Here’s a sample collection of stories I did as a researcher for the Opinion Section of the CSUEB Pioneer between our study’s timeframe of April 4-April 15, 2016. Note: IRL this spins out to be 33 pages because of huge graphics (omitted in this post); however, it’s only 11 stories in total!
CSU East Bay, The Pioneer, Opinion, Van Leuven – Week 2 Collection
First story in timeline: April 6, 2016
Last story in timeline: April 14, 2016
Number of stories: 11
1. Dread the overflow lot: Rocky road to student parking
Photo by Tam Duong Jr./The Pioneer
April 6, 2016
Driving down the entrance to the overflow parking on the corner of Harder and Loop roads is smooth, until your car physically enters the lot.
As soon as your tires touch the rocky road, a pothole greets you. If you washed your car recently, prepare for the dust clouds that are kicked up all day long by drivers pulling in and out of the lot to eventually coat your vehicle completely. Finding a parking spot is a slow roundabout of guessing where you will fit best — you have to estimate the space between vehicles since there are no painted guidelines.
Like me, you might even be scared of popping a tire by the sound of the rocks crumpling beneath them as you creep through the lot.
Furthermore, the warning “All vehicles must be out by 5:00 p.m.” means that if you have a night class that runs later, at some point you will have to move your car. The lot doesn’t have overhead lights and it becomes difficult to navigate in the dark. I’ve witnessed people slip almost every day while walking and I am guilty of it too. In spite of all this, it’s the closest parking lot to Meiklejohn Hall and a savior when the other lots are full. Given all this, my question is simple: why not pave it?
It’s been here a while. The overflow was converted from a soccer practice field in 2014 to provide extra parking for the first two hectic weeks of a quarter, according to Derrick Lobo, manager of parking services at Cal State East Bay. Each time a new quarter starts, students fill up all of the general parking lots when trying to find their classes, get their books and buy their parking permits. To accommodate the parking demand, the overflow lot became open year-round because so many students use it.
It would have been most logical to pave this lot at the same time that parking lots A and B were upgraded, but that didn’t happen.
“There is no plan to pave the overflow parking lot. There would need to be Environmental Impact Studies done,” said Lobo. “[This study] deals with storm drains and current bioswales which remove silt and pollution from runoff water on the surface and lead into the bay.” Anytime an infrastructure development is proposed, it is required by law to have an assessment of the positive and negative impacts the project will have on the environment.
Even though we have to stick with the rocky road for now, we are not completely out of luck. The lot is going to be upgraded right after graduation in the spring, according to the parking department.
It will be extended from 220 to 320 spaces, potholes will be filled and wooden logs are going to be put in place to designate parking spaces because painted parking lines typically don’t last longer than a week, according to Lobo. Development for this first improvement is scheduled to start after spring quarter and is projected to be finished before the start of fall quarter 2017. It will cost approximately $139,000 dollars.
According to Lobo, there are future plans to build additional housing units near the Pioneer Housing residence halls and on the current site of the overflow lot. They will reportedly be built with a parking structure near lot C1.
As for the time limit on the parking lot, the 5 p.m. cap is due to a lack of proper lighting, poor patrol visibility and general safety concerns, according to the University Police Department. However in summer, the sun goes down well after 5 p.m., so the cap should be moved accordingly to accommodate the students who have late-night classes.
There are measures that need to be taken in order to pave the overflow lot, but students pay a minimum of $6,000 dollars for tuition per academic year at East Bay, according to the CSU Budget Office. The money from students should be put toward improving services and other resources on campus that serve students best, like paving this lot that students use everyday in order to make it less dangerous and more accessible.
2. Trump dominates the GOP in a racist America
Illustration by Crystal Jeffers
April 6, 2016
Good morning America.
It was sunshine and warm weather in Hawaii and Mississippi when Donald Trump won three more states, and their delegates along with them, during the presidential primaries. However, in California, Vermont and Oregon, the weather remains cold, rainy and drab: the liberal states appear to cry for the nation as we inch closer and closer to a Donald Trump nomination.
The Democratic Party has consistently engaged in meaningful debates. Meanwhile, the Republicans have been fighting dirty, constantly hitting each other below the belt with insults involving each other’s wives. Trump will lose against either Democratic candidate because in regard to a solid political policy, he has nothing to show. However, his rise to power showcases the racism still prevalent in America.
Trump is a force to be reckoned with. He won three states, tied with Cruz on another and lost Ohio, John Kasich’s home state. He has won 736 delegates in 20 out of the 30 primary elections, according to The New York Times. Trump needs 1,237 delegates to secure the Republican nomination.
Trump is originally from New York, so if he wins in his home state, it will widen his lead considerably. “If I win New York, [the election] is over,” Trump said in an interview with The Hill Newspaper on Jan. 6.
Cruz is the only real competition left in the race. However, he is toast if his losing streak continues.
Kasich should have dropped out of the race by now, but hasn’t. He won Ohio but that is sure to be his only victory. He has yet to win in any other states and that is unlikely to change, due to Trump’s popularity.
Trump will become the GOP nominee. He is charismatic and he is rich, really rich. “Rich people think about money logically, while average people see money through the eyes of emotion,” wrote Steve Siebold in his book “How Rich People Think.” Some Americans look at the trillions of dollars of national debt the U.S. has accrued and feel the urge to elect a leader who can rectify the situation. However, it is naïve to believe that Trump is a great businessman simply because he is rich.
Time Magazine listed Trump’s top 10 business failures in April of 2011, which included his acquisition of Trump Airlines for $365 million in 1990. He added maple-wood veneer to the floors, chrome seat-belt latches and gold-colored bathroom fixtures. In 1992, the airline was seen as too extravagant and the soaring gas prices of the pre-Gulf War era caused the business to fail. Subsequently, Trump defaulted on his loans.
