Some Chapman Students Are Not Vaccinated Amid CA Measles Outbreak

2019 is the highest year of reported measles cases since 1994, states the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Photo courtesy of Unsplash, by Michael Amadeus.

Measles – a highly contagious disease once thought eradicated – is now bubbling up in California, yet Chapman University allows any student to waive vaccination requirements, even if they seek to live in the dorms.

Director of Student Health Jacqueline Deats and Information Systems Specialist Oscar Garcia refused to provide Prowl with the numbers or percentages of vaccinated or unvaccinated students.

No cases of measles have been reported at Chapman, said Vice President of Strategic Marketing and Communications Jamie Ceman in an April 30 press release.

The policy provokes questions as to whether waivers should be granted so casually, especially in light of the college’s requirements for incoming students to live in college dorms – sometimes several people to a room – and student resentment at being required to live on campus for their freshmen and sophomore years.

Measles was considered eradicated in 2000 according to the CDC, but it is back and on the rise.

As of May 10, there have been 839 reported cases of measles in 23 states, according to the CDC. Forty-four of those cases are in California as of May 8, according to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), and unvaccinated and non-immune people are at risk for contracting the disease. Measles is highly contagious and characterized by a fever, cough, and rash all over the body.

“Based on some of the statistics, there are more parents who are not vaccinating their children,” said Director of Student Health Jacqueline Deats. “They’re not doing the routine CDC vaccination for MMRs (measles, mumps, and rubella).”

Childhood vaccination rates have recently increased with more than 90 percent of children in 2017 having been covered, according to the CDC. Measles erupt  when pockets of unvaccinated people spread the disease in a community and when cases come into the United States, the CDC states.

But Chapman students are able to waive out of the vaccination requirement for any reason.

All University of California (UC) students are required to obtain the MMR, chickenpox, tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis), and meningococcal conjugate vaccines, plus complete a tuberculosis screening, states the UC Health flyer. The California State University (CSU) system requires proof of two MMRs, and if a first-time enrollee is 18-years old or younger, the Hepatitis B vaccine is required. Institutions with on-campus housing must inform students of the meningococcal vaccines, states the CDPH.

Based on a 2015 California law, religious and personal beliefs are no longer considered exemptions for public institutions, but parents and students can bypass vaccinations through medical circumstances, according to California’s Health and Safety Code.

However, the policy of Chapman – a private university –  diverges from the UC and CSU systems.

“There is a way due to religious or personal beliefs, and if they choose not to [vaccinate], there is a waiver and you have to come in and request that waiver,” Deats said.

Chapman’s vaccination confirmation process–done online upon admission–asks students to input the dates they received two doses of the MMR vaccine and a tetanus shot administered within the past 10 years, said Deats.

The Health Center confirms the dates after the student ensures the information is correct.

“We follow recommendations, but we’re not mandated by the state,” Deats said. “[Students] have the right to waive out.”

Junior strategic and corporate communications major Hanna Yorke says that she has all the required vaccines – including the measles vaccine – but was on a “delayed course” for getting them since her parents are skeptical of vaccine safety. Her beliefs echo theirs.

“Everything that was optional I opted out of [as a child], including the HPV vaccination, and I got my vaccinations very spaced out over the years,” Yorke said.

Yorke is “not at all” worried about spreading or catching measles and other vaccine-preventable disease. But she concedes it is because she has had vaccinations that she doesn’t think that she poses a large threat to others’ ability to contract deadly infections.

“When you’re in the dorms, you’re in such close quarters and proximity to others that sickness is spread so easily,” said sophomore health sciences major Laura Metraux. “I was always sick when I lived in the dorms with colds and stuff, but now with measles outbreaks I think Chapman should require it to prevent spreading.”

If a student does contract a vaccine-preventable disease, Chapman has herd immunity, said Deats.

Herd immunity is when a population prevents the spread of a disease because of the high proportion of those protected against it. However, herd immunity does not protect against all diseases and does not give a high level of individual protection, states the Vaccine Knowledge Project, an independent research institution by the University of Oxford.

“[Herd immunity is risky because what if more and more people come that aren’t vaccinated and then it spreads more? People who are immunosuppressed can be affected more by an outbreak,” Metraux said.

Water is the main ingredient in vaccines, and some added ingredients appear only in trace amounts or do not remain in the vaccine at all, according to the Vaccine Knowledge Project. Many ingredients are found naturally in the body, and “there is no scientific evidence that the low levels of [formaldehyde], mercury or aluminum in vaccines can be harmful,” states PublicHealth.org.

