“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.”

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.

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

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.

UPDATE: Chapman’s sexual misconduct policy is changing, here’s why it matters

Half of Americans think men getting away with sexual misconduct is a major problem, according to data from Pew Research Center. Photo by Claire Treu.

UPDATE: Responses from Chapman’s Lead Title IX Coordinator Deann Yocum-Gaffney and Director of Student Conduct Colleen Wood have been added to the story. 

Chapman is changing the way it handles sexual assault and harassment complaints.

The new rules, announced in an email by Dean of Students Jerry Price, directly comply with February rulings in the California Court of Appeals, which found that the accused, if facing serious discipline or expulsion, should have a right to a hearing and be able to question their accuser. This was in response to the controversial expulsion of a student at the University of Southern California (USC), who argued he was “denied a fair hearing” because respondents were biased, according to the appeal.

The new rules – which are effective immediately – also appear to adhere with the wish list of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who has requested new policies that give more rights to the accused in sexual misconduct cases.

Title IX has been fiercely criticized by conservatives for setting up accused students – mostly young men –  to be unjustly disciplined by universities after accusations of sexual misconduct and rape. Since her appointment as Secretary of Education, DeVos has frequently expressed concern that the Obama-era reforms may be trampling the rights of accused perpetrators.

Part of this is because Title IX investigations use the preponderance of evidence standard, which makes it easier for someone to be found responsible for sexual misconduct than in criminal cases. Title IX investigations more closely mimic civil cases (like lawsuits) rather than criminal trials. This is because rape if often difficult to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” on college campuses; there are often no witnesses and victims might not feel comfortable reporting an assault until long after they happen. As of now, the preponderance of evidence standard is still in place.

The new Chapman policy, which has to be in compliance with Title IX and state law, states that the outcome of the investigation – whether an alleged perpetrator is found to be “responsible” for an assault or not – will be in the hands of “hearing officers” instead of investigators. This means a live hearing for the accuser, the accused and relevant witnesses will also be conducted, Price said in his email, noting that alleged victims and perpetrators will not be required to be in the same room at the same time. The requirement for a live hearing process is new. Previously, investigators made decisions regarding culpability following investigations – now hearing officers have the final say. The Title IX coordinator will determine what disciplinary actions, if any, will follow the hearing.

Hearing officers are “specially trained university employees who have the responsibility to determine whether the university policy was violated,” according to Chapman’s Lead Title IX Coordinator Deann Yocum-Gaffney. It is at present unclear what type of training hearing officers must complete. The California Court of Appeals calls these officers “neutral fact finders.”

The move also follows a resolution by the Student Government Association (SGA) which asked Chapman to keep the old policies in place.

“These changes are in response to some misconduct at other universities in regards to ‘rushing to judgment’ against the accused,” SGA Upper Senator Alex Ballard told Prowl in an email. “While I do believe that these policies will create additional barriers and hesitations for survivors to come forward, it is an unfortunate fact that this is something out of the university’s hands.”

Both the old and new guidelines stipulate that investigations be completed within 60 days.

The new policy revised the way investigators communicate, requiring a minimum of monthly updates to accusers and the accused at a minimum, which Ballard said SGA’s resolution recommended.

After a complaint is filed, investigators will submit a summary report. A hearing will be granted after a complaint is evaluated by Title IX coordinators. The accuser and accused are then notified and are assigned a hearing officer 10 days prior to the hearing, as stated in the new Misconduct Policy.

“The hearing is an opportunity for the hearing officer(s) to hear from the complainant, respondent, and witness(es) and to gather information needed to determine whether the Student Sexual Misconduct Policy and/or the Student Conduct Code has been violated,” the Misconduct Policy states.

The hearings will be recorded through audio, written notes and/or video and will become the property of the university, but not shared with the public, according to the new policy.

Accusers and alleged assailants are not required to be in  the same room during the hearing because it can be traumatic for victims to face their perpetrator. While the new policy doesn’t state that the accused can “cross-examine” their accusers, it says they can question other parties through the hearing officers.

“During the hearing the complainant and respondent will have the opportunity present their account of the events, to ask questions of other parties through the hearing officer(s), and to provide a closing statement,” the policy states.

Some students are concerned the new protocols will discourage victims from reporting sexual assault and harassment.

Live hearings “will deter people from coming forward. Some people probably won’t want everyone to know what happened to them,” said sophomore math major Justine Sitton.

