The End of DACA?

On Tuesday, September 5, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the Trump Administration’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) during a press briefing at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. DACA is an American immigration policy initiated by the Obama administration in June 2012. DACA allows certain illegal immigrants who entered the country as minors, to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and eligibility for a work permit. 800,000 people rely on DACA to provide legal documentation to support their families, and nearly 25% live in California. Half the DACA recipients were only 6 years old when they enrolled in the program.

During the press briefing, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced, “The executive branch through DACA, deliberately sought to achieve what the legislative branch specifically refused to authorize on multiple occasions. Such an open-ended circumvention of immigration laws was an unconstitutional exercise of authority by the executive branch.” The decision resulted from a threatening letter signed by the Attorney General of Texas, Ken Paxton, and nine other states urging the Trump administration to challenge DACA in court this fall, claiming the program was created unconstitutionally. The attorneys general of Arkansas, Alabama, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia signed the letter back in June. Unwilling to battle the legitimacy in Court, the Trump Administration decided the best decision would be to end DACA. Without offering any insight or sign of focus on the subject, President Trump tweets “ Congress, get ready to do your job – DACA!” at 5 a.m., a few hours before Attorney General Sessions made the announcement.

President Trump may have given up, but that doesn’t mean everyone else has. More and more people are fighting for DACA and immigration law improvement. Protesters took to the streets in Los Angeles, Chicago, NYC and Washington D.C. San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo will “use available resources to battle in a lawsuit.”

This issue will hit us hard at home as Chabot is a safe haven for students whose immigration status is illegal. I spoke with English and Puente Professor Ms. Kirtsin Land about what DACA recipients can do. She said “DACA recipients should take good care of themselves and their loved ones in these difficult times. I encourage non-DACA students to stand up in solidarity with all undocumented people by getting informed and contacting local representatives, too. Chabot has an excellent web resource that can provide the next steps for DACA recipients who may wish to renew their applications before the October 5 deadline. There will also be other support services posted on that website.”

Students expressed their concern and gathered in solidarity in the grand courtyard here at Chabot College the same day as the announcement. Alexander Reid said, “this has to be a smoke screen for other things Trump is doing. It’s disgusting how he can affect the lives of people who have done nothing wrong.” The Trump administration’s choice to phase out DACA is going to be a constant battle with many believing that his cause is unjust.

Trump Calls for More Involvement in Afghanistan

On the 21st of August, Trump announced a new strategy for resuming combat operations in Afghanistan, in a solution to end the recent stalemate between the US and Taliban insurgents, wanting to achieve victory by avoiding nation-building and ‘killing terrorists’ as stated in his speech at Fort Myer while speaking to servicemen there.

The bid to increase American presence in the Afghanistan region comes after U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis indicated to reporters on the 14th of August that the United States had several options in dealing with the region, “Including the complete withdrawal of forces, increasing the troop count, or privatizing the war through the use of military contractors at Blackwater,” according to both Breitbart and Politico.

While addressing the country at Fort Myer, President Trump stated that “In Afghanistan and Pakistan, America’s interests are clear, we must stop the resurgence of safe havens for terrorists who threaten America.” Followed by statements regarding the deployment of troops, “We will not talk about numbers of troops or our plans for further military activities.” Though, later that week the Pentagon came out with numbers for the reported troop figures, which estimated around an extra 2,600, bolstering the total amount of troops to roughly 11,000, which is far from the reported figure of 8,400 according to Politico.  

The statements made during the address at Fort Myer shed a different light on the President, however, as it shows a sway from his previous stance on completely withdrawing from the region. “My original instinct was to pull out, and historically I like following my instincts,” Mr. Trump stated, “But all my life I’ve heard that decisions are much different when you sit behind the desk in the Oval Office; in other words when you’re President of the United States.”

In a series of tweets, President Trump is congratulated by Senator Marco Rubio on his plans for Afghanistan.

The remarks made by Trump however did not resonate well with Chabot student Jason Rodolfo, “The main issues the Middle East and Central Asia face right now are twofold: one, the consequences of centuries of foreign imperialism, and two the huge identity crisis that the mostly traditional, mostly conservative, very Islamic people of that area are having as the rest of the world moves on without them, and this makes transitioning to modern democracy incredibly difficult.” says Jason. “I do not expect any stability to come to the region anytime soon, regardless of American involvement or not, because the issues facing the region are those that no foreign involvement can understand, much less fix.”

With the war in the mountains of Afghanistan recently reaching its sixteenth year, making it officially the longest US involved conflict in history, the lack of significant progress made by previous administrations who touched the country, there seems to be no clear end in sight in the near future.