Common side effects include injection site reactions such as redness or swelling, a high temperature, and fatigue. However, rare cases can result in a serious allergic reaction that can be reversible, but this occurs in less than “one in a million cases,” states the National Health Service website.

The Health Center offers travel immunizations and some vaccines, but most students come in for boosters, said Deats, and there isn’t a huge demand for them. There is no visitation fee for the Health Center, but students have to pay for the cost of the vaccine they’re receiving, which ranges from $30 to $40.

Deats urges that students not only receive their MMRs and the tetanus shot, but all of the recommended vaccinations. To contact the Health Center, call (714) 997-6851.

Students feel gulled into paying for honor Society memberships

Sofia Fernandez is sick of receiving NSCS’ mail invitations to join the honor society. Photo by Tiffany Chen

Chapman University will move to block a scholarship society selling memberships to students from having access to student emails as a result of a Prowl inquiry, said Ryan Tanovan,  Chapman’s cybersecurity specialist.

Twenty-two students appear to have sent payment to The National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS) after the organization sent emails congratulating 1,478 students on The Provost’s List for their GPA achievements on April 6th, 2019. NSCS offered $95 memberships promising scholarships and other benefits with membership.

NSCS is an honor society for students who have demonstrated academic excellence in their college career, according to the website. In the email that was sent to students, NSCS claims to be a “nationally recognized and respected organization that is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit,” that is “unlike some organizations that claim to be legitimate honor societies.”

But its critics complain there are few benefits that accompany membership and those that are extended are misleadingly represented.

Complaints are rife about NSCS, which did not respond to three emails and five phone calls seeking response.   

Hundreds of people have posted complaints about poor customer service, inaccurate membership benefit descriptions, endless requests for payments, and simply receiving no rewards or benefits from joining the honor society on sites such as the Better Business Bureau, Reddit, CollegePrep, and College Confidential.

One of the few complaints made about receiving no responses back from NSCS via email or phone.

Another customer complaint about receiving no reply from customer service and being asked to pay for numerous services.

A total of 1,478 students at Chapman received the email invitation from the NSCS, Tanovan said. Freshman communication major Sofia Fernandez was among the students who received the email invitation this spring. It was familiar: She had received another in her senior year of high school.

“When I saw the subject of the email in high school, I was pretty surprised and happy. From the title, it seems really legit, professional, and distinguished – like something I could potentially put on my resume or LinkedIn. I even called my mom and told her about it, and she was overjoyed,” Fernandez said.

The congratulatory email assures the reader, “You’re a part of an elite group of high-achieving first-and second-year college students across the nation who’ve been invited to join NSCS this year. Being nominated means you’ve earned at least a 3.4 GPA during the most recent semester and you’re in the top 20 percent of your class. (Less than 10% of all students at Chapman University qualify.). . .

This one-time investment of $95 makes you eligible for the more than $1,000,000 in scholarships, chapter funds, and awards to members annually, including $50,000 in new member awards and $60,000 in induction awards,” it says.

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, W.E.B. DuBois Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University Henry Louis Gates and Marian Wright Edelman, Founder of the Children’s Defense Fund are among the honorary members on the board or involved with the organization, according to the invitation.

Tanovan thought the invitation was misleading: “NSCS offers $50,000 in scholarship or educational funds, but once you delve into their email deeper, you see that it’s split between 50 candidates. If you split that money evenly at a minimum, that’s $1000 each,” Tanovan said.

Fernandez regrets having paid $95 to join in high school and was surprised to be targeted again.

“Both times, the email has made me feel like my accomplishments were acknowledged and noticed. It definitely made me feel special and it had an extremely persuasive element to it,” Fernandez said. “Parents will probably do anything for their kids and will accept that title, even when I told my mom that I thought it was a scam.”

Megan Russell, a freshman peace studies major, was unaware her parents, who had access to her email, had paid for her membership until she received a payment confirmation.

“I told my mom not to pay for the NSCS membership because I knew it was a scam, but she found the email invitation in my mailbox and paid anyways,” Russell said.

An application deadline of May 11th 2019 was given to students in the email. Students who joined would be invited to a new member induction ceremony on campus, the email said.

Freshman Broadcast Journalism major Vi Nguyen also received a similar email in high school and another one this year.

“I honestly felt super special when I saw the title of the email,” Nguyen said. “But when I opened and saw the body of the email it reminded me of the same one they sent in high school so I just thought, ‘what a joke.’”