Either party can refuse to participate in the investigation or hearing, but doing so will impede investigations, administrators warned.  “A lack of participation may be a severe or even insurmountable obstacle for the investigation. As such, if a complainant chooses not to participate in the investigation, the Title IX Coordinator shall determine whether or not to proceed with the investigation,” according to the new Misconduct Policy.

If both parties agree to move forward with the hearing process, hearing officers will release a report to each party deeming the alleged perpetrator not responsible or responsible of violating the policy. If the hearing officers find the latter, Chapman’s Title IX Coordinator will be consulted for further sanctions, according to the new rules.

Disciplinary actions range from loss of privileges, “educational sanctions,” suspension or expulsion, according to the policy.

These changes were made to keep Chapman updated with policies that “follow best practices and are in compliance with relevant guidance and laws,” according to Price.

Ballard said he was “surprised to see this student body-wide announcement from the Dean of Students, especially given that SGA received no notice of these changes prior to this mass communication.”

Some elements of the policy were not included in Price’s email and only “discovered upon a thorough reading of the updated (policy),” Ballard said.

Director of Student Conduct Colleen Wood claimed said she and Yocum-Gaffney had met with Ballard on Feb. 27.

“During that meeting, we noted that we were in the midst of a policy revision due to the case law changes. We also discussed their desire for changes to the amnesty policy as well as other items,” Wood said.

“Further adjustments” to the policy may be made, Price said, promising to keep the campus community informed as changes occur.

 

Correction: A previous version of this story said the Title IX Coordinator would be responsible for determining the disciplinary measures if someone is found to have violated the policy. This has been corrected to say that the hearing officer(s) would consult the Title IX Coordinator. In addition, both the old and new policy guidelines state that a minimum of monthly updates must be provided to the parties involved in an investigation. 

 

Out of Order Washing Machines in Residential Dorms Put Students in a Spin

Since this photo was taken on Mar. 1, four washers are still out of order, and one stacked machine was removed. Photo by Sydnee Valdez

It’s rare to walk into one of Chapman’s laundry rooms and see all the machines in working order. Recently, the problem has gotten much worse. Miscommunication between WASH, the company Chapman leases its machines from, and the residence staff have made it difficult to get the machines repaired, according to Director of Residence Life and First Year Experience Dave Sundby.

“My staff is hounding WASH. That’s a major laundry hub and people got to have clean clothes,” Sundby said.

On Feb. 18, seven out of the eleven washing machines in Henley Basement were out of order. As of March 19, four are still dysfunctional and one stackable washer/dryer combo was disconnected and removed from the laundry room.

“Hey, do you guys mind making sure no one uses this machine? I’ll be right back,” freshman Henley Hall resident Kate Cheong told Prowl reporters as she retrieved her clothes.

The public relations and advertising major had made a lucky score:  It’s not uncommon for all the machines to be in use but Cheong claimed the last available working washing machine in the Henley Basement.

“The broken washing machines affect my wash schedule so much,” Cheong said.

Student staff walk through the laundry rooms twice a week to check on broken machines.

The university’s lease with WASH is in its fourth year of a five-year contract, Sundby said. The reporters failed to ask if the university would dump WASH and opt for another washing machine vendor.

“Our vendor left his role at WASH in the end of January, and we weren’t notified. So our reports about the washers were going nowhere. When we contacted WASH they told us that they were in the process of assigning us someone else,” Sundby said. “The other piece to own is that our previous administrative assistant left in January and she was largely responsible for that relationship with WASH.”

The reason the vendor left WASH is unknown, but that loss combined with the loss of Chapman’s WASH liaison was a leading factor as to why the machines have been down for so long, according to Sundby.

“Our contract is an equipment lease for five years. When the five years are up we can negotiate to have the machines replaced if we stay with WASH,” he said.

Students can report broken machines to Residence Life by calling the university’s Laundry Line located on flyers that are posted on walls of the laundry room. This service, however, proves futile for some students.

“Whenever I call them, they never pick up,” Cheong said.

Even when a WASH representative does pick up, problems may go unsolved.

“One broke down on me in the middle of my wash. I called the phone number on the wall, and they told me to unplug it, but (my clothes were) still wet,” said freshman communications major Jessica Kim.

When the Pralle-Sodaro Hall resident opened the door, water flooded out of the machine.

If the Laundry Line is nonresponsive, students can contact WASH directly by calling 800.342.5932 or filing an online service request. All that is required is the six digit machine ID and its location, according to WASH.

“If you ever have a problem with a machine, we typically can have a trained service technician out within 24 – 48 business hours or less,” WASH’s website states.

