Death Rights

Chloe Kwak, Contributor 

When 29- year-old Brittany Maynard spoke publicly about the decision to end her life due to terminal illness, Death with Dignity Laws gained national attention.

Maynard, who died Nov.1 with medical assistance, moved to Oregon because of its Death with Dignity Law. The law allows terminally ill residents access to prescription drugs that induce death.

Texas does not have a Death with Dignity law.

“Texas is so far away from even starting a conversation like that, I don’t see that happening in my lifetime,” ACC nursing professor Sandra Yaklin said.

Texas has the Advance Directives Act of 1999, also known as the Texas Futile Care Law.

The law allows a healthcare facility to discontinue life-sustaining treatment ten days after giving written notice if such life-sustaining measures are deemed futile by the treating medical team.

Texas conservative nature and possible overlap with the Futile Care Law are possible reasons Texas may not pass a Death with Dignity Law.

On the Record: Robert Skiles

Jessica Youssefi — Contributor 

ACCENT: How long have you been composing and performing?

SKILES: My mother was a concert pianist and my dad was a jazz trumpet player, so truthfully I was around music from infancy on. I started plunking notes at the piano at age two or three.

ACCENT: As founder of Beto and the Fairlanes, how has the band’s success had an impact on your music career?

SKILES: We started playing at a place called Liberty Lunch. The city council would stop their meetings and come down to Liberty Lunch and dance to Beto and the Fairlanes. We are still going strong. I have been very blessed with the gift of these wonderful players that play my music and add something that no other band can achieve.

ACCENT: Who are some of your jazz and Latin music influences?

Photo by Jessica Youssefi

SKILES: I went to college and was influenced by pianists like Art Tatum and Bill Evans and of course the more modern ones — Chickeria, Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie, and a pantheon of jazz icons. The Latin influence largely comes from Tito Puente, Pérez Prado and Ray Barretto.

ACCENT: What kind of recognition have you received as a musician?

SKILES: I have six, maybe seven CD’s of my band Beto and the Fairlanes and they’ve gained national recognition and critical acclaim. One got four stars in a magazine called Downbeat. I’ve performed and written for the Austin Symphony, the Louisville Symphony and the Laredo Symphony. But as far as making a hit record like Lady Gaga, I’m not there yet.

ACCENT: What is your fondest musical memory?

SKILES: I was the music director of singer Tish Hinojosa. She wanted to perform in front of orchestras, so I wrote arrangements, many of which were my compositions, for her orchestra. She collaborated on the lyrics. Standing in front of the [92-piece] orchestra — when I first heard them, I melted. I just had to look at them and say “do that again.” It was like driving a Ferrari.

ACCENT: How did your time in arranging and performing with the Unity Church of the Hills Austin shape you?

SKILES: Well, it influenced me a great deal because I had to be at the top of my game there. Each week we had different songs to learn and rehearse. I wrote the

charts for the band and worked with a vocalist really closely. That was a great education. The music genre was contemporary gospel, which is everything from rock-and-roll to traditional gospel. I was there for twelve years.

ACCENT: How has your wide-ranging musical background helped direct you in teaching music at ACC?

SKILES: I bring to bear all the experience that I’ve had over the past 66 years of being active on this planet. I focus it on points that the students need to learn. For example, how I got cheated by my record company, or my experience in California writing music for a feature film and encounters with the music business in Austin — from playing at the Armadillo to receiving an award at ACC.

ACCENT: What is your advice for ACC students or local musicians trying to make a name for themselves in the Austin music scene?

SKILES: It’s extremely difficult. Hang on to your inspiration and make sure that your passion is guiding your decisions and not some other reason.

ACCENT: During the 2010-2011 academic year, you received the ACC Teaching Excellence Award. What did that recognition mean to you?

SKILES: That recognition was a celebration of the relationship I have with the students. The really important thing is recognizing that I’ve had an impact on a wider scope than just ACC. I had an impact through my students.

Student Voice: The Abortion Question

Adriel Vigo, Contributor 

What are you thoughts on Texas law which caused the majority of the state’s abortion clinics to close because of its restrictions on abortion providers?”

Daniel Hall —

“I’ve always been pro- choice. It’s a woman’s body. Then of course there’s a point where life starts and that should be the point. Even sometimes the woman’s life is at stake, not to mention her livelihood.