Nguyen convinced her willing parents not to shell out any money.

“Once I got to the end point where it said, ‘only for a small fee of $95,’ I knew something was wrong,” Fernandez said. “I received absolutely nothing from joining NSCS. I tried applying for scholarships – not even a response back. I put it on my college applications but it had absolutely no sway whatsoever. All it was, was a title,” Fernandez said.

In the wake of mail phishing scams, Chapman officials are urging students to be cautious in opening any external emails. While the university blocks emails that contain spam or scam content from being sent to student mailboxes, email invitations—such as the ones from NSCS—have so far passed Chapman’s email filter.

Chapman does not give out student emails to third parties, Tanovan said. However, third party entities can easily determine student email addresses by generating Chapman email addresses based on specific formats available online, he said. Rocket Reach is among various websites that provide university email formats for companies and organizations who want to send mass emails to students.  

The percentage beside each email format indicates what percentage of the
population at Chapman University has an email that follows that specific
format.

Honor societies can obtain student emails through standard Google searches or through student use of their school emails for other services or applications that are external to the scope of Chapman University, Tanovan said.

A quick Google search for the Provost list, which honors students who have maintained a 3.6 GPA or higher in at least 12 credits of coursework for 2018 and the recent years can be easily found on Chapman University’s website, giving third party entities such as NSCS access to students who are eligible for membership. Tanovan believes NSCS found students to contact by looking at the Provost list.

“I have thought about how these organizations get our emails. I find it really creepy that they have our information because I thought that they were supposed to be private records,” Nguyen said.

“It can be a little annoying to constantly receive scam emails, but it is not something that I am looking to outwardly change,” Fernandez said.

Student emails are shared to MyChapman.edu and Blackboard in order for those services to be integrated with Chapman University’s academic programs but Chapman does not share students’ email addresses externally, said Tanovan.

 

Mysterious outside benefactor paid for controversial conservative pundit Ben Shapiro to give advice to business school seniors

“[Ben Shapiro’s] speech was very generic, just some business life lessons. The Q&A was much more enlightening,” said senior business major Simon Coleman. Photo courtesy of Chapman’s business school newsletter.

An unnamed “external supporter” funded and arranged a guest appearance of a conservative political commentator at an Argyros School of Business and Economics event.

Ben Shapiro, editor-in-chief of DailyWire.com, host of “The Ben Shapiro Show,” and former editor-at-large for Breitbart News Network, spoke to a room of about 200 Chapman students, faculty, and visitors at a private event for senior business graduates on May 9 at Sandhu Conference Center. Whatever money was paid to Shapiro by an outsider is of interest in light of a resolution by Chapman faculty in March to not to accept donations to hire faculty and engage in research with predetermined outcomes. The resolution came as a result of concern over a $5 million donation made by the Charles Koch Foundation and others.

“A supporter that had connections asked to have him speak here,” said Thomas Turk, the dean of the Argyros School of Business and Economics. “We anticipated that there would be students who would have an interest.”

Turk would not give Prowl the name of the source that arranged Shapiro’s appearance, but said that individual also financed the speaker’s fee.

Shapiro’s booking fee ranges between $50,000 and $100,000, according to the celebrity booking agency All American Speakers.

Shapiro declined Prowl’s requests for an interview.

Shapiro is often the center of media coverage for his conservative beliefs in politics, religion, race, and gender issues. He has said in the past that, “Israelis like to build. Arabs like to bomb crap and live in open sewage. This is not a difficult issue. #SettlementsRock,” “the Obama administration is racist,” and “Trayvon Martin would have turned 21 today if he hadn’t taken a man’s head and beaten it on the pavement before being shot,” among other statements. His appearances at other schools, most notably at University of California, Berkeley, California State University, Los Angeles, and the University of Southern California, were met with protests and demonstrations by students and faculty.

Leaflets with a list of Shapiro’s past public statements and opinions were distributed by a group of students who opposed his appearance on campus to attendees at the event. An anonymous member of the group claimed that their goal was to “educate the people about who Shapiro is and the beliefs and values that he stands for.”

Shapiro was handed the leaflet at the start of the question-and-answer session, and he proceeded to read aloud and make comments on the list. Photo by Tiffany Chen.

Shapiro told the crowd the most important thing to know when graduating is “no one owes you anything,” and for students to brace themselves to pay a lot of dues by working for free before becoming successful. In the question-and-answer period that followed, students asked Shapiro to expand on his views on abortion, whether he thought the government should regulate social media to ensure freedom of speech, and U.S. involvement in Iran. They also asked him to address points reprising his views on a pamphlet passed out by a handful of opponents outside the door of Sandhu before his speech.

