Funding Treasured Texts

Story by Tara Belles-Elsea, reporter

College Board research shows that students should expect to pay an average of $1,300 during the 2015- 16 school year on textbooks and supplies alone.

“Textbook costs are one of the most overlooked barriers to college affordability,” U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D IL) said. “Access [to education] continues to get more expensive.” Senate Bill 2176, The Textbook Affordability Act, introduced to the Senate by Sen. Durban, with Senators Al Franken (D MN) and Angus King (I ME). They said the grant program would save students over $1 billion.

The Government Accountability Office states there had been an 82 percent increase in textbook prices from 2002-2012, which resulted in 65 percent of students not purchasing textbooks due to affordability. For comparison, the same report finds that overall consumer prices have risen by 28 percent.

The Textbook Affordability Act was designed to supply grant money to create flexible programs for students and professors by giving open access to more content and more flexible teaching programs.

A date and budget have yet to be set for this program, but it is patterned after the University of Illinois’s program which used $150,000 in federal grant money and created an open, online textbook named, “Sustainability: A Comprehensive Foundation”, which benefits over 60,000 students.

This can allow students and teachers portable access to textbooks, and could also be used to create customized teaching tools.


Secured Schooling

Story by Christian Santiago, reporter

Jeanne Clery did not know anyone else was in her dorm room. She was killed by a fellow student on April 5, 1986 at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania.

Her parents learned that the university had not informed the students of the 38 crimes committed on campus the previous years. In light of losing their daughter, the Clerys worked towards having a crime reporting law enacted. With the adoption of the Clery act, all universities and colleges across the nation are required to release a complete, annual report of all crimes committed by students, faculty, and staff.

ACC released their report for 2014, outlining the jurisdiction and methods ACC uses to protect its students and employees such as around the clock use of ACC police on all ACC properties under its control.

The report mentions the use of background checks on all students, faculty, and staff member during their individual application process.

ACC holds strict policy guidelines involving those convicted of sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking. A list of all registered sexual offenders is available on the ACC Police Department’s website.

ACC holds annual security awareness and crime prevention events, encouraging all individuals to report crimes to ACC police. Retaliation against any person reporting a crime is prohibited.

ACC complies with guidelines established by federal, state, and local laws in regard to the illegal use of drugs and alcohol. Drug and alcohol counseling is available to students and staff. Drug and alcohol awareness week, also known as Red Ribbon Week, takes place on October 23- 31.

Crimes reported on ACC properties in 2014:

5 reports of domestic violence

1 report of dating violence

3 reports of aggravated assaults

2 reports of robbery

13 reports of burglary

4 reports of arson

1 report of motor vehicle theft

1 weapons offense

5 liquor offenses

48 drug offenses

Minimum Wage: No Money — Mo’ Problems

Story by Gaius Straka, reporter

Abraham Benski has found a solution to the minimum wage issue, or so he proposes.

A former ACC student, Benski developed a proposal to raise the national minimum wage primarily affecting middle class U.S. citizens. However, his proposal has not yet been submitted for review to any member of a legislative body.

“If a person’s working full-time, regardless of the job they are working, they should be able to live a decent life,” Benski said.

Benski believes that Bernie Sanders’ proposal of raising the current minimum wage to $15 an hour is plausible. To achieve this, Benski proposes reallocating 1 percent of the military budget.

“Simply and clearly, the military budget is the largest portion where the federal funds are being allocated,” Benski said.

His proposal would eventually eliminate governmental programs such as food stamps and federal housing. The funds would be redirected towards raising the minimum wage through what he called an “incentivised buffer program” where states would apply for funding based on local inflation. Benski emphasized taking gradual action in redirecting the funds.

Win Win Po, a current ACC student, sees things differently. In reaction to Benski’s proposal, Po answered inconclusively saying that the plan is effective overall, but does not approve of ending social programs as a means of funding.

Businesses with more than 100 employees would not receive a buffer program. Instead the government would expect large businesses to tighten wage disparities between upper and lower level employees.

Use of a business’s tax information would certify that employers filing for assistance had a legitimate business with U.S. citizens as employees.

Taryn Bias, an ACC recreational therapy major agrees. “I like the idea because it discourages illegal aliens.” However, Bias also said that raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour is too much.

