Author Archives: Paul Mussack

Graduation Ceremony Will Be Virtual

Chabot College’s 58th Annual Commencement Ceremony will be conducted online this year due to the shelter-in-place order preventing large public gatherings. Previous commencements have been livestreamed before, but this will be the first to be online-only.

The Commencement will be hosted on a website that will become available to view on Saturday, May 23, at 9 a.m. The ceremony will include videos of speakers and a slideshow of the graduates.

Graduating students must have submitted their information and a photo of themselves in the cap and gown by Wednesday, May 13, at 8:59 p.m. to be included in the slideshow. Students who did not order a cap and gown were allowed to send an appropriate alternative photo.

Graduates could log in to the website by using their Zonemail accounts. The Commencement website is being operated by the media company Envision Pro AV.

The petition-to-graduate due date was extended to April 17 from the original date of April 1. The due date to order a cap and gown provided for free this year was April 20.

“We just wanted to do our best to celebrate the amazing success of our graduates despite the shelter in place,” said Dr. Matthew Kritscher, Vice President of Student Services.

All students were invited to participate if they have met or will meet graduation requirements for a Certificate or Degree at the end of Fall 2019, Spring 2020, or Summer 2020 semesters.

Still, some remain disappointed about the substitution.

“I feel like it’s not really a celebration. I feel like it should have been postponed…,” said Navin Bansal, a graduating Chabot student.

Speakers for the day will include Chancellor Ronald Gerhard, College President Susan Sperling, and “Senate Leadership,” according to the website. The keynote speaker, Danny Munoz, is a graduating student who is part of Alpha Gamma Sigma, Indigenous Peoples Club, and RISE, as well as a tutor.

“When I was asked [to be the speaker], I felt that I should do it because where I come from, stuff like this doesn’t happen every day,” said Munoz. “I feel like I can shine a light on an underrepresented and misunderstood population. I’m formerly incarcerated, and I want everyone to know that we can overcome the stigma.”

For more information, see the official Commencement information page at the Chabot website:

Entertainment Guide: The Dictionary

While everyone is finding new ways to spend time at home, some turn to books and TV for regular entertainment. However, there is one book that contains everything ever written in books or articulated on TV — the dictionary.

Merriam-Webster’s Pocket Dictionary is a 407-page work containing 40,000 definitions with pronunciations, a punctuation guide, and a list of standard abbreviations.

Noah Webster published his first dictionary in 1828. After Webster’s death, G. & C. Merriam Company purchased the rights to his dictionary. It used the text in their editions.

According to the FAQ page on, the company changed its name to Merriam-Webster in 1982 to solve a copyright dispute where imitators had been calling their products ‘Webster’ dictionaries.

This book will not contain every possible word, such as countries or people’s names, being a pocket edition. Still, it may provide some surprises for what words are included. One page contained the words ‘OK,’ ‘okra,’ ‘oleander,’ and ‘oleomargarine.’ The Massachusetts-based publisher also wanted readers to know that ‘sox’ is a real way to spell the plural of ‘sock.’

There are several ways to use a dictionary; the most common is to look up one word when encountering it while reading something else. Another way is to choose several uncommon words and learn them together, gradually expanding a person’s vocabulary.

The 2006 pocket edition is printed on good paper that makes it easy to turn pages. The cover has rounded corners to prevent curling. The text is a good size that is not too small to read but does not make the page cluttered or empty. Even in a digital age, this book holds up for casual research.

California Apologizes to Japanese Americans

On Feb. 20, the California State Assembly passed HR 77, a resolution that officially “apologizes to all Americans of Japanese ancestry” for supporting their forced removal and incarceration during World War II.

The bill includes the history around Executive Order No. 9066, the executive order authorizing the incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans, more than two-thirds of which were native-born American citizens. The order was signed by then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt on Feb. 19, 1942.

“The redress movement started in the 1970s… to see an official apology and restitution from the government,” says Chabot College history professor Kay Fischer. More than 500 Japanese Americans testified in congressional hearings, which led to a 1982 commission report and eventually the 1988 Civil Liberties Act.

“The report stated it was racial prejudice, war hysteria and failure of political leadership that led to the policy of mass incarceration,” Professor Fischer continues.

HR 77 also mentions the actions of California’s legislature in 1943, when it recommended Congress remove U.S. citizenship from Japanese dual citizens and to take and redistribute the “implements and commodities” left behind by Japanese Americans while they were incarcerated.

The bill was authored by Assembly Member Albert Muratsuchi, a Democrat from the 66th district, who represents part of Los Angeles County.

In the past, Muratsuchi had led the Assembly’s annual commemoration of Feb. 19 as “the Day of Remembrance” but said that this year he “wanted to do something different.”