Shapiro read the pamphlet aloud: “Homosexuality is a sin, same-sex marriage is wrong, transgender people are mentally ill,” he said, adding, “agree, agree, agree.”

Junior screenwriting major Oba Olaniyi—who said he was the only African American person in the audience—asked Shapiro to elaborate on the statement, “African-Americans were discriminated against historically, but systemic racism no longer exists.”

Shapiro defended his claim that systemic racism does not exist and insisted institutional racism “has been illegal in this country for a very long time,” but allowed that individual racism does.

A woman’s reproductive choice “[is] called, ‘Don’t have sex if you don’t want to have a baby.’ That’s the same reproductive choice that men generally have,” said Shapiro. “What they mean by reproductive choice is that you should be able to kill a human life in the womb if you feel like that.”

Shapiro confirmed he does not believe in abortion in cases of incest or rape. “You don’t get to kill it just because something terrible happened to you,” he said. However, Shapiro said abortion should be allowed if the mother’s life is in danger.

The business school gave senior business majors priority for admission. Turk said that individual students reached out to him, but he was not able to accommodate everyone who wanted to attend.

“The challenge has been that the room is completely full,” said Turk. Shapiro’s appearance “generated a lot of enthusiasm and interest.”

Some students outside of the business school were able to attend. One table of nine seats was filled by members of Chapman Republicans.

The racial demographics in the room were not surprising to Olaniyi,  

“Had I not reached out individually, I would not be here. I’m not sure there would have been any black people in the room, besides the waiters,” Olanyi said.

Shapiro’s appearance demonstrated Chapman’s “definite problem with race” and “the ideas [the university] tries to push forward,” for Olaniyi.  

“It’s upsetting to me that someone with those views has the platform they do, because he denies racism against black people, but there is racism that exists in the governmental system, and the media does shape black people in a certain way,” Olaniyi said later.

“I realize now that I live in an isolated part of Chapman. I’m in the Dodge screenwriting program, which is more diverse and accepting towards people of color and LGBTQ students,” Olaniyi said. “But this was almost like walking on main campus and seeing ‘oh, [Shapiro] is really there.’ I think this room represents Chapman, for the most part.”

“There were very few things on the pamphlet that he outright denied,” Olaniyi said.

“I was uncomfortable and disheartened by Shapiro’s speech, obviously. There was a sense of discomfort to know that so many people on my campus are willing to applaud for some of the things he was saying,” Olaniyi said. “But also, a lot of them are his own personal opinions.”

In addition to the pamphlets, papers with Shapiro’s controversial tweets on Twitter were also stuck all over the staircases and walls outside of the Sandhu residence building, igniting conversation among passer-bys and speech attendees.

 

Nothing like a mother’s love: Chapman students list what they miss most about their moms

Shared laughter during “Lifetime movies, a sympathetic ear, encouragement, compassion, a common languageWe miss all kinds of things about our moms when we go to college. For Mothers’ Day, Prowl spoke to Chapman students about what they miss most about the woman who, for many of us, is our best advocate, therapist and friend.

Jorge Hernandez, junior, international business and Spanish double major

Fun times back home in San Jose with Junior Jorge Hernandez and his mom Rosemary Hernandez. Photo courtesy of Jorge Hernandez

I miss having my mom there to talk to about anything – personal issues or something work-related. It’s nice to have someone there to reassure me that everything is going to be okComing home every day and seeing my mom, I was always filled with joy and relief because knowing that no matter what kind of day I had, good or badmy mom would love me unconditionally. 

Sixtine Foucaut, sophomore, communication and Spanish double major

Sophomore Sixtine Foucaut and her mom Aurélie Foucaut in the Tuileries Gardens in Paris. Photo Courtesy of Sixtine Foucaut

My brother and I were born in Paris but moved to California when we were little. I always admired how my mom was able to keep in touch with our family in France despite the time difference and busy life she leads. I really miss being with my momNot many students at Chapman speak French so I always love chatting with my mom and practicing the language when we see each other.

Matt Davidson, junior, business major

Junior Matt Davidson and his mom Julie Davidson at Matt’s sister’s wedding in Carmel, California. Photo Courtesy of Matt Davidson

I really miss my mom’s hug and touch. Communication over the phone is one thing but actually being able to physically be there and have her in my presence and be able to hug her is very important to me. When we are born as babies we are placed on our mother’s chest and that instant bond is something that is very calming and warm. My mom is the person who brought me into this world and having the opportunity to hug my mom is a very rewarding thing to me.