Benski put forward the proposal because raising “the national minimum wage would be empowering,” he said. Benski hopes his proposal will be enacted by being noticed.

SGA Shakily Stands Up

Story and photo by Anthony DeVera, repoter

The Student Government Association has had to start from the ground up this school year.

“We started off trying to find our sea legs,” William (Peck) Young, Faculty Sponsor and Director of ACC ’s Center for Public Policy and Political Studies said.

In the absence of an advisor who resigned without any notice in the beginning of July this year, Young believes the organization has handled the situation well.

Along with Keisha Gray, Coordinator for the CPPPS, Young provides administrative support for the efforts of the student-run organization.

“The executive board is filled with some of the best young talent I have worked with in my entire life,” Young said.

The students have taken firm control of the direction of the organization, namely by reconstructing it from the ground up.

“We decided to create our own constitution just to have our voices in it and how we want to structure it,” Carrie Woodruff, an economics major who serves as Vice President, said.

President Alison Judice, who intends to major in Political Science, is concerned with the school community’s awareness of the SGA.

“A lot of people don’t know about [us]. A lot of people are still learning that we exist,” Judice said. “That is quite an issue. The student body has to know we’re here if we are going to be their voice.”

Attempting to maintain SGA representation on all campuses, members held a discussion which seemingly moved nowhere for more than an hour about the selection process for senators.

“We are arguing semantics,” Highland Campus Senator Garrett Grimmett said.

Throughout the discussion, senators provided opposing views in what can be described as back-and forth nonsense.

“There is a process in which we speak.” Ian Slingsby, Riverside Campus Senator, said in an attempt to police the conversation, referring to Robert’s Rules of Order.

Young advises the students to work more on listening to each other, and not waiting to speak next.

“They need to understand a bit better the Robert’s Rules of Order,” Young said. “The smartest thing they can do is listen to each other.”

In an effort to develop the skills needed to operate efficiently, SGA has hired Walter Wright J.D., a professor who teaches mediation in the Department of Political Science’s Legal Studies program at Texas State University. Wright gave a series of training sessions, which was open to all members of the ACC student body, based on a program of negotiation developed at Harvard Law School.

“We needed this yesterday,” Shant Soghomonian, the Constituent Senator for International Students said.

After a few training sessions, the students started to utilize their newly developed negotiation skills. Ongoing discussions on topics such as the senatorial selection process, now only take up to twelve minutes of the 3-hour long bi-weekly general assembly meetings.

In addition to preparing themselves for a career in politics, SGA’s efforts for the local community are currently focused on ACC’s “I CAN READ!” children’s book drive.

SGA Secretary Amy Calhoun recalled a conversation she had with a local police officer who expressed gratitude for the book drive’s efforts.

“[The officer] said there were some Christmases where [the officer’s family] couldn’t afford to get their kids gifts,” Calhoun said. “The drive allowed them to at least get something

Cops, Camera, Action

Story by Noor Alahmadi, reporter

More police departments around the country have started implementing the use of body cameras.

When Eric Garner’s death was caught on camera, massive public outcry spread across the nation calling for the use of body cameras as a solution for police brutality incidents.

“We just received about $3,000,000 worth of funding that we will be able to start using,” Art Acevedo, Austin Police Department Chief, said. “We plan on rolling out 500 cameras this next fiscal year. Hopefully next year we will get the remainder of the funds so everybody will have a body camera.”

Linguistics major Zac Conard likes the idea of police body cameras.

“It’s fantastic that they are being held accountable for what they do,” Conard said. “The fact that we can monitor them and see what they’re doing I find reassuring.”

Another student, Emily Hoelscher, wasn’t as enthusiastic.

“I feel so so,” Hoelscher said. “Honestly it depends on the people and how they use it. I feel iffy about it.”

Hoelscher says that body cameras can be easily manipulated in favor of the police, a view mirrored by Nelson Linder, president of Austin’s chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

“It’s not enough,” Linder said. “Police brutality is a symptom of a much larger problem in this country.”

According to Linder, the deep rooted racism in the U.S. must be addressed if any sort of change is to be made. “The viable lessons of social progress need to be learned and the citizens need to fight the battles locally,’ Linder said.

“You need to change things from within,” Linder said.