Trump’s campaign is focused on barring Muslims from entering the country, deporting 11 million illegal Mexicans from the U.S. and building a wall on the border, which “Mexico will pay for.” With idiotic and racist policies like those, it is no surprise that uneducated White people support Trump. He plans to keep his supporters stupid. At a Tea Party convention in South Carolina in January 2015, he stated that as president he would cut funding to the Department of Education.
Ninety-one percent of Trump supporters are White and more than half of Trump-backers are female. Of those people, half are between the ages of 45 and 65, 34 percent are 65 or older and only two percent are younger than 30. Half of his voters have a high-school diploma or less, and only 19 percent have a college degree, according to a study conducted by Hoover Institution, a public policy think tank based out of Stanford. Eighty percent support the ban on Muslims from entering the country, 70 percent support the right to possess a confederate flag, 38 percent wish the south won and 16 percent believe Whites are superior, according to a poll conducted by Public Policy Polling in South Carolina. The PPP use voter registration information and purchase sample lists, which link voter registrations to phone numbers.
Former Grand Wizard David Duke of the Ku Klux Klan pledged the support of the KKK to Trump, which he would not deny on national television.
Duke still has a strong voice in the realm of White supremacists nationwide although he is no longer the leader of the KKK.
Duke is also known for his failed attempts to become the President of the United States in 1988 and 1992. Duke was the precursor to Trump, a social figure who believed that being famous was enough to qualify a candidate to become POTUS and planned to bring back a segregated America. Trump disassociated himself from Duke on Twitter in February, according to U.S. News and World Report reporter Gabrielle Levy.
Trump understands that many of his older white voters do not use Twitter, so they couldn’t have seen him disavow Duke. These viewers will continue to believe that Trump has no problem with the KKK.
Trump is also supported by the following white supremacist groups: The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi news site, American Renaissance, a white supremacist magazine, League of the South, a white supremacist secessionist group and the National Policy Institute, which promotes the “heritage, identity, and future of European people,” said Daniel Marans and Kim Bellware in the Huffington Post in August 2015.
Trump does not do well against his Democratic counterparts. In a poll of 920 people conducted by CNN from Feb. 24 to 27, the participants said Clinton would beat Trump in the presidential election 52 percent to 44 percent and Sanders would edge Trump 55 percent to 43 percent.
As long as the Democratic Party avoids any major scandal, Trump stands no chance of becoming president. Trump embodies the racism that plagues our country and holds us back from making America great again.
3. Kaepernick departure the right call for 49ers
Graphic by Tam Duong Jr./The Pioneer
April 6, 2016
In 2013, I condemned the 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh for his decision to bench the game manager-type quarterback he had in Alex Smith, for the run-and-gun style quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick proved my assumption to be foolish when the 49ers hosted the Green Bay Packers in the Divisional Round of the NFC playoffs that year, and he set the NFL single-game record for most rushing yards by a quarterback. He led the 49ers to Super Bowl 47 two weeks later, falling just five yards short of bringing the 49ers their sixth Lombardi trophy.
Fast forward to Nov. 1 of last season, when the San Francisco 49ers traveled to St. Louis to take on the Rams; the player who rushed for 181 yards in that 2013 playoff game was nowhere to be found. There were roughly five minutes left in the first quarter, and the 49ers had the ball on the Rams’ one-yard line, needing to travel 99 yards to score a touchdown. In a highly criticized move, Kaepernick handed the ball to running back Mike Davis and failed to notice unguarded wide receiver Torrey Smith, who could have scored a touchdown without being touched by the defense. The 49ers went on to lose the game 27-6.
These two instances show the rise and fall of Kaepernick during his time as the 49ers quarterback and lead to one conclusion: by trading Kaepernick to the Denver Broncos, the 49ers made the right decision to move on from their 2011 second round draft pick.
According to sports writer Adam Schefter, the 49ers have already agreed to trade quarterback Colin Kaepernick to the Denver Broncos under the condition that Kaepernick restructures his $11.9 million salary for the 2016 season. The Cleveland Browns were also interested in trading for Kaepernick, but signed former Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III.
After winning Super Bowl 50, the Broncos have a need for a quarterback after starting quarterback Peyton Manning’s retirement. His supposed successor, Brock Osweiler, who was Manning’s backup for four seasons, left the Broncos and signed a four-year, $72 million contract with the Houston Texans this offseason.
Why would the Broncos or any team want to take a chance on Kaepernick? I mean, he was benched following the Nov. 1 loss to the Rams for Blaine Gabbert, a quarterback that held a 5-22 NFL Record at the time.
The reason is that teams are confident that Kaepernick still has plenty left in the tank. They believe that given the right circumstances, Kaepernick could fulfill senior ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski’s 2013 claim that his skill set could allow him to be one of the best quarterbacks ever.
In 2012, and even 2013 when Kaepernick led the 49ers to a near NFC championship game victory, Kaepernick’s play seemed to warrant Jaworski’s claim. However, in the past two seasons, his statistics have told a much different story: he threw fewer touchdowns and more interceptions.
What sticks out the most to me is the fact that in 2014, Kaepernick was sacked 52 times — the second most in the NFL. In 2015, he was sacked 28 times in just eight games. What happened to the elusive quarterback who could evade defenders and turn a potential sack into a big rushing gain?