The still-broken machines appear to be proof that machines were not repaired within the time frame WASH sets for itself. A WASH representative could not be reached for comment by deadline.

An “out of order” machine in the Henley Basement. Photo by Sydnee Valdez

Prowl called the company to inquire whether machines would be repaired within that time frame as well, but a customer service rep said that he was unable to answer. Prowl was directed to the service manager but was sent to voicemail. The service manager did not respond by deadline.

Students can also report issues with their laundry machines via WASH’s mobile app, FixLaundry.

“The FixLaundry app allows WASH customers to request laundry machine service by simply using the camera on their smartphone to scan the barcode on the machine,” according to a WASH Laundry press release.

However, some students don’t know that an app exists or don’t see reporting the machines as their responsibility.

“I wouldn’t use the app because I would be too lazy to report it. The resident advisor on duty should check the washing machines every hour, and they should report it,” Glass Hall resident and sophomore communications major Felipe Correa said.

Struppa: Chapman probe into apparent payoffs should conclude in several weeks

In an email to the Chapman community on March 20, Struppa said the university has been working with the DOJ for several months and that the university is conducting it’s own probe into the admissions scandal. Graphic by Maggie Mayer using a photo from Sergey Zolkin on Unsplash.

Chapman University has engaged “external attorney investigators” who have worked in “senior positions in the Department of Justice” to examine the college’s ties to the national admissions scandal, President Daniele Struppa announced Wednesday.

Chapman has been cooperating with the Department of Justice “for several months” and has not been accused of wrongdoing, Struppa said in a mass email sent to students and staff. Yet, he noted, “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.” The investigation, which probes the university’s interaction with the tainted college admissions consultant William “Rick” Singer of Newport Beach, should be completed within several weeks, Struppa said.

Struppa’s email comes after Chapman University was connected to the scandal in the indictment of David Sidoo, a retired Canadian football player accused of paying $100,000 to have a ringer take the SAT for his son, Dylan. Dylan Sidoo was admitted to Chapman as a film production major in 2012 with fraudulent SAT scores before transferring to the University of Southern California two years later, according to court papers and Dylan Sidoo’s social media.

Chapman allegedly received a total of $325,000 in donations between 2014 and 2015 from The Key Worldwide Foundation, a fraudulent charity which officials say was used to launder bribe money from parents seeking to get their children accepted to universities for which they were not qualified. It is not yet clear who at Chapman accepted the money, if it arrived.

“I am confident these allegations are not a reflection of the culture we have at Chapman,” Struppa wrote, acknowledging he had been deluged with “countless messages” about the scandal and Chapman’s practices. At this point in time, the university cannot act on the alleged donations or students that may have connections to Singer’s operations because there isn’t enough information available, according to the email.

When the investigation is completed, Struppa said he will “communicate what [he] is able to regarding the findings.” He also said he was “committed to demonstrating transparency as we work to find resolution.”

Here’s what we know about Chapman’s connection to the nationwide college admissions scandal

Multiple Chapman officials did not answer questions concerning the allocation of $325,000 allegedly donated to the university by The Key Worldwide Foundation. Photo by Helloquence on Unsplash.

Who got the money and what was it used for? That is the question on the minds of Chapman students and workers after the university was revealed to have a role in the largest  admissions scandal in U.S. history.

Chapman University received a $150,000 donation in 2016 and $175,000 in 2015 from The Worldwide Key Foundation, according to the Foundation’s 990 forms.  It is unknown who received the funds at Chapman, how the funds were disbursed, or what – if anything – was expected in exchange for the donations.

The Key Worldwide Foundation was founded by Newport resident William “Rick” Singer who ran a college consultancy called Edge College and Career Network, also known as Key Worldwide. The college admission consultancy is at the center of a national scandal in which coaches,  proctors and test takers were allegedly bribed to help get unqualified students into elite colleges. Singer’s operation has ensnared elite schools across the country, including the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), the University of Southern California (USC), Yale University, Georgetown College, and Stanford University.

The massive investigation, dubbed “Operation Varsity Blues,” also swept up barons of industry and celebrities. “Fuller House” actress Lori Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli are accused of paying $500,000 in bribes to get their daughters, Isabella Rose and YouTube influencer Olivia Jade into USC. (The girls reportedly left the school this week.)  Felicity Huffman allegedly made a $15,000 donation to the Key Foundation to have another person take an SAT for her older daughter.

The charity’s website (now deactivated) claimed the foundation helped inner-city youth and poor Cambodian children,  but prosecutors say it was a slush fund to launder bribes paid by parents to coaches, test proctors and universities to obtain college admission for their children.

