The New Pass/No Pass Deadline has Students feeling Cheated

The Academic Advising Center moved locations in Beckman Hall. Photo by Marcella Zizzo.

Some students say the new, shortened pass/no pass policy has reduced their willingness to sign up for classes they fear they won’t ace.

Chapman’s revision of the pass/no pass policy this fall includes lowering all passing grades to meet a minimum of “C-” rather than the previous “C” standard, as well as limiting the allotted amount of pass/no pass credits to six per academic year–which is considered the terms of Fall through the end of Summer. It does not include courses that are only offered as pass/no pass.

Students are usually not allowed to register a major or minor course as pass/no pass unless they receive permission from their department chair.

But the least popular aspect of the changes is its shortened deadline to register a course as pass/no pass.

For the 2018/19 year, the Faculty Undergraduate Academic Council sliced the timeframe in which a student could change a course from graded to pass/no pass in half – from 10 weeks to five.

The short deadline is “annoying” and “rude,” said junior PR & advertising student Nora Viarnes.

Five weeks isn’t enough time to fully decide if a student will perform well in a class, according to Viarnes.

“It’s unfair because you don’t really know that you’re going to struggle that hard. It’s hard to tell [how you’ll do in a class] that early,” Viarnes said.

Some students say they now have too little time to determine whether or not they need to switch to pass/no pass to preserve their grade point average.  

A benefit that some students see to the pass/no pass option is that there is no reflection on their transcript of any lost points, should they not pass. A student who opts into pass/no pass would just not receive credit, if they did not pass, and would have to repeat the course again if they needed to pass for their degree.

At Chapman, if a student chooses to pass/no pass their course, they will receive a grade of “P” or “NP,” rather than a letter grade on their transcripts.

Thus, their GPA won’t change, either positively or negatively. Pass/no pass only tracks whether or not a student passed the course.

Some students feel as if they don’t have enough time to determine whether or not they will do well in a class, especially since some professors don’t post grades until later in the semester.

Faculty Undergraduate Academic Council was “concerned that the 10-week period to change the grading method was too lax,” according to Vice President for Undergraduate Education Nina LeNoir, when asked why Chapman made the changes.

LeNoir said that having a pass/no pass option is set in place “to encourage students to take classes outside their major discipline that they may find challenging but have an interest in.”

The deadline was halved to put Chapman in line with other universities’ standards, said LeNoir, noting, “most schools have much shorter P/F or P/NP decision times.”

But, some students find that the shortened timestamp on declaring a class as pass/no discourages students from taking risks or registering from classes that are an academic stretch.

The new deadline made sophomore peace studies major Preetha Raj, regret trying new classes.

Raj was considering switching to a different major and decided to take a course in that subject to see if it would be a good fit. After the first few weeks of school, she was unable to tell how she was doing because she didn’t have any grades yet.

“I wasn’t able to really gauge how I was doing in the class until after that five-week deadline,” Raj said.

After finding out she wasn’t doing well in the class, Raj was stuck in the course with no way to protect her transcript, as the pass/no pass deadline had run out.

The pass/no pass deadline plays “a huge role in how you’re planning out your next four years,” Raj said.  

“At five weeks in, you don’t even know what your projected grade could be in the class,” and that moving up the deadline only impedes the process of deciding whether or not one actually needs the option of pass/no pass.

“If anything it just stresses students out,” Raj said.

The updated policy prevents students from experimenting with new courses, according to Viarnes.

“The [general education courses] here vary so outrageously from, like, super easy to ridiculously hard for no reason,” Viarnes said.

LeNoir said that she does not view the pass/no pass option as simply a grade-saver.

“It is meant to encourage intellectual curiosity, not to save a GPA,” said LeNoir.

“A student should have the ability to evaluate whether or not the class is at the level at which they wish to take it for a letter grade or pass/fail upon reading the syllabus, and through several class meetings,” according to LeNoir.

LeNoir said she is unable to release the number of students who have dropped out of a course until the end of the current term.

Nearly two percent of courses were changed to pass/no pass per semester within the last academic year, with the most common pass/no pass courses being foreign languages and mathematics, according to LeNoir.

Still, some students don’t believe the pass/no pass option is the best academic move.

“I just always felt like I could just get the grade I’m going to get than pass/no pass it and then have that show up on my transcript,” said Bailee Cochran, a junior business major.

By moving up the deadline to switch to pass/no pass, the university is leaving students with little option to shield their GPAs from a bad mark, Cochran said.

“Not everyone is just trying to get out of working hard in their class. Some people really do need [the option of pass/no pass].”

Double the work, double the pain, what’s the gain?

Student, Jillie Herrold, studying in Leatherby Libraries. Photo by Madison Taber.

Senior screenwriting and history double-major Jake Naturman decided sophomore year that he wanted to graduate a year early.

In order to achieve this, he took two required pre-thesis classes for history, as well as intensive screenwriting classes and other projects he was already working on outside of class. Naturman carried 18 credits last spring.

“[That semester] I would come home from class every single day, plop down on my bed, and scream into my pillow before dragging myself up and getting to work on whatever I needed to do,” Naturman said.

Naturman is among the 7.6 percent of undergraduate students at Chapman currently pursuing double majors, according to the Assistant Director of Chapman’s Institutional Research Office, Robert Pankey.