While it is true that this high sack total can be equated to a decline in play of the offensive line, it is also a result of Kaepernick not being as comfortable in his role as he was in his first two years. This can be chalked up to the 2014 rumors that his biggest believer, Head Coach Jim Harbaugh, was going to be gone as head coach in 2015.
Harbaugh ultimately made the call to start Kaepernick over Smith back in 2012, and the knowledge of his inevitable departure severely affected Kaepernick’s confidence. Other media stories, such as the flak he received for wearing a Miami Dolphins hat in the 2014 offseason and his teammate’s displeasure over his “Beats” headphones proved to be a distraction as well.
These aren’t excuses for Kaepernick. He sucked the past two years. He constantly failed to progress through his reads and overthrew open receivers when he did find them. He also didn’t run the ball nearly as effectively as he did in the past, which is what makes him so special.
This trade will prove to be the best-case scenario for both parties. Kaepernick has the potential to thrive playing behind the league’s best defense in Denver. The 49ers can now draft their quarterback of the future with the 7th overall pick and not worry about the media circus that Kaepernick brings.
There’s no denying that Kaepernick was an absolute game changer for the 49ers during his time there. There’s also no denying that the NFL changes very fast, and the 49ers learned that the hard way. The 49ers made the right decision to move forward with their rebuild, and this decision will benefit both teams.
4. Stop pitting women against each other on social media
Photo courtesy of David Melchor Diaz/Flickr
April 7, 2016
In the current digital age we live in, social media reigns over most of our lives. We convince our online following that we are the protagonists of a perfect life, and we subtly but voluntarily compete with each other through the way we portray ourselves on our personal online accounts.
But for some, especially girls and women, digital-era competition has become less voluntary, more imposed and primarily based on appearance. The Ayesha Curry versus Kim Kardashian comparison that recently swept the Internet serves as a pivotal example of how social media, and the media in general, pit women against each other.
Golden State Warrior and current NBA MVP Stephen Curry has been in the limelight the past few seasons and his “perfect” wife Ayesha and their children have also captured the attention of many. Last December, Curry tweeted about her personal preference of “keeping her stuff covered up for the one who matters” when she steps out of the house.
A few months later, in early March, Kardashian tweeted a naked full-frontal selfie where she placed black censor bars over her intimate parts. Neither one of them directly targeted the other, but the Internet was quick to compare the two posts and women involved.
Both of these women clearly present themselves very differently in public and statements along the lines of “we have too many Kims in this world, and not enough Ayesha’s” bounce around from Twitter to Instagram accounts daily. Both women have become the standard of high and low, to which the average woman is compared on all major social media platforms.
This type of social media-instigated competition is not a new or strange phenomenon. In the music industry, Adele can hardly enjoy a certain level of success without the media bringing Taylor Swift’s album sales into the mix, under headlines that state that the success of one makes the other look like a “nobody.” In the entertainment business, headlines often tell us how “jealous” Kylie Jenner is of big sister Kendall for her ongoing success in the modeling industry.
Just last week, two of our nation’s current presidential candidates engaged in a “Twitter war” after Donald Trump retweeted a picture of an unflattering shot of Ted Cruz’s wife next to a glamour shot of his own wife, agreeing with the caption on the photo that read, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”
For critics on social media, the degree to which Curry and Kardashian are being compared has very little to do with their personal success and very much to do with how they choose to dress — or not dress — in this particular case. This is the larger issue with this comparison game.
How these women choose to dress does not define them. How these women choose to raise their children does not make one better than the other. How these women choose to embrace their sexuality does not determine their worth or their value as females.
Both of these “types” of women can coexist without the world having to choose which one is better. Society shouldn’t have to put one down in order to praise the other or lose its mind every time one makes a decision that others don’t agree with.
In 2012, Time magazine reported that female bullies target other females in the workforce 70 percent of the time. It becomes harder to support our female colleagues and peers when we are constantly told that women are our biggest competition simply because of our shared anatomy. Workplace bullying or competition in relation to appearance may vary from place to place, but the need to compete with one another is born long before a woman enters the workplace.
Many girls and women have close friends that do things much differently than they do. They make different clothing and makeup choices and they have different role models. But just because one wears a longer skirt or shows less cleavage does not mean that one is more deserving of respect than the other. More importantly, a woman is not limited to identifying herself as an “Ayesha” or a “Kim.” I am neither.
When social media tries to pit women against women, they are pitting women against their friends, coworkers and colleagues, among others, and it is tiresome. I never signed up for it and I am sure I can speak for most women when I say that unless I am competing with someone for a job, a promotion or in a soccer match, I want no part in it. There is enough success to go around for all.
There seems to be something about women empowering each other that bother many, but becoming aware of the division among us that is constantly being encouraged is a great place to start fighting back. Standing shoulder-to-shoulder in a male-dominated world is what has lead women to successfully create change in the past. Voting rights were not accomplished through catfights with one another, and our ongoing fight for equality in the workplace will not be either. We will always be stronger together than we will be apart.
5. Oakland’s Moneyball has worn thin on me
Here today, gone tomorrow for Athletics
April 7, 2016
Dear Lew Wolff,
I moved to the Bay Area from the Boston suburbs when I was 7 years old. Not long after, my mom took me to a San Francisco Giants game, but it just wasn’t for me: their brand new stadium felt too rich and pretentious for a small town kid like me.
I fell in love with your Oakland Athletics in 2008 when a good friend of mine took me to a game.
He was wealthy, so seeing his family support this low budget team and not the wealthy team across the Bay was inspirational. While I love my Boston Red Sox, I’ll never forget the first time being at an A’s game: the fans supported the team regardless of the environment.
