Chapman students paid by university to create promotional YouTube videos

YouTuber and sophomore creative producing major Megan Umansky (MegsUmansky), has received about 2,700 views on the video Chapman paid her to do promoting the school. A video she made showing her bedroom at her family home scored more than a million views. Photo obtained via YouTube.

Chapman’s digital marketing team is employing a new strategy: soliciting student YouTubers to tout the university in sponsored videos. It’s a new way to sway potential recruits and convince accepted students to commit to the university, according to Assistant Director of Digital Marketing Michelle Leslie.

At least three Chapman-sponsored videos were uploaded to YouTube in the days leading up to May 1, or National College Decision Day. Student influencers, including Megan Umansky, Lindsey Rempalski and Casey Naranjo, uploaded videos discussing their experiences at the university and why they chose to attend.

‘I’m in love with this school. It’s been such a great time and I seriously can’t imagine myself anywhere else,” Umansky says in her video. “The academics are amazing and the teachers are here to help you.”

The increasingly common practice of paying students to promote the universities they attend has raised ethical questions.

“The payment might send the message that positive words can be bought. The value of that testimonial might be called into question,” said Marcia Layton Turner, a freelance writer for the Journal of College Admission.

But who better to sing the praises of a place than the students attending? “Chapman really has shaped me to be a better person,” Naranjo says in her sponsored YouTube video. “The professors here genuinely care about you so much that they’ll go out of their way to meet you after class to help you.”

Neither the influencers or Chapman’s marketing department would disclose how much the creators were paid for making the videos.

Umansky, who often shares videos about her college experience on her YouTube channel, which has 85,000 subscribers – many of them high-school girls –  said she was paid to promote the college, but would not say how much.

“I said yes [to the sponsorship] because I really do love my school, and it fits my channel,” Umansky said.

The other student YouTubers, Rempalski and Naranjo, both agreed to email interviews but failed to follow through after three follow up requests.

“We are satisfied with the [influencers’] excitement to share the reasons they love Chapman, the content they developed and the opportunity to reach prospective students with an authentic account of ‘life at Chapman’ for students,” Leslie wrote in an email to Prowl.

“We chose YouTube because that is the most popular channel for prospective students,” Leslie wrote. “It’s about meeting the audience where they are with the content they are interested in.”

While some people are uncomfortable with the idea of campus influencers being paid to lure recruits to their university, the use of social media to promote colleges is clearly increasing. Universities across the country are testing the waters in marketing with YouTube postings.

The University of Southern California has posted shorter, more traditional advertisements on its YouTube channel to appeal to prospective students. Other schools, including Yale University, have opted to produce longer videos which make the school seem like a social paradise. In Yale’s video, scenes of students playing board games and jazz music evoke a happy summer camp vibe.

Video helps prospective students get introduced to the campus environment, and having real students talk about how much they like their school gives viewers an authentic take, Layton Turner said.

“Awareness campaigns like this spark the interest in younger audiences who are searching for universities, applying for college, or may not have started the consideration at all yet,” Leslie said.

Leslie added that the marketing team hopes to include more influencers in future campaigns.

“Advances in technology and increased use of the internet, social media, etc. are developing new opportunities in these areas,” Leslie wrote. “We hope to explore those new opportunities and evaluate if they align with the University’s Strategic Priorities.”

“Chapman really has shaped me to be a better person, a better creator, more open, more outspoken, more inspired and just better as a human being.” sophomore Casey Naranjo says in her video. “The professors here genuinely care about you so much that they’ll go out of their way to meet you after class to help you.” Photo obtained via YouTube.

Netflix and Instagram are the top websites accessed on university wifi

Freshman Julia Macias binge watches Netflix in the dorms before going to sleep. Photo by Tiffany Chen

Many students moan about oppressive homework loads, but if their wifi use is any indication, they’re spending a lot of time watching movies and TV shows.  

Netflix makes up 35% of all web traffic on Eduroam and Chapman Open, the university’s wifi networks. That means the movie and television streaming service is the most popular website used by students, according to Information and Cyber Security Specialist Ryan Tanovan.

General browsing and Netflix rank top two in most visited websites at Chapman. General browsing, which makes up 67% of web traffic, includes websites such as Blackboard, Leatherby Libraries, and MyChapman among other sites. But no academic site is accessed frequently enough to be recognized in the ranking.

Instagram, Apple Services, Youtube, and Facebook follow Netflix in the rankings on most popular sites.