Pankey described this percentage as “pretty steady,” inching up less than one percent in four years.

Many students believe that double majoring will give them a leg up in the job search after they graduate and enter the workforce. But is the extra work worth it?

Naturman double-majored to be better prepared to meet his objectives –  writing historically accurate films.

“Being a historian has made my writing process even better, especially with regards to research,” Naturman said. “[That] gives me a slight edge over people who might not have that experience.”

Even with two majors, Naturman has completed a summer screenwriting internship at Impact Pictures and is on track to graduate a year early, this spring.

It turns out that double majoring may, in fact, yield financial benefits.

Christos A. Makridis, a Ph.D. Candidate in Labor and Public Economics at Stanford University, conducted his own analysis that assessed more than two million full-time workers between the ages of 20 and 65. His research showed that those who double-majored in various subject combinations earned between 3.4 and 9.5 percent more than those with one major depending on their field of study.

Research that was conducted prior to Makridis’ did not show results as clear as Makridis’ and was constructed from smaller groups of individuals.

Alex Neff, a senior communications and psychology double major, believes she had the upper hand against other applicants in a past job interview because of her double-major.

“They were communication majors while I was that plus psychology,” Neff said. “My now new boss was very impressed and thought my majors were applicable in the business world.”

Neff hopes her double major will help her in the competitive job market.

“So far [being a double-major] has shown me that with dedication I can honestly do anything because it sounded like a lot but here I am doing it,” she said.

Double-majors may have an extra additive to their resume, but at least two employers said double-majoring paled when compared to what they truly value: relevant work experience.

“While a double-major may speak to a candidate’s academic commitment and work ethic, it would not automatically trump an applicant who had only one major,” said, Karl Kreutziger, president of  C.W. Driver Companies.

“The most competitive applicants in our field have a combination of academic studies,  work or internship experience, and student extra-curricular activities such as student clubs or members of academic competitions,” Kreutziger said.

Kreutziger emphasized the importance of students having hands-on experience.

“The applied part of their studies is where we really see the differentiators among applicants. Ideally, we try to hire college applicants who have at least two or more industry internships over their college career,” Kreutziger said.

“Experience is more important: That candidate would be preferred,” said Rosemaria Altieri, senior director of human resources for Southern California News Group. “[Multiple majors] does not automatically trump another applicant.”

The common belief among students that being a double major would impress their future employers is logical, but cramming two majors’ course loads into four years is not always wise said Eva Scalzo, founder of Key Academic Advising.

“They feel that they are better rounded, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend double majoring for anybody unless they really want to do that much work. A solution is doing a major and minor,” Scalzo said.

Scalzo advises students individually with the college application process and decisions on majors.

“A lot of my students will do a major and a minor. That way it’s allowing them to focus on two areas of interest. The major being what they are pursuing as a field of study but the minor being something that they also have interest in,” Scalzo said. “It is more work, but I don’t think you are taking away from learning other subjects.”

Some students realize they are interested in two subjects equally once they begin attending college classes, which may result in the pursuit of two majors, Scalzo said.

“If they are going to double major I think it is intelligent to do it in the same field or discipline. If you create enough crossover then you won’t have an issue with overwhelming work,” she said.

While these employers value experience over education, the benefits of being a double-major still prevail in the workforce as shown by Makridis’ study. The tug-of-war remains between students with a diverse academic skill set and students with pertinent experience in a given field.

Tinder Barely Passes with Tinder U

Tinder U is a way for students to meet with one another from different universities. Photo by Tumisu on pixabay.

Students don’t give Tinder’s new dating platform very high marks. The much-heralded update restricts their dating options down to other college students but it turns out Chapman users prefer a wider field of selections.

“Tinder U,” launched in August, allows users to filter their dating searches down to other users who also share a university-affiliated email address.

But, students who have given the new service a whirl complain that it’s flawed—sometimes matching them with students far away at other universities and that they don’t necessarily want to be matched with someone they may have already met in their math class.

“Chapman is already small enough,” said Jamie Garcia, a senior psychology and integrated education studies major.

Because Tinder U narrows in on college students, it would make meeting people on campus through Tinder very “awkward,” Garcia said.

Since most Tinder users are of 18-24 years old, the app wants to craft an experience “specifically for them,” said Lauren Probyn, Director of Global Marketing & Events for Tinder.

The feature is meant to connect students to more of their peers and make it easier for users to match with those closer in their area, according to Probyn.

But, sophomore screen acting major Luca Rorh has found that, upon signing in with Tinder U, his feed is flooded with students who are well outside his set radius.

“My range is currently set for 9 miles, and yet the first person that popped up is someone from Azusa Pacific, 15 miles away,” Rorh said.

Rorh initially signed on to Tinder U to meet more Chapman students but views the newest update as a roadblock.

“I can’t just switch back to just Chapman. I don’t want to match with people from USC,” said Rorh.  

Rather than prioritizing geographic location, Rorh has found that the Tinder U feature places student profiles from far away universities before non-student users that may be closer to him.

He believes this takes the convenience out of online dating, and he’s not alone.

Junior computer science major Charlie Story confesses to being as disappointed with the mechanics of the app as Rorh.