You guys sucked at the time. The stadium was terrible, considered one of the worst in the league, but it wasn’t about that. It was about the people. The sense of comradery that never allowed the “Let’s go Oakland” chant die out.
The pungent smell of weed when you walked in. The feeling I got everytime I walked across the Coliseum BART bridge. It was all so symbolic of being an Athletics fan.
I kept the faith, hoping the team would get better.
And it did. During my sophomore year in college, 2012, the team got hot and won their division.
They played the whole season with an underdog mentality: the team had no stars and kind of sucked, but they were ruthless overachievers.
Despite finishing first in their division, that season ended with a Game 5 postseason loss in the divisional round to the Detroit Tigers.
Soon after, as the players began to leave; I was quickly reminded of the franchise’s mindset: “Moneyball.” Your tight pockets hold General Manager Billy Beane hostage and give him little funding to keep our teams together, highlighted in the movie starring Brad Pitt.
Once again, all of our good players were either allowed to enter free agency or were traded. I didn’t care when we let Jason Giambi and Johnny Damon hit free agency back in 2002.
Or when we traded Carlos Gonzalez and Huston Street to the Rockies in 2008. I was too young.
This time around, I wasn’t as forgiving. Seeing guys that had contributed to the 2012 season like Jonny Gomes and Brandon McCarthy sign with other teams with no offers from Oakland pissed me off.
However, we were still competitive in 2013 and it seemed like our core players were here to stay. Josh Donaldson and Yoenis Cespedes were becoming superstars and brought firepower to our offense. Young pitcher Sonny Gray was blossoming into one of the best in the league. Again, we lost in the divisional round of the playoffs, but this team was trending up and fast.
In 2014, I couldn’t believe my eyes. The team was on fire during the first half of the season and were the favorites to win the World Series.
We finally were the aggressors at the trade deadline, acquiring star pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jon Lester while trading away prospects and Cespedes.
It sucked seeing a core piece like Cespedes go, but I absolutely loved the win-now mentality we were exhibiting as it was so different from our “Moneyball” mentality.
I still don’t understand how, but we fell flat on our faces after making those trades. We barely made the playoffs and lost to the Kansas City Royals in heartbreaking fashion: Our bullpen blew an 8-7 lead in the bottom of the 12th inning, in a game that we led 7-3 in the bottom of the 8th inning.
Though the bullpen had issues, this team was still stacked and could definitely compete for a championship for years to come.
I was foolish to entertain the idea that you would pony up the funds to keep these guys together.
The fire sale began.
We let Lester and Samardzija sign with other teams without even making offers. Brandon Moss was traded to the Cleveland Indians and Derek Norris to the San Diego Padres.
Then, the straw that broke the camel’s back: We traded Donaldson to the Toronto Blue Jays.
I still struggle to understand why we made this trade, as Donaldson was still under contract and clearly the best player on our team.
We were the worst team in the league in 2015 while Donaldson went on to win the American League Most Valuable Player award. I couldn’t even watch his highlights, it was just too hard for me to accept that we traded away this stud in an attempt to rebuild.
We did have one bright spot last year and that was Sonny Gray, who solidified his status as one of the best pitchers in the league.
He flirted with numbers that garnered him consideration for the CY Young Award for the best pitcher in the league and he probably would have won it if the team could have scored more runs.
He’s the kind of player that teams like the New York Yankees and Red Sox would trade for in a heartbeat.
And Lou, I know you’re going to let that happen.
I know there is no way in hell that you are gonna sack up and give Gray a $200 million contract that other teams would gladly pay him.
Go ahead, let Billy trade him away for prospects, let’s stock the cupboard with prospects for the future.
Lou, I’m sick of this. What’s the endgame here? As fans, we need answers. This isn’t right.
I’ll never stop believing in the green and gold, but why do you do this to us?
I think I’ve made it clear: True fans don’t care about the low budget stadium. We care about the product on the field.
Please, keep our team together, it’s the only way we are going to achieve this ultimate goal of winning a World Series.
P.S. Please don’t trade Sonny Gray.
6. Cover up your bodies ladies, show off your brain
April 7, 2016
On March 8, Kim Kardashian posted another shameless naked selfie with the hashtag “Happy #InternationalWomen’sDay.” As she posed in front of a mirror, all that could be seen was her naked body. Her nipples and a small portion of her pelvic area were censored by two little black boxes.
International Women’s Day is celebrated annually to recognize the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. It also reminds people that progress has slowed in many places across the world and further action is needed to accelerate gender parity. Women’s History Month in March honors the accomplishments of great women and the ones that are still to come.
Kardashian did not leave much to the imagination, as you could tell she was fully unclothed. Contrary to what some may think, posing naked on social media is not a form of feminism. Let’s call it what it is: showing off your body to get attention in order to get more likes. This should not be hidden behind the guise of feminism.
On social media, young women and underaged girls post provocative pictures, sometimes in lingerie and thongs or with nothing on at all. We see pictures of excess cleavage in a bra and even girls lying nude in their bed. It is everywhere.
Some artists like Nicki Minaj show off their bodies and are viewed as sex objects. In an online interview on YouTube posted in 2015, Minaj said that she doesn’t want girls to see the “Anaconda” music video and think, “let me go and shake my ass.” But for much of the video, Minaj is either bent over in a thong, twerking or giving a lap dance to rap artist Drake. In the interview she continued to say her biggest concern is that her fans are educated. Minaj is sending the wrong message. When young girls who idolize her see that video, they copy what she does. They do not think about education, instead they think about getting attention for their assets.
Women pose for attention or to gain notoriety as sex symbols, but this doesn’t make sense to me. Women should not sell their souls for attention. Women should be valued for their intelligence and independence. Men don’t have to take off their clothes to be respected or valued; if women want to be equal, they should be held to the same standard. International Women’s Day is about equality between men and women.