 

Katlyn White —

“I feel that this decision is a war on women. Abortion is a woman’s choice — not to be left up to some senators somewhere who don’t always know what they’re talking about. Overall decisions like these make me feel like Texas politics can be a boy’s club.”

 

Diane Grande —

“I don’t agree with having any abortion clinics, I feel that if you and your partner are old enough to make the decision to have sex and you’re not responsible enough to take the precautions of protecting yourself, then instead of abortion, adoption could be a great choice. If not adoption, maybe giving it to a responsible family member which would allow you to still be a part of that child’s life.”

 

Tristan Cox —

In the Declaration of Independence we are guaranteed life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Many women could argue that getting an abortion can help them in their pursuit of happiness. Therefore,with Texas making the abortion process incredibly difficult,women can find aspects of their pursuit of happiness threatened.”

 

E’lana Vaughn —

“If someone was raped and would like to get an abortion that needs to be their decision. But, if someone decides to live a promiscuous life and treat the baby as some inconvenience they can throw away whenever, a problem arises.”

 

Chantelle Watson —

“I believe you should have the right to an abortion if you want to. But at the same time, you should be in a facility that you know you’ll be taken care of causing me to agree with the hospital standards requirement part of the law.”

Handling Stress

Sarah Samson and Chloe Kwak, Contributors 

Attending college can be exciting, yet stressful — especially during finals.

A 2013 survey conducted by the Higher Education Research Institute reported that more than 30 percent of all college freshman often felt overwhelmed.

ACC students are no exception and have their own ways of dealing with stress.

“I have a job and sometimes have to pick up my brother and make dinner for my family,” Analee Cantu, a music student at the Northridge Campus, said. “I get up really early to make breakfast and do homework.”

Cantu plays classical music while reading to create a relaxing atmosphere and said she likes to avoid unnecessary stress by not waiting until the last minute to study. She is also careful to get enough sleep and ask for help when needed.

“I know lot of people don’t actually seek help,” Cantu said. “Seeking help is not an embarrassing thing. It can actually save you from an ugly letter grade you might have gotten without any help.”

Although grades are not everything, they are an important indication of performance. Business major Heidi McCallum said, “Keeping up a good GPA is a source of stress, and I get stressed the most right before the exam.”

McCallum relieves her stress through hiking and other outdoor activities but also places great importance on being ready for exams.

“Be prepared. Know the material so you are not stressed about it,” McCallum said. “Study what you are uncertain about, more than the things that you already know.”

Student Marco Gutierrez said he stay plans to take time off from his job ona

so he’ll have plenty of time to write his final papers and study for his exams. He also plans to get a massage during finals week.

Zarina Adams said she plans to get a lot of sleep and eat well so she feels well enough to spend most of her free time studying. Adams said finals week is especially stressful for her because she suffers from test anxiety.

Here are some tips students can use to manage stress during finals:

• Write out a schedule which includes study time.

• Sweat it out — try an exercise class, or go for a run or walk before studying.

• Say no to distractions and try not to spend too much time on social media

• Don’t skip meals.

• Drink plenty of water.

• Allow time for proper sleep.

• Stop and breathe

• Try to stay on a regular schedule

• De clutter . Clean your desk to create a space where you can focus.

• For every hour you study, take a 10-15 minute break.

• Try an activity like baking or cooking to help silence racing thoughts.

• Listen to music while you study.

• Avoid stressful people.

• Visualize everything going right.

• If you’ve studied all you can, feel confident.

• Remind yourself that it will all be over soon.

• Don’t wait until the night before to study for a final exam or write your final paper.

• Talk to someone.

• Laugh.

 

Resources for stress management:

The ACC Counseling Office

www.austincc.edu/support-and-services/services-for- students/ counseling

In addition to academic advising, Student Services counselors are available to help with personal and career concerns.

ACC College skills workshops

www.austincc.edu/degrees-and-certificates/find-classes/student- skills-workshops

The guide is designed to help identify common mental health disorders, their warning signs and how to manage them.

2-1-1 Texas

www.211texas.org/cms

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission’s 2-1-1 database contains easy-to-find information about resources in various communities.

Ulifeline

www.ulifeline.org

This anonymous, confidential, online resource center provides information regarding mental health.