“It actually confuses me because sometimes I’ll match with people farther out of my 15 miles that I put. Then, I’m like ‘she’s like 79 miles away’,” Story said.

In response to such complaints, Tinder U maintains that location preferences are still up to each user’s discretion.

“If someone is using Tinder U at NYU and their radius is set at 50 miles, they will see students at Hunter College, Columbia, Barnard, etc.,” said Gabrielle Aboodi, Senior Accountant Executive for Tinder.  

Per Tinder protocol, students are able to enter their location and set up a personalized radius for potential matches. But, once a user signs in as a student, the app then allows users to swipe on other students at their own college, as well as nearby schools, according to its website.

Tinder also states that a student may turn the Tinder U filter off at any time.

Tinder U is only available for students at “4-year, accredited, not-for-profit schools in the U.S. that deliver courses in traditional face-to-face learning format,” Probyn said.

If a user is not connected with Tinder U, but they have a regular Tinder account, they’ll still show up on the app of a Tinder U user, though presented much later.

Tinder has stated that they are “unable” to disclose any numbers regarding how many students are actually taking advantage of the Tinder U feature.

The overall Chapman consensus on Tinder, as a whole, is varied. Some students’ original goals for joining the online dating pool are unclear.

“Honestly, your guess is as good as mine,” said Kyler Hannah, a senior psychology and strategic & corporate communications major.

Hannah tried Tinder U, but ultimately reverted back to classic Tinder.

“I didn’t like [Tinder U]. I just feel like I don’t always want to date in the [college] community,” Hannah said.

Hannah views the basic version of Tinder as her “way to get out of” the typical circles she runs in on campus, making Tinder U inattentive to her specific needs within the app.

Junior psychology major Samantha Scherba finds Tinder U appealing, as someone who “wants to date a guy who’s well educated.” Scherba only sees  benefits in “having [Tinder] on a university level.”

Tinder U advertises these changes as a chance to organize study sessions, coffee dates, and meet new faces. However, some students disagree with what the app actually stands for and how they are using it.

Tinder U “is window shopping,” according to Story.

Contrary to what Tinder U advertises, Story believes the site promotes hookup culture and short-term flings.

Sleigh the Holiday Season at Your College Home Away From Home

End of semester stress may have you feeling like the Grinch, but don’t let that crush your holiday spirit. You may have gotten into the groove of family traditions leading up to winter holidays in the past, but between finals and Southern California’s less-than-wintery weather, it can be easy to lose the holiday spirit. Here are five ways to celebrate the holiday season in your college home.

1. Deck The Hall

Many students take to decorating the inside of their dorms for the holiday season. Whip out the wrapping paper and the ribbons to include your dorm doors in the holiday spirit.

The welcome area in Argyros Forum has loads of butcher paper for free. Photo courtesy of Veronica Millison.

To make a tree:
  1. Cut about five feet of butcher paper into several small pointed strips.
  2. Fold the strips into a tube and tape the back, leaving the pointed edges on the outside.
  3. Flatten the taped strips and pull the outer point to create a raised effect.
  4. Tape the strips to the door, adding more as you work your way down to the stump.
  5. To create the stump, cut a small piece of butcher paper and put it on the bottom of the tree.
  6. You can also cut out ornaments of your desire or hang real ones using mini Command hooks.
To make a snowman:
  1. Cut enough butcher paper to make three circles of varying sizes, small, medium, and large.
  2. Tape onto the door the smallest circle on the top and largest on the bottom, connecting each one.
  3. Add a cutout hat, scarf and facial features – or draw them directly onto the circles.
  4. Cut small white circles and tape them sporadically on the door to create snow.

2. Make a Holiday Treat

Nothing says “Hello holidays!” like good food. No matter what you’re celebrating, ask for the family recipe to your favorite dish and share it with your roommates and professors. Bake with your friends in the fully stocked Morlan Hall kitchen – just bring your own ingredients and clean up when you are done.

Many students take to coffee to push through finals. Spice it up and treat yourself with a side of a holiday inspired coffee cake. Photo by Alyssa Harrell.

Easy Coffee Cake Recipe – inspired by and courtesy of Kristyn Merkley, from Lil’ Luna.

You will need:
  • A 9×13 inch pan (or proportional)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tsp of baking powder
  • 1 ½ cups of brown sugar
  • 2 tsp of cinnamon
  • 3 cups of flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup oil
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • 1 cup milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease the pan and set it aside.
  3. Combine eggs, oil, milk, butter, and vanilla in a mixing bowl.
  4. In a smaller bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Pour the content of the dry bowl into the larger mixing bowl and whisk to create the batter
  6. Pour the batter into the greased pan so that the top is even.
  7. To create the topping, mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon.
  8. Evenly sprinkle the topping over the batter in the pan.
  9. Using a butter knife, create swirls on top of the batter to blend the topping in.
  10. Bake for 30 minutes, let cool for two minutes, and enjoy!

3. Set the Winter Scene in SoCal

Although Southern California is not a winter wonderland, create the ambience yourself and make use of what SoCal has to offer. The fire pit at the dorm pool is open until 9 p.m. – giving you plenty of time to enjoy a night under the string lights roasting chestnuts and making s’mores.