The data suggests that students using campus wifi are spending more time watching Netflix than using the web for academic work, Tanovan said.

“I watch Netflix in the morning when I get ready at 11am, and when I get home from 3pm to 8pm,” said Megan Tu, a junior communications studies major, who admitted to watching Netflix several hours a day.

“Sometimes, I’ll watch Netflix straight from 3 p.m.- 12 a.m., or even later if I feel like it,” Tu said.

Tu simply doesn’t have much homework to use the web for many other purposes, she said.

“I always watch Netflix before I do homework. I don’t really have a lot of homework as a communication studies major,” Tu said. “However, the amount of Netflix a student should watch honestly depends on what major and how busy they are.”

While the act of watching Netflix may seem like an innocent act that students do to relieve stress, often students spend an excessive amount of time watching Netflix, which leads to binge-watching behaviors and addiction.

“Binge-watching happens when the content itself is immediately gratifying, and you’re watching things that are of interest and stimulating to you. This is normal human behavior, we are all drawn to things we feel rewarded by,” said Hillarie Cash, a mental health counselor specializing in internet and screen addiction.

Binge-watching behaviors can lead to a Netflix addiction, said Cash who co-founded reSTART, a residential treatment center for internet, video game and VR addiction

When a person finds a substance/action pleasurable and continuously pre-long that pleasure, they are over-stimulating the pleasure pathways in the brain. The process of addiction begins when the person loses control of their actions. This becomes a vicious cycle especially when Netflix’s content is designed to keep someone’s attention on the screen, Cash said.

So what exactly makes Netflix so attractive and popular among students?

The lure of one’s favorite show is a powerful draw, students said.

“I see students watching Netflix during lectures and in the library a lot, mainly on the second floor,” said freshman biology major Kelly Ly.

Tu even watches Netflix during her classes. “Sometimes the lectures are boring, so I just start watching my favorite show on  Netflix. It’s a good past-time,” Tu said.

Students watch Netflix in class because they don’t have the stamina to pay close attention to lectures, because lectures may not be immediately rewarding and stimulating to the senses. If students are not interested in the things being taught, it is easy to get bored and give up, Cash said.

Netflix is specifically designed to draw its viewers in for a long span of time to give them an instant escape from stress and reality.

“Netflix is always offering up the next interesting thing that its viewers are interested in, which is what makes it so addicting. They’ve achieved that by collecting data on individual interests, preferences to shows, and recommending new shows for customers to watch,” Cash said. “College is tiring and creates stress and anxiety, so a lot of people have used watching Netflix as a coping strategy to escape.”

But a use analysis shows that the streaming service is also displacing sleep.

The most popular time for Netflix usage is from 12- 4 a.m., according to Tanovan. “During this time, Netflix takes up 56.35% of all web traffic, meaning that half of everyone who is using the internet from 12- 4 a.m. is watching Netflix,” he said.

“What else would you be doing at 12 a.m.? If you’re a good kid and not out partying, you are most likely watching Netflix,” Tu said. “I stayed up till 2 a.m. watching Netflix last night.”

“All addictions are about immediate gratification, which will interfere with one’s life. When you’re addicted to Netflix, you’re going to be watching Netflix instead of everything you should be doing: sleeping, studying, going to classes, which can cause you to fail your academics,” Cash said.

In addition, Netflix addictions can also have some negative long-term impacts on one’s cognitive thinking, behavior, and creativity.

An individual’s creativity is compromised when they are a consumer of someone else’s content, Cash said. The shortening of one’s attention span, poor ability to think in the long-term, and not being able to pay attention and stay focused are all effects of being addicted to Netflix.

“You have to be able to delay gratification and reward, because working hard then getting a good grade is your reward,” Cash said.

Ly and Paola Portillo, a freshman Biology major both prefer sleeping over watching Netflix.

“I only stay up late to do homework” Portillo said.

While Netflix allows students to relieve stress and relax, students should prioritize their school work and organize their time based on their workloads, Tanovan said.  

General browsing makes up for most of the server’s internet use. Netflix and Instagram are identified as the first and second most visited websites, followed by Apple services (ex. IOS updates, Apple website, Apple Music), Youtube, ICloud, Facebook, and Twitch. Graph by Tiffany Chen.

What’s with the parrots on campus? Chapman ornithology professor explains everything you need to know

Flocks of screaming green parrots can be heard – and often seen – above the Chapman campus. Dr. Walter Piper, Chapman biology and ornithology professor, has been studying birds  for 53 years, or “since I was six years old.” The bird lover gave us the lowdown on the noisy birds high above our heads.