ACC offers many free online workshops on note-taking, testing, and managing your time and stress.

Guide to College Student Mental Health

www.learnpsychology.org/college-students-and-mental-health

The guide is designed to help identify common mental health disorders, their warning signs and how to manage them.

2-1-1 Texas

www.211texas.org/cms

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission’s 2-1-1 database contains easy-to-find information about resources in various communities.

Ulifeline

www.ulifeline.org

This anonymous, confidential, online resource center provides information regarding mental health.

Contest Winner: Technology in the Classroom

Graham Comstock — Contest Winner

I’d like you to close your eyes for a moment, and think back to videos you’ve seen and books you’ve read about schooling in the 1930s ’40s and ‘50s. Specifically think about college at this time. In my mind I conger up images of Ivy League schools, small classrooms, chalkboards, blazer-clad students, tedious studying, and wire-haired, glasses wearing, briefcase toting professors. Does this ring a bell to you? Some of this might be true as going to college was far more elite back in these days. According to the 2000 US Census, about 25% of the population went to college to earn a bachelors degree at this time, compared to today’s 80% (Garner). In these days, lectures involved writing on chalkboards, questions, and the professors lecturing for most of the class. It is easy to say that something in the college classroom has changed since these time, but what has changed?

Technology is a term that is thrown around quite a bit now, this is because it has been increasing in popularity recently. But what is technology? The Merriam Webster dictionary defines technology as such: “the use of science in industry, engineering, etc., to invent useful things or to solve
problems” (Technology). However, I would define is as: the implementation of certain devices in order to make a process more simple and efficient. Things such as: internet, cellular phones, automobiles, video all come to mind. All of these are recent advancements in technology that have taken large steps in making our daily lives more simple and efficient. In short, technology makes life easier.

In recent years there has been many new technologies introduced into the collegiate classroom; have these advancements been beneficial to the student? Or have they been harmful? Since the times when professors used chalkboards and slide-rules, there have been many implementations of technology in the classroom, such as: the overhead projector, powerpoint, classroom response units, classroom testing

systems, online class systems such as Blackboard, and even entire classes taught online. It is my intent to investigate what aspects of the college learning experience these technologies have changed!

One of the first technological introductions was the rollout of the overheard projector. Many classrooms began to use overheads in the 1960s. This was because they offered revolutionary features; pre-printed material could be projected in front of the classroom, the professor could make alterations to the material and even work through problems from one workstation (Shapiro). They key was that these could be reused countless times. There was no need to erase, all that had to be done was to get another sheet. Many high school and college classrooms still have and use overhead projectors (although many have been digitized) today.

Many years after the overhead projector debuted in the classroom, in early 2000’s students began to see their professors utilize power point in classroom settings. Powerpoint was similar to the overheard projector in that pre-made material could be presented to the classroom, however powerpoint was a com- pletely digital process. There was no need to print material or slide through it. Many professors create their own presentations, however there are many available series that can be used that are packaged for an individual class. In recent years, many students have grown tired with powerpoint presentations. Stating, “PowerPoint is a convenient prop for poor speakers, it can reduce complicated messages to simple bullet points and it elevates style over substance; and that these three things contribute to its
popularity.” (Wright). It is true to say that powerpoint presentations make lecturing easy for the professor. I would like to include that sometimes powerpoint presentations may be necessary to present photos, data, graph, etc. Yet most of it’s uses are not for this purpose. Many times, the professor narrates slide by slide the bulleted information presented by the powerpoint.

Classroom response units are a relatively new technology. They are being installed in more and more classrooms around the country every year (Moreditch). Usually called clickers, classroom response systems are aimed to engage the students in a classroom through interaction presented by the professor.

Oftentimes with quiz questions, voting, polling, or even attendance. It might be a misstatement to say that clickers “engage” the class, because engaging means that the clickers are attractive and encourage the class to participate. However nothing is encouraging when it’s graded. Student find themselves taking notes with the threat of ‘clicker questions’ at the end of the presentation. But if this is the ploy of the pro- fessor, then so-be-it. One thing that the clickers do not take into account is how easy it is for a student to give their unit to another classmate (Ivers). Granted this is academic dishonesty, but I have to remark that the professor should not make it that easy to cheat.