If you don’t mind going off campus, the sand is SoCal’s snow. The beach is a great place to have a bonfire and roast your holiday treats.
Photo by Kimson Doan on Unsplash.

4. Join the Community

Grab your friends and go to the Tree Lighting Ceremony and Candlelight Choir Procession in the Orange Circle. This year, the ceremony will be held on Sunday, Dec. 2, from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Don’t miss the tree lighting and music starting at 5:15 p.m. 

Shops and restaurants will be open for you to grab a bite while you enjoy the event. Photo by Alyssa Harrell.

5. Gather Your Friends For a Gift Exchange

No matter what you celebrate, gift exchanging has been made a large part of the holiday season. Additionally, it’s a great way to get together with your friends before the end of the year.

There are several options to gift-giving, perhaps the most common being Secret Santa and White Elephant. Photo by Alyssa Harrell.


Six tips from honors students on how to ace your finals

Prowl interviewed some University Honors Program students with the highest GPAs at Chapman to get some helpful tips on establishing better study habits, such as using the Pomodoro Technique, working with other people to get multiple perspectives on a topic and how to find the best study spot.


1. Try the Pomodoro Technique

Would you rather take three hours to get one thing done, or  an hour and 20 minutes to get four things done? The Pomodoro Technique, created by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s, provides a framework to help you get more done in less time. The main premise behind the Pomodoro Technique is to work in blocks of time, typically 25 minutes long, followed by a five minute break. These intervals are named pomodoros, the English plural of the Italian word “pomodoro,” which translates to  tomato, after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer that Citrillo used as a college student. Each Pomodoro session demands your full attention on one task, and every break requires you to step away from your work to rest.

Here’s how to implement the Pomodoro Technique:

Make a to-do list of the assignments you absolutely need to do that day and set time frames for each task. For example:

  • 25 minutes – HON 498
  • 25 minutes – Portfolio
  • Five minute break
  • 25 minutes – IES 492
  • 25 minutes – Presentation
  • Five minute break

The result is improved productivity and satisfaction with your work, as well as decreased boredom.

Download the “Focus Keeper Free: work & Study Timer” app

2. Get a planner

Even if you think that all of your assignments and reminders can be stored in your head, top students find  reminder apps, calendars, and planners to be extremely helpful in getting tasks done and remembering everything that you need to accomplish and when. The apps below allow you to set aside time for studying and set reminders to get your assignments in on time.

Recommended apps: Blackboard, Google Tasks

Photo by Marissa Dunn


3. Treat yo self!

As it turns out, giving yourself a small reward after a long study session is a good practice. Treating yourself can be as simple as watching a show or enjoying a nice meal. Try to make it less about expecting a reward and more about doing something to take care of your mind and body after a long day of work. Work-life balance is important, even in college! Of course, it’s also necessary to recognize that even if you didn’t finish reading the entire textbook before bed,you are still allowed to rest. Being kind to yourself and treating yourself  is a good rule of thumb.

4. Know when to work alone versus when to work with people

Working with people or in groups is only a great idea if you are struggling with the content on a conceptual level. Having a fellow student explain their take on a subject rather than a professor  can sometimes be effective and better for memory, as your peers may be able to explain concepts in simplified terms, which is easier to comprehend and remember than the more complex academic versions discussed in class. In the group setting, you get to hear multiple perspectives and work through your confusion with individuals in your group who understand the subject matter more fully. However, when it comes to memorizing and writing, it’s best to go solo. For example, study by yourself for test preparation, and then do a partner or group review the day before a big exam.

Photo by Marissa Dunn

5. Find your work space

Having a set place and time to study can make all the difference. Every honors student suggested establishing a work space far from distractions. Libraries are a good place to study because they are usually filled with people who are also working, reinforcing the notion that you are there to work – not to chit chat or surf the net.

Photo by Hannah Harp

6. Review as you go

Even if a test isn’t on the horizon, the act of reviewing material briefly helps store that information in your long-term memory, so you’ll already have it memorized when the test day arrives. One  activity that helps some students retain information is studying with a friend and verbally reviewing the material. By talking it out, especially the concepts that are the most difficult, some students find that they remember the conversation better on the test day and even find that explaining the information to a friend solidifies their understanding of the information. Plus, you get to hear your friend’s thoughts on the concept as well. It’s a win-win!

These students contributed to tips for this story:

  • Sofya Bochkareva
  • Brittney Bringuez
  • Taylor Killefer
  • Kylie Miller




Discovering adulthood: Schools legally can’t release medical information for students 18 and older without written consent

The most recent picture of the Hogate family taken for Christmas last year with Kevin Hogate (left), before he died of sudden cardiac arrest at college. Photo courtesy of Scott Hogate.

Chapman alumnus Scott Hogate learned the hard way that if a student does not sign a medical directive releasing information to his parents in a medical emergency, his parents won’t be contacted.

Hogate’s son Kevin suffered a cardiac arrest at the Savannah College of Art and Design on April 6 and was taken to a hospital where he was eventually pronounced dead. The Hogates weren’t alerted of the incident until a doctor called to tell them their son was in critical condition.

Kevin’s school could not contact his parents after his cardiac arrest because Kevin did not complete a medical directive form consenting that his parents could obtain information, Hogate said.