The admissions scandal – thought to have involved some $25 million in bribes –  set social media ablaze and has sparked conversations about fairness and equality on campuses throughout the nation. It was bad enough, said pundits, that the offspring of the super wealthy were advantaged via the “back door” of large bequests to certain universities. But documentation of a “side door” via outright cheating engendered a class anger that has yet to quell.

“Chapman University has been and is currently cooperating with the Department of Justice in their investigation. Chapman prides itself on an open and fair admission process. We are not aware nor have we been advised that we have been involved in any wrongdoing,” Chapman’s VP of Marketing and Communications Jamie S. Ceman wrote in an email to Prowl.

“Chapman University like all great institutions routinely receives funds from foundations and any irregularities in the gifts from the Key Worldwide Foundation, should they exist, were and are totally unknown to us. We take this matter very seriously and intend to review this relationship in depth to assure ourselves that our principles have not in any way been compromised,” Ceman stated.

The donations from Key Worldwide, as well as the admission of student thought to have been admitted after having a proxy take his SAT, occurred while Jim Doti was president of Chapman University. Doti rejoined the faculty in fall of 2016 after 25 years as president.

“I have no knowledge of these donations, if in fact they occurred,” President Emeritus Jim Doti stated in an email to Prowl, adding: “I think it’s best you work with Ms. Ceman.”

“Due to the ongoing investigation I cannot comment further,” Ceman said.

President Daniele Struppa issued a statement via email Wednesday repeating Ceman’s remarks and declining to  comment further.

The alleged donations from the Key Foundation to the university followed an incident in which a parent allegedly paid Singer $100,000 to have a ringer take the SAT on behalf of his son, who was eventually admitted to Chapman.

The parent, David Sidoo, is accused of paying an accomplice to take SAT exams for his two sons, according to an  indictment filed by the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts on March 5.

David Sidoo is a three-time All Canadian football player, businessman and philanthropist. He is accused of mail and wire fraud by “cheating on college entrance exams” and “submitting the falsified test scores to colleges,” the indictment states. His son, Dylan Sidoo, was admitted to Chapman as a film production major in 2012. He later transferred to and graduated from USC, according to his social media accounts.

Bob Bassett, the dean of Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, did not respond to a request for comment.

The donations to Chapman came years after Dylan was admitted, and are not mentioned in David Sidoo’s indictment.

David Sidoo is accused of paying Singer $100,000 to have someone else take the SAT in place of his older son, Dylan.

Dylan originally scored a 1460 out of 2400 on his SAT, according to the indictment. The test-taker was instructed “not to obtain too high a score” and received a 1670, said the document. The fraudulent results were sent to an unnamed Chapman administrator by David Sidoo in December 2011, the indictment states.

David Sidoo is also accused of paying an undisclosed amount to have someone pose as his younger son and take a Canadian high school graduation exam as well as the SAT, for which he paid another $100,000, according to the indictment.

David Sidoo could not be reached. Dylan Sidoo did not respond to a request for comment.

Prowl reached out to the Faculty Senate, which is a committee of representatives from each college at Chapman, to see if the Senate plans to open its own investigation.

“We simply don’t have enough information at this point to take any action or position on the college admissions scandal. We’ll be watching carefully as more information becomes available,” Faculty Senate President Paul Gulino wrote in an email.

Students discovering Chapman was involved in the nation’s biggest admissions scandal in history expressed disappointment and cynicism.

“I’m not surprised about this at all,” said junior computer science major Abigail Tan. It’s sad, she said, when some people work so hard to go to college “while some people just buy their way in.”

Tan, who works in the Cross Cultural Center, said the wealthy have always had an advantage in the college admissions process.

“When you are in high school preparing to go to college, you feel that class distance and struggle, because people who are more wealthy tend to have the privilege to go to all these classes (and SAT prep),” she said.

Colette Cucinotta isn’t optimistic about much changing in higher education.

“I honestly don’t think this is going to stop (cheating and bribery),” said the sophomore integrated education studies major. “Maybe a couple people will learn their lesson.”

Dodge professor Angela Paura said the “egregious duplicity” in those involved in the scandal is unimaginable.

“I am appalled by the extent of deception by parents and some university officials and coaches,” she said. “Perhaps the parents were burnishing their own reputations by cheating to send their children to elite universities.”

 

McKenna Sulick, Jillie Herrold, Maddie Taber, Taylor Thorne and Autumn Sumruld contributed to this report.