Anthony Gonzales, freshman, business major

Selfie taken by freshman Anthony Gonzales with his mom Kimberly Gonzales.

I miss the times when me and my mom would talk about musicShe always tried to make me dance, especially when we had company over. I miss being in my house and walking by the T.V. and seeing my mom watching Lifetime documentaries and not being able to resist and watching them with her. I always knew there was a seat waiting for me next to her to sit down and share that moment together. I miss her sixth sense of when I would be hungry and she would bring me something to eat without me asking or saying anything. I especially miss my mom’s enthusiasm and hearing about the hard work she does.

Avery Silverberg, junior, creative writing major

Selfie taken by Junior Avery Silverberg and her mom Janice Silverberg on Mother’s Day 2018 at the Irvine Spectrum Center.

She would always take me out to get sushi when I was in high school.  It was our special time together where I could vent to her about anything that was bugging me or just laugh and have a good time. I always felt that there was something special about bonding over a sushi dinner that is very comforting to me.   

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Rules Predicted to Hamper Reporting of Sexual Misconduct Complaints

Some students and officials believe that live hearings are detrimental to victims and could affect their willingness to report sexual misconduct. Photo courtesy of StockSnap from pixabay.

Following a controversial ruling in the California court of appeals earlier this year, Chapman officials announced that sexual misconduct cases will now include live hearings —a setting which allows the alleged perpetrator to question his or her accuser.

“One of the criticisms of the ruling is that it may be chilling for the complainants. It’s something that I have a lot of concerns about,” said Chapman’s Lead Title IX Coordinator Deann Yocum-Gaffney. “It’s one of the cons of the new decision.”

Chapman University had 91 cases of Title IX complaints and allegations in the 2016-2017 academic year, and 82 were filed in the 2017-2018 academic year. Statistics from the 2018-2019 year will not be available until July, but the Dean of Students Office is expecting 80-90 reports, according to Yocum-Gaffney.

Last school year the number of reported Title IX cases decreased from 91 to 82. Many people, including Yocum-Gaffney, are concerned that live hearings will steer victims away from reporting Title IX violations. Data chart courtesy of Yocum-Gaffney.

Live hearings are now required by state law, according to Director of Student Conduct Colleen Wood. Designated hearing officers and a university Title IX coordinator will facilitate the hearings between both parties, though the accusers aren’t required to be in the same room as their alleged assailant if they don’t want to face them in person. Regardless, some professionals say that the live hearings are insensitive and could scare victims away from reporting an assault.

Live hearings “will inhibit people from coming forward, and I don’t think that it will ensure any kind of just outcome,” film director and the producer of The Hunting Ground Amy Ziering told Prowl. The documentary, a compilation of testimonies from rape victims and interviews with experts, exposes rape culture on college campuses and “institutional cover-ups.” It has been screened at the White House and has been influential in state laws and college policies.

“Anyone who knows anything about this trauma would just categorically reject this as something reasonable or sane to even suggest. It’s just off the charts ridiculous,” Ziering said.

The live hearings were created to provide “fair trials” after a former USC football player sued the school’s Title IX investigators upon being expelled for sexual misconduct. The student, whose name is redacted in the court documents, claimed the school’s sexual misconduct policy “provides no mechanism for a party accused of sexual misconduct to question witnesses before a neutral fact finder.”                                                

Title IX is a federal law that prohibits discrimination based on race, religion, sex, or national origin. Any college or university that receives federal funding must adhere to it, according to The National Collegiate Athletic Association. State laws also dictate how institutions of higher education must handle sexual assault complaints.

Federal funding would cease if the university rejected the live hearing and hearing officers, according to Wood. This includes student aid, grant money, loans, and Pell grants, so opting out is “not really an option for us,” Wood said.

The university could also lose state funding if it does not comply with the California Education Code, which require colleges that receive state funding to follow its misconduct policies. Affirmative consent, preponderance of evidence, and comprehensive prevention programs are some of the policies mentioned in the Education Code.

Until two years ago, the Dean of Students Office conducted joint hearings. This procedure stopped “because the hearing can be intense,” Yocum-Gaffney said. The new model involved two separate hearings, which at the time was legal because it was still up to the university’s discretion. Now, Chapman is reverting to the single hearing mode, according to Yocum-Gaffney.  