Dr. Piper runs The Loon Project, a research project on the nature of loons.
Photo courtesy of Walter Piper

 

Q: What parrots are on Chapman’s campus?

A: The ones we see commonly around campus are from the genus Aratinga called Mitred Parakeet.  These are the birds that are commonly seen year round and make the harsh screams that can be heard.  There are other species in Orange County including Amazon parrots which are from the genus Amazona. There are sightings of the Amazon Parrots, too but the most commonly seen birds are the Mitred Parakeets.

Q: Are those the smaller green birds?

A: Almost all parrots are green but yes the Mitred Parakeet are majority green with long tails that are narrow towards the end and have reddish or rose colored spots around the face area.  All of the parrots that we see in the area are mostly all green.

Is that a parrot? Many of the green birds seen in Orange are in fact beefy Mitred parakeets.  Photo courtesy of Flickr

Q: How can you tell the difference between the Mitred Parakeet and the Amazon Parrots?

A: The main way we can tell the difference between the two birds is that the Mitred Parakeet have these long thin tails whereas the Amazon Parrots have shorter and stubbier tails.

Q: Where did these parrots originate?

A: The Mitred Parakeet are originally from southern South America, and the Amazon Parrot is from Mexico. A lot of were most likely captured there and then brought to Orange County in the pet trade. They were either released by their owners and then established themselves or possibly released by people who had caught them and were afraid that they would be caught with illegally imported birds.

Parrots from Central and South American have shown an amazing ability to adapt to Orange County.  Photo courtesy from wikimedia.

Q: How are these birds are able to survive in such a different ecosystem?

We have indirectly created an almost perfect ecosystem that allows these birds to thrive in Orange County. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia.

A: The main resource that they need is food.  They get majority of their water source from the foods they eat.  In Southern California humans have set up these communities in which we irrigate and we have established all of these fruit trees that we have put out and as a result this provides a lot of opportunities for these Parrots to eat.  We have set up a situation for them that is just as good if not better than what they would naturally have.

Q: What do they eat?

A: They are very good at finding food ranging from anything like palm nuts, to various fruits and berries that they find on trees.  In the tropics, they are used to eating off all the fruit on one tree then moving to the next tree that is fruiting and it creates a cycle and that is what they are doing here in Southern California.

The mitred parakeet enjoy eating a wide variety of fruits and seeds they find in orange county.  Photo courtesy of wikimedia.

Q: Is their presence cause an imbalance in our ecosystem?

A: I do not think so.  We are setting out these fruit trees that would not have existed here otherwise and now we have parrots here that would not have existed otherwise and they are both unnatural species that are now present in Southern California.  We have made almost the entire region unnatural so I don’t think there is a problem. The parrots do not appear to interact negatively with any of the native species of birds. Some people thought that they might compete for these holes that can be found in trees where they are found to nest but luckily there are not many other species of birds that can live in the suburbs like the parrots, so there are not any other competitors for these nest holes.

We have indirectly created an almost perfect ecosystem that allows these birds to thrive in Orange County.  Photo courtesy of wikimedia.

Q: Do their numbers appear to be rising, falling, or remaining the same?

A: If anything they are most likely rising. San Diego also has a population of parrots and in Los Angeles around the Pasadena area there is a huge population of parrots.

Q: Could these parrots be kept as pets?

A: They are just as wild as the ones that are produced in their natural places in South America.  If you raise a nestling from an egg then it will be tame and it will not bite but if you take a wild caught bird and you try to put it in a cage that was raised by its parents in the wild then it will not make a good pet.

Parrots have thrived in Orange County because they have few predators and their big beaks and aggressive nature often deter any hawks that contemplate conscripting them into meals. Photo courtesy of wikipedia.

Parrots from Central and South American have shown an amazing ability to adapt to Orange County. Photo courtesy from wikimedia.

Q: Do they have any predators?

A: Not a lot here because in the city and the suburbs there are not as many raptors, hawks, and falcons that would normally try to eat them.  It is a pretty good situation for them from that standpoint. Parrots are pretty nasty birds to try to tangle with anyway because they have a tendency to bite.  They have a big bill that makes them pretty dangerous. They have fewer predators here than they would normally have in their natural habitat.