Blackboard. Blackboard has been the most radical development to impact the classroom. Nothing discussed previously competes with the implementations that Blackboard offers the college community. Blackboard is a university wide class integration system that offers a multitude of online services. Black- board is customized for each application by each university. Many services available are: grades, home- work, announcements, content, quizzes, testing, etc. It is my opinion that each university supplies the fea- tures of Blackboard far beyond what professors utilize (Ivers). The most common use is the grading plat- form, and from personal experience I can say that many professors are unfamiliar with posting grades. Many features that blackboard offers are not utilized, even for such an simple activity as posting grades. Even if it is not fully implemented, Blackboard is still an excellent way for submission to the professor; on both the student and professors part. Wether it be homework, assignments, quizzes, etc.

Many marvel at the fact that online classes are now a part of many universities and colleges. On- line (oftentimes called distance learning) classes range from undergraduate classes, seminars, even gradu- ate classes can be offered online. Online classes rely on the use of online class participation systems, usu- ally Blackboard or a comparable platform, where the professor relays information throughout the week directly to the student. One factor that supports online classes is that students across the state, country and even world can enroll in the same class and benefit from learning. Regardless of their schedule, or loca- tion. Online classes are often considered an ‘easy alternative’ to traditional classes. But this is simply not the case, it is conditionally up to the professor to develop a class structure that is educational for the student, and even keeps them involved as distance learning classes can be monotonous and and the student easily become disengaged.

In my opinion, technology has been aimed to make the job for the professor or instructor easier. Advancements have been implemented to make the task simpler. Consider Scantron, a digital grading sys- tem that can grade hundreds of tests in minutes. This is revolutionary, yet there can only by five choices per question. This removed essay questions form tests (the most accurate for to show what you know), all in efforts of making grading easier and faster. As Jordan Shapiro states in a Forbes article, The classroom is not where my students listen (or consume what I deliver). Rather, in the class- room I become a sherpa. I guide them on the journey of their choosing. My job is to know where the treasures are, that all paths lead to jewels of critical thinking. This happens through nuanced conversation, through discussion, through debate and interaction.

Shapiro underlines that technology cannot replace the position of a professor in the classroom setting. Technology assists the professor, but can never replace this role in learning cycle. Simply put, technology has changed the way professors educate. Class time is spent with powerpoint, class response systems, as well as multiple choice exams. While time out of class is spent online. Many might say that the job of a professor is to get as much information through to the students in one term as possible. The objective of teaching, explaining, and clarifying has been taken out of the classroom. It is difficult to analyze the im- portance of technology in the classroom, especially today when many classes rely solely on technology Braiker). Professors must be careful with the way that they address their student, now that many technologies exists to lessen the burden of the professor, as many technologies take away from the collegiate classroom learning experience.

Contest Winner: Taming a Thirsty Technology Generation

Becky West — Contest Winner 

 

As a little girl, I remember spending New Year’s Eve with my family at home. This was always one of my favorite things because my parents made it a point to turn on the TV and show me the New Year coming in different countries. Once it hit America, I remember my parents would never really open Champaign, but my dad would pop open a fuzzy naval, and pour a tiny bit in a Dixie cup for me, same with the Champaign when they did get some, we would sit around the table and play games, and discuss the different ways New Years Eve was celebrated around the world. I remember one summer going fishing with my dad at the coast, and he opened a beer and let me have a sip or two. Anytime this would happen, they would take the time to teach me about what I was doing, and how to be responsible with alcohol.

There is a timeless great debate over how old a person should be when they begin to drink. Some say the age should be 18, some say it should be 21. Honestly, I believe it should be 18, and parents need to have a greater involvement in educating their kids in the responsibility of drinking. Why do I believe it should be 18? Because there is a rebellious group of newly independent teens and young adults who are throwing underground parties for the sole purpose of binge drinking. Where is the correlation between the two? Look at Prohibition. The ban of alcohol never eliminated the drinking issue, it may have curbed it, and many groups supported cleansing the society of the disease, but it saw a whole new wave of moonshining and bootlegging never seen before. Take away the thrill of rebellion, and it no longer serves the fulfillment that is sought through doing what is highly denied. Those that feel it should stay at 21 say it should because 18 year olds are not yet mature enough to understand responsibility while consuming alcohol.