Black Lives Matter gathered at the Capitol September 19 to protest the multiple police brutality incidents against members of the black community. Conversely, a rally consisting of police supporters,calling themselves Blue Lives Matter, had a rally that same day in support of the police officers who had lost their lives in the line of duty. Acevedo asked that any APD in attendance to not wear their uniform.

“Because I support Black Lives Matter doesn’t mean I don’t believe the vast majority of police officers are good people,” Acevedo said. “Join us in holding the bad apples accountable and help lift up the good ones. Don’t believe the false narrative that the community of color doesn’t support police. They not only support good policing, they demand and deserve it.”

Acevedo’s public support of both rallies has been viewed as controversial to some in the black community.

Margaret Haule, founder of the Austin chapter of Black Lives Matter, considered Blue Lives Matter to be counterproductive to the Black Lives Matter movement.

“The hijacking of the Black Lives Matter rally by the Blue Lives Matter rally wasn’t created to foster dialogue,” Haule said.

“[Acevedo] cannot support the efforts of both Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter, while also expecting any sort of positive change for the black community,” Linder said.

His main complaint about the Blue Lives Matter rally was that the organizer, Robert Chody, a former APD officer whose use of force in the form of a choke hold, caused a 15 year old African-American boy to go into a seizure.

“I told [Acevedo] not to do it,” said Linder. “Robert Chody worked for APD and choked a kid, yet he still organized [the rally] with Art’s approval.”

Acevedo has yet to respond to Linder’s accusations.

“I do think that people understand that the police are getting a lot of bad press and it’s deserved,” said Lee Aidman, who’s studying Game Development. “But they understand that the police are good in general.”

Allies or Assets

New Group Supports Local Black Lives Matter movement in Unique Relationship

Story by Ryan Fontenette-Mitchell, reporter

Photos by Anthony DeVera and Ryan Fontenette-Mitchell, reporter

Black Lives Matter has a new ally, a resource of an organization called Allies for Black Lives.

“We are not part of the Black Lives Matter Austin general meetings,” Sacha Jacobson, coordinator for ABL, said. She said the separation was requested by BLM. “We respect that the members of BLM want their own space. We are not black,” Jacobson said in reference to the separate meeting rooms.

“ABL has a lot of work to do in order to catch up with current events about local issues regarding policing in the black community. ABL does not know what it is like to be black, and are lacking a strong grasp of understanding the history of racism in our country,” Jacobson said.

ABL supports BLM by providing financial support for public awareness projects, by informing Austinites BLM’s work to address racism and the importance of having conversations about racial injustice in our society.

“ABL provides education to ourselves and other non-black people in the Austin community and surrounding areas,” Jacobson said.

The relationship between BLM and ABL started in June. Jacobson contacted Margaret Haule, founder of the Austin chapter of BLM, to see if they would be interested in a crowd funded yard sign project. The project would produce signs reading “Black Lives Matter.”

BLM approved of the project and in 3 months, the project raised $3,625.

PUBLIC AWARENESS — Margaret Haule, founder of the Austin Chapter of Black Lives Matters addressed the Associated Collegiate Press conference in downtown Austin in November.

After the project, Jacobson kept in contact with Haule, who kept sending requests to Jacobson. The position to coordinate ABL, was given to Jacobson, after BLM expressed an interest in forming a separate support group.

BLM laid out guidelines for the new ally group to follow. Public criticism has caused BLM Austin to be media shy. Whenever the media is present, BLM checks with its members to see if they would be comfortable with the media in attendance.

Haule discussed suggestions on ways to get involved with BLM. She mentioned the best ways to get involved were to attend protest and rallies, but most importantly talk to the victims of police brutality.

Haule also kept reinforcing anyone interested to get more information from the BLM website. Not once did she mention attending a BLM meeting. As a keynote speaker at the National College Media convention in Austin in November, Haule answered questions but has declined face-to -face, phone and email interviews.

Jacobson wanted to make it clear that ABL is meant to “support as a resource and does not attempt to take lead.” She also went on to say that, “ABL allies are resources rather than members.” Which begs the question is BLM about unity?

Campus Viewpoint: What Does Perseverance Mean to You?