Feminists fight against the patriarchy to show they are powerful just like men. The first wave of feminism was about the injustice women faced with voting and property ownership. The second wave emphasized how women faced sexism and patriarchy in their personal lives and the third wave focused on the individual. Some say that the Internet may have sparked a fourth wave of feminism online. The new wave, like the ones before, challenges misogyny and sexism portrayed in advertising, film, literature, media, and more through the Internet and social media.
There is nothing wrong when women pose nude for a micropolitical statement. For example, women pose nude to highlight body diversity, or breast cancer survivors pose nude to inspire other women who are facing the same battles. When done right, posing naked can be a form of activism for a greater purpose.
Just posting a naked picture to be flattered is not the same. Showing off your body to the world is unacceptable for men and women. I would not want my future husband to pose nude, just as he wouldn’t want the mother of his children to pose nude. Our nudity is a private matter.
There’s always this different standard for women and men. Women are constantly judged for their appearance, especially when they lead a life in the public eye. Hillary Clinton is criticized for how she looks and what she wears, but Bernie Sanders escapes those judgements. If women want to be empowered and taken seriously, we must rely on our intelligence and hard work, rather than our looks.
Regardless of what is portrayed in the media or what celebrities or models you see posing naked, do not fall into that trap of objectification. Kardashian did not honor National Women’s Day with her selfie. Posing naked for media popularity is not a statement of first, second, or any other wave of feminism.
7. New people-rating application: Hurtful or harmless?
April 7, 2016
When I first heard about “Peeple,” the app notoriously dubbed “Yelp for humans,” the app hadn’t even been launched yet, and the talk wasn’t positive. Let’s face it, an app that allows users to rate and review employers, exes, coworkers and anyone else they know, similarly to how one would rate a restaurant or dentist through the business review platform Yelp, is sure to attract a fair amount of criticism.
On March 7, the free app officially launched in the Apple store. An active Facebook account, a smart phone and a cell phone number are all that a user needs to write a public review about anyone they want. If that makes you uncomfortable, you’re not alone.
According to CEO Julia Cordray, to review someone on Peeple, you would first clarify his or her relationship to you as being either personal, professional or romantic. Next, you can write a review on the person, which will then be published to their profile, pending their approval of it.
Reviews that aren’t approved by the reviewee won’t be published, but they don’t completely disappear either. A paid upgrade in development called the “Truth License” would unlock every review about a person, even the one’s they choose to hide, for a projected price of $0.99 a month, according to Cordray.
If someone is not on the app, you can invite them through Facebook messenger or text, which is where a Facebook account, smart phone and cell number come in. If that person chooses not to join Peeple, the reviews will never go live and can never be accessed, even through use of the Truth License, according to Cordray.
Based out of Calgary Alberta, Canada, “Peeple” is the brainchild of Cordray and Nicole McCullough, friends who initially devised the concept in April 2014 as a more efficient process to connect with people in their personal and professional lives.
The developers touted Peeple as a “positivity app” on their website, with the purpose of showcasing people’s positive attributes, but The Washington Post was quick to call it “terrifying” and dubbed it as the “Internet’s Most Hated App.” According to Peeple, over 15,000 users signed up within a week of it’s debut in the Apple store and has received extensive media coverage. However, not all publicity is good publicity.
Social media pages for the app display a perpetual barrage of angry, insulting comments that brand Cordray as a liar and even a criminal. Entire Twitter pages, such as @PeopleagainstPeeple, were created for the sole purpose of bashing the app, and the developer has even received death threats.
Peeple has sparked a violent hurricane of hostility and outrage in the media that has snowballed dangerously. When targets are painted on the backs of the developers themselves, it’s safe to say that a line has been crossed.
I’m still on the fence. I think the intentions behind the app are good and there’s potential for it to enhance users’ reputations, if used constructively. Cordray should be applauded for her innovation, and at the very least should be spared the hostility.
On the other hand, people on the internet are not inherently kind, as suggested by Cordray, who optimistically thinks people will use the app to uplift, rather than bully each other. The death threats and hate mail she has received in response to the app is a testimony to the human capacity for cruelty.
Is she naive, as talk show host Dr. Phil suggested in an interview prior to the app’s release, or is she on to something?
I am also concerned about what this signifies for the future of our connectivity. If humans, in all our complexities, can be summed up by a single emoji representing a good, bad or neutral experience as the app allows, aren’t we taking away value from that person, rather than adding to it?
The original prototype proposed a five-star rating system, granted users the ability to create accounts for others and prohibited users from deactivating their accounts. In response to severe backlash regarding these features, Peeple pushed the launch of the app back six months and added additional safety buffers, according to Cordray.
“This is not a bullying app,” said Cordray. “We don’t tolerate any sort of bullying or irresponsible recommendations.”
According to Cordray, the worst thing that can happen is that a user receives a single bad recommendation, for which they can take immediate action to have removed or reported. No longer is there an estimated 48-hour waiting period for a response from developers. Action is instantaneous.
Currently, the app is 100 percent opt-in, meaning nobody can create an account for you, and users have full control over what is posted to their profiles. They can delete recommendations, block and report users and deactivate their accounts.
Cordray clarified that app users have to be 17 and older to download it through the app store, verified by the information supplied on your Apple ID. There’s no official way to enforce this, of course, as anyone can provide a false birthdate, but that’s nothing new; the same can be done on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
Even though the privacy safeguards of social media giants such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram aren’t very different, the consensus seems to be that these protection policies should be more stringent for an app that operates solely on the premise of rating other people. While I applaud Cordray’s innovation and agree with the positive idea behind the app, I still feel that the process needs to be refined.