As an adult, I enjoy a drink like any other. I did begin drinking publicly between the ages of 20 and 21, but between my choices in friends, and what my parents taught me, I knew to never have more than one, and drink it slowly. One key thing was my choices in friends. Having mature, responsible, older friends has made all the difference in my drinking. This again comes back to my parents teaching me that, who you surround yourself with determines where your life’s path will lead you, which means being responsible enough to make those choices that will take your path in a positive direction.

As a childcare worker, I see broken homes every day. Quite a few of those are due to drugs and alcohol. I find the most troublesome kids are the one’s who come from those broken homes, meaning less parent involvement. The more parent and family involvement in educating a child, the better off they are. The biggest way I was taught my life lessons was through hard, physical work. When I had my hands and body involved in something, I felt a sense of pride and accomplishment. What does this have to do with drinking? Pride and accomplishment leaves one fulfilled, and taking away a common purpose for drinking: filling a void and drowning life’s painful moments. However, there are a few people today against “child labor” of any kind, citing it as a form of abuse.

Could there be a link between all the technology youth are becoming bored with and drinking? Possibly. While some technology may be great in aiding the learning of youth, we do live in a privileged day and age where not much is required to be earned, so we have adopted a sense of entitlement and laziness, that has set a precedent for younger and future generations. Because of this entitlement, we have lost accountability, which is one of the main elements in parenting.

The “third parties” are now defining parenting today. Parents have become so busy their children are being raised by daycares, babysitters, nannies, coaches, video games, and most often: other family members such as grandparents. Youth today no longer have a stable front setting an example for what is right and what is wrong, leading them to sort through mixed messages from all the different supervision they pass through everyday, and figure things out that way, not really learning a concrete lesson in life. This leaves a whole generation void of positive fulfillment and structure, leaving them seeking it elsewhere, i.e. drinking, drugs, or other means of self-destruction.

Right now, as much as I believe the drinking age should be lowered to 18, I believe we have things to work on before that can happen. Parenting, and the very basis of a family needs to be revisited and society has a whole needs to regroup, and reexamine where we are leading ourselves before we even tackle the issue of a proper legal drinking age. Parents need to once again step up, and teach this next generation the life lessons that will keep them from being interested in one constant fraternity party, or binge drinking when they become independent. In the end it is, perhaps, not the age of the drinker that matters, but the maturity of that person that determines the answer to that question. Can we turn the issue of irresponsibility of thrill seeking youth around? Or is it to late? IF we can go back to the basics, I propose, it is not.

 

 

 

Community College Bond Under Vote in November

Dillon Fleharty– Photo Editor

Voters will decide in November whether Austin Community College will receive roughly $386 million to build new facilities and renovate exist- ing ones.

The Bond package is divided into two propositions: one is focused on the planning and construction of future growth, while the second is focused on funding existing growth, health and safety issues, and sustainability. The propositions, totaling around $386 million, would increase the property tax rate by two cents, meaning homes valued at $200,000 would see an in- crease of $39 per year after the standard homestead exemption. However, seniors and homeowners with disabili- ties would only see an increase of $16.

Trustees are also calling on voters to incrementally increase the college’s property tax cap to help stabilize tuition costs, cover deferred maintenance and expand veteran and adult learning pro-

grams. If passed, it will only be the second time a tax cap has increased in ACC’s 41 years.

Board chair Jeffrey Richard said in a news release, “This proposal takes into account the impact on the public and allows us to ensure a pipeline of skilled workers throughout the region for the jobs of today and tomorrow, while keeping college affordable.”

The ballot will include:

Proposition 1Planned Growth and Workforce Advancement

• Highland campus – creating space for digital media, commercial music, con- tinuing education culinary careers and other creative media

• Leander campus – planned for growth in the northwest
• Land banking for the Southeast Travis County Workforce Training Center

Proposition 1 total: $224.8 million

Proposition 2Existing Campus Growth, Safety, Technology, and Sustainability

•District wide renovations – health, safety and sustainability •Renovations to career training pro- grams facilities after relocations to Highland Campus

•Hays Campus – First Responders Training Center
•Elgin Campus – Veterinary and sus- tainable agriculture programs Proposition 2 total: $161.17 million

Maintenance and Operations Tax Cap

The ACC maintenance tax cap would increase one cent in fiscal years 2016, 2018 and 2020. The current mainte-

nance and operations tax rate is $0.09 per $100 valuation. The total tax impact is estimated to be five cents if all three measures are approved. In addition, school administrators will begin bud- geting for a tuition freeze over the next four fiscal years.