The updated Sexual Misconduct Policy says that after the initial investigation and fact gathering, a live hearing will occur and a hearing officer separate from the investigator will be assigned to a case. Both the complainant and respondent will “attend” the same hearing, though the accused and the accuser may be in different rooms, attending via videoconference.

“Recognizing the risk that an accusing witness may suffer trauma if personally confronted by an alleged assailant at a hearing,” the California Court of Appeals states. “The court in CMC noted that an accuser could be present ‘either physically or through videoconference or like technology.’”

The “cross-examinations” planned for Chapman don’t allow the people involved to question the other directly, Wood said. All questions will be submitted to the hearing officers who will ask them during the hearing, the misconduct policy said.

Some students fear the new process will discourage sexual assault survivors from coming forward.  

“When people use things like roofies, the victim can’t remember, so a cross-examination may not be effective,” Bass said. She also worried how victims might be judged in such a stressful situation: “They might choke up, and if they don’t sound completely confident, have every single fact in their mind, or get overwhelmed, they may seem unreliable.”

Wood said Chapman Title IX coordinators will still approach each case with care.

“We do our best to make this a trauma-informed process. It will never be trauma-free,” Wood said. “Ensuring that they have an understanding of what that entails and what all of the steps are going to be is a really important part.”

Seven to eight faculty members will serve as hearing officers, Yocum-Gaffney said. Hearing officers and investigators are trained by national organizations that specialize in sexual misconduct, according to Wood.

Most notably are Atixa, an association for Title IX Coordinators, U.S. Center for SafeSport who deals with sexual misconduct in U.S. sports, T9 Mastered, and the law firm Hirschfeld Baker.

Even advocates for the accused have concerns about the new procedures.

“I don’t believe anyone should participate in those hearings,” said Los Angeles criminal defense attorney R.J. Manuelian, who defends people accused of sexual assault. From a criminal standpoint, I don’t think it’s a wise idea for anyone to speak about accusations that they are charged with without an attorney.”

“Live hearings benefit the accuser because it gives them the right to confront the accused,” Manuelian said. “It’s a benefit for the accuser and a detriment to the accused because they technically shouldn’t be answering these questions without a lawyer present.”

Some students agree with Manuelian that the live hearings would do the opposite of its intention.

Others argue that live hearings are an opportunity to protect the innocent.

“You can see more authenticity with what one person says and how the other reacts. It’s more genuine and accurate. I support the live hearing because it could benefit the victim as well as the accused in the rare cases where they are innocent,” said sophomore kinesiology major Brandon Raymundo.

California’s new law is somewhat in alignment with proposals from United States Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, which aim to eliminate the preponderance of evidence standard and replace it with the standard used in criminal cases, which requires evidence to present a case which is “beyond reasonable doubt.” This would make it harder to prove that the accused violated the sexual misconduct policy, because often times sexual assault cases lack evidence and witnesses.

Chapman Republicans and the California Republican Party did not respond to requests for comment.

The Dean of Students Office released an anonymous Sexual Misconduct Climate Survey to all Chapman students on April 15. It has been done for the last three years, and students are asked questions about sexual violence experiences and their awareness of sexual misconduct policies.

“This information is critical to tailoring sexual violence prevention education programming and to improve the campus response,” the survey said.   

Because of the sensitive topic, descriptions and trigger warnings were given before each section of the survey.

The survey will serve to “understand the scope and nature of sexual violence at Chapman University,” according to the survey.

In 2017, 83 percent of the survey respondents said they were confident that Chapman would administer sexual misconduct procedures fairly, according to the survey data. In 2018 it decreased to 79 percent.

800 Students sign petition demanding that Chapman lower housing costs

New York native Jordan McNees (right) poses with younger brother Jacob McNees (left) in front of his off-campus Orange house. Photo courtesy of Carol McNees.

UPDATE: Another petition urging student housing reform has gained traction with more than 200 signatures within the first day of being posted. A petition titled “Remove Chapman University’s Two Year Housing Requirement” was posted on March 30 and has recieved at least 14 supportive comments. The complaints on the petition mention the “overpriced and underwhelming” quality of Chapman housing and how the pricing is “harming the college experience.”

“Yeah this is dumb. Ya’ll get enough of my money. Viva la revolucion!” wrote a supporter who identified themselves as Jonah Goldberg.

A Chapman sophomore hoping to prod Chapman into lowering housing costs has found out that they are instead likely to increase.

