

Motorcycle officers may determine speed using two techniques: pacing, a tactic in which the officer maintains a constant speed behind a vehicle and estimates the driver’s speed, or using a radar system. Radar signals may detect speeds up to a mile away and around curbs, according to Greengard.

“A lot of the motorcycle guys are usually somewhat senior because it takes a little bit of practice to get on those motorcycles,” Officer Greengard said. “I don’t think they’re more nervous or less nervous than a normal road patrol officer in a car.”

“The officer probably wrote down that he was being followed as probable cause. He wrote the distance [8 miles] to determine the speed the accused was going,” Buelna hypothesized.

The Racial and Identity Profiling Act, passed in California in 2016, requires that officers collect traffic stop data every time a vehicle is pulled over. This data includes the duration of the stop,the reason for the stop, the perceived race and age of the driver and whether or not the officer perceives the subject “to be LGBT.”

The CHP keeps track of their agency’s traffic stop data, according to Officer Baldonado.

“At any point if [an officer] is accused of racially profiling all that data is available and would be pulled,” he said.

If no racial profiling incidents are reported then the information remains in storage.

“Cops should record information, but now with what’s going on in America with all the race relations – especially between cops and minority groups – I think the data can be easily falsified or biased,” Sevor said, “Driving while black is when you’re a person of color and pulled over for seemingly no legitimate reason.”

Out of the more than one million drivers stopped in California from July to September of 2009, 166,650 were black, according to data from The Stanford Open Policing Project. About 6.5 percent of California’s population is black or African American, according the U.S. Census Bureau

“Knowing that I have no family down here, I’m always worried that if I do get pulled over and arrested for some reason, I’ll be in there a long time. It’s a scary thought,” he said. Sevor is reevaluating his relationship to law enforcement.

“I feel more nervous when I get pulled over down here because I’ve heard stories of police brutality and that’s always on my mind,” he said.

Sevor’s next court date is on April 15 where he will present his case to a judge and jury. The citing officer will be present to tell his side of the story, Sevor said. 

Chapman Drop Deadline is April 12: Is the scarlet ‘W’ as bad as you think?

Should I stay or should I go?

The last day to withdraw from a class this semester is April 12. Some students are wondering if they
should cut their losses and withdraw from a class likely to drag down their grade point average.
The decision can be difficult. You’ve already invested so much time and effort! But what is the
likelihood you’ll be able to elevate a low grade so far into the semester? If you do drop, won’t a
“W” look bad on your transcript, dooming you from grad school or getting a job? Professors
who give little indication of your standing in the class don’t make the decision any easier. How
do you know whether to cut bait or stay the course? Read on…

The first thing to consider is whether you have enough credits to be considered a full-time
student. A university student needs to complete at least 12 credits per semester in order to be
considered full-time. If you do not have enough credits at the end of the semester, you will be
obligated to pay back both your financial aid to the government as well as lose any merit
scholarships you may have been awarded. If this is the case, you’re best off redoubling your
efforts in the class to pull out the best grade you can obtain.

The Scarlet ‘W’

There is a commonly held belief that a ‘W’ on your transcripts brands you as a quitter to
potential employers and grad school admissions committees. However, this isn’t always the
case – especially if you don’t habitually withdraw from classes. “One or two withdrawals
typically does not present much of an issue. However, a pattern of withdrawals will cause
schools to question your academic preparedness . . .to manage a demanding academic load,”
according to advice provided to pre-law students by Baylor Law School.

Graduate schools often allow students to explain the reason why they withdrew from a course
on their application and are “more likely to be forgiving of a drop that was caused by
unexpected circumstances…. than they would if you dropped a class simply because you did not
like the professor,” according to Baylor.

However, the stakes may be different if you’re dropping a class in a subject related to your
planned graduate area of study. “It is wise to consult with your academic advisor, your faculty
advisor, and the graduate/professional school you anticipate attending to make sure a ‘W’ on
you transcript will not adversely impact your admissions application,” as advised by Southern
Utah University.

 

Test your reality by talking to your teacher

Sophomore Benen Weir withdrew from an accounting class he hated last semester on the final
possible day. In a convo with his professor, he admitted to not even opening his textbook and was
told it was in his interest to drop the class. That helped him to realize he did not want to major
in business, anyway: He switched to Strategic and Corporate Communication. He recommends
talking to the professor of a class you’re failing to get a sense of whether you have a hope of
passing. “Office hours!” he crowed. Dropping allowed him to keep his 3.2 + GPA and to land a $20
an hour internship.

Ask the professor what your current grade is and how likely it is for you to improve it by the end
of the semester.

One or two withdrawals is always better than getting a D or F. Some students might even want
to consider dropping in order to avoid getting their first C.

Future Employers

Employers are similar to admission offices in that, having one or two W’s on your transcript
may not be a big deal, according to Southern Utah University.

However, it’s a smart move to never assume how your W may be perceived by a future
employer. “Some employers may request a copy of your transcript and evaluate it before
offering you a job. Having multiple ‘W’s on your transcript may lead them to question your
ability,” according to Southern Utah University.

It’s not a good idea to repeatedly withdraw from courses as a “GPA management” technique so
try to make sure when registering you’re in classes you are likely to successfually complete.

Beware of magic thinking

There are many instances in which students should withdraw from a class and yet refuse to
according to Ximena Pineda, a licensed cognitive behavioral therapist who specializes in
university students. Today’s college students may have a mentality of wanting to pass or obtain
a high grade while putting in the least amount of effort necessary: Such an attitude may not
reap the results they believe they will obtain. “Wishful thinking” and “falling victim to these
ideologies” is likely to result in remaining in a class one has little likelihood of passing. Be sure
to engage in regular reality checks with your professors.

Suck it up

For some students, withdrawing is unthinkable. They reorganize their lives to get the grades
they want. They plan for success early in the semester so withdrawal never becomes a
question.

Calista Lat and Aiyana Adams are freshmen and STEM majors who have never withdrawn from
a class and, yet, never received lower than a B+. They succeed, they said, by planning in
advance and devoting extra time to their most difficult classes. “I don’t procrastinate,” said Lat,
who said she studies two hours every week day and a bit less on weekends.

They key to doing well in school is “going into class and decide to learn by paying attention” so
that you don’t have to spend so much time studying, said Adams, who avails herself of tutoring
options and takes practice tests and quizzes on her own. “You just gotta do what you gotta
do,” Lat added.