Student Senate’s Powerful Resolution?

The Student Senate has proposed the writing of a new resolution for our campus in response to the tragic loss of life in Charlottesville, the death of Heather Heyer, and the largest white-supremacist rally in decades. While welcoming, and honoring free speech and expression, the SSCC is challenged to simultaneously condemn anything which entices the hate and violence displayed in Charlottesville, and following related demonstrations here at home in the Bay Area on Aug. 26 in San Francisco and Berkeley. In no way may the proposed resolution impede on free speech as a constitutional right, and expression of the essence of life’s boundless perspectives.

The air of our society is stale with hate and intolerance by way of ignorance. Can the leaders of today guide us to a more tolerable atmosphere of sustenance? Should they, or should ‘We the People’ be the pressuring catalyst by which our representatives seek ultimate direction?

This is a democracy. In an interview with the student body president, Zaheer Ebtikar, we spoke of the tragedy in Charlottesville, the SSCC’s proposed response, about leadership, power, and his thoughts on how students can exercise their power. “They can use it in any way they want,” president Ebtikar says, going on to describe the influence that hundreds of students had on the SSCC and the board of directors while deciding on sanctuary status.

The collected effort and energy behind whole intentions and like-minds is the most precious resource in existence making it truly unlimited. One which can alleviate the pains of our society and bring the change ‘We the People’ wish to see, the particular pains of hate, injustice, and poverty. Mal intended leaders and misguided power is the most lethal weapon fighting for the systems and cycles of poverty, injustice, and hate. The Unite the Right rally of Aug. 11th and 12th was a gruesome example of mal-intention and misguided power. Their expressed goal was to protest the removal of a statue portraying Robert E. Lee from a park formerly recognized as Lee park, now formally renamed Emancipation park as of June 5th.

Lee was a distinguished confederate general who himself took a two-year leave from military service to personally run a plantation. In an 1866 interview published in The National Anti-Slavery Standard, Wesley Norris, formerly under Lee’s servitude, describes Lee’s prescribed punishment for escape or rebellion of his authority. The hate, injustice, and slavery upheld by a confederate general who died in 1870, over 100 years ago, is reverberating today through the removal of a Confederate monument. The direction of power is often put, and left in the hands of men with bad intentions and perverted ideas of power, and their lasting influence.

Behind the collective is where leaders belong, guiding and moving the power through the minds and bodies of the people. Leaders are thought of as in front, or on the top, often controlling, not understanding that the essence of power is to empower.

To empower yourself, to be your own leader, to empower others through the light of their own power bestowed upon them at birth is the essence of power and the catalyst to have a collective which will organize and sustain long-lasting change in the fight against hate, violence and the cycles of oppression through poverty. The Student Senate of Chabot College is utilizing power to combat hate and violence. Every SSCC meeting is open to the public, by law. Senate meetings held in building 200, inside the Boardroom are every first, third and fifth Monday of every month. Students are urged to join. Without us students voicing our concerns, our wants, and our needs, the SSCC has little to represent.

Canvas Takeover

Beginning this Fall semester, there’s a new program replacing Blackboard, called Canvas. Instructors use Canvas to display their student’s grades, assignments, online tests, discussion boards and more. Chabot is joining the rest of California Colleges who are already using the new program. Canvas integrates with other apps like Note Bowl, Google Drive or DropBox. Any instructor can use Canvas for any subject they’re teaching.

Dr. Scherbart teaches Humanities, Philosophy, Religious Studies here at Chabot College, he stated, “California is not mandating but is offering all of the 100 plus community college districts, a chance to be part of a statewide push and initiative to use the same learning management system.” He is also one of the chairs of the Chabot Committee for Online Learning

There are loopholes in Canvas, nothing major but students and instructors should know. The setup is; go to discussions read everybody responses, but before you can see your response, you have to go through and leave a comment. The Loophole is if you have to post before you can see others’ responses you can post something meaningless as a period, comma or a question mark. Then it will unlock everyone’s comments. Then you can go through and edit your previous response. Prof. Scherbart was unaware of the loophole and will look into it.

Students will have a slim chance to copy someone else’s answers because it would be no use for them. Dr. Sherbart explains, “In the past with my online courses, I could set up quizzes so that questions were put in random order and the default in Canvas is that they’re put into a set order … [In Blackboard] the possibility of having a list of the correct multiple choice answers and if you give it to someone it would be no use because their answers would be in a different order than yours, so their answers might not be the same.”