Will employers be more likely to pass up someone who has a negative review on their profile before giving them an interview? Will screening potential dates or new friends before meeting them become the norm? Will the “Truth License” do as people have suggested, sell privacy at a cheap price?
On the other hand, this could be an extremely useful tool for navigating college life. As a transfer student who started at Cal State East Bay in September, I had to start from scratch. No friends to clue me in about their favorite and least favorite professors or tutors on campus. Peeple could have made my transition a lot easier and in the post-college process of job-hunting or applying to graduate school or internships, recommendations are key. A stockpile of positive reviews certainly doesn’t hurt.
“Think of your character as a new form of currency,” Cordray told The Pioneer. “Your character and the way you show yourself in this world is more important than a resume.”
Peeple is designed to strengthen the connection between humans. But I wonder, if people judge each other by ratings rather than a personal connection, does the app have the potential to kill relationships before they even start? When the quality of a human is quantified through an app, we seem to be moving dangerously further from the human connection and closer to total dependency on a Wi-Fi connection.
8. Students should support faculty strikes
Tam V. Duong Jr.
Photo by Tam Duong Jr./The Pioneer
April 13, 2016
Broke college students in California aren’t the only ones living off ramen and frozen dinners; our CSU professors are also feeling the pinch.
After more than a year of grim negotiations, over 25,000 faculty across the CSU’s 23 campuses poised to strike for higher wages on April 13-15 and 18-19. So potent was the pressure from students, faculty and community members that the California State University system finally saw the light and agreed to meet the CFA’s demands through a tentative compromise on April 8.
Under the agreement, all faculty, including tenure, lecturers, coaches and staff are eligible to receive a 10.5 percent general salary increase over a three-year period, according to a CSU press release. It’s about time. The California Faculty Associationand the California State University system have been involved in salary negotiations since last May when the CFA requested a 5 percent wage increase for the 2015-2016 year. The CSU only agreed to a meager two percent compromise.
If the unfavorable responses to CSU Chancellor White’s visit to East Bay on Feb. 29 were any indication of the climate on campus, there’s no doubt that the strike would’ve happened if the CSU didn’t come around, as it should’ve.
Faculty are understandably fed up with the way the California State University system has ignored their requests. Students should be prepared to drop the books, pick up the signs and join their professors at the picket line if this ever happens again, and it could.
Salary increases over the last decade have been scant and on top of that, faculty experienced a 10 percent pay cut during the recession due to furloughs, according to a third-party fact-finding discussion recommendations report.
The report concluded that the pay increase was workable and essential in order to provide students with a quality education, but the CSU argued that it didn’t have the $110 million dollars for the 5 percent general wage and 2.65 percent service salary increase that the CFA requested.
Clearly, that was a bluff. The CSU threatened that in order to accommodate the CFA’s demands, significant programs and projects would have to be cut. But somehow they’ve been able to pull the funds together and work around it, evidenced by the compromise.
Teachers, coaches and staff are the lifeblood of a school. They are more than just instructors, they’re also mentors and role models. Their hard work and influence extends far outside of the classroom, and though you can’t put a price on the value they bring to the young workforce, the CSU system can certainly do better to recognize them for their hard work.
According to the CFA’s 2015 “Race to the Bottom” report, CSU faculty on average earn about $45,000 a year before taxes, with more than 50 percent making under $38,000 gross earnings annually.
About half the CSU faculty is considered part-time, but if all faculty were paid full-time wages, in 2014 the gross earnings would only amount to $55,000 or less, which is the same as what a truck driver makes, and almost $20,000 less than what a K-12 teacher makes, according to the report. In addition, the fact-finder report confirmed that CSU faculty are underpaid compared to other university faculty. They deserve better.
Meanwhile, tuition rates have steadily climbed hundreds of dollars during the past ten years, and last year the final budget agreement awarded the CSU $216 million of new funding, according to the CSU. While 38.5 percent of that was allocated to increase enrollment rates by approximately 12,000 students, only 24.5 percent of the budget went toward compensation. If Chancellor White, who makes $430,746 a year according to The Los Angeles Times, won’t make professors a priority, students must do it instead.
Fighting for professor’s wages equates to fighting for your education. When the faculty agreed to strike, they also had students in mind.
Students can learn a lesson from this situation far more valuable than any essay or quiz you might take in a classroom: Fight for what you believe in.
Ask yourself, what quality of an education do you want? How much do you value your educators? Forget the classic apple-for-the-teacher gesture of appreciation. The best thing students can do for their education is to stand by faculty.
9. Should men carry feminine hygiene products?
The new chivalry
Graphic by Kristiana Federe/The Pioneer
April 14, 2016
Almost every woman can share at least one traumatic story that starred Aunt Flo. After all, she is the most inconsiderate aunt of all aunts. Some months she arrives early and unannounced, while other months she arrives late with a thirst for vengeance. Or shall I say, leak of vengeance?
About a month ago, a young man by the name of Chance Ward took to Facebook to share a personal story about an experience during his visit to the gym.
“So I’m in the gym today (getting my life to Truffle Butter on this elliptical ofc) when the girl next to me asks her friend if she has an extra tampon,” Ward’s Facebook post starts off. “Realizing that I overheard, she looked up and literally apologized to me, clearly embarrassed af.”
As he realized how embarrassed the girl felt, Ward told her not to worry. Then he did the unimaginable. He reached into his fanny pack and offered her one of the tampons he carries in case any of his female friends ever needed one.