Jordan McNees received 800 signatures on his petition demanding that Chapman University offer students more affordable housing. As a result, he said,  Chapman’s director of residence life Dave Sundby asked to meet with him.

But McNees said Sundby gave him no hope of prices decreasing.

“According to Dave Sundby we can expect a five percent increase in room costs each year for the next few years,” said McNees, who went on to say Sundby used their April 12 meeting to explain how housing prices are set.

The Change.org petition “Make Chapman University Student Housing Affordable” created by McNees, a strategic and corporate communication and public relations and advertising double major, also received 25 supportive comments after it was posted on April 7.

“The meeting was nice, because it felt like I was being listened to, but I don’t think it made a difference,” McNees wrote. “I don’t believe they have any intention of changing the prices.”

Sundby did not respond to two emails and a phone call requesting comment on what he was alleged to have told McNees. But Lara Wyss, Chapman’s new director of public relations, was looped in and offered a response.  

“For the 2019/2020 academic year, Chapman restructured its student housing rates to make them easier to understand and more consistent between locations,” Wyss said via email in a statement that she directed be attributed to Dean of Students Jerry Price. “These changes did not significantly change housing costs for the large majority of students and in many cases, housing costs actually decreased slightly from the previous year. This change did not increase the revenue generated to the University by housing, in fact, it lowered it by almost $50,000 annually.”

However, Wyss did not respond to questions about the alleged five percent increase or how many underclassmen requested and received an exemption from mandatory on-campus housing.

McNees’ petition criticized the university’s disregard for the “financial health of their students” and encourages students to show they’re “not just going to shovel out whatever amount of money they ask of us.” McNees says the “ridiculous housing cost” is a threat to students’ education.

“I’d love to see the pricing be reevaluated, or have financial aid for housing reevaluated,” McNees said.

Clearly, McNees’ rant struck a nerve.

“Making us live on campus for a second year with housing at this price is straight up stealing our money,” commented a signee who identified themselves as Hannah Shotkoski.

My daughter attends the school, loves it, wants to continue living in the dorms, but we are struggling to pay the fees,” commented a user using the name of Kimberly Gimple.

McNees lives in a house off campus with four roommates and pays $650 in monthly rent. He lived in Henley Hall during his freshman year of college, but opted for a cheaper living situation this year, though he would prefer to live in student housing.

Henley Hall, one of Chapman’s on-campus freshman dormitories. Photo by Amir Ghani.

The university recently “restructured” its housing rates by assigning the same housing rate for various residence halls and apartment options, according to the email Wyss sent that she attributed to Price.

“Chapman restructured its student housing rates to make them easier to understand and more consistent between locations,” according to Vice President and Dean of Students Jerry Price.
Breakdown by Residence Life and First Year Experience.

A chart by Residence Life and First Year Experience shows the cost of triple bedrooms in Glass, Henley, Pralle-Sodaro, and Sandhu dormitories has significantly decreased, going from a range of $14,610-$15,330 to a fixed rate of $10,400. But rates at Chapman Grand and Panther Village have jumped. A two-resident shared bedroom apartment at Chapman Grand will now cost $12,700 instead of $12,000 and a two- resident studio apartment at Panther Village will cost $10,400 as opposed to $9,438.

These changes did not significantly change housing costs for the large majority of students,” according to the emailed statement.Yet students say Chapman housing is increasingly unaffordable and the on-campus options overpriced.

“It just seems like for paying so much we should have a bit nicer situation,” said freshman Jessica Almos, a Glass Hall resident. She lives in a room with two other students – a situation she says is overly crowded. There are other problems. “The laundry machines are always breaking and the flooding,” and the cafeteria hours are not long enough on weekends.

The environmental science and policy and theatre studies major received a $5,000 housing grant, but it only covers the university’s meal plan, Almos said.

Almos, who signed the student housing petition, was looking forward to moving into a cheaper off-campus studio apartment, but is now unable to do so because of the university’s new policy that requires all underclassmen to live in student housing.

“I’ve heard a lot of people have tried to [qualify for an exemption] and that didn’t work,” Almos said. “I don’t really want to go through the hassle if I know it’s just going to make me upset and more bitter.”

The University of Pennsylvania has also implemented mandatory two-year on-campus housing for their students, but delayed doing so until 2021 when it can complete a new dormitory, according to The Daily Pennsylvanian. The decision was made to “measurably strengthen the sense of community among our first- and second-year students,” according to a statement from the University of Pennsylvania.