Chapman Then vs. Now: How Chapman Has Changed Over the Years

Chapman Then vs. Now
Chapman Then vs. Now

Chapman is named after Charles C. Chapman, a benefactor of the school and first mayor of Fullerton, California. Photo courtesy of Leatherby Libraries (left). Photo by Carlee Correia (right).

 

Chapman University opened 158 years ago as Hesperian College. Over time the university has moved locations, changed names and gotten more expensive (shocker!). Read on to see Chapman then vs. now.

 

Tuition and Costs

Then: The 1978-1979 academic year undergraduate tuition & fees at Chapman University was $3,400. Adjusted for inflation, this equals to around $11,870 in 2018. Tuition & fees covered a little more than half of a student’s education. The remaining cost was met by gifts and endowments. Financial aid was given in the form of grants, scholarships, loans and jobs. The number and amount of awards varied, but more than half of the student body received some form of financial aid.

Now: For the 2019-2020 academic year, undergraduate tuition & fees at Chapman University is $54,540. To combat this steep cost, Chapman offers financial aid to 81 percent of its students. However, Chapman grants and scholarships generally do not increase to meet the higher costs of tuition and room and board. Expect less free money and more student loans.

The building to the left is Memorial Hall, which hosts shows from the student club, Chapman on Broadway. Photo courtesy of Leatherby Libraries (left). Photo by Carlee Correia (right).

 

Housing

Then: Chapman did not have dorms in 1956, but the university still provided housing. Women lived in the now-closed Orange National Bank. They also lived in a house on the corner of Palm and Olive street, which is still there today. Houses surrounding the campus were leased out for men. The first dorms, Harris Hall and South Morlan Hall, were built in 1963 and are still used for housing today.

Now: Chapman has 10 housing options for undergraduates. This includes dorm-style residence halls and apartment communities. Beginning in 2018, Chapman requires all freshman to live on campus for two years. To increase housing accommodations, a new apartment complex called “The K” opens in fall 2019 for upperclassmen.

South Morlan Hall, built in 1963, houses 2018-2019 freshmen. Photo courtesy of Leatherby Libraries (left). Photo by Carlee Correia (right).

 

Student Life

Then: The earliest incarnation of Chapman accepted students of all races and faiths. In fact, Chapman waited to officially open the school until the day of President Lincoln’s inauguration to make a statement about equality. Chapman has always been a small college, with a student body of only 72 in the class of 1923. After World War II, Chapman saw a huge influx of students, causing them to move from their Los Angeles campus to the larger Orange campus.

Now: With a population of 8,542 students, Chapman has students from 50 states, 2 territories and 82 countries. 20 percent of students are first-generation and 40 percent identify as persons of color. Chapman continues to grow, with a record-breaking 14,170 first-year applications in 2018. Also, more women are obtaining degrees. Chapman plays a part in this upward trend with 40:60 male-to-female ratio. Roughly 9 percent of women earned bachelor’s degrees in 1970 -1971, but 50 percent earned bachelor’s degrees by 2001-2002, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Since 1992, the 100,0000-square-foot Argyros Forum serves as a hub for student life, with lounge areas, dining, classrooms and a gift shop. Photo courtesy of Leatherby Libraries (left). Photo by Carlee Correia (right).

 

Religion

Then: 1861 marked the start of Chapman University. The founding members were part of the Disciples of Christ and in 1956, most Chapman students were still part of that denomination. Students even had to take classes regarding the Old and New Testament.

Now: Chapman is not a Christian college, but instead a church-affiliated school. This means Chapman does not require religion classes or church attendance. The Fish Interfaith Center was established in 2004. Inside the center is the Wallace All Faiths Chapel, open to students of all faiths. Stop by for free events like weekly walk-in meditation and yoga.

There are no permanent religious symbols at the Fish Interfaith Center. Photo courtesy of Leatherby Libraries (left). Photo by Carlee Correia (right).

 

Athletics

Then: In 1923, the gymnasium, nicknamed “The Box”, was built and the football, tennis and women’s basketball teams. Due to financial hardship from the Great Depression, the football program was suspended in 1932. Chapman held their first Homecoming in 1957, but without a football game. The Chapman football team took the field again in 1994.

Now: The Ernie Chapman Stadium was built in 2008. Roughly 450 student-athletes train and compete in the stadium. Chapman is NCAA Division III with 21 intercollegiate teams. Seventeen of these teams competed in collegiate championships in 2016-2017.

