Student Debt, Student Threat

Story by Noor Alahmadi, reporter

Student debt is a looming black cloud affecting many students in America. According to the U.S. Department of Education, student loan interest rates have gone down about one-third of a percent in the last year from 4.66% to 4.29%, which according to Blake Ellis with CNN Money Investigations, is still crippling forty million Americans.

U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett attended a student press conference at the Highland Campus Sept. 4, to speak about H.R. 1260, The American Opportunity Tax Credit Act of 2015, a bill which he is both the author and sponsor.

“It’s a $2,500 tax credit,” Doggett said. “If you do not have that much in taxes, you will get $1,000 refund.”

The main goal of this act is to allow students to receive a college diploma without being accompanied with a mountain of debt. Debt restricts students’ choices and Doggett believes that it ought to be possible for people to renegotiate their interest rates just like on other kinds of loans and prevent debt from piling up.
With the upcoming primaries and ultimately the Presidential election, candidates have been offering up their own solutions to the rise in student debt. Hillary Clinton’s approach mirrors Doggett’s when it comes to thesoftening of student debt.

“For those who already have student debt, my plan will give you the chance to refinance at lower interest rates,” Clinton said.

Doggett said he would like to do more, but must be practical.

“I have mixed feelings about providing free college to every- one as our first priority. I would like everybody to be able to get all the education they want, but knowing how limited our resources are, I want to see it focused on those with the biggest obstacles.”

Doggett said there will be another attempt at perfecting this bill in 2017, should he be re-elected.

Dancing for Independence

Story and photo by Stefani Ventura, Reporter

It had just stopped raining before the music of Mariachi Estrella was heard around the Riverside Campus. ACC staff and students gathered to witness the eighth annual Diez y Seis event.

“It’s a long standing event. We co-host it with former Texas State Senator Gonzalo Barrientos for about eight years,” Keisha Gray, coordinator of the Center for

Public Policy & Political Studies, said. An event many Tejanos and Mexican-Americans are proud to take part in, Diez y Seis, which translates to sixteen, was not just an ordinary day in September 1810. It’s the most celebrated day in Mexico, the beginning of the Mexican War of independence.

“Libertad! Viva!” said former State Senator Gonzalo Barrientos. “When I was a little boy, four or five years old, I wondered what they were saying. I came to find out later that it was a cry for independence, a cry for liberty and more of what we ought to have in the world.”

“El Grito de Dolores” (Cry of Dolores), is affectionately known for the memorable cry of Miguel Hidalgo, priest and leader of the decade-long war which resulted in victory for Mexico.

As the event takes place during Hispanic Heritage Month, Texas Secretary of State Carlos Cascos encouraged the importance of voting as Hispanics are the nation’s largest ethnic minority.

“As the Hispanic community takes pride in their heritage, it’s also very important to make a difference and have an opinion of what the future will hold as fellow Texans,” Cascos said. “Everybody hears how the Hispanic population continues to grow in Texas. But what difference does it make how fast this population is growing if we don’t exercise that right to vote?”

With minutes left, the dancers of Ballet Folklorico took over the stage in bright, traditional dresses and Johnny Degolladoy Su Conjunto, one of the most prolific songwriting groups in conjunto music, closed Diez y Seis with “Party Time Polka.”

Behind The News

Story and photo by Anthony DeVera, Reporter and Editor in Chief

ACC journalism professor Paul Brown anchors Capitol Tonight, a local political talk show on Time Warner Cable. A typical day includes meetings, follow-up phone calls on leads and editing video packages.

QUIET MOMENT — Looking out from the studio’s balcony, Brown takes some time to enjoy peanut M&M’s.
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MASTER CONTROL — The technical director monitors taping from multiple camera angles in the control room.
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CASUAL CONVERSATION — Brown and Capitol Tonight guest Harold Cook share a moment of casual conversation between takes while recording the show.
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BETWEEN TAKES — Sitting at his anchor desk in studio B, Brown checks his phone while waiting to continue recording footage for the evening’s broadcast.
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PRESHOW STRATEGY — Frequent guests of the show, (from left to right) conservative commentator Ted Delisi and liberal commentator Harold Cook sit at a conference table with Paul Brown to go over the topics to be discussed during that evening’s episode.
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QUICK UPDATE — Journalist Paul Brown (left) momentarily interrupts a rundown meeting taking place in a conference room to clarify details with his producer Ryan Catanese (right).
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NEWSROOM OVERVIEW — The Capitol Tonight team shares the newsroom with the rest of the broadcast anchors, producers and reporters on the second floor of the Time Warner Cable News building in downtown Austin.
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STAYING CONNECTED — Brown checks his cell phone for emails and text messages outside of the control room for Studio B at the Time Warner Cable News station in Austin, Texas.

On the Record: Ben Mathey

Interview and photo done by Shaina Kambo

Eastview Campus Manager Ben Mathey, has worked for ACC since 1999. He started in student services and gained experience as a center supervisor and adjunct professor. Mathey received a bachelor’s degree in history from Southwestern University and a master’s degree in history from Texas State University.

ACCENT: Can you describe a typical day on the job?