Since this is a transitional semester where some Instructors are still using Blackboard for their classes. English Instructor here at Chabot Ms. Barbara Worthington is still using blackboard for her classes. “I prefer to stay with the current way of submitting the work. I already have a curriculum setup in Blackboard… I don’t want to rush into it until I know exactly how comfortable I am using it, but also how my students are using it to be able to answer their questions. I plan to attend several trainings for it [Canvas],” she stated. Ms. Worthington will be using Canvas next semester.

If you’re having problems finding Canvas, it is located at the bottom of the Chabot webpage. There’s a link to Canvas right next to Blackboard. If you’re having problems with Canvas, there’s a toll-free number 1-844-600-4956.

Local Fear & Hope

Charlottesville Virginia became the center of attention on August 12, 2017. Unfortunately, it was not for a heartwarming, nor a positive moment but instead resulted in one of the many violent protests that have occurred during Donald Trump’s presidency. Events like these have come to show that racism is still well and alive in the United States, but remained silent to many states especially those on the west coast.

The Bay Area has become a region of California that has remained in shock and awe to the devastating events occurring in the nation after Donald Trump became president; but does this mean that the Bay Area is safe from the racism because of its diversity? Stephanie Moreno from Chabot College located in Hayward states that we do live in a bubble to a certain extent. Moreno claims that “there is a Bay Area bubble to the actual events of racism and events occurring in other states because we live in a very diverse community.”  

Being from a diverse community could create a blind eye or a bubble to the reality that racism does exist in other states and sometimes in our area as well. “I don’t think being in the bay area puts you in a bubble, in fact I think it helps you be more accessible to different perspectives that are surrounding you at all times” states Irwin Perez, a Hermanos Unidos member of UC Berkeley who is active in protests around the bay area, specifically Berkeley.

The Bay Area has become a melting pot of many backgrounds and ethnicities and in a way served to influence change in our area. However, the events like the riots in Charlottesville remain a threat and give courage to other hate groups in all corners of the country. Even in areas close to our homes. In a way, the melting pot kept many of its residents blind to the truths of other states and the rise of racism, but it has also been a source of the positive possibilities when people come together.

Total Eclipse of the Sun

The Eclipse, this past month, dazzled millions of people around the world as the moon overshadowed the sun. People gathered along the path of totality in various states to watch the amazingly weird event in style. While many were either outside, with eclipse glasses, others were watching various streams over the internet. Totality was achieved for just under 3 minutes, leaving many in awe of the sight, with the path of totality occurring from Oregon to South Carolina.

Many scientists, astrologists, and astrophysicists came out in droves to witness the solar eclipse, even famed astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson, who was not afraid to let people know that he was not to be disturbed during the eclipse. NASA was out in full force, with an online stream set up featuring many scientists working in the field as well as a crowd excited for the inevitable totality. Many also took to social to share their amazement, opinions and “freak-outs.”

The last time a total solar eclipse had appeared in the United States was July 11th, 1991, in which the path of the eclipse made its way from Hawaii to the eastern end of South America. Unfortunately, Hawaii was experiencing heavy cloud cover. While many left disappointed, others made their way to Baja, California to catch the eclipse and found themselves with an amazing view. The 1991 eclipse lasted for 7 minutes.

Now, people wait in anticipation for the next solar eclipse. It will appear partially over the United States, Canada, Alaska and South America on February 15, 2018 at 11 a.m. PST. The next total solar eclipse will appear over the United States at 4 p.m. PST on August 12th, 2044, totality being seen from Alaska, Canada and Minnesota.

MTV Video Music Awards

Award shows often provide us with entertainment and a glimpse into the life of the rich and powerful. Although that is true, MTV’s Video Music Awards and BET’s Black Girls Rock Celebration, also provided insight and value into an array of lives who tuned in to watch their shows.

The VMA’s are known for its mind-blowing performances and celebrities most outrageous yet stunning outfits, but a much bigger issue stole the show. While the Black Girls Rock award celebration didn’t focus on the same issue, it had a similar impact on the viewers of the VMA’s had.

MTV’s Video Music Awards took a serious turn from its spectacular performances when they allowed rapper Logic, Singer Alessia Cara, and singer Khalid to come out and perform a song dedicated to uplift and allow a voice for any and everyone who’s ever thought about or attempted suicide. BET’s Black Girls Rock celebration created a safe place for African American females to be themselves without judgment by allowing women such as Solange Knowles, Issa Rae, and Yara Shahidi to approach the stage, and share their experiences of overcoming struggles and sharing stories on how to deal with self-doubt and self-worth.