Muratsuchi wants California to “lead by example,” he told the Pacific Citizen. “[O]ur nation’s capital is hopelessly divided along party lines and President [Donald] Trump is putting immigrant families and children in cages.”

Six Japanese Americans who had been incarcerated under EO 9066, as well as descendants of two others, were present as special guests when the bill passed by unanimous consent.

A similar bill, SR 72, is being drafted in the California State Senate. The Assembly and Senate are currently adjourned until May 4 due to the COVID-19 health crisis.

Professor Fischer developed the Asian American History series for the college. Her upcoming classes on the subject include Ethnic Studies 10 in the summer semester, and Ethnic Studies 42 and History 42 in Fall 2020.

The Health of Small Businesses: Eon Coffee

Eon Coffee is a restaurant on Hesperian Boulevard in Hayward, walking distance from Chabot College, one of many businesses that have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Eon has some savings, but coffee shops tend not to have big margins. The manager, Martin, hopes things will go back to normal soon.

“We are losing money, I don’t know exactly how much,” Martin explained. “But I’m afraid if I close, [we may] lose a lot of customers.”

The number of customers is now at one-third of normal. Eon has cut its slower evening hours to compensate, now closing at 5 p.m. instead of 10 p.m.

Eon has had to find alternative suppliers to get everything it needs. For instance, the bakery that used to deliver bread to Eon every day has slowed to three times a week and limited its options.

Chabot student Lucia goes to Eon about two times a semester but is “not buying from any coffee shops” right now.

Chabot student Antonio would consider picking up food to-go from Eon in the current situation. “I have been there a few different occasions, when I’m getting coffee before class or a sandwich or something.”

Customers stand at least six feet apart and employees regularly clean surfaces with disinfectants and bleach. The door is propped open so people do not need to touch the handle.

The manager allows the employees to decide if they feel safe to come to work each day and makes sure to provide masks and other equipment to those who did come.

Granola Bar Drive Postponed

Chabot’s Classified Senate collected hundreds of granola bar donations in February and had planned to give them to students before the midterms in March; unfortunately, the distribution had to be postponed due to the campus closure.

The drive is being run by The Classified Senate Gives Back (CSGB), a workgroup of the Classified Senate that was created in August 2019.

“Our goal was to help combat hunger on campus and improve student success,” says CSGB co-chair Heather Hernandez.

The workgroup’s previous activities include co-hosting the Winter Gear Drive, participating in Laney College’s Basic Needs Summit, and recognizing classified professionals’ work anniversaries by launching the Anniversary Project.

As the college prepares for online-only summer classes, the granola bar distribution may be put on hold until the fall semester.

Hernandez suggests the project could resume during the first week of classes, “so we can help direct students, answer any questions and also hand out the bars.”

In the fall, the CSGB will participate in the Caring Campus Initiative by the Institute for Evidence-Based Change (IEBC).

Classified Senate Secretary Nicole Albrecht describes the goal of the initiative as “Simple efforts – including warmly greeting students with a smile, making a commitment to learning students’ names, or wearing a sticker/button saying ‘Ask Me.’”

Albrecht says these methods are proven to help students feel welcomed and are “cost effective; smiles do not cost anything.”

Chabot Clubs Adapt to Closed Campus

As the college campus remains closed, Chabot’s student clubs have adapted to the situation.

Many clubs are hosting online meetings through Zoom at the usual meeting times. Some have found creative ways to use the service.

Umoja Black Student Union (UBSU) hosted a Zoom study hall. Ukulele Club practices their songs over Zoom. My Sister’s Keeper watched a movie together. However, Animation Club prefers to discuss the movies as they watch, which is difficult on Zoom, so they have had to suspend that activity.

“This predicament came to us like a slap in the face,” said Sammy from Animation Club. “It is sad to not interact with the other members…”

Animation Club members instead post film suggestions for each other on the club’s Instagram page. Other clubs use Facebook, group chats, email, or email newsletters to keep in touch.

“We are trying to stay connected and safe by staying sheltered,” said Kyundre Nelson, UBSU Media/Marketing Officer.

On-campus events have shifted online whenever possible. Dreamers Club hosted an entrepreneurship guest speaker as a webinar. CARP (Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles) has rebranded its IGNITE guest speaker series as ZOOMNITE.

However, not everything works online. Indigeneous People’s Club had to postpone its film festival and cancel its end of year picnic. M.A.D.E. (Machinists, Artists, Designers, Engineers) cannot work without access to the labs. The Engineering Club and Architecture Club also depend on campus resources.