MATHEY: My job on a typical day is to help people on the campus who are experiencing any issues in regards to the facilities at the Eastview Campus. Even more simply, my job is to try and make things better. Fortunately for me, I have a team of great individuals that make everything run so smoothly.

ACCENT: What challenges did you have to overcome in life in order to achieve your current success?

MATHEY: I have dyslexia, but I would not consider that a challenge. When I was 12 years old, I had a doctor tell me that in two-weeks time there was a 50% chance I would be completely healed and a 50% chance I would be dead. Fortunately, I went for the first option.

ACCENT: Was there anyone who motivated you to take the career path that you did?

MATHEY: There is no one individual but a multitude who [have] inspired me to have a career in education. I believe higher education is one of the greatest gifts of civilization, and I relish that idea everyday. Education is a gift that is continually giving and the ability to be a part of that on a professional level is a privilege.

ACCENT: As a former student, what advice can you provide for the ACC student who may feel a little overwhelmed with college life?

MATHEY: You the student, are the most important factor in your education. Everyone you see, everyone you encounter, has the same fears and trepidations. What you need to know is that everyone is here to help. All you have to do is ask. Learn to ask for help. Learn to ask for guidance. Learn to ask, no matter what your problem is.

ACCENT: What makes Eastview Campus stand out from other campuses at ACC?

MATHEY: I know every campus says this, but it really is the people. Eastview is home to some of the most passionate faculty and staff I have encountered. People attend ACC as part of a transformational experience: they come here to change their lives. East Austin is also in a moment of transition. I believe that more than any other campus, Eastview has the potential to play an incredible role in connecting the economic opportunities occurring in Austin to the residents of the surrounding community.

ACCENT: What’s the most interesting experience you have had on campus?

MATHEY: Technically this was not on a campus but at the San Marcos Goodnight Center. At one point we were sharing a building with the high school agriculture program. One day I heard a commotion in the hallway and when I investigated, I found that two goats had escaped from the agriculture program into the halls. I can now say that working at ACC has helped me develop my goat-wrangling skills.

Editor’s Note: This interview has been condensed and edited

What Is Your Favorite Quote And Who Said It?

Story by, Stefani Ventura, Reporter

 

Kendal Travis• Forget what hurt you in the past, but never forget what it taught you. — Shannon L. Alder

 

Miguel Barvosa-Martinez• Nothing is more despicable than respect based on fear. — Albert Camus
Rachel Egan• In my walks, every man I meet is my superior in some way, and in that I learn from him. — Ralph Waldo Emerson
Tyreese Brown• Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase. — Martin Luther King Jr.

 

Margarita Triana• Success is simple. Do what’s right, the right way, at the right time. — Arnold H. Glasow
Yvonne Naziraje• The best way to lose yourself is to find yourself in the service of others. — Mahatma Gandhi

 

 

 

 

Letter From the Editor

By Anthony DeVera, Editor in Chief

The first day of school is like New Year’s Day for scholastic institutions. Many ponder the potential academic new year’s resolutions and events posed by the upcoming school year.

For the administration, it’s the challenge of improving operations and maintenance. For teachers, it’s the challenge of translating and communicating knowledge and information to a new set of students.

For students, the considerations are as different and varied as the population itself. Some are fresh from high school, others come from the workforce and haven’t gone to school for a while. Regardless, students involved in classes at Austin Community College make an unspoken statement: “I’m here to improve myself.”

Just like students, the Accent is taking advantage of this time to develop a strong foundation. We apply our efforts to the best of our abilities, learning lessons along the way, and figure out what works and what doesn’t.

We report on the news and current events that effect ACC. We publish stories and content following concise guidelines: Is this information the student body needs to know? Is it being presented in the best form possible? Is it in context? Are all the sides of the discussion covered?

Our goal is to provide the student body with the information they need and want so they may be able to develop and form their own well-informed, educated decisions or opinions.

We at the Accent are just like you, students who are doing our best to balance the different aspects of our lives while pursuing our goals. We are a growing organization full of likable individuals, curious of the little world we have here at ACC.

If you should meet one of us covering a school event, or walking about one of the campuses, give us a tip on what you think the student body should know about. We may ask you a few questions, maybe even take a picture or two of you. We see how beautiful our community is, and we want to provide a way for you to see that too.

Anyone who chooses to further their education makes a wise investment in their future. I believe ACC truly stands by it’s motto “Start here. Get there.” I believe that ACC can help you pursue your goal of becoming the person you want to be.

So, on behalf of Accent News, I bid you welcome! I am excited to see what the future has in store for all of us.

All the best wishes,

Film: “Unfriended” Illuminates the Lonely Side of Social Media

Story by Kyle August, Reporter

“Unfriended” turns ordinary social media interactions into terrifying en- counters. In the horror/thriller, teenager Blaire Lily receives a Skype message from her classmate Laura Barns. Blaire dismisses the message as a cruel prank because Laura commit- ted suicide a year ago after someone anonymously posted a mortifying video of her.

However, it soon becomes clear that the message is no prank and that whoever is responsible wants revenge. The rules are simple: cooperate or die.