“By the look on her face you would have thought I did a magic trick and pulled 36 titty-tasseled bunny rabbits out that damn bag,” he stated in his post. “This is so sad. Why don’t y’all love y’all friends that menstruate?” His post received more than 47,000 likes, about 7,000 “loves,” nearly 9,800 shares and 71 comments, most of which are positive.
But Ward is not the first guy to ask men to carry sanitary products for their menstruating friends. Last year, 15-year-old Jose Garcia from Miami started the #realmensupportwomen hashtag after he posted a picture of himself holding pads and urging all guys to carry sanitary products to help women. His hashtag quickly began to trend and he received an outpour of praise from girls and women who thanked him for his thoughtfulness.
Although the thought to ask a guy for a pad or tampon never occurred to me before, I caught myself nodding my head in agreement as I read the messages of these two young men.
Keeping in mind how many girls and women menstruate, why shouldn’t men develop the chivalrous habit of stashing a few tampons or pads in the glove compartments of their cars or under their bathroom sinks for their lady friends?
No matter how well a woman tracks Mother Nature’s monthly visits, no single smartphone app can guarantee that Aunt Flo will be punctual. While some women experience regular periods, others who are irregular are often left guessing when their periods are going to make their appearance. This means that girls and women are often caught off guard and unprepared for her undesired visit, which on average, lasts three to five days.
Still, expecting all men to carry or stash pads and tampons for their female friends feels like a far reach when we take into account the taboo that surrounds menstruation that still dominates society.
Why periods are still taboo today, and where period-shaming stems from are the two main questions at hand. Lack of discussion about menstruation from an early age could be what is translating into the lack of comfortable discussion about menstruation even as adults.
In early February, the National Conference of State Legislatures reported that only 22 states and Washington D.C. require public schools to teach sex-education. However, there is no mandated curriculum, which means it varies from school to school with no clear indication of how thoroughly menstruation is taught to both boys and girls, or if it is included in sex-ed curriculums at all.
Efforts to destigmatize periods have been especially heavy within the past year and Cosmopolitan magazine even dubbed 2015 “The Year The Period Went Public,” after conversations about periods reached never before seen levels, especially online.
But this does not directly mean that men have stopped shying away from the topic of menstruation, or even that period-shaming has come to an end. Not even among women themselves.
Many girls and women, myself included, still hide their pads or tampons up their sleeves on their way to the restroom and attempt to open them as quietly as possible, especially in shared public restrooms, as if the girl in the stall next to them does not know Aunt Flo on a personal level too. However, this type of period shaming is not entirely attributed to personal insecurities on behalf of girls and women. We have society to thank for this.
In March of 2015, feminist artist Rupi Kaur posted an image on Instagram that was part of her “Period” photo series for a university project. Kaur’s post featured a woman laying in bed facing the wall with period blood leaked onto her grey sweat pants and bed sheets. Controversy was immediate after Instagram deleted the photo, not once but twice, for “violating the site’s community standards,” according to Instagram.
“When the photo was removed a second time it became more than a school project, it became a fight,” Kaur told HuffPost UK Lifestyle last July. Kaur did not take the removals of her image lightly and questioned why Instagram would, “remove an image that doesn’t actually violate anything, but at same time host images that are so sexually violent?” Kaur used PornHub’s Instagram account as an example of this hypocrisy.
Situations such as Kaur’s are what condition girls and women to believe that periods are gross and should be kept private. In reality, periods are completely normal, natural, healthy and often carry good news. Especially for those women who accidentally skipped their birth control pill a few times or failed to take the necessary precautions to avoid an unplanned pregnancy.
Walking through the pad and tampon aisle and standing in line with a large box of pads or tampons is an uncomfortable experience for many girls, even though periods are a natural human function of the female body. Something about everyone in the store watching you buy pads or tampons feels like too much about you is being exposed. Especially when it has to do with your period, the very thing that we girls and women have always been taught to keep secret.
For this reason, encouraging men to support their female friends feels like the next appropriate step to take. If men develop the new chivalrous habit of stashing sanitary products for their friends, perhaps that walk through the tampon aisle will become less embarrassing, and a male cashier will not make a girl want to snatch her receipt and immediately run away.
10. I’m about to graduate: What’s next?
April 14, 2016
With spring graduation only two months away and soon to be a CSUEB alumna, the only thing on my mind is: What comes next? After spending the last six years of my life walking around the East Bay campus and feeling like graduation was centuries away, now that it’s rapidly approaching, I keep questioning myself about the next direction I need to take in life.
Family, teachers and friends told me that in order to be successful in this country, I needed to attend college, but now that I’m almost done and will soon possess a communications degree, I wonder about the next step I need to take to guarantee myself a successful future. After having this conversation with almost every other classmate, I came to see I’m not the only student feeling unsure about what I should invest my time and energy into after graduation.
I remember a conversation I had with one of my colleagues two months ago where she asked what my plans after graduation were. As soon as she asked that question I paused. The first thing that crossed my mind was a moment of realization — graduation was just around the corner and not a century away anymore. So I instantly asked her what her plans after graduation were. She said she was still unsure, but more than likely she was going to find a corporate job somewhere.
Coincidentally, the next day during one of my class lectures, the instructor asked the students to raise their hand if they knew what career path they were going to take after graduating college. A few students raised their hands, but many kept them down. Right after analyzing all the hands that were not raised, I knew I was not the only person in this campus feeling confused about life after college.