Since its opening in 1978, the Harold Hutton Sports Center has hosted the NCAA’s first round of women’s basketball playoffs six times. Photo courtesy of Leatherby Libraries (left). Photo by Carlee Correia (right).

 

Academics

Then: During the 1950s, students took one course every six-week block. There were six blocks, each worth five credits. This equals to 30 credits in an academic year, which matches a typical Chapman undergraduate class schedule in 2019. Classes were held from 8 a.m to 12 p.m., with speakers coming on Tuesdays and mandatory Chapel on Thursdays.

Now: Current Chapman students can still take 30 credits in an academic year. However, now Chapman has semesters instead of six-week blocks. Students are also able to take up to 18 credits per semester, totaling 36 credits per year. Classes still start at 8 a.m. but can end as late at 9:50 p.m.

Behind the fountain is the Hashinger Science Center. This was the newest building on campus in 1969. Photo courtesy of Leatherby Libraries (left). Photo by Carlee Correia (right).

Broken door in Hashinger is a result of broken communication

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

See something, say something.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Chapman’s Donation Policy: How money finds its way to campus

“Generally speaking our Executive Vice President and I only get involved for large gifts. So smaller amounts can trickle in without our direct involvement,” said President Daniele Struppa. Photo illustration by Claire Treu.

While tuition fees make up most of the university’s annual income, the more secretive realm of donations has come into question since the emergence of the nationwide college admissions scandal, a provoking exposé in which Chapman was discovered to have a minor role.

In lieu of uproar surrounding the scandal and Chapman’s Faculty Senate resolution to establish a set of policies for accepting donations, Prowl took a closer look at the donation process at Chapman.

Gifts from donors made up 7.8% of Chapman’s revenues in 2017, according to an article in ChapBook Magazine. That percentage represented about $27 million in donations that year.

Donations are managed through University Advancement, a department that solicits money from possible donors. However, donations $50,000 and over must be approved by the Board of Trustees, according to Sheryl Bourgeois, Executive Vice President of University Advancement.

Most of our donations go to restricted purposes to fund a specific endeavor in a school, college or department (professorship, program, etc.) or to fund a specific building project,” such as the new Keck Center,  Bourgeois told Prowl via email. “At larger levels, donors are usually more interested in making a direct, more specific impact.”

Fundraising is one of many responsibilities held by the  university president. Ironically, during an email exchange with Prowl about donations, President Daniele Struppa said he was joining potential donors for lunch in San Francisco.

“At the lunch I mentioned,” Struppa wrote, “I spoke with a donor and asked for a gift to help underserved students. Much to my happiness the donor totally responded to my message and immediately agreed to the gift and to its designation.”

It is common for donors to be called on to help with specific university priorities, but sometimes donors have their own requests for allocation of donations. Especially at larger levels, donors usually want their donation to go toward a specific project or program, Bourgeois said.

“Unless there are problems with their ideas, we usually accommodate the donor wishes,” Struppa said.

While it is illegal to bribe a university official or falsify an SAT exam like we saw in the admissions scandal, donating to a university to better your child’s chances of being admitted is not.

Jared Kushner’s father, real estate mogul Charles Kushner, donated $2.5 million to Harvard University in 1998, which some say is what got Jared admitted.

While some may argue that the loophole is an abuse of power, Chair of the Faculty Governance Council Lynda Hall emphasized the overwhelming benefit that donors have on universities.

Is it wrong that we take $7 million to build a building and maybe, one student gets to come here, but thousands of students get to use the building?” Hall said.

Chapman is working with the Department of Justice to investigate the $325,000 gifted by the Key Worldwide Foundation, the fraudulent charity used as a front for bribe money in the nationwide scandal. The federal investigation has not resulted in donors wishing to rescind contributions to Chapman, according to President Daniele Struppa. Yet, the subject is clearly a touchy one for the university, as officials were swift to redirect or refuse comment to Prowl when asked about donation policies.

Prowl reached out to six donors for comment when Jamie Ceman, Vice President of Strategic Marketing and Communications emailed reporters. Donors had been advised not to respond because “it would be irresponsible for anyone to discuss any aspect of the investigation,” Ceman said.

“I understand you’re looking at donations and not the admissions issue, but out of an abundance of caution while we complete our internal investigation it’s better to not comment on either process right now,” Ceman said.

The fundraising department has also been advised not to comment until the investigation is complete, Ceman said. “The President has every intention of providing all the information he is able to after the investigation is complete.”