Hogate and his wife, Kate, are now on an informational crusade to alert college students and their parents to the importance of signing medical directives, to eliminate the risk of ambiguity in emergency situations.

Many parents and students are unaware that privacy laws such as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act prohibit parents from accessing information about their children in a medical emergency once the children become adults.

If a student over the age of 18 does not sign documents such as a health care directive, a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPAA) waiver, and durable power of attorney, their parents are not entitled to any of their medical information – even in a dire emergency.

It is not the school’s responsibility or obligation to offer directives said Stacy Sadove, a partner with the Law Firm of Fitzgerald & Sadove.

“They don’t have a duty under the law to have to provide information or to have to get parents to sign these documents,” Sadove said.

Hogate and Sadove believe schools should do a better job informing parents that unless a medical directive form is completed, they will not have the right to obtain information about their student in these types of situations. An ideal time to have this discussion would be when a student is admitted to a college, Hogate said.

The California Advance Health Care Directive is broken into five parts.

Part one requires the student to name “an agent” who will be given the authority to make medical decisions for the student if a doctor decides they are either unable to fully comprehend the ramifications of their medical choices or if the student is unconscious and cannot communicate.

Part two consists of the student’s written requests regarding their preferences in “prolonging” their life.

Part three states the student’s preference on organ donation. Part four designates the student’s preferred physician. And part five completes the directive with the student’s signature and witnesses to ensure the document’s legitimacy.

Information on the directive form is provided for students at events such as Discover Chapman Day, Preview Day, and during Orientation, according to the Director of the Health Center Jacqueline Deats. Health care directives are mentioned but are not as publicly advertised.

Schools must be cautious about what they involve themselves in to an extent, Sadove said. Schools do not want to put themselves in a position where they are liable or break confidentiality, but failing to notify parents about a student in distress could also create a situation in which the school might be sued, Sadove said.

At Chapman, health practitioners can speak with parents directly only if the student provides consent by written form or verbal confirmation, according to Deats.

“An emergency contact is not a legal form, it is a form for them to have on file to have contact information for someone else. Schools don’t have the right to share any information unless there is an active directive on file saying they can,” Sadove said.

“The health center is not looking to keep parents out. They want the patient or the student to have the support of the family, especially when the student is asking,” Deats said.

Schools face each medical situation by gauging the level of liability, Sadove said. This approach ensures schools can release information without breaching privacy laws, erring on the side of caution. In cases where a student’s mental health is questionable, the appropriate course of action which can include continuous involvement of a special needs coordinator, outside counseling and parent involvement, will sometimes be overlooked, Sadove explained.

For non-urgent yet serious issues, Deats will go to the Dean of Students, Jerry Price, to seek advice before making any major decisions, she said.

“Intoxication is something that a lot of students don’t want their parents to find out [about] so I think that’s what’s different for college settings,” Deats said. “Other things, like suicide attempts, are really sensitive,” Deats continued. “Parent support might be helpful but [we] can’t breach that confidentiality,” she added.

Parents are often unaware this medical directive needs to be completed, Deats continued.

“For a lot of parents, it’s not necessarily on their check-off list, until an incident happens. [The consent] form could do nothing under the state of law because that student could sue us for breach of confidentiality. It can’t be a blanket medical form unless it’s the healthcare directive. And that’s just according to [the] law,” Deats said.

Unless a parent specifically inquires about this legal documentation, health professionals at Chapman do not endorse or even advise parents to get health care directives for their child, Deats said.

Despite schools not promoting medical directives forms, some students are finding information on their own.

“My youngest daughter who is now at Harvard came to me because she had read something in the popular press, that said if she were in medical distress that we would not have access to her medical care because she is over the age of 18,” said Susan Paterno, the English Journalism Director and professor at Chapman. “She came to us and said you need to do this. We didn’t believe her, but then I found out she was correct and decided we need to [get the forms completed],” Paterno said.

Paterno utilized her Hyatt Legal plan, a part of her employee benefits at Chapman, to hire an attorney to help draw these medical directives last August. Paterno wanted to ensure that she could help her daughter in a situation where she had to sort through a medical emergency while enrolled at Harvard.

Schools should move beyond merely mentioning medical directives and hold clinics where students can have the chance to learn about medical directives, have direct access to them or be provided with a way to access them through the school’s website, Sadove said.

This would ensure that the forms are signed properly and are provided to the school, she said.

Hogate’s goal is similar. He wants colleges to provide medical directives during enrollment so colleges are legally able to contact parents and guardians should a child have a medical emergency.

Hogate has been working with David Moore, Assistant Vice President of Legacy Planning at Chapman, to bring his story to the rest of campus. His hope is that Chapman can come up with a strategy to implement change by the end of November, he said.

What the Trumped-Up Definition of Gender Could Mean for Trans and Intersex People

Matt Burnside, a film production major who identifies as a transgender man. Photo courtesy of Matt Burnside

Single-sex schools, sports teams, and the bathroom are some of the places that may be forced to disregard gender-fluid identities if the Trump administration succeeds in changing the legal definition of gender, basing it on the genitalia present at birth, according to the New York Times.

“The [Department of Health and Human Services]’s proposal definition would define sex as either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with,” according to the unreleased memo discussed in the New York Times. As of now, no formal actions have been set in motion.