Story and photos by Anthony DeVera, Reporter

Emily Marazzo
Emily Marazzo – It means sticking through with what you started to the end, even if you don’t like it. It’s important to me personally. I guess it’s the completionist trait that I have as a person. I try my best not to quit when I start something. If I don’t get something, I’ll always ask for help to get through it, even if I don’t want to.


Jordan Elcock
Jordan Elcock – It’s the will to keep going, like getting through school when times are hard and all that. School, work, and balancing whatever else you do, so I guess that’s that.


Jasmin Dale
Jasmin Dale – I’m the first generation in my family to actually go to college. My mom struggled a lot as a teen mom. She gave me the drive to go to school. I want for my little brother to be able to look up to me and say, ‘if my sister can do this, I can do this.’ I want to be a good influence for him.


Maleha Baset – It’s just fighting through. Basically it’s not giving up. I exhibit perseverance through my classes, and not changing my major. I’m taking basic classes. Everybody has to take basic classes. They’re not always easy and they’re not always fun, but I have to stick through it and remember that I need to get through this to actually take the classes that I want to take and actually enjoy.


Jasmine Scott – Perseverance to me is never giving up. No matter what your struggles are, whatever you believe in, no matter what people say, just do not give up on what you’re passionate about. I’m a single mother. I work and I go to school. That in it’s own is perseverance because I have to take care of my daughter, I have to do good in school, I have to work. All of that I have to do just to provide for my daughter and make a better future for me and her.


Shelby Kanpe – I have a learning disability, so I’ve struggled through school and I had to work really hard to get where I am. When I was in high school, our band was going through a really hard time because our band director was out. We had a really bad substitute and a lot of the band was quitting and so I was trying to keep the band going, telling them to stay in band.


Flor Villegas – Perseverance means a lot to me. It’s a main goal in my life. It’s very important. Whenever my family and I moved from Mexico to Georgetown, it was a big change. [My parents] were always there with me, always making everything easier for me and for my brothers too.
Nicole Castro – No matter what the obstacles that come your way, you are always set on getting to your goal. Don’t let anybody’s opinion, or what they say about you, shift you away from getting to your goal. My grandmother wanted to go to college so she went out of her way, got a job, and paid her [own way].
Adrian Rodrguez – Perseverance is like staying on topic and just continuing and following your path. Whenever my sister was having trouble at work, she was getting too emotional from the comments she received from her clients being negative. She knew it wasn’t her fault, so she just took it. [It] got her down, but she still continued working through it.


Daniel Woo – The will to keep going; maybe finding something in your life, on your own, with guidance. I want to get a job mainly because I want to help my parents since they’ve helped me through so much so far. I want to repay what they’ve done for me. I guess that’s what’s keeping me going. Also, coming across new people and new things. It gives me inspiration to want to learn new things with new people so I can put it forth to maybe helping other people like I’m trying to help my parents. I’m just trying to do what I can.



Erin Daniel – I feel like it means going for what you believe in. When I have to make decisions on things, I base it on what I believe in, what I think is going to work best for me, and what’s going to help me go further into my future.


David Clark – Life itself is about finding balance. Part of perseverance is you have to throw yourself into things that are uncomfortable. There’s an old proverb, a gem cannot be polished without friction, a human cannot be polished without trial. You have gotta throw yourself back into things. I’m older than most students. I took my first run at college.


Amber Galloway – Something along the lines of not giving up, continuing to keep going, keep trying. I would say school is persevering. Continuing to go through school regardless of hardships in your life, how hard your classes may be, or sometimes you just want to give up and do something else, but we continue to go to school and move forward.


Student “S.” – As a recovering alcoholic, [perseverance] is kind of everyday, just overcoming fear and daily obstacles. I’m quite a bit older than most of the people on campus. It was quite difficult to get back into, ya know, wanting to go back to school. I’ve been divorced, my kids are grown. Regarding my identity as mom or wife, I’ve had to figure out who I was as me, myself. With my struggles with addiction, it seemed appropriate to go get my license for counseling. It’s who I am now. I’m a recovering alcoholic that wants to help other alcoholics. Spirituality played a huge role in getting me where I am today. I believe in a higher power. I also believe you can’t do anything, any big huge struggle, on your own. You need a support group, people you can trust, talk to, not judge you, and help guide you through whatever your dilemmas are.


Alanah Patterson – You never give up, no matter what you do, at least attempt to do something. I went to a leadership academy for seven years. A big part of our mission statement was perseverance. Everyday, when I complete my homework, because it takes a lot for me to sit down and actually work. I always make myself do it, and I think that’s perseverance for myself.

Campus Viewpoint

Interviews by Ryan Fontenette-Mitchell and photos by Joseph Lee

Featured image courtesy of The Seattletimes newspaper

What are your thoughts on the 2016 presidential race?

Christian Padilla
Christian Padilla • Round Rock Campus: I feel like every race has gone through something. Being Hispanic, I’m more worried about Donald Trump. I feel like he is against us.
Dylan Arocha
Dylan Arocha • Graphic Design Major: Voting is important. Our future depends on what these people are going for. I would support Hillary Clinton because she’s a woman.
Maria Harris
Maria Harris • Criminal Justice Major: The top two candidates are Hillary Clinton — because of [her views on]women’s rights and equal rights for all, and Donald Trump — even though he’s saying some ridiculous things.
Niyra Tealer
Niyra Tealer • Advertising Major: I’m very passionate about the 2016 election. Bernie Sanders has very concrete answers when he touches base on issues and doesn’t tiptoe around taboo subjects.
Ryan Lane
Ryan Lane • Business Management Major: Donald Trump is just running to just get his brand out there more. I don’t feel like he’s running for the president of the United States.
Tatiana Johson
Tatiana Johnson • History and Spanish: I think it will be cool for Hillary to win because her husband was our president and I feel she has insider knowledge.

Shyamalan Returns with Horror- Comedy “The Visit”

Story by Ryan Fontenette-Mitchell, reporter

In a surprising twist, M. Night Shyamalan’s new horror-comedy “The Visit,” ends with — a plot twist.

Most people recognize the name M. Night Shyamalan as the director of the movies “The Sixth Sense” and “Signs.” After those two outstanding films, Shyamalan’s track record went down from there having made one poorly reviewed film after another. However, “The Visit” is a step toward his former glory.

The background is set as two siblings go to their grandparents’ house for a week while their mom and her boyfriend go on a cruise. The grandchildren are excited to finally meet and spend time with their grandparents. However, within a couple of days, the siblings realize that their grandparents are acting out of the norm, starting with a strict 9:00 p.m. curfew where the kids were told to not leave their bedrooms. Before the week comes to a close, everything around the house unravels with the grandparents acting more bizarre and the kids lives at stake. The kids uncover a secret that will throw the audience for a loop.

Will the children make it out of the house safely? What is this secret that their grandparents are hiding, and will the little ones be rescued? Well … you will just have to watch the movie and find out.

A Shyamalan film wouldn’t be right if it didn’t have intense, graphic scenes to make people jump out of their seats, and that’s exactly what’s packed into this movie. However, the film is filled with comedy that helps release some tension.

The grandchildren, played by Ed Oxenbould and Olivia Dejonge, performed their roles with excellence. The thrill, horror, suspense and comedy are all there.

I score this movie 6.5 out of 10. Still, with it receiving a 58 percent from Internet review site Rotten Tomatoes, I recommend at least seeing it at the dollar theater or waiting until it comes out on DVD.

Concealed Carry, Open Controversy

Story by Christian Santiago, reporter

This past summer, the Texas legislature passed S.B. 11. The republican sponsored bill allows those with a concealed handgun license (CHL) to carry a concealed handgun on universities and community college campuses throughout the state. The issue of firearm possession is debated across the U.S., and some states have been cracking down on laws regarding firearms.

New Jersey does not allow handgun possession without a license and California requires the purchase of firearms from licensed dealers. Texas, however, is moving in the opposite direction with the passage of the new campus-carry law which takes effect in August 2016 for universities, and August 2017 for community colleges.

In an email from ACC’s Office of Public Information and College Marketing, Antonio Lujan said that ACC takes the issue of guns on campus seriously.

“We will work together with various key individuals including the ACC Police Department to abide by the new law, while protecting the rights of our staff, students and community.”

Lujan said that ACC will look to how the University of Texas will enact their policy since community colleges have more time to construct theirs.

“The goal is to ensure the safety and security of everyone at the college’s facilities.”