Conflict over donations and their influence came to a head in 2018 when the Charles Koch foundation donated $5 million to the university, which some students and faculty complained was used to promote a specific political agenda.

Donation guidelines was on the agenda for a March 15  Faculty Senate discussion. In the meeting, the Senate voted on and passed a resolution that Chapman should forgo donations with “inappropriate influences.”

“You can’t tell us who to hire and you can’t tell the people we hire what they’re going to research,” Hall said. “That statement is our attempt as faculty, and we don’t have a lot of power over this, to share our philosophy about it.”

Usually, the university initiates communication with donors to clarify their intentions, Struppa said.

“We have decided not to pursue specific opportunities we thought were not aligned with our values,” he added.

Smaller donations, however, are generally not restricted for a specific purpose.

If a donation comes in without a [specific] intent, the University tends to place [it] in its general fund, which goes to the most immediate needs,” Bourgeois said.

This “general fund” is “mostly targeted to scholarship money,” according to President Struppa.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Welcome, Madison De La Garza! Actress and filmmaker accepted to Dodge Screenwriting program dishes on Eva Longoria, whether she’ll rush and her passion for mental health issues

Madison De La Garza – Demi Lovato’s younger sister and the child star who played sulky  Juanita Solis on “Desperate Housewives” –  will attend Chapman University in the fall of 2019. In her exclusive interview with Prowl, the actress and filmmaker explains her passion for story telling and says she feels most at home on set – so much so, she falls asleep en route to auditions. Oh yeah –  and she handles questions about a costar caught up in the college admissions scandal like a pro.

“We were screaming, jumping up and down, holding each other, hugging. It was the one, it was the one we wanted to hear from the most. She even applied to other big places but at that point we didn’t care if she got in anywhere else,” said Dianna De La Garza (De La Garza’s mom) about De La Garza’s Chapman acceptance letter.

What schools did you apply to and why did you choose Chapman?

I wanted to stay local, so I looked at mostly small, liberal arts schools in SoCal, like Occidental, Columbia College Hollywood (the film school), Cal Lutheran, Woodbury, places like that. I also applied to USC, UCLA, and UC San Diego. The thing I really loved about Chapman, specifically the film program, is how collaborative it is. People from different majors work together and the people in Dodge really seem like a community.

What were your GPA and test scores?

My GPA was a 3.8. I didn’t take the ACT. I took the SAT and got a 1240.

Can you replay the scene when you opened your acceptance letter?

I was in my room. I always thought I’d film myself, but I was too excited. I thought, “This is the rest of my life, I need to open this right now.” I didn’t want to call my mom in, just in case it was a no. I opened the email, clicked on the update, and I saw the picture with the balloons and students in Chapman shirts. Then I saw “Congratulations” and immediately started tearing up, so when I called out to my mom, it sounded like something was really wrong. I said, “No, no, it’s good news, it’s good news.” We met each other in the middle of the stairs and she said, “Which one is it? Please tell me.” And I said, “It’s Chapman.” We just lost it.

“Seeing a bunch of people come together with literally no money, for the purpose of making a film, that’s probably what’s made me the filmmaker I am today,” said De La Garza about her first short film “The Imbalancing Act.” (From Left) Alexis Lombardi (actor), Logan Binstock (director), Eve Bui (actor), and Madison De La Garza (writer).

Why did you choose this major?

I started writing scripts at a really young age, and I tried a lot of different avenues. It hit me when I applied to college: the best way for me to make any kind of difference or social change was to be a screenwriter, so that was the avenue I had to take. I’m really passionate about mental health and I want to make films about it; that’s the best way to get rid of stereotypes. The industry is guilty for creating a lot of stereotypes, but the industry can also break them. I wrote a concept for a kid’s TV show and I pitched it to a network. It didn’t end up getting greenlit, but I felt the most comfortable I’ve ever felt in any type of audition or meeting room or anything. That’s when I knew this was the path for me.

Did you receive any help or advice from family members?

My two older sisters (Demi Lovato and Dallas Lovato) didn’t go to college, and it’s been a long time since my dad applied to school, so my parents were a little in the dark on the whole process. I was so lucky to have a close family mentor of mine who is very familiar with the whole college admissions process. I honestly don’t know if I would’ve gotten into school without her because I truly did not know where to start.

Felicity Huffman is facing charges in the college admissions scandal. You acted with her on “Desperate Housewives.” What do you think is an appropriate punishment?