“People snapped into action as soon as this happened. If they tried to actually put anything into place, people are going to file lawsuits all over the place and there are different lines of defense that people are going to jump into before anything goes into effect,” said  Charlie Arrowood, the director of name and gender recognition at Transcend Legal, a company that assists transgender individuals with obtaining equal treatment socially, medically, and legally.  

Though the legal definition of gender has not yet changed, some trans individuals fear their identity will not be recognized and their rights will be taken away.

“My identity won’t be affirmed and it would make everyday life a lot harder. I would still be considered and referred to as female no matter how far along I am into my transition. Everything that is already difficult for trans people would become even harder,” said Matt Burnside, a film production major who identifies as a transgender man.

Currently, under Title IX, transgender students are protected from sex-based discrimination. That means, at school, their expressed gender identity and preferred pronouns must be honored, and they are also granted access to the restroom that reflects their personal gender identity, according to the National Center for Transgender Equality.

Should the memo become law, students might only be able to participate in activities that reflect the gender constructs that were assigned to them at birth. Men’s or women’s sports teams might have to disallow transgender students to join the team that best reflects their internal sense of gender if their external genitalia says otherwise, according to the New York Times.

This memo would be a significant step back from Obama-era policies that shielded transgender citizens from discrimination within places like schools that follow federal codes, said Burnside.

“Trump’s definition of sex also affects those who are intersex, which is something else to be considered if the government definition of sex is solely determined by genitalia,” said Burnside.

It is unclear how the administration’s ambition to conclusively and permanently classify people as male or female would affect people who are born intersex or with ambiguous genitalia that is neither clearly a penis or vagina. Under the desire to classify people as binary,  they will be left without a place or “category” in society, Burnside fears.

The current proposal doesn’t address people with differing genetics and hormones and secondary sex characteristics. “People making these policies that don’t understand the issues,” said Arrowood.

A 2016 letter from the Department of Education once defined transgender students as “individuals whose gender identity is different from the sex they were assigned at birth,” articulating a difference between one’s genitalia and one’s intrinsic sense of gender identity.

“Removal of terms, especially formal and correct ones, are reminiscent of fear campaigns in communist countries. It’s to keep the American public from knowing the truth. Transgender means identifying as a gender different than the one assigned to you at birth,” said Melody Carey, a junior theater and mathematics major who identifies as a transgender woman. Carey is also the current president of Chapman’s Queer Straight Alliance (QSA).

Transgender students are not alone in their aversion to the new proposal, with some claiming that Trump’s memo is misinformed and revealing an ignorance of biology.

The memo “doesn’t really even make sense,” said Ian Barnard, director of Chapman’s LGBTQ Studies program. “The memo, itself, shows a complete failure to even understand what’s going on with gender in our society.”

Gender is an arbitrary concept, Barnard said. “Having your gender imposed on you at birth by someone else, because babies don’t have a choice, is very violent,” Barnard said.

The resculpting of gender in the binary way the Trump administration is proposing would also dismantle decades of activism, Barnard said.

“It’s pretty horrific they’re trying to undo years of work recognizing transgender rights, transgender identity, non-binary identity, intersex identity,” said Barnard.

Burnside agreed. The memo, he said, “felt like another blow to the trans community and another means of invalidating people for no reason.”

Advocates also fear that denying people the right to their personal gender expression will result in more hate crimes and violence.

Murder rates among the transgender community have spiked higher each year, with 2017 recording at least 29 killings of transgender Americans, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

Students already feel an unwelcoming chill.

“The effect I see is subtle, I see it in my trans and queer friends that are afraid to stand up for themselves and their pronouns, hold their partner’s hand, wear clothes they want to. It’s fear, it’s terror, it’s no way to live,” said Natalie Pendergraft, a sophomore history major.

“It doesn’t matter how long it takes for the actual legislation to go through. I think as soon as [Trump’s mindset] has been stated, it’s established as a change in culture. It’s definitely a regression. I think it validates people who do share these hateful ideas,” said Prabhnoor Kaur, a junior screenwriting and art history major who identifies as queer[FSA9].

At Chapman University, gender-inclusive policies outline a “respect for all and an understanding of individual differences,” including “sex, gender identity, gender expression,” and sexual orientation.

The university says it has developed its own gender-inclusive policies across campus for students and faculty, including accommodations for gender-inclusive housing and equal access to non-conforming facilities, like the bathroom or locker rooms.

Because the university has set its own policy for gender-inclusivity, Chapman will not be affected by this proposal, if it is passed into law and will continue to follow its own code of conduct.

Chapman Alumnus Embarks on European Tour

Cameron Lew, who graduated from Chapman this spring with a major in film production, doubles as lead singer and pianist for a powerful soulful trio: Ginger Root. Lew describes his sound as “aggressive elevator soul.” Ginger Root started making music in 2015 and are now on their first European tour, opening for Texan rock-duo Khruangbin. Lew sat down with Prowl to talk about Ginger Root and how he is preparing for his first tour abroad.

Cameron, Matt, and Dylan play their instruments in a still from Mahjong Room. Photo courtesy of Cameron Lew.