While ACC’s enrollment was 38,611 this past fall, it is down from 40,159 of last year. However, officials project an average annual increase of three percent as the region’s population continues to grow.

ACC’s taxing district includes the city of Austin along with school dis- tricts of Leander, Hays, Elgin, Round Rock, Del Valle and Manor.

Each ACC will hold information ses- sions on the bond.

For more information visit austincc. edu/bond
And for a list of information sessions vist http://bit.ly/1viaDNz

Lackluster Debate Sets Tone for Gubernatorial Race

Forrest Milburn– Editor

In a display lacking the expected fireworks, State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, faced off against Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott at the Edinburg Conference Center in the Rio Grande Valley.

The Sept. 19 debate was the first of two debates set for this year’s gubernatorial election and was moderated by McAllen Monitor editor Carlos Sanchez and reporters Ryan Wolf of Channel 4 KGBT and Dalila Garza of Channel 40 KTLM.

The panelists focused primarily on border security, immigration and other issues that appeal to the state’s growing Hispanic population, a crucial voting bloc that both candidates say they need to court if they plan on claiming victory come November.

However, the opportunity largely passed by unused, with the candidates sounding more polished and rehearsed than one might expect during a contentious race.

While Davis seemed to stay on-point and focus on Texas issues, Abbott often referenced President Barack Obama, seemingly trying to draw a clear connection between the White House and Davis.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re here in the Rio Grande Valley or if you’re in the Panhandle, you want to ensure that your public officials are abiding by the law,” Abbott said, after being asked about corruption along the border and recent comments he made on how the area resembled a “third-world country.” “As your attorney general and as your governor, I will ensure that is done.”

“These comments mean something. They label a community,” Davis said, directing attention to Abbott’s question regarding his “third-world” comments. “Mr. Abbott, although he’s said he has worked on corruption in other parts of this state, has never referred to other parts of [it] as ‘third-world.’ ”

The format also detracted from the effectiveness of the debate. While Sen. Davis was given exactly one minute to answer the first question, After Sen. Davis answered the first question, Abbott was given 45 seconds to make his rebuttal arguments before one of the

panelists returned to ask him a separate question.

Davis expanded on her stand on immigration when she said she believes everyone on the road should be insured including undocumented immigrants.

“As Arizona does, Texas, I believe, should issue driver certificates for people who pass a driver’s test and prove that they have insurance,” Davis said. “That’s the safest way that we can assure that people who are driving on our roads are

driving with the right authority and with the right insurance.”

On to the topic of veterans’ health care, moderator Ryan Wolf noted in his question to Abbott that an annual report ranks the Rio Grande Valley as worst in wait times when it comes to health care for veterans. In response, Abbott said he would work with the federal government as governor to effectively improve the timeliness and quality of health care for veterans.

“It is offensive that the men and women [who] have fought for our country are having to wait and now, it’s been documented, losing their lives because of the inadequate care from Veterans [Affairs],” Abbott said. “The men and women who serve on the front line should not have to be pushed to the back of the line when it comes to their health care needs.”

Abbott also went on to criticize the Obama administration for its lack of establishing a VA hospital in the Rio Grande Valley, an issue that Abbott said Obama campaigned on.

“It is offensive that during his campaign, Barack Obama came down here to the Rio Grande Valley and said that he would establish a veterans healthcare hospital right here,” Abbott said. “We’re still waiting for the president to make true on his promise. I will work with federal authorities to ensure that we get the health care we need for our veterans.”

Davis also sympathizing with the community’s veterans and said that she finds the veterans’ health care situation unacceptable.

support for the death penalty as state law, but also suggested that he would work to improve the law’s effectiveness.

“I am in favor of the death penalty, and we want to ensure the death penalty is going to be enforced effectively,” Abbott said. “However, I think it is important that Texas continues to take a national leadership role in ensuring the accuracy and certainty of the death penalty, and that is why I worked with Sen. Rodney Ellis this last legislative session on an advance DNA testing process in death penalty cases to ensure that if a person is accused of a crime that would face the death penalty, we have the right person.”

The debate between Davis and Abbott was the first gubernatorial debate Texans have seen since 2006. Some Democratic pundits were hoping that Abbott would make a life-threatening mistake on stage, like Clayton Williams did in the 1990 gubernatorial debate when he refused to shake Ann Richards’ hand. Some feel the gesture caused Clayton to lose to Richards by two points in the general election. However, Abbott made no glaring mis- takes.

Abbott often spoke past Sen. Davis, rarely addressing her. Some fiery comments made in each candidate’s answers, including, for example, when Sen. Davis gave her rebuttal to a question about pre-k funding.

“My opponent has proposed standardized tests for four-year-olds to demonstrate that they deserve to have pre-k support, picking and choosing those which would receive it and those which wouldn’t,” Sen. Davis said. “Under Mr. Abbott, four-year-olds in this state can be assured that they’d be subject to standardized tests. The only way they’d get around that is if they hire a lobbyist, form a [Political Action Committee] and donate to the Greg Abbott campaign, because that’s how he works.”

The next and final gubernatorial debate will be held in Dallas on Sept. 30. The debate will include timed responses and follow-up questions and will be televised on all major media markets in the state.

“Right now, [our veterans] are having to drive as far as San Antonio. We have a great opportunity for [fixing] this with the new [University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley] medical school,” Davis said. “I’d like to see us work with the UT-RGV medical school to see if we can create a shared campus that pro- vides a medical hospital specifically for our veterans.” While both candidates disagreed on most issues, they both support Gov. Rick Perry’s deployment of troops to the Texas border.

Both Davis and Abbott criticized the federal government for not acting on the surge of undocumented immigrants in an effective manner.

“If the federal government will not act to secure our border, Texas must, and we will,” Davis said. “I did support the surge of DPS troops to our border, but I also asked [Gov. Perry]— and what I would [have done] had I been governor at the time — I asked him to convene us in a special session so that we could hear from local community members what their needs were here.”

Both Davis and Abbott were also in agreement on their support for the death penalty.

When asked about how he would ensure that innocents are not put to death in the state, Abbott reiterated his support for the death penalty as state law, but also suggested that he would work to improve the law’s effectiveness.

“I am in favor of the death penalty, and we want to ensure the death penalty is going to be enforced effectively,” Abbott said. “However, I think it is important that Texas continues to take a national leadership role in ensuring the accuracy and certainty of the death penalty, and that is why I worked with Sen. Rodney Ellis this last legislative session on an advance DNA testing process in death penalty cases to ensure that if a person is accused of a crime that would face the death penalty, we have the right person.”

The debate between Davis and Abbott was the first gubernatorial debate Texans have seen since 2006. Some Democratic pundits were hoping that Abbott would make a life-threatening mistake on stage, like Clayton Williams did in the 1990 gubernatorial debate when he refused to shake Ann Richards’ hand. Some feel the gesture caused Clayton to lose to Richards by two points in the general election. However, Abbott made no glaring mis- takes.

Abbott often spoke past Sen. Davis, rarely addressing her. Some fiery comments made in each candidate’s answers, including, for example, when Sen. Davis gave her rebuttal to a question about pre-k funding.

“My opponent has proposed standardized tests for four-year-olds to demonstrate that they deserve to have pre-k support, picking and choosing those which would receive it and those which wouldn’t,” Sen. Davis said. “Under Mr. Abbott, four-year-olds in this state can be assured that they’d be subject to standardized tests. The only way they’d get around that is if they hire a lobbyist, form a [Political Action Committee] and donate to the Greg Abbott campaign, because that’s how he works.”

The next and final gubernatorial debate will be held in Dallas on Sept. 30. The debate will include timed responses and follow-up questions and will be televised on all major media markets in the state.

Hazy Stand on E-cigs

Illustration by Dan Groh

Manal El Haj, Reporter

 As electronic cigarette usage increases, Austin Community College tackles the issue of whether vaping is subject to the same on-campus regulations as traditional smoking.

ACC officially went smoke free in January 2012, banning cigarette smoking on all of its campuses and centers. However, many people are turning to vaping to wean themselves from nicotine, and the devices are showing up on campuses.