What’s sad was I was blown away by the whole scandal, but part of me was not surprised that someone, somewhere allowed it to happen. You hear all the time about people making donations, which will help their kids get in; that’s not out of the ordinary. But this was a whole new level. I put so much work into my application. I didn’t get into UCLA or USC. I thought, “This sucks. I didn’t get in and they paid to get in.”

“After waking up with no memory of his past or his name, James Bard is given two choices – to surrender to the young girl who claims to be his only hope, or fall victim to the apocalypse at hand,” said Madison De La Garza about her short film “Subject 16.”

Can you talk a little bit about your latest Short Film “Subject 16”?

The whole process was unlike anything I’ve ever done. I went to some friends of mine who worked at AwesomenessTV and was like, “Hey, I really want to make a film.” They said, “Lets help you make it happen.” What was different about the “Subject 16” process was that we wrote the script, came up with the idea, and really created the film around the set that we were going to use. That’s why we were able to go into another world.

How was it different being on set in someone else’s project vs. your own project?

It’s so different, especially when I was younger. I would just practice my lines and show up when I was called; that was all I could do. With “Subject 16,” the main difference was if it fell through, it was on me. There’s a little bit more pressure, but in the best way.

“When I’m on set, I feel like I’m where I’m meant to be. Growing up on set, that has made me want to stay in the film industry for sure, but maybe not as an actress forever,” said De La Garza. Photo of Eva Longoria and De La Garza on the “Desperate Housewives” set.

You’ve grown up in the spotlight. How has being a child actress with a large social media following affected you?

Some of my favorite qualities I attribute to the industry. I’ve always been mature, I take direction pretty easily, I’m well behaved when I need to be, and I’m also very comfortable on a set. If I wasn’t working on a set, then I was visiting my sister (Demi Lovato) on her set, and so that environment is very comforting to me. Just like driving to auditions makes me want to fall asleep, because that’s how I used to fall asleep in the car as a kid.

What is the biggest “pro” growing up with that background?

Just being on set was the best feeling ever. I went to a couple red carpets, I did interviews, which were always really fun, but nothing beat being on set, in that environment, and when they yelled action. Also, when people would ask me for a picture, that was pretty cool too.

Biggest con?

The bad days when I still had to show up. Some days, my sister and I were so tired and my mom had to fight us both because we both had to be at work. Those were some stressful days.

“Sophia is a young girl who seems to have gained knowledge of the bunker, and a natural anxiety since the beginning of the end. However, as James begins to realize the truth, all of her unexplainable habits seem to become less unexplainable,” De La Garza said about her character in “Subject 16.”

Best memory on set?

My favorite memory was probably the last scene I ever filmed, when I wrapped Desperate Housewives. Eva Longoria and I had gotten very, very close over the years, and I was very close with my younger sister on the show (Daniella Baltodano), and Ricardo Antonio Chavira. We all kind of knew that the end was coming and I’ll never forget, Eva said, “Thank you for being the best daughter I could have ever had.” She whispered that into my ear and that was her goodbye. That’s my favorite memory, I’ll never forget that; it will always stick out in my head as one of my favorite moments.

Do you have any friends at Chapman already?

My best friend Logan Binstock, who’s a creative producing major, and one of my childhood friends, Josie Totah, go to Chapman. Josie is also in Dodge. We wrote scripts together when we were in elementary school and then we reunited and wrote scripts in middle school, and now we’ll hopefully be working together in college. I’m so excited.

“My best friend, Logan Binstock, goes to Chapman and she’s in Dodge as well, so through her eyes I’ve been able to see how great the film program really is,” said De La Garza.

What kind of scripts do you want to write?

I love a lot of different genres and if I could write comedy I totally would do that more. I really love science fiction, first of all, because it’s the best genre to get a message across. Black Mirror and The Twilight Zone are my biggest inspirations of all time. If I could write anything close to that, I’ll feel pretty accomplished.

Are you going to rush a sorority?

Both Logan and Josie are in sororities. I don’t think I’m going to rush, but I haven’t decided yet. They’ve been talking to me about what it felt like to rush. I’m just so excited to see it with my own eyes, finally.

What aspects of college are you looking forward to?

I’m really looking forward to making so many friends. I’ve gone to a really small school; it’s K-12 and there are 70 kids in the entire school. So I’ve been a part of a very small community my whole life. Now that I’m going to college, my environment is going to be so much bigger. I’ll have a little bit more space to find out who I am and find the people that I really want to be friends with.