Baile Excelencia had to cancel its “unity show” in April with Chabot’s musical groups. Dance practices, which were normally two or three times a week, had to be canceled.

The group is especially disappointed because many of its senior members, who founded the club two years ago, will be unable to perform in their last semester at Chabot before transferring.

“[W]e do what we have to do to keep the baile and energy alive,” said Michelle Moreno, Baile Excelencia Co-President, who plans to share new dance steps with members on Instagram.

“Although we are saddened by this news, we felt that we were able to uplift and bring joy to our Hayward community in the many events we were invited to over the years.”

Still other clubs decided it was best for them to not try to meet or do anything until the fall.

R.I.P. Marshall Mitzman

Chabot-Las Positas Community College District (CLPCCD) Trustee Marshall Mitzman passed away on Apr. 14. The cause of death was related to COVID-19. He was 73 years old.

Dr. Mitzman was first elected to the board of trustees in 2008, representing Area 1, the City of Hayward. He had been Board President for one term.

“Mitzman was our guy,” said Miguel Colon, Chabot College business professor. “A Chabot guy. A guy we knew would be at our events supporting us and our students. He will be missed.”

According to his CLPCCD biography, Dr. Mitzman was “an active member in the Hayward business and nonprofit community” with experience at Bank of America, Memorex Corporation, Nestle Corporation, and Avis Rent a Car, as well as his own business.

Dr. Mitzman had been an adjunct instructor at local community colleges and the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business and held a lifetime California Community College teaching credential.

He received his bachelor’s degree from San Jose State University, masters and doctoral degrees from Cambridge University, and associate degrees from Foothill College and De Anza College.

“Marshall’s devotion to Chabot College students was profound, and I think it is fair to say that, short of illness, nothing ever kept him away from celebrating their achievements,” said Chabot College President Dr. Susan Sperling.

“He was a most recognizable presence across Hayward’s philanthropic landscape, and had special mentoring relationships with a number of our College groups, including DECA and Striving Black Brothers.”

Dr. Mitzman had served on the boards of such organizations as Alameda County School Boards Association, Alameda County Salvation Army, Hayward Education Foundation, Friends of Chabot College Foundation, and Hayward Chamber of Commerce.

According to the East Bay Citizen, Dr. Mitzman had been in and out of Gateway Care and Rehabilitation Center in Hayward since January while recovering from brain surgery. The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office has opened an investigation into the facility, where 13 people have died of COVID-19, as reported by KRON-4.

The CLPCCD board of trustees will discuss the next steps for filling Dr. Mitzman’s vacant seat at its next meeting on Apr. 21.

Dr. Mitzman is survived by his wife, children, and grandchildren. Mrs. Mitzman wishes to hold her husband’s memorial “when the community can gather again.”

Face Masks Officially Required in Alameda County

The Health Officer of Alameda County put out an order on Friday, Apr. 17 requiring everyone to wear a face-covering while outside of the home, both indoors at work or outdoors in public.

The order allows a grace period until 8 a.m. on Wednesday, Apr. 22, at which time violation of the order will become a misdemeanor punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both.

The use of face coverings is required in the following situations: being at an essential business or in line to go in, being at a facility for minimum basic operations or essential government functions, doing essential infrastructure work, receiving health care service, waiting for or riding public transportation.

“Face coverings” are defined in Order No. 20-08 as “a covering made of cloth, fabric, or other soft or permeable material, without holes, that covers only the nose and mouth and surrounding areas of the lower face.”

Medical grade masks such as N95 masks and surgical masks are currently in short supply. The County requests the public to save those masks for health care providers and first responders.

The order exempts children twelve years and younger from wearing a face covering and especially warns that children two years or younger should not wear one due to the risk of suffocation.

Other exceptions include people in a car (alone or with members of their household) and people engaged in outdoor recreation such as walking, hiking, biking, or running. Although, it is recommended to carry a face covering with you in case you need it later.

Face coverings should be washed regularly depending on the frequency of use; a washing machine is sufficient. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns to be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth when removing the face covering and to wash hands immediately after removing.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is largely transmitted in the respiratory droplets expelled when sneezing or breathing. People infected with the COVID-19 virus can be contagious for up to 48 hours before showing symptoms. In fact, many people only develop mild symptoms or no symptoms at all, all while being equally contagious.

For these reasons, the CDC, California Department of Public Health (CDPH), and Alameda County Public Health Department (ACPHD) have recommended wearing a face covering, in combination with sheltering in place, physical distancing of at least 6 feet, and frequent hand washing.

The City of Hayward announced Apr. 20 that it had acquired 10,000 masks for distribution to essential local businesses. Representatives for the essential local businesses can request masks through Hayward’s COVID-19 hotline at (510) 583-4949 or by filling out a form on the City of Hayward website.