Ginger Root’s Mahjong Room captures youthful expression through multiple mediums, including dance, song, and film. Mahjong Room was directed by Ginger Roots own frontman, Lew. Everyone who worked on this video is a Chapman student. 

Prowl talked to Lew, who graduated in 2018 and is now headed on a European Tour. 

How did you come up with the name for the band?

Ginger Root came from a video of Vulfpeck I was watching late at night. There was this bit about “ginger root” in the video that made me laugh so hard that that phrase got stuck in my head for the next week. Then when it was time to figure out a name for the band, all I could come up with was ‘Ginger Root.’

When did you start Ginger Root?

I’ve been playing music for awhile in various groups, but Ginger Root started two years ago.

How did you all meet?

We all met in high school. There was an after school arts program that we were all a part of, and I had just started making music under the name Ginger Root and had already put out an album. I needed people to help me play these songs live and Matt Carney, who plays drums, and Dylan Hovis, who plays bass helped me out. They’re all quite a bit younger than me, they were freshman when I was a senior in high school, but we all crossed paths and now we’re best buds.

Where can we find your music online?

There are two albums out on streaming services (Spotify, Soundcloud, Bandcamp). I just put out an album this past June, which is all over the internet. My first album is all cover songs, and I actually recorded the entire album in my car. In between classes I would go to Hart Park and record a cover. Sometimes a car would pull up next to me and I would have to stop so people wouldn’t see me drumming in my car. The first cover song I did was on top of the DMAC (Digital Media Arts Center) parking structure, and the cops got called on me for a noise complaint.

What type of covers do you do?

It’s a mix of old and new stuff, but a lot of the old stuff is Motown, The Beatles, or soul. I am a huge Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye fan and any of that stuff is really cool and a great amount of soul for me.

Call It Home reminisces through vintage motown sounds like Stevie Wonder, while also infusing new elements of funk and soul.

How would you describe your sound?

We describe our sound as: aggressive elevator soul. Take that as how you will, if people listen to the music after hearing that description then hopefully they say “oh that sounds about right.”

Matt, Cameron, and Dylan pose in their merch. Photo courtesy of Cameron Lew.

Do you guys have any shows coming up?

We will be leaving for our first European tour this October, where we are opening up for Khruangbin. We start off in England, then Paris. Then we drive up to Brussels , Belgium, Copenhagen , Denmark, and Berlin. This is the start of it, and the shows are sold out so we are trying not to freak out. We do not get a lot of money, but this opportunity is amazing for exposure and the experience is priceless.We are using every opportunity to learn from this first run.

Khruangbin infuses elements of soul and psychedelia with Como Te Quiero, and tells it through a visually striking animation.

Do you have a dream venue/person you would want to play with?

I would love to play a show with Japanese Breakfast, Tennis, or White Denim. My dream venue would be the Teragram Ballroom in Los Angeles.

Jeanie captures a nostalgic and romantic feeling through somber chords and unchained melodies. The accompanying video takes a fresh and original look at what it means to be in a 21st century relationship. Photo by Cameron Lew.

You can find all of Ginger Root’s music on YouTube, Spotify, and Soundcloud. You can follow Ginger Root on Facebook, Instagram, and on Their merchandise is available here


“Higgy” Vasquez Responds to Accusations of Sexual Harassment

The mural currently rests on Moulton Hall. Photo by Marcella Zizzo

Artist Emigdio “Higgy” Vasquez, who was commissioned by Chapman University to create a mural celebrating diversity on Moulton Hall, denies sexual harassment allegations made by two Chapman students.  

Vasquez is a local artist, whose father is known as the godfather of Chicano art. He was paid an unknown amount of money to craft a 27-foot mural to celebrate the college’s historical ties to the city of Orange.

But, its cultural relevance has now been eclipsed by accusations of Vasquez sexually harassing at least two students who volunteered to help him create the piece.

In September, The Panther reported on the initial claims made my two current students, with allegations that Vasquez referred to one female student-volunteer as “baby,” and contacted her “day and night, including a creepy phone call.”

The mural was installed on Chapman’s campus on September 12th, with an unveiling ceremony to celebrate its completion. Vasquez’s accolades were also met with student protests and demonstrators who opposed the mural’s showcase because of the allegations against the artist.

The mural’s initial goal was to showcase diversity on campus. Photo by Marcella Zizzo.

Vasquez said he considers the allegations defamatory and doesn’t know why his communication was interpreted as harassment. He refused to comment on his intentions behind his contact with the students.

“[The allegations were] fabricated, pure evil. Defamation,” Vasquez said in an email.

Prowl reached out to Izzie Panasci, one of the women making allegations, via Facebook messenger. Panasci declined to comment.

“I am not interested in talking about the muralist case until further notice. Please respect my decision,” Panasci said via Facebook message.

The other student has not come forward publically.

Vasquez, who declined a phone interview said by email the students who protested at his mural’s unveiling are misguided.

“Well, pity those misinformed kids, they should get a refund from the University,” Vasquez said via email.

One of the women who reported the misconduct had an issue with an Instagram direct message he left her, he said.