Freshman Fiona Burrows, who lives in Pralle-Sodaro Hall,  said she understands Chapman’s decision, especially given concerns by the City of Orange that college kids in the community disrupt the serenity of the university’s surrounding neighborhoods.

But the “exorbitant price of the meal plan” is a financial stress for Burrows, a communication and theatre studies double major who resents that her leftover meal swipes are not refunded.

One of her friends, she said, may have to leave Chapman due to financial reasons – including the cost of student housing. “No one should have to drop out of Chapman, or any school, because they cannot afford it,” Burrows said.

Prowl reached out to Harold Hewitt by phone and by email, Chapman’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, for comment, but his secretary said he was too busy to respond by deadline.

My main goal was to bring attention to the issue, get the conversation started and show the administration that we’re not happy. And I think we’ve accomplished that at the very least.” McNees said.

Chapman Grand, an off-campus apartment-style dormitory, will see an increase in prices next semester. Photo by Amir Ghani.

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

Navigating the Grid: How to Survive Chapman without a Car

Photos (left and center) by Alexander Popov on Unsplash.com.
Photo (right) by Joe Perrino.

Surviving college without a car in Southern California is like surviving at sea in a boat without sails or oars.

Being carless may be eco-correct (check out our teeny weeny carbon footprints!) but being virtuous has its frustrations. Going to the beach involves begging friends for rides. Grocery shopping can feel impossible: Do we hitchhike to Trader Joe’s or eat that rancid jar of peanut butter for dinner?

Turns out there are lots of us. Almost one-third of Chapman students, including both undergraduate and graduate, do not have a parking pass, according to the 2013 Transportation Audit from Chapman Sustainability. For these few thousand students without cars, here are some ways they can solve everyday inconveniences.

1) Getting to School

Students who live in the dorms have the luxury of walking across the street to campus. Likewise, all it takes for students at Chapman Grand and Panther Village to get to class is a quick shuttle ride. But if you live off campus, you need to figure out a reliable way to get to class.

Solution: One of the easiest ways to get to campus is taking the OC Transit bus. The 59 bus stops at the corner of Glassell and Palm right next to Smith Hall. Chapman offers a U-Pass plan, which covers the first $30 of your monthly bus fares after you submit an initial deposit of $30. This is a year-long bus pass and the most you have to pay per month (excluding the initial deposit) is $15.

2) Grocery Shopping

One of the hardest tasks to accomplish without a car is shopping for groceries.

Solution: Prevail upon a friend to take you when they go shopping.  Offer some incentives like gas money or cold, hard cash. For immediate needs, try Amazon Fresh, Instacart, or Postmates. These services help you skip the checkout line and hassle of getting to the store. Unfortunately, none of these offer student discounts, but you can become a Postmates Munchies Requisition Officer. If you decide to do this, there are many free meal perks Postmates offers.

3) Navigating Southern California

We’re in SoCal! Naturally, we want to visit L.A. and bask on the beach. But how do we get there?

Solution: Obvious choices are rideshare apps such as  Uber or Lyft.  There is also carpooling with friends. But one of the best options is right by campus. MetroLink offers a $10 roundtrip train to the San Diego area on the weekends. Trains also go up to Los Angeles every day. If you are going to the airport or a concert try the CU Panther Experience App. This app allows Chapman students to connect with one another, and is commonly used for carpooling.

4) Attending Club Meetings and School Events

It’s around 7 p.m, and the buses have started coming every 50 minutes, but there is a speaker on campus you have been DYING to see.

Solution: Consider not even going home after your day-time classes. Instead, head over to the library and get a jump start on your school work. There are also coffee shops and restaurants in the circle that make great hang out spots.

5) Getting a meal

You’ve opened your fridge and your worst nightmare has come true…you are out of food! Your hunger demands immediate resolution.

Solution: There are many food delivery companies that provide service in the Los Angeles area. These include Doordash, Uber Eats and the aforementioned Postmates. In an article from Prowl, two students compared which food delivery services reached the dorms the fastest. While this is not about the dorms, the same factors apply. Go check out that article to see which delivery service can satisfy your hunger.

6) Catching That Flight

Even if you had a car, parking at an airport for an extended period of time is tough on the wallet.

Solution: One of the best ways to get to John Wayne Airport is the Chapman Shuttle. They offer free rides to Chapman students all day Friday and Saturday before every break. Unfortunately, they do not offer this service to LAX, so in that case you can try to hitch a ride with someone from the Chapman Experience App, or any ridesharing service such as Uber, Lyft, or Wingz.