Interim Chancellor Ron Gerhard sent out an email to the Chabot-Las Positas Community College District, alerting colleagues to the health order and instructing employees to have their supervisor either approve their homemade face coverings or issue a new one from the district’s limited supply.

The Hayward Police Department co-signed the Apr. 20 joint news release with other City of Hayward departments but avoided mention of enforcement. The San Leandro Police Department relayed the announcement from Alameda County Health Department but also did not speak on its plans to enforce the order.

The Alameda County Health order includes a link to the CDC website, where people can find instructions on making face coverings from materials at home.

Elected Officials Host Coronavirus Town Halls

On the evening of March 19, U.S. Representatives Barbara Lee and Eric Swalwell each hosted town halls over the telephone to talk about how Alameda County and the federal government are working on the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Lee’s guest speakers included representatives from the Alameda County Public Health Department, Alameda County Community Food Bank, Alameda County Schools, and Oakland Unified School District. 

Swalwell spoke with faculty from the UC Berkeley School of Public Health and the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital.

Congresswoman Lee clarified that the official order ‘shelter in place’ means that staying at home is critical, but people can go outside to get food or medicine, see the doctor, exercise, or other ‘essential activities.’ When outside, people need to practice ‘social distancing’ by keeping physical space between each other.

Schools throughout Alameda County have set up distance learning programs online, and a few in the form of paper packets. 

The main focus is to acquire more computers for students while partnering with internet providers to offer free Wi-Fi until the school year returns to normal. The schools are hiring additional personnel to distribute food to children who depend on school meals for their food security.

Alameda County Food Bank has shifted to pre-packing bags of groceries for recipients. They also want to raise awareness of how many people are eligible for the CalFresh program and don’t use it or even know they are eligible. There are no predictions of shortages in the national food supply. The best way to help the Food Bank right now is to donate money.

Congressman Swalwell mentioned companies in the East Bay that will begin to mass-produce “hundreds if not thousands” of coronavirus testing kits. Local science facilities can analyze the results of 300 to 800 tests within a 24 hour period. He stressed the importance these kits have in stopping the virus because “the more we know, the better we can contain it.”

COVID-19 is a disease caused by the novel (new) coronavirus, whose common symptoms are fever, cough, and shortness of breath, similar to the flu. The virus is spread mostly through coughing, but sometimes through touching infected surfaces.

This coronavirus is believed to have originated in bats before it spread to humans, according to Dr. Arthur Reingold. The virus started in China, but it is misleading to call it the “Chinese virus” because people of any nationality can be infected.

Swalwell sees the situation as two different crises: health and financial. The health crisis will be over for good when a vaccine is ready in twelve to eighteen months, but taking this special action will shorten the time and let the economy recover sooner.

The Bay Area has to shelter in place until most of the country follows so that the spread doesn’t start all over when someone comes in contact with a community that didn’t have a shelter in place order.

Swalwell will host an additional town hall on March 26 over Facebook Live.

Chabot Nursing No.1 in California

Chabot College’s nursing program has been ranked #1 in California for 2020 in the 4th Annual Nursing School Program Rankings by Chabot has been in second or third place for the last few years. The California list ranks 126 nursing programs, including those at four-year schools.

Nursing Students in lab
Nursing Students in the lab

The ranking is based on the percentage of students passing the NCLEX-RN exam, an annual test run by the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN). Chabot students who finish the program and take the test, pass the test close to 100% of the time, according to Kevin Kramer, Dean of Health, Kinesiology & Athletics. The state average is 85%.

Nursing is a two-year program at Chabot, with about two years of prerequisite classes selected by the BRN, such as anatomy, physiology, and microbiology. Students gain experience in hospitals, receive an associate degree, and then can take the official state board test to be qualified to work in nursing.

Connie Telles, Director of Chabot’s Nursing Program, explains that jobs may be possible with an associate degree, but cautions that “Most hospitals want graduates now with a bachelor’s degree a lot of places at least want them to be in a bachelor’s program.” Chabot has a ‘bridge’ program with CSU East Bay for students to transfer and earn a bachelor’s degree in one year.

Kramer says the program gauges its success in how well its students do on the state board tests, rather than in comparison to other colleges on rankings. “Are the students passing the test? Are they graduating? If they’re doing that, then that makes us happy.”

The nursing program has three hundred people applying for the 40 spaces in Fall 2020. Applications for the Fall semester closed in January. Fall 2021 applications will open on Nov. 1, 2020.

This spring will see Chabot’s 53rd graduating class since the nursing program began in 1967.

Nursing Students in lab
Nursing Students in lab