The entire film is seen from Blaire’s perspective, or rather her laptop screen. The audience watches as she instant messages her boyfriend, checks Facebook, and Skype chats with her classmates, all while frantically reacting to the mysterious force.

The film, directed by Levan Gabriadze, has the same grainy, real-time approach as the 1999 horror thriller “The Blair Witch Project.”

The chatroom frame approach may seem weak, or even anticlimactic, but Gabriadze’s use of this technique takes these relatable, routine actions and effectively turns them into panic and terror.

As Blaire and her friends are haunted by the vengeful stalker, their own dark secrets begin to surface, pitting them against each other.

The funny, stereotypical characters take the edge off Unfriended, but the kill scenes are not for the faint of heart. This jolting film will make you think twice about cyberbullying, and you may never use a blender again.

In our increasingly connected world, it’s downright effortless for bullies to harass their targets via email, instant messaging, texting and social media. Posting hurtful messages online, or circulating embarrassing photos or videos have led many teens to suicide.

Courtesy picture of Bazeleus company and Blumhouse productions

Music: Poetic Lyrics Elevate “To Pimp a Butterfly”

Story by Ryan Fontenette-Mitchell, Reporter

West Coast rapper and Compton native Kendrick Lamar unveiled his new album “To Pimp A Butterfly” on March 15. Lamar’s poetic lyrics bring America’s issues to life with upbeat tracks, a heavy jazz influence and strong vocals.

Lamar shows growth from his previous album “good kid m.A.A.d city” by pushing listeners to think deeply about how they can bring about social change in America.

West Coast rapper and Compton native Kendrick Lamar unveiled his new album “To Pimp A Butterfly” on March 15. Lamar’s poetic lyrics bring America’s issues to life with upbeat tracks, a heavy jazz influence and strong vocals.

Lamar shows growth from his previous album “good kid m.A.A.d city” by pushing listeners to think deeply about how they can bring about social change in America.

The order in which Lamar lays out his tracks allows listeners to journey through his mind, experience thoughts and emotions. The album challenges popular views on politics and racism. It also addresses the depression and suicidal thoughts Lamar has faced.

In the song “Mortal Man,” Lamar includes audio from a 1994 interview with the last great king of Hip-Hop, Tupac Shakur.

In the interview, taken from Swedish radio show P3 Soul, Lamar realized the best way to reach out to teens and help them change the world is through music.

“In my opinion, only hope that we kinda have left is music and vibrations. A lot of people don’t understand how important that is,” Lamar said.

“To Pimp A Butterfly” should be listened to closely in order to discover its full meaning. Online music magazine Pitchfork has ranked the album No. 2 on its highest rated album of 2015 list. Parental advisory is on the album for use of profane language.

Courtesy picture by Hypebeast.com, Interscope Records,Top Dawg Entertainment

Beast of Bass and Boom

Marshall C. Simpson— First Place

“The piece was inspired by my music taste. I enjoy electronic and industrial and I felt I could convey that liking through a visual representation.”

Accent holds contests each semester to showcase student art, photography and writing. Art major Marshall C. Simpson’s “Beast of Bass and Boom” was created with ink on paper. Sumbissions of original artwork may be sent to editor@austincc.edu

Campus Org Profile: Phi Theta Kappa

Story by Shannon Mullery, Reporter

At the beginning of each semester, college students receive invitaions via mail, e-mail and word of mouth to join a multitude of clubs, groups and fraternities or sororities. One that students at ACC receive is a little yellow invitation in the mail for a group called Phi Theta Kappa.

While some students, understandably, have the impression that this organization is a fraternity or sorority, it is actually an honors society that extends to community colleges everywhere in the United States, as well as internationally.

“I like to say we’re more geek than Greek,” Daniel Chitty, ACC’s Alpha Gamma Pi Chapter Presi- dent said. “But I’m not gonna say it’s not at all social, because we do like to have a good time.”

Each chapter of Phi Theta Kappa is very unique. At ACC, the Alpha Gamma Pi chapter focuses on community service, academics, and some research activity. Students with 12-23 hours and a 3.5 GPA, 24-45 hours and a 3.4 GPA, or over 46 hours and a 3.25 GPA all qualify to apply for membership.

Students also need to be enrolled in at least six credit hours the semester they join, and have a declared major. Bronze members only need to attend a new member orientation meeting, and pay the membership meetings. Silver members can expect some active involvement, and gold members should expect to devote a fair amount of their time to the organization.

Shortly after joining Phi Theta Kappa in the fall of 2011, Chitty volunteered to fill in for a campus vice president, who had stepped down in the organization. He moved up quickly, becoming Phi Theta Kappa’s international president in Apr. of 2013.

“Campaigning for the office and holding the office are two very different experiences. Win or lose, you always grow from the campaign experience,” Chitty said. Joining Phi Theta Kappa has not changed his long-term goals, which include getting accepted into dental school, but it has helped him broaden his perspective.

“I feel like it has helped to prepare me much better than any classroom could to enter into a much more professional realm.” Chitty will be attending the School of Dentistry at the UT Health and Science Center in San Antonio next year.