All photos courtesy of Madison De La Garza.

Myth vs. Reality: Chapman Edition

Chapman officials are eager to debunk myths about the university. Worried about a lack of diversity? We have a Cross Cultural Center! Think the school is full of rich white kids? Eighty-six percent of the student body receives financial aid! Think the school is silo-ed off and disconnected from the surrounding community? We have local partnerships with the Paulo Freire Democratic Project and Centro Comunitario de Educación!

Here are some beliefs many of us come to college with that are not on the website.

Myth: College is when we go to football games and tailgate parties

Ahhh, college sports. The tailgates before every game, the packed stadium of screaming fans bringing everyone together. The smell of teen spirit!

Reality – PSYCH! Talk to the next 50 people you see and ask them if they have ever set foot in the bleachers at Wilson Field. All 50 will probably deny it. The stands for football games are rarely full despite tickets being free to Chapman students. The basketball team draws immense crowds of 20…parents. As for the tailgates, good luck trying to fire up the grill in the underground parking structure.

Chapman could take notes from the Penn State Nittany Lions on how to host a football game. Photo by Alex Korolkoff on Unsplash

Myth: I will make a lifelong friend in my roommate

We have all seen those corny Netflix movies that idolize the relationships we form with our roommates. You’ll be like two peas in a pod, fighting the daily challenges of cranky professors and demanding parents. You and your roommate will end up like Alex and Sammy from “Blue Mountain State.”

Reality – More often than not, you two – or three – will become acquaintances and not exchange much more than a “hey, how’s it going,” as you pass from class to class. Grievances will pile up as you are both under stress and unaccustomed to living with people who think their dirty cereal bowls are precious keepsakes to be kept in the public space. It’s hard to bond with someone blaring Katy Perry’s “Firework” at 7 a.m.

This is the kind of relationship we all strive to have with our roommates, but that’s not always the case. Photo by @thoughtcatalog on Unsplash

Myth: College will expose us to people of different races, backgrounds and beliefs

You’ll meet people from all over the world and learn about their cultures! Understanding the struggles and  experiences of people different from you will make you a better, “woke” person!

Reality – Yes, the Asians represent at Chapman, but most students here are white. “The majority of the student population is still white, but given the location Chapman is in, that’s not really odd,” Chapman President Daniele Struppa said in an article published by Prowl on February 26, 2019, “My goal is to bring our university anywhere between 20-30 percent Latino. The African American population on the other hand, is about 1 percent in Orange County, so I don’t expect to see the numbers to grow much more.”

The diversity Chapman may portray on their school website. Photo by Anete Lusina on Unsplash

Myth: Friday Night Fun

Like in the movies, once anyone gets to college they’re going to party until the sun rises just like in Animal House. Parties are open, easy to access and low risk.

Reality – That is, if you are a girl or in a frat. Good luck to any other male at Chapman who is not in Greek life that wants to party. You’ll find them staying in the dorms with their friends, playing drinking games, video games, and wondering what they are missing.

This is basically what you’ll find most people doing on the weekends. Photo by Mark Schafer on Unsplash

Myth: Be Anything Imaginable

The course catalog has a wide variety of classes that are all easy access. Our tour guides love to boast about how easy it is to get classes. They all had a great time taking Forensics 101, one of the most sought-after courses in the university.

Reality – Freshman year is a wake-up call. Students may get stuck with a late registration appointment while upperclassmen get first pickings. Once your registration appointment approaches all of the courses you added to the shopping cart will have the dreaded blue square, signifying the class is closed. I have heard horror stories of where students need to knock out all of their GE’s because all of their major requirements were closed. Lastly, in terms of switching majors it can be easy especially if it is within colleges, but if you want to get into Dodge then good luck. The minimum GPA Dodge requires a major transfer student to have is a 3.5, so you better hit the books.

The dreaded blue square we are all too familiar with come class registration time. Photo by Jennifer Sauceda

Myth: World Class Professors

When you get to college, you will find a mentor who cares about your learning and have quality one-on-one time where you can ask questions, get instruction and have engaging discussions.

Reality – All this talk about having individualized educators is not necessarily true. Some professors unexpectedly cancel their classes, sometimes to make time around their own schedule. More often than not office hours will interfere with your busy class schedule, and even when you find the time, it is just 10 minutes of repeating what was said in class. Some professors are more available than others, so you may find yourself dealing with a professor who is either hard to reach or just not present on campus very often.

The small group education we all seek. Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash