Monthly Archives: April 2023

Chabot MyPortal

MyPortal is a new system created to not only eventually replace Class-Web, but to also create a central space that will ease finding information. Chief Technology Officer Bruce Griffen stated, “MyPortal is a one-stop-shop that brings together content from different places, most importantly from ClassWeb. With the help of Single Sign-On, students can access multiple content sources through a single login. This means that they don’t have to remember multiple usernames and passwords to access different tools and services.”

When students sign on to MyPortal, they can expect to see links to ClassWeb that are probably pretty familiar. The system will also have links to degree works, zone mail, and other tools that are currently scattered across different websites. The most significant improvement, however, is the login piece. ClassWeb currently uses a small pin number login, but MyPortal will use much more complex passwords, as well as the ability to reset passwords online.

According to Bruce, “MyPortal system’s modernization of the ClassWeb system will serve as a stepping-off point for additional changes that institutions plan to make. These changes will be phased in, making it easier for students, faculty, and staff to adapt to the new system.” Bruce also explains how much more accessible this system will be for students. “With a card-based design and better organization, students can unpin unnecessary cards from their dashboard, resulting in a less imposing system with fewer links to navigate. Additionally, MyPortal sits on top of ClassWeb, allowing students to pick out content in different places, making it much more organized.”

As mentioned above, MyPortal will introduce a new system of digital cards. Cards are individual areas of relevant content. They are customized based on the student’s home campus location and enrollment. These cards will be customizable and consist of ​​showing grades, class schedules, and other tools that students currently have to log in to access. MyPortal will also have direct logins to zone mail, making it easier for students to access their email. The design of MyPortal was a collaborative effort between the institution and the service provider. 

While MyPortal is a new system for students, it isn’t completely built from scratch. The university licenses the software from a company called Lucian, which also makes the student information system. The design process involved a team of people who determined what should be on each card and what cards should be available, drawing inspiration from other universities’ systems.

MyPortal is a significant upgrade to the current ClassWeb system. It provides a more organized and accessible platform for students, faculty, and staff to access the tools and services they need. MyPortal is also a step towards a more connected and efficientacademic institution. MyPortal promises to make academic life easier for everyone. MyPortal will be available soon, check your emails for access.

Did You Know That Chabot TV Has an App?

Chabot has an app where students can watch programs produced, written and directed by MCOM students on campus including the news.  The app launched March 2023.  You can stream the channel 24 hrs seven days a week. 

To watch the app on Samsung and Apple phones all you must do is 1) download the free Cablecast app.  2) Once you open the app, scroll until you see  Community Media Center / Chabot TV, and lastly 3) Tap on it  Once you open it you will have access to Chabot news, TV shows and their 24hr streaming channel. The app is only available on tv through Roku. Download the Chabot TV app from the Roku app store. 

“The company that makes our server gives us free software called Cablecast that goes on Apple TV, Roku, Firestick and all the Samsungs and Apple phones. When you download the Cablecast app you got our account 24/7.” Says Sujoy K. Sarkar Chabot, TV station and app general manager. Cablecast is an app where you can watch local news and shows on the go.

Chabot TV app has been in the works for years. “We’ve been working on it (the app) for a long time and it’s always been a streaming project for over a year. We’ve been on air for almost a decade, but having our own app is something that is really brand new.” Says Instructor Tom Lothain who teaches television, newspaper, journalism, and radio courses on campus. 

The TV studio was founded in 1967 just six years after Chabot College had just been established 1961. Sakar has been working with Chabot TV since 1973. 

On TV you can stream the Chabot TV app only on Roku TV. “We decided that we should try Roku first for our own branding, because as a cable company, the company that makes our server gives us free software (Cablecast).” Says Sakar.

The app and the streaming services provide every Friday and Saturday night they provide horror films, something like a creature feature . where the host is hosting a classic horror film with a spooky background and theme. The app also includes news, 10 to 15 local Chabot student TV Shows. 

“I’ve heard about the app. I haven’t downloaded it yet, but I will.” Says Tom Lorentzen, the host of Interesting People, a show that broadcasts meeting interesting people from around the world and sharing their stories. The show is also on the app.

It’s great that the campus has their own TV app where students can watch other student contents, news and learn more about the activities on campus. “I Knew Chabot had a TV Station but not an app. Sounds interesting. No other colleges I know of have a TV app.” Says student Aiki Chamberlin.

“It’s amazing how Chabot has their own TV app. I don’t think any college in America has that and that’s great for our campus.” Says student Cornell Preston.

The inspiration of creating the app was strategized to make more students come on campus and intake the MCOM classes that Chabot have to offer. There are many amazing MCOM courses this campus has to offer and one of them is TV. Sujoy expressed, “We need more students to apply at Chabot so I figured. This is just 1 way of getting students interested in enrolling in Arts and Media classes. The hardest thing is to get a platform to show their programs and movies! This platform gives them the same chance by allowing them the same platforms. All we need now is to notify people that it exists.” 

This app is a perfect strategy for MCOM students who created their own content show to watch it. No other college in the world has the advantage of having their own TV App. There’s only 15 shows on the app but it’s enough to motivate more MCOM students to watch and create their own shows. Not only students, but other college campuses can soon one day have their own TV app.

Chabot College, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

This spring semester, Chabot College performed their version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the comedy was originally written by William Shakespeare somewhere between 1594 to 1596. The play, although set in ancient Athens, GR, is re-imagined through Shakespeare’s eyes nearly 2,000 years after the era.

The performance was held in building 1100 and directed by Dov Hassan, who is the head of Theatre Arts. The money that was used to purchase the tickets went toward funding the Chabot Theatre Department. 

The play provides the “love is in the air” feeling, first starting out with a four-person love square where Egeus, an Athenian nobleman prepares for his daughter, Herima, to marry a man named Demetrius. But while Demetrius loves Hermia, she loves a man named Lysander. Although Helena, Hermia’s friend, still loves Demetrius after being previously engaged to him. Eventually, Hermia and Lysander sneak into the woods, hoping to run away. However, Demetrius follows and Helena isn’t too far behind. In the woods, there are two very different groups in very different situations. First, we have the faeries, with Oberon, the King of faeries, and his Queen, Titania. The two are currently at odds after returning from a trip. The second group are Athenian Mechanicals or craftsmen, who are arranging a play they wish to put on for Theseus, the duke of Athens and his bride, Hippolyta. The three groups of characters get caught up in silly situations that ultimately lead to them all being connected. 

As the play featured comedy and drama, and while the stories were portrayed well, it got a bit confusing to keep up with at times. The acting and set design made up for it. 

The play, being very well produced and directed, started out with a bang, literally starting out with a jumpscare before going into a routine and choreographed dance, with green and purple lights on the main stage. The opening scene was very captivating, it had me and the audience hooked from the start. 

In an interview with Tarin Smith, who plays Flute, A Mechanical forced into playing the part of a woman in the play for the rich. “If I didn’t get a laugh at the end, I’m doing a lot wrong.” he stated “There’s been shows where we’ve done something, and people are like, “Oh my God!“. And honestly, like the reactions fuel us. Like it gives us fire to, like, do really good. So crowd energy is really good for us.” 

Overall, the audience and I really enjoyed the play. It had drama, romance, and a ton of humor. I hope to see more plays like this in the future.

Spring 2023 Chabot Art Gallery

The Chabot College Art Gallery’s opening night was on March 14, and closed on March 31. The gallery featured many different students’ works, such as paintings, photography, and sculptures. It was held in building 1100 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and featured many different works.

Six photos of photographer in portrait, each picture in a different hue.

The area was spacious enough to hold everyone’s work, and light refreshments for the guests made for an enjoyable experience. On the walls, there were photos and paintings, and there were about 4-6 items on each side of one wall (with the exception of bigger works), with a sculpture or two in between. 

Green, blue, black, and yellow acrylic paint on canvas in circular shapes.

Many of the talented artists who submitted their work to the gallery attended with their loved ones to view all of their hard work on opening night. The artists who were in attendance seemed satisfied with how the setup of the gallery went, both the process and the finished result. The process of setting up the gallery took a couple of weeks, but the finished product was beyond worth it. 

Handmade sculpture figurine of a bird wearing a victorian style dress with it’s a feet showcasing in the front.

Overall, the gallery was beautiful. The art submitted was very well done and obviously had a lot of thought and heart put into it. The gallery was open for some time after, however, the first day attracted the most people. They were excited to see what was in store for them. 

Handmade sculptures of three individuals, two women, one man, in a bust style. Various textures layered to showcase the variations in hair textures and styles.
Handmade sculpture of Native American chief wearing a feather head piece, painted in a variety of glaze colors ranging from red, oranges, and blues. The sculpture is reaching out to what appears to be his reflection water.

Chabot-Las Positas Community College District Board of Trustees Votes to Suspend COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate.

On Feb.  21, 2023, the Chabot-Las Positas Community College District (CLPCCD) Board of Trustees made the decision to suspend the COVID-19 vaccine mandate effective Apr. 24, 2023. This decision will apply to both students and employees of the CLPCCD, starting in April to coincide with the beginning of the 2023 summer registration period. The mandate suspension for all visitors was already implemented by previous changes to administrative procedures.

This decision was based on data from the Alameda County Public Health Department and the CLPCCD’s internal tracking of student and employee cases. Changes to Board Policies 7330 & 5210 and Administrative Procedure 5211 were guided by this information, and revisions to these policies will allow for flexibility should public health conditions warrant a return to vaccine mandates.

The decision to suspend the mandate was made after extensive conversations with constituent groups. It aimed to address concerns about equitable access to programs and services while balancing the need to maintain safe learning and work environments.

According to Alameda County, 94% of residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 87% are considered fully vaccinated. However, the district will still prioritize the safety of its students and employees, even after the mandate suspension. The district highly encourages the community to stay updated with their COVID-19 vaccines and get boosters if eligible. COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, and can prevent severe illness.

Other safety measures will remain in place on campus including access to testing and a flexible face-covering policy that adjusts according to changing risk levels in the county.

The pandemic has forced us to change the way we work, learn, and interact with one another for nearly three years. The CLPCCD recognizes how difficult these changes have been for everyone and thanks its community for their partnership as they navigated uncertainty together. The hope is that this next phase allows the management of pandemic risks in a way that is least disruptive to the community.

In conclusion, the decision to suspend the COVID-19 vaccine mandate at the Chabot-Las Positas Community College District is based on the most current information available to the Board of Trustees. According to CLPCCD Chancellor Ronald P. Gerhard, “The district will continue to prioritize the safety of its students and employees and encourage the community to stay up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines. By doing so, the community can work together to manage pandemic risks in a way that is least disruptive to everyone.”

Book Store Closing

On Apr. 25 the staple Chabot Bookstore will be closing its door for good because Barnes and Noble, our provider, will no longer renew our contract due to decline in profits. For students to buy their materials for classes they would have to order them online from the Barnes and Noble website.

The website can’t replace what was once reliable for this campus. It can’t replace the friendly employees that will greet or help you when in need. It won’t fill the shoes that the bookstore has had on campus.

“It’s very difficult to run a bookstore without it being a significant drain on your budget financially. Barnes and Noble is our third-party vendor. Barnes and Noble are changing their business model and it has a lot to do with the community around here. You just don’t see many bookstores. They’re closed.” Says Vice President Dale Wagoner.

Barnes and Noble doesn’t see the personal attachments employees, students, and faculties have in the bookstore. To them it’s just another building that’s not making as much profit as it used to. There’s no cash coming out of it so why keep it going.

For the closing of the bookstore, it’s not just about shifting forward and changing from buying a book in person to buying it online. It’s about revenues. “It’s not a reliable business model for our vendor. As you can see it’s declining in the revenues which is why they won’t renew our contract.” Says Vice President Dr. Matthew Kritscher, Ed.D.

It’s a college staple to have a bookstore on campus. yet we are soon going to be a campus without one. A campus without a bookstore is like having a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but with no peanut butter it feels incomplete.

The bookstore has always been there for students, whether it’s buying scantrons, notecards, purchasing graduation essentials, books, or snacks. It was a place students and faculty could count on in those last minute moments. 

“I don’t like that the bookstore is closing. Where am I going to get my Scantron? Where am I going to get something that I need at the last minute? I understand moving forward in a new direction buying supplies online, but this is sad.” Says student Chabot Ja’vonte Long.

The bookstore was once the pride of Chabot where the campus showcased their team jerseys, coats, and other sports clothing, while the students and facilities were buying them. The bookstore gave the students the dignity of buying their club sachets, cap, and gown for their graduation. It was a sense of notice that they’ve accomplished something with their hard bearing dreams and goals.

“It’s going to feel weird buying caps and gowns on Barnes and Noble’s website. I feel sorry for the students that graduate next year. Barnes and Noble is known for ordering books online, not cap and gowns.” says Vernon Chesley. 

The closing of the bookstore isn’t just affecting the students, but the employees there as well. Come May 1, they will be unemployed.

“Given the fact that I am an employee at the bookstore this heavily affects me. Once it closes, I will not have a job anymore. I feel sympathy for current students here at Chabot who unfortunately can’t get any inconvenient items once they get out of their classes.” Says employee and former Chabot student Marcos Arreguin.

“I’ve been working at the bookstore since 2016. I’m out of a job that I’ve been working at for six years. Yes, I have another job. The bookstore offers onsite help for those who have trouble finding things online.” Says student and employee Donovan Dinkins.

“I’m not scared of anything so whatever happens, happens. Our jobs are eliminated. The school will have no store for students to get their supplies and needs for their classes.” says longtime employee Johnny.

Chabot tried several factors to keep Barnes and Noble in the contract, one of them being downsizing employees in which they were already downsized. Also, who was going to continue to pay the employees was another matter. “Our vendor used to pay for the employees. We are now fully paying them out of the college fund, ” says Wagoner.

The revenue for the bookstore can no longer afford the necessities they had to offer. The profits have dried up. “Unfortunately, under the structure in which we have been operating for the last 10 years my understanding is that the revenue has gone down so much that they can’t afford to stay in business and it’s an unfortunate thing. I want to do whatever I can do to support the employees in this transition.” Says Kritscher.

There is a silver lining in this after the bookstore is closed. Chabot is still in the works turning it into many things, one of them is The Food Pantry. “One of things under consideration is to look at the space for our food pantry. We don’t know yet but it’s one idea we’re thinking about.” Says Kritscher.

The space in the 3800 building could be a great idea for something that can be centered more towards the students on campus. “We wanted to be a student space potentially. That’s the primary dialogue that’s going on right now. Maybe we could utilize that space more of a college center, which has more student spaces in it. That’s part of our master plan. We can also look at it as a place where students can meet and greet.” Says Wagoner.

Another idea that has been discussed is filling up the space with vending machines, “It will be more advanced than the others that’s already on campus. The machine will have fresh food with lots of options. Instead of having a series of refrigerator cases with soft drinks, is to replace those vending machines that would have fresh sandwiches, as well as traditional snacks, like chips, water, and sodas.” Says Kritscher.

“Vending machines? Are you serious? We already have a lot of them. Why do we need more? They’re unreliable.” says student Keygen Mitchell.

Even though the bookstore doesn’t make as much money as it once did, it has something that the online website doesn’t, which is a heartbeat. The bookstore has the heartbeat of a lot of people on this campus which is why some hold a personal attachment. Soon the 3800 building will have no heartbeat and will perish. It’s very sad that our bookstore is leaving us. One of the staple of Chabot is closing for good. No more going in greeting employees, no more buying from in person, no more on-site help for having trouble finding your books are necessities. Come Apr. 25 it’s all gone. 


Feb. 24 marked the one-year anniversary of the war in Ukraine, where Russia continues to ravage the north, south, and eastern countryside, terrorizing the citizens of Ukraine. To date, current reports estimate 8,401 killed and 14,023 wounded, with new information coming in every day.

Since the war began, there have been an inspiring number of rallies and a tragic amount of funerals and vigils in Ukraine and the United States. On Feb. 28 at Stanford University, a vigil was held to honor the fallen service members and victims of the war in Ukraine.

The “Taize Prayer” vigil took place around 7 p.m. at Stanford Memorial Church, organized by the Ukrainian Student Association at Stanford and the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America’s San Jose branch. A dark, somber, yet beautiful setting was observed in silence, but the night itself was full of music and harmonic tones and hymns coming from those who participated in the prayers. On a stormy night with low visibility under rainy conditions, the church was welcoming, layered with extravagant art, and candles lit throughout. Surely, if you did not visit the church often, the night’s setting only intensified the scale of what was being mourned, a deadly war that is unjust and has claimed a regrettable number of victims. 

The history of the Taize dates back to 1940, when it was founded by Brother Roger Louis Schutz-Marsauche — a Monk who belonged to an ecumenical monastic order of Roman Catholics and Protestants. Brother Rogers was 90 years of age when he was stabbed and killed in 2005 at a prayer service.   

The vigil lasted for the span of about an hour. It was hard not to think of how far away the war was with respect to the church. The church’s enormous size, towering stained glass, and high ceilings emphasize the war’s immenseness. Ukrainian families and military forces have experienced tremendous loss in the death of some amazingly talented, dedicated, and passionate people. 

Medics, emergency service volunteers, journalists, filmmakers, artists, authors, and many more important members of Ukrainian society have fallen victim to this war. Estonian Defense Minister Kusti Salm, in a Washington briefing, stated, “In this area, the Russians have employed around 40,000 to 50,000 inmates or prisoners. They are going up against regular soldiers, people with families, people with regular training, valuable people for the Ukrainian military.”

Currently, the actual numbers are unknown, but some reports say more than 8,000 Ukrainian civilians have been killed and 14,000 wounded. Additional reports on military personnel say 9,000, while others report losses of 100,000. There is no concrete information about how many funerals there have been.                           

Vigil attendees were scattered throughout the church, sitting across long benches, giving each person a chance to grieve and contemplate individually or with friends and family. After the vigil, there was emotion, tears, and embraces from church participants. A few stepped forward to lend their voice, “It’s very heartbreaking to lose people you grew up with; we ask ourselves why they had to die. I think of the holidays, my childhood, and it’s hard to talk about, said UNWLA member Alla Torska. Another member, Iryna Anpilogova, stated, “I just left my friends behind in Spain, and I can’t see them now. I was speaking with a friend back home and crying. We spoke about how Mauriapol doesn’t exist anymore. It’s hard to find the words, and to simply say that I’m sad doesn’t fully comprehend how I feel.” 

Another vigil was held on Mar. 24 at the Capitol Mall in Sacramento at 6 p.m. This vigil, being more demonstrational, had aspects of a rally and was organized by the Sunflower Society of Sacramento, a group dedicated to bringing awareness to the ever-developing situation in Ukraine. 

The vigil began as the sun set, with a large showing from local Ukrainian residents and some who traveled to attend the event. Although this was a vigil, it was just as much about the expression of outrage toward the genocide and mass murder of Ukrainian people, stolen from their lives by Russian aggression, with the majority of supporters recognizing these actions as Russian terrorism. 

The prevailing facts are that Russia is waging an unjust war using illegal, inhumane, and barbaric tactics. With numerous Human Rights violations, Putin has been officially recognized as a war criminal. Simultaneously, the civilian death toll continues to rise in Ukraine. This month, April, Russia is due to take up the leading chair for the U.N. Security Council as they did in Feb. 2022. Each of the 15 members takes up the presidency in rotation. “Unfortunately, Russia is a permanent member of the Security Council, and no feasible international legal pathway exists to change that reality,” said White House press secretary Karen Jean-Pierre. 

As a permanent member, Russia has veto power, and to pass a vote, it requires nine votes in favor, absent a permanent member voting against it. Russia has vetoed past measures to address their aggression from the council with abstentions from China, India, the United Arab Emirates, and Brazil. Ukraine’s presidential adviser, Mykhaylo Podolyak, stated that this was “another rape of international law … an entity that wages an aggressive war, violates the norms of humanitarian and criminal law, destroys the U.N. charter, neglects nuclear safety, can’t head the worlds key security body.” 

There were demonstrations with the evening light, and attendees of all ages, ranging from seniors to children, came out to support the vigil. Protesters held signs highlighting Russian terrorism and calling for the arrest of Putin, the war criminal. There was discussion, live art performances, music, and displays. The attendees chanted “Slava Ukraini,” while some educated others by sharing information and updates. Two organizers stepped forward to give captivating speeches and engaged with the audience, Daria Avtukh and her Mother Olena Avtukh. A few more speakers, including former California Assemblyman Ken Cooley, joined in with a message to remain united in supporting Ukraine’s efforts. 

Night fell just as speeches ended, along with observed moments of silence to mourn for those who passed as a result of this war. The signs from the demonstration and artwork were set up for display, illuminated by rows of candles. “This vigil, like any other vigil we’ve held, has a special place in my heart. None of them are alike, but they all mean strength and perseverance to me. The fact that we’re here and stand up and raise our voices after 13 months of this horrible war means that this tragedy touches our hearts deeply, and we won’t let it go unnoticed or forgotten. To me, this vigil meant another step closer to the victory of light over darkness,” said Daria Avtukh, Sunflower Society Organizer and Miss Ukraine California 2023.

As the evening ended around 8:30 p.m., organizers stayed behind with those who wished to share and observe the candlelit displays of remembrance. A vigil attendee, Duane McMullen, stated, “The vigils help me to feel like maybe there is something I can do by showing support and always reminds me of how strong the Ukrainian people are; they will never give up. I stand with them all the way.” 

The Sunflower Society organizes multiple events every month, with the next coming in April. These events are exceptional for Ukrainian and American relations, especially if you want to get involved and support the war effort right here from home in Northern California. UNITED24, Open Hearts UA, and Kyiv Society for the Protection of Animals are good places to start with donations.   

5,914,000 Ukrainians are internally displaced, and another 8 million reportedly live as refugees in other countries. Funerals are daily in Kyiv now, because fighting in Bakhmut, and Kherson has become increasingly dangerous, although recently liberated from Russian occupation. Mariupol, Sievierodonetsk, Lysychansk, and more are still under Russian occupation. Most, if not all, of Russia’s military actions, have violated the Geneva Conventions and will leave scars upon the country and psyches of Ukrainian citizens for generations to come. In response; the Ukrainian people have rallied together no matter where they are, standing with an unshakable resolve to keep their home and preserve their way of life.

 On Mar. 17, Vladimir Putin was recognized by the United Nations Commission of Inquiry and the International Criminal Court (ICC) as a war criminal. They issued arrest warrants for Russian President Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova, his children’s rights commissioner and confidant, for the abduction of what’s estimated to be around 16,221 Ukrainian children. More than likely traumatized and abused, these children were forced into adoption by Russian families against their will. 

Additional charges include the crimes of murder, rape, and torture of Ukrainian civilians, confirmed by the discovery of mass graves holding hundreds of bodies buried by Russian soldiers in cities like Bucha, Mariupol, and Izyum. While some bodies were service members, the majority were civilians, including some children. 

The list of Russian atrocities also includes the execution of POWs, the most prominent being Oleksandr Matsiyevsky which was filmed in horrific detail on Dec. 30, gaining political and media attention globally. In the video, moments before he is shot, the soldier says, “Slava Ukraini,” which means “Glory to Ukraine.” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy vowed to find the murderers responsible and stated that he “wanted us all in unity to respond to his words. Glory to the hero. Glory to the heroes. Glory to Ukraine.” 

Russia and the Wagner group have resorted to utilizing convicted prisoners as front line infantry due to their losses, with promises of a pardon, clean records, and reintegration into Russian society. U.N. Human Rights Officials stated, “We are deeply disturbed by reports of visits by members of the so-called Wagner Group to correctional facilities in various regions of Russia, offering pardons for criminal sentences to prisoners who join the group and take part in the war in Ukraine, as well as a monthly payment to their relatives.” Numerous human rights violations have been associated with these criminal military fighting units.

Russia has consistently targeted heavily populated urban centers in what has amounted to thousands of missile strikes in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Dnipro, Kherson, Odesa, Zaporizhzhia, Ravine, Zhytomyr, Vinnytsia, Poltava, and Lviv. These strikes included a theater mainly occupied by children seeking safety in Mariupol; people’s homes, office buildings, malls, hospitals, and schools. None of these are hardened military targets. In addition, Russia has deployed munitions such as the infamous hypersonic Kinzhal missile, which cannot be intercepted by conventional means, along with thousands of ballistic missiles like the Kh-55, Kh-101, Kalibur, S-300, and Iskander. Some of these repurposed missiles lack accuracy and effectiveness on hardened military targets and have been used solely to attack civilian population centers.

The foundation of Ukrainian society has been rocked to its core, yet, in the face of an attempted Russian invasion, Ukrainian defense forces repelled the primary attacks into the capital Kyiv and beyond. The war has since shifted to Russia regularly terrorizing the civilian populace with constant aerial assaults from drones and ballistic missiles. 

Russian military operations on the ground have been largely ineffective in gaining control of the country, exhausting their troops and equipment. For example, ongoing operations and U.N. sanctions have severely hindered Russia from getting enough components to build military hardware like missiles, light armored vehicles, tanks, helicopters, and jets. So far, the International Institute for Strategic Studies has reported that Russia has lost upward of 2,300 infantry fighting vehicles and 1,700 tanks, about two-thirds gone from the Russian inventory, which include the T-72B3, T-72B3M, and T-80BV. The IISS suspects that actual figures appear to be 40% higher than what is currently being reported by the Russian state.

The same can be said for Russian aircraft with losses of 15% or greater, which includes the Su-30SM, Su-34, and Su-35. In addition, Russian troop levels have been reported to be between 150,000 and 200,000 killed, wounded, or lost to some other circumstance. Russia is suspected of not accurately reporting these numbers. Problems with replacing experienced personnel with proper training has exacerbated the situation. To compensate for staggering losses at the hands of Ukrainian defenses and to offset the effects of U.N. sanctions, Russia has resorted to rampant looting of anything useful in the locations occupied by their forces. When they retreat, they leave behind a trail of waste ranging from industrial supplies to broken and sabotaged gear. 

So it’s no surprise that Russia has sought help from longtime partner nations with questionable, if not defunct, relationships with Western allies — countries such as China, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Myanmar, India, and Belarus. More countries are being actively recruited; South Africa and Mali, for example, are being considered. With Russia using its power over oil markets in the face of sanctions, countries have responded by either staying neutral to get the benefits of Russian oil or reinvesting in their own oil production. As a result, these actions have set back efforts to move away from oil dependence and combat climate change.

On the other hand, Ukrainian forces have had continuous support from western allies and have requested more to combat increasing Russian aggression. Ukraine’s military has excelled at repelling Russian forces from the majority of occupied regions and retaking them. Ukrainian forces were projected to lose much more territory, if not the entire country, showing the world true dedication and sacrifice to protect one’s home. 

Currently, the U.S. has sent 8,000 Javelins, 1,600 Stingers, 160 howitzers, 38 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, one million artillery rounds, 100,000 of 125 mm tank rounds, and 100,000 rounds for small arms. The list also includes helicopters and UAVs. In addition, there is a significant need for tanks which the White House has agreed to send along with Bradley Infantry fighting vehicles. 

“Working with European partners and Ukraine, the United States also launched the Ukraine Defense Contact Group — a coalition of 50 partner nations that has enhanced our coordination of security assistance deliveries to help the people of Ukraine as they continue to defend themselves against Russia’s unjust and unprovoked assault. Together, members of this group already committed $50 billion in security assistance, including nearly 700 tanks and thousands of other armored vehicles, more than 1000 artillery systems, more than two million rounds of artillery ammunition, more than 50 advanced multiple rocket launch systems, and anti-ship and air defense systems.” according to the White House Press Briefing: One Year of Supporting Ukraine.

Ukraine applied for EU membership on Jun. 23 last year and applied for NATO membership shortly after but has been actively pursuing this goal since 1994. Since then, a number of countries have given billions in aid, and at least 28 have given military aid. NATO partners like the UK, Germany, Canada, and Poland lead the way next to EU institutions. Yet, the U.S. is by far the largest contributor to military aid and second only to the EU in financial aid. 

The greatest concern militarily to Ukraine is obtaining modern battle tanks and subsonic jet fighters. So far, the U.S. has agreed to send the M1 Abrams, the UK to send Challenger 2 tanks, and Germany agreed to send Leopard 2 tanks. Countries like Poland said they would send their reserve Leopard 2 tanks that they received from Germany. The F-16 Falcon, most famous for its roles in the film “Iron Eagle” is the jet fighter up for consideration. A multirole fighter from the 70s, with multigenerational designs and modern hardware updates used in several U.S. wars and still in service to this day, is currently in the discussion phase.         

Upon the anniversary, the Department of Defense committed to the long-term goal of a Ukrainian victory with the White House on Feb. 24, stating, “One year ago, Russia launched its brutal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. The United States has rallied the world in response, working with our allies and partners to provide Ukraine with critical security, economic, and humanitarian assistance and leading unprecedented efforts to impose costs on Russia for its aggression. This week, President Biden visited Kyiv, Ukraine, and Warsaw, Poland, to send a clear and powerful message that the United States will continue to stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes.”

The Nuclear Threat

Ukraine is the home of Chernobyl, where an infamous nuclear meltdown occurred in 1986; the long-decommissioned power plant sits as a reminder of the dangers involved in maintaining a nuclear reactor and what a reactor meltdown looks like. Workers abandoned the site due to occupation by Russian forces during the invasion, who retreated after just over a month, but not before looting and disturbing a large amount of irradiated dust, increasing the area’s hot spots. Additionally, the Ukrainian power grid has been a significant target for the Russian military, with missile strikes knocking out power for millions of Ukrainian residents as well as recent strikes in Zaporizhzhya, causing the plant to operate on backup power using diesel generators.

While some cities, like Marinka, in Donetsk, have been completely destroyed and are now devoid of life, others, like Zaporizhzhya, are central to the survival of the entire country and beyond. The city supports a major nuclear power plant, Europe’s largest, and this area is particularly vulnerable to battles and shelling. Russian forces are currently holding the plant, and it continues to present a high threat level should the plant be damaged beyond repair from the shelling it commonly receives or loss of power for any extended duration. 

U.N. watchdogs and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are closely monitoring the power plants developing situation. Recently the head of the IAEA, Rafael Grossi, set forth plans to turn the plant and the surrounding area into a demilitarized zone. Still, it is only Russia that has stated they’re making improvements to nuclear storage and protections for the power plant.

“It is obvious that military activity is increasing in this whole region, so the place can’t be protected,” Grossi stated. At one point, the plant produced 20% of the nation’s energy, and now, the plant is no longer producing anything for Ukraine. President Zelensky has stated that Russia is using the power plant to blackmail and hold Ukraine hostage to the nuclear threat. The possibility of a nuclear accident has risen drastically since September last year and continues to be an escalating point of conflict between Ukraine and Russia. 

Now we may be at a precipice for WWIII or nuclear annihilation, with the Doomsday Clock currently sitting at 90 seconds to midnight. This escalation is, in large part, a direct result of the war in Ukraine. A consistent march toward nuclear proliferation for countries like Iran, gains in building intercontinental ballistic missiles for North Korea, and a buildup of current arsenals in countries like India, Pakistan, China, Russia, and the United States. According to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, we could be facing a “third nuclear age.” Noting that the treaty between Russia and the United States, “New START,” could be on borrowed time. 

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres stated, “The world has entered a time of nuclear danger not seen since the height of the Cold War.” Biological weapons are also a very real threat on the battlefield. Anything of this nature put into use jeopardizes a fragile boundary in the conduct of war. After all, Putin directly supported President Bashar al-Assad of Syria in using chemical weapons on his own civilian populace. 

Other countries have ambitious goals; for example, China, a nuclear powerhouse, has its own plans for a possible invasion of countries like Taiwan by 2027. What happens in this war will set the stage for world powers throughout the foreseeable future, benchmarking this event for decades to come.

Selena Paint Night at Chabot

Selena Quintanilla was the subject for this year’s paint night at Chabot College in honor of Women’s History Month. The event took place on Mar. 23 in hopes of raising donations for Ruby’s Place, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting victims of domestic violence, human trafficking, and violent crimes.

One of the world’s most influential and iconic female artists, Selena Quintanilla, still holds a large influence on women today even 27 years after her death. Though she began her career in Tejano music, earning the 1994 Grammy for Best Mexican American Album, her fifth and final album Dreaming of You, incorporated both English and Spanish songs. 

Dreaming of You was released in July 1995, four months after Selena’s passing, and at the time was the second highest selling album in a week by a female artist, and the first album from a Latin artist to reach number one on the Billboard 200s. 

The host of paint night, Monica Olmedo, Hispanic Serving Institute and El Centro Coordinator, understood her connection to the late singer wasn’t exclusive, “How do make sense of a brown girl living in a white world?” Olmedo stated she has always felt seen by Selena, a third-generation Mexican American girl chasing after her dreams. 

Student members of El Centro, Puente, and Lunas were in attendance to assist participants in checking in and providing supplies. The painting of the Selena silhouette was led by Graphics Technician Sara Flores, with Philomena Franco, Fiscal Coordinator, Special Programs and Grants, as co-MC for the session. The night was filled with light stories, encouragement to fellow painters, and Selena fun facts. 

Did you know Selena’s favorite food was pizza? Some fans may remember the infamous pizza scene in the 1997 film Selena. Selena (portrayed by Jennifer Lopez) and her husband Chris (portrayed by Jon Seda) bond over pizza as Chris dumps hot sauce all over the food. Chris quickly spits it out after it starts burning his tongue, with them erupting in laughter.

Also in attendance was Patricia Molina, Dean of Special Programs and Services, and founder of Luna. In 2017 Molina noticed a wide variety of clubs offered at Chabot, Striving Black Brothers, My Sister’s Keeper, and more. With a growing population of female students, Molina was inspired to create a club for Latinas to be able to network and support one another. 

The Lunitas, as they call themselves, are more than just a group, “A sisterhood, una hermandad, united to support one another!” Luna welcomes all who identify with hermandad so they can work together toward achieving their academic goals. Some services provided by Luna include specialized counseling, mentoring, financial aid support, and more. 

Philomena Franco (far left) Patricia Molina (right of Franco) standing with the Lunitas holding up their portrait pantings of Selena.

Lending help to other sisters in need outside of the Chabot community was the other focus of the night. Ruby’s Place is based in Castro Valley, with its main focus being to support and rehabilitate survivors of domestic abuse, human trafficking, and violent crimes. 

“Domestic violence is, unfortunately, a common issue in our society, and giving information about Ruby’s place allows students to either get services themselves or refer someone they know.” Chabot student Angela Tafur commented on the benefits of having this nonprofit highlighted on campus. “Awareness of places like Ruby’s Place helps students not only contribute to a good cause but also learn about resources the Hayward community offers.” 

With the success of the first paint night in Spring 2022, and the even larger turnout this year, Olmedo and the entire El Centro faculty and friends are ecstatic to have brought together the group to celebrate and honor Women’s History Month.