“The contention came over Instagram banter and comments,” Vasquez wrote. “All after her volunteer visits, not during. None of my comments were ever threatening, sexual, or even hateful in any form. She did not want to be peaceful and forgive and forget for the sake of community… I even feel sorry for her but the real crime is this girl trying to ruin all my hard work and name. I struggle to understand what makes people act out in this way. This has really affected my personal life. Now I am forced to defend myself,” Vasquez said.

Vasquez says he is struggling to figure out what happened.

“It’s actually complicated,  I’m even trying to find out all the who, wheres, and whats happened and how could they call this ‘sexual harassment’ when it had nothing to do with sex or gender. It was more like friends breaking up. It happens all the time,” Vasquez said.

He said he was “a person of high awareness of the #MeToo [movement],” and disappointed in the university.

It appears as if the mural, will survive the controversy that surrounded its creation.

“From my perspective, [the fate of the mural] is a really difficult thing to voice. That was two and a half years of really hard work,” said Denise Johnson, lecturer in art history.

Johnson is one of the Chapman faculty members who solicited Vasquez to execute the mural

Johnson said working in the art building every day has kept her privy to the aftershock this mural has created for students.

“As [students] were walking by the mural, they were very affected by it, started to walk around the backside of the building, sort of to avoid Higgy but also to avoid a sort of trigger, if you will,”  Johnson said.

Chapman University officials declined to comment on the mural or its fate.  

A receptionist in the office of Chapman’s Human Resources said he would not transfer to anyone willing to speak on the specifics of Vasquez’s commission process.  

Lead Title IX Coordinator DeAnn Yocum Gaffney said she could not disclose any details on whether or not the students made official claims of sexual harassment or misconduct to the university or law enforcement.

Lindsay Shen, Director of Art Collections at Chapman, declined to comment, stating that she was previously misquoted in another publication.

Shen led in efforts to fund the mural, as well as had a handle on the painting’s production, according to Johnson.

The mural’s existence presents a conundrum for Chapman, as an artwork celebrating diversity must now be reconciled with women vocalizing allegations of sexual misconduct.

“It’s extremely controversial to still have the mural up,” said Maya Cowen, a sophomore psychology major.

“I don’t know who’s in charge,” [of keeping the mural up,] said Cowen. Knowing it’s there “makes me feel a little bit worried for those students and if they’re feeling like their safety is being compromised,” she added.

Chapman received a $30,000 donation from the Ellingson family to help facilitate the mural’s creation. It is unknown how much, if anything, Chapman contributed to fund the project.

Shen also declined to answer questions on whether donations in addition to the original $30,000 donations were obtained.


Five Panther Stereotypes You Might See On Chapman Campus

Chapman students are said to be diverse, but a big chunk come from California, Washington, Hawaii, Colorado, and Oregon, according to a report from the Chapman admissions office. If you are from one of these places, you may meet lots of others Panthers from your area. 

We found five models to help depict the top five states listed above – you might recognize each by their all too familiar stereotypes.

1) We got California hitting #1 – no surprise there.

“No I do not watch the Kardashians everyday, but at least a couple times a week,” Alyssa Steinfeld, a junior business administration major from Brea, California, said.

It may not stand out to Californians, but it is pretty common to say “OMG” or “literally” between every sentence. Of course, you aren’t a Californian unless you are well-versed in show business and avocado toast.

2) Washington rings in at #2. A large proportion of Chapman students hail from this rainy state, perhaps because students are seeking some California sun.

“To be honest, I’m such a California girl, but, of course, my roots are based in Washington-people can tell by my passion for coffee and apples. I still hate the rain though,” Emily Felix, a sophomore business major from Bellevue, Washington, said.

Vegan food and coffee are staples for Washington natives. “U-dub” is a typical nickname for the University of Washington, where many young people hang out and enjoy good restaurants and dainty coffee shops.

3) Hawaii is #3. Like California, Hawaii has a laid back and easy-going way of life.

“It’s not all ‘hang loose by the beach’ all the time. Sometimes it’s a ‘hang loose by the waterfall and hike’ type of deal,” Cassidy Keola, a junior communication studies and public relations major from Ewa Beach, Hawaii, said.

Hawaii has a second language called Pidgin. For example, using “shoots” means “Okay!” or “Let’s do it!” and GRINDZ means good food. Keola said that Hawaiian locals do basically the same things as Californians, such as shopping and eating.

4) Colorado is #4. Much like the Pacific Northwest, Colorado also is home to adventure and pizza: a match made in heaven.

“As much as I love the California sunshine, I miss the mountains and snow in my hometown. Plus, snowboarding brings back so many good childhood memories,” Wil Lowery, a junior business administration major from Lone Tree, Colorado, said.

Many Colorado natives love honey on their pizza crust. They also like to call themselves “ColoRADo” or “granola,” which means dressing hipster or having a free spirit. Oh, and they love winter sports, of course.

5) Oregon is the last most popular state – where health and outdoorsmanship become one.

“We’re just people who love being active and enjoying quality food in a quality place,” Trevor Vill, a junior health science major from Eugene, Oregon, said.

Oregon natives love their adventures and coffee, but what sets them apart from their Washingtonian counterparts is the “foodie” vibe. From fresh local food to the trendiest restaurants, Oregonians are food lovers. They also gush over their favorite grocery store, Fred Meyers, and a local coffee shop, Dutch Bros.

All photos by Jasmine Liu.