While talking with a fellow Chabot student, Brandon Byrd, he told me they both impacted him. Brandon stated, “I can’t say which Award Show I enjoyed more because they were equally powerful, watching them made me second guess some of my own decisions, I hope they both continue to discuss similar topics in the future.”

I had another conversation with a student, Elizabeth Gutierrez. She was excited to share her thoughts with me. Gutierrez said, “ I didn’t get a chance to watch either award show but I read about the speeches that were given at the Black Girls Rock celebration, and I was impressed. I also watched some clips on YouTube of the performances and award recipients. It was enjoyable to see women of color being appreciated and honored.”

Although I wasn’t able to directly get an interview with any of the staff from each show, I did get access to some quotes from a few reporters that released them to the public. Sydney Scott from Essence magazine covered the Black Girls Rock celebration, and after the youngest participant received her award, Scott stated, “ Yara Shahidi calls for black women to own their identities in inspiring Black Girls Rock acceptance speech.”

On the VMA’s, I was able to use a quote from Mark Braboy from Vibe magazine. Braboy stated, “Logic gave the most emotion-stirring performance at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards on Aug 27. With the help of fellow artists Alesia Cara and Khalid, the rapper perfumed one of this most significant hits to date, “1-800-273-8255.” Accompanied by a stage full of suicide survivors wearing white T-shirts the trio made sure there was not a dry eye in the house as they drove his heartwarming point home”.

According to the website, rap-up.com, after his performance, Logic said, “I believe that we are all born equal but we are not treated equally, and that is why we must fight for the equality of every man, woman, and child regardless of race, religion, color, creed, or sexual orientation.” Most would say he did a good job getting his message heard.

Chabot College’s TV Station Maintains Industry Standards

I walked into the Chabot TV station studio in Building 100, and suddenly on-screen I was looking at myself sitting behind an imposing desk with the TV station’s logo on it, but as I looked around, all I saw were TV cameras, a monitor, a clock and a giant green sheet of material on the walls. This feat of electronic magic is just one of the amazing things that the equipment at the Chabot TV station can do. Sujoy Sarkar, the stations Broadcast Cable Technician who manages the station gave me a tour.

Sujoy, the school, and the cities of Hayward and Fremont have worked hard to mold the station into one of the Bay Area’s premier college teaching stations. Sujoy wanted it to be up to industry standard,s so that students completing the courses would fit easily into jobs at local stations. Sujoy said that 80-90 percent of the graduates who go on to finish their four-year degree, find jobs in the industry because of our connections to the local CBS (Ch. 5) and NBC (Ch. 4) affiliates. He told me that we have mentors from both channels.

Sujoy said, “San Francisco State [University] sends interns here to do their internships because of how advanced we are and because of the variety of opportunities.” He told me that SFSU looked at a lot of other colleges and decided our setup was the best. He laughed and said that a lot of former students end up coming back as interns.

The station, KCTH, is two stations in one, cable channel 28 which is a public access channel. People in the community produce shows on this, and Channel 27 our educational channel. This is where the students learn their craft and put on shows. There is quite a wide variety of shows, everything from exercise shows to celebrity interviews. Sujoy said that right now they have 18 hours of programming running on air. The shows repeat at the same time of day, every day for a week. One show, “Lords Blood”, a sort of Friday night Horror show that runs on our channel and streaming over the internet, got up to 100,000 views worldwide. Chabot hopes to have 4 streaming channels of its own within 3-4 months that will stream around the world. And he commented that, “It would be awesome if we could have video on demand too!” He’s still working on that one.

Khash Naraghi, who is one of the school’s contacts at Channel 5, advised Sujoy on what to get to be compatible with the industry standards so the students get trained on the same equipment as the stations.” Our station has the same switching console as Channel 5 and similar HD cameras. The cameras can spot a speck of dust on a chair from across the room. The IP routers automatically switch between sources as needed, so there is no “dead” airtime. That means there is always something running 24/7.

He said that like CNN we can do 4 Skype calls at once “so we can have a live discussion. Students can use a camera or their phone to send a video. “If they see something driving home, they can send it to the station, and we can record it and use it later or live.” He said the station was 100 percent digital and that we could get information from anywhere. “We can also do Facebook, Twitter and Instagram live on the switcher to do live broadcasts.”

They also changed all the lights to LEDs. Before, each of the 15 studio lights consumed a 1000 watts each. Now they only consume 150 watts total. No more hot, sweaty, miserable performers.