Now that I find myself searching for the perfect diploma frame, tassel and cap and gown, it’s sad to say goodbye to the school that changed my perspective in life through valuable learning experiences. Instructors and counselors tell me it’s not easy to find a career job right after graduating college. They say statistics prove that theory, so where does that leave us, the graduating students? The fact that I hear that phrase on a weekly basis leaves me fearing the moment I grab my diploma and walk down the stage the day of my graduation commencement.
For a few months, I was not looking forward to graduating college because the future no longer felt secure. After graduation, I will pursue a career in the media industry. I will start a business, I will travel around the world, I will share my story and I will be the woman I proposed myself to be.
College is a chapter in life that prepares us for the future. It is also a chapter that has an ending, which needs to be concluded for individuals to continue with their lives and be who they are destined to be. Cal State East Bay, you will be missed. Thank you for the opportunities, the friends, and the way you positively changed my life. Go Pioneers!
11. Bernie Sanders right fit for President
Illustration by Crystal Jeffers/The Pioneer
April 14, 2016
Selecting the presidential candidate who is right for you can be a difficult decision. A president’s background, ethnicity, religion and name recognition should not matter. A president must have solid policy on the most important issues to the American public such as healthcare for all and the increasing wealth gap.. Only one candidate successfully tackles these issues head-on: Bernie Sanders.
Sanders is very charismatic — not in the traditional George Clooney way — and is a down to earth person. He embodies what it means to be a normal person. His hair is shaggy, his suits do not always fit properly. He often looks more like Alfred than Batman. However, Sanders is not afraid of to speak his mind and will fight tooth and nail for the American people as he demonstrated when defending gay and lesbian military members, who have served and died, when Duke Cunningham called to remove them from service during a C-SPAN telecast in 1995.
Clinton certainly has the background to become commander in chief; she was the former secretary of state and senator of New York. She is an advocate for the cure of Alzheimer’s disease, stopping campus sexual assault and criminal justice reform. While Clinton’s resume looks amazing, she is not a better candidate than Sanders.
Clinton said that she was “dead broke” after leaving the White House during an interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer in 2001. However, she forgot to mention that she purchased a $2.85 million dollar house just prior to leaving the White House, according to Jon Greenberg of PolitiFact. Clinton’s comments come off as if she is one of the working class — the blue collared workers, the UPS delivery drivers, the EMTs. The Clintons have made $230 million since they left the White House through speaking engagements, books, and consulting, according to Dan Alexander of Forbes.
In 2000, 33.7 percent of Americans made less than $35,000. However, in 2014, 51.43 percent of Americans make less than $35,000, according to the Social Security Administration.
Sanders intends to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.50 to $15 by 2020, whereas Clinton intends to raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour.
“I’m more comfortable saying let’s get to $12, in a reasonable, expeditious way” said Clinton at Grinnell College, Iowa. Clinton is not comfortable fighting for the rights of citizens so she will settle halfway to the finish line.
However, an individual who works 40 hours a week, every week of the year, will still make under $25,000. Twelve dollars an hour will not suffice. The average rent for a one bedroom apartment in Oakland is $2,000 according the SFGate. If a person made $12 an hour and lived in Oakland, it would take 166.67 hours — 4.166 work weeks — a month to pay for rent before taxes.
Sanders has been fighting for a Democratic Socialist America, where basic services such as medicare and college education are available to anyone who needs them. Sanders’ campaign is based on equaling the playing field for everybody in the nation by providing everybody with the opportunity to succeed. One percent of the nation currently owns as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent of all Americans, according to the Sanders’ campaign website. Three million Americans own as much wealth as the bottom 288 million Americans.The richest 20 billionaire own more wealth than the bottom 50 percent of Americans.
Sanders will input a progressive tax plan that appropriately taxes people according to their income. The more somebody makes, the higher percentage they will be taxed, said Alan Cole and Scott Greenberg of the Tax Foundation.
Social Security funds have dwindled because people who make more than $118,500 are not taxed on money over that value. For instance, people who currently make $10,000 $75,000 or $118,500 a year get taxed on that full amount, whereas a person who makes $5 million a year is only taxed up to $118,500. The other $4,750,000 goes untaxed by Social Security. Sanders plans to lift the Social Security income tax cap above $250,000 according to Alan Cole and Scott Greenberg of Tax Foundation.
Clinton supported the war with Iraq, stating that Saddam had spent years developing a nuclear program and funding Al Qaeda, which were later proven false. As Secretary of State, she supported the invasion of Libya, which ultimately served to destabilize the region, according to Conor Friedersdorf of the Atlantic. Libya has been in a constant state of civil war and unrest since we invaded them. Google “Libya” and you will find more pictures of destruction than life.
If Clinton is elected, the same fate awaits Syria, said Jeffrey Sachs of the Huffington Post.
According to Neta Crawford of Brown University, the last war led to the death of 165,000 Iraqi civilians. Four thousand four hundred eighty-six American soldier lives were lost and there is now $7 trillion owed in projected interest payments since the war was funded by borrowed money, reports Michael B. Kelley of Business Insider.
Lastly, Clinton is currently under investigation by the FBI for owning a private web server which may have contained top secret documents. Before the investigation began, Clinton deleted the emails which were slated to be reviewed by the FBI, said Natasha Bertrand of Business Insider. Clinton appears to have been hiding the evidence which looks very guilty. Sanders’ only run-in with the law was in August of 1963, where he was charged with resisting arrest after protesting segregation at a school in south-side Chicago says Tim Murphy of Mother Jones.
Sanders has been the only consistent politician and person in the presidential race. For the last 50 years he has been an advocate of equal rights, and fights oppressive governmental economic policy. He is opposed to social, racial and economic inequality, regime change and senseless wars. Because of this, Sanders is the only choice to be the 45th President of the United States.
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