“E-cigs are a lot less harmful then traditional cigarettes,” Rio Grande student Cheryl Pierce said, “[I] can tell the difference in lung capacity and [I] physically feel less tense.” Pierce, who started using e-cigarettes over a year ago, said they help her fight the urge to smoke traditional cigarettes.

Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, are battery powered devices that convert liquid nicotine and flavorings into a vapor that users inhale without the use of fire and without releasing the traditional smoky smell.

ACC Board Policy C-10 states the “College District prohibits the use, distribution, and/or sale of smoke-producing tobacco and related products and devices by any person on all premises owned, rented, leased, or supervised by the College District, including all college District facilities, buildings and grounds.”

Dr. Mary Hensley, Executive Vice President of College Operations at ACC, said ACC’s policy is de- signed to ban all smoking without interfering with an individual’s right to use tobacco. The intent, she said, is to prohibit the individual from subjecting others to second-hand smoke. this means that products like e-cigarettes and chewing tobacco do not violate Board Policy C-10. Although electronic cigarettes are allowed on ACC campuses, Hensely said that if professors or other specialized service personnel on campus determine that electronic cigarettes are not allowed within their setting, they may prohibit the use of texting, food or drink for reason of equipment safety or distracting behavior. ACC Speech professor Theresa Glenn includes restrictions on the use of e-cigarettes during class in her syllabus. Glenn said she is uncomfortable with e-cigarettes in the classroom, “because science doesn’t know what the secondhand hand effects of the vapors are” and she does not want to expose her students not herself to potential dangers.

 Board of Trustees: Policies C-10. Safe and Healthy Teaching and Learning Environment

Given these values, the Austin Community College District shall: Establish and maintain a smoke-free environment for all College District facilities. 1.1 The College District prohibits the use, distribution, and/or sale of smoke producing tobacco and related products and de- vices by any person on all premises owned, rented, leased, or supervised by the College District, including all College District facilities, buildings, and grounds. This prohibition applies to property owned by others that the College District uses by agreement, and further applies to all District vehicles. The only exception to this total prohibition shall be in those circumstances where the College District is party to a contract or other agreement relating to the property that limits its authority in this regard.

Leadership and Diversity Conference

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Story and Photos by Ryan Fotenette-Mitchell

Thought provoking conversations took center stage at the Nov. 21 Leadership and Diversity Conference. Attendees at the Highland Campus event explored lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender issues.

Austin Community College Student Life staff member Angela Roberston discussed the main objective for conference.

“So today, our intent was to challenge students to learn to love and respect one another even when they disagree,” Robertson said.

A religious panel addressed LGBTQ issues in the context of faith and Biblical references. Michael Saenz, a student at ACC, said that we should consider a more modern approach than that laid out in the Bible.

“A lot of people are basing what they believe on what was written thousands of years ago. The views that were applied then don’t apply now,” Saenz said. “If someone loves someone else, it baffles me that its illegal for them to get married.”

Robertson talked about how she challenged students to make their own opinions and beliefs, as well as having respect for people with different beliefs than them.

“There were people that were challenged. There were people that were emotional,” Robertson said.  “And that’s kind of what has to happen. We have to get uncomfortable so that we can grow.”

ACC student Elizabeth Cognetti felt called into action by the event.

“I’ve always been empathetic towards people who struggle day by day.” Cognetti said. “It makes me want to be able to stand up and really do something about it.”

 ACC holds a Leadership and Diversity Conference every year. For more information visit the Student Life website.

 

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GAY PRIDE –– By standers observe students during the LGBTQ summit. The summit was held at the ACC Highland Campus Nov. 21.
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GETTING AQUAINTED –– Keynote speaker Clint-Micheal Reneau leads the first breakout session of the day which allowed students to share their thoughts on LGBTQ issues. Most students came from different campuses for the event.
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PASSION AND POETRY — Joe Anderson of  The Mahogany project shares his story about being gay African-American man through poetry. Students sat and watched three live performances from the group.
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RESPECT FOR ALL –– Jennifer Flowers, Student Life coordinator,  stands proudly in front of the Gay Pride flag. The flag was one of many banners to represent different groups.
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COMING TOGETHER –– Students sit in the stairway to learn more about LGBTQ issues from keynote speaker Clint-Michael Reneau. Banners set around the stairway showed support for equality.